The Melrose Chronicle

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					          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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