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In the year 986, by reason of certain dissensions, Egelred, king of the English, laid siege to the city of Rochester, but perceiving the difficulty of taking it, departed in anger, and laid waste the lands96 of Saint Andrew the Apostle. Alfric, the duke of the Mercians, son of duke Alfer, was this year banished from England.
In the year 987; there occurred two plagues, unknown to the English nation in preceding ages, namely, a fever affecting the people, and a murrain among animals, which, in the English language, is called "Scitha," being a flux of the bowels; these greatly ravaged the whole of England, and affected both men and animals with great devastation, and, consuming the inner parts of the body, raged in an indescribable manner throughout all the territories of England.
In the year 988, Wesedport94 was ravaged by the Danish pirates, by whom, also, Goda, earl of Devon, and Stremewold, a very brave warrior, were slain; but a considerable number of the enemy having been killed, the English became masters of the place.97
In the first year of the indiction, on the fourteenth day before the calends of June, it being the Sabbath, Saint Dunstan the archbishop departed this life, and attained a heavenly kingdom; in his stead Ethelgar, bishop of Selsey,9s received the archbishopric, and held it one year and three months.
In the year 989, archbishop Aldred" died, and was succeeded by Aldune.
In the year 991, Gippeswic1 was ravaged by the Danes. Their leaders were Justin, and Guthmund, the son of Steitan; with them, not long after this, Brithnoth, the brave duke of the East Saxons, engaged in battle near Meldun;2 but, after a multitude on both sides had fallen, the duke himself was slain, and the Danish fortunes prevailed. Moreover, in this year, by the advice of Siric, the archbishop of Canterbury, and the dukes Ethelward and Alfric, a tribute, which consisted of ten
95 Belonging to the bishopric of Rochester. 96 Probably Watchet, in Somersetshire.
""Loco flurainis" in the original; " flnminis" being probably an error for some other word. 9s In Sussex.
95 The same who just before is called Ethelgar. 'Ipswich. 2 Maldon.
pounds,3 was for the first time paid to the Danes, in order that they might desist from the continued pillage, conflagrations, and slaughters of the people, of which they were repeatedly guilty near the sea-shore, and might observe a lasting peace with them.
Saint Oswald the archbishop, on the sixth day before the ides of November, being the third day of the week, consecrated the monastery of Rawele, which he and Ethelwin, the duke of East Anglia, a friend of God, aided and comforted by the Divine counsel and assistance, had erected.
In the year 992, being the fifth year of the indiction, on the day before the calends of March, being the second day of the week, Saint Oswald the archbishop departed this life before the feet of the poor, where, according to his usual custom, he was performing the Divine command,4 in the manner he had previously predicted, and attained the joys of the kingdom of heaven; he was buried in the church of Saint Mary, at Worcester, which he himself had erected from the very foundation. He was succeeded by Adulph, the venerable abbat of Medeshampstead ;6 and not long after the death of the blessed father Oswald, duke Ethelwin, of illustrious memory, the friend of God, departed this life, and was honorably buried at Ramesege.6
In the year 993, the above-mentioned army of the Danes took Bebbanburgh,7 and carried off all they could find in it. After this, they directed their course to the mouth of the river Humber, and, having burned many towns and slain many persons in Lindesey and Northumbria, took considerable booty. Against them a great number of the people of the district collected with all haste; but when they were about to engage, the leaders of the army, whose names were Frana, Frithegist, and Godewin, because, on the fathers' side, they were of Danish origin, betrayed their followers, and were the first to set the example of flight.
In the year 994, Anlaf, the king of the Norwegians, and Sweyn, the king of the Danes, arrived at London, on the day of the nativity of Saint Mary, with ninety-four galleys, and
3 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Roger of Wendover say that it was ten thousand pounds, which no doubt is the correct statement.
4 In washing the feet of the poor.
1 Peterborough. 4 Ramsey. 7 Bamborough.
immediately attempted to force an entrance and burn it: but by the aid of God and of His Mother, they were repulsed by the citizens, with no small loss to their army. Thereupon, being exasperated with rage and sorrow, on the same day they betook themselves thence, and first in Essex and in Kent, and near the sea-shore, and afterwards in Sussex and in the province of Southampton, they burned houses, laid waste the fields, and without respect to sex or age destroyed a very great number of people with fire and sword, and carried off a large amount of spoil; at last, having obtained horses for themselves, furiously raging, they traversed many provinces to and fro, and spared neither the female sex nor yet the innocent age of infants, but, with the ferocity of wild beasts, consigned all to . death.
Upon this, king Egelred, by the advice of his nobles, sent ambassadors to them, promising that he would give them tribute and provisions, on condition that they should entirely put an end to their cruelty. Assenting to this request of the king, they returned to their ships, and then the whole of the army assembled together at Southampton and passed the winter there. The provisions were provided for them by the whole of 'Wessex; and by the whole of England the tribute, which amounted to sixteen pounds, was paid. In the meantime, by the command of king Egelred, Elphege, the bishop of Winchester, and the noble duke Ethelwald, proceeded to king Alaf, and, having given hostages, brought him with great honor to the royal town of Andeafaran,s where the king was staying.
He was honorably received by the king, who caused him to be confirmed by the bishop, and, adopting him as his son, presented him with royal gifts, on which he promised king Egelred that he would no more come with an army to England; and, after this, he returned to the ships, and at the approach of summer returned to his own country, and carefully adhered to his promise.
In the year 995, Aldune, the bishop, removed the body of Saint Cuthbert from Cestre9 to Dunholm.10
In the year 996, Elfric was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury.
In the year 997, the army of the Danes, which had remained
s Andover. 9 Chester-le-Street. 10 Durham.
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in England, having sailed round Wessex, entered the mouth of the river Severn, and at one time laid waste South Britain at another, Cornwall; at another, Wesedport, in Devonshire; and, burning a vast number of towns, put multitudes of people to the sword; and after this, again going round Penwithsteort12 up to the mouth of the river Tamar, their ships having coasted along Devonshire and Cornwall, they disembarked from their ships, leaving them behind, and, there being no one to prevent them, continued their conflagrations and slaughter as far as Lideford.13 In. addition to this, they burned the monastery of the primate, Ordulf, which is called Taustokt,,14 and, laden with great booty, made their way back t to their ships, and wintered at that place.
- In the year 998, the above-named army of the pagans, leaving the mouth of the river which is called Frome, repaired again to Dorsetshire, and, after their usual manner, betook themselves to plundering; and, as often as they took up their quarters in the Isle of Wight," levied supplies upon Sussex and the province of Southampton. Against such an outburst as this, forces were often gathered together; but, as often as the English were about to engage in battle, either through treachery or some misfortune, they turned their backs and left the victory in the hands of the enemy.
In the year 999, the army of the pagans so often mentioned, entering the mouth of the river Thames, passed up the river Meodewege,16 as far as Rochester, and for a few days laid strict siege to it, upon which, the people of Kent, uniting together to repel them, had a severe engagement with them; but, after many had been slain on both sides, the Danes remained masters of the river. After this, taking horse, the Danes laid waste almost the whole of the western coast of Kent. On hearing of this, Egelred, the king of the English, by the advice of his
11 South 'Wales.
13 Of this place Lambarde says: "The country that lieth next the point of Cornwall is to this day called Penwith; and, therefore, the Saxons adding 'steort,' which signifyeth a last of a region or promontory that runneth narrow into the sea, called that cape Penwithsteort." ls A town in Devonshire, on the river Tamar. 14 Tavistock. 15 As a sample of the state of the text, this passage is thus printed: "Et quotiescunque invecta jacuit de Suthsaxonia, et Suthamtunensi provincial sibi victum accepit."
principal men, collected together both a fleet and a land force. But, in the end, neither the land nor the naval force effected anything for the public good, beyond harassing the people, wasting money, and arousing the vengeance of the enemy.
In the year 1000, the above-mentioned fleet of the Danes invaded Normandy. Egelred, king of the English, laid waste the lands of the Cumbrians. He gave orders to his fleet, that, sailing round the north of Britain, it should meet him at a place named; but, being prevented by the violence of the winds, it was unable to do so. However, it laid waste the island which is called Monege.17
In the year 1001, the above-mentioned army of the pagans, returning from Normandy into England, entered the mouth of the river Exe, and shortly after commenced the siege of the city of Exancester; but, while attempting to destroy the walls, they were repulsed by the citizens, who manfully defended the city. Upon this, being greatly incensed, after their usual manner, they wandered through Devonshire, burning towns, ravaging the fields, and slaughtering the people; and, in consequence, the men of Devonshire and Somerset uniting together, gave them battle at a place which is called Penhou.1s But the English, by reason of the small number of their soldiers, were not able to cope with the multitude of the Danes, and took to flight; whereon, the enemy having made a great slaughter, gained the day. After this, taking horse, throughout almost the whole of Devonshire they committed worse excesses than before, and, having collected much booty, returned to their ships. After this, they turned their course to the Isle of Wight; and, for a long time, there being no one to resist them, occupied themselves in plundering as usual, and raged to such a degree against the people with the sword, and against the houses with fire, that no fleet would dare to engage with them at sea, and no army by land. In consequence, the sadness of the king was far from slight, while the people were afflicted with incredible sorrow.
In the year 1002, Egelred, king of the English, having held a council with his chief men, thought proper to make peace with the Danes, and to give them provisions and tribute to appease them, in order that they might cease from their
11 Mona, or Man.
1s Penhoe; a place either in Somersetshire or Dorsetshire.