Ceowlfe or Ceoloulph gouerneth the Westsaxons, Ceorlus king of Mercia, Edelfride king of the Northumbers, and Edan king of the Scots ioine in battell, Edan is discomfited, Edelfride subdueth the citizens of Chester, the deuout moonks of Bangor praie for safetie from the swoord of the enimie, twelue hundred of them are slaine, Edelfride entreth the citie of Chester, the Britains assembling their power vnder three capteins incounter with Edelfride, slaie manie of his souldiers, and put him to flight, warres betweene Edelfride and Redwald king of the Eastangles about Edwine the sonne of king Elle, Edelfride is slaine, Ceowlfe king of the Westsaxons dieth.
The Xxii. Chapter.
AFTER the deceasse of Chelricus king of the Westsaxons, we find that Ceowlfe or
Matth. West. saith 34.
Ceoloulph succéeded in gouernment of that kingdome, and reigned twelue yéeres. He began his reigne (as should appéere by some writers) about the yeere of our Lord 597, and
Matth. West. saith 607.
spent his time for the more part in warres, not giuing place to idlenesse, but séeking either to defend or inlarge the confines of his dominion. He was the sonne of Cutha, which was the sonne of Kenrike, which was the sonne of Certike. After Wibba or Wipha king of Mercia (who, nothing inferiour to his father, did not onelie defend his kingdome, but also inlarge it, by subduing the Britains on ech side) one Ceorlus succéeded in that kingdome,
Ceorlus king of Mercia.
being not his sonne but his kinsman. This Ceorlus began his reigne about the yéere of our Lord 594, as Matth. West. recordeth.
Ye haue heard that Edelferd, which otherwise is called also by writers Edelfride, surnamed
the wild, gouerned still the Northumbers, which Edelferd did more damage to the Britains than anie one other king of the English nation. None of them destroied their countries more than he did: neither did anie prince make more of the Britains tributaries, or inhabited more of their countries with English people than he. Héerevpon Edan king of those Scots which inhabited Britaine, being therewith mooued to see Edelfride prosper thus in his conquests, came against him with a mightie armie: but ioining in battell with Edelfride and his power, at a place called Degsastane, or Degsastone, or Deglaston, he lost the most part of his people, and with the residue that were left aliue, he escaped by flight. This was a sore foughten battell, with much bloudshed on both parties. For notwithstanding that the victorie remained with the Northumbers, Theobaldus the brother of Edelferd was slaine, with all that part of the English host which he gouerned: and it was fought in
the yéere of our Lord 603, in the 19 yeere of the reigne of the foresaid Edelferd, and in the sixt yéere of Ceowlfe king of the Westsaxons, and in the first yéere of the emperor
Henr. Hunt. Beda lib. 1. cap. 34.
Phocas, or rather in the last yéere of his predecessor Mauricius. From that day, till the daies of Beda, not one of the Scotish kings durst presume to enter into Britaine againe to
Wil. Malm. Sée in Scotland.
giue battell against the English nation, as Beda himselfe writeth. But the Scotish writers make other report of this matter, as in the historie of Scotland ye maie find recorded.
The Britains that dwelt about Chester, through their stoutnesse prouoked the aforesaid Edelferd king of the Northumbers vnto warre: wherevpon to tame their loftie stomachs, he assembled an armie & came forward to besiege the citie of Chester, then called of the Britains
Chester as yet in possession of the Britains. I. Leland. Wil. Malm.
Carleon ardour deué. The citizens coueting rather to suffer all things than a siege, and hauing a trust in their great multitude of people, came foorth to giue batell abroad in the fields, whome he compassing about with ambushes, got within his danger, and easilie discomfited.
It chanced that he had espied before the battell ioined (as Beda saith) where a great number of the British priests were got aside into a place somewhat out of danger, that they might there make their intercession to God for the good spéed of their people, being then readie to giue battell to the Northumbers. Manie of them were of that famous monasterie
The number of moonks in the monasterie of Bangor.
of Bangor, in the which it is said, that there was such a number of moonks, that where they were diuided into seuen seuerall parts, with their seuerall gouernors appointed to haue rule ouer them, euerie of those parts conteined at the least thrée hundred persons, the which liued altogither by the labour of their hands. Manie therefore of those moonks hauing kept a solemne fast for thrée daies togither, were come to the armie with other to make
praier, hauing for their defender one Brocmale or Broemael, earle (or consull as some call him) of Chester, which should preserue them (being giuen to praier) from the edge of the enimies swoord.
King Edelferd hauing (as is said) espied these men, asked what they were, and what their intent was; and being informed of the whole circumstance and cause of their being there, he said; "Then if they call to their God for his assistance against vs, suerlie though they beare no armour, yet doo they fight against vs, being busied in praier for our destruction."
The Britains discomfited & slaine.
Wherevpon he commanded the first onset to be giuen them, and after slue downe the residue sidue of the British armie, not without great losse of his owne people. Of those moonks and priests which came to praie (as before is mentioned) there died at that battell about the number of 12 hundred, so that fiftie of them onelie escaped by flight. Brocmale, or Broemael at the first approch of the enimies, turning his backe with his companie, left them (whom he should haue defended) to be murthered through the enimies swoord. Thus was the prophesie of Augustine fulfilled, though he was long before departed this life (as Beda saith.)
¶ Héere is to be noted, if this battell was fought in the seuenth yéere of Ceowlfe king
of Westsaxon (as some haue written) and that Augustine liued 12 yéeres after his entrance into the gouernment of the sée of Canturburie (as some write) it is euident that he liued foure yéeres after this slaughter made of the British priests and moonks by Edelferd (as before is recited.) For Ceowlfe began his reigne (as before is mentioned) about the yéere of our Lord 596, and in the seuenth yeere of his reigne the battell was fought at Degsastane betwixt the English & the Scots, which chanced in the yéere of our Lord 604, as Beda
himselfe recordeth. A late chronographer running vpon this matter, and preciselie setting downe his collection, saith that Athelbright, or Edelfride, K. of the Northumbers, & Ethelbert K. of Kent, hauing Augustine in their companie, in the eight yéere after his arriuall, made warre vpon such Britains as refused to obserue the canons of the late councell mentioned 603, and killed 1200 moonks of the monasterie of Bangor, which laboured earnestlie, and in the sweat of their browes, thereby to get their liuings, &c. Verelie Galf. Mon. writeth, that Ethelbert king of Kent (after he saw the Britains to disdaine and denie their subiection vnto Augustine, by whome he was conuerted to the christian faith) stirred vp Edelferd king of the Northumbers to warre against the Britains. But heereof Maister Fox
Acts and monuments. pag. 160.
doubteth, and therefore saith, that of vncerteine things he hath nothing certeinlie to saie, much lesse to iudge. But now to the matter where we left.
After that king Edelferd had made slaughter of the Britains (as before is rehearsed) he entred the citie of Chester, and from thence marched towards Bangor. The Britains in the
Blederike duke of Cornwall, Margadud king of Southwales, Cadwanek. of Northwales.
meane time had assembled their power vnder thrée capteins, that is to say, Blederike duke of Cornewall, Margadud king of Southwales, and Cadwane king of Northwales. These ioining in battell with Edelferd, slue 10066 of his souldiers, and constreined him to flée out of the field for safegard of his life, after he had recciued manie wounds. On the part of the Britains the forsaid Blederike, which was chiefe capteine of the field in that battell,
chanced to be slaine. Thus saith Gal. Mon.
But the ancient writers of the English kings (as Beda, William Malmesburie, and Henrie Huntington, make no mention of this last battell and victorie obteined by the Britains in maner as aboue is expressed in Galfrids booke. But contrarilie we find, that Edelferd hauing such good successe in his businesse abroad as he could wish, vpon purpose to auoid danger at-home, banished Edwine the sonne of Alla or Elle, a yoong gentleman of great
Edwine the sonne of king Alla banished.
towardnesse, latelie come to the kingdome of the Northumbers by the death of his father. But this Edwine in time of his exile, being long tossed from place to place, and finding no stedfast friendship now in time of his aduersitie, at length came to Redwald, that was king at that time of the Eastangles, the third from Vffa, and successor to Titullus, which Titullus
did succéed next after the said Vffa, the first king of Eastangles (as before is mentioned.) This Redwald did verie honourablie interteine Edwine, insomuch that Edelferd being informed
thereof, was highlie displeased, and sent ambassadors vnto Redwald, to require him either to deliuer Edwine into his hands, or else if he refused so to doo, to declare and denounce vnto him open warres.
Redwald incouraged by his wife (that counselled him in no wise to betraie his friend, to whome he had giuen his faith, for the menaces of his enimie) assembled foorthwith an armie, and at the sudden comming vpon Edelferd, assaulted him yer he could haue time
to assemble his people togither. But yet the said Edelferd, though he was beset and brought
in danger at vnwares, died not vnreuenged: for putting himselfe in defense with such power as he could then get togither, he boldlie incountred the enimies, and giuing battell, slue Remerius the sonne of Redwald, and after was slaine himselfe, hauing reigned ouer the
Northumbers about 22 yéeres. This battell was fought néere to the water of Idle.
The said Edelferd had issue by his wife Acca, the daughter of Alla, and sister to Edwine, two sonnes, Oswald being about two yéeres of age, and Oswin about foure yéeres, the which (their father being thus slaine) were by helpe of their gouernours conueied awaie
Hen. Hunt. Matt West. saith 34.
into Scotland with all spéed that might be made. Ceowlfe king of the Westsaxons, after he had reigned the space of 12 yeeres, departed this life, who in his time had mainteined
The Southsaxons susteine the greater losse.
great warre against manie of his neighbours, the which for briefenesse I passe ouer. One great battell he fought against them of Sussex, in which the armies on both sides susteined great damage, but the greater losse fell to the Southsaxons.