1 This introductory part of the "Chronicle" to An. I. first printed by Gibson from the Laud MS. only, has been corrected by a collation of two additional MSS. in the British Museum, "Cotton Tiberius B" lv. and "Domitianus A" viii. Some defects are also here supplied. The materials of this part are to be found in Pliny, Solinus, Orosius, Gildas, and Bede. The admeasurement of the island, however inaccurate, is from the best authorities of those times, and followed by much later historians.
2 Gibson, following the Laud MS. has made six nations of five, by introducing the British and Welsh as two distinct tribes.
3 "De tractu Armoricano." -- Bede, "Ecclesiastical History" i. I. The word Armenia occurring a few lines above in Bede, it was perhaps inadvertently written by the Saxon compiler of the "Chronicle" instead of Armorica.
4 In case of a disputed succession, "Ubi res veniret in dabium," etc.
-- Bede, "Ecclesiastical History" i. I.
5 Reada, Aelfr.; Reuda, Bede, Hunt. etc. Perhaps it was originally Reutha or Reotha.
6 This is an error, arising from the inaccurately written MSS. of Orosius and Bede; where "in Hybernia" and "in Hiberniam" occur for "in hiberna". The error is retained in Wheloc's Bede.
7 Labienus = Laberius. Venerable Bede also, and Orosius, whom he follows verbatim, have "Labienus". It is probably a mistake of some very ancient scribe, who improperly supplied the abbreviation "Labius" (for "Laberius") by "Labienus".
8 Of these early transactions in Britain King Alfred supplies us with a brief but circumstantial account in his Saxon paraphrase of "Orosius".
9 "8 die Aprilis", Flor. M. West.
10 Gibbon regrets this chronology, i.e. from the creation of the world, which he thinks preferable to the vulgar mode from the Christian aera. But how vague and uncertain the scale which depends on a point so remote and undetermined as the precise time when the world was created. If we examine the chronometers of different writers we shall find a difference, between the maximum and the minimum, of 3368 years. The Saxon chronology seems to be founded on that of Eusebius, which approaches the medium between the two extremes.
11 An. 42, Flor. This act is attributed by Orosius, and Bede who follows him, to the threatening conduct of Caligula, with a remark, that it was he (Pilate) who condemned our Lord to death.
12 An. 48, Flor. See the account of this famine in King Alfred's "Orosius".
13 Those writers who mention this discovery of the holy cross, by Helena the mother of Constantine, disagree so much in their chronology, that it is a vain attempt to reconcile them to truth or to each other. This and the other notices of ecclesiastical matters, whether Latin or Saxon, from the year 190 to the year 380 of the Laud MS. and 381 of the printed Chronicle, may be safely considered as interpolations, probably posterior to the Norman Conquest.
14 This is not to be understood strictly; gold being used as a general term for money or coin of every description; great quantities of which, it is well known, have been found at different times, and in many different places, in this island: not only of gold, but of silver, brass, copper, etc.
15 An interpolated legend, from the "Gesta Pontificum", repeated by Bede, Florence, Matth. West., Fordun, and others. The head was said to be carried to Edessa.
16 Merely of those called from him "Benedictines". But the compiler of the Cotton MS., who was probably a monk of that order, seems not to acknowledge any other. Matthew of Westminster places his death in 536.
17 For an interesting and minute account of the arrival of Augustine and his companions in the Isle of Thanet, their entrance into Canterbury, and their general reception in England, vid. Bede, "Hist. Eccles." i. 25, and the following chapters, with the Saxon translation by King Alfred. The succeeding historians have in general repeated the very words of Bede.
18 It was originally, perhaps, in the MSS. ICC. the abbreviation for 1,200; which is the number of the slain in Bede. The total number of the monks of Bangor is said to have been 2,100; most of whom appear to have been employed in prayer on this occasion, and only fifty escape by flight. Vide Bede, "Hist. Eccles." ii. 2, and the tribe of Latin historians who copy him.
19 Literally, "swinged, or scourged him." Both Bede and Alfred begin by recording the matter as a vision, or a dream; whence the transition is easy to a matter of fact, as here stated by the Norman interpolators of the "Saxon Annals".
20 This epithet appears to have been inserted in some copies of the "Saxon Chronicle" so early as the tenth century; to distinguish the "old" church or minster at Winchester from the "new", consecrated A.D. 903.
21 Beverley-minster, in Yorkshire.
22 He was a native of Tarsus in Cilicia, the birth-place of St. Paul.
23 This brief notice of Dryhtelm, for so I find the name written in "Cotton Tiberius B iv." is totally unintelligible without a reference to Bede's "Ecclesiastical History", v. 12; where a curious account of him may be found, which is copied by Matthew of Westminster, anno. 699.
25 Wothnesbeorhge, Ethelw.; Wonsdike, Malmsb.; Wonebirih, H. Hunt; Wodnesbeorh, Flor.; Wodnesbirch, M. West. There is no reason, therefore, to transfer the scene of action to Woodbridge, as some have supposed from an erroneous reading.
26 The establishment of the "English school" at Rome is attributed to Ina; a full account of which, and of the origin of "Romescot" or "Peter-pence" for the support of it, may be seen in Matthew of Westminster.
27 Beorgforda, Ethelw.; Beorhtforda, Flor.; Hereford and Bereford, H. Hunt; Beorford, M. West. This battle of Burford has been considerably amplified by Henry of Huntingdon, and after him by Matthew of Westminster. The former, among other absurdities, talks of "Amazonian" battle-axes. They both mention the banner of the "golden dragon" etc.
28 The minuteness of this narrative, combined with the simplicity of it, proves that it was written at no great distance of time from the event. It is the first that occurs of any length in the older MSS. of the "Saxon Chronicle".
29 Penga in the original, i.e. "of pence", or "in pence"; because the silver penny, derived from the Roman "denarius", was the standard coin in this country for more than a thousand years. It was also used as a weight, being the twentieth part of an ounce.
30 Since called "sheriff"; i.e. the reve, or steward, of the shire. "Exactor regis". -- Ethelw.
31 This is the Grecian method of computation; between the hours of three and six in the morning. It must be recollected, that before the distribution of time into hours, minutes, and seconds, the day and night were divided into eight equal portions, containing three hours each; and this method was continued long afterwards by historians.
32 This wanton act of barbarity seems to have existed only in the depraved imagination of the Norman interpolator of the "Saxon Annals", who eagerly and impatiently dispatches the story thus, in order to introduce the subsequent account of the synod at Bapchild, so important in his eyes. Hoveden and Wallingford and others have repeated the idle tale; but I have not hitherto found it in any historian of authority.
33 St. Kenelm is said to have succeeded Cenwulf:
-- "Vita S. Kenelmi, MS. Coll. Trin Oxon." No. 57.Arch.
34 i.e. the Danes; or, as they are sometimes called, Northmen, which is a general term including all those numerous tribes that issued at different times from the north of Europe, whether Danes, Norwegians, Sweons, Jutes, or Goths, etc.; who were all in a state of paganism at this time.
35 Aetheredus, -- Asser, Ethelwerd, etc. We have therefore adopted this orthography.
36 It is now generally written, as pronounced, "Swanage".
37 For a more circumstantial account of the Danish or Norman operations against Paris at this time, the reader may consult Felibien, "Histoire de la Ville de Paris", liv. iii. and the authorities cited by him in the margin. This is that celebrated siege of Paris minutely described by Abbo, Abbot of Fleury, in two books of Latin hexameters; which, however barbarous, contain some curious and authentic matter relating to the history of that period.
38 This bridge was built, or rebuilt on a larger plan than before, by Charles the Bald, in the year 861, "to prevent the Danes or Normans (says Felibien) from making themselves masters of Paris so easily as they had already done so many times," etc. -- "pour empescher que les Normans ne se rendissent maistres de Paris aussi facilement qu'ils l'avoient deja fait tant de lois," etc. -- Vol. i. p. 91, folio. It is supposed to be the famous bridge afterwards called "grand pont" or "pont au change", -- the most ancient bridge at Paris, and the only one which existed at this time.
39 Or, in Holmsdale, Surry: hence the proverb --
40 The pirates of Armorica, now Bretagne; so called, because they abode day and night in their ships; from lid, a ship, and wiccian, to watch or abide day and night.
41 So I understand the word. Gibson, from Wheloc, says -- "in aetatis vigore;" a fact contradicted by the statement of almost every historian. Names of places seldom occur in old MSS. with capital initials.
42 i.e. the feast of the Holy Innocents; a festival of great antiquity.
43 i.e. the secular clergy, who observed no rule; opposed to the regulars, or monks.
44 This poetical effusion on the coronation, or rather consecration, of King Edgar, as well as the following on his death, appears to be imitated in Latin verse by Ethelwerd at the end of his curious chronicle. This seems at least to prove that they were both written very near the time, as also the eulogy on his reign, inserted 959.
45 The following passage from Cotton Tiberius B iv., relating to the accession of Edward the Martyr, should be added here
46 Florence of Worcester mentions three synods this year; Kyrtlinege, Calne, and Ambresbyrig.
47 Vid. "Hist. Eliens." ii. 6. He was a great benefactor to the church of Ely.
48 This was probably the veteran historian of that name, who was killed in the severe encounter with the Danes at Alton (Aethelingadene) in the year 1001.
49 i.e. at Canterbury. He was chosen or nominated before, by King Ethelred and his council, at Amesbury: vid. an. 994. This notice of his consecration, which is confirmed by Florence of Worcester, is now first admitted into the text on the authority of three MSS.
50 Not the present district so-called, but all that north of the Sea of Severn, as opposed to West-Wales, another name for Cornwall.
51 See a more full and circumstantial account of these events, with some variation of names, in Florence of Worcester.
52 The successor of Elfeah, or Alphege, in the see of Winchester, on the translation of the latter to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury.
53 This passage, though very important, is rather confused, from the Variations in the MSS.; so that it is difficult to ascertain the exact proportion of ships and armour which each person was to furnish. "Vid. Flor." an. 1008.
54 These expressions in the present tense afford a strong proof that the original records of these transactions are nearly coeval with the transactions themselves. Later MSS. use the past tense.
55 i.e. the Chiltern Hills; from which the south-eastern part of Oxfordshire is called the Chiltern district.
56 "Leofruna abbatissa". -- Flor. The insertion of this quotation from Florence of Worcester is important, as it confirms the reading adopted in the text. The abbreviation "abbt", instead of "abb", seems to mark the abbess. She was the last abbess of St. Mildred's in the Isle of Thanet; not Canterbury, as Harpsfield and Lambard say.
57 This was a title bestowed on the queen.
58 The "seven" towns mentioned above are reduced here to "five"; probably because two had already submitted to the king on the death of the two thanes, Sigferth and Morcar. These five were, as originally, Leicester, Lincoln, Stamford, Nottingham, and Derby. Vid. an. 942, 1013.
59 There is a marked difference respecting the name of this alderman in MSS. Some have Ethelsy, as above; others, Elfwine, and Ethelwine. The two last may be reconciled, as the name in either case would now be Elwin; but Ethelsy, and Elsy are widely different. Florence of Worcester not only supports the authority of Ethelwine, but explains it "Dei amici."
60 Matthew of Westminster says the king took up the body with his own hands.
61 Leofric removed the see to Exeter.
62 So Florence of Worcester, whose authority we here follow for the sake of perspicuity, though some of these events are placed in the MSS. to very different years; as the story of Beorn.
63 i.e. The ships of Sweyne, who had retired thither, as before described.
64 "Vid. Flor." A.D. 1049, and verbatim from him in the same year, Sim. Dunelm. "inter X. Script. p. 184, I, 10. See also Ordericus Vitalis, A.D. 1050. This dedication of the church of St. Remi, a structure well worth the attention of the architectural antiquary, is still commemorated by an annual loire, or fair, on the first of October, at which the editor was present in the year 1815, and purchased at a stall a valuable and scarce history of Rheims, from which he extracts the following account of the synod mentioned above: -- "Il fut assemble a l'occasion de la dedicace de la nouvelle eglise qu' Herimar, abbe de ce monastere, avoit fait batir, seconde par les liberalites des citoyens, etc." ("Hist. de Reims", p. 226.) But, according to our Chronicle, the pope took occasion from this synod to make some general regulations which concerned all Christendom.
65 Hereman and Aldred, who went on a mission to the pope from King Edward, as stated in the preceding year.
66 Nine ships were put out of commission the year before; but five being left on the pay-list for a twelvemonth, they were also now laid up.
67 The ancient name of Westminster; which came into disuse because there was another Thorney in Cambridgeshire.
68 i.e. at Gloucester, according to the printed Chronicle; which omits all that took place in the meantime at London and Southwark.
69 Now Westminster.
70 i.e. Earl Godwin and his crew.
71 i.e. from the Isle of Portland; where Godwin had landed after the plunder of the Isle of Wight.
72 i.e. Dungeness; where they collected all the ships stationed in the great bay formed by the ports of Romney, Hithe, and Folkstone.
73 i.e. Godwin and his son Harold.
74 i.e. the tide of the river.
75 Godwin's earldom consisted of Wessex, Sussex, and Kent: Sweyn's of Oxford, Gloucester, Hereford, Somerset, and Berkshire: and Harold's of Essex, East-Anglia, Huntingdon, and Cambridgeshire.
76 The church, dedicated to St. Olave, was given by Alan Earl of Richmond, about thirty-three years afterwards, to the first abbot of St. Mary's in York, to assist him in the construction of the new abbey. It appears from a MS. quoted by Leland, that Bootham-bar was formerly called "Galman-hithe", not Galmanlith, as printed by Tanner and others.
77 Called St. Ethelbert's minster; because the relics of the holy King Ethelbert were there deposited and preserved.
78 The place where this army was assembled, though said to be very nigh to Hereford, was only so with reference to the great distance from which some part of the forces came; as they were gathered from all England. They met, I conjecture, on the memorable spot called "Harold's Cross", near Cheltenham, and thence proceeded, as here stated, to Gloucester.
79 This was no uncommon thing among the Saxon clergy, bishops and all. The tone of elevated diction in which the writer describes the military enterprise of Leofgar and his companions, testifies his admiration.
80 See more concerning him in Florence of Worcester. His lady, Godiva, is better known at Coventry. See her story at large in Bromton and Matthew of Westminster.
81 He died at his villa at Bromleage (Bromley in Staffordshire). -- Flor.
82 He built a new church from the foundation, on a larger plan. The monastery existed from the earliest times.
83 Florence of Worcester says, that he went through Hungary to Jerusalem.
84 This must not be confounded with a spire-steeple. The expression was used to denote a tower, long before spires were invented.
85 Lye interprets it erroneously the "festival" of St. Martin. -- "ad S. Martini festum:" whereas the expression relates to the place, not to the time of his death, which is mentioned immediately afterwards.
86 This threnodia on the death of Edward the Confessor will be found to correspond, both in metre and expression, with the poetical paraphrase of Genesis ascribed to Caedmon.
87 These facts, though stated in one MS. only, prove the early cooperation of Tosty with the King of Norway. It is remarkable that this statement is confirmed by Snorre, who says that Tosty was with Harald, the King of Norway, in all these expeditions. Vid "Antiq. Celto-Scand." p. 204.
88 i.e. Harold, King of England; "our" king, as we find him Afterwards called in B iv., to distinguish him from Harald, King of Norway.
89 Not only the twelve smacks with which he went into Scotland during the summer, as before stated, but an accession of force from all quarters.
90 On the north bank of the Ouse, according to Florence of Worcester; the enemy having landed at Richale (now "Riccal"). Simeon of Durham names the spot "Apud Fulford," i.e. Fulford-water, south of the city of York.
91 It is scarcely necessary to observe that the term "English" begins about this time to be substituted for "Angles"; and that the Normans are not merely the Norwegians, but the Danes and other adventurers from the north, joined with the forces of France and Flanders; who, we shall presently see, overwhelmed by their numbers the expiring, liberties of England. The Franks begin also to assume the name of Frencyscan or "Frenchmen".
92 i.e. in the expedition against the usurper William.
93 i.e. -- threw off their allegiance to the Norman usurper, and became voluntary outlaws. The habits of these outlaws, or, at least, of their imitators and descendants in the next century, are well described in the romance of "Ivanhoe".
94 The author of the Gallo-Norman poem printed by Sparke elevates his diction to a higher tone, when describing the feasts of this same Hereward, whom he calls "le uthlage hardi."
95 Or much "coin"; many "scaettae"; such being the denomination of the silver money of the Saxons.
96 Florence of Worcester and those who follow him say that William proceeded as far as Abernethy; where Malcolm met him, and surrendered to him.
97 Whence he sailed to Bretagne, according to Flor. S. Dunelm, etc.; but according to Henry of Huntingdon he fled directly to Denmark, returning afterwards with Cnute and Hacco, who invaded England With a fleet of 200 sail.
98 i.e. Earl Waltheof.
99 This notice of St. Petronilla, whose name and existence seem scarcely to have been known to the Latin historians, we owe exclusively to the valuable MS. "Cotton Tiberius" B lv. Yet if ever female saint deserved to be commemorated as a conspicuous example of early piety and christian zeal, it must be Petronilla.
100 The brevity of our Chronicle here, and in the two following years, in consequence of the termination of "Cotton Tiberius" B iv., is remarkable. From the year 1083 it assumes a character more decidedly Anglo-Norman.
101 i.e. In the service; by teaching them a new-fangled chant, brought from Feschamp in Normandy, instead of that to which they had been accustomed, and which is called the Gregorian chant.
102 Literally, "afeared of them" -- i.e. terrified by them.
103 Probably along the open galleries in the upper story of the choir.
104 "Slaegan", in its first sense, signifies "to strike violently"; whence the term "sledge-hammer". This consideration will remove the supposed pleonasm in the Saxon phrase, which is here literally translated.
105 "Gild," Sax.; which in this instance was a land-tax of one shilling to a yardland.
106 -- and of Clave Kyrre, King of Norway. Vid. "Antiq. Celto-Scand".
107 Because there was a mutiny in the Danish fleet; which was carried to such a height, that the king, after his return to Denmark, was slain by his own subjects. Vid. "Antiq. Celto-Scand", also our "Chronicle" A.D. 1087.
108 i.e. a fourth part of an acre.
109 At Winchester; where the king held his court at Easter in the following year; and the survey was accordingly deposited there; whence it was called "Rotulus Wintoniae", and "Liber Wintoniae".
110 An evident allusion to the compilation of Doomsday book, already described in A.D. 1085.
111 Uppe-land, Sax. -- i.e. village-church.
112 i.e. jurisdiction. We have adopted the modern title of the district; but the Saxon term occurs in many of the ancient evidences of Berkeley Castle.
113 i.e. of the conspirators.
114 Literally "became his man" -- "Ic becom eowr man" was the formula of doing homage.
115 Literally a "gossip"; but such are the changes which words undergo in their meaning as well as in their form, that a title of honour formerly implying a spiritual relationship in God, is now applied only to those whose conversation resembles the contemptible tittle-tattle of a Christening.
116 From this expression it is evident, that though preference was naturally and properly given to hereditary claims, the monarchy of Scotland, as well as of England, was in principle "elective". The doctrine of hereditary, of divine, of indefeasible "right", is of modern growth.
117 See the following year towards the end, where Duncan is said to be slain.
118 Peitevin, which is the connecting link between "Pictaviensem" and "Poitou".
119 Now called Southampton, to distinguish it from Northampton, but the common people in both neighbourhoods generally say "Hamton" to this day (1823).
120 The title is now Earl of Shrewsbury.
121 The fourth of April. Vid. "Ord. Vit."
122 Commonly called "Peter-pence".
123 Literally "head-men, or chiefs". The term is still retained with a slight variation in the north of Europe, as the "hetman" Platoff of celebrated memory.
124 This name is now written, improperly, Cadogan; though the ancient pronunciation continues. "Cadung", "Ann. Wav." erroneously, perhaps, for "Cadugn".
125 It was evidently, therefore, not on Michaelmas day, but during the continuance of the mass or festival which was celebrated till the octave following.
126 In the original "he"; so that the Saxons agreed with the Greeks and Romans with respect to the gender of a comet.
127 Literally "took leave": hence the modern phrase to signify the departure of one person from another, which in feudal times could not be done without leave or permission formally obtained.
128 That is, within the twelve days after Christmas, or the interval between Christmas day, properly called the Nativity, and the Epiphany, the whole of which was called Christmas-tide or Yule-tide, and was dedicated to feasting and mirth.
129 The King of Norway and his men. "Vid. Flor."
130 His monument is still to be seen there, a plain gravestone of black marble, of the common shape called "dos d'ane"; such as are now frequently seen, though of inferior materials, in the churchyards of villages; and are only one remove from the grassy sod.
131 i.e. before he left Winchester for London; literally "there-right" -- an expression still used in many parts of England. Neither does the word "directly", which in its turn has almost become too vulgar to be used, nor its substitute, "immediately", which has nearly superseded it, appear to answer the purpose so well as the Saxon, which is equally expressive with the French "sur le champ".
132 This expression shows the adherence of the writer to the Saxon line of kings, and his consequent satisfaction in recording this alliance of Henry with the daughter of Margaret of Scotland.
133 "Auvergne" at that time was an independent province, and formed no part of France. About the middle of the fourteenth century we find Jane, Countess of Auvergne and Boulogne, and Queen of France, assisting in the dedication of the church of the Carmelites at Paris, together with Queen Jeanne d'Evreux, third wife and widow of Charles IV., Blanche of Navarre, widow of Philip VI., and Jeanne de France, Queen of Navarre. -- Felib. "Histoire de Paris", vol. I, p. 356.
134 A title taken from a town in Normandy, now generally written Moretaine, or Moretagne; de Moreteon, de Moritonio, Flor.
135 "cena Domini" -- commonly called Maundy Thursday.
136 Now Tinchebrai.
137 Matilda, Mathilde, or Maud.
138 Henry V. of Germany, the son of Henry IV.
139 Or, "in the early part of the night," etc.
140 That is, the territory was not a "fee simple", but subject to "taillage" or taxation; and that particular species is probably here intended which is called in old French "en queuage", an expression not very different from that in the text above.
141 i.e. to the earldom of Flanders.
142 "Mense Julio". -- Flor.
143 We have still the form of saying "Nolo episcopari", when a see is offered to a bishop.
144 i.e. East Bourne in Sussex; where the king was waiting for a fair wind to carry him over sea.
145 The Nativity of the Virgin Mary.
146 i.e. an inclosure or park for deer. This is now called Blenheim Park, and is one of the few old parks which still remain in this country.
147 This may appear rather an anticipation of the modern see of Salisbury, which was not then in existence; the borough of Old Saturn, or "Saresberie", being then the episcopal seat.
148 St. Osythe, in Essex; a priory rebuilt A. 1118, for canons of the Augustine order, of which there are considerable remains.
149 i.e. Of the Earl of Anjou.
150 The writer means, "the remainder of this year"; for the feast of Pentecost was already past, before the king left England.
151 The pennies, or pence, it must be remembered, were of silver at this time.
152 i.e. Clergy and laity.
153 This word is still in use, but in a sense somewhat different; as qualms of conscience, etc.
154 See an account of him in "Ord. Vit." 544. Conan, another son of this Alan, Earl of Brittany, married a daughter of Henry I.
155 i.e. Henry, King of England.
156 "A se'nnight", the space of seven nights; as we still say, "a fortnight", i.e. the space of fourteen nights. The French express the space of one week by "huit jours", the origin of the "octave" in English law; of two by "quinte jours". So "septimana" signifies "seven mornings"; whence the French word "semaine".
157 Literally, "woned". Vid Chaucer, "Canterbury Tales", v. 7745. In Scotland, a lazy indolent manner of doing anything is called "droning".
158 The Abbot Henry of Angeli.
159 "Thou shalt destroy them that speak `leasing,'" etc. "Psalms".
160 i.e. Vexed, harassed, fatigued, etc. Milton has used the word in the last sense.
161 The monastery of Angeli.
162 Aurora Borealis, or the northern lights.
163 "Any restless manoeuvre or stratagem." Both words occur in Chaucer. See "Troilus and Criseyde", v. 1355, and "Canterbury Tales", v. 16549. The idea seems to be taken from the habits of destructive and undermining vermin.
164 Now called "Good-Friday".
165 The tower of the castle at Oxford, built by D'Oyley, which still remains.
166 The MS. is here deficient.
167 Or Vaudeville.