Sighere and Sebbie associats reigne ouer the Eastsaxons, the one falleth from, the other cleaueth to the faith, Vulfhere king of Mercia sendeth bishop Iaroman to redresse that apostasie of the prince and the people, Cead bishop of Mercia, the king of that countrie hath him in hie reputation, Egfrid hing of Northumberland, a synod of bishops holden at Herford, articles propounded out of the canons by Theodore archbishop of Canturburie, Bisi vnable to discharge his episcopall office, a remedie therefore; Kenwalke of a very euill prince becometh a verie good ruler, his wife gouerneth the kingdome after principall vicegerent, bishop Winfrid deposed for disobedience, Sebbie king of the Eastsaxons a professed moonke, his death.
The Xxxiiij. Chapter.
ABOUT the same time, after that Suidhelme king of the Eastsaxons was dead, Sighere the son of Sigbert the little, and Sebbie the son of Suward succéeded him in gouernement of
Beda, lib. 3. cap. 30.
that kingdome, albeit they were subiect vnto Vulfhere the king of Mercia. Sighere in that time, when the great mortalitie reigned, renounced the faith of Christ, with that part of the people which he had in gouernement, for both the same Sighere and others of his chiefest lords, and also part of his commons louing this life, and not regarding the life to come, began to repaire their idolish churches, and fell to the worshipping of idols, as though thereby they should haue beene defended from that mortalitie. But his associat Sebbie with great deuotion continued stedfast in the faith which he had receiued.
King Vulfhere being informed of Seghers apostasie, and how the people in his part of the
Bishop Iaruman or Iaroman.
prouince of Eastsaxons were departed from the faith, sent thither bishop Iaruman or Iaroman that was successour vnto Trumhere, which vsed such diligence and godlie meanes, that he reduced the said king and all his people vnto the right beliefe, so as the idolish synagogs were destroied, and the idols also with their altars quite beaten downe, the christian churches againe set open, and the name of Christ eftsoones called vpon amongest the people, coueting now rather to die in him with hope of resurrection in the world to come, than to liue in the seruice of idols, spotted with the filth of errors and false beleefe. And thus when bishop Iaroman had accomplished the thing for the which he was sent, he returned into Mercia.
After this, when the said Iaroman was departed this life, king Vulfhere sent vnto the archbishop Theodorus, requiring him to prouide the prouince of the Mercies of a new bishop. Theodorus not minding to ordeine anie new bishop at that time, required Oswie king of Northumberland, that bishop Cead might come into Mercia to exercise the office of bishop there. This Cead liued as it were a priuat life at that time in his monasterie of Lestingham, for Wilfrid held the bishoprike of Yorke, extending his authoritie ouer all Northumberland & amongest the Picts also, so farre as king Oswies dominion stretched. Therefore Cead hauing licence to, go into Mercia, was gladlie receiued of king Vulfhere, and well enterteined, in so much that the said king gaue vnto him lands and possessions conteining 50 families or housholds to build a monasterie in a certeine place within the countrie of Lindsey called Etbearne. But the sée of his bishoprike was assigned to him at Lichfield in Staffordshire, where he made him a house néere to the church, in the which he with 7 or 8 other of his brethren in religion vsed in an oratorie there to praie and reade, so often as they had leasure from labour and businesse of the world. Finallie, after he had gouerned the church of Mercia by the space of two yeares and an halfe, he departed this life, hauing 7 daies warning giuen him (as it is reported) from aboue, before he should die, after a miraculous maner, which because in the iudgement of the most it may séeme méere fabulous, we will omit and passe ouer. His bodie was first buried in the church of our ladie, but after that the church of saint Peter the apostle were builded, his bones were translated into the same.
In the yeare of our Lord 671, which was the second yeare after that Theodorus the archbishop
came into this land, Oswie king of Northumberland was attacked with a grieuous sicknesse, and died thereof the 15 kalends of March, in the 55 yeare of his age, after he had reigned 28 yeares complet.
EGFRID. Beda. lib. 4. cap 5. Matth. West.
AFTER Oswie, his sonne Egfrid succéeded in rule of the kingdome of Northumberland, in the third yeare of whose reigne, that is to say, in the yeare of our Lord 673, Theodorus the archbishop of Canturburie kept a synod at Herford, the first session whereof began
the 24 of September, all the bishops of this land being present either in person or by their deputies,
Asynod holden at Herford.
as Bisi bishop of Estangle, Wilfrid of Northumberland by his deputie Putta bishop of Rochester, Eleutherius bishop of Westsaxon, and Wilfrid bishop of Mercia. In the presence
Articles proponed by Theodore.
of these prelats, the archbishop shewed a booke, wherein he had noted ten chapters or articles taken out of the booke of the canons, requiring that the same might be receiued.
1 The first chapter was, that the feast of Easter should be kept on the sundaie following the fourtéenth day of the first moneth.
2 The second, that no bishop should intermedle in an others diocesse, but be contented with the cure of his flocke committed to him.
3 The third, that no bishop should disquiet in anie thing anie monasterie consecrated to God, nor take by violence anie goods, that belonged vnto the same.
4 The fourth, that bishops being moonks should not go from monasterie to monasterie, except by sufferance and permission of their abbats, & should continue in the same obedience wherein they stood before.
5 The fift, that none of the cleargie should depart from his bishop to run into anie other diocesse, nor comming from anie other place should be admitted, except he brought letters of testimonie with him. But if anie such chanced to be receiued, if he refused to returne, being sent for home, both he and his receiuer should be excommunicated.
6 The sixt, that bishops and other of the cleargie being strangers shold hold them content with the benefit of hospitalitie, & should not take in hand anie priestlie office, without licence of the bishop, in whose diocesse he chanced so to be remaining.
7 The seuenth, that twice in the yeare a synod should be kept, but because of diuers impediments herein, it was thought good to them all, that in the kalends of August a synod should be kept once in the yeare, at a certeine place called Cloofeshough.
8 The eighth chapter was, that no one bishop should by ambition séeke to be preferred aboue another, but that euerie one should know the time and order of his consecration.
9 The ninth, that as the number of the christians increased, so should there be more bishops ordeined.
10 The tenth was touching mariages, that none should contract matrimonie with anie person, but with such as it should be lawfull for him by the orders of the church: none should match with their kinsfolke, no man should forsake his wife, except (as the gospell teacheth) for cause of fornication. But if anie man did put awale his wife which he had lawfullie married, if he would be accounted a true christian, he might not be coopled with an other, but so remaine, or else be reconciled to his owne wife.
These articles, being intreated of and concluded, were confirmed with the subscribing of all their hands, so as all those that did go against the same, should be disgraded of their priesthood, and separated from the companie of them all.
THE forsaid Bisi that was bishop of the Eastangles, and present at this synod, was successor
Bisi bishop of the Eastangles.
unto Bonifacius, which Bonifacius held that sée 17 yéeres, and then departing this life, Bisi was made bishop of that prouince, and ordeined by the archbishop Theodore. This Bisi at length was so visited with sicknesse, that he was not able to exercise the ministration, so that two bishops were then & there elected and consecrated for him, the one named Aecci, and the other Baldwin.
In this meane while, that is, about the yéere of our Lord 872, or in the beginning of 873,
as Harison noteth, Kenwalch king of the Westsaxons departed this life, after he had reigned 30 yéeres. This Kenwalch was such a plince, as in the beginning he was to be compared
Matth. West. de reg. lib. 1.
with the woorst kind of rulers, but in the middest and later end of his reigne, to be matched with the best. His godlie zeale borne towards the aduancing of the christian religion well appéered in the building of the church at Winchester, where the bishops sée of all that prouince was then placed. His wife Segburga ruled the kingdome of Westsaxons after him, a woman of stoutnesse inough to haue atchiued acts of woorthie remembrance, but being preuented by death yer she had reigned one whole yéere, she could not shew anie full proofe of hir noble courage. I remember that Matth. West. maketh other report heereof, declaring that the nobilitie remooued hir from the gouernment. But I rather follow William Malmesburie in this matter.
To procéed, after Segburga was departed this life, or deposed (if you will néeds haue it so)
Escuinus or Elcuinus, whose grandfather called Cuthgislo, the brother of K. Kinigils, succéeding
in gouernment of the Westsaxons, reigned about the space of two yéeres: and after his deceasse, one Centiuinus or Centwine tooke vpon him the rule, and continued therein the space of nine yeeres. But Beda saith that these two ruled at one time, and diuided the kingdom betwixt them. Elcuinus fought against Vulfhere king of Mercia, a great number of men
being slaine on both parties, though Vulfhere yet had after a maner the vpper hand, as some haue written.
In the same yeere that the synod was holden at Herford, that is to say, in the yéere of our
Beda lib. & ca. supr. dict. 10. Lothaire. Wil. Malm. Beda de reg. bl Thunnir. A vile murther
Lord 673, Egbert the king of Kent departed this life in lulie, and left the kingdome to his brother Lothaire, which held the same eleuen yéeres, & seuen moneths. Some haue written that king Egbert by the suggestion of one Thunnir, who had the chiefe rule of the kingdome vnder him, suffered the same Thunnir in lamentable maner to kill the two innocent sonnes of Ermenredus the brother of king Ercombert, that was father vnto king Egbert, for doubt least they being towardlie yoong gentlemen, might in time grow so into fauour with the people that it should be easie for them to depriue both Egbert, and his issue of the kingdome. Also, that they were priuilie put to death, and secretlie buried at the first, but the place of their buriall immediatlie being shewed after a miraculous maner, their bodies long after in the daies of king Egilred the sonne of king Edgar, were taken vp, & conueied vnto Ramsey, and there buried. And although Egbert being giltie of the death of those his coosens, didsore repent him, for that he vnderstood they died giltlesse, yet his brother Lothaire was thought to be punished for that offense, as after shall be shewed.
Winfrid bishop of the Mercies, for his disobedience in some point, was depriued by archbishop
Bishop Winfrid deposed. Sexvulfe ordeined bishop of the Mercies. 685, as Matth. Westm. saith. Bishop. Erkenwald.
Theodore, and one Sexvulfe that was the builder and also the abbat of the monasterie of Meidhamsted, otherwise called Peterborough, was ordeined and consecrated in his place. About the same time, Erkenwald was ordeined bishop of the Eastsaxons, and appointed to hold his sée in the citie of London. This Erkenwald was reputed to be a man of great holinesse and vertue. Before he was made bishop, he builded two abbeies, the one of moonks at Chertsey in Southerie, where he himselfe was abbat, and the other of nuns at Berking, within
the prouince of the Eastsaxons, where he placed his sister Ethelburga, a woman also highlie
estéemed for hir deuout kind of life. She was first brought vp and instructed in the rules of hir profession by one Hildelitha a nun of the parties beyond the seas, whome Erkenwald procured to come ouer for that purpose.
Waldhere. Sebbie king of Eastsaxons. Beda. lib. 4. cap. 16.
After Erkenwald, one Waldhere was made bishop of London, in whose daies Sebbie king of the Eastsaxons, after he had reigned thirtie yéeres, being now vexed with a gréeuous sicknesse, professed himselfe a moonke: which thing he would haue doone long before, if his wife had not kept him backe. He died shortlie after within the citie of London, and was buried
in the church of saint Paule. King Sighere, which in the beginning reigned with him, and gouerned a part of the Eastsaxons, was departed this life before, so that in his latter time, the foresaid Sebbie had the gouernment of the whole prouince of the Eastsaxons, and
left the same to his sonnes Sighard and Sewfred. About the yéere of our Lord 675, Vulfhere king of Mercia departed this life, after he had reigned (as some say) 19 yéeres, but
Wil. Malmes. But other affirme that he reigned 17 yéeres. Beda. Peada or rather Weada.
(as other affirme) he reigned but 17 yéeres. Howbeit they which reckon 19, include the time that passed after the slaughter of Penda, wherein Oswie and Peada held the aforesaid kingdome.