previous next

The Xiiij. Chapter.

Rollo a noble man of Denmarke with a fresh power entreth England and beginneth to waste it king a Alured giueth him batell, Rollo saileth ouer into France; who first inhabited Normandie, and whereof it tooke that name; the Danes breake the peace which was made betwixt them and Alured, he is driucn to his shifts by their inuasions into his Kingdome. a vision appeereth to him and his mother; king Alured disguisting himself like a minstrell entereth the Danish campe. marketh their behaniour vnsuspected assalteth. them on the sudden with a fresh power and killeth manie of them at aduantage; the Deuonshire men giue the Danes battell vnder the conduct of Haldens brother, and are discomfited; Alured fighieth with them at Edanton, they giue him hostages, Gurthun their hing is baptised and named Adelstan, a league concluded betwixt both the king, the bounds of Alureds kingdome.

Ann. 876. saith Simou Dun. ABOUT the same time, or shortlie after, there came into England one Rollo, a noble man of Denmarke or Norway, with or Norway, with a great armie, and (notwithstanding the peace concluded between the Englishmen and the Danes) began to waste and destroy the countrie. King Alured hearing these newes, with all spéed thought best in the beginning to stop such a common mischiefe, and immediatlie assembling his people, went against the enimies, and gaue them battell, in the which there died a great number of men on both sides, but the greater losse fell to Rollo his armie. Yet Matthew Westmin. saith that the Englishmen were put to flight. After this, it chanced that Rollo being warned in dreame, left England, & sailed ouer into France, where he found fortune so fauourable to him, that he obteined in that so yéeres after this he was baptised. region for him and his people a countrie, the which was afterwards named Normandie, of those northerne people which then began to inhabit the same, as in the histories of France you maie sée more at large.

The Danes which had concluded peace with king Alured (as before you haue heard) shortlie after, vpon the first occasion, brake the same, and by often inuasion which they made into King Alured driuen to his shifts. the countrie of Westsaxons, brought the matter to that passe, that there remained to king Alured but onelie the three countries of Hamshire, Wiltshire, & Summersetshire, in so much that he was constreined for a time to kéepe himselfe close within the fennes and maresh grounds of Summersetshire, with such small companies as he had about him, constreined to get their liuing with fishing, hunting and other such shifts. He remained for the, most part within an Ile called Edlingsey, that is to say, the Iland of noble men, enuironed about with fennes Edlingsey and mareshes.

Whiles he was thus shut vp within this Iland, he was by dreame aduertised of better hap A vision if it be true. shortlie to follow: for as it hath béene said, saint Cuthbert appéered to him as he laie in sléepe, and comforted him, declaring to him, that within a while fortune should so turne, that he should recouer againe his kingdome to the confusion of his enimies. And to assure him that this should prooue true, he told him that his men which were gone abroad to catch fish, should bring home great plentie, although the season was against them by reason that the waters were frosen, and that a cold rime fell that morning, to the hinderance of their purpose His mother also at that time being in sleepe, saw the like vision. And as they had dreamed, so it came to passe: for being awakened out of their sleepe, in came his men with so great foison of fish, that the same might haue sufficed a great armie of men or the vittelling of them at that season.

Shortlie after, king Alured tooke vpon him the habit of a minstrell, and going foorth of King Alured disguiseth himselfe. Polytler Fabian. his closure, repaired to the campe of the Danish king, onelie accompanied with one trustee seruant, and tarrieng there certeine daies togither, was suffered to go into euerie part, and plaie on his instrument, as well afore the king as others, so that there was no secret, but that he vnderstood it. Now when he had séene and learned the demeanour of his enimies, he returned againe to his people at Edlingsey, and there declared to his nobles what he had Séene and heard, what negligence was amongst the enimies, and how easie a matter it should be for him to indamage them. Wherevpon they conceiuing a maruellous good hope, and imboldened with his words, a power was assembled togither, and spies sent foorth to learne and bring woord where the Danes lodged: which being doone, and certificat made accordinglie, Hemr. Hunt. king Alured comming vpon them on the sudden, slue of them a great number, 877. hauing them at great aduantage.

About the same time the brother of king Halden came with thirtie and three ships out of 878. Wales into the countrie of Westsaxons, on the coast of Deuonshire, where the Deuonshire Malth. West. men gaue him battell, and slue him with 840 persons of his retinue. Other write, that Halden himselfe was present at this conflict, with Inguare, otherwise called Hungar, and that they were both slaine there. with twelue hundred of their companie (before a certeine Simon, Dun. castell called Kinwith; receiuing as they had deserued for their cruell dealing latelie by them practised in the parties of Southwales, where they had wasted all afore them with fire and swoord not sparing abbeies more than other common buildings.

King Alured being with that good lucke the more comforted, builded a fortresse in the Ile of Edlingsey, afterwards called Athelney, and breaking out oftimes vpon the enimies, Athelney. distressed them at sundrie times with the aid of the Summersetshire men, which were at hand. About the seuenth wéeke after Easter, in the seuenth yéere of his reigne, king Alured went to Eglerighston, on the east part of Selwood, where there came to him the people of Summersetshire, Wiltshire, & Hamshire, reioising greatlie to sée him abroad. From thence he went to Edanton, & there fought against the armie of the Danes', and chased them Edantdune. This battell should séeme the name that Polydor speaketh of fought at Abingdon. Pulychron. lohn Pike. Gurthrun or Gurmend baptised. and named Addelstan. is made king of Eastangle. vnto their strength, where he remained afore them the space of fouretéene daies. Then the armie of the Danes deliuered him hostages and couenants to depart out of his dominions, and that their king should be baptised, which was accomplished: for Gurthrun, whome some name Gurmond, a prince or king amongst these Danes, came to Alured and was baptised king Alured receiuing him at the fontstone, named, him Adelstan and gaue to him the countrie of Eastangle, which he gouerned (or rather spoiled) by the space of twelue yéeres.

Diuerse other of the Danish nobilitie to the number of thirtie (as Simon Dunelmensis saith) came at the same time in companie of their king Gurthrun, and were likewise be baptised, on whòme king Alured bestowed manie rich gifts. At the same time (as is to be thought) was the league concluded betwixt king Alured and the said Gurthrun. or Gurmond, in wich bounds of king Alureds kingdome are set foorth thus: "First therefore let the bounds or marshes of our dominion stretch vnto the riuer of Thames, and from thence to the water of Lée euen vnto the head of the same water, and so foorth streight vnto Bedford: and finallie going alongst by the riuer of Ouse, let them end at Watlingstréet."

This league being made with the aduise of the same sage personages as well English as those that inhabited within east England, is set foorth in maister Lamberts booke of the old English lawes, in the end of those lawes or ordinances which were established by the same king Alured, as in the same booke ye may sée more at large.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: