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camped with his army, and fought a severe battle with him on the third, day before the nones of May. But while the battle was being hotly contested, the East Angles turned their backs, a certain thane of the king, a man of Danish origin, Turketel, sumamed Merenheauod, being the first to begin the flight; but the men of Cambridgeshire, manfully fighting, made a stout resistance, till at last, being overpowered, they took to flight.
In this battle fell Ethelstan, the king's son-in-law, Oswy, a noble thane, together with his son, Wuliric the son of Leofwin, Edwy, the son of Effuic, and many other noble thanes, and an innumerable multitude. The Danes being masters of the field of slaughter, gained possession of East Anglia; and taking to horse, did not cease for three months ravaging the.whole province, collecting booty, burning towns, and slaughtering men and animals; after which they laid waste Thetford and Grantebrige,32 and burned them; having accomplished which, the foot on board ship, and the cavalry on horseback, returned again to the river Thames. After the lapse of a few days, they again sallied forth to plunder, and made straight for the province of Oxfordshire, and first ravaged it, and then the districts of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, burning the towns, and slaughtering the men and cattle, after which they returned to their ships with vast booty.
After this, about the time of the festival of Saint Andrew the Apostle, they committed to the flames Northampton and its vicinity, as far as they pleased, and then crossed the river Thames and entered Wessex, where, having consigned to the flames Caning's-marsh,33 and the greater part of the province of Wiltshire, after their usual manner, they returned with great booty to their ships about the Nativity of our Lord.
In the year 1011, on the northern side of the Thames, the provinces of East Anglia, Essex, Middlesex, Herefordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Grantebrigeshire,34 the middle parts of Huntingdonshire, and the villages of a great part of Northamptonshire, were ravaged; and on the southern side of the river Thames, the provinces of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Southampton, Wiltshire, and Berkshire were laid waste by the above-mentioned army of the Danes, with fire and sword; upon which Egclred, king of the English, and the
32 Cambridge. 33 A large tract of land in Wiltshire.
chief men of his kingdom, sent ambassadors to them to sue for peace, and request them to cease from their ravages, promisingthem provisions and tribute; on hearing which, not without treachery and dissimulation, as the event proved, they consented to his offer.
For, although food was provided for them in abundance, and tribute paid as much as they pleased, still, they did not desist from making incursions in straggling bodies throughout the provinces wherever they chose, laying waste towns, spoiling some wretched people of their property and slaving others.
In the same year, after having ravaged a great part of England, an army of the Danes, between the Nativity of Saint Mary and the feast of Saint Michael, drawing their lines around it, laid siege to the city of Canterbury. On the twentieth day of the siege, through the treachery of the archdeacon Elmer, whom Saint Elphege had before rescued from being condemned to death, a part of the city was burnt, and, the army effecting an entrance, the city was taken. Some were slaughtered with the sword, some destroyed by the flames. Many were also thrown from the walls, while some were put to death by being hung up by their secret parts. The women were dragged by their hair through the streets of the city, and then, being thrown into the flames, were thus put to death; infants were torn from their mother's breasts, and were either caught on the points of spears, or ground to pieces under the wheels of vehicles.
In the meantime archbishop ^Elphege was taken, bound in fetters, kept in confinement, and put to various torments. Ailmar, abbat of the monastery of Saint Augustine, was allowed to depart. Godwin, the bishop of Rochester, was also taken, and Leoufruna, abbess of the monastery of Saint Mildred, Elfrige, the king's steward, the monks also and secular clergy, and an innumerable multitude of either sex. After this, Christ's Church was sacked and burnt; a multitude of monks, and a crowd, consisting not only of men, but even women and children as well, were decimated, and nine were put to death, while the tenth was reserved alive: the amount of the decimated thus saved was four monks and eight hundred men. After the people had been slaughtered and the whole of the city burnt, archbishop Elphege was dragged forth in fetters, hurried along with violence, grievously wounded, and afterwards led away to the fleet and thrust into prison, where he was tortured for seven months.
In the meantime the wrath of God, waxing fierce against this murderous race, put an end to two thousand of them by a tormenting pain in the intestines. The others being attacked in a similar manner, were appealed to by the faithful, to make reparation to the archbishop, but refused to do so. In the meantime, the mortality increased, and at one time would put an end to ten, at another twenty, and at another a still greater number at the same instant.
In the year 1012, the perfidious duke Edric Streona, and all the chief men of England, assembled at London before Easter, and remained there until the tribute promised to the Danes, which consisted of forty-eight pounds,35 was paid. In the meantime, on the holy Sabbath of the rest of our Lord, a proposal was made to archbishop Elphege by the Danes, that if, he wished to preserve his life and liberty, he should pay three thousand pounds. Upon his refusal, they deferred his death until the next Sabbath, on the approach of which they were inflamed against him with great anger, both because they were intoxicated with excess of wine, and because he had forbidden that any thing should be given for his liberation. After this, he was brought forth from prison, and dragged before their council. On seeing him, they instantly sprang from their seats, struck him down with the butt ends of their axes, and overwhelmed him with stones, bones, and the skulls of oxen.
At length, a certain person, whose name was Thrum, and whom he had confirmed the day before, moved with pity at this wickedness,36 struck him on the head with an axe, upon which he immediately fell asleep in the Lord, on the thirteenth day before the calends of May, and sent his soul exulting in the triumph of martyrdom to heaven. On the following day his body was carried to London, and being received with due honor by the citizens, was buried by the bishops Ednoth of Lincoln, and Alphune of London, in the church of Saint Paul.
After this, when the tribute had been paid and peace established with the Danes on oath, the Danish fleet which had been collected, dispersed far and wide; but five-and-forty ships remained with the king, and swore fealty to him, and
55 Evidently a mistake for forty-eight thousand pounds, mentioned by Roger of Wendover and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. "" ImpiS motus pietate," can hardly be a correct reading here.
promised that they would defend England, on condition of his giving them food and clothing.
In the year 1013, Living was appointed to the archbishopric of Canterbury. In the month of July, Sweyn, king of the Danes, arrived at the port of Sandwich with a strong fleet, and after remaining there a few days, took his departure, and sailing round East Anglia, entered the mouth of the river Humber, from which, entering the river Trent, he sailed up to Gainesburg,37 where he pitched his camp. Without delay there made submission to him, first, earl Ucthred and the people of Northumbria and Lindesey, and after them the people of the Five Boroughs,3s next all the people living in the district north of Watlingastrete, the road which the sons of king Wethle made through England, from the Eastern Sea to the Western; all these made submission, and having entered into a treaty of peace with him and given hostages, swore fealty to him, and were ordered to provide horses and food for his army.
These things being done, and the fleet with the hostages entrusted to his son Canute, he took chosen men as auxiliaries from those who had been surrendered, and made an expedition against the South Mercians. Having passed over Watlingastrete, he issued an edict to his followers that they should, lay waste the fields, burn the towns, spoil the churches, slay without regard or mercy all those of the male sex who should fall in their hands, and reserve the females to satisfy their lust, doing all the mischief they possibly could.
They acting in this manner, and raving with the rabidness of wild beasts, he came to Oxford, and took it more speedily than he had previously expected; having received hostages, he passed on in haste to Winchester, and arriving there, the citizens, being alarmed, made peace with him without delay, and gave him hostages, such and as many as he demanded. Having received these, he moved on his army towards London; and great numbers of them being drowned in the river Thames, perished there, having never attempted to find either a bridge or a ford. On arriving at London, he endeavoured in many ways to capture it either by stratagem or by force.
38 These were Lincoln, Nottingham, Leicester, Stamford and Derby.
But Egelred, king of the English, with the citizens and the aid of the Danish earl, Turkill, so often mentioned, who was with him at the time, manfully defended the walls of the city, and held out against him. Being repulsed, he repaired first to Wallingford, then to Bath, ravaging and laying waste everything in his progress, according to his usual practice, and there he sat down with his forces to refresh them. Then came to him Athelmar, the earl of Devon, and with him the thanes of the west, and having made peace with him, gave him hostages. All these things heing thus accomplished to his wish, on returning to his fleet, he was by all the people styled and considered king, although he acted in most respects in a tyrannical manner.
The citizens of London, also, sent hostages to him, and made peace with him; for they were afraid that his fury would be so inflamed against them, that, taking away all their possessions, he would either order their eyes to be put out, or their hands or feet to be cut off. When king Egelred saw this, he sent queen Emma by sea to Normandy, to her brother Richard, the second duke of Normandy, and her sons Edward and Elfred, together with their tutor, Elphune, bishop of London, and ELfsy, abbat of Medeshampstead.39 But he himself remained for some time with the Danish40 fleet, which lay in the Thames at a place called Grenwic ;41 and afterwards proceeding to the Isle of Wight, there celebrated the Nativity of our Lord; after which, he passed over to Normandy, and •was honorably entertained by duke Richard.
In the mean time, the tyrant Sweyn ordered provisions to be prepared in abundance for his fleet, and an amount of tribute to be paid that could hardly be endured. In like manner, in all respects, earl Turkill ordered payment to be made to the fleet which lay at Grenwic. In addition to all this, each of them, as often as they thought proper, collected spoil, and did much mischief.
In the year 1014, the tyrant Sweyn, after innumerable and cruel misdeeds, which he had been guilty of either in England or in other countries, to complete his own damnation, dared to exact a heavy tribute from the town where lies interred the uncorrupted body of the royal martyr, Edmund; a thing that no one had dared to do before, from the time when that town42
3s Peterborough. 40 Qy. English? 41 Greenwich.
42 Bun- St. Edmunds.