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VOL. I. 







Dr. J. M. LAPPENBERG, For. F.S.A., 





VOL. I. 












By many it will, without doubt, be thought singular 
that the history of a state, which has always been of 
prominent, and often of paramount importance in the 
affairs of the world, should have been undertaken by 
one who cannot, in the vocation or position of a pro- 
fessor, have found either an excuse for venturing on a 
task, however desirable, yet of difficult execution, or 
superior means of accomplishing it. As unfitting too, 
and even obnoxious to the charge of presumption, an 
individual must appear, who, in addition to the above- 
mentioned objections, has not unlimited leisure to be- 
stow on so great a theme, but, on the contrary, has for 
many years been attached to a practical calling, which, 
though favourable to particular historical and juridical 
investigations, and to the elaboration of his native hi- 
story, is, nevertheless, wont to stand opposed to a sus- 
ceptibility for the more general views, to a conception 
of the more agitated life, and to the poetic and moral 
elements of general history, and at the same time ad- 
verse to every attempt at vivid powerful description and 
individual feeling, as foreign and obstructive to the mat- 
ter. These considerations seem to render a few words 


necessary regarding the personal circumstances of the 
author in reference to his work. 

The editors of ' The History of the European States' ' 
had for some years been seeking for a person willing 
and qualified to undertake the History of England, but 
had generally found that the external as well as internal 
difficulties attending that study had held German scholars 
aloof. The first historical inquirer of our time, to whom 
the affairs of England were familiar from his youth, 
whose premature loss we have never ceased to deplore, 
had, it is said, at an early period, fostered the hope of 
being one day enabled to undertake such a work. The 
most acute also of living historians had, at a later period, 
actually undertaken it, when another direction given to 
his investigations withdrew him from all thoughts of 
England. May both names remain concealed, in order 
not to excite unfavourable comparisons and vain regrets 
for that which is denied to us-!'* The question when 
put to me, ' What is to be done ? ' I could at the time 
answer only by naming certain German scholars, but 
whose limited leisure and other circumstances proved 
unfavourable to the undertaking, or Englishmen in- 
clined to devote themselves to the later centuries only 
of English history. Influenced by these considerations, 
and as a resolution must be taken — some volumes of 
' The History of the European States' having already 
appeared — I accepted the honourable invitation to com- 

' Geschiclite der europaischen Staaten, herausgegeben von A. H. I.. 
Heeren und F. A. Ukeit. 

^ The literary reader will hardly fail to recognise in the one the cele- 
brated historian of Rome, Bakthold George Niebuhr, and in the other, 
the learned and enlightened L: oi'or.D Ranke. — T. 


pose the history of a country rendered estimable to me 
by long residence there in early days. Having completed 
the arrangement of the archives of this city', and con- 
sequently possessed of a larger share of leisure, I had 
commenced several historical and juridical works, of 
which some are, either complete or in part, in the hands 
of the friends of German history ; but the time consumed 
in the elaboration of records and other ancient docu- 
ments was not at the moment sufficiently taken into 
account, while too much reliance was placed on a bodily 
frame by no means possessing the vigour of youth ; 
though the unimpaired consciousness of what England 
and many of its worthiest natives had been to me, to- 
gether with the magic of other unobliterated delightful 
recollections, had inspired me with sentiments well be- 
fitting him who should recount to his dear native land 
the advantages and defects, and so many to us extra- 
ordinary phenomena in the political existence of the 
English people. 

The abode of the author in the city of his birth, the 
libraries of which, in works relative to the insular king- 
dom, are richer than most others of Germany ; the 
valuable community of possession there in knowledge 
relative to the commerce, the industry and other cir- 
cumstances of the present England ; the proximity to 
that country, alike favourable to literary intercourse and 
personal observation ; the illustrations of the Anglo- 
Saxon tongue which in common life offer themselves 
even at this day to the Lower Saxon, — such were the 
points urged against the doubts of the author as to 

' They perished in the calamitous fire in May 1842. — T. 

viii PREFACE. 

whether he should or should not devote himself to the 
undertaking, while various occupations connected with 
the history of the commerce of the middle age, the use 
of valuable records, of which some are' preserved at 
Hamburg, which city, previously to the great elevation 
of England in the latter years of Queen EHzabeth, was 
frequently in intimate connexion with the English court, 
might tend to foster the hope of being useful, even to 
the scholar, through some new disclosures. 

When, however, the wished-for leisure for forming 
the plan of the new^ undertaking arrived, greater diffi- 
culties than had been anticipated presented themselves, 
more particularly with reference to the earlier part of the 
history. The defects of the edited authorities are not 
unknown in England, and the conviction of the neces- 
sity of a thorough revisal of them had been expressed 
by Gibbon, who, in his great work, could apply only a 
very partial remedy to the evil. Of modern writers, the 
greater number, though industrious, were wanting both 
in criticism and in knowledge of general history ; while 
to the German it could not be difficult to gather new 
views with regard to old English history, on the paths 
opened to him by some honoured countrymen and pro- 
fessors, in which the lovers of that study are but too apt 
to feel delighted and consider themselves rich ; but for 
the conffi-mation and establishment of such views, even 
in cases where they could be proved indisputably just, 
all authorities and preliminary labours were wanting. 
Even the simple work of procuring the most important 
original authors demanded much time, which should 

^ For are we may now substitute, were before the confiagralion, — T. 


rather have been devoted to the work itself. A welcome 
and stimulating phenomenon, therefore, while my volume 
was in progress, was the work of Sir Francis Pal- 
grave', which, by the novelty of its view^s, and the 
variety and abundance of its matter, both imparted in- 
struction and invited to a completer establishment of the 
notions it set forth. Not less propitious to my under- 
taking was a correspondence accidentally established with 
Charles Purton Cooper, Esq., the Secretary of the 
Parliamentary Commission on the Public Records, who 
not only made me acquainted with some new sources, 
but afforded me an opportunity of applying more con- 
formably to the objects of that Commission many hi- 
storic and literary notices, which must otherwise have 
found a place only as a sort of literary ballast in my 

That the progress of my labour has been less rapid 
than could be wished, is partly to be ascribed to the 
necessity of a new verification and reference of the ac- 
counts to their first sources, which will henceforth, in 
consequence of the better materials at hand, be more 
rarely requisite ; and partly also to the interest, never yet 
sufficiently considered, which the history of the unmixed 
German race in Britain, before their Romanizing by the 
Normans, must possess among their continental brethren. 
Of everything, therefore, which could contribute to the 
groundwork of a history of the Anglo-Saxon period, and 
which admitted of historic proof, I deemed it right not 
to be sparing. Much other matter relative to the Anglo- 
Saxon myths, the old Britons, and the historic sagas 

' Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth. See Literary Intro- 
duction, p, Ixviii. — T. 


connected with the north of England, will probably be 
communicated in another work. The genealogic tables', 
which I have drawn up of the Anglo-Saxon royal houses, 
will be found at the end of the volume. 

My earnest endeavour to know and make known 
those sources of old English history, which are at present 
accessible, would have been far from successful, had not 
the chiefs of the libraries at Gottingen, Hanover, Kiel 
and Wolfenbiittel most kindly favoured me with the long 
and uninterrupted use of many rare works and manu- 
scripts necessary for such investigations. While feeling 
it my duty to express to these estimable friends my sin- 
cerest gratitude for the confidence and benevolence shown 
me, I feel myself called on again to mention my valued 
friend Mr. Cooper, to whose influential mediation I 
am indebted not only for many highly interesting and 
important works for the Norman and later portions of 
English history, but also for the communication, before 
the completion of the present work, of several valuable 
materials, prepared under the Record Commission, for 
Anglo-Saxon history, which he granted to the then per- 
sonally unknown foreigner, for his particular use, pre- 
viously to their publication. May that which is here 
given appear not wholly unworthy of such honourable 

confidence ! 

J. M. L. 

Hamburg, l6th September, 1833. 

' These, in the present translation, have not only been revised by me 
throughout, but also augmented by — 1. a table of the ancestors of Woden, 
showing also the descents from his several sons ; 2. the ancestors up to 
Woden of the founders of the Germanic states in Britain ; 3. the genealogy 
of the princes or ealdormen of Lindisse (Lindsey). — T. 


Following the example of my worthy and learned 
friend, the author, and in compliance with the general 
usage on such occasions, I will endeavour, as hriefly as 
possible, to lay before the few who will honour this hi- 
story with a perusal, an account of the part I have taken 
in it bevond that of a mere translator. 

Having been presented by Dr. Lappenberg with a 
copy of his work immediately on its publication at 
Hamburg in 1834, the interest excited in me by its 
perusal was such that I resolved on attempting a version 
of it into English ; for although histories of the same 
period in the mother-tongue and of good repute were 
not wanting, yet it appeared to me that in this were 
contained many particulars, especially with reference to 
chronological criticism, and to what may be called the 
German portion of Anglo-Saxon history, not elsewhere 
to be found in a condensed form, as well as much other 
information, which the author's pursuits in the field of 
old Teutonic literature had enabled him to introduce 
almost as matter of course, at a time when that field 
was a sort of terra incognita to most lovers of historic 
literature in England. 


My resolve was partly executed, a translation to the 
end of the so-called Heptarchy was completed, when, to 
my mortification, I found that not one of the booksellers 
to whom it was offered would risk anything in its pub- 
lication : nor indeed were they to blame, for it seemed 
at the time that few persons in the country interested 
themselves much about old history, a study which, from 
some unknown cause, had unfortunately never found that 
favour among us with which it has for ages been re- 
garded in Italy, France, and Germany ; though the fruits 
of the Record Commission, and more especially the hope 
of the immediate publication of a volume of the late Mr. 
Petrie's ' Corpus Historicum,' certainly justified the 
expectation of better days. Discouraged by this some- 
what discreditable stateof things, and far from satisfied 
with my translation (which was a translation in the 
strictest sense of the word, without the slightest attempt 
at addition or rectification by reference to the sources 
of our early history), I destroyed the labour of many 
months ; and it was not till the winter of 1842 that cir- 
cumstances induced me again to think of a translation 
of Lappenberg's Anglo-Saxon History. 

During the intermediate time I had laboured sedulously 
in the field of Anglo-Saxon literature, and having, while 
editing for the Government the * Ancient Laws and 
Institutes of England,' been put in possession of Mr. 
Petrie's unfinished volume and other authorities, I could 
lot withstand the temptation thus thrown in my way to 
test and enlarge the text of Dr. Lappenberg's history 
by the help of the original writers so fortunately placed 
within my reach. This task led ultimately to a new 


translation of the whole, with many alterations and cor- 
rections, and such additions as appeared indispensable 
to the original, in which the narrative had been abridged 
and several facts unnoticed, in compliance with the ne- 
cessity of conciseness imposed on the author by the cir- 
cumstance, that his volume, forming one of a collection, 
could not be extended beyond a certain limit. 

On the first notice of my intention to translate his 
work. Dr. Lappenberg most kindly supplied me with a 
considerable quantity of matter, both as additions to and 
corrections of the original, the substance of which will 
be chiefly found in the text, in new annotations, or 
embodied with the old ones ; while my own additions 
and modifications have more especial reference to the 
text, though a few notes by me' will be met with occa- 
sionally scattered throughout the volumes. In fulfilling 
this part of my task it has been my endeavour to impart 
our early story as faithfully as possible, and as fully as 
the bounds which good taste forbids us to transgress 
would allow. The passages from the ancient historians, 
occasionally interwoven into the text, I have rendered, 
not from the author's German version, but directly from 
the originals. 

Should it be objected by any one, that unnecessary 
pains have sometimes been bestowed in recording, from 
charters and other sources, the names of petty kings 
(subreguli), of whom little or nothing, beyond the fact 
that they once existed, is known to us, an answer is at 
hand, that the knowledge of a name, especially if in 
combination with a date, may, in the progress of in- ' 

' These are distinguished by the initial T. 


quiry, lead to the knowledge of a fact, and, for numis- 
matic pursuits, such notices are often of the highest 
utility. Even legends are not to be indiscriminately 
rejected, as void of value, in recording the history of 
times, of which it may be said, that the germ of many 
an important event, connected with the estabhshment and 
progress of religion, as well as many a main spring of 
action, may sometimes be found in a legend. 

In conclusion, 1 will venture to express a hope that, 
when a new edition of the original shall be called for in 
Germany — as I trust will ere long be the case — the 
author will not reject, as unworthy of his notice, some 
at least of the variations and additions introduced by me 
into this translation. I am here reminded of the kind 
interest taken in my labour by my old and much- 
esteemed friend Mr. Richard Taylor, who has not 
only supplied me with several works of reference, but 
also obliged me with some judicious observations while 
the volumes were in the press — services which claim 
and have my best thanks. 

Should this translation meet with a favourable recep- 
tion, it is my intention, if life be granted me, to com- 
municate to English readers the author's ' History of 
England under the Norman Kings,' or to the 
accession of the house of Plantagenet. This will be 

comprised in a single volume. 

B. T. 


VOL. I. 



Necessity of a Literary Introduction xxiii 


Parker. — Savile. — Camden xxiii 

Twysden. — Fell. — Gale. — Sparke xxiv 

Wharton. — Hearne. — Record Commission xxv 


The Bards xxvi 

The Triads. — Gildas xxvii 

Nennius „ xxviii 

Jeffrey of Monmouth , xxix 

Tysilio xxx 

Ponticus Virunnius. — Le Brut of Robert Wace. — Layamon xxxi 
Caradoc of Llancarvan. — John Brechfa. — Chronicon 

Walliae. — Chronicon Cambrite (Annales Cambrise), . . . xxxii 
Brut y Tywysogion. — Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores 

Veteres xxxiii 


Beda xxxiv 

Earlier Anglo-Saxon Sources, Necrologies, Genealogies, etc. xxxv 
Asser xxxviii 

xvi CONTENTS. ' 


The Saxon Chronicle xxxix 

Sources of the Saxon Chronicle xli 

Authors of the same xliii 

Ethelwerd xliv 

Florence of Worcester. — Marianus Scotus xlvii 

Simeon of Durham Chronicle of Melrose. — Henry of 

Huntingdon xlviii 

Roger of Hoveden. — Alured of Beverley 1 

Ingulf , li 

Ailred of Rievaux lii 

William of Malmesbury. — Matthew of Westminster .... liii 

John Wallingford liv 


Dudo of St. Quentin. — William of Jumieges. — Robert 

Wace Iv 

Benoit de Ste. More — GefFrei Gaimar Ivi 

William of Poitiers. — Ordericus Vitalis. — Guy (Wido) of 

Amiens Ivii 

Chronicon Danorum Iviii 


Robert of Gloucester. — Peter Langtoft. — Robert de 

Brunne Iviii 


John Bromton. — Douglas of Glastonbury lix 

Charters, Laws (Anglo-Saxon, Welsh) Ix-lxii 


Caxton Ixii 

Milton. — Langhorne Ixiii 

Spelman. — Rapin. — Carte. — Hume. — Gibbon. — Burke . . Ixiv 

Mackintosh Ixv 

Whitaker Ixvii 

Henry. — Turner. — Lingard Ixvii 

Palgrave Ixviii 




Earliest knowledge of Britain. — Phcenicians, Carthaginians, 

Greeks, Romans 1 

Tin Islands and Commerce 4 

Descent and Traditions 6 

Language 7 

Druids 9 

Bards 11 

Chieftains and Kings 12 

Customs, manner of fighting 13 

Triads of Dyvnwal Moelmud 14 

Tribes 15 

Invasion by C. Julius Caesar 17 

Invasion by Caligula 22 

Invasion by Claudius 23 

Caractacus (Caradoc) 24 

Conquest of Mona 27 

Boudicea 28 

Agricola 29 

Division and form of Government 32 

Collegia (Guilds). — Preservation of the Celtic tongue .... 36 

British Princes , 38 

Law of Gavelkind. — State of the country under the Caesars 39 

Saxon pirates 43 

Carausius 45 

Constantine the Great. — Christianity 47 

High roads 51 

Roman structures 52 

Picts and Scots .54 

Attacotti and Dalreudini. — Princely families 56 

Rebellions of the Roman generals 57 

British settlement in Armorica 59 

Departure of the Roman legions 60 

St. Germain. — State of Christianity 62 

Pelagius 65 

VOL, I. 

xviii CONTENTS. 




British traditions. — Vortigern 67 

Anglo-Saxon traditions 71 

Chronology of the Anglo-Saxons 75 

Anglo-Saxon Runes 79 

National Traditions Saxons 83 

Angles 89 

Jutes 96 

Frisians, etc 97 

The various races in ]3ritain 99 

Resistance of the Lloegrians 100 

Ambrosias Aurelianus. — Arthur , 101 

South Saxons. — JEWe 104< 

Gewissas or West Saxons. — Cerdic 107 

East Saxons Ill 

East Angles 112 

Mercia 113 

Angles and Warni 115 

Northumbria (Bernicia and Deira) 117 

Britons 119 

Cymry or Welsh 120 

Cumbria 122 

Germanizing of Britain 123 

The Dignity of Bretwalda 125 

Ceavvlin of Wessex 128 

Conversion of Kent 130 

The British Church 131 

Conversion of Essex 142 

Raedwald of East Anglia 144 

^thelfrith of Northumbria. — Eadwine 145 

Paulinas 149 

Conversion of Deira 151 

Conversion of East Anglia 154 

Penda of Mercia 155 

Oswald 1 57 

Aidan 158 



Ceohvulf of Wessex 159 

Tewdric of Morganwg 160 

Cynegils and Cwichelm. — Conversion of Wessex 161 

Oswiu 163 

Defeat and death of Penda 166 

Progress of Christianity 167 

Synod of Whitby 169 

Archbishop Theodore 171 

Bisliop Wilfrith 173 

The Arts in England ] 76 

Eegfrith of Xorthunibria 179 

Anglo-Saxon foundations abroad 181 

Scottish foundations abroad 182 

Wilfrith 184. 

Ceadwealla 186 

Aldfrith of Northumbria 1 87 

Ecclesiastical Institutions 190 

Bishoprics 192 

Monasteries and Churches 195 

Clergy 197 

Tithes 198 

Canon Law 200 

The Mother-tongue the language of the Church. — Versions 

of the Scriptures 202 

Church Music 203 

Saxon School at Home 204' 

Superstitions. — Pilgrimages. — Relics 207 

Venerable Beda 209 

The Monk Ecgberht 210 

Decline of Northumbria. — Succession of kings 211 

Ceohvulf.— Eadberht 213 

^thehvald Moll, etc 214 

i^thelred 216 

Eardw ulf 217 

State of Mercia 221 

^thelred and Osthryth 222 

Ceolred.— .^thelbald 224 

Offa , 227 , 

Ofia's Dyke 230 

Charles the Great 231 



Archbishopric of Lichfield '^^^ 

Council of Cealchyth ^^^ 

TEthelbcrht of East Anglia. 235 

EcgfcMth of Mercia.~Cenwulf 238 

Kadberht Praeii 238 

Cenhelin of Mercia 241 

East Anglia • " • • • • 241 

East Saxons 243 

Kent 245 

South Saxons 

Smaller States.— Middlesex, Surrey, Hwiccas, etc 249 

Gradual Preponderance of Wessex 251 

Cynegils and Cvvichelm 251 

Cenwealh 252 

Sexburh 255 

Centwine • • -^" 

The Britons and Arnioricans. — Yvor 256 

Ceadwealla 258 

Subjection and Partition of Sussex.— Isle of Wight 259 

Arwald and his Sons.— Mul 260 

Inc 261 

Laws of Ine 264 

Aldhelm 264 

Boniface 265 

Abdication and Pilgrimage of Ine 266 

^thelheard 267 

Cuthred.— War with iEthelbald of Mercia 268 

Sigebyrht 270 

Cynewulf 270 

Beorhtric 272 

Ecgberht 2/2 

First Landing of the Northmen 273 

Eadburh 273 

Additional Notes 275 

Genealogies 284 


P. xiii 1. 12, dele chiefly. 

— xlvi 1. \^,for Athelm read ^thelm. 

— 83 1. 16, ybr preceding rea<f following. 

— 83 1. \7,for same rearf preceding. 


As all our knowledge of ancient times necessarily depends on 
an acquaintance with the original sources of history, it is only 
when such sources are supposed to be already sufficiently 
known, that an accurate specification of them can be dis- 
pensed with. The want of such a specification for the History 
of England is felt even in the literature of England itself, 
but is more particularly disadvantageous to the natives of 
other countries, where the most extensive libraries are too 
often but sparingly supplied with these original authorities. 
But if it be the object of an historic work to promote a critical 
knowledge of history, and to aid the solitary student in his 
researches, mere literary or bibliographic notices will be found 
wholly inadequate; and, as a basis for such researches, an 
accurate review of the several authorities, of their peculiarities 
and deviations from each other, must be set forth. Among 
no historic writers are we more to seek for such information 
than among those of England, with the exception, perhaps, 

^ The work of Nicolson (English, Scotch and Irish Historical Libraries, 
3rd edit. Lond. 1736. fol.) is not sufficient for the wants of the present da}-. 
On the chronicles of the Anglo-Saxons may be consulted with advantage 
a very sensible article in ' Hermes,' Bd, xxx., by Dr. Reinhold Schmid. 

VOL. I. C 


of Lingard and Palgrave, and even these seem to have been 
guided rather by a correct^, though not always followed, tact, 
than by a scientifically founded view. Hence by English hi- 
storians, chroniclers are not unfrequently adduced as autho- 
rities, who in the present work are either not cited at all, or in 
those rare cases only M'hen their original sources cannot be 
traced : such are Matthew of Westminster, Roger of Hoveden, 
John Bromton, WilHam Knyghton, and others. With correct 
and critical editions of the several authorities, which might 
serve as a compass whereby to steer on the dark ocean of hi- 
story, England is but ill provided. An analysis of the chro- 
nicles, for the purpose of separating that which is verbally 
borrowed, and that Avhich is remodelled, from that which is 
original communication ; the comparison of the latter with, 
and confirmation by, contemporary records and other autho- 
rities ; the illustration of the political position of the author ; 
the examination of his language — all this in England, as in 
other countries, belongs to the rarely possessed requisites for 
historic research ; so that historic composition, like other 
arts, must continue far behind its theory. 

The following notices and critical remarks are given with 
due regard to brevity, and have reference solely to the most 
important sources of Anglo-Saxon history, to the exclusion of 
Greek, Roman, Northern, and German authorities, as Avell as 
of separate biographies, which will be found cited under the 
several periods with which they are connected. 

The study of English history would have been exceedingly 
facilitated, had the edition of the English historians to the 
year 1500, commenced under the authority of the late Par- 
liamentary Commission, appointed for the preservation and 
publication of British historical and legal monuments, been 
carried on to completion ; there being not only many excellent 
manuscripts still unused of the chronicles already — though 
for the most part very indifferently — edited, but also a con- 
siderable number of important historic sources that have never 


yet appeared in prints Had this design been carried on in 
a way commensurate with the means possessed by the Com- 
mission, England might, at no distant period, have exulted in 
a collection of historical and legal monuments excelling those 
of other countries in as great a degree as her present printed 
chronicles are inferior to the historical collections of Italy, 
France, Germany and Denmark. 

The larger printed collections of English chroniclers belong 
for the most part to the seventeenth, and some even to the 
sixteenth century. The earliest is that of Dr. Matthew Parker, 
archbishop of Canterbury^, containing the British History of 
Jeffrey of Monmouth, his epitomiser Ponticus Virunnius, 
Beda's Ecclesiastical History, Gildas, William of Newburgh, 
and an extract translated into Latin from Froissart. Besides 
the above, Parker, as early as 1570, had caused Matthew of 
Westminster, and, in the following year, Matthew Paris to be 
printed; and, in 1574,Walsingham, andAsser's Life of Alfred, 
the latter with Anglo-Saxon types. This collection was fol- 
lowed by that of Sir Henry Savile, under the title of ' Rerum 
Anglicarum Scriptores post Bedam Praecipui V containing the 
three principal works of William of Malmesbury, Henry of 
Huntingdon, Roger of Hoveden, Ethelwerd and Ingulf — a 
great acquisition for history, though so uncritically edited, that 
a considerable portion of Henry of Huntingdon is reprinted 
verbatim in Hoveden. The chronicles of Matthew of West- 
minster and Florence of Worcester were printed separately in 
the same year. A few years later that unrivalled antiquary 
William Camden (ob. 1623) increased the number of collec- 
tions with his ^Anglica, Normannica, Hibernica, Cambrica, 
a Veteribus Scripta^,' containing a new but faulty edition of 

' For the plan of this collection and the preliminary labours of the Com- 
mission, see Cooper's ' Account of the most important public Records of 
Great Britain, and the publications of the Record Commissioners,' vol. ii. 
pp. 144-178 and 365-3/0. 

^ Rerum Britannicarum Scriptores VetustioresetPrsecipui.Lugd. 1587. fol. 

3 Londini 1590. Francofurti 1601. fol. * Francof. 1603. fol. 



Asser's Life of .Alfred, William of Jumieges, Walsingham 
(to which is needlessly appended an extract from the same 
work, the Hypodigma Neustria^), Giraldi Cambrensis Itine- 
rarium, Descriptio Cambriae, Topographia Hiberniae, and 
Hibernia Expugnata. As a proof of the little interest taken 
in England for fundamental historic knowledge, it may be 
mentioned, that so far from other and more effective editions 
being there produced, these collections could only be reprinted 
in Germany ; nor till a lapse of fifty years was an edition of 
the Saxon Chronicle brought forth, though next after Beda 
the most important source of Anglo-Saxon history, and the 
basis of the portion relating to that period of the principal of 
the before-mentioned Latin chronicles. 

The ' Historiae. Anglicanre Scriptores Decern,' edited by 
Sir Roger Twysden^, is chiefly useful for the Anglo-Saxon 
period on account of Simeon of Durham contained in it (who 
not only frequently supplies the deficiencies of Florence, but 
also gives many particulars not to be found elsewhere), also 
the abbot of Rievaux, ' De Genealogia Regum Anglorum,' 
and his Life of Edward the Confessor. Of greater interest 
for the ante-Norman period are the collections printed at 
Oxford, of which that by Dr. Fell, bishop of that city, con- 
tains the best edition of Ingulf, the History of Peter of Blois, 
and the Chronicle of the Abbey of Melrose^. In the other, 
edited by Dr. Gale, are comprised Gildas, Nennius, ^dde's 
Life of Wilfrith, John Wallingford, the valuable Chronicles 
or Histories of the Abbeys of Ely and Ramsey, besides other 
works of importance for the Anglo-Saxon period of English 
history^. From this time no similar collection has appeared, 

^ Londini 1652. fol. 

" Rerum Anglicarum Scriptorum Veterum t. i. Oxon. 1684. fol. Of 
this collection no more appeared. As Fell's name is not mentioned in the 
volume, the work is frequently confounded with the similarly printed one 
of Gale. 

^ Historiae Britannicce, Saxonicse, Anglo-Danicse Scriptores xv. opera 
Thomte Gale. Oxon. 1691. This volume, containing the earlier writers. 


unless we may include in the list that of Sparke, under the 
title of * Historiae Anglicanae Scriptores varii ^,' the chief 
portion of which has reference to the abbey of Peterborough, 
or to the Life of Thomas a Becket. Of greater interest for us, 
though exclusively confined to church history, is the * Anglia 
Sacra' of Wharton^, a valuable collection of the chronicles of 
various dioceses and monastenes, as well as Lives of celebrated 
ecclesiastics. Many English chronicles were, in the beginning 
of the last century, edited by the indefatigable Thomas 
Hearne, though less critically and carefully than could be 
wished. His publications being detached and independent 
of each other, are consequently not easily collected^. For 
our present purpose the Scottish chronicle of Fordun'* is 
perhaps the only one of them possessing any interest. 

The wish for a complete collection of the English historians 
of the middle age was first publicly expressed by Gibbon^ : 
that his wish was not carried into efYect is matter of deep 
regret, except in the case that no other individual than the 
object of his choice, John Pinkerton, had been selected for 
that purpose. 

The unfinished first volume of the edition of English Hi- 
storians^", to have been published under the Record Com- 

is usually regarded as the first, though the second, containing some writers 
of the Norman period, is dated 1687. 

^ Londini 1723, in two small folios. - Londini l691,ii. torn, folio. 

^ The collection sometimes cited under his name, ' Collectio Scriptorum,' 
etc., contains of the chronicles only the most unimportant — that of William 
of Worcester. 

■' Johannisde Fordun Scotichronicon genuinum, edit. Th. Hearne, v. torn. 
8vo. Oxon. 1722. ^ See his Miscellaneous Works. 

^ Just as the manuscript of this work was about to be sent to press 
(1833), the author had the pleasure, through the particular kindness of 
his highly respected friend, C. P. Cooper, Esq., to receive the first volume 
of Mr. Petrie's ' Materials for English History,' or 'Corpus Historicum,* 
as far as that work was printed ; the execution of which, it is hoped, will 
satisfy all reasonable expectations. Though it is to be regretted that the 
Introduction, containing an account of and remarks on the work, the seve- 
ral authors and manuscripts, is not yet printed, its present contents enable 
us, nevertheless, to place greater confidence in our views regarding the con- 


mission, contains — after extracts from the Greek and Latin 
geographers and historians — Gildas, Nennius, Beda's Chro- 
nicon and Ecclesiastical Histoiy, the Saxon Chronicle with 
an English translation, Asser's Life of Alfred, the Chronicles 
of Ethelwerd, Florence of Worcester^, Simeon of Durham, 
and Henry of Huntingdon, L'Estorie des Engles of Geffrei 
Gaimar, the Annales Cambriae, the Brut y Tywysogion, or 
Chronicle of the Princes of Wales (with an English trans- 
lation), ascribed to Caradoc of Llancarvan (all down to the 
year 1066), and the '^ Carmen de Bello Hastingensi.' Four 
volumes were destined to comprise all the chronicles (omit- 
ting in the later all matter copied verbatim from the earlier 
ones), and whatever could be found illustrative of English 
history to the period of the Norman conquest. 

The hope once fostered by the historic inquirer, of deriving 
considerable information respecting the earliest history of 
Britain from Welsh sources, has not been realized. The hi- 
story of Wales and Cornwall has undoubtedly received illus- 
tration : highly interesting is it also to have determined the 
very great antiquity of the poems of the bards Aneurin, 
Tahesin, Llywarch Hen and Merddyn, some of which may 
probably be assigned to the sixth century^. Yet do these 
poetic spirits set before us the subject rather than an illustra- 
tion of the history of their time. We find in their glowing love 
of country, in their intense hatred of the Anglo-Saxons, in 
the outbreak of strong enthusiasm exulting in its subject, in 
the vain-glory ever exhibiting itself more pompously with the 

nexion of the known sources of English history, and to avail ourselves of 
some hitherto unused authorities. 

^ The genealogies given at the end of Florence are from a MS. belonging 
to C. C. Coll. Oxford, collated for the purpose by the translator of the pre- 
sent work. — T. 

2 This estimable treasure of old British literature is, with other rehcs, 
published in the Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, a collection of historical 
documents from ancient MSS. 3 voU. 8vo. Lond. 1801-7. Compare 
Turner's Dissertation on the age of those poems in his History of the 


fall of former greatness — we find in all this the germ of that 
world of fiction, which the Welsh of after-ages have passed 
off for a History of Britain. When we think of these and of 
similar Scandinavian compositions, the full worth of the love 
of truth pervading our modest monkish chronicles cannot fail 
most forcibly to strike us. Servile as that faithfulness may 
appear, easily as the earnestness and the strength of belief 
may be mistaken, which, by the old chroniclers, were esteemed 
as the greatest virtues ; absurd as the accuracy is with which 
they copy, without the omission of a syllable, every w^ord of 
a predecessor, and although, as fi-om virtue a vice may spring, 
80 from their dull fidelity the most insipid pedantry and 
grossest falsehood may grow and often has grown, yet to 
that schoolboy fidehty alone are we indebted for a chrono- 
logical clew through the labyrinth of the middle age, the 
bridge, as it were, which connects the old with the new world 
over the rushing, ever-agitated, sparkling waves of the stream 
of time. 

The historic Triads of the Welsh contain considerable in- 
formation, but require much illustration for the satisfactory 
understanding of them. Adherence to an originally perhaps 
well-adapted form, can, in its later wholly unfitting appU- 
cation, only counteract the object of the composition, and 
cause it to degenerate into insipidity \ 

The oldest know^n British historian — if his work, ' Liber 
querulus de Excidio Britanniae,' called also ' Historia,' can 
give him any pretension to that title — is Gildas^, born a.d. 
516, a scholar of St. Iltut and monk of Bangor, who, after a 
life spent partly in travel or pilgrimages, partly in solitude, 
is said to have died and been buried in the abbey of Glaston- 

' See, besides the Myvyrian Archaiology, Edw. Lhuyd, Archaeologia 
Britannica. Oxon. 1707. Davies, Celtic Researches. Lond. 1804. 8vo. 
Edw. Williams, Lyrical and Pastoral Poems. Lond. 1794. 12mo. vol. ii. 

2 See p. 133. He was born in the year of the battle of Bath, which 
Beda, from a misconception of the text of Gildas, places in 493. 


bury. To Gildas is also ascribed an ^ Epistola/ wherein he 
pours forth the bitterest lamentations over the corruption 
and general wickedness of his time. The History must have 
been composed in the year 560, the Epistle before 547 S in 
which Maglocun, king of Gwynedd, who is mentioned in it, 
died^. Beda, Alcwine and Lupus cite Gildas, surnamed the 
Wise^. Jeffrey of Monmouth appeals to a larger historical 
work of Gildas, which is no longer extant, unless it be latent 
in the ' Historia Britonum,' bearing the name of Nennius^. 

This last-mentioned work, entitled also ' Eulogium Bri- 
tannia,' is usually ascribed to Nennius, abbot of Bangor, a 
pupil of Elbod, archbishop of Gwynedd^. The year 688, as- 
signed as that of its composition, can, therefore, have refer- 
ence only to the work in its original form, that which has 
reached our time having many additions and interpolations. 
The preface to the common manuscripts places its compo- 
sition in the year 858^, a date reconcileable with 809, that of 
the death of Elbod. A valuable manuscript of this work in 
the Vatican, of the tenth century, in which the greater part 
of those additions are wanting, names Mark the Hermit as 
the author or, perhaps, the copier only, in the year 945. An 
edition from this manuscript, with learned and excellent re- 
marks, was published by the Rev. W. Gunn'. Nennius names 
as his authorities the Annales Romanorum, Chronica S. S. 

^ Both works are printed in Gale, t. i.; the first also in C. Bertrami 
Britannicarum Gentium HistoriEe antiquse Scriptores III. Havnise, 1758. 
8vo. Since the first edition by Polydore Vergil (Lond. 1526. Bvo), Gildas 
has been frequently printed. 

^ Annales Cambrise h.a. King Constantine, who is likewise mentioned 
by Gildas, was living in the year 589. See Annal. Camb. 

3 See also Will. Malmesb. de Antiq. Glaston. ap. Gale, t. i. p. 296. A 
Life of Gildas, " scripta amonacho Ruyensi," is printed in the ' Bibliotheca 
Floriacensis.' Lugd. 1645. 8vo. [See Stevenson's edition, printed uniformly 
with Gildas, for the English Historical Society. — T.] 

* This is Turner's opinion. History of the Anglo-Saxons, vol. i. p. 201. 

^ See Stevenson's edit. pref. p. viii. 

•^ Also in cap. xi., and at the conclusion of the work. 

^ Historia Britonura by Mark the Hermit. Lond. 1819. 8vo. 


Patrum, and Scripta Scotorum Anglorumque et Traditio 
Veterum. The Welsh Triads are undoubtedly comprised in 
the last, as his work abounds in trilogies^. An important 
circumstance for criticism seems to have been overlooked, 
viz. that a considerable portion of this work has been inserted, 
and often verbatim, by Henry of Huntingdon into his Chro- 
nicle, though without mention of the name either of Nennius 
or of Mark the Hermit. Thus (p. 695, edit. Petrie), " apud 
quendam auctorem (Nenn. ix.) reperi." (lb. p. 707) " dicitur 
a quibusdam^' (Nenn. xxxviii. xxxix.). In one place (p. 712) 
he quotes him under the name of" Gildas historiographus-." 
The chronology followed by Nennius is that of Eusebius, 
though, in the manuscripts, particularly in that of Mark, 
much corrupted. 

JefFx'ey ap iVrthur, born at Monmouth in 1152, bishop of 
St. Asaph, is the English foster-brother of the Danish Saxo 
Grammaticus. In the choicest Latin of his time he has com- 
posed a history of the Britons^, consisting of the grossest 
fables, interspersed with some historic traditions. In later 
times authors seem to have unanimously agreed in an un- 
qualified rejection of the entire work, and have therefore failed 
to observe, that many of his accounts are supported by nar- 
ratives to be found in writers wholly unconnected with and 
independent of Jeffrey'*. He professes to have merely trans- 
lated his work from a chronicle in the British tongue, called 

' Cap. vii. " Venerunt ties filii cujusdam militis Hispanise cum xxx. 
chiulis apud illos, cum xxx. mulieribus in unaquaque chiula ; " Cap. xxv. 
" Nonus (3 X 3) fuit Constantinus ; " Cap. xxvii. " Tiibus vicibus occisi 
sunt duces llomanorum a Brittannis ; " Cap. xxviii. " tres chiulse ; " 
Cap. xlvii. three battles with the Saxons ; Cap. xlviii. " Hengistus elegit 
ccc. railites/' etc. 

^ The passages from Nennius to be found in Henry of Huntingdon are 
particularly from cc. 2-4, 9, 10, 16, 23, 28, 36, 38, 47-49, 51, 54, 61, 62. 
Some passages in Huntingdon accord most closely with the Vatican MS. 
e. g. p. 712, ed. Petrie, " Arthurus belliger." 

^ Editio princeps ab Ascensio, 1508, 4to, from three Parisian MSS. 

* See p. 45, note ". 


* Brut y Brenhined/ or ' History of the Kings of Britain/ 
found in Brittany, and communicated to him by Walter, 
archdeacon of Oxford ^ The ^Brut' of Tysilio^ has, with 
some probability, been regarded as the original of Jeffrey's 
work, though it is doubtful whether it may not itself be rather 
an extract from Jeffrey^. The Latin elaboration of the British 
original seems to have been completed about the year 1128. 
That the whole is not a translation, appears from passages 
interpolated, in many places verbatim, from the existing work 
of Gildas'*, of whom (lib.iv. 20, vi. 13, xii. 6) he cites another 
work, ' De Victoria Ambrosii,' no longer extant. From Beda, 
of whom he speaks (lib. xii. 14), Jeffrey has rarely extracted 
verbatim, though he seems, in many places, to have had 
before him either Nennius or his original '^5 where the simi- 
larity of thought and expression can hardly be accidental^. 

Among the writers who copy from Jeffrey of Monmouth, 
we must not reckon either William of Malmesbury or Henry 
of Huntingdon, both of whom he mentions at the end of his 
own work. Ordericus Vitalis is probably the first who (though 
without naming him) has exceqated from him, viz. lib. xii., 
the prophecy of Merlin (Galfr. lib. vii. 3). After him is Alfred 
of Beverley, who cites the ' Historia Britonum,' without men- 
tion of the author, and does not conceal his doubts as to its 
credibility. The ' Historia Britonum,' cited in the Chronicle 

' Not Walter Mapes, as is generally supposed, but an earlier Walter 
Calenius. See Douce in Warton, H. E. P. vol. i. p. 60, edit. 1840. 

* Translated by P. Roberts, and printed in the Welsh Archaiology, 
vol. ii., under the title of ' A Chronicle of British Kings.' See Dissertation 
on the origin of Romantic fiction in Europe, in Warton, H. E. P. 

3 Turner, H. of the A.-SS. vol. i. p. 159. 

* All doubt will vanish on comparing Jeffrey vi. 3. with Gildas cc. xiv- 
xvi. Cf. also Jeffrey v. 3. with Gildas viii. Jeffrey v. 3, 14. with Gildas x., 
and xii. 6. with Gildas xix. 

^ Compare particularly Jeflfrey vi. 12-15, 17,40-42, with Nennius xxxvi., 
xlv., xlvii., l.-lii. 

" The edition of Jeffrey of Monmouth in Parker's collection is extremely 
faulty. An edition from the excellent MS. in the library of the Prince of 
Schaumburg-Lippe at Biickeburg would remove many critical doubts. 


of Albericus, is probably that of Jeffrey ^. Gervase of Tilbury 
gives copious extracts from him, and is said to have written 
four books of Illustrations of his work ; and Ponticus Virun- 
nius of Treviso^, who lived at the close of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, made an epitome of it in six books. 

Several writers, even contemporaries of Jeffrey, have ex- 
pressed themselves strongly against his propagation of the 
sagas about Arthur^, under the guise of authentic history, 
among whom WiHiam of Newburgh and Giraldus are the 
most conspicuous ; and at an earlier period William of Mal- 
mesbury had also declared himself against the British tra- 
ditions of Arthur. On the other hand, the welcome reception 
given to this garb and embellishment of the old favourite tra- 
ditions was greatly promoted by the policy of Henry the Fu'st; 
the composition of Jeffrey's work might indeed have been 
occasioned by it^ In conclusion, we will venture to express 
the hope of one day seeing what is historical in Jeffrey of 
Monmouth separated from that which is fabulous ; the latter 
honoured as a pleasing relic of the times of old, and the rest 
exalted into useful matter for the national history. 

^Le Brut d'Angleterre ' of Robert Wace-^ appears to be a 
French imitation of Jeffrey*^, an old English translation of 
which, made in the thirteenth century by Layamon, a priest 
dwelling on the banks of the Severn 7, proves the delight 
taken by the people in these traditions. In his preface, 

^ See p. 5, and aa. 434, 442, etc.; also about Merlin's prophecies, aa. 
717, 1136, 1139. 

^ In Parker's collection. 

^ A sensible defence of Jeffrey is prefixed to Wynne's Caradoc. 

* This supposition is rendered very probable by Turner. See History of 
England, vol. iv. pp. 339-355. 

^ An edit, of this work, by M. Le Roux de Lincy, has been printed at 
Rouen, in 2 voll. 8vo. 1S36, 1838. 

" Cf. Warton, H. E. P. vol. i. p. 58, edit. 1840 ; also the Abbe de la Rue's 
papers in the Archseologia, voll. xii.-xiv. 

^ Of this translation, so important for the old language of England, ai> 
edition, accompanied by a prose version in modern English, is in prepa- 
ration by Sir F. Madden, for the Society of Antiquaries. 


Layamon informs us that he did not merely translate Wace, 
but made use of other historic sources. 

The chronicle of Caradoc, a monk of Llancarvan, has been 
estimated too highly with reference to English history. This 
work, which reaches to the year 1156, has been translated 
and edited, first in 1584 by H. Llwyd and Dr. Powell, and 
secondly in 169/ by H. Wynne '. Its chief basis is the Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle and a Welsh chronicle, into which the 
author has interwoven many British traditions, though very 
uncritically and unchronologically. It is believed to have been 
composed in the monastery of Strata Florida. Some manu- 
scripts are as early as the year 14 10-. A similar work by 
John Brechfa is likewise much esteemed by inquirers into 
Welsh history, an edition of which, as well as of other British 
monuments hitherto little known, or possibly wholly unknown 
to us, would, wdthout doubt, shed considerable light on the 
history of the remnant of a great people, which has, with 
remarkable tenacity, preserved its nationality throughout a 
period of two thousand years. 

The Welsh chronicle used by Caradoc is probably the 
' Chronicon Walliae,' from the year 444 to 954, together with 
the beginning of the continuation of the same, or the * Chro- 
nicon Cambriae,' to the year 1286. An edition of both is 
given in the * Corpus Historicum' under the title of ' Annales 
Cambriae.^ The chronology followed in these Annals is not 
reckoned from the birth of Christ, but begins with a year 
which may possibly be intended for that of the coming of the 
Saxons, but which would indicate an adherence to the Anglo- 
Saxon chronology, while among the Welsh we might rather 
expect to find a continuation of the Roman annals. The un- 
certainty arising from this mode of calculating is the more to 
be regretted, as these few pages, notwithstanding their brevity 
of detail, contain valuable notices of the rulers and of the 

' A new edition was published at Shrewsbury in 1832. 
^ See Cooper on the Public Records, vol. ii. p. 457. 


military history of all the British tribes ; and the general hi- 
story of the Britons, as it has hitherto been known to us from 
Caradoc, acquires from them numerous as well as important 
additions and rectifications. ' The Chronicle of the Princes of 
Wales/ written in Welsh, entitled 'Brut y Tywysogion/ begins 
with the abdication of Cadwaladyr, in the year 681, in which 
Tysilio and Jeffrey of Monmouth terminate, and is continued 
to the conquest of Wales by Edward the First. This work 
(which, to the end of the ninth century, appears to have been 
translated from the ' Annales Cambriae ') has been erroneously 
attributed to Caradoc of Llancarvan. The Welsh text, to the 
year 1066, accompanied by an EngHsh version, is comprised 
in the ' Corpus Historicum.* The ' Brut y Saeson' is merely 
a manuscript, somewhat varying from the ' Brut y Tywy- 
sogion,' interpolated with passages from the Annals of Win- 
chester (ascribed without sufficient reason to Richard of 
Devizes) and other chronicles. 

The oldest Irish chronicles, written partly in Irish and 
partly in Latin, contain but little useful matter for Anglo- 
Saxon history, though they report some circumstances illus- 
trative of the battles of the inhabitants of Scotland and Wales 
with the Anglo-Saxons, with a few otherwise unknown par- 
ticulars and some variations, which cannot, however, shake 
our faith in Beda and the Anglo-Saxon chroniclers, but de- 
serve attention as originating from other records of history. 
Dr. Charles O'Connor published a collection of these Annals 
under the auspices of the late duke of Buckingham and Chan- 
dos, entitled 'Rerum Hibernicarum ScriptoresVeteres,auctore 
Carolo O'Connor, S.T.D. Buckinghamiae,' 1814-1826.iv.tom. 
The first volume contains introductions, giving very instruc- 
tive accounts of Irish manuscripts, the chronology of the Irish 
kings, the oldest proofs of the history of Ireland from the 
Greek and Roman authors, as well as from native historians 
and poets. The second contains — I. Annales Tigernachi ab 
anno 305 a. C. ad 1088 p. C. II. Annales Inisfalenses ab anno 


428 ad 1088. III. Annales Buelliani ab anno 420 ad 1245. 
The third volume contains the Quatuor Magistrorum Annales 
Hibernici usque ad annum 1172, collected about the year 
1634 by Michael O'Clery, a Franciscan friar, and other 
learned Irishmen. In the fourth volume is given a complete 
edition of the Annales Ultonienses ab anno 431 ad 1131, 
previously known only from some printed fragments. The 
General Index to the whole, which closes the last volume, 
can hardly be said to correspond to the industry displayed in 
the work itself. 

Beda's great work, 'The Ecclesiastical History of the 
Angles,' must be reckoned among the most complete, and, 
for posterity, most important works of that age. The first 
twenty-two chapters of the first book are chiefly verbatim 
extracts from Orosius, Gildas, a legend of St. Geraianus, 
with a few others, the sources of which cannot with certainty 
be indicated. In the greater and more important portion of 
his history, Beda confirms the credibility of his narrative by 
naming the experienced archbishops, bishops and abbots 
among his countrymen and contemporaries, who had sup- 
plied him with all necessary information from their own and 
even from the papal archives. Many other individuals were 
also questioned by him, the substance of whose testimony, 
with regard to contemporary events and credible tradition, 
is embodied in his admirable work^ 

The other historical writings of Beda are — two Lives of 
St. Cuthberht (one in hexameters), and the History of the 

^ Cf. Schmid, 1. cit., and his Introduction to the Laws of the Anglo- 
Saxons. See also p. 209 of this volume. The best edition of the Latin 
text, and of the A.-S, version of Beda's history, as well as of the smaller 
historical pieces, is that of John Smith, Cantab. 1722. folio. Regarding a 
MS. of the church history of the eighth centur}"^, and a projected edition 
by the Archivarius de Ram at Mechlin, see Mone, ' Quellen und For- 
schungen,' Th. i. [An excellent edition of Beda's historical works has 
been published by Mr. Stevenson, in 2 voll. 8vo, for the English Historical 
Society. An edition of all Beda's works has also been recently published 
by the Rev. Dr. Giles.— T.] 


Abbots of Wearmouth, viz. Benedict, Ceolfrith, Eosterwine, 
Sigefrith and Hwoetberht. His ' Chronicon ' also contains 
some historic notices, which have been used by Paul Warne- 
frid in his History of the Lombards, and at a later period 
have been transferred into the numerous works to which 
Beda's Chronicle has served as a foundation. 

Meritorious and comprehensive works have often been pre- 
judicial to historic research, by casting into oblivion the 
materials out of which they have been formed. This obser- 
vation applies particularly to the History of Beda, and we feel 
its truth the more acutely, as it is evident that he must have 
found much recorded matter relative to the history of his 
country, which the plan of his work did not permit him to 
insert : hence our information with regard to Wessex, the 
most important of the Anglo-Saxon states, is extremely 
scanty. Among such records may be enumerated, Genealo- 
gies of the royal races. Lists of the successions of kings and 
eminent ecclesiastics. Necrologies or Obituaries, and Diony- 
sian tables. 

Of the oldest genealogies, that deserves especial notice 
which is given at the end of a manuscript of Nennius, written 
in a British hand, containing some important matter relating 
to the eastern and northern kingdoms of England. Others, 
hitherto incompletely printed, are inserted into the texts of 
the Saxon Chronicle and Florence of Worcester, whence they 
have passed into other chronicles^. With reference to North- 
umbria, much matter of this kind is to be found in Simeon of 

Many regal tables are blended with the genealogies. Such 
a table of the West Saxon kings has been repeatedly printed-, 
and because it concludes with iElfred, has, without sufficient 
ground, been attributed to that monarch. It not only deviates 

' See Textus RofFensis, cc. xxxvi. xxxvii. 

^ Prefixed to Wheelocke's edit, of Beda, p. 5 ; after Spelman's Vita 
iElfredi, p. 199- Inserted by Gibson and Ingram in the Sax. Chron. 
a. 495. 


materially from the common accounts, with respect to the 
regnal years of the West Saxon kings, in assigning to Cerdic 
a reign of sixteen years only instead of thirty-six, but is also 
inconsistent Avith itself, by placing the accession of Alfred 
396 years after the year 494, i.e. in 890, instead of a.d. S^l. 
The primitive custom of dating public documents from the 
regnal years of the kings must have made an accurate know- 
ledge of those years a matter of general necessity, as Beda 
also testifies, when speaking of many recorders of royal reigns, 
who, by a judicial sentence, blotted from their list the names 
of two unworthy kings ^, adding the year of their reign to 
those of their worthier successor. 

The Necrologies contain, besides the day of the death of 
those for whose souls masses were to be celebrated, an ac- 
count of the donations whereby they rendered themselves 
worthy of that benefit, also the names of the kindred with 
whom the patronage of the foundations remained, and other 
particulars often of general interest^. The old English Calen- 
dar is a large necrology, consisting for the most part of the 
names of Anglo-Saxon saints and pious benefactors, bearing 
evident signs of its origin from the obituaries of several 
metropolitan churches. 

From what we are able to ascertain, small chronicles were 
composed before the time of Beda, though probably not 
founded on the Dionysian nineteen-yearly Easter tables, but 
rather on the regnal years ^. 

^ Osric of Deira and Eanfrith of Bernicia. See p. loG. — T. 

^ See such a one from the cathedral of Canterbury in ' Anglia Sacra,' t. i. 
p. 52 sq. 

^ It has ah-eady been remarked by others, that the Annales Majores 
Juvavienses (or Annals of Salzburg, printed in Mon. Germ. Histor. t. i.) 
bear on their face signs of their Anglo-Saxon origin. Their real or pre- 
sumed errors will be discussed in another place ; here we shall merely re- 
mark, that they alone supply us with the day of the death of Eadbald, king 
jf Kent, viz. xiii. Kal. Feb. a. 640. More important, however, in a similar 
respect are the Annales Lauresham. Alaraannici et Nazariani, though for 
their just appreciation requiring illustration : we must, therefore, in the 
first place, observe, that "a. 713 mors Alfrede et Adulfi regis," is not an 


Although the very jDrobable origin of the oldest German 
annals^ to be found written on the margins of the Dionysian 
tables in the Scottish cloisters of Germany, may tend to show 
that this usage was carried thither from Britain, still the 
practice of Scottish, monks would prove nothing for the 
Anglo-Saxons, and sufficient traces are, moreover, to be 
found, that among the latter an era was in use dating from 
their coming into Britain, which, at least in secular matters, 
they had not laid aside in the time of Beda. This chro- 
nology, combined with the record of the regnal years, has, to 
the exclusion of the Christian era, been used by Henry of 

erroneous memorial of the death of king Ealdfrith (Aldfrith), who died in 
705, but of ^Iflsed, the daughter of Oswiu of Northumbria, born in 654, 
who died in her 59th year as abbess of Whitby, consequently in 713 (see 
Beda, iii. 24), and of Ealdwulf or Aldulf, king of the E. Angles, who suc- 
ceeded to the crown in 664, the year of whoso death was hitherto unknown. 
In the ' Annales Petav.' also his death is recorded in 713, under the name of 
Agledulfus. Under the name of the abbot Domnanus, whose death is placed 
in 705, hardly any other can be meant than the celebrated abbot of Hii or 
lona, Adamnan, who, as we know from Beda, v. 1, 15, died about that 
time. Tlie year 702 adopted by the editors is, as Smith himself confesses, 
arbitrary. Tigernach, Annal. and Fabricius (Bibl. Med. .'Evi) nearly ap- 
proximate to the above date, viz. ix. Kal. Oct. 704. Disguised as this name 
is, as well as those of other bishops and abbots, yet their sound enables us 
to recognise their Irish origin. Anno 729, Macflatheus is probably the 
same name as the abbot of Bangor's, Machlaisreus, in the ancient antipho- 
ner of that cloister (Muratori Anect. t. iv.p. 159). In Dubdecris abbas, 
ob. 726, may perhaps be concealed a successor of Adamnan at Hii, who 
lived between 716 and 729, by Beda (v. 22) named Duunchadus. Anno 
707, " Dormitio Tigermal," probably Tigernoth or Tigernach, bishop and 
confessor, whose death-day was celebrated in the Anglo-Saxon church on 
the 5th April. Anno 705, " Canani episcopi " we must not seek in Caman, 
abbot of Bangor, or the later Cronan, but is perhaps bishop Colman, who 
had left Lindisfarne in 664 and returned to Hii. An abbot is mentioned 
to have died in 7l6 in Tigernach, Annal. h. a. Also in the ancient 'Annales 
breves Fuldenses' (Monum. Germ. Hist. ii. 237) are given, besides the years 
of the death of the Northumbrian kings Ecgfrith and Osred, those of the 
Scottish bishops of Lindisfarne, Aidan, Finan and Colman : the year of 
the last is, however, to be referred to that of his above-mentioned departure. 
In the 'Fasti sire Annales Corbeienses' (ap. Pertz, Monum. t. iii.) are 
likewise to be found notices of Finan, Colman and Ecgfrith. 

VOL. I. d 


Huntingdon and other later chroniclers, and justifies the in- 
ference of sources no longer in existence. 

The oldest of these small chronicles known is a Northum- 
brian one, ending shortly after the death of Beda^ Of some 
others, mentioned in catalogues of manuscripts in the libraries 
of England, we are without the means of judging, whether 
they are earlier than Beda and the Saxon Chronicle, or 
epitomes of them. Some larger ancient chronicles also still 
exist in manuscript in the English libraries ; among them 
may possibly one day be found the ^ Gesta Anglorum,' cited 
by Adam of Bremen^ which work I am unable to recognise 
in any of the known authorities. 

An important work for a most interesting period of English 
history is the Life of King Alfred by his friend Asser, bishop 
of Shireburne. Though this biography itself has not reached 
our times in any good manuscript, we are fortunately enabled 
to restore it in many places from Florence of Worcester, who 
has inserted a considerable portion of it verbatim into his 
Chronicle. In the Cottonian library there was a manuscript 
of Asser of the tenth century, which was slighted because it 
was wanting in several passages to be found in the other 
manuscripts, though they were also wanting in Florence. It 
was, coiisequently, pronounced defective, though the genuine- 
ness of the greater number of these passages is extremely 
questionable : as an instance may be cited the celebrated one 
relative to the antiquity of the University of Oxford, which 
first appeared in Camden's edition, and the non-appearance 
of which in the best manuscripts has, in the judgement of 
party-spirit, rendered them obnoxious to suspicion. These 

1 Printed in Wanley's Catalogue, p. 238 ; in Smith's preface to Beda ; 
and in Petrie, Corpus Historicum, p. 290. 

- Lib. i. c. 35, and ii. 15. 

3 Edit. Parker, 1570. Camden, 1600 and 1603. Annales Rerum Ges- 
tarura ^Ifredi, auct. Asserio, rec. F. Wise. Oxon. 1722. 8vo, containing a 
collation with the Cottonian MS. Printed also in the Corpus Historicum. 


passages have at a later period been inserted into Asser's Life 
of Alfred from a work to which the name of Asser's Annals 
has erroneously been given ^, but which is a compilation from 
the Saxon Chronicle, Dudo's Norman History, several legends, 
Asser's Life of yElfred, and other sources, and can hardly be 
earlier than the eleventh century. To these Annals the title 
of ' Chronicon Fani Sancti Neoti ' was given by Leland, from 
his having found them in that place ^. 

After Beda, the chief source of the early history of England, 
and one of the most important in the whole historiography of 
northern Europe, is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle^, composed 
in the language of the country, and, in the later centuries, 
abounding in contemporaneous narratives. A thorough cri- 
tical examination of its authorities, manuscripts and versions 
would be a work of the highest utility for English history, 
but which has hitherto been but very partially attempted, 
and without any great result. Such an examination is the 
more difficult, as the texts of the manuscripts, or rather the 
elaborations of them, which have been written in various 
monasteries, often differ from each other, and have, in the 
printed editions, been by their editors blended together with- 
out regard either to dialect or locality. Of the Latin elabo- 
rations, some still exist only in manuscript. 

The oldest known manuscript of the Saxon Chronicle is 
that in the library of Corpus Christi, or Bene't, College, 
Cambridge, written to the year 891 in the same hand, which 
is not later than the tenth century*. The dialect in which it 
is composed seems to be the Mercian, while the other copies 
are in that of Wessex. It is continued in Anglo-Saxon to the 

^ In Gale's collection, t. i. 

^ See Wise's preface to his edit, of Asser. 

•'' In the present translation, the edition constantly cited is that in Petrie, 
' Corpus Historicum.'— T. 

■^ Accounts of the several MSS. are given in Ingram's edition, and in 
Cooper on the Public Records, ii. p. 167. 



year IO70, and in Latin to 1075. This manuscript, which 
should serve as the basis of a text, has hitherto been only 
partially used by the editors ^ 

The other manuscripts are — 1. One formerly belonging to 
the abbey of St. Augustine at Canterbury, now in the Cot- 
tonian library, where it is marked, Tiberius A. vi. It extends 
to the year 997. Another copy (Otho, B. xi.), continued to 
the year 1001, perished in the fire at Ashburnham House in 
1731. This was the basis of Wheelocke's edition-. 2. A 
manuscript presented to the Bodleian libraiy by archbishop 
Laud, marked Laud E. 80^. This manuscript, originally 
brought down to the year 1122, has been continued (with 
many Normanisms in language and orthography) to 1154. 
It was written in the abbey of Medeshamstede (Peterbo- 
rough), and contains many demonstrably false documents 
relative to that foundation. From which circumstance — 
though its text indisputably belongs to the more recent ones 
— it has sometimes, though rather rashly, been concluded, 
that tl^e monks of Peterborough were the original authors of 
the Saxon Chronicle. 3. Greatly abridged and Normanized, 
though enriched with some accounts wanting in the other 
copies, is a manuscript originally perhaps from Canterbury, 
but now in the Cottonian library (Domitian A. viii.). Both 
this manuscript and the one last mentioned have been par- 
ticularly used in Gibson's edition'^. Gibson used also a Pe- 
terborough manuscript, brought down to the year 1016, and 
thence continued beyond 1080, but now lost. 4. Of greater 
importance are two manuscripts used by Ingram in his edi- 

* In the edition of the Chronicle in the Corpus Historicuni, the text to 
the year 975 is from the C. C. MS.— T. 

" Cantab. 1643. foHo, printed at the end of his edition of Beda's history. 

^ Literal translations into Latin from the Laudian MS. are contained in 
the Annales Waverleienses (ap. Gale, t. ii.), which we know, however, only 
from the year 1066. Less exact, but not to be mistaken, is the use made 
of this MS. by Henry of Huntingdon. ^ Oxon. I692. 4to. 


tion of the Chronicle ^, one containing the annals of the abbey 
of Abingdon to the year 1066, the other those of the cathedral 
of Worcester to the year 1079, both in the Cottonian library 
(Tiber. B. i. and B. iv.). These are nearly allied to each other, 
and in the later years have many valuable accounts, which in 
the other more strictly Saxon Chronicles are given more 
briefly or differently. 5. A transcript from an unknown ori- 
ginal, made by Lambarde in 1563, containing the history from 
A.D. 1043 to 1079. It is printed in the Appendix to Lye's 
Dictionary, and agrees verbatim with what Ingram gives from 
the Worcester copy. 

This slight review may serve to call the attention of every 
one familiar with such studies, who are desirous to use the 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle — on the several copies of which the 
oldest Latin chronicles of England are based — in any original 
or derived form, to the difficulties attending an exact critical 
examination of that estimable relic. 

As from the time of Beda to that of William of Malmes- 
bury — a space of near four hundred years — England pos- 
sessed no chronicler who recorded independently of the 
Saxon Chronicle the history of the whole country, an inquiry 
into the sources and authors of that work is the more de- 

For the earliest centuries of the Christian era to the year 
449, Beda's work ' De sex hujus mundi ffitatibus,' his Church 
History, Gildas and some others are regarded as the sources. 
I find, however, that it is only in the accounts of the ancient 
inhabitants of Britain and Ireland that Beda (H. E. lib. i. c. 1.) 
is used. For all the rest, Eusebius and some unimportant 
ecclesiastical history have been excerpted, Beda being tacitly 
used only where the Chronicle completes or deviates from his 
narrative. (Compare Sax. Chron. aa. 189, 435, 443, with 

^ London, 1823. 4to, with an English translation and critical remarks, 
An English translation also by Miss Gurney was printed but not pub- 
lished : it is highly commended. 


Beda, lib. i. cc. 4, 11, 13.) The calculation of the years from 
the creation is according to that of Eusebius and Orosius, who 
from that epoch to the birth of Christ reckon 5198 years. 

From the year 449 to 597 the Chronicle contains, with 
some Kentish accounts, matter almost exclusively relating to 
Wessex, in which Beda is unfortunately so deficient. In con- 
firmation of the general veracity of the Chronicle is the correct 
notice of two eclipses of the sun, in the years 538 and 540, 
and again in 664 and 733, though of the two last mentioned 
the day and the hour, which are given by Florence, are 
omitted in the Chronicle. In the following time to the year 
731, when Beda's History terminates, the events are probably 
for the most part derived from that source; the accounts 
which are not to be found in Beda being but few, and chiefly 
derived from the late Laudian manuscript (as in the years 
603, 616, 617), though the better manuscripts have also some 
additions, with the sources of which we are unacquainted (as 
in the years 693 and 710), together with some accounts 
which, as Florence has remarked, deviate from Beda. From 
732 to 845 the Chronicle is the primeval source, though 
during this period unquestionable errors are observable in the 
manuscripts ; for instance, the echpse of the moon in 796, 
correctly given by Simeon of Durham, is in the Chronicle 
placed under the year 795. From 851 to 887 extracts from 
Asser's Life of ^Elfred, with a few variations, are transferred 
into the Chronicle. 

In the following part the frequently inaccurate chronology 
might excite a doubt as to the historic fidelity of the Chro- 
nicle (as in the years 915 — 922), but we ought not to charge it 
with errors originating in the misconceptions of editors, and 
which may often be rectified by the various readings which 
they have themselves collected, though more frequently by 
comparison with Florence of Worcester and Simeon of Dur- 

The year 977 forms a section in the Anglo-Saxon Chro- 


nicle, as with this year not only two ancient manuscripts con- 
clude, but also their oldest Latin copier Ethelwerd. From 
this time, but more particularly from the year 1001, which is 
also remarkable for the ending of some manuscripts, the de- 
viations become more considerable, particularly in the Abing- 
don and Worcester Chronicles ; and even these, though 
agreeing together much more closely than with other manu- 
scripts, yet in some places differ considerably from each 
other, as in the years 1046, 1048, 1049, 1053, the former has 
Mercian accounts which are wanting in the latter. 

With respect to the origin of these Chronicles, the first 
question to be decided seems to be, whether they, like so 
many other chronicles of other nations, written in the lan- 
guage of the country, have not been originally composed by 
ecclesiastics in the language of the church, and afterwards 
translated into Anglo-Saxon. When we call to mind that 
Alfred translated, or caused to be translated, into Anglo-Saxon 
the Church History of Beda, the History of Orosius, etc., 
and that before Beda's time the language possessed the poetry 
of Caedmon, little doubt can be entertained of the probability, 
that these Annals were also composed in the Latin tongue, 
which till JElfred's time are written with extreme simplicity, 
and even to be pronounced meagre. Florence of Worcester 
repeatedly cites the ' Chronica Saxonica' (aa. 672, 674, 734), 
by Avhich it appears on comparison that he means our Saxon 
Chronicle. Whether, besides the well-known Latin elements 
of the Chronicle, a West Saxon one, written in the language 
of the country, may have contributed to form its basis, it is 
now impossible either to assert or contradict : luckily the 
credibility of its scanty notices is not affected by our igno- 
rance of that point. The continuations of the Chronicle are 
often vvTitten by contemporaries, to identify whom, however 
desirable for criticism, would with our present means be an 
impracticable task. Even in such a research, the question 
might not be unimportant, whether it really was or was not 


first written in the language of the country. On comparing 
Florence with the Chronicle, we find that the former bears 
the nearest resemblance to the Worcester manuscript ; though 
Florence has many details wanting in the latter, as in the 
years 1040, 1041 and 1049; while vice versa, the former has 
some notices, viz. under the years 693 and 710, and even 
1044, relative to King Eadward's marriage, which in the latter 
are wanting. 

Notwithstanding the variations existing among the several 
manuscripts, their general resemblance, particularly a striking 
agreement in many chronological errors, both in the Anglo- 
Saxon and Latin texts, must appear very remarkable. In 
explanation of this, Gibson refers to an account, that in the 
monasteries of royal foundation in England, whatever worthy 
of remembrance occurred in the neighbourhood was com- 
mitted to writing, that such records were at the next synod 
compared with each other, and that from them the Chronicles 
were composed. It must, however, be remarked, that this 
account given by Walter Bower, the continuator of Fordun's 
Scotichronicon^, who wrote in the beginning of the fifteenth 
century, cannot, without further authority, be applied to the 
portion of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles in which we are at 
present interested. 

Till the year 1036 poetical fragments are occasionally in- 
serted into the Chronicle, viz. in the years 937j 941, 958, 973, 
975, 1011, 1036 and 1065. That these verses were not com- 
posed in the years under which they stand is sometimes 
manifest from their w^ords, as in the year 958, on the acces- 
sion of Eadgar, where allusion is made to his conduct and 
character; and under 975, where the j^ear of his death is 
spoken of, which it is said took place, according to the cal- 
culation of those skilled in numbers, in the month of July. 

Of the Latin elaborations of the Saxon Chronicle the oldest 
is that of Ethelwerd, in four books, to the year 975, in which, 
' Edit. Hearne, t. iv. p. 1348. 


as we have observed, some manuscripts of the Chronicle itself 
also terminate. With the pompousness characteristic of the 
Anglo-Saxons he gives (and often incorrectly ^) an epitomised 
version of the Chronicle, and would without the aid of the 
original be the more difficult to understand, as the only 
ancient manuscript of the work perished in the fire at the 
Cottonian library, and is made known to us solely through 
the printed text in Savile's collection. The fourth book, how- 
ever, contains some valuable information relative to the reigns 
of ^thelred and -Alfred, not to be found in Asser and the 
other chroniclers, and not to be ascribed to some lost manu- 
script of the Saxon Chronicle, but rather to Ethelwerd him- 
self, whose adherence to the Chronicle is, nevertheless, to be 
continually recognised ; and even the verses inserted in that 
record under the year 975, are by him very indifferently 
imitated in Latin. 

Ethelwerd was not an ecclesiastic, but an ealdorman de- 
scended from king ^thelred the First. He calls himself, in 
true Anglo-Saxon style, Patricius Consul Fabius Quaestor 
Ethelwerdus. He is generally supposed to have been the 
ealdorman of that name^ who died in the year 1090, a suppo- 
sition which appears even more erroneous than that which 
makes him a son of king -Alfred, who died in 922. Ethelwerd 
dedicates his work to a relation (consobrina) named Mathilda, 
who was descended from king ^Elfred, the brother of his 
ancestor (abavus) .^thelred, through his granddaughter Ead- 
gyth, the wife of the emperor Otto the First. Some, on the 
strength of the words, " Eadgyde, ex qua tu principium 
tenes nativitatis," and "vera Christi ancillaV^ have supposed 
this Mathilda to have been the daughter of Otto, who became 
abbess of Quedlinburg ; but this abbess was not his daughter 
by Eadgyth, who died in 947, but by his second wife Adel- 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 710. " gefuhton wiS Gerente " he renders "bellum gesse^ 
runt contra Uuthgirente." Malmesbury (lib. i.) severely blames his style. 
- Nicolson, Engl. Hist. Library, p. 48. ^ Prolog. lib. i. 


heid, born in 955 ^ ; nor can the relationship intimated be 
by a daughter, but only by a granddaughter of Eadgyth, as 
Alfred is called not the abavus, but the atavus of Mathilda^. 
Now this person I find in the daughter of Liudolf^, the son 
of Otto and Eadgyth, by Ida, a daughter of Hermann duke 
of Allemannia, born in 949, and married to Obizzone of 
Milan, the ancestor of the Visconti family ; a conjecture 
which finds corroboration in the request of Ethelwerd to 
Mathilda, that she would inform him to what king in the 
neighbourhood of the Great St. Bernard (juxta Jupitereos 
montes) the sister of Eadgyth had been given in marriage, 
and what offspring they had ; to learn which would to her 
be an easy matter, both by reason of her influence % and of 
the proximity of her abode. From Mathilda's place of ha- 
bitation it appears why a layman came to render such a 
work into Latin for a lady. According to our hypothesis, 
the period when Ethelwerd lived is also determined, who 
must have composed his work about the year 1000. Which, 
however, of the two sons of iEthelred, whether Athelra or 
^thelwold, — who married a nun whom he had carried off', 
and in 905 fell in an insurrection in East Anglia, against 
Eadward, — was the great-grandfather of Ethelwerd, appears 
no longer ascertainable. Three eminent men of his name 
died about that time — in 1001 the heah-gerefa of the king, in 
1016 the son of ^thelwine, and in 1017 the son of ^thel- 
maere the Great. Of ^Ethel wine's mother, -^Ifwen, the wife 
of the under-king ^thelstan of East Anglia, we know that 
she was of royal lineage, and that the education of king 

' She died in 999. Cf. Annal. Quedlinburg. a. 955 sq. ap. Leibnitz, 
Script. Rer. Brunsvic. t. i., and Pertz, t. iii. " Lib. iv. c. 2 f. 

^ She also became abbess of Quedlinburg, and died in 1011. Anna!. 
Quedl. " Abstulit (sacva mors) et de regali stemmate gemmara Machtildam 
abbatissam, Liudolfi filiam." Her birth is registered by Annalista Saxo, 
a. 949. 

■* Prolog, lib. i. " Quae non solum affinitate, sed et potestate videris ob- 
pleta, nulla inter capedine prohibente." 


Eadgar was entrusted to her : she may possibly be the hnk 
wantino- in the descent of Ethelwerd from kino- ^theh*ed. 

Soon after the estabhshment of the Norman dynasty on the 
throne of England the Anglo-Saxon tongue rapidly became 
cormpt, and fell into disuse among the clergy, who, not from 
any parade of learning, but from necessity, wrote the annals 
of the kingdom in the only to them intelligible language of 
the church. Of their works, several composed in the first 
half of the twelfth century or earlier have reached our time. 

The most estimable translator of the Saxon Chronicle is 
Florence, a monk of Worcester, called also Bavonius, who 
has inserted into the Universal Chronicle of Marianus Scotus, 
an Irishman, who passed his life in the abbey of Fulda (ob. 
1086), besides a translation either of a manuscript of the 
Saxon Chronicle resembling the existing Worcester manu- 
script, or of a text emended and enlarged by himself^, extracts 
from Beda, the greater part of Asser's Life of Alfred, and 
many valuable genealogical and other notices down to 1118, 
the year of his death. Florence had not only excellent manu- 
scripts before him, but has translated the Anglo-Saxon more 
correctly than the other chroniclers. That he made use of 
the Historia Eliensis or its sources seems highly probable, 
from the close agreement of his account of the murder of the 
astheling iElfred with that in the History (hb. ii. c. 32.), which 
deviates from that in the Saxon Chronicle (a. 1036)^. Flo- 
rence's Chronicle is continued by another monk of his mo- 
nastery to the year 1141. His work was printed at London 
in 1592 in 4to, and at Frankfurt o. M. in 1601 in folio, after 
the ' Flores Historiarum' of Matthew of Westminster. 

Marianus himself has but few special accounts relative to 
Britain, and these refer chiefly to Scotland and to certain 
ecclesiastics. Florence had apparently a much completer 
manuscript of Marianus than that from which Pistorius 

^ Cf. both under the year 988. 

2 Cf. Florence a. 1070 with the Hist. Eliensis, lib. ii. c. 44. 


printed ; hence we find in him many accounts relating to 
Germany, even to the abbey of Fulda, by Marianus, an exa- 
mination into which would be an indispensable preliminary 
labour to a better edition of this chronicle. 

The work of Florence forms in great measure, word for 
word, the basis of a chronicle of events from the year 848 to 
1129, compiled about the last-mentioned year by Simeon, 
precentor of St. Cuthberht's at Durham, but which contains 
also some special Northumbrian and Scottish accounts ^ Of 
such, however, more are to be found in another work of the 
same author, entitled ^ Historia de Gestis Regum Anglo- 
rum,' from the year 616 to 957- In the latter he makes use 
of Beda, the ' Historia vel Chronica hujus patriae,' and some 
legends of saints. The narrative of Harold's visit to duke 
William, inserted in his Chronicle under the year 1066, is 
also given in Eadmer's * Historia Novorum,' lib. i., though 
somewhat abridged ; whence it is evident that the latter can- 
not have been Simeon's source. The ' Historia Dunelmensis 
Ecclesia3,' also under the name of Simeon, in three books, 
contains much interesting matter for the history of the north 
of England. Of this work it is supposed that Simeon, to the 
year 1097, was only the transcriber, and that the author was 
the prior Turgot^, who after 1108 became bishop of St. 

The Chronicle of the abbey of Melrose (Mailros)^, from the 
year 735 to 12/0, is for the Anglo-Saxon period merely an 
extract, with a few unimportant additions, from Simeon of 
Durham. Its value has been much overrated. 

Henry, archdeacon of Huntingdon, compiled an ' Historia 
Anglorum' from the year of Julius Caesar's landing to 1135, 

' The notices relative to Normandy, aa. 876 and 906, agree literally with 
the Chronicle of Rouen (Chronicon Rothomagense), which deserves to be 
noticed on account of the chronology'. 

^ Simeon is printed inTwysden's collection, and to 1066 in Petrie, C. H. 
Respecting Turgot see Twysden's preface. 

^ Printed in Fell's collection, t. i. 


which is continued to 1 154. The first six books embrace the 
period in which we are concerned, for which, besides the 
usual sources, Henry has availed himself of many traditions; 
while for the later period lie has recorded either what he had 
witnessed himself or received from eye-witnesses ^ Some of 
his few principal sources are still undiscovered : the more 
important of the known ones, exclusive of Eutropius, Paulus 
Diaconus, etc., are Beda's Chronicon and Ecclesiastical Hi- 
story, Nennius (whom he calls Gildas), and the Saxon Chro- 
nicle, which he sometimes misinterprets, though perhaps less 
often than has been supposed. His chronology is extremely 
confused and frequently inaccurate, as are also his genealogi- 
cal notices. Particularly attractive, however, are his accounts 
of battles, which often appear borrowed from old poems ^. A 
very close agreement with the more copious Ailred of Rie- 
vaux, which leads to the conclusion of a common, though to 
us unknown source, is manifest in his account of Eadmund 
Ironside. A striking contrast to the other monastic chro- 
niclers, who cannot bestow sufficient praises on Dunstan, 
appears in his commendation of king Eadwy : and in general, 
throughout all which this author relates or suppresses may 
be recognised the patriotic Anglo-Saxon, equally averse both 
to temporal and ecclesiastical oppressors. That he availed 
himself of Norman sources may, perhaps, be inferred from his 
narrative of the sons of Emma, which agrees so closely with 
the Roman de Rou ; as well as from accounts strictly Norman 
given by him alone of all the English chroniclers, as a.d. 
1047, of the battle of Val des Dunes, also William's speech 
before the battle of Hastings. From similar works he has 
probably derived his old British stories, as that of the princess 
Helena and others, which are not to be traced either to Nen- 
nius or Jeffrey of Monmouth, according to our manuscripts^. 

^ See Prolog, ad lib. i. ^ e. g. The battle of Brunanburh. — T. 

^ He is copied literally by Rob, du Mont, Wallingford, Hoveden, the 
Annal. Waverl., R. de Diceto, Matt. Paris, Bromton, Gervasius, Robert of 
Gloucester, etc. 


Henry's work is dedicated to the same Alexander bishop of 
Lincohi whom Jeffrey addresses in his ' Historia Britonum.' 
A continuation of Henry of Huntingdon from 1042 to 1275 
is extant in manuscript ^ 

Roger of Hoveden in Yorkshire, chaplain to king Henry 
the Second, a jurist and professor of divinity at Oxford, was 
living in the year 1204. This writer has been much too often 
quoted, as, even to the last year of his Annals, he has (ex- 
cepting a few trifling additions) copied from chronicles known 
to us, and, for the Anglo-Saxon period, from Simeon of Dur- 
ham and Henry of Huntingdon. The beginnhig of his work, 
including the ' Prologus,^ to the year 803 (edit. Frankf. pp. 
401-407), is from Simeon (pp. 90-119) ; the following to the 
year 849 (p. 414) is from Huntingdon (pp. 341-348) ; hence 
to the year 1122 (pp. 414-477) is from Simeon's second work 
(pp. 137-245); after which, from 1122 to 1148 (p. 490), 
Roger returns to Henry of Huntingdon. 

Alured, or ^Elfred, treasurer of the monastery of Beverley, 
has in his Annals excerpted from Beda, Jeffrey of Monmouth 
and Simeon of Durham. He ends with the year in which the 
last-mentioned terminates ; but we are not thence justified in 
concluding that he wrote in that year, or in inferring that the 
work of Jeffrey, which is known to have followed those of 
Henry of Huntingdon and William of Malmesbury, had 
already appeared in 1129. Traces of an immediate use of the 
Saxon Chronicle are occasionally discernible in Alured, as 
a. 879 (883), relative to king yElfred's mission to India. The 
lists of Anglo-Saxon kings, contained in the sixth book, are, 
with the exception of the introduction, from the Appendix to 
Florence of Worcester : the author's own additions are very 
short and unimportant^. 

These are the principal works which, on account of their 
close adherence to the earliest sources of Anglo-Saxon history, 

^ Cooper on the Public Records, ii. p. 1G5. 

2 Alured was edited bv Thomas Heajne, Oxon. 1716. 


must here be cited. In the first centuries after the Norman 
conquest several other EngHsh historic writers appeared, who, 
devoted to the new dynasty, excite our attention chiefly by 
reason of the baneful influence which, through their Norman 
prejutlices and false criticism, they have exercised on the 
early history. 

The work ascribed to Ingulf, an Englishman, born about 
the year 1030, secretary to William of Normandy, and after- 
wards abbot of Croyland (ob. 1109), is the first to be noticed ^ 
In this composition almost all the charters are forgeries^, a cir- 
cumstance which of itself, perhaps, might not invalidate the 
general credibility of the rest of the work — which consists of 
a history of Croyland abbey, interspersed with matter relating 
to the kingdom of Mercia, and, at a later period, to all En- 
gland ; — but the narrative of Ingulf not only abounds in gross 
errors and anachronisms with regard to contemporary events, 
but contains matter demonstrably fabulous ; such is the 
account of his having studied Aristotle at Oxford^. Even in 
the Life of abbot Thurketul, which, though composed by his 
relative, the younger abbot Egelric, is said to have been con- 
tinued by Ingulf, it is erroneously stated, that Constantine 
king of Scotland fell in the battle of Brunanburh, in 938 
(erroneously for that king^s son), by the hand of Thurketul, 
and that the emperor Heniy the First (who it is well known 
died in 936), after that battle sought the hand of .^thelstan's 
daughter for his son Otto. In the accounts of Alfred and 
Eadward the Elder, the so-called Ingulf agrees so frequently, 
both in erroneous matter and words, in chronology and facts, 
with William of Malmcsbuiy, that it will be difficult not to 
regard this part of his chronicle as an interpolation from that 

^ Cf. Ingulf, a. 1075, where an account of his Ufe is inserted. 

- See Hickes, t. iii. p. 73. 

^ " Primum Westmonasterio, postmodum Oxoniensi studio traditus 
eram. Cumque in Aristotele arripiendo," etc. For a judicious and intern 
esting notice of Ingulf see Biographia Britannica Literaria, vol. ii,, com- 
posed by Mr. Wright for the Royal Society of Literature. — T. 


author, since a source common to both cannot be indicated. 
The account too of the interment of two relations of Thur- 
ketul in the abbey of Malmesbury is to be found in both 
writers ^, for which the latter cites as his authority an historic 
work in Latin hexameters. A charter also of Malmesbury 
of the year 974 is given more fully in Ingulf than in the 
printed work of the monk of that cloister. Even in that part 
of his chronicle in which contemporary events are recorded, 
Ingulf, as we have already observed, is not trustworthy : as 
in the years 1056 and 1062, where he calls count Radulf, 
instead of the son, the husband of Goda. The contemporary 
abbots of Croyland are confounded by him. He seems to 
haVe made use of Ailred of Rievaux. At the same time it 
must be allowed that the continuation of IngulFs work by 
Peter of Blois seems to impress it with a stamp of genuine- 
ness. From the foundation of his abbey till its destruction 
by the Danes in 870, Ingulf appeals to five older chroniclers, 
viz. Aio, Thurgar, Swetman, etc.^ By whom the history from 
871 to 948 has been supplied we are not informed. Hence 
it seems not unreasonable to suppose that the true history of 
Ingulf has not reached us, but that in the work before us we 
possess a compilation made at an early period, into which por- 
tions of the real Ingulf are interwoven, and in the use of 
which the utmost caution is to be observed. It is printed in 
Savile's collection, and in that of Fell; no manuscript is 
known to exist. 

Ailred (iEthelred), abbot of Rievaux in Yorkshire, has 
collected genealogical notices of the Anglo-Saxon kings. Of 
his other writings, none need be mentioned except his Life, 
or rather Legend of Eadward the Confessor^. His praise of 
Eadgar and account of Godwine's death remind us strongly 
of Alured of Beverley. 

1 Ingulf, p. 39 ; W. Malm. lib. ii. 6. Cf. also in both the passages about 
^ lb. a. 974, and at the close of the work. 
3 Printed in Twvsden's collection. 


The works of William, a monk and librarian of Malmes- 
bury^ abbey (ob. about 1142), are remarkably attractive, both 
from the manner in which he treats his subject and from his 
arrangement, which deviates from the usual chronological 
order. These are, * De Gestis Regum Anglorum ' lib. v.; * Hi- 
storias Novellge ' lib. ii. ; ^ De Gestis Pontificum Anglorum ' 
lib. V. From the ^ Prologus ' to the first book of his principal 
work it appears, that Malmesbury was unacquainted with the 
invaluable historic productions of his contemporaries. The 
authors named by him are Beda, Ethelwerd, and Eadmer. 
In the words, " quaedam vetustatis indicia chronico more et 
patrio sermone, per annos Domini ordinata," he evidently 
alludes to the Saxon Chronicle. Together with many inter- 
esting narratives preserved by Malmesbury, is to be found an 
abundance of insipid tales quite irrelevant to his subject, but 
to which his work is mainly indebted for much of the appro- 
bation which it has received ; for after Beda and Jeffrey of 
Monmouth, no old English historic writer has been more 
resorted to by chroniclers, both of his own country and of 
the continent, than William of Malmesbury. Among the 
more ancient of the latter may be named Alberic des Trois- 
fontaines and Vincent of Beauvais. 

To Matthew, a monk of Westminster abbey, is ascribed an 
historic work, compiled in the fourteenth century from various 
chronicles, entitled ^ Flores Historiarum^.^ From a kind of 
inadvertence this chronicle has been much used, because it 
has not been noticed that almost all his sources (for the 
Anglo-Saxon period) have been preserved, extracts from 
which have by him only been abridged and often unskilfully 
brought together, and, when dates were wanting, not un- 

^ Printed in Savile's collection, excepting the fifth book ' De Gestis 
Pontificum/ which is to be found in Gale and Wharton. [Of the two first- 
mentioned works, an excellent edition with English notes, etc. has been_ 
published by T. D. Hardy, Esq. for the EngUsh Historical Society. — T.j 

- Francofurti, 1601. fol. 

VOL. I. e 


frequently inserted under wrong years. Of his sources with 
which we are concerned may be mentioned Nennius, Beda, 
Asser, the Saxon Chronicle, Florence of Worcester, Jeffrey 
of Monmouth, Wilham of Jumieges (e. g. a. 887, from lib. i. 
cc. 6-11 relative to Hsesting, and later about RoUo), Mari- 
anus Scotus, and William of Malmesbury, whom he occasion- 
ally mentions by name (as aa. 979, 1035). To the foregoing 
Henry of Huntingdon might perhaps be added, though some 
passages in him, chiefly concerning the north of England, on 
which that supposition is founded, are more fully given in 
Matthew, and may therefore have been more circumstantially 
taken from a source common to both. The account of the 
single combat between Eadmund Ironside and Cnut seems to 
have been extracted from Ailred of Rievaux (p. 364). Many 
legends are recounted, and narratives from monastic chro- 
nicles inserted by Matthew ; hence several notices are to be 
found scattered throughout his work which the future ga- 
therer of materials for English history may deem it worth his 
while to collect. 

To John Wallingford, abbot of St. Albans (ob. 1214), Gale 
ascribes a chronicle published by him of events from the year 
449 to 1036 ^ This author makes some attempts at historic 
criticism, in which, however, he is eminently unsuccessful. 
For the history of the northern Anglo-Saxon provinces, he 
gives us some accounts not to be found elsewhere. He makes 
great use of the first six books of William of Jumieges, and 
also, though not immediately, of Dudo of St. Gluentin ; as we 
find in Wallingford the narratives of the latter, together with 
the additions and continuations of the former of these two 
writers (as pp. 532 and 533, from Guil. Gemet. lib. i. cc. 3-5 ; 
also p. 548, from lib. v. c. 8 ; pp. 549, 550, fi'om lib. vi. cc. 10- 
13). He also makes mention of Jeffrey of Monmouth, Henry 
of Huntingdon and William of Malmesbury, and excerpts the 
Lives of the saints Guthlac, Cuthberht, Neot and Eadward, 
^ Printed in Gale's collection, t. i. 


also Britferth's Life of St. Dunstan. His quotation from the 
' Historia Gothorum ' is copied from William of Jumieges. 

We have now to mention, in a few words, those Norman 
writers who have touched on this portion of English history. 
In this respect Dudo, dean of St. Quentin, is but rarely of im- 
mediate interest, though, for the history of the ancestors of 
king William the Conqueror, he is not only the source of 
several chronicles generally more noticed, but is also, not- 
withstanding his many poetical ornaments and chronological 
errors, much richer in undoubted facts than the learned edi- 
tors of the ' Materials for French History' have been aware 

More immediately interesting to us is William, a monk of 
Jumieges, whose ^ Historia Normannorum ' reaches to the 
conquest of England by the Normans. His work being de- 
dicated to the Conqueror, it follows that what forms the end 
of the seventh and the eighth book, which is continued to the 
year 1137, cannot have been written by him-. He has, as we 
have seen, been excerpted by many English chroniclers. 
Both these writers are contained in Du Chesne's collection 
of ^Scriptores Rerum Normannicarum;' the latter also in 
Camden's ^Anglica Normannica,' etc., an edition much in- 
ferior to that of Du Chesne, which is founded on two manu- 
scripts from the library of De Thou. 

Of much importance for historic research, notwithstanding 
its poetic garb, is the ' Roman de Rou^,' a history of the 
dukes of Normandy, interwoven with many traditions, by 
Robert Wace, a native of Jersey, bred at Caen, and after- 
wards, by appointment of Henry the Second, a prebendary 
of Bayeux. Of his ^Brut,' written about the year 1155, 

' See Bouquet, t. X. Preface, and p. 141, The proofs of my assertion 
cannot be given here, but will appear in a chapter on the history of Nor- 
mandy before the year 1066, prefixed to the ' History of England under the 
Norman Kings.' 

^ Bouquet, t.xi. Pref. No, xii., and t. xii. Pref. No. xlix. 

» Written after 1170. See v. 16538 sq. 



niention has already been made. In the * Roman de Rou' 
is to be found much exclusive and credible matter for the 
history of the eleventh century, in the use of which, how- 
ever, due allowance is to be made for the national prejudices 
of the Norman. This work also seems to have served as a 
source to some of the English chroniclers. It has for the first 
time been printed by M. Pluquet^ 

Anterior to Wace was Benoit de S*^ More, or, as he is 
styled by Wace, Maistre Beneit, who wrote in French a 
metrical chronicle of the dukes of Normandy, consisting of 
48,000 verses. The only ancient manuscript known of this 
work is in the British Museum (Harl. 1717). It has recently 
been published at Paris from a transcript made by M. Fran- 
cisque Michel, by the direction of M. Guizot, while Minister 
of Public Instruction^. Further notice of this work is re- 
served for ^The History of England under the Norman 

In the language of the Gallo-Normans, but written in 
England for the lords of the land a century after the Con- 
quest, is ' L'Estorie des Engles solum la translation Maistre 
Geffi*ei Gaimar,' a metrical chronicle of England from the 
landing of Cerdic in the year 495 to the death of William 
Rufus in 1099. It seems to have been composed about the 
middle of the twelfth century, and follows the Saxon Chro- 
nicle, which the author frequently misunderstands. It con- 
tains, however, many, though not always historic additions, 
by which Gaimar, as the oldest known authority — though he 
refers to an earlier — is rendered of importance. This work, 

^ Rouen, 1827. 2 voll. 8vo, and ' Remarques' by Le Prevost and Ray- 
nouard, 1829. [For a very able prose version of the portion of the Roman 
de Rou relating to the conquest of England, with highly valuable and in- 
teresting illustrations, the public are indebted to a most worthy and amiable 
man and excellent scholar lately deceased, under the title : ' Master Wace 
his Chronicle of the Norman Conquest from the Roman de Rou, translated 
with notes and illustrations by Edgar Taylor, Esq., F.S.A.' London, 1837. 
8vo.— T.] 

2 Chroniques des Dues de Normandie, 2 torn. 4to. 1836, 1838. 


to the year 1066, appears for the first time in the ' Corpus 

Of great moment for the illustration of the downfall of the 
Anglo-Saxon dynasty in England is the biography of William 
the Conqueror by William of Poitiers, archdeacon of Lisieux. 
Though valuable for his matter, this author is objectionable 
on account of his style, in which he is an imitator of the 
Roman classics, particularly Sallust, and not only inserts 
fabricated speeches into his narrative, but not unfrequently 
sacrifices a part of the truth for the sake of sparkhng anti- 
theses and oratorical pomp. He is sometimes copied by 
William of Jumieges, but more copiously by Ordericus Vi- 
talis ; so much so indeed, that some defective passages in our 
manuscript of William of Poitiers can be supplied from Orde- 
ricus with tolerable security. His work is printed in Du 
Chesne's collection, and in a separate edition by Baron Ma- 

Ordericus Vitalis, born in the year 1075 at Attingesham 
on the banks of the Severn, a monk in the monastery of St. 
Evroult en Ouche (Uticum), has but few details relative to 
Anglo-Saxon history in his ' Historia Ecclesiastica,^ though 
his extracts from William of Poitiers are not without some 
additional information. 

Mention must also be made of the ^ Carmen de Bello Has- 
tingensi ' discovered at Brussels by Dr. Pertz, and printed for 
the first time in the English Corpus Historicum^. Several 
gallicisms in the poem prove the author to have been a French- 
man, such as ^ter quinque dies,' quinze jours, for a fortnight, 
etc. I have no doubt that this is the poem spoken of by 

^ See also extracts in Dapping, Histoire des expeditions maritimes des 
Normands, and Corpus Historicum, p. 764 note ; and Michel, Chron. 
Anglo-Norm., t. i. Cf. also Wiener Jahrb. Th. 7Q. p. 259 sq. 

* Historiae Anglicanae circa tempus Conquestus Anglife a Gulielmo Notho, 
Normannorum Duce, Selecta Monumenta, etc. London 1807. 4to. 

^ It is also printed in Mr. Cooper's unpublished Report on Rymer, and 
in the Chroniques Anglo-Normandes par M. Michel, t. iii. 


William of Jumieges (lib. vii. c. 44) and Ordericus Vitalis. 
(lib. iii. p. 504), as the composition of Guy (Wido) bishop of 
Amiens (ob. 1075), who lived for some time at the court of 
Mathilda, the queen of the Conqueror. The first verses of 
this poem may therefore be supplied thus : 

Quern probitas celebrat, sapientia munit et ornat, 
Erigit et decorat, L(anfrancum) W(ido) salutat. 

To these Norman writers appears to have belonged the 
author of the * Chronicon Danorum in Anglia regnantium,' 
mentioned by Thomas Rudborne in the ' Historia Major 
Wintoniensis ' (ap. Wharton, A. S. t. i.), for the purpose of 
quoting from him a tradition respecting the birth of William 
the Conqueror. 

Of English metrical chronicles, that of Robert of Glou- 
cester, written about the year 1280, is one of the most valu- 
able ^ It begins with the tales of Jeffrey of Monmouth, 
but in the Anglo-Saxon portion follows chiefly William of 
Malmesbury, and sometimes Henry of Huntingdon, as in the 
story of Cnut on the sea-shore, the speech of William before 
the battle of Hastings, etc. His relation of the single combat 
between Eadmund and Cnut, with the prolix speech, is ap- 
parently an imitation of Ailred of Rievaux. 

A similar chronicle, written in French verse ^, by Peter 
Langtoft, a canon regular of the order of St. Augustine, at 
Bridlington in Yorkshire, whence he is also called Pers of 
Bridlynton, though extant in manuscript, is known to us 
only through the English metrical version of Robert Man- 
nyng, or, as he is more usually called, Robert de Brunne^. 
The editor has omitted the part copied from ' Le Brut.' This 
chronicle, which ends with the death of Edward the First in 
1307, was without doubt composed and translated not long 
after that time. The little contained in it of Anglo-Saxon 

^ Edited by Thomas Hearne. Oxon. 1724. 2 voll. 8vo. 

2 Extracts from the French text are printed intheChron. Anglo-Norm. t.i. 

2 Edited by Thomas Hearne. Oxon. 1725. 2 voll. 8vo. 


history, for which Gildas, Beda, Henry of Huntingdon, and 
WiUiam of Malmesbury are cited, are old Enghsh sagas in- 
serted by Robert de Brunne, of which that of Havelok, king 
Gunter's son ^, he says expressly is not to be found in Pers of 

It is a remarkable circumstance that the majority of the 
later chroniclers are from Yorkshire or the neighbouring 
counties, which may, perhaps, be attributed to a longer pre- 
served nationality in those parts. Their chief sources are 
rarely the Saxon Chronicle and Florence, but rather Henry 
of Huntingdon and William of Malmesbury, whose traditions 
and fables are by them generally transcribed in greater 
breadth. This remark is particularly applicable to the work, 
too often appealed to, ascribed to John Bromton, abbot of 
Jorvaulx in Yorkshire, who lived towards the end of the 
fourteenth century. It comprises the period from the year 
588 to 1198, whence it might be suspected to be the produc- 
tion of some earlier writer, did it not contain mention of the 
marriage-contract of Johanna, sister of Edward the Third, 
with David, afterwards king of Scotland. Besides the chro- 
niclers just enumerated, Bromton also copies Florence and 
the Flores Historiarum : he likewise mentions the chronicle 
of Walter of Giseborne. Norman anecdotes he relates in the 
same order as Wace in the Roman de Ron. 

The only merit, with reference to Anglo-Saxon history, 
hitherto possessed by Bromton — that of being the earliest 
source of many interesting sagas, is now effaced, as we find 
the same sagas in Gaimar ; and they are also to be found, 
though in an abridged form, in the unprinted chronicle of 
Douglas of Glastonbury, the Hamburg vellum manuscript of 
which reaches to the time of Edward the Third, in which the 
names, disguised like those in Gaimar, sufficiently betray 
the use of a Norman source^. In the earher part of his chro- 

1 Seep. 116. 

2 Thus, cap. iii. Renaude for Reginald ; cap. cxii. Estrildefor iElfthryth, 


nicle Douglas follows Jeffrey of Monmouth ; in the later 
portion he has accounts exclusively his own, relating to the 
wars between England and Scotland in the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries, which are valuable through the com- 
munication of contemporary ballads. 

We have occasionally, in the course of our researches, made 
use of smaller historic M'orks, but of which many monastic 
histories and Lives of Saints are still in manuscript only. 
Letters also, homilies and other documents have been but 
partially brought to light, of which several, connected with 
later times, will be noticed hereafter. 

Of other helps to Anglo-Saxon history, the first to be men- 
tioned are the Charters, a complete collection of which is now 
in course of publication by the English Historical Society. 
Of these important documents two volumes have already ap- 
peared^, containing charters of Anglo-Saxon kings, ealdor- 
men and prelates to the year 966. To the first volume is 
prefixed an Introduction by the learned editor, embracing an 
ample fund of information illustrative of the use and nature 
of those instruments, their dates, tests of their genuineness, 
etc., indispensable to those who have not made such monu- 
ments a particular branch of study. Older collections, which 
are in great measure superseded by this highly useful pub- 
lication, are — the Textus RofFensis, belonging to the cathe- 
dral of Rochester, containing, besides many valuable charters, 
etc., the only copy extant of the Laws of the Kentish kings. 
This manuscript, compiled by bishop Ernulphus in the twelfth 
century, was communicated to the world by that laborious 
and meritorious antiquary Thomas Hearne : also Hemming's 
Chartulary of the church of Worcester. Many charters are 

the queen of Eadgar ; cap. cvii. in " Alured that Dolphynes was called " it 

is not Dauphin, but Gaimar's (v. 3023 sq.) " Elueret, Edelwolfing ert 

apelez;" also, cap. cvii. "a Dane that me called Roynt/' from Gaimar, 
V. 3016, "un Daneis, un tyrant, ki Sumerlede ont nun le grant." 

^ Codex Diploraaticus .^Evi Saxonici. Opera Johannis M. Kemble, 
torn. i. and ii. 


also to be found dispersed in Hickes's Thesaurus, Smith's 
edition of the historic works of Beda, the monastic histories 
of Ely and Glastonbury, etc. The greater number, however, 
of these documents having reference to churches and con- 
vents, those of the latter description are consequently col- 
lected in the * Monasticon Anglicanum,' originally edited by 
William Dugdale and Roger Dodsworth, in 3 voll. folio, 1682, 
continued by J. Stevens in 2 voll. folio, and lastly edited 
anew by John Cayley, Esq., Henry Ellis, Esq., and the Rev. 
B. BandineP. 

The edition of the Anglo-Saxon Laws, commenced by the 
late Mr. Price, under the authority of the Commission on the 
Public Records, but continued and completed by the trans- 
lator of the present work^, exhibits a purer text, accompanied 
by collations from every known manuscript, than that of the 
earlier editions. In the ecclesiastical portion of the work is 
printed for the first time the Penitential of archbishop Theo- 
dore, the prototype of most of the later penitentials, particu- 
larly that of archbishop Ecgberht. In this work also some in- 
teresting secular documents are given for the first time in print. 
Before the appearance of this edition, that of Dr. Wilkins 
was the most complete, though abounding in errors of no 
trivial character. An edition of much merit, and highly useful 
to the German scholar, was begun by Dr. Reinhold Schmid, 
of which the first volume only has hitherto appeared^. The 

1 London, 1817-1830. 8 voll. folio. 

" Ancient Laws and Institutes of England ; comprising Laws enacted 
under the Anglo-Saxon Kings from vEthelbirht to Cnut, with an English 
translation of the Saxon ; the Laws called Edward the Confessor's ; the 
Laws of William the Conqueror, and those ascribed to Henry the First : 
also Monumenta Ecclesiastica Anglicana, from the seventh to the tenth 
century ; and the Ancient Latin Version of the Anglo-Saxon Laws. With 
a compendious Glossary, &c. Printed by command of His late Majesty 
King William IV., under the direction of the Commissioners on the Public 
Records of the Kingdom. MDCCCXL, 1 vol. fol., or 2 voll. royal 8vo. 

^ Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen. In der Urspi-ache mit Uebersetzung 
und Erlauterungen herausgegeben von Dr. Reinhold Schmid, Professor der 
Rechte zu Jena. Leipzig, 1832. Bvo. 


at the time for the history of kings and wars to the reign of 
Alfred. The Life also of that king by Spelman forms an 
epoch in the historic Kterature of England. In 1724 the 
work of Rapin de Thoyras appeared, Avho, however, did very 
little for the Anglo-Saxon period, and even seems to have 
been ignorant of the existence of many sources then already 
in print. In the notes of his translator, Tindal, many rectifi- 
cations and additions are to be found. A considerable ad- 
vance is manifest in the portion dedicated to the Anglo-Saxon 
period of Carte's History of England^, the earlier part of 
which has served as a storehouse to David Hume, who was 
lamentably deficient in fundamental knowledge of the early 
middle age. In praising Hume for his lively picture of the 
history of the Stuarts, and for some portions of that of the 
Tudors, as the most acute of modern investigators, as an un- 
rivalled perfect model for historic composition, in whom was 
united with English strength and Scottish perspicuity, the 
grace of the land of his mental cultivation, his much-loved 
France, — in this very praise is implied the cause why Hume, 
who at first had occupied himself only on the history of the 
Revolution (from which, not till a later period, he carried back 
his work to the beginning of the history^), could not evince 
in his account of the middle age either the enthusiasm or 
even the industry of Milton. It is not, therefore, surprising 
that Gibbon, with his widely comprehensive studies, and who 
in acuteness and powers of combination was the equal of his 
great contemporary, is, in his notices of the Anglo-Saxons, 
contained in his immortal work, more instructive than Hume. 
After these another star of the first magnitude in the Bri- 
tish horizon remains to be named, — though, as in the case of 
Milton, as the author of a work of no great estimation, — 
Edmund Burke, who wrote an Abridgment of Enghsh Hi- 

1 London, 1747-1755, 4 voll. folio. 

^ The History of the Stuarts appeared in 1755, that of the Tudors in 
1759> that of the earlier period some years later. 


story to the year 1216, in which the part relating to the 
jurisprudence of the Anglo-Saxons has considerable merit. 
From this specimen, which, though not printed until after his 
death, was probably the labour of his earlier years', we may 
reasonably suppose, that had this most talented of British 
statesmen more seriously devoted himself to the subject, the 
story of England would have been told in a work not inferior 
to those through which the enviable states of antiquity, as well 
as that revival of the Periclean Athens, the Tuscan city, stand 
in never-fading colours before the wondering eyes of after- 

It might almost appear as though it Avere intended to be 
shown that the greatest geniuses among a people devoted to 
freedom have felt themselves irresistibly drawn to the study 
of their native history, when we yet mention the Histoiy of 
England by Sir James Mackintosh, the apparent antagonist, 
though in fact the intellectual son of Edmund Burke. The 
study of philosophy and of the laws of Europe and Asia, a 
high judicial post at Calcutta, a truly considerable share in 
European politics, through the engendering and spread of 
creative, promoting, wide-forming ideas in internal national 
life, as well as of retrospective, preserving views, well founded 
in the policy and public law of both hemispheres ; the favour 
of the sportive muse, the acknowledged possession of a noble, 
graceful, courtly demeanour, an intercourse, — which while it 
much received no less distributed, — with the ablest of his 
contemporaries ; all this, more than Sir Walter Raleigh and 
the illustrious Bacon ever compassed, satisfied not the son of 
needy Scottish parents : even the aversion so hard to over- 
come, by a genius ever glowing with its own fires, for the toil- 
some working up of a given raw material, did not withhold 
this extraordinary man from labouring during several years 

^ It was written in his twenty-seventh year, and appears in the collec- 
tion of his works. Eight sheets of it were printed by Dodsley in 4to, in 
1757, which with the author's corrections are now in the British Museum, 


on a history of England, to which his contemporaries had 
already beforehand willingly awarded the palm. Indisposition 
and the pressure of unwelcome age induced Mackintosh to 
contract the plan of his undertaking, and death interrupted 
that which he had still hoped to pubHsh. Of what he has ac- 
complished the excellences will be mentioned hereafter ; for 
the short section on Anglo-Saxon history, the praise of spirited 
and just conception, as well as of worthy representation may 

But would not Mackintosh with more vigorous powers have 
accomplished more ? Let us freely confess that neither he 
nor any other equally gifted man can in our days satisfy the 
requisites of a history of any country in the middle age, 
and least of all of England, where new sources spring forth 
daily, where the divining rod inclines over many a deep-hidden 
treasure without yet finding it. Generations must pass away 
before all this matter will be found arranged and divided, in 
order one day to be illustrated by the master. The Germanic 
race must first have more completely investigated its old tra- 
ditions, its old language, its old laws, through the labours of 
antiquarians, philologists and legal historians, before an in- 
controvertible answer can be given to some of the most im- 
portant questions. The history of one state will always be 
defective without commensurate advances in that of the neigh- 
bour states. The difficult duty of a modern investigator of 
history, which requires almost endless researches, splitting 
themselves in all directions into various others, and often 
widely remote from each other, is little compatible with that 
of an historian in the highest sense, who shall also have 
learned from life, and desires to understand the past by and 
for the sake of the present. History, moreover, often requires 
a renewed form, as well for the purpose of appropriating to 
itself the fruits of investigation, to set them in their true light, 
and bestow on them their just value, as also on account of 
the ever variable undeveloped necessity of the present. The 


representer of past times, mindful of this duty, will not, there- 
fore, be always anxious only to give demonstrable certainty, 
but will rather often draw attention to the defects of our hi- 
storic knowledge, and will even gain much by a clear glance 
over the history apparently lost : he M'ill not lull the reader 
into a mere sluggish conception of what is recorded, but must 
frequently draw him along with him in his investigations ; he 
will consider himself as a prophet looking backwards, and 
often leave the intei-pretation of his well-weighed judgements 
to the intelligent, and probably to the more gifted or more 
fortunate inquirer. 

A few respected investigators of old English histoiy remain 
yet to be noticed, and first Whitaker, who, under the title of 
a History of the Town of Manchester, has given a very learned 
account of the country under the Romans ^ A similar work 
is his Genuine History of the Britons asserted against J. 
Macpherson^. In the highly esteemed work of Dr. Robert 
Henry^, the Roman period is treated with predilection and 
success ; to praise the Anglo-Saxon portion, it must be on 
comparison with his predecessors. 

To Sharon Turner, for his labours on the history of the 
Anglo-Saxons'*, students are under a lasting obligation, parti- 
cularly for his profounder investigation of their state of cul- 
ture, his unprejudiced application of Welsh literature, and 
the use which he has made of many unprinted sources. At 
the same time it must be acknowledged that this meritorious 
collection of materials is charged with many unnecessary di- 
gressions, and that the author has often preferred giving much 
to a critical discrimination in his narratives. 

Lingard's representation of Anglo-Saxon history^ is di- 

^ Second edition corrected. Loudon, 1773. 2 voll. 8vo. 

* Second edit. Lond. 1773. 

^ History of Great Britain. 6voll. Edinb. 1771-1793. 4to, often reprinted. 

* History of the Anglo-Saxons, 1799-1805. 2 voll. 4lo, frequently re- 
printed in 3 voll. Svo. The 6th edit, is the last that has appeared. 

* The last edit, in 13 voll. 12rao with corrections. 


stinguishecl for its just arrangementj as well as by the clear- 
ness and solidity of its expression ; though he has generally 
confined himself to a repetition of the facts related by his 
latest predecessors ; and only in rare cases, where Catholicism 
prompted him to a refutation of some narrow views of En- 
glish protestantism, has exhibited independent and new in- 

Sir Francis Palgrave has, in an elaborate work ^, endeavoured, 
and not unsuccessfully, to supply the existing want. The 
political institutions of the Anglo-Saxons are examined by 
him with much acuteness ; he has also given, in great part 
from sources hitherto but little used for the purpose, a very 
valuable chronological view of the larger states, as well as of 
the provinces dependent on them ; though in the application 
of some modern hypotheses, chiefly with regard to the deri- 
vation of several historical phenomena in the institutions of 
the Anglo-Saxons from Roman elements, he probably goes 
too far. While the present work bears evident proofs for 
how much multifarious information its author is indebted to 
this learned inquirer, yet several of his principal notions can- 
not be acknowledged by us as new, but as an ancient common 
property of the continental investigators of the history of 
nations and laws. Palgrave has likewise published, in a small 
volume^, principally designed for youth, and embellished with 
maps and other engra^dngs, a History of the Anglo-Saxons, 
containing some of the results of his inquiries. 

1 The Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth. Anglo-Saxon 
Period. II Parts. London, 1832. 4to, 

" Historyof England, vol. i. Anglo-Saxon Period. London, 1831. 12rao. 
forming volume xxi. of the ' Family Library.' 






r OR the earliest notice of its existence among nations, Bri- 
tain is indebted to that spirit of commerce, through which it 
was itself one day to become so great. More than a thousand 
years before the birth of our Saviour, Gades and Tartessus 
had been founded by the Phoenicians, whose fearless traders 
we behold, in our dim vision of those remote times when tin 
was brought in less abundance from the ports of Spain, after 
a tedious coasting-voyage of four months, fetching that metal 
from the islands which Herodotus' denominates the Cassi- 
terides, or islands producing tin {icaaaLTepos;)-, and which now 
bear the name of the Scilly islands-. Herodotus was unable 
to ascertain the position of these islands, nor does he even 
mention the name of Britain. It is probable that the Phoe- 
nicians never sailed thither direct from their own coast ^, 

1 Lib. iii. § 115. 

- Camden's Britannia. Cf. Heerens Ideen, ii. 191. Beckmann's Hist, 
of Inventions, vol. iv. 

^ Strabo, lib. iii., relates, that a Phoenician shipmaster, being chased by 
some Roman vessels, ran his ship upon a shoal, leading his pursuers into 
destruction, while he escaped on a fragment of the wreck, and received 
from the state the value of the cargo he had sacrificed. — T. 

VOL. I. B 


though Midacritus', the individual who is recorded as having 
first brought tin from the Cassiterides, seems by his name to 
have been a Phoenician. The earliest mention of the British 
islands by name is made by Aristotle^, who describes them 
as consisting of Albion and lerne. The Carthaginian Hi- 
railco, who, between the years 362 and 350 a.c, had been 
sent by his government on a voyage of discovery, also found 
the tin islands, which he calls Oestrymnides, near Albion, 
and two days' sail from lerne^, in Mount's Bay'^. His ex- 
ample was some years after followed by a citizen of the cele- 
brated colony of the Phocians, the Massihan Pytheas, to the 
scanty fragments of whose journal, preserved by Strabo and 
other ancient authors, we are indebted for the oldest accounts 
concerning the inhabitants of these islands^. The Massihans 
and Narbonnese traded at an early period (by land-journeys 
to the northern coast of Gaul^) with the island Ictis (Wight, 
or St. Michael's Mount') and with the coasts of Britain. 
This early commerce was carried on both for the sake of the 
tin — an article of great importance to the ancients — and of 
lead; though these navigators extended their commerce to 
other productions of the country, such as slaves, skins, and a 

1 Plin. Hist. Nat., lib. vii. c. 57. 

" De Mundo, c. iii. Ireland, under the name of lemis, is mentioned by 
the author of the Argonautica, v. 1179. 

^ On this geographic conclusion see the Metropolitan for January 1832. 

* Of his diar)% which was extant in the fifth century, we possess frag- 
ments in the poem of Festus Avienus, ' Ora JNIaritima.' If, with Ukert and 
Lelewel (Entdeckungen der Carthager und Griechen auf dem atlantischen 
Ocean), we place Himilco in the middle of the fifth century a.c, the honour 
of having discovered Britain must be denied to the Phoenicians and given 
to the Carthaginians. 

» Murray de Pythea Massiliensi, in Nov. Comment. Gotting. tom. vi. 

6 Diod. Sic. lib. v. c. 38. 

7 The near resemblance betw-een the names is in favour of the first sup- 
position ; while to the second the account of Diodorus, lib. v. c. 22, is alone 
applicable, who, describing this island, says, that at flood-tide it appears 
as an island, and at ebb as a peninsula. The proximity to Cornwall, the 
British tin country, likewise favours this interpretation. 


superior breed of hunting-dogs, Avhich the Celts made use of 
in war^ British timber was employed by Archimedes for 
the mast of the largest ship of war which he had caused to 
be built at Syracuse 2. Gold and silver are said to have been 
found there ; also an inferior sort of pearl, which is still to be 
met with^. This country and its metals soon became an ob- 
ject of scientific inquiry to the Greeks, as is proved by a work 
upon the subject by Polybius, the loss of which must be 
painfully felt by every one acquainted with the acuteness and 
sound judgement of that historian'*. 

The Romans first became acquainted with Britain through 
their thirst after universal dominion. Scipio, to his inquiries 
concerning it among the merchants of the three most di- 
stinguished Celtic cities, Massiha, Narbo, and Corbelo, had 
received no satisfactory answer-^; and Pubhus Crassus is 
named as the first Roman who visited the Cassiterides, and 
who observing that the metals were dug out from but a little 
depth, and that his men at peace were voluntarily occupying 
themselves on the sea, pointed out this course to such as were 
willing to take it^'. This was probably the officer of that name 
who, by Ccesar's command, had achieved the conquest of the 
Gauhsh nations inhabiting along the shores of the British 

Through Cassar's conquest of the South of England, and 
the later sway held over it by the Roman emperors, we are 
first enabled to form an idea of the country. Well might the 
goddess of science and of war appear to the Greeks and Ro- 
mans under one form (for it was the Macedonian and Roman 

' Strabo, lib. iii. Oppiani Cyneg. lib. i. v. 468. Neraesiani Cyneg. 
V. 123 sq. 

- Athen. Deipn. lib. v. c. 10. 

^ Cf. Strabo, lib. iv. Tac. de Vita Agric. c. xii. Pomp. Mela, lib. iii. 
c. 6. Sol. Polyh.c. liii. Suet. lib. i. c. 46. Plin. H. N. ix. c. 5", and the 
contrary testimony of Cicero, ad Fam. vii. 7, ad Att. iv. 16. 

•* Polyb. lib. iii. c. 37. ^ Strabo, lib.iv. 

^ Strabo, lib. iii. 7 Ctesar, B. G. ii. 34. 

B 2 


swords that fixed for antiquity the limits both of the earth 
and of historic knowledge), though their idea of Britain is, it 
must be confessed, a very obscure one, and stands much in 
need of the reflecting light of modern scientific research. To 
Strabo, as well as to Caesar and Ptolemy, even the figure and 
relative position of the British islands were uncertain. Ac- 
cording to Strabo, Ireland lies to the north of Britain^ ; while 
to the last, the northern coasts of Ireland and Scotland 
appear in the same latitude^. These errors must necessarily 
occasion numberless mistakes with regard to the positions of 
tribes and territories, when given according to the degrees of 
longitude and latitude. Our knowledge too with regard to 
the inhabitants is rendered extremely unsatisfactory by the 
circumstance, that in the islands and their several districts 
very different degrees of civilization were met with, which 
have by authors been too generally applied, and in the most 
opposite senses. The inhabitants of the Cassiterides, whose 
position even Strabo seeks off Gallicia^, are described by 
Pytheas in almost the same words as the Iberians are in other 
passages. Besides mining of a very simple description, they 
applied themselves to the rearing of cattle, and exchanged 
tin, lead, and hides with the traders, against salt, pottery, and 
brass M^ares. They appeared rambling about their ten islands 
with long beards like goats, clad in dark garments reaching 
to their heels, and leaning upon staves'^. It is not improbable 

^ Geogr. lib. ii. 

- B. G. V. 13. Geogr. lib. ii. c. 2. See also the excellent disquisitions of 
Mannert in his ' Geograpbie der Griechen und Romer/ Abth. 'Britannia.' 
The Niiremberg Globe of 1520 has still the map of Ptolemy. In Edit. 
Uberlin. of Ptolemy Britain first appears in an upright position. 

^ Geogr. lib. ii. If the existence of these islands were not a fiction in- 
vented by the traders of Gades for the purpose of misleading their com- 
mercial rivals, and inducing them to undertake fruitless expeditions, they 
must be looked for only on the coast of Cornwall. The ignorance or 
t^ilence of later writers concerning them may perhaps be explained by the 
supposition that the hazardous passage by sea was forgotten after the way 
by land through Gaul became the usual route. 

^ Strabo, lib. iii. 


that these accounts are also applicable to the neighbouring 
coast of Cornwall, perhaps even to the tribe of the Silures in 
South Wales; but it is uncertain whether in these moun- 
taineers we are to recognise Iberian settlers ^, or an original 
native population identical with that of the rest of South 
Britain. Navigation along the coasts, though only in small 
boats of twisted osier covered with leather, had, for a length 
of time, been very lively^. The tin, formed into square 
blocks, was brought to the Isle of Wight, where it was pur- 
chased by merchants and carried over to Gaul, and then, in 
a journey of about thirty days, conveyed on horses to Mar- 
seilles, Narbonne, and the mouths of the Rhone^. A com- 
merce of this kind, by exciting individual industry, had long 
rendered the inhabitants of the southern coast of Britain 
active, docile, and friendly to strangers ; yet was their spirit 
sunk in a slumber which held them to their native soil, until, 
through the calamity of a most unjust hostile invasion, from 
being a country not reckoned among the nations of Europe"^, 
the land of British barbarians, knoM'n only to a few daring- 
mariners, became a province closely connected with imperial 
Rome, and at length that state which, more than any other 
of the European nations, has impressed the stamp of its cha- 
racter and institutions not only upon this portion of the globe, 
but also upon lands and regions not discovered till after a 
long course of ages. 

^ Tac. Agric. c. xi. The opinion of Tacitus is much contested from 
having been made to apply to all Britain. Dionysius Periegetes, v. 563, 
also declares the inhabitants of the Cassiteridesj descendants of the Ibe- 
rians. On the difference between the Iberian and the old British lan- 
guages, see W. V. Humboldt's ' Priifung der Untersuchungen iiber die 
Urbewohner Hispaniens vermittelst der vaskischen Sprache,' p. 163. 

- Lucani Phar. lib. iv.u.l34. Phn. H.N. lib. iv.c.30,vii. 57. Sol. Polyh. 
c. xxii. F. Avien. v. 104 sq. We find vessels of the same description in 
use at a later period among the Saxon pirates. Isid. Orig. lib. xix. c. 1. 

3 Diod. lib. V. 22. Strabo, lib. iii. 

* Even Diodorus speaks of the neighbouring islands lying between Eu' 
rope and Britain. 



The inhabitants of Britain, with the exception, perhaps, of 
those above mentioned as Iberian colonists, belonged to the 
same great national family which we find in Gaul and in 
Belgium, and which commonly bears the name of Celts. The 
supposition of Tacitus^ of a difference between the northern 
and the southern race, and that the former, from its strong 
bodily structure and red hair, was of Germanic origin, is by 
other accounts shown to be groundless. The language still 
living, particularly in Wales and Brittany, as well as the 
druidic worship, which, though blended with Christianity, 
survived to a late period in the former country, supplying it, 
during a thousand years, with energy to withstand the En- 
glish invaders, form the leading characteristics of this once 
great race, and which, being its intellectual portion, have 
been preserved the longest. 

In treating of the primitive history of the Britons, a writer 
must use their native traditions with great caution. Like 
those of the other European nations, they appear only in that 
Romanized garb which was fashioned in the modern world 
by the last rays of the setting Roman sun. Though at every 
step in the region of British tradition we meet with traces of 
an eastern origin, yet the tales of the destruction of Troy and 
of the flight of Brutus, a great-grandson of -^neas, to Britain^, 
are, in the unnational travestie in which alone they have 
been transmitted to us, wholly devoid of historic value, and 
the simple truth seems lost to us beyond recovery. The 
vain Britons gratified their pride in adorning themselves with 
the faded tinsel, and appropinating to themselves the fabulous 
national tradition of Rome. 

The name of Kymry or Cumry, by which the Welsh still 

^ Vita Agric. c. xi. 

" The oldest authoritj' for this tradition is Nennius, who professes to 
have derived his information "partim majorum traditionibus,partim scriptis, 
partim etiam monumentis veterum Brittaniee incolarum." Jeffrey of Mon- 
mouth is several centuries later, as is also the poem of Robert Wace, ' Le 
Brut d'Angleterre.' 


distinguish themselves, as well as that of the north-west 
county of England, Cumberland ; the similarity of the words 
that have been preserved of the language of the old Kim- 
merians or Cimbrians to the Welsh; the traditions of the 
Welsh Triads, as well as the Roman narratives, — all justify 
the assumption, that the race existing in Britain in the time 
of Ceesar belonged to those Kimmerians who had gradually 
moved forward out of Western Asia. Though the obscurity 
attending the name of that people envelopes also the epoch 
of their immigration, yet we may conclude, from Caesar's own 
account, that it took place long before the time of that con- 
queror. Hw Cadarn, or Hu the Powerful, as the Triads relate, 
led the nation of the Kymry from Deffrobany, or the Land of 
Summer, where Constantinople now is, over the misty ocean, 
to the uninhabited island Britain, and to Llydaw (Arraorica 
or Brittany), where they established themselves. They deli- 
vered the country, which had previously been called Clas 
Merddin (the land of sea-cliffs), and afterwards Fel Theis 
(the island of honey), from the possession of bears, wolves, 
and buffaloes. Prydain, son of -^dd the Great, became ruler 
of the land, which, through the wisdom of his government, 
enjoyed a Saturnian age, and retained his name ; but later 
expeditions of Lloegrwys from Gwasgwy or Gascony, and of 
Brythones from Llydaw, are said to have joined their kindred 
on the island, and to have settled in the south-east parts ^ 

A language resembling that of the Britons was, according 
to Tacitus'^, in use among the ^stii on the shores of the 
Baltic, the inhabitants on the Avestern coast of which long 
retained the name of Cimbri. The Britannic Moorland on the 
Ems^ seems to owe this ancient appellation to the same Cim- 
bric race. In Belgic Gaul, between Boulogne and Amiens, 
dwelt a people bearing the name of Britanni'^ ; an early ex- 
ample of the constant intercourse between both shores, and 

^ Archaeology of Wales. ^ Germania, c. xlv*. . 

^ In Groningen, now called the Bourtanger Moor. ■• Plinii H. N. iv. 17. 


a striking proof how little even the greatest separation by- 
water, however convenient a boundary for objects of state, 
avails in dividing nations. That the Belgae inhabiting the 
British coasts came hither from the Belgium of the continent 
we know from Caesar i, who speaks of the aboriginal inhabi- 
tants, that is the Albiones, (whose name we recognise in the 
Scottish Alpin, Albany), as dwelling in the interior of the 
country. But, besides the Belgee, there dwelt also in the 
thickly peopled island of Britain, the Atrebates on the Thames, 
the Cenimagni on the Stour, and the Parisi on the Humber, 
whose relationship to the Gaulish tribes of the same name 
seems unquestionable. The names of places also, particu- 
larly those with the Celtic termination dunum, equally prove 
the identity of these peoples. 

This state of the population plainly shows us to what class 
of nations Britain belonged when the foot of Cassar first trod 
its shores, by which event the tales of mariners about the tin 
islands soon fell into oblivion, the veil was withdrawn from 
Britain, and the land, won for civilization by Roman arms, 
had the rare fortune to find her first historian in one, for 
whose thirst of knowledge, penetration, and ambition, neither 
science nor the world were too extensive. 

The continental Gauls, to whom the Channel formed no 
intellectual barrier, were yet more closely united with the 
natives of Britain by the common religion of druidism. The 
important information given us by Caesar, that the Gauls, 
though in general possessing a higher degree of culture than 
the Britons, were, nevertheless, accustomed to seek their more 
profound knowledge among the druids of the latter^, together 
with the account of the same observer respecting the density 
of the British population, leads to the inference that migra- 

» B. G. V. 12. 

2 B. G. vi. 13. " Disciplina in Britannia reperta atque inde in Galliam 
translata esse existimatur : et nunc, qui diligentius earn rem cognoscere 
volunt, plerumque illo discendi caussa proficiscuntur." — T. 


tions had taken place from the North to the southern lands, 
which had slowly and by piecemeal been conquered by their 
countrymen. The several mysteries of the druidic doctrines 
are the more obscure to us, as the transmission of them is not 
from the most ancient sources, but from times in which the 
severe rehgious spirit of druidism had yielded to the purer 
doctrines of Christianity, and the desecrated, secret lore of 
the druids been made subservient to scientific, patriotic, and 
often impure purposes. The accounts of the bardic oxstall, 
the mystic cauldron, and similar traditions of the Welsh, are to 
us either unintelligible, or void of historic value. The simple 
old monuments of British faith, — the cromlechs, huge stones 
set perpendicularly with a transverse ; cairs, or concentric 
circles of stones ; rocking stones ; earns, or mounds of stone 
covered with earth, &c. ; numbers of which, in the West of 
England, and in the other British islands, offer themselves at 
the present day to the contemplation of the antiquary, — while 
they indicate but a rude state of external worship, yet prove 
that a vast exertion of physical and mechanical power was 
applied to the purposes of religion \ To a later age those 
places of old religious veneration were often rendered of 
importance by being dedicated to Christian worship-, a case 
which in Britain may have happened the more frequently, 
as no obstinate resistance appears to have been made by 
druidism to the introduction of Christianity. The oak and 
mistletoe were objects of profound veneration among the 
druids. With oak leaves they adorned their sacrifices ; and 
if the mistletoe was found growing on a tree, a priest, ascend- 

^ An appeal to Hecatseus (Diod. lib. ii.) cannot, it is true, prove that 
Stonehenge (Chorea gigantum, Brit. Cor Gawr) is there alluded to, but 
Avhich is, however, mentioned by the bards of the sixth century, and may 
with confidence from this be applied to older heathen monuments and cus- 
toms. Regarding such monuments, see Mone's ' Geschichte des nord- 
ischen Heidenthumes,' Th. ii. p. 435-454, where also the religious tenets 
of the Britons are treated with acuteness, and with a comprehensive know-- 
ledge of the heathenism of the other Celtic nations. 

' Mone, Th. ii. p. 45/. 


ing the tree, severed the sacred plant with a golden knife. A 
festival on the happy occasion was held under its branches, 
attended with the sacrifice of two white bulls ^. 

With respect to the doctrines and learning of these western 
Brahmins, what Caesar ascertained was very similar to that 
which Alexander had formerly found among those on the 
Ganges. They taught the immortahty of the soul, its trans- 
migration from one body to another, and — founded on this 
belief — inculcated a contempt of life^. They professed a con- 
siderable knowledge of the heavenly bodies and their motions ; 
discoursed on the magnitude of the world, and of its countries ; 
the nature of things ; the virtues and power of the immortal 

In the druidic order, and in that of the knights or eques- 
trian order, was vested the chief authority of the country. 
The druids were subordinate to a high-priest chosen by them- 
selves, though arms occasionally decided the fate of the Celtic 
pontificate. Through the administration of the judicial func- 
tions they became accurately versed in temporal affairs, and 
thus secured worldly influence to themselves, and to justice 
the sanction of religious awe. Their human sacrifices'*, which 

• Plinii H. N. xvi. c. 95. Max. Tyr. Dissert, xxxviii. 

2 Lucan. lib. i. v. 460. A Triad of the druids — (Davies's Celtic Re- 
searches, p. 182) " The three first principles of wisdom are obedience to the 
laws of God, care for the welfare of man, and fortitude under the accidents 
of life" — is found also as the principle of the gj-mnosophists, in Diogenes 
Laertius (Prooem. § 5), ^i^nu Sioiig, kxI y,n6iu xotKov "h^civ, Kctl duZosiuv ugkuv. 

^ Caesar, B. G. vi. 14. [Of their gods, the chief was one to whom Caesar 
(vi. 17.) gives the name of Mercurius : " Deum maxime Mercurium colunt : 
hujus sunt plurima simulacra." Tacitus (Germ, ix.) says in the same 
words of the Germans: "Deorum maxime Mercurium colunt;" thereby 
meaning Wodan, the chief god of the Germanic nations. Hence Wodens- 
daeg (Wednesday) = dies Mercurii. See Grimm's 'Deutsche Mythologie,' 
p. 76 sq. On other deities of the Britons Caesar bestows the names of 
Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Miners'a. — T.] 

* From Caesar, vi. 16, it appears that the human sacrifices of the Britons 
were not limited to public occasions. " Qui sunt adfecti gravioribus mor- 
bis, quique in prosliis periculisque versantur, aut pro victimis homines 
immolant, aut se immolaturos vovent, administrisque adea sacrificia drui- 


were usually limited to criminals and captured foes, we look 
on with horror; yet should posterity not too severely judge 
them, which, without the plea of religious infatuation, had for 
two thousand years deliberately persisted in similar sacrifices, V 
before doubts as to the lawfulness of capital punishments 
became a subject of national consideration. As the knight by 
mihtary followers, so was the druid surrounded by studious 
disciples, to whom twenty years seemed not too long a period 
for the acquisition of the required knowledge, — astrology and 
magic, as well as acuteness in judicial decisions, — together with 
the privilege of directing the sacrifices, and of proclaiming the 
dreaded excommunication, and the temporal advantage of 
exemption from taxes and military service ^. Their precepts, 
which were in verse, were delivered orally, it being forbidden 
to commit them to writing ; though in recording the common 
concerns of life they are said to have used the Greek letters^. 
"With the druids the bards (beirdd) were closely connected^. 
They wrote in verse on the descent of their princes, and, 
together with didactic and epic, had also lyric poetry, which 
was sung to the sound of the chrotta^. Though none of the 
productions, nor even the names of the more ancient bards 
have been transmitted to us, yet all that is related of them 
allows us to suppose that their works resembled those still 
extant of the bards of the sixth and following centuries, from 

dibus utuntur." For the larger sacrifices he informs us that they framed 
immense images of twisted osier, the members of which they filled with 
living beings, and then set the mass on fire. The victims were generally 
criminals, but when these could not be supplied, innocent persons were 
taken : " etiam ad innocentium supplicia descendunt." — T. 

' Csesar, B, G. vi. 13-16. Plinii H. N. xxx. cc. 3, 4. Tac. Ann. xiv, 30. 

- A hieroglyphic bardic writing is also said to have been in use, consist- 
ing of sixteen characters, and formed from the figures of plants. See Davies, 
p. 245 sq. 

2 Diod. V. 31. Strabo, iv. Lucani Phars. i. v. 447 sq. Athenseus, vi. 
Ammian. Mar. lib. xv. 24. 

^ " Crotta Britanna." Venant. Fortun. lib. vii. c. 8. [The crowd (rote) of 
later minstrelsy. See Graff, AlthochdeutscherSprachschatz,ii. col. 487. — T.] 


which, when treating of later times, we must not withhold 
our attention. That bards were known to Posidonius and 
Lucan ^, is a convincing proof of the antiquity of the Celtic 
settlement in Britain, for wandering people carry no poems 
about with them, scarcely even the most meagre traditions. 
The Anglo-Saxons and Northmen brought no poetic store 
from their ancient home to their new country. The peace, 
leisure, and prosperity of a nation, seated in its old native 
abode, are indispensable to the cultivation of national song^. 

Together with the druids, the ruling order was, as before 
said, that of the chieftains or knights. In Caesar's time, both 
these noble orders had reduced to a state of dependence the 
greater part of the rest of the people of Gaul, who were op- 
pressed by debts, taxes, and the tyranny of the powerful, ex- 
ercising towards them all the rights of masters over slaves^. 
The Roman conquest itself might also have contributed to the 
completion of an already existing state of clientship of the 
indigent class to the opulent, such as is still to be found in 
the very pure patriarchal customs of the clans in the Scottish 
highlands and isles. 

The land was divided among many tribes and their kings'^, 
who, slightly connected through the priesthood, lived inde- 
pendently near each other, cherishing their love of strife, and 
training up their youth in civil quarrels, without manifesting 
at a later period, in the days of the destruction of the common 
liberty, the judgement and energy necessary for a general re- 
sistance^. The power of these princes was much limited by 
the before-mentioned castes, and consisted chiefly in military 

In the southern parts of England, which had become more 

1 Athen. lib. iv. c. 37. Pharsal. lib. i. v. 44/ sq. 

2 May not an instance to the contrary possibly exist in the original saga 
of Beowulf?— T. ^ Csesar, B. G. vi. 13. 

* The royal authority and even military command could also be exer- 
cised by a female, as in the instances of Cartismandua and Boudicea. 
" Diod. lib. V. 21. Tac. Agric. c. xii. 


civilized through commerce, the cultivation of grain, to which 
the mildness of the climate was favourable, had been greatly- 
improved by the art of marling \ The daily consumption was 
taken from the unthrashed corn, preserved in caves, which they 
prepared for food, but did not bake as bread^. Horticulture 
was not in use among them, nor the art of making cheese^ ; 
yet the great number of buildings, of people, and of cattle ^ 
appeared striking to the Romans, Copper and bits of iron, 
according to weight, served as money'*. Their custom of 
painting themselves with blue and green, for the purpose of 
terrifying their enemies, as well as that of tattooing^, was re- 
tained till a later period by the Picts of the North. At certain 
sacrifices, even th.e women, painted in a similar manner, re- 
sembling Ethiopians, went about without clothing'^. Long 
locks and mustachios were general. Like the Gauls, they 
decorated the middle finger with a ring^. Their round simple 
huts of reeds or wood resembled those of that people^, and 
the Gaulish checquered, coloured mantles are still in common 
use in the Scottish Highlands. Their clothing, more especially 
that of the Belgic tribes of the South, enveloped the whole 
body ; a girdle encircled the waist, and chains of metal hung 
about the breast^. The hilts of their huge pointless swords 
were adorned with the teeth of marine animals ^" ; their shields 
W'ere small '^ The custom of fighting in chariots (called by ^ 
them esseda, covini'^), on the axles of which scythes were 
fastened, and in the management of w hich they showed great 
skill, was peculiar to this and some other of the Celtic nations, 
in a generally level country, and where the horses were not 

^ Plin. H. N. xvii. 4. Tac. Agric. xii. Diod. v. 21. 

- Diod. V, 21. 3 strabo, lib. iv. •» Cssar, B. G. v.l2. 

* Caesar, B.G.v. 14. "Virides Britanni." Ov.Amor. lib. ii. 16. "Cserulei 
Britanni." Mart. Epig. liv. Plin. H. N. lib. xxii. 2. Claud. Prim. Cons. 
Stil. lib. ii. r. 24/. Pomp. Mela, iii. 6. Sol. Polyh. c. xxii. 

6 Plin. H. N. xxii. 2. 7 Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 6. 

8 Strabo, iv, Diod. v. 21. » Die ap. Xiph. Ixii. 

" This was rather the custom of tlie inhabitants of Ireland. Sol. Polyh. 
c. xxii.— T. 11 Tac. Agric. xxxvi. i- Pomp. Mela, iii. 6. 


sufficiently powerful to be used for cavalry. The charioteer 
was the superior person, the servant bore the weapons. They 
begun their attacks with taunting songs and deafening howls ^ 
Their fortresses or towns consisted in the natural defence of 
impenetrable forests^. In the interior of the country were 
found only the more rugged characteristics of a people engaged 
in the rearing of cattle, which, together with the chase, sup- 
plied skins for clothing, and milk and flesh for food^. The 
northern part of the country seems in great measure to have 
been abandoned to the shaft and javelin of the roving hunter, 
as skilful as he was bold'*. That every ten or twelve men of 
near relationship possessed their wives in common, but that 
the one earliest married was regarded as the father of all the 
children, is probably a mere Roman fable ^. Simplicity, in- 
tegrity, temperance, with a proneness to dissension, are men- 
tioned as the leading characteristics of the nation^. The 
reputation of bravery was more especially ascribed to the 
northern races ^. 

A much more favourable picture of the social condition of 
the ancient Britons may be drawn from the Triads of Dyvnwal 
Moelraud, who is said to have lived several centuries before 
the Christian era^, if those Triads have even the slightest claim 

1 Csesar, B. G. iv. 33, v. 16. Strabo, iv. Tac. Agric. xii. Diod. v. 21. 
Dio ap. Xiph. Ixii. Pomp. Mela, iii. 6. 

2 Caesar, B. G. v. 21. Strabo, iv. 

3 Caesar, B. G. v. 14. The abundance of milk and skins is mentioned 
in Eumenii Panegyr. ad Constan. Aug. c. ix. Cf. eund. ad Constan. 
Caes. c. xi. 

•* Dio ap. Xiph. Ixxvi. 12. 

* Caesar, B. G. v. 14. Diodorus does not mention this custom. 

6 Diod. V. 21, 22. Pomp. Mela, iii. 6. Tac. Agric. xii. 

' Dio ap. Xiph. Ixxvi. 

^ ["Before the crown of London and the supremacy of this island were 
seized by the Saxons, Dyvnwal Moelmud, son of Clydno, was king over 
this island, who was son to the earl of Cernyw, by a daughter of the king 
jf Lloegyr. And his laws continued in force until the time of Howel the 
Good, son of Cadell." ' Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales,' pp. 89 
and 630. In a note the learned editor, Mr. A. Owen, adds, "Dyvnwal, 
according to the Chronicle of the Kings, in the book of Basingwerke (a 


to be considered genuine which have reached us only in a very 
modern manuscript, and exhibit not only traces of Roman and 
Saxon influence, but also of numerous interpolations subse- 
quent to the introduction of Christianity. 

Of the British tribes, the first to be mentioned are the 
Cantii, or men of Kent. They were governed by four 
princes'. Northward of the Thames, as far as the river Stour, 
in the present counties of Middlesex and Essex, dwelt the 
Trinobantes, whose capital, London, was already a consider- 
able emporium. To the north of the Stour, in Suffolk, dwelt 
the Cenimagni, a tribe of the Iceni ; in Norfolk, Cambridge- 
shire and Huntingdonshire, the rest of the Iceni, whose chief 
town bore the common Celtic appellation of Venta. The 
Catuvellani, or Katyeuchlani of Ptolemy, inhabited the present 
counties of Hertford, Bedford and Buckingham. 

The Coritavi (Coriniaidd), who, as the Triads relate, had 
migrated from a Teutonic marshland, possessed the present 
counties of Northampton, Leicester, Rutland, Lincoln, Not- 
tingham and Derby. Beyond them, in the eastern part of 
Yorkshire, dwelt the Parisi. 

The most powerful people were the Brigantes, who held 
the country to the north of the Humber and the Mersey, 
comprising the counties of York, Durham, Lancaster and 
Westmoreland. The Caer, or city Luel (Luguvallum, Lugu- 
balia, or Carlisle), in the country of the Cumbri, on this side 
of the Picts^ wall, remained long the seat of its original in- 
habitants. Cataractonium and Vinnovium may here also be 

Welsh version of Geoffrey of Monmouth's compilation), flourished from 
anno b.c. 694 to 667." Of these triads Mr. Owen says (Pref. p. vii), 
" Their antiquity is very dubious, but in their present form and phraseology 
they may be attributed to the sixteenth century." — T.] See also ' The 
Ancient Laws of Cambria ' translated by W. Probert, 1823. Cf. Gervinus 
in den Heidelberg. Jahrbiichern 1831, Ss. 46-49, and Palgrave's ' Rise and 
Progress of the Enghsh Commonwealth,' vol. i. c. ii. 

• Ctesar, E. G. v. 22. Ptolemy places London in the territory of the 
Cantii. [See also Anc. Laws and Instt. of Engl., p. 14, fol. ed. — T.j 


distinguished as having evidently preserved themselves under 
the names of Catterick and Binchester. To this people be- 
longed also the Jugantes and the Cangi. 

The ancestors of the Welsh were the Ordovices, whose ter- 
ritory comprised the counties of Montgomery, Merioneth, 
Caernarvon, Anglesea, Denbigh and Flint; the Dimetae in 
Caermarthen, Pembroke and Cardiganshire, and the most 
powerful tribe of those parts, the Silures, inhabiting the 
present shires of Hereford, Radnor, Brecknock, Monmouth 
and Glamorgan. 

Hampshire, Somersetshire and Wiltshire, from the English 
to the Bristol channel, were occupied by the Belgae, where a 
city, Venta, is still to be recognised in the modern AVin- 

The ancient tin country, the Bretland of the Northmen, 
now Cornwall and Devonshire, was inhabited by the Dum- 
nonii or Damnonii. The Roman incursions not having reached 
this south-west corner of the province, we consequently pos- 
sess the fewest accounts of the period relative to that part of 
the country which was first known to the three ancient di- 
visions of the globe. 

Between the Duranonii and the Bclgae, in the present Dor- 
setshire, dwelt the Durotriges : in the counties of Gloucester 
and Oxford, the Dobuni. The Atrebates, whose chief city 
was Calleva^, were settled in Berkshire. In the vicinity of 
these we are to look for the small tribes mentioned by Caesar, 
of the Segontiaci, Ancalites, Bibroci (Bibracte in Bray Hun- 
dred, on the Thames, below Windsor), and the Cassi'^. 

1 Anton. Itin., Ric. Corin. p. 148, edit. 1809. 

^ For the geography of Britain under the Romans, Camden's ' Bri- 
tannia ' is especially to be consulted. See also the works of Horsley and 
Stukeley. The appendix to the first book of Henry's History of Great Britain 
contains a very useful illustration and comparison of the texts of Ptolemy 
and Antoninus, and of the extracts relative to Britain in the 'Notitia Imperii 
Occidentalis.* The itineraries of Antoninus and of Richard of Cirencester, 
with the illustrations by Gale, Horsley, and Stukeley, are given by Whitaker 


The Cornabiij or Carnabii, inhabited the present counties 
of Warwick, AVorcester, StafFord, Salop and Chester, and 
probably a part of Flint. In the last-mentioned county, or 
in that of Chester, the monastery of Bangor (Banchor Iscoed) 
was seated, the most celebrated religious foundation in the 
island, till its destruction and the slaughter of its inmates b^'- 
^thelfrith of Northumbrian 

The Scottish and Irish races (for a knowledge of whose 
names we are chiefly indebted to Ptolemy) form matter ex- 
clusively for the separate history of those nations. Here it is 
only necessary to observe, that to the north of the Brigantes 
dwelt the Micatse, consisting of five tribes, and beyond them 
the Caledonians^. 

The Britons had lived hitherto without intercourse with 
the south of Europe, except, as before mentioned, through 
the medium of a few travellers, and an inconsiderable com- 
merce, carried on for the most part by intermediate agents, 
when they learned that the mighty Roman people from the 
South had already advanced upon, and subdued many of their 
Gaulish brethren. Valiant, and mindful of their own danger, 
the Britons endeavoured, though vainly, by sending succours 
to the Veneti, to support the Gauls against their victorious 
foe^; but this inefficient help served only as a ground for 
Roman policy, or a pretext to the Roman general for risking 
an attack on the unsubdued island. Its inhabitants soon re- 
ceived intelligence from foreign traders, that the Roman com- 
mander was making preparations for an invasion, and they 
beheld a Roman captain, C. Volusenus, in a ship of war re- 

at the end of his ' History of Manchester.' The notions of the ancients re- 
garding the form of Britain, and its coasts as given by Ptolemy, are most 
ably illustrated by Mannert. [The localities of the several tribes given in 
this translation are from Petrie's ' Corpus Historicum.' — T.] 

1 Beda, ii. 2. Sax. Chron. a. 607. Ric. Corin. lib. i. c. 6. § 27. "Ban- 
chorium monasterium totius insuliE celeberrimura, quod in contentione 
Augustini eversum, non postea resurrexit." — T. 

2 Dio ap. Xiph. lib. Ixxvi. 10. ^ Ceesar, B. G. iii. 9- 

VOL. I. C 


connoitring their coasts Some of the British tribes, either 
terrified by the fame of the conquerors of more regions than 
they had ever heard of, or with the view of amusing the enemy 
by negotiations, sent ambassadors across the sea to the Roman 
camp, promising hostages and submission. 

They were received in the kindest manner by their ambi- 
tious enemy, whom they assured of the early fulfilment of 
those promises, and were accompanied on their return by a 
chieftain named Commius, whom the Romans favoured, on 
account of his valour, his judgement, and his reputation, and 
had placed as king over the Gaulish Atrebates, and who now 
undertook the commission of persuading the Britons into a 
reliance on the Roman people, and of announcing the early 
arrival of their general. Scarcely, however, had Commius 
made known his commission in the public assembly, when — 
although it was the duty of their pi'inces to protect the sacred 
character of an ambassador — the enraged people, divining the 
drift of the deceitful words, seized on the speaker, and loaded 
him with chains. The Britons collected their hordes, which 
they skilfully posted on the eminences along the shore^. The 
Romans, of whom the infantry of two legions had crossed over 
from the country of the Morini^, did not at first venture upon 
landing, but observing the moment of the ebb, they attempted 
it upon a level tract of shore about seven miles distant'. 
Here were British cavalry and war-chariots arrayed before the 
foot, who for some time skilfully and boldly held the invaders 
in check : but the eagle-bearer of the tenth legion, after ex- 
horting his comrades, leaped into the sea, and rushed to the 
onset, when the missiles of the enemy, Roman valour, enthu- 
siasm for their leader, the great Caius Julius Cffisar — under 
whom it was regarded a greater disgrace to see the glory of 
victory even slightly tarnished, than to be beaten under any 

' A.c. 55. ^ Where Dover now is. — T. 

3 Orosius, vi. 9. ^ Near the present Deal. — T. 


other general — but above all, superior discipline, effected the 
hostile landing \ 

In these encounters, the war-chariots of the Britons called 
forth the admiration of their invaders. Their manner of fight- 
ing from chariots was this : — At first they rode in all direc- 
tions, casting their darts, and with the dread of their horses 
and noise of their wheels generally succeeded in disturbing 
the ranks of the enemy. Having made an opening in the 
bodies of cavalry, they would leap from the chariots and fight 
on foot : meanwhile the charioteers gradually withdz'awing 
from the battle, would post the chariots so that, if pressed on 
by numbers, their comrades might find a certain retreat ; thus 
evincing both the rapidity of cavalry and the firmness of in- 
fantry. From constant exercise they could drive their horses 
at full speed down a declivity, or along a precipice, checking 
and turning them instantaneously ; and would run along the 
pole, sit on the yoke, and thence in an instant reseat them- 
selves in their chariots. 

The Britons, in their first consternation, imagining the 
danger greater than it really was, sent ambassadors to Caesar, 
accompanied by the prince of the Atrebates, Commius, offer- 
ing to give hostages, to place themselves under the protection 
of the Romans, and entreating forgiveness for the outrage 
committed on his ambassador. 

In his glad surprise Ctesar could not do otherwise than 
lend a willing ear to these proposals ; the British warriors 
were therefore sent back to their fields, and their princes 
came to Caesar, for the purpose of commending themselves 
to his protection. They soon, however, remarked that the 
valour of their enemy had deceived them w ith regard to his 
numbers, and moreover learned that the ships, which had 
been expected with the cavalry and grain, were dispersed 
in a storm. Hereupon the resolution soon ripened among 
them of freeing for ever their native land from this daring 

* Aug. 26. Anno u.c. 699. a.c. 53. Caesar, B. G. iv. 21-23. 

C 2 



foe. They withdrew from the Roman camp, gathered their 
warriors, and attacked the seventh legion that had gone 
out to forage, but to which Caesar sent timely help. Some 
days afterwards, in an attempt upon the Roman camp, they 
w^ere repulsed with loss, though, for want of cavalry, not 
pursued. On the same day they sent messengers to sue for 
peace, from whom Caesar demanded a number of hostages, 
the double of that which he had previously required, and the 
equinox being at hand, hastened to avoid a dangerous contest 
with the elements by a speedy return to Gaul. The Romans 
at home were, however, elated at his account of their new ac- 
quisition, and in celebration of it decreed a festival of twenty 
days' continuance ^ Thus terminating Avhat-^save for the 
gratification of his own vanity — may be considered a bootless 

But this light prelude was soon to be followed by a sterner 
contest. The following summer Caesar again trod the British 
shores with a greater power ^ — five legions, two thousand 
cavalry, and all their military engines, to which -was attached 
an elephant armed with scales of iron, and bearing a tower con- 
taining archers and slingers^, — and met with no resistance, the 
inhabitants of the coast, who had at first appeared in arms on 
the level shore, terrified at the magnitude of the approaching 
<^" fleet, having retired to the higher points of land. An internal 
dissension, fostered by Mandubratius'*, the son of Imanuentius, 
the powerful prince of the Trinobantes, who had been slain 
by Cassivellaunus (Caswallon), devastated the country. Small 
was the benefit which the barricades, erected in the forests 
against domestic foes, affbrded against the Romans, in com- 
parison with the detriment they sufiFered, through their want 
of union, in allowing a foreign enemy to land unassailed, to 
repair his fleet, and, after victories easily achieved, to march 

' Caesar, B. G. iv, 20-38. Dio Cass, xxxix. 51-53. Luc. ii. v. 572. 
2 ^ f,^ 54_ 3 Polyasn. Strat. viii. 23. 

^ Ccssar, B. G. v, 20. Oiosius (vi, 9-) calls him Andiogorius. 


forward to the heart of the country. The Britons at length 
sacrificing their petty quarrels to the pressing necessity of 
struggling for independence, intrusted the chief military com- 
mand to the brave prince of the Cassi^, Caswallon, who had 
hitherto been engaged in constant warfare with the neigh- 
bouring states. In their incursions and attacks great valour 
was displayed by the Britons, yet was lack of discipline the 
cause of much disorder after a mischance, and a preventive 
to their engaging in a general battle. The enemy had ad- 
vanced as far as the Thames, which at a shallow ford they 
passed, unhindered by the strong piles that had been driven 
into the bed of the river by order of Caswallon, remains of 
which existed in the time of Beda ', after an interval of seven 
hundred years. The treachery of the Trinobantes and other 
tribes, who had submitted to the invaders, disheartened the 
British leader, Avhose fame has been preserved to us only in 
the honourable testimony of Cresar. His well-planned forest- 
fastness was, with great difficulty, at length taken, and even 
then he attempted an attack upon the Roman camp on the 
coast of Kent, with the design, by destroying their fleet, of 
turning the land they had conquered into a prison. No 
other resource being left him, Commius negotiated for his 
submission, by which the Romans obtained what alone they 
could seek in this to them inhospitable land — the glory of 
victory ; while Caswallon gained that which, even with the 
disgrace of apparent humiliation, M-as not too dearly bought 
— the evacuation of his native country by hostile armies. 
This time hostages were actually led home by the Romans, 
grain was delivered to them, and Rome was dazzled'^ by 

^ "Quarum vestigia sudiuni ibidem usque hodie visuntur, et videtur in- 
spectantibus quod singula earum ad modum humani femoris grossrc, et 
ciicumfusse plumbo iramobiliter eiant in profundum fluminis infixse." H. E. 
i. 2, The exact point at which Cassar crossed is not known with certaintj' : 
Camden supposes it to have been at Coway Stakes, near Lalehara. See 
Archaeo!. vol. i. p. 184 ; ii. 134, 1G8.— T. 

' Not so the better informed. Cicero, in a letter to Atticus (iv. 16.), 


Caesar's account of the riches of this new portion of the 
world, and by a corselet adorned with British pearls which he 
dedicated to Venus': yet the promised yearly contributions 
were not paid, and, with the exception of the hostages, the 
Britons were as free as they had been the year before, ere a 
passing cloud had for a moment darkened the sunshine of 
their independence, though to the steady yet powerful in- 
fluence of the plastic rays of the Roman star the Britons 
could not continue insensible, and the coins of their prince 
Cynobellin, the Cymbeline ennobled in tradition and by 
Shakspere's muse, prove that the Roman alphabet was in- 
telligible to the natives, that Roman art was cultivated in 

A century had nearly elapsed, and the Britons had seen on 
their soil no other Romans than peaceful merchants. The 
duties levied in Gaul on their trifling exports and imports 
were moderate^. On the rumour of an intended invasion, 
envoys were sent by them to the emperor Augustus'*; yet 
Rome heard of no homage from Britain, except the oflerings 
said to have been made by some petty princes to the Capitol ^, 
and in the empty compositions of poets and panegyrists ; and 
it is probable that the Britons would never have yielded to 
Roman sway — for the strength of the latter was already in 
its wane, their power near to the summit from which it must 
soon descend — had not pernicious discord prevailed among 
the British princely races, and reduced their country under a 
subjection of four hundred years' duration. 

writes, " Britannic! belli exitus exspectatur. Constat enim aditus insulse 
esse munitos mirificis molibus. Etiam illud jam cognitum est, neque ar- 
genti scripulum esse ullum in ilia insula, neque ullam spem prsedse, nisi ex 
mancipiis." Caesar, v. S-'JS. 

1 Plin. H. N. ix. 57. Sol. Polyh. c. liii. 

^ See Pegge's Essay on the Coins of Cunobeline : London, 1766. In 
Whitaker's History of Manchester representations of these coins are given. 
See also Henry's History of Great Britain, vol. ii. 

^ Strabo, iv. ^ Dio Cass. liii. 22. 

^ Strabo, iv. 


Adminius^, the son of Cynobellin, a successor of Cas- 
wallon^ having been banished by his father, had, with a few 
followers, placed himself under the power of Caligula, who, as 
if the whole island had been surrendered to him, immediately 
sent despatches to Rome announcing the glorious intelligence. 
The forces raised for the German war were hereupon ordered 
to the coast, where being arrayed, with their military engines 
in readiness, and while in suspense as to what was to follow, 
the emperor went on board a trireme, in which having pro- 
ceeded a short distance from the shore, he placed himself at 
his return on a lofty throne, from whence he gave a signal as 
if for battle, and to the sound of trumpets ordered the sol- 
diers to gather, and fill their helmets and bosoms with, shells, 
calling them 'the spoils of the ocean'; and, as a monument 
of victory, caused a lofty tower to be built, which at the same 
time should serve as a beacon. Considerable rewards were 
then given to the soldiers, and the shells borne in triumph to 

This treachery, however, proved hurtful only through the 
example which it soon after afforded to an exile named Beric, 
at whose instigation the emperor Claudius resolved on sending 
an army to Britain^. The warlike reputation of the natives 
was so universally acknowledged, that the four legions destined 
to contend with them, under the command of Aulus Plautius, 
could scarcely be induced to break up their quarters. Sur- 
prised, however, by the landing of the enemy, the Britons 
were not in a condition to oppose it, and proved their valour 
only in a warfare of skirmishes. The Gaulish allies of the 

* Orosius (vii. 5.) calls him Minocynobellinus. — T. 

2 Suet, de Calig. c. xlvi. Dio Cass. lix. 21. a.d. 40. 

3 A.D, 43. Dio Cass. Ix. 19. Suet, de Claud, c. xvii. Orosius says (vii. 6.), 
" Expeditionem in Britanniam movit, qua2 excitata in tumultum propter 
non redhibitos transfugas videbatur." The fugitives were probably Beric 
and his associates, and the disturbance, caused by the emperor's refusal to 
deliver them up, seems to have served him as a pretext for invading the 
island. — T. 


imperial forces, even if at the outset they spared the lives of 
their kindred, and only slew their chariot-horses, must in the 
end cause great injury to them. The glory of the first im- 
portant victory in Britain, and the honour of a triumph at 
home, belong to Cn. Osidius Geta^ This country was the 
palaestra of the Roman emperors. Vespasian, at the head of 
the second legion, accompanied by Titus, fought here thirty 
battles, subdued the Isle of Wight, overcame two nations, 
and took twenty places^. The war now assuming a more serious 
character, Plautius, as he had been previously instructed, re- 
solved on sending for the emperor. Claudius was accompa- 
nied by Galba, the administration of the state being conducted 
by VitelUus during the absence of the emperor. Cynobellin 
was now dead ; of his sons, Togodumnus and Caractacus, or 
Caradoc, the former had fallen in battle, the latter was driven 
across the Thames, and Claudius, honoured with the surname 
of the Britannic, entered their chief city, Camulodunum^. 
From this place, by means of negotiations and arms, he 
began to mould the south-eastern parts of Britain into a 
Roman province, the administration of which was committed 
to Plautius, and afterwards to P. Ostorius Scapula"*. A 
prince named Cogidubnus obtained some territories in or 
about Sussex, which he was proud to govern under the title 
of an imperial legate, and devoted the rest of his life to the 
establishment of the Roman power in his native country^. 

1 Dio Cass. Ix. 20. 

" Dio Cass. Ix. 20. Eutrop. lib. vii. c. 19. Suet, de Vespas. c. iv. ; de 
Tito, c. iv ; de Galba, c. vii. Tac. Agric. c. xiv. 

3 Dio Cass. Ix. 21. Suet, de Claud, xvii. Camulodunum is usually 
supposed to be the town of Maldon, but the cogent reasons assigned bv 
Mannert and others induce us rather to identify it with Colchester. See 
' Gcogr. der Gricchen und Romer,' p. 157. [Roy, Milit. Antiq. p. 187. 
Archaeol. iii. p. 165. — T.] 

■* A.D. 50. Tac. Agric. c. xiv. Camden (edit. Gibson, p. 300) supposes 
the Oyster hills near Hei'eford to have been one of his camps. Ostorius 
came in the year 47. 

5 Tac. Agric. c. xiv. , The hypothesis of several commentators on this 


The majority of the inhabitants who had attached themselves 
to the conqueror had, however, soon cause to repent that step, 
on perceiving that while tlie duty of subjects was exacted from 
them, they were at the same time deprived of the right of 
bearing arms. While the west was submitting to the Roman 
camps on the Avon and the Severn, the Iceni in the east 
were the first to declare themselves against the new tyranny ; 
and history, when relating their defeat, celebrates at the same 
time their many and brilliant achievements. Their misfor- 
tune disheartened the similarly disposed neighbouring states ; 
but the Cangi and the Silures, under the national hero, 
Caradoc, continued a war of annihilation and despair. The 
Brigantes also, in the yet unconquered northern parts, now 
rose for the protection of the common liberty ; but before the 
league among them had become general, and they could ap- 
pear prepared for the contest, they were, for the time, reduced 
by Ostorius, who with his army marching rapidly against 
them, caused the few who had taken up arms to be slain ; the 
others were pardoned ^ 

With the design of securing the subjection of the vanquished, 
and of those who were honoured with the name of allies, as 
well as of establishing a stronghold in the country for Roman 
interests and civilization, a colony of hardy veterans was jjlaced 
at Camulodunum^. The Roman eagles were already displayed 
over the plains of Britain, when the Silures, Ordovices, and 

passage of Tacitus, which Lingard also adopts, that Togodumnus and 
Cogidubnus were the same person, appears, on comparison with Dio, un- 
tenable. The writers of the ' Universal History ' (vol. xlvii. p. 32) make him 
the son of Cartismandua, and to fall, instead of Togodumnus, in battle 
against the Romans. At Chichester, in 1723, an inscription was dug up 
with the words, " Ex auctoritate Tiberii Claudii Cogidubni regis legati 
Augusti in Britannia." See Gale in Philos. Trans. 1723, Oct. 31. Hors- 
ley, Brit. Rom. No. 76- pp. 192, 333; also Henry, History of Great 
Britain, i. p. 336. The fac-simile, with a somewhat different explanation, 
is given in Hearne's Preface to Adam de Domerham. 
1 Tac. Ann. xii, 32. 2 jbid. 


other mountaineers, who had flocked around Caradoc, begun 
a new struggle, which for some time seemed ruinous to the 
enemy; yet were their love of freedom, their reverence for the 
gods of their country, their craft and valour forced to give way 
before regular warfare. Caradoc's town (Caer Caradoc^) was 
taken ; his wife, daughter, and brother fell into the hands of 
the conqueror. Himself sought shelter and help among the 
Brigantes, whom he had formerly befriended ; but their queen, 
Cartismandua, expecting to obtain less by a noble struggle for 
the independence of her people than through the favour of the 
Romans, sought to purchase the latter by the treacherous sur- 
render of her guest to his enemies, whom he had stoutly re- 
sisted during a space of nine years^. But though with his 
family compelled to appear as a glorious spectacle to proud 
triumphant Rome, who looked on this fruit of treachery as 
equal to the most brilliant victories of Publius Scipio and 
Lucius PauUus, yet were the brave mountaineers whom 
Caradoc had led still unsubdued. The Silures attacked the 
Roman legions appointed to erect fortresses among them, and 
although they often gave ground, the enemy could boast of 
no victory : his forces — which could hope only with the last 
of the Silures to quell the spirit of British independence — 
were daily diminishing, Avhile the allies of the Britons daily 
increased. Ostorius died of griefs. His death was celebrated 
as a victory by the Britons, for his successor Aulus Didius 
Gallus was, by reason of his advanced age, far from formi- 
dable. Some years had passed when Venusius, the husband 
of Cartismandua, from whom he had parted, and who had 
married Vellocatus, one of his shield -bearers, placed himself 
at the head of his people, in opposition to the Romans, whose 

^ A lofty hill on the river Ony, near the junction of the Clun and the 
Teme, in the south-eastern part of Shropshire, still bears the name of Caer 
Caradoc, and exhibits traces of ancient fortifications. 

^ A.D. 51. ^ A.D. 55. 


arms, however, under the skilful guidance of Caisius Nasica, 
succeeded in producing a momentary tranquillity. Didius 
was succeeded by Veranius^ 

The Britons of the present England wxre now, to all ap- 
pearance, nearly subjected to the Romans ; and the prefect 
or legate, Suetonius Paullinus, the successor of Veranius, 
after two years of tranquil administration, resolved on the 
reduction of the Isle of Mona (Anglesey)^, the chief seat of 
druidism, and a receptacle for fugitives. To this end he 
ordered the constrviction of shallow vessels for the transport 
of the foot-soldiers, while the cavalry should either swam or 
wade across the strait. On arriving at the opposite shore 
they found a dense band of armed men, between whose ranks 
women like furies were seen passing, clad in mourning, with 
disheveled locks, and bearing torches; while the female druids 
with upraised hands poured forth maledictions on the invaders. 
Appalled and, as it were, petrified at this spectacle, the soldiers 
stood aghast and exposed to the missiles of the enemy, till, 
on the exhortation of their general, not to fear a band of 
fanatics and women, they rushed to the onset, overthrowing 
and destroying in their ow'n fire all who had courage to resist. 
A garrison was then left on the isle, and the groves, stained 
with the blood of human victims, fell under the axe of 
the legionaries. But while the general was thus engaged^, 
the Britons were near proving successful in extirpating the 
Romans from the country. These, as well as the other 
provincials, were bitterly exasperated by the heavy taxes, in 
the levying of which they were exposed not only to the rapa- 
city of Roman usurers — among whom was Lucius Anneeus 
Seneca'*, in whom the love of wisdom and of base lucre existed 
in a rare, though not unexampled combination — but also by 
the most intolerable oppression of the procurator Catus, and 
of other Roman officials. 


' 1 Tac. Ann. xii. 40, xiv. 29. Hist. iii. 45. ^ ^ jj_ gj^ 
3 Tac. Ann. xiv. 29. * Dio ap. Xiph. Ixii. 2. 


No tribe endured the incorporation of their country as a 
province more impatiently than the Iceni. Their king, the 
M'ealthy Prasutagus, in the view of securing both his king- 
dom and family from the officers and farmers of the revenue, 
and, according to a practice then prevalent, seeking in de- 
gradation a safeguard against insult, had made the emperor 
his joint heir with his two daughters. The atrocities perpe- 
trated by the insolent and profligate officials of the provinces 
(whom vice instigated more than the desire of possession, and 
whose inordinate lusts had been excited by wantonness to a 
recklessness of all the rights of humanity, as well as of their 
own well-understood intei'est,) were at length the cause that, 
under the conduct of Boudicea, the magnanimous widow of 
Prasutagus, who had been scourged as a slave, and the chastity 
of whose daughters had been violated, a multitude of a hun- 
dred and twenty thousand Britons^ surprised the Romans, de- 
stroyed Camulodunum,the important emporium London^, and 
Verulam, and slaughtered seventy thousand Romans (including 
the ninth legion under the legate Petilius Cerealis), and their 
traitorous British allies, with all the fury of vengeance to 
which the violation of their temples, their honour, and their 
domestic hearths could impel them'^. Suetonius PauUinus, 
in a contest of despair, gained, through his wedge-shaped 
array, a bloody victory, which, after the fall of eighty thou- 
sand Britons, Boudicea would not survive^ : she ended her 
days by poison'^. Yet neither the want of regular discipline, 

^ Dio ap. Xiph. Ixii. 1 sq. 

^ " Londinium, cognomento quidern colonic non insigne, sed copia nego- 
tiatorum et commeatuum maximc celebre." Tac. Ann. xiv. 33. 

^ Dio ap. Xiph. Ixii. The grove of Andraste or Andate, the British god- 
dess of victory, is mentioned as the chief place where these atrocities were 
perpetrated. — T. ■• a.d. 62. 

^ Tac.Ann. xiv. 31-37. Boudicea is described by Dio (ap. Xiph.) as of the 
largest size, most terrible of aspect, most savage of countenance, and harsh 
of voice ; having a profusion of yellow hair which fell down to her hips, 
and wearing a large golden collar ; she had on a party-coloured flowing 
vest drawn close about her bosom, and over this she wore a thick mantle 


nor the reinforcements of the Romans, but only a scarcity of 
corn in the following winter compelled the Britons again to 
submit to the dominion of the Caesars. One point, however, 
was gained : the necessity of a mild administration became 
understood at Rome. The procurator Catus was succeeded 
by Julius Classicianus ; the general by Petronius TurpiUanus ; 
his followers were the contemptible Trebellius Maximus, and 
the inactive Vettius Bolanus, under whose inefficient command 
the Roman soldiery became more licentious, the Britons more 
bold^ Among the Brigantes, Venusius had fostered enmity 
to Rome and her ally Cartismandua ; and they might have 
hoped to overpower the Romans, had not Vespasian, at that 
time emperor, appointed Petilius Cerealis to the dignity of 
consular legate, who, after an entire year of contest, succeeded 
in subduing them: yet did these mountaineers ever rise again 
with renewed strength^. The Silures could only be withheld 
from further strife by his successor Julius Frontinus^, who 
was followed in the administration of the province by Cneius 
Juhus Agricola'*, a leader whose glorious memory will for ever 
live in the noble monument raised to his father-in-law by the 
great historian of the empire. 

The first campaign of Agricola, after his arrival, was against 
the Ordovices, who had attacked and nearly annihilated a 
body of Roman cavalry stationed on their border. Having 
destroyed the greater part of this people, he directed his at- 
tention to the reconquest of Mona, which had recovered its 
liberty on the sudden departure of PauUinus to quell the in- 
surrection under Boudicea. Though without vessels for the 
transport of his soldiers, the energy of Agricola was not to 
be subdued. He caused such of his auxiliaries as were most 

fastened by a clasp. Such was her usual dress, but at this time she also 
bore a spear. By the same authority we are informed that she died of 
disease. — T. 

1 Tac.Ann. xiv. 38. Agric. c. xvi. ; Hist. i. 60. ^ ^^q, 70-75. 

^ A.D. 75-78. '' Josephus de Bell. Jud. vii. 4. Tac. Agric. c. vii. 


expert in swimming, and who were acquainted with the loca- 
hty, to cross the strait, on whose unlooked-for approach the 
surprised inhabitants sued for peace, and again yielded to the 

But Agricola had not to learn that tranquillity could be 
best maintained by removing the causes of discontent, and, 
acting on this conviction, he undertook the work of reform, 
wisely beginning with his own household. He checked the 
abuses connected with the levying of the taxes, which were 
even more intolerable than the taxes themselves. The summer 
immediately following^ was employed in improving the state 
of the army, in the formation of camps, and other measures 
for the security of the province ; and the winter was passed 
in introducing among the rugged natives the luxuries and 
refinements of the capital. 

To this end neither exhortations nor aid were wanting on 
the part of Agricola. Temples, baths and other structures, 
both public and private, were erected; the British youth M'cre 
instructed in the language and learning of Rome ; elegant and 
costly entertainments became fashionable, and w"ith the toga 
were adopted the vices of the imperial city. Among the in- 
experienced this passed under the name of politeness, while 
it was a part of their servitude. 

In the third year of his government Agricola conducted his 
forces as far as the Tay, where he established strong garrisons. 
In his fourth year, for the security of his conquests, he caused 
a line of forts to be erected between the Firths of Forth and 
Clyde^. With a view to the future subjugation of Ireland, to 
which he had been excited by the representations of an exiled 
chief, Agricola, in the year following, extended his conquests 

1 A.D. 79. 

^ On the subject of the Roman walls in Britain, the reader will find a 
very able digest in a work entitled ' Eburacum, or York under the Romans, 
by C. Wellbelovcd,' 8vo, 1842 : which contains also much valuable matter 
connected with the latest discoveries in Yorkshire and the North, as well 
as with the state of Roman Britain in general.— T. 


to the western shores of Britain, where he stationed nume- 
rous forces, to be in readiness for ulterior operations. 

In the summer of his sixth year he proceeded with an army 
to the country beyond the Forth, while a fleet coasting along 
the eastern shore seconded his designs. At the sight of the 
ships the Britons were struck with amazement, while the 
Romans were equally alarmed by accounts of the valour and 
activity of the Caledonians. These in the night attacked the 
ninth legion, and, having slain the sentinels, were already en- 
gaged in a sanguinary contest within the camp, when Agri- 
cola, informed of their movements by his scouts, commanded 
the fleetest of his horse and foot to follow in their track. The 
Caledonians having now an enemy to contend against in front 
and rear, were compelled to seek for safety in the shelter of 
their marshes and forests. 

In the last year of his administration Agricola resolved on 
another expedition into Caledonia. For this purpose he as- 
sembled his sea and land forces, having added to the latter a 
corps of tried British auxiliaries. With these he advanced 
to the Grampian hills, where he found the Britons, under 
their general Calgacus, to the number of thirty thousand, 
drawn up in battle array, their foot being posted in lines on 
the declivity, while the chariots and horse occupied the level 
plain. In the centre of his battle Agricola placed eight thou- 
sand auxiliary foot ; his legions were posted in front of the 
camp ; three thousand horse were in the wings. As long as 
they fought with missiles, the advantage appears to have been 
on the side of the natives ; but on the attack of three Batavian 
and two Tungrian cohorts with their pointed swords, the 
Britons, whose long ponderous swords without points and 
small targets were but ill fitted for close action, were com- 
pelled to give ground. On the advance of other cohorts 
their horse were put to flight, and the chariots driven in dis- 
order among the infantry. Those of the Britons who had' 
occupied the summit of the hills now descended, with the de- 


sigrj of attacking the rear of the Romans, but were repulsed 
by a body of cavalry which had been held in reserve by the 
foresight of Agricola. The following day exhibited to the 
victors the spectacle of a vast solitude, at a distance the smoke 
of burning dwellings, but not a vestige of a living being. The 
loss of the Britons in this conflict is estimated at ten thou- 
sand, that of the Romans at three hundred and sixty. The 
army then retired into winter quarters, and the fleet, having 
made the circuit of the island, returned to Sandwich (Portus 
Trutulensis), from whence it had sailed. Triumphal ornaments 
and the honour of a statue were decreed to Agricola, who 
shortly after delivered up his province to a successor, returned 
to Rome, which, according to order, he entered by night, 
and, after a cold reception by Domitian, sank into obscurity 
amid the servile crowds 

The quiet of the latter years in the greater part of South 
Britain, not less than the power of arms in other districts of 
the country, had now (when the Celtic tribes of the continent, 
notwithstanding the fruitless endeavours of CI. Civilis in 
Belgic GauP, had also submitted to the Romans) greatly 
promoted the union of Britain with the Roman empire. The 
politic and wise administration of Agricola completed the 
Romanizing of the British Celts, and gave to the larger por- 
tion of Britain the form under which for several centuries it 
was governed, and at the same time caused the political di- 
vision of the country into the parts which from later settlers 
have obtained the names of England and Scotland. The 
form of government under which the country was acknow- 
ledged as a part of Europe, while it destroyed the national 
unity of the Britons, must in its connexion with the whole 
administration of the empire be here briefly delineated. 

The division into Britannia Inferior and Superior^ is nearly 
identical with the present one into England and Scotland. 

' Tac. Agric. c. vii.— xl. ^ Tac. Hist. iv. 15. ^ Dio Cass. Iv. 23. 


The provinces were : Britannia Prima, or the district to the 
south of the Thames and the Bristol Channel; Britannia 
Secunda, the present principality of Wales ; Flavia Cffisari- 
ensis, so called from the master of Agricola, which extended 
from the Thames to the Mersey and the Humber. Beyond 
the Humber, to the distance of twenty-five miles north of the 
Picts' wall, was the province of Maxima Caesariensis, bor- 
dering on the fifth province Valentia, which extended to the 
firths, to the country beyond which the name of Vespasiana 
had, it is said, been given ; but of which, as the memorial of 
a fruitless occupation, mention is made only in the work of 
Richard of Cirencester, discovered (if not fabricated) in the 
middle of the last century. 

The supreme civil and military power in Britain was at 
first vested in a governor, who bore the high title of Legatus, 
or Consularis'. The Procurator or Quaestor administered 
the concerns of the imperial treasury, levied the land-tax, the 
poll-tax, and those laid on certain natural productions. Se- 
verus divided the government into two portions^. When 
Constantine parted the empire into four governments, Bri- 
tannia fell to that which was placed under the PrEcfectus 
Praetorio Galliarum, who at first resided at Treves and sub- 
sequently at Aries. Under a vicar of the prefect, two con- 
sulars were appointed to the provinces of Maxima Cassari- 
ensis and Valentia, and three presidents over those of Bri- 
tannia Prima, Britannia Secunda, and Flavia Caesariensis^. 
For the revenues of the country, a Rationalis Summarum 
Britanniarum, a Praepositus Thesaurorum Augustensium in 
Britanniis, and a Procurator Cynegii in Britannia Biennensis'* 
were subordinate to the Comes I^argitionum of the West. 

^ The title of Prcefectus or Proprretor oi' Britain occurs only in later 

- Herodian. iii. 24. '■' Zosim. ii. 33. Not. Imp. Occid. c. Ixviii. 

^ Not. Imp. c. xxxiv. For Biennennis Pancirol. (p. 68) reads Dremtensis, 
but without adding any explanation. Grsevius (Thes. torn, vii.) has Ben- 
tensis, and cynegii instead of the gyuecii of the earlier editors. 

VOL. I. D 


Under the Comes Largitionum Privatarum there was a spe- 
cial Ration ahs Rei Privatas per Britannias^. We can here 
give only an imperfect outline of the administration ; the de- 
tails, such as the amount of revenue, its increase or diminu- 
tion, are totally unknown to us. It was not, however, till 
after the time of Appian- that the receipts of the state be- 
gun to cover the expenses of the government. The military 
force in Britain under the Magister Militum Praesentalis, 
which was intrusted to the Comes Militum Britanniarum, 
consisted of 2200 infantry and 200 cavalry ; to the Comes 
Tractus Maritimi (at a later period, Litoris Saxonici per Bri- 
tannias) 3000 infantry and 600 horse ; and a still larger force 
to the Dux Limitum Britanniarum, of 14,000 infantry and 
900 cavalry, forming together an army of 19,200 infantry 
and 1700 cavalry. The British Count had thirty-seven 
castella to defend ; the Count of the Saxon shore, nine for- 
tresses situated on the coast of South Britain, from the 
straits of Dover to Brancaster in Norfolk and Pevensey in 
Sussex^. The frontier fortresses were numerous and required 
strong garrisons. 

The number of these officials and — when compared with 
the others of the empire — the narrow limits of the British 
province lead us to infer the existence of a sufficient object 
both for the activity and cupidity of those employed in the 
administration and their subalterns; an inference, indeed, 
which seems incompatible with the current opinion of the 
want of all civilization in the country. More important, 
however, for the Britons than those forms in which the am- 

' Not, Imp. c. xli. - See his preface. 

2 Not. Imp. cc. xix., Ixxii., and Pariciiol. ibid. p. 157. Tlie title of Comes 
Litoris Saxonici first occurs in the Notitia Imperii Occident, composed in 
the time of Arcadius and Honorius. The conservation of peace on the British 
coast on the Atlantic fell much more naturally to the Gaulish coast troops 
under the command of the Dux tractus Armoricani (Not. Imp. Occid. i. 
86) ; though the chief command over the marine in those parts may, as 
in the instance of Carausius, have sometimes been held by one individual. 


bition of a few Romans found a step to higher objects, or the 
rapacity of others sought the means of gratification, must 
have been the economy of the civic constitution ; and here 
we behold those advantages, which even an enemy always 
brings to a previously isolated country. When the Romans 
abandoned Britain it contained twenty-eight cities, besides a 
considerable number of castelia, ports, and small communi- 
ties. Among the first, we know of two municipia, York and 
Verulam ; nine colonies, Camulodunum (Maldon or Colches- 
ter), Rhutupiffi (Richborough), Londinium Augusta (London), 
Glevum Claudia (Gloucester), Thermae AqujE Solis (Bath), 
Isca Silurum (Carleon in Monmouthshire), Camboricum 
(Chesterford near Cambridge), Lindum (Lincoln), and Deva 
Colonia (Chester) ; also ten cities which had obtained the 
right of Latium : Pterotone (Inverness), Victoria (Perth), 
Durnomagus (Caister in Lincolnshire), Lugubalia (Carlisle), 
Cattaractone (Catterick), Cambodunum (Slack in Long- 
wood), Coccium (Blackrode in Lancashire?), Theodosia (Dun- 
barton), Corinum (Cirencester), and Sorbiodunum (Old Sa- 
rum), the last colony to the south-west in the country of the 
free Damnonii. Volantium (Ellenborough in Cumberland), 
so rich in Roman remains, preserves an inscription, from 
which we learn that it had Decurions who assembled in a 
public building destined for the purposed These cities, 
therefore, possessed a council (Decuriones, Curiales, Muni- 
cipes), with magistrates of their own choosing (Duumviri and 
Principales),and the right of contentious as well as of volun- 
tary jm-isdiction. To them was , committed the levying of 
taxes in their districts, and it is known how the joint security 
of the civic decurions became both a burthen to themselves 
and brought the greatest obloquy on their order. That these 
abuses had also found their way into Britain, we learn from 

> Petrie, C. H. p. cxiii. No. 123. Horsl. B. R. 68. 

D 2 


an ordinance of Constantino for the remedying of the same 
in this country '. Subsequently to the time of that emperor, 
the Defensor elected by the whole city, more especially 
against the oppi-essions of the governor, had become of con- 
sideration. The establishment of corporations at Rome, into 
which certain artizans and handicraftsmen were united, was 
extremely advantageous to them when they were removed 
into foreign provinces. We find much information concern- 
ing these colleges in ancient inscriptions ; and it is very pro- 
bable that, together with the trades of Rome, this form of 
social unions, as well as the hereditary obligation under 
which the former w^ere conducted, was propagated in Britain, 
and was the original germ of those guilds, which became so 
influential in Europe some centuries after the cessation of 
the Roman dominion^. 

Great caution is necessary in endeavouring to show what 
ancient British elements were preserved under the Romans. 
From the Latin authors we can extract very little upon the 
subject, and the old British accounts have reached us in a form 
comparatively modern and demonstrably much corrupted. 
In the larger eastern portion of the country, it is chiefly in 
the names of rivers and mountains that the old British de- 
nominations have been preserved^; those of tribes and of 
places being either wholly lost, or in their Roman disguise 
scarcely to be recognised ; while in Gaul the old names may 
easily be traced. As rare exceptions may be mentioned a 
few places known through commerce prior to the Roman 
conquests in the north of Europe, viz. Vecta (the Isle of 
Wight), Dubris (Dover), the county of Kent, and that uni- 
versal mart on the Thames, which, though dignified by the 

' Cod. Theod. xi. tit. 7, 2. 

2 ' Collegium lignatorum,' inscrip. at Middleby in Scotland : ' fabrorura/ 
inscrip. at Chichester. Horsley, B. R. pp. 337, 342. Petrie, C. H. pp. 
cxii, cxiii. Cf. also Wilda, ' Das Gildenwesen im Mittelalter.' 

^ For a copious enumeration of these with illustrations, see Chalmers's 
Caledonia, vol. i. p. 33-36. 


Romans with the name of Augusta^ has still preserved its 
ancient appellation of London'. 

It was otherwise beyond the mountains, the British Apen- 
nines, which separate the country into two portions, where, 
in the later territory of the Cymry, comprising Cumberland, 
the south-east of Scotland, Westmoreland and Lancashire ; 
in Wales, Cornwall, Devonshire, Man and Anglesey, every 
philological deduction justifies the inference of a purer pre- 
servation of the British stock. Of the dialects and literature 
of Wales we shall have occasion to speak hereafter ; it may, 
however, be here observed, that Cornwall, so late as the 
twelfth century, Avas by the Norwegians called Bretland^, 
and until the middle of the sixteenth century only the primi- 
tive British or Lloegrian tongue was there spoken ; since 
which time, through the reformation of the church and the 
spread of English printed books, it rapidly declined, till, 
about half a century ago, on the death of its last preserver, 
a very aged woman, it was entirely blotted from the list of 
living dialects^. Still longer has the old Celtic tongue been 
preserved in the Isle of Man''. With the old British terri- 

' " Lundinium vetus oppidum, quod Augustam posteritas adpellavit." 
Amm. Marcell, xxvii. 8. 

2 See Theodoric the monk of Trondhjem, in Hist, et Antiq. Regum 
Norwegise, apud Langebek, Scriptores Rerum Danicarum, t. v. p. 315. 

^ From 1560 to 1602 the Cornish dialect greatly declined, and became 
limited to the western part of the county, where it was preserved till the 
beginning of the last century. Lhuyd (Archseologia Britannica, p. 225- 
253) gives a grammar of the Cornish. The printed books in this dialect 
are few, and only three or four in manuscript. Latterly, however, we are 
indebted to the late Davies Gilbert, Esq., for 'Mount Calvary,' and 'The 
Creation of the World,' 8vo. The first is in old Cornish with a slight 
mixture of Saxon or Norse. The other is in more modern Cornish, written 
in 1611. To both are added translations made by J. Knigwin in 1682, 
together with several small Cornish pieces. Cf. Borlase's 'Antiquities of 
Cornwall.' Oxf. 1758, folio. W. Price, ' Archseologia Cornu-Britannica, 
containing a Cornish Grammar and Vocabulary.' Sherborne, 1790, 4to. 
Daines Barrington on the expiration of the Cornish language, in Archipol. 
vol. iii. p. 279, vol. v. p. 81; also the treatises in Grose's ' Antiquaiian ' 
Repertory',' vol. ii. 

^ See Henry Rowland's ' Mona Antiqua restaurata, with an Appendix 


tories may perhaps be reckoned the tract of country extend- 
ing from the Humber to the Firth of Forth, Avhich after the 
departure of the Romans was formed into two states, the 
names of which, Deifyr and Bryneich, are undoubtedly Bri- 
tish. Here are also several British names of places that have 
undergone but little corruption. 

That British princes of the old reigning native families 
were acknowledged by the Romans after the death of Cogi- 
dubnus, is by no means improbable, as, according to their 
wise policy, it was thought useful, in the other provinces, of 
the empire, to preserve such mediators, as it were, between 
themselves and nations wholly differing from them in speech, 
habits, and notions of right ; yet as no mention of their names 
is to be found even in the accounts of the several insurrec- 
tions in Britain, nor on coins or other monuments, they must 
have acted a part Httle beyond that of rich private individuals, 
who were regarded by their oppressed countrymen with the 
respect due to their lineage, as well as with lively sympathy, 
and, sometimes, with secret hope. British tradition speaks of 
princes of Colchester, of Cornwall, and among the ^ Gewissi ' 
in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, during the sway of the 
Romans, on which, however, a probable hypothesis may rest 
in favour of the existence of certain princely famiHes, from 
whom many of the ancient, noble and wealthy races derived 
their origin'. 

In no part of England are there fewer Roman remains than 
among the Damnonii and in Wales. To explain this slight 
influence of the Romans by the supposition of greater pliancy 

containing a comparative table of primitive and derivative words.' Lond. 
1722 and 1766, 4to. Also 'A Practical Grammar of the Ancient Gaelic, 
or Language of the Isle of Man, usually called Manks,' by John Kelly, 
Lond. 1808. Some translations of the Scriptures exist in this dialect. 

' The continuation of such princes in }3ritain with a subordinate autho- 
lity is adopted by Whitaker (History of Manchester, i. p. 247). By Gib- 
bon (c. xxxi. note 184) the hypothesis is rejected, while Palgrave (Rise and 
Progress, i. p. 324) favours it. What is here stated may perhaps suggest 
new grounds for the supposition. 


and weakness in the natives of those parts is not justifiable, 
when we call to remembrance the noble struggles of the 
Silures : on the contrary^ we may, both from the above cir- 
CTimstance and from the fact that the western coasts of En- 
gland continued free from attacks from the opposite shore of 
Ireland, conclude that those people who were able to preserve 
the most striking sign of distinct nationality in their native 
tongue, continued in reality as respected allies of the Romans ; 
the Roman chancery too might, in such a case, find it easy 
to forget, that to the unity of their power in Britannia Prima 
and Secunda some districts were wanting, and the treasury 
not unwillingly forgo the contributions and taxes of the coasts 
on the Atlantic. 

This view of the limits of the real dominion of Rome, and 
of the condition of the western tribes, is in many respects im- 
portant for later history : it explains and supports the British 
traditions, the accounts of the first introduction of Christi- 
anity, the state of the country after the departure of the Ro- 
mans, and, in a degree, marks out the limits of the Anglo- 
Saxon conquests, which may frequently be traced by those 
of Roman Britain. 

A fact worthy of notice in this place, is the existence down 
to recent times of the old British law of succession in Wales, 
Kent, and some parts of Northumberland, called Gavelkind. 
As far as we are enabled to understand it in its mixture with 
Anglo-Saxon law, all the sons of the same father inherited, 
but the youngest possessed the homestead ; the eldest, or the 
next following capable of bearing arms, had the heriot, that 
is, the arms offensive and defensive of his father, and his 
horse. Even the son of an outlaw could not be deprived of 
the entire succession, but of the half only'. 

Of events in Britain under the Romans there is but little 

^ ' Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales,' p. 266, and on the subject of 
Gavelkind in Kent see ' Statutes of the Realm,' vol. i. The greater part of 
the usages there recorded are pure Germanic. 


to relate. A province has no individual existence ; its vege- 
tative dreamlike being no history. Most of the occurrences 
of whicli it may have been the theatre, even the changes and 
modifications in the machine of its government, belong to the 
history of the empire or of its metropolis. The laurels won 
by British legions in distant lands seldom came to the know- 
ledge, and still more seldom touched the hearts of their coun- 
trymen. This last acquisition of a fragile state colossus was 
particularly unfortunate : the culture of the Romans, grafted 
with violence on the wild stock, not being that of the higher 
intellectual life and exalted moral feeling, but of an age in 
which talent and mental powers, deaf to the inward voice, 
under, and in harmony with which they ought to be culti- 
vated, were subservient only to sensuality, to all the failings 
of humanity, and to the then prevailing disregard of the social 
union. Roman customs, Roman garb, and Roman extrava- 
gance found entrance among the barbarians, with the temples, 
language, and law of the metropolis of the world ; and every 
benign as well as every hurtful influence of victory combined 
to destroy the nationality of a conquered people amalgamated 
with its conquerors. 

From Scotland came the movement which, in the time of 
the emperor Hadrian, awakened the spirit of British freedom 
to new life, and to an apparently well-founded hope of totally 
casting off the imperial yoke^ Though the Roman armies 
maintained themselves in the elder province, the emperor, 
nevertheless, deeined it advisable to retire from the boundary 
line drawn and fortified by Agricola in Scotland'-^, and, between 
the Tyne and Solway Firth, to cast up a ramjaart with a ditch 
— the Picts' wall still existing to the height of six feet — which 

^ ^1. Spart. Had. c. v. Britanni tencri sub Roniana ditione non po- 
terant. Fionto de Bello Partliico, § 4. Hadriano imperium obtinente, 
quantum militum a Britannis csesum ! Orosius, vii. 17. Severus victor in 
Lrilannias defectu pene omnium sociorura trahitur. Ubi magnis gravibus- 
que piffiliis sape gestis, etc. Cf. also Cassiodorus. 

- Tac. Agric. c. xxiii. 


should defend what was more strictly the Roman province ^ 
An irruption of the MaeataS;, dwelling in the south of Scotland, 
was attended with the support and junction of many of the 
Brigantes, and probably of other Britons, seeing that they 
were able to penetrate to the Ordovices. They were, however, 
driven back by the propreetor Lollius Urbicus, who erected 
the rampart of earth bearing the name of his master, the 
emperor Antoninus Pius, between Caerriden on the Forth and 
Alcluid (Whiterne) on the Clyde ^. Of a war in Britain during 
the reign of Marcus Antoninus^, we know little more than 
the name of the Roman general, Calpurnius Agricola'*. The 
emperor who, in the tranquillity of his palace, meditated on 
lessons of recondite wisdom, was satisfied if his name was 
bestowed on the northernmost monument of Roman sway; 
and the orator flattered both him and his people with the 
conceit that, in the delightful enjoyment of science and learn- 
ing, he directed the helm of the mighty vessel of the state, as 
well as this remote warfare^ Under Commodus^ the boundary 
wall was broken through by the Britons, to repel whom proved 
an arduous undertaking to the Roman general, Ulpius Mar- 
cellus". He was succeeded by Clodius Albinus, who accepted 
the title of Caesai*, which had been offered to him by Com- 
modus, from Severus^, whose sole motive in conferring that 
honour seems to have been to lull suspicion in the mind of a 

' A.D. 120. yEl. Spart. Had. c. xi, 

2 Jul. Capitol, de M. Anton, c. v. Horsley, B. R. p. 160. Petrie, 
C. H. p. cvii sqq. The account given in the text is the one generally fol- 
lowed, and in Graham's dyke traces of the rampart seem to be preserved : 
the inscriptions there found also refer to Antoninus ; still Pausanias (viii. 
43. § 3.), under this supposition, remains to be explained, but whose ac- 
count, nevertheless, agrees with the passage cited of Capitolinus, and is 
compatible with the hypothesis, that the vallum of Antoninus may have 
been raised near that of Hadrian, which had been destroyed by the Britons. 

^ A.D. 161-180. ^ J. Capit. de M. Anton, c. viii. 

* Fronto, cited by Eumenius (Panegj-r. Const. Cses. c. xiv.). 

« A.D. 190-197. ^ Dio ap. Xiph. Ixxii. s. 8. 

8 Herod, ii. 48, iii. 16-23. Dio ap. Xiph. Ixxiii. 14. J. Capit. cc. xiii., 
xiv. Aur. Vict. c. xx. Oros. vii. 1/. 


vain but potent officer^ of whom he was jealous, and whose 
destruction he had resolved. On the intelligence that Severus 
was advancing with a hostile army, Alblnus crossed with his 
forces over to Gaul : the armies met on the plain of Trevoux, 
near Lyons. For some time victory seemed to incline to the 
side of Alblnus, Severus being unhorsed and disappearing 
from the field ; but the arrival of fresh troops to his aid 
changed the face of things ; the army of Alblnus was routed, 
himself seized and beheaded in Lyons, where he had shut 
himself up from the commencement of the conflict. Having 
settled the affairs of Britain, Severus, as has already been 
observed, divided the government into two provinces ^ 

At this time the power of the northern tribes had become 
so formidable, that the propraetor, Virlus Lupus, was com- 
pelled not only to purchase with a considerable sum a short 
respite from the inroads of the Mreatae, but to solicit either 
an additional force or the presence of the emperor himself. 
Though advanced in years and afflicted with gout, Severus 
obeyed the summons with alacrity. Attended by his sons, 
Antoninus Caracalla and Septimius Geta, he soon arrived in 
Britain, where he lost no time in making the most efficient 
preparations for the subjugation of the barbarians. To his 
younger son, Geta, he committed the civil administration of 
the province : Caracalla accompanied his father. On the 
arrival of the Romans beyond the limits of the province, the 
natives, though unfitted for regular warfare through the want 
of discipline and of defensive armour, harassed the Romans 
on their march, who, nevertheless, continued to advance, fell- 
ing woods, levelling hills, rendering marshes passable, and 
constructing bridges. At length, after a loss of fifty thousand 
men, they reached nearly to the extremity of the Island, where, 
having entered Into a treaty with the natives, according to 
which a considerable portion of territory was to be yielded to 
the Romans, the emperor, who during the whole expedition 

' Herodian. iii. 24. 


had been borne in a covered litter, returned to York. On 
the intelligence of a fresh insurrection, Severus, whom age 
and sickness compelled to remain inactive, resolved on send- 
ing an army under Caracalla to extirpate the barbarians. That 
prince, however, who was far less intent on prosecuting the 
war than on corrupting the soldiery, in the view of excluding 
his brother from all share in the empire, on the death of his 
father, which shortly after took place at York^, entered into 
a truce with the natives and returned to Rome^. 

Whether, after his expedition against the northern tribes, 
Severus enlarged and strengthened by a wall the rampart of 
Hadi'ian or that of Antoninus^, is to the antiquary a question 
not devoid of interest ; but in either case it is manifest that 
the south of the present Scotland was always a very insecure 
possession to the Romans, and in the hands of extremely 
doubtful allies, and that it was only in the modern England 
that Rome held any considerable influence. 

The tranquillity which Britain enjoyed, with the exception 
of the northern border districts, began in this century to be 
disturbed by an event which, new in its kind and conse- 
quences in the history of the world, had on this country an in- 
calculable influence. That element which had set a salutary 
limit to the hostile desolating wanderings of the savage, which 
is, as it were, appointed to be the securest medium and freest 
path for civilization and varied intercourse, was, in the north 
of Europe, in a state ill adapted to the purpose either of sepa- 
ration or communication. It was at that time infested with 
swarms of those daring pirates, to whom for many ages after 

1 A.D. 211. 

■" Dio ap. Xiph. Ixxv. 5, Ixxvi. 11-16, Ixxvii. 1. Heiodian. iii. 46-51. 

^ The latter opinion has been started by Mannert ; but would Dio (ap. 
Xiph. Ixxvi. 12.) have said of the wall of Severus, if it were in Scotland, 
without thinking of that of Hadrian, that it divides the island into two parts ? 
He must also (1. 15.) have spoken in other terms of the new hostilities of 
the Mceatee and Caledonians, if both people had, by the wall, been placed 
in a totally different position with regard to the Romans. Cf. also Smith's 
Beda, App. No. V. 


it served as a home, and who, in their frail barks, exposing 
themselves to all the perils of the stormy ocean, evinced in 
every conflict the most desperate valour, with an endurance 
and skill in warfare, which, if applied to higher purposes, 
would have renewed in history the dazzling glory of Sparta 
and of ancient Rome. 

In the historical records that have been handed down to 
us, the name of the Saxons does not occur before the end of 
the second century, when they are noticed as the possessors 
of the islands at the mouth of the Elbe, and probably also of 
the opposite districts of Holstein and Hadeln^ . In the fol- 
lowing century they became so troublesome to the Roman 
empire, through their piracies, that, for the purpose of warring 
against them and for the protection of the northern coasts, a 
commander was appointed by the emperors Diocletian and 
Maximian, in the person of Carausius, a Menapian^, whose 
successor bore the title of Count of the Saxon shore^. But 
of such importance was this appointment, in consequence of 
the formidable power of the adversaiy, that Carausius, pro- 
bably availing himself of the distraction caused by the Gaulish 
Bagaudae, ventiu'ed, after entering into a compact and alliance 
with the Saxon pirates, to withdraw himself from subjection 

1 Ptol. Geogr. ii. 2. 

2 A.D. 287-296. ' Pirata.' Claud. Mam. ' Menapise civis.' Aur. Vict, 
de Viris Illust. c. xxxix. ' Batavise alumnus.' Eumen. ' Genere infimus.' 
Oros. vii. 25. 'Vilissime natus.' Eubrop. ix. 21. 'Juvenis in Britannia 
ex infima gente creatus.' Galf. Monum. v. 3. Richard of Cirencester, i. 
viii. 14, in speaking of the two Menapias (the Irish, and the present 
St. David's), says, " Harum unam, quam nam vero incertum, patriam 
habebat Carausius." 

^ This title first occurs in the ' Notitia Dignitatum Imperii,' compiled 
under Arcadius and Honorius. Earlier writers name him ' comes maritimi 
tractus ; ' a circumstance not to be overlooked, on account of the impor- 
tance of the ' litus Saxonicum ' for the histoiy of the Saxons. Of Carausius, 
Eutropius, (ix. 21) says, " Cum apud Bononiam, per tractum Belgicse et 
Armoricse, pacandum mare accepisset, quod Franci et Saxones infestabant, 
etc." Eumenius also in Constantio (c. xii.) says of the fleet of Carausius, 
" Quae olim Gallias tuebatur." 


to the Roman sceptre, to fortify Boulogne, and to assume the 
imperial title in Britain. The emperor Maximian found him- 
self compelled to acknowledge him as a joint ruler, but without 
seeing an end put to the piracies, by which the coasts of the 
German ocean, of the Atlantic, and even of the Mediterranean 
were held in constant dread. Carausius had governed in this 
country for seven years, even after the loss of Boulogne, vic- 
torious against the Caledonians, and powerful in his internal 
administration, when he fell by the hand of an assassin, his 
companion AUectus ^, who occupied his place for three years, 
w hen Asclepiodotus, the prefect of the emperor Constantius, 
having destroyed him and his forces, stormed London, and 
soon restored their most northern province to the dominion 
of the Caesars ^. 

The deeds of Augustus Carausius are of great moment for 
the later history of the country. Through him Britain first 
learned that it could maintain itself independent of Roman 
supremacy, and in security against its northern enemies ; and 
the slumbering national spirit became, through this conscious- 
ness of self-dependence, powerfully excited^. He reigned 
chiefly by the help of Frankish warriors, under Roman forms 

^ Orosius, vii. 25. Aur. Vict. c. xxxix. Eutrop. ix. 22. Cf. Genebrier, 
Geschichte des Carausius aus JVIiinzen (from the French, in the appendices 
to the 'Allegemeine Welthistorie/ Th. vi.). Stukeley's ' Medallic History 
of Carausius.' Some coins of Carausius and AUectus are given in Haver- 
camp's 'Orosius/ p. 527. See also 'Eumenii Oratio pro restaurandis 
Scholis/ cc. xviii., xxi. 

- Eumenius (Paneg. Const, cc. xv.-xvii.) is the only one of the ancients 
extant who gives the circumstances of the destruction of AUectus, with 
whose account Jeffrey of Monmouth agrees so closely, that we must sup- 
pose this extraordinary writer to have used ancient works no longer in ex- 
istence. Even the name given by him of the defender of London, ' Livius 
Callus,' is probably, like his other Roman names, genuine. 

^ A few years earlier a prefect of Britain, under the emperor Probus, 
having raised a rebellion, had by some artifice {Tri^tvoicc ovx. ciji^ovi) been 
circumvented and put to death by a minister of the emperor sent over for 
the purpose. Zosimus, i. QQ. 


of government, which, from their connexion with his memory, 
may have been held in a higher degree of veneration in the 
minds of later races ^ 

But not less has Carausius influenced the later Germanizing 
of Britain by the Saxons. Himself a German by extraction, 
a Menapian by birth, if he did not cause the settling of the 
Saxons along the Saxon shore, in Gaul as Avell as in Britain, 
he at least promoted it by his alliance with them-. The pre- 
vailing opinion, that the ' Litus Saxonicum ' borrowed its 
name from the enemy to whose attacks it was exposed, ap- 
pears as contrary to the principles of sound philology as it is 
unhistoricaP. By the probably contemporaneous settlements 
of the Saxons on the Litus Saxonicum near Bayeux (to which, 
perhaps, the circumstance may partly be ascribed, that the 
manners and language of the French found slower admission 
into that place than into the other parts of Normandy'^), the 
weakness of the Romans, even on the coasts of Gaul and 
elsewhere across the channel, is authentically shown, as well 

* That the coins of Carausius, bearing the impress of the wolf and twins, 
were copied by the Bretwaida yEthelberht of Kent, can hardly be placed to 
the account of mere caprice. The circular temple, that remarkable and 
venerable relic which, till destroyed by the hand of modern barbarism, stood 
on the banks of the Carron, though in later times attributed to Julius 
Caesar and to Arthur, was at a remoter period considered to be the work of 
Carausius. See Stukeley ; also Palgrave, vol. i. pp. 3/6, 377- Nennius, 
c. xix. Camden, and ' De Mirabilibus Britannise ' at the end of Hearne's 
Robert of Gloucester, p. 576. 

- Eutropius, ix. 21, speaks only of the Belgian and Armorican coasts. 
Beda (H. E. i. 6.) here copies Orosius, who takes his account from Eutro- 

^ See Palgrave, vol. i. p. 384, who takes the same view. — T. 

* Grannona in litore Saxonico. Not. Imp. Occid. c. Ixxxvi. Du Chesne, 
Hist. tom. i. p. 3. In the capitularies of Charles the Bald this district is 
called ' Otlingua Saxonica.' Bouquet, vii. p. 616. ' Saxones Bajocassini.' 
Greg. Turon. v. c. 27. a. 578. x. c. 9. Fortunati Carm. iii. 8, says, at 
the end of the sixth century, speaking of Felix, bishop of Nantes, 

" Aspera gens Saxo, vivens quasi more ferine, 
Te mediante, sacer, bellua reddit overa." 


as the proneness of the Saxons to similar settlements, of 
which also the ^ Litus Saxonicum in Belgica Secunda' (Flan- 
ders) i, not less than the just application of language, affords 
a further proof. 

During the reign of Constantius Chlorus, the position of 
Britain in the Roman state must have been very prominent. 
Swayed both by inclination and probably by matrimonial 
connexions — his wife Helena being, it is said, the daughter, 
or at least the relative of a British prince'^ — and perhaps by 
the wish also to preserve this country to Rome, Constantius 
passed the greater part of his life in Britain. He died at 
York, where his son Constantine was proclaimed emperor. 
A German prince supported his nomination, a circumstance 
from which we may infer the presence of German warriors^. 
The name of Constantine the Great immediately reminds 
us of the rapid diffusion of Christianity during his time, and 
through him. 
r The Christian faith found at an early period, among both 
the Celtic and the German races, ready admission into 
Britain, and, even when persecuted, had, in solitary retire- 
ment, borne promising fruits for the future. It is, down to 
the latest times, so closely interwoven with the social consti- 
tution and, consequently, with the leading events of this 
country, that a glance at the history of religion is often in- 
dispensable for the illustration of political events. The ac- 

' See Warnkbnig, Flandrische Staats-und Rechtsgeschichtc, vol. i. p. 95. 

" Panegyr. Vet. pp. 192, 20/. Henry of Huntingdon (lib. i., we know 
not on what authority) and Jeffrey of Monmouth (v. 6, 11.) give to this 
prince the name of Coel (of Colchester). On the other hand, in the ' Gesta 
Treberorum,' c. xxix., it is said, "Helena Treberorura nobilissima." 
Huntingdon relates, that the walls of London, existing in his time, were 
built by Helena. [It seems almost superfluous to remark, that Colchester 
derives its name, not from Coel, but rather from its ancient appellation, 
Colonia (Camulodunum). — T.] 

^ " Praicipue Eroco, Alamannorum rege, auxilii gratia Constantium 
comitato, imperium capit." Aur. Vict. Epit. c. xli. May not the name. 
Erocus be a corruption of Ertocus, a Latinization of the Old-Saxon 
Heritogo (A.-S. Heretoga, Ger. Herzog), dux ? 


count that, less than thirty years after the death of the 
Redeemer, a lady of distinction — Pomponia Grascina, the wife 
of that Plautius whose victories in Bi'itain had gained him the 
honour of an ovation — adopted Christianity, stands probably 
on no better foundation than other tales of a similar nature, 
it being improbable that this lady ever set foot in Britain ; 
yet as early as the close of the following century, Christianity 
had advanced even into parts of Britain not subject to the 
Romans, by which Cornwall and Wales are particularly to be 
understood. The agreement of the British with the Eastern 
churches respecting the celebration of Easter^, shows a con- 
formity most satisfactorily, perhaps, to be accounted for by 
the supposition of an historic basis for the several legends re- 
specting the preaching of the doctrines of Christ by oriental 
apostles. It is even probable that the first tidings of the new 
faith did not come from Rome, where it was still vmder op- 
pression, but rather from one of those congregations of Asia 
Minor, which the Mediterranean had long held in connexion 
with Gaul, and from whence, by the great public roads, the 
spirit of conversion easily found its way to Britain^. 

Less objectionable seems the tradition of the adoption of 
Christianity by the British prince Lever Maur (the Great 
Light), or Lucius, on comparing it with the testimony of 
Tertullian^. Lucius is reported to have sent Fagan and 

Dervan to Rome, for the sake of receiving from the bishop 

\ ... 

Eleutherius more accurate instruction m the doctrines of 

Christianity; whereupon Roman missions passed over to Bri- 

' It appears that in the beginning of the fourth centu:y the Britons and 
Romans kept Easter on the same day. Euseb. Pamph. de Vita Constant 
iii. 19. 'iOivfi "TTciviuu Vj^iai kqic/H, T'/ji/ UyiCiireiri^u Tis Il«(r;^« so(^r'^v /atcc kccI 
TV) eivTYi '^|«<eg« avun'hua^a.i. Cf. also Socrat. Hist. v. 22. Cone. Arelat. 
(Spelman, pp. 40, 42) and Lingard, H. E. vol. i. p. 45 note, edit. 183/. — T. 

- For the traditions respecting Glastonbury, see Will. Malmesb. *De 
Antiquitatibus Glastoniensis Ecclesise, apud Gale,' t. i. Also Warner's 
' History of the Abbey of Glastonbuiy,' 1826, 4to, who, by the way, gives 
credit to the tradition of St. Paul's preaching in Britain. 

^ Adv. Jud. c. vii. 


tain, and there founded three archbishoprics and twenty- 
eight bishoprics' — denominations which are of course to be 
understood in the sense of the time. The supposition seems 
by no means unreasonable, that the Anglo-Saxon Romanists, 
in their disputes with the British followers of the eastern 
church, would, in such tales, provide themselves with a 
weapon of controversy ; yet how is it that we find them in a 
complete form precisely in those authors who have translated 
the old British authorities^? 

Gaul, in the time of the predecessors of Eleutherius, had 
very numerous Christian congregations, which have been 
ennobled by the persecutions they underwent at Lyons and 
Vienne, in the year 177; fleeing from which, many of their 
members may have increased the number of believers among 
the kindred Britons. The controversy between the Jewish 
and the heathen Christians upon several external matters, and 
especially the celebration of Easter, had already at that time 

^ This number is, no doubt, connected with the catalogue of the twenty- 
eight cities of Britain mentioned in Nennius, c. ii. 

- Beda (H. E. i. 4.) places Lucius (who, according to Jeffrey of Mon- 
mouth, died in 156) in the time of Marcus Aurelius, to the beginning of 
whose reign he assigns the date 156, instead of 161. In lib. v. c. 24, he 
places Eleutherius in the years 167-182. Nennius gives 167 as the year 
of the conversion of Lucius. In his ' Chronicon ' Beda places this event 
in 180, which agrees better with the regnal years of pope Eleutherius, 167- 
182, or, according to ' Anastasii Vitse Pontificum,' 179-194, where mention 
is made of Lucius in the words used by Beda in his history, " Hie accepit 
epistolam a Lucio, Britannise rege, ut Christianus efficeretur per ejus raan- 
datum," of which passage the last three words are wanting in Beda's 
' Chronicon.' On the other hand, Anastasius agrees with the ' Chronicon ' 
in mentioning, under Victor, the successor of Eleutherius, the document 
(libelli) of the latter relative to the celebrating of Easter, If Beda had had 
the * Vitse Pontificum ' before him, the account of Lucius must gain con- 
siderably in point of historic credibility ; at the same time the confusion 
in the chronology is quite inexplicable. Not less hazardous does it appear 
to assume that the author of the ' Vitre Pontificum ' had both of Beda's 
works at hand. A thorough examination of the ' Gesta ' or ' Vitffi Ponti- 
ficum ' would probably lead to the discovery of a common source to both 
authors. With regard to the accounts of Jeffrey of Monmouth, it may 
not be amiss to notice that he appeals (iv. 20.) to a work of Gildas, ' De 
Victoria Aurelii Ambrosii.' See Stevenson's edit, of Gildas,' p. xi. 

VOL. I. E 


engaged the minds of men, and, among the new converts, who 
belonged to neither party, but had at once sprung from druid- 
ism, occasioned new scruples. Without, therefore, attaching 
much importance to later embellishments of the account of a 
mission from a distinguished British chieftain to Eleutherius, 
we may, perhaps, assume, that the former might have applied 
to the head of the Western church, with the view of effecting 
an arrangement of the contradictory opinions prevailing among 
the Christians under his dominion. 

The gradual spread of Christianity in Britain drew upon it 
the unpropitious eye of the pagan emperors, and the perse- 
cution of the Christians under Diocletian has left behind it 
a terrific remembrance also in this country. The martyrdom 
of St. Alban at Verulam, and of the two citizens of Caerleon 
upon Usk, Aaron and Julius, could not be obscured, even in 
the following times of relapse into paganism'. The Christian 
faith and the measures adopted for its preservation were, 
however, not yet entirely suppressed. Under Constantius, 
the mild successor of Diocletian, Christianity again ventured 
to show itself, and under Constantine we meet with the 
names and dioceses of three British bishops, mIio were present 
at the first Council of Aries : Eborius of York, Restitutus of 
London, and Adelfius of Lincoln^, and at the same time learn 
the dissidence of their tenets from those of the Romish 
church. This account supports a tradition, which has been 
too much called in doubt, that, besides the above-mentioned, 
Wales also (Britannia Secunda) had a bishop at Caerleon, and 
the most northern province one at St. Andrews (anciently 
Albin), and that each of these bishoprics was divided into 
twelve districts^. However erroneous this tradition may be 

* Gildas, c. viii. Beda, i. T . 

2 A.D. 314. Spelraan, Cone. t. i. p. 42. The see of Adelfius is there 
called " Colonia Londinensium," for which, with Henry, I prefer reading 
' Col. Lindum,' than to render it by ' Richborough.' 

^ Girald. Cambr. (' De Jure et Statu Menev. Eccl.,' ap. Wharton, 'Anglia 
Sacra,' t. i. p. 542) appeals to "tomum Anacleti papte, sicut in pontifi- 
calibus Romanorum gestis et imperialibus, directum Galliarum episcopis." 


in naming five archbishoprics and sixty bishoprics, it may, 
nevertheless, essentially not be void of foundation. 

The first half of the fourth century is chiefly remarkable as 
regards Britain, on account of the harmony with which the 
natives and Romans, as well as other settlers — brought 
together in no small number by their common faith — united 
in the arts of peace ^ The cultivation of grain had been 
carried to such a height, that Britain became the granary of / 
the northern provinces of the empire, and by yearly exports 
supplied other countries with food, while it enriched itself^. 
Civic establishments were so flourishing, that builders and 
other artificers were demanded from Britain for the restoration 
of the desolated provinces^. 

The country was crossed by high-roads in various direc- 
tions, many of which have served the later settlers in their 
marches, as well as their commercial operations. It is pro- 
bable that the Romans themselves found some of these great 
highways already in existence, which were afterwards known 
by the names of Watling Street, leading from the southern 
shore of Kent, by Rhutupioe and London, through St. Alban's 
and Stony Stratford to Caernarvon'* (Segontium). Ikenild, or 
Rikenild Street, from Tynemouth, through York, Derby, and 
Birmingham to St. David's. The Irmin (Ermin) Street led 
from the latter place to Southampton ; the Foss from Cornwall 
to Caithness, or, perhaps, more correctly, only to Lincoln^. 

' "Britannia terra tanto frugumubere, tanto Isetamunere pastionum, 

tot metallorum fluens rivis, tot vectigaiibus quaestuosa, tot accincta portu- 
bus." Eumen. Paneg. Const. Cses. c. xi. Cf. ejusdem Paiieg. Const. 
Aug. c. ix. 

- Amm. Marcell. xviii. 2. Libanii Orat. x. t. ii. p. 281. Zosimus, iii. 5. 
Julian. Imp. ad S. P. Q. Athen. Epist. Eunapii Legat. 

'•' Eumen. Paneg. Const. Cses. c. xxi. — T. 

"* To Cardigan. Higd. Polychron. 

^ H. Hunt. lib. i., followed by Robert of Gloucester, ' Ric. Corinreus de 
Situ BritannijE,' lib. i. c. 7, and ' Commentary on the Itinerary,' p. 110 
sq. edit. 1809. R. Higden, Polychron, lib. i. cap. ' De Plateis Regalibusl' 
Whitaker's Hist, of Manchester, vol. i. p. 102 sq. 

E 2 


These roads, which, if not formed, were at least greatly im- 
proved by Roman labour, prove by their direction a lively 
internal traffic, as well as a commercial connexion with the 
countries lying east and west of Britain'. 

We are accustomed to regard Roman influence and Roman 
civilization in Britain as considerably less than in the southern 
provinces of the empire, chiefly because the language of mo- 
dern England is not immediately based on that of Rome, and 
but few ancient monuments have been presei'ved in the coun- 
try. Of these the number has been greatly diminished by 
frequent and early devastations, more especially in the richest 
provinces, and those first possessed by the Romans ; yet, 
even in our days, many have been discovered, which suffi- 
ciently prove to us the importance of Roman Britain^. Many 
remains of Roman buildings, on sites long since traversed by 
the ploughshare, or from which, as from seed, modern towns 
have sprung up, w'ere visible as late as the twelfth and thir- 
teenth centuries^. Besides the two municipal towns, the re- 
mote Caerleon (the City of the Legion, Isca Silurum) also 
had its theatres, temples, and palaces, of which Giraldus 
speaks in terms of high admiration'*, and for which like Bath 
(Aquae Solis), it may have partly been indebted to its hot 
springs. At a later period we have an account of various 
subterranean antiquities in the city of Chester (Deva) ^. To 
the excavated remains of a temple of Neptune and Minerva 
at Chichester we are indebted for some highly important dis- 
closures relative to the history of Britain under the Romans ; 
but the most complete idea of Roman building is presented 
to us in a villa discovered at Bignor in Sussex j also in the 

^ The course of these roads is very uncertain. Compare Ric. Corin. 
with Higden.— T. 

" See Horsley, ' Britannia Romana.' 

•■' Will. Malmesb. de Gestis Regum, lib. i. c. 1. Id. de Gestis Ponti- 
ficum, lib. iii. Prooem. 

■• Girald. Cambren. Itin. Camb. lib. i. c. I. ap. Camden. 

* R. Higden, Polychr. ap. Gale, i. 200. 


antiquities at Woodchester in Gloucestershire'. Beda like- 
wise mentions the Roman towns, lighthouses, roads, and 
bridges existing in his time^. Many a sacred spot of anti- 
quity offers itself to our knowledge through the holier con- 
secration it has received from Christianity, always ready to 
apply and hallow every legacy of the past. St. Peter's church 
and abbey at Westminster, St. Pavil's cathedral at London, 
will appear to us only the more venerable, if we call to mind 
that at the former, in times remote, the worship of Apollo 
contributed to the culture of a rugged race, and at the latter, 
that a temple of Diana was mediate to the faith of so many 
people. Thus the Angles and the Saxons, when they had 
established themselves in Britain, dwelt within Roman walls, 
and walked amid spacious structures and beautiful works of 
Roman art. Ought it then to surprise us, if, when first made 
sensible, on their conversion to Christianity, of the necessity 
of new and ample edifices, they strove to restore the archi- 
tecture of the Romans in their country, and that structures 
in imitation of the same were afterwards erected, which have 
erroneously been regarded as original productions of Saxon 
art. Of Roman vestiges, those of ramparts and fortresses are 
oftenest to be met with, though it is not to be denied that 
these, through their equivocal character, have but too often 
given rise to misconceptions and inveterate errors. As un- 
doubted Roman remains may be cited those at Richborough 
(Rhutupiae), Lincoln (Lindum), Burgh Castle in Suffolk 
(Gariannonum), Chester (Deva). At Dorchester vestiges of 
an amphitheatre are still visible. 

From the great number of Roman towns and garrisons in 
Britain, it may be inferred that an intimate connexion sub- 

' See Sam. Lysons's splendid work on this subject, London, 1797, 
1815 : also his ' Reliquiae Britannico-Romanse,' 3 vol. fol. Lond. For Ro- 
man temples and other buildings at Bath, see Lysons, also Carter's 
'Ancient Architecture of England.' 

2 H. E. i. 11. Vita S.Cuth. xxvii. Malmesb. de Gestis Pontif. ap. Savile, 
p. 258, 


sisted between the Romans and the natives. Hence the Ro- 
man language also had found general admission among the 
provincials, as is evident from the number of Latin words oc- 
curring in the Welsh tongue ; and in the British historical 
traditions, as they have been preserved by Nennius, Jeffrey 
of Monmouth, and others, we meet with too many points of 
resemblance with Roman historj^ and tradition, to allow the 
supposition of a total aboHtion of the Roman tongue, with 
the cessation of Roman sway, and the temporary extinction 
of Christianity. 

For their superiority as shipmen it has been thought that 
the Britons were indebted to the Romans, though we know that 
the Roman troops stationed in the island were by no means 
a match by sea even for their usual enemy, the Saxons^, and 
that they were not practised in sea-fights. The dwellers 
along the shores of the Mediterranean may, perhaps, have 
taught the rovers of the North an improved style of ship- 
building, but confidence on the rocking element, the direct 
dartlike course over and through the wild towering billows, 
the placid gaze which spies the wind, ere its approach, on the 
far distant curling surge, the unquenchable delight in the 
amphibious life of a seaman — these have been brought to 
Britain only by Saxons and Northmen ; and not only does 
the English language, but even those of southern Europe de- 
clare, who are the people called by nature to be master of the 
vessel and the wave. 

We must now turn from the subject of Roman civihzation 
in Britain, and cast a glance on those nations which chiefly 
contributed to its extirpation^ — to the Picts and Scots, who 
are first mentioned as making their appearance in the present 
Scotland in the fourth century. Both these tribes were 

1 The passage of Eumenius (Paneg. Const, c. xii.) which has been cited 
in proof of the maritime proficiency of the Romans, rather says that Ca- 
rausius employed many foreigners — " exercitibus nostris in re maritima 
novis." ^ A.D. 364. 



nearly related to the Caledonians and Mjeatae, though they 
appear to have been more barbarous. It is certain that the 
Scots, and probably the Picts likewise, passed over from Ire- 
land and reduced the earher inhabitants to subjection. Their 
name, Picti, is by no means an appellation bestowed on ene- 
mies with painted bodies, but is a Roman corruption of 
Peght^. They dwelt in the eastern part of Scotland, on both 
sides of the Grampian hills, from Inverness and Elgin to 
Dunbarton, or from the Firth of Murray to those of Forth 
and Clyde, but, at a later period, in the south-west of Scot- 
land, as far as the Picts' wall, where, on the river Nith in 
Dumfi'iesshire, we meet with a particular tribe of them, the 
Nithwaras'-^. In the south of Scotland the rustic still points 
to many a memorial of the Picts, consisting of old walls and y 
excavations. The Scottish kings in the ninth century in- 
cluded their name among their titles. Pictland was attacked 
by the Norwegians, and in the famous battle of the Standard, 
in the year 1138, also in that of Clithero, the Peghts of Gal- 
loway^ fought with their native savage valour. As no re- 
mains exist of a particular tongue spoken by this people, nor 
even any accounts of its existence or decay, British antiqua- 
ries have indefatigably contended, some for a Gothic, and 
others for a Celtic origin of the Pictish language — a dispute 
certainly about less than words, for one or two very ancient 
names of mountains, which at the present day we are unable 
to explain by our insufficient knowledge of the old Gaelic, 
can afford no proof of a distinct Pictish tongue, which pro- 
bably differed from that of other British and Irish tnbes only 
in being a more barbarous dialect. 

^ Even Wittekind gives them their right name. Eumenius (Paneg. 
Const, c. vii.) is the first who mentions them, " Caledonum aUorumque 
Pictorum silvas et paludes." Amm. Mar. xxvii. 11. " Britanni Pictis mo- 
do et Hibernis assueti hostibus." 

- Bedffi Vitee S. Cuthb. c. xi. Cf. ejd. H. E. i. 1; iii. 4; v. 21. and 
Chron. a. 452. 

3 See the Rev. R. Garnett's communication to the Philological Society, 
June 9, 1843, p. 123.— T. 


Together with the Scots, mention is also made of the At- 
tacotti'. A tribe of these, the Dalreudini, in the southern 
part of Argyleshire and the neighbouring isles preserved the 
name of their original home in Ulster. Historeth, son of 
Istorin, was the name of their leader, a name which has pro- 
bably no more historic truth in it, than that of Reuda as- 
signed to him by other traditions^. These were followed by 
their countrymen from Irin (lerne, Hibernia) in multitudes, 
and it is probable, that under the name of Scots, against 
whom the Romans fought, we must frequently understand 
their kinsmen also, who left Ireland solely for the purpose of 
joining them. From West Wales, or the territoiy of the 
Dimetce, as far as which they had endeavoured to extend their 
conquests, it is related that they were for ever driven by 
Cunedda Wledig, afterwards Prince of Gwynedd, who with 
his sons came from Manau Guotodin, before the Romans had 
yet left the other parts of the island^. 

The consideration of the old British princely families be- 
gan to revive when the pressure of the Roman government 
was lightened. The princes of Strathclyde and North Wales 
traced their descent from Cunedda Wledig, or the Glorious (a 
title answering to that of Caesar Augustus), and to his an- 
cestor Coel, as did the Cornish dynasty to Bran ap Llyr'*, 
the ancestor of Arthur, and of those other heroes whose 
valour enabled them to avert the total subjection of their 
mountain followers by the Romans, and afterwards by the 
Saxons and the Danes ^. 

Under Constantius, the son of Constantine, the condition 

^ Ainm. Mar. xxvi. 4 ; xxvii. 8. Hieron. Epist. Ixxxii. ad Oceanum. 
Nennius, c. viii. 

- Nennius, c. viii. Bedie H. E. i. 1. 

^ Nennius, c. viii. Ixvi. Appen. As Cunedda is said to have come to 
Gwynedd 146 years before the reign of Mailcun, who died a.d. 547, the 
date 370-380 is here given. Guotodin is supposed to have been on the 
eastern coast of the south of Scotland. 

* So called in Jeffrey of Monmouth. 

^ See Gunn in ' Historia Brittonum/ p. 119. 


of Britain was rendered particularly deplorable by the tyranny 
of the notary Paulus, a Spaniard by birth, who had been sent 
by the emperor for the purpose of prosecuting certain indi- 
viduals of the array accused of participation in the conspiracy 
of Magnentius. This man, availing himself of the opportuni- 
ties afforded him by his station, hesitated not, by means of 
false accusations, to sacrifice the liberty and life of those in- 
dividuals whose fortunes offered a temptation to his rapacity. 
Martinus the pro-prefect, who had long lamented the suffer- 
ings of the innocent, finding his intercession vain, threatened 
to resign his charge. Alarmed hereupon for the permanency 
of his own power, Paulus took measures to involve him in the 
common ruin, when, urged by the feelings of the moment, 
Martinus attacked the notary with his sword, but failing to 
strike a mortal blow, he plunged the blade into his own side, 
a victim to his hatred of oppression and cruelty. Paulus 
now freed from restraint set no bounds to his barbarity ; 
many, loaded with chains, were led to torture, while many 
were proscribed and driven into exile, or perished by the 
sword of the executioner. Though applauded for his ser- 
vices by Constantius, by Julian, the succeeding emperor, 
Paulus was condemned to be burnt alive ^ 

In the century after the death of Constantine the Great, 
during which Britain still continued a part of the Roman 
empire, we know little more of the country than that it was 
the theatre of devastation, caused by the Celtic and Germanic 
tribes. It had indeed long been a school of war by land and 
sea for the Romans, out of which many a conspicuous cha- 
racter arose, as well as the germ of new rebellions. The 
anti-emperor Bonosus, who vainly strove to wrest from the 
emperor Probus the island of Britain — which usually fell to 
those tyrants who had made themselves masters of Gaul — 
was the son of a rhetorician or psedagogue of British origin ^. 

^ Amm. Mar. xiv. 5, xx. 2. 

^ A.D. 280. Vopiscusde Probo, c.xviii. [Domo Hispaniensis fuit, origine 


The Pannonian Valentinus, when banished to Britain, found 
there both friends and aid in his rebellion against the em- 
peror Valentinian, the suppression of which, even after the 
capture and death of the chiefs, required all the prudence of 
the general Theodosius^ This success, but yet more his 
glorious triumph over the Picts and Scots 2, who had advanced 
as far as London and slain the general, Fullofaudes, and the 
count of the marine district, Nectaridus, the re-establishment 
of the province of Valentia, the restoration of the towns 
and garrisons, the security of the camps and frontiers, and 
the amelioration of the civil government, obtained for the 
British leader that renown and influence which raised him- 
self to the rank of magister equitum, and contributed to the 
elevation of his yet more fortunate son to the imperial purple, 
by whom that dignity was once more, and for the last time, 
ennobled. Britain possessed also an upright, though severe 
governor in Civihs, and in Dulcitius, a general distinguished 
for his knowledge of the art of war^. 

But the spirit of independence had already stricken too 
deep a root for the example of Carausius ever to be without 
imitators. Maximus, of a distinguished British family'*, had 
gained the highest reputation in the wars against the Picts 
and Scots°. He was, against his will, proclaimed emperor 
by the ai'my^; and in the treason of the warrior posterity 
would have seen only the strong national feeling of the noble 
Briton, had he not left his island realm, and, seduced by 
early success, been desirous of founding at Treves a Western 
Roman empire, which was at first acknowledged by Theo- 

Britannus : Galla tamen matre ; ut ipse dicebat, rhetoris filius ; ut ab aliis 
comperi, psedagogi litterarii. Id. de Bonoso, c. xiv. — T.] 

' Amm. Mar. xxviii, 3. - a.d. 368. 

^ Amm. Mar. xxviii. 3; xxvii. 8. Claud, de Consul. Honorii. 

■* See the authorities in Palgrave, vol. i. pp. 381, 383. 

* Prosp. Tyro, a. 382. 

" Prosp. Tyro, a. 381. Prosp. Aquitan. a. 384. Sulp. Sev. Vita S. 
Martini, c. xx. Orosius, vii. 34. and from him, Bedse H. E. i. 9. Paulas 
Diac. lib. xi. Greg. Turon. i. 38. 


dosius. He was taken prisoner at Aquileia and put to death ' . 
His young son Victor, whom he had declared emperor and 
left behind in Gaul, shared the same fate^. Hence, though 
we must look with great mistrust on the Welsh pedigrees 3, 
which derive the independent princes of Gwent and Powys, 
as well as the more powerful ones of Cumberland and Strath- 
clyde, from Constantine, who is described as the eldest son 
of this emperor, yet the impression must be acknowledged 
to have been extremely deep made on the Britons by the 
deeds of Maximus. 

An event connected with the history of this prince may 
not be passed without notice ; namely, the settlement of a 
Roman military colony (milites limitanei, laeti), consisting of 
British warriors, in Ai'morica, which has given name, as well 
as a distinct character and history to the province of Bre- 
tagne"*. Though that country had from the earliest times, 
by descent, language, and druidism, been related to Britain, 
yet the new colonists, who were followed by many others, 
both male and female^, served unquestionably to bind more 
closely and to preserve the connexion between Bretagne and 
the Britons of Wales and Coi-nwall ; and but for this event, 
the heroic poetry of France and Germany had probably been 
without the charm cast over it by the traditions of the San- 
graal, of Tristan and Isolde, of Arthur and of Merlin. But 
Britain was thereby deprived of her bravest warriors, and 

1 A.D. 388. 

2 Prosp. Aquitan. a. 388. Orosius, vii. 35. Paul. Diac. lib. xii. Nen- 
nius, c. xxvi. 

3 See Gunn in Hist. Britt. p. 141. 

■* Gildas, c. x. Nennius, c. xxiii. Beda (H. E. i. 12) copies the words 
of Gildas. It is not apparent why Gibbon (c. xxxviii. note 136), who else 
frequently follows these authors, here wholly rejects them. See also Pal- 
grave, vol. i. p. 382. 

' The tradition of St. Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins who fol- 
lowed the colony of warriors, is recorded by Jeffrey of Monmouth, lib. v., 
according to whom the arrival of many of them in the Rhenish districts is 
not unfounded. See also my little work on Helgoland, note IT. 


thence the more easily became an early prey to foreign in- 

Scots, Picts, and Saxons continued to trouble Britain, and 
even the excellent administration of the vicar Chrysanthus ^ 
came too late to restore the state of things. Stilicho indeed 
felt himself at first powerful enough to send a body of Roman 
troops to the aid of the afflicted province, who both fulfilled 
the object of their mission, and, as tradition informs us, ex- 
horted the natives to construct a wall across the island from 
sea to sea, as a barrier against the northern barbarians^. 
But the Roman general himself soon stood in need of all his 
united forces for the defence of Italy against the hordes of 
Alaric. The troops, a few years after, returned to Britain, 
but the country had in the meanwhile suflfered new devasta- 
tions from the Celtic invaders. 

The Roman legions were soon afterwards, on the occupa- 
tion of Gaul by the Alani, the SuevI, and the Vandals^, with- 
drawn from the island by the emperor Honorius, who was 
compelled to leave it to its fate. An emperor of Britain was 
elected in the person of Marcus'*, w-ho, being slain, found 
a successor to his dignity and his fate in Gratian, a burgher 
of a British municipal town^. The memory of Constantine 

^ Socratis H, E. vii. 12. 

- [Or rather to restore the one already constructed. — T.] See Gildas, 
c. xii. This tradition is remarkable for the confusion it has caused : ha- 
ving been adopted by Beda (H. E. i. 12. and Chron. a. 426) it has fre- 
quently been copied. Nennius (Rubric to c. xxiv.) mixes the story with 
the older accounts of the wall of Severus, by the interpolation of a new 
emperor, Severus II., who built a wall from Boggenes (Bowness) to Tyne- 
mouth ; consequently, where Hadrian had caused the first wall of earth to 
be raised. Rich. Corinseus (De Situ Brit. ii. i. 37.) also considers the wall 
as the work of Stilicho, and appeals to the passage of Claudian (In Prim. 
Cons. Stilichonis, ii. 247) ; — 

" Me (Britanniam) quoque vicinis pereuntem gentibus, inquit, 
Munivit Stilichon," etc. 

^ Oros. vii. 40, and from him Paul. Diac. Beda, i. 11. 

•* A.D, 406. 

^ Oros. vii. 40, Olyrap. ap. Photium. Zosira. vi. 2. Sozom. ix. 11. 


the Great was, after the lapse of a century, so highly revered 
in his real or adopted country, that the possession of that 
illustrious name, which at the time was borne by a humble 
soldier, procured for him the vacant British throne ; though 
the vigour which also gained him the dominion of Gaul and 
Spain ^, might well justify the supposition, that a descent 
from the emperor Constantine and consanguinity to British 
princes raised him to that eminence^. He probably yielded 
to the hope of rendering his dignity and power hereditary ; 
his son Constans having, it is said, exchanged the cowl for 
the diadem^. Honorius saw himself compelled to acknow- 
ledge Constantine as emperor'* ; but the count Constantius 
having proceeded to Gaul with an army, shut him up in 
Aries, took him prisoner and put him to death ^. Constans 
his son was slain at Vienne by his count Gerontius*". Bri- 
tain, however, never returned to Roman subjection, but con- 
tinued under rebellious tyrants or pseudo-emperors'^. 

A new inroad of the Picts and Scots appears to have occa- 
sioned a mission from Britain to Rome, which, in mourning 
weeds, had to deprecate the murder of the Roman generals 
in the last rebellion, and to implore forgiveness and protec- 
tion^. Roman troops came over once more, to defend a pro- 
vince which contained not a little Roman property and in- 
terest ; perhaps also, under the pretext of punishing the rebels, 
to get possession of the remaining treasures of the inhabitants^: 
but having repelled the invaders, the Roman cohorts were 
obliged to hasten away to warfare in distant regions, after 

' A.D. 409. Oros. vii, 40, who adds, "sine meritovirtutis." Olymp, ap. 
Phot. 3. Sozom. ix. 11. Procop. i. 2. Prosp. Aquit. a. 407. 

- Procop. (i. 2) calls him ovk oKpxvij divl^at. — T. 

^ Oros. vii. 40. Galf. Mon. vi. 5, who says that he had been a monk 
at Winchester. 

■^ Olymp. ap. Phot. Zosim. v. 43. ^ a.d. 412. 

^ Oros. Mil. 42. Procop. i. 2. ^ Procop. i. 2. 

^ Gildas, c. xii. Nennius, c. xxvii. • 

^ " Hac tempestate prse valitudine Romanorum vires funditus attenuatae 
Britannise." Prosp, Tyro, a. 409. Cf. also Sax. Chron. a. 418. Nen- 
nius, c. xxvii. 


having repaired the forts along the v:a\\, and the watch- 
towers on the sea-coasts, and left behind them arms for 
models, with instructions how to use them^ 

This gift availed but little — the Britons being not only 
strangers to the use of arms, but, in a still greater degree, to 
concord — for the re-establishment of the common good in the 
forsaken land, in which every town and every petty chieftain 
aspired to perfect independence. The Roman officials Avho 
had been left behind were driven from the island, and the 
emperor Honorius, conscious of his weakness, renouncing 
for the present all hopes of replacing them, authorized the 
British states to undertake their own defence : but liberty 
proved as useless to the Britons as the cunning did to the 
court of Ravenna, with which it appeared to grant what it 
had not the power to hinder^. The enemies from the north 
of the island soon returned, and the feeble inhabitants were 
unable either to defend their towns, or to escape from the 
murderous weapons of their foes. To this state of helpless- 
ness were added famine, and the pestilence which at that 
time raged throughout Europe"^. 

Of one victory only, which for a short time checked the 
progress of the piratical Saxons and the Picts, has any tra- 
dition been preserved : this, from the cry of onset, bears the 
name of the Hallelujah victory*. The Gaulish bishop, St. 
Germain of Auxerre, during his stay in the island, in the year 
429, is said to have led the orthodox Britons on this occasion, 
strengthening them by the penetrating virtue of his ghostly 

' Giidas, c. xiv. Nennius, c. xxvii, 

" Zos. vi. 5, 10. aa. 409 and 410. The Saxon Chronicle (which places 
the landing of Caesar in the year 60 a.c.) agrees remarkably herewith : it 
says (a. 409) that " they (the Romans) altogether ruled in Britain 470 years 
since Caius Julius first sought the land." So likewise Beda, H. E. i. 11, 
ar.d V. 24. a. 409, "Roma a Gothis fracta; ex quo tempore Romani in 
Brittania regnare cessarunt." 

3 Giidas, CO. 19, 22. 

* " Alleluiam tertio repetitam sacerdotes exclaraant." Beda, i. 20. — T. 

® Giidas, c. xviii., seems to allude to this victory. Cf. Beda, i. 17 ; Chron, 


Yet once again a supplicating embassy was sent to the 
Roman general .^Etius, during his third consulship, in the 
year 446. " The barbarians," said the ambassadors, "drive 
us to the sea, the sea to the barbarians, we are massacred or 
must be drowned^"' -^tius was unable to help them. The 

a. 459. Nennius. Prosp. Aquit. a. 429- Constan. Vita S. Ger. c. 1. 28, also 
Beda, i. 20, where the reading ' Saxones,' sanctioned by the best MSS., and 
by the life of Germanus by Constantius, written within forty years of his 
death, ought not to be questioned. To this expedition of the Saxons the 
accounts refer which place the first landing of the Saxons in Britain in the 
year 428 or 429 ; in the Appendix too of Nennius (Petrie, C. H. p. 'J'J), 
where "Felice et Tauro consulibus" indicates the year 428. Nennius, 
c. xi., reckons, that till the fourth (twenty-fourth) year of King Mervin, 
in which he wrote, viz. a.d. 858, 429 years had passed since the Saxons 
first landed in Britain ; for which event, therefore, the half of 858, or the 
year 429 is to be assigned. At a later period also this date is given. 
Osbern, Precentor of Canterbury in the eleventh century, in his ' Life of 
Dunstan,' speaking (cap. i.) of the year of Dunstan's birth, says, " Re- 
gnante Anglorum rege Ethelstano, anno quidem imperii ejus primo, adventus 
vero Anglorum in Britanniam quadringentesimo nonagesimo septimo." The 
editors ('Acta Sanctorum' ed. Papebrock, Mail 19, t. iv. 359. WTiarton, 
' Anglia Sacra,' ii. 90 and 94) have been desirous of altering this number 
into 479, and, supposing the year 449 as that of the coming of the Saxons, 
have placed the birth of Dunstan in the year 928, which is the fourth of 
the reign of ^Ethelstan, thereby making Dunstan so young, that \Miarton 
(p. 94) accuses Osbern of falsehood. But Osbern was not thinking of the 
year 449, but of 428, according to which Dunstan would be born in 925, with 
which the Saxon Chronicle agrees, which j^ear is also the first of the reign 
of ^thelstan. In the edition also of Nennius by Mark the Hermit, the 
landings of the Saxons are confused between the years 429 and 447. In the 
beginning of his work (p. 45) Mark gives the date of its composition very 
accurately, viz. "Quiutus annus Eadmundi, regis Anglorum," or a.d. 946, 
according to our reckoning, or 976 according to the reckoning of the Welsh, 
if, from Mark, c. i., and Nennius, cc. xi. xxix., we may conclude on this 
point, who take the year in which we place the birth of Christ for that of 
his passion, and consequently reckon thirty years more than we since the 
birth of Christ. Mark, p. 62, is sufficiently explicit, " Saxones a Guther- 
girno suscepti sunt anno 447 post passionem Christi. A tempore quo ad- 
venerunt primo ad Bryttanniam Saxones (viz. 429.) usque ad primum im- 
perii regis Eadmundi 542, ad hunc in quo nos scribiraus annos, traditione 
senionam 547 didicimus." A chronology dating from the death of Christ 
rarely occurs (Cf. Ideler, ' Handbuch der Chronologic,' ii. p. 4 1 1), and never 
without adding the usually adopted year of the nativity. 

^ Gildas, c. xvii. Nennius, c. xxvii. Beda, i. 13, and from Beda's 
Chron. Paulus, Diac. xiv. Ric. Corin. lib. ii. i. 39- Sax. Chron.a. 443, 


clergy entertained a better hope, and showed greater courage. 
The state of the church in Britain during this early period, is 
indeed too remarkable not to claim a short notice in this 


The ordinances of the Christian communities were observed 
in Britain, though many districts of a country exposed to the 
rapacity of the Roman officials were unable to satisfy the 
modest claims of the clergy. Three Britons, therefore, were 
the only bishops at the Council of Ariminum, in the year 359, 
who accepted the offer of the emperor Constantius, to receive 
their subsistence at the expense of the stated That not only 
Romans in this country, but others also of British race were 
devoted to Christianity, is proved by the existence of British 
versions of the Bible^. Of the state of Christianity in Britain 
some idea may also be formed from the early opposition there 
manifested to the doctrines of Arius, and the subsequent strong 
tendency to that heresy. The holy places of Palestine, which 
the British Helena and her imperial son had adorned, were 
soon visited by their countrymen, to whom even to pray at 
the pillar of Symeon Stylites^ seemed a sufficient motive for a 
perilous journey by sea and land, and the best pretension to 
the reward of everlasting life. The pilgrims returned with 
intelligence of the cloisters that were forming in the East j 
and the monastery of Bangor'*, near Chester, was a founda- 
tion as ancient as memorable of a society of brethren in this 
country (probably grafted on druidism) devoting themselves 
to pious contemplation and traditional wisdom, but who, how- 
ever beneficial to individuals, contributed little to the spread 
and inculcation of Christianity, and were even unable to 
hinder its extinction and oblivion. 

We are enabled to form some judgement of the acuteness 

1 Sulp. Sev. lib. ii. c. 55.— T, 

2 Chrysost. 0pp. P. viii. p. 111. edit. Savile. 

3 Theodoreti Relig. Hist. c. xxxvi.— T. 

"^ Ban gor, the great circle, is an universal denomination for a congre- 
gation or monastery. See Gunn in Hist, Britt. Pref. p. xxi. 


and capacity of the British ecclesiastics by the celebrated 
heresy of the Briton Morgan, better known under his Latin- 
ized name of Pelagius^, as also of the Scot Caelestius, by which 
Christendom was long agitated, and which, having been 
propagated in their native country by the Pelagian Agricola, 
found such favour, that the orthodox, through the intervention 
of Palladius, w ho afterwards became the first Scottish bishop, 
prevailed on the pope Caelestinus to send hither Germanus, 
bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus, bishop of Troyes^, to confute 
their opponents in a pubHc disputation. Their first attempt 
proved that the majority were not incon-igibly devoted to the 
new doctrine. Scriptural passages, relics, together with the 
address with which Germanus came to the assistance of the 
Britons, in the conflict before mentioned with the Picts and 
Saxons, fought all at once against Pelagius^. In a second 
journey, in the year 446, which probably preceded the above- 

* Bishop Stillingfleet has the following notices of Pelagius, who appears 
to have followed the doctrines of the Greek fathers and the Eastern churches, 
and was approved by the council of Diospolis ; and, as the bishop observes, 
was condemned by men who did not understand his meaning. " St. Au- 
gustine," he adds, " saith of Pelagius, ' he had the esteem of a very pious 
man, and of being a Christian of no mean rank.' And of his learning and 
eloquence St. Augustine gives sufficient testimony in his epistle to Juliana, 
to whom Pelagius wrote an epistle highly magnified for the wit and ele- 
gance of it. And he saith, ' He lived very long in Rome, and kept the 
best company there.' Pelagius wrote letters to clear himself, first to Pope 
Innocentius, and then to Zosimus, who was so well satisfied, that he 
wrote to the African bishops in his vindication, although he afterwards 
complied in condemning him : " — "so that Pelagius and Coelestius, by their 
own natural wit, had in all probability been too hard for a whole succes- 
sion of popes, Innocentius, Zosimus, and Xystus, had not the African 
fathers interposed, and told them what the true doctrine of the Church 
was." Orig. Brit. p. 114, where also honourable mention is made of two 
British bishops charged with Pelagianism, Fastidius and Faustus, as men 
of piety, learning and eloquence. — R. T. 

" Prosp. Aquit. aa. 429, 431. Constant. Vita S. Germani. Vita S. Lupi. 

^ For the miracles said to be performed by Germanus, see Usher, Annal. 
Hector Boetius relates that he caused the Pelagians to be burnt, by the 
care and order of the magistrates. See Jortin, Six Dissertations : tire 
Second contains an historical account of this controversy, so much con- 
nected with the early history of Britain, abridged from Le Clerc, Bibl. 
Chois. viii. 308.— R. T. 

VOL. I. F 


mentioned mission of the Britons, but certainly stood in close 
connexion with it, Severus, bishop of Treves, accompanied 
Germanus to Britain, where, in the expulsion of the Pela- 
gians ^, they performed one of the last acts of Roman power 
in this country; a measure indicating the weakness of that 
religious conviction which was so soon to be totally annihi- 
lated, and which allows us to attribvite the earliest occupation 
of a Roman province by the pagans to the same contentious 
sectarian spirit, through which, a thousand years after, the 
last fragment of the unwieldy political conglomeration fell, in 
like manner, a prey to infidels. 

The spectacle which Britain now presented is one of the 
saddest, but, at the same time, most memorable in the history 
of the world. It was relieved from the rapacity of the Roman 
procurator ; it was freed from the insolence of the Caesarian 
cohorts ; but for this liberty the people were not indebted to 
their courage and higher impulses : for them, therefore, liberty 
was helplessness, independence anarchy : and however the 
historian may strive to show that corruption had long been 
gaining ground in the country, that the government had 
become gradually perverted, and that of the events and views 
of later times types are to be found in the earlier ; that many 
fundamental jarinciples were constantly preserved, while the 
outer shell alone was changed ; yet it cannot be denied, that 
no country ever so quickly cast aside a polished language, 
which had for many generations been the mother-tongue, not 
/ only of the settlers but of the natives ; that the Chi-istian 
religion had never so rapidly been exchanged, leaving not a 
trace behind, for paganism and infidelity : such a political 
and moral degradation as took place in the greater part of 
Roman Britain, after so many a mournful lesson, apjiears in- 
deed an inexplicable enigma. 

This W' as the deplorable state of the country whose natio- 
nality had been destroyed by Roman lust of conquest, after 
the annihilation of which it possessed not powers of resistance 
against its most barbarous enemies. 

* Beda, i. 21. Vita S, Germani. 




After the extinction of the Roman power in Britain, the 
country had for many years been a prey to internal discord 
and foreign assailants, \yhen, to subdue his northern foes, 
Vortigern \ a powerful prince in Kent and the southern parts 
of Britain, with the concurrence of his counsellors and in the 
true spirit of Roman policy, formed the resolve to avail him- 
self of the help of those German warriors who for many years 
had been known to the country only as formidable enemies. 
This resolve was executed ; but these mercenaries took ad- 
vantage of the weakness of the land and, with the aid of suc- 
ceeding cognate tribes and kinsmen, subjected it to their 
dominion ; a drama which, in the following century, was in 
a similar manner enacted in the north of Italy by the Lom- 
bards, who had been called in by Narses. 

That the employment of the Jutish ' heretogas ' or leaders, 
Hengest and Horsa, who, banished"^ from their native home, 
had been driven to gain for themselves a new country, was 
no very striking event, and that the number of their followers 

^ Vortigern was the son of Guortheneu, or Guortheu, the great-grandson 
of Gloui, who, according to the British tradition, built Cair-Gloui (Glou- 
cester). Such is the account given by Nennius, c. liv. A later tradition 
ascribes the building of that city to the emperor Claudius, whom it states 
to have been the father of Gloui by a British girl named Geuissa. See 
Galfr. Mon. iv. 15. Malraesb. de Gestis Pontif. iv. p. 283. 

- The banishment is mentioned not only by Jefirey, but also by Nen- 
nius, c. xxviii. " Interea venerunt tres chiulse a Germania in exilio pulsse, 
in quibus erant Hors et Hengist, qui et ipsi fratres erant." Beda (i. 15) 
speaks only of the invitation, but Wittekind gives a circumstantial account 
of a mission of the Britons to the Saxons, and recites their speech, re- 
ferring, for further information, to an ' Historia Anglo-Saxonum.' 

F 2 


■was not considerable, is evident from the obscurity which 
shrouds the history of England during the years immediately 
following their amval, and from their being contained in 
three vessels (ceolas^), as well as from the fabulous traditions 
(though unknown to Gildas and Beda) with which these 
years were filled up by the later Welsh writers, as soon as 
the growing preponderance of the Saxons in the British 
islands had contributed rather to excite the imagination than 
to cherish and freshen the memory. 

Hengest, when, according to the British tradition, his band, 
after Dido's example, had measured with a hide, or, with 
greater probability, had, according to Roman usage, received 
as a reward, the fertile and, from its position commanding 
the Thames, important isle Ruoihin, by the Saxons called 
Thanet% sent for new allies from his native country, together 
with his son Ochta, Abisa^ the son of Horsa, and for her 
beauty his highly prized daughter Rowena. The British prince, 
Vortigern, at a feast given by the Saxons, — who, in the ac- 
counts of the time, are represented as addicted to gluttony 
and drunkenness, — received from Rowena a full golden cup, 
with the old German salutation, " Wes hal," and learned the 
answer, " Drinc hal'*." Vortigern now forgot all regai'd for 
the Christianity which he outwardly professed, and, excited 
by love and wine, declared the fair Jute his consort, whom 
her father granted to him in return for the cession of Kent, 
at that time suffering under the mal-administration of a cer- 

^ "Tribus cyulis, nostra lingua, ' longis navibus.' " Gildae Hist. c. x.xiii. 

" " Felix Tlianet sua fecunditate — insula arridens bona rerura copia, regni 
flos et thalamus, amenitate, gratia, in qua tanquam quodam elysio, etc." 
Cf. Jocelinum de Vita Milburgte. eund. de Vita S. Augustini, ap. Leland 
Collect, t. iii. p. 170, t. iv. p. 8. The British name of this isle, of which 
we have documentary evidence as late as the year 692 (Thome, p. 2234), 
shows, together with other proofs, that the British tongue had not been 
driven out of Kent by the Latin. 

'•' Later traditions relative to these individuals will be noticed, when we 
come to the founding of the kingdoms of Northumbria. 

* See von Arx, in ' Monum. Germ. Hist.' t. ii. 


tain Gnoirangon^ His subjects saw -svith indignation the 
partiality for the strangers with which their king was in- 
spired^ in consequence of this connexion, and placed his son 
Vortemir on the throne. Hengest, who, according to Jeffrey 
of Monmouth, had called over three hundred thousand of his 
countrymen to Britain, under the pretext of defending the 
Picts' Wall against the Scots, with whom he afterwards en- 
tered into an alliance, had by the victorious arms of Vortemir 
been beaten in three battles, on the Darent, at Episford-, in 
which Horsa and Categirn, a son of Vortigern, were slain, and 
at Folkestone^, and for some years driven out of the country, 
but had been recalled by his son-in-law, after the latter (whose 
son had been poisoned by Rowena) had re-ascended the 
British throne. On the refusal of the Britons to restore to 
the Saxons their previous possessions, a conference w^as ap- 
pointed of three hundred of each nation, during which, on 
the exclamation of Hengest to his followers, " Nimath eowere 
seaxas," they, with their long knives, which they had held 
concealed, fell on and murdered their opponents'^. The ran- 
som of Vortigern was three provinces, distinguished by their 
later denominations of Essex, Sussex, and Middlesex, over 
which Hengest, and after him his son Ochta, reigned^. 
In the perusal of this narrative, drawn from the WTitings 

^ Nenn. c, xxxvii. Gorongus. Will. Malmesb. lib. i. c. 1. [Some sup- 
pose this name to signify a title, as viceroy, governor, but from the words 
of Nennius it would rather seem to be a proper name : " Gnoirangono 
rege regnante in Cantia," though some MSS. omit the word ' rege.' — T.] 

- Nenn. c. xlvii. Br. Saissenaeg-haibail, so called, says Camden, 
because the Saxons were conquered there. The Saxon Chron. a. 455. 
reads ^glesthrep and Jiglesford. 

^ This reading is founded on a conjecture of Soraner and Stillingfleet, 
that for Lapis Tituli (Nenn. c. xlvii.) we should read Lapis Populi ; while 
others suppose that Stonar, in the Isle of Thanet, is the place intended. 

* Davies (in his ' Mythology and Rites of the British Druids ') would 
perceive in the 'Gododin' of Aneurin, a bard of the sixth century, an allusion 
to this event. Turner's refutation (b. iii. c. 4.) is very satisfactory, though 
his own interpretation seems no less arbitrary. 

•' Nenn. c. xlix. 


of those who have recorded the British traditions, we feel at 
no loss with regard to the several elements of which it is 
composed. The Triad of the druidic religion and of British 
fiction furnishes the groundwork and the standard, according 
to w^hich all events, without any chronological data, are shaped: 
British and Roman traditions are mingled and embellished, 
and the Old-Saxon saga of the craft and valour with which 
the Saxons landed in Hadeln, gained possession of Thuringia, 
bought land, and murdered the inhabitants with their knives ^, 
is here again placed in account against them by the Britons. 
The principal assertion in this narrative is, moreover, the 
least true, — that Hengest received the above-mentioned three 
provinces, which never fell to his share, but to that of other 
German chieftains, and a part of them in much later years. 

The evident worthlessness of these traditions renders the 
more necessary a strict examination of the accounts of their 
conquests in Britain given by the immigrants themselves. 
We find these in Beda, — who, however, records but very few 
circumstances relative to that event from his own sources, 
but, for the most part, transcribing Gildas, mingles both tra- 
ditions^, — and in the earliest English chroniclers, among 
w^hom Henry of Huntingdon, from his greater detail, is par- 
ticularly valuable and interesting. As these narratives are 
accompanied by dates, the first point to be ascertained by the 
historic inquirer is, the system, according to which these dates 
were calculated, before the Christian writers, through whom 
only they are transmitted to us, reduced them to the Julian 
calendar and the Christian era. Britain, in the latter half of 
the fifth century, could no longer have reckoned its years by 
Roman consuls and emperors ; the epoch of the birth of 

' For the earlier traditions of the Saxons see hereafter. 

2 Beda, i. 15, 16, 22, from Gildas, cc. xxiii. xxiv. xxv., while Henry of 
Huntingdon copies Beda, adding, however, the accounts which are sub- 
stantially given in the Saxon Chronicle. The passages copied from Beda 
should be carefully detached from the rest, in order to form a correct idea 
of the view here taken. 


Christ, first introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the sixth 
century, could not in any case have been adopted before its 
close, and before the conversion of an Anglo-Saxon prince, 
and probably not before the Christian religion had gained a 
considerable footing in the country ^ Of the chronology 
brought by the Saxons into Britain we know little more than 
that they reckoned b}^ lunar years, and increased their year 
(which, like that once in use among the Romans, consisted of 
ten months only^) by the addition of two new months, and 
of an intercalary month, on the adoption of the Christian 
Roman calendar^. Hence, in assaying, as it were, such 
chronological data, and whatever is dependent on them, we 
must have the greater regard to their intrinsic credibility, 
seeing that, for a period of nearly a hundred and fifty years, 
we are unable to adduce a single trustworthy authority for 
the history of the pagan Anglo-Saxons. 

The Anglo-Saxon narratives are given to us by the chro- 
niclers in the following words : — 

In the year 449, on application made by Vortigern, king 
of the Britons, to the ' eethelings ' or chiefs of the Angles, or 
Saxons^ for aid against the Picts and Scots, the leaders Hen- 
gest and Horsa, the sons of Wihtgils, a great-grandson of 
Woden, who, in the sixth generation, descended from God, 
landed with their followers from three ships at Ypwines-fleot^ 
(Ebbsfleet) in Kent. The Picts and Scots had already ad- 

^ On the dates of the Anglo-Saxons subsequent to the introduction of 
Christianity, Kerable's Introduction to the ' Codex Diplomaticus ^vi 
Saxonici ' may be consulted with advantage. — T. 

' See Ideler's ' Chronologic ' and Niebuhr's Roman History. 

^ Beda de Ratione Temp. 

* Beda, i. 15. Sax. Chron. a. 443, which probably follows some other 
narrative in assigning the year 443, or the following year, to the invitation 
of the Angles. 

" Sax. Chron. (which in other particulars of this event merely copies 
Beda). Ethel werd, lib. i. It is remarkable that the Goths migrated in 
three ships ; sec Jornandes, p. 98 : the Winili or Longobards in three 
divisions ; see P. Warnefrid, i. 3 : the Warager under three leaders j see 


vanced to Stamford in Lincolnshire. While on the one side 
they fight with darts and spears, on the other with battle- 
axes and long swords, the Picts, unable to withstand such 
force, seek for safety in flights The victorious Saxons tri- 
umph over the enemy whithersoever they advance, and gain 
vast booty. The strangers inform their countrymen in Sax- 
ony of the fertility of the island, and the sloth of its inhabit- 
ants ; whereupon a fleet of sixteen sail immediately brings 
over a larger body of w^arriors, which, added to the former 
band, form an irresistible army. A fixed habitation is as- 
signed them by the Britons, as reward and pay for the further 
defence of Britain, according to the difference of the three 
races : to the Jutes in Kent, to the Saxons in Wessex and 
Essex, to the Angles northwards. The story of Rowena is 
here mentioned merely as a British tradition-. Beda further 
relates, that Horsa fell in a battle against the Britons, and 
that his monument was yet to be seen in the eastern part of 
Kent^. The Saxons afterwards come in greater numbers, and 
form an alliance with the Picts "*. He then gives some words 
from Gildas on the battles of Ambrosius Aurelianus with the 
Saxons, and immediately, through one of those singular hal- 
lucinations under which he occasionally labours, passes on to 
the battle of Bath, which he places in the year 492, or in the 
forty-fourth year after the arrival of the Saxons. On a later 
occasion he calls the son of Hengest, Oeric (Eric), surnamed 
Oisc^ (^sc), from whom the royal race of Kent derived its 

1 H. Hunt. lib. ii. 

2 H. Hunt. " dicitur a quibusdam." Cf. Nenn. cc. xxxvii. xlix. 

3 At Horsted. Archieol. vol. ii. p. 107 ; Hasted's Kent, vol. ii. p. 177. 

— T. 

* This account of Beda, i. 15, is not to be found either in Gildas or Nen- 
nius, who would hardly have omitted it, had it been founded. It may 
possibly have arisen from a misunderstandmg by Beda of the passage in 
Gi'das, c. xxiii. " testantur se cuncta insula rupto foedere (sc. cum Vorti- 
gerno inito) depopulaturos." 

5 It may be well to observe that, in the orthography of personal proper 
names, Beda uses the Northumbrian dialect, writing oi for se and e, oe and 


patronymic appellation of Oiscings' (JEscIngs). The other 
traditions which we are about to relate, were therefore un- 
known tOj or regarded by Beda as unworthy of notice. 

In a battle where Ambrosius Aurelianus, a chief of Roman 
lineage, with two sons of Vortigern, Gortimer and Catigern, 
lead each a separate body, Hengest and Horsa, though with 
an inferior number, each with his band, march boldly to the 
encounter^. This battle may be identical with that of the 
Derwent, recorded without particular details by the British 
traditionists. In the sixth or seventh year after the coming 
of the Germans, was fought the battle at ^glesthrep, sup- 
posed to be the present Aylesford, where tradition declares 
the British structure known by the name of Kits Coty house 
to be the sepulchral monument of Catigern, At the outset 
Horsa attacked the band led by Catigern with such impetu- 
osity that, like dust, it was scattered in all directions, and the 
son of the king was struck by him to the earth. His brother 
Gortimer, however, a very valiant man, burst from the flank 
into the array of Horsa, and slew that hero. The remnant of 
Horsa's band fled to Hengest, who still fought unconquered 
with the wedge-formed array of Ambrosius. The whole 
weight of the conflict having now fallen on Hengest, who was 
also pressed by the brave Gortimer, after a long resistance, 
and a great loss on the side of the Britons, he who had never 
fled was now compelled to flee. This battle, though, from its 
name, regarded as the second mentioned by Nennius, agrees 
in its consequences more with the third and last recorded by 

i for e, a and se for ea, u for w, c and ch for h, d for th (6). Examples of 
all these changes occur in the following, Oidilualch, Coinualch, Coenred, 
Alcfrid, ^dwine, Sseberct ; for ^thelwealh, Cenwealh, Cenred, EalhfriS, 
Eadwine, Sseberht. — T. 

1 H. E. ii. 5. 

" H. Hunt, lib.ii. The battle between Aurelianus and Hengest is {).lso 
mentioned by Gildas, c. xxv., though without details. 

^ Sax. Chron. H. Hunt. a. 455. 


In the eighth year after the coming of the Germans, the 
Britons led four large bodies under as many valiant chieftains 
to Crecganford (Crayford) in Kent, against Hengest and his 
son ^sc : though when the Britons had begun the game of 
war, they ill withstood the Saxons, who, strengthened by a 
body of newly-an'ived chosen men, with their battle-axes and 
swords, fearfully hewed the bodies of the Britons, nor ceased 
they from the conflict until they beheld the slaughter of four 
thousand of their adversaries, who in dismay fled towards 
London, and never again ventured to enter Kent with a hos- 
tile purpose^. Hengest and his son JEsc"^ now assumed 
kingly power in Kent. 

Eight years later, in 465, Hengest and ^sc assembled an 
invincible army, against which all Britain went forth in twelve 
noble warlike hosts. They fought long and bravely, until 
Hengest slew the tuelve British chieftains, took their stand- 
ards, and put the panic-struck bands to flight : but, together 
with other noted leaders and kinsmen, Hengest lost his 
valiant thane Wipped, after whom the battle-field, which, 
from the preceding narrative, we ought not to look for in 
Kent, received the name of Wippedes-fleot. This battle was 
followed by so many tears and so much sorrow, that neither 
people for a considerable time ventured beyond their own 

Again, after a term of eight years, in 473, Hengest and 
yEsc gained another victory over the Britons : the name of 

1 Sax. Chron. Ethelwerd. Flor. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 457- 
" Sax. Chron. Flor. Wigorn. a. 455. Huntingdon places the assump- 
tion of the kingly power hy Hengest and his son in 457, where the men- 
tion of .(Esc seems a later addition to the text, the verb being left in the 
singular : " Exindc reynavit Hengist et Esc filius suus." Ethelwerd also 
(rightly I suspect) omits all mention of ^sc, saying merely, that Horsa 
being slain, Hengest " cepit regnura." Whether Hengest's assumption of 
the royal dignity was a consequence of Horsa's death or of the complete 
expulsion of the Britons from Kent, is doubtful, though the latter seems 
the more probable cause. — T. 
3 Sax. Chron. Ethelw. Flor. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 465. 


the field is forgotten. They made vast booty, and the Britons 
fled before them as from lire^ 

In the fortieth year after his arrival^, or twice eight years 
after the last battle, Hengest died, and after him Eric, sur- 
named yEsc, the patriarch of the dynasty of the ^scings, 
reigned twenty-four years, increasing his territory at the ex- 
pense of the Britons, until the end of the eighth cycle of eight 
years after the coming of the Germans into England. From 
this time for the following eighty years, the history of the 
kingdom of Kent affords no chronological data, and records 
little beyond the names of the first ^scings, namely Octa 
or Ocha, the son of Eric or ^sc, and Eormenric, the son or 
brother of Octa. Under the year 568 ^thelberht is named, 
who reigned forty-eight years, whose successor Eadbald was 
followed by Earconberht, each of whom reigned twenty-four 

The great importance in the histoiy of England of the 
conquests of Hengest must justify us for occupying some 
space in an attempt more accurately to determine the value 
of the foregoing narratives. The first point for consideration 
is the year of the landing, which, according to the later Anglo- 
Saxon chronicles, is 449. The more ancient Beda, in three 
different places^, merely says, that the first landing of the 
Saxons took place during the seven years' reign of Marcianus 
and Valentinianus, the beginning of which in his History he 
places in the year 449, but in his Chronicon in 459 : the 
right year is known to be 450. The English accounts being 
thus evidently incorrect, the hitherto apparently neglected 
statement of the older and nearly contemporaneous Prosper 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 473. 

2 H. Hunt. a. 488. "Mortuus est Hengist xL anno post adventum 
suumin Britanniam." The Sax. Chron. Ethelw. and Flor. Wigorn. make 
no mention of the fortieth year, which is, moreover, undoubtedly incorrect, 
and added apparently through prepossession for the number eight and its 
multiples, — T. 

^ H. E. i. 15, V. 24, "quorum tempore Angli a Brittonibus accersiti 
Brittauiam adicrunt." Chron. a. 459. 


Tyro becomes important, namely, that Britain, as early as in 
the year 441, fell under the dominion of the Saxons ^ With 
this year the mission of the Britons to ^tius, at that time 
resident in Gaul, might possibly be brought into connexion : 
yet Beda himself, in other parts of his work, where he gives 
the dates with greater exactitude, fixes 446, that of the third 
consulship of .^tius^, for the year of the landing of the Angles 
and Saxons. It would seem that Beda, M^hose glaring defi- 
ciency in historic criticism has never been duly attended to, 
followed in the one account the Kentish narratives, in the 
other, the North-Anglian authorities, both of whom may be 
correct for their respective localities. On the first-mentioned 
account of Beda later chroniclers have founded the beginning 
of their Saxon era. 

The oldest Anglo-Saxon chronologists reckoning their years 
from the arrival of the Saxons, we have, in the adoption some- 
times of the year 445 and sometimes 449, an explanation why 
the dates of the earliest annals so frequently differ from each 
other by exactly four years ^. The year 428, to be found in 

^ "Britannise usque ad hoc tempus variis cladibus evcntibusque latae 
(laceratse) in ditionem Saxonum rediguntur." Pr. Tyro, a. 441, ap. Ca- 
nisium, and Petrie, C. H. p. Ixxxii. 2. 

' H. E. V. 23, "anno adventus Anglorum in Britanniam, circiter ducen- 
tesimo octogesimo quinto, Dominicffi autem incarnationis anno septingen- 
tesimo tricesimo primo." Id. i. 23, "anno decimo quarto ejusdem principis 
(Mauricii, hoc est anno 696) adventus vero Anglorum in Brittaniam circiter 
centesimo quinquagesimo." The ' Northumbrian Chronology ' (Wanley, 
p. 288 ; Petrie, C. H. p. 290) places the arrival of the Angles 292 years 
ijefore 737, consequently in 445. See also Petrie, p. 120, note *. Nennius 
(c. xxviii.) assigns a period of forty years from the extinction of the Roman 
power in Britain till the landing of the Germans, where it is evident that, 
as well as in other parts of his history', he mixes up Anglo-Saxon with 
British traditions. 

^ See also the ' Annales Juvavienses Majores,' where the death of JEthel- 
berht of Kent is mentioned under the year 620, but which is usually as- 
signed to 616, while, according to a contrary calculation, the year of the 
death of Finnan bishop of Lindisfarne is placed in 658, instead of 662. A 
similar confusion occurs in the year of the death of Penda of Mercia, 
which is usually given in 654, but in the Northumbrian chronology already 
cited, in 658. 


"OTiters of no very late times, as that of the landing of the 
Saxons in England, having been already considered', need be 
merely mentioned in this place. 

We have in our detail endeavoured to draw attention to 
a circumstance hitherto entirely overlooked, — that the events 
in the saga of the ^Escings, or founders of the kingdom of 
Kent, take place in an eight times repeated cycie of eight 
years. If so many traces of fiction did not betray a poetic 
source from which these meagre chroniclers derived their 
narrative, yet must those numbers awaken the suspicion, that 
of a people, who have preserved no more ancient chrono- 
logical notices, Mhose genealogies, ascending in the tenth or 
twelfth generation to the first Creator of the world, betray a 
very short historic memory, we possess a fragment only, ar- 
bitrarily taken by the Scalds, of a myth founded on some 
historic sagas. 

Though so little of the Old-Saxon traditions has been trans- 
mitted to us through the literature of the Christian Anglo- 
Saxons, we possess, however, two poetic pieces in Avhich 
Hengest appears as a conspicuous character : the one a frag- 
ment only, " The Battle of Finnesburh V^ the other an epi- 
sode in Beowulf^, the oldest national epic extant of Germanic 
Europe. We should therefore not be startled at the suppo- 
sition of poems, founded on his most memorable deed, sung 
by heathen Anglo-Saxons in the first century after it took 
place'* ; nor if in the history of the later founded Anglo-Saxon 

' See p. 62, note^. 

2 See Hickes, Thes. t. i. p. 192 ; Conybeare's ' Illustrations,' p. 1/3, and 
Beowulf by Kemble, vol. i. p. 238. 

^ [First published by Thorkelin at Copenhagen in 1815, 4to, whose text 
abounds in the grossest errors, but from which his original transcript, now 
at Copenhagen, is, singularly enough, in great measure exempt. His "ver- 
sio Latina " is worthy of the text. An edition of a different character ap- 
peared in 1833, and again, with considerable improvements, in 1835, by 
J, M. Kemble, Esq. M.A., which was in 1837 followed by a prose trans- 
lation of the poem, a valuable glossary and body of notes by the same able 
hand.— T.] The name of Hengest [as well as that of Hnsef], though oc- 
curring several times in the poem, has at each time been misunderstood by 
Thorkelin ! 

'' This is perhaps not exactly the place to remark, that in Busching's 


kingdoms, we detect many traces of poetic conception in the 
fragments preserved by the chroniclers. 

Whether the number eight was merely the division given by 
the probably historic nmnbers forty and sixty-four, or whether 
it had an astronomic allusion, or was founded on some myth, 
we are unable to discover. That the Saxons were not stran- 
gers to astronomic traditions, appears probable from their 
primitive saga, in which 354, the number of the ships with 
which their forefathers migrated from the land of sunrise^, 
corresponds with that of the days of the lunar year. We find 
the number eight in the division of the twenty-four hours, 
from one morning to another, usual among the Anglo-Saxons 
and Icelanders. A similar division exists in the eight watches 
among mariners. As at Rome the period of eight days was 
superseded only by the Jewish- Christian week of seven days, 
so both German and Scandinavian colloquial terms point to a 
similar division of time in the heathen North. This number 
reminds us, moreover, of the oKraerTjpU of the Greeks, so fre- 
quently occurring in their games and other institutions. 

If, in considering the cyclic chronology of the dominion 
of the ^scings, wq recollect how many centuries of history 
are a later work of men, we shall be unable wholly to sup- 
press our doubts regarding the existence in Kent of the 
first founder of that race. Among the reasons against the 
historic truth of the traditions of Hengest and Horsa, the 
first that presents itself is the extraordinary, and, except in 
poetical tradition, almost unheard of circumstance, of two 
leaders, at the same time, at the head of a band of followers. 
Beda gives the story of the two brothers as a tradition only^. 

' Volkslieder ' there is a child's song in which alkision is made to the Saxon 
invasion of Britain. The mention therein of the Old-Saxon weapon, the 
long knife (spax), is remarkable. 

' See i. a. Sachsenspiegel, lib. iii. c.44. 

" H. E, i. 15. [The circumstance of two brothers being joint kings or 
leaders, and bearing alliterative names, is far from unheard of in the annals 
of the North : as instances may be cited the sons of Ragnar, Ingvar and 
Ubba, of whom hereafter; also two kings in Rumedal (Snorre, t. i. p. 81), 
Herlaug and HroUaug. See also the early Danish chronicles.— T.] 


Their synonymous names are yet more striking, which have 
been considered as bearing allusion to the horse held sacred 
by the Germans', to their military banner''^, and to the white 
horse, the arms of the county of Kent. The poems of the 
founding of the kingdom of Kent are unfortunately, through 
the early decay of that power, irretrievably lost, and there is 
as little hope of illustrating the traditions from historic nar- 
ratives as from the heroic compositions of the bard or glee- 

The inquiry into the chronology of the Anglo-Saxons na- 
turally leads to the question, what were the means employed 
by them to aid the memory, and preserve to posterity the 
remembrance of past generations ? That the art of writing 
was not very general among them we must conclude from 
their numerous symbolical legal usages ; nevertheless the 

1 Tac. Ger. c. x. " Ibid. c. vii. Ejd. Hist. iv. 22. 

^ According to a tradition of Ocka Scharlensis, a Frisian historian of the 
tenth century (printed at Amsterdam in 1507), Hengist and Horsa were 
the sons of Udolph Haro, the seventh and last duke of the Frisians, and 
of Svana, a daughter of the noble Witgistus (Wihtgils?), dwelling near 
Hamburg, and sister of two earlier individuals deceased, named also Hen- 
gist and Horsa. I am acquainted with this story (which is justly rejected 
by Verstegan and later English writers) only through the work of Suffridus 
Petri, 'De Frisionum Antiquitate et Origine,' Colon. Agrip. 1590. 

Having, since the foregoing was written, received the original work 
of Ocka, revised and enlarged by John Vlitarp and Andreas Cornelisz 
(Leeuwaarden, 1597, fol.), I find that, in speaking of Hengist, born in 361, 
and Horsus, who had already served in the army of Valcntinian, and landed 
in Britain in 385, the author generally follows Jeffrey of Monmouth. Ac- 
cording to the Frisian historian this Hengist was hanged in the year 389 
by Eldol (Cf. Galfr. Monum. vi. 6), and the conquest of Britain was achieved 
by the followers of the sons of the second Frisian king Odilbalt, who were 
born in 441, and likewise called Hengist and Horsa, and had been taught 
the art of war under the Northern kings, but were at last slain by Gormund 
and his Irishmen. In Ocka's work no mention is made of Svana nor of 
her father ' Wsethgist ' (Wihtgisl, Wihtgils). [From the tale of the scop or 
gleeman in Beowulf, Hengest certainly appears as (what he has always 
till of late been considered) a Jutish leader. The whole episode will be 
found at the end of the volume, accomfjanied by what I believe to bq a 
literal translation, with a few conjectural readings of the text, which do 
not, however, affect the parts relating to the country of Hengest. — T. j 


Anglo-Saxon, and in part English expressions for writing and 
alphabetic signs, viz. writan, to write, and staef, letter, and 
the many Anglo-Saxon derivatives from these roots, as staef- 
creeft, art of letters, grammar; staefen-row, alphabet; staef- 
ge^vrit, staeflic, staef-plega, etc., justify the conclusion, that if 
the Anglo-Saxons had appropriate names for writing and ob- 
jects connected with it, the art itself could not have been 
unknown to them. Of runes, the use of which among the 
Germans seems to have been known to Tacitus', many traces 
still exist in England, where the word rune, however, rather 
signified a mystery, than, as among the Scandinavian nations, 
an alphabetic character. That the Germans brought alpha- 
betic writing with them to Britain appears partly from the 
circumstance that they were acquainted only with the old 
runic alphabet of sixteen letters, and that their characters 
closely resembled those of the northern Germans^, but par- 
ticularly from the adoption of some of the Saxon characters 
into the Roman alphabet introduced by the Christian priests, 
which was found inadequate to express all the Anglo-Saxon 
sounds. These are the runes p, afterwards exjiressed by V 
or W, and p, \ (for which the later D, -S was also used), now 
expressed by Th. During the early culture of the Anglo- 
Saxons by the missionaries, the other runic characters the 
sooner fell into disuse from being unknown to the Britons, 
who at a later period exercised over them considerable influ- 
ence. Although we have to regret the loss of all the alpha- 

^ Ger. c. iii. " Aram Ulixi consecratam, monumentaque et tumulos 
quosdam Grjecis Uteris inscriptos in confinio Germanic Raetiseque adhuc 
extare." lb. c. x. " Virgam frugifer^e arbori decisam in surculos amputant, 

eosque notis quibusdam discretes super candidara vestem spargunt." 

Were these twigs, used for casting lots, marked with runes ? [See a passage 
connected with this subject in ' The Legend of St. Andrew/ edited by 
Mr. Kemble for the .^Elfric Society, or in Archseol. vol.xxviii. p. 332. — T.] 

2 Of. W. C. Grimm, 'Ueber Deutsche Runen,' Gottingen 1821, and 
his supplement to that work in the ' Wiener Jahrbiicher,' 1828, Bd.43. 
Geijer, ' Svea Rikes Hafder,' T. i. 134-185, with whom I agree in the result, 
though not in particular points. 


betic writings of the Anglo-Saxons from the time of paganism, 
which, on perishable wood, recorded the genealogies of their 
kings, legal documents and poems, — yet are lasting though 
somewhat later monuments inscribed with them not want- 
ing, from which we may conclude that here, as in the North, 
they were in use as the writing of the people for some cen- 
turies ; hence we meet with them on boundary stones, fonts, 
and similar public monuments. 

The use of runes as a peculiar kind of writing may be 
traced in England till the fourteenth century ^ ; and, if we err 
not, they continued in use both there and in Germany for 
inscriptions and seals to even a later period, in consequence of 
the superior facility which their right-lined forms afforded to 
the engraver over those of the usual round monkish charac- 
ters. That we have failed in discovering their numerals is 
much to be regretted, by an acquaintance with which many 
an enigmatic myth of the North might be found susceptible 
of an historic interpretation. From the undoubted connexion 
of the runic characters with the Phoenician and, consequently, 
with the ancient Greek alphabet, we may perhaps conclude 
that the runic numerals were those characters in their ancient 
order, which we know from some manuscripts ; a supposition 
which as far as the number 19 finds confirmation in the 
notation used on the old runic calendar, in reference to 
the cycle of nineteen years ^. If we further consider how 
long these characters continued in use among the common 
people and perhaps in commerce, the question, however re- 
pugnant to received opinion, may be asked, whether, not- 
withstanding the influence of the Arabian or Indian numeral 

' See Cod. Sangallens. 270 and 878 ; it. Cod. Isidor. Paris, in Grimm, 
tab. ii., and ibid. tab. iii.; from later A.-S. manuscripts in Hickes, t. i. 
pp. 135, 136, and t. iii. tab. 6 ; Duncan and Repp's account of the monu- 
ment in Ruthwell Garden, Edinb. 1833 [and Kemble's paper on Anglo- 
Saxon Runes, in Archaeologia, vol. xxviii. — T.]. 

" Hickes, t. i. p. 34. 

VOL. I. G 


system on our own, the present so-called Arabian first eight 
numerals are not eight runes, to which, as they appear in 
ancient manuscripts, they bear a closer resemblance than to 
the real Arabian ciphers ? That this supposed similarity is 
less striking in the Northern than in the later wide-spread 
Anglo-Saxon runes, seems in favour of the hypothesis. Pla- 
nudes indeed says, that the numerals used by him are of 
Indian origin^ ; but how different from our ciphers are those 
figures as we find them in his time and, some centuries 
earlier, in Roger Bacon, as well as in other manuscripts ! 
It would be rash to pretend to decide on a point regarding 
which our materials for judging are so scanty and so uncer- 
tain ; yet the doubt may be forgiven on calling to remem- 
brance that science and art have often been found nearer to 
their home than short-sighted learning imagined. 

Of greater importance for historical investigation would be 
the knowledge of the numeral system in use among the 
Saxons. I am inclined to the belief that the octonary, on 
account of its facility of division, was the one followed, and 
that herein may be found a further reason for the frequent 
use of the number eight in the Anglo-Saxon narratives. 
From this system it appears also probable that the name of 
the eighth rune, 'hun,' is nearly connected with hundred', also, 
that both Scandinavians and Germans had a small and a great 
hundred and thousand, by the latter of which the numbers 
120 and 1200 were denoted^, and hence perhaps the frequent 
occurrence of the number 12 (3 x 4). The greatest weight 
usual in the North, which emphatically bore the name of 
' vaett,' contained eighty pounds, and was increased to a hun- 

' See Montucla, Histoire des Mathematiques, i. p. 3/5 sq. The se- 
cond rune Ur resembles in all the alphabets the cipher for two as it appears 
in manuscripts of the fourteenth centurj-. 

^ Rask, Anvisning til Islandskan, p. 130. Mone, Gesch. des Heiden- 
thums, ii. 79, p- 89. For traces of a reckoning by a great hundred see 
Diss, on Domesday Book, p. xlvii. Ellis, Introd. to Domesday, vol. i. 
p. 148. 


dred^ in later times only. The Anglo-Saxons placed the word 
^hund' before the numbers 70 to 120, a practice evidently de- 
rived from a time when that syllable had not acquired its later 
signification of number, but indicated only a certain multipli- 
cation; which notation might perhaps have connexion with the 
number of the sixteen ancient runes, the eleventh of which 
might denote 20, and so on, the fifteenth 60, and the last 
100; in like manner, at a later period, after six new runes 
had been added, the twenty-first might have been employed 
for the great himdred, and the last rune for its multiple, 
the great thousand. As an idiom now lost in the English 
tongue, but as showing the close relationship subsisting 
between the Anglo-Saxon method of reckoning and that of 
the Scandinavian and other Germanic people, may be cited 
the use of the word ' healf,' half, which they subtract from 
the preceding whole number, while in other tongues the half 
is added to the same ; an idiom which receives illustration 
from the custom adopted, in writing the numerals during the 
middle age, of drawing a stroke through the whole number, 
thereby signifying that a half is to be subtracted from it'^. 

Before we resume the subject of the settlements of the 
Germans in Britain, the manifest deficiency of the historic 
picture, — which in this instance has very little claim to be 
regarded as a faithful min-or, — renders it necessary to give a 
more detailed account of the descent of these people ; a subject 
the more important, as with greater rapidity and more last- 
ing consequences, they converted the newly acquired land, in 
language, laws and customs, into a native country for their 

It is a remarkable circumstance attending the invasion of 
Britain by the Germanic races, that people Mhose language 
was sufficiently formed to supplant both the old mother- 

* Gragas II. in Gloss., though Bioni Haldorsen, voc. Vsett, explains it 
by ' octoginta pondo, nonnunquara olim centum pondo.' 

* This practice is not yet entirely obsolete in Scotland. — T. 

G 2 


tongue, and the language of business, of education, and of 
the church, — while in every other province of the Roman em- 
pire, with the exception of border districts, the language of 
the barbarians expired, — should have preserved only meagre 
genealogic memorials, but no ancestral tradition, historic re- 
cords, or even any distinct aUusions to the country w^hich 
they had previously occupied. But this want of native hi- 
story will appear the less singular, when we call to mind that 
the immigration did not take place in great bodies, but gra- 
dually, frequently hy very small settlements, which spread 
themselves over the greater part of England and the south 
of Scotland, during the course of one or two centuries. In 
the English language, particularly in the rural districts, 
■where the Norman French has exercised less influence, we 
still possess living witnesses of the identity of the invaders 
w4th the inhabitants of the banks of the Lower Elbe and of 
the neighbouring countries, to the north and south, from 
Jutland to the mouths of the Rhine. The existing monu- 
ments of the old Lower Saxon dialect, especially the ' Har- 
mony of the Four Gospels,' of the ninth century, known by 
the name of the Heliand^, agree much more closely with 
the Anglo-Saxon in the foi-mation of words, in inflexion, and 
the whole vocabulary, than the Upper German writings of 
the same period. Widely as the modern English tongue 
deviates from the present German, there, nevertheless, yet 
lives in the various dialects of England, and particularly of 
Scotland, a rich store of Old-Saxon, and the speech and the 
song of the Scottish ploughman not unfrequently receive their 
best illustration by a comparison with the expressions of the 
Holsteiner, Hadeler, or Frisic husbandman or mariner. 

An insight into the very close, immediate connexion be- 
tween the Anglo-Saxon and Low German dialects is not 

* Heliand. Poema Saxonicum seculi noni, cdidit J. A. Schmeller. 
Monachii, Stutgartiaa et Tubingse. 1830, 4to. Also, Glossarium Saxo- 
nicum e Poemate Heliand, ib. 1840. — T. 


without important results for many centuries of English hi- 
story, and a firm footing for the illustration of the civil in- 
stitutes in both these neighbouring countries is thereby ob- 
tained. The Scandinavian dialects are far more remote from 
the Anglo-Saxon, and we are fully justified in regarding the 
traces yet to be found in English of the old Norse tongue as 
the echo of the invasion of the Jutes, and yet more of the 
later ones by the Danes or Northmen, and are enabled to fix 
with confidence the period of the introduction of certain 
Northern elements, which, as legal antiquities, sometimes 
at the present day present themselves as still living. 

To the proofs derived from language regarding the native 
land of the Saxons who passed over to Britain, belongs the 
resemblance both of the personal names of the Anglo-Saxons, 
and of local names in the western parts of England to those of 
Lower Saxony ; though with respect to the former, the com- 
parison is rendered very difficult by the want of old Lower 
Saxon documents, few of which reach beyond, or even so far 
as the twelfth century, besides being exposed to much uncer- 
tainty, through the early spread of originally national proper 
names by wanderings and intermarriages. But the resem- 
blance of local names, exclusive even of those that preserve 
historical and mythological recollections, is too striking not to 
have been long ago called into notice ^ ; yet the lists may be 
greatly increased, and gain in value by the aid of more ancient 
records. The most important names to us must be those 
which, occurring in Old- Saxony only, lead to the inference 
of similar political institutions there, where it is worthy of 
notice that the name of the Anglo-Saxon noble, ' setheV is to 
be found in EtheUngstede-, and that the local termination in 
Wick, luich, so frequent in England, with its compounds 

^ See Ch. U. Grupens, Abh. 'De Lingua Hengisti ' in Observat. Rer. et 
Antiquit. Germanic, et Roraanar.; and, with particular reference to districts 
on the Elbe, Wedekinds noten zu deutschen Geschichtschreibern, Bd. i. 

- Now Tellingstadt in Dithmarschen. 


Wykgraf, wykvogt, Wykscheffel (wispel), are not common to 
all Germany, but exist only in Old-Saxony and Friesland. 

Of greater and more immediate interest for the history of 
England is the agreement between the public and private 
legal institutions of the Germans and those of the English 
Saxons, which abundantly manifests itself as well in their 
general characteristics as in incidental notices and detached 
fragments, the further consideration of which Ave defer for 
the present, as an opportunity will hereafter be given for the 
discussion of them in connexion with the history of the An- 
glo-Saxon constitution. 

But if, on every close comparative consideration of the 
copious language, numerous settlements, and civil institutes 
of both nations, new proofs of identity shall be found, a 
more favourable and more faithful picture will present itself 
of the state of civilization of the continental and of the insular 
Saxons than the meagre narratives of the older historians 
have been able to supply. Even though it were the petulant, 
rugged youth who first forsook their home, and took pos- 
session of a foreign land, yet these emigrants, unconsciously 
to themselves, had their share in the transmission to England 
of the most valuable possession of their country, in language 
and customs, which succeeding multitudes of their elder and 
more peaceful kinsmen afterwards fully effected. But let the 
modern world not forget, that the existing notions of property, 
of inheritance, and the institutions founded thereon, are the 
slow and artificial production of many centuries, and that 
states of society sometimes present themselves to the geogra- 
pher and the historian exhibiting no inconsiderable degree of 
mental culture, yet with no consciousness of the necessity of 
those fundamental principles of present social order. The 
system of an annual changing, or at least changeable pos- 
session of land, and the custom necessarily attending it, of 
migrating, prejudicial as they were to the solid interests of 
nations, nevertheless required activity and strength of mind : 


the individual too, whose home afforded him no permanent 
settlement, would not respect that of a stranger ; while piracy, 
ennobled by stratagem and valour, is indebted only to an 
established system of social order for its disgrace and punish- 
ment. Even in later times the prince of the Hebrides bore 
without scruple the title of ^ archpirate ' : the Barbary States 
also afford examples of odious but not wholly savage com- 
munities, professing piracy as a trade ; and the letters of 
marque of the Europeans prove how easy, even to ourselves 
at the present day, is the suspension of the fundamental 
principles of our whole legal system, and the return to 
la'W'ful private robbery. 

The ancestral traditions of the Saxons belong scarcely to the 
province of history. The tradition that they sprung from the 
Danes and Northmen, though questioned by Wittekind, was 
probably founded on the transient dominion of the Danes 
over the northern Saxons^, and receives some countenance in 
the intermediate position of these people between Germany 
and the North. As neighbours of the Danes, on the confines 
of the Cimbric Chersonesus, the Saxons were known to 
Ptolemy. We find them soon aftenvards in the South, ex- 
tending themselves along the sea-shore towards the Rhine ^. 
With both these traditions, a third, to which the monks of 
Corvey gave full credit, is not incompatible, viz. that the 
Saxons having come to their neighbourhood in ships, and 
first landing in Hadeln, drove the Thuringians thence by craft 
and violence. If this event took place, it cannot have been 
later than at the time stated, that of the emperor Vespasian, 

1 " Confinalis Danise est patria quae nominatur Saxoniaj qute antiquitus 
et ipsa ex Dania pertineie dicebatur." Geog. Raven, iv. c. 17. 

" " Saxones, gentein oceani in litoribus et paludibus inviis sitam." Oro- 
sius, vii. 32, whose words here as elsewhere are copied by Paulus Diac. 
de Gest. Roman, lib. xi. In geographical notices the unaltered confirm- 
ations of a copyist are sometimes of value. The ' Insulse Saxonum ' of 
Ptolemy are probably to be sought for in the present North Friesland : 
Eiderstedt, Nordstrand, Wieking-Harde and Biiking-Harde. See Falck, 
Schleswig-Holsteinsches Privat-recht, Th. ii. p. 10. 


as M'e soon afterwards find the Saxons in league with the 
Franks. Wittekind does not inform us whence these Saxons 
came who landed in Hadeln, and there is no ground for contro- 
verting, but, in accordance with other narratives and with the 
ordinary march of nations from north to south, for supposing 
that they were from the north shore of the Elbe, or Nordal- 
bingian Saxons, M'ho took possession of the southern shore of 
that river, and soon spread themselves over those tracts, as 
far as the Weser and the Rhine ^, until, in the time of Charle- 
magne, they were in possession of the territory forming the 
eight bishoprics founded by him, or of the ' gaus,' or districts, 
of the later Upper and Lower Saxony and Westphalia. In 
the account which makes the Saxons to have passed from 
Britain to Hadeln^. a later inversion of the tradition is to be 
recognised, originating, perhaps, in the return of some bo- 
dies, of Saxons from England^. 

That a considerable portion of the German invaders of 
Britain were strictly Saxons'* is the more probable, as the 
names of the territoi'ies occupied by them, Essex, Sussex, 
Middlesex and Wessex, prove their Saxon origin ; and even 
at the present day, after all the immigrations of other races, 

' This is the country which Beda, yElfred and other English writers call 
Old-Saxony in contradistinction to the newer Saxon realm in England. 
Herewith also agrees the account of Adam of Bremen, i. 3, that the Saxons 
first had their habitation on the Rhine, and thence passed over to Britain. 
To seek for Old-Saxony in Holstein, with Camden and others after him, 
is not admissible, as in the oldest accounts we always find the latter coun- 
try written Holsatia. Adam. Brem. ii. 8. " Holsati dicti a sylvis quas 
accolunt." And from him, Annalista Saxo a. 983. " Holcetae dicti a 
sylvis quas incolunt." Cf. also Albert. Stad. a. 917. The Sachsenspiegcl 
(b. iii. art. 64. § 3.) has 'Holtseten.' 

^ Meginhard, Transl. S. Alexandri, and Adam. Brem. i. 4, fromEinhard. 

3 Gildas, Hist. c. xxv. Beda, i. 16. Galf. Mon. vi. 13. 

■* The oldest continental writers for the most part mention only the 

Saxons as immigrants. Prosp. Aquit. a. 441. " Britannise in 

ditionem Saxonum rediguntur." Geog. Raven, v. § 31. " In oceano occi- 
dentrle est insula qua; dicitur Britannia, ubi olim gens Saxonum, veniens 
ab antiqua Saxonia, cum principe suo, nomine Anschis, modo habitare 
videtur;" also Wittekind, lib. i. [The territories occupied by the Saxons 
were small in comparison with those of the Angles. See note ^ p. 89. — T.] 


their Celtic neighbours, the Highland Scots, the Welsh, the 
Irish, and the Bretons, speak of the English only under the 
denomination of Saxons, though other hordes either accom- 
panied or followed them, among which the Angles are chiefly 
conspicuous, but whose origin — though they were undoubt- 
edly more numerous than even the Saxons, and sufficiently 
powerful to impart their name, as a national denomination, 
to the whole new Germanic land, to the exclusion of that 
of the Saxons 1, until, for the sake of convenience, historians 
introduced that of Anglo-Saxons, — is, nevertheless, in- 
volved in very considerable obscurity. Both Beda and Alfred 
distinctly mention the district of Angeln as the original seat 
of this people^ a name now confined to the country between 
the She, or Schley, and Flensburg, but which anciently must 
have comprised a much larger territory^. The testimony of 
Beda, who lived in one of the states founded by the Angles, 
and scarcely a century from the time of its foundation, is here 
particularly valuable. The old British tradition makes Hen- 
gest and his companions embark for Britain from the Isle of 
Angul^, although they are else confidently spoken of as Sax- 

1 Already in a letter of Gregory I,, a. 596, the inhabitants of ' Saxonia 
transmarina,' as they are denominated in the superscription, are in the 
text called 'gens Anglorum.' Hardt. iii. p. 509. Du Chesne, t. i. p. 897. 
So also in all the letters of the same pope in Smith's Beda, Appendix vi., 
and in Bedae Opera Historica Minora, Appendix, ed. Stevenson. 

- Beda, i. 15. " Porro de Anglis, hoc est, de ilia patria quae Angulus 
dicitur, et ab eo tempore usque hodie manere desertus inter provincias 
Jutarum et Saxonura perhibetur, Orientales Angli, Mediterranei Angli, 
Merci, tota Nordanhymbrorum progenies, id est, illarum gentium quae ad 
boream Humbri fluminis inhabitant, ceterique Anglorum populi sunt orti." 
yElfred's Account, § 3. Ohther's Voyage, § 10. Dahlmann's Forschungen, 
Th. i. p. 418 sq. Nestor also, the Russian chronicler, makes mention of 
the Angles. 

^ See Ethelwerd, lib. i., who mentions Sleswic, by the Danes called Haith- 
aby, as the capital of that country. 

•* Nennius, c. xxxvii. " Hengistus cum suis senioribus, qui secum 

vencrant de insula Angul." [Some MSS. read Oghgul.— T.] Gerv. Tilb. ed. 
Maderus,p.41. "Ab illis Saxonibusab Engla insula venientibus seminarium 
ortum est Anglorum." 


ons, and the peopling of the kingdom of Kent, founded by 
them, was ascribed to Jutes ^ 

The Angles^ possessed in Britain those parts which after- 
wards formed the kingdoms of East Angha, ISIercia, and 
Northumbria (in the ancient and hteral acceptation of that 
name, comprising the country to the north of the Humber, 
viz. the county of York and the present Northumberland, the 
latter, if it were already included under that appellation, form- 
ing but a small, and the most remote portion of it), or, in 
other words, the country to the north of the counties of Hert- 
ford, Northampton, and Warwick. This northern portion of 
England is distinguished from the south by two denomi- 
nations, which can be ascribed only to the Angles : while the 
parts inhabited by the Saxons were divided into hundreds, 
the like division in all the Anglian territories bore the name 
of wapentake^, which is still retained in the county of York, 
and partially in those of Derby and Lincoln. It will hardly 
be objected that this appellation was introduced at a later 
period by the Danes, since, of all the Anglian states, East 
Anglia, which first fell under a regular Danish government, 
is the only one where it does not occur. In the present 
counties of Northumberland and Durham, which had early 

^ Beda, i. 15. Procopius, lib.iv., says, BQirrixv Si rviv vviirou Uun -niiat, 

'Tco'kvctv'h^u'Kora.ra. 'iyfivat AyyiT^oi re xxt ^Qi'craoves >ii*i 0/ rfi viiaoa 

cfAuuviAot 'B^'iTTuuii, without mentioning the Saxons. 

" Of the Old Angles we possess two remarkable monuments : the poem 
of Beowulf (seep. 77 and note), in which the old Anglian saga is ennobled 
by an Anglo-Saxon of the eighth century, and the laws of the Angles of 
Haithaby, generally known under the probably corrupt title of ' Leges 
Angliorurn et Werinorum,' for which Dahlmann acutely proposes to read 
' Angliorurn Etverinorum,' or ' Hetverinorum.' See Kraut on the I,ex Angl. 
etWerin. in Falk's Eranien, iii. [The reading 'Werinorum ' is, however, 
as old as Cnut's Forest Laws : see p. 93, note'*.' — T.] 

^ Leges Edw. Conf. xxx. " Everwichescire, Nicholescire, Notingeham- 
scirr, Leicestrescire, Norhamtunescire, et usque ad Watlingestrete, et VII. 
milliaria ultra Watlingestrete, sub lege Anglorum. Et quod alii (' Angli,' 
some MSS.) vocant hundredum, supradicti comitatus vocant wapentagium." 
Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, folio edit. p. 196. 


and long been Danish, as well as in Cumberland and West- 
moreland, the division called a ward is met with, which may, 
however, date only from the Norman times. Another national 
denomination of the Angles accords precisely with the pre- 
ceding, viz. that of the civic estabhshment, the ' by.^ Fre- 
quently as local names with this termination occur to the 
north of Warwick, we shall vainly seek for them southwards 
of that town ^ To the distinction between Angles and Saxons 
it may, perhaps, also be ascribed, that beyond the Wathng 
Street, many of the local names end or begin with ' kirk ' 
(church), while to the south we find ^minster' (monastery). 
These remarks on isolated differences of expression between 
Angles and Saxons, here confined to local instances, may be 
extended to the important and well-ascertained variations in 
dialect prevailing between the inhabitants of Mercia and those 
of Wessex. 

The testimony of manuscripts of the same work in the dia- 
lects of Wessex and Mercia'^, and of a period when the Danes, 
having scarcely obtained their first peaceful settlement in 
England, could exercise no influence over the language and 
culture of their ten-itory, seems to place the age of both dia- 
lects, and, consequently, the difi^erence of both races, beyond 
a doubt ; and will, when the investigation is rendered more 
easy, probably remove all uncertainty regarding the descent 
of the Angles. 

Another hypothesis must not, however, be entirely over- 
looked, according to which the Angles were either the Anglii 
of Tacitus, or the Angrivarii, the inhabitants of the later duchy 
of Engern. Ptolemy relates that a nation, bearing the name 

^ The correctness of this observation, with reference to the earliest times, 
cannot indeed be proved, in consequence of the want of documents. Derby, 
in which I have first met with this termination, owed its name of Deoraby 
to the Danes, having been originally called Northweorthig. Ethelwerd, iv. 2. 

2 In that of Mercia is the Cambridge MS. of the Chronicle (C. C. S. 11, 
Wanley, p. 130), and a MS. of Alfred's Boethius used by Rawlinson in his 
edition. [I believe the genuine Anglian dialect to be that which is usually 
denominated the Northumbrian. — T.] 

92 [ANGLES. 

of Angles, dwelt to the south of the Elbe, in a territory which, 
perhaps, may be sought for in the old North Thuringia^ No 
account of, not even the slightest allusion to, any connexion 
between these southern Angles and those of Sleswig is extant ', 
yet, if the supposition be not groundless, that the Saxons 
moved southwards from the northern bank of the Elbe, it is 
not imj)robable that hordes also of their Anglian neighbours 
in the north might have accompanied them. 

Nor may we seek for the Anglian settlers in the midst of 
the German continent, seeing that the grounds alleged in 
favour of that opinion rest on a manifest misunderstanding^. 
At an early period the servility of genealogists had declared 
Hengest and Horsa for sons of the duke of Engern, with the 
view of bestowing on those individuals an origin that should 
be welcome both to the Saxons and English^ ; but of an 
argument, however specious, founded merely on blazonry, we 
ought to be extremely distrustful. The duchy of Engern 
bore, it is said, a white horse in its banner,whence that charge 
came into the shield of the dukes of Liineburg and the pre- 
sent Guelphs'^ ; the same is also borne by the county of Kent, 

* Von Wersebe, Beschreibung der Gauen zwischen Elbe und Werra, 
p. 69. Von Ledebur, Land und Volk der Bructerer, p, 2/4, but who, in 
what he says about the Old-Saxons, is far from satisfactory ; and, in what 
he states concerning the Angli and Warni, misunderstands in an extraordi- 
nary manner the passage of Procopius, lib. iv., who does not consider the 
Angli and Warni as allies in England, but speaks of the Angli who from 
Britain overcame the Warni encamped on the opposite coast of Belgium. 

^ In Adam. Brem. i. 4, where he speaks of the Saxons who had gone 
over to Britain, the words " et vocati sunt Angli," after " Saxones circa 
Rhenum sedes habebant," are wanting in the Vienna MS. 

^ Gobelini Personae Cosmodrom. Eetate vi. "Duces exercitus illius, qui 
de Saxonia in Britanniam profectus est, filii ducis Angarise sive de Engere 

fuerunt, et inde forte est quod arma ducis Saxoniassunt equus albus." 

See also Verstegan, p. 131. 

■* Not the device of the Saxons, who, according to Wittekind, bore an 
cagln hovering over a lion and a dragon. The golden dragon was the royal 
standard of Wessex. H. Hunt., lib. iv, " Edelhun prsecedens Westsexenses, 
regis insigne, draconem scilicet aureum gerens," etc. The horse in the 
arms of Brunswick-Liineburg was not added till the year 1362. See Miillcr 
in Neue vaterliindische Archiv. 1832, p. 176 ; Scheldt vom deutschen 
Adel, p. 228. 


where Hengest and Horsa, according to tradition, first landed 
and ruled. But here all dates are M'anting, and Kent, as we 
have already seen, was not occupied by a race of Angles. 

Of the laws of the Angles there is no collection extant ; 
the loss of them, more especially those of OfFa, is matter of 
deep regret, as they would, no doubt, have afforded us some 
important data whereby to judge of the identity of the British 
Angles with one of the continental races. We know, however, 
from detached sources, that the laM's of the southern and 
northern English, or of the Saxons and Angles, even in their 
later form, differed in many points from each other ^; but the 
law of Mercia is usually cited as agreeing with that of East 
Anglia^ ; hence an accordance of the law of Mercia with that 
of the continental Anglians ought not to be overlooked — in 
the latter of which, among all the written German laws, the 
denomination * adaling ' (oetheling) is alone to be found — viz. 
that both fix the wergild of the free at two hundred shillings^. 
The disproportion in the wergild of the noble among the An- 
glians may perhaps be accounted for by the circumstance, 
that a new nobility, the ' sixhyndesmen,' formed out of the 
military retainers that had passed into Britain, had stept into 
the place of the old nobles, while the wergild of the old 
nobility by birth was doubled, and their rank raised in pro- 
portion. We possess, however, a very remarkable testimony 
of the origin of the wergild of the free from the law of the 
Anglians, and of its validity in England, in the Forest Laws 
of Cnut, which seems to place even the later application of 
that law in England beyond a doubt'*. 

^ See Laws of -lEthelred, vii. 9, 13, and the title 'Wergilds/ in the An- 
cient Laws and Institutes of England. 

- Cnut's Sec. Laws, Ixxii. 

^ See tit. ' Mercian Law,' in Anc. Laws and Instt. Lex Angl. et Wer. 
tit. i. 

•* Const, de Foresta, xxxiii "emendct secundum pretium hominis 

mediocris, quod secundum legem Werinorum, i. Thuringorum, est ducen- 
torum solidorum." [The reading ' Churingorum/ for 'Thuringorum,' given 


But the accordance of the laws of the Anglians with those 
of the Anglo-Saxons is in general, and even in many indi- 
vidual points, very remarkable. Particularly important in 
the former is the precept regarding the succession to inherit- 
ances in the male line^ {lancea, the spear-side of the Anglo- 
Saxons^); the Saxons also acknowledging only heirs male, 
to which, as far as the fifth generation, they give the prefer- 
ence over descendants in the female line. Important also is 
the title ' De Postestate Testandi,' or, Of freedom in testa- 
mentary bequests^. The higher fine imposed for injury done 
to the hand of the harper, the goldsmith, and the embroider- 
ess^, of which no mention occurs in the other German laws, 
calls to mind the harp of the North, of Denmark and of En- 
gland, at the same time that the several female ornaments^ 
imply the existence of cities, such as from the foregoing we 
may suppose Haithaby to have been. A striking character- 
istic of the Anglians was the sanctity of domestic security, 
which manifests itself in the heavy penalty affixed to its vio- 
lation, implying both civilization and notions of property, the 
later advancement of which appears in the great respect shown 
by the laws for the house of the English burgher^. 

In the laws of the Anglians and of the Anglo-Saxons is 
found also the common principle, that those who first forcibly 

in Spelman's Glossarium, is apparently a mere clerical or typographical 
error : Canciani has, " hoc est Thuringorum." — T.] 

1 Lex Angl. et Wer. tit. vi. Leges Henrici L Ixx. § 20, where, though 
the passage is copied from the Leges Ripuariorum, c. Ivi., yet it in principle 
agrees with the Anglian law, and can have been adopted only in conse- 
quence of its conformity with the Anglo-Saxon. 

" See Testamentum Alfred! Regis. Hence is also the proverb to be ex- 
plained, "Bicge spere of side otJer here :" " lanceam eme de latere, aut 
fer earn," which in Leges Edw. Conf. xii. is thus cited in the law of 
' Manbote,' " Emendationem faciat parcntibus, aut guerram paciatur." 

^ Lex Angl. et Wer. tit. xiii. That the Anglo-Saxons were acquainted 
with this appears from Cnut's Sec. Laws, Ixxi. LL. Hen. L Ixxv. § 11. 
See also Anc. Laws and Instt. p. 185. 

4 Lex Angl. tit. v. 20. * Lex Angl. tit. vii. 3. 

8 See title ' Harasocn/ in Anc. Laws and Instt. of England.— T. 


enter another's property shall pay a heavier fine than those who 
follow ^ According to both laws a thief might be slain, if his 
crime was affirmed by oath^. Whether the enactments of the 
Anglians regarding duels, among whom they were allowed in 
all cases of two shillings and upwards, show any connexion 
between their laws and those of the Anglo-Saxons, will be 
doubted by those who deny the existence of that mode of 
judicial proof among the latter, on the ground that the word 
for single combat, ' eornest,' — though certainly Germanic, — 
is not of Anglo-Saxon^ origin : yet William the Conqueror 
speaks of the judicial combat as a known English custom; 
and that the Anglians themselves lacked an appropriate terra 
is evident from the language of their law, which says, '' let 
the field (campus) decide'*." The omission of all mention in 
the Anglo-Saxon laws of this undeniably existing custom 
may, perhaps, justify the inference, that the laws of East 
Anglia contained circumstantial provisions regarding judicial 
combats. The existence, however, in England of anotlier 
means of proof in judicial proceedings, similar in form and 
application to what is enacted in that old Germanic law, is 
undoubted — the fire, or iron proofj for accused females, con- 
sisting in walking over nine red-hot ploughshares^. 

Thus may the assertion appear justified, that the laws of 
the Anglians agree, not only in general characteristics com- 
mon to all Germanic laws, with those of the Anglo-Saxons, 
and may be regarded as a chief source of them, but also, that 
no other Germanic laws coincide with them so closely in single 

' Lex Angl. tit. x. c. 9. Laws of Jithelberht, xvii. 

^ Lex Angl. tit. vii. 4. Laws of Ine, xvi. xxxv. Laws of Wihtrsed, xxv. 

^ Palgrave, vol. i. p. 223. 

■* " Campus judicat ; " hence, Kampe, champion, campio ; Kamp, Low 
Saxon for field. 

" Lex Angl. tit. xiv. Annal. Winton. ap. Du Cange, voce ' Voraeres ' ; 
Wharton, Anglia Sacra, t. i. Cf. Theodor. Monach. Hist. Reg. Norv. 
c. xxxiv. ap. Langebek, t. v. p. 340. Capit. ad Leg. Salic, c. ix. Capit. 1. iv. 
App. ii. c. 3. LL. Longob. 1. i. c. 10. § 3, and even LL, Hen. L Ixxxix. 
§ 1. Other laws enjoin twelve ploughshares. 

96 ■ JUTES. 

points ; so that if all other historic grounds were wanting-, 
we must, nevertheless, place the laws of the Anglians in the 
nearest relationship to those of the Anglo-Saxons. 

The third race which increased the new population of Bri- 
tain was that of the Jutes, apparently less numerous than either 
of the before-mentioned, as they possessed only Kent, the 
Isle of Wight, and a part of Wessex, where for some centu- 
ries the Jutish race was distinguished from the Saxon ^ Kent 
has certain customs of its own, among which the law of in- 
heritance called Gavelkind^ is well known, and also a peculiar 
dialect^. Even on a slight glance over the history of En- 
gland, we must be repeatedly reminded of the distinguishing 
nationality of the men of Kent. More accurate inquiries, 
however, into the history of nations than have hitherto taken 
place, and especially into the history of England, will alone 
enable us to ascertain whether the oldest Jutish law resembles 
the custumal of Kent, and whether the Jutish forefather may 
yet be traced in the Kentish man of the present day. One 
circumstance is, however, too striking not to have drawn to 
it the attention of others — while the other English shires are 
parted into hundreds or wapentakes, the county of Kent 
alone is divided into six lathes'^ of regular form, and of nearly 
equal magnitude. These divisions, which have in later times 
become mere districts for judicial purposes, served at an earlier 
period for the quartering and muster of the military and of 
the general levy. But in the Jutish law^ a military expedi- 
tion is still called a ' lething' (in modern Danish, 'leding^) ; 

^ Beda, i. 15, iv. 16. Sax. Chron. a. 449. Juti Vectiani, and Cantiani 
Juti, about the year 900 are mentioned by Wallingford, ap. Gale, i. p. 538. 

2 See page 39. 

•'' A remarkable and valuable specimen of the Kentish dialect exists in 
the ' Ayenbyte of Inwyt ' (MS. Arundel. 57.), which, though written in 
1340, may still be regarded as Anglo-Saxon. See Csedmon, Pref. p. xii. 
Mr. T. Wright, to whom all lovers of early English lore are greatly be- 
holden, has announced an edition of this interesting relic. — T, 

* LL. Edw. Conf. xxxi. var, lect. 13. 

* Lib. iii. c. 2. 12. 


M'hence the district summoned together for such expedition 
may have borne that name. In hke manner the word ' fyrd/ 
the mihtary levy of the Anglo-Saxons, — the old signification 
of which does not appear to have been preserved in any other 
monuments of the German tongue, — is still used in Holstein, 
where it signifies the assembly of the States, originally for 
mihtary purposes, at Bornhoved. The earliest record known 
to us of any of the customary laws of Kent ^ refers chiefly to 
circumstances arising out of the feudal system ; while the 
Jutish Law of King Waldemar the Second, in the thirteenth 
century, has adopted many Saxon and other foreign prin- 
ciples ; both, however, contain the enactment, that the son, 
in reference to the property of the deceased husband, shall 
be considered of age in his fifteenth year^; a principle which, 
though on the one side in accordance with the Danish laws, 
and, on the other, valid among the socmen^ in other parts 
of England, is probably not derived from the Saxon laws, but 
rather to be referred to the immigration of the Jutes. 

It is hardly probable that, in those days of national migra- 
tions and military services, so splendid an enterprise as the 
conquest of Britain should not have allured many bands from 
the kindred tribes of Germany ; these, however, were not, it 
seems, sufficiently numerous to claim notice in the most au- 
thentic narratives. Frisians, on account of their proximity, 
their skill in seamanship, their language so nearly resembling 
the Anglo-Saxon, and the traditions already mentioned, we 
might expect to meet with before all others'* ; but from affinity 

' Statutes of the Realm, vol. i. p. 223-225. Many of the usages there 
mentioned will, however, be recognised as common Anglo-Saxon law. 

' Jiit. Lov, lib. i. c. 7- 

^ Glanvile, lib. vii. c. 9. § 2. 

'' Fin filius Folcwald, who was a Frisian chief, appears as an ancestor 
of Hengest in the genealogies as given by Nennius and those following him ; 
but the Saxon authorities, viz. the Chronicle, Asser, Ethelwerd, the Textus 
RofFensis, also Florence and Snorre, concur in naming Godwulf as the 
father of this Fin; while in 'Beowulf,' 'The Scop's Tale' (Traveller's 
Song), and 'The Battle of Finnesburh,' Fin son of Folcwalda appears, not 

VOL. I. H 


of language, however, no inference is to be drawn, as it would 
tend to the exclusion of the remoter German races ; nor 
should too much importance be attached to such words as 
' seax,' the long knife of the Saxons, from which they are sup- 
posed to have derived their name, and which was common 
also to the Frisians ^, and is still to be met with in that country ; 
as on the same ground the Icelanders must also be considered 
as Saxons^. Even the striking similitude between the old 
Frisic and the Anglo-Saxon public and private law, although 
affording the most decisive testimony as to the relationship 
of the two nations, does not allow us to make any further in- 
ference with regard to Britain ; more especially as our oldest 
accounts of the Frisians are too defective to enable us to as- 
certain what influence the connexion with the Anglo-Saxons, 
and the migration of the latter may have had on the tribes 
of Friesland. The assertion of Procopius'"^, that Angles and 
Frisians dwelt on the isle of ' Brittia,' notwithstanding the 
fables in the rest of the narrative, appears credible on account 
of its antiquity and other circumstances to be discussed here- 
after. Later testimonies show with greater certainty the ex- 
istence of the descendants of Frisic forefathers in England, 

as an ancestor, but as an adversary of Hengest, by whom he is attacked 
and slain in his dwelling, Finnesburh or Finnesham, in Friesland. I find 
it therefore much more reasonable to prefer in this case the Saxon autho- 
rities, and to suppose that there were two Fins, living at very distant times, 
than to seek to reconcile them with an apparent error of Nennius, by the 
aid of hypotheses hardly in accordance with our notions of a more than 
semi- barbarous people. In these meagre traditions exist, I firmly believe, 
faint traces of persons that once had being, and actions that once took 
place ; but that they generally require a mythic interpretation is to me 
more than questionable. — T. 

' Asega-Buch, tit. iii. § 13, tit. v. § 17- [J. Grimm considers the de- 
rivation from sax (sahs, a stone or stone loeapon, saxum) as undeniable. D. 
M. p. 204, and Massmann's ' AbschwiJrungsformeln,' p. 18. At all events, 
the coincidence of the words, seax, franca and angul, signifying weapons, 
with the names of three warlike nations, is, if accidental, not a little remark- 
able.— T.] 

' Sax, machiera. B. Haldorsen. — T. 

3 De Bello Goth. lib. iv. c. 20. 


but do not prove the establishment of any state or consider- 
able settlement of that people in the country ^ 

Of the participation of the Franks there exists some, though 
not sufficiently specific accounts : the same may be observed 
with respect to the Longobards. Little doubt can, however, 
be entertained regarding either the one or the other, as we 
elsewhere, in similar undertakings, find Saxons united with 
Franks and Longobards ; the latter especially, when the com- 
plete occupation of the British southern or eastern coasts 
made a new field for conquests desirable^. 

But little attention has hitherto been paid to the national 
diversity of the Germanic races which established themselves 
in Britain, and the collective appellation of Angles, which 
became common at an early period, as well as the subsequent 
political unity, have caused us to overlook the variety of ele- 
ments of which the population of Great Britain is composed ; 
although, at the present day, after a lapse of nearly fifteen 
centuries, even in the instance of the Celtic tribes, striking 
varieties in laws and dialect, as well as peculiarities of figure, 
hair, and eyes, are still discernible, and prove their indelible 

^ Vita S. Swiberti : " Egbertus sitiens salutem Frisonum et Saxonum, 
eo quod Angli ab eis propagati sunt." The Sax. Chron., a. 897, mentions, 
that the ships constructed by Alfred were shaped neither Uke the Frisian 
nor the Danish ; and also gives us the names of three Frisians of distinc- 
tion slain in a sea-fight with the Danes, together with seventy-two men, 
Frisians and English. The circumstance, however, that they are men- 
tioned separately leads us to regard these Frisians rather as allies than in- 
habitants. In Vita S. Liudgeri, c. xi., Frisian merchants are spoken of as 
strangers. Beda also (iv. 22) has a storj' of a slave bought by a Frisian 
in London. 

- See Paul. Diacon. De Gestis Longob. lib. ii. c. 6, and lib. iii. c. 6. Of 
the connexion between the Anglo-Saxons and Longobards we shall again 
have occasion to speak ; but will here observe, that Sceaf, one of the an- 
cestors of Woden in the genealogy of the West Saxon kings, is called a 
king of the Longobai'ds, and that the old Longobardic kings, Agelmund, 
Lethus, Audoin, and his son Alboin, are celebrated in Anglo-Saxon song. 
See 'The Song of the Traveller ' in Conybeare's Illustrations, p. 9. [Also 
Cod. Exon. p. 318 ; Beowulf, edit. Kemble ; and Ettmiiller's ' Scopes Vid- 
sidh,' accompanied by a valuable commentary, illustrative of the persons 
mentioned in the poem and its ethnography. — T.] 

H 2 


natural affinity with those of the ancient country. Must not 
these characteristics have displayed themselves in early times 
much more manifestly than at present ? The answer is ob- 
vious ; and to this cause, no doubt, may be ascribed the great 
weakness of the Anglo-Saxon power, when, fleeing before the 
invading Northmen, the sons yielded the dominion of the land 
which their valiant forefathers had conquered. The slow in- 
troduction of Christianity, the disputes of the clergy in the 
north and south of England by which it was followed, the 
disunion which prevailed during the invasions of foreign foes, 
the treaties with them, — in short, the most important events 
of the Anglo-Saxon sovereignty, find their true and natural 
illustration in an attentive consideration of the diversities of 

These original, though not strongly marked differences 
among the invaders, lead us to the obvious, though neglected 
remark, that a considerable part of what we are accustomed 
to regard as the religion, law, customs, and language of the 
Anglo-Saxons, arose only in the course of some centuries, 
from the blending of the several elements. As any attempt 
at detail of what the immigrants brought with them from 
their home is not admissible in this place, we shall defer till 
a future opportunity the discussion of that which may be 
more strictly regarded as Anglo-Saxon, occasionally adverting 
to what appears originally to belong to the Saxons, to the 
Angles, or to the Jutes. 

Such were the races which, in the course of a century and 
a half, succeeded in gaining possession of the greater eastern 
portion of Britain. The more Roman the several districts 
had been, the sooner did the forsaken cities and towns become 
the prey of the barbarians. Of the resistance made by the 
Lloegrians, or Britons of the present England, at the outset 
of the struggle, few accounts are preserved. The discord 
among the British princes, by which the progress of the 
enemy was greatly facilitated, seems to have caused in the 


British traditlonlsts themselves an indifference towards the 
fallen or lost states. Contemporary, though apparently not 
in alliance with Vortigern was Ambrosius AurelianuSj a chief- 
tain of Roman descent, perhaps one of the British provincial 
emperors, who, though involved in a war with the British 
prince Guitolin, or Wetheling, withstood the advances of the 
Saxons with Roman tactics. It is probable that there were 
yet both Roman and Romanized warriors in detached fast- 
nesses, who, hoAvever, would seem only to have increased the 
general disorder'. A defeat sustained by the Saxons, which 
compelled them to return home for the purpose of seeking re- 
inforcements, was wisely turned to account by Ambrosius, in 
exciting the Lloegrians, and strengthening them against a 
further advance of the enemy. In many successive battles 
and skirmishes, the Lloegrians were alternately conquerors 
and conquered. The last considerable defeat sustained by 
the Saxons was at the siege of Bath^: other though incon- 
siderable contests took place, but which are known to us only 
through the accounts of the establishing of the several Anglo- 
Saxon kingdoms. 

The contemporary who records the victory at Bath, gained 
by his countrymen in the first year of his life, and Avho bears 
witness of its consequences after a lapse of forty-four ycars^, 
Gildas, siu'named the Wise, considers it superfluous to men- 
tion the name of the far-famed victor ; but his wide-spread 
work, and the yet more M'ide-spread extracts from it in Beda, 
have reached no region in which the fame of king Arthur 
had not outstript them, — the noble champion who defended 
the liberty, usages and language of the ancient country from 

' Gildas, c. xxv., and from him Beda, i. 16. Nenn. c. xxviii. " Dura 

ipse (Gorthigernus) regnabat, urgebatur et a Romanico impetu, necnon 

ct a timore Ambrosii." id. c. i., and Gale, ibid. 

2 Gildas, c. xxvi, Annal. Camb. a. 516. 

^ Beda, i. 16, has misunderstood this passage, and placed the battle in 
the forty-fourth year after the coming of the Saxons, i.e. in 492. The 
' Annales Cambrise ' give 516 for the year. Matt. Westmon. 520. 

102 ARTHUR. 

destruction by savage enemies; Avho protected the cross 
against the pagans, and gained security to the churches most 
distinguished for their antiquity and various knowledge, to 
which a considerable portion of Europe owes both its Chris- 
tianity and some of its most celebrated monasteries. Called 
to such high-famed deeds, he needed not the historian to hve 
through all ages more brilliantly than the heroes of the chro- 
nicles, among whom he is counted from the time of Jeffrey of 
Monmouth : but — not to mention the works which, about the 
year 720, Eremita Britannus is said to have composed on the 
Holy Graal, and on the deeds of king Arthur^, — the rapid 
spread of JefFrey^s work over the greater part of Europe 
proves that the belief in the hero of it was deeply rooted. In 
the twelfth century a Greek poem, recently restored to light, 
was composed, in celebration of Arthur and the heroes of the 
round table ^. Still more manifestly, however, do the nume- 
rous local memorials which, throughout the whole of the then 
Christian part of Europe, from the Scottish hills to Mount 
Etna^, bear allusion to the name of Arthur ; while on the 
other hand, the more measured veneration of the Welsh poets 
for that prince, who esteem his general, Geraint, more highly 
than the king himself, and even relate that the latter, far from 
being always victorious, surrendered Hampshire and Somer- 
setshire to the Saxons, may be adduced as no worthless tes- 
timony for the historic existence of king Arthur'*. Even those 

1 See Warton, H. E. P. vol. i. p. x. note b, edit. 1840.— T. 

^ This fragment of 306 verses was first published by Von der Hagen in 
his 'Denkmaledes Mittelalters,' Berlin, 1824, 8vo. Godfrey of Viterbo 
also proves how rapidly the story became spread over Europe through Jef- 
frey of Monmouth. Part xviii. of his Chronicle contains some stories, in 
hexameters and pentameters, of Voltiger, Orsus, Engist, Corinna (Rowena), 
Uterpendragon, Merlin, Hierna (Hibernia), etc. 

^ Gers'as. Tilbur. ap. Leibnitz, i. p. 921. 

■* Turner, Hist, of the A.-S. b. iii. c. 3. He regards Llywarch Hen 
and other poets as contemporary with Arthur. Similar accounts are also 
to be found in the ' Historia Anglise ad primordia Regis Stephani,' ascribed 
by Bale and Pits to Richard of Devizes (see Stevenson's Preface to Chron. 

ARTHUR. 103 

traditions concerning him, which, at the first glance, seem 
composed in determined defiance of all historic truth, — those 
uhich recount the expedition against the Romans, on their 
demand of subjection from him, appear not totally void of 
foundation, when we call to mind that a similar expedition 
actually took place in Gaul ; and are, moreover, informed, on 
the most unquestionable authority, of another undertaken in 
the year 468, on the demand of Anthemius, by the British 
general Riothamus, — who led twelve thousand Britons across 
the ocean against the Visigoths in Gaul, — and of his battles 
on the Loire ^ This very valuable narrative gives us some 
insight into the connexions and resources of those parts of 
Britain which had not yet been afflicted Avith the Saxon 

Arthur fell in a conflict on the river Camel in Cornwall, 
against his nephew Medrawd"^ : his death was, however, long 
kept secret, and his countrymen waited many years for his 
return and his protection against the Saxons. The discovery 
of his long-concealed grave in the abbey of Glastonbury is 
mentioned by credible contemporaries^, and excited at the time 
no suspicion of any religious or political deception. Had the 

Ric. Div. p.vii.), and in Chron. Radulfi Nigri, composed about 1161, both 
existing only in manuscript. 

' Jornandes de Rebus Geticis, c. 45. Sidonius Apollin. iii. ep. 9. 

2 So Annal. Cambr. a. 53". According to Jeffrey, lib. xi. c. 2, x\rthur 
in the year 542 resigned his crown. 

^ Girald. Cambrens. de Inst. Principis. [Bromton, coll. 1152, places 
the exhumation in the time of Henry H., Wendover in that of Richard I. 
His words are, " Eodem anno (1191) inventa sunt apud Glasconiara ossa 
famosissimi regis Britannise Arthuri, in quodara vetustissimo recondita 
sarcophago, circa quod duae antiquissimae pyrarnides stabant erectse, in 
quibus literse erant exaratte, sed ob nimiam barbariem et deformitatem legi 

minime potuerunt cui (sarcophago) crux plumbeasuperposita fuerat, in 

qua exaratura erat, ' Hie jacet inclytus Britonum rex Arthurus, in insula 
Avalonis sepultus.'" Roger de Wendover Chronica, t. iii. p. 48. The vera- 
city of the stoiy seems extremely questionable. Malmesbury (lib. iii.) says, 
"Arturis sepulchrum nusquam visitur, unde antiquitas nseniarura adhuc 
eum venturum fabulatur." — T.] 


king of England, Heniy the Second, who caused the exhu- 
mation of the coffin in the year 1189, wished merely, through 
an artifice, to convince the Welsh of the death of their national 
hero, he would hardly himself have acted so conspicuous a part 
on the occasion. Poem and tradition bear witness to the spirit, 
and his ashes and the gravestone to the life and name of Arthur. 
Faith in the existence of this Christian, Celtic Hector cannot 
be shaken by short-sighted doubt, though much must yet be 
done for British story, to render the sense latent in the poems 
of inspired bards, which have in many cases reached us only 
in spiritless paraphrases, into the sober language of historic 

While the British nation was more obstinately than suc- 
cessfully defending itself against the power of the Saxons^, 
as it had done of old against the Romans, the greater part of 
the island was becoming the prey and the home of strangers. 
The British narratives of this period are extremely deficient, 
and the Anglo-Saxon accounts, particularly their chronology, 
seem deeply tinged with the fabulous. 

Hengest was yet living when, in the year 477^ -^lle (^Ui) ^ 
and his three sons, Cymen, 'Wlencing, and Cissa, landed 
from three ships at the place afterwards called Cymenes-ora^, 
on the coast of Sussex. On the landing of the Saxons the 
Britons raised a loud cry, numerous bodies of them hastened 
from the neighbouring country, and Avar instantly commenced. 
The Saxons, who excelled in stature and bodily strength, re- 

* Many of the natives fled to the ancient seats of the Veneti and Corio- 
solytani, where it is said that their successors, both in manners and lan- 
guage, still evince their affinity to the Welsh. Einh. Annal. a. 786. 

2 Beda (ii. 5) merely mentions his name as the first Bretwalda. The 
remaining account is from Henry of Huntingdon, the accuracy of whose 
excerpts from sources with which we are acquainted is a voucher for the 
same quality in those from lost or unknown authorities. See also Sax. 
Chron. Of the two forms (^lle, jElli) that in ' i ' is the more ancient. 

2 Keynor on Selsea. The locality of Cymenes-ora appears from a charter 
a. 673 in Monast. Angl. t. vi. p. 1163. 


ceived their enemies with undaunted valour, while the latter 
imprudently hurrying forwards, were, as they approached 
disorderly and in separate bodies, slaughtered by the compact 
phalanx of Saxons, each successive band arriving only to 
witness and share the fate of its predecessor. The Britons 
were driven into the neighbouring forest of Andredes-leah, 
while the Saxons established themselves on the coast, and 
gradually extended their settlements, until, in the eighth year 
after their landing in Sussex, the princes and chieftains of 
the Britons, having united their forces, engaged with them in 
a great battle at Mearcredes-burne, the issue of which is 
doubtful. The armies much injured and weakened, each ex- 
ecrating its conflict with the other, returned to their habita- 
tions : but ^lle sent to his German countrymen to demand 
reinforcements, which, arriving six years after, proceeded 
with that chieftain to the siege of the strong old Roman city 
of Andredes-ceaster, or Anderida. The Britons now gathered 
like swarms of bees, and warred on the besiegers by day with 
stratagems, by night with attacks. No day nor night passed 
in which new tidings of disaster did not embitter the minds 
of the Saxons, who with redoubled ardour continued their 
assaults on the city ; but the Britons w'ere constantly at 
hand, with their arrows and other missiles, in the rear of the 
assailants ; and when the Saxons, turning from the walls, 
directed their steps and arms against them, the Britons, who 
excelled in speed, hastened to the forests, issuing from whence, 
on the return of the Saxons to the works, they were again 
ready to assail them from behind. The Saxons being thus 
Avearied, many too having fallen, divided their army into two 
bodies, of Avhich while one attacked the city, the other might 
be armed against the assaults of the British. The citizens, 
now worn out by hunger, and no longer in a condition to 
withstand the ardour of the besiegers, found, with their wives 
and children, their death by the sword. Not one escaped, 
and Anderida was razed to the ground by the exasperated 


victors. Henry of Huntingdon knew merely the site of the 
once noble city; in our days even this is become an object of 
fruitless research, ^lle, who had assumed the royal dignity 
in Sussex, was now regarded as the supreme head of all En- 
gland, as the first Bretwalda of the Anglo-Saxons : so at least 
we are informed by Beda ; though if we take into consider- 
ation the narrow compass of the Germanic possessions in 
Britain at that time, if we call to mind that for almost a cen- 
tury no mention is made of a second Bretwalda, Me may per- 
haps safely ascribe the Bretwaldaship of ^Ue to the liberal 
pen of the poet who has left us so circumstantial an account 
of those early conflicts ^ 

file's death is said to have taken place between the years 
514 and 519 : it appears, therefore, that to him, as to Hengest, 
was assigned a term of fifty years in England. He was suc- 
ceeded by his son Cissa^, after whom we have a period of a 
hundred and thirty years, during which neither chronicler nor 
poet has transmitted to us one line concerning the kingdom 
of Sussex, which, enclosed between two of the new Germanic 
states, could not extend its limits by conquests in the British 
territories. Even the name which it bore before the rise of 
other Saxon states gave occasion to the distinctive appellation 
of South Saxons, has not been preserved. We are, however, 
informed that its thick forest and barriers of rock preserved 
Sussex, the last hold of paganism, against the arms of the 
other states ; also that Cissa's posterity maintained the royal 
dignity in Sussex, although their influence, through the rising 
greatness of the other Germanic kingdoms, was necessarily 
much diminished^. 

' It is remarkable that the genealogy of ^Elle, the first Bretwalda, is the 
only one not given among those of the founders of the several kingdoms of 
the Octarchy. 

" His memory is preserved in the name of Cissan-ceaster, now Chi- 

^ H. Hunt. lib. ii. " Regnavit post eum Cissa, filius ejus, progeniesque 
eorum post eos ; at in processu temporura valde minorati sunt." .^Eddii 


To its first German population belongs apparently the sin- 
gular division of Sussex into six ^ rapes ^/ each of which is 
again divided into hundreds. These districts were probably 
intended for military purposes. 

The establishment of the third German kingdom in the 
south of Britain is, through the supremacy afterwards ac- 
quu-ed by Wessex, a subject of paramount interest. Cerdic, 
a descendant in the ninth generation from Woden, who in 
conflicts at home had already proved the energy of his soul, 
in the view of adding to his military renown, landed nine 
years after the death of Hengest'^, attended by his enterprising 
and emulous son Cjnric, from five ships at a spot afterwards 
called Cerdices-ora^, the locality of which is no longer known. 
He posted his Saxons in close order of battle before his ships, 
where they obstinately maintained their ground against the 
repeated bold attacks of the islanders, until the approach of 
night. Cerdic and his son proved their valour also in another 
battle with the Britons, and extended themselves along the 
sea-shore. The progress of the Saxons, however, Avas not 
great until six years later, when Port with his two sons, Bieda 
and Mffigla, landed from two large ships'*. The error com- 
mitted on the earlier landings of the Germans, as well as on 
Caesar's, and at a later period on that of WiUiara the Nor- 
man, was here repeated — the disembarkation was not pre- 
vented ; the country was called together with great clamour ; ^ 
uncombined attacks, boldly commenced and by great num- 
bers, were repulsed by the firmness of the enemy ; the im- 
prudent Britons fled in amazement, and Port remained victor 
on the spot, which from him, as it is said, derives the name 

Vita S. Wilfridi, c. xl. (South sex) " provincia gentilis, quae prse rupiuni 
multitudine et silvarum densitate aliis provinciis inexpugnabilis extitit." 
yEdde was contemporary with Beda. The assertion of Matthew of West- 
minster, that, after Cissa's death, Sussex became a province of Wessex, is 
of little weight against the foregoing. 

^ The Old Norse ' hreppr ' denotes a nearly similar territorial division. 

" A.D, 495. ^ Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn, a. 495. * a.d. 501. 


of Portsmouth. Mention is made of the death of a noble 
yomig Briton in one of these conflicts^ probably Geraint ab 
Erbin, prince of Djvnaint, whose fall in the battle of Llong- 
borth is lamented in the elegies of his friend Llywarch Hen*. 
With extraordinary pomp of diction^ the war is announced 
of the greatest king of the Britons, Nazaleod or Natanleod, 
but who is described elsewhere only as a general of the British 
king Uther. All Britain united against the foreign intruders ; 
Cerdic on his side formed an alliance with ^sc king of Kent^ 
with yElle the great king of the South Saxons, also with Port 
and his sons. Cerdic and Cynric led the two orders of battle. 
Of these Natanleod attacked the most powerful, the right 
wing commanded by Cerdic ; the Saxon banners were beaten 
down, their ranks broken; Cerdic fled, and vast slaughter 
was instantly made among his forces : his son, however, at 
the head of the left wing, pressed on the rear of the pursuers : 
a new and bloody fight began ; Natanleod fell, and with him 
five thousand Britons ; the rest found safety in their speed. 

A few years only had passed in the tranquillity of secure 
possession, when new auxiliaries arrived for new exploits. In 
the year 514 Stuf and Wihtgar, nephews of Cerdic, came with 
three ships and landed at Cerdices-ora. On the following 
morning the British leaders arrayed their forces according to 
the rules of war. As one division advanced over the hills, 
and another was proceeding cautiously through the valley, 
the beams of the rising sun, which just shone out, gleamed 
on their golden shields : the hills around were illumined with 
their brilliancy, and the air seemed brighter. The Saxons, 
dreading with great dread, marched to the encounter; but 
when these two great armies met in conflict, the energy of 

^ So Turner, who does not, however, notice an inconsistency in the 
chronology of 29 years, Palgravetoo, vol. ii. p. ccxxxiv, says that Geraint 
was slain in the year 501, and at p. cclxiii, in 530. 

- H. Hunt. " Bellum scripturus sum quod Nazaleod, rex maximus Brit- 
tannorum," etc. Cf. Sax. Chron. a. 508, and ibidem Gibson. Fl. Wigorn. 


the Britons was extinguished. Stuf and Wihtgar conquered 
many districts, and Cerdic's power through them became for- 
midable : he now marched through the land contident in his 
strength. After twice eight years, Stuf and Wihtgar M-ith 
their uncle gained a great victory in the Isle of Wight, at a 
place which afterwards bore the name of Wihtgares-burh 
(Carisbrook). This victory put Cerdic in possession of that 
isle, which he bestowed on his two nephews ^ 

Cerdi^ also fought a great battle against the Britons at a 
place afterwards named Cerdices-ford (Charford in Hamp- 
shire), in which the latter displayed great valour, until, on 
the approach of evening, the Saxons gained the victory. 
Though great the loss sustained on this occasion by the in- 
habitants of Albion, it would have been yet greater had not 
the setting sun put an end to the conflict-. 

Having now passed thrice eight years in Britain, in the 
midst of battles, Cerdic and Cynric assumed the kingly title. 
The original kingdom of the Gewissas^, or West Saxons, was, 
as is evident from the site of the last-mentioned battle, hardly 
more extensive than the other Germanic states in Britain, 
and barely reached beyond the borders of Hampshire and the 
territory of the Sumersaetas. These provinces are stated to 
have been surrendered to the Saxons by King Arthur, after 

' A.D. 530. 

- A.D. 519. H. Hunt. lib. ii. 

^ Beda, iii. 7, and Smith's note. " Occidentales Saxones, qui antiquitus 
Gevissag vocabantur." — So called either from their western locality, analo- 
gously with Visigothi, or from Gewis> the great-grandfather of Cerdic. 
Asser, Vita iElfr. inil., says, " Gewis, a quo Britones totam illam gentem 
Gegwis nominant." The British historians also, who never distinguish 
the other tribes, know the Giuoys. See Annal. Camb. a. 900. Galf. 
Mon. iv. 15, V. 8, viii. 10, xii. 14, [who speaks of Gewissi in Warwick- 
shire and Worcestershire during the time of the Romans. (See p. 38.) 
The denomination, as applied to a British tribe, was probably derived by 
the traditionists of that nation from Gevissa, the mother of Glovi, from 
whom, according to them, the city of Gloucester was named. See p. G/, 
note '.— T.] 


he had given a check to their further advances near Bath ' : 
the possession of them, however, impUes also that of a por- 
tion of the land of the Dorsaetas and the WiltScCtas, Eight 
years afterwards the Gewissas gained another great battle 
over the Britons at Cerdices-leah^. Cerdic^s death is record- 
ed in the sixteenth year of his reign over the West Saxons, 
and like that of Hengest and ^lle, in the fortieth after his 
arrival in Britain^, a number, as already observed, used merely 
to denote a long reign, the precise duration of which is not 
known. A similar custom of using this number for any un- 
determined large number prevailed also among the Persians, 
even when the real number was known to be larger. Cynric 
succeeded his father in Wessex : the Isle of Wight was given, 
as a kingdom dependent on Wessex, to his cousins, of whom 
Wihtgar, it is said, was a son of Cerdic's sister"*. The Isle 
of Wight was peopled by Jutes ; hence it is probable that 
Cerdic's sister was married to a powerful Jute, whose sons 
led their victorious followers from Jutland, if not from Kent, 
which had been long inhabited by that people. 

Cynric gradually extended the boundaries of his kingdom, 
the capital of which was Winchester (Wintan-ceaster), the 
old Venta Belgarum. A vast army of Britons being assem- 
bled to attack him, he, in conjunction with the forces of his 
friends, hastened to encounter them, and near Searobyrig 
(Old Sarum'^) totally defeated and put their numerous host 

' Gildas, c. xxvi., where see Stevenson's pref. p. viii. Radulphus in R. 
Higdeni Polychron. p. 224. Ric. Divisiensis MS. ap. Langhorne, Chron. 
Regum Anglise, p. 70. See p. 102. 

2 A.D. 527. 

^ So W. Malm. According to the Sax. Chron., which places his death 
in 534, he died in the thirty-ninth year after his arrival, according to the 
calculation of the lunar year before noticed with regard to Hengest. [Ac- 
cording to five MSS., Malmesbury assigns a reign of only fifteen years to 
Cerdic ; only two MSS. have sixteen. — T.] 

Asseri Vita ^Ifredi, init. W. Malm. lib. i. According to H. Hunt. 
lib. ii. this donation took place in 534, shortly before the death of Cerdic. 

5 A.D. 552. 


to flight. Less favourable to Cynric and his son Cea\Ylin 
^vas a great battle fought some years later against the united 
forces of the Britons, in which the latter were indebted to 
their order of battle, according to the rules of Roman tactics ^, 
for their preservation from the defeat with which they were 
threatened from the strength and valour of the Saxons. The 
chronicles assign to Cynric a reign of twenty-six years, yet 
state his death to have taken place in the sixty-fifth year after 
his landing in Britain ; but an account seems to have existed, 
according to which he, like the son of Hengest, died in the 
sixty-fourth year after his arrival, and consequently in the 
twenty-fourth year after the death of Cerdic-. Contradic- 
tions between historic traditions and the verses of the poet 
were difficult to reconcile, and they are much more so now : 
all that is incumbent on us is to point out the great uncer- 
tainty of the several accounts, though the facts which are re- 
corded may in their general outlines be acknowledged as au- 

Although it may excite in us no surprise that, in a time of 
universal dissolution, the occupation of isolated tracts of coast 
by an enemy attracted at first but little notice, and that at a 
later period the reward of historic glory was bestowed only 
on the new and powerful lords of the soil, it might, never- 
theless, have been expected that circumstantial and trust- 
worthy accounts would have communicated to us the events 

^ A.D. 556. H. Hunt. lib. ii. " Novem acies tribus scilicet in fronte 

locatis, et tribus in medio, et tribus in fine, ducibusque in ipsis aciebus 
convenienter institutis, virisque sagittariis et telorum jaculatoribus equiti- 
busque jure Romanoruni dispositis." A similar passage occurs shortly 
after, " Cum autem Brittones more Romanorum acies distincte admo- 

2 Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 560. H. Hunt. " Regnum Westsexe 
incipit anno adventus Anglorum Ixxi., anno ab incarnatione Domini 519.'' 
" Cerdic regnavit xvii. annis in Westsexe." According to this account 
Cynric succeeded his father in 536, or twenty-four years before his death.; 
though the same chronicler says, " Kinric cum regnasset xxvi. annis mor- 
tuus est." 


connected with the city of London, a place of prominent in- 
terest in every age, through its commerce and the arts in- 
separable therefrom. But the pen of the genius of trade is, 
like the net of the fisher, devoted only to the contemplated 
gain. No territory ever passed so obscurely into the pos- 
session of an enemy as the north bank of the Thames, where 
the kingdom of the East Saxons comprised the counties of 
Essex and Middlesex, of which the latter continued probably 
for some time in a state of independence. The year 527 is 
mentioned as that of the first landing of the Saxons there ; 
and ^scwine, or Ercenwine^, as its first prince, a son of 
OfFa, a descendant of Seaxneat (Saxnot), the abjuration of 
Mhose M'orship, together with that of Thor (Thunaer) and 
Woden, was, after a lapse of ages, exacted from the Saxon 
converts of the continent^, ^scwine is said to have reigned 
during a patriarchal period of sixty years : his name reminds 
us of -^sc, the prince of the Jutes, on the southern shore of 
the Thames, and of the race of the vEscings, though that of 
his father would indicate a relationship to the Offings, the 
royal race of Mercia ; while his descent from the Saxon gods, 
as well as the name of his kingdom, speak for his pure Saxon 
lineage. The geographical position of this state may, how- 
ever, be rather in favour of the supposition of a mixture of 
several races, to which the account of a more critical chroni- 
cler, who gives Sleda, in the year 587j as the first king of 
Essex, seems no contradiction^ ; though it is far from im- 
probable, that the earliest settlements of the Germans on this 
coast reach up to a much remoter period, and have connexion 
Avith the appellation of ^ Litus Saxonicum.' 

Northwards of the East Saxons was established the king- 

' H. Hunt. Geneal. ap. Fl. Wigorn. 

- See Grimm, D. M. p. 203. Massmann's ' Abschworungsformein/ 
np. 14, 67. Pertz, Monum. Hist. Germ. t. iii. p. ig. — T. 

^ W. Malm. lib. i. He makes no mention of his father, but says merely 
that he was the tenth in descent from Woden, which involves no incon- 
sistency with the other accounts. 

MERCIA. 113 

dora of the East Angles, in which a northern and a southern 
people (Northfolc and Suthfolc) were distinguished. It is 
probable that, even during the last period of the Roman 
sway, Germans were settled in this part of Britain ; a sup- 
position that gains in probability from several old Saxon 
sagas, which have reference to East Anglia at a period an- 
terior to the coming of Hengest and Horsa. The land of the 
Gyrwas, containing twelve hundred hides, which v,as also 
accurately divided into a southern and a northern portion, 
comprised the neighbouring marsh districts of Ely and Hun- 
tingdonshire, almost as far as Lincoln. Of the East Angles 
Wehha or Wewa^, or more commonly his son, Uffa or WufFa, 
from whom his race derived their patronymic of Uffiugs or 
Wuffings, is recorded as the first king'-. 

The neighbouring states of Mercia originated in the marsh 
districts of the Lindisware, or inhabitants of Lindsey (Linde- 
sig), the northern part of Lincolnshire. With these were 
united the Middle Angles^. This kingdom, divided by the 
Trent into a southern and a northern portion, gradually ex- 
tended itself to the borders of Wales. Among the states 
which it comprised was the little kingdom of the Hwiccas, 
conterminous with the later diocese of Worcester, or the 
counties of Gloucester, Worcester, and a part of Warwick. 
This state, together with that of the Hecanas, comprising the 
ancient bishopric of Hereford, bore the common Germanic 
appellation of the land of the Magesaetas^. 

Henry of Huntingdon, though a writer abounding in tra- 
ditions, and, at the same time, a native or inhabitant of those 
parts, gives us no legends relative to the establishment of the 
two last-mentioned states. After the victory at Cerdices- 
ford, and probably at an earlier period, many chieftains 

^ Fl. Wigorn. Geneal. ap. Petiie. Nennii App. ^ 

= Beda, ii. 15. H. Hunt. a. 571. 

3 Beda, i. 15, iii. 21. Malmesb. de Antiq. Glaston. Eccles. ap. Gale, i. 
p. 295. * Fl. Wigorn. Appen. 

VOL. I. I 

114 MERCIA. 

passed over from Germany to those territories, and, in emu- 
lation of each other, possessed themselves of several tracts. 
Their number has caused their names to be forgotten : their 
territories towards the end of the century were united with 
the two last-mentioned kingdoms'. Creoda, or Cridda, the 
^ son of Cynewald, and tenth in descent from Woden ^, appears 
as the first king of Mercia. 

In addition to the doubts attending the descent, and even 
the name of the Angles, the genealogies of their kings demand 
and merit discussion. In that of the kings of Mercia we 
find three names in succession, which accord with a similar 
unbroken series in the Danish traditions, viz. the descendants 
of Woden, Wihtlaeg, Waermund, and Offa^, who stand in the 
Danish chronicles as Wiglet, Wermund, and Uffo, descend- 
ants of Odin, and ancestors of the conquerors of Britain'^. 
Even the resemblance of the names of OfFa's posterity, An- 
geltheowand Eomer, to the Danish Ingeld and laomer is very 
remarkable ; and that the progenitors of Woden, both in the 
Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian genealogies, have many names 
in common, and that among these Sceaf is regarded in the 
latter as a king of Sleswig, or the country of Angeln, may, 
after what has already been stated, seem the more worthy of 
notice. An inquiry into the value of these resemblances in 
an historic point of view would here, perhaps, be out of place ; 
but attention should be directed to the evidence furnished by 
this accordance of the traditions, in favour of deriving the 

^ H. Hunt. p. 313. " Ea tempestate venerunt multi et ssepe de Ger- 
mania, et occupaverunt Eastangle et Meice." Matt. Westmon. a. 527, 
Radulphus ap. Higden Polychron. lib. v. p. 224, has the year492. Florence 
says of Mercia merely, " Post initium regni Cantuariorum, principium ex- 
titit regni Merciorum." But of East Anglia, " Regno posterius Cantuari- 
orum, et prius regno Occidentalium Saxonum exortum est;" consequently 
before the year 405. " Sax. Chron. a. 626. 

^ Sax. Chron. In Nennius, Guithleg, Guerdmund, and Offa. 

•* See Erici Chron. Sax. Grammat. Sv. Aggonis Hist. Reg. Dan. c. i. 
has only the two last. The Icelandic Langfedgatal also omits the first, and 
calls Uffo, Olaf. 


origin of the Angles and Mercians from the country north of 

the Eider. 

The history of the Angles receives some light from a By- 
zantine historian. Procopius, who died in 562, before UfFa 
reigned in East Anglia, mentions a king of the Angles in 
Brittia or Britain, in the years 534-547, whose sister was be- 
trothed to Radiger, king of the Warni, but who, on the death 
of his father, in violation of his engagement, married his step- 
mother, a sister of the Frankish king Theudebert. To revenge 
the slight, the Anglian lady, after a fruitless expostulation by 
embassy, sailed, with an army, and attended by one of her bro- 
thers, to an outlet of the Rhine. In a battle which followed 
their landing, the Warni were defeated, and their prince, being 
captured in his flight, was brought bound into the presence 
of the Angle, who, to his glad surprise, after reproaching him 
for his want of faith, and on his promise to atone for it by re- 
nouncing his stepmother and fulfilling his prior engagement, 
restored liim to liberty and treated him honourably. Their 
marriage followed as a matter of coursed However fabulous 
other accounts communicated by that writer may be, concern- 
ing some Angles sent to the emperor Justinian at Constan- 
tinople, the fact is, nevertheless, worthy of notice, that Angles 
and Frisians are mentioned by him as inhabitants of the 
island ; also a king of the Angles at that period, and (as in 
the before-mentioned laws^) a connexion between the Angles 
and the Warni. What the same author states, that the power- 
ful king of the Franks, Theudebert, took advantage of the 
emigration of some Angles to his country, and of the distracted 
condition of Britain, for the purpose of arrogating to him- 
self the appearance of a supremacy over it, was a natural con- 
sequence of the pretensions of the Frankish monarchs to the 
dignity of Emperor of the West, which must also find addi- 
tional grounds in the ancient provincial administration, under 
which Britain was considered a diocese subordinate to Gaul. 

1 De Bello Gothico, iv. 20. 2 ggg pp g3_9(5_ 

I 2 

116 ANGLES. 

Political relations between the Anglo-Saxons and the court of 
Byzantium, of a tendency hostile to the Franks, were in the 
following century apprehended by the latter', a suspicion 
which at least implies other close connexions between them. 
Pope Gregory the Great also, in a letter to the Frankish 
kings, Theuderic and Theudebert, relative to his design of 
converting the Angles, appears to speak of them as subjects 
of those princes ; from which, however, nothing is perhaps 
to be inferred beyond pretensions, which he deemed it ad- 
visable to treat with delicacy and favour in his intercourse 
with his royal Christian allies^. 

The history and the poetry of those remote and unlettered 
ages have long lain reconciled in the same grave, and we 
cannot awaken the ashes of the one without — and often un- 
consciously — bringing the other back to light. As connected 
with this remark, we must not omit to mention that East 
Anglia contains a rich store, little known and still less inves- 
tigated, of old traditions : among others the saga of King 
Atla of Northfolk, the founder of Attlebury ; of Roud, king 
of Thetford^; also the yet more wide-spread one of Havelok, 
or Cuharan (Cwiran), king of Northfolk, and son of Ethel- 
bert the Dane, who dwelt in that country before the time of 

^ Beda, iv. 1. 

- Gregorii Epist. lib. vi. c. 58. Bedse Opera Minora ed. Stevenson, 

p. 234 "magnam de vobis materiam praesuraendi concepimus, 

quod subjectos vestros ad earn converti fidem per omnia capiatis, in qua 
eorura nempe reges estis et domini. Atque ideo pervenit ad nos Anglorum 
gentem ad fidem Christianam, Deo miserante, desideranter velle converti." 

^ This poem, consisting of about 12,000 verses, was originally either in 
Anglo-Saxon or Semi-Saxon, and was translated into French verse at the 
desire of a certain countess, ichen the oriyinal could not he iinderstood (i. e. 
by the Anglo-Norman nobility), probably in the thirteenth century; which 
version was translated into Latin by John Brame or Brome, who informs 
us that the French difl'ered considerably from the English original. Tlie 
original name of the king appears to have been Waldeus, not Atla. The 
latin elaboration of the poem is in the library of C.C.C. Camb. A manu- 
script of the French Ptoraance of King Atla, once Mr. Heber's, is now in 
the possession of Sir T% Phillipps, Bart. See Sir F. Madden's note in 
Warton, H. E. P. vol. i. p. 41, edit. 1840.— T. 


Hengest and Horsa', — traditions Avhich seem to confirm 
Avhat historj^ from the days of Carausius, renders far from 

The country to the north of the Humber had suffered the 
most severely from the inroads of the Picts and Scots. It 
became at an early period separated into two British states, 
the names of which were retained for some centuries, viz. 
Deifyr (Deora rice), afterwards Latinized into Deira, extend- 
ing from the Humber to the Tyne, and Berneich (Beorna 
rice), afterwards Bernicia, from the Tyne to the Clyde. Here 
also the settlements of the German races appear anterior to 
the date given in the common accounts of the first Anglian 
kings of those territories, in the middle of the sixth century. 
The traditions respecting Hengest relate that he founded for 
his son Octa, and for Ebusa the son of Horsa^ Germanic 
states in the north of Northumbria, or, according to the older 
traditions, beyond the Firth of Forth, whither they sailed with 
forty ships, but which seem inconsistent with the account, 
that Hengest himself, when driving before him the Picts and 
Scots, did not advance further than Lincolnshire. According 
to a much neglected account, Deira had already been sepa- 

^ A limited edition of ' The Ancient English Romance of Havelok the 
Dane/ 4to, accompanied by the French text and a valuable glossary, was 
published in 1828 by Sir F. Madden, of which the French text has been 
reprinted at Paris. The tale of Havelok is also given in ' L'Estorie des 
Engles, solum la Translation Maistre GefFrei Gaimar,' ap. Petrie, C. H. 
p. 764. Later English chroniclers likewise (as Knyghton, lib. i. c. 5, who 
cites a Historia de Grimesby) make mention of the story. See also, in 
'Literary Introduction,' remarks on Robert de Brunne. 

- Nennius, c. xxxviii. W. Malm. lib. i., who calls Octa the brother 
of Hengest and Ebusa the son. A confirmation of these accounts may be 
found in Galfr. Monum. lib. i. c. i., where Modrawd promises to Childeric 
the country between the Humber and Scotland, and that which in Vorti- 
gern's time Horsa and Hengest possessed in Kent. According to Jeffrey, 
who is here very prolix, Octa son of Hengest received York, and his cousin 
Eosa, Alcluyd with the remaining country bordering on Scotland. See 
lib. viii. c. 6, 8, 18, 21, 23. Abisa, Ebusa, Eowis, Eosa denote the same 


rated from Bernicia by Soemil the son of Zegulf (Ssefugl), 
whose grandson Guilglis (Wihtgils) was the father of Hen- 
gest, and grandfather of YfFe (Yffi), of whom we are about to 
speak ^ ; and we know also, from other accounts, that both 
Hengest and Yffe descended from the same son of Woden, 
Wecta or Waegdoeg^. This tradition is important from the 
information it contains that the Saxon settlements in the 
North of Britain were older than those in the South. At- 
tention must also here again be drawn to the circumstance 
already noticed, that while the South-English chronicles fix 
the landing of Hengest and Horsa in, or rather after, the year 
449, the oldest North-English authorities place the arrival of 
the Angles in 445 or 446, not to mention the earlier invasion 
of these people. Nennius fixes 447 for the year of Hengest's 
landing, from which it would seem that the Saxon chieftains 
of the North threw off the supremacy of the Kentish kings 
after a lapse of a full century, instead of founding, according 
to the received tradition, a new kingdom in the year 547. 
Fifty years later, or about the year 500, the city of Eboracum 
is said to have been taken by the Saxons, and the archbishop 
to have fled to Armorica, where he founded the bishopric of 
Dol. Nor perhaps to be totally rejected is the story that 
Colgrim and his brother Baldwulph conquered these coun- 
tries, but were beaten by Arthur in the year 516, on the river 

Ida, the son of Eoppa, a descendant of Woden (to whom 
in this genealogy five forefathers are assigned), is, accoi'ding 
to the Anglo-Saxon traditions, regarded as the founder of the 
Anglian kingdom of Bernicia, in the year 547 ; or rather as 
the first who freed the land, hitherto governed by nine sub- 

1 Nenn. App. Soemil and his son Swearta (Swerthing) are wanting in 
the genealogy given in the Sax. Chron. Swerthing, a prince of the Saxons, 
was the slayer of Frothi IV. See Saxo. pp. 273, 282, edit. Miiller. 

* Sax. Chron. a. 560, etc. 

^ Nenn. c. Ixiv. Galf. Monum. lib. ix. c. 1, and from the latter. Matt. 
Westra. a. 516. 


ordinate rulers, from the supremacy of the kings of Kent^ 
He arrived with forty or sixty ships of the Angles^, and, 
after having reigned twelve years, is said to have fallen in a 
battle against Urien of Cumberland and Reged, leaving twelve 
sons. Bebbanburh, now Bamborough, perpetuates the name 
of his consort Bebbe^. His immediate successor seems to 
have been Glappa, who was followed by Adda, yEthelric, and 
Theodric, sons of Ida. About the same time ^lle son of 
YfFe (Yffi), of descent equally illustrious, conquered the 
greater part of the kingdom of Deira"^. 

So trivial, and yet more uncertain, are the accounts left us 
of the conquest of a great kingdom by the barbarous dwellers 
on the shores of the German Ocean, and of the spoliation 
perpetrated among structures and other property, the fruits 
of Roman civilization, on a people accustomed to servitude, 
who knew but little how to use them and still less to defend 

The Britons were soon restricted to the western parts of 
the island, where they maintained themselves in several small 
states, of Avhich those lying to the east yielded more and more 
to Germanic influence ; the others, protected by their moun- 
tains, preserved for a considerable time a gradually decreasing 
independence. As opportunities for touching on the history 

' Scala Chron. Cf. Gale ad Nennium, c. Ixv. W. Malm. lib. i. 

- Chronol. ap. Wanley and Petrie. Fl. Wig. Sim. Dunelm. Wallingford. 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 547- According to Nenn. App. Bebbe was the consort 
of Jithelfrith, the grandson of Ida. " Eadfered Flesaurs reguavit xii. annis 

in Berneich, et alios xii. in Deur, et dedit uxori suae Dinguo Aroy, quae 

vocatur Bebbab, et de nomine suae uxoris suscepit nomen, id est, Bebban- 
burch." The passage in Beda (iii. 6) does not decide who was the hus- 
band of Bebbe. 

■• Sax. Chron. a. 560. In stating the perplexed genealogy of the kings 
of Bernicia to the year 592, the authority has been followed of the chro- 
nicle in Wanley and Petrie, and of Simeon, who in matters connected with 
Northumbria is particularly trustworthy. These two authorities, though 
slightly differing in the regnal years, agree in the order of succession, while 
the lists in Florence and Nennius are irreconcileablc both with the above 
authorities and with each other. — T. 


of these small British states will hereafter be but rarely af- 
forded, a short notice of them is the more desirable : though 
some separate states occasionally occur as united into one, 
while others may have arisen from comparatively later par- 

In the south-west we meet with the powerful territory of 
Damnonia, the kingdom of Arthur, which bore also the name 
of West Wales. Damnonia, at a later period, was limited to 
Dyvnaint, or Devonshire, by the separation of Cernau, or 
Cornwall. The districts called by the Saxons those of the 
Sumorsaetas, of the Thornsaetas (Dorsetshire), and the Wilt- 
saetas were lost to the kings of Dyvnaint at an early period ; 
though for centuries afterwards a large British population 
maintained itself in those parts among the Saxon settlers, as 
well as among the Defnsaetas, long after the Saxon conquest 
of Dyvnaint, who for a considerable time preserved to the 
natives of that shire the appellation of the ^ Welsh kind.' 

Cambria (Cymru), the country which at the present day 
we call Wales, was divided into several states, the chief of 
which were — Venedotia (Gwynedd), consisting of the greater 
part of North Wales. The king of Gwynedd was supreme 
over the other states ; his residence was at Aberfraw ^ ; — Dime- 
tia (Dyved), or West Wales^, comprising the district bounded 
by the Tywi on the south-east, and the Tewi on the north- 
west, or, in a wider sense, the country over which the eccle- 
siastical supremacy of the see of Mynyw or Menevia (St. 

^ Now a village on the west coast of Anglesey. Its name (aber Fraw, 
the efflux of the Fraw,) is derived from being situated where the brook Fraw 
flows into the sea. Glossary to Anc. LL. and Instt. of Wales. — T. 

^ Or South Wales ; but as Cornwall is sometimes called South Wales, 
in like manner the name of W^est Wales is applied to Dimetia. Much 
valuable information respecting the old geography and inhabitants of Wales 
is to be found in the ' Itinerarium,' ' Cambrise Descriptio/ and ' De Iliau- 
dabilibus Wallite ' of Giraldus. [See also Ancient Laws and Institutes of 
Wales, from which, and from Mr. Owen's notes, the account of the an- 
cient territorial division of Wales given in this translation has been chiefly 
compiled. — T.] 


David's) extended. The residence of the Dimetian princes 
was at DinevMT^ To the east of Gwynedd and the moun- 
tains, of which Snowdon forms the highest point, was Powys, 
the princes of which resided at iVIathraval^. In Deheubarth, 
or South Wales, were several small states, the southernmost 
of which, G went (Monmouthshire), or South-east Wales, the 
country of the Silures, forming the present diocese of Llan- 
daif (Landav), the royal seat of which was at Caerleon upon 
Usk, and Morganwg (Glamorganshire) lay on the northern 
bank of the Severn. Near, if not comprised within this state, 
between the rivers Usk and Taif, was the small principality 
of Gleguising. Along the Irish Channel lay Ceredigion and 
Brecheiniog, whose names are easily recognised in those of 
the present counties, and which appear to have been under 
separate rulers. 

The chief tribes of the Britons, or, as they call themselves, 
Cymry, are distinguished by the various dialects of their com- 
mon mother-tongue, among which the Venedotian, the Di- 
metian, and that of Glamorgan, are the principal. The Cym- 
rian tongue was polished by illustrious poets, — Aneurin and 
Taliesin in the sixth, Llywarch Hen and others in the next 
following centuries, whose works in a state of tolerable purity 
have been preserved to the present time^. 

The usages and laws of the Cambrians were in all these 
states essentially the same. An invaluable and venerable 
monument of them, although of an age in which the Welsh 
had long been subject to the Anglo-Saxons, and had adopted 
many of their institutions and customs, are the laws of the 

' Near Llandilo vawr, in the Vale of Tywi. Some remains of the castle 
are visible. Gloss, ut sup. — T. 

" Situated in the upper part of the Vale of Meivod, near the junction of 
the two streams which form the river Evyrnwy. Gloss, ut sup. — T. 

^ See Turner's Vindication of the genuineness of the ancient British 
poems, at the end of the last volume of the third and following editions of 
his History of the Anglo-Saxons. 


king Howel Dda', who reigned in the early part of the tenth 
century, which, with some local modifications, Mere acknow- 
ledged as valid in the other states of Wales. 

The partition of Cambria into several small states is not, 
as it has often been supposed, the consequence of a division 
made by king Rodri Mawr, or Roderic the Great, among his 
sons ; but which, supposing it to have taken place, could 
have reference only to the sovereignty over territories which 
many centuries before occur as separate states. Of Dyfed, 
during the first centuries after the coming of the Saxons, we 
know very little ; but with regard to Gwynedd, which was in 
constant warfare with Northumbria and Mercia, our infor- 
mation is less scanty : of Gwent also, as the bulwark of Dime- 
tia, frequent mention occurs. On the whole we are less in 
want of a mass of information respecting the Welsh, than of 
accuracy and precision in that w-hich we possess. While the 
Welsh, in their historic narratives, as remarkable for singu- 
larity of expression as for their poetic garb, give either no 
dates whatever, or dates on which no i*eliance can be placed, 
the several states and their rulers are seldom spoken of in the 
Anglo-Saxon chronicles otherwise than under the universal 
appellation of the Britons, and their kings : hence a com- 
parison of their respective accounts is frequently impracticable, 
each nation usually speaking only of its victories, very rarely 
of its reverses. 

An obscurity still more dense than that over Wales in- 
volves the district lying to the north of that countiy, com- 
prised under the name of Cumbria. This territory, sometimes 
united under a supreme chief, or Pendragon, called also 
Tyern (Tyrannus), who, like the other British princes, con- 
sidered themselves not only as the successors, but also as the 
descendants of Constantine, or of Maximus, consisted of three 

1 In the Venedotian and Dimetlan Codes, Howel styles himself ' king ' 
or ' prince of all Cymru ; ' in the Gwentian Code, ' king of Cymru, when 
Cymru was in his possession in its bounds.' — T. 


principal parts. The southern, or Cumberland, properly so 
called, comprised, besides the present county of that name, 
also Lancashire and Westmoreland, which latter appears like- 
wise as a petty kingdom — Westmere. It extended into the 
later kingdom of Northumbria ; and as the little state of 
Elmet seems also to have belonged to it, the town of Leeds 
must have been on its border. The old Roman Lugubalia, 
or Carleol, was its largest city, in which Arthur, Rhyddrich 
Hael, or the Liberal, and other princes celebrated in ancient 
song, are said to have held their Round Table or courts 
The two northernmost kingdoms of the Britons, Reged and 
Strathcluyd, belong to the history of Scotland ; yet as En- 
gland extended as far as Edinburgh, they must not be passed 
without mention. Reged, a territory in the south of Scotland, 
in or near Annandale, is rendered worthy of notice on account 
of the protection offered to the bard Taliesin by its prince 
Urien, celebrated by Llywarch Hen, who was himself a prince 
of Argoed in Cumberland. The kingdom of Strathcluyd, 
comprising Clydesdale or Dunbartonshire — where its chief 
city, Alcluyd, was situated — the counties of Renfrew and 
Dumfries, and probably those of Peebles, Selkirk, and 
Lanark, in the east, continued to a much later period ; and, 
although in constant warfare with the Anglo-Saxons, as well 
as with the Picts and Scots, its chiefs extended their power 
over all Cumberland, from which they were not expelled till 
the early part of the tenth century, when Cumberland, under 
Anglo-Saxon suzerainty, became a principality held by the 
heir of Scotland. 

With respect to the first institutions adopted by the Ger- 
man chieftains in the conquered country, how the relations 
of service and tribute were fixed ; how the Germans gradually 
united themselves into considerable kingdoms ; how far the 
remains of Roman civilization, when they afforded no apparent 
or palpable advantage, were respected, — with regard to all 

1 A.D. 561. 


this we have little beyond supposition ; tliough the result, 
the Saxonizing of Britain by the Germanic heretogas, or 
ealdormen, and their followers, is as manifest as the Roman- 
izing of Spanish America by Columbus and Pizarro. Of the 
history of these kingdoms from their foundation till their 
gradual conversion to Christianity, there exist scarcely any 
written accounts besides the series of their kings, which, in 
detached traditions, form but a very insignificant component 
of the national history. 

While Anglo-Saxon sources are wanting, the British ones 
also either fail us, or must undergo a stricter critical ordeal 
than they have hitherto passed through, before any reliance 
can be placed on them. The Anglo-Saxon laws, even the 
earliest, are too recent and too exclusively restricted to the 
Germanic scale of penalties and atonements to aid us in 
drawing a picture of the condition of the country immediately 
after the Saxon conquest. Their silence on many points leads 
us, perhaps, on comparing them with the laws of other Ger- 
manic conquerors, to divine more than their scanty diction 

The public affairs had, in consequence of the departure of 
the Romans and the inroads of enemies, fallen into the utmost 
disorder. What had formerly been public or private property 
of the Romans became, either by purchase or usurpation, a 
new unsettled possession in the hands of a people who had 
long forgotten how to govern. The inhabitants of the island 
were at that time, as their language sufficiently shows, scarcely 
to be called Romanized : on the contrary, the posterity of the 
Romans among them had rather assimilated themselves to 
the original Britons. In this state of dissolution it must have 
been an easier task to the conquerors of Britain than that 
which their warlike brethren found it in the better organized 
states of Europe, to obtain possession of the object of their 
efforts, without causing the rights of the stronger to be felt 
in the most oppressive manner. The former Roman property. 


which in the south, and especially on the coasts, must have 
been considerable, would satisfy the small number of strangers. 
That a certain portion of landed property, or of rents, or of 
produce, was regularly set apart for the conquerors, as was 
the custom in other Germanic states, is not probable, as in 
the accounts of the later conquests of the Anglo-Saxons in 
Britain, we meet Avith nothing leading to such a conclusion. 
Indeed the very gradual progress made in the occupation of 
many parts of Britain by detached hordes, independent of 
each other, and of various races, almost induces us to regard 
it less as a conquest than as a progressive usurpation of the 
British territory. From the circumstance that the Anglo- 
Saxons had to pass over in ships to the country destined for 
their future home, it follows that they brought with them but 
few women and children ; and as Vortigern had no repug- 
nance to an union with the daughter of Hengest, it is probable 
that the German warriors, with the exception, perhaps, of a 
few of noble race, would not disdain to unite themselves with 
the British women. If thereby the natives soon became in- 
termingled with the strangers, still the latter, in virtue of the 
almost exclusive advantage of the male line with respect to 
inheritances, would not find such marriages prejudicial to 
their political independence. Many Britons fled before the 
pagan Germans, but the facility of flight weakened the power 
of resistance, and accelerated the advances of the enemy. 
Those Britons who, not being prisoners of war, peaceably 
remained, appear to have preserved their previous rights ; 
since we find no considerable difference Avith regard to the 
wergild, the capability of bearing witness, and other rights, 
between the Britons and the Saxons \ 

A most important subject for consideration, observable from 

an early period, is the dignity of Bretwalda, borne by one of 

the most influential of the Anglo-Saxon princes during the 

period of his life, and which is said to have contained within 

* Laws of Ine, xxiii., xxiv,, xxxii. 


one common bond all the inhabitants of Britain. The desire 
to detect the continuation of Roman institutions has also in 
this dignity been anxious to recognise an imitation of the 
Roman emperors of the West^ acknowledged at the same time 
both by Saxons and Britons ^ The acknowledgment of the 
Britons, Avho were still united under a sovereignty of their 
own, may be most confidently denied ; the passion for imi- 
tation in the Saxon warriors, which could prompt them to 
favour one of their fellows, who aspired to the authority of 
their most formidable and hated enemy, may be very strongly 
doubted. The pretensions of the most powerful Anglo-Saxon 
king scarcely extended over the Germanic provinces of the 
southern part of Britain : to other portions of the Roman 
dominion they never reached. Imitation, both in the un- 
civilized and the weak, begins with the tinsel of unsubstantial 
show, with the assumption of an empty name, of neither of 
which any trace appears among the Anglo-Saxons till after 
the lapse of some centuries. With the inquiry into the origin 
of the office of Bretwalda, which in its later form exhibited 
perhaps some traces of Roman imperial influence, may, in the 
absence of more satisfactory accounts respecting the duties 
and rights ascribed to that dignity, be joined the questions, 
What notions the Germans brought from^ their native country, 
and what occasion they found in Britain for the appointment 
of that relative supremacy ? 

To the North-GeiTnanic and Danish nations kings ruling 
over the whole race were unknown ; they v»^ere divided under 
several chieftains'^, and we know that among these, although 
the consideration of birth prevailed, their leaders in war were 
chosen from the most valiant. To them nothing could be 
more foreign than to found the dominion of a whole race on 
the common language or on kinship. 

Of the Jutes and Danes especially, Ave know that they for 

' Palgrave, vol. i. p. 563. 

* Cf. Dahlmann's Forschungen, Bd. i. p. 431 sq. 


several centuries lived under a great number of kings, but 
that they acknowledged the supremacy of the kings of Leire : 
in like manner as the Swedish kings were subordinate to those 
of Upsala; but that monarchy (einvalld) was a later insti- 
tution among them^. The Frisian chiefs also acknowledged 
a superior. In Britain a connexion between the southern 
and northern Saxons was, as we have already seen, established 
as early as the first conquests of Hengest : though the neces- 
sity of a common chief over all the Germanic provinces arose 
in Britain partly from the great number of independent kings, 
ealdormen and other potentates, whose states only in the 
course of time lapsed into the kingdoms of the ' Heptarchy '; 
and partly from the necessity of opposing a united resistance 
to the Britons, combined against the divided power of the 
foreign intruders, as well as to the Picts and Scots. For this 
purpose — nor of any other is a trace to be discovered, and 
for no other does such an union seem necessary, or even con- 
ceivable — the Germans in Britain must have soon found an 
alliance among their tribes indispensable. A common warfare 
of several states without a dictator was not to be conceived j 
and the call to that post was on the most powerful, or on him 
whose territory was most exposed to hostile inroads. The 
latter case we find the most frequent. Sussex is said to have 
first enjoyed that supremacy when it had to defend Kent. 
Kent laid claim to it while it yet possessed rights of suze- 
rainty in the north, and subsequently obtained it ; possibly as 
an indemnity for its renunciation of such rights. 

Wessex next formed the bulwark ; but this state having 
strengthened itself, and the struggle being carried on more 
northwards, the chief military command passed to East An- 
glia, and lastly to Northumbria ; neither of whose Anglian 
states acknowledged the authority of the Bretwalda- until 

' Snorre, Ynglinga Saga, c. xlv. 

^ Beda, i. 25. " Rex ^Edilberctus in Cantia potentissiraus, qui ad con- 
finium uscjue Humbrse fluminis maximi, quo meiidiani et septentrionales 


the state of things had become changed. That those states 
used the transient power for the aggrandizement of their ter- 
ritory was in the nature of things, and, at the same time, not 
inconsistent with the object of the institution. The elective 
emperor of the Germans, whose dignity was not attached to 
hereditary states, nor to descent, but to the importance of the 
individual, represents what the Bretwalda might have been, if 
the general interest could have been conceived by the bar- 
barian conquerors in a higher point of view. It is probable 
that not only the choice of the other kings, but also of the 
collective nobility and ealdormen, determined the nomination 
of the Bretwalda ; for as, according to the words of an old 
writer, he possessed sovereign power over all these ^, it is to 
be inferred that, in the spirit of Germanic forms of govern- 
ment, the appointment was the result of a preceding free 

Notwithstanding the high estimation in which this dignity 
was held from a very early period, yet Beda is unable to in- 
form us who was invested with it after -^lle-, until Ceawlin, 
the grandson of Cerdic, became its possessor. A noble 
^scing, the young yEthelberht of Kent, would dispute it 
with him, and invaded Avith his anns the territory of Wessex. 
A defeat at Wibbandun (Wimbledon in Surrey^) humbled 
the bold aspiring youth, whose disgrace was not effaced till 
twenty years afterwards, w^hen he attained the object of his 
ambition. To his brother Cuthwulf, whom he unfortunately 
lost in the same year, Ceawlin was indebted for a most im- 
portant victoiy over the Britons, which brought the towns of 
Lenbury, Aylesbury, Bensington and Eynsham under his 

Aiiglorura populi dirimuntur, fines imperii tetenderat." Lib. ii. 5. "JEdil- 

berct tertius quidem in regibus gentis Anglorum, cunctis australibus 

eorum provinciis quae Humbrse iluvio et contiguis ei terrainis sequestrantur 
a borealibus, iraperavit." See also lib. ii. 3. 

^ " Omnia jura regni Anglorum, reges scilicet et proceres et tribunes in 
ditione suatenebat." H. Hunt. lib. ii. - Beda, ii. 5. 

3 Sax. Chron. a. 5G8. W. Malm. lib. i. H. Hunt. lib. ii. 


dominion ^ Not less fortunate was Ceawlin some time after- 
wards, when, with the aid of his brother Cutha, or Cuthwine, 
after a battle at Derham in Gloucestershire, in which three 
British kings were slain — Conmail, Farinmail (probably of 
Gwent), and Condidan or Cyndillom (of Pengwern or Shrews- 
bury) — he won three cities, Bath, Gloucester, and Ciren- 
cester^. The last-mentioned places did not, however, con- 
tinue under his dominion ; probably because he did not fight 
with his West Saxons only, but with the Angles also, in his 
character of Bretwalda, since we find the territory of the 
Hwiccas, in which those cities lie, subsequently attached to 
Mercia. The Britons were now confined to their mountains 
and forests. A great victoiy at Fethanleah (Frithern) on the 
Severn, which gained him many towns, much treasure, and 
vast booty, was yet granted to Ceawlin, though purchased 
with the life of his valiant brother Cutha, and probably also 
with that of his own son, of whom the former fell in the 
beginning of the contest'^ ; of the other no further mention 
occurs in the chronicles. With those friends Ceawlin lost 
much ; the star of his prosperity was set. Great guilt must 
have accumulated on the head of him"^, against whom, after 
thirty years of prosperous sway and successful warfare, his 
kindred, even though instigated by the ambition of yEthel- 
berht of Kent, could be induced to enter into a disgraceful 
league with the Britons and Scots ^. He was defeated in 
a great battle fought in his own territory at Wodnesbeorh in 
Berkshire, not far from the frontier of Mercia, and com- 
pelled to abdicate the throne, which Ceolric, the son of his 

' Sax. Chron. a. 571. ^ Sax. Chron. a. 577. 

3 Sax. Chrou. aa. 568, 597- Fl. Wigorn. W. Malm. 

■• Malmesbury says of him, " Diebus ultimis regno extorris, miserandum 
sui spectaculum hostibus exliibuit. Quiaenim inodiura sui quasi classicum 
utrobique cecinerat, conspirautibus tam Anglis quam Britonibus apud 
Wodnesdic, cseso exercitu, anno xxxi, regno nudatus in exiliura concessit, 
et continuo decessit. 

^ Forduni Scotichron. lib. iii. Cf. also Langhorne ut sup. 

VOL. I. K 


brother Cutha, ascended^, and ^thelberht was now acknow- 
ledged as Bretwalda. Ceawlin, for many years to come the 
mightiest monarch of the Anglo-Saxons^, died two years after- 
Avards in all the misery of exile^. His successor, Ceolric, 
sun'ived him only five years^. 

The strife and discord which tore and threatened destruc- 
tion to the Anglo-Saxons was, however, soon to be met by 
the kindliest palliative. Tlie grandsons of the Saxon con- 
querors had been so far civilized by peaceable possession and 
gradual acquaintance with the arts of peace, that they could 
lend their ear to the preaching of Christianity. Of all the 
people of unmixed Germanic race the first converted to the 
faith of Christ, the Anglo-Saxons were called to impart its 
sanctity, and all the highest moral feeling attached to it, to 
the rest of Germanic and Northern Europe. The Roman 
civilization which they found in England had expanded the 
narrow boundary of their habits, their energies, and perhaps 
of their activity, without, at the same time, destroying the 
nationality of their institutions, their laws, or their language. 
Their mental cultivation, which must have been much pro- 
moted in their intercourse with the Britons, had no doubt 
greatly refined even their pagan notions. Hence we see that 
Christianity was received by the Anglo-Saxon states in the 
order according to which they had been favoured over others, 
by greater extent of settlements and length of peaceable pos- 

An important event, through which the Anglo-Saxons first 
approached the pale of the Christian commonwealth of Europe, 
was the marriage of king ^thelberht with Berhta, daughter 
of Charibert, king of the Franks, — a connexion between the 
princeswhich admits the supposition of an intercourse between 
their subjects, and which, at a somewhat later period, does in 

1 Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 591. 

■ Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 593. W. Malm. lib. i. 

3 Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 591. 


fact appear to have subsisted at the great commercial fair of 
St. Denis, which was visited by Anglo-Saxons ^ 

The ordinances of the Christian church, simple and humble 
as they were, could not maintain themselves in the new pagan 
Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, where royalty and the sacerdotal 
office were in close connexion. We find them longest in the 
North, where the Angles established themselves but slowly 
as independent states. Samson was nominated bishop of 
York about the year 500, in which well-fortified city a Chris- 
tian Roman school may probably have continued till the oc- 
cupation of the place by the Angles. The Anglo-Saxons could 
not be otherwise than ill-disposed to the worship of Rome 
and of their enemies in Britain, as well as to other Roman 
institutions, which might threaten to be prejudicial to their 
independence : the teachers of Christianity, therefore, found 
among their most bai'barous Celtic neighbours earlier admis- 
sion than among the German invaders. The pupil of Ger- 
manus, who is said to have accompanied him on his visit to 
Britain, St. Patric, the son of a deacon on the southern shore 
of the Clyde, who died in 493, continued in Ireland, as Pal- 
ladius (since the year 430) among the Scots, successfully to 
spread the faith of Christ during the time when the Saxons 
were establishing themselves in Britain. Among the southern 
Picts, Christianity is said to have maintained itself from the 
period of their conversion by the Briton Nynias in the year 
394, and Christian Anglo-Saxons, in later times, celebrated 
their worship in the stone church of St. Martin, founded by 
him at Hwitern (Candida Casa) in Galloway, when that ter- 
ritory had been annexed to the kingdom of Bernicia^. In 
the year 563 St. Columba passed over from Ireland to the 

^ Charter of Dagobert of the year 629, ap. Bouquet, t. iv. p. 629, and 
more correct in Marini, ' Papiri Diplomatici,' p. 97, in which those Saxona 
only who came from beyond sea to Rouen and Quentavic to fetch honey 
and wood are to be held as Anglo-Saxons. See also under Offa K. of 

* Beda, iii. 4. 

K 2 


northern Picts, with whom, employed in the propagation of 
his faith, he continued thirty-two years ^, and formed excel- 
lent disciples, through whom a jjleasing image of pious zeal, 
deep learning, and varied acquirement attaches itself to the 
memory of the Scottish monks. St. Columba received from 
the Pictish prince the island of Hii, now lona or I-Colm-Kill, 
(the isle of the church, or cell of Columba,) which his name 
has consecrated, and which, in honour of him, continued for 
ages to be the real or fabled burial-place of many Northern 
princes, — of Scotland, Ireland, Norway, and even of North- 

In the Cambrian or Welsh states, as also in Cumbria, no 
apostasy from the Christian faith had taken place, though no 
conformity with the church of Rome existed ; and the later 
accounts, which ascribe to Rome the sending of the before- 
mentioned missionaries, appear for the most part very un- 
worthy of credit^. Contrast, and their contests with the pa- 
gans must have strengthened a faith among them which re- 
serves its noblest crown for the martyr. Many churches in 
Wales trace their foundation back to those British saints, 
who, in the time of Cerdic and his immediate successors, 
sought protection for their faith and tranquillity for self-con- 
templation behind the rocks and in the sylvan solitudes of 
that country'^. The connexion into which the church had 
already entered with the state, as well as that very peculiar 
one, which almost identified the form of the Western empire 
with the existence of the clergy, became known also in this 
country, and preserved its ecclesiastical institutions. Of 

^ Adamni Vita S. Columbje ap. Canisii Lectt. Antiquse. His biographer 
was one of his successors in the abbey at lona, and is known also by his 
work, ' De Locis Sanctis.' 

- According to Simeon (De Eccles. Dunelm., c. ix.), Ecgfrith king of 
Northumberland was buried at lona. 

^ As regards Patricius, cf. Neander's Geschichte der christlichen Re- 
ligion, Bd. ii. 259. 

■• See the genealogies of the Saints in Lhuyd's Archseologia Britannica. 


these we may mention the distribution into seven bishoprics, 
also the monasteries of Bangor, and Avallon or Glastonbury. 
We find bishops at the election of kings : Dubritius, at first 
bishop of Llandaff, subsequently of Caerleon, where there 
were two ecclesiastical seminaries, crowned king Arthur in 
the year 516'. St. David, who transferred the see from 
Caerleon to the ancient Menevia, exerted himself at a British 
synod, held in 519, to eradicate the traces of the Pelagian 
heresy^. Mention also occurs of three provincial synods of 
the bishopric of Llandaff^, which, although they testify to a 
knowledge of existing vices and to a desire to remedy them, 
at the same time justify the mournful picture which the monk 
of Bangor has with black lineaments and chastening zeal 
drawn of his contemporaries in the British church. Gildas 
may unquestionably be numbered among the most distin- 
guished men of his age, as of all writings of a similar de- 
scription, it has transmitted his alone to posterity and to the 
present time. Though his style be bombastic, his concep- 
tion bordering on the absurd, his historic dehn cations unde- 
fined, without chronology, he is, nevertheless, a very instruc- 
tive voucher at a period, the other relics of which would, 
without his labours, be much more obscure and questionable 
than they are at present. We believe we err not, if in him 
we recognise the speaking representative of the more serious 
and pious Britons of the time, and a model of Christian Bri- 

' This report, as far as the bishop's name is concerned, seems doubtful, 
as he may have been mistaken for Dibric, who died in 612. Sec Annal, 
Camb, and Monast. Angl. t. vi. p. 1220. 

- This synod is not to be placed, as it is generally, in the year 519. The 
Annales Cambriae record it, with the death of bishop David, under 601, 
and (according to a later MS.) the synod of Victoria, perhaps too early, in 
569- The historians who place David, Daniel of Bangor (ob. 584. see 
Annal. Camb.), and Dubritius, in the beginning of the sixth century, have 
not considered that Giraldus, their chief authority, here only follows Jef- 
frey of Monmouth. 

^ Spclm. Concilia, t. i. p. 62 sq. Wilkins, Cone. 1. 1. p. 17. Usser. Pri- 
raord. Eccles. Angl. 


tish Roman refinement. What pious, modest, apt sentiments, 
what rare learning, Avhat pure endeavour prevailed in the 
British church, we know from the favourable testimony of an 
opponent, the Venerable Beda, who praises and exalts no 
catholic Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastics so highly as he does those, 
held out to them as patterns, of the Britons and Scots. The 
struggle between both churches in Britain is not less inter- 
esting from the sympathy which we cannot refuse to the 
fathers of the national church, than from the incalculable po- 
litical importance of its suppression. 

The points of difference between the catholic and the 
British churches had reference to the time of celebrating 
Easter, the form of the tonsure, the administration of bap- 
tism, the ecclesiastical benediction of matrimony, the mar- 
riage of priests^, the manner of the ordination of the British 
bishops (of which almost every church possessed one), and 
other trifling differences ; but, above all things, to the refusal 
to acknowledge the supremacy of the pope and the councils. 
Of these points, however, those only regarding the computa- 
tion of Easter and the administration of baptism were in- 
sisted on by Augustine, with the condition that the British 
priests should unite with the missionaries in preaching to the 

The British church, established probably on the oldest di- 
rect traditions from Judea, in closest connexion with con- 
versions of the highest importance in the history of mankind, 
appeared no less by its geographical position than by its ex- 
alted spiritual endovrments, fitted to become the foundation 
of a Northern patriarchate, which by its counterpoise to 
Rome and the rest of the South, its guardianship over a 
Celtic and Germanic population, sanctified by the doctrine of 
Christ, might have been the instrument to impart to those 
within its pale that which both meditative and ambitious 

' See Gieslcr, Kirchengeschichte, Bd. i. 


men, in the middle age, sometimes ventured to think on, but 
which, in comparatively modern times, Martin Luther first 
strove to extort for Romanized Europe ^ . 

The struggles between the Britons and the Anglo-Saxons 
were carried on for centuries with so much rancour, that it 
ought to excite no astonishment, and still less call for blame, 
that the former did not attempt the conversion of their bar- 
barous enemies and oppressors. Most worthy therefore of 
admiration appears pope Gregory the Great, who first con- 
ceived the idea of gaining the Anglo-Saxon states for Chris- 
tendom and the catholic church, and applied to the holy work 
with a perseverance and caution worthy of the happy result 
by which it Avas followed. The obstacles, amid which the in- 
troduction of Christianity among the Anglo-Saxons was ef- 
fected, were, nevertheless, very great, and it required almost 
a century for the completion of the task. The language of 
the Roman missionaries proved the first check to the con- 
vincing powers of their eloquence. Though the prince, by 
family connexion, remonstrances, preaching, by papal briefs, 
which flattered his vanity, and presents, as they are given in 
modern times and for a similar purpose to the savages of re- 
mote regions, — though he by such inducements felt favourably 
disposed, and acknowledged himself a Christian, yet were his 

^ On the old British church see bishop Miinter's treatise in Ullmann's 
u. A. ' Theologischen Studien und Kritiken/ 1833. Doellinger (Kirchen- 
geschichte, t. i. sect. 2), proceeding on catholic principles, explains several 
points by much research, but is too zealous in endeavouring to obliterate 
all traces of views and discipline, in which the ancient British chnrch dif- 
fered from that of Rome, ascribing to the former an acknowledgment of 
the Roman supremacy. The passage he quotes from the epistle of Gildas 
does not prove that the British procured for themselves at Rome dignities 
in the church of their own country, but merely that some of them had sur- 
reptitiously obtained ordination in transmarine parts, perhaps Ireland or 
Bretagne. The mention made of the bishop of Caerleon, in the letter of 
the abbot of Bangor to Augustine, in which the supremacy of the Roman 
pontiff is not recognised, will no longer, after what has been before said "of 
bishop David, raise critical doubts, but may be reckoned among the tests 
of its authenticity. 


court and the rest of his people still unconverted. If he 
died, the history of all the large Anglo-Saxon states testifies, 
that his successor, attached to its adherents, Avould most 
probably raise again the banner of paganism. Nor in at- 
tempting the spiritual conquest of any of the other small 
states was there a prospect of any great result, since, from 
their slender connexion with each other, and the inconsider- 
able influence of the Bretwalda, which, in this case especially, 
proved wholly ineffectual, the conversion of his kingdom was 
for the neighbouring ones an occasion of a more vigilant op- 
position. At the same time, however, it must be noticed, as 
a favourable circumstance, that, notwithstanding repeated 
relapses into paganism, Christianity in one or other of the 
states always preserved an altar and a sanctuary. 

The Avish and the plan to draw the Anglo-Saxons within 
the pale of the Roman catholic church must have been long 
entertained at Rome, though the external impulse, which is 
necessary to the production of the greatest events, was want- 
ing, and which at the first glance is M'ont to appear so capri- 
cious, so insignificant, and so incredible, that an attentive 
consideration of human affairs might pronounce it much too 
wonderful for accident, but rather the leading clew of hid- 
den wisdom made perceptible only to those directed by it. 
Some young Angles were standing in the Forum at Rome, 
there to be sold as slaves. By whom they had been con- 
veyed thither is whoHy unknown ; they possibly formed a 
portion of the booty taken in the wars of the Bretwalda with 
the Northumbrians, and had been brought from the public 
market at London. These foreign boys, distinguished by 
their beautiful countenance, fair skin, and — that which was 
the sign of good descent — their comely locks, attracted the 
notice of Gregory, who some years afterwards was elected 
pope, and v. as famed for his attention to the education of 
youth, who for more than a thousand years after his death 
were accustomed to celebrate the day dedicated to his name. 


On learning that they were from Bntain and heathens, he 
loudly lamented that they with such bright countenances 
must become the prey of the prince of darkness ; and that 
such grace of aspect was not accompanied with the grace of 
inward light. On being told that they were called Angles 
(Angli), he exclaimed, "And rightly so, for they have an an- 
gelic mien, and should be the co-heirs of angels in heaven." 
On inquiring the name of the province from whence they 
came, he was answered, that the people to which they be- 
longed were called Deiri. " It is well," said he, " de ira 
eruti, snatched from wrath and called to the mercy of Christ." 
On being informed that their king was named J^lle, " Alle- 
luiah," said he, in allusion to the name, " the praise of God 
the Creator ought to be sung in that country." Whereupon 
he hastened to the pope, for the purpose of beseeching him 
to send some ministers of the Word to Britain, who might 
convert the inhabitants to Christ, offering to accompany them 
himself; and though the pope was willing to grant his re- 
quest, the people would not admit of his absence from the 
city for so long a period : but Gregory, immediately after his 
elevation to the papacy, executed his serious purpose by send- 
ing missionaries to the land of the slaves who had been the 
objects of his commiseration ^ These, under the guidance of 
Augustine, had performed but an inconsiderable part of their 
journey, when they were so terrified at the description given 
them of the barbarity of the savage pagans, of whose speech 
even they were entirely ignorant, that, on their arrival in 
Provence, they sent home Augustine 2,— who was destined to 
be bishop of the Angles, and Avho on all occasions appears 
rather as a faithful instrument subservient to general opinion 
and higher command, than as an inspired preacher of the 
Word which brings life,— for the purpose of supplicating the 
pope to release them from so dangerous, laborious, and doubt- 

' Beda, ii. 1. 2 I^j, j, 23. 


ful a mission. But Gregory exhorted them to continue their 
journey, recommended them to the protection of the Frankish 
kings, Theuderic and Theudebert, to their powerful grand- 
mother, Brunhild, also to the several bishops, and caused 
Frankish interpreters to accompany them. On the isle of 
Thanet, the earliest Anglo-Saxon acquisition, Augustine like- 
wise made his landing, with a number of monks, which An- 
glo-Saxon tradition fixes at about forty. To the king of Kent, 
Augustine announced his coming from Rome, with a message 
that promised to the obedient eternal joy in heaven, and 
kingdom without end with the true and living God. Though 
-^thelberht might not have paid attention to the faith pro- 
fessed by the great number of his subjects forming the op- 
pressed British population, he must, nevertheless, have had 
some knowledge of the religion of his consort Berhta, who, 
by the terms of her marriage contract, enjoyed the free ex- 
ercise of her worship, the duties attending which were fulfilled 
by Liudhard, a Frankish bishop, who had accompanied her 
to England, in the church of St. Martin near Canterbury, 
which had been preserved from the time of the Christian 

The king, soon after their landing, proceeded to the isle 
for the purpose of meeting the strangers, where, apprehend- 
ing the influence of their sorcery under a roof, he received 
them in the open air. The missionaries approached, bearing, 
in place of a banner, a silver cross, also a representation of 
the Saviour painted on a board, singing litanies, supplicating 
for the eternal salvation of themselves and of those for whom 
and to whom they were come. The words and promises of 
the sermon preached before the king seemed to him beautiful, 
yet being new and uncertain, he would not renounce the 
faith of the whole nation : at the same time he gave the 
foieigners an hospitable reception in his chief city, Canter- 
bury, and allowed them, by their preaching and example, to 
propagate their faith among his people, to baptize, and to 


solemnize their worship in the church of his queen. The 
conversion and baptism of iEthelberht himself^, which soon 
followed, was attended with the restoration of the old British 
church of the Holy Saviour in the royal city, the acknow- 
ledgment of the archiepiscopal authority of Augustine, who 
had made a journey to Aries, where, by command of Gregory, 
he had received consecration at the hands of the archbishop 
VirgiHus-, and who on his return sent Laurentius and Petrus, 
two of his companions, to announce to Gregory the progress 
of his mission. These brought back with them several co- 
adjutors, among whom were MeUitus, Justus, Paulinus and 
Rufinianus, together with gifts for the new church, consisting 
of holy vessels and vestments, books and rehcs, also letters 
from the pope to Augustine, granting him the use of the pall. 
Gregory now saw the general conversion of the nation assume 
a form 3, and the active head of the church, in the leisure and 
tranquillity Avhich his great mind was able to command for 
the puqiose of recording the fruits of his profound and 
learned contemplations, could thank the Almighty, that the 
inhabitants of Britain, whose language had erst been employed 
only for heathenish and barbarous purposes, now chanted forth 
the Hebrew Hallelujah to the praise of God'^. Who does not 
here call to mind his early wish ? Well might he rejoice in 
the progress of the great work of which he had laid the 
foundation ! 

The failure of an important step contemplated by Augus- 

1 Beda, i. 26. a.d, 597, on the feast of Pentecost, or June 2. See 
Smith's note, also Stevenson's. — T. 

- A.D. 597. Beda, i. 24 (where see Smith's note) and id. i. 27. 

^ Beda, i. 27, 29. We learn from a letter of Gregory to Eulogius, bishop 
of Alexandria, that before the following Christmas more than ten thousand 
of the English had been baptized by Augustine and his followers. By Thorne 
it is stated that JLthelberht resigned Canterbury and the surrounding 
country to Augustine, and retired to Reculver : " Ipse ^dilberctus Regul- 
bium demigravit, ibique novum sibi palatium condidit." See Smith's atnd 
Stevenson's notes. — T. 

■* Expositio Jobi ap. Bedse H. E. ii. 1. 


tine proved a check to the more rapid spread of Christianity. 
In Wales the Christian faith as well as much Roman civili- 
zation had been preserved and transmitted, especially through 
the schools of Bangor and Llancarvan ; and Augustine was 
not slow to perceive how desirable for the propagation of 
Christianity an union would be between the Roman and the 
British clergy. Through the influence of -^Ethelberht a meet- 
ing between the missionaries and the heads of the British 
church was effected, at a spot afterwards known by the name 
of Augustine's Oak^, on the confines of Wessex and the ter- 
ritory of the Hwiccas ; when, after a long and fruitless dis- 
cussion of the points on which the two churches were at 
variance, the chief of which, it appears, was the time of cele- 
brating Easter, Augustine, as we are told by Beda, having, in 
proof of his authority, miraculously restored a blind man to 
sight ^, the meeting was adjourned to a future day. 

Previous to the second conference, which was attended by 
seven British bishops, by the abbot Dinoot, or Dunawd, and 
several learned divines from Bangor, the Britons consulted a 
certain hermit, who was held by them in high veneration, as 
to whether, in compliance with the preaching of Augustine, 
they should renounce their own traditions ? He answered, 
" If the man is of God, follow him." To their inquiry, ^' How 
are we to prove this ?" he replied, " The Lord says. Take my 
yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and humble 
of heart. If, therefore, Augustine is meek and humble of 
heart, it is to be believed that he himself bears the yoke of 
Christ, and offers it to be borne by you ; but if he is arrogant 

^ The conference was, without doubt, literally held in the open air, 
under the spreading branches of an oak. On this interesting subject see 
Palgrave, vol. i. p. 238 sq. — T. 

2 From an extract of a letter from Gregory to Augustine, it appears that 
the great work of the latter was promoted by the intervention of other 
miracles besides the one here recorded. In this letter the pontiff exhorts 
the missionary not to be presumptuous on account of such miracles. See 
Beda, i. 31 ; and, for the remainder of the letter, ejd. Opera Minora, ed. 
Stevenson, p. 248. — T. 


and proud, it is manifest that he is not of God, and that we 
need not heed his words." To their further question, " But 
how shall we ascertain this ?" "Order it so," said he, " that 
he and his followers be the first at the conference, and if he 
rise up to meet you, do you, knowing him to be the servant 
of Christ, hear him obediently ; but if he contemn you, and 
will not rise up to you, you being in number the greater, be 
he contemned of you." 

On their arrival at the place of conference, finding Augus- 
tine seated, they, according to the instructions of the hermit, 
as well perhaps as from predisposition, met all his proposals 
with a refusal. Whereupon he said, " Though in many points 
you act contrary to us and to the universal church, yet, if you 
will agree with me in these three, — to celebrate Easter at the 
proper season ; to perform baptism, whereby we are born 
again to God, after the manner of the holy Roman and apo- 
stolic church ; and, together with us, to preach the word of 
God to the Anglian nation, — we will kindly bear with you.^' 
They answered, that they would do none of those things, nor 
acknowledge him for their archbishop. In reply, Augustine, 
in a threatening tone, is said to have predicted to them, that, 
if they would not accept peace with their brothers, they should 
have war with their enemies : and if they would not preach 
the way of life to the Angles, they should suffer vengeance 
at their hands. The fulfilling of the prophecy, or what was 
regarded as its fulfilling, will be seen hereafter ^ 

From the above it will, perhaps, appear obvious to the un- 
prejudiced reader, that the arrogance of the foreign mission- 
ary on the one side, and, on the other, the stubbornness of 
the British ecclesiastics, called into activity by that arrogance, 
w^ere the chief causes why a conference, held for so holy a 
purpose, ended in the evocation of feelings the reverse of 
those of peace and good-will'to men. 

With more satisfaction we, at the present day, regard the 
* This important narrative is wholly taken from Beda, ii. 2. — T. 


wisdom and liberality with which Gregory answers the ques- 
tion of Augustine, as to the course he was to follow with re- 
gard to the diversity prevailing in the customs of the Roman 
and Gallican churches. " It is my Mdsh/' writes Gregory, 
" that you sedulously select what you may think most accept- 
able to Almighty God, be it in the Roman, or in the Gallican, 
or in any other church ; and introduce into the church of the 
Angles that which you shall have so collected ; for things are 
not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake 
of good things. Choose, therefore, from the several churches 
whatever is pious, and religious, and right, and these, gathered 
as it were into one whole, instil, as observances, into the 
minds of the Angles^" 

A connexion similar to that which had caused the intro- 
duction of Christianity into Kent facilitated its entrance into 
Essex. Ricole, a sister of ^thelberht, was the mother of 
Sasberht (Saebriht), king of that small but, on account of the 
cities it contained, important state ^. The king soon attached 
himself to the new faith of his uncle and Bretwalda, and his 
people, following the example of their prince, yielded to the 
preaching of Mellitus, to whom, through the influence of 
JEthelberht, a church in London, dedicated to St. Paul, was 
assigned as an episcopal see, where had formerly stood a 
temple of Diana ; while Justus was by Augustine consecrated 
to the see of Rochester, in which city a church, dedicated to 
St. Andrew the apostle, was founded by ^thelberht, and, as 
at Canterbury, endowed with lands and other possessions^. 

It was the happy lot of Augustine to pass to the higher 
reward of his deeds with untroubled looks on his great ac- 
quisition for the church, which gathered strength under the 
powerful sceptre of ^Ethelberht. He had made a very praise- 
worthy choice of a successor in his associate Laurentius, who, 
in conjunction with Justus, renewed the attempt to unite the 

J Beda, i. 27. ' Beda, ii. 3. Sax. Chion. a. C04. 

3 A.D. 604. Beda, ii. 3. 


Britons with his church, and even took similar steps among 
the Scots of Ireland ^ 

Mellitus was in the meanwhile gone to Rome on business 
of the church : it happened, therefore, that Boniface IV. 
counted in the Synod then sitting^ one Anglo-Saxon bishop. 
In Kent the wholesome influence of the Roman ecclesiastics 
was manifested also in the circumstance, that ^thelberht 
caused to be recorded, in the language of his country, the 
first written collection among the Anglo-Saxons — perhaps 
among all the Germanic nations — of the ancient laws of his 
people, comprising those newly introduced by the Christian 
priests. But the welfare of the church was not to rest on the 
written letter. On the death of ^Ethelberht*^, which was soon 
followed by that of Saeberht, the faith had been established 
among the Anglo-Saxons about twenty-one years, when it 
was suddenly brought near to its suppression ; Eadbald, the 
son of -^thelberht, having not only refused to listen to its 
doctrines, but, yielding to the frenzy of the most passionate 
excitement, had not hesitated to espouse his father's widow. 
The sons of Sreberht had in like manner refused to receive 
baptism, had granted to their subjects permission to return to 
the worship of idols, and driven Mellitus from the kingdom, 
for having refused to give them the bread of the eucharist. 
Mellitus and Justus fled to Gaul, whither Laurentius was 
preparing to follow them, when a sudden change in the mind 
of Eadbald, occasioned by the last representations of the arch- 
bishop, was followed by the suppression of idolatry in his 
dominions, the dismissal of his step-mother, and the resto- 
ration of Christianity'^. 

' A.D. 605. Beda, ii. 3, 4, where see the letter of Laurentius to the 
Scottish bishops and abbots. — T. 

2 A.D. 610, Feb. 27. ^ Sax. Chron. a. 6l6. 

■• The device bj' which these desirable events were brought to pass, 
though unfit to be recorded on the pages of history at the present day, 
affords, nevertheless, too striking an example of the means, it is to be 
feared, but top frequently employed in propagating the new faith among 


Not so soon did the East Saxons become sensible of their 
error, though the three sons of Sceberht had fallen in a battle. 
MelUtus succeeded Laurentius in the archiepiscopal dignity, 
but his former diocese still persisted in their idolatry ^ It was 
a new generation only that followed king Sigeberht the Good 
and the majority of the Anglo-Saxons, who now generally 
professed the doctrines of Christianity: yet even then the 
appearance of an unusually destructive pestilence, called the 
yellow plague, prompted the East Saxons to look for aid in 
the restoration of the heathen temples, and Sigehere (Sige- 
heri), one of their two kings, had relapsed into paganism ; 
but the example given by the pious king Sebbe (Sebbi), 
together •with the spiritual exertions of bishop Jaruman, led 
to the final destruction of the old national idolatry with its 
temples, and to the permanent establishment of the new 

While on a visit to ^thelberht of Kent, Raedwald, king of 
the East Angles, had also declared himself a convert to Chris- 
tianity, a step the more important, as, after the death of 
^thelberht, the dignity of Bretwalda had passed over to the 
Uffings. Induced, however, by the importunity of his wife 
and friends, Raedwald soon rejected the newly acquired con- 
cur simple forefathers, to be wholly unnoticed. We are told by Beda 
(ii. 6), that Laurentius, on the eve of his departure, had directed that his bed 
should be placed in the church of St. Peter and St. Paul. In the dead of 
the night St. Peter appeared to him, and scourging him asked, why he 
abandoned the flock entrusted to his care ? In the morning he presented 
himself before the king, and showed him his body lacerated with the 
scourging, who, on his inquirj^ who had dared to inflict such stripes on 
such a man, received for answer, that he had been so wounded and tor- 
mented by the apostle of Christ, for the sake of his (Eadbald's) salvation ; 
who thereupon, anathematizing his old idolatry, dismissed his stepmother, 
adopted the Christian faith, and received baptism. See also Sax. Chron. 
a. 616.— T. ' Beda, ii. G. 

- Beda, iii. 22, 30. Fl. Wigorn. a. 653. From the date given in the 
margin of the latter of these chapters of Beda, it might seem that the reign 
of Sighere and Sebbe commenced in 665 ; but in Wulfhere's charter of en- 
dowment to Peterborough abbey, dated 664, their names as kings appear 
among the signatures. See Sax. Chron. a. 657. 


viction, but^ in the view of satisfying both parties, caused to 
be erected in the same temple an altar to Christ by the side 
of that devoted to the rites of paganism ^ 

His neighbour beyond the Humber, ^thelfrith (^Ethel- 
ferth), the son of ^Ethelric and grandson of Ida, who had 
forcibly united Deira, the kingdom of .^Ue his deceased 
father-in-law, with his own paternal state, Bernicia, was a foe 
to Christianity. He had acquired a reputation for great 
valour in the glorious victory, purchased with the loss of his 
brother Theodbald, at Daegsanstan, or Degsastan% over Aidan, 
the son of Gabran, king of the Dalreods or Albanians, the 
remembrance of v.'hich long deterred the latter from further 
contests with the Angles of Northumbria. His wars had 
hitherto been chiefly with the Britons, vast numbers of whom 
he had exterminated, or rendered tributary to his sceptre ; 
and the fear which those conquests spread among his neigh- 
bours occasioned an alliance, till then unheard of, between 
Anglo-Saxon and British princes. Eadwine (Eadwini), the 
son of JEWe, a child of three years, had it appears, on the 
seizure of his inheritance by ^thelfrith, been committed for 
safety to the care of Cadvan, king of Gv/ynedd^, and there 
educated under the British clergy, till he had attained the 
age of manhood. Cadvan, for the sake of his ward, having 
formed an alliance with Brocmail, king of PoAvis, the patron 
of the poet Taliesin, hazarded a war with the persecutor of 
Eadwine, which ended in a battle fought near Chester (Caer- 

^ Beda, ii. 15. 

- Beda, i. 34. Sax. Chron. a. 603. Dalston near Carlisle, according 
to Gibson, whose supposition is favoured by the various reading, Deglas- 
tan. Dawstane in Liddesdale has also been conjectured as the spot. Tiger- 
nach makes no mention of this battle, unless he alludes to it a. 600, " Prre- 
lium Saxonum contra ^danum, ubi cecidit Eanfrac (Eanfrith) frater Etal- 
fraich, occisus a Maeluma, filio Baodani, in quo victor erat." Annal. Ulton. 
a. 599, " Bellum Saxonum, in quo victus est Aeda." 

^ Vaughan, Diss, on Brit. Chronol. Langhorne, Chron. Angl., though 
in other respects confuting Jeffrey of Monmouth, considers this tradition 
as probable. 

VOL. I. L, 


legion, Laegacester) and the destruction of the celebrated 
monastery of Bangor, the seat of Celtic Christian learning K 
Previous to the battle ^thelfrith espied an unarmed body, 
standing apart in a place of apparent security. On being in- 
formed that they belonged for the most part to the monastery 
of Bangor, and had with others assembled on that spot to 
pray, under the protection of Brocmail, he exclaimed, " If 
they cry to their God against us, and load us with impreca- 
tions, though unarmed, they fight against us:" ^Yhereupon 
he ordered them to be attacked and put to the sword. Ead- 
wine fled before his brother-in-law and persecutor to Mercia, 
whence, finding no security there, he took refuge with Raed- 
wald of East Anglia ; and thus, a homeless wanderer, esta- 
blished, through the protection which he there sought and 
obtained, a connexion which was followed by a result far more 
important than that attending his previous alliance with the 

To the first and second application of ^thelfrith, for the 
death or delivery of the fugitive, though accompanied by 
tempting pecuniary offers, the Bretwalda gave no ear; but 
on the third solicitation, and the proffer of a larger sum, and 
threatening war in case of refusal, the faith of Rtedwald gave 
way, and he promised compliance with the wishes of the 
Northumbrian. It was night, and Eadwine was preparing 
for rest, when a faithful friend, calling him from his chamber, 
infonned him of Raedwald's promise, and engaged to convey 
him to an asylum, where neither the one nor the other should 
be able to discover him. " Thanks for your good will," said 
Eadwine, " but I cannot yield to your proposal, and be the 
first to break my compact with a king who has done rae no 
injury, nor shown any ill-will towards me. If I am to die, 

' In 607 according to the Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 603. says, " longo 
post tempore (vEthelfrido) coUecto exercitu," etc. Annal.Camb.and Tigern. 
613. Beda, ii.2,doesnot give theyear of this event. The British kings, Seysil 
son of Conan, Jacobus son of Beli, and C'etul are named among the slain. 


let him rather than a less noble hand deliver me to death. 
Whither can I flee, who, in striving to escape from the snares 
of my enemies, have so long been a wanderer through all the 
provinces of Britain?" His friend departed, and Eadwine 
was left alone sitting on a stone before the palace, sad and at 
a loss what to do, or whither to bend his steps. 

While thus sitting, wrapt in agonizing thoughts, he Mas 
startled by the approach of a stranger, who, after greeting, 
asked him, why, when others were at rest, he was there so 
sad and lonely ? " Yet think not," continued he, " that the 
cause of your affliction and your vigil is unknown to me : I 
know who you are, and why you are depressed, and the im- 
pending evils which you dread. But say, what reward would 
you give to any one, if such there be, who should free you 
from these cares, and prevail on Rcedwald neither to do you 
aught of harm himself, nor to deliver you to your enemies ? " 
On his answering, that for such a benefit he would be grate- 
ful to the utmost of his power — " But what, if he should pro- 
mise that you shall destroy your adversaries, and be a king 
more jDOwerful not only than any of your forefathers, but 
than any who has ever reigned over the Angles ?" On Ead- 
wine repeating his assurances of gratitude, the stranger, a 
third time, asked, " If he, who shall have truly promised such 
great benefits, should impart to you doctrines of life and sal- 
vation, better and more efficacious than any one of your re- 
latives has ever heard, would you obey him, and listen to his 
admonitions?" On receiving the promise of Eadwine, the 
stranger laid his right hand on the prince's head, saying, 
" When this sign shall be repeated, remember this hour and 
this discourse, and delay not to fulfil that which you now 
promise." Having uttered these words, it is said, he sud- 
denly disappeared, that he might be known to be no man, 
but a spirit. 

The royal youth remained : his mind, though gladdened 
by the consolation he had i-eceived, was yet not free from 

L 2 


anxiety, when his before-mentioned friend returned to him 
with a joyful countenance, and informed him that he might 
safely retire to rest, and that Raedwald had resolved to keep 
his faith ; for that on communicating to the queen the pro- 
mise he had made to iEthelfrith, she had made manifest to 
him how ill it became so great a king to sell his best friend 
in his distress for gold, and to break his faith, more precious 
than all ornaments, through love of money ^ 

The Bretwalda having thus resolved on the juster course, 
marched with a powerful well-appointed army against the 
Northumbrian, who met him with inferior forces in a battle 
fought on the eastern bank of the river Idle in Nottingham- 
shire, on the border of Mercia. Raedwald remained master 
of the field, which was covered with the bodies of the slain, 
among whom was ^thelfrith himself, who, in an impetuous 
onset, having destroyed one of the three divisions into which 
the adverse army was divided, together with its valiant leader 
Raeginhere (Raeginheri), the son of Raedwald, being over- 
powered by numbers, was found far from his followers amid 
the slain heaps of the enemy ^. After this victory, Avhich was 
attended with most important results for Britain, Eadwine 
took possession of his paternal kingdom as well as of the va- 
cant throne of Bernicia. One of his earliest deeds seems to 
have been the conquest of the little British territory of Elmet^, 
which had existed as an independent state under its king 
Cerdic — a name susceptible both of a British and a Saxon in- 

* Beda, ii. 12. Regarding this legend of the child .of ^lle as too beau- 
tiful and graphic, as well as too intimately connected with the account of 
his conversion, to be omitted or even abridged, I have, at the risk of cen- 
sure from the severer class of readers, not hesitated to give it entire and 
almost literally from the work of the ' Venerable ' father of English historj% 
■who, for his love of the legendary and fascinating descriptive powers, may 
be not inaptly called the Walter Scott of the eighth century. — T. 

3 Beda, ii. 12. Sax. Chron. a. 6l7, Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 6l6. 

3 A district in Yorkshire about Leeds. Camden conjectures that the 
mins visible at Barwick in Elraet indicate the site of the palace of the 
Northumbrian kings. 


terpretation — whom he expelled^ for having, under the guise 
of hospitality, received and afterwards poisoned Hereric, the 
nephew of Eadwine, who, hke his uncle, had been persecuted 

The states of kindred origin now attached themselves to 
the North Angles, and the first Bretwaldaship over all the 
Anglo-Saxons, with the exception of Kent, devolved on their 
mighty and widely allied king. The British states, and even 
the Isle of Man, were subject to him ; also the island of Mona, 
which, though from the colonists brought thither it had re- 
ceived the name of Anglesey^, afterwards resumed its Celtic 
character. Eadwine, after the death of his consort Cwenburh, 
a daughter of the Mercian king Ceorl, obtained the hand of 
a Christian princess of the family of the /Escings, the former 
suzerains of his country, ^thelburh or Tate, a daughter of 
-^thelberht of Kent. This marriage had been permitted 
under conditions and expectations similar to those attending 
that of the Frankish princess Berhta with ^thelberht him- 
self. The bishop Paulinus accompanied the young queen, to 
preserve her in the Christian faith and attend to the duties 
of divine worship. Shortly after letters, accompanied by pre- 
cious gifts, arrived from pope Boniface^ " to Eadwine, king 

^ Nennii App. " Eaguin, filius AUi, occupavit Elraet et expulit Ger- 
tie, regem illius regionis." Beda, iv. 23. " Cum Hereric exularet sub rege 
Brittonum Cerdice, ubi et veneno periit." The above passages will, it is 
hoped, justify the view I have taken of this event, which receives confirm- 
ation from the respect shown by Eadwine to Hild, the daughter of He- 
reric, with whom, it appears, she received the rites of baptism : " Cum quo 
(^duino)," says Beda, ibid., " ad praedicationem beatee memorise Paulini, 
primi Nordanhymbrorura episcopi, fidem et sacramenta Christi suscepit." 
Hereric, the son of the elder deceased son of .^Elle, was therefore dead be- 
fore the death of Jilthelfrith ; whereby it appears how Eadwine, Jille's 
second son, succeeded Jj^thelfrith without opposition. Cf. also Annal. 
Camb. a. 616, and Fl. Wigorn. Geneal. 

2 Beda, ii. 5, 9. 

^ As Boniface V, died Oct. 22, a. 62.5, his letters must have been written 
in that year, though probably not received till the spring following ; a sup- 
position which may account for their being placed by Beda after events of 


of the Angles, and yEthelburh, his consort/' ^or the purpose 
of effecting the conversion of the former. Eadwine was pro- 
bably neither unprepared nor unwilling to receive baptism, 
to which he must have often been invited in his earlier years : 
he, nevertheless, weighed the difficulties and the danger of 
such a step with regard to his subjects. Two events, which 
occurred almost at the same moment, appear to have accele- 
rated his conversion. Cwichelm, king of the West Saxons, 
anxious to free himself from the supremacy of Northumbria, 
had recourse to the arm of an assassin. His emissary, 
Eomer, reached the royal residence on the first day of Easter, 
and, while delivering a feigned message from Cwichelm, sud- 
denly started up, and drawing from under his garment an 
envenomed two-edged dagger, rushed on the king, when an 
affectionate thane nanled Lilla threw himself between them, 
and at the price of his own life saved that of his master. So 
violent was the stroke that Eadwine was wounded through the 
body of his follower, nor did the assassin fall beneath the 
swords of those present until he had slain Forthhere (Forth- 
heri), another thane of Eadwine's. On the same night ^thel- 
burh was delivered of a daughter, named Eanflsed; when 
Eadwine, in the presence of Paulinus, returning thanks to 
his gods for the gift, the bishop returned thanks to Christ, 
assuring the king that it was to his prayers that the queen 
owed her safe and happy delivery. Moved by these words, 
Eadwine promised to renounce his idols and serve Christ, if 
he would grant him the victory over that king who had em- 
ployed an assassin to destroy him, and, in pledge of his pro- 
mise, intrusted his daughter to Paulinus, by whom she was 
baptized with eleven others of his household. Being cured 
of his wound, he collected an army and marched against the 
West Saxons, who were defeated with great loss, five kings 
being mentioned among the slain \ 

1 Sax. Chron. a. 626. Beda, ii. 9. 


On his return, though he abstained from the worship of his 
gods, he was yet unwilUng, without due reflection, to partake 
of the sacraments of the Christian faith ; but, hstening to the 
discourses of PauHnus on the one hand, and of his priests on 
the other, meditated in private on their respective arguments, 
M'hen a means of hastening his resolve presented itself to 
PauHnus, such as spiritual superiority has seldom scrupled 
to apply for the attainment of an adequate object. 

The predictions of the vision were now realized, but the 
sign had not been repeated, when Paulinus, as Beda conjec- 
tures, already apprized in spirit of what had taken place ^, 
approaching the solitary king, while wrapt in deep meditation, 
laid his right hand on his head, and asked him whether he 
acknowledged that sign ? Eadwine, trembling, was about to 
cast himself at the feet of Paulinus, but the lattei', raising him 
up, addressed him thus : " By the grace of God you have 
escaped from the hands of your enemies ; by his bounty, you 
have obtained the kingdom which you desired: be mindful 
not to delay the promise you made, to receive his faith and 
keep his commandments, and, by promoting his will, as an- 
nounced by me, to free yourself from everlasting punishment, 
and become a partaker of the heavenly kingdom^." 

The king promised to receive the faith, and, with the view 
of effecting the universal adoption of Christianity, called a 
meeting of his friends and witan. On Eadwine's inquiring of 
each one separately his opinion of the new doctrines, Cffifi, 
the high priest^, immediately answered, "Judge you, O king, 
of that which is now announced to us ; but I must truly con- 
fess to you, that the religion which we have hitherto followed 
has neither power nor utility. For not one of your subjects 

' Beda, ii. 12. See p. 140 for a miracle performed by Augustine : and 
for one performed on Laurentius, see p. 143, note ^. — T. 

" A.D. 626. Beda, ii. 12. 

3 " Primus pontificum " (regis). Beda, ii. 13, who in his Anglian or Nor- 
thumbrian dialect, writes the name ' Coifi ' : one MS. of iElfred's version 
reads ' Ceefi,' and ' Cefi,' another has ' Cyfi.' See p. 72, note \ — T. 


has more diligently attended to the worship of the gods than 
I ; and, nevertheless, there are many who have received from 
you greater benefits and greater honours, and prosper more 
in all their undertakings : whereas, if the gods were worth 
anything, they would rather favour me, who have so zealously 
served them. If therefore, on examination, the new doctrine 
shall appear to you better and more efficacious, let us, without 
further delay, hasten to adopt it." 

One of the ealdormen approving these words, added, " Such 
seems to me, O king, the present life of man, in comparison 
of the time which is hidden from us, as when you are sitting 
in your hall at your repast, with your thanes and attendants, 
in the winter season, with a fire lighted in the middle, the 
apartment warm, but the chilling storms of rain and snow 
raging everywhere without, a sparrow rapidly flies through, 
entering at one door, and instantly escaping by another. 
While it is within it is not touched by the winter's storm, 
but, after having passed through a very short space of 
serenity, it goes forthwith from storm to storm, and vanishes 
from your sight. So also seems the short life of man : what 
follows or what precedes we know not : if, therefore, this new 
doctrine brings us something more certain, it is also my 
opinion that it should be adopted." In accordance with this 
were the sentiments of the other ealdormen and witan. Ca^fi 
now expressed his wish to hear Paulinus discourse concerning 
God : his conversion was the result, and Eadwine himself, 
convinced by the preaching of the bishop, renouncing ido- 
latry, professed himself also a believer in the doctrines of 
Christianity'. To the inquiry of Paulinus : Who would be 
the first to profane the altars and temples of the idols, with 
their enclosures^ ? Caefi answered, " I ; for who is fitter than 

' Beda, ii. 14. Sax. Chron. a. 627- 

2 The ' septum ' around a temple was the ' frithgcard,' or asylum. See 
Law of the Northumbrian Priests, liv. in Anc. LL. and Instt., and Gloss. 
r. FricJgeard. — T. 


I am to destroy, through the wisdom given me by God, and 
as an example to all, that which I have worshiped in my 
folly ? " Whereupon he prayed of the king that arms and a 
horse might be given to him — it being forbidden to the sacri- 
ficing priests both to bear arms and to ride except on a mare 
— and, girded with a sword, and with lance in hand, having 
mounted the horse, he proceeded to execute his design. The 
people thought him mad, but he, hastening to the temple, 
instantly profaned it by casting his lance against it, and in 
his exultation commanded his associates to set it on fire with 
all its enclosures. This event took place at Godmundinga- 
ham, now Godmundham, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 
Eadwine was baptized at York on the following Easter-day, 
in a church built of wood, and dedicated to St. Peter the 
Apostle, which he had there caused to be erected, but which 
was shortly after succeeded by a larger one of stone on the 
same spot. York was assigned as an archiepiscopal see to 
Paulinus, who received the pall from pope Honorius'. 

Paulinus preached also on the other side of the Humber, 
and converted the inhabitants of Lindisse, a territory the 
name of which is preserved in that of Lindsey. Its chief, 
Blecca, a descendant of Woden, and his household, were his 
first converts^. 

The peace and tranquillity which the power of the Bret- 
Avalda procured for his kingdom must have been very favour- 
able to the spread of the new doctrine, such security being 
said to have prevailed that, according to the Anglo-Saxon 
proverb, a woman with her new-born babe might have tra- 
velled from sea to sea without sustaining injury. By the con- 
duits which he had caused to be constructed on the high roads, 
he directed brazen cups to be suspended, which no hand 
touched save that of the parched wanderer. Eadwine loved 
the display of authority : not only were ensigns borne before 

1 A.D. 627. Beda, ii. 13, 14. 

^ Beda, ii. 16. Sax. Chron. a. 627. Geneal. ap. Florentium. 


him in battle, but even in the pubhc ways he was constantly 
preceded by the Roman tufa, or tuf as it was called by the 
Anglo-Saxons ^ 

Eadwine zealously exerted himself for the propagation of 
the new faith, and though it appears that he raised no altar in 
Bernicia^j he succeeded in the thorough conversion of Eorp- 
wald, the son of Raedwald, king of the East Angles; and 
though the murder of Eorpwald by a pagan^ plunged East 
Anglia into darkness and strife, yet Eadwine lived to see the 
return and establishment of Christianity in that country after 
a lapse of three years. Sigeberht, who had received the doc- 
trines of Christianity while in Gaul, whither he had fled from 
the hostility of his brother Raedwald, now conjointly with his 
brother Ecgric took possession of the throne, chiefly, it would 
seem, for the sake of propagating his newly adopted faith. 
In the work of conversion he was aided by Felix, a Burgun- 
dian bishop, sent to him from Kent by Honorius, archbishop 
of Canterbury, under whose wise guidance it prospered 
admirably. Desirous of improving the minds of his people, 
Sigeberht founded a Latin school on the plan of those he had 
seen in Gaul, in which laudable undertaking he availed him- 
self of the counsel of Felix, who supplied fitting persons as 
teachers, according to the Kentish practice"*. On the foun- 
dation of the see of Domuc (Dunwich), Felix was appointed 
its first bishop^. 

^ Beda, ii. 16. 

- This is manifest from Beda, iii. 2, a. 635, where, speaking of Oswald's 
cross, he says, " Nullum, ut comperimus, fidei Christiana; signum, nulla 
ecclesia, nullum altare in tota Berniciorum gente erectum est, priusquam 
hoc sacrse crucis vexillum," etc. ^ a.d. 627. Beda, ii. 15. 

^ Beda, iii. 18. " Juxtamorem Cantuariorum." Malmes. de GestiaPont, 
lib. ii. " Scholas opportunis locis instituens, barbariem gentis scnsim 
comitate Latina informabat." The above passage of Beda has been ad- 
duced in the dispute between Oxford and Cambridge, to prove the higher 
antiquity of the latter. See Smith, Append, xiv. ad Bedam. The proof 
is, however, wanting that Cambridge, formerly Gran tab rycge, belonged to 
East Anglia, and not, as is generally understood, to Mercia. 

5 Beda, ii. 15. 

PENDA. 155 

Scarcely had these events taken place when we find the 
king of the East Angles resigning his crown, and, following 
the old Frankish example, giving the earliest instance of an 
Anglo-Saxon royal monk. The sceptre now devolved on 
Ecgric, who was already a sharer in the government of this 
small state. So deep-rooted was the conviction which led the 
East Anglian to a renunciation of earthly sway, that not even 
the danger of his native land, at that time suffering under the 
cruel ravages of Penda, king of Mercia, could induce him to 
forsake the quiet of his cloister. When forcibly brought forth 
by his subjects, in the hope that the sight of a leader, once 
honoured for his valour, might cheer and stimulate his war- 
riors, he stood still amid the raging battle, with a staff in his 
hand, until he was slain together with his brother Ecgric. 
Christianity was not, however, again driven from East Anglia, 
Anna, the successor of the slain prince, being not only de- 
voted to its doctrines, but, at the instance of Fursaeus, a pious 
man of Scottish race, from Ireland, the founder of several 
monasteries ^ 

But a season of calamity was now at hand for Northumbria. 
Penda, the son of Wibba, and successor of Ceorl, had ren- 
dered Southumbria, or Mercia, independent of Eadwine^ 
and, in alliance with the powerful British prince Caedwalla of 
Gwynedd, the son of Cadvan, made war on Eadwine, who, 
together with his son Osfrith, was slain in a great battle 
fought at Hajthfeld^. Another of his sons, Eadfrith, who had 

^A.D.635. Beda, iii. 18, 19,VitaEthelreda;. According to the Chronicle 
and Florence, Eorpwald's conversion took place in 632, the preaching of 
Felix in 636, I follow Beda. 

' According to the Chronicle, Penda had been king of Mercia from 626 ; 
but Beda, ii. 22, says expressly, that he was of royal race (de regio genere 
Merciorum), and reigned twenty-two years. Therefore, as the accounts 
concur in placing his death in 655, he must have been king from 633 onlj% 
the year of his victory over Eadwine. 

=* Beda, ii. 20. Sax. Chron. Oct. 14, a. 633. Fl. Wigorn. Oct. 12. 
Annal. Ult. and Tigernach, a. 631. Camden supposes Hatfield, in the 
West Riding of Yorkshire, to have been the spot. — T. 

156 PENDA. 

fled to his relation Penda as a suppliant, was by him trea- 
cherously murdered. Eadwine's queen, ^thelburh, and the 
archbishop Paulinus fled to Kent, where they met with an 
honourable reception from her brother Eadbald and the arch- 
bishop Honorius, who appointed Paulinus to the see of 
Rochester. Wuscfrea, another son of Eadwine, and Yffe 
(Yffi), son of Osfrith, were subsequently, from fear of her 
own brother Eadbald, and Oswald of Northumbria, sent by 
the queen to the Frankish king Dagobert, through the medi- 
ation of the archbishop Paulinus. The early death of these 
children, the heirs of the founder of Edinburgh (Eadwines 
burh), prevented probably an early example of the Frankish 
influence so often exercised in after-ages on the fate of North 
Britain ; but a sepulchre within the church, not unusual at 
that time, long bore witness both to the antiquity of this con- 
nexion, and to the asylum aflforded by the monarch \ 

The respect paid to the royal races of the Anglo-Saxons is 
strikingly proved by the circumstance, that neither Penda, 
who retained only his paternal kingdom of Mercia, nor the 
king of Gwynedd took possession of the conquered state, the 
northern part of which, Bernicia, the land of ^thelfrith, de- 
volved on his son Eanfrith, who, after the death of his father, 
had with several friends wandered to the Scots or Picts, and 
adopted Christianity, according to the doctrines followed 
among those people. The southern portion, Deira, -was held 
by Osric, the nearest kinsman of Eadvvine, who had been 
baptized by Paulinus. Both relapsed into the errors of pagan- 
ism. Osric was slain at York, in an attempt to surprise 
Cffidwalla, who had shut himself up in that city; Eanfrith 
fell by the same hand, being treacherously murdered by him 
when, accompanied by twelve followers only, he came to sue 
for peace. Their countries were ravaged by the Britons in 
the most cruel manner. The names of these apostate princes 
were erased from the catalogue of Christian kings, and the 

' Beda, ii. 14, 20. 

OSWALD. 157 

unhappy year of their reign assigned to Oswald, their pious 
successor ^ 

But the apostasy of these princes and the sufferings of the 
Northumbrians may be said to have constituted the revolving 
point, as it were, not only of the immediate fortunes of the 
North Angles, but of the successful struggle of Christianity 
against paganism. Oswald, a younger son of iEthelfrith, 
bred like his elder brother ainong the Scots, placed himself 
at the head of a small force, and at Hefenfeld, not far from 
the Roman wall, near Denisburn, in the neighbourhood of 
Hexham, having erected a cross, the first sign of Christian 
devotion in Bernicia, assembled his followers before it, com- 
manded them to kneel, and having sent forth a fervent prayer 
to the God of armies, attacked the numerous warriors of 
Caedwalla, who lost their leader, and — what in those days was 
the usual consequence of such a loss — betook themselves to 
flight^. In Caedwalla expired the last renowned hero of old 
British race : in fourteen pitched battles and sixty encounters 
he had revived and confirmed the military fame of his coun- 
try, and acquired dominion over a considerable part of Lloegria 
(Lloegyr). No wonder then if his life and death, though 
claiming a far higher degree of credibility than Arthur's, 
were soon surrounded by the glittering imagery of tradition^, 
and that we are now unable to ascertain the truth, either in 
the apotheosis of his adoring countrymen, or in the vindictive 
narrative of the Anglo-Saxons. 

History informs us that Oswald's cross decided the fate of 
Britain for ever. Oswald obtained the sovereignty of Ber- 
nicia, and also of Deira, being entitled to the latter country 

1 Beda, iii. 2. Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 634. Eanfrith is the An- 
fraith, whose decapitation is mentioned by Tigeinach a. 632. 

2 A.D. 635. Beda, iii. 2. Fl. Wigorn. a. 634. Nennius (Appen.) calls 
the battle, bellum Catscaul., Annal. Camb. a. 631, b. Cantscaul (Cted- 

^ Galf. Monura. lib. xii. Llywarch Hen, Elegies. Cf. Turner, vol. i. 
p. 366. 

158 OSWALD. 

by his maternal descent, his mother ^Acha/ the sister of 
Eadwine, being descended from JEAle \ He was acknow- 
ledged as Bretwalda, the sixth who held that dignity, and is 
said to have reigned over the four tongues of Britain, — of the 
Angles, the Britons, the Picts, and the Scots. Oswald com- 
bined great vigour with much mildness and religious enthu- 
siasm. By him Christianity was introduced anew into his 
kingdom, but it was that of his teachers, the Scots, by whom 
Aidan was sent to him from the isle of St. Columba (Hii or 
Icolmkill), and to whom, as an episcopal seat, he granted the 
isle of Lindisfarne, now Holy Island, the hallowed abode of 
many heroes of the Christian faith '^. Severity towards him- 
self and the powerful, humility and benevolence towards the 
poor and lowly, activity in the cause of religion, zeal for 
learning, were the admirable qualities that were praised in 
Aidan, and shed the purest lustre on the old Scottish church 
to which he belonged ; and few will feel disposed to doubt 
that the general impression which the lives of such men made 
on the minds of people disgusted with paganism, together 
with the internal truth of the Christian doctrines, has ever, 
and in a greater degree contributed to their first conversion 
than even the most convincing and solid arguments. How 
else could the so-often vainly attempted conversion of the 
Northumbrians have been effected by Aidan, who, sprung from 
a hostile race, sent from a hostile school, strove to propagate 
the doctrines of the defeated Scots and Picts, the former op- 
pressors of the Britons, in a tongue for which Oswald him- 
self Avas compelled to act as the interpreter ? 

Of Aidan's fitness for the pious work committed to him, a 
judgement may be formed from the following anecdote, re- 
lated by Beda^. At the solicitation of Oswald, a priest had 
been sent by the Scots to preach the word to the pagans of 

* Beda, iii. 6. 

2 See Beda's prose and metrical Lives of S, Cuthberht. 

3 A.D. 634. H. E., iii. 5. 


Northumbrian who proving unqualified for the task, and un-^ 
welcome to the people, through the austerity of his character, 
returned to his country, -where, in an assembly of his brethren, 
he declared his inability to effect any good among a people 
so imgovernable and barbarous. On hearing this declaration, 
Aidan, who was present at the meeting, said to him, "Brother, 
it seems to me that you have been harsher than was fitting 
towards such uninstructed hearers, and have not, in con- 
formity with apostolic usage, first offered the milk of milder 
instruction, until, gradually nourished by tlie divine word, 
they might become capable both of receiving the more per- 
fect, and of executing the higher precepts of God." A dis- 
cussion, to which these words gave rise, terminated in the 
unanimous declaration, that Aidan was worthy of the episco- 
pal dignity, and that he ought to be sent to teach the igno- 
rant unbelievers. 

In such, and in every other manner possible, Oswald pro- 
moted the religion of the cross planted by him, not in his 
own kingdom only, but in the states encircling his British 
empire'. In this he followed the impressions of his youth 
and the conviction which had steeled his arm to victory. He 
might also have cherished the hope, that in a British Cliristian 
church the surest spiritual support would be found to consist 
in the union of all the tongues of Britain. 

Since the days of the Bretvvalda Ceawlin the kingdom of 
Wessex had been engaged in constant warfare with its British 
and Saxon neighbours. Though the result may not always 
have been unfavourable, yet the state, split into many parts, 
bore the semblance of a great camp. In the year 626 we 
find mention of at least seven kings of the Gewissas'^. Ceol- 
wulf had succeeded his brother Ceolric^, who fis-htins; against 

^ " Oswald totius Britannise imperator." Cummini Vita Colurabse, c: 26. 

- Beda, ii. 9. Sax. Chron. a. G'26. 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 597, where and by Florence he is called Ceol. 


all, proved against all the valour of the bravest^, though of 
his deeds we know but little. Beda, in general a poor source 
for the history of Wessex, does not once mention his name. 
The record of an obstinate battle with the then still appa- 
rently independent people of Sussex, in which he had the 
advantage, has alone been preserved in the annals of his 
country^ ; though a memorial equally favourable to the war- 
rior has been transmitted to us in the records of his ene- 
mies, the Britons. Tewdric or Theodric, the valiant king of 
Morgan wg'^j had at the beginning of the century renounced 
the world, having left his crown to his son Mouric, and amid 
the sylvan scenes of Dindyrn (Tintern), on the pleasant wind- 
ing shores of the Wye, resigned himself to the enjoyment of 
solitary reflection, punfied from all earthly contamination. 
Ceolwulf, taking advantage of the reign of the son, marched 
across the Severn, the northern boundary of Wessex, as far 
as the Wye. The cry of his faithful people drew the aged 
hero from his ten years' solitude, and his forces under their 
old leader were again victorious against the pagan Saxons. 
The dragon of Wessex was banished to the southern bank 
of the Severn ; but Tewdric received a wound which clove 
his skull, and was buried at the confluence of the Wye and 
the Severn'*. Over his grave an oratory was raised, and at 
a later period a church, in honour of the royal martyr, on the 
spot aftenvards called Mathern^, where for many ages his 
memory was celebrated by the race of his enemies on the an- 

^ H. Hunt. W. Malm. lib. i. " quippe qui nulli unquam ignaviae locum 

2 Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 607. ^ See p. 121. 

* Calendar 3rd Jan. For the other particulars see Cod. MS. Eccl. Cath. 
Landav. in Monast. Angl. t. vi. p. 1222. The year of the battle, being in 
the time of bishop Oudoceus, the second successor of Dubritius (ob. 612), 
to whom the oratory was dedicated, must be subsequent to 610. See also 
Godwinus de Prsesul. Angl. edit. I6l6, p. 6l9. Usher, de Primord. p. 292. 
Langhorne, p. 148. 

* From Merthyr Tewdric. He was accounted a martyr, having lost his 
life in fighting against pagans. 


niversary of his martyrdom. His remains in a stone coffin, 
exhibiting the cloven skull, discovered in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, bore witness to the valiant heart once dwelling in the 
breast of the noble Tewdric of Morganwg. 

Cynegils, a son of Ceolric, and his son or brother, Cwichelm, 
succeeded Ceolwulf on the throne of Wessex^ It was in the 
reign of these princes that bishop Birinus landed in that king- 
dom. By the advice of pope Honorius, this missionaiy had 
undertaken to penetrate to the innermost parts of the country, 
for the purpose of propagating the Christian faith; but finding 
himself on his landing surrounded by the darkest paganism, 
he deemed it more useful to remain in those parts than to 
prosecute his original design. Cynegils, convinced by his 
preaching, was baptized at Dorchester-, being received from 
the font by Oswald of Northumbria, who had visited him for 
the purpose of marrying his daughter. In the following year 
Cwichelm also, a short time before his death, professed him- 
self a convert to the new doctrine. To Birinus, who had also 
baptized Cuthred^, the son of Cwichelm, Dorchester was 
assigned as an episcopal see ; and though Cenwealh, the son 
of Cynegils, after his father's death not only refused baptism, 
but strove to effect in Wessex a relapse into paganism, similar 
to that which had taken place in other states, yet his ex- 
pulsion, and conversion, which followed soon after, through 
converse with Anna, the pious king of the East Angles, and 
his steady adherence to the Christian faith after his restora- 
tion, prove that his conviction was sincerely shared by his 
people '*. 

To the Hfe of Oswald, not less distinguished for its activity 
than its spirit of fervent Christian beneficence, but a short 
duration was decreed. The restless foe of his country, Penda 
of Mercia, involved him in a war, in which he fell a^a place 

' A.D. 611. 2 ^ o g35_ 3 ^ jj g3g_ 

■* Beda, iii. 7. Sax. Chron. a. 643, 
VOL. I. M 

162 OSWALD. 

called Maserfeld ^ His last words when, surrounded with 
arms and enemies, death appeared inevitable, were a prayer 
for the souls of his people. 

The scornful treatment to which the corpse of Oswald was 
exposed, bears Mitness alike to the ferocity of the pagan con- 
querors and to the fear in which they had stood of the Chris- 
tian Bretwalda. Penda ordered the head and arms to be 
severed from the trunk and fixed on poles : these were re- 
moved by Oswiu in the year following, who caused the head 
to be buried at Lindisfarne, the arms and hands at Bam- 
borough, the royal residence. The body of Oswald was 
some time afterwards, by the care of his niece Osthryth, queen 
of Mercia, buried at Bardeney, where his banner of purple 
and gold was placed over his sepulchre. 

His amiable character had obtained for Oswald, even among 
his hereditary foes, the Britons, the surname of ' Lamngwin,' 
the fair or free of hand. His Christian m.erits and his mar- 
tyrdom made him a hero of the Christian world. He had 
attained only to the age of thirty-eight, and reigned eight 
years, exclusive of the unhappy year assigned by an innocent 
fiction to his reign, though belonging to that of his pre- 

Penda withdrew from Northumbria and the coast to his 
inland kingdom, after having glutted his vengeance and thirst 
for destruction, but certainly from other motives than those 
assigned by the credulous monks of those times. He had 
penetrated to Bamborough, which, defended by its position 

^ Sax. Chron. a. C42. Beda, iii. 9, "in loco, qui lingua Anglorum nun- 
cupatur Maserfelth." There is a place called Maseifield near Winwich in 
Lancashire, but the site of the battle seems with more probability to have 
been Oswestry in Shropshire. See Monast. Angl. and Camden Brit. By 
the Britons this battle is called ' bellum Cocboy ' (or Chochui). See Nen- 
nius and Annal. Camb. a. 644., where it is said that Eoba (Eowa), the 
brrther of Penda, also fell. Tigernach places the battle in which Oswald 
fell in 639 ; and another battle, unknown to our chronicles, of Oswiu 
against the Britons, in 642. See Annal. Ulton. aa. 638, 641. 

OSWIU. 163 

on a rock and by the waters of the ocean, defied his efforts to 
capture it either by assault or siege : he, therefore, resolved 
on its destruction by fire, to effect which he ordered a heap 
to be raised against the city, formed of timbers, thatch and 
other combustibles, brought from the ruins of the neighbour- 
ing hamlets, which he had commanded to be demolished for 
the purpose. This, when the wind was blowing towards the 
city, he caused to be set on fire ; but at that instant the wind 
suddenly, as we are told, at the prayer of Aidan, changed to 
the opposite direction, driving the flames on the Mercians, 
of whom some were injured and all terrified \ Possibly the 
state constitution of the Anglo-Saxons, though without autho- 
rity to prevent one kingdom from warring against another, 
did not permit the arbitrary aggrandizement or incorporation 
of the greater states, unless based on hereditary right ; as in 
Germany, Avhile under the emperors, we find the principle 
valid, that two dukedoms might not be united in one hand. 

On the death of Oswald, his dominions were again sepa- 
rated into their chief constituent parts. His brother Oswiu 
succeeded to Bernicia and the Bretwaldaship ; and two years 
later, Oswine (Oswini), son of Osric, to Deira. Oswine was 
distinguished by the comeliness of his person and the amiable 
qualities of his mind ; he was munificent, pious and humble : 
attracted by his liberality, the noblest men from the provinces 
dedicated themselves to his service : but the virtues of Oswine 
availed him little as a shield against aggression on the part 
of Oswiu. On the eve of a conflict between these princes, 
Oswine, perceiving that the forces of his adversary were 
greatly superior to his own, and despairing of success, dis- 
missed his army and withdrew for concealment, accompanied 
by one faithful follower named Tondhere, to the house of the 
ealdorman Hunwald, near Gilling, by whom he was betrayed 
to Oswiu, and, together Avith his attendant, murdered at .that 
king's command by his officer ^Ethelwine^. Twelve days after 

' Beda, iii. 16. - a.d. 651. Beda, iii. 14. 

M 2 

164 PENDA. 

his death the venerable Aiclan followed his royal friend to the 
grave. In atonement for his crime Oswiu founded a monas- 
tery at Ongetlingum, now Gilling, the spot where it had been 
perpetrated, near Richmond in Yorkshire. 

Oswine was succeeded in a part of Deira by ^Ethelwald, a 
son of Oswald, who had just reached the age of majority'. 

The chief deed of Oswiu, which as a "warrior covered him 
with glory, and had the greatest influence on the history of 
the Anglo-Saxons, is the overthrow of Penda. This prince, 
w hose name is rendered memorable by many successful en- 
terprises against the other Germanic states in Britain, and 
on whom the surname of the Strenuous^ has justly been 
bestowed, presents a striking and almost inexplicable phe- 
nomenon. Ruler of a territory surrounded more than any 
of the other states by a numerous hostile British population ; 
a state which — whatever sense may be given to a few obscure 
and doubtful traditions — was of all the youngest ; a state 
formed in the middle of the country, of immigrants and after- 
comers, who found the maritime parts already occupied; 
protected by marshes, rivers, mountains, — ruler of this state, 
the first of the race of Woden among the Teutonic warriors 
dwelling in this territory ; succeeding to power at the age of 
fifty ^ yet displaying the energ)^ of youth ; the last unshaken 
and powerful adherent of paganism among the Anglo-Saxons, 
— this prince, in alliance with, if not in the pay of, a British 
Christian king, had, during his reign of thirty years, first 

' St. Adelbert, a pupil of St. Willibrord, who preached at Kenneraaren, 
and was buried at Hollum, afterwards called Egmond (Annal. Xanten. aa. 
690, 694), is said to have been a son of Oswald, king of Deira. 

" I do not hesitate restoring this surname to Penda, which has been 
overlooked by modern historians. By Hen. Hunt, he is repeatedly called 
' Penda strenuus *; also Beda (ii. 20), in speaking of him, says, "auxilium 
prsebente Penda viro strenuissimo." 

•' Sax. Chron. a. 626. W. Malm. lib. i. Beda, ii. 20 (who pronounces 
him "de genere regio Merciorum"), begins his reign in 633, after the death 
of Eadwine. It may, therefore, not be purely accidental that the Chronicle 
in aa. 628 and 633 does not dignify him with the title of king. 

PENDA. 165 

assailed the Bretwalda of Northumbrian and afterwards re- 
peatedly the other states of his countrymen, with great suc- 
cess and still greater cruelty, yet, notwithstanding the de- 
struction of five kings, without securing to himself any last- 
ing result. Cynegils of Wessex had alone met him Avith any 
powerful resistance in the battle at Cirencester, wh^re both 
armies, having fought obstinately till separated by the dark- 
ness, were, when about to renew the contest on the following 
morning, so disheartened by the mutual havoc, that terms of 
reconciliation were easily agreed to^ After the above-men- 
tioned wars, with the cause of which we are unacquainted, we 
find Penda engaged in an expedition against Cenwealh, the 
son of Cynegils, for the purpose of avenging his sister, whom 
Cenwealh had married but afterwards repudiated^. With his 
usual success, he defeated Cenwealh and drove him from his 
kingdom. The fugitive found an asylum and protection with 
Anna, king of the East Angles, and, after an exile of three 
years, was, with the aid of his nephew Cuthred, reinstated 
in his dominions. 

The protection afforded to Cenwealh was probably the pre- 
text — if Penda needed a pretext — of a war between the Mer- 
cian and the king of East Anglia, in which the latter felP, 
being the third Uffing who had lost his life in contest with 
Penda. ^thelhere (^thelheri), the brother of Anna, suc- 
ceeded to the throne, whom the conqueror compelled to ac- 
company him in a campaign against the Bretwalda Oswiu. 
The latter had striven to live on peaceable and even friendly 
terms with the formidable Penda, the slayer of his brother 
Oswald. His son Ealhfrith was married to Cyneburh, a 
daughter of Penda ; his daughter, Ealhfla^d, to Peada son of 
Penda, ealdorman of the Middle Angles, who before this 
union had, with all his thanes and followers, been baptized 
by Finan bishop of Lindisfarne, the successor of Aidan, fi"om 

' Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 628. 

* Sax. Chron. a. 6-45. Beda, iii. 7. ^ Sax. Chron. a. 654. 

166 PENDA. 

the isle of Hil. Oswiu had dehverecl to Peiida Ecgfrith (Ecg- 
ferth), one of his sons, as a hostage, and, in the hope of check- 
ing the repeated and intolerable inroads of the Mercians, had 
promised to their king innumerable royal ornaments and 
other gifts : notwithstanding which Penda, with his allies, 
iEthelhere of East Anglia, ^Ethelwald the son of Oswald, 
and Catgabail king of Gwynedd, marched against him with 
the avowed purpose of exterminating the entire nation. His 
thirty well-appointed legions under experienced leaders w^ere 
arrayed against the little band of Oswiu, who felt strength- 
ened by their faith in Christ. " If the heathen," cried Oswiu, 
" will not accept our gifts, let us offer them to him who will, 
to the Lord our God." He vowed to give twelve estates in 
land for the erection of cloisters, also to dedicate his daughter 
-^Iflced, a child of twelve months, to perpetual virginity and 
a monastic life, if he proved victorious. On the banks of the 
Winwaed Oswiu and his son Ealhfrith, with their enthusiastic 
band, begun the conflict. On their side fought the God of 
battles, the remembrance of five slaughtered kings and count- 
less victims of foul treachery; but treachery, which had 
hitherto been on the part of Penda, now turned against him : 
^thelwald ventured not to fight against his uncle and his 
country, but, withdrawing to a place of security before the 
beginning of the conflict, awaited its result. Penda fell : his 
death was preceded by that of ^thelhere and nearly all the 
thirty auxiliary chieftains ; Catgabail fled under the veil of 
night, many perished by the sword, but many more in their 
flight were drowned in the Are, which, in consequence of the 
heavy rains, had overflowed its banks ^ Oswiu fulfilled his 
vows : his victory over the pagans gave to the church six 
monasteries in Deira and six in Bernicia, but her greatest 
gain was in the undisturbed diffusion of Christianity. In 

* Nennius, c. 66, who names the battle in which Penda fell, ' campus 
Gai.' The Annal. Camb. place it in 656, and Penda's death in the year 
following J the Annal. Ulton. in 649 ; Tigernach both events in 650. 


Mercia the new faith was now firmly estabhshed ; for, having 
budded under a pagan king who, at least in his latter years, 
did not persecute, but was content with despising the Chris- 
tians, it soon surmounted the dangers of a violent political 
change. Peada, to whom Oswiu had ceded South Mercia, 
was in the Easter following murdered, it is said through the 
treachery of his wife. Two years later Oswiu, who at the 
time ruled over the whole of Mercia and the southern pro- 
vinces, was expelled from Mercia by the revolt of three eal- 
dormen, Immin, Eafha, and Eadberht, when Wulfhere (Wulf- 
heri), a younger son of Penda, who had fled on the death of 
his father, and been long kept in concealment, ascended the 
throne of his ancestors ^ 

Diuma, a Scot, consecrated by Finan, was the first bishop 
of the Middle Angles and Mercians ; the paucity of ecclesi- 
astics rendering it necessary to place the two people under 
the spiritual government of one individual^. Essex also, 
whose king Sigeberht had, with the advice of his counsellors, 
yielded to the earnest remonstrances of his friend Oswiu, 
whom he frequently visited, abjured idolatry and returned to 
the faith which had been suppressed in the country since the 
expulsion of Mellitus. Cedd, an Englishman, consecrated 
also by Finan, was appointed by Oswiu bishop of the East 
Saxons^. Not long before, Ithamar, on the death of Paulinus, 
had been nominated to the see of Rochester'*, being the first 
Anglo-Saxon raised to the episcopal dignity; and shortly after 
Thomas, from the province of the Gyrwas, received the 
bishopric of the East Angles : even the only archiepiscopal 
dignity was possessed by an Anglo-Saxon, Deusdedit of Wes- 
sex. Already under Honorius, the predecessor of Deusdedit, 
the pope had remitted to the archbishops of Canterbury and 

1 Beda, iii. 24. - Beda, iii. 21. ^ Bg^jg,, iii. 21, 22. 

* Sax. Chron. Fl. AVigorn. a. 644. Beda, iii. 14. " Honorius archi- 
episcopus ordinavit Ithamar, oriundum quidem de gente Cantuariorum, 
sed vita et eiuditione antecessoribus suis eequandum." 



York the journey to Rome for the purpose of obtaining the 
j)all, and transferred to the survivor of either the consecration 
of the newly chosen archbishop ; thereby acknowledging the 
great independence of the Anglo-Saxon church : but as the 
archbishopric of York, since the flight of Paulinus, had not 
been repossessed, Deusdedit received his consecration at the 
hands of his countryman, the Kentish bishop Ithamar', who 
was himself succeeded by Damianus, a South Saxon^. 

The need of a bishop familiar with the language of the 
country was most openly declared in Wessex. Cenwealh 
had, after his restoration, elevated Agilbert, a Frank, edu- 
cated in Ireland, to the bishopric of the West Saxons ; but 
becoming at length weary of a foreign tongue, he estabhshed 
a new bishop at Winchester, in the person of Wine (Wini), 
an Anglo-Saxon^, greatly to the displeasure of Agilbert, who 
returned to France, where he was raised to the see of Paris. 
A few years after the departure of Agilbert, the king expelled 
Wine from his see, so that the West Saxons were for a con- 
siderable time without a bishop. Wine betook himself to 
Wulfhere of Mercia, of whom he bought the bishopric of 
London, in which he continued till his death '^. In Mercia 
also two Scots (the before-mentioned Diuma, and Ceollach, 
who soon returned to the quiet of his cloister at Hii) were suc- 
ceeded by Trumhere (Trumheri), an Anglo-Saxon and rela- 
tion of king Oswiu, but educated among the Scots ^. Though 
a lack of foreign ecclesiastics may be assigned as the cause of 
these appointments, it was certainly owing to the frequent 
elevation of natives to the highest spiritual dignities that the 
English church so early became a national one, that liturgy, 
ritual, prayers, and sermons so soon resounded in the Ger- 

1 Fl. Wigorn. a. 653. 2 ^^ 5^4 g^^^^ iij 20. 

^ Beda, iii. 7. " Rex, qui Saxonum tantum linguam noverat, pertsesus 
barbarae loquelee, subintroduxit in provinciara alium suse linguae episcopum, 
vocabulo Uini, et ipse in Gallia crdinatum." 

■» Beda, iii. 7- ^ Beda, iii. 2]. Fl. Wigorn. a. 659. 


manic dialect of the people and penetrated to their hearts. 
The retention of German proper names, the peculiarity of the 
Anglo-Saxon calendar and festivals, the slight influence of the 
Roman ecclesiastical law, the cultivation of the native tongue 
by the ecclesiastics, the weakened influence of Rome on the 
princes, are the beneficial fruits accruing to the church, which 
thus in reality became enriched by its early wants. 

An important measure, both for the benefit of the church 
and the closer union of the Anglo-Saxons, was reserved for 
king Oswiu. The Anglo-Saxons, according as they had 
been converted by Augustine and his followers, or by those 
of Columba, were attached to the Roman catholic, or to the 
British church. The majority of the ecclesiastics, at least of 
the more distinguished, belonged to the latter ; hence arose 
a difference in religious views and worship not only in the 
several kingdoms, but in the several provinces, which threat- 
ened to become extremely dangerous to the new faith. We 
see this religious disunion introduced through marriages even 
among the royal families, and that Oswiu himself celebrated 
the Easter festival, according to the Scottish practice, on a 
different day from that observed by his queen Eanflaed, a 
daughter of the king of Kent^ Ealhfrith also, the son and 
co-regent with Oswiu, was, through the persuasion of his 
friend Cenwealh, favourable to the Roman church-. Differ- 
ences of this kind, though affecting externals only, greatly 
endangered the Christian faith among a people scarcely 

^ The Easter festival was regulated by the commencement of the equi- 
noctial lunation, which, according to the Roman calculation, might begin 
as early as the fifth, while by the Alexandrian it could not begin before 
the eighth of March. Another point of controversy was the tonsure ! 
The Romans, in defence of their usage, pleaded the example of St. Peter, 
charging their adversaries with bearing the mark of Simon Magus, against 
which dire accusation their opponents could shield themselves only under 
the virtues of those whose example they followed. See Beda, ii. 4, iii, 3, 25, 
V. 21, and Smith's App. ix. — T. 

- Eddii Vita S. Wilfridi, c. vii. 


weaned from the worship of their forefathers, and acquainted 
with Christianity only in the closest connexion with the new 
external observances. Colman, a Scot, the third bishop of 
Lindisfarne after the death of Finan, zealously strove to esta- 
blish the principles of his sect. A synod was called at 
Streoneshealh (Whitby) ^, in which, under the presidency of 
Oswiu, the most distinguished ecclesiastics of each church 
defended their respective doctrines. Among the partizans of 
Rome were Agilbert, bishop of Wessex, and Wilfrith (Wil- 
ferth), the future celebrated bishop of York. The disputa- 
tion was maintained on both sides with learning and acute- 
ness, and the Scottish clergy might have succeeded in setting 
for ever a strong barrier against the catholic pretensions of 
the Roman church, if the king, wavering under the weight of 
so many conflicting arguments, had not remarked, that the 
Scots appealed to St. Columba, but the catholics to the 
apostle Peter; for Wilfrith had not forgotten to adduce, in 
support of the Roman tenets, that Peter was the rock on which 
the Lord had founded his church, and that to him were com- 
mitted the keys of heaven. " Has Columba also received such 
power?" demanded the king. Colman could not answer in 
the affirmative. " Do you both agree that to Peter the Lord 
has given the keys of heaven ?" Both affirmed it. " Then," 
said the king, " I will not oppose the heavenly porter, but, 
to my utmost ability, will follow all his commands and pre- 
cepts, lest when 1 come to the gates of heaven, there be no 
one to open to me, should he, who is shown to have the key 
in his custody, turn his back upon me." Those sitting in 
the council as well as those standing around, noble and vul- 
gar^, alike anxious for their eternal salvation, approved of 

1 Beda, iii. 25. Fl. Wigorn. a. 664, 

2 Beda, iii. 25. " Hasc dicente rege, faverunt adsidentes quique sive ad- 
staiites, majores una cum mediocribus ; et abdicata minus perfecta institu- 
tione, ad ea quje meliora cognoverant sese transferre festinabant." Tliis 
synod is also mentioned by Liutprand, Chron. a. 664. 


this determination, and were thus, in the usual spirit of large 
assemblies, and without further investigation of the argu- 
ments adduced, impelled to a decision by the excited feelings 
of the moment. The Scots either returned to their friends, 
or yielded to the opinions of the majority^, and thus, by the 
learning of their school, became useful to the Anglo-Saxons ; 
but, together with these apparently trivial externals, the great 
latent influence was sacrificed, which their church would pro- 
bably have acquired in opposition to the then less firmly 
established one of Rome. 

Oswiu himself appears to have been impressed with the 
necessity of the unity of the Anglo-Saxon church, and his 
character of Bretwalda — for we occasionally find him influ- 
encing, in a manner otherwise inexplicable, the concerns of 
the church^ — justified him in, and prompted him to, the ex- 
ecution of this important design. When the archiepiscopal 
see of Canterbury became vacant by the death of the sixth 
archbishop, Deusdedit^, Oswiu consulted with Ecgberht, 
king of Kent, who had in the same year succeeded his father, 
Earconberht, concerning the interests of the national church, 
and concurred with him in recommending the presbyter 
Wigheard as primate to pope Vitalian, to the end that he 
might consecrate catholic prelates throughout the whole coun- 
try'*. The answers of Vitalian and the presents sent to Oswiu 
and his queen bear sufficient testimony to the gratitude of 
the Roman bishop'^. The death of Wigheard, who fell a vic- 
tim to the pestilence then raging^, soon after his arrival at 

' Beda, iii. 26. 

~ Beda, iii. /. Thus, conjointly with Cynegils, Oswald appears as 
founder of the see of Dorchester. " Donaverunt ambo reges eidem episcopo 
civitatem quae vocatur Dorcic, ad faciendum inibi sedem episcopalem." 
Wulfherc also sold, as we have just seen, the bishopric of London to 
Wine. 3 gj^x. Chron. a. 664. 

* Beda, iii. 29. Sax. Chron. a. 667- ^ Beda, iii, 29, iv. 1. 

* A.D. 664. This year there was a total eclipse of the sun, whicfi was 
followed by the yellow plague, which, from time to time, desolated Britain, 
particularly Northumbria, during a period of twenty years. Among its 


Rome, was taken advantage of by the pope to set over the 
Anglo-Saxon bishops a primate devoted to his views, vene- 
rable by his age and experience, and distinguished by his 
rare knowledge and learning. The dignity was, therefore, 
offered to an African named Hadrian, a monk of Niridano, 
near Monte Cassino in the kingdom of Naples, who, de- 
clining the honour for himself, recommended as worthier of 
it the monk Theodore, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, a man emi- 
nently qualified by his attainments. The recommendation 
was accepted by the pontiff, on condition that Hadrian should 
accompany the new primate to Britain. From Rome the 
travellers proceeded to Marseilles by sea, and from thence by 
way of Aries to Paris, where they were kindly received by 
Agilbert, M'ith whom having staid some time, they prosecuted 
their journey, and landed safely in Kent. 

Immediately after his arrival, Theodore, accompanied by 
Hadrian, visited all the Anglo-Saxon states, where, by incul- 
cating the apparently indifferent doctrine regarding the time 
of celebrating Easter, he effected an universal acknowledge- 
ment of the Roman catholic church, and strove to obliterate 
all further and even every existing trace of the earlier in- 
fluence of the Scottish clergy on the choice and consecration 
of bishops in his province. It was in his time that the Roman 
or Gregorian chant, which, with the exception of the Nor- 
thumbrian churches, had been used only in Kent^ became 

victims were Catgualet, king of Gwynedd, Earconberht of Kent, J^^thel- 
wealh of Sussex, Deusdedit, archbishop of Canterbury ; the bishops Wine of 
London and Tuda of Lindisfarne; Boisil, abbot of Mailros, and Jithelburh, 
abbess of Barking. In Ireland, it is said that two thirds of the inhabitants 
perished. The pestilence of which Wigheard died at Rome was probably 
the same disease. Beda, iii. 27, iv. i. Usher, Antiq. pp. 948, 1164. — T. 
^ Beda, iv. 2. [" Sed et sonos cantandi in ecclesia, quos eatenus in 
Cantia tantum noverant, ab hoc tempore per oranes Anglorum ecclesias 
disc ;re coeperunt ; primusque, excepto Jacobo, de quo supra diximus, can- 
tandi magister Nordanhymbrorum ecclesiis (Cf. II. E. ii. 20) J^lddi cogno- 
mento Stephanus fuit, invitatus de Cantia a reverentissimo viro Uilfrido, 
qui primus inter episcopos, qui de Anglorum gente essent, catholicum 


general throughout the kingdom ; and while he thus united 
and strengthened the Anglo-Saxon church^, and connected it 
with that of the continent, he exerted himself, by the com- 
munication of his own higher acquirements, to place the 
clergy of this country on a level with that of the rest of the 
Christian Morld. We learn also from Beda that to Theodore 
and Hadrian the country was indebted for the knowledge of 
prosody, astronomy, ecclesiastical arithmetic, and also for 
men who were as familiar with Greek and Latin as with their 

Theodore found a most ardent and able adherent in that 
devoted champion of the Roman church, Wilfi'ith, bishop of 
York, a man eminently distinguished for Christian zeal, rare 
knowledge and vigorous powers of mind, whose eventful life 
attracts our attention even for its own sake, and imperatively 
demands it through its connexion with important events in 
the history of the country, at that time so closely interwoven 
with that of the church. 

Wilfrith, though not of noble birth ^, was endowed with all 
those natural advantages, the influence of which over rugged 
uncivilized people appears almost fabulous. In his thirteenth 
year, the period at which an Anglo-Saxon youth was con- 
sidered of age, he resolved to leave his parents and renounce 
the world. Equipped suitably to his station, he was sent to 
the court of Oswiu, and, through the influence of the queen 

vivendi morem ecclesiis Anglorum tradere didicit." To this -^Eddi we owe 
the valuable Vita Wilfridi, printed in Gale's collection, t. i., from whom, 
from Beda, a metrical life by Fridegod, Eadraer (ap. Mabillon, Ssec. iii. 
p. 1) and W. Malm. (De Gest. Pont. lib. iii.). Smith (App. ad Bed. xix.) 
has compiled a very useful chronological view of the life of Wilfrith. [For 
an account of the introduction of the Gregorian chant into England, see 
Smith's Appendix, No. xii. — T.] 

' Beda, iv. 2. " Isque primus erat in archiepiscopis, cui omnis Anglorum 
ecclesia manus dare consentiret." ' H. E. iv. 2. 

- Malmesb. de Gestis Pont. lib. iii. " Non infimis parentibus 'apud 
Northanimbros natus, si quid natalibus defuit gratise, generositate morum 
explevit."— T. 


Eanfloed, was received into the monastery of Lindisfarne by 
the chamberlain Cudda, who had exchanged earthly joys and 
sorrows for the retirement and observances of a cloister. 
Here he was as remarkable for humility as for mental endow- 
ments. Besides other books he had read the entire psalter, 
according to the emendation of St. Jerome, as in use among 
the Scots. His anxious desire to behold and pray in the 
church of the apostle Peter must have been the more grateful 
to the queen and her Roman catholic friends from the novelty 
and singularity of such a wish among his countrymen. In 
furtherance of his object she sent him to her brother Earcon- 
berht, king of Kent, where he made himself familiar with the 
doctrines of the Roman church, including the psalms accord- 
ing to the fifth edition. He was attached, as travelling com- 
panion, to Benedict, surnaraed Biscop *, a distinguished man, 
who at a later period exerted himself so beneficially in the 
cause of the church, and in the civilization and instruction of 
the Northumbrians. Benedict died abbot of the monastery 
founded by him at Wearmouth, an establishment not less famed 
for arts and scientific treasures, than ennobled through its cele- 
brated priest, the Venerable Beda^. On Wilfrith's arrival at 

' Eddius (c. iii.) calls him Biscop Baducing, no doubt from the name of 
his father. 

- It will be allowed in the history of the Anglo-Saxons, where allusions 
so often occur indicative of a higher degree of culture among them than 
has generally been supposed to exist, to call attention to the account, 
hitherto unnoticed in our histories of art, of the pictures which Benedict, 
jn the year 678, brought from Rome to Wearmouth, whicli is, moreover, 
exparticularly interesting as showing not only how much must have been 
executed, or at least collected at Rome, but that the subjects chosen for 
representation were the same as those on which artists have been chiefly 
engaged from that time almost to the present. [The entire passages are 
so curious that I cannot resist the temptation to give them at length. 
" Picturas imaginum sanctarum, quas ad ornandum ccclesiam beati Petri 
Apostoli, quam construxerat, detulit ; imaginem, videlicet, beatre Dei gene- 
trie's semperque virginis Marias, simul et duodecim apostolorum, quibus 
mediam ejusdem ecclesire testudinem, ducto a pariete ad parietem tabulate, 
prsecingeret ; imagines evangelicae historic, quibus australem ecclesite pari- 
etem decoraret ; imagines visionum Apocalypsis beati Johannis, quibus sep- 


Lyons, Dalfinus, the archbishop, was so struck by his judicious 
discourse, comely countenance, and mature understanding, 
that he retained him long with him, offered to adopt him for 
his son, to give him the hand of his brother's daughter, and 
to procure for him the government of a part of Gaul. 

But Wilfrith hastened to Rome, acquired there a thorough 
knowledge of the four gospels, also the Roman computation 
of Easter, which, as we have already seen, he afterwards so 
triumphantly employed ; and at the same time made himself 
familiar with many rules of ecclesiastical discipline, and what- 
ever else Avas proper for a minister of the Roman church. On 
his return he passed three years at Lyons with his friend 
Dalfinus, and extended his knowledge by attending the most 
learned teachers. He now declared himself wholly devoted 
to the church of Rome, and received from Dalfinus the ton- 
sure of St. Peter, consisting of a circle of hair in imitation of 
the crown of thorns, while the Scots shaved the entire front, 
leaving the hair only on the hinder part of the head. Here 
he nearly shared the fate of his unfortunate friend, the arch- 
bishop, in the persecution raised against him by the queen 
Baldhild, the widow of Clovis the Second', and the mayor of 

tentrionalem seque parietem ornaret, quatenus intrantes ecclesiam omnes, 
etiam literarum ignari, quaquaversum intenderent, vel semper amabilem 
Christi sanctorumque ejus, quamvis in imagine, contemplarentur aspectum ; 
vel Dominicie incarnationis gratiara vigilantiore mente recolerent ; vel ex- 
tremi discrimen examinis, quasi coram oculis liabentes, districtius se ipsi 

examinare meminissent Dominicte historias picturas, quibus totara 

beatse Dei genetricis, quam in monasterio raajore fecerat, ecclesiam in gyro 
coronaret, adtulit ; imagines quoque ad ornandum monasteriutn ecclesiam- 
que beati Pauli Apostoli, de concordia Veteris et Novi Testamenti, summa 
ratione compositas, exhibuit : verbi gratia, Isaac ligna, quibus immolaretur, 
portantem ; et Dominum crucem, in qua pateretur, seque portantem, 
proxima super invicem regione, pictura conjunxit. Item serpenti in eremo 
a Moyse exaltato, Filium hominis in cruce exaltatum comparavit." — T.] 
One of these pictures, though not specially mentioned, yet perhaps 
comprised among the ' imagines evangelica; historic,' Beda seems to have 
had in his eye when describing the three holy kings. Cf. Bed^ Vita S. 

' Baldhild is said to have been an Anglo-Saxon slave. Act. Sane, Mabill. 
Seec. ii. p, ^JTJ sq. Script. Rer. Fr. t, ii. p. 449. 


the palace, Ebruin ; but the comely young stranger, through 
the extraordinary compassion of his persecutors, was saved 
from the death of a martyr. He now hastened back to his 
country, where he was honourably received by king Ealhfrith ', 
consecrated abbot of the monastery of Ripon, and regarded as 
a prophet by high and low. After the disputation with bishop 
Colman at Whitby, Oswiu and his son with their witan chose 
the abbot Wilfrith for bishop of York, who passed over to 
Paris to be consecrated by Agilbert. On his return to North- 
umbria he was driven by a storm on the coast among the 
pagan South Saxons, who proceeded vigorously to exercise 
the right of wreck on the strangers. The chief priest of the 
idolaters stood on an eminence, for the purpose of depri^ang 
them of power by his maledictions and magic, M'hen one of 
their number, with David's courage and luck, hurled a stone 
at him from a sling which struck him to the brain. At the 
fall of their priest the fury of the people was excited against 
the little band, w^ho succeeded, however, after a conflict four 
times renewed, in re-embarking with the return of the tide, 
and reached Sandwich in safety. 

So arbitrary at that time was the spirit in which affairs of 
the highest moment were conducted, so wavering the mind 
of Oswiu, of so little worth the royal word, that the king, 
during Wilfrith's absence, influenced by the Scottish party, 
had consented to the election of the presbyter Ceadda to the 
see of York. Wilfrith retired submissively to his cloister at 
Ripon, where he introduced the Roman ritual and the rule of 
St. Benedict, occasionally performing episcopal duties, at the 
desire of the kings Wulfhere of Mercia and Ecgberht of 
Kent. Archbishop Theodore, however, during his visitation 
of Bernicia and Deira, effected his restoration to his see, 
while that of Lichfield was by Wulfhere, at the instance of 
Wilfrith, bestowed on Ceadda. 

With other arts and knowledge architecture also came in 
the suite of the Roman church. The Scottish clergy, from 

» See p. 169. 


the preference perhaps of the northern nations for that 
material, had built their churches of wood, thatching them 
with reeds, an example of which existed in the new cathedral 
at Lindisfarne. It was at a later period only that reeds were 
exchanged for sheets of lead, with which the walls also were 
sometimes covered. Wilfrith sent for masons from Kent, 
and the abbot Benedict for workmen from Gaul. The stone 
basilica erected by Paulinus at York, which had fallen into 
a disgraceful state of dilapidation, was restored by "Wilfrith, 
the roof covered with lead, the windows filled with glass, till 
then unknown among his countrymen ^ At Ripon he caused 
a new basilica of polished stone to be erected, supported by 
pillars, with a portico. The consecration — at which the kings 
Ecgfrith and ^Ifwine were present — was concluded by a 
feasting reminding us of pagan times, which lasted during 
three days and nights'^. The four gospels written with golden 
letters on purple vellum, adorned with paintings, in a case of 
pure gold set with precious stones, enables us to judge both 
of the wealth and munificence of the patrons of Wilfrith. An 
edifice still more remarkable was erected by the bishop at 
Hexham, which, it is said, had not its like on this side of the 
Alps^. Benedict's structure too at Wearmouth was the work 
of masters from Gaul, after the Roman model. Thus we 
perceive, in the instance of the most memorable buildings of 
which mention is found in the histoiy of the Anglo-Saxons, 

' Eddius, cc. xvi., xvii, Beda, Vita Beaedicti. "Benedictus Gallias 

petens caementarios, qui lapideam sibi ecclesiam juxta Romanorum morein 
facerent, postulavit, accepit, attulit. Misit legataries Galliam, qui vitri 
factores, artifices videlicet Brittaniis eatenus incognitos, ad cancellandas 
ecclesise porticuumque et coenaculorum ejus fenestras adducerent." [For 
much curious information on this subject, see Dissertation ' On the Intro- 
duction of Learning into England,' in Warton's H. E. P. vol. i. — T.] 

- Eddius, c. xvii. 

^ Eddius, c. xxii. " Domus, cujus profunditatem in terra cum domibus 
mirifice politis lapidibus fundatam, et super terram multiplicera domum, 
columnis variis et porticibus raultis suffultam, mirabilique longitudine et 
altitudine murorum ornatam, et variis linearum anfractibus viarum, ali- 
quando sursum, aliquando deorsum, per cochleas circumductam." 

VOL. I. N 


how their architecture sprang from that of ancient Rome, 
however it may have been modified in England to suit a 
difference of circumstances and chmate. 

Oswiu had greatly enlarged his dominions by victories 
over the Picts, and held his state in obedience and tran- 
quillity till his deaths His eldest son Ealhfrith had died 
before him, and his kingdom, composed of so many discor- 
dant parts, fell to his younger sons Ecgfrith and -^Ifwine. 
Despising their youth, the Picts, under their king Birdei, 
lost no time in attempting to regain their independence ; but 
the Northumbrian princes, under the direction of the valiant 
Bernhaeth, were enabled for a considerable time to hold them 
in subjection. A more dangerous enemy threatened them in 
Mercia, whose king, Wulfhere, seems to have been regarded 
as Bretwalda. This prince strove to form an alliance with 
the southern states against Northumbria, and to render that 
kingdom tributary : so unsuccessful, however, was the plan, 
that Wulfhere, being himself overcome by the Northum- 
brians, saw his own state divided and made tributary, and 
the territory of Lindisse annexed to Northumbrian. Wulfhere 
did not long survive this reverse. He was the first prince 
who, after some struggles with Wessex, preserved Mercia in 
a long state of tranquillity and reputation among the Anglo- 
Saxon kingdoms : his exertions for the spread of Christianity, 
to wiiich he had converted yEthelwealh^, king of Sussex ; his 
endeavour, in conjunction with AVilfrith, by the ministry of 
the priest Eoppa, to convert the inhabitants of the Isle of 

1 Beda, iv. 5. Sax. Chron. a. 670. 

' Palgrave, vol. ii. p. cccxi, places this event about the year 678, ap- 
parently because Beda, iv. 1 2, says, " quam (provinciam) nuperrime rex 
Ecgfrid superato in bello et fugato Vulfhere, obtinuerat." But Wulf- 
here died in 675 (see Sax. Chron.), and his successor J^thelred ravaged 
Kent in 676. Beda, iv. 12. ^dde also (c. xx. sq.) places this victory "in 
pr'mis annis Ecgfridi regis," before Wulfhere's, and several years before 
Dagobert's death (678). The Chronol. in Wanley and Petrie gives the 

date 67-1. 
' The Sax. Chron. a. 661 erroneously calls this prince .^thehvald. 


Wight ^; his friendship for Wilfrith and other Christian 
teachers, show that he was susceptible of higher instruction, 
and understood the true poUcy of his time. Of his last act, 
which reminds us strongly of his father Penda, we cannot 
judge with confidence, our knowledge of it being derived 
solely from Northumbrian sources. 

With the increasing power of Northumbria the authority 
of the bishop of York was in a like degree extended. Clerical 
influence became exceedingly powerful over the Anglo- 
Saxons, and among the newly converted people we soon 
discover the same erroneous notions as those which in that 
age were so prevalent on the continent, ^thelthryth, the 
daughter of Anna king of the East Angles, had been first 
married to Tunberht, prince or ealdorman of the South Gyr- 
was, after whose premature death she was demanded by 
Oswiu for his son Ecgfrith, then a youth of fourteen years 
only. This princess, desirous of imitating what in those 
times was regarded as the acme of female perfection, had 
made and kept a vow of perpetual virginity 2. In the view 
of turning her from her resolve, Ecgfrith demanded the me- 
diation of Wilfrith, promising him lands and money in the 
event of his success. That Wilfrith's influence was unavail- 
ing, or exerted in a way contrary to the king's expectation, 
may be concluded from the circumstance that, after being for 
twelve years the wife of Ecgfrith, ^Ethelthryth became a nun 
in the monastery of Coldingham. From this event the ill- 
will of Ecgfrith towards Wilfrith is said to have taken its 

After his separation from ^thelthryth, Ecgfrith espoused 
Eormenburh, sister of the wife of Centwine, king of Wessex^, 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 661. ['Where it is at the same time stated that he had 
previously laid it waste. — T.] 

" Beda, iv. 19, ejd. Chron. a. 688. W. Malm. lib. iv. and her Life by- 
Thomas of Ely, ap. Mabillon, Sffic. ii. [yEthelthrj-th died abbess of Ely.— T.] 

^ Eddius, c. xxxix. 

N 2 


a princess -whose violence of disposition seems to have widened 
the breach between her consort and the prelate, and hastened 
the outbreak of the dissensions among the higher clergy, and 
the incipient jealousy of the secular towards the ecclesiastical 
power. Though Wilfrith had not recovered for his see the 
old archiepiscopal title, yet the primate of Canterbury might 
hardly expect that the northern prelate would not seek to re- 
gain the ancient rights of his vast province ; he consequently 
delayed not to represent to the kings Ecgfrith and J])lfwine 
the danger to which the riches and authority of the bishop of 
York might expose him. The kings and the archbishop 
agreed therefore to divide the northern bishopric into two 
dioceses; one at York for Deira, and one at Hexham or 
Lindisfarne for Bernicla. Though the violence of this pro- 
ceeding may not meet with approval, the partition of the 
bishopric seems justified by the example afforded by Wilfrith 
himself, with whose co-operation the kingdom of Mercia, 
containing one bishopric of equal extent with itself, was 
shortly after separated between two, and afterwards among 
three prelates^. East Anglia was also in the time of Theo- 
dore divided into two bishoprics. 

The personal consideration enjoyed by Wilfrith was powder- 
less in effecting any change in this decision : on the contrary, 
his opponents were so exasperated, that, on his leaving En- 
gland^, attended by a company of ecclesiastics, the king of 
Neustria and his powerful mayor of the palace, Ebruin, were 
prevailed on to cause him to be waylaid on his journey to- 
wards Rome ; a request which implies a closer connexion be- 
tween the two courts than the obscurity in which those times 
are shrouded enables us otherwise to recognise ; though the 

^ Beda, iv, 12. - Malmesb. de Gestis Pontif. lib. iv. p. 288. 

^ Wilfritli's flight must, as by Fl. Wigorn., be placed in 677, as in the 
following spring he had an interview with Dagobert who was murdered in 
678. The date 678 given in Beda, iv. 12, and in the Chronicle, may have 
reference to the consecration of his successors. [Some MSS. read septimo 
for octavo. See Stevenson's note, p. 275 of his edit. — T.] 


readiness of the Neustrians to persecute the exile may have 
been a consequence of the circumstance, that Wilfrith, at the 
sohcitation of the friends of the Austrasian king, Dagobert 
(Dffigberht) the Second, who, after a long exile, had dis- 
covered that prince in Ireland, had, supported by the arms 
of his partizans, effected his return to his realm, and pre- 
sented him with costly gifts. A storm, which drove his vessel 
to the coast of Friesland, saved Wilfrith ; but a delusive 
similarity of name threw the bishop of Lichfield, Wulfrith, 
also an exile, into the hands of the waylayers. The landing 
of Wilfrith in Friesland was productive of the most important 
consequences, both for the inhabitants of that country, and 
afterwards for a great part of the north of Europe. Wilfrith 
found an hospitable reception with the king Aldgisl, as well 
as protection against the machinations of Ebruin, who even 
there ceased not to persecute him. Called on through a 
notion of the people, who ascribed to his presence the abun- 
dant fishing season and the rich harvest of that year, he 
preached to them the doctrine of Christ in the intelligible 
dialect of the Anglo-Saxons, and baptized nearly all the 
princes, with many thousands of the peopled 

It was thus decreed to Wilfrith to be the first of the 
numerous Anglo-Saxon missionaries and ecclesiastics to 
whom the countries on the Baltic and German Ocean, also 
many provinces to the south, are indebted for their conversion 
to Christianity and the elements of civilization intimately 
connected therewith. His immediate followers were his pu- 
pil Willebrord, afterwards, under the name of Clement, first 
bishop of the Frisians ; Winfrith or Boniface, the apostle of 
the Thuringians, archbishop of Mentz ; Leofwine, the suc- 
cessful converter of the Saxons ; Willehad of Northumbria, 
the friend of Alcwine (Ealhwine) and first bishop of Bremen; 
Willebald, first bishop of Eichstadt, and his brother Wuni- 
bald. We also find in Germany many devout and zealous 

' Eddius, c. xxvi. — xxviii. 


Anglo-Saxon ladies, as Leobgyth, who had learned the art 
of poetry from the abbess Eadburh ; Thecla, abbess of the 
cloister at Kitzingen, and others. In consequence of the con- 
nexion between Denmark and England, a considerable num- 
ber of distinguished men followed in the same course, whose 
influence on the civilization of the North has been generally 
disregarded, and certainly never sufficiently appreciated. 
Those remaining behind were cheered and confirmed in the 
faith by the example and teaching of Aldhelm, first abbot of 
Malmesbury (Maeldulfsburh), and afterwards bishop of Shire- 
burn, who first among the Anglo-Saxons made the whole 
heritage of Roman learning his own, and gained the still 
greater glory of being one of the earliest and best poets in 
his own Germanic mother-tongue ^ 

Let us not, however, exalt the merits of the Anglo- 
Saxons without acknowledging those of their teachers, the 
Scots, especially as both worked sometimes in common in 
the same field, and the former are often comprised under the 
name of the latter. As applicable to both, it may be re- 
marked that their emigrations had not always the work of 
conversion for immediate object, but that, in consequence of 
the lack, during several centuries, of regular monastic orders, 
those desirous of devoting themselves to a severe and con- 
templative course of life, either alone or with a few kindred 
spirits, were induced to leave their home and betake them- 
selves to some lonely cell, or hallowed spot^, a practice long 
retained among the Scots. At a time when the Anglo-Saxons 
had scarcely begun to spread a new paganism in Britain, 

^ Of Aldhelm we have the following testimony : " Aldhelmus nativse 
linguse non negligebat carmina, adeo ut, teste libro Elfredi (manuali libro 
sive handboc) nulla aetate par ei fuerit quisquam poesim Anglicam posse 
facere." W.Malm. lib. v. ap. Savile and Gale; and Wharton, Augl. Sac. 
t. ii. p. 1. Aldhelm died May 25, a. 709. An edition of Cjedmon's Scrip- 
tural Paraphrase with an English version, by the translator of the present 
worK, was published in 1832, at the expense of the Society of Antiquaries. 
Ca;dmon died in 680. 

2 Osberni Vita S. Dunstani, lib. i. c. i. 


Friclolin, a native of Ireland, had already founded a convent 
at Seckingen, an island in the Rhine ', and dedicated a church 
to St. Hilarius, the possessions of which have given name to 
the canton of Glarus"^: At the beginning of the seventh 
century, Columbanus, the friend of St. Columba, with his 
pupil Gallus, travelled to those parts, where the name of the 
latter is preserved in that of the canton of St. Gall, and 
where his monastery may be regarded as the choicest store- 
house of the learning and poetry of the middle age. From 
Columbanus the cloister of Luxeuil, also that of Bobbio and 
others derive their origin. At a later period^ Kilian a Scot, 
with his companions Coloman and Tottman, founded a 
monastery at Wiirzburg, the library of which preserves the 
proof of its descent in precious monuments in the Irish lan- 
guage. Virgilius, a Scot, contemporary with Boniface, was 
bishop of Salzburg. The convent at Peronne seems also to 
be among the oldest foundations of the Scots'*. Gertrude, 
abbess of Nivelles, a daughter of Pepin, a daughter also of the 
mayor of the palace, Grimwald, caused many learned Scots 
to settle in France. Ultanus was the founder of the abbey of 
St. Quentin'^. The convent of St. Martin at Cologne^", of St. 
James at Ratisbon, of St. Mary at Vienna, ai'e only some among 
the many Scottish foundations to which Germany, as well as 
other countries, is indebted for the establishment and spread 
of Christian doctrines, the preservation of learning, and the 
beneficent applications of worldly goods". The possession 

^ A.D. 490. 2 j_ V. Miiller's Geschichte der Schweizer, Bd. i. c. 9. 

3 A.D. 680. 

* Annales Mettenses, a. 69O. Beda, iii. 19^ and Smith's note ; also 
Gall. Christ, t. ix. 1035, and Mabill. Annal. Ord. S. Bened. xiv. 1, 2. 

' See charter in SS. Rer. Francic. t. ix. p. 735. 

^ In the Monum. Hist. Germ. t. ii. p. 215. Pertzhas, for the first time, 
printed a chronicle of this monastery, from a. 756 to 1021. 

^ Cf. Murray, Comment. ' De Britannia et Hibernia, sec. vi.-x.' ' Lite- 
rarum Domicilio,' in Nov. Comment. Soc. Gottingens. t. ii. For Scots in 
Iceland and other parts of the North, cf. Dicuilus de Mensura Orbis, ap. 
Langebek, SS. Rer. Dan. t. ii. p. 31, and Adam. Bremen. 


of rich benefices often excited the national jealousy against 
the Scots, who, however, were always able to recover their 
lost rights ^ Of the ancient connexion between the Scottish 
cloisters and the mother country, which was never broken, 
and had often proved of mutual benefit, both in secular 
and ecclesiastical respects^, traces exist even at the present 

As Germany was especially indebted to British ecclesiastics, 
whether of kindred or of Celtic race, both for its Christianity 
and its early mental formation, it may reasonably be inferred 
that many historic traditions passed over from the old coun- 
try to the new acquisition of the Saxons. We will here 
merely allude to the before-mentioned saga of the landing 
of the Saxons in Hadeln ; though the old Danish history is 
also interwoven with traditions of England. With the wri- 
tings of the Anglo-Saxons, the oldest written chronicles also 
passed over to Germany, and in the earliest annals of German 
cloisters are to be found some chronological notices of which 
all traces are lost in England. To these strangers may also 
be ascribed the circumstance, that in the oldest small chro- 
nicles, in M'hich almost every word must shed some vielcome 
light on dark antiquity, are often contained, instead of Ger- 
man names and narratives, the unintelligible and indifferent 
names of British ecclesiastics : still to these individuals is 
owing the introduction of Beda's chronology into Germany 
at that early stage of learning^. 

In the following year Wilfrith continued his journey to- 
wards Rome, after having declined the bishopric of Strasburg, 
offered to him by his royal friend Dagobert. Bertari, king 

' As early as the year 846 the French bishops recommended to Charles 
the Bald that the HospitaUa Scotorum might be kept according to the in- 
tentions of their pious founders. Pertz, t.iii. p. 390. It is in later times 
only that we find them stigmatized and prosecuted as pseudo-bishops and 
vagal-onds. Hludovici Imper. Capit. Addit. iii. 37. 

^ See hereafter, a. 929. 

^ See Literary Introduction. 


of the Longobards^, a friend and relative of the Anglo-Saxon 
rulers, received the exile with respect, rejecting with disdain 
the demand of his enemies to detain him. The protection of 
the pope had not yet been claimed by Anglo-Saxon church- 
men ; we may, therefore, considering the connexion still sub- 
sisting with the old British clergy, as well as the short time 
that Northumbria had belonged to the catholic church, re- 
gard it only as a very bold experiment, when pope Agatho, 
with the synod assembled at Rome, commanded, under threats 
of all spiritual punishments, the restoration of Wilfrith to his 
former Saxon bishopric^. But the thunders of the Vatican 
proved as powerless as had been for many centuries the de- 
crees of the Capitol. Ecgfrith not only held in contempt the 
command of the pope, but caused its object on his return to 
linger nine months in prison, from which he was released 
only by bold artifice and the representations of his adherents. 
He was, however, compelled to leave the dominions of Ecg- 
frith, who, moreover, effected his expulsion from Mercia, 
whose king, ^thelred, had married Osthryth, a sister of the 
Northumbrian ; as also from Wessex, where a sister of queen 
Eormenburh was, as we have seen, the consort of the king 
Centwine. As an asylum beyond the influence of Ecgfrith, 
the remote territory of the South Saxons alone presented 
itself to the fearless energetic man, to the shore of which he 

' The passage of Eddius (c. xxviii.), " pervenerunt ad Berchterum 
regem Campanise," has been often misunderstood. The words which he 
attributes to that prince about his flight to the king of the Huns agree 
fully with what Paul Warnefrid relates concerning Bertari, who had him- 
self been desirous of seeking aid in England, and whose son Cunibert was 
married to an Anglo-Saxon lady named Hermelind. See hereafter under 
Ceadwealla of Wessex, and Paul. Diac. v. 32, 3/. 

' Beda, v. 19. Fl. Wigorn. a. 679- In his petition to the pope, Wil- 
frith styles himself ' episcopus Saxoni^.' See Eddius, c. xxix. In like man- 
ner Hwsetberht, in his letter to Gregory, — " Hwsetberchtus abbas coenobii 
beatissimi apostolorum principis Petri in Saxonia." Beda, Vita Hwiet- 
berchti. How readily Rome received this appeal, from which a faint dawn 
of future authority over all the British islands seemed to arise, appears 
from the acts of this synod. Cf. Alberici Chron. a. 680. 


had formerly been driven under such inauspicious circum- 
stances, and where the people, notwithstanding the earlier 
attempt to convert them, had either persisted in, or fallen 
back to, paganism. 

The king of Sussex, ^Ethelwealh, as well as his queen, 
Eabe^, of the family of the petty kings of the Hwiccas, had 
been baptized. Thus to the homeless exile, whom the secular 
power would not, and the highest spiritual power could not 
protect, was the work committed, to bring within the pale of 
Christendom the last heathen people of his native land. Here 
too were the efforts of Wilfrith successful, and the establish- 
ment of a bishopric in Sussex was the early consequence. 
Selsea was assigned to him as an episcopal see, together with 
sufficient lands and revenues, which was subsequently trans- 
fen'cd to Chichester. 

Even here the most important events of Britain are gathered 
round the person of Wilfrith. Ceadwealla, son of Cenbyrht^ 
of the race of Ceawlin of Wessex, had lived an exile in the 
wilds of Chiltene and Andredesweald : he visited the bishop, 
who received the noble youth M'ith kindness; though yet 
unconverted, treated him as his son, and was greatly helpful 
to him in the acquisition of his kingdom'^. Previously to this 
event, Ceadwealla (under what pretext, or how Wilfrith*s 
conduct on the occasion is to be explained, we are ignorant) 
had conquered Sussex, — in defence of which ^thelwealh 
had fallen, — but had again lost it. Wilfrith now received the 
bishopric of Wessex from CeadM'ealla, who, though still un- 
baptized, was zealous for the advancement of Christian insti- 
tutions. Having reconquered Sussex, the Isle of Wight, — 
the conversion of which Avas also the work of Wilfrith, — and 

* Eabe had already been baptized in her own country : " Eaba in sua, 
id est, Huicciorum provincia, fuerit baptizata; erat autem filia Eanfridi, 
fratris Eanheri, qui ambo cum suo populo Christian! fuere." Beda, iv. 13. 
— T. 

2 Ob. a. 661. ^ Eddius, c. xli. H. Hunt. a. 686. 


finally Kent, where an appalling event had taken place, to be 
detailed hereafter, and which probably accelerated the execu- 
tion of his design, Ceadwealla resolved not only to adopt the 
faith professed by the majority of his subjects, but to give an 
example hardly occurring a second time in the whole course 
of history, — that of a youthful vigorous prince renouncing his 
sceptre, to sever himself from paganism by baptism at the 
hands of the sovereign pontiff, in the church of St. Peter, and 
in monastic solitude to await in serious meditation the day of 
admission to a better life. 

Wilfrith had in the meanwhile become reconciled with the 
repentant archbishop Theodore, not long before the death of 
the latter in 690, and, through his mediation, also with ^th el- 
red of Mercia, who bestowed on him the see of Lichfield*, 
— the fourth that had fallen to him — in his kingdom, and, 
after the death of Ecgfrith, effected his reconciliation with 
Aldfrith^, his successor, Ecgfrith, after an unjust and cruel 

^ Malmesb. de Gest. Pontif. lib. iii. 

" Aldfrith, who, according to Sim. Dunelm., in the year 685, May 20, 
succeeded Ecgfrith, has by most English historians (with the exception of 
Carte, Lingard and Palgrave) been regarded as the same son of Oswiu who 
ruled jointly, and thirty years previously commanded with his father in the 
decisive battle against Penda on the Winwsed ; but it is to be remarked 
that Beda, whenever he mentions the eldest son, calls him Alchfrid (in 
Alfred's version, Ealhfrith), without the slightest allusion to illegitimacy. 
See H. E. iii. 14, 21, 24, etc. Vita S. Benedicti, p. 293. The later king 
he always calls Aldfrid (in Alfred's version, Ealdfrith), H. E. iv. 26, v. 19, 
21, 24. Vita S. Ceolfridi, Vita S. Cuthb. Ep. ad Ecgb. p. 309 ed. Smith, 
ed. Stev. p. 219. Sax. Chron. aa. 685 and 705. Alcuinus, de Pontif. 
Eccles. Ebor. a. 843. Adamnani Vita S. Columbse, ii. 46. Even in the 
incorrect printed text of JEdde we find the distinction of the names, c. viii. 
56. But we nowhere find that the peaceful Irish student, the inexorable 
opponent of Wilfrith, of whom he had been the early friend and scholar, 
and the valiant conqueror of Penda, the rebellious son of Oswiu, were one 
and the same individual. Malmesbury indeed informs us that Aldfrith 
was the elder brother (" Is quia nothus erat, factione optimatum, quamvis 
senior, regno indignus sestimatus, in Hiberniam, seu vi seu indignatione, 
secesserat ; ibi et odio germani tutus, et magno otio Uteris imbutus, omni 
philosophia composuerat animum," lib. i.), a fact which, if well founded, 
proves nothing against Beda's testimony. Alchfrid was in 653 married to 


war on Ireland, the conduct of which he had committed to 
Beorht^, and after the conquest of Cumberland, where he had 
bestowed Carlisle and the land of Cartmel on the church of 
Lindisfarne, was slain in an invasion of the Pictish territory, 
at Nechtansmere (Drumnechtan). Aldfrith was an illegiti- 
mate son of Oswiu, who having passed some time in Ire- 
land^, devoted to study, and being very eminent at the time 
for his attainments, had by his brother been destined to a 

But for Wilfrith there was no tranquillity. Though he had 
declined the succession to the archiepiscopal see of Canter- 
bury offered to him by Theodore, and had even aided Berht- 
wald in obtaining that dignity, the latter, nevertheless, five 
years afterwards, during which time Wilfrith had recovered 
possession of the see of York and his other benefices, placed 
himself, with king Aldfrith, at the head of a synod, at which 
most of the British bishops wei'e present, who in that spirit 
of independence of the papal chair which had been main- 
tained for the last twenty-two years, demanded of Wilfrith, 
in the first place, an acknowledgment of the statutes and or- 
dinances of archbishop Theodore, and, on his refusal, resolved 
to deprive him of his benefices, excepting only the monastery 
of Ripon which he had founded^. 

a daughter of Penda. Beda, iii. 21. Aldfrid in 705 left a successor eight 
years of age. The similitude of names needs excite no doubt. Aldfrid 
(Ealdfrith) is well associated with Alchfrid (Ealhfrith) and Ecgfrid (Ecg- 
frith) to suit the Anglo-Saxon usage. Thus Penda's son was named Peada ; 
two brothers, Cedd and Ceadda. Oswiu's daughter, married in 653 to 
Peada, was named Alchfled (Ealhflffid), and one born the year following, 
jElflsed. Beda, iii. 21, 24. Tigernach, a. 704, calls him Altfrith mac Ossu. 
O'Connor (MSS. Stowens. t. i.) refers to a poem by him. 

^ Beda, iv. 26. Tigernach, a. 685. " Saxones campum (Bregrae) vastant, 
et ecclesias plurimas in mense Junii." 

" Beda, Vita S. Cuthb. c. xxiv. " In insulis Scottorum ob studiura 
literarum exulabat — in regionibus Scottorum lectioni operam dabat, ipse 
ob amorem sapientise spontaneum passus exsilium." Also, Vita Cuthb. 
Anon. § 28. " Qui (Alfridus) tunc erat in insula quam Hy nominaiit." — T. 

•^ Eddius, c. xlv. 


Wilfrithj far from tamely submitting to his disgrace and to 
the diminution of the papal authority, again undertook, though 
in his seventieth year, the perilous journey to Rome, where, 
however, the English clergy, in the character of accusers, 
strove to anticipate him. Though their efforts against Wil- 
frith were fruitless, yet the honourable exculpatory decision 
and mediation of the pope, John the Sixth, availed him little 
on his return to his native country. The archbishop received 
him with apparent kindness, but Aldfrith, on w^hom even 
Wilfrith's friend and biographer bestows the surname of ' the 
Wisest,' was too deeply imbued with the tenets of the old 
British church to allow the decrees made by his predecessors 
and himself, with the concurrence of the witan and clergy, to 
be annulled by a sheet of parchment from the chair at Rome^ 
The death of Aldfrith, and the declaration of his sister, the 
abbess iElflaed and other adherents of Wilfrith, that the king 
in his last hours had desired the restoration of peace, but 
more effectually, perhaps, the death of Bosa, bishop of York, 
accomplished at length an accommodation, in the synod on the 
Nith^, which, as far as Wilfi'ith's pretensions were concerned, 
can be looked on only as a disregard of the papal authority. 
He did not even recover the bishopric of York, which was 
given to John bishop of Hexham, a man highly venerated for 
his many virtues ; while the vacant see of Hexham, together 
with the monastery of Ripon, was assigned to Wilfrith. After 
a few years passed in almsgiving and the improvement of 
church discipline, Wilfrith died in his seventy-sixth year, a 
man whose fortunes, and activity in the European relations 
of England, were long without a parallel^. 

Wilfrith by his own power accomplished what Augustine, 
animated by the spirit of Gregory the Great, had begun. 
The Anglo-Saxon states were converted not only to Christi- 
anity, but to Catholicism. For secular learning they were 

^ Eddius, c. Ivi. ^ a.d. 705. 

^ Eddius, c. Ixii. Beda, v. 19. Sax. Chron. a. 709. 


chiefly indebted to the Scots and Britons, for their accession 
to the European system of faith to these two men ; for how- 
ever successful Augustine may appear in his first spiritual 
acquisitions for the church of Rome, the course of Anglo- 
Saxon history, nevertheless, shows that, although the Roman 
ecclesiastical system was acknowledged, the influence of Rome 
^( was exceedingly weak, and that the Anglo-Saxons, even after 
they were no longer anti-catholic, continued always anti-pa- 
pistical. Wilfrith's history itself proves indeed how little 
even this zealous partizan of the popes could effect ; hence it 
is the more desirable to take a view of the internal relations 
of religion in England. 

We notice, in the first place, in every kingdom, a bishop, 
who, travelling about with his coadjutors, propagated both 
doctrine and discipline. This kind of church regimen was 
well calculated to succeed that of the pagan priesthood. The 
bishops, when chosen by the clergy, always required the con- 
firmation of the prince, but, in most instances, they were no- 
minated by him. In later times it is observable that the 
royal chaplains always obtained the episcopal dignities. Over 
these bishops, he who resided at Canterbury, the capital of 
the Bretwalda ^thelberht, was set as archbishop, in like 
manner as the bishop of Rome had originally assumed the 
supremacy over the Roman provinces. The archbishopric of 
York, established by Gregory the Great, which might act as 
a check to a primacy of the Kentish archbishop dangerous to 
the papal authority, ceased to exist after the flight of Paulinus, 
and was not re-established till a century afterwards, when 
Ecgberht, the brother of king Eadberht, after many repre- 
sentations to the papal chair, received the palP. A third 
archiepiscopal see was established for the country between 

1 Sax. Chron. a. 735. Appendix ad Beda; H. E. Beda, Epist. ad Ecg- 
berht. Malmesb. de Gestis Pont. lib. iii. Wilfrith never bore the archi- 
episcopal title. Neither Beda nor ^dde allege anything to justify the sup- 
position, but the contraiy. 


the Thames and the Humber by the powerful OfFa of Mercia, 
— who held the dignity necessary for the honour of his king- 
dom — with the consent of pope Hadrian, to \vhom this aug- 
mentation of his slight influence over the Anglo-Saxon clergy 
might have been welcomed The old state of things was_, 
however, shortly after restored. 

Almost contemporaneously with the bishoprics, some mo- 
nasteries were founded by the bounty of the kings and their 
relatives, which served as residences to numerous monks. 
Many of these cloisters in the north of England were de- 
stroyed by the Danes, the very sites of which are not now 
known with certainty. The superintendence over clergy and 
laity in the larger states soon required more than the single 
bishop of the territory, whose influence might, moreover, as 
we have seen in the case of Wilfrith, excite the jealousy of 
the king. In the choice of episcopal sees and monasteries, 
especial regard was had to the security of the new establish- 
ment ; hence the fortified residence of the king, or a spot par- 
ticularly defended by nature, like the isle of Lindisfarne, was 
selected. So completely had Christianity perished in Ger- 
manic Britain after the departure of the Romans, or so little 
was it acknowledged by the Saxons, that no religious foun- 
dation of Roman times was preserved or could be restored, 
and only some old Roman buildings and walls were used as 
churches. A small, probably old British, church was disco- 
vered in a wild thorny spot, which gave rise to the founda- 
tion of the abbey of Evesham^. If the abbey of Glastonbury 
or Ynisvitrain, which appealed to charters of donation from 
the ancient kings of Damnonia, seems to form an exception 
to the above statement, the circumstance must not be over- 

1 Sax. Chron. FI. Wigorn. a. 785. W. Malm. 

- Malmesb. de Gestis Pontif. lib. iv. ["constat eum (Ecgwinum) locum 
ilium, quo nunc coenobium visitur, peculiariter amasse, incultum antea et 
spinetis horridum, sed ecclesiolam ab antique habentem, ex opere forsitan 
Brittannorum." The spurious charters of Coenried and Ecgwine relating 
to this foundation are in Kemble's Codex Dipl. t. i. p. 68 sqq. — T.] 


looked, that this cloister, in the isle of Avallon, where the 
corpse of Arthur rested^ remained long in the hands of the 
Britons ^ 

A glance at the Anglo-Saxon bishoprics, together with a 
brief notice of the most eminent monasteries, w ill render the 
geographical idea of the several kingdoms more familiar : this 
knowledge is, moreover, indispensable with reference even to 
the political history of a country in which bishops and pre- 
lates shared the privileges and duties of secular nobles. 

The little kingdom of Kent contained, besides the archi- 
episcopal see, the bishopric of Rochester, founded by Augus- 
tine. In Essex the only bishop was at London, whose dio- 
cese comprised the present counties of Essex and Middlesex 
with the half of Hertfordshire^. 

In East Anglia dwelt the bishop of Domuc (Dunwich)^, 
though, as early as the time of archbishop Theodore, advan- 
tage was taken of the death of bishop Bisi to erect a separate 
see for the North-folc at Elmham, which, in the time of 
William the Conqueror, was transferred to Thetford, and 
under William Rufus, to Norwich*. 

In Wessex the first episcopal see was at Dorcic (Dorches- 
ter), from which, as has been already mentioned, a bishopric 
at Winchester was afterwards detached. The former retained 
Hampshire and Surrey. A third at Shireburn — famed for 
its first possessor, Aldhelm, as also for a later one, Asser, the 
friend of Alfred, — was, under the Conqueror, in conformity 
to the canonical prescript for the transfer of episcopal sees 

^ Maimesb. de Antiq. Eccl. Glaston. ap. Gale, t. i. p. 308. The Dom- 
nonian charter is, however, dated as late as 601, consequently after the 
arrival of Augustine, and his conference with the British bishops. [See 
also the charter of Henry II. printed by Hearne from the chartulary of 
Glastonbury, and Hemingi Cartularium, app. 603.] This is one of the 
few cloisters of which the charters granted by the early Anglo-Saxon kings 
have not entirely perished. See Cod. Diplom. t. i. 

- A.D.604. Beda, ii. 3. Fl. Wigorn. Maimesb. de Gestis Pontif. lib. iii. 
R. Higden, Polychron. ap. Gale, t. i. p. 204 sq. 

^ A.D. G31. Beda, ii. 15. * Maimesb. de Gestis, ii. 


from small places to large towns, removed to Old Sarum, and 
afterwards to Salisbury, though not till the following bishop- 
rics had been taken from it, viz. Wells, afterwards Bath ; 
Ramesbury, subsequently reunited to Sarum; Crediton, after- 
wards transferred to Exeter, wdth which that of St. Petroc 
or St. Germain's (Cornwall) w^as subsequently united. In 
Sussex was the bishopric of Selsea, afterwards transferred to 

In Mercia, from the original diocese of Lichfield (which 
comprised also the territory'- of the Lindisfaras) were detached 
by Theodore the sees of Worcester, Leicester, Lindesey (at 
Sidnacester) and Hereford. At the same time the see of 
Dorchester appears to have belonged to the state of Mercia \ 

The diocese of York comprised originally the whole of 
Northumbria, including the south of Scotland. Under Os- 
wald, the see of Lindisfarne or Holy Island — the lona of the 
Anglo-Saxons — was founded, containing within its jurisdic- 
tion the kingdom of Bernicia, until the establishment by 
Theodore of another see at Hexham^. On the ruin of Lin- 
disfarne by the Danes, the see was transferred to Chester-le- 
Street, and finally to Durham. That portion of the diocese 
which was in the present Scotland, fell in the reign of Mal- 
colm Canmore to the see of St. Andrew's. 

The conquests of the Northumbrian princes were followed 
by an extension of the diocese of York. Hwutern (Candida 
Casa),now Whitherne in Galloway, where Nynias had formerly 
erected a church of bright white stone for the southern Picts, 
had, in Beda's time, its first Anglo-Saxon bishop, Pecthelm, 
supposing that the authority of Trumwine — who was sent 
from Northumbria to the Picts in the year 681, but expelled 
after the defeat of Ecgfrith, — vt^as limited to the northern 
portion of the Pictish territory^. It appears that this bishop- 
ric was for some time dissolved, and that its inhabitants were 

' Malraesb. de Gestis. Higden, Polychron. p. 206. 

' Beda, iv. 12. ^ Beda, iv. 12, v. 23. 

VOL. I. O 


under the charge of the bishop of Sodor and Man^; though, 
on the restoration of the see of Hwitern, the archbishops of 
York made good their authority over it. At a later period 
this district, as well as the whole of Strathclyde, belonged to 
the diocese of Glasgow. 

The clergy of Wales refused subjection to Augustine ; and 
although isolated instances may be cited to show the subjec- 
tion of a Welsh bishop to the see of Canterbury, it is never- 
theless certain that no acknowledgment of the English pri- 
mate on the part of the Welsh took place, previously to the 
conquest of the country by the English under the Norman 
dynasty. Of the four dioceses, St. David's (Menevia), Llan- 
daff, Bangor and St. Asaph (Llan Elwy), the first possessed 
the archiepiscopal title, which at a former period had been 
held by the church of Caerleon^. 

Cumberland, as an independent state, had without doubt 
its own bishop at an early period, though he probably did 
not reside at Carlisle, which city king Ecgfrith bestowed on 
St. Cuthberht as an endowment of the see of Lindisfarne. 
The foundation of the bishopric of Carlisle is the work of 
Henry the First. 

The dioceses of the present England are, with the excep- 
tion of a few changes made at the time of the Reformation 
under Henry the Eighth, — when Gloucester, Bristol, Oxford 
and Peterborough were erected into bishoprics, — identical 
with those of the Anglo-Saxons, as above described. The 
voice of the bishops in the Upper House is derived from the 
rights of their predecessors in the Witena-gemot. The vast 
differences in their revenues may be immediately traced to 
the disproportion of the states founded by the Jutes, Angles, 

^ This see, which for a time had been transferred to lona, was, during 
the sway of the Northmen, under the archbishop of Trondhjem. See 
documents in Thorkelin, ' Diploraata Arna-Magnseana.' 

" Giraldi Camb. Itiner. lib. i. c. 4, lib. ii. c. 1, ejd. Descriptio Cambrise, 
c. iv. Particularly his ' Distinctiones VII. de Jure et Statu Menevensis 


and Saxons. Even the Bretwaldaship of ^thelberht, with 
the functions of which our acquaintance is so imperfect, is to 
be recognised in the several dioceses comprised in the pro- 
vince of the Metropohtan and Primate of all England. The 
province of the Primate of England, containing two dioceses 
only, preserves the memory of the conquests of Eadwine and 
Oswiu, as well as of the firmness and vigour of Wilfrith. 

A cloister with a church was the first requisite of the newly 
introduced faith ; a place of meeting and shelter for the mis- 
sionaries, teachers and disciples, as well as others devoted to 
piety. The number of these increased rapidly in the larger 
states ; and in their rich endowments, as well as in the nu- 
merous ecclesiastics of the noblest and even of royal families, 
we have a sufficient explanation of the great influence soon 
possessed by abbots and abbesses. Sigeberht of Essex has 
been already mentioned, as well as the holy queen ^thel- 
thryth, whose sister Sexburh was her successor at Ely. ^bbe, 
a sister of Oswiu, was abbess of Coldingham (Coludesburh) 
on the coast of Berwickshire. Hild, a grandniece of Ead- 
wine, enjoyed a similar dignity at Hartlepool (Heorutu) in 
Durham, and subsequently at Whitby (Streoneshealh) in 
Yorkshire ; in the latter she was succeeded by her niece -^1- 
flaed, a daughter of Oswiu. Previously to the foundation of 
these monasteries, the need of them among the Anglo-Saxons 
was so great, that they frequently sent their children to 
Frankish cloisters for education and consecration to a re- 
ligious life. Small cloisters arose from the pious exertions of 
individuals, as in Northumbria, from an oratory which Wil- 
gis, the father of Willebrord the apostle of Friesland, had 
founded and dedicated to St. Andrew, and subsequently en- 
larged, in the cells of which Alcwine, the celebrated bio- 
grapher of Willebrord, passed his youths 

But abuses of almost every kind were not wanting. Wjne, 

^ Alcuini Vita Willebroidi, lib. i. c. 1. 

o 2 


one of the first bishops of London, bought, as we have seen, 
his see of Wulf here, king of Mercia. Many ecclesiastics were 
so ignorant of the language of the church, that Beda trans- 
lated for their use the Creed and Paternoster from the Latin 
into their mother-tongue. A vice peculiar to the time con- 
sisted in the facility with which laymen of rank, ealdoraien, 
and other officials of the king were permitted to found mo- 
nasteries for themselves and wives. The land, free from all 
secular service, was, under this pretext, obtained by money 
from the kings, and secured to the purchasers and their heirs 
by royal charter, confirmed by the bishops, abbots, and other 
dignitaries. In these foundations, the layman assuming the 
abbot's staff, devoted to worldly indulgences, free from all 
burthens, surrounded by profligate monks, whose vices had 
caused their expulsion from other monasteries, or by his own 
former followers, shaven in the guise of monks, lived with- 
out rule or discipline, to the detriment and scandal of the 
country ^ 

The small number of parish churches was very favourable 
to the erection of numerous monasteries. A knowledge of 
their foundations and of the parochial divisions, when attain- 
able, enables us to form some idea of the population and cir- 
cumstances of the commonalty, and of its increase in times 
when other sources of information are looked for in vain. 
But even in England records of the origin of the earliest 
parish churches are wanting. They seem to have been first 
erected in the south under archbishop Theodore, and, about 
half a century later, that is, before and during the time of 
Ecgberht, archbishop of York, in the northern parts of En- 
gland. St. Cuthberht, abbot of Melrose^, wandered from 
place to place, to confirm and animate believers by his preach- 
ing ; yet, when Beda subjoins to this narrative that such was 
the custom of the clergy at that time^, it would follow that 

1 Bedce Epist. ad Ecgb. p. 310 sq. edit. Smith. ^ Ob. a. G87. 

3 Beda, iv. 27. Epist. ad Ecgb. p. 306. 

CLERGY. igr 

in his own days the case was otherwise in those northern 
countries ; at the same time it cannot be doubted that the 
dioceses or districts there, as in other countries, were, at the 
beginning, too extensive. We find however in Holstein, 
very shortly after its conversion by the Anglo-Saxon Wille- 
had, the foundation of four churches for baptism, from the 
districts of which the later parochial division was established'. 
Similar churches those also appear to have been which, be- 
fore the time of Theodore, were founded by Cedd, bishop of 
Essex, at Ythancester and Tilaburg (Tilbury)^. In the later 
Anglo-Saxon laws, provisions are not wanting for the regula- 
tion of the parochial system^. That the laity were soon aware 
of their rights in the administration of church property, may 
be inferred both from a similar state of things in the Christian 
North, and from the community of all Anglo-Saxon property : 
if proof from the earliest times is wanting for England, we 
may perhaps assume that the clergy at a later period did 
not concede ampler rights to the laity than those which they 
had formerly possessed'*. 

The Anglo-Saxon clergy were, however, by no means so 
free and influential as their brethren in most of the continen- 
tal states ; for though ecclesiastics sometimes gained power 
over individual kings, such cases were of rare occurrence and 
without lasting consequences. That close connexion between 
the Anglo-Saxon states and Rome did not exist, whereby the 
latter could extend powerful aid to its servants. The arch- 
bishop of Mentz, Boniface, himself an Anglo-Saxon, de- 
clares, in his letter to Cuthberht, archbishop of Canterbury^, 
that no cloisters were in such a state of slavery as those of 

^ Remberti Vita S. Anscharii, c. xix. 

^ Beda, iii. 22. "Cedd fecit per loca ecclesias, presbyteros et 

diaconos ordinavit, qui se inverbo fidei et ministerio baptizandi adjuvarent 
(circa a. 655)." 

•'' Laws of Edgar L i. 2. Eccles. Laws of Cnut, iii. 

* For a later period see ' Cone. Exancest.' a. 1287- 

° Wilkins, Cone. t. i. p. 93. 

198 CLERGY. 

the Anglo-Saxons, — a declaration confirmed by the language 
of their charters of donation, whereby they were bound to 
pay not only the ' trinoda necessitas,' the ' brycg-bot,' ' burh- 
bot,^ and *fyrd,' or contribution for keeping in repair the 
bridges and fortresses, and for the maintenance of the military 
levy, but were sometimes also taxable like the rest of the com- 
munity, and bound to harbour and entertain in their monas- 
teries the king's huntsmen and followers ^ 

Hence the more remarkable will appear, a celebrated do- 
nation made by ^thelwulf, king of Wessex, to the clergy of 
his states, after his return from Rome, which some older En- 
glish historians, as Ingulf, William of Malmesbury and other 
monks, together with Selden, have been inclined to regard a§ 
the origin of tithes ; an untenable interpretation, partly re- 
futed by the very uncertain tenor of apparently fictitious 
charters^, and partly by the much earlier introduction of 
tithes, by the assignment to the church of older imposts be- 
longing to the king and other lords of the soiP. 

According to a recent interpretation, JEthelwulf bestowed 
one tenth part of the land in his kingdom of Wessex and its 
dependencies, Kent and Sussex, upon the servants of the 
altar, or for the sustenance of the indigent, exonerated from 
every territorial tax and duty'^. But here two donations are 
blended together ; by the one, sometimes called the Testament 
of ^^thelwulf, the obligation is imposed on every ten farmers 
or farms in his hereditary states^ to provide one poor person 

' See Palgrave, vol. i. p. 156, and the documents there referred to. The 
last-mentioned burthen was often imposed on the cloisters of the continent, 
though they were relieved from it by the Carlovingian legislation. 

^ A.D. 854, 855. Wilkins, Cone. t. i. Cod. Diplom. t. ii. pp. 50 sq. 
W. Malm. hb. ii. 

^ Excerptiones Ecgberti, iv., v., xxiv. See also Phillips, Angelsachsische 
Rechtsgeschichte, § 70 ; with whom, however, we cannot agree in ascri- 
binr, on the weak authority of Broraton, either the introduction of tithes 
to Offa of Mercia, or the confirmation of them to ^thelwulf. 

* So Palgrave, vol. i. p. 158. 

° Asscr, a. 855, and ejd. Annales : " Per oninem haercditariam ten am 

CLERGY. 199 

with meat, drink and clothing, and is remarkable as the 
beginning of secular provision for the poor. The other docu- 
ment, with which we are here more particularly concerned, 
directs, (according to the oldest copies of the Latin text, made 
probably from an Anglo-Saxon original, as well as according 
to the interpretation of the oldest and nearly contemporaneous 
author,) that king ^Ethelwulf, with the advice of his bishops 
and ealdormen, resolved to exonerate, for monks, nuns and 
laj'men possessing hereditary land, every tenth mansus of 
their property, or, of smaller possessions, the tenth part, from 
the before-mentioned three obligations, usually considered as 
irredeemable, and from all other burthens ; for which grace 
certain masses and prayers were to be said for the souls of 
the king and of the consenting prelates and ealdormen'. 

suam in decern manentibus." W. Malm. lib. ii. "in omni suae 

haereditatis decima hida pauperem vestiri et cibari prsecepit." Sim. Dunelm. 
a. 855 : "in decern mansis." Matt. Westm. a. 857: "in decern hydis 
vel mansionibus." 

' Asser, the friend of Jilthelwulf's son Alfred, is the oldest testimony 
we have relative to this grant : " Eodem anno (855) ^thelwulfus decimam 
totius regni sui partem ab omni regali servitio et tribute liberavit." So 
Asseri Annal., Fl. Wigorn., Ingulph., W. Malm. ; though the last-men- 
tioned has falsely interpreted it, he nevertheless gives the words so that 
no doubt can arise as to their essential meaning. " AfBrmavi ut aliquam 
portionem terrarum hsereditariam antea possidentibus omnibus gradibus, 
sive famulis et famulabus Dei, Deo servientibus, sive laicis (miseris, addit 
Ing.), semper decimam mansionera ubi minimum sit, tamen (tum, Ing.) 
partem decimam (omnium bonorura, addit Ing.) in libertatem perpetuam 
perdonari (donari sanctse ecclesiaj, Ing.) dijudicavi, ut sit tuta atque munita 

ab omnibus secularibus servitutibus, necnon regalibus tributis, etc quo 

eorum servitutem in aliqua parte levigamus." The last words seem fully 
to confirm my interpretation. Spelman, Cone. p. 348 (Wilk. t. i. p. 183) 
has the same text as Malmesbury. Turner is undecided, and misunder- 
stands the word ' minimum,' which does not here signify the least or the 
smallest, but ver'y little, but a little, less than ten mansi. The widely diifer- 
ent text of the document in Matthew of Westminster might be passed with- 
out notice, had it not been the cause of the errors committed by the latest 

writers of historj'. Instead of "portionem servitutibus," he gives 

" portionem terrse mese Deo, et B. Marias, et omnibus Sanctis, jure" per- 
petuo possidendam concedam, decimam scilicet partem terras mess, ut sit 
tuta muneribus, et libera ab omnibus servitiis," etc. 

200 CLERGY. 

The Roman ecclesiastical canons took root but slowly, and 
never so deeply among the Germanic nations as among the 
J Romanized people of the continent ; the former not being, 
like the latter, familiar with the Roman law, the fountain of 
the canon law. We must not suffer ourselves to be misled 
by the letters of Gregory to Augustine, dictated, as it were, 
by a conqueror in the flush of victory, who expected to orga- 
nize the whole country on the capture of the first fortress. 
Let it be remembered how Kent itself wavered in its new 
faith, how unfavourable to the papal authority the circum- 
stances were under which the Christian religion was gradually 
propagated. A few priests only passed over fi-om Rome to 
England ; the majority were Anglo-Saxons, acquainted only 
with their mother-tongue and the law of their country. 
Even if not wanting in zeal for the interest of the church, 
still they were less attached than their continental brethren 
to the bishop of Rome, who soon became sensible that, at a 
great distance, even spiritual weapons lose their force. To 
bishop Wilfrith, neither his profound knowledge of the canon 
law ^, nor the sentence of the pope in his favour, proved of any 
use M'ith the English synod. To the slight regard paid to 
the papal canons, the great number of Anglo-Saxon eccle- 
siastical laws, often issued by the king, seem to owe their 
existence : hence the church law of the Anglo-Saxons was, 
f more than that of any other Christian state, a national law. 
It was only for matters of a purely spiritual nature that the 
synod was composed wholly of ecclesiastics". The consent of 
the king appears to have preceded the appointing and sum- 
moning of a synod ; and it was by his approbation, and by 
admission among his laws, that its decrees became binding on 
the laity. Whatever at the same time concerned the rights 
of the laity was treated in the general witena-gemot with the 
piirticipation of the clergy. Their own jurisdiction was con- 

^ Eddius, c. xlii. " In omni sapientia et in judiciis Romanorum erudi- 
tissimura." - Cf. Palgrave, vol. i. p. 176. 

CLERGY. 201 

ceded to the clergy in cases only affecting themselves ; every 
extension of it was strictly guarded against. Mention has 
already been made of the tonsure and other points, in which 
the Anglo-Saxons did not follow the Roman practice until at 
a later period. The long narrow habit was first assumed by 
the Anglo-Saxons in Rome, wdien pope John the Seventh 
seized the occasion to introduce the use both of that and the 
mitre among the clergy in England, according to the custom 
of the Roman church ^ The celibacy of the clergy was not 
so soon established among the Anglo-Saxons^, and only the ^ 
prohibition of a second maii'iage, and severe penalties for acts 
of immorality, were observed among them. The Germanic 
descent of the clerg}'- manifested itself also in the prohibitions 
occasioned by their propensity to drunkenness^. To confine 
the marriages of the laity within the degrees prescribed by 
the church of Rome, among a people so^impatient of restraint, 
was impossible; and the pope soon found it necessary to 
modify for the people of England the restrictions regarding 

The knowledge of Roman law possessed by individual 
Anglo-Saxons is to be ascribed to the necessity they were 
under of learning the canon law, which is modified and 
defined by the Roman. Frequent appeals to the papal court 
stimulated also many ecclesiastics to a pro founder study of the 
same in Rome itself, as England then possessed no schools 
appropriated to that object. What such men as Theodore 
of Tarsus and other foreign or Kentish ecclesiastics may have 
accomplished in this respect we are without the means of 

1 See the pope's letter in Baluzii Miscell. t. v. p. 478. 

- Even a son of St. Wilfrith is mentioned. Edd. c. Ivii. " Sanctus pon- 
tifex noster de exilio cum filio suo proprio veniens." 

3 Theod. Poenitent. xxvi. 2,4, 3, 13. Ecgb. Penitent, iv. 33, 34, 35. Edg. 
Can. Ivii., Iviii. in Ancient Laws and Institutes. Cf. also the systematic 
view of Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical law in Phillips. 

■* See Boniface's letter to yEthelbald in W. Malm. lib. i., and excerpt 
from Gregorii Epist. ad Augustinum in Decret. p. ii. causa 35, qu. 2. c. 20. 


ascertaining, though among the various branches of know- 
ledge possessed by Beda himself, no trace is discernible of 
his acquaintance with the Roman law ; the more remarkable, 
therefore, appears the knowledge of it manifested by Aldhelm, 
not only in occasional expressions, but also in a special com- 
position \ 

To the distance from Rome, and their slender dependence 
on the papal chair, the people of England are apparently in- 
debted for the advantage of having retained their mother- 
tongue as the language of the church, which was never en- 
tirely banished by the priests from their most sacred services. 
Their careless sensual course of life, and perhaps the preju- 
dice which prevented them from learning even so much Latin 
as was requisite to enable them to repeat the Paternoster and 
Creed in that language % have proved more conducive to the 
highest interests of the country than the dark subtilty of the 
learned Romanized monk, pondering over authorities. Even 
the mass itself was not read entirely in the Latin tongue. 
The wedding form was, no doubt, in Anglo-Saxon ; and its 
hearty sound and simple sterling substance are preserved in 
the English ritual to the present day^. The numerous ver- 
sions^ and paraphrases of the Old and New Testaments made 
those books known to the laity and more familiar to the clergy. 
That these were in general circulation in Beda's time, may 
perhaps be inferred from his omission of all mention of them, 
though the learned and celebrated Anglo-Saxon poet, Aldhelm, 

1 This fragment was to have been printed undei- the direction of C. P. 
Cooper, Esq., among the publications of the late Record Commission. 
Respecting Aldhelm see also Beda, v. 18. W. Malm. Gesta Reg. Angl. 
lib. i., and De Gcstis Pont. Angl. lib. v. ap. Gale : his letters are printed 
in Wharton, Anglia Sacra, and his Latin poetry in Canisii Lectt. Antiq. 

" Cone. Clovesh. a. 742, art. x. ap. Wilkins, t. i. p. 96. 

^ Palgrave, vol. ii. p. cxxxvi. 

•* The Anglo-Saxon Gospels w^ere first printed under the auspices of 
archbp. Parker in 1571- The second edition is that of Marshall in 1663. 
The third and last (probably yElfric's version) is by the translator of the 
present volume, in small 8vo, 1842. — T. 


had already translated the psalms, and Ecgberht;, bishop of 
Lindisfarne, the four gospels. Beda is also said to have trans- 
lated both the Old and the New Testament into his mother- 
tongue ', an assertion which, like a similar one regarding king 
^Elfred, must be limited to the gospel of St. John'^, and, in 
the case of Alfred, to some fragments of the psalms^. An 
abridged version of the Pentateuch, and of some other books 
of the Old Testament by yElfric in the end of the tenth cen- 
tury, is still extant. The vast collection of Anglo-Saxon 
homilies, still preserved in manuscript, once enlarged and 
ennobled the language and the feelings of Christianity'* ; and 
the ear which continued deaf to the mother-tongue was, in the 
Anglo-Saxon church, yet more sensibly addressed, and in a 
way to agitate or gently move the heart. Large organs are 
described and spoken of as donations to the church in the ^ 
beginning of the eighth century^. The mention of this in- 

^ Aldred's Northumbrian gloss to the four gospels in the St. Cuthberht's 
book (MS. Cott. Nero D. IV.) seems not to be earlier than the middle of 
the tenth century. See Mr. Stevenson's paper in the ' Graphic Illustrator,' 
p. 355, and Sir F. Madden's letter to Sir H. Ellis in ' Letters of Eminent 
Literary Men,' printed for the Camden Society. — T. 

2 W. Malm. lib. i. 3 jb. Ub. ii. 

■* These venerable monuments of our early church are now in course of 
publication by the ^Ifric Society, with a modern English version by the 
translator of the present work. A MS. discovered at Vercelli by Professor 
Blume contains not only homilies, but the valuable metrical pieces, printed 
for the late Record Commission by the present translator, but not pub- 
lished, though now given to the world, with a translation by J. M. Kemble, 
Esq., for the ^Ifric Society. The homilies contained in the Vercelli MS. 
are all to be found in the various public libraries of England. An Anglo- 
Saxon version of the Psalms, possibly Aldhelm's, transcribed by the pre- 
sent translator from a MS. in the Royal Library at Paris, has been pub- 
lished at the expense of the University of Oxford. — T. 

' Aidhelmus de Laude Virgin, ap. Canisium, t. i. p. 715. 

" Maxima millenis auscultare organa flabris 
Mulceat auditum ventosis follibus iste, 
Quamlibet auratis fulgescant caetera capsis." — 

W. Malm. De Gestis Pont. Angl. lib. v. ap. Gale: "Organa, ubi per 
aereas fistulas musicis mensuris elaboratas, dudum conccptas foUis vomit 


strnment at Mahnesbury affords ground for the conjecture, 
that it might have been introduced by the musical Welsh. 
Church music was first brought into Kent by the Roman 
clergy, and from thence into the northern parts, where it 
underwent improvement. This was an object of such inter- 
est, that the arrival of a Roman singing-master^ is mentioned 
by contemporary authors as a matter of almost equal impor- 
tance with a new victory gained by the catholic faith over 
the pagans or the Scots ^. 

A glance at the religious feelings of the people will suffice 
to show us a striking propensity among them to pilgrimages^ j 
and we may discern under the pilgrim's gown not only a 
longing after the beams of a warmer sun, but also the here- 
ditary craving for restless wandering. The testimonies relati\'e 
to such wanderers, more especially the numerous females, are 
highly unfavourable'*. The Anglo-Saxon kings established in 
many places hospitals for the entertainment of pilgrims, the 
most celebrated of which was in Rome, under the denomi- 
nation of the ' Schola Saxonum,' called at a later period, 
' Hospitale di S. Spirito in Vico di Sassia.' A writer of no 

anxius auras." Of Dunstan also it is said that he played the organ 
("modificans organa"). See Osbern, Vita S. Dunstani, ap. Wharton, 
Angl. Sac. t. ii. p. 93. 

' Beda, H. E. ii. 20, iv. 2. Vita S. Boned, a. 678. 

^ With the exception of the Te Deum the Scots had none of the usual 
Ambrosian and Gregorian hj-mns, as appears from the antiphoner of 
Bangor composed in the seventh century, now in the Ambrosian library, 
but formerly belonging to the monastery of Bobbio. See Muratori Anect. 
t. iv. These Latin hymns of the fifth and sixth centuries have long lain un- 
heard, and v?ere forgotten, until again brought to light by the praiseworthy 
researches of modern literati. It is remarkable that some of the hymns of 
the Scot Sedulius have, in a German version, been preserved in the Pro- 
testant church. Cf. Rambach, Christl. Anthol. i. 85, 110. 

^ Beda, V. 7- " Peregrinari quod his temporibus plures de gente 

Anglorum, nobiles, ignobiles, laici, clerici, viri ac feminse, certatim facere 

■* See Boniface's letter to ^thelbald. To bishop Cuthberht he writes : 
" Paucse sunt civitates in Longobardia vel in Francia aut in Gallia, in qua 
non sit adultera vel meretrix eeneris Anslorum." 


great authority ascribes the founding of this estabhshment to 
Ine, king of Wessex^, ^ho, after his abdication, ended his 
days at Rome^. The object of this foundation, which com- 
prised a church dedicated to St. Mary, and a cemetery for the 
Enghsh, was not only to provide for needy West Saxons and 
other Enghsh at Rome, but for the instruction of young 
Anglo-Saxons in the catholic faith, who were exposed to the 
danger of so many heresies in their native country. For its 
support Ine is said to have laid, under the name of Rom-feoh 
or Rome-scot, a tax of a penny on every house in his king- 
dom, the amount of which was sent to the pope for that pur- 
pose. At a later period the St. Peter's penny was a subject 
of repeated complaints, after its original intention had been 
lost sight of. William of Malmesbury knew nothing certain 
relative to the foundation of this institution at Rome, and 
merely mentions, without any allusion to Rom-feoh, that 
tradition ascribed it to OfFa, king of Mercia. A life of OfFa, 
the fidelity of which has perhaps been too greatly under- 
rated, reconciles both these accounts, by stating that OfFa, 
about the year 790, richly endowed the Saxon school already 
existing at Rome, and for that purpose introduced the per- 
petual burthen of Peter's pence '^. According to a probably 

* Matt. Westmon. a. 727. His account is rendered rather incredible 
by his ascribing to the same prince (Ine abdicated in 726) the imposition 
of Rom-feoh or St. Peter's pence. Spelman (Cone. t. i. p. 290) endea- 
vours, from a manuscript at Chichester, to prove that the Schola Saxonum 
•was founded as early as 714, while the passage refers to Offa of JNIercia, 
from the date of whose death, dccxciv., the last c seems to have been 
omitted. Cf. also J. Ross Antiquarii AVarw. Hist. Reg. Angl. p. 72. 

- Sax. Chron. a. 728. Tlie year of Ine's death is unknown. 

^ This life is ascribed to Matt. Paris, and is to be found, with the Vitse 

XXIII. S. Albani Abbatum, in Watts's edit. p. 29 : "Rex scholam 

Anglorum, quse tunc Romjc floruit, ingressus, dedit ibi ex regali munifi- 
centia, ad sustentationem gentis regni sui illuc venientis, singulos argenteos 
de familiis singulis, omnibus in posterum diebus, singulis annis. Et tunc 
tali largitate obtinuit, ut de regno Anglise nuUus publice poenitens, pro ex- 

ecutione sibi injunctte poenitentiee, subiret exilium p. 31, annuum 

reditum contulit ad sustentationem scholee memoratae, propter Anglorum 


contemporaneous account, it appears that in the year 816 the 
school of the Angles at Rome was burnt \ Mention is made 
of its inmates at the commencement of that century as form- 
ing part of the procession which met pope Leo the Third on 
his return from his visit to Charles the Great ^. It was again 
destroyed by fire in the beginning of the reign of Leo the 
Fourth^, when it lay for some years in ruins, till king ^Ethel- 
wulf, during his stay at Rome'*, caused it to be rebuilt. The 
rebuilding of this structure has given occasion to the ascri- 
bing to that king the introduction of Rome-scot, or rather 
the transfer of the same to the papal chair ^. Pope Marinus 
relieved the school of the Angles from all taxes and burthens, 
at the request of king Jjllfred^', who showed his gratitude to 
that pontiff. Of this privilege king Cnut, during his stay at 
Rome, obtained a new confirmation from pope John^, and in 
return caused Rome-scot for the pope to be collected with 
greater strictness^. 

However interesting the Saxon school may appear to us, 

rudium et illuc peregrinantium eruditionem." This passage is extracted 

in Matt. Westmon. a. 794. Vitse Abbat. S. Albani, c. i. " OfFa Romse 

scliolam peregrinorum pie constituit, ut ibidem peregrini, qui ad Roraanam 
ecclesiam et curiam confluxerant, ex diversis mundi partibus barbari, vel 
votivse orationis gratia vel expediendorum negotiorum necessitate, linguas, 
quas non noverant, addiscerent : quas schola, propter peregrinorum con- 
fluxum ibidem solatia suscipientium, versa est in xenodochium, quod Sancti 
Spiritus dicitur." • Sax. Chron, h. a. 

' "Pastorem siraul etiam cunctae scholee peregrinorum, videlicet 

Francorum, Frisonum, Saxonum, atque Longobardorura suscepe- 

runt." Anastasius, ap. Muratori Script, iii. p. 198. 

^ So Anastasius, lib. i. p. 233. " B. Pontificii sui exordio Saxonum 
vicum validus ignis invasit," etc. ** Sax. Chron. a. 855. 

* W. Malm. hb. ii. " -lEthehvulfus Romam abiit, ibique tributum, quod 

Anglia hodieque pensitat, sancto Petro obtulit scholam Anglorura, 

quse, ut fertur, ab OfFa, rege Merciorum, primitus instituta, proximo anno 
conflagraverat, reparavit egregie." 

" Sax. Chron. aa. 885 and 890. Matt. Westmon. a. 889. Sim. Dunelm. 
a. 834, ap. Twysden, pp. 130, 148 and 355. 

"^ Rad. Dicet. Abbrev. a. 1031. 

^ Eccl. Laws of Cnut, ix. Law of North. Priests, Ivii. Also Laws of 
iEthelred passim. 


especially with regard to the St. Peter's penny, we must 
nevertheless be careful not to ascribe to it an immediate in- 
fluence in respect to the legal instruction of the Anglo-Saxon 
clergy. In its early time it could not have had such a pre- 
dominant object, although it might occasionally have con- 
tributed to it ; in later times it was transformed into the 
hospital nominally still in existence : yet how important 
would its old archives be, for the moral and ecclesiastical 
history of England, should some fortunate explorer one day 
discover them'* ! 

Among the chief objects of attraction to the Anglo-Saxons, 
both at home and in their pilgrimages, were relics. In find- 
ing this superstition so extremely prevalent among them, we 
are almost led to the supposition that it did not originate in 
the catholic faith, but was rather, if not entirely produced, at 
least greatly promoted, by the belief of the Germanic nations, 
w^ho solemnly buried the bones of the dead in barrows, threw 
up vast mounds over them, raised monuments of rude work- 
manship^, and thought to conquer in battle with the aid of 
the corpses of their dead chieftains. The judicial superstition, 
brought to Britain by the Saxons, that the lifeless body of a 
murdered person would begin to bleed on the approach of the 
murderer, also supposes the presence of supernatural powers 
in the corpse^. 

No Germanic people preserved so many memorials of 
paganism as the Anglo-Saxons. Their days of the week have 
to the present time retained their heathen names ; even that of 4 
Woden (Wednesday) is still unconsciously so called in both 

^ The conversion of the school into an hospital is ascribed to Innocent 
III. See also Spelmanni Vita yElfredi, p. 7. note ". Fea, Description de 
Rome, t. iii. Some documents relating to prebends, claimed by the 
hospital of S. Spiritus in Saxia de Urbe, from 1284 to 1291, are to be 
found in Rymer, t. i. pp. 648, 740, 752. 

- So the Jutes for Horsa. Beda, i. 15. 

^ Edg. Can. Ixv. ^Ifr. Can. xxxv. For Germany see my tract, ' Ueber 
altere Geschichte und Rechte des Landes Hadeln,' p. 59. 


worlds, and by more tongues than when he was the chief object 
of rehgious veneration. In the north of England and the 
Germanic parts of Scotland the Yule feast (geohol, geol) has 
never been supplanted by the name of Christmas. That these 
denominations, throughout ages, were not a senseless echo of 
superannuated customs, is evident from the Anglo-Saxon 
laws of later times, which strictly forbid the worship of 
heathen gods, of the sun, the moon, fire, rivers, water-wells, 
stones, or forest-trees ^ It is, however, probable that some 
of this heathenism may have been awakened by contact with 
the pagan Northmen. A part of the old theology lost its 
pernicious power when, reduced to history, it became sub- 
servient to the purposes of epic poetry, as instances of which 
may be cited the genealogies of the Anglo-Saxon kings and 
the poem of Beowulf. Of many superstitions, which long 
maintained their ground, relative to the power of magic, to 
amulets, magical medicaments, as well as to the innocent 
belief, so intimately connected with poetry, in elves and 
swarms of benevolent, or at least harmless unearthly, though 
sublunary spirits, it is often difficult to point out the historic 
elements from which they have sprung, as precisely in the 
northern parts of England, where they were longest preserved, 
the intermixture of the Britons with the Germans was the 
most intimate. 

The adoption of Christianity does not appear to have been 
attended with any sudden and important consequences with 
regard to the political relations of the Anglo-Saxons, and is 
chiefly indebted to this circumstance for its final settlement. 
It also veiy soon promoted the general and literary instruc- 
tion of the nation, brought it into connexion with Roman 
Europe, — operating thereby with increased power on the 
prospects of the country, — and, by strengthening the state 
by principles and sjjiritual means, prevented the threatened 
dismemberment of the land among mihtary chieftains, striving 

' Sec. Laws of Cnut, v. 


for Independence. These causes soon contributed to aug- 
ment the power of the larger kingdoms ; and the history of 
the Anglo-Saxons, during a long period, is to be sought 
chiefly in that of Northumbria, of Mercia, and of Wessex, 
which subsequently comprised that of all England. These 
three states were those which, inured to arms, had in earlier 
times maintained themselves, and extended their dominions 
by many victories over the Welsh, the kingdoms of Strath- 
clyde and Cumbria, and those of the Picts and Scots. 

After Ecgfrith's death, in the battle of Nechtansraere against 
the Picts ^, the boundaries of Northumbria became much 
contracted. His successor, Aldfrith, acquired the epithet of 
*The wisest,^ or 'The most learned.' He had been well 
instructed in the theology and dialectics of the Irish school, 
which was one day to send forth a Johannes Scotus, or Eri- 
gena, the founder of the scholastic philosophy. But other 
intellectual pursuits were not less welcome to Aldfrith, as is 
proved by the friendly reception given by him to the Gallic 
bishop Arculf, who had been driven by a storm on the west- 
ern coast of Britain, on his return fi'om his travels in the 
East, to which we cannot allude without at the same time 
mentioning the account of his journey recorded by Adamnan, 
abbot of lona, from the mouth of Arculf himself, as well as 
an extract from it by Beda, which became the foundation of 
the numerous guides to the Land of Promise, so character- 
istic of the knowledge and sentiments of the middle age. 

But no one imparts to the age of the ' Wisest king ' greater 
brilliancy than the man just named, whom the epithet of 
' The Venerable ' adorns, whose knowledge was profound and 
almost universal. Born in the neighbourhood of Wearmouth, 
he enjoyed in that abbey the instructions of Benedict, its first 
abbot, of whom we have already had occasion to make ho- 
nourable mention, as well as those of his successor, Ceolfrithj 

1 See p. 188. 
VOL. I. P 


equally distinguished for his zeal in the promotion of learn- 
ing. In the neighbouring cloister of Jarrow Beda passed his 
life in exercises of piety and in varied study^ and gave life and 
form to almost all the knowledge Avhich the age could offer 
him. If, on a consideration of his works, it must appear 
manifest that that age possessed more means of knowledge, 
both in manuscripts and learned ecclesiastics, than we are 
M'ont to ascribe to it ; and even if we must recognise in Beda 
the high culture of the Roman church, rather than Anglo- 
Saxon nationality, yet the acknowledgment which his merits 
found in Rome during his life, and, shortly after his death, 
wherever learning could penetrate, proves that in him we 
justly venerate a wonder of the time. His numerous theo- 
logical writings, his illustrations of the books of the Old and 
New Testaments have throughout many ages, until the total 
revolution in that branch of learning, found readers and 
transcribers in every cloister of Europe. His knowledge of 
Greek, of medicine, of astronomy, of prosody, he made sub- 
servient to the instruction of his contemporaries ; his work 
* De sex hujus seculi aetatibus,' though less used than it de- 
serves to be, is the basis of most of the universal chronicles 
of the middle age. But his greatest merit, which will pre- 
serve his name through all future generations, consists in his 
historic works, as far as they concern his own native land. 
If a second man like himself had arisen in his days, who with 
the same clear, circumspect glance, the same honest and pious 
purpose, had recorded the secular transactions of his fore- 
fathers, as Beda has transmitted to us those chiefly of the 
church, then would the history of England have been to 
posterity almost like revelation for Germanic antiquity. 

Among the learned contemporaries and countrymen of 
king Aldfrith, the monk Ecgberht claims especial notice. 
Like him instructed during a long abode in Ireland, he em- 
ployed the facility and knowledge there acquired in the con- 
version of the monks of lona j but he is more particularly in- 


teresting to the Germans through his early wish to undertake 
personally their conversion, and, on renouncing his design 
for himself, for having sent Willebrord and his companions 
to the Frisians, thereby stimulating the two Ewalds, the 
White and the Black, so distinguished from the colour of 
their hair, to a like attempt among the Old-Saxons, but 
which was frustrated by their murder ^ 

With the death of Aldfrith^ the star of Northumbria began 
to set. Eadwulf, regarding whose pretensions we are not in- 
formed, although the general acknowledgment, and the readi- 
ness of Wilfrith to receive him amicably, allow us to suppose 
their existence, assumed the sovereignty, which he was un- 
able to maintain longer than two months^. Through the 
influence of Berhtfrith, the most powerful ealdorman of the 
country, Osred, the son of Aldfrith, a child of eight years, was 
raised to the throne, and by him protected against disturbers 
within, and, by a brilliant victory, against the Picts and Scots 
from withouf*. While the will of the royal infant was appa- 
rently obeyed, and all legitimate forms were observed, the 
greatest licentiousness burst out among the nobles, to which 
the clergy would have shown no indulgence, but for the part 
taken in it by themselves ^ The government, during the 
long minority of Osred, was conducted by his mother Cuth- 
burh^, sister of Ine king of Wessex, whose failings were for- 

' Beda, v. 10. At Merseburg their memory is celebrated on Oct. 2 
(Zeitschrift fiir Archivkunde, i. 123). According to Beda and the Calendar 
the day of their martyrdom is, "quinto nonarum Octobrium " (Oct. 3), 
a, 695. 

2 Sax. Chron. a. 705. ^ Eddius, c. 57. 

■* This victory was gained between Hsefe and Csre (Caraw, Tindale 
hundred in Northumberland) . Tigernach, a. 7 1 1 , also mentions it : " Strages 
Pictorum in campo Manand a Saxonis, ubi Fingaine mac Deleroith imma- 
tura morte jacuit." 

* Bedffi Epist. ad Ecgbertum. 

^ I assume this guardianship (although it seems at variance with the 
Chronicle which (a. 718) says, that Cuthburh was separated from' Ald- 
ferth during his life) from the fragment No. 71 among the letters of Boni- 



gotten in the subsequent foundation of the abbey of Win- 
burne. Osred followed not in the footsteps of his father, 
but, sunk in debaucheries, which spared not even the sanctity 
of the cloister, he was slain in his nineteenth year, in an am- 
bush laid for him by his kinsmen on the southern border by 
the sea^ 

The successors of Osred were — 1. Cenred, descended from 
Occa, an illegitimate son of Ida; 2. Osric, the son of Ealh- 
frith; and 3. Ceolwulf, the brother of Cenred. The two years' 
reign of the first-mentioned prince, as well as that of the se- 
cond of eleven years, are of no importance. The tranquillity 
of the country during the first years of Ceolwulf was disturbed 
by violent internal dissensions. The king himself was seized 
by his enemies, confined in a cloister, and had already re- 
ceived the tonsure, when his friends reseated him on the 
throne 2. Though able to preserve peace on the frontiers of 
his kingdom, he could not stifle discord within : of his love 
for piety and learning, we have the most honourable testi- 
mony of the Venerable Beda, who dedicated to him his eccle- 
siastical history of the Angles. During the reign of Ceol- 

face, where, speaking of a vision, it is said, " Aspexit in poenalibus 

puteis Cuthbergam simulque Wialan quondam reginali potestate fruentes, 
demersas usque ad ascellas, i. e. Cuthbergam capite tonus humeroque prss- 
clarara, caeteris merabris maculis conspersam ; alteriusque, i. e. Wialan, 
supra caput flararaara extendere, totamque animam simul cremari intue- 
batur," Queen Wiala is unknown to me. This purgatory must have 
been devised after the death of Boniface, not earlier, as it makes mention 
of " JEthilbealdus, quondam regalis tyrannus." 

' Beda, v. 22. W. Malm. lib. i. Matt. Westmon., a. 717, says of him, 
"belli infortunio interemptus est." Boniface, in his letter to ^thelbald 
of Mercia (epist. xix.), of which Malmesbury gives only an extract, says, 
"Osredum spiritus luxurife fornicantem, et per monasteria nonnarum 
sacratas virgines stuprantem et furentem agitavit, usque quo ipse gloriosum 
regnum et inutilem vitam contemptibili et despecta morte perdidit." [R. 

Wendover, t. i. p. 211. Eodem anno (717) " Osredus juxta mare 

pugnans, belli infortunio interemptus est." — T.] 

" Beda, v. 23, 24, ejd. App. aa. 731, 737. Sim. Dunelm. a. 731. Ti- 
gernach also mentions the imprisonment of Cuthwine's son, by which cor- 
rect Annal. Ulton. a. 730. 


wulf, the archiepiscopal dignity was restored to York, his 
kinsman Ecgberht being the first who received the pall for- 
merly bestowed on Paulinus^ He had reigned eight j'ears 
when he renounced the corroding cares attending the ima- 
ginary happiness of rule, and withdrew to the monastery of 
Lindisfarne, where, apart from worldly anxieties, he lived 
nearly thirty years ^. 

Ceolwulf on his abdication was succeeded by his cousin 
and heir, Eadberht, a brother of archbishop Ecgberht and 
son of Eata^, a very able man, fully qualified for the duties 
of government. Eadberht raised his kingdom to its former 
estimation, chastised ^Ethelbald, king of Mercia, who had at- 
tacked Northumbria, while he was engaged in warfare with 
Tal organ mac Fergusa, king of the Picts, and took Cyil in 
Ayrshire, and the neighbouring lands from Dunnagual, king 
of Strathclyde, or his father Teudubr, son of Beli mac Elpin 
(ob. 722). Six years later, in alliance with Ouengus or Un- 
nust, the hated king of the Picts, successor of Talorgan mac 
Fergusa, who, in the year 750, had fallen in a battle with the 
Welsh, he took Alcluyd, the capital city of Strathclyde, and 
reduced that British kingdom under his subjection'*. 

1 Sax. Chron. a. 735. [Ecgberht was celebrated for his love of know- 
ledge, and founded a noble library at York. See his Penitential in Anc. 
LL. and Inst. Alcuini Epist. W. Malm. lib. i.— T.] 

2 Sax. Chron. aa. 737, 760. Sim. Dunelra. a. 764. H. Hunt. lib. iv. 

3 Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 738. Malmesbury calls Ecgberh "fra- 
trem ?equivocum." 

* [In App. ad Bedam, a. 740, it is said, " Aruwini et Eadberctus inter- 
empti." This obviously clerical error has not been copied by Simeon, 
and probably did not exist in the MS. used by him : he says (a. 740), 
" Arwine filius Eadulfi occisus est," without naming Eadberht. — Of this 
prince Simeon writes (Hist. Dunelm. ii. 3), "Omnibus adversariis vel sibi 
subjectis vel bello prostratis, reges circumquaque morantes, Anglorum, 
Pictorura, Britonum, Scottorum, non solum cum eo pacem servabant, sed 
et honorem illi deferre gaudebant : cujus excellentire fama, ac operum vir- 
tutis, longe lateque diifusa, etiam ad regem Francise Pipinum pervenit, 
propter quod ei amicitia junctus, multa ei ac diversa dona regalia trans- 
misit." — T.] App. ad Bedam, a. 750. " Eadberctus campum Cyil cum 
aliis regionibus suo regno addidit." Cf. Annal. Camb. a. 722, 750, 760. 


The Prankish king Pepin sought his friendship, and sent 
him by his ambassadors costly presents, in which we may 
discern the respect paid to a powerful prince, and, at the 
same time, recognise the pohcy of the Franks, to gain friends 
in the rulers of North-Britain, and, in the event of a war, 
allies against the more neighbouring southern parts of the 
country. But Eadberht grew weary of a glorious, though, 
according to some accounts, not wholly prosperous sway, and, 
after a reign of twenty-one years, he also renounced his throne 
and the worlds The other kings of Britain endeavoured to 
dissuade him from this step, and, it is said, offered to resign 
to him portions of territory, if he would continue to bear the 
sceptre 2. During the ten remaining years of his life he had 
ample cause not to regret his resolve, or at least to perceive 
that the anxieties of his predecessors were not groundless. 
His son Oswulf, to whom he had transferred his crown, was 
in the following year treacherously murdered by his thanes, 
when -(Ethelwald, surnamed Moll, of unknown lineage, was 
by his faction placed on the throne of Ida^, the extinction or 
neglect of whose race brought the most unhappy consequences 
to the country. One ealdorman after another seized on the 
government, and held it till his expelled predecessors re- 
turned with a superior force, or popular favour and successful 
treason had raised up a new competitor. The family con- 

Annal. Ulton. a. 721. Sim. Dunelm. a. 756. Chron. Mailros. Tigernach, 
aa. 750, 752. 

' App. ad Bedam, a. 758, assigns his abdication to causes not easily to 
be reconciled, " Dei amoris causa et coelestis patrise, violentia accepta S. 
Petri tonsura." H. Hunt, says that, " videns regum prsedictorum, Edel- 
baldi scil. et Sigeberti, vitam cerumnosam et finem infaustum, Ceolwlfi vero 
prffidecessoris sui vitam laudabilem et finem gloriosum, meliorem paj-tem 
elegit," etc. This cannot, however, be strictly correct, as Ceolwulf did not 
die till near thirty years after his abdication (764), or nine years after the 
retirement of Eadberht. Chr. Mailr. more consistently, " tonsura capitis 
pro Deo accepta, apud Eboracum sub archiepiscopo Egberto factus est ca- 
nonicus." The Sax. Chron. and Florence place his abdication in 757. — T. 

- Sim. Dunelm. de Eccl. Dunelm. lib. i. 

3 App. ad Bedam, a. 759. Sim. Dunelm. 


nexion, which had hitherto been maintained by marriages 
among the Anglo-Saxon princes^ ceased, and the subjects of 
the usurpers lost not only the friendship and protection of 
the once allied states, but found in family hatred, thirst for 
restoration and desire of revenge, new and dangerous enemies. 
In a battle which lasted three days, at Eadwine's Cliff, or, 
according to another account, at Eldun near Melrose, the 
ealdorman Oswine was slain ^ This victory, however, af- 
forded but little security to /Ethelwald, who, a few years 
afterwards, by a battle fought at Wincanhealh'^, lost his king- 
dom, though not his life^, and was succeeded by Alhred'*, a 
son of Eanwine, who, it is said, traced his descent from Ida. 
Alhred endeavoured to continue the alliance with the Prank- 
ish empire, at the moment when Charles the Great was en- 
gaged in the Saxon conquest. He not only sent embassies 
to the emperor, but was desirous also to use the services of 
his countryman Lullus for that object, who, after having faith- 
fully followed Boniface in his self-denying calling, had suc- 
ceeded him in the see of Mentz'^. It was to this king that 
the Northumbrian Willehad, a friend of Alcwine, applied for 
leave to convert the pagan Frisians and Saxons to the Chris- 
tian faith : whereupon Alhred summoned his bishops and 
other ecclesiastics to consult on his request, which, after ma- 
ture deliberation, was granted. The missionary was recom- 
mended to the protection of the Almighty, Avho did not for- 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 761. Sim. Dunelm. ^ Pincanhealh? 

^ Fl. Wigorn. "regnum reraisit." Sim. Dunelm. " regnum amisit in 
Winchanheale." H. Hunt. " coactus dimisit illud " (sc. regnum). Matt. 
Westmon. a- 765, "vita decessit:" whence Turner, vol. i. p. 411, "the 
tomb received him ; " while Lingard (vol. i. p. 110) has, "he resigned in 
an assembly of the witan at Finchley." 

^ Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 765. 

^ Othloni Vita S. Bonifacii, lib. i. c. 24. For two letters of Alhred to 
Lullus see Magna Biblioth. Patrum, t. xiii. 108. ep. xc. Alhred and his 
queen Osgearn write to him : " Nostris quoque, dilectissime frater, legati- 
onibus addominum nostrum gloriosissimum regem Carl obsecramus consu- 
lendo subvenias, ut pax et amicitia, quse omnibus conveniunt, facias stabi- 
liter inter nos confirmari." W. Malm. lib. i. "Lullus, et ipse nations 
Anglus," etc. 


sake him, but blessed him in the foundation of the bishopric 
of Bremen, the later archiepiscopal see of Hamburg'. After 
a lapse of some years Alhred, forsaken by his thanes and re- 
lations, and driven from York, renounced the throne, and 
found an asylum with Cyneth, king of the Picts. He was 
succeeded by -^thelred, a son of ^thelwald Moll 2, who in 
the fifth year of his reign was compelled to abdicate and 
forsake his country. Two rebel ealdormen, ^thelbald and 
Heardberht, had slain Ealdwulf, son of Bosa, the chief com- 
mander of the royal army, at Kingscliff, and afterwards his 
generals Cynewulf and Ecga, in a battle at Hilathirn^. Alf- 
wold son of Oswulf, and grandson of Eadberht, then ob- 
tained the kingdom''. He is praised as a pious and upright 
king, and adorned with the title of ^ friend of God.* But the 
turbulence of the nobles of his kingdom prevailed over better 
efforts. The ealdorman Beorn, his chief-justice, Avas, on ac- 
count of his rigour, burnt at Silton by the thanes Osbald and 
^thelheard, who had assembled a body of forces ; and Alf- 
wold himself, after a tumultuous reign of ten years, perished 
by means of a conspiracy, at the head of which was the ealdor- 
man Siga^. 

Osred son of Alhred now ascended the throne once occu- 
pied by his father, but so ill defended it, that when ^thel- 
red, son of ^thelwald MoU'^, returned to the kingdom for- 

' Vita S. Willehadi, c. i., where the king of the Angles is, according to 
some MSS., called Alachind, in other better ones, Alachrat. In App. ad 
Bedam, a. 765, he is called Aluchredus. Tliis agreement between the name 
and race of the king, the native country of the priest (he went in 779 from 
the Frisians to the Saxons) and the chronology, seems to remove every 
doubt as to my explanation. 

' Sax. Chron. a. 774. 3 ^ Hunt. a. 778. Sim. Dunelm. 

■* Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 778. Sim. Dunelm. a. 779. 

5 Sax. Chron. Sim. Dunelm. a. 788. [Alfwold, as we learn from Simeon, 
was buried in the abbey church of St. Andrew at Hexham, built by Wil- 
frith, which abbey he describes as excelling in beauty all others in the land 
of the Angles ; its Avails were adorned with various colours, and it contained 
painted histories. — T.] 

fi Sax. Chron. a. 790. Fl. Wigorn. has " ^thelredus f rater Alf- 
woldi," instead of "films," and, a. 774, iEthelbertum for ,/Ethelredura. 


merly governed also by his father, Osred, betrayed by his 
thanes, was declared to have forfeited the crown, was shaven 
for a monk and put into a monastery, and afterwards obliged 
to seek safety in exiled ^thelred strove to strengthen him- 
self by violent measures. The ealdorman Eardwulf who had 
at first governed a part of Northumbria under him, as we 
learn from existing coins (an abundant source of Anglo-Saxon 
history), but who afterwards opposed him, was seized and 
brought to Ripon, where, before the gates of the monastery, 
he was, by order of ^thelred, to be put to death. Being left 
for dead, his body was by the friars, singing the Gregorian 
chant, borne into the church, where in the middle of the night 
he was found to be yet living, being reserved for still greater 
vicissitudes. The sons of Alfwold, yElf and ^Ifwine, were less 
fortunate : being enticed from their sanctuary in the cathedral 
of York, they were barbarously murdered at Wonwaldre- 
mere^. The discontented now again turned their thoughts 
to the exile Osred, who had withdrawn to the Isle of Man, 
whom they bound themselves by oath to restore to his king- 
dom ; yet scarcely had he landed when, in spite of oaths and 
fealty, he was seized and put to death by command of ^thel- 
red. His corpse was buried in the church of Tynemouth. 
But ^thelred sought by other means to strengthen his 
power : shortly after he had freed himself from his dangerous 
rival, he married /Elflasd, a daughter of OfFa king of Mercia^. 
Events such as are here recorded must have been attended 
with the saddest effects on the condition of the people ; we 
accordingly meet with no more distinguished individuals 
among the Northumbrians. Agriculture was neglected, fa- 
mine and its companion pestilence desolated the land. But a 
more dreadful scourge than these transient evils was at hand. 
In the year 793 the Northmen first landed on Lindisfarne, 
plundered the monastery and church, not even sparing the 

1 Sax. Chron. Sim. Dunelm. a. 790. ' Sim. Dunelm. aa. 790, 791. 
3 Sim. Dunelm. a. 792. 


monks, some of whom they slew, some they earned off as 
slaves, others they sent forth naked, or cast into the sea. In 
the following year the pirates returned and plundered the 
monastery at Ecgferthes-mynster (Wearmouth ?) : but one of 
their leaders was slain by the inhabitants, their ships were 
wrecked in a storm, and the survivors who reached the shore 
perished by the sword of the Northumbrians ^ Thus, in ac- 
cordance with the notions then prevailing, did St. Cuthberht, 
the patron of that cloister, protect Northumbria from the 
ravages of the Danes, M'ho were, nevertheless, some years 
after, destined to destroy not only its peace but its indepen- 
dence. The ruin of that holy edifice made a deep impression 
over all England, which shows that the destructive spirit of 
the Northmen was not yet universally known ^. 

A few years later ^thelred was murdered by his discon- 
tented thanes, among whom the ealdormen Aldred and Wada 
are especially named as the perpetrators^. Many laymen of 
rank and ecclesiastics now abandoned the realm of internal 
dissension, which seemed doomed to become the scorn and 

* Hist, de Cuthberto ap. Sim. Dunelm. p. 69. Here an invasion of the 
' Scaldings ' after the death of Ecgfrith, and before Ceolwulf's time, i. e. 
before 729, is supposed, which must be an error, arising possibly from the 
inroad of the Picts in 710. Cf. Sim. Dunelra. de Rebus gestis Reg. Angl. 

aa. 793, 794, who is copied by R, Hoveden — " Pagan! princeps eorum 

ibidem crudeli nece occisus est ab Anglis." 

^ Alcuini Epist. 29, 49, etc. Malmesb. de Pont. lib. iii. * De Episcopis 

^ Sim. Dunelm. aa. 796, 798. The Sax. Chron. places his murder in 
794. Not only does probability speak in favour of the Durham annals, but 
also the eclipse of the moon on the 28th March, 796, given in both Simeon 
and the Chronicle as contemporaneous with the accession of Eardvvulf. 
Cf. L'Art de verifier les Dates, in tlie calculation of eclipses. [The Chro- 
nicle gives the eclipse in 795. In a letter to OfFa, Alcwine writes that 
Charles was so incensed against the Northumbrians, in consequence of the 
murder of iEthelred, that but for his (Alcwine's) mediation he would have 
done them all the injury in his power, " gentem illam homicidam dorai- 
norum suorum pejorem paganis sestimans." W. Malm. lib. i. In this year 
(798) London was destroyed by fire, and many of the inhabitants perished. 
Sim. Dunh.— T.] 


booty of its neighbours ^ The ealdorman Osbald, who had 
been formerly distinguished as the leader of a faction, and 
had been on terms of close intimacy with ^Ethelred, was now 
proclaimed king by his partisans^ but the returning moon 
found him a fugitive in the monastery of Lindisfarne, from 
whence he embarked for the Pictish territory, the usual 
asylum for Northumbrian exiles. He died about three years 
afterwards, as an abbot, apparently in his native country^, and 
was buried at York. The Northumbrians now recalled the 
ealdorman Eardwulf, -whose life had been so miraculously 
saved by the monks of Ripon, from exile, that school of the 
Northumbrian kings, with whom a better state of things 
seemed to return. A great synod held under his auspices by 
the archbishop of York at Pincanhealh'* bears witness to an 
earnest desire of good. The turbulent nobles again assumed 
a threatening attitude, and the ever-increasing number of the 
descendants or relations of deposed kings necessarily laid 
greater dangers in the path of every succeeding government. 
The ealdorman Wada was, however, put to flight and slain at 
Bilhngahoh^, near Whalley, together with Alric son of Heard- 
berht, and his faction annihilated^. Torhtmund, an ealdor- 
man esteemed for his fidelity and valour, revenged the murder 

1 W. Malm. lib. i. 

" Alcwine (Epist. xxix. Opera, p. 1537) reminds the king ^thelred, the 

patricius Osbald, and Osbert, " de antiqua amicitia de fidei vcritate, 

de pacis concordia, quam habere debetis inter vos ; quia amicitia quse de- 
seri potest, nunquam vera fuit." This letter cannot have been written long 
before the murder of ^thelred, as it makes mention of the destruction of 
the church of St. Cuthberht by the pagans. 

2 Sim. Dunelra. a. 799. '^ Sim, Dunelm. a. 798. 

" Here and in Billingsgate we meet with the name of the noble race of 
the Billings. [In the Scop's Tale (Cod. Exon. p. 320) we are told that, 
" Billing (weold) Wernura," Billing (yovcrn'd) the Wurni. — T.j 

^ Sim. Dunelm. a. 799. Alcuini, Epist. xviii. in Oper. p. 1514. In this 
letter the archbishop of Canterbury, Torhtmund and others are recom- 
mended to the hospitality of the emperor Charles. As ^thelheard went 
to Rome in 799, we may perhaps assume that Torhtmund left his home 
immediately after the death of Aldred. 


of his former master ^^thelred on Aldred, one of the perpe- 
trators. The ealdorman Moll, of the family of ^thelwald, 
was put to death by order of Eardwulf, as was also Alhmund, 
a son of Alhred, who, on his clandestine return with other 
exiles, had been seized by the guards of the king. Yet were 
his adversaries not disheartened, who, when forced to flee, 
found an hospitable hearth and protection with Cenwulf, king 
of Mercia. Eardwulf now felt himself strong enough to at- 
tack the territory of his treacherous neighbour, the strong 
hold of the conspirators : a long warfare which ensued was 
ended, through the intervention of the bishops and nobles of 
England, by a treaty of peace and friendship between the 
two kings sworn on the holy evangelists ^ Five years after- 
wards Eardwulf was, however, driven by his subjects into 
exile^: his detei'mination not to yield to the rebels, who had 
once spontaneously sworn fealty to him, and to implore the 
aid of the mighty Prankish monarch Charles the Great, as 
well as the intervention of the pope Leo the Third, proves 
him to have been of a firm and sagacious character. Charles 
was not ignorant of the affairs of the north of England ; 
through his lately deceased friend, Alcwine, they must have 
been familiar to him. Eardwulf sought the emperor at Ni- 
meguen, and, having forwarded his suit there, hastened to the 
holy father at Rome, by whom the desired mediation was 
readily undertaken. Accompanied by a papal legate in the 
person of the deacon Aldulf, and, on the part of the emperor, 
by the abbots Rotfrid of St. Amand, and Nanther of St. Omer, 
Eardwulf returned to England, and by the united influence 
of the pope and emperor was reinstated in his royal dignity^. 

1 Sim. Dunelm. a. 801. 

'^ Sax. Chron. a. 806. In consequence of an hiatus in Simeon of Dur- 
ham from a. 803 to 849, we are during that interval nearly without any 
accounts of the kingdom of Northumbria. 

' Einh. Annales, a. 808. Enh. Fuldens. eod. Tliat the expulsion of 
Eardwulf was already known to Leo is evident from his letter to Charles 
(ap. Bouquet, t. v. p. 602) wherein he says, "quod Eardulphus rex de 

MERCIA. 221 

Alfwold, a brother probably of king yEthelred, had, during 
the two years spent in these negotiations, held the reins of 
government, but offered no long opposition to the restoration 
of peace. Eardwulf died in the year following, and was suc- 
ceeded by his son Eanred, who reigned amid intestine dis- 
sensions for thirty-three years ^, until the occurrence of events, 
which will enable us to comprise the entire history of En- 
gland under one head. 

Mercia, towards which we now turn our attention, presents 
an appearance widely diflerent from that of Northumbria. 
Long opposition to the introduction of Christianity had been 
there punished by the absence of the arts and knowledge 
attending civilization, as well as of institutions conducive to 
that object. Mercia has left us neither the name of an author, 
nor even a meagre chronicle. Nowhere was the number of 
ecclesiastics smaller ; and while the other states w'ere divided 
into dioceses, Mercia proper and Middle Anglia formed to- 
gether but one bishopric. On the other hand, the energetic 
measures of Penda had formed valiant soldiers, and created 
for the posterity of the old sea-heroes a military force alike 
formidable to the Britons and to the other Germanic states. 
Placed in the centre of the country, the rulers of Mercia 
availed themselves of their position to threaten all their neigh- 
bours, and obtain the British supremacy or Bretwaldaship. 

regno suo ejectus fuisset, jam hoc per Saxones agnoveramus." A mes- 
senger from Eanbald, archbishop of York, had not only ])een sent to Rome 
but also to the emperor. See the two letters of Leo to Charles in Bouquet, 
vol. V. p. 601-4. That these letters had reference not only to internal dis- 
sensions, but probably to the intention of the king of Mercia not to ac- 
knowledge the archbishops and the bishop of Rome, seems evident from 
the words, " Prsedictus Cenulfus rex nee suum archiepiscopum (sc. Cantu- 
ariensem) pacificum habet, nee istum Eanbaldum item archiepiscopum," 
etc. p. 602 c. — " Valde pertimesciraus, ne ipse populus acquisitionis sanctas 
Romanse ecelesise per quamlibet oecasionem et certamen prtedecessoris raei, 
D. Gregorii, beatissimi papse, quodipsis in partibus posuit, meis temporibus 
infructuosum existere videatur, nee mihi in judicio eveniat," etc. p. 60i a. 
See also Palgrave, vol. i. p. 484. 

1 Sim. Dunelm. de Eccl. Dunelm. lib. iii. c. 5. Matt. Westm. a. 810. 

222 MERCIA. 

The advantage of some long reigns promoted both its internal 
tranquillity and the success of its designs against the dis- 
tracted states around it. 

After the death of Wulfhere, his brother ^Ethelred, Avho 
had married Osthryth, a sister of Ecgfrith of Northumbria, 
succeeded to the throne \ In the first year of his reign he 
made wav on Hlothhiere (Hlothhaeri) king of Kent^, and 
ravaged his kingdom, destroying churches and monasteries, 
and even the episcopal see of Rochester. A few years after- 
wards he invaded the dominions of his brother-in-law, king 
Ecgfrith. In this contest, JElfwine, the brother of Ecgfrith, 
fell, a youth equally beloved by Mercians and Northumbrians, 
when the ferocity of both nations, aggravated by this event, 
threatened the direst consequences. At this conjuncture the 
wholesome influence and judgement of the archbishop Theo- 
dore, M'ho, in pursuance of his calling, to mediate between 
hostile nations, and with the success which more frequently 
attends mediators when the passions are at the highest than 
in earlier stages of the quarrels, prevailed on the Northum- 
brians to renounce all further vengeance for the death of their 
prince, in consideration of the payment of the legal wergild, 
and also to restore to Mercia the province of Lindisse, which 
had been taken from Wulf here by Ecgfrith. To the remaining 
years of his long reign no blame seems to be attached. A 
great misfortune saddened his later days : the nobles of the 
northern part of the kingdom, or Southunibria, murdered the 
queen his consort^. He subsequently gave the government of 
Southumbria to his nephew Cenred, the son of his brother 
Wulfhere, to whom at length he resigned the entire king- 

1 Beda, Iv. 21. Sax. Chron. a. 675. Matt. Westm. a. 696, calls her 
erroneously, "Egfridi regis filiam." 

- Beda, iv. 12. "Cum ^Edilred adducto maligno exercitu, Cantiam 

vastaret," etc. 

^ Beda, V. 24, "a Merciorum primatibus intercmpta." Sax. Chron. 
a. 697. Fl. Wigorn. a. 696. Matt. Westmon. a. 696, " crudeliter neca- 

MERCIA. 223 

dora^, his own sons being yet in their minority. Hence it 
would appear that the Mercian law of succession, unlike that 
of Northumbria, where we have seen a boy of eight years suc- 
ceed to the throne, required from its king, in addition to right 
by birth, the qualifications indispensable for the duties of that 
high office. Among those of mature age, the next by birth 
seems always to have succeeded, and the right of the elder 
line at the same time to have been preserved. He who had 
entered on the government was not, however, compelled to 
resign it on the maturity of the direct heir, whereby all the 
dangers and calamities of guardianship were prevented : it is, 
therefore, merely through an error of a comparatively late 
writer^ that Cenred is considered as the guardian of ^thelred's 
son, since he legally and unconditionally possessed for life the 
kingly power. The son of Penda entered the monastery of 
Bardeney, took the tonsure, and for many years, as abbot, 
directed the peaceful avocations of the monks^ So soon had 
the time passed away, when the sons of Woden knew no 
greater disgrace than to die in a bed ! But to the nation the 
new increasing longing after the cowl was more pernicious 
than the use of harness'*. x\fter a few years, passed for the 
most part in conflicts with the Britons, Cenred also resigned 
the reins of government to a successor, the young Ceolred, 
the son of ^thelred and Osthryth, and with Offa of Essex, 
a prince adorned with all the graces of youth and manners, 
as well as endowed with every quality befitting a prince, 
journeyed to Rome, there to take the monastic vow at the 
hands of pope Constantine, and to fast and pray for the sal- 

1 Sax. Chron. aa. 702, 704. 

^ Wallingford (from whom so many errors have found entrance into 
English history) says (Gale, t. i. p. 527) that Cenred had engaged to Ji]thel- 
red to resign the crown to his (Jilthelred's) son on his majority. That 
the resignation of Cenred took place before the J 3th June, 704, appears 
from the document in Hickes, t. iii. p. 262. n. I^J . 

2 Sax. Chron, Fl. Wigorn. obiit a. 716. 

^ Vita S. Guthlaci in Actis Sanctorum, App. i. vol. ii. p. 39. 

224 MERCIA. 

vation of the souls of their forsaken consorts, their relations 
and people, to the end of their earthly course ^ His successor 
Ceolred died in the same year as his father. 

Ceolred has by later writers, whose accounts are probably 
derived from the chronicle of some monastery favoured by 
him, been celebrated, in pompous diction, as the illustrious 
heir of his father's and his grandfather's virtues ; but to us 
the unfavourable testimony, given by one of his most distin- 
guished contemporaries, the archbishop of Mentz, Boniface, 
appears more worthy of belief". He seems to have lacked 
either the valour or the good fortune of Penda, for in the war 
between him and Ine, the honour of victory at the battle of 
Wodnes-beorh was claimed by both parties. His young pre- 
sumptive successor, the clito^ /Ethelbald, son of Alweo, the 
brother of Penda, who, though remote, was yet his next 
relative, he persecuted inexorably. Like Penda he was hostile 
to the church, and gave himself up to sensual pleasures with 
a recklessness that made him the prey of death during the 
riot of a feast, thus supplying an historic interpretation to the 
monkish tradition, that the evil spirit, while conversing with 
him, had deprived him of life'*. 

^thelbald had hitherto found in the marshes of Croyland, 
where he afterwards founded the celebrated abbey, not only a 
shelter, but instruction, with the holy hermit St. Guthlac, 
who, like the royal house of Mercia, was of the noble race of 
the Icelings. He was acknowledged as king without oppo- 
sition. He is described as of vast bodily strength, graceful 
form and great courage ; but pride and sensuality were the 

1 Beda, v. 19. Sax. Chron. a. 709. 

- Bonifacii Ep. ad ^thelbaldum. Malmcsbury has given us a portion 
of this letter. 

^ Clito was a title given by the Anglo-Saxons to the members of a royal 
house, and seems equivalent to iEtheling, of which it was probably in- 
teiided as a translation. 

"^ Sax. Chron. a. 71 C. Bonifacii Epist. ad ^thelbaldum ap. Malraesb. 
lib. i. 

MERCIA, 225 

reproach of his earlier years ^ While providing by strict 
justice for the internal peace of the country, for the clergy 
and the poor, by liberal disbursements, and appearing to ex- 
ecute his public duties, he addicted himself to excesses with 
married women and nuns, and hurried the thanes of Mercia 
into the same vortex of corruption and dissoluteness. The 
affectionate interest with which Boniface ever regarded the 
fortunes of his native country, the fervour with which he 
dared to set before the king his transgressions, with a remark- 
able allusion to the chastity of the Old-Saxons, were not with- 
out an effect, which may have been increased by the circum- 
stance, that the scorner of holy wedlock was childless. At a 
synod held by archbishop Cuthberht, at Clofesho in Oxford- 
shire, it was attempted, through the prelates and monks, to 
effect a reformation of the laity^. 

^thelbald's reign of forty-one years was distinguished by 
many successful conflicts with the Britons. East Anglia, 
Kent, and Essex followed his standard without a struggle, 
and, for a time, Wessex also, against the common enemy. 
Taking advantage of a change of government he invaded 
Northumbria, but was driven back by king Eadberht^. 
Nevertheless the haughty ^thelbald maintained the supre- 

* Ingulph. sub init. See the letter already cited of Boniface. Cf. also 
Felicis Girwii Vita S. Guthlaci in Actis Sanctor. April, xi. c. 3 et 4. 

' W. Malm. lib. i.e. 4. [The passage relating to the Old-Saxons is 
worth insertion : " In antiqua Saxonia, ubi nulla est Christi cognitio, si 
virgo in paterna domo, vel maritata sub conjuge, fuerit adulterata, manu 
propria strangulatam creraant, et supra fossara sepultse corruptorem sus- 
pendunt; aut, cingulo tenus vestibus abscissis, flagellant earn casta; 
matronse et cultellis pungunt, et de villa in villara missje occurrunt novfe 
flagellatrices, donee interimant. Insuper et Winedi, quod est foedissimum 
genus hominum, hunc habent morem, ut mulier viro raortuo se in rogo 
cremati pariter arsura prsecipitet." Malm. 1. cit. and De Gestis Pontif. lib. i. 
e. 4. places the Council of Clofesho in 747. The true date, which is given 
in the Sax. Chron., is manifest from ^thelbald's charter, beginning "Anno 
DccxLii. regni ^thibaldi xxvii. congregatum est magnum concilium apud 
Clouesho," etc. Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 105. — T.] 

^ App. ad Bedam, a. 740. 

VOL. I. Q 

226 MERCIA. 

macy in Britain ^, and was able, either by hostile inroads or 
by fomenting rebeUions, so to weaken his most potent rival, 
Cuthred of Wessex, that he was reduced to submit to the 
most humiliating oppressions. But excess of disgrace soon 
re-assembled the disaffected nobles of his realm around the 
king of Wessex, who was, moreover, much strengthened by a 
reconciliation with his brave and powerful ealdorman ^thel- 
hun% who had unsuccessfully risen in arms against him. 
The battle at Burford^ was to the West Saxons a struggle for 
life and liberty, to the Mercians for the supremacy in Britain, 
^thelhun, bearing in his hand the golden dragon, the banner 
of Wessex, marched in the front of the army, and slew the 
standard-bearer of the Mercians. The fall of so conspicuous 
a person struck terror into the enemy, and raised the courage 
of the West Saxons. A battle of such importance, fought with 
so much valour and obstinacy, rarely took place between those 
people. Though no one gave ground, yet no one was more 
forward than ^thelhun, whose battle-axe, rapid as lightning, 
clove both armour and body, whose way was marked by 
death. In like manner did the unconquered sword of ^thel- 
bald cut through armour as a garment, and bones as though 
they had been flesh. Like firebrands in the opposite arrays 
they spread destruction around them, when at once the two 
gigantic terrific forms stood over against each other. A 
mutual glance, a mutual attack instantly followed, when, 
strange to relate, yet not without example, strength and 
courage on a sudden forsook the king, who, while his men 
were yet bravely fighting, fled at a moment when a single 

^ In a charter of 736 he styles himself, " Rex non solum Marcersium, 
sed et omnium provinciarum quae generale nomine Sutangli dicuntur : " and 
signs, "Ego iEtdilbalt, Rex Britanniffi." Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 96. Smith's 
Beda, p. 786. Hemingford, t. i. p. 219- 

2 The title of Consul is given to him. H. Hunt. a. 750. So Matt. West- 
mon. a. 708. " Offerus consul Northamhymbrorum." 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 752. In the account of this battle it will be easy to 
recognise the pompous diction of Henry of Huntingdon. — T. 

OFFA. 227 

stroke might have decided the fate of himself and kingdom. 
For the one and the other, from that day, the sun of their 
glory was set. A few years afterwards he fought another battle 
against Wessex at Secandun', where, disdaining flight, not- 
withstanding the slaughter of his people, he either fell in the 
field, or was treacherously murdered by his guards, and buried 
at Repton^. Beornred, who had placed himself at the head 
of the army and government, was obliged in the following- 
year^ to yield to the superior power and pretensions of Offa, 
a descendant of the royal house of Wibba, and to retire from 
the kingdom of Mercia. 

The real name of Offa is said to have been Winfrith'^; his 
father was an ealdorman named Thingfrith. Though lame, 
dumb, and blind from his birth, the youth acquired speed of 
foot, speech, and sight, Avhen the usurper Beornred persecuted 
his parents and oppressed his native land. Hence he obtained 
the name of the second Offa, from his resemblance to his 
ancestor, Offa (Uffo) the son of Waermund, king of Angeln, 
who, blind from his birth till his seventh year, and dumb till 
his thirtieth, yet, roused by the impending shame of being 
excluded from the succession, through a war threatened by 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 755. Florence calls the battle-place Segeswald. Seck- 
ington in Warwickshire is supposed to be the spot. — T. 

^ Sim, Dunelm. H. Hunt. " non sine miserabili exercituum ruina, 
fugam dedignans, occisus est," which has been incorrectly copied by 
Matt. Westmon. a. 755. "per fugam non declinans ruinam interfectus 

^ The Saxon Chronicles are wrong in the year 755, but right in 7 16, 
where .^thelbald is said to have reigned forty-one years. Sim. Dunelm. 

says, a. 757, " Ethelbald interfectus est. Eodem vero anno Merci 

bellum inter se civile inierunt. Bearnred in fugam verso, Offa rex victor 
extitit." My more definite account is founded on the acts of the Council 
of Cealchythin 789, the thirty-first of the reign of Oft'a. Hickes, t. i. p. 171. 
The victory over Beornred took place in the autumn of 757, and the coro- 
nation of Ofi"a probably only in 758. That the regnal years are not 
reckoned from the day of the predecessor's death, but from that of the 
coronation, appears from many passages, as Sim. Dunelm. aa. 758 and 759. 

* In the Vita Offse II. he is called Pinefrid, no doubt a repetition of the 
usual blunder in the Latin chronicles of P for the Anglo-Saxon W ( V). — T. 

Q 2 

228 OFFA. 

the king of the Saxons, suddenly recovered the use of speech 
and sights 

Such is the account given by the Danish wTiters, though 
the author of the Life of Offa II. supposes that the son of 
Waermund reigned in England. In the general outline his 
story is nearly the same as that given in the Danish chronicles, 
which are, however, not in perfect accordance with each other. 
It seems, therefore, not improbable that the monkish bio- 
grapher derived some parts of his narrative from ancient 
sources with which we are unacquainted, and that between 
the two Offas there existed some points of similitude suffi- 
cient for a foundation to the parallel. 

' However the several accounts of the genealogies of the Mercian kings 
may vary with regard to the other names, they all, nevertheless, agree with 
respect to Wihtljeg, Wermund and Offa. See Nennius, Alfred of Beverley, 
Saxon Chron. a. 626. This remark holds good also for the same three 
kings, in the otherwise varying lists of Saxo and that in Eric's Chronicle ; 
though in Svend Aagesen Wiglet (Wihtlseg) is wanting. But in all the 
three authors, who draw from different sources, we find the same story 
of Uffo. The Danish or Anglian Uffo, it is true, is not blind, but is the 
son of the blind Wermund ; that he was dumb till his thirtieth year is 
expressly mentioned by Svend Aagesen, In Beowulf we have Garmund 
(Wermund), Ongentheow (Angeltheow), Higelac (Icel), all belonging to 
the genealogy of the Mercian kings. See a taga of Offa in Beow. xxvii. 
[Cod. Exou. p. 320 ; also Beow. vol. i. p. 258, and vol. ii. p. xxxii sq. The 
single combat, in which Uffo revenged the insult offered to his father and 
himself, took place on an island in the Eider, where a part of the city of 
Rensburg, called the Altstadt, now stands. Wermund's adversary is said 
to have been Sigar, a king of Holstein ; the name of his son, slain by Uffo, 
was Hildebrand. See Saxo, lib. iv., and Sveno Aggonis. ap. Langebek. — 
T.], also Dahlmann's Forschungen, Th. i. p. 233. The story of the two 
Offas has been written by a monk of St. Albans, and is printed at the end 
of Watts's edition of Matt. Paris. The account of the elder Offa agrees 
for the most part with Svend Aagesen's, not only in the general outline, 
but also in the first speech of Uffo or Offa. Nor is the agreement of the 
two sagas in the girding of the youth with the sword by the father, as well 
as the ensuing combat, to be overlooked. It is, however, remarkable that, 
besides these ' Vitse,' the date and author of which are unknown, no other 
ancient English writer mentions the story of the youth of Offa, not even 
Broraton himself. [The story of the Danish Uffo is well condensed by 
Suhm, Historie af Danmark, Bd. i., or in Grater's translation, Bd. i. p. 11 7. 

OFFA. 229 

At the Council of Clofesho, and on other occasions, the 
name of the young patrician Offa appears next in order to 
that of the king, at least before those of the other laity. OfFa 
himself, in two of his charters, mentions his grandfather 
Eanwulf, who, in king -^thelbald's time, held land in the 
territory of the Hwiccas, where, at Bredon, he had founded 
a church', and who, if we may hazard a conjecture on the 
alliteration of names, so frequent among the Anglo-Saxons, 
was either father or brother of the Christian petty kings of 
that country, Eanfrith and Eanhere. We must, therefore, 
consider him as the nearest relative of the king, though de- 
scending in a collateral line from their common ancestor^, and 
ascribe the bloody wars^ attending his accession to the throne 
to the resistance of Beornred, whom we meet with some years 
afterwards in Northumbria, where he burnt Catterick, but in 
the same year perished himself by fire, as we are told, by the 
judgement of God'*. 

Offa's dominion does not seem to have been firmly esta- 
blished before the death of Beornred ; till then we do not find 
him engaged beyond the limits of his kingdom. His first 
memorable expedition was against the Ilestingas, a people 
whose locality, like that of many others among the Saxons, is 
not known with certainty. They have been sought for about 

' See charters in Smith's Beda, pp. 76Qj 7Q7, and Cod. Diplom. t. i. 
pp. 169, 176. 

- " Offa quinto genu Pendse abnepos." W. Malm. hb. i. But this is 
incorrect, as he descended from Eawa, son of Wibba, the brother of Penda. 
Saxon Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 755, with which Alfred of Beverley agrees, 
"cujus (sc. iEdilbaldi) pati-uelis, Enulii nepos Offa." Malmesbury makes 
a similar mistake with regard to Cenwulf, the second successor of Offa. 
See p. 238. 

^ App. ad Bedam, a. 757- Alcuinus ap. Malmesb. lib. i. c. 4. " Non arbi- 
tror quod nobilissimus juvenis Egfcrtus propter peccata sua mortuus sit, 
sed quia pater suus (Offa sc.) pro confirmatione regni ejus multum san- 
guinem eft'udit." 

•* Matt. Westmon. a. 769- Sim. Dunelm., where it is erroneously said, 

" Earnredo tyranno incendio periit, Dei judicio." According to 

Malmesbury, Beornred was slain by Offa in 757. 

230 OFFA. 

Hastings in Sussex, and most probably inhabited the district 
around that town to which they gave their namei. Some 
years after Offa fought a bloody battle against his hated 
enemies, the men of Kent^, at Otford on the Darent, in which 
the Mercians gained the victory^. 

In the following year OfFa overcame at Bensington in 
Oxfordshire Cynewulf of Wessex, a prince celebrated for his 
valour, and took from him the royal town of Bensington^. 
In the wars against the Britons his arms were equally suc- 
cessful. In the early part of his reign he had repulsed them 
at Hereford^, and subsequently devastated Deheubarth or 
South Wales'^. From the king of Powis he took a consider- 
able tract of his territory, and even his residence Pengwern 
(Shrewsbury). The flat country at the foot of the eastern 
sides of the mountains, between the Wye and the Severn, he 
peopled with Anglo-Saxons, no defence being so efficacious 
as that of free dwellers on the land, whose settlements may 
still be traced by their Saxon denominations. To protect the 
settlers from the sudden inroads and maraudings of the hostile 
mountaineers, he caused to be constructed a considerable 
rampart with a ditch", from the mouth of the Dee to that of 
the Wye. This work, known by the name of OfFa's dvke. 
traces of which are yet discernible, so well answered its pur- 
pose, that it became the boundary between Britons and 
Mercians, and afterwards between Wales and England. The 

1 Sim. Dunelm. a. 771. To the town of Hastings there belonged, at a 
later period, a territory of 500 hydes. See Gale, t. i. p. 748. See also 
Palgrave, vol. ii. p. cclxxix. 

2 W. Malm, lib.i. (speaking of Cenwulf), "Contra Cantuaritas succes- 
sivum ab Offa suscipiens odium, regionem illam valide afflixit." Sim. Dun- 
elm, a. 798. Mailros. Hoveden h. a., who copies Simeon. 

3 Sax. Chron, a. 774 (one MS. reads 773). Fl. Wigorn. a. 774. 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 777 (one MS. reads 775). Fl. Wigorn. a. 778. H. Hunt. 
a. 777. * Annal. Camb. Bmt y Tyw. a. 760. 

^ Annal. Camb. a. 778. Brut y Tyw. a. 776. 

' Asser V. JElfredi. "Offa qui vallum magnum inter Britanniam 

atque Mercian! de mari usque ad mare facere imperavit." Giraldus de 

OFFA. 231 

last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold, ordered that every Briton 
who should appear armed on this side of OfFa's dyke should 
have his right hand struck ofF^. If the British language and 
British customs are met with on this side of the barrier^, they 
are to be attributed either to Welsh reduced to a state of 
complete subjection, or who, at a later period, forsook their 
desert mountain heights for the fertility of the plain. 

Nothing would more raise the wars of Offa above desendng 
the appellation of battles between the kites and the crows, by 
which the great epic poet of England has unconsciously eter- 
nalized the narrow historic notions of his time^, than if it 
could be granted us accurately to ascertain how far they were 
influenced by the mighty ruler of the Franks, Charles the 
Great. If any reliance may be placed on the monkish bio- 
grapher, the kings of Kent, previously to the invasion of that 
state by Offa, had applied to Charles for his aid and protec- 
tion^. The menacing letters of the emperor were unheeded 
by the Mercian, and in the course of years their mutual suc- 
cess united the lord of the Germanic insular realm with the 
chief of the Roman continent. Charles sent to Offa — or, as 
he himself expresses it, the most powerful ruler of the East 
to the most powerful iniler of the West — many costly presents, 
the catalogue of which has been preserved, though not that 
of the presents sent in return, which to us would have been 
of far greater interest. From a charter with its seal still in 
existence, we know, however, that Offa, king of the Mercians, 
confirmed certain gifts of land near the port of Lundenwyc^, 

^ Joh. Salisbur. Polj'crat. lib. vi. See a more particular account of OfFa's 
dyke in R. Higden, Polychron. p. 194. 

2 Asser, x. Camden, edit. Gibson, p. 587- Higden also says, " Sed hodie 
hinc inde, ultra citraque fossam illam, potissimum in provincia Cestrise, 
Salopise, Herfordise, Wallici cum Anglicis passim sunt permixti." 

^ " Such bickerings to recount, met often in these our writers, what more 
worth is it than to chronicle the wars of kites or crows, flocking and fight- 
ing in the air :" Milton, Hist, of England.— T. * Vita Offfe II. 

* This remarkable charter, dated April 5, 790, together with those of 
other English kings in favour of St. Denis, exist in the Tresor des Chartes, 
in the Hotel Soubise at Paris. 

232 OFFA. 

made by one of his subjects to the abbey of St. Denis, The 
same highly favoured cloister received from another of Offa's 
vassals, the ealdorman Berhtwald of Sussex, with the confir- 
mation of the king, the church of llotherfield, and his ports 
of Hastings and Pevensey^ Charlemagne promised not only 
to pilgrims, but also to merchants from England, his im- 
mediate protection^, which last concession may, perhaps, be 
regarded as an extension of the privilege granted by Dagobert 
to the Anglo-Saxons attending the fair at St. Denis, and may, 
therefore, have been the immediate cause of the above-men- 
tioned donations. A dangerous misunderstanding took place, 
however, between the two monarchs on the following occasion. 
Charlemagne had demanded for his son Charles the hand of 
one of Offa's daughters, which the latter would grant only on 
condition that to his own son Ecgferth (Ecgfrith) should be 
given in marriage Berhta, the beloved daughter of Charle- 
magne, who w-as afterwards secretly married to Angilbert, 
the learned abbot of St. Riquier, and is celebrated by her 
contemporaries as the softened resemblance of her father in 
mind, voice, aspect, and bearing^. Gerwold, abbot of St. 
Wandrille or Fontenelle, of a distinguished family, and 
formerly chaplain to queen Bertrade, but who had been ap- 
pointed to the administration of the customs in the northern 

* Charter of 792 ap. Du Chesne. Monast. Angl. t. vi. p. 1077. 

2 See the letter of Charles to Offa in Wilkins, Cone. t. i. p. 158, in Al- 
cuini Oper. t. ii. App. p. 618, and an extract of it in Malmesbury, Leiand 
Collect, t. i.p.402. Cf. Privilege of Pepin, a. 753, ap. Bouquet, t. v. p. 227. 
As in this letter he speaks of the death of pope Hadrian I., which took 
place in Dec. 795, and mentions ^thelred of Northumbria, who died on 
the following 18th of April, as still living, the date of it is fixed with 
tolerable accuracy. According to this letter the emperor, besides other 
presents, sends to Offa a Hunnic sword and belt, and two silken mantles ; 
a circumstance greatly in favour of the genuineness of the letter, as Charles, 
in the beginning of the year 796, distributed many presents from the trea- 
sures taken from the Huns. See Einh. Annal. a. 796. Chron. Moissac. 

Sim. Dunelm.a. 795. " Karolus Hunorum gentem subegerat 

sublatis inde xv. plaustris auro argen toque palliisque holosericis preciosis 

* See Helperich's or Angilbert's ' Carolus Magnus,'?;. 219 sq. 

OFFA. 233 

towns and ports of France, particularly at Quentawic, was 
frequently sent with commissions from the emperor to king 
Offa, with whom he had become very intimate. He was, 
nevertheless, unsuccessful in his endeavours to lower the 
proud pretension of the descendant of Woden, and to induce 
him to abandon a demand, which had so greatly incensed 
the invincible emperor of the Franks, that it required all his 
exertions to prevent the closing of the French sea-ports 
against the merchants of England ^ According to other 
accounts, the decree was already carried into effect, a similar 
interdict was also issued by Offa in the English ports, and 
Alcwine, the friend of both princes, was destined to appease 
a quarrel arising from disappointed ambition^. We are made 
acquainted with the restoration of peace by an earlier docu- 
ment than the before-mentioned letter to Offa, namely, by a 
letter of intercession in favour of some Mercian exiles, to 
^thelheard, archbishop of Canterbury^. 

The notion of Offa's great influence at this time, entertained 
by pope Hadrian, was grounded more on the suspicion that 
the king of Mercia was desirous to instigate the Frankish 
monarch to cast him from the papal chair'* than on the splen- 
dour attending many victories over his countrymen. That a 
hostile disposition might have arisen between Offa and the 
pope is, considering the pretensions raised by the latter at 
every opportunity, exceedingly probable. While the small 
kingdom of Kent, which had already been under subjection 
to his ancestors, possessed the first primacy of the Anglo- 

^ Chron. Fontanel, in Monura. Hist. Germ. t. ii. p.291,accordingto which 
this event took place about the year 788. 

- Epist. Alcuini ad Colcura Lectorera in Scotia. Bouquet, t. v. p. 607 ; 
also W. Malm. lib. i. c. 4. 

^ Wilkins, t. i. p. 154. Alcuini Epist. Ixi. JEthelheard became arch- 
bishop in 791. [Tliese exiles were probably those who had sided with 
Beornred against Offa. There seems little doubt that they had been har- 
boured by Charles for hostile purposes. — T. J 

** Hadriani Epist. ap. Bouquet, t. v. p. 589. 

234 OFFA. 

Saxon church, and the one next in rank was placed in the 
rapidly declining state of Northumbrian Offa felt the want, in 
his own more powerful realm, of a prelate independent of 
both Canterbury and York. He had long vainly endeavoured 
to persuade Jaenberht, archbishop of Canterbury, to transfer 
his see to Lichfield. The archbishop was now accused of 
having promised aid and shelter in his diocese to the Franks^ 
in the case of their effecting a hostile landing in England' ; 
which reason, together with others, such as that Offa was 
desirous of founding an archiepiscopal see near the spot where 
he had humbled his enemies, being considered valid, it was 
resolved, in a synod held at Cealchyth, under the legate of 
Hadrian, to establish a separate archbishopric for the kingdom 
of Mercia, which should be conferred on the hitherto bishops 
of Lichfield, and first in the person of Aldulf^, the successor 
of Higeberht. That this new ecclesiastical arrangement, not- 
withstanding the ready comphance yielded to the formidable 
Offa, must have been a source of heartburning among the 
neighbouring kingdoms, already in a state of irritation from 
so many other causes, may be easily imagined, the effects of 
which were manifested in the early abolition of the archiepi- 
scopal see of Lichfield. 

Offa acquired greater renown to himself and greater power 
to his state than had ever been possessed by any Anglo-Saxon 
king or kingdom^. His firmness and his valour are incon- 
testable. His delight in reading is also celebrated by his 
contemporaries''. For the better administration of his domi- 
nions he provided by the formation or collection of a code of 

1 W. Malm. lib. i. Vita Offa II. p. 21. 

2 W. Malm. lib. i. and De Gestis Pont. lib. iv. Vita Offe. Rad. Dicet. 
Abbrev. Chron. a. 787, where the limits of the new archbishopric are given. 
Sim. Dunelm. a. 786. 

■« See charters of 780 in Cod. Diplom. pp. 167, 169. Smith's Beda, 
p. 767. " Ego Offa, Dei gratia concedente, rex Merciorum simulque na- 
tionum in circuitu." 

•* Alcuini Opera, fol. 1554. 

OFFA. 235 

Mercian laws, the loss of which is deeply to be lamented ^ 
Yet were these estimable qualities, by means of which he had 
founded his power, stained with crime which stands in sin- 
gular contrast to the better part of his character. No deed 
has excited greater horror than the murder of -^Ethelberht-, 
the young and accomplished king of the East Angles, of 
which he is accused. In the hope of obtaining the hand of 
^thelthryth, the daughter of OfFa, this unfortunate prince 
had, by the advice of his council, though in opposition to the 
will of his mother, set out on a journey to the Mercian court. 
On arriving at the border he sent forward a letter to Offa, 
together with valuable presents, and in return received an 
invitation couched in the warmest terms, with an assurance 
of security. By OfFa he was received in the most hospitable 
and splendid manner ; but after he had retired to his apart- 
ment for the night, a message was brought to him by an 
officer of the palace named Wimberht, that OfFa was desirous 
of conferring with him on business of moment. The un- 
suspecting guest followed the messenger, but when passing 
through a dark passage he was attacked and basely murdered 
by assassins posted there for the purpose. By the monk of 
St. Albans the guilt of this foul murder has been transferred 
from the head of the founder of his abbey to that of the queen 
Cynethryth^ ; but, in such a case, privity to the deed is as 
criminal as the deed itself, especially when, as in the instance 
of OfFa, who soon rendered himself master of the kingless 
state, the fruits of the perfidy must inevitably fall to the ac- 
complice. OfFa afFected great sorrow for this atrocious crime, 

' See Laws of Alfred in Ancient Laws and Institutes, p. 27, fol. edit. 

2 Sax. Chron. a. 792. 

3 So not only the Vita Offx IL, but also Fl. Wigorn. a. 793. [" Offee 

detestanda jussione, suseque conjugis Cynethrithe reginee nefaria 

persuasione, regno vitaque privatus est capititis abscissione." The Sax. 
Chron. Ethelwerd, H. Hunt., W. Malm., place the event in 792, and agree 
as to the decapitation. By R. Wendover we are told that the queen caused 
her victim to fall into a pit prepared under his couch, where he was smo- 
thered by the attendants. See Fl. Hist. t. i. p. 250.— T.] 

236 OFFA. 

and raised a stately monument over the remains of his victim 
in the church of Hereford^ on which he bestowed rich dona- 
tions. In the same year ^Iflaed, another daughter of OfFa, 
was married to ^thelred king of Northumbria. 

Among those events recorded of Offa's hfe of which the 
authenticity is very questionable, is a journey to Rome which 
he is said to have made towards the latter part of his reign. 
His munificence to the churches and pious establishments in 
that city is highly extolled; and though it is difficult to 
ascribe to Offa other than ambitious motives', yet, if we con- 
sider the age in which he lived rather than the individual, a 
pilgrimage in expiation of the murder of ^thelberht appears 
by no means improbable. But though Ofla himself may not 
have visited Rome, the accounts of his liberality to the Saxon 
school there^, and of the donation or confirmation of Rome- 
scot for the benefit of that foundation, seem not undeserving 
of credit. 

Offa during eight-and-thirty years had toiled indefatigably 
for the aggrandizement of his dominion, when he was seized 
by the hand of death^ only a few years after the murder of 
yEthelberht, Avhich had called doM'n upon him the execration 

' The monk of St. Albans is perhaps more trustworthy than he has 
hitherto been considered. The inmate of a monastery founded by Offa, 
he has, no doubt, placed many actions of the founder in a different light 
from that in which others have regarded them ; yet he may have had the 
use of documents inaccessible to others. Many of his accounts agree 
accurately with those of Florence, W. of Malmesbury and others ; if, 
therefore, he is not older than these, but has made use of them, the 
circumstance of having availed himself of such sources speaks in favour 
of his general credibility. He is not therefore to be altogether rejected, 
but in cases only when, for particular reasons, he is to be regarded with 

- Vita Offffi II. W. Malm. lib. ii. c. ii. Among the traditions concern- 
ing Offa a German one may be noticed, viz. that Opho, rex Anglife, the 
maternal uncle of St. Willibold, first bishop of Eichstadt, erected the 
monastery of Schuttern, in the year 703 or 717- See Appendices in Chron. 
Montis Sereni, ed. Mader, pp. 282, 289. 

^ Sax. Chron. 29 July. Sim. Dunelm. 26 July a. 796. Fl. Wigorn. erro- 
neously, 794. 


of Europe. Seldom do we see the hand of the avenging 
Nemesis so manifest as in the destinies of the house of the 
perfidious Offa. Cynethryth, of whose ambition and pre- 
sumption a tangible proof still exists in the coins which she 
alone of all the Anglo-Saxon queens caused to be stampt with 
her own image, was, three months after the deed which has 
branded her, thrown by robbers into her own well ; a manner 
of death which, if void of truth, may, nevertheless, serve to 
show what her contemporaries wished and thought of her. 
Tradition will not even acknowledge her as an Anglo-Saxon, 
but represents her as a Frank, who for some atrocious crime 
had been sent out to sea in an open boat, and having been 
found by the youthful OfFa, had seduced him to conduct her 
to his home^. While the sanctity of the pious ^thelberht 
was working numerous miracles, the bones of his murderer 
were washed by the sweeping floods of the Ouse out of their 
consecrated earth^. His son Ecgferth, whom in the year 785 
he had caused to be crowned king^, died of disease only a 
few months after the death of his father'*; in him the male 
line of Offa was extinguished. Of his daughters, ^Ethelthryth, 
the affianced of yEthelberht, ended her days in solitude and 
sorrow in the abbey of Croyland. Of Eadburh, the aban- 

^ Vita Offse. Broraton, a. 752. 

- Offa was buried in a chapel just without Bedford. R. Wend. t. i. 
p. 2G2.— T. 

^ H. Hunt, says king of the province of Kent ; but this is not only incon- 
sistent with Malmesbury and other authorities, by whom we are informed 
that Alric, son of Wihtraed, and the last of the ^scings, reigned in Kent 
till 794, but is unsupported by the oldest testimonies, which state merely 
that Offa associated his son with him in the kingdom of Mercia, making no 
mention whatever of Kent. Sax. Chron. a. 785. " And Ecgferth was con- 
secrated king." Fl. Wigorn. " Egferthus rex est consecratus." W. Malm, 
lib. i. " Egfertum filium, ante mortem suam, in regem inunctum." R. 
Wendover, t. i. p. 247. "In illo quoque concilio (Cealchyth) Offa rex Mer- 
ciorum potentissimus in regem fecit solemniter coronari Egfridum, filium 

suum primogenitum, qui deinceps cum patre usque ad finem vitse 

ejus regnavit." See also charters of Offa in Cod. Diplom. Nos. 152, 1,65, 
where Ecgferth signs himself ' rex Merciorura.' — T. 

* Ingulphus. 


doned consort of Beorhtric king of Wessex, we shall speak 
hereafter. The remaining daughter, iElflaed, lost father, 
brother and husband in the same year. 

The rich inheritance of Offa, dominion, authority, treasures, 
fell after the short reign of Ecgferth, which was not such as 
to justify any very sanguine hopes ^, to Cenwulf, a descendant 
of Cenwealh, a son of Wibba, and consequently brother of 
Penda. Cenwulf was endowed with the kingly qualities of 
Offa, but he knew also how to maintain his power by justice 
and clemency as well as by valour. So at least sings the 
praise bestowed on him almost unanimously by the eccle- 
siastical chroniclers of the middle age, in whose hands were 
placed the golden keys of earthly immortality and undying 
renown. The prosperity of his reign, which was followed by 
no similar one in Mercia, is undeniable. The arts of peace 
begun to be more steadily and, therefore, more successfully 
cultivated. Almost the only art which has left behind it un- 
questionable monuments of its time, the coinage, proves that, 
first under Offa, and subsequently under Cenwulf, it yielded 
the best impressions which Mercia could prodiice. 

The ^scings who had worn the crown of Kent, though 
under the supremacy of Mercia, were now extinct, and Cen- 
wulf formed the plan of uniting that kingdom still more 
closely with his own. He found an opponent in Eadberht, 
surnamed Praen, who held the sovereignty of Kent for three 
years. This prince, who seems to have been collaterally con- 
nected Math the ^scings, and also related to Ecgberht king 
of Wessex, had formerly been an ecclesiastic-. The Mercian 

' So it may be inferred from Alcwine's letter to him (No. xlviii.). 

2 Sax. Chron.a. 794. Fl.Wigorn. Thorne, p. 2238. Wallingford, p. 530, 
confounds Eadberht Prsen with the eldest son of Wihtried, who, according 
to the Sax. Chron. and Fl. Wigorn., died in 748. That he w^as an eccle- 
siastic appears from a letter of pope Leo (Anglia Sacra, t. i. p. 460), where 
it is said, " De ilia epistola, quara ^thelhardus (archiep. Cantuar.) nobis 

transmisit reddimus responsuni, quia nos de clerico illo aposfafa, qui 

ascenderat in regnum, sirailem ilium reputantes Juliano Parabatre, ana- 


overcame his rival by the sword, as well as by the equally 
efficient aid of spiritual weapons. He offered to abolish the 
archbishopric of Lichfield, an act which could not fail to 
dispose in his favour all the higher clergy of England, and 
was especially calculated to gain over to the king of Mercia 
the archbishop of Canterbury and all whose interests imme- 
diately depended on that dignity. The pope, Leo the Third, 
declared also his willingness to abolish the new archbishop- 
ric, and to excommunicate the apostate churchman who had 
usurped the throne of Kent. Cenwulf, after having laid the 
Kentish territory waste as far as the marshes, took the king 
Eadberht prisoner, led him bound into Mercia, having caused 
the eyes of his captive to be put out and his hands ampu- 
tated^. He did not, however, deprive him of life, but, after 
some time, on the occasion of the consecration of the church 
founded by him at Winchelcomb, which was conducted with 
extraordinary pomp, and at which splendid gifts were be- 
stowed both on ecclesiastics and laymen, he restored him to 

themizantes objicimus," etc. Other particulars concerning liim have been 

preserved only by H. of Huntingdon : " Populos Cantice rex Egbricht 

in dominium suscepit, quos prius cognatus suus Pren injuste amiserat. 
Edbriht Pren regnavit III. annis." 

1 Sax. Chron. a. 796. Sim. Dunelm. a. 798. Neither Ethelwerd nor 
Florence mention the mutilation. " quern vinculis oppressum duxerunt 
usque ad Merce." Ethelw. a. 796. " ligatum in Merciam secum duxit." 
Fl. Wigorn.— T. 

- Malmesbury gives a glowing account of Cenwulf's munificence and 
clemency at this ceremony : " Apud Winchelcumbam, ubi ecclesiam Deo 
exsedificaverat, ipsa dedicationis die regem captivum ad altare manumittens, 
libertate palpavit, memorabile clementise suae spectaculura exhibens [!]. 
Aderat ibidem regiae munificentiae appjausor Cuthredus, quem ille Cautua- 
ritis regem prsefecerat. Sonabat basilica plausibus, platea fremebat dis- 
cursibus, eo quod ibi in conventu tredecim episcoporum, decern ducum, 
nuUus largitatis pateretur repulsam, omnes suffarcinatis marsupiis abirent ; 
nam praeter ilia xenia quae magnates susceperant, inaestimabilis scilicet 
pretii et numeri, in utensilibus, vestibus, equis electissimis, omnibus, qui 
agros non habebant, libram argenti, presbyteris marcam auri, monachis 
solidara unura, postremo toti populo multa erogavit." — T. 


The arms of Cenwulf were also fortunate against the Welsh. 
In the first year of his reign the battle of Rhuddlan in the 
Vale of Chvyd was fought, when they were driven back over 
OfFa's dyke. In another battle Caradoc, king of Gwynedd, 
perished. In his latter years his ai'my penetrated to Snow- 
don, and devastated the country adjacent ^ 

The government of Kent was assigned by Cenwulf to his 
brother Cuthred^; but the suppression of the Mercian arch- 
bishopric was delayed for some years, until, at a synod held 
by the primate of Canterbury and his twelve suffragans at 
Clofesho^, it -was carried into effect. We read not without 
surprise in what contemptuous terms the decree of the synod 
mentions the schemes of Offa, through which the see of the 
holy Augustine had been prejudiced in its rights, and after- 
M'ards learn from the same source that archbishop ^thelheard 
himself had made a journey to Rome for the purpose of pre- 
vailing on the pope to suppress the new archbishopric, and 
restore to its integrity the foundation of his glorious prede- 
cessor Gregory the Great. Pure good-will towards ^Ethel- 
heard seems to have moved the pope to this remarkable act 
of compliance in his favour; the papal court could derive 
from it no advantage. 

^thelheard died shortly after the completion of his object. 
Between Cenwulf and Wulfred, the new archbishop, a quarrel 
soon arose, in which the violence and avarice of the former 
are bitterly complained of. For six years the king prohibited 
the primate from exercising the archiepiscopal duties ; and, 
on his return from Rome, where he had obtained a favourable 
decision of his cause, Cenwulf declared in a council, that, 
unless he surrendered certain lands, and paid a certain sum 
of money, he should be expelled from the kingdom, and that 
no decrees of the pope nor solicitation of the emperor Charle- 

» Annal. Camb. aa. 796, 798, 816, 818. Brut y Tyw. a. 819. 

2 Ob. A. D. 805. 

3 A.D. 803. See Wilkins, Cone. t. i. pp. 163, 167. Smith's Beda, p. 787. 

MERCIA. 241 

masne should ever effect his return. To both demands the 
archbishop at length yielded, but the promised restoration of 
its privileges to the church of Canterbury was unfulfilled*. 

The foregoing particulars of the hfe of Cenwulf seem, as 
we have already remarked, inconsistent with the praise so 
liberally bestowed on him by the chroniclers, who, moreover, 
inform us that, after a reign of twenty-six years, he passed to 
the reward of his numerous good deeds, and was buried at 

Cenwulf was succeeded by his son Cenhelm, a child of 
seven years, who, at the instigation of his sister Cwenthryth, 
was basely murdered in a wood by ^sceberht, his tutor. 
Ceolwulf, a brother of Cenwulf, then succeeded to the throne, 
from which he was driven two years afterwards by the usurper 
Beornwulf, a Mercian without any pretensions by birth^. 
Mercia now rapidly approached its fall. 

The history of the smaller states contributing to form what 
by later writers has commonly, though erroneously, been 
called the Heptarchy, is almost wholly lost. Even the genea- 
logies of their kings, which among those people constituted 
the chief basis of their annals, is, soon after the introduction 
of Christianity, defective, and only the stories or rather le- 
gends of a few pious nuns, according to the usual pattern, 
and in the customary strains of praise, were composed. What 
beyond this is known of their kingdoms, consists in accounts 
of the victories of their more powerful neighbours, and iso- 
lated traces of resistance on the part of the weaker. 

None of these states excites the curiosity of the historical 

inquirer so much as that of East Anglia, which, inhabited 

by Germans probably before the time of Hengest and Horsa, 

entu'ely surrounded by German neighbours, in no contact 

with the Britons, must necessarily have presented a most 

faithful picture of Teutonic antiquity. Even at the present 

* Evidentiae Eccles. Cantuar. ap. Tw^'sden, p. 2213. 
- Sax. Chron. a. 819. [H. Hunt. lib. iv. "Cenwlf regnavit xxvi annis 
pacifice, et mortuus est coramuai morte."— T.] ^ Fl, Wigorn. Ingulph. 

VOL. I. R 


day in no other part of England do so many well preserved 
German names of places declare who were their ancient lords 
or founders. Many remarkable traditions, though hitherto 
not sufficiently investigated and sifted for use as materials of 
history, are preserved relative to this district. Its position 
was particularly favourable to an intercourse with the Old- 
Saxons, and we may regard not only London, in those remote 
times, but also the East Anglian ports Lynn, Yarmouth and 
Dunwich, as resorts for Frisic, Saxon and Gallic mariners 
and members of the several commercial guilds or 'hansen.' 

This connexion with Germany declares itself in the legends 
of East Anglia, according to which Eadmund, who reigned 
there in the ninth century, was a son of Alcmund, a king of 
Saxony, and born at Nuremberg. The land itself bore for 
the most part a close resemblance to the opposite marshy 
coasts of Holland and Friesland, and it was only after the 
lapse of many ages that the drained fens of Cambridgeshire, 
or of the so-called isle of Ely, begun to yield to the inmates 
of the several cloisters there the blessing of the land of Go- 
shen. As Offa against the Welsh, so had the first kings of 
East Anglia raised a vast rampart, defended by a ditch, 
against Mercia, which bore the name of the Recken-dyke, 
though known at a later period among the common people 
as St. Edmund's, sometimes the devil's, and lastly as Cnut's, 
or Henry the First's ^ We have already seen that this dyke 
was no safeguard against the powerful Penda j such artificial 
defences tending generally to the restraint of intercourse in 
times of peace, and, in times of danger, to the injury of the 
people, by a delusive appearance of security. It long con- 
tinued, however, to define the limit of the authority of the 
nominal kings of the country, and afterwards of the peaceful 
jurisdiction of the crosier of Norwich. 

After the kings Sigeberht and Ecgric had fallen in battle 
against Penda, Anna, the son of ^ne, a brother of the Bret- 

' Fl. Wigorn. a. 905. "Limes S. Eadmundi." Cf. Sax. Chron. h. a. 


walda Raedwald, shared the same fate. He was succeeded 
by his brother ^thelhere, who, compelled to submit to the 
formidable conqueror, was in the following year slain with 
him in the memorable battle against Oswiu of Bernicia^ It 
does not appear that Anna left any male offspring. Of his 
four daughters, Sexburh, married to Earconberht king of 
Kent, and ^thelthryth to Ecgfrith of Northumbria, died 
abbesses of Ely ; ^thelburh was abbess of Faremoustier en 
Brie, and Wihtburh a nun at Ely^. ^thelhere was succeeded 
by his brother ^thelwald^, who was followed by Ealdwulf*, 
a son of his brother ^thelhere, who, after a reign of forty- 
nine years, was succeeded by his brother iElfwold^. This 
prince seems to have been the last of the direct line of the 
Uffings, as after his death we find East Anglia divided be- 
tween Beonna and ^thelberht or Alberht^, who were fol- 
lowed by ^thelred, the father, by his queen Leofrun, of 
^thelberht, the unfortunate victim of Offa and Cynethryth. 
The history of no Anglo-Saxon state is so defective as that 
of the East Saxons. At an early period in subjection to the 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 655. 

2 Beda, iii. 8, iv. 19. Fl. Wigorn. Geneal. ^ a.d. 655. 

* A.D. 664. FI. Wigorn. and Geneal. Ealdwulf was present at the 
Synod of Heathfield; his mother was Hereswith, a sister of St. Hild. 
Beda, iv. 17. 23. He died, according to the Ann. Lauresh., in 713. See 
Literary Introduction, p. xxxvi. note^. 

5 A letter of his to archbishop Boniface is extant. See Max. Bibl. 
Patrum, t. xiii. ep. Ixxvi. 

•^ Sim. Dunelm. a. 749- " Elfwald rex Orientalium Anglorum defunctus 
est, regnumque Hunbeanna et Albert sibi diviserunt." So Chron. Mailr. 
In the belief, however, that the first-mentioned of these personages never 
existed, I feel no scruple in eliminating the name from the hst of East 
Anglian kings. Simeon's original was apparently some Saxon chronicle, 
where two words were joined, as Bej:teji himbeanna penj to jiice, after 
him Beanna (Beonna) succeeded ; out of which, misled by the near resem- 
blance in Saxon manuscript of im to un, he formed the name of Hun- 
beanna. Florence (Geneal.) says, " regnante Offa Beorna regnavit in East 
Anglia, et post eum -iEthelredus," etc. In ' Beorna ' the final vowel ap- 
pears very suspicious, while Beonna (written also Beanna and Bynna) is a 
common Saxon name. This mistake has undoubtedly arisen from the slight 
difference in Saxon MS. between n and ji. — T. 

R 2 

244 ESSEX. 

kings of Kent, they subsequently fell under that of Mercia, 
or perhaps together with Mercia, under that of Northumbria. 
Some battles with Wessex in which, about the year 617, their 
kings Sexred, Steward and Sigeberht were slain, indicate a 
short interval of independence. To these succeeded Sige- 
berht, surnamed the Little, a son of Sseward, who was fol- 
lowed by Sigebert the Good, the son of Sigebald and friend 
of Oswiu, at whose instance he turned to the Christian faith 
and received baptism. He was assassinated by two brothers, 
who, as we are told, hated him for his merciful disposition. 
He was followed by his brother Swithhelm, also a convert to 
Christianity ^ It is probable that the East Saxons were con- 
quered by Penda, though the chroniclers have not conde- 
scended to record the event; but who, as a matter far more 
important, inform us that king Sebbe (Sebbi) assumed the 
tonsure, and lived till the year 694 ; and afterwards that the 
youthful Offa also abdicated the throne and made a pilgrimage 
to Rome^. His successor was Selred, who was slain, but 
whether in battle or otherwise we are not informed^. 

Though under subjection to Mercia, the old race of the 
Offings continued to rule, M'hose genealogy, though not alto- 
gether clear, yet sufficiently shows the legitimate succession. 
From the reign of Sleda it seems to have been observed as 
a family law, during a period of two hundred and fifty years, 

» A.D. 660. Beda, iii. 22. Fl. Wigorn. Geneal. 

2 A.D. 709. Beda (v. 19) says of him, " OiFa juvenis amantissiraae 
setatis et venustatis," but styles him merely "filius Sigheri": hence it 
would seem that he had never assumed the reins of government. The 
charter in Thome (ap. Twysden, p. 2219) issued by " OfFa rex Anglomm," 
in the 38th year of his reign, is not of 69O, but a century later, and is a 
charter of Offa of Mercia. [See the document in Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 191, 
where it is marked as spurious. — T.] 

3 Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 746. This prince has by 
some writers, following a blunder of the Chron. Mailros., rather than the 
authority of Florence, been placed among the rulers of East Anglia, while 
his name alone would have been sufficient to show the race to which he 
belonged. — T. 

KENT. 245 

that the names of their kings should begin with the same 
letter. To these probably a king Sigebald belonged, who 
endeavoured to prevail on Boniface to become the spiritual 
guide of his peopled Even of London itself, the most im- 
portant place in Essex, we find scarcely any accounts beyond 
the names of some ecclesiastics : it must with its environs at 
an early period have fallen under subjection to Mercia^. 

Kent, though probably not the oldest of the Germanic 
states in Britain, had, through the valour of its first kings and 
leaders, as well as by its earher connexion with the Frankish 
realm, and its adherence to the continental church, acquired 
a certain eminence and even precedence over the other insular 
kingdoms. Soon, however, after the death of ^thelberht, 
under his son Eadbald, Kent sank into a condition more 
commensurate with its physical strength, although the sister 
of Eadbald -was married to the powerfvd Eadwine of North- 
umbria, and himself, now reclaimed from his criminal passion ^ 
for his step-mother, had espoused Emma, a Frankish prin- 
cess^. Eadbald was succeeded by Earconberhf*, his son by 
Emma, who guilefully supplanted his elder brother Eormen- 
red, the eldest son of Eadbald. Like his father, Earconberht 
reigned a round number of twenty-four years. His ecclesi- 
astical regulations are mentioned with praise, and for him was 
reserved the total destruction of idols. His son Ecgberht 
succeeded to the throne, on which, as long as his two cousins, 
iEthelred and ^thelberht, the sons of his father's eldest 
brother, Eormenred, were alive, he felt no security. A thane 

^ Bonifacii Epiat. xlix. 

2 W. Malm. lib. i. " Londonia cum circumjacentibus regionibus, Mer- 
ciorura regibus, quamdiu ipsi imperitaverunt, paruit." 

^ For the date of his death (20 June) see Literary Introduction, p. xxxvi. 
note ^. It is also given by Thorne, p. 1769, though not by the older writers. 
Emma's name appears in a charter of Eadbald a. 618. See Smith's Beda, 
p. 694 [and Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 8, where it is marked as spurious]. 
Emma was probably a daughter of the Austrasian king Tlieudebert IL 
Langhorne, Chron. Reg. Angl. p. 155. Pagi, a. 640. 

* Beda, iii. 8. Sax. Chron. a. 640. 

246 KENT. 

named Thunor, either divining the wish or obeying the com- 
mand of his master, murdered the innocent princes ^ Ac- 
cording to the beautiful legend, to which history itself will 
not refuse a space, their bodies were buried by the murderer 
in the king's palace, under the royal seat ; but a heavenly 
light was seen to shine over their resting-place, which led to 
the detection of the foul misdeed. The guilty king gave to 
Eormenbeorh^, a sister of the murdered princes, a space of 
land as blood-fine (manbot) ; thus making atonement to the 
secular, as he did afterwards to the ecclesiastical law, by a 
public supplication and the founding of a monastery in the 
Isle of Thanet. The course of a hind during a day deter- 
mined the extent of the land ; and the murderer Thunor was 
swallowed by the gaping earth. Of the daughters of Earcon- 
berht, by his wife Sexburh, a daughter of Anna king of the 
East Angles, we find that Earcongote became abbess of Fare- 
moustier ; Eormengild was married to Wulf here of Mercia. 

Eadric, the son of Ecgberht^, was deprived of his throne by 
his uncle Hlothhaere (Hlothhaeri), with whom he seems, how- 
ever, to have for some time reigned conjointly. With the 
help of the South Saxons Eadric at length overcame his faith- 
less kinsman in a battle, who died of his wounds*. After a 
reign of about a year and a half, Eadric was carried off by a 
violent death^, when Kent, as we shall presently see^, became 
a prey to invaders, and the seat of a war with Ceadwealla of 
Wessex, until, at the expiration of nine years, the legitimate 
succession was restored in the person of Wihtrsed son of 
Ecgberht '', with whom, at least in the eai'ly part of his reign, 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 640. Sim. Dunelm. h. a., whose narrative of the mur- 
der is particularly circumstantial and florid. Malmesbury merely alludes 
to it. See also Thorne, p. I906. 

2 Called also Domneva. Sim. Dunelm. Fl. Wigorn. She was married 
to Merewald, a son of Penda, king of the West Hecanas. — T. 

3 Ob. A.D. 673. 

* Beda, iv. 26. Sax. Chron. FI. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 685. 

^ Beda, iv. 26. W. Malm. Hb. i. ^ See p. 260. 

' Sax, Chron. a. 694. This date can apply only to his becoming sole 

KENT. 247 

a certain Swaebheard or Waebheard appears to have been 
associated. After a reign of thirty-three years, Wihtraed was 
succeeded by his sons, Eadberht^, -^thelberht 11.^ — six years 
before whose death the capital suffered by fire — and Alric^, 
in whom, after a reign of thirty- four years, the race of the 
^scings became extinct. Eadberht seems to have had a son 
Eardulf*, who for some years reigned with his uncle, but 
died before him. It was Alric who yielded to the superior 
power of Offa in the battle of Otford. The state of Kent in 
the following times is extremely obscure. The small territory 
was often divided between two or more dependent kings ^, 
and served as an appanage for the sons of the Mercian or 
West Saxon sovereigns. Of Eadberht Praen we have already 
made mention under Cenwulf of Mercia. The see of Canter- 
bury imparted to this little kingdom a greater degree of in- 
tegrity than it could else have enjoyed in existence with the 

possessor of the kingdom, as we find him in 692 already reigning con- 
jointly with Swaebheard. See Beda, v. 8. — T. 

^ Ob. A.D. 748. A charter of donation to the church of Canterbury 
(Thome, p. 2209), purporting to be granted by Eadbrith Eating, is with- 
out doubt a forgery of comparatively recent date, by one who confounded 
Eadberht of Kent with the Northumbrian king Eadberht the son of Eata. 
— T. 

^ Ob. A.D. 760. As characteristic of the age may be noticed Jjlthel- 
berht's request to the venerable archbishop Boniface, that he would send 
him some hawks. Bonif. Ep. xl. His mother, the consort of Wihtraed, 
was named ^thelburh (Aedilburg). See fac-simile charter of 697 in the 
Antiquarian Repertory, vol. ii. p. 133, also Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 50. 

^ Beda, v. 23. Sax. Chron. a. 725. 

* A charter of Eardulf, dated 762, is extant in the Textus RofFensis 
(Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 115) of a donation to the church of St. Andrew at 
Rochester. The date is evidently a clerical error which may be corrected 
by the substitution of v for x, making it cclvii. instead of cclxii. A dona- 
tion of Eardulf without date is given in Twysden, p. 2220. See also a 
letter from him to LuUus archbishop of Mentz (Ep. Bonif. xxxvi.) written 
conjointly with Eardulf bishop of Rochester. 

^ See charter, dated 762, of Sigiraed king of Kent of donation to Ro- 
chester, signed also by " Eadberht rex Cantise ; " and another of about the 
same date, signed by " Eanmund rex." Charters of Ecgberht are also ex- 
tant, dating from 779 to 791, in one of which a " Heahberht rex " appears 
among the signatures. See Cod. Diplom. t. i. — T. 

248 SUSSEX. 

powerful states of Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex. To 
the more universal civilization of Kent it is probably owing, 
that the earliest Anglo-Saxon laws extant are those enacted 
under the kings of that countiy, viz. ^thelberht, Hlothhaere 
and Eadric, and Wihtraed. 

Sussex, the kingdom of MWe, the first Bretwalda of Anglo- 
Saxon tradition, sank soon after the death of that prince into 
a state bordering on nonentity. When we consider its small 
extent in comparison with the neighbouring kingdoms, as 
well as its position, unfavourable even at the present day to 
purposes connected with navigation, and too remote from the 
centre of the country for political influence, we can ascribe 
the part it acted under the sway of JElle only to the personal 
character of that chieftain, and to the valour, displayed also 
at a later period, of its rugged inhabitants. This virtue of 
the South Saxons is conspicuous on almost every occasion 
where their name occurs in history; as in the deadly conflict 
with Ceolwulf of Wessex, in their wars with his successor 
Ceadwealla, as well as in instances hereafter to be mentioned. 
The late conversion of the South Saxons, and the wild state 
of the country have been abeady noticed. To these circum- 
stances, and to the necessarily consequent lack of literary 
ecclesiastics, it is to be ascribed, that we do not possess even 
a meagre series of their rulers, much less any circumstantial 
details concerning them. They were the vassals sometimes of 
Wessex, sometimes of Mercia. -^thelwealh, the first Chris- 
tian king of Sussex, received from Wulfhere, king of Mercia, 
the investiture of the Isle of Wight, and of the maegth^ 
or tribe of the Meanwaras in Hampshire ; we, nevertheless, 
regard him as the vassal of Wessex, as well as his successors, 
whether under the denomination of heretogas (duces), kings, 
or under-kings. In the latter days of ^thelwealh occurs the 
aid, already noticed, afforded by Sussex to Eadric king of 

* Tribe, territory, so denominated from its inhabitants being all of the 
same race or tribe. 


Kent, ^thelwealh, we are informed, was succeeded by 
Eadric, who, like his predecessor, fell in a battle against 
Ceadwealla of Wessex^ At a later period the conquest by 
Offa of the territory around Hastings is recorded without any 
mention on the occasion of a king of Sussex^. It is the echo 
of iElle's name alone to which Sussex is indebted for a place 
in the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy ; a denomination equally accu- 
rate or inaccurate with most similar expressions adopted for 
the purpose of generahzing the particular facts of history. 

More desirable than showing that the usually so-called 
greater kingdoms did not always subsist in a state of in- 
dependence^, it would be to give some account of the smaller 
ones, all traces of which have insensibly, and at an early 
period, almost vanished from the page of history. To these 
belong — Middel-Seaxe (Middlesex), which owes this appel- 
lation both to its position with regard to Essex and to the 
temporary neighbourhood of the West Saxons, through the 
conquest of Ceolwulf, but which subsequently passed to the 
Mercians; Suthrige (Surrey)'^; the Jutish state on the Isle 
of Wight; Magesetania, or the land of the Magesaetas or 
Hwiccas (Worcestershire) and of the Hecanas (Hereford- 
shire) : Middel Engle; Elmet^; the Lindisfaras (Lindsey), 
who were in later times governed by under-kings, and, when 
that title fell into disuse, by heretogas and ealdormen or 
gerefas ; — and, without doubt, many others, whose history 
may yet receive illustration both from local tradition and the 

1 W. Malm. lib. i. 

- After the rulers mentioned in the text we meet with the names of 
Huna, Numa (Nunna), Nothelra, and Wattus, as governing under the 
supremacy of Ine ; and at a later period, Osmund, iEthelberht and Sige- 
berht are named as kings of the South Saxons. A charter of Nothelm is 
subscribed by " Csenredus, Rex West Saxonum : " this was, no doubt, the 
father of Ine. See Palgrave, vol. ii. p. cclxxiv. — T. 

^ Some of the elder chronicles, omitting Essex and Sussex, speak often 
of five Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Chron. Anglise MS. Hamburg. 

■* Fl. Wigorn. a. 823. 

* See p. 148. Beda (ii. 14) speaks only of the Siiva Elmete. 


use of hitherto neglected records. At present we can speak 
of the greater number of these districts only with uncertaintj'^, 
though some others may with confidence be specified, as the 
extensive territory of the Pecsaetas (Peakland in Derbyshire) ; 
of the East and West Wilsaetas (Wiltshire); the Ciltern- 
saetas ; Spalda (Spalding) ' ; the South and North Gyrwas^, 
We know, however, from the accounts transmitted to us rela- 
tive to the most important of these small states, the Hmccas, 
that they were generally held by branches of the greater royal 
houses in hereditary succession, and were sometimes in the 
joint possession of two or more brothers. Of this territory 
the first princes, whose names are recorded, seem to be Ean- 
here and his brother Eanfrith, whose daughter, as we have 
already seen, was married to ^thelwealh, king of the South 
Saxons. These were probably succeeded by Osric^ (supposed 
to be a nephew of ^thelred of Mercia) and Oswald"^, the 
former ruling over Gloucestershire, the other over Worcester- 
shire. Their follower Oshere^ was succeeded by his sons 
^thelheard, ^thelweard and iEthelric^', and these by the 
brothers Eanberht, Uhtred and Aldred'^. Under or after 

^ In a charter of 736 mention is made of the Husmeri on the banks of 
the Stour. Smith's Beda, p. 786. 

2 Considerable information concerning the territorial partition of England 
before the division into shires might be derived from the ancient notices in 
Gale, t. i. p. 748, were they not unfortunately too incorrectly written or 
printed to admit of our founding even a conjecture on the greater part of 
them : e. g. to the South Saxons, whose territory is estimated by Beda 
(iv. 13) at 7000 hides, it assigns no less than 100,000 hides. See also 
Ellis's Introd. to Domesday, vol. i. p. 145. 

2 Beda, iv. 23. " provinciam Huicciorum cui rex Osric prsefuit." Charter 
a. 676, in Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 16, granting 100 manentes to the abbess 
Bertana for the founding of a convent near Hat Bathu. 

4 Monast. t. i. p. 541. 

5 Charter aa. 680 and 693 ? in Cod. Diplom. t. i. pp. 22, 41. 

« Charter 704-709, 706, in Cod. Diplom. t. i. pp. 60, 64, 65, 96. Hickes, 
t. i. pp. 169, 170. Smith's Beda, p. 786. 

7 Chart, from a. 757 to 780 in Cod. Diplom. t. i. Hickes, t. i. p. 170 sq. 
Smith's Beda, p. 767. This charter is perhaps not spurious, but for v we 
should read x, making the date 761 instead of 756. 

WESSEX. 251 

these princesj who all bore the title of king, we meet with 
others styled ealdormen (principes, duces), of whom little 
more is known than the names ^ 

It now remains for us to turn our attention to Wessex, and 
to consider what were the circumstances which favoured this 
land more than the other states, and, for some centuries, caused 
it to be especially regarded as England. A solution of the 
problem will be found in the circumstance, that when North- 
umbria was compelled to renounce all thoughts of further 
aggrandizement, when the hostile neighbours of Mercia were 
confined within their own limits by OfFa's dyke, Wessex, 
though defended neither by natural barriers nor early success 
in arms, always found not only a field for warfare, but also 
land to bestow on the valiant, both on the Severn and in 
Cornwall, the land of the strangers : hence martial discipline, 
legitimate succession, and a tranquil state of possession were 
rendered so permanent in the country, that it became enabled 
to adopt gradual improvements, till, in one of its princes, it 
found a clear-sighted and energetic man, who united the 
descendants of the invading hordes into closer connexion, 
and brought them, as far as newly occurring impediments 
permitted, to a higher degree of political culture. 

The successor of Ceolwulf, Cynegils (Cynegisl), and lat- 
terly jointly with him his son Cwichelm% conducted the war 
against the Britons with hereditary success. The boundaries 
of the very small state were thus gradually enlarged, which 
had hitherto comprised only the districts forming in later 

* Palgrave, vol. ii. p. cclxxxix. We find a. 800 a dux Merciorum ^thel- 
mund, whose father Ingeld must have borne the same title under Aldred. 
See charter in Hickes, 1. cit. "dux et prefectus regis." Oshere also says 
(Cod. Diplom. p. 41), " consentiente comite meo Cutberhto." The title of 
princeps was frequently borne by ealdormen. See Hickes, 1. c. 1/1 . 

2 Fl. Wigorn. aa. 614, 628, 636, 648 ; also Alfred of Beverley. Malmes- 
bury indeed says (lib.i.2), " filii Celrici, Cinegislus et Quicelmus ;" though 
he afterwards calls Cuthred, the son of Cwichelm, the fratruelis of Cen- 
wealh, the son of Cynegils. The cause of the confusion is probably 'that 
the son died before the father. 


times the shires of Hampton, Berks, Wilts, Gloucester to 
the Severn, and a part of Oxfordshire. These kings pene- 
trated far into the territory of the South Britons, who were 
defeated at Beamdun (Bampton). Seized Avith a panic at the 
sight of their well-appointed foes, of their gleaming battle- 
axes, and the magnitude of their spears, the Britons took to 
flight, leaving two thousand and sixty-two of their country- 
men dead on the field'. The two kings were equally success- 
ful against Essex, which lost three kings, the sons of Saeberht, 
in a bloody battle from which very few escaped, flight being 
impeded by the heaps of slain and torrents of blood^. Penda 
made war on them, though in the battle of Cirencester^ he 
did not overcome them. It was only in the contest with 
Eadwine of Northumbria that they lost a part of their pos- 
sessions, and the murderous attempt made on the life of that 
prince, at the instigation of the exasperated Cwichelm, led to 
a defeaf^, which does not, however, seem to have been fol- 
lowed up by Eadwine. Cynegils, at the instance of Oswald 
of Northumbria, became a convert to Christianity, and was 
baptized by bishop Birinus. Cwichelm also received baptism 
and died in the year following^. 

The succeeding years passed on quietly in settling the new 
ecclesiastical arrangements. Cenwealh, the second son of 
Cynegils, had married a sister of Penda, by Avhich connexion 
a most dangerous enemy or neighbour — the expressions were 
in those days synonymous — seemed conciliated. Cenwealh, 
on the death of his father, inherited his throne^, but not his 
principles. He rejected Christianity, repudiated his wife, and 
married Sexburh, who survived him. Penda avenged the 

» Sax. Chron. Fl.Wigoin. H. Hunt. a. 6]4. 

^ In this and similar descriptions Henry of Huntingdon is easily to be 
recognised. ^ Sax. Chron. a. 628. 

^Beda, ii. 9. Sax. Chron. a. 626. W. Malm. lib. i. 

■^ Beda, iii. 7. Sax. Chron. FI. Wigorn. H. Hunt. aa. 635, 636. 

« Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 643. Three MSS. of the Chi'on. 
read 641. 


injury of his sister by driving Cenwealh from his throne, 
who found an asylum at the court of Anna, king of the East 
Angles, with whom he passed three years, and by whose 
counsel and example he was converted to the Christian faith. 
With the assistance of Cuthred, the son of Cwichelm, he was 
reinstated in his kingdom, and rewarded his nephew by the 
resignation in his favour of a third part of his dominions, or, 
according to other accounts, with a grant of three thousand 
hvdes at ^scesdun^ This little state bordered on Mercia- 
and was probably Ashdown in the south of Berkshire. 

The reign of Cenwealh is important on account of the 
aggrandizement of Wessex. He defeated in several battles 
the Britons of Dyvnaint and Cernau, who had endeavoured 
to throw off the Saxon yoke-, first at Wirtgeornesburh, after- 
wai'ds, with more important results, at Bradenford (Bradford) 
on the Avon in Wiltshire^, and again at Peonna (on the hill 
of Pen in Somersetshire), where the power of the Britons 
melted like snow before the sun, and the race of Brut received 
an incurable wound, when he drove them as far as the 
Pedrede (the river Parret) ^. A consequence of this augmen- 
tation of territory was the establishment of a second bishopric 
in his kingdom, at Winchester, where he also founded a 
monastery and a church, famed, even at its first erection, for 
its magnificence^. 

Though the conduct of Cenwealh towards Agilbert, of 
which mention has already been made, may appear unjust, 
it seems, nevertheless, to have chiefly resulted from the ardent 
zeal of the new convert ; nor perhaps ought we to blame in 

1 Sax. Chron.aa. 648, 661. Fl. Wigorn. a. 648. 

2 W. Malm. lib. i. " Britannos antiquse libertatis conscientiam frementes, 
et ob hoc crebram rebellionem meditantes, bis oranino protrivit; primum 
in loco qui dicitur Wirtgeinesburg ; secundo juxta montem qui dicitur 
Pene."— T. 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 652, where it is merely stated that Cenwealh fought at 
Bradford.— T. 
4 Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 658. ^ ^^ Malm. lib. i. 


him the wish to possess a bishop speaking his mother-tongue, 
the only one intelhgible to him' ; while to other distinguished 
dignitaries of the Anglo-Saxon church, as in the instance of 
Benedict Biscop, the founder of the monastery at Wearmouth, 
he gave fi'equent j^roofs of good will^. The new ecclesiastical 
organization was the more important, as the general admini- 
stration of the Anglo-Saxons had reference chiefly to the 
military constitution, and could not be regarded as a moral 
bond of union, such as the erection of the see of Win- 
chester must necessarily have been in a very high degree. 
The old British ecclesiastical establishments were not dis- 
turbed, but rather cherished by the conqueror ; and we are 
not ignorant of the donation by w^hich the monks of Glaston- 
buiy were induced, even on the grave of Arthur himself, to 
pray for the eternal salvation of the Germanic intruder^. 

More dangerous to Cenwealh was the contest which now 
took place with the king of Mercia, Wulfhere, the brother of 
his first consort ; for although, in the beginning of the cam- 
paign, the latter sustained an overthrow, and was probably 
made a prisoner in the territoiy of Cuthred, at ^scesdun, 
where he appears as the assailing party'*, yet, in the same 
year, Cenwealh lost tw^o valuable friends in his nephew 
Cuthred and Cenberht, another under-king. The Mercians 
too pressed forward, or were successfully supported by their 
southern fi-iends, in return for the cession by Wulfhere of the 
Isle of Wight, and of the Meanwara maegth or tribe, a por- 
tion of Hampshire, to his ally vEthelwealh, the apparently 
new king of Sussex. 

After a reign of more than thirty years Cenwealh died 

^ Beda, iii.7. "Rex, qui Saxonum tantum linguam noverat, pertassus 
barbarte loquelae, subintroduxit in provinciam alium suse linguae episcopum, 
vocabulo Vini." 

^ BedseVita S. Benedicti. "cujus (sc. Coinwalh) ante nonsemel amicitiis 
usus, et beneficiis erat adjiitus." 

^ Malmesb. de Antiq. Glaston. Eccl. ap. Gale, t. i. p. 308. 
. * Sax. Chron. a. 661. Ethelw. lib. ii. 7. H.Hunt. 


suddenly^ without children or Hneal descendants. He had, 
however, provided for the administration of his kingdom by- 
committing it to his queen Sexburh. The talents displayed 
by this princess, both at the head of the army and of the 
state, have been extolled in terms which show how great 
must have been the impression made on her countrymen by 
a phenomenon so rare as a reigning queen ^. Nevertheless, 
within a year the energies of Sexburh proved inadequate to 
the cares and anxieties of the male dignity, which were not a 
little aggravated by the illegality of her pretensions. On the 
death or expulsion of Sexburh^, two under-kings of Wessex, 
^scwine% a hneal descendant of Ceolwulf, and Centwine, 
the brother of Cenwealh, — who appears to have been the 
only rightful heir, and whose exclusion by Sexburh seems 
inexplicable, — governed the state, either in succession or 
jointly, for several years. The obscurity attending these 
reigns is further increased by the account, that the imme- 
diate successor of Sexbm'h was Cenfus, the father of ^sc- 
wine^. Even Beda, whose early years fell in this period, 
knew little of the ten years' anarchy in the kingdom of Wes- 
sex. The existence of ^scwine himself as king would pro- 
bably, like that of his father, have afibrded matter of doubt, 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 672. Bedee Vita S. Benedict!, "immatura morte prae- 
reptus." - W. Malm. lib. i. 

^ W. Malm. lib. i. " plus quam foemineos animos anhelantem vita de- 
stituit, annua vix potestate perfunctam." [R. Wendover, p. 162, however, 
says that she was expelled, " indignantibus regni magnatibus expulsa est a 
regno, nolentibus sub sexu foemineo militare." — T.] So also Matt. Westm. 
a. 672. 

^ Malmesbury says, " Escuinus, regali prosapiae proximus, quippe qui 
fiierit Cinegisli ex fratre Cuthgislo abnepos." I follow Fl, Wigorn. a. 674, 
and Geneal. ; also Sax. Chron. 

* Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 67-i ; but in Geneal. Regum W. Sax. he 
says, " Deinde Kenfus duobus annis, secundum dicta regis ^Elfredi, juxta 
vero Chronicam Anghcam, filius ejus^scwinus fere tribus annis regnavit." 
The latter account only is noticed by Florence in his Chronicle, and on the 
authority of the ' Anglica Chronica Occidentalium Saxonum.' 


had not a great battle M'hich he fought against Wulfhere of 
Mercia, who had advanced to Bedwin in Wiltshire, gained for 
him a hero's fame. This bloody conflict was sufficiently im- 
portant to influence the accounts of it in a manner agreeable 
to the local feelings of the narrators. While the chronicler 
of Middle England strives to secure the honours of a hard- 
earned victory for the king of Mercia, he of Wessex — in 
whose favour the retreat of the Mercians loudly speaks — 
entertains no doubt of his defeat i. By the death of JEscwine, 
which followed soon after, Centwine appears as sole ruler of 
the West Saxons. 

The wars of the Anglo-Saxons with each other excited in 
the Armoricans the hope of recovering the home of their 
fathers from the hand of the stranger. The absence of the 
British king Cadwaladyr, who had departed on a pilgrimage 
to Rome, and left his son Yvor to the care of the king of 
Armorica, Alan the Second, encouraged the ambitious views 
of that prince ; and a landing effected under the guidance of 
Yvor and his cousin Inyr led to the conquest of the old 
British country to the south of the Avon. Centwine led a 
powerful army against the invaders, but a battle was pre- 
vented by an amicable arrangement, according to which Yvor 
W'as invested by Centwine with the principality of Dyvnaint 
and Cernau, and, it is said, obtained the hand of ^Ethelburh, 
a niece of the king of Wessex, and, at a subsequent period, 
his kingdom also. 

According to these and other Welsh narratives, Yvor ap- 
pears completely identical \vith Ine, the second successor of 

' Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 675. Late writers follow H. Hunt. — 
"Rex vero Mercensis, patria et avita virtute usus, aliquantulum prtestan- 
tior pugna fuit ; uterque tamen exercitus terribiliter contritus est," etc. — 
and overlook W. of Malmesbury, who says, " ille (Escuinus) Mercios 
anxia clade perculit." [The Saxon Chron. and Florence say nothing of the 
result of the conflict ; the latter's silence seems certainly to be in favour of 
the W. Saxons.— T.] 


Centwine ; as the story of Yvor's fathez- resembles that of 
the predecessor of Ine\ The part assigned to the king of 
Armorica in this expedition accords in no respect with the 
weakness of character ascribed to him in other accounts ^. It 
must indeed be confessed that our knowledge of the history 
of Wessex, derived from Anglo-Saxon sources, is highly 
unsatisfactory ; we must, therefore, have occasional recourse 
to the Welsh traditions, where, in consequence of the prox- 
imity of the two states, much latent history may reasonably 
be supposed to exist^. If in this respect too little regard has 
been shown to Jeffrey of Monmouth, on the other hand, care 
must be taken not to overrate his contemporary Caradoc of 
Llancarvan, though criticism has hitherto but seldom directed 
its shafts against the latter, an accumulation of quotations 
from whom imparts a show of deep research to some modern 
historic productions. In most instances, however, of such 
conflicting narratives, it may be assumed that the Welsh hi- 
storians adopted the policy of purloining from a successful 
enemy, and skilfully transferring to his British contempo- 
raries, if not to imaginary personages, the object and reward 
of his battles, the glory and lastingness of his individuality in 
history. The case before us leads also to the remark, that a 
similarity of names sometimes occurs between the West 
Saxons and the Britons, to be accounted for only by the sup- 
position of early alliances between both nations. With regard 
to the name of Ceadwealla, it may not be unimportant, for 
the genuineness of Anglo-Saxon history, to remark, that this 
name, as in use among the old Germanic tribes, is to be found 
in Caesar, and perhaps in Tacitus'*. 

^ Caradoc of Llancan'an, p. 13 sq. 

^ Daru, Histoire de Bretagne. 

^ That a war like the above-mentioned was carried on may be inferred 
from Florence a. 682, where it is said, " Centwine, rex West-Saxonum, 
occidentales Britones usque ad mare in ore gladii fugavit." The Sax. Chr. and 
other authorities state merely that Centwine drove the Britons to the sea. 

•^ Caesar (B. G. vi. 31) informs us that a prince of the Eburones, a people 

VOL. I. S 


While Centwine maintained or restored the supremacy of 
Wessex in the south of his kingdom, he extended its influence 
also over the Britons of Gweut on the northern side, who had 
endeavoured to cast off the Germanic yoke^ But more than 
by external enemies, the tranquillity of Centwine was dis- 
turbed by his nearest relative, Ceadwealla, a bold aspiring 
youth of the race of Cynric, and son of Cenberht, a sub-king, 
whose territory is not mentioned^. Ceadwealla had been 
banished by Centwine, but the flower of the warlike youth 
gathered round the exile, M'ho found a harbour in the forests 
of Andredeswald and Chiltene on the boundary of Sussex. 
With this valiant band he subdued that kingdom, and slew 
its king ^thelwealh^ ; but Ceadwealla was subsequently ex- 
pelled by two ealdormen of Sussex, Berhthun and JEthelhun, 
who through him had lost their former power and influence*. 
At this juncture Centwine, it seems, abdicated the throne. 
That this sickly and aged prince named Ceadwealla as his 
successor, who had till then been the object of his persecu- 
tion^, is one of the many improbabilities with which the 

near Liege and Aix-la-Chapelle, was called Cativolcus, ■which is, no doubt, 
identical with Ceadwealla. The name in Tacitus (Ann. ii. 62), if correctly 
recorded by him, is rather that of the British Cadwaladyr than of the king 
of Wessex : " Erat inter Gothones nobilis juvenis nomine Catvalda." — 'T. 

^ Malmesb. de Pont. t. i. p. 349- Wharton, Anglia Sacra, t. ii. 14. 

^ In the Sax. Chr. a. 661 he is stj'led " Coenbyrht cyning." Fl. Wigorn. 
" Cenbriht subregulus." Beda calls Ceadwealla merely "de regio genere 
Geuissorum." The authorities agree as to his descent, with the exception 
of Malmesbury, who calls him " Ceaulini ex fratre Cuda pronepos," where 
the last word shows that, for " fratre," we should read " filio." 

^ A.D. 685. Beda, iv. 15. Care should be taken not to confound ^thel- 
wealh, king of Sussex, with .^thelwald (written in the charters Ecguald), 
a vassal king under Ceadwealla. Wendover (t. i. p. 182) erroneously calls 
the former Athelwoldus. — T. 

^ Fl. Wigorn. a. 685. H. Hunt. lib. iii. "qui prius regnaverunt." [Very 
probably a mistake for Beda's " qui deinceps regnum provincise tenuerunt." 
— T.] ^thelhun is by Beda called " Andhunus ; " in ^Elfred's version, 

'' Gestis Pont. lib. v. 1. The Saxon Chronicle a. 685 does 
not say that Centwine died in that year, but that " Ceadwalla began to 


ecclesiastics have sought to embelhsh the hfe of their convert. 
Ceadwealla was the nearest in succession, and had been con- 
verted to Christianity by Wilfrith, the banished bishop of 
York, whom he had attached to himself in Sussex. 

The first enterprise of Ceadwealla was to take vengeance 
on Sussex. Berhthun was slain in battle, also Eadric, the 
successor of iEthelwealh^, and Sussex was partitioned into 
several small states or kingdoms, under the supremacy of 
the king of Wessex. 

A hard fate befell the Isle of Wight, which, only a few 
years before, had, by Wulf here of Mercia, been severed from 
Wessex and ceded to Sussex, though governed by its own 
prince, Arwald. The twelve hundred families, dwelling on 
the island — the only Anglo-Saxon territory, to our knowledge, 
which had not yet embraced Christianity — were nearly all 
slaughtered by the yet unbaptized Ceadwealla, in fulfilment 

contend for the kingdom." Malmesbury's words are, "Kentwinus morbo 
et senio gravis, Cedwallam regii generis juvenem successorem decreverat." 
The same writer afterwards adduces a charter dated in August 688, in 
which the name of Centwine appears : " consilio et confirmatione Kent- 
uuini regis." If, therefore, this document be genuine, Centwine was then 
not only hving, but had retained the kingly title, and had, perhaps, after 
the resignation of Ceadwealla, been required to give his sanction to a dona- 
tion. That Centwine abdicated and entered a cloister, having transferred 
his kingdom to Ceadwealla as the next heir, appears from a disregarded 
poem of Aldhelm in Alcwine's works (edit. Quercetan. f. IG/S sq.), where, 
instead of ' Entuuini,' we should no doubt read ' Centwini.' 

" Entuuini filia regis. 

Qui primus imperium Saxonum rite regebat. 

rexit regnum plures feliciter annos. 

Donee conversus cellara migravit in almam. 

Inde petit superas racritis splendentibus arces. 

Post hunc successit hello famosus et armis 

Rex Ceadualla, potens regni possessor, ut hseres 

Tertius accepit sceptrum regnator opimum 
Quem clamant In incerto cognomine gentes. 
Qui nunc imperium Saxonum jure gubernat." 

[H. Hunt. a. 686 says, however, Centwino " Occidentaliura rege defuncto, 
Cedwalla post eum regnans." — T.] 
1 A.D. 685. W. Malm. lib. i. 2. 

S 2 


of a vow, that, if he took the island, he would devote to Christ 
the fourth part both of the land and the spoil, and which he 
performed by assigning it to Wilfrith, who happened to be 
present, for religious purposes ; by him the same was trans- 
ferred to his nephew Bernwine, who, assisted by a priest 
named Hiddila, effected the conversion of the island. Two 
young brothers of Arwald fled from the enemy to the adjacent 
Jutish province, and sought a refuge at Stoneham, where, 
being betrayed to Ceadwealla, they were condemned to death. 
On receiving this intelligence, Cyneberht, abbot of Hreut- 
ford (Redbridge), besought the king, who had retired to that 
neighboui'hood for the cure of the wounds he had received in 
the conflict with Arwald, that, if it were absolutely necessary 
to slay the youths, he might be previously allowed to instil 
into them the mysteries of the Christian faith. The pious 
office being fulfilled they readily submitted to their fate ', and 
the anniversary of the young martyrs was celebrated by the 
church during many centuries 2. From hence, accompanied 
by his brother Mul, he proceeded into Kent, which he laid 
waste, no resistance being offered by the inhabitants, who fled 
on his approach^. 

The rapid success which had crowned the enterprises of 
Ceadwealla, and the internal dissensions which prevailed in 
Kent, seduced him to allow his brother Mul to invade and 
ravage that kingdom a second time. On this, as on the pre- 
vious occasion, towns and villages were abandoned by their 
inhabitants, who retired on the advance of the enemy ; when 
Mul, who is represented as endowed with all the qualities 
constituting the old Germanic pagan prince and warrior, — 
elegance of figure, grace of manners, liberality, and valour 
bordering on ferocity, — having with twelve attendants only 

^ Beda, iv. 16. 

- The anniversary of the " Fratres Regis Arwaldi MM." was on the 
21st of August.— T. 
^ Sax. Chrcii. Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 686. W. Malm. lib. i. 


entered a house for the sake of plunder, was discovered by 
the country people and burnt to death. A bloody vengeance 
for the death of his brother was taken by Ceadwealla, whose 
devastations ceased not while any objects of rapine or slaughter 
were to be found in the devoted province ^ 

Influenced apparently by the exhortations of his revered 
friend Wilfrith, Ceadwealla, after a successful reign of two 
years only, resolved to renounce his crown in favour of Ins 
cousin Ine (Ini)^, and make a pilgrimage to Rome, for the 
purpose of receiving baptism at the hands of pope Sergius. 
On his way he was most honourably Avelcomed by Cunibert, 
king of the Lombards, who had espoused Hermelind, an 
Anglo-Saxon princess^. He was baptized on Easter-day, and 
assumed the name of Peter in honour of the chief of the 
apostles ; but before he had laid aside the white garb of bap- 
tism, he was seized with a malady which terminated in death 
on the twentieth of April, eight days only after the ceremony, 
in the thirtieth year of his age. He was interred in the church 
of St. Peter, where an epitaph, placed by order of the pontiff, 
recorded, during many ages, the sanctity of the Anglo-Saxon 

The early history of Ine is involved in obscurity. That the 
Britons have identified him with their Ivor or Ynor has been 

1 Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 687- W. Malm. lib. i. 

^ On the 19th Aug. 688 he issued a charter of donation. Malmesb. de 
Pont. lib. V. [Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 32. Kemble questions the authenticity 
of this document. — T.] 

3 The remarkable connexion of this Lombard prince, as well as of his 
father Bertari, with the insular Saxons, has been already noticed. From 
the first part of her name we might be induced to seek for the kindi'ed of 
Hermelind among the kings of Kent. Cf. Paul. Warnef. lib. vi. c. 15. 

* Beda, v. 7. The sepulchral inscription on Ceadwealla by S. Benedictus 
Crispus, archbishop of Milan, was discovered in the 15th century, accord- 
ing to Johannes de Deio ' de Successione S. Barnabee,' p. 23, but has since 
disappeared. It is given by Beda 1. cit. The Britons make their Cadwaladyr 
die at Rome on the same day (xii. Kal. Mail) of the year 689. Galf. Monom. 
lib. xii. 18. Brut y Tyw. a. 681 also says he died at Rome, but Anoal. 
Camb. a. 682 that he died of pestilence in his own country. 

262 INE. 

already noticed, and even the English accounts of his descent 
are inconsistent with each other ; still there appears no valid 
reason for rejecting the testimony of the oldest authorities, 
which represent him as the son of Cenred, a sub-king, and, 
like his predecessor, a descendant of Cutha, the son of 

The first years of Ine's reign must have been passed in 
disquietude, though we are not informed against what foe, 
foreign or domestic, he had to contend. Not till after a lapse 
of five years does he appear to have been able to wield the 
sword of vengeance against the people of Kent for the mur- 
der of his kinsman MuP, when the Kentish king Wihtraed 
deemed it prudent to avoid an unequal contest, and to ap- 
pease him by the payment of thirty thousand pounds^, the 
wergeld or legal price of the prince, who it was considered 
had not fallen in open warfare, but had been treacherously 

Impelled by hereditary hatred, Ine is stated to have di- 

^ The title " subregulus " is found in Fl. Wigorn. Geneal. Cf. Asseri Vita 
jElfredi. Sax. Cliron. a. 855. Fl. Wigorn. a. 688. The varying genealogy 
in Malmesbury, lib. i.2, "Ina, qui Cinegisli exfratre Cuthbaldo pronepos," 
might excite scruples in a modern historian, being similar to that in the 
Chronicle a. 688, but which is not to be found in all the manuscripts, and 
is at variance with the other one, a. 855. Cynegils, otherwise known as 
the son of Ceolric, gets thereby another father, and Cuthwine, the father of 
Ceolwald or Cuthbald, becomes, instead of a grandson, a son of Ceawlin. 
In Malmesb. de Pont. lib. ii. Ine's father is named Cissa, and so again in 
hb. V. (ap. Wharton, t. ii.), though the edition of this work in Gale (t. i. 
p. 346) gives the name according to the charter there printed, " Cisi, Cenred, 
pater Inse." [In the preamble to his laws he says, " I Ine, with the counsel 
of Cenred my father." — T.] 

' According to one MS. of the Sax. Chr. and Fl, Wigorn. a. 694, Mul 
was a brother of Ine as well as of Ceadwealla. Probably Ine and Mul had 
the same mother. [R. Wendover, t. i. p. 187, calls him " cognatus; " Ethel- 
werd, "propinquus" (Inae). — T.] 

3 The Sax. Chron. a. 694 says 30,000 pounds. W. Malm. lib. i. " nun- 
dinantur pacem triginta millibus auri mancis." Florence has 3750 pounds 
(hbras), which, reckoning eight mancuses to the pound, agrees with Mal- 
raesbury. Ethelwerd's account is, that it was " 30,000 solidi, per singulos 
constanti numero sexdecim nunimis." 

INE. 263 

rected his arms against East Anglia, which he ravaged, having 
previously expelled the nobility from the country i. 

During the long reign of Ine hostile collisions with the 
Britons were inevitable : among these the most memorable is 
the war against Geraint, king of Cernau, conducted by Ine 
and his kinsman Nunna, which ended in the flight of the 
British prince^. 

A power next to the king's was possessed, from the days 
of Centwine, in the southern parts of Wessex, by a king or 
sub-king Baldred, whose influence and importance, though 
apparent from other sources, is rendered more manifest by 
the circumstance, that the Welsh assign to a prince of Devon 
and Cornwall living at the time the Saxon name of Baldrich^. 

The hardest conflicts were, however, those of the Anglo- 
Saxons among themselves, in which they engaged with all the 
ardour and ferocity of their forefathers, for martial glory and 
supremacy in their loosely bound confederation. In the year 
715 a battle was fought between the armies of Mercia and 
Wessex, in which it was unknown on which side the slaughter 
was most appalling. The scene of this engagement was Wod- 
nesbeorh (Wenborough in Wiltshire), a spot which from its 
position either natural, or perhaps strengthened by art as a 
protection to a temple of Woden, had already been strewed 
with the corpses of the slain in former conflicts. 

^ W. Malm. lib. i. " Nee solum Cantuaritfe, sed et Orieiitales Angli 
hsereditarium exceperunt odium, omni nobilitate prime pulsa, post etiam 
belio fusa." " Sax. Chron, Fl. Wigorn. a. /lO. 

3 W. Malm, de Antiq. Glaston. p. 308, a. 681 : " Baldred rex Ken- 
wine etiam consentiente dedit," p. 309. "Lanctocay Kenvvino etiam 

et Baldredo consentientibus dedit." Ibid. p. 311. " Privilegium regis Inae, 

a. 725. Ina hortatu Balddredi et Athelardi subregulorum." — " Balt- 

rec." Ine continues, " a predecessoribus meis Kenewalchio, Kenwino, 
Cedwalla, Baldredo confirraatum." At the end, " Ego Baldredus rex con- 
firmavi. Ego Adelard frater reginae consensi." Cutliredalso in a charter 
a. 744 calls Baldred his predecessor, and places him betsveen Centwine and 
Ceadvvealla. In a letter of Aldhelm, written about 701, he is called 
" patricius Baldredus." lb. 347. By the Britons, " Baldrich ; " see Caradoc, 
edit. Wynne, p. 17. 

264 INE. 

But not alone for his warlike achievements, which almost 
exclusively occupy the chronicles of the time, has the name 
of Ine been celebrated. A collection of the laws of Wessex, 
made by his command, is, with the exception of those of the 
Kentish kings, the earliest known to us among the Anglo- 
Saxons, These laws, seventy-six in number, have special 
reference to theft, murder or manslaughter, feuds, and pecu- 
niary compensations (bota), with others applicable to the 
British subjects (Wealas), who are placed on a footing nearly 
equal to that of their Germanic conquerors. 

Ine also improved the ecclesiastical administration of his 
kingdom, by detaching from the diocese of Winchester, after 
the death of bishop Hedde in 703, a new bishopric, the see 
of which was established at Shireburn^ Among his nume- 
rous praiseworthy services in the founding and endowment 
of monasteries, the rebuilding and enlarged endowment of 
the old British abbey of Glastonbury, for the repose of the 
soul of his murdered kinsman Mul, is the most memorable^. 
But we feel more particularly induced to ascribe to the actions 
and views of Ine a nobler character, when we know that his 
friend and counsellor was the excellent bishop Aldhelm (Eald- 
helm), a man on whom no brighter lustre can be shed by the 
royal descent assigned to him by his rank-adoring country- 
men, and whose merits we unhesitatingly place on a level 
with those of the Venerable Beda^ ; for though in compre- 
hensiveness of knowledge he may not, perhaps, have been his 
equal, yet as a Latin poet he stood higher, merited greater 
praise for the cultivation of his mother-tongue, left him far 

^ Malmesb. de Pont. lib. ii. 

2 Malmesb. de Antiq. Glaston. ap. Gale, t. i. 

3 Aldhelm ob. a. 709. See W. Malm. lib. i. Also the 5th book of Mal- 
mesbury, De Gestis Pontificum, published in Savile and Gale, also in 
Wharton's Anglia Sacra, which is a biography of Aldhelm. An edition of 
h's Latin poems as well as of his work ' De Septenario ct de Re Gram- 
matica ac Metrica ad Aifridum regem Northumbrorum' is in Maii Classici 
Auctores e Vat. Codd. ed. t. v. 

INE. 265 

behind in knowledge of the canon and Roman law, and greatly 
excelled him in influential, practical activity. For his ex- 
tensive knowledge of the Greek and Latin tongues he was 
indebted to the school of Canterbury, more especially to 
Hadrian ^, abbot of the abbey of St. Augustine in that city, 
who did not come to England till Aldhelm was near thirty 
years old ; though his earlier instruction, particularly in dia- 
lectics, he owed to the abbey, founded by a Scot of Maildulfes- 
burh, the modern Malmesbury^, a celebrated monk of which, 
William of Malmesbury, has raised an honourable biographic 
monument to this most renowned scholar, and subsequently 
abbot of his cloister. In enumerating and characterizing the 
works of Aldhelm, no observation is more descriptive both of 
him and his nation, even in our days, than that which di- 
stinguishes pomp as a leading quality^. 

An individual, around whose name a still brighter glory 
shines than even that around Aldhelm's, may not here be 
totally passed over in silence. Winfrith, more generally known 
under his assumed name of Boniface, was a contemporary of 
Ine, and, previously to his triumphs over paganism in Ger- 
many, had been employed by that prince on a mission to the 
archbishop of Canterbury, a choice equally illustrative of the 
discriminating sagacity of the monarch, and honourable to the 
future apostle of our continental brethren. As the record of 
the greater and holier acts of Boniface belongs not to our 
history, we must, though reluctantly, limit our notice of him 
to this little more than simple mention of his name'*. 

The latter years of Ine's reign were less prosperous than 
most of the earlier ones. Under the year 721 it is recorded 

1 Beda, iv. 1, v. 20. W. Malm. lib. i. See p. 181. 

2 Beda, v. 18, and Smith's note. 

^ Malmesb. de Pont. ap. Gale, p. 342, " Grseci involute, Romani splen- 
dide, Angli poinpatice dictare solent. Quem (Aldhelmum) si perfecte 
legeris, et ex acumine Grsecum putabis, et ex nitore Romanum jurabis, et 
ex pompa Anglum intelliges." ' 

* See Vita S. Bonifacii. 

266 INE. 

that the aetheling Cynewulf was slain by Ine \ the cause of 
which act can only be sought for in a rebellion raised by the 
former. The flame once kindled seems, however, not to have 
been quenched with the blood of Cynewulf. The insurgents 
had made themselves masters of Tantun (Taunton) in Somer- 
setshire, a town built by Ine ; but his queen wrested it from 
their hands and razed it to the ground. While Ine was car- 
rying on a successful war against Sussex, and apparently a 
less successful one against the Britons in Cornwall and Gla- 
morgan, who, under the king of that country, Rodri Mal- 
wynog, and Ivor with other chieftains, had taken advantage 
of the disturbed state of Wessex^, Ealdberht, also an getheling, 
fled from Wessex, after the loss of Taunton, at the head of the 
insurgents, and wandered about in Surrey in all the misery 
of exile, but found afterwards support in Sussex. He was at 
length overcome and slain by Ine^. 

Shortly after these successes, and when he had reigned 
thirty-seven years, Ine resolved to renounce the sceptre and 
the world '^. The wish by which this step was preceded must 
have been occasioned by the cares of royalty and the turbu- 
lence of those over whom Ine had perhaps already reigned 
too long ; but the manner in which it was brought to maturity 
by the queen ^thelburh is too characteristic to be passed 
over in silence. A sumptuous entertainment had been given 

^ Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. If faith is to be placed in Malmesbury, 
Ine had no domestic enemy : " Domi gratiam, foris reverentiam mercabatur. 
Adeo annis duobus de quadraginta potestate functus, sine ullo insidiarum 
raetu securus incanuit, sanctissimus pubHci amoris lenocinator." [For 
' quadraginta/ the reading of five MSS. cited by Mr. Hardy, Savile's text 
has 'sexaginta.' According to Beda (v. 7), Ine reigned thirty-seven years. 
— T.] 2 ^nnal. Camb. a. 722. Brut y Tyw. a. 721. 

3 Sax. Chron. a. 725. 

■* Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 728. This date is unquestionably incor- 
rect. The Chronicle is, moreover, inconsistent with itself, giving tOw^thel- 
heard, the successor of Ine, a reign of fourteen years, and placing his death 
in 741 (some MSS. 740). According to App. ad Bedam he died in 739. 
[In four MSS. of the Chronicle, Ine's departure is correctly given in 726. 


at one of the royal villas. On the following day, after the 
departure of Ine and his queen, the superintendent, by order 
of the latter, defiled the palace with the dung of cattle and 
heaps of rubbish, and placed in the bed, where the royal pair 
had passed the night, a sow which had recently farrowed. 
When they had already proceeded more than a mile on their 
way back, Ine, for reasons assigned by his queen, was induced 
to return to the villa. On arriving there, and seeing the 
change it had undergone, he turned his inquiring eyes to- 
wards his consort, who hereupon took occasion to expatiate 
on the vanity of human life. The resolve of the deeply affected 
monarch was no longer delayed ; he resigned his crown to the 
brother of his wife, the under-kin g ^thelheard, of the race 
of Cerdic^, and went, accompanied by ^thelburh, as a pilgrim 
to Rome, where, rejecting every vestige of earthly pomp, and 
declining to lay aside his hair, but clad in a homely garb, he 
passed the remainder of his years in privacy and devotion. 
His wife, who had prompted him to this step, was his com- 
panion and comfort to the last^. 

Ine left also another relative in the male line, the aetheling 
Oswald, to whom he had destined a share of his kingdom^. 
The struggle between the two competitors lasted some years, 
till the death of Oswald, when his party, though powerful, 
desisted from further opposition to -^Ethelheard. Attacks from 
without rendered this union extremely necessary ; though the 
victories w hich the Britons ascribe to themselves over Adelrad 
of Wessex, in Wales and Cornwall, by which name ^thel- 
heard seems to be intended, are mentioned as having taken 
place in the years 720 and 722, consequently during the 
reign of Ine, and are, therefore, extremely doubtful. At the 
same time a leader could reckon on no dependents and no 

1 Fl. Wigorn. a.728. W. Mcalm. lib. i. MV. Malm. 

^ Beda, v. 7. " ipse, relicto regno ac juvenioribus commendato pro- 

fcctus est." Later writers mention only the final succession of vEthel- 


renown if he had not been victorious over the refractory 
Welsh, who it is certain had about this time, that is, after 
the abdication of Ine, succeeded in great measure in casting 
off the Saxon yoke^; and equally certain it appears that 
^thelheard had to answer for this disgrace to his subjects. 
More formidable, however, for ^Ethelheard was the prepon- 
derance gained over all the Anglo-Saxon states as far as the 
Humber by the Mercian king ^thelbald, -who, having as- 
sembled a formidable army, invested Sumertun (Somerton), 
the chief town of the Sumersaetas, which, the inhabitants 
being unable to offer any efficient resistance from within, and 
cut off from external succour, he reduced under his subjec- 
tion^. After a reign of fourteen years ^thelheard died, and 
was succeeded by his kinsman Cuthred^. 

It was the lot of Cuthred to pass the greater part of his 
reign in warfare with ^thelbald of Mercia, which led to no 
beneficial result for either of the contending parties. The 
Britons, on the other hand, taking advantage of the discord 
prevailing among the Anglo-Saxons, had so greatly increased 
in strength, that both the hostile monarchs united their forces 
for the purpose of quelling them. In this undertaking, owing 
to the superior number and the emulation of their men, they 
w'ere so successful that the honour of victory was indisputably 
on the side of the Anglo-Saxons'*. On the occasion of a new 
quarrel between Cuthred and ^thelbald, the Britons took 
part with the former, who with their aid is said to have gained 
a victory over the Mercians near Hereford, but was, never- 
theless, unable to protect his new allies from the vengeance 
of iEthelbald^. In this war the aetheling Cynric, the son of 
Cuthred, fell, a youth famed both as an undaunted warrior 

* Fl. Wigorn. a. 731. "Britones magna ex parte Angloruni servitio 
mancipati fuere." ^ Sax. Chron. H. Hunt. a. 733. 

3Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 741. 

■* Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 743. H. Hunt. Caradoc also seems to 
speak of this battle, though, instead of Cuthred, he names ^thelheard. 

^ Caradoc, p. 17. 


and a hunter : he seems to have perished in a sedition among 
his followers, who, unable to face the dangers into which he 
would urge them, saw no other escape than in the murder of 
their leader ^ 

The supremacy which Mercia had in the course of these 
contests gained over Wessex became at length so oppressive, 
that Cuthred resolved to take the field once more against 
-(Ethelbald and his ally Oengus or Unnust, king of the 
Picts^, when a dangerous rebellion broke out in his kingdom, 
at the head of which was w^thelhun, an ealdorman renowned 
for his valour, who, Avith far inferior forces, was yet able for 
a considerable time to maintain the field against his sovereign ; 
but having received a wound, victory at length declared itself 
on the side of Cuthred^, who used it with generosity, and 
restored yEthelhun to favour. Two years afterwards a decisive 
victory, owing chiefly to the valour of -^thelhun, was gained 
over the Mercians at Burford% which freed Wessex from all 
further aggression on the part of the other Anglo-Saxon 
states. From that glorious day the West Saxon dynasty 
rapidly rose to the supremacy over all the other insular states, 
which it maintained during a period of three centuries, when 
it sank under the resistless attacks of a barbarous enemy. 

The year following the humiliation of Mercia, Cuthred 
turned his arms against the Britons, who, weakened appa- 
rently by the victories which the Dalriads had obtained over 
them^, and unable to offer effectual resistance, lost great num- 
bers in their flight^. Soon after these events Cuthred died 

^ H.Hunt. Sax. Chron. a. 748. " App.adBedam,a.750. Slm.Dunelm. 

^ Sax. Chron, H. Hunt. a. 750. ■" Sax. Chron. a. 752. See p. 22G. 

^ " Congressio Dalriada et Britonum in lapide qui vocatur Minvirce, et 
Biitones devicti sunt." Tigern. a. 717. 

" Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 753. According to GefTrei 
Gaimar, v. 1803, Cuthred was beaten by the Welsh : 

" Dous anz apres, Gudret li reis descunfiz in, mes bien guari, 

se combati contra Gualeis : ne gueres del son ni perdi." 

In this he is not, however, copied even by Bromton. 


childless^, and too early to witness the rising prosperity of 
his nation. 

Cuthred was succeeded by his kinsman Sigebyrht, the son 
of an under-king Sigeric, two names which remind us of the 
kings of Essex ^, who were nearly allied to the race of Cerdic. 
The prosperity of his predecessor had so blinded this prince, 
that he treated his subjects in the most injurious manner. The 
exhortations of his faithful counsellors, to preserve the laws in- 
violate and maintain justice, only served to instigate the tyrant 
to greater acts of violence. At the beginning of the second 
year of his reign, in an assembly of the nobles and people^, 
Sigebyrht was formally deposed and banished from the king- 
dom, the government of which was intrusted to Cynewulf, an- 
other descendant of Cerdic, Hampshire alone remaining under 
the authority of Sigebyrht, from whence he was, however, soon 
compelled to flee, for having in his anger murdered the faithful 
ealdorman Cumbra"^, who had ventured to give him some 
wholesome counsel. Like his predecessor Ceadwealla, he fled 
to Andredeswald, though, unlike him, not again to leave it. 
A faithful swineherd of Cumbra discovered him, and avenged 
with his spear the blood of his murdered master. 

The long reign ^ of Cynewulf is remarkably barren of events 
of which any memorial has been preserved. He engaged in 
several hard-fought though successful conflicts wuth the 
Britons, but at what place and in what year we are not in- 
formed*". One memorial regarding this prince has, however, 

1 Sax.Chron. Fl. Wigorn, 

" Fl. Wigorn. Geneal. Cf. Sax. Cliron. a. 823. 

3 H. Hunt. a. 755. " Congregati sunt proceres et populus totius regni." 

* " Consul nobilissimus." H. Hunt. In a charter of Cuthred, a. 744 
(Cod. Diplom. p. 112), Cumbra signs himself, " prsefectus regis." 

* The Chronicle and other ancient authorities assign to Cynewulf a reign 
of thirty-one years, while they place his accession in 755, and his murder 
in 784.— T. 

® Sax. ChroD. H. Hunt. a. 784. In the latter years of this prince, several 
of the Frisian family of the Fortemanni are said to have served the king of 
England. See Ocka Scharlensis Chronicke van Frieslandt, fol. 18. 


been preserved in the form of a grant of lands to the church 
of Wells in expiation of his sins, and of the severities which 
he had exercised towards his Cornish enemies ^ The letter 
which, in conjunction with his bishops and nobles, he ad- 
dressed to Lullus, archbishop of Mentz, shows that consider- 
able intercourse existed between the Anglo-Saxon and the 
German church'^. A conflict with OfFa, the powerful king 
of Mercia, ended, unfortunately for the people of Wessex, 
who lost Bensington (Benson) in Oxfordshire to the con- 

The death of Cynewulf though late was violent. He had 
ordered into banishment Cyneheard, the younger brother of 
his predecessor, who, instead of yielding to the mandate, 
having learned that the king with a slender retinue w^as gone 
to visit a female at Merton to whom he was attached, sur- 
rounded the house with his followers, when the inmates were 
wrapt in sleep. On discovering that the place was beset, the 
king, seizing his weapons, rushed to the door of his apart- 
ment and offered a stout resistance to his assailants, when, 
perceiving the oetheling,he wounded him severely, but was him- 
self immediately overpowered and slain. At this moment the 
attendants of Cynewulf, who were lodged in the neighbour- 
hood, roused by the cries of the female, hastened, though too 
late, to their master's succour. Cyneheard's offers of life and 
rewards they received wdth scorn, and desperately fighting 
were all slain with the exception of one, a British hostage, 
who was sorely wounded. 

On the following morning the king's friend, the ealdorman 
Osric, and Wigferth his faithful thane, Avith all the thanes who 
had remained behind, having heard what had taken place, 
immediately rode to Merton, where they found the gates 
closed against them. On their attempting to force an 

^ Charter a. 766 in Monast. Angl. [Also in Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 1,41, 
where its genuineness is questioned. — T.] ^ Epist. Bonifacii, xcii. 

3 Sax. Chron. a. 775 (777). Fl. Wigorn. a. 778. 


entrance, the tetheling promised them money and lands at 
their own discretion if they would receive him for their king, 
at the same time intimating to them, that many of their kin- 
dred were with him who would not forsake him. But the 
faithful band declared unanimously that no kinsman could be 
dearer to them than their lord, and that they would never 
follow his murderer. They then called upon their relations 
who were with Cyneheard to leave him while they were yet 
safe and unhurt ; but these also answered that they had made 
a similar offer to those who were yesterday with the king, 
which was not listened to ; they could not, therefore, accept 
that now made to themselves. A conflict then ensued before 
the gates, which being soon forced, the a^theling with his fol- 
lowers, to the number of eighty-four, were slain, one only, 
the godson of Osric, escaping with life, and he was covered 
with wounds. The corpse of Cynewulf was buried with those 
of his forefathers at Winchester; that of the setheling at 

The next in succession to the vacant throne, as far as our 
knowledge of the line of Cerdic enables us to judge, was 
Ealhmund, king of Kent, a great grandson of Ingild, the 
brother of Ine, whose pretensions, either from disregard to 
the strict line of succession, provided the individual were of 
the race of Cerdic, or from some other to us unknown cause, 
seem to have been passed by, and another member of the 
royal house, Beorhtric, of whose right it is merely said that 
he was descended from Cerdic, was by the witan chosen for 
king. Beorhtric justified the confidence which had called 
him to the throne. For the internal security of his realm he 
provided by the expulsion of Ecgberht, the son of Ealhmund ; 
and against the inroads of foreign foes, whether Britons or 
other Anglo-Saxons, he also rendered himself secure. The 
peace of the land was, moreover, not a little confirmed by his 
alliance with OfFa of Mercia, whose daughter Eadburh he had 
1 Sax. Cbron. a. 784. Ethelwerd. 


espoused ^ Ecgberht, who until this event had found shelter 
among the Mercians, and cherished hopes of one day obtain- 
ing the crown of Wessex, now fled to the court of the Prankish 

This reign was remarkable for the first landing of the North- 
men in England, which took place on the coast of Dorsetshire 
from three ships. On being apprised of the event the king's 
reeve (gerefa), named Beaduheard^, who resided at Dorchester, 
supposing them to be contraband traders rather than pirates, 
rode hastily to the port and commanded that they should be 
forcibly conducted to the king's town; whereupon he was 
assailed by the Northmen and slain with all his retinue. 

To the influence of the queen Eadburh, a daughter of that 
Cynethrith whose memory the murder of the young king of 
East Anglia has stained with everlasting infamy, may pro- 
bably be ascribed the indifference with which Beorhtric seems 
to have regarded the increasing power of Mercia over Kent. 
Through the fond weakness of her consort, this woman had 
imperceptibly acquired an absolute dominion in all the inter- 
nal concerns of the kingdom. Those towards whom Beorhtric 
evinced an attachment, or who were opposed to her baneful 
caprices, she found means to destroy, either by false accusa- 
tions or, failing in them, by poison. A young ealdorman 
named Worr, distinguished both on account of his high birth 
and amiable character, was the favourite of Beorhtric, and 
consequently an object of hatred to his wife. Accusations 
against him proving ineffectual, she had recourse to her usual 
alternative of poison. Her purpose was effected, but her 
husband also partook of the deadly cup and perished with 
his friend. In their utter detestation of this abandoned 
woman, the West Saxons resolved that no future consort of 

1 Sax. Chron, a. 787. 

' Ethelwerd, lib. iii. Prooem. Fl. Wigorn. Sax. Chron. a. 787> where it 
is said that the Northmen came out of " Hreretha lande." 

VOL. I. T 


a king should be permitted to occupy a royal throne by the 
side of her husband, or to bear the title of queen'. 

After this event, finding that her presence could no longer 
be tolerated in Wessex, Eadburh fled with her treasures to 
the court of Charlemagne, who, on her presenting him with 
various costly gifts, jocosely said to her, " Choose, Eadburh, 
between me and my son, who stands there in the saloon^, 
which you will have." To which she thoughtlessly answered, 
" If I may be allowed to choose, I will have your son as being 
the younger." " If you had chosen me," replied Charles 
laughing, " you should have had my son ; but having chosen 
my son, you shall have neither me nor him." Charles, how- 
ever, bestowed on her a considerable monastery, in which for 
a short time she exercised the duties of abbess, but being con- 
victed of criminal intercourse with one of her own country- 
men, as well as with others, she was by the emperor's order 
expelled from the convent. Attended by a single slave, the 
daughter of OfFa and wife of Beorhtric, after various wander- 
ings, died a beggar in the city of Pa via ^. 

' Sax. Chron, FI. Wigorn. a. 800. Asser. Sim. Dunelm. W, Malm. 
From that time the consort of the king usuallv bore the title of ' hlsefdige/ 

' " Elige, Eadburgh, quem veils inter me et filium raeum, qui mecum in 
solario isto stat." Asser. — T. 

^A.D.802. "Uno servulo comitata." Asser, a. 856. Sim. Dunelm. 
a. 802. [Asser informs us that he had the story of Eadburh from Alfred's 
own mouth : " a domino meo -Alfredo, Angulsaxonum rege veridico, etiam 
s?epe mihi referente audivi, quod et ille etiam a veridicis multis referentibus, 
immo ex parte nonmodica illud factum commemorantibus, audierat." — T.] 


Page 11, note-. — The characters of the runic alphabet are also 
named chiefly after natural objects, some of them from trees, 
as oak, birch, thorn ; and like the bardic alphabet it consisted 
originally of sixteen letters. — T. 

P. 48. — The following passage from the Codex Eberbrard Clusanus 
of the Gesta Treverorum is rather curious : " Hujus Marcelli 
(episc. Treverici) et prsedecessoris Naviti per Angliam facta 
praedicatione, ipse rex Britannise fidem Christi suscepit, et bapti- 
zatus est ab eodem Marcello anno Dni cclxxxvi." 

Pp. 79, note 3, and 97, note *. — That the Jutes landed in England 
where they occupied Kent, the Isle of Wight and part of Wes- 
sex, is, I believe, generally admitted. That they were under 
a leader, or (as was usual among the Dunes) two leaders, may 
also be believed, without exposing the believer to the imputation 
of being over credulous : nor can I found any disbelief or doubt 
on the circumstance, that the one leader was named Hengest, 
the other Horsa. 

In addition to the testimonies of Nennius, Beda, and the 

T 2 


Saxon Chronicle, the following extracts may be adduced in 
favour of the existence of Hengest, Fin, etc. 

1 . From the Geographer of Ravenna, who is supposed to have 

lived in the seventh century. See p. 88, note*. 

2. From the Scop or Scald's Tale. (Cod. Exon. p. 320 ; 

Kemble's Beow. vol. i. p. 229.) 

. . . . (weold) 

Fin Folcwalding Fin Folcwalding (rul'd) 

Fresna cynne the Frisian race 

Hnsef Hocingum. Hmef the Hocings°: 

3. From the Battle of Finnesburh. (Kemble's Beow. vol. i. 
p. 239.) 

Ordlaf and Gu61af, Ordlaf and Guthlaf, 

and Hengest sylf and Hengest himself 

hwearf him on laste followed in his track 

ponne Hnsefe guidon then for Hncef paid 

his hsegstealdas. his followers . 

4. Beowulf. Hnaef prince of the Hocings, and Hengest the 
Jute, vassals of the Danish king Healfdene (the Hal- 
danus of Saxo), are sent to invade the Frisian territory, 
at that time governed by Fin, the son of Folcwalda, and 
husband of Hildeburh, the daughter of Hoce. A battle 
is fought, in which Hnsef, together with all the chil- 
dren, brothers, and almost all the thanes of Fin, is slain. 
During a truce which ensues, the bodies of Hnsef and 
the rest of the slain are burnt, Hengest remains with 
Fin, but at the same time meditates vengeance for the 
death of Hnsef and his followers, which he subsequently 
wreaks. Fin being slain, and his queen Hildeburh borne 
off to Denmark. The entire episode follows : 

^ The Hocings are supposed by Zeuss to be identical with the Chauci. 
See Ettmiiller, Scopes Vidsidh, p. 16, and Cod. Exon. p. 515. 




Dser wses sang and sweg 

samod aetgaedere 

fore Healfdenes 


gomen-wudu greted, 

gid oft Avrecen, 

Sonne heal-gamen 

HroSgares scoj^, 

sefter medo-bence, 

maenan sceolde lo 

be Finnes eaferum, 

])a hie se feer begeat ; 

hseleS Healfdenes, 

Hnsef Scyldinga, 

in Fres-wsele 

feallan sceolde. 

Ne huru Hildeburh 

herian Jjorfte 

Eotena treowe : 

unsynnum wearS 20 

beloren leofum 

pet pam lind-plegan, 

bearnum and broSrum : 

hie on gebyrd hruron, 

gare wunde. 

Dset wees geomuru ides : 

nalles holinga 

Hoces dohtor 

metodsceaft bemearn, 

siSSan morgen com, 30 

J)a heo under swegle 

gesedn meahte 

mor])or-bealo maga, 

])ser heo sjer meeste heold 

worulde wvnne. 

There xvas song and sound 

at once together 

before Healfdene's 

warlike chiefs, 

the ivood of joy was greeted, 

the lay oft recited, 

when the joy of hall 

Hrothgar's hard, 

after the inead-bench, 

should recount 

concerning Fin's offspring, 

lohen them peril o'envhelm'd ; 

xohen Healfdene's hero, 

the Scyldings' Hncef, 

in Frisian slaughter 

was doom'd to fall. 

Not Hildeburh at least 

had need to praise 

the faith of the Jutes : 

she was of her innocent 

beloved ones depriv'd 

at the linden-play , 

of her children and brothers : 

they in succession fell, 

by the dart wounded. 

That was a mournful woman : 

not loithout cause 

Hoces daughter 

the Lord's decree bemourn'd, 

after morning came, 

when she under heaven 

might see 

the slaughter of her kinsmen, 

where she ere had most possess' d 

of worldly joy. 

5. i.e. the harp. 
13, MS. Healfdena. 
22. conject. Kemble, MS. hild-p. 
of the lime, or linden tree. 

1 1 . be, added from conjecture. 
20. unsynnigum ? 
So called from the shield being made 
34. MS. he. 



Wig ealle fornam 

Finnes ]?egnas, 

nemne feaum anum ; 

]>xt he ne mihte 

on ])am me))el-stede 

wis Hengeste 

wiht gefeohtan, 

ne ])a wea-lafe 

wige forJ>ringan 

peodnes pegne ; 

ac hie him gepingo budon, 

J)3et hie him oSer flet 

eal gerymdon, 

healle and heah-setl ; 

])set hie healfre geweald 

wis Eotena beam 

agan moston, 

and set feoh-gyftum 

Folcwaldan sunu 

dogra gehwylce 

Dene weorpode, 

Hengestes heap 

hringum ])enede, 

efne swa swiSe 


fsettan goldes, 

swa he Fresna cyn, 

on beor-sele 

bjidan wolde. 

Da hie getruwedon, 

on twa healfa, 

fseste frioSu-wsere, 

Fin Hengeste 

elne, unflitme, 

a6um benemde, 

pset he ))a wea-lafe. 

War destroy' d all 

Fin's thanes, 

save a few only ; 

so that he might not 

on the battle-place 

against Hengest 

at all contend, 

nor the sad remnant 

by war protect 
10 from the king' s thane ; 

but they to him conditions offer' d, 

that they to him another dwelling 

would wholly yield, 

a hall and high seat ; 

that they half j>ower 

with the sons of the Jutes 

might possess, 

and at the money-gifts 

Folcwalda's son 
20 every day 

the Danes should honour, 

Hengest's band 

with rings should serve, 

even as much 

with costly treasures 

of rich gold, 

as he the Frisian race, 

in the beer -hall 

tvould adorn. 
30 Then they confirm'd, 

on the two sides, 

a fast peaceful compact. 

Fin to Hengest 

earnestly, without dispute, 

by oath enjoin' d, 

that he the sad remnant. 

6. MS. wig. 
11. hie, they, i. e. the Danes and Jutes. 
15. hie, they, i. e. the Frisians. 
27. he, i. e. Hengest. 
29. gibelde, ornavit, inscrip. in Nero D. 4, MS. Cott 

10. i. e. Hengest. 
23. MS.wenede. 



weotena dome, 

arum heolde, 

J'set Sser senig mon, 

wordum ne weorcum, 

wsere ne braece, 

ne ])urh inwit-searo 

pefre gemtendon, 

]>eah hie hira beag-gyfan 

banan folgedon, 


])a him swa ge]jearfod wses 

gj'f J'onne Frysna hwylc, 

frecnan spr?ece, 

]j0es morpor-hetes 

myndgiend wsere, 

j^onne hit sweordes ecg 

swe6rian sceolde. 

A6 wses gesefned, 

and lege gold 

ahsefen of horde. 


betst beado-rinca 

wses on bsel gearu : 

set ])am ade wses 


swatfah syrce, 

swj'n eal gylden, 

eofer iren-heard, 

8e])eling msenig 

wundum awyrded, 

sume on wsele crungon. 

Het ]>a. Hildeburh, 

set Hnsefes ade, 

hire selfre suna 

sweoloSe befsestan. 

b^ his ivitans doom, 

piously should hold, 

that there no man, 

hy words or luorks, 

should break the compact, 

nor through guileful craft 

should they ever complain, 

though they their ring-giver s 

murderer followed, 
10 lordless. 

since they were so compel' d ; 

but if of the Frisians any 07ie, 

by audacious speech, 

this deadly feud 

should call to mind, 

then it the edge of sivord 

should appease. 

The oath tvas completed, 

and moreover gold 
20 rais' d from the hoard. 

Of the martial Scyldings 

the best of warriors 

on the pile was ready : 

at the heap was 

easy to be seen 

the blood-stain' d tiinic, 

the swine all golden, 

the boar iron-hard, 

many an cetheling 
30 icith wounds afflicted, 

{some had in the slaughter fall' n). 

Bade then Hildeburh, 

at Hncefs pile, 

her own sons 

be to the fire committed, 

8. For Jeah I suspect we should read l^set. 
17. MS. sy«5an. 
19. icge is very questionable. 
22. betst b.-r., i.e. Hnaef. 
34. MS. sunu, i. e. her sons who had been slain. 



b^n-fatu bsernan, 
and on bsel don 
earme on axe. 
Ides gnornode, 
geomrode giddum ; 
guS-rinc astah, 
wand to wolcnum, 
wsel-fyra msest 
hlynode for hlawe ; 
hafelan multon, 
ben-geato burston ; 
Sonne bldd setspranc 
lat5-bfte lices : 
lig ealle forswealg, 
gsesta gifrost, 
pai'a Se ])8er gub fornam. 
Bega folca waes 
hira blaed scacen. 


their carcases be burnt, 
and on the pile be reduced 
the miserable ones to ashes. 
The woman mourn d, 
bewail' d in songs ; 
the warrior ascended, 
ivended to the clouds, 
the greatest of death-fires 
roar'd before the mound ; 
their heads ivere consum'd, 
their wound-gates burst ; 
then out sprang the blood 
from the corpse's hostile bite : 
fiame swallow' d all 
{greediest of guests,) [bereft, 

those ivhom loar had there of life 
Of both ])eople was 
their flower departed. 


Gewiton him Sa wigend 

wica neosian, 20 

freondum befeallen, 

Frysland geseon, 

hamas and hea-burh. 

Hengest Sa-gyt 

Wcelfagne winter 

^vunode mid Finne, 


eard gemunde, 

peali J'e he ne meahte 

on mere drifan 30 


Holm storme "weol, 

The warriors then departed 

their villages to visit, 

of their friends deprived, 

Friesland to see, 

its dioeUings and high burgh. 

Hengest yet 

the death-hued tvinter 

remain d with Fin, 

without strife, 

his home rememher'd, 

although he might not 

on the sea drive 

the ringed p7'0w. 

Ocean boil'd with storm. 

3. MS. eaxle. 

6. i.e. Hncef ascended {in fiame and smol-e), like the Ger. (in Feuer 
und Rauch) aufgehen. So also Homily, MS. Bibl. Pub. Cantab, p. 282. 

MS, ]>xt ceaf he forbrernS for^an tJe tJsera manfulra smic astihS on 

ecnysse. 10. So Beow. 4646, bolda selest bryne-wylmum mealt. 

21. deprived through their having fallen. 26. MS. Finnel. 

27. MS.unhlitme. 29. ne, added. 



•won wii5 winde, 

winter ype beleac 


o6]>8et oSer com 

gear in geardas. 

Swa nu gyt deS 

pa 6e singale 

ssele bewitiaS, 

wuldor-torhtan weder. 

Da wses winter scacen, 

faeger foldan bearm, 

fundode wrecca, 

geest of geardum. 

He to gyrn-wrsece 

swiSor ])ohte 

])onne to see-lade, 

gif he torn-gemot 

purhteon milite ; 

])8es he Eotena beam 


swa he ne forwyrnde 


])onne him Hunlafing, 

hilde leoman, 

billa selest, 

on bearm dyde ; 

])ces wteron mid Eotenum 

ecge cu^e, 

swylce ferhS-frecan. 

7. MS. singales. 

ward against the wind, 

winter lock'd the wave 

tvith icy band, 

till that came the second 

year to the courts. 

So noio yet do 

those ivho constantly 

ivatch a happy moment, 

gloriously bright tveather. 
10 When winter was departed, 

earth's bosom fair, 

the stranger husten'd, 

the guest from the courts. 

He on ivily vengeance 

was more intent 

than on a sea-voyage, 

if he a conflict 

could bring to pass ; 

for he the sons of the Jutes 
20 inivardly re^nember'd, 

so he refus'd not 

worldly intercourse, 

when he Hunlafing, 

the flame oftvar, 

the best of falchions, 

in his bosom placed ; 

for with the Jutes there were 
men f am' d for sivord-play , 
also of spirit bold. 

8. MS. sele. 

13. MS. gist. 

14. gyrn = gryn. 

14. loily vengeance, i.e. the feh?J or deadly feud for the death of Hnsef 
and the others. 19. MS. J^set. 19. the slain ones. 

23. Hunlafing is apparently the name of Hengest's sword, which had 
probably been the property- of Hun, king of the Hsetweras (Scops Tale, 
p. 320, 22). The terminations laf, a relic, legacy, and ing are commonly 
applied to a sword ; thus Beow. eald laf, an ancient sword : so Tyrfing, 
Miming, Hrunting, names of celebrated swords. See Kemble's Glossary 
to Beowulf, V. Laf. Hunlaf occurs, however, as a man's name among the 

26. So Beow. 1.4382 : sweord > set he on Biowulfes bearm alegde : 

sword that he in Beowulf s bosom laid. 



Fin eft begeat 
sweord-bealo slic^cn, 
Bet his sylfes hum, 
siS])an grimne gripe 
GuSlaf and Oslaf, 
sefter s^-siSe, 
sorge msendon, 
setwiton weana da?l : 
ne meahte weefre mod 
forhabban in hre])re. 
Da wses heal hroden 
feonda feorum, 
swilce Fin slsegen, 
cyning on cor])re, 
and seo cwen numen. 
Sceotend Scyldinga 
to scypum feredon 
eal in-gesteald 
swylce hie set Finnes ham 
findan meahton, 
sigia, searo-gimma. 
Hie on s^-lade 
drihtlice wff 
to Denum feredon, 
Iseddon to leodum. 

Fin afterwards o'erwhelm'd 

cruel misery from the sword, 

at his own dtvelling, 

when the grim one with gripe 

Guthluf and Oslaf, 

after a sea-journey, 

grievously upbraided, [woesi 

reproach' d for his jjart in their 

he might not his wavering soul 
10 in his breast retain. 

Then was the hall beset 

with foemen, 

also Fin slain, 

the king amid his people, 

and the queen taken. 

The Scyldings' warriors 

to their ships bore 

all the house-chattels 

of the earth-king, 
20 such as at Fin's dwelling 

they could find, 

of jewels and curious gems. 

They on the sea-road 

the princely woman 

to the Da)ies bore, 

to their people led. — T. 

Page 91, note 2. — For the near resemblance between the Northum- 
brian and East Anglian dialects, see Lufa's Testament in 
Analecta Anglo-Saxonica, p. 119.^ — T. 

Page 203, note "*. — The pubUcation of " The Poetry of the Codex 
Vercellensis, with an English translation, by J. M. Kemble, M.A. 
Part I. The Legend of St. Andrew, for the ^Ifric Society," 
induces me to add a few words to the above-cited note relative 
to my own connexion with the Vercelli Poetry. In 1834 Mr. 

5. ' Ordlaf,' Batt. of Finnesb. perhaps more correct than Oslaf. 

7. msendon. In Horaiiy, MS. Bibl. Pub. Cantab, p. 217> the verse of 
Luke there quoted (xviii. 15) has 'bemtendon ' where the editions of the 
Gospels have ' ciddon,' rebuked, 
ij. MS. scypon. 


Cooper, then' Secretary to the Record Commission, sent me a 
transcript of the manuscript, requesting me to report on its 
contents. On inspection I found that, besides Homilies, the 
volume contained the several poetic pieces since known as 
the ' Vercelli Poetry.' Having stated my opinion of these 
poems to Ml. Cooper, their communication to the world was 
resolved on : they were printed accordingly as one of the 
Appendices to that gentleman's intended Report on Rymer's 
Foedera, though, in consequence of the dissolution of the Com- 
mission, not published. Soon after the formation of the ^Ifric 
Society I suggested the publication of these relics to the 
Council, though, regarding them as Government property, not 
until I had ascertained from Lord Langdale (under whose 
control they had been placed) that he had no objection to their 
publication by the ^Ifric Society. — T. 



From the Sax. 



I . 




















From Snorra Edda, 
edit. Rask. 











Cespheth (Sefsmeg). 



Atra (nobis Anna) . 




Skialldunn (moJ/s Skiold). 

Biaf (nobis Biar and Bavr). 





Fiarlef (Frialafr) (nobis Frithleif). 

VoTHiNN (nobis Othinn). 

I 1 

Wecta, Bseldteg. 
ancestor I 

of the -n 1 

kings of Brond. 


1 r 1 1 1 

Casere, Seaxneat, Wsegdseg, Wihtlseg, Winta, 
ancestor ancestor ancestor ancestor ancestor of 

of the of the of the of the the prmces 

kings of kings of kings of kings of of the Lin- 

E. Anglia, Essex. Delra. Mcrcia. disfaras. 

Frithogar, Beornd (Beonoc), 

ancestor of ancestor of 

the kings of the kings of 

Wessex. Bernicia. 

1 Three MSS. for Frealaf read Freawine, and omit the following FritluiwalJ. 
In the Bernician list (S.C. a. 547) Frealaf is called Freotholaf. 








446. ob.488. ol).455. 


Eric, surnaraed JEsc-, 

488. ob.512. 




m. Slcda, k. of Essex. 

^thelbeiht , 
508. ob.24 reb.616. 
m. 1. Berhta, daugbter of CbarHiert ; 2.... 


/Ethelburh or Tate'', 
m. Eadwine of Northunibria. 

GIG. ob.20 Jan. 640. 

m. 1. his stepmother ; 2. Emma, 

(laughter of a Frankish king. 

m. Oslaf. 



640. ob.l4 July 664. 

m. Sexburh, d. of .-Vuna, k. of 

E. Anglia. 

Eanswith '", 
virgo sancta. 


or Doraneva. 

m. Merewald, 

ealdorm. of the 

W. Angles. 

Eonnciiburh'-. Eormengyth ' -. .Etlteltliryth'-. iEthelred '-. jEtlielbyrht'^. 



664. ob.July 



Earcongote*', the abbey 

of ISrie. 

■ 1 


m. VVulfliere, k. 

of Mercia. 


690. ob.23 AprU 725. 

m. I. Cyner\ th ; 2. /Ethelburh. 



673. ob.6Feb. 




a monk at Lucca. 

725. ob.748. 

ob.bcfore 794. 

^thelberht 11.'^ 
748. ob.760. 

760. ob.794. 

> Beda, i. 15. Sax. Chron. a. 449. 

-Beda, ii. 5. Sax. Chron. a. 457. 

^ Beda, ii. 5. 

■* Beda, ii. 3. Sax. Chron. a. 604. 

* Sax. Cbron.aa. 508,516. Beda, ii.5; i. 25. 

"= Beda, ii. 9. Flor. Geneal. 

' Beda, ii. 5. Chaiter in Smith's Beda, 

p. 694. Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigom. a. 640. Ann. 
Juvav. Thome, col. 1769. Cod. Diplom. p. 10. 

*> Beda, iii. 8. Sax. Chron. a. 640. Flor. 

' Cod. Diplom. t. i. p. 9. Smith's Beda, 
p. 694. 

'" Flor. Geneal. 

" Sim.Dunclm. Flor. Geneal. 'flt.Malm. 

1- Flor. Geneal. 

'3 Beda, iv. 5, 26. Sax. Cliron. 

" Beda, iv. 26, v. 23. Sax. Chron. Cod. 
Diplom. pp. 42, 48, 49, 50. /Etbelburh's name 
appears first in a charter of 696. 

"> Beda, v. 23. In Cod. Diplom: tHTpnTSS; 
there is a charter of J!thelberht's of 741, 
while the Sax. Chron. and Florence place the 
death of Eadberht and accession of iEthel- 
berht in 748.— T. 

"■■ Charter of 762 in Cod. Diplom. p. 115. 
Seep. 247. 

'? MIoid. t. i. p. 588. 

GENEALOGY OF THE KINGS OF WESSEX, from Woden to Ecgberiit. 


I I 










r.560-591. ob.593. 

Cuthwulf \ 

577. ob.584 .> 





728. ob.730. 

Ceadda' '. 


Ceadwealla '", 
r. 683, resig. 688. ob.Easter 
689. ni. CenthiTth. 

Cwenburh ". 

ra. Ealdfrith 

k. of Northumbria ; 

afterwards abbess 
of Winburne. 





494. ob.534. 



534. ob.560. 

Cutha ^ 
568. ob.584. 


Ceolric or Ceol ", 
591. ob.597. 


611. ob.643. 



Cenred'^. 614. ob.636. 

Inei-', Ingild'-. 

'", resig. 725. ob.718. 

m. .Ethelburb. 



Cenwealli "', 

643. ob.672. 

m. l.a sister of 

Penda; 2. Sexburb. 

676. ob.685. 
m. a sister of 
the wife of Ecg- 
frith of North- 

A daughter". 


A daughter'" 

m. to Oswald, 

k. of Korthum- 


A daughter. 



514. ob.544. 

St. Egelwine' 

Ceolwulf-', Osburh", 

r.597. ob.611. m.k..EtheIwtili 

I circa 835. 




r.672. ob.674. 


r.674. ob.676. 

k. of Kent. 

' From Woden to Cerdic, Sa.\. Chron. aa. 552, 

- Snx. Chron. aa. 495, 534. 

' Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigom. a. 560. 

■• Sax. Chron. a. 591. 

' Sax. Chron. a. 571. 

' Sax. Chron. aa. 568, 584. Fl. Wigorn. a. 584. 


' Sax. Chron. a. 593. 

8 Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. H. Hunt. a. 577. 
W. Malm. 

' Sax. Chron. aa. 728, 730. Flor. Geneal. 
"' Sax. Chron. a. 685. 
'J Sax.Chrou. a. 854. 
'- Sax. Chron. a. 718. Asscr. Flor. Cieneal. The 

Chron. a. 689. makes Ceolwald the son of Cuth- 
wine and brother of Cyncgils. Sax. Chron. a. 855. 
In Asser, Eoppa is called Eon-wa. 

" Flor. Geneal. W. Malm. lib. i. 

'■• Sax. Chron. Fl. Wigorn. and Geneal. 

'5 Sa.\. Chron. 

" Beda, iii. 7. Sax. Chron. 

'' Beda, iv. 15. Eddius, c. xixix. Sax. Chron. 

•8 Carmen ap. Alcuini 0pp. p. 1675. 

'9 Beda, iii. 7. 

M Mahnesb. de Gest. Pont. lib. ii. 

" Sax. Chron. 

" Flor. Geneal. Sax. Chron. 

^ Asser. 






■ I 




Of rxKXOWx lineage. 


brother of Eorpwald 

on the mother's side. 

r. 631,resig. C34. ob.635. 


kinsman of Sigeberlit. 

r. 631. oK635. 

Wewa or Wehha. 



Raedwalit -', 
593. -61?. 

Eorpwald-, Raeginhere', 
r. 617. ob.628. ob.61/. 




r. 635. ob.654. 

_- 1 

-•Etlielhere ', 

r.654. ob.655. 
m. Hereswith, 
d. of Hereric. 
ob.20 Sept.... 

r. 655. ob.664. 



r.663. ob.713. 

r. 713. ob.749. 



abbess of 

Sexburh ", 
m. Earconberht 

k. of Kent. 

ob.abbess of Ely, 

6 Jnlv after 




abbess of Brie 

iu France. 

" Filia naturalis." 


m. l.Tunberht, 
ealdorm. of the 

S. Grrwa.s ; 
2. Ecgfrith, k. of 
ob.23 June 679, 
as abbess of Ely. 

Wihtburh or Wihtgyth ", 
a nun at Ely. 

' From Woden to Wewa, Flor. Geneal. 
- Beda, ii. 15. Flor. Geneal. 
3 Beda, ii. 12. Ror. Geneal. 

* Beda,iji. 18. 

* Beda.iii. 24. 
5 Beda.iii. 22. 

" N'ennius, jVpp., the only authority for this 
prince's existence. 
VOL. I. 

' Beda, iv. 17. See Literarii Introd. p. xxxvi. 
nnle '. 

9 W. Malm. lib. i. Sim. Dunelm. a. 749. 
'" T. Eliens. Hist. EUens. ap. Wharton, A. S. 
t. i. p. 595. Felix. Vita S. Guthl. iv. 33. 
" Beda, iii.S.iv. 19. 
'= Beda, iv. 3, 19, 20. 
" Flor. Geneal. 










^■E.scwixE or Ercenwine', 
a. 527. i 

_, I 

5S7. m. Ricole, sister of jEthelberht, 
k. of Kent. 




Seaxbald '". 

Seaxred^, SsewardS SigeberhtS 

ob.soon after 616. ob.soon after 610. olj.sooa after 616. 
, 1_ 

Sigeberht the Little \ 
617. -653. 



lu. S. Osj-th, d. of 

Frithewald, k. of Surrey, 

and Wilburh d. of Penda. 


resig. 709. 
died 1 monk at Rome. 


reg. 665, resig. ... ob.69-1. 

Sigeberht the Good ' 
653. ob.660. 



r. 709. ob.746. 



I 1 

Sigeheard ", Sw aet'red, 

r. after his father, r. after his father, 

69-). 704. 

' Flor. Geueal. H. Hunt. who makes Antsecg the 
son, and Gesecg the grandson of Seaxneat, and calls 
Sigefiigel Sigewlf. 

- Beda, ii. 3. Sax. Chron. a. 604. 

•' Beda, ii.5. 

'' Fl. AVigorn. Geneal. \V. Malm. lib. i. 

' Beda.iii. 22. Flor. Geneal. W. Malm. 

VOL. I. 

* Beda, V. 30, 

^ Beda, iv. 11. W. .Malm. 

' Beda, iii. 30. Rad. de Diccto, Abbrcmt. a. 6 1 1 . 

» Beda, V. 19. W.Malm. 
'" Flor. Gencil. 
" Beda, iii 22. 
" Sax. Chioii. Fl. Wigorn. a. 746. W. Malm. lib. i. 


' This list to Ida is from Florence, Geneal., which 

I have preferred, not so much because it is more 
complete than that in the Chronicle, but rather, 
judging from the orthography, from its being pro- 
bably derived from a Northumbrian source. — T. 

- This list is from the Sax.Cbron. a. 547, which 
Florence has copied in his Chronicon. 

^ Sax.Chron.a. 547. Fl.AVigorn. Sim.Dunelm., 
who assigns a reign of eleven years only to Ida. 
Neunii App. 

■* Tlie names of the sons of Ida are from Simeon 
and the Chronol. ap. Wanley and Petrie. Instead 
of Glappa, Frithuwald and Hussa, Florence and 
others have Bealric, Theodhere and Osmffir. See 
p. 119. 

* Sa.x.Chron. Fl.Wigorn. Nennius. Beda,iii.6. 

« Beda,i.34. 

' Beda, iii. 1. Annal. Ulton. p. 53. 

8 Flor. Geneal. 

' Beda.iii. 9, 7. 

•0 Beda, iii. 14. 

" Beda, iii. 14, iv. 5, iii. 15. Nennii App. 

'- Beda, iv. 19, 25. Vita S. Cuthb. c. x. Eddii 
Vita S. Wilf. c. xxxviii. 










1 •' 



547. ob.559. 

m. 1. Bearnoch; 

2. concubine. 
















" Beda, iii. 14, 21. 

" Beda, iii. 21. 

'* Beda, iv. 21. Sax. Chron. a. C97. 

« Beda, iv. 19, 20. Eddius, c. xx.xix. 

\[ Beda, v. 18. Sax. Chron. a. 705. W. Malm. 

" Beda, v. 18,22. 

" Beda, V. 23, and Smith, ib. Sax. Chron. a. 729. 
The descent of Osric seems uncertain. 

™ Beda, iv. 21. 

^' Nennii App. 

^ Beda, iii. 24. Acta SS. t. ii. p. 1 78. 

^ Sax. Chron. aa. 729, 738. Flor. Geneal. 

-^ Sax. Cliron. a. 7Ifi. 

" Sax. Chron. aa. 729, 731, 737. 

•" Flor. Geneal. 

^ Sax.Chron.a.7C5. Flor.Gencal. Sim.Dunelm. 
a. 768. Chron. Mailr. Bonifacii Epist. 

^ Sim. Dunelm. 

^ Sax. Chron. a. 738. Flor. Geneal. 

^ Sax. Chron. aa. 738, 7r)7, 768. 

" Sax. Cbron. Fl. Wigorn. a. 789. 

^ Sim. Dunelm. 

" Sa.x. Chron. aa. 738, 766. 

3< Annal. Ult. 


r. 1 yr. 

I 1 

1. 1. 

Adda-*, iEthelric*, 

r. 8 yrs. r. 588-592. 

r. 4 vrs. 


r. 7 vrs. 



ussa ■*, 
7 vrs. 

i^thelfrith \ 
r. 593. ob.017. 

m. 1. Bebbe; 
2. ' Acha,' sister 

of Eadwine. 


Eanfriths Oslaf*. Oslac^. 
m. ad. of the 
k. of the Picts. 
Tolargain, or Talorgan '■•, 
k. of the Picts. ob.656. 


born 604. ob.5 

Aug. 642. m. 635 

the d. of Cynegils 

of Wessex. 


^thelwald '», 

k. of Deira. 


r. 642. ob.15 

Feb. 670. m. 1. 

Riemmelth ; 2. 

Eanflffid, d. of 


Offa». Oswudu'. 


abbess of 



m. Cyneburh, d. 

of Penda. 


Osric '", 

r. 718. ob.9 Mav 



m. Peada, s. of 

Penda, 653. 

m. -Ethelred of 
Mercia. ob.697. 

Ecgfrith "', 

born 645, r. 670. 

ob.20 May 685. 

m. l..£thelthryth, 

d. of Anna, k. of 

E.Anglia; 2. 
Eormenburh, sis- 
ter of the qu. of 
Centwine, k. of 

I I 

'2. 2. 

Occa*. Alrie*. 

I I 

Ealdhelm'^. Blascman'*'. 

I I 

EcgwaId-3. Bofa'«. 

Leodwald^'. Bymhom ^. 



r. 765. ob.774. 

m. Osgcam, or 


r -^ -, 

Osred ''% Ealh mund •», 
r. 788. ob.792. ob.800. 

2. Ecca*. 
2. Oswalds 
2. Soger*. 
2. Sogorthere< 


r. 685. ob.705. 

m. Cuthburh, 

sister of Inc. 



born 697, r. 705. 


born 661. ob.679. 






bom 654. 


abbess of ^^^r^^,,^ 

r.716. ob.718 




r. 729, resig. 737 
became a monk. 


r. 737, resig. 758 

ob.20 Aug. 768. 

r. 758. ob.24 Julv 759. 



archb. of York. 

Alfwold'S Osgeam, 

r.779. ob.23 Sept. 788. or Osyyfu^\ 

I !~— I m. Ealhred. 768. 

iElf", i^lfwine'2, 
ob.791. ob."91. 





\\ fegdipg. 







, I 





559. ob.588. 


Individual not 




m. Beorhtswyth. 

poisoned in Elraet 

before 616. 

'AchaS' Eadwine'', 

m. .iithelfrith, bom 585, r. 016. ob.l4 Oct. 633. 
k. of Beniicia. m. 1 . C-wenburh, d. of Ceorl, k. 
of Mercia ; 2. .f.thelburh, d. of 
.Ethelberht of Kent. 





r. 633. ob.634. 



r.644. ob.20 

Aug. 651. 






ob.after 633. 


born 614. ob.15 

Dec. 680. Abbess 

of WTiitby 

Hereswj-th ", 

m. Anna, k. of 

E. Anglia. 


born 626. 
m. Oswiu of 




^'Ethelliun ' York. 

.Ethelthryth ' York. 

' The line from Woden to ^Elle is from 
the Chronicle, aa. 560, 588, and Florence. 
The names of Swserta and Seomel do not 
appear in the Chronicle. 

' Beda, iii. i. 

' Beda, iii. 14. Sax.Cbron. 

* Beda, iii. 6. 

5 Beda.ii. 20, ii.14,9. 

" Beda, iv. 23. Flor. Gencal., where 
Hereric as a son of Eadfrith and grandson 
of Eadwine. Florence has, no doubt, 

' rendered Beda's words 
regis," erroneously. 
? Beda.iv. 23. ■ 
* Beda, ii. 20. 
■' Beda, ii. 9, iii. l.'i. 
'" Beda, ii. 14. 

ob.after 634 
in France. 

' nepos ^duini 





a kinsman of Wvbba. 

r. 596. ob.ede. 


m. Eadwiue, 
k. of Deira. 


r -J- 


surcamed Mykillatp, 

k. of Denmark. 











W oriuund. 




A daughter ^ 
m. Cenwealh, 
k. of Wessex. 



ob.Easter 656. 

m. Ealhflsd, a 

d. of Oswiu. 


r. 656. ob.673. 

m. Eormengild 

of Kent. 


— I — — 

jEthelred '", 
r. 675, resig. "04. 

ob.4 May 716. 
m.Osthrylh, li. of 
Oswiu. ob.697. 



r. 626. ob.655. 
m. Cyneswyth, 
or Cynewise. 



ob.5 Aug. 642. 


ealdorm. of the 


m. Eormeuburh 

of Kent. 


or Mercelin. 

m. Ealhfrith 
of Northum- 

Cyneswyth '^. 


m. Frithwold, 


of Surrey. 


. 704, resig. 


1 I I — 1 1 1 

Werburh'". Beorhtwald's, Ceolred'", Mildthryth -«. Mildburh™. Mildgyth-". Merewine^", 
686, a sub- 709. ob.716. P 

king. m. AVerburh. ~ 

ob.702 as an 

Centreou -'. 
descendant in the 5th degree 
of Cenwealh. 

Alweo --. 

r. 716. ob.757. 






m. Mareellina. 



r. 757. ob.lO Aug. 

796. m. Cyne- 



r. 796. 


ra. l.Cvne- 

gyth ;' 2. 



k. of Kent. 


Cynethryth'3. Cenhelin", 
an abbess oh. 17 Julv 

825. 819. 


.^Iflaed '°; 
m. AVigniund 
s. of Wiglaf, 
k. of Mercia 






Eadburh ««, 
17. m. Beorhtric, 
k. of Wessex. 

m. .Ethelred, 
k.of Northum- 


betrothed to 

.Ethelbcrht, k. 
of E. Anglia. 


' The line from M'oden to Penda is 
according to the Sax. Chron. a. 626. 

^ This hst is according to Florence, 
having two additional names, and Angen- 
geat for Angeltheow. 

■'' Saxo Gramm. hb. iv. p. 175, t. i. ed. 

■• Beda, iii. 7. Flor. Geneal. 

* Beda, iii. 24. 

' Sa.\. Chron.a. 716. Xennius. Ann. 
Camb. a. 644. 

■ Flor. Geneal. 

' Beda, iii. 21,24. 

' Beda, iii. 24. Sax. Chron. a. 675. 
Flor. Geneal. 

'" Sax. Chron. Beda, iii. 11, iv. 21. 
" Sim. Dunelm. Flor. Geneal. AV. 

'2 W. Malm. Flor. Geneal. 

" Beda, iii. 21. 

'^ Flor. Geneal. W. Malm. 

" Rad. de Diceto, Abbrcv. a. 64 1 . Vita 
S. Osithffi, in Smith's Beda, p. 129. 

'« Beda, V. 24. 

'7 W. Malm. i. ii. 

'» Eddii Vita S. Wilfr. c. xxxix. Mai- 
mesh, de Pont. hb. v. ap. Gale, p. 345, 
and charter a. 686 ib. 

" Beda, v. 24. Sax. Chron. a. 782. 
Sim. Dunelm. a. 783. 

^ Flor. Geneal. W. Malm. 

2' Flor. Geneal. 

" Sax. Chron. a. 716. Flor. Geneal. 

"■• Charter in Smith's Beda, a. 786. 
Hemming, t. i. p. 219. 

-* Sax. Chron. a. 735. Flor. GeueaJ. 
Xennius calls him Ossulf (Oswulf). 

^ Sim. Dunelm. Sax. Chron. R. 
Wendover, t. i. p. 250. According to the 
Vita Offs 11., Drithe was a Frank, called 
also Petronilla, a relation of the emperor 

^ Sax. Chron. Flor. Geneal. 

27 Flor. Geneal. 

=s W. Malm. 

25 Sax. Chron. Cod. Diplom. t. i. p[ 
214, 238. 

*> Sax. Chron. a. 805. 

3' Sax. Chron. 

^ Flor. Geneal. 

^ Fl.Wigom.a. 850, and Geneal. ■« 
















' This list is from Fl. Wigorn. 

- Tliis is apparently Benedict Biscop, sumameil Bailucing, the founder of 
Wcarmouth abbey. See p. 17t. It is singular tliat the name of Clecca does not 
appear in the above list, of whom see p. 133. — T. 

END or vol.. r. 

Printed by Richard anil John E.Taylor, Red Lion Court, Fleet Strci-t. 

BINDING Stw » . SEP 3 1968 

DA Lappenberp, Johann Martin 
130 A history of England 

L363 under the A.nelo-Saxon kings