The Melrose Chronicle It was an irreplaceable loss when the venerable Bede stopped writing. It 1 is our opinion that he was the most authoritative observer of history and an eminent teacher, indeed, the shining star and glory2 of our race3. So far there has been no one as well qualified to take his place in recording events as they happen with any degree of reliability or continuity. This is precisely what is required in this day and age as a bulwark against the crass ignorance that threatens the labours of future generations and as a tool to remove pressing doubt altogether. To compensate for this deficiency, as it were, we have turned our attention to the task. We have directed our trifling endeavours to tracking down the basic facts as carefully as we can and as far as our natural indolence allows. As a result, of the period in question, the three years with which Bede brings his account to a close, we briefly run over the events as they happened. The venerable Bede was a priest and a monk of the monastery of Jarrow, which is also known as Wearmouth. It is appropriate that we begin, therefore, with the actual words of Bede himself. These words, we are sure, are already very familiar. In the year of our Lord’s incarnation seven hundred and thirty one archbishop Bertwald4, long since worn out, died on (Tuesday) 9th January. He had held the office for 37 years, six months and fourteen days5. In his place that same year, Tatwin of the province of Mercia was nominated as archbishop. Before that, he had been a priest in the monastery known as Bredon6. He was consecrated by the honourable gentlemen bishops Daniel of Winchester, Ingwald of London, Alwid of Lichfield and Aldulf of Rochester. This took place on Sunday the tenth of June. He was also a man 1 C 673-735 AD v (quick ref) Chambers Biographical Dictionary (Chamb) (more comprehensive information) PH Blair, The World of Bede (ed 1990) 2 decus et gloria both words could be translated ‘glory’, but something more emphatic is required to encapsulate the high regard in which he was held by those who followed him. It is one of the great question marks of religious politics that his canonisation was delayed until 1899. 3 The implications of nostrae gentis are inescapable. Far from being the ‘general expression’ Joseph Stevenson (The Church Histories of England 1850) and others would have us believe, it bears witness to the exclusiveness of all primitive racist societies. It identifies Bede with Northumbrian Angles and only secondarily with Catholic Christians. The intention of gens is to indicate ‘pure stock’ in precisely the way German writes of the Nazi Era used die Rasse. The Nazi Years 1969 ed J Remak.It is what Irish Nationalists had in mind when they adopted the slogan Sinn Fein! The various contributors to theMelrose Chronicle mostly identify themselves as of the same stock as Bede: we the Angles! 4 Berhctwaldus (aka Berhtuald, Brihtwald, Berchtwald, etc) formerly abbot of Reculver. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (A-S) simply has Beorhtwald ærcebiscep gefor but one version of A-S seems to place the archbishop’s death in 729. 5 Quite an achievement considering the life expectancy among Anglo-Saxon tribes of the period. 6 Briodun noted for his knowledge of scripture, for his strict religious life and for his foresight. Accordingly, the bishops Tatwin and Aldulf were given joint oversight over the churches of Kent7. At that same time, Hingwald8 was bishop of the East Saxons while Eadbert and Eadhelac are bishops in the province of East Anglia and Daniel and Forther are bishops among the West Saxons. Alwin is bishop of Mercia and Walstod is the bishop of those people who live to the west, beyond the wide river Severn. Wilfrid is the bishop in the province of the Wictians9. Cimberhct is bishop of the Lindsey10. The see of the Isle of Wight is held by Daniel who is also bishop of Winchester. The province of Sussex, several years without a bishop, now has Episcopal ministry from the bishop among the West Saxons. All these provinces and the others to the south of the Humber, together with their rulers, are subject to King Ethelbald of Mercia. Finally, four bishops now oversee the province of the Northumbrians ruled by King Ceowulf11: Wilfrid in the church at York, Ethelwald in the church at Lindisfarne, Acca in the church at Hexham, and Pictelm in that one known as Candida Casa12. This last place has recently multiplied the number of believers to such an extent that it has become an additional bishopric with Pictelm as the holder of the office. At present also, the Picts have a peace treaty with the Angles and share the catholic peace and truth and rejoice with the universal church13. Those Scots who have inhabited Britain seem quite satisfied with what territory they have, and are not stirred up to any intrigue or plat against the Angles. The Britons, on the other hand, from native hatred, assail the race of the Angles and try to undermine the customs of the entire catholic church by their inferior practices. Since they are opposed by heavenly and superior human power, however, they are incapable of achieving their purpose. Indeed, although they may be partly a law unto themselves, yet also, in part, they are virtually in servitude to the Angles. Encouraged by the peace and serenity of the times, many Northumbrians, nobles as well as common people, have laid down their weapons; they are more inclined to accept the tonsure and take monastic vows than engage in 7 Or the churches under the jurisdiction of Canterbury. 8 Or Ingwald 9 Or Wiccians. The village of Wick in Hereford and Worcester still exists. 10 Or of the Lindisfari (lindisfarorum), not to be confused with Lindisfarne (lindisfarnensi). 11 Ceowulf, son of Coenred, ruled the combined kingdom of Bernicia and Deira 729 – 737 AD. A-S has Ceolwulf. 12 “The place of Ninian’s settlement came to be known as Ad Candidam Casa, ‘At the White House’, now Whithorn. JHS Burleigh, A Church History of Scotland (Burleigh) p6 (OUP 1960) 13 Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (EH) 444 The entire temper of this section indicates the essential Anglo-centric nature of the Chronicle. military exercises. Time will tell whether this is a desirable state of affairs. But such is the prevailing contemporary situation throughout Britain, about 285 years after the coming of the Angles into Britain, 731 years since the incarnation of our Lord, for whose reign the earth is eternally grateful and the numerous islands of Britain are glad to express their joy. The year 733. There was a solar eclipse on (Friday) August 14th. It happened around the third hour of the day14 during which the sun was seen to be completely covered by an extremely dark and terrible shield. 734 AD On (Sunday) 31st January for a full hour around cock-crow the moon was bathed as if in blood. This was followed by its total eclipse, after which it reverted to its own natural light.15 Up to this point we have relied on the actual words of the venerable Bede, the most reliable teacher, we may venture to suggest, not only of the Angles but of the universal church. We have, so to speak, drawn from the clearest spring that is his Ecclesiastical History of our race. What follows from this point is taken from various sources, this place and that! In that same year archbishop Tatwin died16. 735 AD Nothelm was appointed to the office17 of archbishop of Canterbury. Egberth primate of York was confirmed as the archbishop of the Northumbrians. He was the first after Paulinus to receive the pall from the apostolic see. 736 AD Nothelm received the pall from the Roman pontiff, after which he ordained three bishops: Cuthbert, Heordwald and Ethelfrid. The venerable teacher Bede died18 at Jarrow. 737 AD Aldwin the bishop of Lichfield died. In his place, Witta and Totta were consecrated as primates for Mercia and the Middle Angles. This was also the year in which Ceolwulf became a monk; he had been a most noble king of the Northumbrians for seven years. He relinquished his sceptre to Eadbert, the son of his uncle, who then went on to reign for twenty one years. 738 AD Suebricht, king of Essex, died. 14 Probably terce is meant. The solar eclipse occurred from around 0800 until about noon. In many places in the modern world a total eclipse is viewed with superstitious awe. In medieval times such a phenomenon was invariably accepted as some kind of portent of divine intervention in human affairs. "Nothing can be sworn impossible since Zeus made night during mid-day, hiding the light of the shining Sun." Archilochus 648 BC 15 The last two entries are not generally included in the main body of EH. They are found in an addendum, but it is generally agreed that they are by the hand of Bede. Stevenson (ibid) omits them. 16 ferdon forþ Tatwine 7 Bieda (A-S 734) 17 Latin ordinare = to appoint someone to a specific office. 18 On Saturday 26 May according to Simeon of Durham (Simeon) (8). A-S places the death two years earlier. 739 AD Nothelm, archbishop of Canterbury, died19. Adulf the bishop of Rochester died20. 740 AD Cuthbert (of Hereford) became the eleventh archbishop of Canterbury in the time Zacharias21. Dun succeeded Adulf at Rochester. Adelwald, the bishop of Lindisfarne was translated to the Lord and Kinewulf was named as successor to the bishopric. In this same year also Adelard, the West Saxon king, died. He had reigned for fourteen years. Cudred succeeded him. The saintly Acca of Hexham died; the holy bishop Frithebert succeeded him. 741 AD The monastery of York burned to the ground on Sunday 23rd April. Ewain, king of the Scots, died. Murezaut his son succeeded him.22 742 AD 743 AD 744 AD A battle was fought between the Picts and the Britons. In this same year King Cudred of Wessex and King Adelbald of Mercia agreed to a peace. They joined forces against the Britons. Murezaut23 the king of the Scots died. His son Ewen succeeded him. 745 AD Pulses of fire, like stars moving haphazardly throughout the night of the first24 of January. This was a wonderful display to all who witnessed it. Wilfrid II bishop of York died. Also in this year Inguald, bishop of London, died. The bishop of the Wictians died. 746 AD Bishop Daniel of Winchester died. 747 AD King Selred of East Anglia died25. He was succeeded by Elfwald26. Ewen, king of the Scots, died. His son Hedalbus27 succeeded him. 748 AD 749 AD King Edbricht28 of Kent died. He was the son of Wihred. He was succeeded by Adelbricht. This year also marks the death of King Elfwald of East Anglia after which Humbeain and Albert divided the kingdom between 19 Almost certainly the death occurred in 740 as in A-S (and lists of archbishops on the internet, eg PJ Large) 20 decedo in classical Latin had the primary meaning of ‘to quit, to retire from an office, to hand over, etc’ but almost invariably in medieval ecclesiastical Latin it indicated the death of the holder of an office. 21 Zacharias the Greek was pope from 741 to 752 (the last election to seek the blessing of the Eastern Church or the first to proceed without it). V HH Milman History of Latin Christianity (1883) pp 1-5. See also the website New Advent (Catholic Encyclopedia) for list of popes (the name is given as St Zachary). 22 This is added, not quite as a marginal note, but as an afterthought. Ewain is the first of the kings of the Scots to be mentioned in the Melrose Chronicle. 23 This is a marginal note. 24 tota nocte kalendisjanuarii Stevenson translated this as ‘the whole of the eighth of the kalends of January [7th January]’ 25 746 Her mon slog Selred cyning (A-S) 26 Aelfwold in most lists of East Anglian kings was probably a great-grandson of the short-lived King Ecgrig (d. c 637) 27 Or Hed Abbus. 28 Eadbryht Cantwara cyning forþferde 7 æthelbyrht Wihtredes sunu cinges feng to þam rice. (A-S 748) them. It was also in this year that Kenric, the son of King Cudred of Wessex, was killed29 in battle; he was of tender years, but of considerable vigour. 750 AD Adelbert, king of Northumbria, took Kiniwulf the bishop of Lindisfarne into custody at Bamburgh and effectively closed30 the principal church of Peter in Lindisfarne. Cudred contended with the despotic king of Mercia to the point of war. Bishop Alwich31 died. Aldulf succeeded him in office. 751 AD King Cudred fought against his counsellor32, the most audacious Adeldun, who had stirred up civil unrest against him. This official was on the verge of realising victory when he received a wound which allowed the just cause of the king to prevail. 752 AD There was an eclipse of the moon on (Monday) 31st July. 753 AD At Bereford33 King Cudred, having reconciled to himself Adeldun, following the aforementioned dispute, opposed the arrogant king Adelbald of Mercia who had brought with him the men of Kent, Essex and the Angles as well as his own Mercians. Once they had locked in battle, God who opposes the proud34 dispersed the forces of Adelbald and Who in doing so…35 754 AD Boniface, also known as Winfrid, archbishop of the Franks, was given the crown of martyrdom36 along with another fifty three people. In this same year King Cudred went to war against the Britons37 and caused a great massacre among them. 755 AD Cudred died bequeathing his kingdom to his kinsman Sigebert. 756 AD His insolence having become virtually intolerable, Sigebert the king of the West Saxons was deprived of his kingdom. He fled and concealed himself in the woodland known as Andredeswald. There he was discovered and killed by a swineherd whose master, the nobleman 29 Her wæs ofslægen Cynric Wesseaxna æþeling, (A-S 748) The etheling (aetheling) in Anglo-Saxon England was ‘generally any person of noble birth. Use of the term was usually restricted to members of a royal family, and in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it is used almost exclusively for members of the royal house of Wessex. It was occasionally used after the Norman Conquest to designate members of the royal family—e.g., William the Aetheling, son and heir of King Henry.’ (Encyclopædia Britannica Online) 30 fecit obsideri lit. ‘placed under seige’, 31 Of Lindsey. 32 consulem . Stevenson is probably correct in translating the word as ‘earl’. Perhaps in modern terms, prime minister’ or ‘chancellor’ would be more appropriate. 33 Possibly Burford, Oxon. The actual fighting almost certainly took place across the old county boundary near Windrush or Sherbourne. 34 James iv. 6: Deus superbis resistit humilibus autem dat gratiam. 35 The words qui et in fui are underscored for erasure. 36 v Milman vol II p 303 37 A-S ‘Welsh’. 753 Her Cuþred feaht wiþ Walas. Humbra38, one is led to believe, this king had wrongfully slain. Kinewald succeeded him; he was a distinguished young man39 from royal stock. In this same year, the anchorite Baldred40 passed on to the Lord after having lived the life of the saints. On (Wednesday) 24th November, the moon in its fifteenth day was overwhelmed by blood redness. 757 AD King Adelbald of Mercia, having been killed at Seckington, was succeeded by Beornred, but Offa drove him out that same year and instead kept a firm grasp of Mercia for a further thirty nine years. 758 AD King Eadbert of Northumbria, having accepted the shaving of his head in the name of God, was created a canon at York by archbishop Egbert. He left his kingdom to his son Osulf. After Osulf had reigned for barely a year, he was killed in appalling circumstances by his followers on Monday 24th July at a place called Methelwongtune41. Mol Adelwald was left as heir to the kingdom. 759 AD Edelwald, also known as Mol, began his reign in Northumbria in the month of August. 760 AD A really fierce battle took place near the Eildon Hills42. In it Oswin was killed and Edelwald, who is also called Mol, had a decisive victory. Unnust, the king of the Picts, died this year. 761 AD Archbishop Cuthbert was released from the bondage of the flesh. The king of Kent, Edelbert, died. Egfrid succeeded him43. 762 AD Edelwald, to whom reference has already been made, took Ethelrida as his queen. 763 AD 764 AD The extreme coldness, having compressed the snow from the start of winter almost continuously until mid-spring, made the soil unworkable44. In this year also Ceolwulf, formerly king and later servant of Christ and monk, passed over to heaven. The abbot Frehelm died. Also this 38 Humbram consulem. A-S calls him aldormon Cumbran 39 Also called Cynewulf. Contemporary genealogies, always eager to show royal descent, offer scant recognition of him. 40 St Baldred (feast day 6th March). Called Balthere in the Melrose Chronicle. There is a tradition (v Catholic Online Saints) that he was a successor to St Kentigern or Mungo as the bishop of Glasgow. The connection is tenuous. There can be little doubt that he was a monk in the old Celtic tradition and revered by the monks of Old Melrose. He is remembered in Saint Baldred’s Boat, to the south of the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth and in St Baldred’s Cradle at the estuary of the River Tyne in the Lothian Region. 41 The precise location is unknown, but could be somewhere around Mickleton, near Leeds. V Simeon 448. 42 It is simply assumed that the location of Eladunum is familiar, which would suggest that the annal is from a local source, perhaps from a chronicle from Old Melrose. In every other text the location is qualified: iuxta Mailros (Simeon 105) 43 In fact Kent fell under direct Mercian rule on the death of Edelbert until 796. The next truly Kentish king was Eadbert II. 44 A-S 764 Her wæs se micla winter. year saw the deaths of bishop Totto of the Mercians, whom Eadbert succeeded, and Frethewald of Candida Casa who was succeeded by Pictwin. 765 AD Blasts of fire were visible in the sky. Adelwald45 Mol killed Oswin a most valiant duke of his own people who had risen against him. It was in this year that Adelwald lost the kingdom of Northumbria which he had held for six years. Aldred succeeded him and reigned for eight years. Bregwin archbishop of Canterbury died. Lambert succeeded him. Two other bishops also died: Hemel of Mercia, whom Cuthfrid succeeded, and Adulf of Lindsey who was succeeded by Ceolwulf. 766 AD Egbert, archbishop of York, went to his rest in the peace of Christ. Albert succeeded him. Frithebert, bishop of Hexham, finished his work and went to the Lord on (Tuesday) 23rd December. Alchmund succeeded him. Frithewald bishop of Chester46 died. 767 AD The faithful anchorite Etha passed away peacefully at Creic47 on the environs of York. 768 AD Eadbert, one time king, died contentedly in the priesthood and in the service of God. It was also in this same year that pope Stephen and Pepin, the king of the Franks, died. King Alcred of Northumbria took Osgeiva as his queen. 769 AD The tyrant Earnred set Catterick ablaze and perished in the conflagration. It was in this year also that the Roman Empire48 and the kingdom of the Franks49 came under the rule of Charlemagne50, son of King Pepin. 770 AD 771 AD The abbot Sibald died. The lector Ecgric to the fellowship of the elect. King Offa of Mercia brought the men of Hastings51 under his rule by force of arms. 45 v annal for 760 AD. 46 Actually Candida Casa. The error was caused by a misreading of another text, possibly a version of A-S or Simeon. 47 The exact location is unknown. Simeon (106) places it ‘ten miles from York’. 48 imperium etiam romanorum. This may be compressed history, but a reasonable case could be made to support the attitude that, in the early Middle Ages especially, the Roman Empire in the West did not cease to exist with the Sack of Rome in 410 AD. That imperium romanorum should be read as ‘Christendom’ is fraught with difficulties and presents more problems than it solves. It could be that Charlemagne’s coronation as Holy Roman Emperor in 800 was little more than recognition by the establishment of something that had been implied for centuries. 49 On the death of Pepin the Frankish kingdom was shared between Charlemagne and his brother Carloman who died three years later, leaving Charlemagne as sole ruler. 50 v Chamb p 311. 51 hestingi v Simeon an 771 772 AD The chieftain52 Pittell and abbot Sunuthulf passed away peacefully. 773 AD Hadwin died. He was the principal priest in the church at Mayo. In his place Leuthfrid was proposed. Wulfeht, the abbot of Beverley, passed over to the Lord. Albert of York received the pall from pope Adrian. 774 AD King Aldred (of Northumbria), having lost the confidence of his people, exchanged his kingdom for exile. Aedelred the son of Mol succeeded him. King Offa of Mercia fought against the people of Kent in a bloody battle at Sevenoaks53 with horrendous slaughter on both sides. He triumphed. It was during this year that red omens54 were seen in the sky after sunset, and awful serpents were witnessed. This was the cause of considerable amazement in Sussex. 775 AD The Old Saxons, from whom Angles are descended, were (forcibly) converted55 to Christ. In this year also Cynoth56 died. He was king of the Picts. And Duke Eadulf was captured by trickery and treacherously murdered. Charles57 the most illustrious king of the Franks completely overwhelmed the Saxons and simultaneously subjected Bavaria, already conquered by the Franks, to his rule. 776 AD Bishop Pecthwin of Whithorn passed over to the Lord and Ethelbert succeeded him. 777 AD King Kinewulf of Wessex fought against the Mercian king Offa at Benson58 and was put to flight by him59. Ethelbert who had succeeded Picthwin was consecrated at York. Adulf, Kinulf and Ecga, military commanders of King Ethelred, previously arrested on his initiative, were treacherously slain by the chiefs Adelbald and Heardbert on (Monday) 29th September. Hed, king of the Scots, died whom his son Fergus succeeded. 778 AD Adelbald and Heardbert, chiefs of King Ethelred of Northumbria, rebelled against their overlord and murdered Aldulf, son of Bosa the army commander, at King’s Cliffe60. Following on this they killed Kinulf and Ecga, 52 dux is a word that can be overstretched or underestimated in medieval Latin. To read it as the later medieval ‘duke’ may be to read too much into the word. Nennius has Arthur as dux britorum. 53 Ottanford 54 A red crucifix according to A-S an 773 (775) Her oþiewde read Cristesmæl on hefenum æfter sunnan setlgonge. 55 J Hines The Conversion of The Old Saxons in The Continental Saxons ed DH Green, F Siegmund. 56 Perhaps Kenneth. 57 Charlemagne (Charles the Great) 747-814. v Donald A Bullough, The Age of Charlemagne (2nd ed. 1973) 58 Benetune. 59 A-S 777 Her Cynewulf 7 Offa gefuhton ymb Benesingtun 7 Offa nam þone tuun. 60 Probably Consett, almost certainly not the modern town near Peterborough. fellow chiefs of the same king, at Hylatern61. At this point the king fled from them and they set up in his place Alfwold the son of King Osulf. 779 AD When Ethelred was expelled, Alfwold took over the kingdom of Northumberland. 780 AD The chiefs Osbald and Ethelard raised an army and burned Bearn a nobleman62 of King Alfwold. This happened on (Sunday) 24th December at a place called Seletune63. Archbishop Albert passed over to Christ; before the death, however, Eanbald was consecrated and accepted the pall that had been sent to him. Kiniwulf bishop (of Lindisfarne) relinquished the cares of a lifetime and handed over his bishopric to Higbald. Fergus, king of the Scots, died and was succeeded by his son Seluad. 781 AD Bishop Alchmund of Hexham went to Christ on (Friday) 7th September and was succeeded by Tylbert. 782 AD A council was convened at Ockley64. 783 AD Werburga, formerly queen65 (of Ceolred) of Mercia, subsequently (nun and) abbess, died. In the same year Kiniwulf died peacefully; reference has already been made to him. 784 AD King Kinewulf of Wessex was killed by Kinehard, the brother of Sigebert, for no greater reason than that the king had made up his mind to exile him. 785 AD Brichtric succeeded Kinewulf. 786 AD The venerable Bothwin, abbot of Ripon, rested (from his labours) happily at the end. He was succeeded by Albert. In this same year Adulf was consecrated bishop at Corbridge by Eanbald assisted by the prominent figures66, Tylbert and Higbald. He was allowed to return to his church only after he was showered with gifts. Ex-queen, then abbess, Rachtrida died. Kinehard was killed by King Osred in revenge for (the murder of) his overlord King Kinewulf. Pope Adrian sent legates into Britain to revitalise 61 The location is unknown. A-S gives the name Helathyrn. It could be Ellerby in North Yorkshire. Stevenson suggests Ellerton and the Andersons (The Chronicle of Melrose from the Cottonian Ms Faustina B IX Facsimile Version) (Andersons) propose Ellerburn. 62 patricium 63 Location unknown. 64 Acle. In Surrey midway between Dorking and Horsham. 65 v A Dunbar A Dictionary of Saintly Women (ed 1904). Ceolred died in a fit of madness after blaspheming Christ and the Pagan gods in 716. Werburga spent at least 65 years in the convent. Either she was exceptionally old (for the period) or married at an exceptionally young age. 66 praesulibus. præsul, -is m. i.q. episcopus 1 c.gen. 2 abs. (Vademecum in opus Saxonis et alia opera Danica compendium ex indice verborum) (vademecum) In classical Latin praesul (Cicero) or praesulator (Livy) was a public dancer, and in modern American parlance could be translated ‘cheerleader’. The origin of the word may go as far back as the time of arranged fights between gladiators that accompanied the funeral of a prominent citizen. The common expression ‘to dance in attendance to someone’ may have its origin here. the catholic faith. These were received with honour and allowed to return home. 787 AD A synod was assembled at Pincanhale67. Albert, abbot of Ripon, passed over to Christ, in whose place Sigred was ordained. 788 AD The blameless King Elfwald was murdered by his noble called Sigan. His body was laid to rest in the church at Hexham. At the scene of his murder a light could be seen emanating from heaven. A church was built (there) to the honour of the saints Oswald and Cuthbert. His nephew Osred succeeded him. 789 AD Osred fled from his kingdom because of the treachery of his people. 790 AD King Ethelred was freed from exile and restored to his kingdom. He seized the chief called Eardulf and took him to Ripon where he struck him down outside the gate of the monastery. His body, however, having been carried into the church by the brethren with solemnly sung dirges around him for (the welfare) of his soul, after midnight he was found to be still alive. Badulf was ordained bishop of Candida Casa. 791 AD King Ethelred68 ruthlessly murdered Aelf and Elwin, the sons of King Elfwald, in Wonwaldremere69 after having dragged them off from York. Lambert the archbishop of Canterbury passed over to Christ. Ethelred70 the abbot of Ludense71 succeeded him72. 792 AD Osred returned from exile with an army, which deserted him resulting in his capture and death, on the orders of King Ethelred, and his burial at Tynemouth. King Ethelred took as his queen Elfleda (daughter of) Offa the king of the Mercians. 793 AD Fiery dragons were seen in the sky. This sign was followed by two plagues: the first was an unbearable famine, the second coming from the Danes, that race of pagans, bad enough in themselves, but together with the Norsemen (or Vikings) who, in that same year, destroyed the monastery of Lindisfarne, murdered the monks, and went through Northumbria laying waste to it. It was in that same year also that duke Sigga, who had slain King Elfwald, profanely committed suicide. 67 Finghall in North Yorkshire. 68 Written as Ethredus but underscored for correction. 69 Perhaps Windermere. 70 Given as Aethelhard in the lists of the Archbishops of Canterbury. v GM Bevan Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury (ed 1908). Not to be confused with Aethelhard who was the earlier bishop of Winchester. 71 Louth in Lincolnshire. 72 He was almost certainly elected to the archbishopric through the efforts of King Offa, but the consecration did not take place for three years. 794 AD The people of Northumbria killed Ethelred their king the son of Mol. The noble, Osbald, promoted to the kingship, was expelled from the kingdom twenty-seven days later, following which he donned religious habit and was later made abbot. Eardulf, son of Earnulf, whom we have already mentioned as having been restored to life73, having been recalled from exile was made king. Egfrid, king of Kent, died. Eadbrich Pren succeeded him. (Pope) Adrian (Hadrian I) was elevated to the heavenly mansions. He was succeeded74 by Leo III. The race of pagans, already mentioned, plundered the monastery of King Egfrid at Tynemouth. This was not done with impunity for, through the merits of the blessed Cuthbert, some were killed (in the raid), others were shipwrecked, some of them were taken alive (from the shipwreck) and immediately put to death on the shore. 795 AD Charles, king of the Franks, subjugated the nation of the Huns to himself. After forcing their chief to flee and defeating their army, he then divided the spoils of war among the poor and the churches. There were fifteen wagons full of gold and silver, each single wagon drawn by two pairs of oxen. 796 AD Offa, king of the Mercians, who built the great rampart of palisades75 from sea to sea, died after a reign of thirty-nine years. His son Egfrid succeeded him, but died five months later. It was then that Cenwulf took the kingdom and held it peacefully for twenty-six years. He was the father of the martyr Kenelm76. Eanbald, archbishop of York died. Another Eanbald succeeded him. The ordination was conducted by the bishops Ethelbert, Higbald and Badulf. 797 AD Bishop Ethelbert (of Whithorn) died and was buried in his own church77 at Hexham. Headred succeeded him. The people of Rome78 cut out the tongue of Pope Leo and plucked out his eyes, and chased him79 from 73 790 AD 74 Perhaps the fastest papal election is suggested in this entry. Hadrian I died on Christmas day 795, his successor was elected on the fest of Stephen, that is the following day. (v Milman vol III p 51) 75 The famous Offa’s Dyke from Liverpool Bay to the Severn, built c 784-5, was intended to mark the boundary of Saxon territory beyond which were ‘Welsh’ lands, ‘beyond the pale’. 76 This son of Cenwulf of Mercia, who died fighting the Welsh in 812, and the Saint Kenelm of the Legend of the monk Wilfin who was murdered in his childhood by an evil sister are two different people; that is provided that the legend has its base on something more than pure imagination. 77 The seat of the bishop of Candida Casa was transferred at some uncertain date from Whithorn to Hexham. Ties with the British saint Ninian were all byt severed. 78 In fact the evil deed was perpetrated by clerical opponents of Leo III and priestly relatives of the previous pope. (Milman vol III. p. 52) 78 He was imprisoned in the convent of St Erasmus. (Catholic Encyclopedia: www.newadvent.org/cathen/09157b.htm the apostolic see. By the power of God, he regained the power of speech and was restored to the apostolic see. 798 AD The assassins of King Ethelred along with their leader, the duke Wada, went to war against Earldulf, the successor of Ethelred at Billington on the outskirts of Whalley80. In this conflict many were slaughtered and duke Wada was repulsed and put to flight giving Eardulf the victory. London was destroyed by a sudden conflagration81 in which a great number of people perished. Cenwulf, king of the Mercians, devastated Kent and its people in a most disgraceful plundering. Having seized and dishonoured their king, he added the kingdom to his own. Subsequently Cuthred took over the kingdom and ruled it for him. A synod was convened at Pinkenhalhe82 over which the archbishop Eanbald (II of York) presided83. 799 AD Brorda, also called Hildegils, a chief of the Mercians died. An abbot called Mora was murdered in a disgraceful way by his prefect Tilthegn. The duke Mol was killed on the orders of King Eardulf. The duke Aldred, the assassin of King Ethelred was killed by Thormund in revenge for (the murder of) his lord. Osbald, one time duke and nobleman, subsequently king and abbot, died and was buried in the church at York. 800 AD Headred, the leader of the church of Hexham, died. Eanbert succeeded him. Alchmund, the son of King Aldred, who was king before Ethelred, having been seized by the bodyguards of King Eardulf, was killed on his orders. An extremely strong wind disrupted many towns and villages, and ripped up trees by their roots on (Thursday) 24th December. The sea level rose above its normal limits and terrible murrain killed off much of the livestock. King Charles, relying on his imperial84 authority, pronounced the sentence of death on those Romans who had dishonoured Pope Leo (III), but relented on this on the appeal of the pope and instead sent those seized into exile. 80 Near Blackburn in Lancashire. Written as Billingahoh and Walelei. One version of AS has the location in ‘the territory of the Northumbrians’. 81 This may be the third recorded destruction of London by fire after that caused by Boudica’s assault on the city c.60 AD and the fire of 675 AD in which the Saxon timber cathedral was destroyed. There is sparse reference to the fire of 798 AD. 82 Possibly a location near Durham. 83 There is a suggestion of parity with Canterbury, and that the north/south Angle/Saxon divide in England was recognised and accepted at this time. 84 imperatoria fretus maiestate assumes that Charlemagne is already emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
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