THE HISTORY OF BRITAIN
That Part especially now call'd ENGLAND.
From the First Traditional
Beginning, continu'd to
the NORMAN CONQUEST.
Collected out of the ancientest and best
Authours thereof by John
The beginning of Nations, those excepted of whom sacred Books have spok'n, is to this day unknown. Nor only the beginning, but the deeds also of many succeeding Ages, yea periods of Ages, either wholly unknown, or obscur'd and blemisht with Fables. Whether it were that the use of Letters came in long after, or were it the violence of barbarous inundations, or they themselvs at certain revolutions of time, fatally decaying, and degenerating into Sloth and Ignorance; wherby the monuments of more ancient civility have bin som destroy'd, som lost. Perhaps dis-esteem and contempt of the public affairs then present, as not worth recording, might partly be in cause. Certainly oft-times we see that wise men, and of best abilitie, have forborn to write the Acts of thir own daies, while they beheld with a just loathing and disdain, not only how unworthy, how pervers, how corrupt, but often how ignoble, how petty, how below all History the persons and thir actions were; who either by fortune, or som rude election had attain'd as a sore judgment and ignominie upon the Land, to have cheif sway in managing the Commonwealth. But that any law, or superstition of our old Philosophers the Druids forbad the Britans to write thir memorable deeds, I know not why any out of Cæsar should allege: he indeed saith, that thir doctrine they thought not lawful to commit to Letters; but in most matters else, both privat, and public, among which well may History be reck'nd, they us'd the Greek Tongue: and that the British Druids who taught those in Gaule would be ignorant of any Language known and us'd by thir Disciples, or so frequently writing other things, and so inquisitive into highest, would for want of recording be ever Children in the Knowledge of Times and Ages, is not likely. What ever might be the reason, this we find, that of British affairs, from the first peopling of the Iland to the coming of Julius Cæsar, nothing certain, either by Tradition, History, or Ancient Fame hath hitherto bin left us. That which we have of oldest seeming, hath by the greater part of judicious Antiquaries bin long rejected for a modern Fable.
Nevertheless there being others, besides the first suppos'd Author, men not unread, nor unlerned in Antiquitie, who admitt that for approved story, which the former explode for fiction, and seeing that oft-times relations heertofore accounted fabulous have bin after found to contain in them many footsteps, and reliques of somthing true, as what we read in Poets of the Flood, and Giants little beleev'd, till undoubted witnesses taught us, that all was not fain'd; I have therfore determin'd to bestow the telling over ev'n of these reputed Tales; be it for nothing else but in favour of our English Poets, and Rhetoricians, who by thir Art will know, how to use them judiciously.
I might also produce example, as Diodorus among the Greeks, Livie and others of the Latines, Polydore and Virunnius accounted among our own Writers. But I intend not with controversies and quotations to delay or interrupt the smooth course of History; much less to argue and debate long who were the first Inhabitants, with what probabilities, what authorities each opinion hath bin upheld, but shall endevor that which hitherto hath bin needed most, with plain, and lightsom brevity, to relate well and orderly things worth the noting, so as may best instruct and benefit them that read. Which, imploring divine assistance, that it may redound to his glory, and the good of the British Nation, I now begin.
That the whole Earth was inhabited before the Flood, and to the utmost point of habitable ground, from those effectual words of God in the Creation, may be more then conjectur'd. Hence that this Iland also had her dwellers, her affairs, and perhaps her stories, eev'n in that old World those many hunderd years, with much reason we may inferr. After the Flood, and the dispersing of Nations, as they journey'd leasurely from the East, Gomer the eldest Son of Japhet, and his off-spring, as by Authorities, Arguments, and Affinitie of divers names is generally beleev'd, were the first that peopl'd all these West and Northren Climes. But they of our own Writers, who thought they had don nothing, unless with all circumstance they tell us when, and who first set foot upon this Iland, presume to name out of fabulous and counterfet Authors a certain Samothes or Dis, a fowrth or sixt Son of Japhet, whom they make about 200 years after the Flood, to have planted with Colonies, first the Continent of Celtica or Gaule, and next this Iland; Thence to have nam'd it Samothea, to have reign'd heer, and after him lineally fowr Kings, Magus, Saron, Druis, and Bardus. But the forg'd Berosus, whom only they have to cite, no where mentions that either hee, or any of those whom they bring, did ever pass into Britain, or send thir people hither. So that this outlandish figment may easily excuse our not allowing it the room heer so much as of a British Fable.
That which follows, perhaps as wide from truth, though seeming less impertinent, is, that these Samotheans under the Reign of Bardus were subdu'd by Albion a Giant, Son of Neptune; who call'd the Iland after his own name, and rul'd it 44 Years. Till at length passing over into Gaul, in aid of his Brother Lestrygon, against whom Hercules was hasting out of Spain into Italy, he was there slain in fight, and Bergion also his Brother.
Sure anough we are, that Britan hath bin anciently term'd Albion, both by the Greeks and Romans. And Mela the Geographer makes mention of a stonie shoar in Languedoc, where by report such a Battel was fought. The rest, as his giving name to the Ile, or ever landing heer, depends altogether upon late surmises. But too absurd, and too unconscionably gross is that fond invention that wafted hither the fifty daughters of a strange Dioclesian King of Syria; brought in doubtles by som illiterat pretender to somthing mistak'n in the Common Poetical Story of Danaus King of Argos, while his vanity, not pleas'd with the obscure beginning which truest Antiquity affords the Nation, labour'd to contrive us a Pedigree, as he thought, more noble. These Daughters by appointment of Danaus on the marriage-night having murder'd all thir Husbands, except Linceus, whom his Wives loialty sav'd, were by him at the suit of his Wife thir Sister, not put to death, but turn'd out to Sea in a Ship unmann'd; of which whole Sex they had incurr'd the hate: and as the Tale goes, were driv'n on this Iland. Where the Inhabitants, none but Devils, as som write, or as others, a lawless crew left heer by Albion, without Head or Governour, both entertain'd them, and had issue by them a second Breed of Giants, who tyranniz'd the Ile, till Brutus came.
The Eldest of these Dames in thir Legend they call Albina; and from thence, for which cause the whole scene was fram'd, will have the name Albion deriv'd. Incredible it may seem so sluggish a conceit should prove so ancient, as to be authoriz'd by the Elder Ninnius, reputed to have liv'd above a thousand years agoe. This I find not in him; but that Histion sprung of Japhet, had four Sons; Francus, Romanus, Alemannus, and Britto, of whom the Britans; as true, I beleeve, as that those other Nations whose names are resembl'd, came of the other three; if these Dreams give not just occasion to call in doubt the Book it self, which bears that title.
Hitherto the things themselvs have giv'n us a warrantable dispatch to run them soon over. But now of Brutus and his Line, with the whole Progeny of Kings, to the entrance of Julius Cæsar, we cannot so easily be discharg'd; Descents of Ancestry, long continu'd, laws and exploits not plainly seeming to be borrow'd, or devis'd, which on the common beleif have wrought no small impression: defended by many, deny'd utterly by few. For what though Brutus, and the whole Trojan pretence were yeelded up, seeing they who first devis'd to bring us from som noble Ancestor were content at first with Brutus the Consul; till better invention, although not willing to forgoe the name, taught them to remove it higher into a more fabulous Age, and by the same remove lighting on the Trojan Tales in affectation to make the Britan of one Original with the Roman, pitch'd there; yet those old and inborn names of successive Kings, never any to have bin real persons, or done in thir lives at least som part of what so long hath bin remember'd, cannot be thought without too strict an incredulity.
For these, and those causes above mention'd, that which hath receav'd approbation from so many, I have chos'n not to omitt. Certain or uncertain, be that upon the credit of those whom I must follow; so far as keeps alooff from impossible and absurd, attested by ancient Writers from Books more ancient I refuse not, as the due and proper subject of Story. The principal Author is well know'n to be Geoffrey of Monmouth; what he was, and whence his Authority, who in his Age, or before him, have deliver'd the same matter, and such like general discourses, will better stand in a Treatise by themselvs. All of them agree in this, that Brutus was the Son of Silvius; he of Ascanius; whose Father was Æneas a Trojan Prince, who at the burning of that City, with his Son Ascanius, and a collected number that escap'd, after long wandering on the Sea, arriv'd in Italy. Where at length by the assistance of Latinus King of Latium, who had giv'n him his Daughter Lavinia, he obtain'd to succeed in that Kingdom, and left it to Ascanius, whose Son Silvius (though Roman Histories deny Silvius to be Son of Ascanius) had married secretly a Neece of Lavinia.
She being with Child, the matter became known to Ascanius. Who commanding his Magicians to enquire by Art, what Sex the Maid had conceiv'd, had answer, that it was one who should be the death of both his Parents; and banish'd for the fact, should after all in a farr Country, attain to highest honour. The Prediction fail'd not, for in travel the Mother di'd. And Brutus (the Child was so call'd) at fifteen years of Age, attending his Father to the Chace, with an arrow unfortunately kill'd him.
Banish'd therfore by his kindred, he retires into Greece. Where meeting with the race of Helenus King Priams Son, held there in servile condition by Pandrasus then King, with them he abides. For Pirrhus in revenge of his Father slain at Troy, had brought thither with him Helenus, and many others into servitude. There Brutus among his own Stock so thrives in vertue and in Arms, as renders him belov'd to Kings, and great Captains above all the Youth of that Land. Wherby the Trojans not only beginn to hope, but secretly to move him, that he would lead them the way to liberty. They allege their numbers, and the promis'd help of Assaracus a Noble Greekish Youth, by the Mothers side a Trojan; whom for that cause his Brother went about to dispossess of certain Castles bequeath'd him by his Father. Brutus considering both the Forces offer'd him, and the strength of those Holds, not unwillingly consents.
First therfore having fortifi'd those Castles, he with Assaracus and the whole multitude betake them to the Woods and Hills; as the safest place from whence to expostulate; and in the name of all sends to Pandrasus this Message; That the Trojans holding it unworthy thir Ancestors to serv in a Foren Kingdom had retreated to the Woods; choosing rather a Savage life then a slavish; If that displeas'd him, that then with his leave they might depart to some other soil.
As this may pass with good allowance, that the Trojans might be many in these parts, for Helenus was by Pirrhus made King of the Chaonians, and the Sons of Pirrhus by Andromache Hectors Wife could not but be powerful through all Epirus, so much the more it may be doubted, how these Trojans could be thus in bondage, where they had Freinds and Country-men so Potent. But to examin these things with diligence, were but to confute the Fables of Britan, with the Fables of Greece or Italy; for of this Age, what we have to say, as well concerning most other Countries, as this Iland, is equally under Question. Be how it will, Pandrasus not expecting so bold a message from the Sons of Captives, gathers an Army. And marching toward the Woods, Brutus who had notice of his approach nigh to a Town call'd Sparatinum, (I know not what Towne, but certaine of no Greek name) over night planting himself there with good part of his men, suddenly sets upon him, and with slaughter of the Greeks pursues him to the passage of a River, which mine Author names Akalon, meaning perhaps Achelous, or Acheron; where at the Ford he overlaies them afresh. This victory obtain'd, and a sufficient strength left in Sparatinum, Brutus with Antigonus, the Kings Brother, and his Freind Anacletus, whom he had tak'n in the fight, returns to the residue of his freinds in the thick Woods. While Pandrasus with all speed recollecting, besieges the Town. Brutus to releive his men beseig'd, who earnestly call'd him, distrusting the sufficiency of his force, bethinks himself of this Policy. Calls to him Anacletus, and threatning instant death else, both to him and his freind Antigonus, enjoyns him, that he should goe at the second howr of night to the Greekish Leagre, and tell the Guards he had brought Antigonus by stealth out of Prison to a certain woody Vale; unable through the waight of his Fetters to move furder; entreating them to come speedily and fetch him in. Anacletus to save both himself and his freind Antigonus, swears this; and at fit howr setts on alone toward the Camp; is mett, examin'd, and at last unquestionably known. To whom, great profession of fidelity first made, he frames his Tale, as had bin taught him: and they now fully assur'd, with a creduous rashness leaving thir Stations, far'd accordingly by the ambush that there awaited them. Forthwith Brutus dividing his men into three parts, leads on in silence to the Camp; commanding first each part at a several place to enter, and forbear Execution, till he with his Squadron possess'd of the Kings Tent, gave Signal to them by Trumpet. The sound whereof no sooner heard, but huge havock begins upon the sleeping, and unguarded Enemy; whom the besieged also now sallying forth, on the other side assaile. Brutus the while had special care to seise and secure the Kings Person; whose life still within his Custody, he knew was the surest pledge to obtain what he should demand. Day appearing, he enters the Town, there distributes the Kings Treasury, and leaving the place better fortify'd, returns with the King his Prisner to the Woods. Strait the antient and grave men he summons to Counsell, what they should now demand of the King.
After long debate Mempricius, one of the gravest, utterly dissuading them from thought of longer stay in Greece, unless they meant to be deluded with a suttle peace, and the awaited revenge of those whose freinds they had slain, advises them to demand first the Kings Eldest Daughter Innogen in marriage to thir Leader Brutus with a rich dowry, next shipping, mony, and fitt provision for them all to depart the Land.
This resolution pleasing best, the King now brought in, and plac'd in a high Seat, is breifly told, that on these conditions granted, he might be free, not granted, he must prepare to die.
Prest with fear of death, the King readily yeelds; especially to bestow his Daughter on whom he confess'd so Noble and so Valiant: offers them also the third part of his Kingdom, if they like to stay; if not, to be thir Hostage himself, till he had made good his word.
The Mariage therfore solemniz'd, and shipping from all parts got together, the Trojans in a Fleet, no less writt'n then three hundred fowr and twenty Sail, betake them to the wide Sea; where with a prosperous course two daies and a night bring them on a certain Iland long before dispeopl'd and left wast by Sea-Roavers; the name wherof was then Leogecia, now unknow'n. They who were sent out to discover, came at length to a ruin'd City; where was a Temple and Image of Diana that gave Oracles: but not meeting first or last, save wild Beasts, they return with this notice to thir Ships: Wishing thir General would enquire of that Oracle what voiage to pursue.
Consultation had, Brutus taking with him Gerion his Diviner, and twelv of the ancientest, with wonted Ceremonies before the inward shrine of the Goddess, in Verse, as it seems the manner was, utters his request, Diva potens nemorum, &c.
Goddess of Shades, and Huntress, who at will
Walk'st on the rowling Sphear, and through the deep,
On thy third Reigne the Earth look now, and tell
What Land, what Seat of rest thou bidst me seek,
What certain Seat, where I may worship thee
For aye, with Temples vow'd, and Virgin quires.
To whom sleeping before the Altar, Diana in a Vision that night thus answer'd, Brute sub occasum Solis, &c.
Brutus far to the West, in th' Ocean wide,
Beyond the Realm of Gaul, a Land there lies,
Sea-girt it lies, where Giants dwelt of old,
Now void, it fitts thy people; thether bend
Thy course, there shalt thou find a lasting seat,
There to thy Sons another Troy shall rise,
And Kings be born of thee, whose dredded might
Shall aw the World, and Conquer Nations bold.
These Verses Originally Greek, were put in Latin, saith Virunnius, by Gildas a British Poet, and him to have liv'd under Claudius. Which granted true, adds much to the Antiquitie of this Fable; and indeed the Latin Verses are much better, then for the Age of Geoffrey ap-Arthur, unless perhaps Joseph of Exeter, the only smooth Poet of those times, befreinded him. In this, Diana overshot her Oracle thus ending, Ipsis totius terræ subditus orbis erit, That to the race of Brute Kings of this Iland, the whole Earth shall be subject.
But Brutus guided now, as he thought, by divine conduct, speeds him towards the West; and after som encounters on the Afric side, arrives at a place on the Tyrrhen Sea; where he happ'ns to find the Race of those Trojans, who with Antenor came into Italy; and Corineus a man much fam'd, was thir Cheif: though by surer Authors it be reported, that those Trojans with Antenor, were seated on the other side of Italie, on the Adriatic, not the Tyrrhen shoar. But these joyning Company, and past the Herculean Pillars, at the mouth of Ligeris in Aquitania cast Anchor, Where after som discovery made of the place, Corineus Hunting nigh the shoar with his Men, is by Messengers of the King Goffarius Pictus mett, and question'd about his Errand there. Who not answering to thir mind, Imbertus, one of them, lets fly an Arrow at Corineus, which he avoiding, slaies him: and the Pictavian himself heerupon levying his whole Force, is overthrown by Brutus, and Corineus; who with the Battell Ax which he was wont to manage against the Tyrrhen Giants, is said to have done marvells. But Goffarius having draw'n to his aid the whole Country of Gaul, at that time govern'd by twelv Kings, puts his Fortune to a second Trial, Wherin the Trojans over-born by Multitude, are driv'n back, and beseigd in thir own Camp, which by good foresight was strongly situate. Whence Brutus unexpectedly issuing out, and Corineus in the mean while, whose device it was, assaulting them behind from a Wood, where he had convay'd his men the night before: The Trojans are again Victors, but with the loss of Turon a valiant Nefew of Brutus; whose Ashes left in that place, gave name to the City of Tours, built there by the Trojans. Brutus finding now his powers much lessn'd, and this yet not the place foretold him, leavs Aquitain, and with an easie course, arriving at Totness in Dev'nshire, quickly perceivs heer to be the promis'd end of his labours.
The Iland not yet Britain but Albion, was in a manner desert and inhospitable; kept only by a remnant of Giants; whose excessive Force and Tyranie had consum'd the rest. Them Brutus destroies, and to his people divides the Land, which with som reference to his own name he thenceforth calls Britain. To Corineus, Cornwal, as now we call it, fell by Lot; the rather by him lik't, for that the hugest Giants in Rocks and Caves were said to lurk still there; which kind of Monsters to deal with was his old exercise.
And heer, with leave bespoken to recite a grand Fable, though dignify'd by our best Poets; while Brutus on a certain Festival day solemnly kept on that shoar, where he first landed, was with the people in great jollity and mirth, a crew of these Savages breaking in upon them, began on the suddain another sort of Game then at such a meeting was expected. But at length by many hands overcome, Goëmagog the hugest, in higth twelv Cubits, is reserv'd alive; that with him Corineus, who desir'd nothing more, might try his strength; Whom in a Wrestle the Giant catching aloft, with a terrible hugg broke three of his Ribs: nevertheless Corineus enrag'd, heaving him up by main force, and on his Shoulders bearing him to the next high Rock, threw him headlong, all shatter'd, into the Sea, and left his Name on the Cliff, call'd ever since Langoëmagog, which is to say, the Giants Leap.
After this, Brutus in a chosen place builds Troia nova, chang'd in time to Trinovantum, now London: and began to enact Laws; Heli being then high Preist in Judæa: and having govern'd the whole Ile 24 Years, dy'd, and was buried in his new Troy. His three Sons, Locrine, Albanact, and Camber divide the Land by consent. Locrine had the middle part Loëgria; Camber possess'd Cambria, or Wales; Albanact, Albania, now Scotland. But he in the end by Humber King of the Hunns, who with a Fleet invaded that Land, was slain in fight, and his people driv'n back into Loëgria. Locrine and his Brother go out against Humber; who now marching onward, was by them defeated, and in a River drown'd, which to this day retains its name. Among the spoils of his Camp and Navy, were found certain young Maids, and Estrildis, above the rest, passing fair; the Daughter of a King in Germany; from whence Humber, as he went wasting the Sea-Coast, had led her Captive: whom Locrine, though before contracted to the Daughter of Corineus, resolvs to marry. But beeing forc'd and threaten'd by Corineus, whose Authority, and power he fear'd, Guendolen the Daughter he yeelds to marry, but in secret loves the other: and oft-times retiring, as to som privat Sacrifice, through Vaults and passages made under ground, and seven years thus enjoying her, had by her a Daughter equally fair, whose name was Sabra. But when once his fear was off by the Death of Corineus, not content with secret Enjoyment, divorcing Guendolen, he makes Estrildis now his Queen. Guendolen all in rage departs into Cornwall; where Madan, the Son she had by Locrine, was hitherto brought up by Corineus his Grandfather. And gathering an Army of her Father's Freinds and Subjects, gives Battail to her Husband by the River Sture; wherein Locrine shot with an Arrow ends his Life. But not so ends the fury of Guendolen; for Estrildis and her Daughter Sabra, she throws into the River: and to leave a Monument of revenge, proclaims, that the stream be thenceforth call'd after the Damsel's Name; which by length of time is chang'd now to Sabrina, or Severn.
Fifteen years she governs in behalf of her Son; then resigning to him at Age, retires to her Fathers Dominion. This, saith my Author, was in the daies of Samuel. Madan hath the praise to have well and peacefully rul'd the space of 40 Years; leaving behind him two Sons, Mempricius, and Malim. Mempricius had first to doe with the ambition of his Brother, aspiring to share with him in the Kingdom; whom therfore at a meeting to compose matters, with a treachery, which his Cause needed not, he slew.
Nor was he better in the sole possession, wherof so ill he could endure a Partner, killing his Nobles, and those especially next to succeed him; till lastly giv'n over to unnaturall Lust, in the twentith of his Reigne, hunting in a Forest, he was devowr'd by Wolves.
His Son Ebranc, a Man of mighty Strength and Stature, Reign'd 40 Years. He first after Brutus wasted Gaul; and returning rich and prosperous, builded Caerebranc, now York; in Albania Alclud, Mount Agned, or the Castle of Maydens, now Edinburgh. He had 20 Sons and 30 Daughters by 20 Wives. His Daughters he sent to Silvius Alba into Italy, who bestow'd them on his Peers of the Trojan Line. His Sons under the leading of Assaracus thir Brother, won them Lands and Signories in Germany; thence call'd from these Brethren Germania: a derivation too hastily suppos'd, perhaps before the word Germanus, or the Latin Tongue was in use. Som who have describ'd Henault, as Jacobus Bergomas, and Lessabeus, are cited to affirm that Ebranc in his Warre there, was by Brunchildis Lord of Henault put to the worse.
Brutus therfore, surnamed Greenshield succeeding, to repair his Fathers losses, as the same Lessabeus reports, fought a second Battail in Henault, with Brunchild at the mouth of Scaldis, and Encamp'd on the River Hania. Of which our Spencer also thus Sings.
Let Scaldis tell, and let tell Hania,
And let the Marsh of Esthambruges tell
What colour were thir Waters that same day,
And all the Moar twixt Elversham and Dell,
With Blood of Henalois which therin fell;
How oft that day did sad Brunchildis see
The Greenshield dy'd in dolorous Vermeil, &c.
But Henault, and Brunchild, and Greenshield, seeme newer names then for a Story pretended thus Antient.
Him succeeded Leil, a maintainer of Peace and Equity; but slacken'd in his latter end, whence arose som civil discord. He built in the North Cairleil; and in the daies of Solomon.
Rudhuddibras, or Hudibras appeasing the Commotions which his Father could not, fownded Caerkeynt or Canturbury, Caerguent, or Winchester, and Mount Paladur, now Septonia or Shaftesbury: but this by others is contradicted.
Bladud his Son built Caerbadus or Bathe, and those medicinal Waters he dedicated to Minerva; in whose Temple there he kept fire continually burning. He was a man of great invention, and taught Necromancie: till having made him Wings to fly, he fell down upon the Temple of Apollo in Trinovant, and so dy'd after twenty years Reigne.
Hitherto from Father to Son the direct Line hath run on: but Leir who next Reign'd, had only three Daughters, and no Male Issue; govern'd laudably, and built Caer-Leir, now Leicestre, on the Bank of Sora. But at last, failing through Age, he determines to bestow his Daughters, and so among them to divide his Kingdom. Yet first to try which of them lov'd him best (a Trial that might have made him, had he known as wisely how to try, as he seem'd to know how much the trying behoov'd him) he resolves a simple resolution, to ask them solemly in order; and which of them should profess largest, her to beleev. Gonorill th' Eldest, apprehending too well her Fathers weakness, makes answer, invoking Heav'n, That she lov'd him above her Soul. Therfore, quoth the old man overjoy'd, since thou so honourst my declin'd Age, to thee and the Husband whom thou shall choose, I give the third part of my Realm. So fair a speeding for a few words soon utter'd, was to Regan the second, ample instruction what to say. She on the same demand spares no protesting, and the Gods must witness, that otherwise to express her thoughts she knew not, but that she lov'd him above all Creatures; and so receavs an equal reward with her Sister. But Cordelia the youngest, though hitherto best belov'd, and now before her Eyes the rich and present hire of a little easie soothing, the danger also, and the loss likely to betide plain dealing, yet moves not from the solid purpose of a sincere and vertuous answer. Father, saith she, my love towards you is as my duty bids; what should a Father seek, what can a Child promise more? they who pretend beyond this, flatter. When the old man, sorry to hear this, and wishing her to recall those words, persisted asking, with a loiall sadness at her Fathers infirmity, but somthing on the sudden, harsh, and glancing rather at her Sisters, then speaking her own mind, Two waies only, saith she, I have to answer what you require mee; the former, Your command is, I should recant; accept then this other which is left mee; look how much you have, so much is your value, and so much I love you. Then hear thou, quoth Leir now all in passion, what thy ingratitude hath gain'd thee; because thou hast not reverenc'd thy aged Father equall to thy Sisters, part in my Kingdom, or what else is mine, reck'n to have none. And without delay gives in marriage his other Daughters, Gonorill to Maglaunus Duke of Albania, Regan to Henninus Duke of Cornwall; with them in present half his Kingdom; the rest to follow at his Death. In the mean while Fame was not sparing to divulge the wisdom and other Graces of Cordeilla, insomuch that Aganippus a great King in Gaul (however he came by his Greek name) seeks her to Wife, and nothing alter'd at the loss of her Dowry, receavs her gladly in such manner as she was sent him. After this King Leir more and more drooping with Years, became an easy Prey to his Daughters, and thir Husbands; who now by dayly encroachment had seis'd the whole Kingdom into thir hands: and the old King is put to sojorn with his Eldest Daughter, attended only by threescore Knights. But they in a short while grudg'd at, as too numerous and disorderly for continuall Guests, are reduc'd to thirty. Not brooking that affront, the old King betakes him to his second Daughter: but there also discord soon arising between the Servants of differing Masters in one Family, five only are suffer'd to attend him. Then back again he returns to the other; hoping that she his eldest could not but have more pity on his Gray Hairs: but she now refuses to admitt him, unless he be content with one only of his followers. At last the remembrance of his youngest Cordeilla comes to his thoughts; and now acknowledging how true her words had bin, though with little hope from whom he had so injur'd, be it but to pay her the last recompence she can have from him, his confession of her wise forewarning, that so perhaps his misery, the prooff and experiment of her Wisdom, might somthing soft'n her, he takes his Journey into France. Now might be seen a difference between the silent, or down-right spoken affection of som Children to thir Parents, and the talkative obsequiousness of others; while the hope of Inheritance over-acts them, and on the Tongues end enlarges thir Duty. Cordeilla out of meer love, without the suspicion of expected reward, at the message only of her Father in distress, powrs forth true filial tears. And not enduring either that her own, or any other Eye should see him in such forlorn condition as his Messenger declar'd, discreetly appoints one of her trusted Servants, first to convay him privately toward som good Sea Town, there to array him, bathe him, cherish him, furnish him with such Attendance and State, as beseemd his Dignity. That then, as from his first Landing, he might send word of his Arrival to her Husband Aganippus. Which don with all mature, and requisite contrivance, Cordelia with the King her Husband, and all the Barony of his Realm, who then first had news of his passing the Sea, goe out to meet him; and after all honourable and joyfull entertainment, Aganippus, as to his Wives Father, and his Royall Guest, surrenders him, during his abode there, the power, and disposal of his whole Dominion: permitting his Wife Cordeilla to go with an Army, and set her Father upon his Throne. Wherin her piety so prosper'd, as that she vanquish'd her impious Sisters with those Dukes, and Leir again, as saith the story, three years obtain'd the Crown. To whom dying, Cordeilla with all regal Solemnities gave burial in the Town of Leicestre. And then as right Heir succeeding, and her Husband dead, rul'd the Land five years in peace. Until Marganus and Cunedagius her two Sisters Sons, not bearing that a Kingdom should be govern'd by a Woman, in the unseasonablest time to raise that quarrel against a Woman so worthy, make war against her, depose her, and imprison her; of which impatient, and now long unexercis'd, to suffer, she there, as is related, killd her self. The Victors between them part the Land: but Marganus the Eldest Sisters Son, who held by agreement from the North-side of Humber to Cathness, incited by those about him, to invade all as his own right, warres on Cunedagius, who soon met him, overcame, and overtook him in a Town of Wales, where he left his life, and ever since his name to the place.
Cunedagius was now sole King, and govern'd with much praise many years; about the time when Rome was built.
Him succeeded Rivallo his Son, wise also and fortunat; save what they tell us of three daies raining blood, and swarmes of stinging Flies, whereof men dy'd. In order then Gurgustius, Jago or Lago, his Nefew; Sisilius, Kinmarcus. Then Gorbogudo, whom others name Gorbodego, and Gorbodion, who had two Sons, Ferrex and Porrex. They in the old Age of thir Father falling to contend who should succeed, Porrex attempting by Treachery his Brothers life, drives him into France; and in his return, though aided with the Force of that Country, defeats and slaies him. But by his Mother Videna who less lov'd him, is himself, with the assistance of her Women, soon after slain in his Bed: With whom ended, as is thought, the Line of Brutus. Whereupon, the whole Land with civil broils was rent into five Kingdoms, long time waging Warr each on other; and som say 50 Years. At length Dunwallo Molmutius the Son of Cloten King of Cornwall, one of the foresaid five, excelling in valour, and goodliness of person, after his Fathers decease, found means to reduce again the whole Iland into a Monarchy; subduing the rest at opportunities. First, Ymner King of Loegria, whom he slew; then Rudaucus of Cambria, Staterius of Albania, confederat together. In which fight Dunwallo is reported, while the Victory hung doubtfull, to have us'd this Art. He takes with him 600 Stout men, bids them put on the Armour of thir slain Enemies; and so unexpectedly approaching the Squadron, where those two Kings had plac'd themselvs in fight, from that part which they thought securest, assaults and dispatches them. Then displaying his own Ensignes which before he had conceal'd, and sending notice to the other part of his Army what was don, adds to them new courage, and gains a final Victory. This Dunwallo was the first in Britain that wore a Crown of Gold; and therfore by som reputed the first King. He established the Molmutine Laws, famous among the English to this day; written long after by Gildas, and in Saxon by King Alfred: So saith Geofrey, but Gildas denies to have known aught of the Britans before Cæsar; much less knew Alfred. These Laws, whoever made them, bestow'd on Temples the privilege of Sanctuary; to Cities also, and the waies thether leading, yea to Plows granted a kind of like refuge; and made such riddance of Theeves and Robbers, that all Passages were safe. Forty Years he Govern'd alone, and was buried nigh to the Temple of Concord; which he, to the memory of peace restor'd, had built in Trinovant.
His two Sons, Belinus and Brennus, contending about the Crown, by decision of Freinds, came at length to an Accord; Brennus to have the North of Humber, Belinus the Sovrantie of all. But the younger not long so contented, that he, as they whisper'd to him, whose valour had so oft repell'd the invasions of Ceulphus the Morine Duke, should now be subject to his Brother, upon new Designe sails into Norway; enters League and Affinitie with Elfing that King; which Belinus perceaving, in his absence dispossesses him of all the North. Brennus with a Fleet of Norwegians, makes towards Britain; but encounter'd by Guithlac the Danish King, who laying claim to his Bride, pursu'd him on the Sea, his hast was retarded, and he bereft of his Spouse: who from the fight by a sudden Tempest, was with the Danish King driven on Northumberland, and brought to Belinus. Brennus nevertheless recollecting his Navy, lands in Albania, and gives Battell to his Brother in the Wood Calaterium; but loosing the day, escapes with one single Ship into Gaul. Mean while the Dane, upon his own offer to become tributary, sent home with his new prise, Belinus returns his thoughts to the administring of Justice, and the perfeting of his Fathers Laws; and to explain what High-waies might enjoy the foresaid privileges, he caus'd to be drawn out and pav'd four main Roades to the utmost length and bredth of the Iland, and two others athwart; which are since attributed to the Romans. Brennus on the other side solliciting to his aid the Kings of Gaul, happens at last on Seginus Duke of the Allobroges; where his worth, and comliness of person, wan him the Dukes Daughter and Heir. In whose right he shortly succeeding, and by obtain'd leave passing with a great Host through the length of Gaul, gets footing once again in Britain. Nor was Belinus unprepar'd, and now the Battell ready to joyn, Conuvenna the Mother of them both all in a fright, throws her self between; and calling earnestly to Brennus her Son, whose absence had so long depriv'd her of his sight, after imbracements and teares, assails him with such a motherly power, and the mention of things so dear and reverend, as irresistibly wrung from him all his enmity against Belinus.
Then hands are joyn'd, reconciliation made firm, and Counsel held to turn thir united preparations on Foren parts. Thence that by these two all Gallia was overrun, the story tells; and what they did in Italy, and at Rome, if these be they, and not Gauls, who took that City, the Roman Authors can best relate. So far from home I undertake not for the Monmouth Chronicle; which heer against the stream of History carries up and down these Brethren, now into Germany, then again to Rome, pursuing Gabius and Porsena, two unheard of Consuls. Thus much is more generally beleev'd, that both this Brennus, and another Captain, Britomarus, whom the Epitomist Florus and others mention, were not Gauls but Britans; the name of the first in that Tongue signifying a King, and of the other a Great Britan. However Belinus after a while returning home, the rest of his daies rul'd in Peace, Wealth, and Honour above all his Predecessors; building som Cities, of which one was Caerose upon Osca, since Caerlegion; beautifying others, as Trinovant, with a Gate, a Hav'n, and a Towr, on the Thames, retaining yet his name; on the top wherof his Ashes are said to have bin laid up in a Golden Urne.
After him Gurguntius Barbirus was King, mild and just, but yet inheriting his Fathers Courage; he subdu'd the Dacian, or Dane, who refus'd to pay the Tribute Covnanted to Belinus for his enlargement. In his return finding about the Orkneies 30 Ships of Spain, or Biscay, fraught with Men and Women for a Plantation, whose Captain also Bartholinus wrongfully banish't, as he pleaded, besaught him that some part of his Territory might be assign'd them to dwell in, he sent with them certain of his own men to Ireland, which then lay unpeopl'd; and gave them that Iland to hold of him as in Homage. He was buried in Caerlegion, a City which he had wall'd about.
Guitheline his Son, is also remember'd as a just and good Prince, and his Wife Martia to have excell'd so much in wisdom, as to venture upon a new Institution of Laws. Which King Alfred translating, call'd Marchen Leage; but more truly therby is meant, the Mercian Law; not translated by Alfred, but digested or incorporated with the West-Saxon. In the Minority of her Son she had the rule, and then, as may be suppos'd, brought forth these Laws, not her self, for Laws are Masculin Births, but by the advice of her sagest Counselors; and therin she might doe vertuously, since it befell her to supply the nonage of her Son: else nothing more awry from the Law of God and Nature, then that a Woman should give Laws to Men.
Hir Son Sisilius coming to Yeares, receav'd the Rule; then in order Kimarus, then Danius or Elanius his Brother. Then Morindus, his Son by Tanguestela a Concubine, who is recorded a man of excessive Strength, Valiant, Liberal, and fair of Aspect, but immanely Cruell; not sparing in his Anger, Enemy, or Freind, if any Weapon were in his hand. A certain King of the Morines, or Picards, invaded Northumberland; whose Army this King, though not wanting sufficient numbers, cheifly by his own prowess overcame: But dishonour'd his Victory by the cruel usage of his Prisners, whom his own hands, or others in his presence put all to several Deaths: well fitted to such a bestiall Cruelty was his end; for hearing of a huge Monster that from the Irish Sea infested the Coast, and in the Pride of his Strength foolishly attempting to set manly valour against a Brute vastness, when his Weapons were all in vain, by that horrible mouth he was catch't up and devour'd.
Gorbonian the Eldest of his five Sons, then whom a Juster man liv'd not in his Age, was a great builder of Temples, and gave to all what was thir due; to his Gods devout Worship, to men of desert honour and preferment, to the Commons encouragement in thir Labours and Trades, defence and protection from injuries and oppressions; so that the Land florish'd above her Neighbours, Violence and Wrong seldom was heard of: his Death was a general loss: he was buried in Trinovant.
Archigallo the second Brother follow'd not his Example; but depress'd the ancient Nobility; and by peeling the wealthier sort, stuff'd his Treasury, and took the right way to be depos'd.
Elidure the next Brother, surnam'd the Pious, was set up in his place; a mind so noble, and so moderat, as almost is incredible to have bin ever found. For having held the Scepter five Years, hunting one day in the Forest of Calater, he chanc'd to meet his deposed Brother, wandring in mean condition; who had bin long in vain beyond the Seas, importuning Foren aides to his Restorement: and was now in a poor Habit, with only ten Followers, privatly return'd to find subsistence among his secret freinds. At the unexpected sight of him, Elidure himself also then but thinly accompanied, runns to him with open Arms; and after many dear and sincere welcomings, convaies him to the Citty Alclud; there hides him in his own Bed-Chamber. Afterwards faining himself sick, summons all his Peers as about greatest affairs; where admitting them one by one, as if his weakness endur'd not the disturbance of more at once, causes them willing or unwilling, once more to swear Allegiance to Archigallo. Whom after Reconciliation made on all sides, he leads to York; and from his own Head, places the Crown on the Head of his Brother. Who thenceforth, Vice itself dissolving in him, and forgetting her firmest hold with the admiration of a deed so Heroic, became a true converted man; rul'd worthily 10 Years, dy'd, and was buried in Caerleir. Thus was a Brother sav'd by a Brother, to whom love of a Crown, the thing that so often dazles, and vitiats mortal men, for which thousands of neerest blood have destroy'd each other, was in respect of Brotherly dearness, a contemptible thing.
Elidure now in his own behalf re-assumes the Government, and did as was worthy such a man to doe. When providence, that so great vertue might want no sort of trial to make it more illustrious, stirs up Vigenius, and Peredure his youngest Brethren, against him who had deserv'd so nobly of that relation, as lest of all by a Brother to be injur'd. Yet him they defeat, him they Imprison in the Towr of Trinovant, and divide his Kingdom; the North to Peredure, the South to Vigenius. After whose Death Peredure obtaining all, so much the better us'd his power, by how much the worse he got it: so that Elidure now is hardly miss't. But yet in all right owing to his Elder the due place wherof he had depriv'd him, Fate would that he should die first: And Elidure after many years Imprisonment, is now the third time seated on the Throne; which at last he enjoy'd long in Peace; finishing the interrupted course of his mild and just Reign, as full of vertuous deeds, as daies to his end.
After these five Sons of Morindus, succeeded also thir Sons in order. * Regin of Gorbonian, Marganus of Archigallo, both good Kings. But Enniaunus his Brother taking other courses, was after six years depos'd. Then Idwallo taught by a neer Example, Govern'd soberly. Then Runno, then Geruntius, He of Peredure, this last the Son of Elidure. From whose Loyns (for that likely is the durable, and surviving Race that springs of just Progenitors) issu'd a long descent of Kings, whose names only for many successions, without other memory, stand thus registr'd, Catellus, Coillus, Porrex, Cherin, and his three Sons, Fulgenius, Eldadus, and Andragius, his Son Uriannus; Eliud, Eledaucus, Clotenus, Gurguntius, Merianus, Bleduno, Capis, Oënus, Sisillius, twentie Kings in a continu'd row, that either did nothing, or liv'd in Ages that wrote nothing, at least a foul pretermission in the Author of this, whether Story or Fable; himself wearie, as seems, of his own tedious Tale.
But to make amends for this Silence, Blegabredus next succeeding, is recorded to have excell'd all before him in the Art of Music; opportunely, had he but left us one Song of his 20 Predecessors doings.
Yet after him nine more succeeded in name; His Brother Archimailus, Eldol, Redion, Rederchius, Samulius, Penissel, Pir, Capoirus; but Cliguellius, with the addition of Modest, Wise and Just.
His Son Heli Reign'd 40 Years, and had three Sons, Lud, Cassibelaun, and Nennius. This Heli seems to be the same whom Ninnius in his Fragment calls Minocan; for him he writes to be the Father of Cassibelan. Lud was he who enlarg'd, and wall'd about Trinovant, there kept his Court, made it the prime City, and call'd it from his own name Caer-Lud, or Luds Town, now London. Which, as is alledg'd out of Gildas, became matter of great dissension betwixt him, and his Brother Nennius; who took it hainously that the name of Troy thir ancient Country should be abolish'd for any new one. Lud was hardy, and bold in Warr, in Peace a jolly Feaster. He conquer'd many Ilands of the Sea, saith Huntingdon, 4 and was buried by the Gate which from thence wee call Ludgate. His two Sons, Androgeus, and Tenuantius, were left to the tuition of Cassibelan; whose bounty and high demeanor so wraught with the common people, as got him easily the Kingdom transferr'd upon himself. He nevertheless continuing to favour and support his Nefews, conferrs freely upon Androgeus, London with Kent, upon Tenuantius, Cornwall; reserving a superiority both over them, and all the other Princes to himself; till the Romans for a while circumscrib'd his power. Thus farr, though leaning only on the credit of Geffrey Monmouth, and his assertors, I yet for the specify'd causes have thought it not beneath my purpose, to relate what I found. Wherto I neither oblige the beleif of other person, nor over-hastily subscribe mine own. Nor have I stood with others computing or collating years and Chronologies, lest I should be vainly curious about the time and circumstance of things wherof the substance is so much in doubt. By this time, like one who had set out on his way by night, and travail'd through a Region of smooth or idle Dreams, our History now arrives on the Confines, where day-light and truth meet us with a cleer dawn, representing to our view, though at a far distance, true colours and shapes. For albeit Cæsar, whose Autority we are now first to follow, wanted not who tax'd him of mis-reporting in his Commentaries, yea in his Civil Warrs against Pompey, much more, may wee think, in the British affairs, of whose little skill in writing he did not easily hope to be contradicted, yet now in such variety of good Authors, we hardly can miss, from one hand or other, to be sufficiently inform'd as of things past so long agoe. But this will better be referr'd to a second discourse.The End of the first Book.
The Second Book
I Am now to write of what befell the Britans from fifty and three years before the Birth of our Saviour, when first the Romans came in, till the decay and ceasing of that Empire; a story of much truth, and for the first hundred years and somwhat more, collected without much labour. So many and so prudent were the Writers, which those two, the civilest and the wisest of European Nations, both Italy and Greece, afforded to the Actions of that Puissant Citty. For worthy deeds are not often destitute of worthy relaters: as by a certain Fate great Acts and great Eloquence have most commonly gon hand in hand, equalling and honouring each other in the same Ages. 'Tis true, that in obscurest Times, by shallow and unskilfull Writers, the indistinct noise of many Battels, and devastations, of many Kingdoms over-run and lost, hath come to our Eares. For what wonder, if in all Ages, Ambition and the love of rapine hath stirr'd up greedy and violent men to bold attempts in wasting and ruining Warrs, which to posterity have left the work of Wild Beasts and Destroyers, rather then the Deeds and Monuments of men and Conquerors. But he whose just and true valour uses the necessity of Warr and Dominion not to destroy, but to prevent destruction, to bring in liberty against Tyrants, Law and Civility among barbarous Nations, knowing that when he Conquers all things else, he cannot Conquer Time or Detraction, wisely conscious of this his want as well as of his worth not to be forgott'n or conceal'd, honours and hath recourse to the aid of Eloquence, his freindliest and best supply; by whose immortal Record his noble deeds, which else were transitory, become fixt and durable againt the force of Yeares and Generations, he fails not to continue through all Posterity, over Envy, Death, and Time, also victorious. Therfore when the esteem of Science and liberal study waxes low in the Common-wealth, wee may presume that also there all civil Vertue, and worthy action is grown as low to a decline: and then Eloquence, as it were consorted in the same destiny, with the decrease and fall of vertue, corrupts also and fades; at least resignes her office of relating to illiterat and frivolous Historians; such as the persons themselvs both deserv, and are best pleas'd with; whilst they want either the understanding to choose better, or the innocence to dare invite the examining, and searching stile of an intelligent and faithfull Writer to the survay of thir unsound exploits, better befreinded by obscurity then Fame. As for these, the only Authors wee have of Brittish matters, while the power of Rome reach'd hither, (for Gildas affirms that of the Roman times noe Brittish Writer was in his daies extant, or if any ever were, either burnt by Enemies, or transported with such as fled the Pictish and Saxon invasions) these therfore only Roman Authors there bee, who in the English Tongue have laid together, as much, and perhaps more then was requisite to a History of Britain. So that were it not for leaving an unsightly gap so neer to the beginning, I should have judg'd this labour, wherin so little seems to be requir'd above transcription, almost superfluous. Notwithstanding since I must through it, if ought by diligence may bee added or omitted, or by other disposing may be more explain'd, or more express'd, I shall assay.
Julius Cæsar (of whom, and of the Roman Free State, more then what appertains, is not here to be discours'd) having subdu'd most part of Gallia, which by a potent faction, he had obtain'd of the Senat as his Province for many years, stirr'd up with a desire of adding still more glory to his name, and the whole Roman Empire to his ambition; som say, with a farr meaner and ignobler, the Desire of Brittish Pearls, whose bigness he delighted to ballance in his hand, determins, and that upon no unjust pretended occasion, to trie his Force in the Conquest also of Britain. For he understood that the Britans in most of his Gallian Warrs had sent supplies against him, had receiv'd fugitives of the Bellovaci his Enemies; and were call'd over to aid the Citties of Armorica, which had the year before conspir'd all in a new Rebellion. Therfore Cæsar, though now the Summer well nigh ending, and the season unagreeable to transport a Warr, yet judg'd it would be great advantage, only to get entrance into the Ile, knowledge of the men, the places, the ports, the accesses; which then, it seems, were eev'n to the Gauls thir Neighbours almost unknown. For except Merchants and Traders, it is not oft, saith he, that any use to Travel thether; and to those that doe, besides the Sea Coast, and the Ports next to Gallia, nothing else is known. But heer I must require, as Pollio did, the diligence, at least the memory of Cæsar: for if it were true, as they of Rhemes told him, that Divitiacus, not long before a Puissant King of the Soissons, had Britain also under his Command, besides the Belgian Colonies which he affirms to have nam'd, and peopl'd many Provinces there, if also the Britans had so frequently giv'n them aid in all thir Warrs, if lastly, the Druid learning honour'd so much among them, were first taught them out of Britain, and they who soonest would attain that Discipline, sent hether to learn; it appears not how Britain at that time should be so utterly unknow'n in Gallia, or only know'n to Merchants, yea to them so little, that being call'd together from all parts, none could be found to inform Cæsar of what bigness the Isle, what Nations, how great, what use of Warr they had, what Laws, or so much as what commodious Havens for bigger Vessels. Of all which things as it were then first to make discovery, he sends Caius Volusenus, in a long Galley, with command to return assoon as this could be effected. Hee in the mean time with his whole power draws nigh to the Morine Coast, whence the shortest passage was into Britain. Hether his Navy, which he us'd against the Armoricans, and what else of Shipping can be provided, he draws together. This known in Britain, Embassadors are sent from many of the States there, who promise Hostages, and Obedience to the Roman Empire. Them, after Audience giv'n, Cæsar as largely promising, and exhorting to continue in that mind, sends home, and with them Comius of Arras, whom he had made King of that Country, and now secretly employ'd to gain a Roman party among the Britans, in as many Citties as he found inclinable, and to tell them, that he himself was speeding thether. Volusenus with what discovery of the Iland he could make from aboard his Ship, not daring to venture on the shoar, within five daies returns to Cæsar. Who soon after, with two Legions, ordinarily amounting, of Romans and thir Allies, to about 25000 Foot, and 4500 Horse, the Foot in 80 Ships of burden, the Horse in 18, besides what Gallies were appointed for his chief Commanders, setts off about the third watch of night with a good Gale to Sea; leaving behind him Sulpitius Rufus to make good the Port with a sufficient strength. But the Horse whose appointed Shipping lay Wind-bound 8 mile upward in another Hav'n, had much trouble to Imbark. Cæsar now within sight of Britain beholds on every Hill multitudes of armed men, ready to forbid his landing; and Cicero writes to his friend Atticus, that the accesses of the Iland were wondrously fortify'd with strong workes or moles. Heer from the fowrth to the ninth hour of the Day he awaits at Anchor the coming up of his whole Fleet. Mean while, with his Legatts and Tribuns consulting, and giving order to fitt all things for what might happ'n in such a various, and floating water-fight as was to be expected. This place, which was a narrow Bay, close inviron'd with Hills, appearing no way commodious, he removes to plain and open shoar 8 Mile distant; commonly suppos'd about Deal in Kent. Which when the Britans perceav'd, thir Horse and Chariots, as then they us'd in fight, scowring before, thir main powr speeding after, som thick upon the shoar, others not tarrying to be assail'd, ride in among the Waves to encounter, and assault the Romans eev'n under thir Ships; with such a bold and free hardihood, that Cæsar himself between confessing and excusing that his Souldiers were to come down from thir Ships, to stand in water heavy arm'd, and to fight at once, denies not but that the terrour of such new and resolute opposition made them forget thir wonted valour. To succour which he commands his Gallies, a sight unusual to the Britans, and more apt for motion, drawn from the bigger Vessels, to row against the op'n side of the Enemy, and thence with Slings, Engines and Darts, to beat them back. But neither yet, though amaz'd at the strangeness of those new Sea-Castles, bearing up so neer, and so swiftly as almost to overwhelm them, the hurtling of Oares, the battering of feirce Engines against thir bodies barely expos'd, did the Britans give much ground, or the Romans gain; till he who bore the Eagle of the Tenth Legion, yet in the Gallies, first beseeching his gods, said thus alowd, leap down Souldiers, unless ye mean to betray your Ensigne; I for my part will perform what I ow to the Commonwealth and my General. This utter'd, over-board he leaps, and with his Eagle feircly advanc'd runs upon the Enemy; the rest hartning one another not to admit the dishonour of so nigh loosing thir cheif Standard, follow him resolutely. Now was fought eagerly on both sides. Ours who well knew thir own advantages, and expertly us'd them, now in the shallows, now on the Sand, still as the Romans went trooping to thir Ensignes, receav'd them, dispatch'd them, and with the help of thir Horse, put them every where to great disorder. But Cæsar causing all his Boats and Shallops to be fill'd with Souldiers, commanded to ply up and down continually with releif where they saw need; Whereby at length all the Foot now dis-imbark't, and got together in som order on firm ground, with a more steddy charge put the Britans to flight: but wanting all thir Horse, whom the winds yet withheld from Sailing, they were not able to make poursuit. In this confused fight Scæva a Roman Souldier having press'd too far among the Britans, and besett round, after incredible valour shewn, single against a multitude, swom back safe to his General; and in the place that rung with his praises, earnestly besought pardon for his rash adventure against Discipline: which modest confessing after no bad event, for such a deed wherin valour, and ingenuity so much out-weigh'd transgression, easily made amends and preferr'd him to be a Centurion. Cæsar also is brought in by Julian, attributing to himself the honour (if it were at all an honour to that person which he sustain'd) of being the first that left his Ship, and took Land: but this were to make Cæsar less understand what became him then Scæva. The Britans finding themselvs maister'd in fight, forthwith send Embassadors to treat of peace, promising to give Hostages, and to be at command. With them Comius of Arras also return'd; whom hitherto since his first coming from Cæsar, they had detain'd in Prison as a spy: the blame wherof they lay on the common people; for whose violence and thir own imprudence they crave pardon. Cæsar complaining they had first sought peace, and then without cause had begun War, yet content to pardon them, commands Hostages: wherof part they bring in strait, others farr up in the Country to be sent for, they promise in a few daies. Mean while the people disbanded and sent home, many Princes and cheif men from all parts of the Ile submit themselvs and thir Citties to the dispose of Cæsar, who lay then encamp'd, as is thought on Baram-down. Thus had the Britans made thir peace; when suddenly an accident unlook'd for put new counsels into thir minds. Fowr daies after the coming of Cæsar, those 18 Ships of burden, which from the upper hav'n had tak'n in all the Roman Horse, born with a soft wind to the very Coast, in sight of the Roman Camp, were by a sudden tempest scatter'd and driv'n back, som to the Port from whence they loos'd, others down into the West Country; who finding there no safety either to land or to cast Anchor, chose rather to commit themselvs again to the troubl'd Sea; and, as Orosius reports, were most of them cast away. The same Night, it being full Moon, the Gallies left upon dry Land, were unaware to the Romans, cover'd with a Spring-tide, and the greater Ships that lay off at Anchor, torn and beat'n with Waves, to the great perplexity of Cæsar, and his whole Army; who now had neither Shipping left to convay them back, nor any provision made to stay heer, intending to have winter'd in Gallia. All this the Britans well perceaving, and by the compass of his Camp, which without baggage appear'd the smaller, guessing at his numbers, consult together, and one by one slily withdrawing from the Camp, where they were waiting the conclusion of a peace, resolve to stop all provisions, and to draw out the business till Winter. Cæsar though ignorant of what they intended, yet from the condition wherin he was, and thir other hostages not sent, suspecting what was likely, begins to provide apace, all that might be, against what might happ'n: laies in Corn, and with materials fetch'd from the Continent, and what was left of those Ships which were past help, he repairs the rest. So that now by the incessant labour of his Souldiers, all but twelv were again made serviceable. While these things are doing, one of the Legions being sent out to forrage, as was accustom'd, and no suspicion of Warr, while som of the Britans were remaining in the Country about, others also going and coming freely to the Roman Quarters, they who were in station at the Camp Gates sent speedy word to Cæsar, that from that part of the Country, to which the Legion went, a greater dust then usual was seen to rise. Cæsar guessing the matter, commands the Cohorts of Guard to follow him thether, two others to succeed in thir stead, the rest all to arm and follow. They had not march'd long, when Cæsar discerns his Legion sore overcharg'd: for the Britans not doubting but that thir Enemies on the morrow, would be in that place which only they had left unreap'd of all thir Harvest, had plac'd an Ambush; and while they were disperst and busiest at their labour, set upon them, kill'd som, and routed the rest. The manner of thir fight was from a kind of Chariots; wherin riding about, and throwing Darts, with the clutter of thir Horse, and of thir Wheels, they oft-times broke the rank of thir Enemies; then retreating among the Horse and quitting thir Chariots, they fought on Foot. The Charioters in the mean while somwhat aside from the Battell, set themselvs in such order, that thir Maisters at any time oppress'd with odds, might retire safely thether, having perform'd with one person both the nimble service of a Horse-man, and the stedfast duty of a Foot Souldier. So much they could with thir Chariots by use, and exercise, as riding on the speed down a steep Hill, to stop suddenly, and with a short rein turn swiftly, now running on the beam, now on the Yoke, then in the Seat. With this sort of new skirmishing the Romans now overmatch'd, and terrify'd, Cæsar with opportune aid appears; for then the Britans make a stand: but he considering that now was not fitt time to offer Battell, while his men were scarce recover'd of so late a fear, only keeps his ground, and soon after leads back his Legions to the Camp. Furder action for many days following was hinder'd on both sides by foul weather; in which time the Britans dispatching Messengers round about, to how few the Romans were reduc'd, what hope of prise and booty, and now if ever of freeing themselvs from the fear of like invasions heerafter by making these an example, if they could but now uncamp thir Enemies, at this intimation multitudes of Horse and Foot coming down from all parts make towards the Romans. Cæsar foreseeing that the Britans, though beat'n and put to flight would easily evade his Foot, yet with no more then 30 Horse, which Comius had brought over, draws out his men to Battell, puts again the Britans to flight, poursues with slaughter, and returning burns and laies waste all about. Whereupon Embassadors the same day being sent from the Britans to desire peace, Cæsar as his affairs at present stood, for so great a breach of Faith, only imposes on them double the former hostages, to be sent after him into Gallia: And because September was nigh half spent, a season not fit to tempt the Sea with his weather-beat'n Fleet, the same night with a fair wind he departs towards Belgia; whether two only of the Britan Citties sent Hostages, as they promis'd, the rest neglected. But at Rome when the news came of Cæsars acts here, whether it were esteem'd a Conquest, or a fair Escape, supplication of 20 days is decreed by the Senate, as either for an exploit done, or a discovery made, wherin both Cæsar and the Romans gloried not a little, though it brought no benefit either to him, or the Commonwealth.
The Winter following, Cæsar, as his custom was, going into Italy, when as he saw that most of the Britans regarded not to send thir Hostages, appoints his Legats whom he left in Belgia, to provide what possible Shipping they could either build, or repair. Low built they were to bee, as therby easier both to fraught, and to hale ashoar; nor needed to be higher, because the Tyde so often changing, was observ'd to make the Billows less in our Sea then those in the Mediterranean: broader likewise they were made, for the better transporting of Horses, and all other fraughtage, being intended cheifly to that end. These all about 600. in a readiness, with 28 Ships of burden, and what with adventurers, and other hulks above 200, Cotta one of the Legates wrote them, as Athenæus affirms, in all 1000, Cæsar from Port Iccius, a passage of som 30 mile over, leaving behind him Labienus to guard the hav'n, and for other supply at need, with five Legions, though but 2000 Horse, about sun sett hoysing sail with a slack South-West, at midnight was becalm'd. And finding when it was light, that the whole Navy lying on the current, had fal'n of from the Ile, which now they could descry on thir left hand, by the unwearied labour of his Souldiers, who refus'd not to tugg the Oare, and kept course with Ships under sayl, he bore up as neer as might bee, to the same place where he had landed the yeer before; where about noon arriving, no Enemy could be seen. For the Britans, which in great number, as was after know'n, had bin there, at sight of so huge a Fleet durst not abide. Cæsar forthwith landing his Army, and encamping to his best advantage, som notice being giv'n him by those he took, where to find the Enemy, with his whole power, save only ten cohorts, and 300 Horse, left to Quintus Atrius for the guard of his Ships, about the third watch of the same night marches up twelv mile into the Country. And at length by a River commonly thought the Stowre in Kent, espies embattail'd the British Forces. They with thir Horses and Chariots advancing to the higher Banks, oppose the Romans in thir March, and begin the fight; but repuls't by the Roman Cavalrie give back into the Woods to a place notably made strong both by Art and Nature; which, it seems, had bin a Fort, or Hold of strength rays'd heertofore in time of Warrs among themselvs. For entrance, and access on all sides, by the felling of huge Trees overthwart one another, was quite barr'd up; and within these the Britans did thir utmost to keep out the Enemy. But the Souldiers of the seventh Legion locking all thir Sheilds together like a rooff close over head, and others raysing a Mount, without much loss of blood took the place, and drove them all to forsake the Woods. Pursuit they made not long, as beeing through ways unknow'n; and now ev'ning came on, which they more wisely spent, in choosing out where to pitch and fortify thir Camp that night. The next Morning Cæsar had but newly sent out his men in three bodies to poursue, and the last no furder gon then yet in sight, when Horsemen all in Poste from Quintus Atrius bring word to Cæsar, that almost all his Ships in a Tempest that night had suffer'd wrack, and lay brok'n upon the shoar. Cæsar at this news recalls his Legions, himself in all hast riding back to the Sea-side, beheld with his own Eyes the ruinous prospect. About forty Vessels were sunk and lost, the residue so torn and shak'n as not to be new rigg'd without much labour. Strait he assembles what number of Ship-wrights either in his own Legions or from beyond Sea, could be summon'd; appoints Labienus on the Belgian side to build more; and with a dreadful industry of ten days, not respiting his Souldiers day or night, drew up all his Ships, and entrench'd them round within the circuit of his Camp. This don, and leaving to thir defence the same strength as before, he returns with his whole Forces to the same Wood, where he had defeated the Britans: who preventing him with greater powers then before, had now repossess'd themselvs of that place, under Cassibelan thir cheif Leader. Whose Territory from the States bordering on the Sea was divided by the River Thames about 80 mile inward. With him formerly other Citties had continual Warr; but now in the common danger had all made choise of him to be thir Generall. Heer the British Horse and Charioters meeting with the Roman Cavalrie fought stoutly; and at first, somthing overmatch'd they retreat to the neer advantage of thir Woods and Hills, but still follow'd by the Romans, make head again, cut of the forwardest among them, and after some pause, while Cæsar, who thought the days work had bin don, was busied about the entrenching of his Camp, march out again, give feirce assault to the very Stations of his Guards and Senteries, and while the main cohorts of two Legions that were sent to the Alarme, stood within a small distance of each other terrify'd at the newness and boldness of thir fight, charg'd back again through the midst, without loss of a man. Of the Romans that day was slain Quintus Laberius Durus a Tribune: the Britans having fought thir fill at the very entrance of Cæsars Camp, and sustain'd the resistance of his whole Army entrench'd, gave over the assault. Cæsar heer acknowledges that the Roman way both of arming, and of fighting, was not so well fitted against this kind of Enemy; for that the Foot in heavy Armour could not follow thir cunning flight, and durst not by ancient Discipline stirr from thir Ensigne; and the Horse alone disjoyn'd from the Legions, against a foe that turn'd suddenly upon them with a mixt encounter both of Horse and Foot, were in equall danger both following and retiring. Besides thir fashion was, not in great bodies, and close order, but in small divisions, and open distances to make thir onset; appointing others at certain spaces, now to releev and bring of the weary, now to succeed and renew the conflict; which argu'd no small experience, and use of Armes. Next day the Britans afarr off upon the Hills begin to shew themselves heer and there, and though less boldly then before, to skirmish with the Roman Horse. But at Noon Cæsar having sent out 3 Legions, and all his Horse, with Trebonius the Legat, to seek fodder, suddenly on all sides they set upon the Forragers, and charge up after them to the very Legions, and thir Standards. The Romans with great courage beat them back, and in the chace, beeing well seconded by the Legions, not giving them time either to rally, to stand, or to descend from thir Chariots as they were wont, slew many. From this overthrow, the Britans that dwelt farder off, betook them home; and came no more after that time with so great a power against Cæsar. Whereof advertis'd he marches onward to the Frontiers of Cassibelan, which on this side were bounded by the Thames, not passable except in one place and that difficult, about Coway stakes neer Oatlands, as is conjectur'd. Hither coming he descries on the other side great Forces of the Enemy, plac'd in good Array; the bank sett all with sharp stakes, others in the bottom, cover'd with water; whereof the marks in Beda's time, were to be seene, as he relates. This having learnt by such as were tak'n, or had run to him, he first commands his Horse to pass over; then his Foot, who wadeing up to the neck went on so resolutely, and so fast, that they on the furder side not enduring the violence, retreated and fled. Cassibelan noe more now in hope to contend for Victorie, dismissing all but 4000. of those Charioters, through Woods, and intricate waies attends thir motion; where the Romans are to pass, drives all before him; and with continuall sallies upon the Horse, where they least expected, cutting off some and terrifying others, compells them soe close together, as gave them no leave to fetch in prey or bootie without ill success. Whereupon Cæsar strictly commanding all not to part from the Legions, had nothing left him in his way but empty Fields and Houses, which he spoil'd and burnt. Meane while the Trinobantes a State, or Kingdome, and perhaps the greatest then among the Britans, less favouring Cassibelan, send Embassadors, and yeild to Cæsar upon this reason. Immanuentius had bin thir King: him Cassibelan had slaine, and purpos'd the like to Mandubratius his Son, whom Orosius calls Androgorius, Beda Androgius; but the youth escaping by flight into Gallia, put himself under the protection of Cæsar. These entreat that Mandubratius may be still defended; and sent home to succeed in his Fathers right. Cæsar sends him, demands 40 Hostages and provision for his Armie, which they immediately bring in, and have thir Confines protected from the Souldier. By their example the Cenimagni, Segontiaci, Ancalites, Bibroci, Cassi (so I write them, for the modern names are but guess'd) on like terms make thir peace. By them he learns that the Town of Cassibelan, suppos'd to be Verulam, was not farr distant; fenc't about with Woods and Marshes, well stuff't with men and much Cattel. For Towns then in Britain were only Wooddy places Ditch't round and with a Mud Wall encompass'd against the inrodes of Enemies. Thether goes Cæsar with his Legions, and though a place of great strength both by art and nature, assaults it in two places. The Britans after some defence fled out all at another end of the Town; in the flight many were taken, many slain, and great store of Cattel found there. Cassibelan for all these losses yet deserts not himself; nor was yet his authoritie so much impair'd, but that in Kent, though in a manner possest by the Enemie, his Messengers and commands finde obedience anough to raise all the people. By his direction, Cingetorix, Carvillus, Taximagulus and Segonax, fowr Kings Reigning in those Countries which ly upon the Sea, lead them on to assault that Camp wherein the Romans had entrench'd thir Shipping: but they whom Cæsar left there, issuing out slew many, and took Prisners Cingetorix a noted Leader, without loss of thir own. Cassibelan after so many defeats, mov'd especially by revolt of the Citties from him, thir inconstancie and falshood one to another, uses mediation by Comius of Arras to send Embassadors about treatie of yeilding. Cæsar who had determin'd to Winter in the Continent, by reason that Gallia was unsettl'd and not much of the Summer now behind, commands him only Hostages, and what yearly Tribute the Iland should pay to Rome, forbidds him to molest the Trinobants, or Mandubratius; and with his Hostages, and great number of Captives he puts to Sea, haveing at twise embark't his whole Armie. At his return to Rome, as from a glorious enterprise, he offers to Venus the Patroness of his Family, a Corslet of British Pearles.
Howbeit other antient writers have spok'n more doubtfully of Cæsars Victories heer; and that in plaine termes he fled from hence; for which the common verse in Lucan with divers passages heer and there in Tacitus, is alleg'd. Paulus Orosius, who took what he wrote from a Historie of Suetonius now lost, writes that Cæsar in his first journey entertain'd with a sharp fight, lost no small number of his Foot, and by tempest nigh all his Horse. Dion affirms that once in the second expedition all his Foot were routed; Orosius that another time all his Horse. The British Author, whom I use only then when others are all silent, hath many trivial discourses of Cæsars beeing heer, which are best omitted. Nor have wee more of Cassibelan, then what the same storie tells, how he warr'd soon after with Androgeus, about his Nefew slain by Evelinus Nefew to the other; which business at length compos'd, Cassibelan dies, and was buried in Yorke, if the Monmouth Book Fable not. But at Cæsars coming hither, such likeliest were the Britans, as the Writers of those times, and thir own actions represent them; in courage and warlike readiness to take advantage by ambush or sudden onset, not inferiour to the Romans, nor Cassibelan to Cæsar, in Weapons, Armes, and the skill of Encamping, Embattailing, Fortifying, overmatch't; thir Weapons were a short Speare and light Target, a Sword also by thir side, thir fight sometimes in Chariots phang'd at the Axle with Iron Sithes, thir bodies most part naked, only painted with woad in sundrie figures, to seeme terrible, as they thought, but poursu'd by Enemies, not nice of thir painting to run into Bogs, worse then wild Irish up to the Neck, and there to stay many daies holding a certain morsel in thir mouths no bigger then a bean, to suffice hunger; but that receit, and the temperance it taught, is long since unknown among us: thir Towns and strong holds were spaces of ground fenc't about with a Ditch and great Trees fell'd overthwart each other, thir buildings within were thatch't Houses for themselves and thir Cattell: in peace the Upland Inhabitants besides hunting tended thir flocks and heards, but with little skill of Countrie affaires; the making of Cheese they commonly knew not, Woole or Flax they spun not, gard'ning and planting many of them knew not; clothing they had none, but what the skins of Beasts afforded them, and that not alwaies; yet gallantrie they had, painting thir own skins with severall Portratures of Beast, Bird, or Flower, a Vanitie which hath not yet left us, remov'd only from the skin to the skirt behung now with as many colour'd Ribands and gewgawes; towards the Sea side they till'd the ground, and liv'd much after the manner of Gaules thir Neighbours, or first Planters: thir money was brazen pieces or Iron Rings, thir best Merchandise Tin, the rest trifles of Glass, Ivorie, and such like; yet Gemms and Pearles they had, saith Mela, in some Rivers: thir Ships of light timber wickerd with Oysier betweene, and coverd over with Leather, serv'd not therefore to tranceport them farr, and thir commodities were fetch't away by Foren Merchants: thir dealing, saith Diodorus, plaine and simple without fraude; thir civil Government under many Princes and States, not confederate or consulting in common, but mistrustfull, and oft-times warring one with the other, which gave them up one by one an easie Conquest to the Romans: thir Religion was governd by a sort of Priests or Magicians, call'd Druides from the Greek name of an Oke, which Tree they had in greate reverence, and the Missleto especially growing theron. Plinie writes them skill'd in Magic no less then those of Persia: by thir abstaining from a Hen, a Hare, and a Goose, from Fish also, saith Dion, and thir opinion of the Soules passing after Death into other Bodies, they may be thought to have studied Pythagoras; yet Philosophers I cannot call them, reported men factious and ambitious, contending somtimes about the archpriesthood not without civil Warr and slaughter; nor restrein'd they the people under them from a lew'd, adulterous and incestuous life, ten or twelve men absurdly against nature, possessing one woman as thir common Wife, though of neerest Kin, Mother, Daughter, or Sister; Progenitors not to be glori'd in. But the Gospel, not long after preach't heer, abolish'd such impurities, and of the Romans we have cause not to say much worse, then that they beate us into some civilitie; likely else to have continu'd longer in a barbarous and savage manner of life. After Julius (for Julius before his Death tyrannously had made himself Emperor of the Roman Common-wealth, and was slaine in the Senate for so doeing) he who next obtain'd the Empire, Octaviannusus Cæsar Augustus, either contemning the Iland, as Strabo would have us think, whose neither benefit was worth the having, nor enmitie worth the fearing; or out of a wholsome state maxim, as some say, to moderate and bound the Empire from growing vast and unweildie, made no attempt against the Britans. But the truer cause was partly civil Warr among the Romans, partly other affairs more urging. For about 20 Years after, all which time the Britans had liv'd at thir own dispose, Augustus in imitation of his Uncle Julius, either intending or seeming to intend an expedition hither, was com into Gallia, when the news of a revolt in Pannonia diverted him: about 7 year after in the same resolution, what with the unsettl'dness of Gallia, and what with Embassadors from Britain which met him there, he proceeded not. The next year, difference arising about Covnants, he was again prevented by other new commotions in Spaine. Nevertheless som of the British Potentates omitted not to seek his friendship by guifts offerd in the Capitol, and other obsequious addresses. Insomuch that the whole Iland became eev'n in those daies well known to the Romans; too well perhaps for them, who from the knowledge of us were so like to prove Enemies. But as for Tribute, the Britans paid none to Augustus, except what easie customes were levied on the slight commodities wherewith they traded into Gallia.
After Cassibelan, Tenantius the younger Son of Lud, according to the Monmouth Storie was made King. For Androgeus the Elder, conceaving himself generally hated for sideing with the Romans, forsook his claime heer, and follow'd Cæsars Fortune. This King is recorded Just and Warlike.
His Son Kymbeline or Cunobeline succeeding, was brought up, as is said, in the court of Augustus, and with him held friendly correspondences to the end; was a warlike Prince, his chief seat Camalodonum, or Maldon, as by certain of his coines, yet to be seen, appears. Tiberius the next Emperor, adhering alwaies to the advice of Augustus, and of himself less caring to extend the Bounds of his Empire, sought not the Britans; and they as little to incite him, sent home courteously the Souldiers of Germanicus, that by Shipwrack had bin cast on the Britan shoar. But Caligula his Successor, a wild and dissolute Tyrant, haveing past the Alpes with intent to rob and spoile those Provinces, and stirr'd up by Adminius the Son of Cunobeline; who by his Father banish'd, with a small number fled thether to him, made semblance of marching toward Britain; but beeing come to the Ocean, and there behaveing himself madly, and ridiculously, went back the same way: yet sent before him boasting letters to the Senate, as if all Britain had been yeilded him. Cunobeline now dead, Adminius the Eldest by his Father banish'd from his Country, and by his own practice against it, from the Crown, though by an old coine seeming to have also reign'd; Togodumnus, and Caractacus the two younger, uncertaine whether unequal or subordinat in power, were advanc'd into his place. But through civil discord, Bericus (what he was furder, is not known) with others of his party flying to Rome, persuaded Claudius the Emperor to an invasion. Claudius now Consul the third time, and desirous to do something, whence he might gain the honour of a Triumph, at the persuasion of these fugitives, whom the Britans demanding, he had deny'd to render, and they for that cause had deny'd furder amity with Rome, makes choise of this Iland for his Province: and sends before him Aulus Plautius the Prætor, with this command, if the business grew difficult to give him notice. Plautius with much ado persuaded the Legions to move out of Gallia, murmuring that now they must be put to make Warr beyond the Worlds End, for so they counted Britain; and what welcom Julius the Dictator found there, doubtless they had heard. At last prevail'd with, and hoyssing saile from three several Ports, lest thir landing should in any one place be resisted, meeting cross winds, they were cast back and disheartn'd: till in the night a meteor shooting flames from the East, and, as they fansi'd, directing thir course, they took heart againe to try the Sea, and without opposition landed. For the Britans haveing heard of thir unwillingness to come, had been negligent to provide against them; and retireing to the Woods and Moares, intended to frustrate and wear them out with delaies, as they had serv'd Cæsar before. Plautius after much trouble to find them out, encountring first with Caractacus, then with Togodumnus, overthrew them; and receaving into conditions part of the Boduni, who then were subject to the Catuellani, and leaving there a Garrison, went on toward a River; where the Britans not imagining that Plautius without a bridge could pass, lay on the furder side careless and secure. But he sending first the Germans, whose custome was, arm'd as they were, to swim with ease the strongest current, commands them to strike especially at the Horses, whereby the Chariots, wherein consisted thir chief art of fight, became unserviceable. To second them he sent Vespatian, who in his later daies obtain'd the Empire, and Sabinus his Brother; who unexpectedly assailing those who were least aware, did much execution. Yet not for this were the Britans dismaid; but reuniteing the next day fought with such a courage, as made it hard to decide which way hung the Victorie: till Caius Sidius Geta, at point to have bin tak'n, recover'd himself so valiantly, as brought the day on his side; for which at Rome he receaved high honours. After this the Britans drew back toward the mouth of Thames, and acquainted with those places, cross'd over; where the Romans following them through bogs and dangerous flats, hazarded the loss of all. Yet the Germans getting over, and others by a bridge at some place above, fell on them again with sundry Alarmes and great slaughter; but in the heat of pursuit running themselves again into Bogs and Mires, lost as many of thir own. Upon which ill success, and seeing the Britans more enrag'd at the Death of Togodumnus, who in one of these Battels had bin slain, Plautius fearing the worst, and glad that he could hold what he held, as was enjoyn'd him, sends to Claudius. He who waited ready with a huge preparation, as if not safe anough amidst the flowr of all his Romans, like a great Eastern King, with armed Elephants marches through Gallia. So full of perill was this enterprise esteem'd, as not without all this Equipage, and stranger terrors then Roman Armies to meet the native and the naked British valour defending their Country. Joyn'd with Plautius who encamping on the Bank of Thames attended him, he passes the River. The Britans, who had the courage, but not the wise conduct of old Cassibelan, laying all Stratagem aside, in down right manhood scrupl'd not to affront in op'n field almost the whole power of the Roman Empire. But overcome and vanquish'd, part by force, others by treatie com in and yeild. Claudius therfore who took Camalodunum, the Royal Seat of Cunobeline, was oft'n by his Armie saluted Imperator; a Militarie Title which usually they gave thir Generall after any notable exploit; but to others not above once in the same Warr; as if Claudius by these Acts had deservd more then the Laws of Rome had provided honour to reward. Haveing therefore disarm'd the Britans, but remitted the confiscation of thir goods, for which they worship'd him with Sacrifice and Temple as a God, leaving Plautius to subdue what remain'd; he returnes to Rome, from whence he had been absent only six moneths, and in Britain but 16 daies; sending the news before him of his Victories, though in a small part of the Iland. To whom the Senate, as for atchievements of highest merit, decree'd excessive honours; Arches, Triumphs, annual Solemnities, and the Sirname of Britannicus both to him and his Son.
Suetonius writes that Claudius found heer no resistance, and that all was done without stroke: but this seems not probable. The Monmouth Writer names these two Sones of Cunobeline, Guiderius, and Arviragus; that Guiderius beeing slaine in sight, Arviragus to conceale it, put on his Brothers Habillements, and in his person held up the Battel to a Victorie; the rest, as of Hamo the Roman Captaine, Genuissa the Emperors Daughter, and such like stuff, is too palpably untrue to be worth rehersing in the midst of Truth. Plautius after this, employing his fresh Forces to Conquer on, and quiet the rebelling Countries, found worke anough to deserve at his returne a kind of Tryumphant riding into the Capitol side by side with the Emperour. Vespatian also under Plautius had thirtie conflicts with the Enemie; in one of which encompass'd and in great danger, he was valiantly and piously rescu'd by his Son Titus: two powerfull Nations he subdu'd heer, above 20 Townes and the Ile of Wight; for which he receav'd at Rome Tryumphal Ornaments, and other great dignities. For that Cittie in reward of vertue was ever magnificent; and long after when true merit was ceas't among them, lest any thing resembling vertue should want honour, the same rewards were yet allow'd to the very shadow and ostentation of merit. Ostorius in the room of Plautius Vice-prætor, met with turbulent affaires; the Britans not ceasing to vex with inrodes all those Countries that were yeilded to the Romans; and now the more eagerly, supposing that the new Generall unacquainted with his Armie, and on the edge of Winter, would not hastily oppose them. But he waighing that first events were most available to breed fear or contempt, with such cohorts as were next at hand sets out against them: whome having routed, so close he followes, as one who meant not to be everie day molested with the cavils of a slight peace, or an emboldn'd Enemie. Lest they should make head againe, he disarmes whom he suspects; and to surround them, places many Garrisons upon the Rivers of Antona and Sabrina. But the Icenians, a stout people, untouch'd yet by these Warrs, as haveing before fought Alliance with the Romans, were the first that brook'd not this. By their example others rise; and in a chosen place, fenc't with high Banks of Earth, and narrow Lanes to prevent the Horse, warily Encampe. Ostorius, though yet not strengthn'd with his Legions, causes the auxiliar Bands, his Troops also allighting, to assault the rampart. They within though pester'd with thir own number, stood to it like men resolv'd, and in a narrow compass did remarkable deeds. But overpowerd at last, and others by thir success quieted, who till then waverd, Ostorius next bends his Force upon the Cangians, wasting all eeven to the Sea of Ireland, without foe in his way, or them, who durst, ill handl'd; when the Brigantes attempting new matters, drew him back to settle first what was unsecure behind him. They, of whome the chief were punish'd, the rest forgiv'n, soon gave over, but the Silures no way tractable, were not to be repress'd without a set Warr. To furder this, Camalodunum was planted with a Colony of Veteran Souldiers; to be a firme and readie aid against revolts, and a means to teach the Natives Roman Law and Civilitie. Cogidunus also a British King, thir fast friend, had to the same intent certain Citties giv'n him: a haughtie craft, which the Romans us'd, to make Kings also the servile agents of enslaving others. But the Silures hardie of themselves, rely'd more on the valour of Caractacus; whome many doubtfull, many prosperous successes had made eminent above all that rul'd in Britain. He adding to his courage Policie, and knowing himself to be of strength inferior, in other advantages the better, makes the Seat of his Warr among the Ordovices; a Country wherein all the odds were to his own partie, all the difficulties to his Enemie. The Hills and every access he fortifi'd with heapes of Stones, and guards of men; to com at whom a River of unsafe passage must be first waded. The place, as Camden conjectures, had thence the name of Caer-Caradoc on the West edge of Shropshire. He himself continually went up and down, animating his Officers and Leaders, that this was the day, this the field either to defend thir Libertie, or to die free; calling to mind the names of his glorious Ancestors, who drove Cæsar the Dictator out of Britain, whose valour hitherto had preserv'd them from bondage, thir Wives and Children from dishonour. Inflam'd with these words, they all vow thir utmost, with such undaunted resolution as amaz'd the Roman Generall; but the Souldier less waighing, because less knowing, clamourd to be led on against any danger. Ostorius after wary circumspection bidds them pass the River: the Britans no sooner had them within reach of thir Arrowes, Darts and Stones, but slew and wounded largly of the Romans. They on the other side closeing thir ranks, and over head closeing thir Targetts, threw down the loose rampires of the Britans, and persue them up the Hills both light arm'd and Legions; till what with gauling Darts and heavie strokes, the Britans who wore neither Helmet nor Cuirass to defend them, were at last overcome. This the Romans thought a famous Victorie; wherein the Wife and Daughter of Caractacus were tak'n, his Brothers also reduc'd to obedience; himself escapeing to Cartismandua Queene of the Brigantes, against faith giv'n was to the Victors deliverd bound: having held out against the Romans nine year, saith Tacitus, but by truer computation, Seaven. Whereby his name was up through all the adjoyning Provinces, eev'n to Italy and Rome: many desiring to see who he was, that could withstand so many years the Roman Puissance: and Cæsar to extoll his own Victorie, extoll'd the man whom he had vanquish'd. Beeing brought to Rome, the people as to a Solemn spectacle were call'd together, the Emperors Guard stood in Armes. In order came first the Kings Servants, bearing his Trophies won in other Warrs, next, his Brothers, Wife, and Daughter, last himself. The behaviour of others through fear was low and degenerate: he only neither in countenance, word, or action, submissive standing at the Tribunal of Claudius, briefly spake to this purpose. If my Mind, Cæsar, had bin as moderate in the highth of Fortune, as my Birth and Dignitie was eminent, I might have come a friend rather then a Captive into this Cittie. Nor couldst thou have dislik'd him for a confederate, so noble of descent, and ruling so many Nations. My present estate to me disgracefull, to thee is glorious. I had Riches, Horses, Armes, and men; no wonder then if I contended, not to loose them. But if by Fate, yours only must be Empire, then of necessitie ours among the rest must be subjection. If I sooner had bin brought to yeild, my misfortune had bin less notorious, your Conquest had bin less renown'd; and in your severest determining of me, both will be soon forgott'n. But if you grant that I shall live, by me will live to you for ever that praise which is so neer divine, the clemency of a Conqueror. Cæsar mov'd at such a spectacle of Fortune, but especially at the nobleness of his bearing it, gave him pardon, and to all the rest. They all unbound, submissely thank him, and did like Reverence to Agrippina the Emperors Wife, who sat by in State; a new and disdained sight to the manly Eyes of Romans, a Woeman sitting public in her Female pride among Ensignes and Armed Cohorts. To Ostorius Tryumph is decreed; and his Acts esteem'd equall to theirs, that brought in Bonds to Rome famousest Kings. But the same prosperitie attended not his later actions heer. For the Silures, whether to reveng thir loss of Caractacus, or that they saw Ostorius, as if now all were done, less earnest to restrain them, besett the Prefect of his Camp, left there with Legionarie Bands to appoint Garrisons: and had not speedie aid com in from the neighbouring Holds and Castles, had cutt them all off; notwithstanding which, the Præfect with 8 Centurions, and many their stoubtest men were slaine: and upon the neck of this, meeting first with Roman Forragers, then with other Troops hasting to thir relief, utterly foyl'd and broke them also. Ostorius sending more after, could hardly stay thir flight; till the waighty Legions coming on, at first poys'd the Battel, at length turn'd the Scale: to the Britans without much loss, for by that time it grew night. Then was the Warr shiverd as it were into small frayes and bickerings; not unlike sometimes to so many robberies, in Woods, at Waters, as Chance or valour, advice or rashness, led them on, commanded or without command. That which most exasperated the Silures, was a report of certaine words cast out by the Emperor, that he would root them out to the verie name. Therefore two Cohorts more of Auxiliars, by the avarice of thir Leaders too securely pillageing, they quite intercepted: and bestowing liberally the Spoils and Captives, whereof they took plentie; drew other Countries to joyne with them. These losses falling so thick upon the Romans, Ostorius with the thought, and anguish thereof ended his daies; the Britans rejoycing, although no Battel, that yet adverse Warr had worne out so great a Souldier. Cæsar in his place ordaines Aulus Didius: but ere his coming, though much hastn'd, that the Province might not want a Governour, the Silures had giv'n an overthrow to Manlius Valens with his Legion, rumor'd on both sides greater then was true, by the Silures to amate the new Generall; by him in a double respect, of the more praise if he queld them, or the more excuse if he fail'd. Meane time the Silures forgett not to infest the Roman pale with wide excursions; till Didius marching out, kept them somwhat more within bounds. Nor were they long to seek, who after Caractacus should lead them; for next to him in worth and skill of Warr, Venutius a Prince of the Brigantes merited to be thir chief. He at first faithfull to the Romans, and by them protected, was the Husband of Cartismandua Q. of the Brigantes, himself perhaps reigning elsewhere. She who had betray'd Caractacus and her Countrie to adorne the Tryumph of Claudius, thereby grown powerfull and gratious with the Romans, presuming on the hire of her treason, deserted her Husband; and marrying Vellocatus one of his Squires, conferrs on him the Kingdome also. This deed so odious and full of infamie, disturb'd the whole State; Venutius with other Forces, and the help of her own Subjects, who detested the example of so foule a fact, and withal the uncomeliness of thir Subjection to the Monarchie of a Woeman, a peece of manhood not every day to be found among Britans, though shee had got by suttle train his Brother with many of his kindred into her hands, brought her soon below the confidence of beeing able to resist longer. When imploring the Roman aid, with much adoe, and after many a hard encounter, she escap'd the punishment which was readie to have seis'd her. Venutius thus debar'd the autority of ruling his own Houshold, justly turnes his anger against the Romans themselves; whose magnanimitie not wont to undertake dishonorable causes, had arrogantly intermeddl'd in his domestic affaires, to uphold the Rebelion of an adultress against her Husband. And the Kingdome he retain'd against thir utmost opposition; and of Warr gave them thir fill: first in a sharpe conflict of uncertaine event, then against the Legion of Cæsius Nasica. Insomuch that Didius growing old and mannageing the Warr by Deputies, had worke anough to stand on his defence, with the gaining now and then of a small Castle. And Nero (for in that part of the Ile things continu'd in the same plight to the Reigne of Vespatian ) was minded but for shame to have withdrawn the Roman Forces out of Britain: In other parts whereof, about the same time, other things befell. Verannius, whom Nero sent hither to succeed Didius, dying in his first Year, save a few inrodes upon the Silures, left only a great boast behind him, that in two years, had he liv'd, he would have Conquerd all. But Suetonius Paulinus, who next was sent hither, esteem'd a Souldier equall to the best in that age, for two years together went on prosperously; both confirming what was got, and subdueing onward. At last overconfident of his present actions, and æmulating others, of whose deeds he heard from abroad, marches up as farr as Mona, the Ile of Anglesey, a populous place. For they it seems had both entertain'd fugitives, and giv'n good assistance to the rest that withstood him. He makes him Boats with flat bottoms, fitted to the Shallows which he expected in that narrow frith: his Foot so pass'd over, his Horse waded or swom. Thick upon the shoar stood several gross bands of men well weapon'd, many women like furies running to and fro in dismal habit with hair loose about their shoulders, held Torches in thir hands. The Druids, those were thir Priests, of whome more in another place, with hands lift up to Heav'n uttering direfull praiers, astonish'd the Romans; who at so strange a sight stood in a-maze though wounded: at length awak'd and encourag'd by thir Generall, not to feare a barbarous and lunatic rout, fall on, and beat them down scorch't and rouling in thir own fire. Then were they yoak'd with Garrisons, and the places consecrate to thir bloodie superstitions destroi'd. For whom they took in Warr they held it lawfull to Sacrifice; and by the entrails of men us'd divination. While thus Paulinus had his thought still fix'd before, to goe on winning, his back lay broad op'n to occasion of loosing more behind. For the Britans, urg'd and oppress'd with many unsufferable injuries, had all banded themselves to a generall revolt. The particular causes are not all writt'n by one Author; Tacitus who liv'd next those times of any to us extant, writes that Prasutagus King of the Icenians abounding in wealth had left Cæsar Coheir with his two Daughters; thereby hopeing to have secur'd from all wrong both his Kingdom and his House; which fell out farr otherwise. For under colour to oversee and take possession of the Emperors new Inheritance, his Kingdome became a prey to Centurions, his House to rav'ning Officers, his Wife Boadicea violated with stripes, his Daughters with Rape, the wealthiest of his Subjects, as it were by the will and testament of thir King thrown out of their Estates, his kindred made little better then slaves. The new Colony also at Camalodunum took House or Land from whome they pleas'd; terming them Slaves and Vassals; the Souldiers complying with the Colony, out of hope hereafter to use the same licence themselves. Moreover, the Temple erected to Claudius as a badge of thir eternal slaverie, stood a great Eye sore; the Priests whereof, under pretext of what was due to the religious service, wasted and imbezl'd each mans substance upon themselves. And Catus Decianus the Procurator endeavour'd to bring all thir goods within the compass of a new confiscation, by disavowing the remittment of Claudius. Lastly, Seneca in his Books a Philosopher, having drawn the Britans unwillingly to borrow of him vast summs upon faire promises of easy loan, and for repayment to take thir own time, on a sudden compells them to pay in all at once with great extortion. Thus provock'd by heaviest sufferings, and thus invited by opportunities in the absence of Paulinus, the Icenians, and by thir Example the Trinobantes, and as many else as hated servitude, rise up in Armes. Of these ensueing troubles many foregoing signes appear'd; the image of Victorie at Camalodunum fell down of it self with her face turn'd as it were to the Britans; certaine women, in a kind of ecstasie foretold of calamities to come; In the Counsel-House were heard by night barbarous noises, in the Theater hideous howlings, in the Creek horrid sights betok'ning the destruction of that Colony; heerto the Ocean seeming of a bloody hew, and human shapes at a low ebb, left imprinted on the sand, wrought in the Britans new courage, in the Romans unwonted feares. Camalodunum, where the Romans had seated themselves to dwell pleasantly, rather then defensively was not fortifi'd: against that therefore the Britans make first assault. The Souldiers within were not very many. Decianus the Procurator could send them but 200, those ill arm'd: and through the treachery of some among them, who secretly favour'd the insurrection, they had deferr'd both to entrench, and to send out such as bore not Armes; such as did, flying to the Temple, which on the second day was forcibly tak'n, were put all to the Sword, the Temple made a heap, the rest rifl'd and burnt. Petilius Cerealis coming to his succour, is in his way met and overthrown, his whole Legion cut to peeces; he with his Horse hardly escaping to the Roman Camp. Decianus, whose rapine was the cause of all this, fled into Gallia. But Suetonius at these tideings not dismay'd, through the midst of his Enemies Countrie, marches to London (though not term'd a Colony, yet full of Roman Inhabitants, and for the frequency of trade and other commodities, a Town eev'n then of principal note) with purpose to have made there the seat of Warr. But considering the smallness of his numbers, and the late rashness of Petilius, he chooses rather with the loss of one Town to save the rest. Nor was he flexible to any prayers or weeping of them that besought him to tarry there; but taking with him such as were willing, gave signal to depart; they who through weakness of Sex or Age, or love of the place went not along, perish'd by the Enemie; so did Verulam a Roman free Town. For the Britans omitting Forts and Castles, flew thether first where richest bootie, and the hope of pillageing toald them on. In this massacre about 70 thousand Romans and thir associats in the places above-mention'd, of a certaine, lost thir lives. None might be spar'd, none ransom'd, but tasted all either a present or a lingring Death; no crueltie that either outrage, or the insolence of success putt into thir heads, was left unacted. The Roman Wives and Virgins hang'd up all naked, had thir Breasts cut off, and sow'd to their mouthes; that in the grimness of Death they might seem to eat thir own flesh; while the Britans fell to feasting and carousing in the Temple of Andate thir Goddess of Victorie. Suetonius adding to his Legion other old Officers and Souldiers thereabout, which gatherd to him, were neer upon ten thousand; and purposing with those not to deferr Battel, had chos'n a place narrow, and not to be overwing'd, on his rear a Wood; being well inform'd that his Enemies were all in Front on a plain unapt for ambush: the Legionaries stood thic in order, impal'd with light armed; the Horse on either Wing. The Britans in Companies and Squadrons were every where shouting and swarming, such a multitude as at other time never; no less reckon'd then 200 and 30 thousand, so feirce and confident of Victorie, that thir Wives also came in Waggons to sit and behold the sport as they made full account, of killing Romans: a folly doubtless for the serious Romans to smile at, as a sure tok'n of prospering that day: a Woeman also was thir Commander in Chief. For Boadicea and her Daughters ride about in a Chariot, telling the tall Champions as a great encouragement, that with the Britans it was usual for Woemen to be thir Leaders. A deal of other fondness they put into her mouth, not worth recital; how she was lash'd, how her Daughters were handl'd, things worthier silence, retirment, and a Vail, then for a Woeman to repeat, as don to hir own person, or to hear repeated before an host of men. The Greek Historian setts her in the field on a high heap of Turves, in a loose-bodied Gown declaming, a Spear in her hand, a Hare in her bosome, which after a long circumlocution she was to let slip among them for lucks sake, then praying to Andate the British Goddess, to talk again as fondly as before. And this they do out of a vanity, hoping to embellish and set out thir Historie with the strangeness of our manners, not careing in the mean while to brand us with the rankest note of Barbarism, as if in Britain Woemen were Men, and Men Woemen. I affect not set speeches in a Historie, unless known for certain to have bin so spoken in effect as they are writ'n, nor then, unless worth rehearsal; and to invent such, though eloquently, as some Historians have done, is an abuse of posteritie, raising, in them that read, other conceptions of those times and persons then were true. Much less therefore do I purpose heer or elsewhere to Copie out tedious Orations without decorum, though in thir Authors compos'd ready to my hand. Hitherto what we have heard of Cassibelan, Togadumnus, Venusius, and Caractacus, hath bin full of magnanimitie, soberness, and martial skill: but the truth is, that in this Battel and whole business the Britans never more plainly manifested themselves to be right Barbarians; no rule, no foresight, no forecast, experience or estimation, either of themselves or of thir Enemies; such confusion, such impotence, as seem'd likest not to a Warr, but to the wild hurrey of a distracted Woeman, with as mad a Crew at her heeles. Therefore Suetonius contemning thir unruly noises and fierce looks, heart'ns his men but to stand close a while, and strike manfully this headless rabble that stood neerest, the rest would be a purchase rather then a toil. And so it fell out; for the Legion, when they saw thir time, bursting out like a violent wedge, quickly broke and dissipated what oppos'd them; all else held only out thir necks to the slayer; for thir own Carts and Waggons were so plac'd by themselves, as left them but little room to escape between. The Roman slew all; men, women, and the very drawing Horses lay heap'd along the Field in a gory mixture of slaughter. About fowrscore thousand Britans are said to have bin slain on the place; of the Enemy scarse 400 and not many more wounded. Boadicea poysond her self, or, as others say, sick'n'd and dy'd. She was of Stature big and tall, of visage grim and stern, harsh of voice, her hair of bright colour flowing down to her hipps; she wore a plighted Garment of divers colours, with a great gold'n Chain; button'd over all a thick robe. Gildas calls her the craftie lioness, and leaves an ill fame upon her doeings. Dion sets down otherwise the order of this fight, and that the field was not won without much difficultie, nor without intention of the Britans to give another Battel, had not the Death of Boadicea come betweene. Howbeit Suetonius to preserve Discipline, and to dispatch the reliques of Warr, lodg'd with all his Armie in the op'n field; which was supply'd out of Germany with 1000 Horse and 10000 Foot; thence dispers'd to Winter, and with incursions to wast those Countries that stood out. But to the Britans famin was a worse affliction; having left off dureing this uproar, to till the ground, and made reck'ning to serve themselves on the provisions of thir Enemie. Nevertheless those Nations that were yet untaimd, hearing of some discord ris'n betweene Suetonius, and the new Procurator Classicianus, were brought but slowly to terms of peace; and the rigor us'd by Suetonius on them that yeilded, taught them the better course to stand on thir defence. For it is certaine, that Suetonius, though else a worthie man, over-proud of his Victorie, gave too much way to his anger against the Britans. Classician therefore sending such word to Rome, that these severe proceedings would beget an endless Warr, Polycletus, no Roman but a Courtier, was sent by Nero to examin how things went. He admonishing Suetonius to use more mildness, aw'd the Armie, and to the Britans gave matter of Laughter. Who so much eeven till then were nurs'd up in thir native libertie, as to wonder that so great a Generall with his whole Armie should be at the rebuke and ordering of a Court Servitor. But Suetonius a while after, having lost a few Gallies on the shoar, was bid resigne his command to Petronius Turpilianus, who not provoking the Britans, nor by them provok'd, was thought to have pretended the love of peace to what indeed was his love of ease and sloth. Trebellius Maximus follow'd his steps, usurping the name of gentle Goverment to any remisness or neglect of Discipline; which brought in first licence, next disobedience into his Camp; incens'd against him partly for his covetousness, partly by the incitement of Roscius Cælius, Legat of a Legion; with whom formerly disagreeing, now that civil Warr began in the Empire, he fell to op'n discord; charging him with disorder, and sedition, and him Cælius with peeling and defrauding the Legions of thir pay; insomuch that Trebellius hated, and deserted of the Souldiers, was content a while to govern by base entreaty, and forc'd at length to flie the Land. Which notwithstanding remain'd in good quiet, govern'd by Cælius and the other Legate of a Legion, both faithfull to Vitellius then Emperour; who sent hither Vectius Bolanus; under whose lenity, though not tainted with other fault, against the Britans nothing was done, nor in thir own Discipline reform'd. Petilius Cerealis by appointment of Vespasian succeeding, had to doe with the populous Brigantes in many Battails, and som of those not unbloodie. For as we heard before, it was Venusius who eeven to these times held them tack, both himself remaining to the end unvanquish'd, and some part of his Countrie not so much as reach't. It appears also by several passages in the Histories of Tacitus, that no small number of British Forces were commanded over Sea the year before to serve in those bloodie Warrs betweene Otho and Vitellius, Vitellius and Vespasian contending for the Empire. To Cerealis succeeded Julius Frontinus in the Government of Britain, who by tameing the Silures, a people warlike and strongly inhabiting, augmented much his reputation. But Julius Agricola, whom Vespatian in his last year sent hither, train'd up from his youth in the British Warrs, extended with victories the Roman Limit beyond all his Predecessors. His coming was in the midst of Summer; and the Ordovices to welcome the new General, had hew'n in peeces a whole Squadron of Horse, which lay upon thir bounds, few escapeing. Agricola, who perceav'd that the noise of this defeat had also in the Province desirous of novelty stirr'd up new expectations, resolves to be before-hand with the danger: and drawing together the choice of his Legions with a competent number of Auxiliars, not beeing met by the Ordovices, who kept the Hills, himself in the head of his men hunts them up and down through difficult places, almost to the final extirpating of that whole Nation. With the same current of success, what Paulinus had left unfinish'd he Conquers in the Ile of Mona: for the Ilanders altogether fearless of his approach, whom they knew to have no Shipping, when they saw themselves invaded on a sudden by the Auxiliars, whose Countrie use had taught them to swimm over with Horse and Armes, were compel'd to yeild. This gain'd Agricola much opinion; who at his verie entrance, a time which others bestow'd of course in hearing complements and gratulations, had made such early progress into laborious and hardest enterprises. But by farr not so famous was Agricola in bringing Warr to a speedie end, as in cutting off the causes from whence Warr arises. For he knowing that the end of Warr was not to make way for injuries in peace, began reformation from his own house; permitted not his attendants and followers to sway, or have to doe at all in public affairs: laies on with equallitie the proportions of corn and tribute that were impos'd; takes off exactions, and the Fees of encroaching Officers, heavier then the tribute it self. For the Countries had bin compell'd before, to sitt and wait the op'ning of public Granaries, and both to sell and to buy thir Corn at what rate the Publicans thought fitt; the Pourveyers also commanding when they pleas'd to bring it in, not to the neerest, but still to the remotest places, either by the compounding of such as would be excus'd, or by causing a Dearth, where none was, made a particular gain. These greevances and the like, he in the time of peace removing, brought peace into some credit; which before, since the Romans coming, had as ill a name as Warr. The Summer following, Titus then Emperor, he so continually with inroads disquieted the Enemie over all the Ile, and after terror so allur'd them with his gentle demeanour, that many Citties which till that time would not bend, gave Hostages, admitted Garrisons, and came in voluntarily. The Winter he spent all in worthie actions; teaching and promoting like a public Father the Institutes and customes of civil life. The Inhabitants rude and scatter'd, and by that the proner to Warr, he so perswaded as to build Houses, Temples and Seats of Justice; and by praysing the forward, quick'ning the slow, assisting all, turn'd the name of necessitie into an emulation. He caus'd moreover the Noblemens Sons to be bred up in liberal Arts; and by preferring the Witts of Britain before the Studies of Gallia, brought them to affect the Latine Eloquence, who before hated the Language. Then were the Roman fashions imitated, and the Gown; after a while the incitements also and materials of Vice, and voluptuous life, proud Buildings, Baths, and the elegance of Banqueting; which the foolisher sort call'd civilitie, but was indeed a secret Art to prepare them for bondage. Spring appearing, he took the Field, and with a prosperous expedition wasted as farr Northward as the Frith of Taus all that obey'd not, with such a terror, as he went, that the Roman Army, though much hinderd by tempestuous weather, had the leasure to build Forts and Castles where they pleas'd, none dareing to oppose them. Besides, Agricola had this excellence in him, so providently to choose his places where to fortifie, as not another General then alive. No sconce, or fortress of his raising was ever known either to have bin forc'd, or yeilded up, or quitted. Out of these impregnable by seige, or in that case duely releev'd, with continual irruptions he so prevail'd, that the Enemie, whose manner was in Winter to regain, what in Summer he had lost, was now alike in both seasons kept short and streit'n'd. For these exploits, then esteem'd so great and honourable, Titus in whose Reign they were atcheev'd was the fifteenth time saluted Imperator; and of him Agricola receav'd triumphal honours. The fourth Summer, Domitian then ruleing the Empire, he spent in settling and confirming what the year before he had travail'd over with a running Conquest. And had the valour of his Souldiers bin answerable, he had reach'd that year, as was thought, the utmost bounds of Britain. For Glota and Bodotria, now Dunbritton, and the Frith of Edinburrow, two opposite Armes of the Sea, divided only by a neck of Land, and all the Creeks and Inlets on this side, were held by the Romans, and the Enemie driv'n as it were into another Iland. In his fift year he pass'd over into the Orcades, as we may probably guess, and other Scotch Iles; discovering and subdueing Nations, till then unknown. He gain'd also with his Forces that part of Britain which faces Ireland, as aiming also to conquer that Iland; where one of the Irish Kings driv'n out by civil Warrs comming to him, he both gladly receav'd and retain'd him as against a fitt time. The Summer ensueing, on mistrust that the Nations beyond Bodotria would generally rise, and forelay the passages by land, he caus'd his Fleet, makeing a great shew, to bear along the Coast, and up the Friths and Harbours; joyning most commonly at night on the same shoar both Land and Sea Forces, with mutual shouts and loud greetings. At sight whereof the Britans, not wont to see thir Sea so ridd'n, were much daunted. Howbeit the Caledonians with great preparation, and by rumor, as of things unknown much greater, taking Armes, and of thir own accord beginning Warr by the assault of sundry Castles, sent back some of thir fear to the Romans themselves: and there were of the Commanders, who cloaking thir fear under shew of sage advice, counsel'd the General to retreat back on this side Bodotria. He in the mean while having intelligence, that the Enemie would fall on in many Bodies, devided also his Armie into three parts. Which advantage the Britans quickly spying, and on a sudden uniting what before they had disjoyn'd, assaile by night with all thir Forces that part of the Roman Armie, which they knew to be the weakest; and breaking in upon the Camp, surpris'd between sleep and fear, had begun some Execution. When Agricola, who had learnt what way the Enemies took and follow'd them with all speed, sending before him the lightest of his Horse and Foot to charge them behind, the rest as they came on to affright them with clamour, so ply'd them without respite, that by approach of day the Roman Ensigns glittering all about, had encompass'd the Britans: who now after a sharp fight in the very Ports of the Camp, betook them to thir wonted refuge, the Woods and Fens, poursu'd a while by the Romans, that day else in all appearance had ended the Warr. The Legions reincourag'd by this event, they also now boasting, who but lately trembl'd, cry all to be led on as farr as there was British Ground. The Britans also not acknowledging the loss of that day to Roman valour, but to the policy of thir Captaine, abated nothing of thir stoutness; but arming thir youth, conveying thir Wives and Children to places of safty, in frequent assemblies, and by solemn covnants bound themselves to mutual assistance against the common Enemy. About the same time a Cohort of Germans having slain thir Centurion with other Roman Officers in a mutiny, and for fear of punishment fled on Shipboard, launch'd forth in three light Gallies without Pilot; and by tide or weather carried round about the Coast, using Piracy where they landed, while their Ships held out, and as thir skill serv'd them, with various fortune, were the first discoverers to the Romans that Britain was an Iland. The following Summer, Agricola having before sent his Navie to hover on the Coast, and with sundrie and uncertaine landings to divert and disunite the Britans, himself with a power best appointed for expedition, wherein also were many Britans, whom he had long try'd both valiant and faithful, marches onward to the Mountaine Grampius, where the British, above 30 thousand, were now lodg'd, and still encreasing; for neither would thir old men, so many as were yet vigorous and lusty, be left at home, long practis'd in Warr, and every one adorn'd with some badge, or cognisance of his warlike deeds long agoe. Of whom Galgacus, both by birth and merit the prime Leader, to thir courage, though of it self hot and violent, is by his rough Oratory, in destestation of servitude and the Roman yoke, said to have added much more eagerness of fight, testifi'd by thir shouts and barbarous applauses. As much did on the others side Agricola exhort his Souldiers to Victorie and Glorie; as much the Souldiers by his firm and well grounded Exhortations were all on a fire to the onset. But first he orders them on this sort. Of 8000 Auxiliar Foot he makes his middle ward, on the wings 3000 Horse, the Legions as a reserve, stood in array before the Camp; either to seise the Victorie won without their own hazard, or to keep up the Battaile if it should need. The British powers on the Hill side, as might best serve for shew and terrour, stood in thir Battalions; the first on eeven ground, the next rising behind, as the Hill ascended. The field between rung with the noise of Horsemen and Chariots ranging up and down. Agricola doubting to be over wing'd, stretches out his front, though somwhat with the thinest, insomuch that many advis'd to bring up the Legions: yet he not altering, alights from his Horse, and stands on foot before the Ensignes. The fight began aloof, and the Britans had a certain skill with their broad swashing Swords and short Bucklers either to strike aside, or to bear off the Darts of thir Enemies; and withall to send back showers of thir own. Until Agricola discerning that those little Targets and unweildie Glaves ill pointed, would soon become ridiculous against the thrust and close, commanded three Batavian Cohorts, and two of the Tungrians exercis'd and arm'd for close fight, to draw up, and come to handy strokes. The Batavians, as they were commanded, running in upon them, now with their long Tucks thrusting at the face, now with their piked Targets bearing them down, had made good riddance of them that stood below; and for hast omitting furder Execution, began apace to advance up Hill, seconded now by all the other Cohorts. Mean while the Horse-men fly, the Charioters mixe themselves to fight among the Foot; where many of thir Horse also fall'n in disorderly, were now more a mischief to thir own, then before a terrour to thir Enemies. The Battaile was a confus'd heap, the ground unequal; men, horses, Chariots crowded pelmel; sometimes in little roome, by and by in large, fighting, rushing, felling, over-bearing, over-turning. They on the Hill, which were not yet come to blows, perceaving the fewness of thir Enemies, came down amain; and had enclos'd the Romans unawares behind, but that Agricola with a strong Body of Horse, which he reserv'd for such a purpose, repell'd them back as fast; and others drawn off the front, were commanded to wheel about and charge them on the backs. Then were the Romans clearly Maisters; they follow, they wound, they take, and to take more, kill whom they take: the Britans in whole Troops with weapons in thir hands, one while flying the pursuer, anon without weapons desperately running upon the slayer. But all of them, when once they got the Woods to thir shelter, with fresh boldness made head again, and the forwardest on a sudden they turn'd and slew, the rest so hamper'd, as had not Agricola, who was every where at hand, sent out his readiest Cohorts, with part of his Horse to alight and scowr the Woods, they had receiv'd a foyle in the midst of Victorie; but following with a close and orderly poursuit, the Britans fled again, and were totally scatter'd; till night and weariness ended the chase. And of them that day 10 thousand fell; of the Romans 340, among whom Aulus Atticus the Leader of a Cohort; carried with heat of youth, and the firceness of his Horse too far on. The Romans jocond of this Victorie, and the spoile they got, spent the night; the vanquished wandring about the field, both men and women, some lamenting, some calling thir lost friends, or carrying off their wounded; others forsaking, some burning thir own Houses; and it was certain enough, that there were who with a stern compassion laid violent hands on thir Wives and Children to prevent the more violent hands of hostile injurie. Next day appearing manifested more plainly the greatness of thir loss receav'd; every where silence, desolation, houses burning afar off, not a man seen, all fled, and doubtful whether: such word the scouts bringing in from all parts, and the Summer now spent, no fit season to disperse a Warr, the Roman General leads his Armie among the Horestians; by whom Hostages being giv'n, he commands his Admiral with a sufficient Navie to saile round the Coast of Britain: himself with slow marches, that his delay in passing might serve to awe those new conquer'd Nations, bestowes his Armie in their Winter-quarters. The Fleet also having fetch't a prosperous and speedy compass about the Ile, put in at the Haven Trutulensis, now Richborrow neer Sandwich, from whence it first set out: and now likeliest, if not two years before, as was mention'd, the Romans might discover and subdue the Iles of Orkney; which others with less reason following Eusebius and Orosius, attribute to the deeds of Claudius. These perpetual exploits abroad won him wide fame; with Domitian, under whom great virtue was as punishable as op'n crime, won him hatred. For he maligning the renown of these his acts, in shew decreed him honours, in secret devis'd his ruin. Agricola therefore commanded home for doeing too much, of what he was sent to doe, left the Province to his Successor quiet and secure. Whether he, as is conjectured, were Salustius Lucullus, or before him some other, for Suetonius only names him Legat of Britain under Domitian; but furder of him, or ought else done here until the time of Hadrian, is no where plainly to be found. Some gather by a Preface in Tacitus to the Book of his Histories, that what Agricola won here, was soon after by Domitian either through want of valour lost, or through envy neglected. And Juvenal the Poet speaks of Arviragus in these days, and not before, King of Britain: who stood so well in his resistance, as not only to be talk'd of at Rome, but to be held matter of a glorious Triumph, if Domitian could take him Captive, or overcome him. Then also Claudia Rusina the Daughter of a Britain, and Wife of Pudence a Roman Senator, liv'd at Rome; famous by the Verse of Martial for beauty, wit, and learning. The next we hear of Britain, is that when Trajan was Emperor, it revolted, and was subdued. Under Adrian, Julius Severus, saith Dion, govern'd the Iland, a prime Souldier of that Age, but he being call'd away to suppress the Jews then in tumult, left things at such a pass, as caus'd the Emperor in person to take a journey hither; where many things he reform'd, and, as Augustus, and Tiberius counsel'd to gird the Empire within moderate bounds, he rais'd a Wall with great stakes driv'n in deep, and fastn'd together, in manner of a strong mound, fourscore mile in length, to devide what was Roman from Barbarian: no antient Author names the place, but old inscriptions, and ruin it self yet testifies where it went along between Solway Frith by Carlile, and the mouth of Tine. Hadrian having quieted the Iland, took it for honour to be titl'd on his Coine, the Restorer of Britain. In his time also Priscus Licinius, as appears by an old inscription, was Lieutenant heer. Antonius Pius reigning, the Brigantes ever least patient of Foren servitude, breaking in upon Genounia (which Camden guesses to be Guinethia or North-Wales) part of the Roman Province, were with the loss of much territory driv'n back by Lollius Urbicus, who drew another Wall of Turves; in likelihood much beyond the former, and as Camden proves, between the Frith of Dunbritton, and of Edinburrow; to hedge out incursions from the North. And Seius Saturninus, as is collected from the digests, had charge heer of the Roman Navie. With like success did Marcus Aurelius, next Emperor by his Legate Calphurnius Agricola, finish heer a new Warr: Commodus after him obteining the Empire. In his time, as among so many different accounts may seem most probable, Lucius a suppos'd King in some part of Britain, the first of any King in Europe, that we read of, receav'd the Christian Faith, and this Nation the first by publick Authority profess'd it: a high and singular grace from above, if sinceritie and perseverance went along, otherwise an empty boast, and to be fear'd the verifying of that true sentence, the first shall be last. And indeed the praise of this action is more proper to King Lucius, than common to the Nation; whose first professing by publick Authority was no real commendation of their true faith, which had appear'd more sincere and praise-worthy, whether in this or other Nation, first profess'd without publick Authority or against it, might else have bin but outward conformity. Lucius in our Monmouth Storie is made the second by descent from Marius; Marius the Son of Arviragus is there said to have overthrown the Picts then first coming out of Scythia, slain Roderic their King; and in sign of Victorie to have set up a monument of Stone in the Country since call'd Westmaria; but these things have no foundation. Coilus the Son of Marius, all his reign, which was just and peaceable, holding great amity with the Romans, left it hereditary to Lucius. He (if Beda err not, living neer 500 years after, yet our antientest Author of this report) sent to Eleutherius then Bishop of Rome, an improbable Letter, as some of the Contents discover, desiring that by his appointment he and his people might receave Christianitie. From whome two religious Doctors, nam'd in our Chronicles Faganus and Deruvianus, forthwith sent, are said to have converted and baptiz'd well nigh the whole Nation: thence Lucius to have had the sirname of Levermaur, that is to say, great light. Nor yet then first was the Christian Faith heer known, but eev'n from the later daies of Tiberius, as Gildas confidently affirms, taught and propagated, and that as some say by Simon Zelotes, as others by Joseph of Arimathea, Barnabas, Paul, Peter, and thir prime Disciples. But of these matters, variously written and believ'd, Ecclesiastic Historians can best determin; as the best of them do, with little credit giv'n to the particulars of such uncertain relations. As for Lucius, they write, that after a long reigne he was buried in Gloster; but dying without issue left the Kingdom in great commotion. By truer testimony we find that the greatest Warr which in those days busy'd Commodus, was in this Iland. For the Nations Northward, notwithstanding the Wall rais'd to keep them out, breaking in upon the Roman Province, wasted wide; and both the Army and the Leader that came against them wholly routed, and destroy'd; which put the Emperor in such a fear, as to dispatch hither one of his best Commanders, Ulpius Marcellus. He a man endu'd with all nobleness of mind, frugal, temperate, mild, and magnanimous, in Warr bold and watchful, invincible against lucre, and the assault of bribes; what with his valour, and these his other virtues, quickly ended this Warr that look'd so dangerous, and had himself like to have been ended by the peace which he brought home, for presuming to be so worthy and so good under the envy of so worthless and so bad an Emperor. After whose departure the Roman Legions fell to sedition among themselves; 15 hundred of them went to Rome in name of the rest, and were so terrible to Commodus himself, as that to please them he put to death Perennis the Captain of his Guard. Notwithstanding which compliance, they endeavour'd heer to set up another Emperor against him; and Helvius Pertinax who succeeded Governour, found it a work so difficult to appease them, that once in a mutiny he was left for dead among many slain; and was fain at length to seek a dismission from his charge. After him Clodius Albinus took the Government; but he, for having to the Souldiers made an Oration against Monarchie, by the appointment of Commodus was bid resign to Junius Severus. But Albinus in those troublesome times ensuing under the short reign of Pertinax and Didius Julianus, found means to keep in his hands the Government of Britain; although Septimius Severus who next held the Empire, sent hither Heraclitus to displace him; but in vain, for Albinus with all the British powers and those of Gallia met Severus about Lyons in France, and fought a bloody Battail with him for the Empire, though at last vanquish'd and slain. The Government of Britain, Severus divided between two Deputies; till then one Legat was thought sufficient; the North he committed to Virius Lupus. Where the Meatæ rising in Arms, and the Caledonians, though they had promis'd the contrary to Lupus, preparing to defend them, so hard beset, he was compell'd to buy him peace, and a few of Pris'ners with great Sums of money. But hearing that Severus had now brought to an end his other Warrs, he writes him plainly the state of things heer, that the Britans of the North made Warr upon him, broke into the Province, and harrass'd all the Countries nigh them, that there needed suddenly either more aid, or himself in person. Severus though now much weaken'd with Age and the Gout, yet desirous to leav som memorial of his warlike acheevements heer, as he had don in other places, and besides to withdraw by this means his two Sons from the pleasures of Rome, and his Souldiers from idleness, with a mighty power far sooner than could be expected, arrives in Britain. The Northern people much daunted with the report of so great Forces brought over with him, and yet more preparing, send Embassadors to treat of peace, and to excuse thir former doings. The Emperor now loath to returne home without some memorable thing don, whereby he might assume to his other titles the addition of Britannicus, delays his answer and quick'ns his preparations; till in the end, when all things were in readiness to follow them, they are dismiss't without effect. His principal care was to have many Bridges laid over Bogs and rott'n Moars, that his Souldiers might have to fight on sure footing. For it seems through lack of tillage, the Northern parts were then, as Ireland is at this day; and the inhabitants in like manner wonted to retire, and defend themselves in such watrie places half naked. He also being past Adrians wall, cut down Woods, made way through Hills, fast'n'd and fill'd up unsound and plashy Fens. Notwithstanding all this industrie us'd, the Enemie kept himself so cunningly within his best advantages, and seldom appearing, so opportunely found his time to make irruption upon the Romans, when they were most in straits and difficulties, sometimes training them on with a few Cattel turn'd out, and drawn within ambush cruelly handling them, that many a time enclos'd in the midst of sloughs and quagmires, they chose rather themselves to kill such as were faint and could not shift away, than leave them there a prey to the Caledonians. Thus lost Severus, and by sickness in those noisome places, no less than 50 thousand men: and yet desisted not, though for weakness carried in a Litter, till he had march't through with his Armie to the utmost Northern verge of the Ile: and the Britans offring peace, were compell'd to lose much of thir Country not before subject to the Romans. Severus on the Frontiers of what he had firmly conquer'd builds a Wall cross the Iland from Sea to Sea; which one Author judges the most magnificent of all his other deeds; and that he thence receav'd the stile of Britannicus; in length 132 Miles. Orosius adds it fortify'd with a deep Trench, and between certain spaces many Towers, or Battlements. The place whereof som will have to be in Scotland, the same which Lollius Urbicus had wall'd before. Others affirm it only Hadrians work re-edifi'd; both plead Authorities and the ancient tract yet visible: but this I leave among the studious of these Antiquities to be discuss't more at large. While Peace held, the Empress Julia meeting on a time certain British Ladies, and discoursing with the Wife of Argentocoxus a Caledonian, cast out a scoff against the looseness of our Iland Women; whose manner then was to use promiscuously the company of divers men. Whom straight the British Woman boldly thus answer'd: Much better do we Britans fulfill the work of Nature than you Romans; we with the best men accustom op'nly; you with the basest commit private adulteries. Whether she thought this answer might serve to justifie the practice of her Countrie, as when vices are compar'd, the greater seems to justifie the less, or whether the law and custom wherein she was bred, had wip't out of her conscience the better dictate of Nature, and not convinc't her of the shame; certain it is that whereas other Nations us'd a liberty not unnatural for one man to have many Wives, the Britans altogether as licentious, but more absurd and preposterous in thir licence, had one or many Wives in common among ten or twelve Husbands; and those for the most part incestuously. But no sooner was Severus return'd into the Province, then the Britans take Arms again. Against whom Severus worn out with labours and infirmity, sends Antoninus his eldest Son, expressly commanding him to spare neither Sex nor Age. But Antoninus who had his wicked thoughts tak'n up with the contriving of his Fathers death, a safer Enemie then a Son, did the Britans not much detriment. Whereat Severus more overcom with grief than any other maladie ended his life at York. After whose decease Antoninus Caracalla his impious Son concluding peace with the Britans, took Hostages and departed to Rome. The Conductor of all this Northern Warr Scottish Writers name Donaldus, he of Monmouth Fulgenius, in the rest of his relation nothing worth. From hence the Roman Empire declining apace, good Historians growing scarce, or lost, have left us little else but fragments for many years ensuing. Under Gordian the Emperour we find by the Inscription of an Altar stone, that Nonius Philippus govern'd heer. Under Galienus we read there was a strong and general revolt from the Roman Legat. Of the 30 Tyrants which not long after took upon them the style of Emperor, by many Coins found among us, Lollianus, Victorinus, Posthumus, the Tetrici and Marius are conjectured to have ris'n or born great sway in this Iland. Whence Porphyrius a Philosopher then living, said that Britain was a soil fruitful of Tyrants; and is noted to be the first Author that makes mention of the Scottish Nation. While Probus was Emperor, Bonosus the Son of a Rhetorician, bred up a Spanyard, though by descent a Britan, and a matchless drinker, nor much to be blamed, if, as they write, he were still wisest in his cups, having attained in warfare to high honours, and lastly in his charge over the German shipping, willingly, as was thought, miscarried, trusting on his power with the Western Armies, and join'd with Proculus, bore himself a while for Emperor; but after a long and bloodie fight at Cullen, vanquish't by Probus he hang'd himself, and gave occasion of a ready jest made on him for his much drinking; Heer hangs a Tankard, not a man. After this, Probus with much wisdom prevented a new rising heer in Britain by the severe loyaltie of Victorinus a Moor, at whose entreatie he had plac't heer that Governour which rebell'd. For the Emperor upbraiding him with the disloyaltie of whom he had commended, Victorinus undertaking to set all right again, hastes hither, and finding indeed the Governour to intend sedition, by som contrivance not mention'd in the storie, slew him, whose name som imagin to be Cornelius Lelianus. They write also that Probus gave leave to the Spanyards, Gauls and Britans to plant Vines, and to make Wine; and having subdu'd the Vandals, and Burgundians in a great Battail, sent over many of them hither to inhabit, where they did good service to the Romans when any insurrection happen'd in the Ile. After whom Carus Emperor going against the Persians, left Carinus one of his Sons to govern among other Western Provinces this Iland with imperial authority; but him Dioclesian, saluted Emperor by the Eastern Armies overcame and slew. About which time Carausius a man of low parentage, born in Menapia, about the parts of Cleves and Juliers, who through all militarie degrees was made at length Admiral of the Belgic and Armoric Seas, then much infested by the Franks and Saxons, what he took from the Pyrats, neither restoring to the owners, nor accounting to the Publick, but enriching himself, and yet not scowring the Seas, but conniving rather at those Sea Robbers, was grown at length too great a Delinquent to be less than an Emperor: for fear and guiltiness in those days made Emperors ofter than merit: And understanding that Maximianus Herculius, Dioclesians adopted Son, was com against him into Gallia, pass'd over with the Navie which he had made his own, into Britain, and possess'd the Iland. Where he built a new Fleet after the Roman fashion, got into his power the Legion that was left heer in Garrison, other outlandish Cohorts detain'd, lifted the very Merchants and Factors of Gallia, and with the allurement of spoile invited great numbers of other barbarous Nations to his part, and train'd them to Sea service, wherein the Romans at that time were grown so out of skill, that Carausius with his Navie did at Sea what he listed, robbing on every Coast; whereby Maximian, able to come no neerer than the shoar of Boloigne, was forc'd to conclude a Peace with Carausius, and yeild him Britain; as one fittest to guard the Province there against inroads from the North. But not long after having assum'd Constantius Chlorus to the dignity of Cæsar, sent him against Carausius; who in the mean while had made himself strong both within the Land and without. Galfred of Monmouth writes, that he made the Picts his confederates; to whom lately com out of Scythia he gave Albany to dwell in: and it is observ'd that before his time the Picts are not known to have bin any where mentioned, and then first by Eumenius a Rhetorician. He repair'd and fortify'd the Wall of Severus with 7 Castles, and a round House of smooth stone on the Bank of Carron, which River, saith Ninnius, was of his Name so call'd; he built also a Triumphal Arch in remembrance of some Victory there obtain'd. In France he held Gessoriacum, or Boloigne; and all the Franks which had by his permission seated themselves in Belgia, were at his devotion. But Constantius hasting into Gallia, besieges Boloigne, and with Stones and Timber obstructing the Port, keeps out all relief that could be sent in by Carausius. Who ere Constantius with the great Fleet which he had prepar'd, could arrive hither, was slain treacherously by Alectus one of his Friends, who long'd to step into his place; when he 7 years, and worthily as som say, as others, tyrannically, had rul'd the Iland. So much the more did Constantius prosecute that opportunity, before Alectus could well strengthen his Affairs: and though in ill weather, putting to Sea with all urgency from several Hav'ns to spread the terror of his landing, and the doubt where to expect him, in a Mist passing the British Fleet useen, that lay scouting neer the Ile of Wight, no sooner got ashoar, but fires his own Ships, to leave no hope of refuge but in Victory. Alectus also, though now much dismaid transfers his fortune to a Battel on the shoar; but encountred by Asclepiodotus Captain of the Prætorian Bands, and desperately rushing on, unmindful both of ordering his men, or bringing them all to fight, save the accessories of his Treason, and his outlandish hirelings, is overthrown, and slain with little or no loss to the Romans, but great execution on the Franks. His Body was found almost naked in the field, for his Purple Robe he had thrown aside, lest it should descry him, unwilling to be found. The rest taking flight to London, and purposing with the pillage of that City to escape by Sea, are met by another part of the Roman Armie, whom the Mist at Sea disjoining had by chance brought thither, and with a new slaughter chas'd through all the Streets. The Britans, thir Wives also and Children, with great joy go out to meet Constantius, as one whom they acknowledge their deliverer from bondage and insolence. All this seems by Eumenius, who then liv'd, and was of Constantius houshold, to have bin don in the course of one continu'd action; so also thinks Sigonius a learned Writer: though all others allow three years to the tyranny of Alectus. In these days were great store of Workmen, and excellent Builders in this Iland, whom after the alteration of things heer, the Æduans in Burgundie entertain'd to build thir Temples and publick Edifices. Dioclesian having hitherto successfully us'd his valour against the Enemies of his Empire, uses now his rage in a bloodie persecution against his obedient and harmless Christian Subjects: from the feeling whereof neither was this Iland, though most remote, far anough remov'd. Among them heer who suffer'd gloriously, Aron, and Julius of Caerleon upon Usk, but chiefly Alban of Verulam, were most renown'd: The story of whose Martyrdom foil'd, and worse martyr'd with the fabling zeal of some idle fancies, more fond of Miracles, than apprehensive of Truth, deserves not longer digression. Constantius after Dioclesian, dividing the Empire with Galerius, had Britain among his other Provinces; where either preparing or returning with victorie from an expedition against the Caledonians, he di'd at York. His Son Constantine, who happily came Post from Rome to Boloigne, just about the time, saith Eumenius, that his Father was setting sail his last time hither, and not long before his death, was by him on his death-bed nam'd, and after his Funeral, by the whole Army saluted Emperor. There goes a fame, and that seconded by most of our own Historians, though not those the ancientest, that Constantine was born in this Iland, his Mother Helena the Daughter of Coilus a British Prince, not sure the Father of King Lucius, whose Sister she must then be, for that would detect her too old by an hunderd years to be the Mother of Constantine. But to salve this incoherence, another Coilus is feign'd to be then Earl of Colchester. To this therefore the Roman Authors give no testimony, except a passage or two in the Panegyrics, about the sense whereof much is argu'd: others neerest to those times clear the doubt, and write him certainly born of Helena, a mean Woman at Naisus in Dardania. Howbeit, ere his departure hence, he seems to have had some bickerings in the North, which by reason of more urgent affairs compos'd, he passes into Gallia; and after 4 years returns either to settle or to alter the state of things heer, until a new Warr against Maxentius call'd him back, leaving Pacatianus his Vicegerent. He deceasing, Constantine his eldest Son enjoy'd for his part of the Empire, with all the Provinces that lay on this side the Alpes, this Iland also. But falling to Civil Warr with Constans his Brother, was by him slain; who with his third Brother Constantius coming into Britain, seis'd it as Victor. Against him rose Magnentius, one of his chief Commanders, by som affirm'd the Son of a Britan, he having gain'd on his side great Forces, contested with Constantius in many Battels for the sole Empire; but vanquish't, in the end slew himself. Somwhat before this time Gratianus Funarius, the Father of Valentinian, afterwards Emperor, had chief command of those Armies which the Romans kept heer. And the Arrian Doctrine which then divided Christendom, wrought also in this Iland no small disturbance: a Land, saith Gildas, greedy of every thing new, stedfast in nothing. At last Constantius appointed a Synod of more than 400 Bishops to assemble at Ariminum on the Emperors charges, which the rest all refusing, three only of the British, poverty constreining them, accepted; though the other Bishops among them offer'd to have born thir charges: esteeming it more honourable to live on the publick, than to be obnoxious to any private Purse. Doubtless an ingenuous mind, and far above the Presbyters of our Age; who like well to sit in Assembly on the publick stipend, but lik'd not the poverty that caus'd these to do so. After this Martinus was Deputy of the Province; who being offended with the cruelty which Paulus, an inquisitor sent from Constantius, exercis'd in his enquiry after those Military Officers who had conspir'd with Magnentius, was himself laid hold on as an accessory; at which enrag'd he runs at Paulus with his drawn Sword; but failing to kill him, turns it on himself. Next to whom, as may be guess'd, Alipius was made Deputy. In the mean time Julian, whom Constantius had made Cæsar, having recover'd much Territory about Rhine, where the German inrodes before had long insulted, to releeve those Countries almost ruin'd, causes 800 Pinaces to be built; and with them, by frequent Voyages, plenty of Corn to be fetch'd in from Britain; which eev'n then was the usual bounty of this Soil to those parts, as oft as French and Saxon Pirats hinderd not the transportation. While Constantius yet reign'd, the Scots and Picts breaking in upon the Northern confines, Julian, being at Paris, sends over Lupicinus, a well try'd Souldier, but a proud and covetous man, who with a power of light arm'd Herulians, Batavians, and Mæsians, in the midst of Winter sailing from Boloigne, arrives at Rutupiæ seated on the opposite shoar, and comes to London, to consult there about the Warr; but soon after was recall'd by Julian then chosen Emperor. Under whom we read not of ought happning heer; only that Palladius one of his great Officers was hither banish'd. This year Valentinian being Emperor, the Atticots, Picts, and Scots, roaving up and down, and last the Saxons with perpetual landings and invasions harryed the South Coast of Britain; slew Nectaridius who govern'd the Sea Borders, and Bulchobaudes with his Forces by an ambush. With which news Valentinian not a little perplext, sends first Severus high Steward of his House, and soon recalls him; then Jovinus, who intimating the necessity of greater supplies, he sends at length Theodosius, a man of try'd valour and experience, father to the first Emperor of that Name. He with selected numbers out of the Legions, and Cohorts, crosses the Sea from Boloigne to Rutupiæ; from whence with the Batavians, Herulians, and other Legions that arriv'd soon after, he marches to London; and dividing his Forces into several Bodies, sets upon the dispers'd and plundring Enemie, lad'n with spoile; from whom recovering the booty which they led away, and were forc'd to leave there with thir lives, he restores all to the right owners, save a small portion to his wearied Souldiers, and enters London victoriously; which, before in many straits and difficulties, was now reviv'd as with a great deliverance. The numerous Enemy with whom he had to deal, was of different Nations, and the Warr scatter'd: which Theodosius, getting daily som intelligence from fugitives and prisoners, resolves to carry on by sudden parties and surprisals, rather than set Battels; nor omits he to proclaim indemnity to such as would lay down Arms, and accept of peace, which brought in many. Yet all this not ending the work, he requires that Civilis, a man of much uprightness, might be sent him, to be as Deputy of the Iland, and Dulcitius a famous Captain. Thus was Theodosius busy'd, besetting with ambushes the roaving Enemy, repressing his Rodes, restoring Cities and Castles to thir former safety and defence, laying every where the firm foundation of a long peace, when Valentinus a Pannonian, for some great offence banish'd into Britain, conspiring with certain Exiles and Souldiers against Theodosius, whose worth he dreaded as the only obstacle to his greater design of gaining the Ile into his power, is discover'd, and with his chief accomplices deliver'd over to condign punishment: against the rest, Theodosius with a wise lenity suffer'd not inquisition to proceed too rigorously, lest the fear thereof appertaining to so many, occasion might arise of new trouble in a time so unsettl'd. This don, he applies himself to reform things out of order, raises on the confines many strong holds; and in them appoints due and diligent watches; and so reduc'd all things out of danger, that the Province which but lately was under command of the Enemy, became now wholly Roman, new nam'd Valentia of Valentinian, and the City of London, Augusta. Thus Theodosius nobly acquitting himself in all Affairs, with general applause of the whole Province, accompanied to the Sea-side, returns to Valentinian. Who about 5 years after sent hither Fraomarius, a King of the Almans, with authority of a Tribune over his own Country Forces; which then both for number and good service, were in high esteem. Against Gratian who succeeded in the Western Empire, Maximus a Spanyard, and one who had serv'd in the British Warrs with younger Theodosius (for hee also, either with his Father, or not long after him, seems to have done somthing in this Iland) and now General of the Roman Armies heer, either discontented that Theodosius was preferr'd before him to the Empire, or constrain'd by the Souldiers who hated Gratian, assumes the imperial Purple, and having attain'd Victorie against the Scots and Picts, with the flowr and strength of Britain, passes into France; there slays Gratian, and without much difficultie, the space of 5 years, obtains his part of the Empire, overthrown at length, and slain by Theodosius. With whom perishing most of his followers, or not returning out of Armorica, which Maximus had giv'n them to possess, the South of Britain by this means exhausted of her youth, and what there was of Roman Souldiers on the Confines drawn off, became a prey to savage Invasions; of Scots from the Irish Seas, of Saxons from the German, of Picts from the North. Against them, first Chrysanthus the Son of Marcian a Bishop, made Deputy of Britain by Theodosius, demean'd himself worthily: then Stilicho a man of great power, whom Theodosius, dying, left Protector of his Son Honorius, either came in person, or sending over sufficient aid, repress'd them, and as it seems new fortifi'd the Wall against them. But that Legion being call'd away, when the Roman Armies from all parts hasted to releive Honorius then besieg'd in Asta of Piemont, by Alaric the Goth, Britain was left expos'd as before, to those Barbarous Robbers. Lest any wonder how the Scots came to infest Britain from the Irish Sea, it must be understood, that the Scots not many years before had been driv'n all out of Britain by Maximus; and thir King Eugenius slain in fight; as thir own Annals report: whereby, it seems, wandring up and down, without certain seat, they liv'd by scumming those Seas and shoars as Pyrats. But more authentic Writers confirm us, that the Scots, whoever they be originally, came first into Ireland, and dwelt there, and nam'd it Scotia long before the North of Britain took that name. About this time, though troublesom, Pelagius a Britan found the leasure to bring new and dangerous Opinions into the Church, and is largely writ against by St. Austin. But the Roman powers which were call'd into Italy, when once the fear of Alaric was over, made return into several Provinces: and perhaps Victorinus of Tolosa, whom Rutilius the Poet much commends, might be then Prefect of the Iland: if it were not he whom Stilicho sent hither. Buchanan writes, that endeavouring to reduce the Picts into a Province, he gave the occasion of thir calling back Fergusius and the Scots, whom Maximus with thir help had quite driv'n out of the Iland: and indeed the Verses of that Poet speak him to have bin active in those parts. But the time which is assign'd him later by Buchanan after Gratianus Municeps, by Camden after Constantine the Tyrant, accords not with that which follows in the plain course of Historie. For the Vandals having broke in and wasted all Belgia, eev'n to those places from whence easiest passage is into Britain, the Roman Forces heer, doubting to be suddenly invaded, were all in uproar, and in tumultuous manner set up Marcus, who it may seem was then Deputy. But him not found agreeable to thir heady courses, they as hastily kill: for the giddy favour of a mutining rout is as dangerous as thir furie. The like they do by Gratian a British Roman, in four Months advanc't, ador'd, and destroy'd. There was among them a common Souldier whose name was Constantine, with him on a sudden so taken they are, upon the conceit put in them of a luckiness in his name, as without other visible merit to create him Emperor. It fortun'd that the man had not his name for nought; so well he knew to lay hold, and make good use of an unexpected offer. He therefore with a wak'n'd spirit, to the extent of his Fortune dilating his mind, which in his mean condition before lay contracted and shrunk up, orders with good advice his military affairs: and with the whole force of the Province, and what of British was able to bear Arms, he passes into France, aspiring at least to an equal share with Honorius in the Empire. Where by the valour of Edobecus a Frank, and Gerontius a Britan, and partly by perswasion gaining all in his way, he comes to Arles. With like felicity by his Son Constans, whom of a Monk he had made a Cæsar, and by the conduct of Gerontius he reduces all Spain to his obedience. But Constans after this displacing Gerontius, the affairs of Constantine soon went to wrack; for he by this means alienated, set up Maximus one of his friends against him in Spain; and passing into France, took Vienna by assault, and having slain Constans in that City, calls on the Vandals against Constantine; who by him incited, as by him before they had bin repress't, breaking forward, over-run most part of France. But when Constantius Comes, the Emperors General, with a strong power came out of Italy, Gerontius deserted by his own Forces, retires into Spain; where also growing into contempt with the Souldiers, after his flight out of France, by whom his House in the night was beset, having first with a few of his Servants defended himself valiantly, and slain above 300, though when his Darts and other Weapons were spent, he might have scap'd at a private dore, as all his Servants did, not enduring to leave his Wife Nonnichia, whom he lov'd, to the violence of an enraged crew, he first cuts off the head of his friend Alanus, as was agreed; next his Wife, though loth and delaying, yet by her entreated and importun'd, refusing to outlive her Husband, he dispatches: for which her resolution, Sozomenus an Ecclesiatic Writer gives her high praise, both as a Wife, and as a Christian. Last of all, against himself he turns his Sword; but missing the mortal place, with his poniard finishes the work. Thus farr is poursu'd the story of a famous Britan, related negligently by our other Historians. As for Constantine, his ending was not answerable to his setting out: for he with his other Son Julian besieg'd by Constantius in Arles, and mistrusting the change of his wonted success, to save his head, poorly turns Priest; but that not availing him, is carried into Italy, and there put to death; having 4 years acted the Emperor. While these things were doing, the Britans at home destitute of Roman aid, and the cheif strength of their own youth, that went first with Maximus, then with Constantine, not returning home, vext and harras'd by thir wonted Enemies, had sent messages to Honorius; but he at that time not being able to defend Rome it self, which the same year was taken by Alaric, advises them by his Letter to consult how best they might for their own safety, and acquits them of the Roman jurisdiction. They therefore thus reliquish't, and by all right the Government relapsing into thir own hands, thenceforth betook themselves to live after thir own Laws, defending thir bounds as well as they were able; and the Armoricans, who not long after were call'd the Britans of France, follow'd thir Example. Thus expir'd this great Empire of the Romans; first in Britain, soon after in Italy it self: having born chief sway in this Iland, though never throughly subdu'd, or all at once in subjection, if we reck'n from the coming in of Julius to the taking of Rome by Alaric, in which year Honorius wrote those Letters of discharge into Britain, the space of 462 Years. And with the Empire fell also what before in this Western World was cheifly Roman; Learning, Valour, Eloquence, History, Civility, and eev'n Language it self, all these together, as it were, with equal pace diminishing and decaying. Henceforth we are to stear by another sort of Authors; neer anough to the things they write, as in thir own Countrie, if that would serve; in time not much belated, some of equal age; in expression barbarous; and to say how judicious, I suspend a while: this we must expect; in civil matters to find them dubious Relaters, and still to the best advantage of what they term holy Church, meaning indeed themselves: in most other matters of Religion, blind, astonish'd, and strook with superstition as with a Planet; in one word, Monks. Yet these Guides, where can be had no better, must be follow'd; in gross, it may be true anough; in circumstance each man as his judgment gives him, may reserve his Faith, or bestow it. But so different a state of things requires a several relation.
The Third Book
This third Book having to tell of accidents as various and exemplary as the intermission or change of Government hath any where brought forth, may deserve attention more than common, and repay it with like benefit to them who can judiciously read: considering especially that the late civil broils had cast us into a condition not much unlike to what the Britans then were in, when the imperial jurisdiction departing hence left them to the sway of thir own Councils; which times by comparing seriously with these later, and that confused Anarchy with this intereign, we may be able from two such remarkable turns of State, producing like events among us, to raise a knowledg of our selves both great and weighty, by judging hence what kind of men the Britans generally are in matters of so high enterprise; how by nature, industry, or custom fitted to attempt or undergoe matters of so main consequence: for if it be a high point of wisdom in every private man, much more is it in a Nation to know it self; rather than puft up with vulgar flatteries, and encomiums, for want of self-knowledge, to enterprise rashly and come off miserably in great undertakings. The Britans thus as we heard being left without protection from the Empire, and the Land in a manner emptied of all her youth, consumed in Warrs abroad, or not caring to return home, themselves through long subjection, servile in mind, sloathful of body, and with the use of Arms unacquainted, sustain'd but ill for many years the violence of those barbarous Invaders, who now daily grew upon them. For although at first greedy of change, and to be thought the leading Nation to freedom from the Empire, they seem'd a while to bestirr them with a shew of diligence in thir new affairs, som secretly aspiring to rule, others adoring the name of liberty, yet so soon as they felt by proof the weight of what it was to govern well themselves, and what was wanting within them, not stomach or the love of licence, but the wisdom, the virtue, the labour, to use and maintain true libertie, they soon remitted thir heat, and shrunk more wretchedly under the burden of thir own libertie, than before under a foren yoke. Insomuch that the residue of those Romans which had planted themselves heer, despairing of thir ill deportment at home, and weak resistance in the field by those few who had the courage or the strength to bear Arms, nine years after the sacking of Rome remov'd out of Britain into France, hiding for haste great part of thir treasure, which was never after found. And now again the Britans, no longer able to support themselves against the prevailing Enemy, sollicit Honorius to thir aid, with mournful Letters, Embassages and vows of perpetual subjection to Rome, if the Northern Foe were but repuls't. He at thir request spares them one Legion, which with great slaughter of the Scots and Picts drove them beyond the Borders, rescu'd the Britans, and advis'd them to build a Wall cross the Iland, between Sea and Sea, from the place where Edinburg now stands to the Frith of Dunbritton, by the City Alcluith. But the material being only Turf, and by the rude multitude unartificially built up without better direction, avail'd them little. For no sooner was the Legion departed, but the greedy spoilers returning, land in great numbers from thir Boats and Pinaces, wasting, slaying, and treading down all before them. Then are messengers again posted to Rome in lamentable sort, beseeching that they would not suffer a whole Province to be destroy'd, and the Roman name, so honourable yet among them, to become the subject of barbarian scorn and insolence. The Emperor, at thir sad complaint, with what speed was possible, sends to thir succour. Who coming suddenly on those ravenous multitudes that minded only spoil, surprise them with a terrible slaughter. They who escap'd fled back to those Seas, from whence yearly they were wont to arrive, and return lad'n with booties. But the Romans who came not now to rule, but charitably to aid, declaring that it stood not longer with the ease of thir Affairs to make such laborious voyages in pursuit of so base and vagabond robbers, of whom neither glory was to be got, not gain, exhorted them to manage thir own warfare; and to defend like men thir Country, thir Wives, thir Children, and what was to be dearer than life, thir liberty, against an Enemy not stronger than themselves, if thir own sloth and cowardise had not made them so; if they would but only find hands to grasp defensive Arms, rather than basely stretch them out to receave bonds. They gave them also thir help to build a new Wall, not of earth as the former, but of stone, (both at the public cost, and by particular contributions) traversing the Ile in direct line from East to West, between certain Cities plac'd there as Frontiers to bear off the Enemy, where Severus had wall'd once before. They rais'd it 12 Foot high, 8 broad. Along the South shoar, because from thence also like hostility was fear'd, they place Towers by the Sea side at certain distances, for safety of the Coast. Withall they instruct them in the Art of Warr, leaving Patterns of thir Arms and Weapons behind them; and with animating words, and many lessons of valour to a faint-hearted audience, bid them finally farewell, without purpose to return. And these two friendly Expeditions, the last of any hither by the Romans, were perform'd, as may be gatherd out of Beda and Diaconus, the two last years of Honorius. Thir Leader, as som modernly write, was Gallio of Ravenna; Buchanan, who departs not much from the Fables of his Predecessor Boethius, names him Maximianus, and brings against him to this Battel Fergus first King of Scots, after thir second suppos'd coming into Scotland, Durstus King of Picts, both there slain, and Dioneth an imaginary King of Britain, or Duke of Cornwall, who improbablie sided with them against his own Countrie, hardlie escaping. With no less exactness of particular circumstances, he takes upon him to relate all those tumultuarie inrodes of the Scots and Picts into Britain, as if they had but yesterday happen'd, thir order of Battel, manner of fight, number of slain, Articles of Peace, things whereof Gildas and Beda are utterly silent, Authors to whom the Scotch Writers have none to cite comparable in Antiquity; no more therefore to be believ'd for bare assertions, however quaintlie drest, than our Geofrey of Monmouth when he varies most from authentick storie. But either the inbred vanity of some, in that respect unworthily call'd Historians, or the fond zeal of praising thir Nations above truth, hath so far transported them, that where they find nothing faithfully to relate, they fall confidently to invent what they think may either best set off thir Historie, or magnifie thir Countrie.
The Scots and Picts in manners differing somwhat from each other, but still unanimous to rob and spoile, hearing that the Romans intended not to return from thir Gorroghs or Leathern Frigats, pour out themselves in swarms upon the Land more confident than ever; and from the North end of the Ile to the very wall side, then first took possession as inhabitants; while the Britans with idle Weapons in thir hands stand trembling on the Battlements, till the half-naked Barbarians with thir long and formidable Iron hooks pull them down headlong. The rest not only quitting the wall, but Towns and Cities, leave them to the bloodie pursuer, who follows killing, wasting, and destroying all in his way. From these confusions arose a Famin, and from thence discord and civil commotion among the Britans: each man living by what he rob'd or took violently from his Neighbour. When all stores were consum'd and spent where men inhabited, they betook them to the Woods, and liv'd by hunting, which was thir only sustainment. To the heaps of these evils from without were added new divisions within the Church. For Agricola the Son of Severianus a Pelagian Bishop had spread his Doctrine wide among the Britans not uninfected before. The sounder part neither willing to embrace his opinion to the overthrow of divine grace, nor able to refute him, crave assistance from the Churches of France: who send them Germanus Bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus of Troyes. They by continual preaching in Churches, in Streets, in Fields, and not without miracles, as is writt'n, confirm'd som, regain'd others, and at Verulam in a public disputation put to silence thir chief adversaries. This reformation in the Church was beleev'd to be the cause of thir success a while after in the field. For the Saxons and Picts with joint force, which was no new thing before the Saxons at least had any dwelling in this Iland, during the abode of Germanus heer, had made a strong impression from the North. The Britans marching out against them, and mistrusting thir own power, send to Germanus and his Collegue, reposing more in the spiritual Strength of those two men, than in thir own thousands arm'd. They came, and thir presence in the Camp was not less than if a whole Army had com to second them. It was then the time of Lent, and the people instructed by the daily Sermons of these two Pastors, came flocking to receave Baptism. There was a place in the Camp set apart as a Church, and trick'd up with boughs upon Easter-day. The Enemy understanding this, and that the Britans were tak'n up with Religions more than with feats of Arms, advances, after the Paschal Feast, as to a certain Victorie. German, who also had intelligence of thir approach, undertakes to be Captain that day; and riding out with selected Troops to discover what advantages the place might offer, lights on a Valley compass't about with Hills, by which the Enemy was to pass. And placing there his ambush, warns them, that what word they heard him pronounce aloud, the same they should repeat with universal shout. The Enemy passes on securely, and German thrice aloud cries Halleluiah; which answered by the Souldiers with a sudd'n burst of clamour, is from the Hills and Valleys redoubled. The Saxons and Picts on a sudden supposing it the noise of a huge Hoast, throw themselves into flight, casting down thir Arms, and great numbers of them are drown'd in the River which they had newly pass'd. This Victory, thus won without hands, left to the Britans plenty of spoile, and the person and the preaching of German greater authority and reverence than before. And the exploit might pass for current, if Constantius, the Writer of his life in the next age, had resolv'd us how the British Army came to want baptizing; for of any Paganism at that time, or long before, in the Land we read not, or that Pelagianism was re-baptiz'd. The place of this Victory, as is reported, was in Flintshire by a Town call'd Guid-cruc, and the river Allen, where a field retains the name of Maes German to this day. But so soon as German was return'd home, the Scots and Picts, though now so many of them Christians, that Palladius a Deacon was ordain'd and sent by Celestine the Pope to be a Bishop over them, were not so well reclaim'd, or not so many of them as to cease from doing mischief to thir Neighbours, where they found no impeachment to fall in yearly as they were wont. They therefore of the Britans who perhaps were not yet wholly ruin'd, in the strongest and South-west parts of the Ile, send Letters to Ætius, then third time Consul of Rome, with this superscription; To Ætius thrice Consul, the groanes of the Britans. And after a few words thus: The barbarians drive us to the Sea, the Sea drives us back to the barbarians; thus bandied up and down between two deaths, we perish either by the Sword or by the Sea. But the Empire at that time overspread with Hunns and Vandals, was not in condition to lend them aid. Thus rejected and wearied out with continual flying from place to place, but more afflicted with Famine, which then grew outrageous among them, many for hunger yielded to the Enemy, others either more resolute, or less expos'd to wants, keeping within Woods, and Mountainous places, not only defended themselves, but sallying out at length gave a stop to the insulting Foe with many seasonable defeats; led by some eminent person, as may be thought, who exhorted them not to trust in thir own strength, but in Divine assistance. And perhaps no other heer is meant than the foresaid deliverance by German, if computation would permit, which Gildas either not much regarded, or might mistake; but that he tarried so long heer, the Writers of his life assent not. Finding therefore such opposition, the Scots or Irish Robbers, for so they are indifferently term'd, without delay get them home. The Picts, as before was mentioned, then first began to settle in the utmost parts of the Iland, using now and then to make inrodes upon the Britans. But they in the mean while thus ridd of thir Enemies, begin afresh to till the ground; which after cessation yields her fruit in such abundance, as had not formerly bin known for many Ages. But wantonness and luxury, the wonted companions of plenty, grow up as fast, and with them, if Gildas deserve belief, all other vices incident to human corruption. That which he notes especially to be the chief perverting of all good in the Land, and so continued in his days, was the hatred of truth, and all such as durst appear to vindicate and maintain it. Against them, as against the only disturbers, all the malice of the Land was bent. Lies and falsities, and such as could best invent them, were only in request. Evil was embrac'd for good, wickedness honour'd and esteem'd as virtue. And this quality thir valour had, against a foren Enemy to be ever backward and heartless; to civil broils eager and prompt. In matters of Government, and the search of truth, weak and shallow, in falshood and wicked deeds pregnant and industrious. Pleasing to God, or not pleasing, with them weighed alike; and the worse most an end was the weightier. All things were done contrary to public welfare and safety; nor only by secular men, for the Clergy also, whose Example should have guided others, were as vitious and corrupt. Many of them besotted with continual drunkenness; or swoln with pride and willfulness, full of contention, full of envy, indiscreet, incompetent Judges to determine what in the practice of life is good or evil, what lawful or unlawful. Thus furnish'd with judgment, and for manners thus qualifi'd both Priest and Lay, they agree to chuse them several Kings of thir own; as neer as might be, likest themselves; and the words of my Author import as much. Kings were anointed, saith he, not of Gods anointing, but such as were cruellest; and soon after as inconsiderately, without examining the truth, put to death by thir anointers, to set up others more fierce and proud. As for the election of thir Kings (and that they had not all one Monarch, appears both in Ages past and by the sequel) it began, as nigh as may be guess'd, either this Year or the following, when they saw the Romans had quite deserted thir claim. About which time also Pelagianism again prevailing by means of some few, the British Clergie too weak, it seems, at dispute, entreat the second time German to thir assistance. Who coming with Severus a Disciple of Lupus that was his former associate, stands not now to argue, for the people generally continu'd right; but enquiring those Authors of new disturbance, adjudges them to banishment. They therefore by consent of all were deliver'd to German; who carrying them over with him, dispos'd of them in such place where neither they could infect others, and were themselves under cure of better instruction. But Germanus the same year dy'd in Italy; and the Britans not long after found themselves again in much perplexity, with no slight rumour that thir old troublers the Scots and Picts had prepar'd a strong invasion, purposing to kill all and dwell themselves in the Land from end to end. But ere thir coming in, as if the instruments of Divine justice had bin at strife, which of them first should destroy a wicked Nation, the Pestilence forestalling the Sword left scarce alive whom to bury the dead; and for that time, as one extremity keeps off another, preserv'd the Land from a worse incumbrance of those barbarous dispossessors, whom the Contagion gave not leave now to enter farr. And yet the Britans, nothing better'd by these heavy judgments, the one threatn'd, the other felt, instead of acknowledging the hand of Heaven, run to the Palace of thir King Vortigern with complaints and cries of what they suddenly fear'd, from the Pictish invasion. Vortigern, who at that time was chief rather than sole King, unless the rest had perhaps left thir Dominions to the common Enemy, is said by him of Monmouth to have procur'd the death first of Constantine, then of Constance his Son; who of a Monk was made King, and by that means to have usurp'd the Crown. But they who can remember how Constantine with his Son Constance the Monk, the one made Emperor, the other Cæsar, perish'd in France, may discern the simple fraud of this Fable. But Vortigern however coming to reign, is decipher'd by truer stories a proud unfortunate Tyrant, and yet of the people much belov'd, because his vices sorted so well with theirs. For neither was he skill'd in Warr, nor wise in Counsel, but covetous, lustful, luxurious, and prone to all vice; wasting the public Treasure in gluttony and riot, careless of the common danger, and through a haughty ignorance, unapprehensive of his own. Nevertheless importun'd and awak'd at length by unusual clamours of the people, he summons a general Council, to provide some better means than heertofore had been us'd against these continual annoyances from the North. Wherein by advice of all it was determin'd, that the Saxons be invited into Britain against the Scots and Picts; whose breaking in they either shortly expected, or already found they had not strength anough to oppose. The Saxons were a barbarous and heathen Nation, famous for nothing else but robberies and cruelties done to all thir Neighbours, both by Sea and Land; in particular to this Iland, witness that military force, which the Roman Emperors maintain'd heer purposely against them, under a special Commander, whose title, as is found on good record, was Count of the Saxon shoar in Britain; and the many mischiefs done by thir landing heer, both alone and with the Picts, as above hath bin related, witness as much. They were a people thought by good Writers, to be descended of the Sacæ, a kind of Scythian in the North of Asia, thence call'd Sacasons, or Sons of Sacæ, who with a Flood of other Northern Nations came into Europe, toward the declining of the Roman Empire; and using Pyracy from Denmark all along these Seas, possess'd at length by intrusion all that Coast of Germany, and the Nether-lands, which took thence the name of old Saxony, lying between the Rhene and Elve and from thence North as far as Eidora, the River bounding Holsatia, though not so firmly, or so largely, but that thir multitude wander'd yet uncertain of habitation. Such guests as these the Britans resolve now to send for, and entreat into thir houses and possessions, at whose very name heertofore they trembl'd afar off. So much do men through impatience count ever that the heaviest which they bear at present, and to remove the evil which they suffer, care not to pull on a greater: as if variety and change in evil also were acceptable. Or whether it be that men in the despair of better, imagine fondly a kind of refuge from one misery to another.
The Britans therefore with Vortigern, who was then accounted King over them all, resolve in full Council to send Embassadors of thir choicest men with great gifts, and saith a Saxon Writer in these words, desiring thir aid. Worthy Saxons, hearing the fame of your prowess, the distressed Britans wearied out, and overprest by a continual invading Enemy, have sent us to beseech your aid. They have a Land fertile and spatious, which to your commands they bid us surrender. Heertofore we have liv'd with freedom, under the obedience and protection of the Roman Empire. Next to them we know none worthier than your selves; and therefore become suppliants to your valour. Leave us not below our present Enemies, and to aught by you impos'd, willingly we shall submit. Yet Ethelwerd writes not that they promis'd subjection, but only amity and league. They therefore who had chief rule among them, hearing themselves entreated by the Britans, to that which gladly they would have wish't to obtain of them by entreating, to the British Embassy return this answer. Be assur'd henceforth of the Saxons, as of faithful friends to the Britans, no less ready to stand by them in thir need, than in thir best of fortune. The Embassadors return joyful, and with news as welcome to thir Countrie, whose sinister fate had now blinded them for destruction. The Saxons, consulting first thir Gods (for they had answer, that the Land whereto they went, they should hold 300 years, half that time conquering, and half quietly possessing) furnish out three long Gallies, or Kyules, with a chos'n company of warlike youth, under the conduct of two Brothers, Hengist and Horsa, descended in the fourth degree from Woden; of whom, deify'd for the fame of his acts, most Kings of those Nations derive thir pedigree. These, and either mixt with these, or soon after by themselves, two other Tribes, or neighbouring people, Jutes and Angles, the one from Jutland, the other from Anglen by the City of Sleswich, both Provinces of Denmark, arrive in the first year of Martian the Greek Emperor, from the birth of Christ 450, receav'd with much good will of the people first, then of the King, who after some assurances giv'n and tak'n, bestows on them the Ile of Tanet, where they first landed, hoping they might be made heerby more eager against the Picts, when they fought as for thir own Countrie, and more loyal to the Britans, from whom they had receav'd a place to dwell in, which before they wanted. The British Nennius writes, that these Brethren were driv'n into exile out of Germany, and to Vortigern who reigned in much fear, one while of the Picts, then of the Romans, and Ambrosius, came opportunely into the Hav'n. For it was the custom in old Saxony when thir numerous off-spring overflow'd the narrowness of thir bounds, to send them out by lot into new dwellings, wherever they found room, either vacant or to be forc't. But whether sought, or unsought, they dwelt not heer long without employment. For the Scots and Picts were now come down, som say, as far as Stamford, in Lincoln-shire, whom, perhaps not imagining to meet new opposition, the Saxons, though not till after a sharp encounter, put to flight; and that more than once: slaying in fight, as some Scotch Writers affirm, thir King Eugenius the Son of Fergus. Hengist percaeving the Iland to be rich and fruitful, but her Princes and other inhabitants giv'n to vicious ease, sends word home, inviting others to a share of his good success. Who returning with 17 Ships, were grown up now to a sufficient Army, and entertain'd without suspicion on these terms, that they should bear the brunt of War against the Picts, receaving stipend and some place to inhabit. With these was brought over the Daughter of Hengist, a Virgin wondrous fair, as is reported, Rowen the British call her: she by commandment of her Father, who had invited the King to a Banquet, coming in presence with a Bowle of Wine to welcome him, and to attend on his Cup till the Feast ended, won so much upon his fancy, though already wiv'd, as to demand her in mariage upon any conditions. Hengist at first, though it fell out perhaps according to his drift, held off, excusing his meanness; then obscurely intimating a desire and almost a necessity, by reason of his augmented numbers, to have his narrow bounds of Tanet enlarg'd to the Circuit of Kent, had it streit by donation; though Guorangonus till then was King of that place; and so, as it were overcome by the great munificence of Vortiger, gave his Daughter. And still encroaching on the Kings favour, got furder leave to call over Octa and Ebissa, his own and his Brothers Son; pretending that they, if the North were giv'n them, would sit there as a continual defence against the Scots, while himself guarded the East. They therefore sayling with forty Ships, eev'n to the Orcades, and every way curbing the Scots and Picts, possess'd that part of the Ile which is now Northumberland. Notwithstanding this they complain that thir monthly pay was grown much into arrear; which when the Britans found means to satisfie, though alleging withall that they to whom promise was made of wages, were nothing so many in number, quieted with this a while, but still seeking occasion to fall off, they find fault next, that thir pay is too small for the danger they undergo, threatning op'n Warr unless it be augmented. Guortimer the Kings Son, perceaving his Father and the Kingdom thus betray'd, from that time bends his utmost endeavour to drive them out. They on the other side making League with the Picts and Scots, and issuing out of Kent, wasted without resistance almost the whole Land eev'n to the Western Sea, with such a horrid devastation, that Towns and Colonies over-turn'd, Priests and people slain; Temples, and Palaces, what with fire and Sword lay alltogether heap'd in one mixt ruin. Of all which multitude, so great was the sinfullness that brought this upon them, Gildas adds that few or none were likely to be other than lew'd and wicked persons. The residue of these, part overtak'n in the Mountains were slain; others subdu'd with hunger preferr'd slavery before instant death; som getting to Rocks, Hills, and Woods inaccessible, preferr'd the fear and danger of any Death before the shame of a secure slavery; many fled over Sea into other Countries; some into Holland, where yet remain the ruins of Brittenburgh, an old Castle on the Sea, to be seen at low water not far from Leiden; either built, as Writers of thir own affirm, or seis'd on by those Britans, in thir escape from Hengist: Others into Armorica, peopl'd, as som think, with Britans long before, either by guift of Constantine the Great, or else of Maximus to those British Forces which had serv'd them in Forein Wars; to whom those also that miscarried not with the latter Constantine at Arles; and lastly, these exiles driv'n out by Saxons, fled for refuge. But the antient Chronicles of those Provinces attest thir coming thether to be then first when they fled the Saxons, and indeed the name of Britain in France is not read till after that time. Yet how a sort of fugitives, who had quitted without stroke thir own Country, should so soon win another, appears not, unless joyn'd to som party of thir own settl'd there before. Vortiger nothing better'd by these calamities, grew at last so obdurat as to commit incest with his daughter, tempted or tempting him out of an ambition to the Crown. For which beeing censur'd and condemn'd in a great Synod of Clercs, and Laics, and partly for fear of the Saxons, according to the Counsel of his Peers, he retir'd into Wales, and built him there a strong Castle in Radnorshire by the advice of Ambrosius a young prophet, whom others call Merlin. Nevertheless Faustus, who was the Son then incestuously begott'n, under the instructions of German, or some of his Disciples, for German was dead before, prov'd a religious man, and liv'd in devotion by the River Remnis in Glamorganshire. But the Saxons, though finding it so easy to subdue the Ile, with most of thir Forces, uncertain for what cause, return'd home: when as the easiness of thir Conquest might seem rather likely to have call'd in more. Which makes more probable that which the British write of Guortemir. For he coming to Reigne, instead of his Father depos'd for incest, is said to have thrice driv'n and besieg'd the Saxons in the Ile of Taneth; and when they issu'd out with powerful supplies sent from Saxony, to have fought with them fowr other Battells, wherof three are nam'd; the first on the River Darwent, the second at Episford, wherin Horsa the Brother of Hengist fell, and on the British part Catigern the other Son of Vortiger. The third in a Feild by Stonar then call'd Lapis tituli in Tanet, where he beat them into thir Ships that bore them home, glad to have so scap'd and not venturing to land again for 5 years after. In the space wherof Guortemir dying, commanded they should bury him in the Port of Stonar; perswaded that his bones lying there would be terror enough to keep the Saxons from ever landing in that place: they, saith Ninnius, neglecting his command, buried him in Lincoln. But concerning these times, antientest annals of the Saxons relate in this manner. In the year 455. Hengist and Horsa fought against Vortigern, in a place called Eglesthrip, now Ailsford in Kent, where Horsa lost his life, of whom Horsted, the place of his burial, took name.
After this first Battel and the Death of his Brother, Hengist with his Son Esca took on him Kingly Title, and peopl'd Kent with Jutes; who also then, or not long after, possess'd the Ile of Wight, and part of Hamshire lying opposite. Two years after in a fight at Creganford, or Craford, Hengist and his Son slew of the Britans four Cheif Commanders, and as many thousand men: the rest in great disorder flying to London, with the total loss of Kent. And 8 years passing between, he made new Warr on the Britans; of whom in a Battel at Wippeds-fleot, 12 Princes were slain, and Wipped the Saxon Earl, who left his name to that place, though not sufficient to direct us where it now stands. His last encounter was at a place not mention'd, where he gave them such an overthrow, that flying in great fear they left the spoil of all to thir Enemies. And these perhaps are the 4 Battells, according to Nennius, fought by Guortemir, though by these Writers far differently related; and happ'ning besides many other bickerings, in the space of 20 years, as Malmsbury reck'ns. Nevertheless it plainly appears that the Saxons, by whomsoever, were put to hard shifts, being all this while fought withall in Kent, thir own allotted dwelling, and somtimes on the very edge of the Sea, which the word Wippeds-fleot seems to intimat. But Guortemir now dead, and none of courage left to defend the Land, Vortigern either by the power of his faction, or by consent of all reassumes the Goverment: and Hengist thus rid of his grand opposer, hearing gladly the restorement of his old favourer, returns again with great Forces; but to Vortigern whom he well knew how to handle without warring, as to his Son in Law, now that the only Author of dissention between them was remov'd by Death, offers nothing but all terms of new league and amity. The King, both for his Wives sake and his own sottishness, consulting also with his Peers not unlike himself, readily yeilds; and the place of parly is agree'd on; to which either side was to repair without Weapons. Hengist, whose meaning was not peace, but treachery, appointed his men to be secretly arm'd, and acquainted them to what intent. The watch-word was, Nemet eour Saxes, that is, Draw your Daggers; which they observing, when the Britans were throughly heated with Wine (for the Treaty it seems was not without Cups) and provok'd, as was plotted, by som affront, dispatch'd with those Poniards every one his next man, to the number of 300. the cheif of those that could do ought against him, either in Counsel or in Field. Vortigern they only bound and kept in Custody, untill he granted them for his ransome three Provinces, which were called afterward Essex, Sussex, and Middlesex. Who thus dismist, retiring again to his solitary abode in the Country of Guorthigirniaun, so call'd by his name, from thence to the Castle of his own building in North-Wales, by the River Tiebi; and living there obscurely among his Wives, was at length burnt in his Towre by fire from Heav'n at the Praier, as some say, of German, but that coheres not; as others, by Ambrosius Aurelian; of whom as we have heard at first, he stood in great fear, and partly for that cause invited in the Saxons. Who whether by constraint, or of thir own accord, after much mischief don, most of them returning back into thir own Country, left a faire opportunity to the Britans of avenging themselves easier on those who staid behinde. Repenting therefore, and with earnest supplication imploring divine help to prevent thir final rooting out, they gather from all parts, and under the leading of Ambrosius Aurelianus, a vertuous and modest man, the last heer of the Roman stock, advancing now onward against the late Victors, defeat them in a memorable Battell. Common opinion, but grounded cheifly on the British Fables, makes this Ambrosius to be a younger Son of that Constantine, whose eldest, as we heard, was Constance the Monk: who both lost thir lives abroad usurping the Empire. But the express words both of Gildas and Bede assures us, that the Parents of this Ambrosius having heer born regal dignity, were slain in these Pictish Wars and commotions in the Iland. And if the fear of Ambrose induc'd Vortigern to call in the Saxons, it seems Vortigern usurp'd his right. I perceave not that Nennius makes any difference between him and Merlin: for that Child without Father that propheci'd to Vortigern, he names not Merlin, but Ambrose, makes him the Son of a Roman Consul; but conceal'd by his mother, as fearing that the King therfore sought his life: yet the youth no sooner had confess'd his parentage, but Vortigern either in reward of his predictions, or as his right, bestow'd upon him all the West of Britain; himself retiring to a solitary life. Whose ever Son he was, he was the first, according to surest Authors, that led against the Saxons, and overthrew them; but whether before this time or after, none have writt'n. This is certain, that in a time when most of the Saxon Forces were departed home, the Britans gather'd strength; and either against those who were left remaining, or against thir whole powers, the second time returning obtain'd this Victory. Thus Ambrose as cheif Monarch of the Ile succeeded Vortigern; to whose third Son Pascentius he permitted the rule of two Regions in Wales, Buelth and Guorthigirniaun. In his daies, saith Nennius, the Saxons prevail'd not much: against whom Arthur, as beeing then Cheif General for the British Kings, made great War, but more renown'd in Songs and Romances, then in true stories. And the sequel it self declares as much. For in the year 477, Ella the Saxon, with his three Sons, Cymen, Pleting, and Cissa, at a place in Sussex call'd Cymenshore, arrive in three Ships, kill many of the Britans, chasing them that remain'd into the Wood Andreds Leage. Another Battell was fought at Mercreds-Burnamsted, wherin Ella had by far the Victory; but Huntingdon makes it so doubtful, that the Saxons were constrain'd to send home for supplies. Four years after dy'd Hengist, the first Saxon King of Kent; noted to have attain'd that dignity by craft, as much as valour, and giving scope to his own cruel nature, rather then proceeding by mildness or civility. His Son Oeric, surnam'd Oisc, of whom the Kentish Kings were call'd Oiscings, succeeded him, and sate content with his Fathers winnings; more desirous to settle and defend, then to enlarge his bounds: he reign'd 24 years. By this time Ella and his Son Cissa beseiging Andredchester, suppos'd now to be Newenden in Kent, take it by force, and all within it put to the Sword.
Thus Ella 3 years after the death of Hengist, began his Kingdome of the South-Saxons; peopling it with new inhabitants, from the Country which was then old Saxony, at this day Holstein in Denmark, and had besides at his command all those Provinces which the Saxons had won on this side Humber. Animated with these good successes, as if Britain were become now the field of Fortune, Kerdic another Saxon Prince, the tenth by Linage from Woden, an old and practis'd Souldier, who in many prosperous conflicts against the Enemy in those parts, had nurs'd up a Spirit too big to live at home with equals, coming to a certain place which from thence took the name of Kerdic-shoar, with 5 Ships, and Kenric his Son, the very same day overthrew the Britans that oppos'd him; and so effectually, that smaller skirmishes after that day were sufficient to drive them still furder off, leaving him a large territory. After him Porta another Saxon with his two Sons Bida and Megla, in two Ships arrive at Portsmouth thence call'd, and at thir landing slew a young British Nobleman, with many others who unadvisedly set upon them. The Britans to recover what they had lost, draw together all thir Forces led by Natanleod, or Nazaleod, a certain King in Britain, and the greatest, saith one; but with him 5000 of his men Kerdic puts to rout and slaies. From whence the place in Hantshire, as far as Kerdicsford, now Chardford, was call'd of old Nazaleod. Who this King should be, hath bred much question; som think it to be the British name of Ambrose; others to be the right name of his Brother, who for the terror of his eagerness in fight, became more known by the Sirname of Uther, which in the Welch Tongue signifies Dreadful. And if ever such a King in Britain there were as Uther Pendragon, for so also the Monmouth Book surnames him, this in all likelyhood must be he. Kerdic by so great a blow giv'n to the Britans had made large room about him; not only for the men he brought with him, but for such also of his friends, as he desir'd to make great; for which cause, and withall the more to strengthen himself, his two Nefews Stuf and Withgar, in 3 Vessels bring him new levies to Kerdic shoar. Who that they might not come sluggishly to possess what others had won for them, either by thir own seeking, or by appointment, are set in place where they could not but at thir first coming give a proof of themselves upon the Enemy; and so well they did it, that the Britans after a hard encounter left them Maisters of the field. And about the same time, Ella the first South-Saxon King dy'd; whom Cissa, his youngest, succeeded; the other two failing before him.
Nor can it be much more or less then about this time, for it was before the West-Saxon Kingdome, that Uffa the 8th. from Woden made himself King of the East-Angles; who by thir name testifie the Country above mention'd; from whence they came in such multitudes, that thir native soil is said to have remain'd in the daies of Beda uninhabited. Huntingdon deferrs the time of thir coming in to the ninth year of Kerdic's Reigne: for saith he, at first many of them strove for principality, seising every one his Province, and for som while so continu'd, making petty Warrs among themselves; till in the end Uffa, of whom those Kings were call'd Uffings, over-top'd them all in the year 571, then Titilus his Son, the Father of Redwald, who became potent.
And not much after the East-Angles, began also the East-Saxons to erect a Kingdom under Sleda the tenth from Woden. But Huntingdon, as before, will have it later by 11 years, and Erchenwin to be the first King.
Kerdic the same in power, though not so fond of title, forbore the name 24 Years after his arrival; but then founded so firmly the Kingdome of West-Saxons, that it subjected all the rest at length, and became the sole Monarchie of England. The same year he had a Victory against the Britans at Kerdics-Ford, by the River Aven: and after 8 years, another great fight at Kerdics Leage, but which won the day is not by any set down. Hitherto hath bin collected what there is of certainty with circumstance of time and place to be found register'd, and no more then barely register'd in annals of best note; without describing after Huntingdon the manner of those Battels and Encounters, which they who compare, and can judge of Books, may be confident he never found in any current Author whom he had to follow. But this disease hath bin incident to many more Historians: and the age wherof we now write, hath had the ill hap, more then any since the first fabulous times, to be surcharg'd with all the idle fancies of posterity. Yet that we may not rely altogether on Saxon relaters, Gildas in Antiquity far before these, and every way more credible, speaks of these Wars in such a manner, though nothing conceited of the British valour, as declares the Saxons in his time and before to have bin foyl'd not seldomer then the Britans. For besides that first Victory of Ambrose, and the interchangeable success long after, he tells that the last overthrow which they receav'd at Badon Hill was not the least; which they in thir oldest annals mention not at all. And because the time of this Battell, by any who could do more then guess, is not set down, or any foundation giv'n from whence to draw a solid compute, it cannot be much wide to insert it in this place. For such Authors as we have to follow, give the conduct and praise of this exploit to Arthur; and that this was the last of 12 great Battells which he fought victoriously against the Saxons. The several places writt'n by Nennius in their Welch names, were many hunder'd years ago unknown, and so heer omitted. But who Arthur was, and whether ever any such reign'd in Britain, hath bin doubted heertofore, and may again with good reason. For the Monk of Malmsbury, and others, whose credit hath sway'd most with the learneder sort, we may well perceave to have known no more of this Arthur 500 years past, nor of his doeings, then we now living; and what they had to say, transcrib'd out of Nennius, a very trivial writer yet extant, which hath already bin related; or out of a British Book, the same which he of Monmouth set forth, utterly unknown to the World, till more then 600 Years after the dayes of Arthur, of whom (as Sigebert in his Chronicle confesses) all other Histories were silent, both Foren and Domestic, except only that fabulous Book. Others of later time have sought to assert him by old legends and Cathedrall regests. But he who can accept of Legends for good story, may quickly swell a volume with trash, and had need be furnish'd with two only necessaries, leasure and beleif, whether it be the writer, or he that shall read. As to Artur, no less is in doubt who was his Father; for if it be true, as Nennius or his notist avers, that Artur was call'd Mab-Uther, that is to say, a cruel Son, for the fierseness that men saw in him of a Child, and the intent of his name Arturus imports as much, it might well be that som in after ages who sought to turn him into a Fable, wrested the word Uther into a proper name, and so fain'd him the Son of Uther; since we read not in any certain story, that ever such person liv'd till Geffrey of Monmouth set him off with the sirname of Pendragon. And as we doubted of his parentage, so may we also of his puissance; for whether that Victory at Badon Hill were his or no, is uncertain; Gildas not naming him, as he did Ambrose in the former. Next, if it be true as Caradoc relates, that Melvas, King of that Country which is now Summerset, kept from him Gueniver his Wife a whole year in the Town of Glaston, and restor'd her at the entreaty of Gildas, rather then for any enforcement that Artur with all his Chivalry could make against a small Town defended only by a moory situation; had either his knowledge in War, or the force he had to make, bin answerable to the fame they bear, that petty King had neither dar'd such an affront nor he bin so long, and at last without effect, in revenging it. Considering lastly how the Saxons gain'd upon him every where all the time of his suppos'd reign, which began, as som write, in the tenth year of Kerdic, who wrung from him by long Warr the Countries of Summerset, and Hamshire; there will remain neither place nor circumstance in story, which may administer any likelyhood of those great Acts that are ascrib'd him. This only is alleg'd by Nennius in Arturs behalf, that the Saxons though vanquish't never so oft, grew still more numerous upon him by continual supplies out of Germany. And the truth is, that valour may be overtoil'd, and overcom at last with endless overcomming. But as for this Battell of Mount Badon, where the Saxons were hemm'd in, or beseig'd, whether by Artur won, or whensoever, it seems indeed to have giv'n a most undoubted and important blow to the Saxons, and to have stop'd thir proceedings for a good while after. Gildas himself witnessing that the Britans having thus compel'd them to sit down with peace, fell thereupon to civil discord among themselves. Which words may seem to let in som light toward the searching out when this Battell was fought. And we shall find no time since the first Saxon War, from whence a longer peace ensu'd, then from the fight at Kerdics Leage, in the year 527. which all the Chronicles mention, without Victory to Kerdic; and give us argument from the custome they have of magnifying thir own deeds upon all occasions, to presume heer his ill speeding. And if we look still onward, eev'n to the 44th year after, wherin Gildas wrote, if his obscure utterance be understood, we shall meet with very little War between the Britans and Saxons. This only remains difficult, that the Victory first won by Ambrose, was not so long before this at Badon Seige, but that the same men living might be eye-witnesses of both; and by this rate hardly can the latter be thought won by Artur, unless we reck'n him a grown youth at least in the daies of Ambrose, and much more then a youth, if Malmsbury be heard, who affirms all the exploits of Ambrose to have bin don cheifly by Artur as his General, which will add much unbeleif to the common assertion of his reigning after Ambrose and Uther, especially the fight at Badon, being the last of his twelve Battels. But to prove by that which follows, that the fight at Kerdics Leage, though it differ in name from that of Badon, may be thought the same by all effects; Kerdic 3 years after, not proceeding onward, as his manner was, on the continent, turns back his Forces on the Ile of Wight; which, with the slaying of a few only in Withgarburgh, he soon maisters; and not long surviving, left it to his Nefews by the Mothers side, Stuff and Withgar; the rest of what he had subdu'd, Kenric his Son held; and reign'd 26 years, in whose tenth year Withgar was buried in the Town of that Iland which bore his name. Notwithstanding all these unlikelyhoods of Artur's Reign and great acheivements, in a narration crept in I know not how among the Laws of Edward the Confessor, Artur the famous King of Britans, is said not only to have expell'd hence the Saracens, who were not then known in Europe, but to have conquer'd Freesland, and all the North East Iles as far as Russia, to have made Lapland the Eastern bound of his Empire, and Norway the Chamber of Britain. When should this be done? from the Saxons, till after twelve Battells, he had no rest at home; after those, the Britans contented with the quiet they had from thir Saxon Enemies, were so far from seeking Conquests abroad, that, by report of Gildas above cited, they fell to civil Wars at home. Surely Artur much better had made War in old Saxony, to repress thir flowing hither, then to have won Kingdoms as far as Russia, scarce able heer to defend his own. Buchanan our Neighbour Historian reprehends him of Monmouth and others for fabling in the deeds of Artur; yet what he writes thereof himself, as of better credit, shews not whence he had but from those Fables; which he seems content to believe in part, on condition that the Scots and Picts may be thought to have assisted Arthur in all his Wars, and atchievments; whereof appears as little grownd by any credible story, as of that which he most counts Fabulous. But not furder to contest about such uncertainties.
In the year 547, Ida the Saxon, sprung also from Woden in the tenth degree, began the Kingdome of Bernicia in Northumberland; built the Town Bebbanburgh, which was after wall'd; and had 12 Sons, half by Wives, and half by Concubines. Hengist by leave of Vortigern, we may remember, had sent Octa and Ebissa, to seek them seats in the North, and there, by warring on the Picts, to secure the Southern parts. Which they so prudently effected, that what by force and fair proceeding, they well quieted those Countries; and though so far distant from Kent, nor without power in thir hands, yet kept themselves nigh 180 years within moderation; and as inferiour Governors, they and their off-spring gave obedience to the Kings of Kent, as to the elder family. Till at length following the example of that Age; when no less then Kingdoms were the prize of every fortunat Commander, they thought it but reason, as well as others of thir Nation, to assume Royalty. Of whom Ida was the first, a man in the prime of his years, and of Parentage as we heard; but how he came to wear the Crown, aspiring or by free choise, is not said. Certain enough it is, that his vertues, made him not less noble then his birth, in War undaunted, and unfoil'd; in peace tempring the aw of Magistracy with a naturall mildness, he raign'd about 12 years. In the mean while Kenric in a fight at Searesbirig, now Salsbury, kil'd and put to flight many of the Britans; and the fourth year after at Beranvirig, now Banbury, as some think, with Keaulin his son put them again to flight. Keaulin shortly after succeeded his father in the West-Saxons. And Alla descended also of Woden, but by another line, set up a second Kingdom in Deira, the South part of Northumberland, and held it 30 Years; while Adda, the son of Ida, and five more after him reign'd without other memory in Bernicia: and in Kent, Ethelbert the next year began. For Esca the son of Hengist had left Otha, and he Emeric to rule after him; both which without adding to their bounds, kept what they had in peace 53 years. But Ethelbert in length of reign equal'd both his progenitors, and as Beda counts, 3 years exceeded. Young at his first entrance, and unexperienc'd, he was the first raiser of civill Warr among the Saxons; claiming from the priority of time wherin Hengist took possession here, a kind of Right over the later Kingdomes; and thereupon was troublesom to their Confines: but by them twice defeated, he who but now thought to seem dreadful, became almost contemptible.146. For Keaulin and Cutha his Son, pursuing him into his own Territory, slew there in Battel,147. at Wibbandun, two of his Earls, Oslac and Cnebban. By this means the Britans, but chiefly by this Victory at Badon, for the space of 44 Years, ending in 571, receav'd no great Annoyance from the Saxons: But the Peace they enjoy'd, by ill using it, prov'd more destructive to them than Warr. For being rais'd on a sudden by two such eminent Successes, from the lowest condition of Thraldom, they whose Eyes had beheld both those Deliverances, that by Ambrose, and this at Badon, were taught by thir experience of either Fortune, both Kings, Magistrates, Priests, and private Men, to live orderly.148. But when the next Age, unacquainted with past Evils, and only sensible of thir present ease and quiet, succeeded, straight follow'd the apparent subversion of all Truth, and Justice, in the minds of most Men: scarce the least footstep, or impression of Goodness left remaining through all Ranks and Degrees in the Land; except in som so very few, as to be hardly visible in a general Corruption: which grew in short space not only manifest, but odious to all the Neighbour Nations. And first thir Kings, among whom also the Sons or Grand-children of Ambrose, were foully degenerated to all Tyranny and vicious Life. wherof to hear som Particulars out of Gildas, will not be impertinent. They avenge, saith he, and they protect; not the Innocent, but the Guilty: They swear oft, but perjure; they wage Warr, but civil andunjust Warr. They punish rigorously them that rob by the High-way; but those Grand Robbers that fit with them at Table, they honour and reward. They give Alms largely, but in the face of thir Alms deeds, pile up Wickedness to a farr higher heap. They sit in the Seat of Judgment, but go seldom by the Rule of Right; neglecting and proudly overlooking the modest and harmless, but countenancing the audacious, though guilty of abominablest Crimes; they stuff their Prisons, but with Men committed rather by Circumvention than any just Cause. Nothing better were the Clergy, but at the same pass, or rather worse than when the Saxons came first in; unlearned, unapprehensive, yet impudent; subtle Prowlers, Pastors in Name, but indeed Wolves; intent upon all occasions, not to feed the Flock, but to pamper and well-line themselves: not call'd but seizing on the Ministry as a Trade not as a spiritual Charge; teaching the People not by sound Doctrine, but by evil Example; usurping the Chair of Peace, but through the blindness of their own worldly Lusts, they stumble upon the Seat of Judas; deadly haters of Truth, broachers of Lyes; looking on the poor Christian with eyes of Pride and Contempt; but fawning on the wickedest rich Men without shame: great promoters of other mens Alms, with thir set Exhortations; but themselves contributing ever least: slightly touching the many Vices of the Age, but preaching without end thir own Grievances, as done to Christ; seeking after Preferments and Degrees in the Church, more than after Heaven; and so gain'd, make it thir whole study how to keep them by any Tyranny. Yet lest they should be thought things of no use in thir eminent Places, they have thir Niceties and trivial Points to keep in awe the superstitious Multitude; but in true saving Knowledge leave them still as gross and stupid as themselves; bunglers at the Scripture, nay, forbidding and silencing them that know; but in worldly Matters, practis'd and cunning Shifters; in that only Art and Simony, great Clerks and Masters, bearing thir heads high, but thir thoughts abject and low. He taxes them also as gluttonous, incontinent, and daily Drunkards. And what shouldst thou expect from these, poor Laity, so he goes on, these Beasts, all Belly? Shall these amend thee, who are themselves laborious in evil doings? Shalt thou see with thir eyes, who see right forward nothing but Gain? Leave them rather, as bids our Saviour, lest ye fall both blindfold into the same Perdition. Are all thus? Perhaps not all, or not so grosly. But what avail'd it Eli to be himself blameless, while he conniv'd at others that were abominable? Who of them hath bin envy'd for his better Life? Who of them hath hated to consort with these, or withstood thir entring the Ministry, or endeavour'd zealously thir casting out? Yet som of these perhaps by others are legended for great Saints. This was the state of Government, this of Religion among the Britans, in that long calm of Peace, which the fight at Badon Hill had brought forth. Wherby it came to pass, that so faire a Victory came to nothing. Towns and Cities were not reinhabited, but lay rein'd and waste; nor was it long ere Domestic Warr breaking out, wasted them more. For Britain, as at other times, had then also several Kings:149. Five of whom Gildas, living then in Armorica at a safe distance, boldly reproves by name: First Constantine (fabled Son of Cador, Duke of Cornwal, Arthur's Half-Brother, by the Mother's side) who then reign'd in Cornwal and Devon, a tyrannical and bloodie King, polluted also with many Adulteries: He got into his power two young Princes of the Blood Royal, uncertaine whether before him in right, or otherwise suspected; and after solemn Oath giv'n of their Safety the Year that Gildas wrote, slew them with thir two Governors in the Church, and in thir Mother's Arms, through the Abbot's Cope which he had thrown over them, thinking by the reverence of his Vesture to have withheld the Murderer. These are commonly suppos'd to be the Sons of Mordred, Arthur's Nephew, said to have revolted from his Uncle, giv'n him in a Battel his Death's Wound, and by him after to have bin slain. Which things, were they but true, would much diminish the blame of crueltie in Constantine, revenging Arthur on the Sons of so false a Mordred. In another part, but not express'd where, Aurelius Conanus was King: him he charges also with Adulteries, and Parricide; Cruelties worse than the former; to be a hater of his Countries Peace, thirsting after Civil Warr and Prey. His Condition, it seems, was not very prosperous, for Gildas wishes him, being now left alone, like a Tree withering in the midst of a barren Field, to remember the Vanity and Arrogance of his Father, and elder Brethren, who came all in untimely Death in thir Youth. The third reigning in Demetia, or South Wales, was Vortipor, the Son of a good Father; he was, when Gildas wrote, grown old, not in Years only, but in Adulteries; and in governing, full of falshood and cruel Actions. In his latter daies, putting away his Wife, who died in Divorce, he became, if we mistake not Gildas, incestuous with his Daughter. The fourth was Cuneglas, imbru'd in Civil Warr; he also had divorc'd his Wife, and tak'n her Sister, who had vow'd Widowhood: he was a great Enemie to the Clergy, high-minded, and trusting to his Wealth. The last, but greatest of all in Power, was Maglocune, and greatest also in Wickedness: he had driven out, or slain, many other Kings or Tyrants, and was call'd the Iland Dragon, perhaps having his Seat in Anglesey; a profuse Giver, a great Warrior, and of a goodly stature. While he was yet young, he overthrew his Uncle, though in the head of a compleat Army, and took from him the Kingdome: Then touch'd with remorse of his doings, not without deliberation, took upon him the profession of a Monk; but soon forsook his Vow, and his Wife also; which for that Vow he had left, making love to the Wife of his Brother's Son then living. Who not refusing the Offer, if she were not rather the first that entic'd, found means both to dispatch her own Husband, and the former Wife of Maglocune, to make her Marriage with him the more unquestionable. Neither did he this for want of better Instructions, having had the learnedest and wisest Man, reputed of all Britain, the instituter of his Youth. Thus much, the utmost that can be learnt by truer story, of what past among the Britans from the time of thir useless Victory at Badon, to the time that Gildas wrote, that is to say, as may be guess'd, from 527 to 571, is heer set down altogether; not to be reduc'd under any certainty of Years.150. But now the Saxons, who for the most part all this while had bin still, unless among themselves, began afresh to assault them, and ere long to drive them out of all which they yet maintain'd on this side Wales. For Cuthulf, the Brother of Keaulin,151. by a Victory obtain'd at Bedanford, now Bedford, took from them four good Towns Liganburgh, Eglesburgh, Bensington now Benson in Oxfordshire, and Ignesham;152. but outliv'd not many months his good Success. And after six years more,153. Keaulin, and Cuthwin his Son, gave them a great overthrow at Deorrham in Gloucestershire, slew three of thir Kings, Comail, Condidan, and Farinmaile; and took three of thir chief Cities, Gloucester, Cirencester, and Badencester.154. The Britans notwithstanding, after som space of time, judging to have out-grown thir Losses, gather to a head and encounter Keaulin, with Cutha his Son, at Fethanleage; whom valiantly fighting, they slew among the thickest, and, as is said, forc'd the Saxons to retire. 155. But Keaulin reinforcing the Fight, put them to a main rout; and following his Advantage, took many Towns, and return'd laden with rich Bounty.
The last of those Saxons, who rais'd thir own Atchievements to a Monarchie, was Crida, much about this time, first Founder of the Mercian Kingdome, drawing also his Pedigree from Woden.157. Of whom all to write the several Genealogies,158. though it might be done without long search, were in my opinion to encumber the story with a sort of barbarous Names, to little purpose.159. This may suffice that of Woden's three Sons, from the eldest issu'd Hengist, and his Succession; from the second, the Kings of Mercia;160. from the third, all that reign'd in West-Saxony, and most of the Northumbers, of whom Alla was one, the first King of Deira; which, after his Death, the Race of Ida seis'd, and made it one Kingdome with Bernicia,161. usurping on the Childhood of Edwin, Alla's Son: whom Ethelric the Son of Ida expell'd.162. Notwithstanding others write of him, that from a poor Life, and beyond hope in his old Age, coming to the Crown, he could hardly, by the Access of a Kingdome, have overcome his former obscurity, had not the Fame of his Son preserv'd him.163 Once more the Britans, ere they quitted all on this side the Mountains, forgot not to shew some Manhood;164. for meeting Keaulin at Woden's Beorth, that is to say at Woden's Mount in Wiltshire;165. whether it were by thir own Forces, or assisted by the Angles,166. whose hatred Keaulin had incur'd,167. they ruin'd his whole Army, and chas'd him out of his Kingdome;168. from whence flying, he died the next year in poverty,169. who a little before was the most potent, and indeed sole King of all the Saxons on this side Humber.170. But who was chief among the Britans in this Exploit, had bin worth remembring, whether it were Maglocune, of whose Prowess hath bin spoken, or Teudric King of Glamorgan, whom the Regest of Landaff recounts to have bin always victorious in fight; to have reign'd about this time, and at length to have exchang'd his Crown for an Hermitage; till in the aid of his Son Mouric, whom the Saxons had reduc'd to extremes, taking Arms again, he defeated them at Tinterne by the River Wye; but himself receav'd a mortal Wound. The same Year with Keaulin, whom Keola the Son of Cuthulf, Keaulin's Brother, succeeded, Crida also the Mercian King deceas'd, in whose room Wibba succeeded;171. and in Northumberland, Ethelfrid, in the room of Ethelric, reigning 24 Years. Thus omitting Fables, we have the view of what with reason can be rely'd on for truth, done in Britain since the Romans forsook it. wherin we have heard the many Miseries and Desolations brought by Divine Hand on a perverse Nation; driven, when nothing else would reform them, out of a faire Country, into a mountainous and barren Corner, by Strangers and Pagans. So much more tolerable in the eye of Heaven is Infidelity profest, than Christian Faith and Religion dishonour'd by unchristian Works. Yet they also at length renounc'd thir Heathenism; which how it came to pass, will be the matter next related.The End of the Third Book.
THE FOURTH BOOK
The Saxons grown up now to seven absolute Kingdomes, and the latest of them establish'd by Succession, finding thir Power arrive well nigh at the utmost of what was to be gain'd upon the Britans, and as little fearing to be displanted by them, had time now to survey at leisure one another's Greatness. Which quickly bred among them either Envy or mutual Jealousies; till the West Kingdome at length grown over-powerfull, put an end to all the rest.1. Mean while, above others, Ethelbert of Kent, who by this time had well ripen'd his young Ambition, with more Ability of Years and Experience in Warr, what before he attempted to his loss, now successfully attains; and by degrees brought all the other Monarchies between Kent and Humber to be at his devotion. To which design the Kingdome of West Saxons, being the firmest of them all, at that time sore shaken by thir overthrow at Wodens-beorth, and the Death of Keaulin, gave him, no doubt, a main advantage; the rest yeilded not Subjection, but as he earn'd it by continual Victories.2. And to win him the more regard abroad, he marries Bertha the French King's Daughter, though a Christian, and with this condition, to have the free exercise of her Faith, under the Care and Instruction of Letardus a Bishop, sent by her Parents along with her; the King notwithstanding and his People retaining thir old Religion.3. Beda out of Gildas lays it sadly to the Britans charge, that they never would vouchsafe their Saxon Neighbours the means of Conversion;4. but how farr to blame they were, and what hope there was of converting in the midst of so much Hostility, at least falshood, from thir first Arrival, is not now easy to determine.5. Howbeit not long after they had the Christian Faith preach't to them by a more remote, and (as report went, accounted old in Beda's time) upon this occasion.
The Northumbrians had a Custom at that time, and many hundred years after not abolish'd, to sell their Children for a small value into any foreign Land. Of which number two comely Youths were brought to Rome, whose faire and honest Countenances invited Gregory Arch-deacon of that City, among others that beheld them, pitying thir condition, to demand whence they were; it was answer'd by som who stood by, that they were Angli of the Province Deira, Subjects to Alla King of Northumberland; and by Religion, Pagans. Which last Gregory deploring, fram'd on a sudden this allusion to the three names he heard; that the Angli so like to Angels should be snatch'd de ira, that is, from the Wrath of God, to sing Hallelujah: and forthwith obtaining Licence of Benedict the Pope, had come and preach't heer among them, had not the Roman People, whose Love endur'd not the Absence of so vigilant a Pastor over them, recall'd him then on his Journey, though but deferr'd his pious Intention.6. For a while after, succeeding in the Papal Seat, and now in his fourth Year, admonish'd, saith Beda, by divine Instinct, he sent Augustine, whom he had design'd for Bishop of the English Nation, and other zealous Monks with him, to preach to them the Gospel. Who being now on thir way, discourag'd by som Reports, or thir own carnal fear, sent back Austin, in the name of all, to beseech Gregory they might return home, and not be sent a Journey so full of hazard, to a fierce and infidel Nation, whose Tongue they understood not. Gregory with pious and Apostolic Persuasions exhorts them not to shrink back from so good a Work, but cheerfully to go on in the Strength of Divine Assistance. The Letter itself yet extant among our Writers of Ecclesiastic Story, I omit here, as not professing to relate of those matters more than what mixes aptly with civil Affairs. The Abbott Austin, for so he was ordain'd over the rest, re-incourag'd by the Exhortations of Gregory, and his Fellows by the Letter which he brought them, came safe to the Ile of Tanet,7. in number about 40, besides some of the French Nation whom they took along as Interpreters. Ethelbert the King, to whom Austin at his landing had sent a new and wondrous Message, that he came from Rome to proffer Heaven and eternal Happiness in the knowledge of another God than the Saxons knew, appoints them to remain where they landed, and Necessaries to be provided them, consulting in the mean time what was to be done. And after certain daies coming into the Iland, chose a place to meet them under the open Sky, Kent with an old persuasion, that all Spells, if they should use any to deceive him, so it were not within doors, would be unavailable. They on the other side call'd to his presence, advancing for thir Standard a silver Cross, and the painted Image of our Saviour, came slowly forward, singing thir solemn Litanies: which wrought in Ethelbert more suspicion perhaps that they us'd Enchantments; till sitting down as the King will'd them, they there preach't to him and all in that Assembly, the tydings of Salvation. Whom having heard attentively, the King thus answer'd: faire indeed and ample are the Promises which ye bring, and such things as have the appearance in them of much good; yet such as being new and uncertaine, I cannot hastily assent to, quitting the Religion which from my Ancestors, with all the English Nation, so many years I have retain'd. Nevertheless because ye are Strangers, and have endur'd so long a Journey, to impart us the knowledge of things, which I persuade me you believe to be the truest and the best, ye may be sure, we shall not recompence you with any Molestation, but shall provide rather how we may friendliest entertain ye; nor do we forbid whom ye can by preaching gain to your Belief. And accordingly thir Residence he allotted them in Doverne or Canterbury his chief City, and made provision for thir maintenance, with free leave to preach their Doctrine where they pleased. By which, and by the example of thir holy Life, spent in Prayer, Fasting, and continual labour in the Conversion of Souls, they won many; on whose Bounty and the King's, receiving only what was necessary, they subsisted. There stood without the City on the East-side, an ancient Church built in honour of St. Martin, while yet the Romans remained here: in which Bertha the Queen went out usually to pray:8. heer they also began first to preach, baptize, and openly to exercise Divine Worship. But when the King himself, convinc't by their good Life and Miracles, became Christian, and was baptized, which came to pass in the very first Year of thir Arrival, then multitudes daily, conforming to thir Prince, thought it honour to be reckon'd among those of his Faith. To whom Ethelbert indeed principally shewed his favour, but compell'd none.9. For so he had bin taught by them who were both the Instructors and the Authors of his Faith, that Christian Religion ought to be voluntary, not compell'd. About this time Kelwulf the Son of Cutha, Keaulin's Brother, reign'd over the West-Saxons, after his Brother Keola or Kelric,10. and had continual Warr either with English, Welch, Picts, or Scots.11. But Austin, whom with his Fellows, Ethelbert now had endow'd with a better place for thir Abode in the City,12. and other Possessions necessary to Livelihood,13. crossing into France, was by the Archbishop of Arles, at the appointment of Pope Gregory, ordain'd Archbishop of the English; and returning, sent to Rome Laurence and Peter, two of his Associates, to acquaint the Pope of his good Success in England, and to be resolv'd of certain Theological, or rather Levitical Questions: with Answers to which, not proper in this place, Gregory sends also to the great Work of Converting, that went on so happily, a Supply of labourers, Mellitus, Justus, Paulinus, Rufinian, and many others; who what they were, may be guess'd by the stuff which they brought with them, Vessels and Vestments for the Altar, Copes, reliques, and for the Archbishop Austin a Pall to say Mass in: to such a rank Superstition that Age was grown, though som of them yet retaining an Emulation of Apostolic Zeal. Lastly, to Ethelbert they brought a Letter with many Presents. Austin thus exalted to Archiepiscopal Authority, recover'd from the Ruins and other prophane Uses, a Christian Church in Canterbury built of old by the Romans, which he dedicated by the name of Christ's Church, and joining to it built a Seat for himself and his Successors; a Monastary also neer the City Eastward, where Ethelbert at his motion built St. Peter's, and enrich'd it with great Endowments, to be a place of Burial for the Archbishops and Kings of Kent: so quickly they stept up into Fellowship of Pomp with Kings.14. While thus Ethelbert and his People had thir Minds intent, Ethelfrid the Northumbrian King was not less busied in farr different Affairs: for being altogether warlike, and covetous of Fame, he more wasted the Britans than any Saxon King before him; winning from them large Territories, which either he made tributary, or planted with his own Subjects.15. Whence Edan King of those Scots that dwelt in Britain, jealous of his Successes, came against him with a mighty Army, to a place call'd Degsastan; but in the fight loosing most of his Men, himself with a few escap'd: only Theobald the King's Brother, and the whole Wing which he commanded, unfortunately cut off, made the Victory to Ethelfrid less intire. Yet from that time no King of Scots in hostile manner durst pass into Britain for a hundred and more Years after: and what som Years before Kelwulf the West-Saxon is annal'd to have done against the Scots and Picts, passing through the Land of Ethelfrid a King so potent, unless in his Aid and Alliance, is not likely. Buchanan writes as if Ethelfrid, assisted by Keaulin whom he mis-titles King of East- Saxons, had before this time a Battel with Aidan, wherin Cutha, Keaulin's Son, was slain. But Cutha, as is above-writt'n from better Authority, was slain in fight against the Welch 20 years before.16. The number of Christians began now to increase so fast,17. that Augustin ordaining Bishops under him, two of his Assistants Mellitus and Justus, sent them out both to the Work of thir Ministry. And Mellitus by preaching converted the East-Saxons, over whom Sebert the Son of Sleda, by permission of Ethelbert, being born of his Sister Ricula, then reign'd. Whose Conversion Ethelbert to gratulate, built them the great Church of St. Paul in London to be thir Bishop's Cathedral; as Justus also had his built at Rochester, and both gifted by the same King with faire Possessions. Hitherto Austin labour'd well among Infidels, but not with like Commendation soon after among Christians. For by means of Ethelbert summoning the Britain Bishops to a place on the edge of Worcestershire, call'd from that time Augustin's Oak, he requires them to conform with him in the same day of celebrating Easter, and many other points wherin they differ'd from the Rites of Rome: which when they refus'd to do, not prevailing by Dispute, he appeals to a Miracle, restoring to sight a blind Man whom the Britans could not cure. At this something mov'd, though not minded to recede from thir own Opinions without furder Consultation, they request a second meeting: to which came seven Britain Bishops, with many other learned Men, especially from the famous Monastery of Bangor, in which were said to be so many Monks, living all by thir own labour, that being divided under seven Rectors, none had fewer than 300. One Man there was who staid behind, a Hermit by the Life he led, who by his Wisdom effected more than all the rest, who went: being demanded, for they held him as an Oracle, how they might know Austin to be a Man from God, that they might follow him, he answer'd, that if they found him meek and humble, they should be taught by him, for it was likeliest to be the Yoke of Christ, both what he bore himself, and would have them bear; but if he bore himself proudly, that they should not regard him, for he was then certainly not of God. They took his Advice, and hasted to the place of meeting. Whom Austin, being alreadie there before them, neither arose to meet, nor receav'd in any brotherly sort, but sat all the while pontifically in his Chair. Wherat the Britans, as they were counsel'd by the holy Man, neglected him, and neither hearken'd to his Proposals of Conformity, nor would acknowledge him for an Archbishop: And in name of the rest, Dinothus, then Abbot of Bangor, is said thus sagely to have answer'd him:18. As to the Subjection which you require, be thus persuaded of us, that in the bond of Love and Charity we are all Subjects and Servants to the Church of God, yea to the Pope of Rome, and every good Christian to help them forward, both by Word and Deed, to be the Children of God: other obedience than this we know not to be due to him whom you term the Pope; and this Obedience we are readie to give both to him and to every Christian continually. Besides, we are govern'd under God by the Bishop of Caerleon, who is to oversee us in spiritual matters. To which Austin thus presaging, som say menacing, replies, Since ye refuse to accept of Peace with your Brethren, ye shall have Warr from your Enemies; and since ye will not with us preach the Word of Life to whom ye ought, from thir hands ye shall receive Death. This, though Writers agree not whether Austin spake it as his Prophecy, or as his Plot against the Britans, fell out accordingly. For many years were not past,19. when Ethelfrid whether of his own accord, or at the request of Ethelbert, incens'd by Austin, with a powerfull Host came to Westchester, than Caer-legion.20. Where being met by the British Forces,21. and both sides in readiness to give the onset, he discerns a Company of Men, not habited for Warr, standing together in a place of som safety; and by them a Squadron arm'd. Whom having learnt upon some enquiry to be Priests and Monks, assembled thither after three daies fasting, to pray for the good Success of thir Forces against him, therefore they first, saith he, shall feel our Swords; for they who pray against us, fight heaviest against us by thir praiers, and are our dangerousest Enemies. And with that turns his first Charge upon the Monks: Brocmail the Captain set to guard them, quickly turns his back, and leaves above 1200 Monks to a sudden Massacre, wherof scarce fifty escap'd. But not so easy work found Ethelfrid against another part of Britans that stood in Arms, whom though at last he overthrew, yet with Slaughter nigh as great to his own Souldiers. To excuse Austin of this Bloodshed, lest som might think it his revengeful Policie, Beda writes that he was dead long before, although if the time of his sitting Archbishop be right computed sixteen years, he must survive this Action.22. Other just ground of charging him with this Imputation appears not, save what evidently we have from Geoffrey Monmouth, whose weight we know. The same year23. Kelwulf made Warr on the South-Saxons, bloodie, saith Huntingdon, to both sides, but most to them of the South: and four years after dying,24. left the Government of West-Saxons to Kinegils and Cuichelm, the Sons of his Brother Keola.25. Others, as Florent of Worcester, and Matthew of Westminster, will have Cuichelm Son of Kinegils, but admitted to reign with his Father, in whose third year26. they are recorded with joint Forces or Conduct to have fought against the Britans in Beandune,27. now Bindon in Dorsetshire, and to have slain of them above two thousand. More memorable was the second year following,28. by the Death of Ethelbert the first Christian King of Saxons,29. and no less a favourer of all Civilitie in that rude Age. He gave Laws and Statutes after the example of Roman Emperors, writt'n with the Advice of his sagest Counsellors, but in the English Tongue, and observ'd long after. wherin his special care was to punish those who had stolen aught from Church or Churchman, therby shewing how gratefully he receav'd at thir hands the Christian Faith. Which, he no sooner dead, but his Son Eadbald took the course as fast to extinguish; not only falling back to Heathenism, but that which Heathenism was wont to abhor, marrying his Father's second Wife. Then soon was perceiv'd what multitudes for fear or countenance of the King had profess'd Christianity, returning now as eagerly to thir old Religion. Nor staid the Apostacy within one Province, but quickly spread over to the East- Saxons; occasion'd there likewise, or set forward by the Death of their Christian King Sebert: whose three Sons, of whom two are nam'd Sexted and Seward,30. neither in his life-time would be brought to Baptism, and after his Decease re-establish'd the free Exercise of Idolatry; nor so content, they set themselves in despight to do som open Profanation against the other Sacrament. Coming therefore into the Church where Mellitus the Bishop was ministring, they requir'd him in abuse and scorn to deliver to them unbaptiz'd the consecrated Bread; and him refusing, drove disgracefully out of thir Dominion. Who cross'd forthwith into Kent, where things were in the same plight, and thence into France, with Justus Bishop of Rochester. But Divine Vengeance defer'd not long the punishment of Men so impious; for Eadbald, vext with an evil Spirit, fell often into fouls fits of Distraction; and the Sons of Sebert, in a Fight against the West-Saxons, perish'd with thir whole Army. But Eadbald, within the year, by an extraordinary means became penitent. For when Laurence the Archbishop and Successor of Austin was preparing to ship for France, after Justus and Mellitus, the story goes, if it be worth believing, that St. Peter, in whose Church he spent the Night before in watching and praying, appear'd to him, and to make the Vision more sensible, gave him many stripes for offering to desert his Flock; at sight wherof the King (to whom next Morning he shew'd the marks of what he had suffer'd, by whom and for what cause) relenting and in great fear, dissolv'd his incestuous Marriage, and apply'd himself to the Christian Faith more sincerely than before, with all his People. But the Londoners addicted still to Paganism, would not be persuaded to receive again Mellitus thir Bishop, and to compel them was not in his power. Thus much through all the South was troubled in Religion,31. as much were the North-parts disquieted through Ambition. For Ethelfrid of Bernicia, as was touch'd before, having thrown Edwin out of Deira, and join'd that Kingdome to his own, not content to have bereav'd him of his Right, whose known virtues and high parts gave cause of suspicion to his Enemies, sends Messengers to demand him of Redwald King of East-Angles; under whose Protection, after many years wandering obscurely through all the Iland, he had plac'd his safety. Redwald, though having promis'd all defence to Edwin as to his suppliant, yet tempted with continual and large offers of Gold, and not contemning the puissance of Ethelfrid, yeilded at length, either to dispatch him, or to give him into their hands: but earnestly exhorted by his Wife, not to betray the Faith and inviolable Law of Hospitality and Refuge giv'n,32. prefers his first promise as the more religious; nor only refuses to deliver him, but since Warr was thereupon denounc'd, determines to be beforehand with the danger; and with a sudden Army rais'd, surprises Ethelfrid, little dreaming an Invasion, and in a Fight neer to the East-side of the River Idle, on the Mercian border, now Nottinghamshire, slays him,33. dissipating easily those few Forces which he had got to march out over- hastily with him; who yet as a testimony of his Fortune, not his valour to be blam'd, slew first with his own hands, Reiner the King's Son. His two Sons Oswald and Oswi, by Acca, Edwin's Sister, escap'd into Scotland. By this Victory Redwald became so farr superior to the other Saxon Kings, that Beda reckons him the next after Ella and Ethelbert; who besides this Conquest of the North, had likewise all on the hither side Humber at his obedience.34. He had formerly in Kent receav'd Baptism, but coming home, and persuaded by his Wife, who still it seems was his chief Counsellor to good or bad alike, relaps'd into his old Religion: yet not willing to forgo his new, thought it not the worst way, lest perhaps he might err in either, for more assurance to keep them both; and in the same Temple erected one Altar to Christ, another to his Idols. But Edwin, as with more deliberation he undertook, and with more sincerity retain'd the Christian Profession, so also in Power and extent of Dominion farr exceeded all before him; subduing all, saith Beda, English or British, even to the Iles, then call'd Mevanian, Anglesey, and Man; settled in his Kingdome by Redwald, he sought in marriage Edelburga, whom others call Tate, the Daughter of Ethelbert. To whose Embassadors Eadbald her Brother made answer, that to wed their Daughter to a Pagan, was not the Christian Law. Edwin reply'd, that to her Religion he would be no hindrance, which with her whole Houshold she might freely exercise. And moreover, that if examin'd it were found the better, he would embrace it. These ingenuous offers, opening so faire a way to advancement of Truth, are accepted, and Paulinus as a spiritual Guardian sent along with the Virgin.35. He being to that purpose made Bishop by Justus, omitted no occasion to plant the Gospel in those parts, but with small success, till the next year, Cuichelm, at that time one of the two West-Saxon Kings,36. envious of the greatness which he saw Edwin growing up to, sent privily Eumerus a hir'd Sword-man to assasin him; who under pretence of doing a message from his Master, with a poison'd Weapon, stabs at Edwin, conferring with him in his House, by the River Derwent in Yorkshire, on an Easter-day; which Lilla one of the King's Attendants, at the instant perceiving, with a Loyalty that stood not then to deliberate, abandon'd his whole Body to the blow; which not withstanding made passage through to the King's person, with a wound not to be slighted. The murderer encompass'd now with Swords, and desperate, fore-revenges his own fall with the Death of another, whom his Poniard reach't home. Paulinus omitting no opportunity to win the King from misbelief, obtain'd at length this promise from him; that if Christ, whom he so magnify'd, would give him to recover of his wound, and Victory of his Enemies who had thus assaulted him, he would then become Christian, in pledge wherof he gave his young Daughter Eanfled, to be bred up in Religion; who with 12 others of his Family, on the day of Pentecost was baptiz'd. And by that time well recover'd of his wound, to punish the Authors of so foul a Fact, he went with an Army against the West-Saxons: whom having quell'd by Warr, and of such as had conspir'd against him, put som to death, others pardon'd, he return'd home victorious, and from that time worship'd no more his Idols, yet ventur'd not rashly into Baptism, but first took care to be instructed rightly what he learnt, examining and still considering with himself and others, whom he held wisest; though Boniface the Pope, by large Letters of Exhortation both to him and his Queen, was not wanting to quicken his belief. But while he still defer'd, and his deferring might seem now to have pass'd the maturity of Wisdom to a faulty lingring, Paulinus by Revelation, as was believ'd, coming to the knowledge of a Secret, which befel him strangely in the time of his troubles, on a certain day went in boldly to him, and laying his right hand on the head of the King, ask'd him if he remember'd what that sign meant; the King trembling, and in a maze rising up, streight fell at his feet. Behold, saith Paulinus, raising him from the ground, God hath deliverd you from your Enemies, and giv'n you the Kingdome as you desir'd: perform now what long since you promis'd him, to receive his Doctrine, which I now bring you, and the Faith, which if you accept, shall to your temporal Felicity, add eternal. The Promise claim'd of him by Paulinus, how and wherfore made, though favouring much of Legend, is thus related. Redwald, as we heard before, dazl'd with the Gold of Ethelfrid, or by his threatning over- aw'd, having promis'd to yeild up Edwin, one of his faithfull Companions, of which he had som few with him in the Court of Redwald, that never shrunk from his Adversity, about the first hour of night comes in haste to his Chamber, and calling him forth for better secrecy, reveals to him his danger, offers him his aid to make escape; but that course not approv'd, as seeming dishonourable without more manifest cause to begin distrust towards one who had so long bin his only refuge, the friend departs. Edwin left alone without the Palace-Gate, full of sadness and perplext Thoughts, discerns about the dead of Night, a man neither by Countenance nor by Habit to him known, approaching towards him. Who after salutation, ask'd him why at this hour, when all others were at rest, he alone so sadly sat waking on a cold stone? Edwin not a little misdoubting who he might be, ask'd him again, what his sitting within doors, or without, concern'd him to know? To whom he again, Think not that who thou art, or why sitting here, or what danger hangs over thee, is to me unknown: But what would you promise to that man, who ever would befriend you out of all these troubles, and persuade Redwald to the like? All that I am able, answer'd Edwin. And he, what if the same man should promise to make you greater than any English King hath bin before you? I should not doubt, quoth Edwin, to be answerably grateful. And what if to all this he would inform you, said the other, in a way to Happiness, beyond what any of your Ancestors hath known? Would you hearken to his Counsel? Edwin without stopping promis'd he would. And the other laying his right hand on Edwin's Head, When this Sign, saith he, shall next befal thee, remember this time of Night, and this Discourse, to perform what thou hast promis'd; and with these words disappearing, he left Edwin much reviv'd; but not less fill'd with wonder, who this unknown should be. When suddenly the Friend who had bin gone all this while to listen furder what was like to be decreed of Edwin, comes back and joyfully bids him rise to his repose, for that the King's mind, though for a while drawn aside, was now fully resolv'd not only not to betray him, but to defend him against all Enemies, as he had promis'd. This was said to be the cause why Edwin adminish'd by the Bishop of a Sign which had befallen him so strangely, and as he thought so secretly, arose to him with that reverence and amazement, as to one sent from Heaven, to claim that Promise of him which he perceiv'd well was due to a Divine Power, that had assisted him in his Troubles. To Paulinus therefore he makes answer, that the Christian Belief he himself ought by promise, and intended to receive; but would confer first with his chief Peers and Counsellors, that if they likewise could be won, all at once might be baptiz'd. They therefore being ask'd in Council what thir opinion was concerning the new Doctrine, and well perceiving what way the King inclin'd, every one therafter shape'd his Reply. The Chief Priest speaking first, discover'd an old grudge he had against his Gods, for advancing others in the King's favour above him thir Chief Priest: another hiding his Court-compliance with a grave Sentence, commended the choice of certain before uncertaine, upon due examination; to like purpose answer'd all the rest of his Sages, none openly dissenting from what was likely to the King's Creed: wheras the Preaching of Paulinus could work no such effect upon them, toiling till that time without success. Wherupon Edwin renouncing Heathenism, became Christian: and the Pagan Priest offering himself freely to demolish the Altars of his former Gods, made som amends for his teaching to adore them. With Edwin, his two Sons Osfrid and Eanfrid, born to him by Quenburga,37. Daughter, as saith Beda, of Kearle King of Mercia, in the time of his Banishment, and with them most of the People, both Nobles and Commons, easily converted, were baptiz'd; he with his whole Family at York, in a Church hastily built up of Wood, the multitude most part in Rivers. Northumberland thus christen'd, Paulinus crossing Humber, converted also the Province of Lindsey, and Blecca the Governour of Lincoln, with his Houshold and most of that City; wherin he built a Church of Stone, curiously wrought, but of small continuance; for the Roof in Beda's time, uncertaine whether by Neglect or Enemies, was down; the Walls only standing. Mean while in Mercia, Kearle a Kinsman of Wibba, saith Huntingdon, not a Son, having long withheld the Kingdome from Penda Wibba's Son, left it now at length to the fiftieth Year of his Age: with whom Kinegils and Cuichelm, the West-Saxon Kings, two years after,38. having by that time it seems recover'd Strength, since the Inroad made upon them by Edwin,39. fought at Cirencester, then made Truce. But Edwin seeking every way to propagate the Faith, which with so much deliberation he had receav'd, persuaded Eorpwald the Son of Redwald, King of East-Angles, to embrace the same belief;40. willingly or in awe, is not known, retaining under Edwin the name only of a King.41. But Eorpwald not long surviv'd his Conversion, slain in fight by Ricbert a Pagan:42. wherby the People having lightly follow'd the Religion of thir King, as lightly fell back to thir old Superstitions for above three Years after: Edwin in the mean while, to his Faith adding Virtue, by the due Administration of Justice wrought such Peace over all his Territories, that from Sea to Sea, Man or Woman might have travelled in safety. His care also was of Fountains by the way side, to make them fittest for the use of Travellers. And not unmindful of regal State, whether in Warr or in Peace, he had a Royal Banner carried before him. But having reign'd with much honour seventeen years, he was at length by Kedwallay or Cadwallon, King of the Britans, who with aid of the Mercian Penda had rebell'd against him, slain in a Battel with his Son Osfrid, at a place call'd Hethfield, and his whole Army overthrown or disperst in the Year 633,43. and the 47th of his Age, in the eye of Man worthy a more peaceful end. His Head brought to York was there buried in the Church by him begun. Sad was this overthrow, both to Church and State of the Northumbrians: for Penda being a Heathen, and the British King, though in name a Christian, but in deeds more bloodie than the Pagan, nothing was omitted of barbarous crueltie in the Slaughter of Sex or Age; Kedwalla threatning to root out the whole Nation, though then newly Christian. For the Britans, and as Beda saith, even to his daies, accounted Saxon Christianity no better than Paganism, and with them held as little Communion. From these Calamitites no refuge being left but flight, Paulinus taking with him Ethilburga the Queen and her Children, aided by Bassus, one of Edwin's Captains, made escape by Sea to Eadbald King of Kent: who receiving his Sister with all kindness, made Paulinus Bishop of Rochester, where he ended his daies. After Edwin, the Kingdome of Northumberland became divided as before, each rightful Heir seizing his part; in Deira Osric, the Son of Elfric, Edwin's Uncle, by profession a Christian, and baptiz'd by Paulinus: in Bernicia, Eanfrid the Son of Ethelfrid; who all the time of Edwin, with his Brother Oswald, and many of the young Nobility, liv'd in Scotland exil'd, and had bin there taught and baptiz'd. No sooner had they gotten each a Kingdome, but both turn'd recreant, sliding back into thir old Religion; and both were the same year slain; Osric by a sudden eruption of Kedwalla, whom he in a strong Town had unadvisedly besieg'd; Eanfrid seeking Peace, and inconsiderately with a few surrendering himself. Kedwalla now rang'd at will through both those Provinces, using cruelly his Conquest; when Oswald the Brother of Eanfrid with a small but Christian Army unexpectedly coming on,44. defected and destroyed both him and his huge Forces, which he boasted to be invincible, by a little River running into Tine, neer the ancient Roman Wall then call'd Denisburn, the place afterwards Heaven-field, from the Cross reported miraculous for Cures, which Oswald there erected before the Battel, in token of his Faith against the great number of his Enemies. Obtaining the Kingdome, he took care to instruct again the People in Christianity. Sending therefore to the Scotish Elders, Beda so terms them, among whom he had receav'd Baptism, requested of them som faithfull Teacher, who might again settle Religion in his Realm, which the late Troubles had much impair'd; they as readily hearkening to his Request, send Aidan, a Scotch Monk and Bishop, but of singular Zeal and Meekness, with others to assist him, whom at thir own desire he seated in Lindisfarne, as the Episcopal Seat, now Holy Iland: and being the Son of Ethelfrid, by the Sister of Edwin, as right Heir, others failing, easily reduc'd both Kingdome of Northumberland as before into one; nor of Edwin's Dominion lost any part, but enlarg'd it rather; over all the four British Nations, Angles, Britans, Picts and Scots, exercising regal Authority. Of his Devotion, Humility, and Alms-deeds, much is spoken; that he disdain'd not to be the Interpreter of Aidan, preaching in Scotch or English, to his Nobles and Houshold Servants; and had the Poor continually served at his Gate, after the promiscuous manner of those times: his meaning might be upright, but the manner more ancient of private or of Church-Contribution, is doubtless more Evangelical.45. About this time the West-Saxons, antiently call'd Gevissi, by the preaching of Berinus,46. a Bishop, whom Pope Honorius had sent, were converted to the Faith with Kinegils thir King: him Oswald receav'd out of the Font, and his Daughter in Marriage.47. The next Year Cuichelm was baptiz'd in Dorchester, but liv'd not to the year's end. The East- Angles also this year were reclaim'd to the Faith of Christ, which for som years past they had thrown off. But Sigbert the Brother of Eorpwald now succeeded in that Kingdome, prais'd for a most Christian and Learned Man: who while his Brother yet reign'd, living in France an Exile, for som displeasure conceiv'd against him by Redwald his Father, learn'd there the Christian Faith; and reigning soon after, in the same instructed his People, by the preaching of Felix a Burgundian Bishop.
In the year 640 Eadbald deceasing,48. left to Ercombert his Son by Emma the French King's Daughter, the Kingdome of Kent; recorded the first of English Kings, who commanded through his limits the destroying of Idols; laudably, if all Idols without exception; and the first to have establish'd Lent among us, under strict Penalty, not worth remembring, but only to inform us, that no Lent was observ'd heer till his time by compulsion:49. especially being noted by som to have fraudulently usurp'd upon his elder Brother Ermenred, whose right was precedent to the Crown. Oswald having reign'd eight years, worthy also as might seem of longer Life,50. fell into the same fate with Edwin, and from the same hand, in a great Battel overcome and slain by Penda,51. at a place call'd Maserfield, now Oswestre in Shropshire, miraculous, as saith Beda, after his Death.52. His Brother Oswi succeeded him; reigning, though in much trouble, 28 Years;53. oppos'd either by Penda, or his own Son Alfred, or his Brother's Son Ethilwald. Next Year Kinegils the West-Saxon dying, left his Son Kenwalk in his stead, though as yet unconverted.54. About this time Sigebert King of East-Angles having learnt in France, ere his coming to reign, the manner of thir Schools, with the Assistance of som Teachers out of Kent, instituted a School here after the same Discipline, thought to be the University of Cambridge, then first founded; and at length weary of his Kingly Office, betook him to a Monastical Life; commending the care of Government to his Kinsman Egric, who had sustain'd with him part of that Burden before. It happen'd som Years after, that Penda made Warr on the East- Angles: they expecting a sharp Encounter, besought Sigebert, whom they esteem'd an expert Leader, with his Presence to confirm the Soldiery; and his refusing, carried by force out of the Monastery into the Camp; where acting the Monk rather than the Captain, with a single Wand in his hand, he was slain with Egric, and his whole Army put to flight. Anna of the Royal Stock, as next in right, succeeded; and hath the Praise of a virtuous and most Christian Prince.55. But Kenwalk the West-Saxon having marry'd the Sister of Penda, and divorc'd her,56. was by him with more appearance of a just cause vanquish'd in Fight, and depriv'd of his Crown: whence retiring to Anna King of East-Angles, after three Years abode in his Court, he there became Christian, and afterwards regain'd his Kingdome.57. Oswi in the former Years of his Reign had sharer with him, Oswin Nephew of Edwin, who rul'd in Deira seven Years, commended much for his Zeal in Religion, and for Comeliness of Person, with other princely Qualities, belov'd of all. Notwithstanding which, Dissensions growing between them, it came to Arms. Oswin seeing himself much exceeded in numbers, thought it more Prudence, dismissing his Army, to reserve himself for som better occasion. But committing his Person with one faithfull Attendant to the Loyalty of Hunwald an Earl, his imagin'd Friend, he was by him treacherously discover'd, and by Command of Oswi slain.58. After whom within twelve daies, and for grief of him whose Death he foretold, died Bishop Aidan, famous for his Charity, Meekness, and labour in the Gospel.59. The Fact of Oswi was detestable to all; which therefore to expiate, a Monastery was built in the place where it was done, and praiers there daily offerd up for the Souls of both Kings, the slain and the Slayer. Kenwalk by this time re-install'd in his Kingdome, kept it long, but with various Fortune;60. for Beda relates him oft-times afflicted by his Enemies, with great Losses: and in 652, by the Annals,61. fought a Battel (Civil Warr Ethelwerd calls it) at Bradanford by the River Afene; against whom, and for what cause, or who had the Victory, they write not. Camden names the place Bradford in Wiltshire, by the River Avon, and Cuthred his neer Kinsman, against whom he fought, but cites no Authority; certain it is, that Kenwalk four Years before had giv'n large Possessions to his Nephew Cuthred, the most unlikely therefore now to have rebell'd.
The next Year Peada,62. whom his Father Penda, though a Heathen, had for his vertues made Prince of Middle-Angles, belonging to the Mercians, was with that People converted to the Faith. For coming to Oswi with request to have in marriage Alfleda his Daughter, he was deny'd her, but on condition, that he with all his People should receive Christianity. Hearing therefore not unwillingly what was preach't to him of Resurrection and Eternal Life, much persuaded also by Alfrid the King's Son, who had his Sister Kyniburg to Wife, he easily assented, for the Truth's sake only as he profess'd, whether he obtain'd the Virgin or no, and was baptiz'd with all his Followers. Returning, he took with him four Presbyters to teach the People of his Province; who by thir daily preaching won many. Neither did Penda, though himself no Beliver, prohibit any in his Kingdome to hear or believe the Gospel, but rather hated and despised those, who professing to believe, attested not thir Faith by good Works; condemning them for miserable and justly to be despis'd, who obey not that God in whom they choose to believe. How well might Penda, this Heathen, rise up in judgment against many pretended Christians, both of his own and these daies! yet being a Man bred up to Warr63. (as no less were others then reigning, and oft-times one against another, though both Christians)64. he warr'd on Anna King of the East-Angles, perhaps without cause, for Anna was esteem'd a just Man, and at length slew him. About this time the East-Saxons, who, as above hath bin said, had expell'd thir Bishop Mellitus, and renounc'd thir Faith, were by the means of Oswi thus reconverted. Sigebert, surnam'd the small, being the Son of Seward, without other memory of his Reign, left his Son King of that Province, after him Sigebert the Second; who coming often to visit Oswi his great Friend, was by him at seveal times fervently dissuaded from Idolatry, and convinc't at length to forsake it, was there baptiz'd; on his return home taking with him Kedda a laborious Preacher, afterwards made Bishop; by whose teaching, with som help of others, the People were again recover'd from Misbelief. But Sigebert som Years after, though standing fast in Religion, was by the Conspiracy of two Brethren, in place neer about him, wickedly murder'd; who being ask'd what mov'd them to a Deed so heinous, gave no other than this barbarous Answer; that they were angry with him for being so gentle to his Enemies, as to forgive them thir Injuries whenever they besought him. Yet his Death seems to have happen'd not without som cause by him giv'n of Divine Displeasure. For one of those Earls who slew him living in unlawfull Wedloc, and thefore excommunicated so severely by the Bishop, that no Man might presume to enter into his House, much less to sit at Meat with him, the King not regarding this Church-Censure, went to feast with him at his Invitation. Whom the Bishop meeting in his Return, though penitent for what he had done, and faln at his feet, touch'd with the Rod in his hand, and angrily thus foretold: Because thou hast neglected to abstain from the House of that Excommunicate, in that House thou shalt die; and so it fell out, perhaps from that Prediction, God bearing witness to his Minister in the Power of Church-Discipline, spiritually executed, not juridically on the Contemner therof. This year 655 prov'd fortunate to Oswi, and fatal to Penda;65. for Oswi by the continual Inroads of Penda having long endur'd much Devastation, to the endangering once by Assault and Fire Bebbanburg, his strongest City, now Bamborrow- Castle66. , unable to resist him, with many rich Presents offe'r to buy his Peace, which not accepted by the Pagan,67. who intended nothing but Destruction to that King, though more than once in affinity with him, turning Gifts into Vows, he implores Divine Assistance, devoting, if he were deliverd from his Enemie, a Child of one year old, his Daughter, to be a Nun, and 12 portions of Land wheron to build Monasteries. His Vows, as may be thought, found better success than his profer'd Gifts; for herupon with his Son Alfrid, gathering a small Power, he encounter'd and discomfited the Mercians, 30 times exceeding his in number, and led on by expert Captains, at a place call'd Loydes, now Leeds in Yorkshire.68. Besides this Ethelwald, the Son of Oswald, who rul'd in Deira, took part with the Mercians; but in the Fight withdrew his Forces, and in a safe place expected the event: with which unseasonable Retreat the Mercians, perhaps terrify'd and misdoubting more Danger, fled; thir Commanders, with Penda himself, most being slain, among whom Edilhere the Brother of Anna, who rul'd after him the East-Angles, and was the Author of this Warr; many more flying were drown'd in the River, which Beda calls Winwed, then swoln above its Banks.69. The Death of Penda, who had bin the death of so many good Kings, made general rejoycing, as the Song witness'd. At the River Winwed, Anna was aveng'd. To Edelhere succeeded Ethelwald his Brother, in the East-Angles; to Sigebert, in the East-Saxons Suidhelm the Son of Sexbald, saith Bede, the Brother of Sigebert, saith Malmsbury;70. he was baptiz'd by Kedda, then residing in the East-Angles, and by Ethelwald the King receav'd out of the Font. But Oswi in the strength of his late Victory, within three years after71. subdu'd all Mercia, and of the Pictish Nation greatest part,72. at which time he gave to Peada his Son-in-law the Kingdome of South- Mercia, divided from the Northern by Trent. But Peada the Spring following,73. as was said, by the Treason of his Wife the Daughter of Oswi, married by him for a special Christian,74. on the Feast of Easter, not protected by the holy time, was slain. The Mercian Nobles, Immin, Eaba, and Eadbert, throwing off the Government of Oswi, set up Wulfer the other Son of Penda to be thir King, whom till then they had kept his, and with him adher'd to the Christian Faith. Kenwalk the West- Saxon, now settled at home, and desirous to enlarge his Dominion, prepares against the Britans, joins Battel with them at Pen in Somersetshire, and overcoming, persues them to Pedridan. Another Fight he had with them before, at a place call'd Witgeornesburg, barely mention'd by the Monk of Malmsbury. Nor was it long75. ere he fell at variance with Wulfer the Son of Penda, his old Enemie, scarce yet warm in his Throne, 76. fought with him at Possentesburg, on the Easter Holy- daies, and as Ethelwerd saith, took him prisoner; but the Saxon Annals, quite otherwise, that Wulfer winning the Field, wasted the West-Saxon Country as farr as Eskesdun; nor staying there, took and wasted the Ile of Wight, but causing the Inhabitants to be baptiz'd, till then Unbvelievers, gave the Iland to Ethelwald King of South Saxons, whom he had received out of the Font. The Year 664 a Synod of Scotish and English Bishops,77. in the presence of Oswi and Alfred his Son,78. was held at a Monastery in those parts, to debate on what day Easter should be kept; a Controversy which long before had disturb'd the Greek and Latin Churches: wherin the Scots not agreeing with the way of Rome; nor yeilding to the Disputants on that side, to whom the King most inclin'd, such as were Bishops here, resign'd and return'd home with their Disciples. Another clerical Question was there also much controverted, not so superstitious in my opinion as ridiculous, about the right shaving of Crowns. The same year was seen an Eclipse of the Sun in May, followed by a sore Pestilence beginning in the South, but spreading to the North, and over all Ireland, with great Mortality.79. In which time the East-Saxons, after Swithelm's Decease, being govern'd by Siger the Son of Sigebert the small, and Sebbi of Seward, though both subject to the Mercians; Siger and his People unsteady of Faith supposing that this Plague was come upon them for renouncing thir old Religion, fell off the second time to Infidelity. Which the Mercian King Wulfer understanding, sent Jarumannus a faithfull Bishop, who with other his Fellow-labourers, by sound Doctrine and gentle dealing, soon recured them of thir second Relapse. In Kent, Ercombert expiring, was succeeded by his Son Echert.80. In whose fourth Year, by means of Theodore, a learned Greekish Monk of Tarsus,81. whom Pope Vitalian had ordain'd Archbishop of Canterbury, the Greek and Latin Tongue, with other liberal Arts, Arithmetic, Music, Astronomy, and the like began first to flourish among the Saxons; as did also the whole Land, under potent and religious Kings, more than ever before, as Bede affirms, till his own daies. Two Years after in Northumberland died Oswi,82. much addicted to Romish Rites, and resolv'd, had his Disease releas'd him, to have ended his daies at Rome.83. Ecfrid the eldest of his Sons begot in wedloc, succeeded him. After other three Years, Ecbert in Kent deceasing,84. left nothing memorable behind him, but the general suspicion to have slain or conniv'd at the slaughter of his Uncle's two Sons, Elbert and Egelbright.85. In recompence wherof he gave to the Mother of them, part of Tanet, wherin to build an Abbey; the Kingdome fell to his Brother Lothair.86. And much about this time, by best account it should be, however plac'd in Beda,87. that Ecfrid of Northumberland having Warr with the Mercian Wulfer, won from him Lindsey, and the Country therabout. Sebbi having reign'd over the East-Saxons thirty years, not long before his death, though long before desiring, took on him the Habit of a Monk; and drew his Wife at length, though unwilling, to the same Devotion. Kenwalk also dying,88. left the Government to Sexburga his Wife, who out-liv'd him in it but one Year, driven out, saith Mat. Westm. by the Nobles disdaining Female Government. After whom several petty Kings,89. as Beda calls them, for ten years space divided the West-Saxons; others name two, Escwin the Nephew of Kinegils, and Kentwin the Son, not petty by thir Deeds:90. for Escwin fought a Battel with Wulfer, at Bedanhafde, 91. and about a year after both deceas'd;92. but Wulfer not without a stain left behind him, of selling the Bishoprick of London to Wini the first Simonist we read of in this Story; Kenwalk had before expell'd him from his Chair at Winchester. Ethelred the Brother of Wulfer obtaining next the Kingdome of Mercia, not only recover'd Lindsey, and what besides in those parts Wulfer had lost to Ecfrid som years before, but found himself strong anough to extend his Arms another way, as farr as Kent, wasting that Country without respect to Church or Monastery, much also endamaging the City of Rochester, notwithstanding what Resistance Lothair could make against him.93. In August 678 was seen a Morning Comet for three Months following,94. in manner of a firy Pillar. And the South-Saxons, about this time were converted to the Christian Faith, upon this occasion. Wilfrid Bishop of the Northumbrians entring into Contention with Ecfrid the King, was by him depriv'd of his Bishoprick, and long wandring up and down as farr as Rome, return'd at length into England;95. but not daring to approach the North, whence he was banish'd, bethought him where he might to best purpose elsewhere exercise his Ministry. The South of all other Saxons remain'd yet Heathen; but Edilwalk thir King not long before had bin baptiz'd inMercia, persuaded by Wulfer, and by him, as hath bin said, receav'd out of the Font.96. For which relation's sake he had the Ile of Wight, and a Province of the Meannari adjoining giv'n him on the Continent about Meanesborow in Hantshire, which Wulfer had a little before gotten from Kenwalk.97. Thither Wilfrid takes his Journey, and with the help of other spiritual labourers about him, in short time planted there the Gospel. It had not rain'd, as is said, of three years before in that Country, whence many of the People daily perish'd by Famine; till on the first day of their public Baptism, soft and plentiful Showers descending, restor'd all abundance to the Summer following. Two Years after this Kentwin the other West-Saxon King above-nam'd,98. chac'd the Welch-Britans, as is chronicled without Circumstance, to the very Sea-shoar.99. But in the Year, by Beda's reckoning, 683, Kedvalla a West-Saxon of the Royal Line,100. (whom the Welch will have to be Cadwallader, last King of the Britans )101. thrown out by Faction, return'd from Banishment, and invaded both Kentwin, if then living, or whoever else had divided the Succession of Kenwalk, slaying in fight Edelwalk the South-Saxon, who oppos'd him in thir Aid;102. but soon after was repuls't by two of his Captains, Bertune and Andune, who for a while held the Province in their power.103. But Kedwalla gathering new Force,104. with the Slaughter of Bertune, and also of Edric the Successor of Edlewalk, won the Kingdome;105. but reduc'd the People to heavie Thraldom. Then addressing to conquer the Ile of Wight, till that time Pagan, saith Beda, (others otherwise, as above hath bin related) made a Vow, though himself yet unbaptiz'd, to devote the fourth part of that Iland, and the Spoils therof to holy Uses. Conquest obtain'd, paying his Vow as then was the Belief, he gave his fourth to Bishop Wilfrid, by chance there present; and he to Bertwin a Priest, his Sister's Son, with commission to baptize all the vanquish'd, who meant to save thir Lives. But the two young Sons of Arwald, King of that Iland, met with much more Hostility; for they at the Enemie's approach flying out of the Ile, and betray'd where they were hid not farr from thence, were led to Kedwalla, who lay then under cure of som Wounds receav'd, and by his appointment, after Instruction and Baptism first giv'n them, harshly put to death, which the Youths are said above thir Age to have christianly suffer'd. In Kent Lothair died this Year of his Wounds receav'd in fight against the South-Saxons, led on by Edric, who descending from Ermenrid, it seems challeng'd the Crown, and wore it, though not commendably, one year and a half:106. but coming to a violent death, left the Land expos'd a Prey either to home-bred Usurpers, or neighbouring Invaders.107. Among whom Kedwalla taking advantage from thir civil Distempers, and marching easily through the South-Saxons, whom he had subdu'd, sorely harrass'd the Country, untouch'd of a long time by any hostile Incursion. But the Kentish Men, all Parties uniting against a common Enemie, with joint Power so oppos'd him, that he was constrain'd to retire back; his Brother Mollo in the flight with 12 Men in his company, seeking shelter in a House, was beset, and therin burnt by the persuers:108. Kedwalla much troubled at so great a Loss,109. recalling and soon rallying his disorder'd Forces, return'd fiercely upon the chasing Enemie;110. nor could he be got out of the Province, till both by Fire and Sword he had avang'd the Death of his Brother. At length Victred the Son of Ecbert, attaining the Kingdome,111. both settled at home all things in Peace, and secur'd his Borders from all outward Hostility. While thus Kedwalla disquieted both West and East,112. after his winning the Crown, Ecfrid the Northumbrian, and Ethelred the Mercian, fought a sore Battel by the River Trent; wherin Elfwin Brother to Ecfrid, a Youth of 18 years, much belov'd, was slain; and the accident likely to occasion much more shedding of Blood, Peace was happily made up by the grave Exhortation of Archbishop Theodore, a pecuniary Fine only paid to Ecfrid, as some satisfaction for the loss of his Brother's Life. Another Adversity befel Ecfrid in his Family, by means of Ethildrith his Wife, King Anna's Daughter, who having tak'n him for her Husband, and professing to love him above all other men, persisted twelve years in the obstinate refusal of his Bed, therby thinking to live the purer Life. So perversly then was Chastity instructed against the Apostle's rule. At length obtaining of him with much importunity her departure, she veil'd her self a Nun, then made Abbess of Ely, died 7 years after the Pestilence; and might with better warrant have kept faithfully her undertak'n Wedlock, though now canoniz'd St. Audrey of Ely. In the mean while Ecfrid had sent Bertus with a power to subdue Ireland, a harmless Nation, saith Beda, and ever friendly to the English; in both which they seem to have left a Posterity much unlike them at this day; miserably wasted, without regard had to places hallow'd or profane; they betook themselves partly to thir Weapons. partly to implore divine Aid; and, as was thought, obtain'd it in thir full avengement upon Ecfrid. For he the next year, against the mind and persuasion of his sagest Friends, and especially of Cudbert a famous Bishop of that Age, marching unadvisedly against the Picts, who long before had bin subject to Northumberland, was by them feigning flight, drawn unawares into narrow streights, overtopt with Hills, and cut off with most of his Army. From which time, saith Bede, military valour began among the Saxons to decay, not only the Picts till then peaceable, but som part of the Britans also recoverd by Arms thir Liberty for many years after. Yet Alfrid elder, but base Brother to Ecfrid, a man said to be learn'd in the Scriptures, recall'd from Ireland, to which place in his Brother's Reign he had retir'd, and now succeeding, upheld with much honour, though in narrower bounds, the residue of his Kingdome. Kedwalla having now with great disturbance of his Neighbours reign'd over the West-Saxons two years, besides what time he spent in gaining it, wearied perhaps with his own turbulence, went to Rome, desirous there to receive Baptism, which till then his worldly Affairs had defer'd; and accordingly, on Easter Day, 689. he was baptized by Sergius the Pope, and his name chang'd to Peter. All which notwithstanding, surpris'd with a Disease, he outliv'd not the Ceremony so farr sought, much above the space of five Weeks, in the thirtieth year of his Age, and in the Church of St. Peter was there buried, with a large Epitaph on his Tomb. Him succeeded Ina of the Royal Family, and from the time of his coming in, for many years oppress'd the Land with like Grievances, as Kedwalla had done before him, insomuch that in those times there was no Bishop among them. His first Expedition was into Kent, to demand satisfaction for the burning of Mollo: Victred loth to hazard all for the rash act of a few, deliverd up 30 of those that could be found accessory, or as others say, pacify'd Ina with a great sum of Money.113. Mean while, at the incitement of Ecbert, a devout Monk, Wilbrod a Priest eminent for Learning, past over Sea, having 12 others in company, with intent to preach the Gospel in Germany.114. And coming to Pepin Chief Regent of the Franks, who a little before had conquer'd the hither Frisia, by his Countenance and Protection, promise also of many Benefits to them who should believe, they found the work of Conversion much the easier, and Wilbrod the first Bishoprick in that Nation. But two Priests, each of them Hewald by name, and for distinction surnam'd from the colour of thir Hair, the black and the white, by his example, piously affected to the Souls of thir Countrymen the old Saxons, at thir coming thither to convert them met with much worse entertainment. For in the House of a Farmer who had promis'd to convey them, as they desir'd, to the Governour of that Country, discover'd by thir daily Ceremonies to be Christian Priests, and the cause of thir coming suspected, they were by him and his Heathen Neighbours cruelly butcher'd; yet not unaveng'd, for the Governor enrag'd at such violence offerd to his Strangers, sending armed Men slew all those Inhabitants, and burnt thir Village. After three years in Mercia,115. Ostrid the Queen, Wife to Ethelred, was kill'd by her own Nobles, as Beda's Epitome records; Florence calls them Southimbrians, negligently omitting the cause of so strange a fact.116. And the year following, Berthred a Northumbrian Generall was slain by the Picts. Ethelred seven years after the violent Death of his Queen,117. put on the Monk, and resign'd his Kingdome to Kenred the Son of Wulfer his Brother.118. The next year, Alfrid in Northumberland died, leaving Osred a Child of 8 years to succeed him.119. Four years after which, Kenred having a while with praise govern'd the Mercian Kingdome, went to Rome in the time of Pope Constantine, and shorn a Monk spent there the residue of his daies. Kelred succeeded him, the Son of Ethelred, who had reign'd the next before. With Kenred went Offa the Son of Siger, King of the East-Saxons, and betook him to the same Habit, leaving his Wife and Native Country; a comely Person in the prime of his Youth, much desir'd of the People; and such his Virtue by report, as might have otherise bin worthy to have reign'd. Ina the West-Saxon one year after fought a Battel,120. at first doubtful,121. at last successful, against Gerent King of Wales.122. The next year Bertfrid,123. another Nothumbrian Captain, fought with the Picts,124. and slaughter'd them, saith Huntingdon, to the full avengement of Ecfrid's Death. The fourth year after Ina125. had another doubtful and cruel Battel at Woodnesburgh in Wiltshire,126. with Kelred the Mercian,127. who died the year following a lamentable Death:128. for as he sat one day feasting with his Nobles, suddenly possess'd with an evil Spirit, he expir'd in despair, as Boniface Archbishop of Ments, an English-man, who taxes him for a defiler of Nuns, writes by way of Caution to Ethelbald his next of kin, who succeeded him. Osred also a young Northumbrian King, slain by his Kindred in the 11th of his Reign for his vicious Life and Incest committed with Nuns, was by Kenred succeeded and aveng'd; he reigning two years, left Osric in his room. In whose 7th year,129. if Beda calculate right, Victred King of Kent deceas'd, having reign'd 34 years, and som part of them with Suebbard, as Beda testifies.130. He left behind him three Sons, Ethelbert, Eadbert, and Alric his Heirs.131. Three years after which132. , appear'd two Comets about the Sun, terrible to behold, the one before him in the Morning, the other after him in the Evening, for the space of two Weeks in January, bending their blaze toward the North; at which time the Saracens furiously invaded France, but were expell'd soon after with great overthrow. The same year in Northumberland, Osric dying or slain, adopted Kelwulf the Brother of Kenred his Successor, to whom Beda dedicates his story;133. but writes this only of him, that the beginning, and the process of his Reign met with many adverse Commotions, wherof the event was then doubtfully expected. Mean while Ina seven years before, having slain Kenwulf, to whom Florent gives the addition of Clito, giv'n usually to none but of the Blood Royal, and the fourth year after overthrown and slain Albright another Clito, driven from Taunton to the South-Saxons for aid, vanquish'd also the East-Angles in more than one Battel, as Malmsbury writes, but not the year; whether to expiate so much Blood, or infected with the contagious humour of those times, Malmsbury saith, at the persuasion of Ethelburga his Wife, went to Rome, and there ended his daies; yet this praise left behind him, to have made good Laws, the first of Saxon that remain extant to this day, and to his Kinsman Edelard bequeath'd the Crown, no less than the whole Monarchie of England and Wales. For Ina, if we believe a digression in the Laws of Edward Confessor, was the first King crown'd of English and British, since the Saxons entrance; of the British by means of his second Wife, som way related to Cadwallader last King of Wales, which I had not noted, being unlikely, but for the place where I found it. After Ina, by a surer Author,134. Ethelbald King of Mercia commanded all the Provinces on this side Humber, with thir Kings:135. the Picts were in league with the English, the Scots peaceable within thir bounds, and of the Britans part were in thir own Government, part subject to the English. In which peaceful state of the Land, many in Northumberland, both Nobles and Commons, laying aside the exercise of Arms, betook them to the Cloister: and not content so to do at home, many in the daies of Ina, Clerks and Laics, Men and Women, hasting to Rome in Herds, thought themselves no where sure of Eternal Life, till they were cloister'd there. Thus representing the state of things in this Iland, Beda surceas'd to write. Out of whom chiefly has bin gatherd since the Saxons arrival, such as hath bin deliverd, a scatter'd story pickt out here and there, with som trouble and tedious work, from among his many Legends of Visions and Miracles; toward the latter end so bare of civil matters, as what can be thence collected may seem a Calendar rather than a History, tak'n up for the most part with succession of Kings, and computation of years, yet those hard to be reconcil'd with the Saxon Annals. thir actions we read of, were most commonly Warrs, but for what cause waged, or by what Councils carried on, no care was had to let us know; wherby thir Strength and Violence we understand, of thir Wisdom, Reason, or Justice, little or nothing, the rest Superstition and monastical Affectation; Kings one after another, leaving thir Kingly Charge, to run thir heads fondly into a Monk's Cowle: which leaves us uncertaine whether Beda was wanting to his matter, or his matter to him. Yet from hence to the Danish Invasion it will be worse with us, destitute of Beda. Left only to obscure and blockish Chronicles; whom Malmsbury, and Huntingdon (for neither they nor we had better Authors of those times) ambitious to adorn the History, make no scruple, oft-times I doubt, to interline with conjectures and surmises of thir own; them rather than imitate, I shall choose to represent the truth naked, though as lean as a plain Journal. Yet William of Malmsbury must be acknowledg'd, both for stile and judgment, to be by farr the best Writer of them all: but what labour is to be endur'd turning over Volumes of rubbish in the rest, Florence of Worcester, Huntingdon, Simeon of Durham, Hoveden, Matthew of Westminster, and many others of obscurer note, with all thir Monachisms, is a penance to think. Yet these are our only Registers, transcribers one after another for the most part, and sometimes worthy anough for the things they register. This travail rather than not know at once what may be known of our ancient story, sifted from fables and impertinences, I voluntarily undergo; and to save others, if they please, the like unpleasing labour; except those who take pleasure to be all thir Life-time raking in the Foundations of old Abbeys and Cathedrals. But to my Task now as it befals. In the year 733, on the 18th Kalends of September,136. was an Eclipse of the Sun about the third hour of day,137. obscuring almost his whole Orb as with a black Shield.138. Ethelbald of Mercia besieg'd and took the Castle or Town of Somerton: and two years after Beda our Historian died,139. some say the year before. Kelwulf in Northumberland three years after became a Monk in Lindisfarne,140. yet none of the severest,141. for he brought those Monks from Milk and Water, to Wine and Ale; in which Doctrine no doubt but they were soon docil, andwell might, for Kelwulf brought with him good Provision, great Treasure and Revenues of Land, recited by Simeon, yet all under pretence of following (I use the Author's words) poor Christ, by voluntary Poverty; no marvel then if such applause were giv'n by Monkish Writers to Kings turning Monks, and much cunning perhaps us'd to allure them. To Eadbert his Uncle's Son, he left the Kingdome, whose Brother Ecbert, Archbishop of York, built a Library there.142. But two years after, while Eadbert was busied in Warr against the Picts, Ethelbald the Mercian, by foul fraud, assaulted part of Northumberland in his absence, as the supplement to Beda's Epitome records. In the West-Saxons, Edelard who succeeded Ina, having bin much molested in the beginning of his Reign, with the Rebellion of Oswald his Kinsman, who contended with him for the right of Succession, overcoming at last those troubles, died in Peace 741,143. leaving Cuthred one of the same Lineage to succeed him;144. who at first had much Warr with Ethelbald the Mercian, and various success,145. but joining with him in league two years after, made Warr on the Welch;146. Huntingdon doubts not to give them a great Victory.147. And Simeon reports another Battel fought between Britans and Picts the year ensuing. 148. Now was the Kingdome of East-Saxons drawing to a Period,149. for Sigeard and Senfred the Sons of Sebbi having reign'd a while,150. and after them youg Offa,151. who soon quitted his Kingdome to go to Rome with Kenred, as hath bin said, the Government was confer'd on Selred the Son of Sigebert the good, who having rul'd 38 years, came to a violent Death;152. how or wherfore, is not set down. After whom Swithred was the last King, driven out by Ecbert the West-Saxon: but London, with the Countries adjacent, obey'd the Mercians till they also were dissolv'd.153. Cuthred had now reign'd about nine years,154. when Kenric his Son, a valiant young Prince, was in a military Tumult slain by his own Souldiers.155. The same year Eadbert dying in Kent, his Brother Edilbert reign'd in his stead. But after two years,156. the other Eadbert in Northumberland whose Warr with the Picts hath bin above mentioned, made now such Progress there, as to subdue Kyle, so saith the Auctarie of Bede, and other Countries thereabout, to his Dominion; while Cuthred the West-Saxon had a fight with Ethelhun, one of his Nobles, a stout Warrior, envy'd by him in som matter of the Commonwealth, as farr as by the Latin of Ethelwerd can be understood157. (others interpret it Sedition)158. and with much ado overcoming, took Ethelhun for his valour into favour, by whom faithfully serv'd in the twelfth or thirteenth of his Reign,159. he encounter'd in a set Battel with Ethelbald the Mercian at Beorford, now Burford in Oxfordshire; one year after against the Welch,160. which was the last but one of his Life. Huntingdon, as his manner is to comment upon the annal Text, makes a terrible description of that Fight between Cuthred and Ethelbald, and the Prowess of Ethelhun, at Beorford, but so affectedly, and therefore suspicously, that I hold it not worth rehearsal; and both in that and the latter Conflict, gives Victory to Cuthred;161. after whom Sigebert,162. uncertaine by what right, his Kinsman saith Florent,163. stept into the Throne, whom hated for his crueltie and other evil doings, Kinwulf joining with most of the Nobility, dispossess'd of all but Hampshire, that Province he lost also within a year,164. together with the love of all those who till then remain'd his Adherents, by slaying Cambran, one of his Chief Captains, who for a long time had faithfully serv'd, and now dissuaded him from incensing the People by such Tyrannical Practices.165. Thence flying for safety into Andrew's Wood, forsaken of all, he was at length slain by the Swineherd of Cumbran166. in revenge of his Master, and Kinwulf who had undoubted right to the Crown, joyfully saluted King. The next year Eadbert the Northumbrian167. joining Forces with Unust King of the Picts, as Simeon writes,168. besieg'd and took by surrender the City Alcluith, now Dunbritton in Lennox, from the Britans of Cumberland;169. and ten daies after, the whole Army perish'd about Niwanbirig, but to tell us how, he forgets.170. In Mercia, Ethelbald was slain at a place call'd Secandune, 171. now Seckington in Warwickshire, the year following,172. in a bloodie Fight against Cuthred, as Huntingdon surmises,173. but Cuthred was dead two or three years before; others write him murder'd in the night by his own Guard, and the Treason, as som say, of Beornred, who succeeded him; but ere many Months, was defeated and slain by Offa. Yet Ethelbald seems not without cause, after a long and prosperous Reign, to have fallen by a violent Death; not shaming, on the vain confidence of his many Alms, to commit Uncleanness with consecrated Nuns, besides Laic Adulteries, as the Arch- bishop of Ments in a Letter taxes him and his Predecessor, and that by his Example most of his Peers did the like; which adulterous doings he foretold him were likely to produce a slothful Off-spring, good for nothing but to be the ruin of that Kingdome, as it fell out not long after.174. The next year Osmund, according to Florence, ruling the South-Saxons, and Swithred the East, Eadbert in Northumberland, following the steps of his Predecessor, got him into a Monk's Hood; the more to be wonder'd, that having reign'd worthily 21 Years,175. with the love and high estimation of all, both at home and abroad, able still to govern, and much entreated by the Kings his Neighbours, not to lay down his Charge; with offer on that condition to yeild up to him part of thir own Dominion, he could not be mov'd from his Resolution, but relinquish'd his Regal Office to Oswulf his Son; who at the year's end,176. though without just cause, was slain by his own Servants. And the year after died Ethelbert, Son of Victred, the second of that name in Kent.177. After Oswulf, Ethelwald, otherwise call'd Mollo, was set up King;178. who in his third year had a great Battel at Eldune,179. by Melros, slew Oswin a great Lord, rebelling, and gain'd the Victory. But the third year after,180. fell by the Treachery of Alcred, who assum'd his place. The fourth year after which, Cataracta an ancient and faire City in Yorkshire,181. was burnt by Arnred a certain Tyrant,182. who the same year came to like end. And after five years more Alcred the King,183. depos'd and forsaken of all his People, fled with a few, first to Bebba, a strong City of those parts, thence to Kinot, King of the Picts.184. Ethelred the Son of Mollo, was crown'd in his stead. Mean while Offa the Mercian, growing powerfull, had subdu'd a neighbouring People by Simeon, call'd Hastings; and fought successfully this year with Alric the King of Kent, at a place call'd Occanford: the Annals also speak of wondrous Serpents then seen in Sussex. Nor had Kinwulf the West-Saxon giv'n small proof of his valour in several Battels against the Welch heretofore; but this year 775, meeting with Offa,185. at a place call'd Besington,186. was put to the worse, and Offa won the Town for which they contended. In Northumberland, Ethelred having caus'd three of his Nobles, Aldulf, Kinwulf and Ecca, treacherously to be slain187. by two other Peers,188. was himself the next year driven into Banishment, Elfwald the Son of Oswulf succeeding in his place, yet not without civil Broils; for in his second year189. Osbald and Athelheard, two Noblemen,190. raising Forces against him, routed Bearne his Generall, and pursuing, burnt him at a place called Seletune. I am sensible how wearisom it may likely be to read of so many bare and reasonless Actions, so many names of Kings one after another, acting little more than mute Persons in a Scene: what would it be to have inserted the long Bead-roll of Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Abbesses, and thir doings, neither to Religion profitable, nor to Morality, swelling my Authors each to a voluminous Body, by me studiously omitted; and left as thir Propriety, who have a mind to write the Ecclesiastical matters of those Ages? neither do I care to wrinkle the smoothness of History with rugged names of places unknown, better harp'd at in Camden, and other Chorographers. Six years therefore pass'd over in silence,191. as wholly of such Argument, bring us to relate next the unfortunate end of Kinwulf the West-Saxon;192. who having laudably reign'd about 31 years,193. yet suspecting that Kincard Brother of Sigebert the former King, intended to usurp the Crown after his decease, or revenge his Brother's Expulsion, had commanded him into Banishment:194. but he lurking heer and there on the Borders with a small Company, having had intelligence that Kinwulf was in the Country therabout, at Merantun, or Merton in Surrey,195. at the House of a Woman whom he lov'd, went by night and beset the place. Kinwulf over-confident either of his Royal Presence, or personal valour, issuing forth with the few about him, runs fiercely at Kineard, and wounds him sore; but by his Followers hem'd in, is kill'd among them. The report of so great an Accident soon running to a place not farr off, where many more Attendants awaited the King's return, Osric and Wivert, two Earls, hasted with a great number to the House, where Kineard and his Fellows yet remain'd. He seeing himself surrounded, with faire words and promises of great Gifts, attempted to appease them; but those rejected with disdain, fights it out to the last, and is slain with all but one or two of his Retinue, which were nigh a hundred. Kinwulf was succeeded by Birthric, being both descended of Kerdic the Founder of that Kingdome. Not better was the end of Elfwald in Northumberland,196. two years after slain miserably by the Conspiracy of Siggan,197. one of his Nobles, others say of the whole People at Scilcester by the Roman Wall;198. yet undeservedly, as his Sepulchre at Hagustald, now Hexam upon Tine, and som Miracles there said to be done, are alleg'd to witness, and Siggan five years after laid violent hands on himself.199. Osred Son of Alcred advanc'd into the room of Elfwald,200. and within one year driven out, left his Seat vacant to Ethelred Son of Mollo, who after ten years of Banishment (Imprisonment, saith Alcuin)201. had the Scepter put again into his hand. The third year of Birthric King of West-Saxons,202. gave beginning from abroad to a new and fatal revolution of Calamity on this Land. For three Danish Ships, the first that had bin seen heer of that Nation, arriving in the West; to visit there, as was suppos'd, Foreign Merchants, the King's Gatherer of Customs taking horse from Dorchester, found them Spies and Enemies. For being commanded to come and give account of thir lading at the King's Custom-house, they slew him and all that came with him; as an earnest of the many Slaughters, Rapines and Hostilities, which they return'd not long after to commit over all the Iland. Of this Danish first arrival,203. and on a sudden worse than hostile Aggression, the Danish History farr otherwise relates, as if thir landing had bin at the mouth of Humber, and thir spoilful march farr into the Country; though soon repell'd by the Inhabitants, they hasted back as fast to thir Ships: But from what Cause, what Reason of State, what Authority or publick Council the Invasion proceeded, makes not mention, and our wonder yet the more, by telling us that Sigefrid then King in Denmark, and long after, was a Man studious more of Peace and Quiet than of warlike Matters.204. These therefore seem rather to have bin som Wanderers at Sea, who with public Commission, or without, through love of Spoil, or hatred of Christianity, seeking Booties on any Land of Christians, came by chance or weather on this shoar.205. The next year206. Osred in Northumberland, who driven out by his Nobles had giv'n place to Ethelred, was tak'n, and forcibly shaven a Monk at York. And the year after,207. Oelf, and Oelfwin, Son of Elfwald, formerly King, were drawn by faire promises from the principal Church of York,208. and after by command of Ethelred, cruelly put to death at Wonwaldremere,209. a Village by the great Pool in Lancashire, now call'd Winandermere. Nor was the third year less bloodie;210. for Osred, who not liking a shaven Crown,211. had desired Banishment and obtain'd it, returning from the Ile of Man with small Forces,212. at the secret but deceitful call of certain Nobles, who by Oath had promis'd to assist him, were also tak'n,213. and by Ethelred dealt with in the same manner: who the better to avouch his Cruelties, therupon married Elfled the Daugher of Offa; for in Offa was found as little Faith or Mercy. He the same year having drawn to his Palace Ethelbrite King of East-Angles, with faire Invitations to marry his Daughter, caus'd him to be there inhospitably beheaded, and his Kingdome wrongfully seis'd, by the wicked Counsel of his Wife, saith Mat. Westm. annexing therto a long unlikely Tale. For which violence and bloodshed to make Atonement, with Friers at least, he bestows the reliques of St. Alban in a shrine of Pearl and Gold. farr worse it far'd the next year214. with the reliques in Lindisfarne;215. where the Danes landing, pillag'd that Monastery; and of Friers kill'd some, carried away others captive, sparing neither Priest nor Lay: which many strange Thunders and firy Dragons, with other impressions in the Air seen frequently before, were judg'd to foresignify. This year Alric third Son of Victred ended in Kent his long Reign of 34 years; with him ended the Race of Hengist: thenceforth whomsoever Wealth or Faction advanc'd, took on him the name and state of a King. The Saxon Annals of 784, name Ealmund then reigning in Kent; but that consists not with the time of Alric, and I find him no where else mention'd. The year following216. was remarkable for the Death of Offa the Mercian,217. a strenuous and subtle King; he had much intercourse with Charles the Great, at first Enmity, to the interdicting of Commerce on either side, at length much Amity and firm League, as appears by the Letter of Charles himself yet extant, procur'd by Alcuin a learned and prudent Man, though a Monk, whom the Kings of England in those daies had sent Orator into France, to maintain good Correspondence between them and Charles the Great. He granted saith Huntingdon, a perpetual Tribute to the Pope out of every House in his Kingdome, 218. for yeilding perhaps to translate the Primacy of Canterbury to Litchfield in his own Dominion.219. He drew a Trench of wondrous length between Mercia and the British Confines from Sea to Sea. Ecferth the Son of Offa, a Prince of great hope, who also had bin crown'd nine years before his Father's Decease, restoring to the Church what his Father had seis'd on, yet within four Months by a Sickness ended his Reign; and to Kenulf next in the right of the same Progeny bequeath'd his Kingdome. Mean while the Danish Pirates who still wasted Northumberland, venturing on shoar to spoil another Monastery at the mouth of the River Don, were assail'd by the English, thir chief Captain slain on the place; then returning to sea, were most of them shipwreck'd; others driven again on shoar, were put all to the Sword. Simeon attributes this thir Punishment to the power of St. Cuthbert, offended with them for the rifling his Convent. Two years after this,220. died Ethelred twice King, but not exempted at last from the fate of many of his Predecessors, miserably slain by his People,221. som say deservedly, as not inconscious with them who train'd Osred to his ruin. Osbald a Nobleman exalted to the Throne, and, in less than a Month, deserted and expell'd, was forc'd to fly from Lindisfarne by Sea to the Pictish King, and died an Abbot. Eardulf, whom Ethelred six years before had commanded to be put to death at Ripun, before the Abbey-Gate, dead as was suppos'd, and with solemn Dirge carried into the Church, after midnight found there alive, I read not how, then banish'd, now recall'd, was in York created King. In Kent, Ethelbert or Pren, whom the Annals call Eadbright (so different they often are one from another, both in timing and in naming) by som means having usurp'd Regal Power, after two years Reign contending with Kenulf the Mercian, was by him tak'n prisoner, and soon after out of pious Commiseration let go: but not received of his own, what became of him, Malmsbury leaves in doubt. Simeon writes, that Kenulf commanded to put out his eyes, and lop off his hands; but whether the Sentence were executed or not, is left as much in doubt by his want of Expression. The second Year after this222. they in Northumberland who had conspired against Ethelred, now also raising Warr against Eardulf,223. under Wada thir Chief Captain, after much havock on either side at Langho, by Whaley in Lancashire, the Conspirators at last flying, Eardulf return'd with Victory. The same year London, with a great multitude of her Inhabitants, by a sudden Fire was consum'd. The year 800 made way for great Alteration in England,224. uniting her seven Kingdomes into one, by Ecbert the famous West-Saxon; him Birthric dying childless left next to reign, the only Survivor of that Lineage, descended from Inegild the Brother of King Ina.225. And according to his Birth liberally bred, he began early from his Youth to give signal hopes of more than ordinary worth growing up in him; which Birthric fearing, and withal his juster Title to the Crown, secretly sought his Life, and Ecbert perceiving, fled to Offa, the Mercian: but he having married Eadburg his Daughter to Birthric, easily gave ear to his Embassadors coming to require Ecbert:226. He again put to his shifts, escap'd thence into France; but after three years Banishment there, which perhaps contributed much to his Education, Charles the Great then reigning, he was call'd over by the public Voice (for Birthric was newly dead) and with general Applause created King of West-Saxons. The same day Ethelmund at Kinnersford passing over with the Worcestershire Men, was met by Weolstan another Nobleman with those of Wiltshire, between whom happened a great fray, wherin the Wiltshire Men overcame, but both Dukes were slain, no reason of thir Quarrel writt'n; such bickerings to recount met often in these our Writers, what more worth is it than to chronicle the Warrs of Kites or Crows, flocking and fighting in the Air? The year following Eardulf the Northumbrian227. leading forth an Army against Kenwulf the Mercian for harbouring certain of his Enemies,228. by the diligent Mediation of other Princes and Prelates, Arms were laid aside, and Amity soon sworn between them. But Eadburga the Wife of Birthric,229. a Woman every way wicked, in Malice especially cruel,230. could not or car'd not to appease the general Hatred justly conceiv'd against her; accustom'd in her Husband's day, to accuse any whom she spighted; and not prevailing to his Ruin, her practice was by Poison secretly to contrive his Death.231. It fortun'd,232. that the King her Husband lighting on a Cup which she had temper'd, not for him, but for one of his great favourites, whom she could not harm by accusing, sip'd therof only, and in a while after still pining away, ended his daies; the favourite drinking deeper, found speedier the Operation. She fearing to be question'd for these Facts, with what Treasure she had, pass'd over Sea to Charles the Great, whom with rich Gifts coming to his Presence, the Emperor courtly receav'd with this pleasant Proposal: Choose, Eadburga, which of us two thou wilt, me or my Son (for his Son stood by him) to be thy Husband. She no Dissembler of what she lik'd best, made easy Answer: Were it in my choice, I should choose of the two your Son rather, as the younger Man. To whom the Emperor, between jest and earnest, Hadst thou chos'n me, I had bestow'd on thee by Son; but since thou hast chos'n him, thou shalt have neither him nor me. Nevertheless he assign'd her a rich Monastery to dwell in as Abbess; for that Life it may seem she chose next to profess: but being a while after detected of Unchastity with one of her Followers, she was commanded to depart thence; from that time wandring poorly up and down with one Servant, in Pavia a City of Italy, she finish'd at last in beggary her shameful Life. In the year 805 Cuthred,233. whom Kenulf the Mercian had, instead of Pren,234. made King in Kent, having obscurely reign'd 8 years, deceas'd.235. In Northumberland, Eardulf the Year following236. was driven out of his Realm by Alfwold, who reign'd two years in his room;237. after whom Eandred Son of Eardulf 33 years; but I see not how this can stand with the Sequel of Story out of better Authors:238. Much less that which Buchanan relates,239. the year following, of Achaius King of Scots,240. who having reign'd 32 years, and dying in 809,241. had formerly aided (but in what year of his Reign tells not) Hungus King of Picts with 10,000 Scots, against Athelstan a Saxon or English-man, then wasting the Pictish Borders; that Hungus by aid of those Scots, and the help of St. Andrew thir Patron, in a vision by night, and the appearance of his Cross by day, routed the astonished English, and slew Athelstan in fight. Who this Athelstan was, I believe no Man knows; Buchanan supposes him to have bin som Danish Commander, on whom King Alured or Alfred had bestow'd Northumberland; but of this I find no Footstep in our antient Writers; and if any such thing were done in the time of Alfred, it must be little less than 100 years after: this Athelstan therefore, and this great Overthrow, seems rather to have bin the fancy of som Legend than any warrantable Record.242. Mean while Ecbert having with much Prudence, Justice and Clemency,243. a work of more than one year, establish'd his Kingdome and himself244. in the Affections of his People, turns his first Enterprise against the Britans, both them of Cornwal and those beyond Severn, subduing both. In Mercia, Kenulf the 6th year after having reign'd with great Praise of his religious Mind and vertues both in Peace and Warr, deceas'd.245. His Son Kenelm, a Child of seven Years, was committed to the care of his elder Sister Quendrid;246. who with a female Ambition aspiring to the Crown, hir'd one who had the charge of his Nurture to murder him, led into a woody place upon pretence of hunting.247. The Murder, as is reported, was miracuously reveal'd; but to tell how, by a Dove dropping a writt'n Note on the Altar at Rome, is a long Story, told, though out of order, by Malmsbury, and under the year 821 by Mat. West. where I leave it to be sought by such as are more credulous than I wish my Readers. Only the Note was to this purpose: Low in a Mead of Kine under a Thorn, Of Head bereft, lieth poor Kenelm King-born.
Keolwulf the Brother of Kenulf, after one Year's Reign was driven out by one Bernulf an Usurper;248. who in his third Year,249. uncertaine whether invading or invaded, was by Ecbert, though with great Loss on both sides, overthrown and put to flight at Ellandune or Wilton:250. yet Malmsbury accounts this Battel fought in 806, a wide difference, but frequently found in thir Computations.251. Bernulf thence retiring to the East-Angles, as part of his Dominion by the late seizure of Offa, was by them met in the Field and slain: but they doubting what the Mercians might do in revenge hereof, forthwith yeilded themselves both King and People to the Sovereignty of Ecbert. As for the Kings of East- Angles, our Annals mention them not since Ethelwald; him succeeded his Brother's Sons,252. as we find in Malmsbury, Aldulf (a good King, well acquainted with Bede ) and Elwold who left the Kingdome to Beorn, he to Ethelred the Father of Ethelbrite, whom Offa perfidiously put to death.253. Simeon and Hoveden, in the Year 749, write that Elfwald King of East-Angles dying, Humbeanna and Albert shar'd the Kingdome between them; but where to insert this among the former Successions is not easy, nor much material: after Ethelbrite, none is nam'd of that Kingdome till thir submitting now to Ecbert: he from this Victory against Bernulf sent part of his Army under Ethelwulf his Son, with Alstan Bishop of Shirburn, and Wulferd a Chief Commander, into Kent. Who finding Baldred there reigning in his 18th Year, overcame and drove him over the Thames; wherupon all Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and lastly Essex, with her King Swithred, became subject to the Dominion of Ecbert. Neither were these all his Expolits of this Year, the first in order set down in Saxon Annals, being his Fight against the Devonshire Welch, at a place call'd Gafulford, now Camelford in Cornwal.254. Ludiken the Mercian, after two years preparing to avenge Bernulf his Kinsman on the East-Angles, 255. was by them with his five Consuls, as the Annals call them, surpriz'd and put to the Sword:256. and Withlaf his Successor first vanquish'd, then upon Submission with all Mercia, made tributary to Ecbert. Mean while the Northumbrian Kingdome of it self was fallen to shivers; their Kings one after another so often slain by the People, no Man daring, though never so ambitious, to take up the Scepter which many had found so hot, (the only effectual cure of Ambition that I have read) for the space of 33 Years after the Death of Ethelred Son of Mollo, as Malmsbury writes, there was no King: many Noblemen and Prelates were fled the Country. Which Mis-rule among them the Danes having understood, oft- times from thir Ships entering farr into the Land, infested those parts with wide Depopulation, wasting Towns, Churches, and Monasteries, for they were yet Heathen: The Lent before whose coming, on the North-side of St. Peter's Church in York, was seen from the Roof to rain Blood. The Causes of these Calamities, and the Ruin of that Kingdome, Alcuin, a learned Monk living in those daies, attributes in several Epistles, and well may, to the general Ignorance and Decay of Learning, which crept in among them after the death of Beda, and of Ecbert the Archbishop; their neglect of breeding up Youth in the Scriptures, the spruce and gay Apparel of thir Priests and Nuns, discovering thir vain and wanton minds. Examples are also read, even in Beda's daies, of thir wanton deeds: thence Altars defil'd with Perjuries, Cloisters violated with Adulteries, the Land polluted with the Blood of thir Princes, civil Dissensions among the People; and finally, all the same Vices which Gildas alledg'd of old to have ruin'd the Britans. In this estate Ecbert, who had now conquer'd all the South,257. finding them in the year 827, (for he was march'd thither with an Army to compleat his Conquest of the whole Iland) no wonder if they submitted themselves to the Yoke without resistance, Eandred thir King becoming tributary.258. Thence turning his Forces the year following he subdu'd more throughly what remain'd of North Wales.259.The End of the Fourth Book.
THE FIFTH BOOK
The sum of things in this Iland, or the best part theof, reduc'd now under the Power of one man, and him one of the worthiest, which as farr as can be found in good Authors, was by none attain'd at any time heer before, unless in Fables; Men might with some reason have expected from such union, peace and plentie, greatness, and the flourishing of all estates and degrees: but farr the contrary fell out soon after, invasion, spoil, desolation, slaughter of many, slavery of the rest, by the forcible landing of a fierce Nation; Danes commonly call'd, and sometimes Dacians by others, the same with Normans; as barbarous as the Saxons themselves were at first reputed, and much more, for the Saxons first invited came hither to dwell; these unsent for, unprovok'd, came only to destroy.1. But if the Saxons, as is above related, came most of them from Jutland and Anglen, a part of Denmark, as Danish writers affirm, and that Danes and Normans are the same; then in this Invasion, Danes drove out Danes, thir own Posterity. And Normans afterwards, none but ancienter Normans.2. Which invasion perhaps, had the Heptarchy stood divided as it was, had either not bin attempted, or not uneasily resisted; while each Prince and People, excited by thir neerest concernments, had more industriously defended thir own bounds, than depending on the neglect of a deputed Governour, sent oft-times from the remote residence of a secure Monarch. Though as it fell out in those troubles, the lesser Kingdomes revolting from the West-Saxon yoke, and not aiding each other, too much concerned for their own safety, it came to no better pass; while severally they sought to repel the danger nigh at hand, rather than jointly to prevent it farr off. But when God hath decreed serviturde on a sinful Nation, fitted by thir own Vices for no condition but servile, all Estates of Government are alike unable to avoid it. God had purpos'd to punish our instrumental punishers, though now Christians, by other Heathen, according to his Divine Retaliation; invasion for invasion, spoil for spoil, destruction for destruction. The Saxons were now full as wicked as the Britanswere at thir arrival, broken with Luxury and Sloth, either secular or superstitious; for laying aside the exercise of Arms, and the study of all virtuous Knowledge, som betook them to over-worldly or vicious practice, others to religious idleness and solitude, which brought forth nothing but vain and delusive Visions; easily perceiv'd such by thir commanding of things, either not belonging to the Gospel, or utterly forbidden, Ceremonies, reliques, Monasteries, Masses, Idols; add to these ostentation of Alms, got oft-times by rapine and oppression, or intermixt with violent and lustful deeds, sometimes prodigally bestow'd as the expiation of crueltie and Bloodshed. What longer suffering could there be, when Religion it self grew so void of sincerity, and the greatest shews of Purity were impur'd?
Ecbert in full height of Glory, having now enjoy'd his Conquest seven peaceful years, his victorious Army long since disbanded, and the exercise of Arms perhaps laid aside, the more was found unprovided against a sudden storm of Danes from the Sea,3. who landing in the 32d of his Reign, wasted Shepey in Kent.4. Ecbert the next year, gathering an Army,5. for he had heard of their arrival in 35 Ships, gave them Battel by the River Carr in Dorsetshire;6. the event wherof was, that the Danes kept thir ground, and encamp'd where the Field was fought; two Saxon Leaders, Dudda and Osmund, and two Bishops, as som say, were there slain. This was the only check of Fortune we read of, that Ecbert in all his time receav'd. For the Danes returning two years after7. with a great Navy, and joining Forces with the Cornish,8. who had enter'd League with them, were overthrown and put to flight. Of these Invasions against Ecbert, the Danish History is not silent;9. whether out of thir own Records or ours, may be justly doubted: for of these times at home, I find them in much uncertainty, and beholden rather to Out-landish Chronicles, than any Records of thir own. The Victor Ecbert, as one who had done anough, seasonably now, after prosperous success, the next year with glory ended his daies,10. and was buried at Winchester.11.
Ethelwolf the Son of Ecbert succeeded, by Malmsbury describ'd a man of mild Nature, not inclin'd to Warr, or delighted with much Dominion; that therefore contented with the ancient West-Saxon Bounds, he gave to Ethelstan his Brother, or Son, as som write, the Kingdome of Kent and Essex. But the Saxon Annalist,12. whose Authority is elder, saith plainly, that both these Countries and Sussex, were bequeath'd to Ethelstan by Ecbert his Father. The unwarlike disposition of Ethelwolf gave encouragement no doubt, and easier entrance to the Danes, who came again the next year with 33 Ships;13. but Wulfheard, one of the King's chief Captains, drove them back at Southampton with great slaughter;14. himself dying the same year, of Age, as I suppose, for he seems to have bin one of Ecbert's old Commanders, who was sent with Ethelwolf to subdue Kent. Ethelhelm another of the King's Captains, with the Dorsetshire men, had at first like success against the Danes at Portsmouth; but they reinforcing stood thir ground, and put the English to rout. Worse was the success of Earl Herebert at a place call'd Mereswar, slain with the most part of his Army. The year following in Lindsey also,15. East-Angles, and Kent, much mischief was done by thir landing;16. where the next year,17. embolden'd by success, they came on as farr as Canterbury, Rochester, and London it self,18. with no less cruel Hostility: and giving no respite to the peaceable mind of Ethelwolf, they yet return'd with the next year in 35 Ships,19. fought with him, as before with his Father at the River Carr, and made good thir ground.20. In Northumberland, Eandred the Tributary King deceasing,21. left the same Tenure to his Son Ethelred driven out in his fourth year,22. and succeeded by Readwulf,23. who soon after his Coronation hasting forth to Battel against the Danes at Alvetheli, fell with the most part of his Army; and Ethelred like in fortune to the former Ethelred, was re-exalted to his Seat. And to be yet furder like him in Fate, was slain the fourth year after. Osbert succeeded in his room.24. But more southerly, the Danes next year after met with some stop in the full course of thir outragious Insolencies.25. For Earnulf with the men of Somerset, Alstan the Bishop, and Osric with those of Dorsetshire, setting upon them at the River's mouth of Pedridan, slaughter'd them in great numbers, and obtain'd a just Victory. This repulse quell'd them, for aught we hear, the space of six years;26. then also renewing thir Invasion with little better success.27. For Keorle an Eart,28. aided with the Forces of Devonshire, assaulted and overthrew them at Wigganbeaorch with great Destruction; as prosperously were they fought with the same year at Sandwich, by King Ethelstan, and Ealker his Generall, thir great Army defeated, and nine of thir Ships tak'n, the rest driven off; however to ride out the Winter on that shoar, Asser saith, they then first winter'd in Shepey Ile. Hard it is, through the bad expression of these Writers, to define this Fight, whether by Sea or Land; Hoveden terms it a Sea-fight. Nevertheless with 50 Ships29. (Asser and others add 300)30. they entred the mouth of the Thames, and made Excursions as farr as Canterbury and London, and as Ethelwerd writes, destroi'd both; of London, Asser signifies only that they pillag'd it. Bertulf also the Mercian, Successor of Withlaf, with all his Army they forc'd to fly, and him beyond the Sea. Then passing over Thames with thir Powers into Surrey, and the West-Saxons, and meeting there with King Ethelwolf and Ethelbald his Son, at a place call'd Ak- Lea, or Oke-Lea, they received a total Defeat with memorable Slaughter. This was counted a lucky year to England,31. and brought to Ethelwolf great Reputation.32. Burhed therefore,33. who after Bertulf held of him the Mercian Kingdon, two years after this, imploring his Aid against the North-Welch, as then troublesom to his confines, obtain'd it of him in person, and therby reduc'd them to Obedience. This done, Ethelwolf sent his Son Alfrid a Child of five years, well accompanied to Rome, whom Leo the Pope both consecrated to be King afterwards, and adopted to be his Son; at home Ealker with the Forces of Kent, and Huda with those of Surrey, fell on the Danes at thir landing in Tanet, and at first put them back; but the slain and drown'd were at length so many on either side, as left the loss equall on both: which yet hinder'd not the Solemnity of a Marriage at the Feast of Easter, between Burhed the Mercian, and Ethelswida King Ethelwolf's Daughter.34. Howbeit the Danes the next year35. winter'd again in Shepey.36. Whom Ethelwolf, not finding human Health sufficient to resist, growing daily upon him, in hope of Divine Aid, register'd in a Book and dedicated to God the tenth part of his own Lands, and of his whole Kingdome, eas'd of all Impositions, but converted to the maintenance of Masses and Psalms weekly to be sung for the prospering of Ethelwolf and his Captains, as appears at large by the Patent it self, in William of Malmsbury. Asser saith, he did it for the Redemption of his Soul, and the Soul of his Ancestors. After which, as having done som great matter to shew himself at Rome, and be applauded of the Pope, he takes a long and cumbersom Journey thither with young Alfrid again, and there stays a year,37. when his place requir'd him rather heer in the field against Pagan Enemies left wintring in his Land.38. Yet so much Manhood he had, as to return thence no Monk; and in his way home took to Wife Judith Daughter to Charles the Bald, King of France. But ere his return,39. Ethelbald his eldest Son, Alstan his trusty Bishop, and Enulf Earl of Somerset conspir'd against him; thir Complaints were, that he had tak'n with him Alfrid his youngest Son to be there inaugurated King, and brought home with him an outlandish Wife; for which they endeavour'd to deprive him of his Kingdome. The disturbance was expected to bring forth nothing less than Warr: but the King abhorring civil Discord, after many Conferences tending to Peace, condescended to divide the Kingdome with his Son; Division was made, but the matter so carried, that the Eastern and worst part was malignly afforded to the Father; the Western and best giv'n to the Son: at which many of the Nobles had great indignation, offering to the King thir utmost Assistance for the recovery of all; whom he peacefully dissuading, sat down contented with his Portion assign'd. In the East-Angles, Edmund lineal from the ancient stock of those Kings, a Youth of 14 years only, but of great hopes, was with consent of all but his own crown'd at Bury. About this time, as Buchanan relates,40. the Picts, who not long before had by the Scots bin driven out of thir Country, part of them coming to Osbert and Ella, then Kings of Northumberland, obtain'd Aid against Donaldus the Scotish King, to recover thir ancient Possession. Osbert, first put to a Retreat; but returning soon after on the Scots, over-secure of their suppos'd Victory, put them to flight with great slaughter, took prisoner thir King, and pursu'd his Victory beyond Stirling-bridge. The Scots unable to resist longer, and by Embassadors entreating Peace, had it granted them on these conditions: The Scots were to quit all they had possess'd within the Wall of Severus: the limits of Scotland were beneath Stirling-bridge to be the River Forth, and on the other side, Dunbritton Frith; from that time so call'd of the British then seated in Cumberland, who had join'd with Osbert in this Action, and so farr extended on that side the British Limits. If this be true, as the Scots Writers themselves witness (and who would think them fabulous to the disparagement of thir own Country?) how much wanting have bin our Historians to thir Country's honour, in letting pass unmention'd an Exploit so memorable, by them remembred and attested, who are wont oftner to extenuate than to amplify aught done in Scotland by the English? Donaldus on these conditions releas'd, soon after dies, according to Buchanan, in 858. Ethelwolf Chief King in England, had the year before ended his Life, and was buried as his Father at Winchester. He was from his Youth much addicted to Devotion;41. so that in his Father's time he was ordain'd Bishop of Winchester; and unwillingly, for want of other legitimate Issue, succeeded him in the Throne; managing therefore his greatest Affairs by the Activity of two Bishops, Alstan of Sherburne, and Swithine of Winchester. But Alstan is noted of Covetousness and Oppression,42. by William of Malmsbury; the more vehemently no doubt for doing som notable damage to that Monastery.43. The same Author writes, that Ethelwolf at Rome, paid a Tribute to the Pope, continu'd to his daies.44. However he were facil to his Son, and seditious Nobles, in yeilding up part of his Kingdome, yet his Queen he treated not the less honourably, for whomsoever it displeas'd.45. The West-Saxons had decreed ever since the time of Eadburga, the infamous Wife of Birthric, that no Queen should sit in State with the King, or be dignify'd with the Title of Queen. But Ethelwolf permitted not that Judith his Queen should lose any point of Regal State by that Law. At his Death, he divided the Kingdome between his two Sons, Ethelbald and Ethelbert; to the younger Kent, Essex, Surrey, Sussex, to the elder all the rest; to Peter and Paul certain Revenues yearly, for what uses let others relate, who write also his Pedigree, from Son to Father, up to Adam.
ETHELBALD, and Ethelbert.
Ethelbald, unnatural and disloyal to his Father,46. fell justly into another, though contrary Sin,47. of too much love to his Father's Wife; and whom at first he oppos'd coming into the Land, her now unlawfully marrying,48. he takes into his Bed; but not long enjoying, died at three years end, without doing aught more worthy to be remember'd; having reign'd two years with his Father,49. impiously usurping, and three after him, as unworthily inheriting.50. And his hap was all that while to be unmolested with the Danes; not of Divine favour doubtless, but to his greater Condemnation, living the more securely his incestuous Life. Huntingdon on the other side much praises Ethelbald, and writes him buried at Sherburn, with great sorrow of the People, who miss'd him long after. Mat. Westm. saith, that he repented of his Incest with Judith, and dismiss'd her: but Asser an Eye-witness of those times, mentions no such thing.
Ethelbald by Death removed, the whole Kingdome came rightfully to Ethelbert his next Brother. Who though a Prince of great virtue and no blame, had as short a Reign allotted him as his faulty Brother, nor that so peaceful; once or twice invaded by the Danes. But they having landed in the West with a great Army, and sack'd Winchester, were met by OsricEarl of Southampton, and Ethelwolf of Berkshire, beaten to thir Ships, and forc'd to leave thir Booty. Five Years after,51. about the time of his Death, they set foot again in Tanet;52. the Kentish-men wearied out with so frequent Alarms, came to agreement with them for a certain Sum of Money; but ere the Peace could be ratify'd, and the Money gatherd, the Danes impatient of delay, by a sudden Eruption in the night, soon wasted all the East of Kent. Mean while or something before, Ethelbert deceasing, was buried as his Brother at Sherburn.
Ethelred the third, Son to Ethelwolf, at his first coming to the Crown53. was entertain'd with a fresh Invasion of Danes,54. led by Hinguar and Hubba, two Brothers, who now had got footing among the East- Angles;55. there they winter'd, and coming to terms of Peace with the Inhabitants, furnish'd themselves of Horses, forming by that means many Troops with Riders of thir own: These Pagans, Asser saith, came from the River Danubius. Fitted thus for a long Expedition, they ventur'd the next Year to make thir way over Land and over Humber, as farr as York,56. them they found to their hands imbroil'd in civil Dissensions;57. thir King Osbert they had thrown out, and Ella Leader of another Faction chos'n in his room; who both, though late, admonish'd by thir common danger, towards the year's end with united Powers made head against the Danes and prevail'd; but pursuing them over-eagerly into York,58. then but slenderly wall'd, the Northumbrians were every where slaughter'd, both within and without; thir Kings also both slain, thir City burnt, saith Malmsbury, the rest as they could made thir Peace, over-run and vanquish'd as farr as the River Tine, and Egbert of English Race appointed King over them. Bromton no ancient Author (for he wrote since Mat. West. ) nor of much credit, writes a particular cause of the Danes coming to York: that Bruern a Nobleman, whose Wife King Osbert had ravish'd, call'd in Hinguar and Hubba to revenge him. The Example is remarkable, if the Truth were as evident. Thence victorious, the Danes next year59. enter'd into Mercia towards Nottingham, where they spent the Winter. Burhed the King of that Country, unable to resist, implores the Aid of Ethelred and young Alfred his Brother; they assembling thir Forces and joining with the Mercians about Nottingham, offer Battel:60. the Danes not daring to come forth, kept themselves within that Town and Castle, so that no great Fight was hazarded there; at length the Mercians weary of long Suspense, enter'd into Conditions of Peace with thir Enemies. After which the Danes returning back to York, made thir Abode there the space of one Year,61. committing, som say, many Cruelties.62. Thence embarking to Lindsey, and all the Summer destroying that Country,63. about September they came with like Fury into Kesteven, another part of Lincolnshire,64. where Algar the Earl of Howland, now Holland, with his Forces, and two hundred stout Souldiers belonging to the Abbey of Croiland, three hundred from about Boston, Morcard Lord of Brunne, with his numerous Family, well train'd and arm'd: Osgot Governour of Lincoln with 500 of that City, all joining together, gave Battel to the Danes, slew of them a great multitude, with three of thir Kings, and pursu'd the rest to their Tents; but the Night following Gothrun, Baseg, Osketil, Halfden, and Hamond, five Kings, and as many Earls, Frena, Hinguar, Hubba, Sidroc the elder and younger, coming in from several parts with great Forces and Spoils, great part of the English began to slink home. Nevertheless Algar with such as forsook him not, all next day in order of Battel facing the Danes, and sustaining unmov'd the brunt of thir Assaults, could not with-hold his Men at last from pursuing thir counterfeited Flight; wherby open'd and disorder'd, they fell into the Snare of their Enemies, rushing back upon them. Algar and those Captains fore-nam'd with him, all resolute Men, retreating to a Hill side, and slaying of such as follow'd them, manifold thir own number, died at length upon heaps of dead which they had made round about them. The Danes thence passing on into the Country of East-Angles, rifled and burnt the Monastery of Elie, overthrew Earl Wulketul with his whole Army, and lodg'd out the Winter at Thetford; where King Edmond assailing them, was with his whole Army put to flight, himself tak'n, bound to a stake, and shot to death with Arrows, his whole Country subdu'd. The next year65. with great Supplies, saith Huntingdon, bending thir march toward the West-Saxons,66. the only People now left in whom might seem yet to remain Strength of Courage likely to oppose them, they came to Reading, fortify'd there between the two Rivers of Thames and Kenet, and about three daies after sent out Wings of Horse under two Earls to forage the Country;67. but Ethelwolf Earl of Berkshire, at Englefield a Village nigh, encounter'd them, slew one of thir Earls, and obtain'd a great Victory. Four daies after came the King himself and his Brother Alfred with the main Battel; and the Danes issuing forth, a bloodie Fight began, on either side great Slaughter in which Earl Ethelwolf lost his Life; but the Danes loosing no ground, kept thir place of standing to the end. Neither did the English for this make less haste to another Conflict at Escesdune or Ashdown, four daies after, where both Armies with their whole Force on either side met. The Danes were embattail'd in two great Bodies, the one led by Bascai and Halfden, thir two Kings, the other by such Earls as were appointed; in like manner the English divided their Powers, Ethelred the King stood against thir Kings; and though on the lower ground, and coming later into the Battel from his Orisons, gave a fierce Onset, wherein Bascai (the Danish History names him Ivarus the Son of Regnerus ) was slain. Alfred was plac'd against the Earls, and beginning the Battel ere his Brother came into the Field, with such Resolution charg'd them, that in the shock most of them were slain; they are named Sidroc elder and younger, Osbern, Frean, Harald; at length in both Divisions, the Danes turn thir backs; many thousands of them cut off, the rest pursu'd till night. So much the more it may be wonder'd to hear next in the Annals, that the Danes 14 daies after such an Overthrow fighting again with Ethelred and his Brother Alfred at Basing, under Conduct, saith the Danish History, of Agnerus and Hubbo, Brothers of the slain Ivarus, should obtain the Victory; especially since the new Supply of Danes mentioned by Asser, arriv'd after this Action.68. But after two Months the King and his Brother fought with them again at Mertun, in two Squadrons as before, in which Fight hard it is to understand who had the better; so darkly do the Saxon Annals deliver thir meaning with more than wonted Infancy. Yet these I take (for Asser is heer silent) to be the chief Fountain of our Story, the Ground and Basis upon which the Monks later in time gloss and comment at their pleasure. Nevertheless it appears that on the Saxon part, not Heamund the Bishop only, but many valiant Men lost thir Lives. This Fight was follow'd by a heavie Summer Plague;69. wherof, as is thought, King Ethelred died in the fifth of his Reign, and was buried at Winburne, where his Epitaph inscribes that he had his Death's Wound by the Danes, according to the Danish History 872. Of all these terrible Landings and Devastations by the Danes, from the daies of Ethelwolf till thir two last Battels with Ethelred, or of thir Leaders, whether Kings, Dukes, or Earls, the Danish History of best credit saith nothing; so little Wit or Conscience it seems they had to leave any Memory of thir brutish rather than manly Actions; unless we shall suppose them to have come, as above was cited out of Asser, from Danubius, rather than from Denmark, more probably som barbarous Nation of Prussia, or Livonia, not long before seated more Northward on the Baltic Sea.
Alfred the fourth Son of Ethelwolf, had scarce perform'd his Brother's Obsequies, and the Solemnity of his own Crowning, when at the Month's end in haste with a small Power he encounter'd the whole Army of Danes at Witton, and most part of the day foyl'd them; but unwarily following the Chase, gave others of them the advantage to rally; who returning upon him now weary, remain'd Masters of the Field. This year, as is affirm'd in the Annals, nine Battels had bin fought against the Danes on the South-side of Thames, besides innumerable Excursions made by Alfred and other Leaders; one King, nine Earls were fallen in fight, so that weary on both sides at the year's end, League or Truce was concluded. Yet next year70. the Danes took thir March to London,71. now expos'd to thir Prey, there they winter'd, and thither came the Mercians to renew Peace with them. The year following they rov'd back to the parts beyond Humber, but winter'd at Torksey in Lincolnshire, where the Mercians now the third time made Peace with them. Notwithstanding which, removing thir Camp to Rependune in Mercia, now Repton upon Trent in Derbeyshire, and there wintering,72. they constrain'd Burhed the King to fly into foreign parts,73. making seizure of his Kingdome,74. he running the direct way to Rome; with better reason than his Ancestors, died there,75. and was buried in a Church by the English School.76. His Kingdome the Danes farm'd out to Kelwulf, one of his Houshold Servants or Officers, with condition to be resign'd them when they commanded. From Rependune they dislodg'd, Hafden thir King leading part of his Army Northward, winter'd by the River Tine,77. and subjecting all those quarters, wasted also the Picts and British beyond:78. but Guthrun, Oskitell, and Anwynd, other three of thir Kings, moving from Rependune, came with a great Army to Grantbrig, and remain'd there a whole year. But Alfred that Summer purposing to try his Fortune with a Fleet at Sea (for he had found that the want of shipping and neglect of Navigation had expos'd the Land to these Piracies) met with seven Danish Rovers, took one, the rest escapeing; an acceptable Success from so small a beginning: for the English at that time were but little experienc'd in Sea-Affairs. The next year's first motion79. of the Danes was towards Warham- Castle, where Alfred meeting them, either by Policie, or thir doubt of his Power;80. Ethelwerd saith, by Money brought them to such terms of Peace, as that they swore to him upon a hallow'd Bracelet, others say upon certain reliques81. (a solemn Oath it seems, which they never vouchsaf'd before to any other Nation) forthwith to depart the Land: but falsifying that Oath, by night with all the Horse they had (Asser saith, slaying all the Horsemen he had) stole to Exeter,82. and there winter'd. In Northumberland, Hafden thir King began to settle, to divide the Land, to till, and to inhabit. Mean while they in the West who but their Fleet the next year83. sailing or rowing about the West,84. met with such a Tempest neer to Swanswich or Gnavewic, as wrack'd 120 of their Ships, and left the rest easy to be master'd by those Gallies which Alfred had set there to guard the Seas, and straiten Exeter of Provision.85. He the while beleaguering them in the City, now humbled with the loss of thir Navy, (two Navies, saith Asser, the one at Gnavewic, the other at Swanwine ) distress'd them so, as that they gave him as many Hostages as he requir'd, and as many Oaths, to keep their covenanted Peace, and kept it. For the Summer coming on, they departed into Mercia, wherof part they divided among themselves, part left to Kelwulf thir substituted King. The Twelftide following,86. all Oaths forgotten, they came to Chippenham in Wiltshire, dispeopling the Countries round,87. dispossessing some, driving others beyond the Sea; Alfred himself with a small Company was forc'd to keep within Woods and Fenny Places, and for som time all alone, as Florent saith, sojourn'd with Dunwulf a Swine-herd, made afterwards for his Devotion and Aptness to Learning Bishop of Winchester. Hafden and the Brother of Hinguar coming with 23 Ships from North-Wales,88. where they had made great spoil, landed in Devonshire, nigh to a strong Castle nam'd Kinwith; where, by the Garison issuing forth unexpectedly, they were slain with 12 hundred of thir Men.89. Mean while the King about Easter, not despairing of his Affairs, built a Fortress at a place call'd Athelney in Somersetshire, therin valiantly defending himself and his Followers, frequently sallying forth. The 7th Week after he rode out to a place call'd Ecbryt-stone in the East part of Selwood: thither resorted to him with much Gratulation the Somerset and Wiltshire Men, with many out of Hampshire, som of whom a little before had feld thir Country; with these marching to Ethandune, now Edindon in Wiltshire, he gave Battel to the whole Danish Power, and put them to flight.90. Then besieging their Castle, within fourteen daies took it. Malmsbury writes, that in this time of his Recess, to go a Spy into the Danish Camp, he took upon him with one Servant the Habit of a Fidler; by this means gaining access to the King's Table, and sometimes to his Bed-Chamber, got knowledge of thir Secrets, thir careless encamping, and therby this opportunity of assailing them on a sudden. The Danes by this Misfortune broken, gave him more Hostages, and renew'd thir Oaths to depart out of his Kingdome. thir King Gytro or Gothrun offerd willingly to receive Baptism, and accordingly came with 30 of his Friends to a place call'd Aldra or Aulre, neer to Athelney, and were baptiz'd at Wedmore;91. where Alfred receav'd him out of the Font, and nam'd him Athelstan. After which they abode with him 12 daies, and were dismiss'd with rich Presents. Wherupon the Danes remov'd next year92. to Cirencester, thence peaceably to the East-Angles;93. which Alfred, as som write, had bestow'd on Gothrun to hold of him; the Bounds wherof may be read among the Laws of Alfred. Others of them went to Fulham on the Thames, and joining there with a great Fleet newly come into the River, thence pass'd over into France and Flanders, both which they enter'd so farr conquering or wasting, as witness'd sufficiently, that the French and Flemish were no more able than the English, by Policie or Prowess, to keep off that Danish Inundation from thir Land. Alfred thus rid of them, and intending for the future to prevent thir landing; three years after94. (quiet the mean while) with more Ships and better provided,95. puts to Sea, and at first met with four of theirs, wherof two he took, throwing the men over-board, then with two others, wherin two were of thir Princes, and took them also, but not without som loss of his own. After three years96. another Fleet of them appear'd on these Seas, so huge that one part thought themselves sufficient to enter upon East France, the other came to Rochester,97. and beleaguer'd it, they within stoutly defending themselves till Alfred with great Forces, coming down upon the Danes, drove them to thir Ships, leaving for haste all thir Horses behind them. The same year Alfred sent a Fleet toward the East-Angles,98. then inhabited by the Danes, which at the mouth of Stour, meeting with 16 Danish Ships, after som fight took them all, and slew all the Souldiers on board; but in thir way home lying careless, were overtak'n by another part of that Fleet, and came off with loss: wherupon perhaps those Danes who were settled among the East-Angles, erected with new hopes, violated the Peace which they had sworn to Alfred, who spent the next year in repairing London,99. (besieging, saith Huntingdon )100. much ruin'd and unpeopled by the Danes; the Londoners, all but those who had bin led away Captive,101. soon return'd to thir Dwellings,102. and Ethred Duke of Mercia, was by the King appointed thir Governour.103. But after 13 years respite of Peace, another Danish Fleet of 250 Sail, from the East part of France arriv'd at the mouth of a River in East Kent, call'd Lamen, nigh to the great Wood Andred, famous for length and breadth; into that Wood they drew up thir Ships four mile from the River's mouth, and built a Fortress. After whom Haesten, with another Danish Fleet of 80 Ships, entring the mouth of Thames, built a Fort at Middleton, the former Army remaining at a place call'd Apeltre. Alfred perceiving this, took of those Danes who dwelt in Northumberland, a new Oath of Fidelity, and of those in Essex Hostages, lest they should join, as they were wont, with thir Countrymen newly arriv'd. And by the next year104. having got together his Forces,105. between either Army of the Danes encamp'd so as to be readie for either of them, who first should happen to stir forth; Troops of Horse also he sent continually abroad, assisted by such as could be spar'd from strong places, wherever the Countries wanted them, to encounter foraging parties of the Enemie. The King also divided sometimes his whole Army, marching out with one part by turns, the other keeping intrench'd. In conclusion rowling up and down, both sides met at Farnham in Surrey; where the Danes by Alfred's Horse Troops were put to flight, and crossing the Thames to a certain Iland neer Coln in Essex, or as Camden thinks, by Colebrook, were besieg'd there by Alfred till Provision fail'd the Besiegers, another part staid behind with thir King wounded. Mean while Alfred preparing to reinforce the Siege of Colney, the Danes of Northumberland breaking Faith, came by Sea to the East-Angles, and with a hundred Ships coasting Southward, landed in Devonshire, and besieg'd Exeter; thither Alfred hasted with his Powers, except a Squadron of Welch that came to London: with whom the Citizens marching forth to Beamslet, where Haesten the Dane had built a strong Fort, and left a Garison, while he himself with the main of his Army was enter'd farr into the Country, luckily surprise the Fort, master the Garison, make prey of all they find there; their Ships also they burnt or brought away with good Booty, and many Prisoners, among whom the Wife and two Sons of Haesten were sent to the King, who forthwith set them at liberty. Wherupon Haesten gave Oath of Amity and Hostages to the King; he in requital, whether freely or by agreement, a Sum of Money. Nevertheless without regard of Faith giv'n, while Alfred was busied about Exeter, joining with the other Danish Army, he built another Castle in Essex at Shoberie, thence marching Westward by the Thames, aided with the Northumbrian and East-Anglish Danes, they came at length to Severn, pillaging all in thir way. But, Ethred, Ethelm, and Ethelnoth, the King's Captains, with united Forces pitch'd nigh to them at Buttingtun, on the Severn Bank in Montgomery-shire, the River running between, and there many Weeks attended;106. the King mean while blocking up the Danes who besieg'd Exeter, having eaten part of thir Horses, the rest urg'd with Hunger broke forth to thir Fellows, who lay encamp'd on the East-side of the River, and were all there discomfited with som loss of valiant Men on the King's partie; the rest fled back to Essex, and thir Fortress there. Then Laf, one of thir Leaders, gatherd before Winter a great Army of Northumbrian And East-Anglish Danes, who leaving thir Money, Ships, and Wives with the East-Angles, and marching day and night, sat down before a City in the West call'd Wirheal neer to Chester, and took it ere they could be overtak'n. The English after two daies Siege, hopeless to dislodge them, wasted the Country round to cut off from them all Provision, and departed. Soon after which, next year,107. the Danes no longer able to hold Wirheal, destitute of Victuals, enter'd North-Wales;108. thence laden with Spoils, part return'd into Northumberland, others to the East-Angles as farr as Essex, where they seis'd on a small Iland call'd Meresig. And heer again the Annals record them to besiege Exeter, but without coherence of sense or story.109. Others relate to this purpose,110. that returning by Sea from the Siege of Exeter, and in thir way landing on the Coast of Sussex, they of Chichester sallied out and slew of them many hundreds, taking also som of thir Ships. The same year they who possess'd Meresig, intending to winter therabout, drew up thir Ships, som into the Thames, others into the River Lee, and on the bank therof built a Castle twenty miles from London; to assault which, the Londoners aided with other Forces march'd out the Summer following,111. but were soon put to flight, loosing four of the King's Captains.112. Huntingdon writes quite the contrary, that these four were Danish Captains, and the overthrow theirs: but little Credit is to be plac'd in Huntingdon single. For the King therupon with his Forces, lay encamp'd neerer the City, that the Danes might not infest them in time of Harvest; in the mean time, sutt'ly devising to turn Lee- stream several ways, wherby the Danish Bottoms were left on dry Ground: which they soon perceiving, march'd over Land to Quatbrig on the Severn, built a Fortress, and winter'd there; while thir Ships left in Lee, were either broken or brought away by the Londoners; but thir Wives and Children they had left in safety with the East-Angles. The next year was pestilent,113. and besides the common sort took away many great Earls,114. Kelmond in Kent, Brithulf in Essex, Wulfred in Hampshire, with many others; and to this evil the Danes of Northumberland and East-Angles ceas't not to endamage the West-Saxons, especially by stealth, robbing on the South- shoar in certain long Gallies. But the King causing to be built others twice as long as usually were built, and som of 60 or 70 Oars higher, swifter and steddier than such as were in use before either with Danes or Frisons, his own Invention, som of these he sent out against six Danish Pirates, who had done much harm in the Ile of Wight, and parts adjoining. The bickering was doubtful and intricate, part on the Water, part on the Sands; not without loss of som eminent men on the English side. The Pirates at length were either slain or tak'n, two of them stranded; the men brought to Winchester, where the King then was, were executed by his command; one of them escap'd to the East-Angles, her men much wounded: the same year not fewer than twenty of thir Ships perish'd on the South Coast with all thir men. And Rollo the Dane or Norman landing there, as Matt. West. writes, though not in what part of the Iland, after an unsuccessful fight against those Forces which first oppos'd him, sail'd into France and conquer'd the Country, since that time call'd Normandy. This is the sum of what pass'd in three years against the Danes, returning out of France, set down so perplexly by the Saxon Annalist, ill-gifted with utterance, as with much ado can be understood sometimes what is spoken, whether meant of the Danes, or of the Saxons. After which troublesom time, Alfred enjoying three years of Peace, by him spent, as his manner was, not idly or voluptuously, but in all virtuous employments both of Mind and Body, becoming a Prince of his Renown, ended his daies in the year 900, the 51st of his Age, the 30th of his Reign, and was buried regally at Winchester;115. he was born at a place call'd Wanading in Berkshire,116. his Mother Osburga the Daughter of Oslac the King's Cup-bearer, a Goth by Nation, and of noble Descent. He was of Person comelier than all his Brethren, of pleasing Tongue and graceful behaviour, readie Wit and Memory; yet through the fondness of his Parents towards him, had not bin taught to read till the twelfth year of his Age; but the great desire of Learning which was in him, soon appear'd by his conning of Saxon Poems day and night, which with great attention he heard by others repeated. He was besides excellent at Hunting, and the new Art then of Hawking, but more exemplary in Devotion, having collected into a Book certain praiers and Psalms, which he carried ever with him in his bosom to use on all occasions. He thirsted after all liberal Knowledge, and oft complain'd that in his Youth he had no Teachers, in his middle Age so little vacancy from Warrs and the cares of his Kingdome; yet leisure he found sometimes, not only to learn much himself, but to communicate therof what he could to his People, by translating Books out of Latin into English, Orosius, Boethius, Beda's History and others; permitted none unlearn'd to bear Office, either in Court or Commonwealth. At twenty years of Age not yet reigning, he took to wife Egelswitha the Daughter of Ethelred a Mercian Earl. The Extremities which befel him in the sixth of his Reign, Neothan Abbot told him, were justly come upon him for neglecting in his younger daies the Complaint of such as injur'd and oppress'd repair'd to him, as then second Person in the Kingdome, for redress; which neglect were it such indeed, were yet excusable in a Youth, through jollity of mind unwilling perhaps to be detain'd long with sad and sorrowful Narrations; but from the time of his undertaking Regal charge, no man more patient in hearing causes, more inquisitive in examining, more exact in doing Justice, and providing good Laws, which are yet extant; more severe in punishing unjust Judges or obstinate Offenders. Thieves especially and Robbers, to the terror of whom in cross ways were hung upon a high post certain Chains of Gold, as it were daring any one to take them thence; so that Justice seem'd in his daies not to flourish only, but to Tryumph: no man than he more frugal of two pretious things in mans life, his Time and his Revenue; no man wiser in the disposal of both. His time, the day, and night, he distributed by the burning of certain Tapers into three equall Portions; the one was for Devotion, the other for public or private Affairs, the third for bodily refreshment; how each hour past, he was put in mind by one who had that Office. His whole annual Revenue, which his first care was should be justly his own, he divided into two equall parts; the first he employ'd to secular uses, and subdivided those into three, the first to pay his Souldiers, Houshold-Servants and Guard, of which divided into three Bands, one attended monthly by turn; the second was to pay his Architects and Workmen, whom he had got together of several Nations; for he was also an elegant Builder, above the Custom and Conceit of Englishmen in those daies; the third he had in readiness to relieve or honour Strangers according to thir worth, who came from all parts to see him, and to live under him. The other equall part of his yearly Wealth he dedicated to religious uses, those of four sorts; the first to relieve the Poor, the second to the building and maintenance of two Monasteries, the third of a School, where he had persuaded the Sons of many Noblemen to study sacred Knowledge and Liberal Arts, som say at Oxford;117. the fourth was for the relief of foreign Churches, as farr as India to the Shrine of St. Thomas, sending thither Siglem Bishop of Sherburn, who both return'd safe, and brought with him many rich Gems and Spices; Gifts also and a Letter he received from the Patriarch of Jerusalem; sent many to Rome, and from them receav'd reliques. Thus farr, and much more might be said of his noble mind which render'd him the mirror of Princes; his Body was diseas'd in hisYouth with a great soreness in the Seige117a. , and that ceasing of it self, with another inward pain of unknown cause, which held him by frequent fits to his dying day: yet not disinabled to sustain those many glorious labours of his Life both in Peace and Warr.
EDWARD the Elder.
Edward the Son of Alfred succeeded, in Learning not equall,118. in Power and Extent of Dominion surpassing his Father. The beginning of his Reign had much disturbance by Ethelwald an ambitious young Man,119. Son of the King's Uncle, or Cousin German, or Brother, for his Genealogy is variously deliverd. He vainly avouching to have equall right with Edward of Succession to the Crown,120. possess'd himself of Winburn in Dorset,121. and another Town diversly nam'd, giving out that there he would live or die; but encompass'd with the King's Forces at Badbury a place nigh, his Heart failing him, he stole out by night, and fled to the Danish Army beyond Humber. The King sent after him, but not overtaking, found his Wife in the Town, whom he had married out of a Nunnery, and commanded her to be sent back thither. About this time122. the Kentish Men, against a Multitude of Danish Pirates, fought prosperously at a place call'd Holme, as Hoveden records. Ethelwald aided by the Northumbrians with Shipping, three years after,123. sailing to the East-Angles,124. persuaded the Danes there to fall into the King's Territory, who marching with him as farr as Crecklad, and passing the Thames there, wasted as farr beyond as they durst venture, and laden with Spoils return'd home. The King with his Powers making speed after them, between the Dike and Ouse, suppos'd to be Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, as farr as the Fenns Northward, laid waste all before him. Thence intending to return, he commanded that all his Army should follow him close without delay; but the Kentish Men, though often call'd upon, lagging behind, the Danish Army prevented them, and join'd Battel with the King: where Duke Sigulf and Earl Sigelm, with many other of the Nobles were slain; on the Danes part, Eoric thir King, and Ethelwald the Author of this Warr, with others of high note, and of them greater number, but with great ruin on both sides; yet the Danes kept in thir power the burying of thir slain. Whatever follow'd upon this Conflict, which we read not, the King two years after125. with the Danes, both of East-Angles and Northumberland, concluded Peace,126. which continu'd three Years, by whomsoever broken: for at the end therof King Edward raising great Forces out of West-Sex and Mercia,127. sent them against the Danes beyond Humber; where staying five weeks, they made great Spoil and Slaughter.128. The King offerd them terms of Peace, but they rejecting all, enter'd with the next year into Mercia,129. tendring no less Hostility than they had suffer'd;130. but at Tetnal in Staffordshire, saith Florent, were by the English in a set Battel overthrown. King Edward then in Kent, had got together of Ships about an hundred Sail, others gone Southward came back and met him. The Danes now supposing that his main Forces were upon the Sea, took liberty to rove and plunder up and down, as hope of prey led them, beyond Severn.131. The King guessing what might embolden them, sent before him the lightest of his Army to entertain them; then following with the rest, set upon them in thir return over Cantbrig in Glocestershire, and slew many thousands, among whom Ecwils, Hafden, and Hinguar thir Kings, and many other harsh Names in Huntingdon; the place also of this fight is variously writt'n by Ethelwerd and Florent, call'd Wodensfield. The year following132. Ethred Duke of Mercia, to whom Alfred had giv'n London,133. with his Daughter in Marriage, now dying, King Edward resum'd that City, and Oxford, with the Countries adjoining, into his own hands; and the year after,134. built, or much repair'd by his Souldiers,135. the Town of Hertford on either side Lee; and leaving a sufficient number at the work, march'd about middle Summer, with the other part of his Forces into Essex, and encamp'd at Maldon, while his Souldiers built Witham; where a good part of the Country, subject formerly to the Danes, yeilded themselves to his Protection. Four years after136. (Florent allows but one year) the Danes from Leicester and Northampton, falling into Oxfordshire, committed much Rapine,137. and in som Towns therof great slaughter; while another partie wasting Hertfordshire, met with other Fortune: for the Country-People inur'd now to such kind of Incursions, joining stoutly together, fell upon the Spoilers, and recover'd their own Goods, with som Booty from thir Enemies. About the same time Elfled the King's Sister sent her Army of Mercians into Wales,138. who routed the Welch, took the Castle of Bricnam-mere by Brecknock,139. and brought away the King's Wife of that Country with other Prisoners. Not long after she took Derby from the Danes, and the Castle by a sharp Assault. But the year ensuing140. brought a new Fleet of Danes to Lidwic in Devonshire, under two Leaders, Otter and Roald;141. who sailing thence Westward about the Land's end, came up to the mouth of Severn; there landing wasted the Welch Coast, and Irchenfield part of Hertfordshire; where they took Kuneleac a British Bishop, for whose Ransom King Edward gave forty Pound: but the Men of Hereford and Glocestershire assembling, put them to flight; slaying Roald and the Brother of Otter, with many more, pursu'd them to a Wood, and there beset compell'd them to give Hostages of present departure. The King with his Army sat not farr off, securing from the South of Severn to Avon; so that openly they durst not, by night they twice ventur'd to land; but found such welcome, that few of them came back; the rest anchor'd by a small Iland, where many of them famish'd; then sailing to a place call'd Deomed, they cross'd into Ireland. The King with his Army went to Buckingham, staid there a month, and built two Castles or Forts on either Bank of Ouse ere his departing; and Turkitel a Danish Leader, with those of Bedford and Northampton, yeilded him subjection. Wherupon the next year142. he came with his Army to the Town of Bedford,143. took possession therof, staid there a month, and gave order to build another part of the Town, on the South-side of Ouse. Thence the year following144. went again to Maldon,145. repair'd and fortify'd the Town. Turkitel the Dane having small hope to thrive here, where things with such prudence were managed against his Interest, got leave of the King, with as many Voluntaries as would follow him, to pass into France. Early the next year146. King Edward re-edify'd Tovechester, now Torchester;147. and another City in the Annals call'd Wigingmere. Mean while the Danes of Leicester and Northamptonshire, not liking perhaps to be neighbour'd with strong Towns, laid siege to Torchester; [but they within repelling the Assault one whole day till Supplies came] quitted the Siege by night; and persued close by the besieg'd, between Birnwud and Ailsbury were surpriz'd, many of them made prisoners, and much of thir Baggage lost. Other of the Danes at Huntingdon, aided from the East-Angles, finding that Castle not commodious, left it, and built another at Temsford, judging that place more opportune from whence to make thir Excursions; and soon after went forth with design to assail Bedford: but the Garison issuing out, slew a great part of them, the rest fled. After this a great Army of them gatherd out of Mercia and the East-Angles, came and besieg'd the City call'd Wigingmere a whole day; but finding it defended stoutly by them within, thence also departed, driving away much of thir Cattel: wherupon the English from Towns and Cities round about joining Forces, laid siege to the Town and Castle of Temsford, and by assault took both; slew thir King with Toglea a Duke, and Mannan his Son an Earl, with all the rest there found; who chose to die rather than yeild. encourag'd by this, the Men of Kent, Surry, and part of Essex, enterprise the Siege of Colchester, nor gave over till they won it, sacking the Town and putting to Sword all the Danes therin, except som who escap'd over the Wall. To the succour of these, a great number of Danes inhabiting Ports and other Towns in the East-Angles, united thir Force; but coming too late, as in revenge beleagured Maldon: but that Town also timely reliev'd, they departed, not only frustrate of thir Design, but so hotly pursu'd, that many thousands of them lost thir Lives in the flight. Forthwith King Edward with his West-Saxons went to Passham upon Ouse, there to guard the Passage, while others were building a Stone Wall about Torchester; to him there Earl Thurfert, and other Lord Danes, with thir Army therabout as farr as Weolud, came and submitted. Wherat the King's Souldiers joyfully cry'd out to be dismiss'd home: therefore with another part of them he enter'd Huntingdon, and repair'd it, where Breaches had bin made; all the People therabout returning to Obedience. The like was done at Colchester by the next remove of his Army; after which both East and West-Angles, and the Danish Forces among them, yeilded to the King, swearing Allegiance to him both by Sea and Land: the Army also of Danes at Grantbrig, surrendring themselves, took the same Oath. The Summer following148. he came with his Army to Stamford,149. built a Castle there on the South-side of the River, where all the People of these quarters acknowledg'd him Supreme. During his abode there, Elfled his Sister, a martial Woman, who after her Husband's death would no more marry, but gave her self to public Affairs, repairing and fortifying many Towns, warring sometimes, died at Tamworth the chief Seat of Mercia, wherof by Gift of Alfred her Father, she was Lady or Queen; wherby that whole Nation became obedient to King Edward, as did also North-Wales, with Howel, Cledaucus, and Jeothwell, thir Kings. Thence passing to Nottingham, he enter'd and repair'd the Town, plac'd there part English, part Danes, and receav'd Fealty from all in Mercia of either Nation. The next Autumn,150. coming with his Army into Cheshire he built and fortify'd Thelwel;151. and while he staid there, call'd another Army out of Mercia, which he sent to repair and fortify Manchester. About Midsummer following152. he march'd again to Nottingham,153. built a Town over against it on the South-side of that River, and with a Bridge join'd them both; thence journey'd to a place call'd Bedecanwillan in Pictland; there also built and fenc't a City on the Borders, where the King of Scots did him honour as to his Sovereign, together with the whole Scotish Nation; the like did Reginald and the Son of Eadulf, Danish Princes, with all the Northumbrians, both English and Danes. The King also of a People therabout call'd Streatgledwalli, (the North-Welch, as Camden thinks, of Strat-Cluid in Denbighshire, perhaps rather the British of Cumberland ) did him homage, and not undeserv'd. For Buchanan himself confesses,154. that this King Edward, with a small number of Men compar'd to his Enemies, overthrew in a great Battel the whole united Power both of Scots and Danes, slew most of the Scotish Nobility, and forc'd Malcolm, whom Constantine the Scotch King had made Generall, and design'd Heir of his Crown, to save himself by flight sore wounded. Of the English he makes Athelstan the Son of Edward chief Leader; and so farr seems to confound Times and Actions, as to make this Battel the same with that fought by Athelstan about 24 years after at Bruneford, against Anlaf and Constantine, wherof hereafter. But heer Buchanan takes occasion to inveigh against the English Writers,155. upbraiding them with Ignorance, who affirm Athelstan to have bin supreme King of Britain, Constantine the Scotish King with others to have held of him: and denies that in the Annals of Marianus Scotus, any mention is to be found therof; which I shall not stand much to contradict, for in Marianus, whether by Surname or by Nation Scotus, will be found as little mention of any other Scotish Affairs, till the time of King Dunchad slain by Machetad, or Mackbeth, in the year 1040: which gives cause of suspicion, that the Affairs of Scotland before that time were so obscure as to be unknown to thir own Countryman, who liv'd and wrote his Chronicle not long after. But King Edward thus nobly doing, and thus honour'd, the year following died at Farendon;156. a Builder and Restorer even in Warr,157. not a Destroyer of his Land.158. He had by several Wives many Children;159. his eldest Daughter Edgith he gave in marriage to Charles King of France, Grandchild of Charles the Bald above-mention'd; of the rest in place convenient. His Laws are yet to be seen. He was buried at Winchester, in the Monastery by Alfred his Father. And a few daies after him died Ethelwerd his eldest Son, the Heir of his Crown. He had the whole Iland in subjection, yet so as petty Kings reign'd under him.160. In Northumberland, after Ecbert whom the Danes had set up, and the Northumbrians yet unruly under thir Yoke, at the end of six years had expell'd, one Ricsig was set up King, and bore the name three years; then another Ecbert, and Guthred; the latter, if we believe Legends, of a Servant made King by command of St. Cudbert, in a Vision; and enjoin'd by another Vision of the same Saint, to pay well for his Royalty many Lands and Privileges to his Church and Monastery. But now to the Story.
Athelstan, next in age to Ethelward his Brother, who deceas'd untimely few daies before, though born of a Concubine, yet for the great appearance of many Virtues in him, and his Brethren being yet under Age, was exalted to the Throne at Kingston upon Thames,161. and by his Father's last Will saith Malmsbury, yet not without som opposition of one Alfred and his Accomplices; who not liking he should reign, had conspir'd to seize on him after his Father's death, and to put out his Eyes. But the Conspirators discover'd, and Alfred denying the Plot, was sent to Rome,162. to assert his Innocence before the Pope; where taking his Oath on the Altar, he fell down immediately, and carry'd out by his Servants, three daies after died. Mean while beyond Humber the Danes, though much aw'd, were not idle. Inguald, one of thir Kings, took possession of York;163. Sitric, who som years before had slain Niel his Brother, by force took Davenport in Cheshire; and however he defended these doings, grew so inconsiderable,164. that Athelstan with great Solemnity gave him his Sister Edgith to wife:165. but he enjoy'd her not long, dying ere the year's end,166. nor his Sons Anlaf and Guthfert the Kingdome, driven out the next year by Athelstan; not unjustly saith Huntingdon, as being first Raisers of the Warr.167. Simeon calls him Gudfrid a British King, whom Athelstan this year drove out of his Kingdome; and perhaps they were both one, the name and time not much differing, the place only mistak'n. Malmsbury differs in the name also, calling him Aldulf a certain Rebel. Them also I wish as much mistak'n, who write that Athelstan, jealous of his younger Brother Edwin's towardly Virtues, lest added to the right of Birth, they might som time or other call in question his illegitimate Precedence, caus'd him to be drown'd in the Sea;168. expos'd, som say, with one Servant in a rotten Bark, without Sail or Oar; where the Youth farr off Land, and in rough Weather despairing, threw himself over-board;169. the Servant more patient, got to Land and reported the Success. But this Malmsbury confesses to be sung in old Songs, not read in warrantable Authors: and Huntingdon speaks as of a sad Accident to Athelstan, that he lost his Brother Edwin by Sea; farr the more credible, in that Athelstan, as it is writt'n by all, tenderly lov'd and bred up the rest of his Brethren, of whom he had no less cause to be jealous. And the year following170. he prosper'd better than from so foul a Fact,171. passing into Scotland with great Puissance, both by Sea and Land,172. and chacing his Enemies before him, by Land as farr as Dunfeoder and Wertermore, by Sea as farr as Cathness. The cause of this Expedition, saith Malmsbury, was to demand Guthfert the Son of Sitric, thither fled, though not deny'd at length by Constantine, who with Eugenius King of Cumberland, at a place call'd Dacor or Dacre in that Shire, surrender'd himself and each his Kingdome to Athelstan, who brought back with him for Hostage the Son of Constantine.173. But Guthfert escapeing in the mean while out of Scotland, and Constantine exasperated by this Invasion,174. persuaded Anlaf the other Son of Sitric then fled into Ireland,175. others write Anlaf King of Ireland and the Iles, his Son-in-law,176. with 615 Ships, and the King of Cumberland with other Forces,177. to his aid. This within four years effected, they enter'd England by Humber,178. and fought with Athelstan at a place call'd Wendune, others term it Brunanburg, others Bruneford, which Ingulf places beyond Humber, Camden in Glendale of Northumberland on the Scotch Borders; the bloodiest Fight, say Authors, that ever this Iland saw: to describe which the Saxon Annalist wont to be sober and succinct, whether the same or another Writer, now labouring under the weight of his Argument, and over-charg'd, runs on a sudden into such extravagant Fancies and Metaphors, as bare him quite beside the Scope of being understood. Huntingdon, though himself peccant anough in this kind, transcribes him word for word as a Pastime to his Readers. I shall only sum up what of him I can attain, in usual Language. The Battel was fought eagerly from Morning till Night; som fell of King Edward's old Army, try'd in many a Battel before; but on the other side great multitudes, the rest fled to thir Ships. Five Kings, and seven of Anlaf's chief Captains, were slain on the place, with Froda, a Norman Leader; Constantine escap'd home, but lost his Son in the Fight, if I understand my Author; Anlaf by Sea to Dublin, with a small Remainder of his great Hoast. Malmsbury relates this Warr, adding many Circumstances after this manner: That Anlaf joining with Constantine and the whole Power of Scotland, besides those which he brought with him out of Ireland, came on farr Southwards, till Athelstan who had retir'd on set purpose to be the surer of his Enemies, enclos'd from all succour and Retreat, met him at Bruneford. Anlaf perceiving the valour and Resolution of Athelstan, and mistrusting his own Forces, though numerous, resolv'd first to spy in what posture his Enemies lay: and imitating perhaps what he heard attempted by King Alfred the Age before, in the habit of a Musician, got access by his Lute and Voice to the King's Tent, there playing both the Minstrel and the Spy: then towards Evening dismiss'd, he was observ'd by one who had bin his Soldier, and well knew him, viewing earnestly the King's Tent, and what Approaches lay about it, then in the Twilight to depart. The Soldier forthwith acquaints the King, and by him blam'd for letting go his Enemie, answer'd, that he had giv'n first his military Oath to Anlaf, whom if he had betray'd, the King might suspect him of like treasonous Mind towards himself; which to disprove, he advis'd him to remove his Tent a good distance off; and so done, it happen'd that a Bishop with his Retinue coming that Night to the Army, pitch'd his Tent in the same place from whence the King had remov'd. Anlaf coming by night as he had design'd, to assault the Camp, and especially the King's Tent, finding there the Bishop in stead, slew him with all his Followers. Athelstan took the Alarm, and as it seems, was not found so unprovided, but that the day now appearing, he put his Men in order, and maintain'd the Fight till Evening; wherin Constantine himself was slain with five other Kings, and twelve Earls, the Annals were content with seven, in the rest not disagreeing. Ingulf Abbot of Croyland, from the Authority of Turketul a principal Leader in this Battel, relates it more at large to this effect: That Athelstan above a Mile distant from the place where Execution was done upon the Bishop and his Supplies, alarm'd at the noise, came down by break of day upon Anlaf and his Army, overwatch'd and wearied now with the Slaughter they had made, and something out of order, yet in two main Battels. The King therefore in like manner dividing, led the one part consisting most of West-Saxons, against Anlaf with his Danes and Irish, committing the other to his Chancellor Turketul, with the Mercians and Londoners, against Constantine and his Scots. The shower of Arrows and Darts over-pass'd, both Battels attack'd each other with a close and terrible Ingagement, for a long space neither side giving ground. till the Chancellor Turketul, a Man of great Stature and Strength, taking with him a few Londoners of select valour, and Singin who led the Worcestershire Men, a Captain of undaunted Courage, broke into the thickest, making his way first through the Picts and Orkeners, then through the Cumbriuns and Scots, and came at length where Constantine himself fought, unhors'd him, and us'd all means to take him alive; but the Scots valiantly defending thir King, and laying load upon Turketul, which the Goodness of his Armour well endur'd, he had yet bin beaten down, had not Singin his faithfull Second at the same time slain Constantine; which once known, Anlaf and the whole Army betook them to flight, wherof a huge multitude fell by the Sword. This Turketul not long after leaving worldly Affairs, became Abbot of Croyland, which at his own cost he had repair'd from Danish Ruins, and left there this Memorial of his former Actions. Athelstan with his Brother Edmund wictorious, thence turning into Wales, with much more ease vanquish'd Ludwal the King, and possess'd his Land. But Malmsbury writes, that commiserating human chance, as he displac'd, so he restor'd both him and Constantine to thir Regal State; for the Surrender of King Constantine hath bin above spoken of. However the Welch did him homage at the City of Hereford, and covenanted yearly payment of Gold 20 pound, of Silver 300, of Oxen 25 thousand, besides hunting Dogs and Hawks. He also took Exeter from the Cornish Britans, who till that time had equall Right there with the English, and bounded them with the River Tamar, as the other British with Wey. Thus dreaded of his Enemies, and renown'd farr and neer, three years after179. he died at Glocester, and was buried with many Trophies at Malmsbury,180. where he had caus'd to be laid his two Cousin Germans,181. Elwin and Ethelstan, both slain in the Battel against Anlaf.182. He was 30 years old at his coming to the Crown, mature in Wisdom from his Childhood, comely of person and behaviour; so that Alfred his Grandfather in blessing him was wont to pray he might live to have the Kingdome, and put him yet a Child into Souldiers Habit. He had his breeding in the Court of Elfled his Aunt, of whose virtues more than female we have related, sufficient to evince that his Mother, though said to be no wedded Wife, was yet such of parentage and worth, as the Royal Line disdain'd not, though the Son went in Malmsbury's daies (for it seems he refus'd not the authority of Ballads for want of better) that his Mother a Farmer's Daughter, but of excellent Feature; who dreamt one night she brought forth a Moon that should enlighten the whole Land: which the King's Nurse hearing of, took her home and bred up courtly; that the King coming one day to visit his Nurse, saw there this Damsel, lik'd her, and by earnest Suit prevailing, had by her this famous Athelstan, a bounteous, just and affable King, as Malmsbury sets him forth; nor less honour'd abroad by foreign Kings who sought his Friendship by great Gifts or Affinity; that Harold King of Noricum, sent him a Ship whose Prow was of gold, Sails purple, and other Golden things the more to be wonder'd at, sent from Noricum, whether meant Norway or Bavaria, the one place so farr from such superfluity of Wealth, the other from all Sea: the Embassadors were Helgrim and Offrid, who found the King at York. His Sisters he gave in marriage to greatest Princes, Elgif to Otho Son of Henry the Emperor, Egdith to a certain Duke about the Alps, Edgiv to Lufwic King of Aquitain, sprung of Charles the Great, Ethilda to Hugo King of France, who sent Aldulf Son of Baldwin Earl of Flanders to obain her. From all these great Suitors, especially from the Emperor and King of France, came rich Presents, Horses of excellent breed, gorgeous Trappings and Armour, reliques, Jewels, Odors, Vessels of Onyx, and other precious things, which I leave poetically describ'd in Malmsbury, tak'n, as he confesses, out of an old Versifier, som of whose Verses he recites. The only blemish left upon him, was the exposing his Brother Edwin, who disavow'd by Oath the Treason wherof he was accus'd, and implor'd an equall hearing. But these were Songs, as before hath bin said, which add also that Athelstan, his anger over, soon repented of the Fact, and put to death his Cup-bearer, who had induc'd him to suspect and expose his Brother, put in mind by a word falling from the Cup-bearer's own mouth, who slipping one day as he bore the King's Cup, and recovering himself on the other Leg, said aloud fatally, as to him it prov'd, one Brother helps the other. Which words the King laying to heart, and pondering how ill he had done to make away his Brother, aveng'd himself first on the adviser of that Fact, took on him seven years Penance, and as Mat. West. saith, built two Monasteries for the Soul of his Brother. His Laws are extant among the Laws of other Saxon Kings to this day.
Edmund not above 18 years old183. succeeded his Brother Athelstan, in Courage not inferior.184. For in the second of his Reign he freed Mercia of the Danes that remain'd there, and took from them the Cities of Lincoln, Nottingham, Stamford, Derby, and Leicester, where they were plac'd by King Edward, but it seems gave not good proof of thir Fidelity. Simeon writes that Anlaf setting forth from York, and having wasted Southward as farr as Northampton, was met by Edmund at Leicester; but that ere the Battels join'd, Peace was made between them by Odo and Wulstan the two Archbishops, with Conversion of Anlaf; for the same year Edmund received at the Font-stone this or another Anlaf, as saith Huntingdon, not him spoken of before, who died this year (so uncertaine they are in the story of these times also) and held Reginald another King of the Northumbers, while the Bishop confirm'd him; thir Limits were divided North and South by Watling-street. But spiritual Kindred little avail'd to keep peace between them, whoever gave the cause; for we read him two years after driving Anlaf (whom the Annals now first call the Son of Sitric ) and Suthfrid Son of Reginald out of Northumberland,185. taking the whole Country into subjection.186. Edmund the next year187. harass'd Cumberland, then gave it to Malcolm King of Scots, therby bound to assist him in his Warrs, both by Sea and Land;188. Mat. West. adds, that in this action Edmund had the aid of Leolin Prince of North-Wales, against Dummail the Cumbrian King, him depriving of his Kingdome, and his two Sons of thir Sight. But the year after189. he himself by strange accident came to an untimely Death:189. Feasting with his Nobles on St. Austin's Day at Puclekerke in Glocestershire, to celebrate the memory of his first converting the Saxons; he spied Leof a noted Thief, whom he had banish'd, sitting among his Guests: wherat transported with too much vehemence of spirit, though in a just cause, rising from the Table he run upon the Thief, and catching his Hair, pull'd him to the ground. The Thief who doubted from such handling no less than his Death intended, thought to die not ureveng'd; and with a short Dagger struck the King, who still laid at him, and little expected such Assassination, mortally into the Breast. The matter was done in a moment, ere men sat at Table could turn them, or imagine at first what the stir meant, till perceiving the King deadly wounded, they flew upon the Murderer and hew'd him to pieces; who like a wild Beast at abay, seeing himself surrounded, desperately laid about him, wounding som in his fall, The King was buried at Glaston, wherof Dunstan was then Abbot; his Laws yet remain to be seen among the Laws of other Saxon Kings.
Edred the third Brother of Athelstan, the son of Edmund being yet but Children, next reign'd, not degenerating from his worthy Predecessors, and crown'd at Kingston. Northumberland he throughly subdu'd, the Scots without refusal swore him Allegiance; yet the Northumbrians, ever of doubtful Faith, soon after chose to themselves one Eric a Dane. Huntingdon still haunts us with this Anlaf (of whom we gladly would have bin rid) and will have him before Eric recall'd once more and reign four years,190. then again put to his shifts.191. But Edred entring into Northumberland, and with Spoils returning, Eric the King fell upon his Rear. Edred turning about, both shook off the Enemie, and prepar'd to make a second Inroad: which the Northumbrians dreading rejected Eric, slew Amancus the Son of Anlaf, 192. and with many presents appeasing Edred, submitted again to his Government; nor from that time had Kings, but were govern'd by Earls, of whom Osulf was the first. About this time193. Wulstan Archbishop of York, accus'd to have slain certain men of Thetford in revenge of thir Abbot whom the Townsmen had slain,194. was committed by the King to close Custody; but soon after enlarg'd, was restor'd to his place. Malmsbury writes, that his Crime was to have conniv'd at the revolt of his Countrymen: but King Edred two years after195. sickning in the flower of his Youth, died much lamented, and was buried at Winchester.196.
Edwi the Son of Edmund now come to Age,197. after his Uncle Edred's death took on him the Government, and was crown'd at Kingston. His lovely Person surnam'd the faire, his actions are diversly reported, by Huntingdon not thought illaudable. But Malmsbury and such as follow him write farr otherwise, that he married, or kept as Concubine,198. his neer Kinswoman, som say both her and her Daughter; so inordinately giv'n to his pleasure, that on the very day of his Coronation, he abruptly withdrew himself from the Company of his Peers, whether in Banquet or Consultation, to sit wantoning in the Chamber with his Algiva, so was her name, who had such power over him. Wherat his Barons offended, sent Bishop Dunstan, the boldest among them, to request his return: he going to the Chamber, not only interrupted his dalliance, and rebuk'd the Lady, but taking him by the hand, between force and persuasion brought him back to his Nobles. the King highly displeas'd, and instigated perhaps by her who was so prevalent with him, not long after sent Dunstan into Banishment,199. caus'd his Monastery to be rifled, and became an Enemie to all Monks and Fryers. Wherupon Odo Archbishop of Canterbury pronounc'd a separation or Divorce of the King from Algiva. But that which most incited William of Malmsbury against him, he gave that Monastery to be dwelt in by secular Priests, or, to use his own Phrase, made it a stable of Clerks; at length these Affronts done to the Church were so resented by the People, that the Mercians and Northumbrians revolted from him, and set up Edgar his Brother,200. leaving to Edwi the West-Saxons only, bounded by the River Thames;201. with Grief wherof, as is thought,202. he soon after ended his daies,203. and was buried at Winchester.204. Mean while Elfsin Bishop of that place after the Death of Odo, ascending by Simony to the Chair of Canterbury, and going to Rome the same year for his Pall, was frozen to death in the Alps.
Edgar by his Brother's Death,205. now King of all England at 16 years of Age, call'd home Dunstan out of Flanders, where he liv'd in Exile.206. This King had no Warr all his Reign; yet always well prepar'd for Warr, govern'd the Kingdome in great Peace, honour and Prosperity, gaining thence the Surname of Peaceable, much extoll'd for Justice, Clemency, and all Kingly Virtues, the more ye may be sure, by Monks, for his building so many Monasteries;207. as som write, every year one: for he much favour'd the Monks against secular Priests, who in the time of Edwi had got possession in most of thir Convents. His care and wisdom was great in guarding the Coast round with stout Ships to the number of 3600, Mat. West. reckons them 4800, divided into four Squadrons, to sail to and fro about the four quarters of the Land, meeting each other; the first of 1200 sail from East to West, the second of as many from West to East, the third and fourth between North and South; himself in the Summer time with his Fleet. Thus he kept out wisely the force of Strangers, and prevented foreign Warr; but by thir too frequent resort hither in time of Peace, and his too much favouring them, he let in thir Vices unaware. Thence the People, saith Malmsbury, learnt of the outlandish Saxons rudeness, of the Flemish daintiness and softness; of the Danes Drunkenness; though I doubt these Vices are as naturally homebred here as in any of those Countries. Yet in the Winter and Spring time he usually rode the Circuit as a Judge Itinerant through all his Provinces, to see Justice well administer'd, and the Poor not oppress'd. Thieves and Robbers he rooted almost out of the Land, and wild Beasts of prey altogether; enjoining Ludwal King of Wales to pay the yearly Tribute of 300 Wolves, which he did for two years together, till the third year no more were to be found, nor ever after; but his Laws may be read yet extant. Whatever was the cause, he was not crown'd till the 30th of his Age, but then with great splendor and magnificence at the City of Bath, in the Feast of Pentecost. This year208. died Swarling a Monk of Croyland, in the 142d of his Age,209. and another soon after him in the 115th in that fenny and watrish Air, the more remarkable.210. King Edgar the next year211. went to Chester,212. and summoning to his Court there all the Kings that held of him took Homage of them: thir names are Kened King of Scots, Malcolm of Cumberland, Maccuse of the Iles, five of Wales, Duswal, Huwal, Crifith, Jacob, Judethil; these he had in such awe, that going one day into a Galley, he caus'd them to take each man his Oar, and row him down the River Dee, while he himself sat at the Stern; which might be done in merriment, and easily obey'd; of with a serious brow, discover'd rather vain-glory, and insulting haughtiness, than moderation of Mind. And that he did it seriously triumphing, appears by his words then utter'd, that his Successors might then glory to be Kings of England, when they had such honur done them. And perhaps the Divine Power was displeas'd with him for taking too much honour to himself; since we read that the year following213. he was tak'n out of this Life by Sickness in the height of his Glory and the prime of his Age, buried at Glaston Abby. The same year, as Matt. West. relates, he gave to Kened the Scotish King, many rich Presents, and the whole Country of Laudian, or Lothien, to hold of him on condition that he and his Successors should repair to the English Court at high Festivals when the King sat crown'd; gave him also many lodging Places by the way, which till the daies of Henry the second, were still held by the Kings of Scotland. He was of Stature not tall, of Body slender, yet so well made, that in strength he chose to contend with such as were thought strongest, and dislik'd nothing more than that they should spare him for respect or fear to hurt him. Kened King of Scots then in the Court of Edgar, sitting one day at Table, was heard to say jestingly among his Servants, he wonder'd how so many Provinces could be held in subjection by such a little dapper man: his words were brought to the King's ear; he sends for Kened as about som private business, and in talk drawing him forth to a secret place, takes from under his Garment two Swords which he had brought with him, gave one of them to Kened; and now saith he, it shall be try'd which ought to be the subject; for it is shameful for a King to boast at Table, and shrink in Fight. Kened much abash'd fell presently at his feet, and besought him to pardon what he had simply spoken, no way intended to his dishonour or disparagment; wherwith the King was satisfy'd. Camden in his description of Ireland, cites a Charter of King Edgar, wherin it appears he had in subjection all the Kingdomes of the Iles as farr as Norway, and had subdu'd the greatest part of Ireland with the City of Dublin: but of this, other Writers make no mention. In his youth having heard of Elfrida, Daughter of Ordgar Duke of Devonshire, much commended for her Beauty, he sent Earl Athelwold, whose Loyalty he trusted most, to see her; intending, if she were found such as answer'd report, to demand her in marriage. He at the first view tak'n with her presence, disloyally, as it oft happens in such Employments, began to sue for himself; and with consent of her Parents obtain'd her. Returning therefore with scarce an ordinary commendation of her Feature, he easily took off the King's mind, soon diverted another way. But the matter coming to light how Athelwold had forestall'd the King, and Elfrida's Beauty more and more spoken of, the King now heated not only with a relapse of Love, but with a deep sense of the abuse, yet dissembling his disturbance, pleasantly told the Earl, what day he meant to come and visit him and his faire Wife. The Earl seemingly thereforeassur'd his welcome, but in the mean while acquainting his Wife, earnestly advis'd her to deform her self what she might, either in dress or otherwise, lest the King whose amorous Inclination was not unknown, should chance to be attracted. She who by this time was not ignorant, how Athelwold had step'd between her and the King, against his coming arrays her self richly, using whatever art she could devise might render her the more amiable; and it took effect. For the King inflam'd with her Love the more for that he had bin so long defrauded and robb'd of her, resolv'd not only to recover his intercepted right, but to punish the interloper of his destin'd Spouse; and appointing with him as was usual, a day of Hunting, drawn aside in the Forest, now call'd Harewood, smote him through with a Dart. som censure this act as cruel and tyrannical, but consider'd well, it may be judg'd more favourably, and that no man of sensible Spirit but in his place, without extraordinary perfection, would have done the like: for next to Life what worse Treason could have bin committed against him? It chanc'd that the Earl's base Son coming by upon the Fact, the King sternly ask'd him how he lik'd this Game; he submissly answering, that whatsoever pleas'd the King, must not displease him; the King return'd to his wonted temper, took an affection to the Youth, and ever after highly favour'd him, making amends in the Son for what he had done to the Father. Elfrida forthwith he took to Wife, who to expiate her former Husband's death, tho' therin she had no hand, cover'd the place of his Bloodshed with a Monastery of Nuns to sing over him. Another fault is laid to his charge, no way excusable, that he took a Virgin Wilfrida by force out of the Nunnery, where she was plac'd by her Friends to avoid his pursuit, and kept her as his Concubine; but liv'd not obstinately in the Offence; for sharply reprov'd by Dunstan, he submitted to seven years Penance, and for that time to want his Coronation: but why he had it not before, is left unwritt'n. Another Story there goes of Edgar, fitter for a Novel than a History; but as I find it in Malmsbury, so I relate it. While he was yet unmarried, in his youth he abstain'd not from Women, and coming on a day to Andover, caus'd a Duke's Daughter there dwelling, reported rare of Beauty, to be brought to him. The Mother not daring flatly to deny, yet abhorring that her Daughter should be so deflour'd, at fit time of Night sent in her Attire, one of her waiting Maids: a Maid it seems not unhandsom nor unwitty; who supply'd the place of her young Lady. Night pass'd, the Maid going to rise, but Daylight scarce yet appearing, was by the King ask'd why she made such haste; she answer'd, to do the work which her Lady had set her; at which the King wondring, and with much ado staying her to unfold the Riddle, for he took her to be the Duke's Daugher, she falling at his feet besought him, that since at the command of her Lady she came to his Bed, and was enjoy'd by him, he would be pleas'd in recompence to set her free from the hard service of her Mistress. The King a while standing in a study whether he had best be angry or not, at length turning all to a Jest, took the Maid away with him, advanc'd her above her Lady, lov'd her, and accompanied with her only, till he married Elfrida. These only are his faults upon record, rather to be wonder'd how they were so few, and so soon left, he coming at 16 to the Licence of a Scepter; and that his Virtues were so many and so mature, he dying before the Age wherin wisdom can in others attain to any ripeness: however, with him died all the Saxon Glory. From henceforth nothing is to be heard of but their decline and ruin under a double Conquest, and the Causes foregoing; which not to blur or taint the praises of thir former actions and liberty well defended, shall stand severally related, and will be more than long anough for another Book.The End of the Fifth Book.
THE SIXTH BOOK
EDWARD the Younger
Edward the eldest Son of Edgar by Egelfleda his first Wife, the Daughter of Duke Ordmer, was according to Right and his Father's Will plac'd in the Throne; Elfrida his second Wife, and her Faction only repining, who labour'd to have had her Son Ethelred a Child of seven years, prefer'd before her; that she under that pretence might have rul'd all. Mean while Comets were seen in Heaven, portending not Famine only, which follow'd the next year, but the troubl'd State of the whole Realm not long after to ensue. The Troubles begun in Edwi's daies, between Monks and Secular Pirests, now reviv'd and drew on either side many of the Nobles into Parties. For Elfere Duke of the Mercians, with many other Peers, corrupted as is said with Gifts,1. drove the Monks out of those Monasteries where Edgar had plac'd them, and in thir stead put Secular Priests with thir Wives.2. But Ethelwin Duke of East-Angles, with his Brother Elfwold, and Earl Britnoth oppos'd them, and gathering an Army defended the Abbeys of East-Angles from such Intruders. To appease these Tumults, a Synod was call'd at Winchester; and nothing there concluded, a general Council both of Nobles and Prelates was held at Caln in Wiltshire, where while the dispute was hot, but chiefly against Dunstan, the room wherin they sat fell upon thir heads, killing some, maiming others, Dunstan only escapeing upon a Beam that fell not, and the King absent by reason of his tender Age. This Accident quieted the controversy, and brought both parts to hold with Dunstan and the Monks. Mean while the King addicted to a Religious Life, and of a mild Spirit, simply permitted all things to the ambitious Will of his Step-mother and her Son Ethelred: to whom she, displeas'd that the name only of King was wanting, practis'd thenceforth to remove King Edward out of the way; which in this manner she brought about. Edward on a day wearied with hunting, thirsty and alone, while his Attendants follow'd the Dogs, hearing that Ethelred and his Mother lodg'd at Corvesgate; (Corse Castle, saith Camden, in the Ile of Purbeck) innocently went thither. She with all shew of kindness welcoming him, commended Drink to be brought forth, for it seems he lighted not from his Horse; and while he was drinking, caus'd one of her Servants, privately before instructed, to stab him with a Poniard. The poor Youth, who little expected such unkindness there, turning speedily the Reins, fled bleeding; till through Loss of Blood falling from his Horse, and expiring, yet held with one foot in the Stirrup, he was dragg'd along the way, trac'd by his Blood, and buried without honour at Werham, having reign'd about three years: but the place of his Burial not long after grew famous for Miracles. After which3. by Duke Elfere (who, as Malmsbury saith, had a hand in his Death)4. he was royally inter'd at Skepton or Shaftsbury. The murdress Elfrida at length repenting, spent the residue of her daies in Sorrow and great Penance.
Ethelred second Son of Edgar by Elfrida5. (for Edmund died a Child) his Brother Edward wickedly remov'd,6. was now next in right to succeed, and accordingly crown'd at Kingston: reported by some, faire of Visage, comely of Person, elegant of behaviour;7. but the Event will shew that with many sluggish and ignoble Vices he quickly shamed his out-side;8. born and prolong'd a fatal mischief of the People, and the ruin of his Country; wherof he gave early signs from his first Infancy, bewraying the Font and Water while the Bishop was baptizing him. Wherat Dunstan much troubl'd, for he stood by and saw it, to them next him broke into these words, By God and God's Mother, this Boy will prove a Sluggard. Another thing is writt'n of him in his Childhood; which argu'd no bad nature, that hearing of his Brother Edward's cruel Death, he made loud lamentation; but his furious Mother offended therwith, and having no Rod at hand, beat him so with great Wax-Candles, that he hated the sight of them ever after. Dunstan though unwilling set the Crown upon his head; but at the same time foretold openly, as is reported, that great Evils that were to come upon him and the Land, in avengement of his Brother's innocent Blood.9. And about the same time,10. one midnight, a Cloud sometimes bloodie, sometimes fiery, was seen over all England;11. and within three years the Danish Tempest, which had long surceast, revolv'd again upon this Iland. To the more ample relating wherof, the Danish History, at least thir latest and diligentest Historian, as neither from the first landing of Danes, in the Reign of West-Saxon Brithric, so now again from first to last, contributes nothing; busied more than anough to make out the bare Names and Successions of thir uncertaine Kings, and thir small Actions at home: unless out of him I should transcribe what he takes, and I better may, from our own Annals; the surer and the sadder witnesses of thir doings here, not glorious, as they vainly boast, but most inhumanly barbarous. For the Danes well understanding, that England had now a slothful King to thir wish,12. first landing at Southampton from seven great Ships, took the Town, spoil'd the Country, and carried away with them great Pillage;13. nor was Devonshire and Cornwall uninfested on the shoar;14. Pyrates of Norway also harried the Coast of West-chester:15. and to add a worse Calamity, the City of London was burnt, casually or not, is not writt'n.16. It chanc'd four years after,17. that Ethelred besieg'd Rochester, som way or other offended by the Bishop therof.18. Dunstan not approving the Cause,19. sent to warn him that he provoke not St. Andrew the Patron of that City, nor waste his Lands; an old craft of the Clergy to secure their Church-Lands, by entailing them on som Saint; the King not hearkening, Dunstan on this condition that the Siege might be rais'd, sent him an hundred Pounds, the Money was accepted and the Siege dissolv'd. Dunstan reprehending his Avarice, sent him again this word, Because thou hast respected Money more than Religion, the Evils which I foretold shall the sooner come upon thee; but not in my daies, for so God hath spoken. The next year was calamitious,20. bringing strange Fluxes upon Men, and Murrain upon Cattle.21. Dunstan the year following died,22. a strenuous Bishop, zealous without dread of Person, and for aught appears, the best of many Ages, if he busied not himself too much in Secular Affairs.23. He was Chaplain at first to King Athelstan, and Edmund who succeeded, much employ'd in Court-Affairs, till envy'd by som who laid many things to his charge, he was by Edmund forbidden the Court; but by the earnest Mediation, saith Ingulf, of Turketul the Chancellor, receav'd at length to favour, and made Abbot of Glaston; lastly by Edgar and the general Vote, Archbishop of Canterbury. Not long after his Death the Danes arriving in Devonshire were met by Goda Lieutenant of that Country, and Strenwold a valiant Leader, who put back the Danes, but with loss of thir own Lives. The third year following,24. under the Conduct of Justin and Guthmund the Son of Steytan,25. they landed and spoil'd Ipswich, fought with Britnoth Duke of the East-Angles about Maldon, where they slew him; the slaughter else had bin equall on both sides. These and the like Depredations on every side the English not able to resist, by Counsel of Siric then Archbishop of Canterbury, and two Dukes Ethelward and Alfric, it was thought best for the present to buy that with Silver which they could not gain with thir Iron; and ten thousand Pounds was paid to the Danes for Peace. Which for a while contented; but taught them the readie way how easiest to come by more. The next year but one26. they took by storm and rifled Bebbanburg an antient City nigh Durham:27. sailing thence into the mouth of Humber, they wasted both sides therof, Yorkshire and Lindsey, burning and destroying all before them. Against these went out three Noblemen, Frana, Frithegist, and Godwin; but being all Danes by the Father's side, willingly began flight, and forsook thir own Forces betray'd to the Enemie. No less Treachery was at Sea;28. for Alfric the Son of Elfer Duke of Mercia, whom the King for som Offence had banish'd, but now recall'd,29. sent from London with a Fleet to surprize the Danes, in som place of disadvantage, gave them over night intelligence therof, then fled to them himself; which his Fleet, saith Florent, perceiving, pursu'd, took the Ship, but miss'd of his Person; the Londoners by chance grapling with the East-Angles made them fewer, saith my Author,30. by many thousands.31. Others say, that by this notice of Alfric, the Danes not only escap'd, but with a greater Fleet set upon the English, took many of thir Ships, and in Tryumph brought them up the Thames, intending to besiege London: for Anlaf King of Norway, and Swane of Denmark, at the head of these, came with 94 Gallies. The King for this Treason of Alfric, put out his Son's Eyes; but the Londoners both by Land and Water, so valiantly resisted thir Besiegers, that they were forc'd in one day, with great loss to give over. But what they could not on the City, they wreck'd themselves on the Countries round about, wasting with Sword and Fire all Essex, Kent, and Sussex. Thence horsing thir Foot, diffus'd farr wider thir outragious Incursions, without mercy either to Sex or Age. The slothful King, instead of Warlike Opposition in the field, sends Embassadors to treat about another Payment;32. the Sum promis'd was not sixteen thousand Pounds; till which paid, the Danes winter'd at Southampton; Ethelred inviting Anlaf to come and visit him at Andover,33. where he was royally entertain'd, som say baptiz'd, or confirm'd, adopted Son by the King, and dismiss'd with great Presents, promising by Oath to depart and molest the Kingdome no more;34. which he perform'd, but the Calamity ended not so, for after som intermission of thir Rage for three years, the other Navy of Danes sailing about to the West,35. enter'd Severn, and wasted one while South-Wales, then Cornwal and Devonshire, till at length they winter'd about Tavistoc.36. For it were an endless work to relate how they wallow'd up and down to every particular place, and to repeat as oft what Devastations they wrought, what Desolations left behind them, easy to be imagin'd. In some, the next year37. they afflicted Dorsetshire, Hampshire, and the Ile of Wight;38. by the English many Resolutions were tak'n, many Armies rais'd, but either betray'd by the falshood, or discourag'd by the weakness of thir Leaders, they were put to rout or disbanded themselves. For Souldiers most commonly are as thir Commanders, without much odds of valour in one Nation or other, only as they are more or less wisely disciplin'd and conducted. The following year39. brought them back upon Kent, where they enter'd Medway, and besieg'd Rochester;40. but the Kentish Men assembling, gave them a sharp Encounter, yet that suffic'd not to hinder them from doing as they had done in other places. Against these Depopulations, the King levied an Army; but the unskilful Leaders not knowing what to do with it when they had it, did but drive out time, burdening and impoverishing the People, consuming the public Treasure, and more emboldening the Enemie, than if they had sat quiet at home. What cause mov'd the Danes next year41. to pass into Normandy, is not recorded; but that they return'd thence more outrageous than before.42. Mean while the King, to make som diversion, undertakes an Expedition both by Land and Sea into Cumberland, where the Danes were most planted; there and in the Ile of Man, or, as Camden saith, Anglesey, imitating his Enemies in spoiling and unpeopling. The Danes from Normandy, arriving in the River Ex, laid siege to Exeter;43. but the Citizens, as those of London, valorously defending themselves,44. they wreck'd thir Anger, as before, on the Villages round about. The Country People of Somerset and Devonshire assembling themselves at Penho, shew'd thir readiness, but wanted a Head; and besides being then but few in number, were easily put to flight; the Enemie plundering all at will, with loaded Spoils pass'd into the Ile of Wight; from whence all Dorsetshire and Hampshire, felt again thir Fury. The Saxon annals write, that before thir coming to Exeter, the Hampshire Men had a bickering with them, wherin Ethelward the King's Generall was slain,45. adding other things hardly to be understood, and in one ancient Copy; so end.46. Ethelred, whom no Adversity could awake from his soft and sluggish Life, still coming by the worse at fighting, by the advice of his Peers not unlike himself, sends one of his gay Courtiers, though looking loftily, to stoop basely and propose a third Tribute to the Danes: they willingly hearken, but the Sum in enhaunc'd now to 24 thousand Pounds, and paid; the Danes therupon abstaining from Hostility. But the King to strengthen his House by som potent Affinity, marries Emma, whom the Saxons call Elgive, Daughter of Richard Duke of Normandy.47. With him Ethelred formerly had Warr or no good Correspondence, as appears by a Letter of Pope John the 15th, who made peace between them about eleven years before;48. puff'd up now with his suppos'd access of Strength by this Affinity,49. he caus'd the Danes all over England, though now living peaceably, in one day perfidiously to be massacred, both Men, Women and Children;50. sending private Letters to every Town and City, wherby they might be readie all at the same hour; which till the appointed time (being the 9th of July ) was conceal'd with great silence,51. and perform'd with much Unanimity; so generally hated were the Danes. Mat. West. writes, that this Execution upon the Danes was ten years after; that Huna, one of Ethelred's Chief Captains, complaining of the Danish Insolencies in time of Peace, thir Pride, thir ravishing of Matrons and Virgins, incited the King to this Massacre, which in the madness of Rage made no difference of innocent or nocent. Among these, Gunhildis the Sister of Swane was not spar'd, though much deserving not Pity only, but all Protection: she with her Husband Earl Palingus, coming to live in England, and receiving Christianity, had her Husband and young Son slain before her face, herself then beheaded, foretelling and denouncing that her Blood would cost England dear.52. som say this was done by the Traitor Edric, to whose custody she was committed; but the Massacre was som years before Edric's advancement; and if it were done by him afterwards, it seems to contradict the private Correspondence which he was thought to hold with the Danes. For Swane breathing Revenge, hasted the next year into England,53. and by the treason or negligence of Count Hugh,54. whom Emma had recommended to the Government of Devonshire, sack'd the City of Exeter, her Wall from East to West-gate broken down: after this wasting Wiltshire, the People of that County, and of Hampshire, came together in great numbers with resolution stoutly to oppose him; but Alfric their Generall, whose Son's Eyes the King had lately put out, madly thinking to revenge himself on the King, by ruining his own Country, when he should have order'd his Battel, the Enemie being at hand, feign'd himself tak'n with a vomiting; wherby his Army in great discontent, destitute of a Commander, turn'd from the Enemie: who streight took Wilton and Salisbury, carrying the Pillage therof to the Ships. Thence the next year landing on the Coast of Norfolk,55. he wasted the Country, and set Norwich on fire;56. Ulfketel Duke of the East-Angles, a Man of great valour, not having space to gather his Forces, after Consultation had, thought it best to make peace with the Dane, which he breaking within three Weeks, issu'd silently out of his Ships, came to Thetford, staid there a night, and in the morning left it flaming. Ulfketel hearing this, commanded som to go and break or burn his Ships; but they not daring or neglecting, he in the mean while with what secrecy and speed was possible, drawing together his Forces, went out against the Enemie, and gave them a fierce Onset retreating to thir Ships; but much inferior in number, many of the chief East-Angles there lost their Lives. Nor did the Danes come off without great slaughter of their own;57. confessing that they never met in England with so rough a Charge.58. The next year,59. whom Warr could not, a great Famine drove Swane out of the Land.60. But the Summer following, another great Fleet of Danes enter'd the Port of Sandwich, thence pour'd out over all Kent and Sussex, made prey of what they found. The King levying an Army out of Mercia, and the West-Saxons, took on him for once the Manhood to go out and face them; but they who held it safer to live by Rapine, than to hazard a Battel, shifting lightly from place to place, frustrated the slow motions of a heavie Camp, following thir wonted course of Robbery, then running to thir Ships. Thus all Autumn they wearied out the King's Army, which gone home to winter, they carried all thir Pillage to the Ile of Wight, and there stayed till Christmas; at which time the King being in Shropshire, and but ill employ'd (for by the procurement of Edric, he caus'd, as is thought, Alfhelm a noble Duke, treacherously to be slain,61. and the Eyes of his two Sons to be put out) they came forth again, over-running Hampshire, and Berkshire, as farr as Reading and Wallingford: thence to Ashdune, and other places therabout, neither known nor of tolerable pronunciation; and returning by another way, found many of the People in Arms by the River Kenet; but making their way through, they got safe with vast booty to thir Ships. The King and his Courtiers wearied out with thir last Summer's jaunt62. after the nimble Danes to no purpose, which by proof they found too toilsom for thir soft Bones, more us'd to Beds and Couches, had recourse to their last and only remedy, thir Coffers;63. and send now the fourth time to buy a dishonorable Peace, every time still dearer, not to be had now under 36 thousand Pound (for the Danes knew how to milk such easy Kine) in name of Tribute and Expences: which out of the People over all England, alreadie half beggar'd, was extorted and paid. About the same time Ethelred advanc'd Edric, surnam'd Streon, from obscure condition to be Duke of Mercia, and marry Edgitha the King's Daughter. The cause of his advancement, Florent of Worcester, and Mat. West. attribute to his great Wealth, gotten by fine Policies and a plausible Tongue: he prov'd a main accessory to the ruin of England, as his actions will soon declare. Ethelred the next year64. somewhat rousing himself, ordain'd that every 310 Hides65. (a Hide is so much Land as one Plow can sufficiently till) should set out a Ship or Galley, and every nine Hides find a Corslet and Head-piece: new Ships in every Port were built, victual'd, fraught with stout Mariners and Souldiers, and appointed to meet all at Sandwich. A man might now think that all would go well; when suddenly a new mischief sprung up, dissension among the great ones; which brought all this diligence to as little success as at other times before. Birthric the Brother of Edric, falsly accus'd Wulnoth a great Officer set over the South-Saxons, who fearing the potency of his Enemies, with 20 Ships got to Sea, and practis'd Piracy on the Coast. Against whom, reported to be in a place where he might be easily surpriz'd, Birthric sets forth with 20 Ships; all which driven back by a Tempest and wreck'd upon the shoar,were burnt soon after by Wulnoth. Dishearten'd with this misfortune, the King returns to London, the rest of his Navy after him; and all this great preparation to nothing. Whereupon Turkill, a Danish Earl, came with a Navy to the Ile of Tanet,66. and in August a farr greater, led by Heming and Ilaf, join'd with him.67. Thence coasting to Sandwich, and landed, they went onward and began to assault Canterbury; but the Citizens and East-Kentish men, coming to composition with them for three thousand Pounds, they departed thence to the Ile of Wight, robbing and burning by the way. Against these the King levies an Army through all the Land, and in several Quarters places them nigh the Sea, but so unskilfully or unsuccessfully, that the Danes were not therby hinder'd from exercising thir wonted Robberies. It happen'd that the Danes were one day gone up into the Country farr from thir Ships; the King having notice therof, thought to intercept them in thir return; his men were resolute to overcome or die, time and place advantageous; but where Courage and Fortune was not wanting, there wanted Loyalty among them. Edric with suttle Arguments that had a shew of deep Policie, disputed and persuaded the simplicity of his fellow Counsellors, that it would be best consulted at that time to let the Danes pass without ambush or interception. The Danes where they expected danger, finding none, pass'd on with great joy and booty to thir Ships. After this, sailing about Kent, they lay that Winter in the Thames, forcing Kent and Essex to Contribution, oft-times attempting the City of London, but repuls't as oft to thir great loss. Spring begun,68. leaving thir Ships, they pass'd through Chiltern Wood into Oxfordshire, burnt the City,69. and thence returning with divided Forces wasted on both sides the Thames;70. but hearing that an Army from London was marched out against them, they on the North-side passing the River at Stanes, join'd with them on the South into one Body, and enrich'd with great Spoils, came back through Surrey to thir Ships; which all the Lent-time they repair'd. After Easter sailing to the East-Angles, they arriv'd at Ipswich, and came to a place call'd Ringmere, where they heard that Ulfketel with his Forces lay, who with a sharp encounter soon entertain'd them; but his men at length giving back, through the subtlety of a Danish Servant among them who began the flight, lost the Field; though the men of Cambridgeshire stood to it valiantly. In this Battel Ethelstan the King's Son-in-Law, with many other Noblemen, were slain; wherby the Danes without more resistance, three Months together had the spoiling of those Countries and all the Fens, burnt Thetford and Grantbrig, or Cambridge; thence to a hilly place not farr off, call'd by Huntingdon Balesham, by Camden Gogmagog Hills, and the Villages therabout they turn'd thir Fury, slaying all they met save one Man, who getting up into a Steeple, is said to have defended himself against the whole Danish Army. They therefore so leaving him, thir Foot by Sea, thir Horse by Land, through Essex, return'd back laden to thir Ships left in the Thames. But many daies pass'd not between, when sallying again out of thir ships as out of savage Dens, they plunder'd over again all Oxfordshire, and added to thir prey Buckingham, Bedford, and Hertfordshire;71. then like wild Beasts glutted, returning to their Caves. A third excursion they made into Northampton, ransacking the Country round; then as to fresh Pasture betook them to the West-Saxons, and in like sort harrassing all Wiltshire, return'd, as I said before, like wild Beasts or rather Sea-Monsters to thir Water-stables, accomplishing by Christmas the Circuit of thir whole year's good Deeds; an unjust and inhuman Nation, who receiving or not receiving Tribute where none was owing them, made such destruction of Mankind, and rapine of thir Livelihood, as is a misery to read. Yet heer they ceas't not;72. for the next year repeating the same Cruelties on both sides the Thames,73. one way as farr as Huntingdon, the other as farr as Wiltshire and Southampton, sollicited again by the King for Peace, and receiving thir demands both of Tribute and Contribution, they slighted their Faith; and in the beginning of September laid seige to Canterbury. On the twentieth Day, by the Treachery of Almere the Archdeacon they took part of it and burnt it, committing all sorts of Massacre as a sport; som they threw over the Well, others into the Fire, hung som by the privy Members, Infants pull'd from thir Mothers Breasts, were either tost on Spears, or Carts drawn over them; Matrons and Virgins by the Hair drag'd and ravish'd.74. Alfage the grave Archbishop above others hated of the Danes,75. as in all Counsels and Actions to his might their known opposer, tak'n, wounded, imprison'd in a noisom Ship; the Multitude are tyth'd, and every tenth only spar'd.76. Early the next year77. before Easter, while Ethelred and his Peers were assembled at London,78. to raise now the fifth Tribute amounting to 48 thousand Pound, the Danes at Canterbury propose to the Archbishop, who had bin now seven months thir Prisoner, Life and Liberty, if he pay them three thousand Pound;79. which he refusing as not able of himself, and not willing to extort it from his Tenants, is permitted all the next Sunday to consider; then hal'd before thir Counsel, of whom Turkill was Chief, and still refusing, they rise most of them being drunk, and beat him with the blunt side of thir Axes, then thrust forth deliver him to be pelted with Stones; till one Thrum a converted Dane, pitying him half dead, to put him out of pain, with a pious impiety, at one stroke of his Ax on the head dispatch'd him. His Body was carry'd to London, and there buried, thence afterward remov'd to Canterbury. By this time the Tribute paid, and Peace so often violated sworn again by the Danes, they dispers'd thir Fleet; forty five of them, and Turkill thir Chief staid at London with the King, swore him Allegiance to defend his Land against all Strangers, on condition only to be fed and cloath'd by him. But this voluntary friendship of Turkill was thought to be deceitful, that staying under this pretence he gave intelligence to Swane, when most it would be seasonable to come. In July therefore of the next year, King Swane arriving at Sandwich, made no stay there, but sailing first to Humber, thence into Trent, landed and encamp'd at Gainsburrow: whither without delay repair'd to him the Northumbrians, with Uthred thir Earl; those of Lindsey also, then those of Fisburg, and lastly all on the North of Watling-street (which is a high-way from East to West-Sea) gave Oath and Hostages to obey him. From whom he commanded Horses and Provisions for his Army, taking with him besides Bands and Companies of thir choicest Men; and committing to his Son Canute the care of his Fleet and Hostages, he marches towards the South-Mercians, commanding his Souldiers to exercise all Acts of Hostility; with the Terror wherof fully executed, he took in few daies the City of Oxford, then Winchester; thence tending to London, in his hasty passage over the Thames, without seeking Bridge or Ford, lost many of his Men. Nor was his Expedition against London prosperous; for assaying all means by force or wile to take the City, wherin the King then was, and Turkill with his Danes, he was stoutly beaten off as at other times. Thence back to Wallingford and Bath, directing his course, after usual havock made, he sat a while and refresh'd his Army. There Ethelm an Earl of Devonshire, and other great Officers in the West, yeilded him Subjection. These things flowing to his wish, he betook him to his Navy, from that time stil'd and accounted King of England, if a Tyrant, saith Simeon, may be call'd a King. The Londoners also sent him Hostages, and made thir peace, for they fear'd his Fury. Ethelred thus reduc'd to narrow compass, sent Emma his Queen, with his two Sons had by her, and all his Treasure to Richard II. her Brother, Duke of Normandy; where he was honourably receav'd at Roan by the Duke, though known to have born himself churlishly and proudly towards Emma his Sister, besides his dissolute Company with other Women.80. Mean while Swane ceas't not to exact almost insupportable Tribute of the People, spoiling them when he listed; besides, the like did Turkill at Greenwich. The next Year beginning,81. Swane sickens and dies;82. som say terrify'd and smitten by an appearing Shape of St. Edmund arm'd,83. whose Church at Bury he had threaten'd to demolish; but the Authority herof relies only upon the Legend of St. Edmund. After his death the Danish Army and Fleet made his Son Canute thir King; but the Nobility and States of England sent Messengers to Ethelred, declaring that they prefer'd none before their native Sovereign, if he would promise to govern them better than he had done, and with more Clemency. Wherat the King rejoycing, sends over his Son Edward with Embassadors to court both high and low, and win their Love, promising largely to be thir mild and devoted Lord, to consent in all things to thir Will, follow thir Counsel, and whatever had bin done or spoken by any Man against him, freely to pardon, if they would loyally restore him to be thir King. To this the People cheerfully answer'd, and Amity was both promis'd and confirm'd on both sides. An Embassy of Lords is sent to bring back the King honourably; he returns in Lent, and is joyfully receav'd of the People, marches with a strong Army against Canute; who having got Horses and join'd with the Men of Lindsey, was preparing to make spoil in the Countries adjoining; but by Ethelred unexpectedly coming upon him, was soon driven to his Ships, and his Confederates of Lindsey left to the Anger of thir Country-men, executed without Mercy both by Fire and Sword. Canute in all haste sailing back to Sandwich, took the Hostages giv'n to his Father from all parts of England, and with slit Noses, Ears cropt, and Hands chop'd off, setting them ashoar, departd into Denmark. Yet the People were not disburden'd, for the King rais'd out of them 30 thousand Pound to pay his Fleet of Danes at Greenwich. To these Evils the Sea in October pass'd his Bounds, overwhelming many Towns in England, and of their Inhabitants many thousands. The Year following84. an Assembly being at Oxford, Edric of Streon having invited two Noblemen, Sigeferth and Morcar, the Sons of Earngrun of Seavenburg, to his Lodging, secretly murder'd them;85. the King, for what cause is unknown, seis'd their Estates, and caus'd Algith the Wife of Sigeferth, to be kept at Maidulfsburg, now Malmsbury; whom Edmund the Prince there married against his Father's mind, then went and possess'd thir Lands, making the People there subject to him. Mat. Westm. saith, that these two were of the Danes who had seated themselves in Northumberland, slain by Edric under colour of Teason laid to thir charge.86. They who attended them without, tumulting at the Death of thir Masters, were beaten back; and driven into a Church, defending themselves were burnt there in the Steeple. Mean while Canute returning from Denmark with a great Navy, 200 Ships richly gilded and adorn'd, well fraught with Arms and all Provision;87. and, which Encomium Emmæ mentions not, two other Kings, Lachman of Sweden, Olav of Norway, arriv'd at Sandwich; and, as the same Author then living writes, sent out Spies to discover what Resistance on Land was to be expected, who return'd with certain Report, that a great Army of English was in readiness to oppose them. Turkill, who upon the arrival of these Danish Powers kept Faith no longer with the English, but joining now with Canute,88. as it were to reingratiate himself after his Revolt, whether real or complotted, counsel'd him (being yet young) not to land, but to leave to him the management of this first Battel: the King assented, and he with the Forces which he had brought, and part of those which arriv'd with Canute, landing to thir wish, encounter'd the English, though double in number, at a place call'd Scorastan, and was at first beaten back with much Loss. But at length animating his Men with Rage only and Despair, obtain'd a clear Victory, which won him great Reward and Possessions from Canute. But of this Action no other Writer makes mention. From Sandwich therefore sailing about to the River Frome, and there landing, over all Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire, he spread wastful Hostility.89. The King lay then sick at Cosham in this Country; though it may seem strange how he could lie sick there in the midst of his Enemies. Howbeit Edmund in one part, and Edric of Streon in another, rais'd Forces by themselves; but so soon as both Armies were united, the Traytor Edric being found to practise against the Life of Edmund, he remov'd with his Army from him; wherof the Enemie took great advantage. Edric easily enticing the 40 Ships of Danes to side with him, revolted to Canute; the West-Saxons also gave Pledges, and furnish'd him with Horses. By which means the Year ensuing,90. he with Edric the Traytor passing the Thames at Creclad, about Twelftide,91. enter'd into Mercia, and especially Warwickshire, depopulating all places in thir way. Against these Prince Edmund, for his hardiness call'd Ironside, gatherd an Army; but the Mercians refus'd to fight unless Ethelred with the Londoners came to aid them; and so every Man return'd home. After the Festival Edmund gathering another Army, besought his Father to come with the Londoners, and what Force besides he was able; they came with great strength gotten together, but being come, and in a hopeful way of good success, it was told the King, that unless he took the better heed, som of his own Forces would fall off and betray him. The King daunted with this perhaps cunning Whisper of the Enemie, disbanding his Army, returns to London. Edmund betook him into Northumberland, as som thought to raise fresh Forces; but he with Earl Uthred on the one side, and Canute with Edric on the other, did little else but waste the Provinces; Canute to conquer them, Edmund to punish them who stood neuter: for which cause Stafford, Shropshire, and Leicestershire, felt heavily his hand; while Canute, who was ruining the more Southern Shires, at length march'd into Northumberland; which Edmund hearing, dismiss'd his Forces and came to London. Uthred the Earl hasted back to Northumberland, and finding no other Remedy, submitted himself with all the Northumbrians, giving Hostages to Canute. Nevertheless by his Command or Connivance, and the hand of one Turebrand a Danish Lord, Uthred was slain, and Iric another Dane made Earl in his stead. This Uthred Son of Walteof, as Simeon writes, in his Treatise of the Siege of Durham, in his Youth obtain'd a great Victory against Malcolm Son of Kened King of Scots, who with the whole Power of his Kingdome was fallen into Northumberland, and laid siege to Durham. Walteof the old Earl unable to resist, had secur'd himself in Bebbanburg, a strong Town; but Uthred gathering an Army rais'd the Siege, slew most of the Scots, thir King narrowly escapeing, and with the Heads of thir slain fix'd upon Poles beset round the Walls of Durham. The Year of this Exploit Simeon clears not, for in 969, and in the Reign of Ethelred, as he affirms, it could not be. Canute by another way returning Southward, joyful of his Success, before Easter came back with all the Army to his Fleet. About the end of April ensuing, Ethelred after a long, troublesom and ill-govern'd Reign, ended his daies at London, and was buried in the Church of St. Paul.
After the Decease of Ethelred, they of the Nobility who were then at London,92. together with the Citizens, chose Edmund his Son (not by Emma, but a former Wife the Daughter of Earl Thored )93. in his Father's room; but the Archbishops, Abbots, and many of the Nobles assembling together, elected Canute; and coming to Southampton where he then remain'd, renounc'd before him all the Race of Ethelred, and swore him Fidelity: he also swore to them, in Matters both religious and secular, to be thir faithfull Lord. But Edmund with all speed going to the West- Saxons,94. was joyfully receav'd of them as thir King,95. and of many other Provinces by their Example. Mean while Canute about mid May came with his whole Fleet up the River to London; then causing a great Dike to be made on Surrey- side, turn'd the Stream, and drew his Ships thither West of the Bridge; then begirting the City with a broad and deep Trench, assail'd it on every side; but repuls't as before by the valorous Defendants, and in despair of Success at that time, leaving part of his Army for the defence of his Ships, with the rest sped him to the West-Saxons, ere Edmund could have time to assemble all his Powers: who yet with such as were at hand invoking Divine Aid, encounter'd the Danes at Pen by Gillingham in Dorsetshire, and put him to flight. After Midsummer, increast with new Forces, he met with him again at a Place call'd Sherastan, now Sharstan; but Edric, Almar, and Algar, with the Hampshire and Wiltshire Men, then siding with the Danes, he only maintain'd the Fight, obstinately fought on both sides, till Night and Weariness parted them. Day-light returning renew'd the Conflict, wherin the Danes appearing inferior, Edric to dishearten the English cuts off the Head of one Osmer, in Countenance and Hair somewhat resembling the King, and holding it up, cries aloud to the English, that Edmund being slain, and this his Head, it was time for them to fly; which Fallacy Edmund Perceiving, and openly shewing himself to his Souldiers, by a Spear thrown at Edric, that missing him yet slew one next him, and through him another behind,96. they recover'd heart, and lay sore upon the Danes till Night parted them as before: for ere the third Morn, Canute sensible of his Loss, march'd away by stealth to his Ships at London, renewing there his Leagre.96a. som would have this Battel at Sherastan the same with that at Scorastan before mention'd, but the circumstance of time permits not that, having bin before the landing of Canute, this a good while after, as by the Process of things appears. From Sherastan or Sharstan Edmund return'd to the West-Saxons, whose valour Edric fearing, lest it might prevail against the Danes, sought Pardon of his Revolt, and obtaining it, swore Loyalty to the King, who now the third time coming with an Army from the West-Saxons to London, rais'd the Siege, chasing Canute and his Danes to thir Ships. Then after two daies passing the Thames at Brentford, and so coming on thir backs, kept them so turn'd, and obtain'd the Victory; then returns again to his West-Saxons, and Canute to his Siege, but still in vain; rising therefore thence, he enter'd with his Ships a River then call'd Arenne; and from the Banks therof wasted Mercia; thence thir Horse by Land, thir Foot by Ship came to Medway. Edmund in the mean while with multiply'd Forces out of many Shires crossing again at Brentford, came into Kent, seeking Canute; encounter'd him at Otford, and so defeated, that of his Horse, they who escap'd fled to the Ile of Sheppey; and a full Victory he had gain'd, had not Edric still the Traytor by som Wile or other detain'd his pursuit: and Edmund who never wanted Courage, heer wanted Prudence to be so misled, ever after forsaken of his wonted Fortune. Canute crossing with his Army into Essex, thence wasted Mercia worse than before, and with heavie Prey return'd to his Ships: them Edmund with a collected Army pursuing, overtook at a place call'd Assandune or Assesbill, now Ashdown in Essex; the Battel on either side was fought with great Vehemence;97. but perfidious Edric perceiving the Victory to incline towards Edmund, with that part of the Army which was under him, fled, as he had promis'd Canute, and left the King over- match'd with Numbers: By which Desertion the English were overthrown, Duke Alfric, Duke Godwin and Ulfketel the valiant Duke of East-Angles, with a great part of the Nobility slain, so as the English of a long time had not received a greater Blow. Yet after a while Edmund not absurdly call'd Ironside, preparing again to try his Fortune in another field, was hinder'd by Edric and others of his Faction, advising him to make Peace and divide the Kingdome with Canute.98. To which Edmund over- rul'd, a Treaty appointed, and Pledges mutually giv'n, both Kings met together at a place call'd Deorhirst in Glocestershire; Edmund on the West-side of Severn, Canute on the East with thir Armies, then both in Person wafted into an Iland, at that time call'd Olanege, now Alney, in the middle of the River;99. swearing Amity and Brotherhood, they parted the Kingdome between them. Then interchanging Arms and the Habit they wore, assessing also what Pay should be allotted to the Navy, they departed each his way. concerning this interview and the cause therof, others write otherwise; Malmsbury, that Edmund grieving at the loss of so much Blood spilt for the Ambition only of two Men striving who should reign, of his own accord sent to Canute, offering him single Combat, to prevent in thir own cause the effusion of more Blood than thir own; that Canute, though of Courage anough, yet not unwisely doubting to adventure his Body of small Timber, against a Man of Iron sides, refus'd the Combat, offering to divide the Kingdome. This Offer pleasing both Armies, Edmund was not difficult to consent; and the decision was that he as his hereditary Kingdome should rule the West-Saxons and all the South, Canute the Mercians and the North. Huntingdon follow'd by Mat. Westm. relates, that the Peers on every side wearied out with continual Warfare, and not refraining to affirm openly, that they two who expected to reign singly, had most reason to fight singly, the Kings were content; the Iland was their Lists, the Combat knightly; till Knute finding himself too weak, began to parley, which ended as is said before. After which the Londoners bought thir Peace of the Danes, and permitted them to winter in the City. But King Edmund about the Feast of St. Andrew, unexpectedly deceas'd at London, and was buried neer to Edgar his Grandfather at Glaston. The cause of his so sudden death is uncertaine; common Fame, saith Malmsbury, lays the Guilt therof upon Edric, who to please Canute, allur'd with promise of Reward two of the King's Privy Chamber, though at first abhorring the Fact, to assassinate him at the Stool, by thrusting a sharp Iron into his hinder parts. Huntingdon, and Mat. Westm. relate it done at Oxford by the Son of Edric, and something vary in the manner, not worth recital. Edmund dead, Canute meaning to reign sole King of England, calls to him all the Dukes, Barons, and Bishops of the Land, cunningly demanding of them who were Witnesses what agreement was made between him and Edmund dividing the Kingdome, whether the Sons and Brothers of Edmund were to govern the West-Saxons after him, Canute living? They who understood his meaning, and fear'd to undergo his Anger, timorously answer'd, that Edmund they knew had left no part therof to his Sons or Brethren, living or dying; but that he intended Canute should be thir Guardian, till they came to age of reigning. Simeon affirms, that for fear or hope of Reward they attested what was not true: notwithstanding which, he put many of them to death not long after.
CANUTE, or KNUTE
Canute having thus sounded the Nobility,100. and by them understood, receav'd thir Oath of Fealty,101. they the pledge of his bare hand, and Oath from the Danish Nobles; wherupon the House of Edmund was renounc'd, and Canute crown'd.102. Then they enacted, that Edwi Brother of Edmund, a Prince of great hope, should be banish'd the Realm. But Canute not thinking himself secure while Edwi liv'd, consulted with Edric how to make him away; who told him of one Ethelward a decay'd Nobleman, likeliest to do the work. Ethelward sent for, and tempted by the King in private with largest Rewards, but abhorring in his mind the deed, promis'd to do it when he saw his opportunity; and so still defer'd it. But Edwi afterwards receav'd into favour as a snare, was by him or som other of his false Friends, Canute contriving it, the same year slain. Edric also counsell'd him to dispatch Edward and Edmund, the Sons of Ironside; but the King doubting that the Fact would seem too foul done in England, sent them to the King of Sweden, with the like intent; but he disdaining the Office, sent them for better safety to Solomon King of Hungary; where Edmund at length died, but Edward married Agatha Daughter to Henry the German Emperor. A Digression in the Laws of Edward Confessor under the Title of Lex Noricorum saith, that this Edward for fear of Canute, fled of his own accord to Malesclot King of the Rugians, who receav'd him honourably, and of that Country gave him a Wife. Canute settled in his Throne, divided the Government of his Kingdome into four parts; the West-Saxons to himself, the East-Angles to Earl Turkill, the Mercians to Edric, the Northumbrians to Iric; then made peace with all Princes round about him, and his former Wife being dead, in July married Emma the Widow of King Ethelred. The Christmas following was an ill Feast to Edric, of whose Treason the King having now made use as much as serv'd his turn, and fearing himself to be the next betray'd, caus'd him to be slain at London in the Palace, thrown over the City Wall, and there to lie unburied; the Head of Edric fixt on a Pole, he commanded to be set on the highest Tower of London, as in a double sense he had promis'd him, for the murder of King Edmund to exalt him above all the Peers of England. Huntingdon, Malmsbury, and Mat. Westm. write, that suspecting the King's intention to degrade him from his Mercian Dukedom, and upbraiding him with his Merits, the King enrag'd, caus'd him to be strangled in the room, and out at a Window thrown into the Thames.103. Another writes, that Eric at the King's command struck off his Head.104. Other great Men, though without fault, as Duke Norman the Son of Leofwin, Ethelward Son of Duke Agelmar, he put to death at the same time, jealous of thir Power or Familiarity with Edric: and notwithstanding Peace, kept still his Army; to maintain which, the next year105. he squeez'd out of the English, though now his Subjects, not his Enemies, 72,106. som say, 82,000 Pound,107. besides 15,000 out of London.108. Mean while great Warr arose at Carr, between Uthred Son of Waldef, Earl of Northumberland, and Malcolm Son of Kened King of Scots, with whom held Eugenius King of Lothian. But heer Simeon the relater seems to have committed som mistake, having slain Uthred by Canute two years before, and set Iric in his place: Iric therefore it must needs be, not Uthred, who manag'd this Warr against the Scots. About which time at a Convention of Danes at Oxford, it was agreed on both Parties to keep the Laws of Edgar; Mat. Westm. saith of Edward the elder. The next year109. Canute sail'd into Denmark,110. and there abode all Winter. Huntingdon and Mat. Westm. say, he went thither to repress the Swedes; and that the night before a Battel was fought with them, Godwin stealing out of the Camp with his English, assaulted the Swedes, and had got the Victory ere Canute in the morning knew of any Fight. For which bold Enterprize, though against Discipline, he had the English in more esteem ever after. In the Spring,111. at his return into England, he held in the time of Easter a great Assembly at Chicester,112. and the same year was with Turkill the Dane at the Dedication of a Church by them built at Assendune, in the place of that great Victory which won him the Crown. But suspecting his Greatness, the year following banish'd him the Realm, and found occasion to do the like by Iric the Northumbrian Earl upon the same jealousy. Nor yet content with his Conquest of England,113. though now above ten years enjoy'd,114. he pass'd with 50 Ships into Norway,115. dispossess'd Olave thir King, and subdu'd the Land,116. first with great Sums of Money sent the year before to gain him a partie, then coming with an Army to compel the rest.117. Thence returning King of England, Denmark, and Norway,118. yet not secure in his mind, under colour of an Embassy he sent into banishment Hacun a powerfull Dane,119. who had married the Daughter of his Sister Gunildis, having conceiv'd som suspicion of his Practices against him: but such course was tak'n, that he never came back; either perishing at Sea, or slain by contrivance the next year120. in Orkney.121. Canute therefore having thus establish'd himself by bloodshed and oppression to wash away, as he thought, the Guilt therof, sailing again into Denmark, went thence to Rome,122. and offerd there to St. Peter great Gifts of Gold and Silver, and other precious things;123. besides the usual Tribute of Romscot, giving great Alms by the way, both thither and back again,124. freeing many places of Custom and Toll with great Expence, where Strangers were wont to pay, having vow'd great amendment of Life at the Sepulchre of Peter and Paul, and to his whole People in a large Letter writt'n from Rome yet extant. At his return therefore he built and dedicated a Church at St. Edmund at Bury,125. whom his ancestors had slain, threw out the Secular Priests who had intruded there, and plac'd Monks in their stead;126. then going into Scotland, subdu'd and receav'd Homage of Malcolm,127. and two other Kings there, Melbeath and Jermare. Three years after128. having made Swane his suppos'd Son by Algiva of Northampton,129. Duke Alfhelm's Daughter (for others say the Son of a Priest whom Algiva barren had got readie at the time of her feign'd labour)130. King of Norway, and Hardecnute his Son by Emma King of Denmark, and design'd Harold his Son by Algiva of Northampton King of England, died at Shaftsbury, and was buried at Winchester in the old Monastery. This King, as appears, ended better than he began; for though he seems to have had no hand in the Death of Ironside, but detested the Fact, and bringing the Murderers, who came to him in hope of great Reward, forth among his Courtiers, as it were to receive thanks, after they had openly related the manner of thir killing him, deliverd them to deserv'd Punishment, yet he spar'd Edric whom he knew to be the prime Author of that detestable Fact; till willing to be rid of him, grown importune upon the Confidence of his Merits, and upbraided by him that he had first relinquish'd, then extinguish'd Edmund for his sake; angry to be so upbraided, therefore said he with a changed Countenance, Traitor to God and me, thou shalt die; thine own mouth accuses thee to have slain thy Master my Confederate Brother, and the Lord's Anointed.131. Wherupon although present and private Execution was in rage done upon Edric, yet he himself in cool Blood scrupled not to make away the Brother and Children of Edmund, who had better right to be the Lord's Anointed heer than himself. When he had obtain'd in England what he desir'd, no wonder if he sought the love of his conquer'd Subjects for the love of his own Quiet, the maintainers of his Wealth and State for his own profit. For the like reason he is thought to have married Emma, and that Richard Duke of Normandy her Brother might the less care what became of Elfred and Edward, her Sons by King Ethelred. He commanded to be observ'd the ancient Saxon Laws, call'd afterwards the Laws of Edward the Confessor, not that he made them, but strictly observ'd them. His Letter from Rome professes, if he had done aught amiss in his youth, through negligence or want of due temper, full resolution with the help of God to make amends, by governing justly and piously for the future; charges and adjures all his Officers and Viscounts, that neither for fear of him, or favour of any Person, or to enrich the King, they suffer Injustice to be done in that Land; commands his Treasurers to pay all his Debts ere his return home, which was by Denmark, to compose Matters there; and what his Letter profess'd, he perform'd all his Life after. But it is a fond conceit in many great ones, and pernicious in the end, to cease from no Violence till they have attain'd the utmost of thir Ambitions and Desires; then to think God appeas'd by thir seeking to bribe him with a share however large of thir ill-gotten Spoils, and then lastly to grow zealous of doing right, when they have no longer need to do wrong. Howbeit Canute was famous through Europe, and much honour'd of Conrade the Emperor, then at Rome, with rich Gifts and many Grants of what he there demanded for the freeing of Passages from Toll and Custom. I must not omit one remarkable Action done by him, as Huntingdon reports it, with great scene of Circumstance, and emphatical Expression, to shew the small Power of Kings in respect of God; which, unless to Court-Parasites, needed no such laborious Demonstration. He caus'd his Royal Seat to be set on the shoar, while the Tide was coming in; and with all the state that Royalty could put into his Countenance, said thus to the Sea: Thou Sea belongst to me, and the Land wheron I sit is mine; nor hath any one unpunish'd resisted my Commands: I charge thee come no farther upon my Land, neither presume to wet the Feet of thy Sovereign Lord. But the Sea, as before, came rowling on, and without Reverence both wet and dash'd him. Wherat the King quickly rising, wish'd all about him to behold and consider the weak and frivolous Power of a King, and that none indeed deserv'd the Name of a King, but he whose eternal Laws, both Heaven, Earth, and Sea obey. A Truth so evident of it self, as I said before, that unless to shame his Court-Flatterers, who would not else be convinc't, Canute needed not to have gone wet-shod home: The best is, from that time forth he never would wear a Crown, esteeming earthly Royalty contemptible and vain.
Harold for his swiftness surnam'd Harefoot,132. the Son of Canute by Algiva of Northampton,133. (though som speak doubtfully as if she bore him not, but had him of a Shoe-maker's Wife, as Swane before of a Priest;134. others of a Maid-Servant, to conceal her barrenness)135. in a great Assembly at Oxford, was by Duke Leofric and the Mercians, with the Londoners, according to his Father's Testament, elected King;136. but without the Regal Habiliments,137. which ælnot the Archbishop having in his Custody, refus'd to deliver up, but to the Sons of Emma, for which Harold ever after hated the Clergy; and (as the Clergy are wont thence to infer) all Religion. Godwin Earl of Kent, and the West-Saxons with him stood for Hardecnute. Malmsbury Saith, that the contest was between Dane and English; that the Danes, and Londoners grown now in a manner Danish, were all for Hardecnute: but he being then in Denmark, Harold prevail'd, yet so as that the Kingdome should be divided between them; the West and South part reserv'd by Emma for Hardecnute, till his return. But Harold once advanc'd into the Throne, banish'd Emma his Mother-in law,138. seis'd on his Father's Treasure at Winchester, and there remain'd.139. Emma not holding it safe to abide in Normandy while Duke William the Bastard was yet under Age, retir'd to Baldwin Earl of Flanders. In the mean while Elfred and Edward Sons of Ethelred, accompanied with a small number of Norman Souldiers in a few Ships, coming to visit thir Mother Emma not yet departed the Land, and perhaps to see how the People were inclin'd to restore them thir right, Elfred was sent for by the King then at London; but in his way met at Guilford, by Earl Godwin, who with all seeming friendship entertain'd him, was in the night surpriz'd and made Prisoner, most of his Company put to various sorts of cruel Death, decimated twice over; then brought to London, was by the King sent bound to Ely, had his Eyes put out by the way, and deliverd to the Monks there, died soon after in thir custody. Malmsbury gives little credit to this story of Elfred, as not chronicl'd in his time, but rumour'd only. Which Emma however hearing, sent away her Son Edward, who by good hap accompanied not his Brother, with all speed into Normandy. But the Author of Encomium Emmæ, who seems plainly (though nameless) to have bin som Monk, yet liv'd, and perhaps wrote within the same Year when these things were done; by his relation differing from all others, much aggravates the crueltie of Harold, that he not content to have practis'd in secret (for openly he durst not) against the Life of Emma, sought many treacherous ways to get her Son within his power; and resolv'd at length to forge a Letter in the name of thir Mother, inviting them into England, the Copy of which Letter he produces writt'n to this purpose.
Emma in name only Queen, to her Sons Edward and Elfred imparts motherly Salutation. While we severally bewail the Death of our Lord the King, most dear Sons, and while daily you are depriv'd more and more of the Kingdome your Inheritance; I admire what Counsel ye take, knowing that your intermitted delay is a daily strengthning to the Reign of your Usurper, who incessantly goes about from Town to City, gaining the chief Nobles to his partie, either by gifts, praiers, or threats. But they had much rather one of you should reign over them, than to be held under the power of him who now over-rules them. I entreat therefore that one of you come to me speedily, and privately, to receive from me wholesome Counsel, and to know how the business which I intend shall be accomplish'd. By this Messenger present, send back what you determine. Farewel, as dear both as my own heart.
These Letters were sent to the Princes then in Normandy, by express Messengers, with presents also as from thir Mother; which they joyfully receiving, return word by the same Messengers, that one of them will be with her shortly; naming both the time and place. Elfred therefore the younger (for so it was thought best) at the appointed time, with a few Ships and small numbers about him appearing on the Coast, no sooner came ashoar but fell into the snare of Earl Godwin, sent on purpose to betray him; as above was related. Emma greatly sorrowing for the loss of her Son, thus cruelly made away, fled immediately with some of the Nobles her faithfullest Adherents into Flanders, had her dwelling assign'd at Bruges by the Earl; where having remain'd about two years,140. she was visited out of Denmark by Hardecnute her Son;141. and he not long had remain'd with her there, when Harold in England, having done nothing the while worth memory,142. save the taxing of every Port at 8 Marks of Silver to 16 Ships, died at London,143. som say at Oxford;144. and was buried at Winchester.145. After which, most of the Nobility, both Danes and English now agreeing, send Ambassadors to Hardecnute still at Bruges with his Mother, entreating him to come and receive as his right the Scepter, who before Midsummer came with 60 Ships, and many Souldiers out of Denmark.
Hardecnute receav'd with acclamation, and seated in the Throne, first call'd to mind the Injuries done to him or his Mother Emma in the time of Harold; sent Alfric Archbishop of York, Godwin and others, with Troud his Executioner to London, commanding them to dig up the Body of King Harold, and throw it into a Ditch; but by a second order, into the Thames. Whence tak'n up by a Fisherman, and convey'd to a Church-yard in London belonging to the Danes, it was interr'd again with honour. This done, he levied a sore Tax, that eight Marks to every Rower, and twelve to every Officer in his Fleet should be paid throughout England: by which time they who were so forward to call him over had anough of him; for he, as they thought, had too much of theirs. After this he call'd to account Godwin Earl of Kent, and Leving Bishop of Worcester, about the Death of Elfred his half Brother, which Alfric the Archbishop laid to thir charge; the King depriv'd Leving of his Bishoprick, and gave it to his accuser: but the year following, pacify'd with a round sum restor'd it to Leving.146. Godwin made his peace by a sumptuous present, a Galley with a gilded Stem bravely rigg'd, and eighty Souldiers in her, every one with Bracelets of Gold on each Arm, waighing 16 Ounces, Helmet, Corslet, and Hilts of his Sword gilded; a Danish Curtax lifted with Gold or Silver, hung on his left Shoulder, a Shield with boss and nails gilded in his left hand, in his right a Launce; besides this, he took his Oath before the King, that neither of his own Counsel or Will, but by the command of Harold he had done what he did, to the putting out Elfred's Eyes. The like Oath took most of the Nobility for themselves, or in his behalf. The next year147. Hardecnute sending his House-carles, so they call'd his Officers, to gather the Tribute impos'd;148. two of them rigorous in thir Office, were slain at Worcester by the People; wherat the King enrag'd sent Leofric Duke of Mercia, and Seward of Northumberland, with great Forces and Commission to slay the Citizens, rifle and burn the City, and waste the whole Province. Affrighted with such news, all the People fled: the Countrymen whither they could, the Citizens to a small Iland in Severn, call'd Beverege, which they fortified and defended stoutly till Peace was granted them, and freely to return home. But thir City they found sack'd and burnt; wherwith the King was appeas'd. This was commendable in him, however cruel to others, that towards his half Brethren, though Rivals of his Crown, he shew'd himself always tenderly affection'd; as now towards Edward, who without fear came to him out of Normandy, and with unfeign'd kindness receav'd, remain'd safely and honourably in his Court. But Hardecnute the year following,149. at a Feast wherin Osgod a great Danish Lord gave his Daughter in marriage at Lamberth, to Prudon another potent Dane, in the midst of his Mirth, sound and healthful to sight, while he was drinking fell down speechless, and so dying, was buried at Winchester beside his Father.150. He was it seems a great lover of good cheer; sitting at Table four times a day, with great Variety of Dishes and superfluity to all Comers. Wheras, saith Huntingdon, in our time Princes in thir Houses made but one meal a day. He gave his Sister Gunildis, a Virgin of rare Beauty, in marriage to Henry the Alman Emperor; and to send her forth pompously, all the Nobility contributed thir Jewels and richest Ornaments. But it may seem a wonder that our Historians, if they deserve that name, should in a matter so remarkable, and so neer thir own time, so much differ. Huntingdon relates, against the credit of all other records, that Hardecnute thus dead, the English rejoycing at this unexpected riddance of the Danish Yoke, sent over to Elfred the elder Son of Emma by King Ethelred, of whom we heard but now, that he died a Prisoner at Ely, sent thither by Harold six year before; that he came now out of Normandy, with a great number of men, to receive the Crown; that Earl Godwin aiming to have his Daughter Queen of England, by marrying her to Edward a simple Youth, for he thought Elfred of a higher Spirit than to accept her, persuaded the Nobles that Elfred had brought over too many Normans, had promis'd them Land here, that it was not safe to suffer a warlike and subtile Nation to take root in the Land, that these were to be so handled as none of them might dare for the future to flock hither, upon pretence of relation to the King: therupon by common consent of the Nobles, both Elfred and his Company were dealt with as was above related; that they then sent for Edward out of Normandy, with Hostages to be left there of thir faithfull intentions to make him King, and thir desires not to bring over with him many Normans; that Edward at thir call came then first out of Normandy; wheras all others agree that he came voluntarily over to visit Hardecnute, as is before said, and was remaining then in Court at the time of his Death. For Hardecnute dead, saith Malmsbury, Edward doubting greatly his own safety, determin'd to rely wholly on the advice and favour of Earl Godwin; desiring therefore by Messengers to have private speech with him, the Earl a while deliberated: at last assenting, Prince Edward came, and would have fallen at his feet; but that not permitted, told him the danger wherin he thought himself at present, and in great perplexity besought his help to convey him som whither out of the Land. Godwin soon apprehending the faire occasion that now as it were prompted him how to advance himself and his Family, cheerfully exhorted him to remember himself the Son of Ethelred, the Grandchild of Edgar, right Heir to the Crown, at full Age; not to think of flying, but of reigning, which might easily be brought about if he would follow his Counsel; then setting forth the Power and Authority which he had in England, promis'd it should be all his to set him on the Throne, of he on his part would promise and swear to be for ever his Friend, to preserve the honour of his House, and to marry his Daughter. Edward, as his necessitie then was, consented easily, and swore to whatever Godwin requir'd. An Assembly of States therupon met at Gillingham, where Edward pleaded his Right; and by the powerfull influence of Godwin was accepted. Others, as Brompton, with no probability write, that Godwin at this time was fled into Denmark, for what he had done to Elfred, return'd and submitted himself to Edward then King, was by him charg'd openly with the Death of Elfred, and not without much ado, by the intercession of Leofric and other Peers, receav'd at length into favour.
Edward the Confessor
Glad were the English deliverd so unexpectedly from thir Danish Masters, and little thought how neer another Conquest was hanging over them. Edward, the Easter following,151. crown'd at Winchester,152. the same year accompanied with Earl Godwin, Leofric and Siward, came again thither on a sudden, and by thir Counsel seis'd on the Treasure of his Mother Emma. The cause alledg'd is, that she was hard to him in the time of his Banishment; and indeed she is said not much to have lov'd Ethelred her former Husband, and therafter the Children by him; she was moreover noted to be very covetous, hard to the Poor, and profuse to Monasteries.153. About this time also King Edward, according to promise, took to wife Edith, or Egith Earl Godwin's Daughter, commended much for beauty, modesty, and, beyond what is requisite in a Woman, Learning. Ingulf then a youth lodging in the Court with his Father, saw her oft, and coming from the School, was sometimes met by her and pos'd, not in Grammar only, but in Logic. Edward the next year but one,154. made readie a strong Navy at Sandwich against Magnus King of Norway,155. who threaten'd an Invasion, had not Swane King of Denmark diverted him by a Warr at home to defend his own Land,156. not out of good Will to Edward, as may be suppos'd,157. who at the same time express'd none to the Danes, banishing Gunildis the Neice of Canute with her two Sons, and Osgod by surname Clapa, out of the Realm. Swane overpowerd by Magnus sent the next year158. to entreat aid of King Edward;159. Godwin gave Counsel to send him 50 Ships fraught with Souldiers; but Leofric and the general voice gainsaying, none were sent. The next year160.Harold Harvager King of Norway sending Embassadors, made peace with King Edward;161. but an Earthquake at Worcester and Derby, Pestilence and Famine in many places, much lessen'd the enjoyment therof. The next year162. Henry the Emperor displeas'd with Baldwin Earl of Flanders, had straiten'd him with a great Army by Land;163. and sending to King Edward, desir'd him with his Ships to hinder what he might, his escape by Sea. The King therefore with a great Navy coming to Sandwich, there staid till the Emperor came to an agreement with Earl Baldwin. Mean while Swane Son of Earl Godwin, who not permitted to marry Edgiva the Abbess of Chester by him deflour'd, had left the Land, came out of Denmark with 8 Ships, feigning a desire to return into the King's favour; and Beorn his Cousin German, who commanded part of the King's Navy, promis'd to intercede that his Earldon might be restor'd him. Godwin therefore and Beorn with a few Ships, the rest of the Fleet gone home, coming to Pevensey (but Godwin soon departing thence in pursuit of 29 Danish ships who had got much Booty on the Coast of Essex, and perish'd by Tempest in thir return) Swane with his Ships comes to Beorn at Pevensey, guilefully requests him to sail with him to Sandwich, and reconcile him to the King, as he had promis'd. Beorn mistrusting no evil where he intended good, went with him in his ship attended by three only of his Servants: but Swane, set upon barbarous crueltie, not reconciliation with the King, took Beorn now in his power and bound him; then coming to Dartmouth, slew and buried him in a deep Ditch. After which the men of Hastings took six of his Ships, and brought them to the King at Sandwich; with the other two he escap'd into Flanders, there remaining till Aldred Bishop of Worcester by earnest mediation wrought his Peace with the King. About this time King Edward sent to Pope Leo,164. desiring absolution from a Vow which he had made in his younger years, to take a journey to Rome, if God vouchsaf'd him to reign in England; the Pope dispens'd with his Vow, but not without the expence of his Journey giv'n to the Poor, and a Monastery built or re-edify'd to St. Peter; who in a Vision to a Monk, as is said, chose Westminster, which King Edward therupon rebuilding endow'd with large Privileges and Revenues. The same year, saith Florent of Worcester, certain Irish Pirates with 36 Ships enter'd the mouth of Severn, and with the aid of Griffin Prince of South-Wales, did som hurt in those parts: then passing the River Wye, burnt Dunedham, and slew all the Inhabitants they found. Against whom Aldred Bishop of Worcester, with a few out of Glocester and Herefordshire, went out in haste: but Griffin to whom the Welch and Irish had privily sent Messengers, came down upon the English with his whole Power, by night, and early in the Morning suddenly assaulting them, slew many, and put the rest to flight. The next year but one,165. King Edward remitted the Danish Tax which had continu'd 38 years heavie upon the Land since Ethelred first paid it to the Danes,166. and what remain'd therof in his Treasury he sent back to the Owners:167. but through imprudence laid the foundation of a farr worse mischief to the English; while studying gratitude to those Normans, who to him in exile had bin helpful, he call'd them over to public Offices here, whom better he might have repaid out of his private Purse; by this means exasperating either nation one against the other, and making way by degrees to the Norman Conquest. Robert a Monk of that Country, who had bin serviceable to him there in time of need, he made Bishop, first of London, then of Canterbury; William his Chaplain Bishop of Dorchester. Then began the English to lay aside thir own ancient Customs, and in many things to imitate French manners, the great Peers to speak French in thir Houses, in French to write thir Bills and Letters, as a great piece of Gentility, asham'd of thir own: a presage of thir subjection shortly to that People, whose Fashions and Language they affected so slavishly. But that which gave beginning to many Troubles ensuing, happen'd this Year, and upon this occasion.168. Eustace Earl of Boloign, Father of the famous Godfrey who won Jerusalem from the Saracens, and Husband to Goda the King's Sister, having bin to visit King Edward, and returning by Canterbury to take ship at Dover, one of his Harbingers insolently seeking to lodge by force in a House there, provok'd so the Master therof, as by chance or heat of Anger to kill him. The Count with his whole Train going to the House where his Servant had bin kill'd slew both the slayer and eighteen more who defended him. But the Townsmen running to Arms, requited him with the slaughter of twenty more of his Servants, wounded most of the rest; he himself with one or two hardly escapeing, ran back with clamour to the King; whom seconded by other Norman Courtiers, he stirr'd up to great Anger against the Citizens of Canterbury. Earl Godwin in haste is sent for, the Cause related and much aggravated by the King against that City, the Earl commanded to raise Forces, and use the Citizens therof as Enemies. Godwin sorry to see Strangers more favour'd of the King than his native People, answer'd, that it were better to summon first the chief men of the Town into the King's Court, to charge them with Sedition, where both Parties might be heard, that not found in fault they might be aquitted; if otherwise, by Fine or loss of Life might satisfy the King whose Peace they had broken, and the Count whom they had injur'd; till this were done refusing to prosecute with hostile Punishment them of his own County unheard, whom his Office was rather to defend. The King displeas'd with his Refusal, and not knowing how to compel him, appointed an Assembly of all the Peers to be held at Glocester, where the matter might be fully try'd; the Assembly was full and frequent according to Summons: but Godwin mistrusting his own Cause, or the Violence of his Adversaries, with his two Sons, Swane and Harold, and a great Power gatherd out of his own and his Son's Earldoms, which contain'd most of the South-East and West Parts of England, came no furder than Beverstan, giving out that thir Forces were to go against the Welch, who intended an Irruption into Herefordshire; and Swane under that pretence lay with part of his Army therabout. The Welch understanding this device, and with all diligence clearing themselves before the King, left Godwin detected of false Accusation in great hatred to all the Assembly. Leofric therefore and Siward, Dukes of great Power, the former in Mercia, the other in all parts beyond Humber, both ever faithfull to the King, send privily with speed to raise the Forces of thir Provinces. Which Godwin not knowing, sent boldly to King Edward, demanding Count Eustace and his Followers together with those Boloignians, who, as Simeon writes, held a Castle in the Jurisdiction of Canterbury. The King, as then having but little Force at hand, entertain'd him a while with Treaties and Delays, till his summon'd Army drew nigh, then rejected his Demands. Godwin thus match'd, commanded his Sons not to begin Fight against the King; begun with, not to give ground. The King's Forces were the Flower of those Counties whence they came, and eager to fall on:169. But Leofric and the wiser sort detesting Civil Warr, brought the Matter to this accord, that Hostages giv'n on either side, the whole Cause should be again debated at London. Thither the King and Lords coming with thir Army, sent to Godwin and his Sons (who with thir Powers were come as farr as Southwark ) commanding their appearance unarm'd with only 12 Attendants, and that the rest of their Souldiers they should deliver over to the King. They to appear without Pledges before an adverse Faction deny'd; but to dismiss thir Souldiers refus'd not, nor in aught else to obey the King as farr as might stand with honour, and the just regard of thir Safety. This Answer not pleasing the King, an Edict was presently issu'd forth, that Godwin and his Sons within five daies depart the Land. He who perceiv'd now his Numbers to diminish, readily obey'd, and with his Wife and three Sons, Tosti, Swane, and Gyrtha, with as much Treasure as thir Ship could carry, embarking at Thorney, sail'd into Flanders to Earl Baldwin, whose Daughter Judith, Tosti had married: for Wulnod his fourth Son was then Hostage to the King in Normandy; his other two, Harold and Leofwin, taking ship at Bristow, in a Vessel that lay readie there belonging to Swane, pass'd into Ireland. King Edward pursuing his Displeasure, divorc'd his Wife Edith Earl Godwin's Daughter, sending her despoil'd of all her Ornaments to Warewel with one Waiting-Maid, to be kept in custody by his Sister the Abbess there.170. His reason of so doing was as harsh as his Act, that she only, while her neerest Relations were in Banishment, might not, though innocent, enjoy ease at home. After this, William Duke of Normandy with a great number of Followers coming into England, was by King Edward honourably entertain'd, and led about the Cities and Castles, as it were to shew him what ere long was to be his own, (though at that time, saith Ingulf, no mention therof pass'd between them) then after som time of his Abode here, presented richly and dismiss'd, he return'd home. The next Year Queen Emma died,171. and was buried at Winchester.172. The Chronicle atttributed to John Brompton a Yorkshire Abbot, but rather of som nameless Author living under Edward III. or later, reports that the Year before, by Robert the Archbishop she was accus'd both of consenting to the Death of her Son Alfred, and of preparing Poison for Edward also; lastly of too much Familiarity with Alwin Bishop of Winchester: that to approve her Innocence, praying over-night to St. Swithune, she offerd to pass blindfold between certain Plowshares red-hot, according to the Ordalian Law, which without harm she perform'd; that the King therupon receav'd her to honour, and from her and the Bishop, Penance for his Credulity; that the Archbishop asham'd of his Accusation fled out of England: which besides the silence of antienter Authors (for the Bishop fled not till a Year after) brings the whole story into suspicion, in this more probable, if it can be prov'd, that in memory of this Deliverance from the nine burning Plowshares, Queen Emma gave to the Abbey of St. Swithune nine Mannors, and Bishop Alwin other nine. About this time Griffin Prince of South-Wales wasted Herefordshire; to oppose whom the People of that Country, with many Normans, garrison'd in the Castle of Hereford, went out in Arms, but were put to the worse, many slain, and much Booty driven away by the Welch. Soon after which Harold and Leofwin, Sons of Godwin, coming into Severn with many Ships, in the Confines of Somerset and Devonshire, slew in a Fight more than 30 of thir principal Men, many of the common sort, and return'd with much Booty to thir Fleet.173. King Edward on the other side made readie above 60 Ships at Sandwich well stor'd with Men and Provision, under the conduct of Odo and Radulf two of his Norman Kindred, enjoining them to find out Godwin, whom he heard to be at Sea. To quicken them, he himself lay on shipboard, oft-times watch'd and sail'd up and down in search of those Pirates. But Godwin, whether in a Mist or by other Accident, passing by them, arriv'd in another part of Kent, and dispersing secret Messengers abroad, by faire Words allur'd the chief men of Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Essex, to his partie; which News coming to the King's Fleet at Sandwich, they hasted to find him out; but missing of him again, came up without effect to London. Godwin advertis'd of this, forthwith sail'd to the Ile of Wight; where at length his two Sons Harold and Leofwin finding him, with thir united Navy lay on the Coast, forbearing other Hostility than to furnish themselves with fresh Victuals from Land as they needed. Thence as one Fleet they set forward to Sandwich, using all faire means by the way to encrease thir Numbers both of Mariners and Souldiers. The King then at London, startled at these Tidings, gave speedie order to raise Forces in all parts which had not revolted from him; but now too late, for Godwin within a few daies after with his Ships or Gallies came up the River Thames to Southwark, and till the Tide return'd had Conference with the Londoners; whom by faire Speeches, for he was held a good Speaker in those times, he brought to his bent. The tide returning, and none upon the Bridge hindering, he row'd up in his Gallies along the South Bank; where his Land-Army, now come to him, in array of Battel stood on the shoar; then turning toward the North-side of the river, where the King's Gallies lay in some readiness, and Land-forces also not farr off, he made shew as offering to fight; but they understood one another, and the Souldiers on either side soon declar'd thir Resolution not to fight English against English. Thence coming to Treaty, the King and the Earl reconcil'd, both Armies were dissolv'd, Godwin and his Sons restor'd to thir former Dignities, except Swane, who touch'd in Conscience for the slaughter of Beorn his Kinsman, was gone barefoot to Jerusalem, and returning home, died by Sickness or Saracens in Lycia; his Wife Edith, Godwin's Daughter, King Edward took to him again, dignify'd as before. Then were the Normans, who had done many unjust things under the King's Authority, and giv'n him ill Counsel against his People, banish'd the Realm; som of them not blameable, permitted to stay. Robert Archbishop of Canterbury, William of London, Ulf of Lincoln, all Normans, hardly escapeing with their Followers, got to Sea. The Archbishop went with his Complaint to Rome; but returning, died in Normandy at the same Monastery from whence he came. Osbern and Hugh surrender'd thir Castles, and by permission of Leofric pass'd through his Counties with thir Normans to Macbeth King of Scotland. The year following174. Rhese Brother to Griffin, Prince of South-Wales, who by Inroads had done much damage to the English, tak'n at Bulendun, was put to death by the King's appointment,175. and his Head brought to him at Glocester. The same year at Winchester, on the second holy-day of Easter, Earl Godwin sitting with the King at Table, sunk down suddenly in his Seat as dead: his three Sons Harold, Tosti, and Girtha, forthwith carried him into the King's Chamber, hoping he might revive: but the Malady had so seis'd him, that the fifth day after he expir'd. The Normans who hated Godwin give out, saith Malmsbury, that mention happening to be made of Elfred, and the King therat looking sourly upon Godwin, he to vindicate himself, utter'd these words, Thou, O King, at every mention made of thy Brother Elfred, look'st frowningly upon me; but let God not suffer me to swallow this Morsel, if I be guilty of aught done against his Life or thy Advantage; that after these words, choak'd with the Morsel tak'n, he sunk down and recover'd not. His first Wife was the Sister of Canute, a Woman of much infamie for the Trade she drove of buying up English Youths and Maids to sell in Denmark, wherof she made great gain; but ere long was struck with Thunder, and died. The year ensuing,176. Siward Earl of Northumberland, with a great number of Horse and Foot, attended also by a strong Fleet at the King's appointment, made an Expedition into Scotland,177. vanquish'd the Tyrant Macbeth, slaying many thousands of Scots with those Normans that went thither, and plac'd Malcolm Son of the Cumbrian King in his stead; yet not without loss of his own Son, and many other both English and Danes. Told of his Son's Death, he ask'd whether he receav'd his Death's Wound before or behind?178. when it was answer'd, before; I am glad, saith he; and should not else have thought him, though my Son, worthy of Burial. In the mean while King Edward being without Issue to succeed him, sent Aldred Bishop of Winchester with great Presents to the Emperor, entreating him to prevail with the King of Hungary, that Edward the remaining Son of his Brother Edmund Ironside might be sent into England. Siward but one year surviving his great Victory,179. died at York;180. reported by Huntingdon a Man of Giant-like Stature; and by his own Demeanour at point of Death manifested, of a rough and meer soldierly Mind. For much disdaining to die in bed by a Disease, not in the Field fighting with his Enemies, he caus'd himself compleatly arm'd, and weapon'd with Battel-ax and Shield to be set in a Chair, whether to fight with Death, if he could be so vain, or to meet him (when farr other Weapons and Preparations were needful) in a martial Bravery; but true Fortitude glories not in the feats of Warr, as they are such, but as they serve to end Warr soonest by a victorious Peace. His Earldom the King bestow'd on Tosti the Son of Earl Godwin: and soon after in a Convention held at London, banish'd without visible cause, Huntingdon saith for Treason, Algar the Son of Leofric, who passing into Ireland, soon return'd with eighteen Ships to Griffin Prince of South-Wales, requesting his Aid against King Edward. He assembling his Power, enter'd with him into Herefordshire; whom Radulf a timorous Captain, Son to the King's Sister, not by Eustace, but a former Husband, met two Miles distant from Hereford; and having hors'd the English who knew better to fight on foot, without stroke he with his French and Normans beginning to fly, taught the English by his Example. Griffin and Algar following the Chase, slew many, wounded more, enter'd Hereford, slew seven Canons defending the Minster, burnt the Monastery and reliques, then the City; killing some, leading captive others of the Citizens, return'd with great Spoils; wherof King Edward having notice, gatherd a great Army at Glocester under the Conduct of Harold now Earl of Kent, who strenuously pursuing Griffin enter'd Wales, and encamp'd beyond Straddale. But the Enemie flying before him farther into the Country, leaving there the greater part of his Army with such as had charge to fight, if occasion offerd, with the rest he return'd, and fortify'd Hereford with a Wall and Gates. Mean while Griffin and Algar dreading the Diligence of Harold, after many Messages to and fro, concluded a Peace with him. Algar discharging his Fleet with Pay at West-Chester, came to the King, and was restor'd to his Earldom. But Griffin with breach of Faith, the next year181. set upon Leofgar the Bishop of Hereford and his Clerks then at a place call'd Glastbrig, with Agelnoth Vicount of the Shire, and slew them;182. but Leofric, Harold and King Edward, by force, as is likeliest, though it be not said how, reduc'd him to Peace. The next year183. Edward Son of Edmund Ironside, for whom his Uncle King Edward had sent to the Emperor, came out of Hungary, design'd Successor to the Crown;184. but within a few daies after his coming died at London, leaving behind him Edgar Atheling his Son, Margaret and Christiana his Daughters. About the same time also died Earl Leofric in a good old Age, a Man of no less vertue than Power in his time, religious, prudent and faithfull to his Country, happily wedded to Godiva, a Woman of great Praise. His Son Algar found less favour with King Edward, again banish'd the Year after his Father's Death;185. but he again by the Aid of Griffin and a Fleet from Norway, maugre the King, soon recover'd his Earldom.186. The next year187. Malcolm King of Scots coming to visit King Edward,188. was brought on his way by Tosti the Northumbrian Earl, to whom he swore Brotherhood: yet the next year but one,189. while Tosti was gone to Rome with Aldred Archbishop of York for his Pall,190. this sworn Brother taking advantage of his Absence, roughly harass'd Northumberland. The year passing to an end without other matter of moment, save the frequent Inroads and Robberies of Griffin, whom no Bonds of Faith could restrain, King Edward sent against him after Christmas, Harold now Duke of West-Saxons, with no great body of Horse, from Glocester, where he then kept his Court; whose coming heard of, Griffin not daring to abide, nor in any part of his Land holding himself secure, escap'd hardly by Sea, ere Harold coming to Rudeland, burnt his Palace and Ships there, returning to Glocester the same day. But by the middle of May191. setting out with a Fleet from Bristow,192. he sail'd about the most part of Wales, and met by his Brother Tosti with many Troops of Horse, as the King had appointed, began to waste the Country; but the Welch giving Pledges, yeilded themselves, promised to become tributary, and banish Griffin thir Prince; who lurking somewhere, was the next year193. tak'n and slain by Griffin Prince of North-Wales;194. his Head with the Head and Tackle of his Ship sent to Harold, by him to the King, who of his Gentleness made Blechgent and Rithwallon or Rivallon his two Brothers Princes in his stead; they to Harold in behalf of the King swore Fealty and Tribute. Yet the next Year195. Harold having built a faire House at a place call'd Portascith in Monmouthshire,196. and stor'd it with Provision, that the King might lodge there in time of hunting,197. Caradoc the Son of Griffin slain the year before, came with a number of Men, slew all he found there, and took away the Provision. Soon after which the Northumbrians in a Tumult at York beset the Palace of Tosti thir Earl, slew more than 200 of his Souldiers and Servants, pillag'd his Treasure, and put him to fly for his Life. The cause of this Insurrection they alledg'd to be, for that the Queen Edith had commanded, in her Brother Tosti's behalf, Gospatric a Noble-man of that Country to be treacherously slain in the King's Court; and that Tosti himself the year before with like Treachery had caus'd to be slain in his Chamber Gamel and Ulf, two other of thir Noble-men, besides his intolerable Exactions and Oppressions. Then in a manner the whole Country coming up to complain of thir Grievances, met with Harold at Northampton, whom the King at Tosti's Request had sent to pacify the Northumbrians; but they laying open the crueltie of his Government, and thir own Birth-right of Freedom not to endure the tyranny of any Governour whatsoever, with absolute Refusal to admit him again, and Harold hearing Reason, all the Accomplices of Tosti were expell'd the Earldom. He himself banish'd the Realm, went into Flanders; Morcar the Son of Algar made Earl in his stead. Huntingdon tells another cause of Tosti's Banishment, that one day at Windsor, while Harold reach't the Cup to King Edward, Tosti envying to see his younger Brother in greater favour than himself, could not forbear to run furiously upon him, catching hold of his Hair; the scuffle was soon parted by other Attendants rushing between, and Tosti forbidden the Court. He with continu'd fury riding to Hereford, where Harold had many Servants, preparing an Entertainment for the King, came to the House and set upon them with his Followers; then lopping off Hands, Arms, Legs of some, Heads of others, threw them into Butts of Wine, Meath, or Ale, which were laid in for the King's drinking: and at his going away charg'd them to send him this word, that of other fresh Meats he might bring with him to his Farm what he pleas'd, but of Sous he should find plentie provided readie for him: that for this barbarous Act the King pronounc'd him banish'd; that the Northumbrians taking advantage at the King's displeasure and Sentence against him, rose also to be reveng'd of his Cruelties done to themselves. But this no way agrees, for why then should Harold or the King so much labour with the Northumbrians to re- admit him, if he were a banish'd Man for his Crimes done before? About this time it happen'd that Harold putting to Sea one day for his pleasure,198. in a Fisher-Boat, from his Mannor at Boseham in Sussex, caught with a Tempest too farr off Land, was carried into Normandy; and by the Earl of Pontiew, on whose Coast he was driven, at his own request brought to Duke William; who entertaining him with great courtesy, so farr won him, as to promise the Duke by Oath of his own accord, not only the Castle of Dover then in his tenure, but the Kingdome also after King Edward's Death to his utmost endeavour, therupon betrothing the Duke's Daughter then too young for marriage, and departing richly presented. Others say, that King Edward himself after the Death of Edward his Nephew, sent Harold thither on purpose to acquaint Duke William with his intention to bequeath him his Kingdome:199. but Malmsbury accounts the former story to be the truer.200. Ingulf writes,201. that King Edward now grown old, and perceiving Edgar his Nephew both in Body and Mind unfit to govern, especially against the Pride and Insolence of Godwin's Sons, who would never obey him; Duke William on the other side of high Merit, and his Kinsman by the Mother, had sent Robert Archbishop of Canterbury, to acquaint the Duke with his purpose, not long before Harold came thither. The former part may be true, that King Edward upon such Considerations had sent one or other; but Archbishop Robert was fled the Land, and dead may years before. Eadmer and Simeon write, that Harold went of his own accord into Normandy, by the King's Permission or Connivance, to get free his Brother Wulnod and Nephew Hacun the Son of Swane, whom the King had tak'n Hostages of Godwin, and sent into Normandy; that King Edward foretold Harold, his Journey thither would be to the detriment of all England and his own Reproach; that Duke William then acquainted Harold, how Edward ere his coming to the Crown had promis'd, if ever he attain'd it, to leave Duke William Successor after him. Last of these Matthew Paris writes, that Harold to get free of Duke William, affirm'd his coming thither not to have bin by accident or force of Tempest, but on set purpose, in that private manner to enter with him into secret Confederacy: so variously are these things reported. After this King Edward grew sickly,202. yet as he was able kept his Christmas at London, and was at the Dedication of St. Peter's Church in Westminster, which he had rebuilt;203. but on the Eve of Epiphany, or Twelf-tide, deceas'd much lamented, and in the Church was entomb'd. That he was harmless and simple, is conjectur'd by his words in anger to a Peasant who had cross'd his Game (for with hunting and hawking he was much delighted) by God and God's Mother, said he, I shall do you as shrewd a turn if I can; observing that Law-Maxim, the best of all his Successors, That the King of England can do no wrong. The softness of his Nature gave growth to Factions of those about him, Normans especially and English; these complaining that Robert the Archbishop was a sower of Dissension between the King and his People, a Traducer of the English; the other side, that Godwin and his Sons bore themselves arrogantly and proudly towards the King, usurping to themselves equall share in the Government; oft-times making sport with his simplicity,204. that through thir Power in the Land, they made no scruple to kill Men of whose Inheritance they took a liking, and so to take possession. The truth is, that Godwin and his Sons did many things boistrously and violently, much against the King's mind; which not able to resist, he had, as som say, his Wife Edith Godwin's Daughter in such aversation, as in bed never to have touch'd her; whether for this cause or mistak'n Chastity, not commendable; to enquire furder, is not material. His Laws held good and just, and long after desir'd by the English of thir Norman Kings, are yet extant. He is said to be at Table not excessive, at Festivals nothing puft up with the costly Robes he wore, which his Queen with curious Art had woven for him in Gold. He was full of Alms-deeds, and exhorted the Monks to like Charity. He is said to be the first English King that cur'd the Disease call'd thence the King's Evil; yet Malmsbury blames them who attribute that Cure to his Royalty, not to his Sanctity; said also to have cur'd certain blind Men with the Water wherin he hath wash'd his hands. A little before his Death, lying speechless two daies, the third day after a deep sleep, he was heard to pray, that if it were a true Vision, not an Illusion which he had seen, God would give him strength to utter it, otherwise not. Then he related how he had seen two devout Monks, whom he knew in Normandy, to have lived and died well, who appearing told him they were sent Messengers from God to foretel, that because the Great-ones of England, Dukes, Lords, Bishops, and Abbots, were not Ministers of God, but of the Devil, God had deliverd the Land to thir Enemies; and when he desir'd that he might reveal this Vision, to the end they might repent, it was answer'd, they neither will repent, neither will God pardon them: at this relation others trembling, Stigand the Simonious Archbishop, whom Edward much to blame had suffer'd many years to sit Primate in the Church, is said to have laugh'd, as at the feverish Dream of a doting old Man; but the Event prov'd it true.
HAROLD Son of Earl Godwin
Harold, whether by King Edward a little before his Death ordain'd Successor to the Crown, as Simeon of Durham, and others affirm;205. or by the prevalence of his Faction,206. excluding Edgar the right Heir, Grandchild to Edmund Ironside, as Malsmbury and Huntingdon agree, no sooner was the Funeral of King Edward ended, but on the same day was elected and crown'd King: and no sooner plac'd in the Throne, but began to frame himself by all manner of Compliances to gain Affection, endeavour'd to make good Laws, repeal'd bad, became a great Patron to Church and Church-men, courteous and affable to all reputed good, a hater of evil-doers, charg'd all his Officers to punish Thieves, Robbers, and all disturbers of the Peace, while he himself by Sea and Land labour'd in the defence of his Country: so good an Actor is Ambition. In the mean while a blazing Star, seven mornings together, about the end of April was seen to stream terribly, not only over England, but other parts of the World; foretelling here, as was thought, the great Changes approaching: plainliest prognosticated by Elmer a Monk of Malmsbury, who could not foresee, when time was, the breaking of his own Legs for soaring too high. He in his youth strangely aspiring, had made and fitted wings to his Hands and Feet; with these on the top of a Tower, spread out to gather Air, he flew more than a Furlong; but the Wind being too high, came fluttering down, to the maining of all his Limbs; yet so conceited of his Art, that he attributed the cause of his fall to the want of a Tail, as Birds have, which he forgot to make to his hinder parts. This story, though seeming otherwise too light in the midst of a sad Narration, yet for the strangeness therof, I thought worthy anough the placing as I found it plac'd in my Author. But to digress no farther: Tosti the King's Brother coming from Flanders, full of Envy at his younger Brother's advancement to the Crown, resolv'd what he might to trouble his Reign; forcing therefore them of Wight Ile to Contribution, he sail'd thence to Sandwich, committing Piracies on the Coast between. Harold then residing at London, with a great number of Ships drawn together, and of Horse Troops by Land, prepares in Person for Sandwich: wherof Tosti having notice, directs his course with 60 Ships towards Lindsey,207. taking with him all the Seamen he found willing or unwilling: where he burnt many Villages, and slew many of the Inhabitants; but Edwin the Mercian Duke, and Morcar his Brother, the Northumbrian Earl, with thir Forces on either side, soon drove him out of the Country. Who thence betook him to Malcolm the Scotish King, and with him abode the whole Summer. About the same time Duke William sending Embassadors to admonish Harold of his Promise and Oath, to assist him in his Plea to the Kingdome, he made answer, that by the death of his Daughter betroth'd to him on that condition, he was absolv'd of his Oath;208. or not dead, he could not take her now an outlandish Woman, without consent of the Realm; that it was presumptuously done, and not to be persisted in, if without consent or knowledge of the States, he had sworn away the right of the Kingdome; that what he swore was to gain his Liberty, being in a manner then his Prisoner; that it was unreasonable in the Duke to require or expect of him the forgoing of a Kingdome, confer'd upon him with universal favour and acclamation of the People: to this flat denial he added contempt, sending the Messengers back, saith Matthew Paris, on maim'd Horses. The Duke thus contemptuously put off, addresses himself to the Pope, setting forth the Justice of his cause,which Harold, whether through haughtiness of mind, or distrust, or that the ways and to Rome were stop'd, sought not to do. Duke William, besides the Promise and Oath of Harold, alledg'd that King Edward by the advice of Seward, Godwin himself, and Stigand the Archbishop, had giv'n him the right of Succession, and had sent him the Son and Nephew of Godwin, pledges of the Gift; the Pope sent to Duke William, after this demonstration of his right, a consecrated Banner. Wherupon he having with great care and choice got an Army of tall and stout Souldiers, under Captains of great skill and mature Age, came in August to the Port of St. Valerie. Mean while Harold from London comes to Sandwich, there expecting his Navy; which also coming, he sails to the Ile of Wight; and having heard of Duke William's preparations and readiness to invade him, kept good watch on the Coast, and Foot Forces every where in fit place to guard the shoar. But ere the middle of September, Provision failing when it was most needed, both fleet and Army return home. When on a sudden, Harold Harvager King of Norway,209. with a Navy of more than 500 great Ships, (other lessen them by two hundred, others augment them to a thousand)210. appears at the mouth of Tine; to whom Earl Tosti with his Ships came as was agreed between them; whence both uniting, set sail with all speed and enter'd the River Humber. Thence turning into Ouse, as farr as Rical, landed, and won York by assault. At these tidings Harold with all his Power hasts thitherward; but ere his coming, Edwin and Morcar at Fulford by York, on the North-side of Ouse, about the Feast of St. Matthew had giv'n them Battel; successfully at first, but over-born at length with numbers; and forc'd to turn thir backs, more of them perish'd in the River, than in the Fight. The Norwegians taking with them 500 Hostages out of York, and leaving there 150 of thir own, retir'd to thir Ships. But the fifth day after, King Harold with a great and well-appointed Army, coming to York, and at Stamford Bridge, or Battel Bridge on Darwent,211. assailing the Norwegians, after much bloodshed on both sides, cut off the greatest part of them with Harvager thir King, and Tosti his own Brother. But Olave the King's Son, and Paul Earl of Orkney, left with many Souldiers to guard the Ships, surrendring themselves with Hostages and Oath giv'n never to return as Enemies, he suffer'd freely to depart with 20 Ships and the small remnant of thir Army.212. One man of the Norwegians is not to be forgotten, who with incredible valour keeping the Bridge a long hour against the whole English Army, with his single resistance delay'd thir Victory; and scorning offerd Life, till in the end no man daring to grapple with him, either dreaded as too strong, or contemn'd as one desperate, he was at length shot dead with an Arrow; and by his fall open'd the passage of pursuit to a compleat Victory. Wherwith Harold lifted up in mind, and forgetting now his former shews of popularity, defrauded his Souldiers thir due and well deserved share of the Spoils. While these things pass'd in Northumberland, Duke William lay still at St. Valerie; his Ships were readie, but the Wind serv'd not for many daies; which put the Soldiery into much discouragement and murmur, taking this for an unlucky sign of their success; at last the Wind came favourable, the Duke first under sail awaited the rest at Anchor, till all coming forth, the whole Fleet of 900 Ships with a prosperous gale arriv'd at Hastings. At his going out of the Boat by a slip falling on his hands,213. to correct the Omen, a Soldier standing by said aloud, that thir Duke had tak'n possession of England. Landed, he restrain'd his Army from waste and spoil, saying that they ought to spare what was thir own. But these things are related of Alexander and Cæsar, and I doubt thence borrow'd by the Monks to inlay thir Story. The Duke for 15 daies after landing kept his men quiet within the Camp, having tak'n the Castle of Hastings, or built a Fortress there. Harold secure the while, and proud of his new Victory, thought all his Enemies now under foot: but sitting jollily at dinner, news is brought him, that Duke William of Normandy with a great multitude of Horse and Foot, Slingers and Archers, besides other choice Auxiliaries which he had hir'd in France, was arriv'd at Pevensey. Harold who had expected him all the Summer, but not so late in the year as now it was, for it was October, with his Forces much diminish'd after two sore conflicts, and the departing of many others from him discontented, in great haste marches to London. Thence not tarrying for supplies which were on thir way towards him, hurries into Sussex, (for he was always in haste since the day of his Coronation) and ere the third part of his Army could be well put in order, finds the Duke about 9 miles from Hastings, and now drawing nigh, sent spies before him to survey the strength and number of his Enemies: them discover'd such, the Duke causing to be led about, and after well fill'd with Meat and Drink sent back. They not over-wise brought word that the Duke's Army were most of them Priests; for they saw thir Faces all over shaven; the English then using to let grow on thir upper-lip large Mustachio's, as did antiently the Britans. The King laughing answer'd, that they were not Priests, but valiant and hardie Souldiers. therefore said Girtha his Brother, a youth of noble courage and understanding above his Age, Forbear thou thy self to fight, who art obnoxious to Duke William by Oath, let us unsworn undergo the hazard of Battel, who may justly fight in the defence of our Country; thou reserv'd to fitter time, mayst either re-unite us flying, or revenge us dead. The King not hearkening to this, lest it might seem to argue fear in him or a bad cause, with like resolution rejected the offers of Duke William sent to him by a Monk before the Battel, with this only Answer hastily deliverd, Let God judge between us. The offers were these, that Harold would either lay down the Scepter, or hold it of him, or try his Title with him by single combat in sight of both Armies, or refer it to the Pope. These rejected, both sides prepar'd to fight the next morning, the English from singing and drinking all Night; the Normans from confession of thir Sins, and communion of the Host. The English were in a streight disadvantageous place, so that many discourag'd with thir ill ordering, scarce having room where to stand, slipp'd away before the onset, the rest in close order with thir Battel-Axes and Shields, made an impenetrable Squadron: the King himself with his Brothers on foot stood by the Royal Standard, wherin the figure of a man fighting was inwoven with Gold and precious Stones. The Norman Foot, most Bowmen, made the formost Front, on either side Wings of Horse somewhat behind. The Duke arming, and his Corslet giv'n him on the wrong side, said pleasantly, The strength of my Dukedom will be turn'd now into a Kingdome. Then the whole Army singing the Song of Rowland, the remembrance of whose Exploits might hearten them, imploring lastly Divine help, the Battel began; and was fought sorely on either side: but the main body of English Foot by no means would be broken, till the Duke causing his men to feign flight, drew them out with desire of pursuit into open disorder, then turn'd suddenly upon them so routed by themselves, which wrought thir overthrow; yet so they died not unmanfully, but turning oft upon thir Enemies, by the advantage of an upper ground, beat them down by heaps, and fill'd up a great Ditch with thir Carcasses. Thus hung the Victory wavering on either side, from the third hour of day to Evening; when Harold having maintain'd the Fight with unspeakable Courage and personal valour, shot into the Head with an Arrow, fell at length, and left his Souldiers without heart longer to withstand the unwearied Enemie. With Harold fell also his two Brothers, Leofwin and Girtha, with them greatest part of the English Nobility. His Body lying dead, a Knight or Soldier wounding on the Thigh, was by the Duke presently turn'd out of Military Service. Of Normans and French were slain no small number; the Duke himself also that day not a little hazarded his Person, having had three choice Horses kill'd under him. Victory obtain'd, and his dead carefully buried, the English also by permission, he sent the Body of Harold to his Mother without Ransom, though she offerd very much to redeem it; which having receav'd, she buried at Waltham, in a Church built there by Harold. In the mean while, Edwin and Morcar, who had withdrawn themselves from Harold, hearing of his Death, came to London; sending Aldgith the Queen their Sister with all speed to West-Chester. Aldred Archbishop of York, and many of the Nobles, with the Londoners would have set up Edgar the right Heir, and prepar'd themselves to fight for him; but Morcar and Edwin not liking the choice, who each of them expected to have bin chos'n before him, withdrew thir Forces and return'd home. Duke William contrary to his former resolution, if Florent of Worcester, and they who follow him say true,214. wasting, burning, and slaying all in his way, or rather, as saith Malsmbury, not in hostile but in regal manner, came up to London, met at Barcham by Edgar, with the Nobles, Bishops, Citizens, and at length Edwin and Morcar, who all submitted to him, gave Hostages and swore Fidelity, he to them promis'd peace and defence; yet permitted his men the while to burn and make prey. Coming to London with all his Army, he was on Christmas day solemnly crown'd in the great Church at Westminster, by Aldred Archbishop of York, having first giv'n his Oath at the Altar in presence of all the People, to defend the Church, well govern the People, maintain right Law, prohibit Rapine and unjust Judgment. Thus the English while they agreed not about the choice of thir native King, were constrain'd to take the Yoke of an outlandish Conqueror. With what minds and by what course of Life they had fitted themselves for this servitude, William of Malmsbury spares not to lay open. Not a few years before the Normans came, the Clergy, though in Edward the Confessor's daies, had lost all good Literature and Religion, scarce able to read and understand thir Latin Service: he was a miracle to others who knew his Grammar. The Monks went clad in fine Stuffs, and made no difference what they eat; which though in it self no fault, yet to thir Consciences was irreligious. The great men giv'n to gluttony and dissolute Life, made a prey of the common People, abusing their Daughters whom they had in service, then turning them off to the Stews; the meaner sort tipling together night and day, spent all they had in Drunkenness, attended with other Vices which effeminate men's minds. Whence it came to pass, that carried on with fury and rashness more than any true fortitude or skill of Warr, they gave to William thir Conqueror so easy a Conquest. Not but that some few of all sorts were much better among them; but such was the generality. And as the long-suffering of God permits bad men to enjoy prosperous daies with the good, so his severity oft-times exempts not good men from thir share in evil times with the bad.
If these were the Causes of such misery and thraldom to those our Ancestors, with what better close can be concluded, than heer is fit season to remember this Age in the midst of her security, to fear from like Vices without amendment the Revolution of like Calamities?