Osulph king of Northumberland traitorouslie murthered, Edilwald succeedeth him, the reward of rebellion, a great mortalitie of foules fishes and fruits, moonkes licenced to drinke wine, great wast by fire, Edelred king of Northumberland is driuen out of his countrie by two dukes of the same, Ethelbert king of the Eastangles commended for his vertues, Alfred the daughter of king Mercia is affianced to him, tokens of missehaps towards him, his destruction intended by queene Quendred, hir platforme of the practise to kill him, Offa inuadeth Ethelberts kingdome, Alfred his betrothed wife taketh his death greuouslie, and becommeth a nun, the decaie of the kingdome of Eastangles, succession in the regiment of the Westsaxons, the end of the gouernement of the Eastsaxons, prince Algar is smitten blind for seeking to rauish virgine Friswide, and at hir praiers restored to his sight.
The Fift Chapter.
WHEN Eadbert or Egbert K. of Northumberland was become a moonke, his sonne
EADBERT king of Northumberland.
Osulphus succéeded him: but after he had reigned onelie one yeare, he was traitorouslie murthered by his owne seruants at Mikilwongton, on the 9 kalends of August. Then succéeded
one Moll, otherwise called Edilwold or Edilwald, but not immediatlie, for he began
Simon Dun. Hen. Hunt. Edilwold king of Northumberland. Simon Dun. Henr. Hnnt.
not his reigne till the nones of August in the yeare following, which was after the birth of our sauiour 759.
This man prooued right valiant in gouernement of his subiects. He slue in battell an earle of his countrie named Oswin, who arrearing warre against him, fought with him in a pitcht field at Eadwines Cliue, and receiued the worthie reward of rebellion.
This chanced in the third yeare of his reigne, and shortlie after, then is to say, in the
yeare of our Lord 764, there fell such a maruellous great snow, and therwith so extreame a frost, as the like had not béene heard of, continuing from the beginning of the winter, almost till the middest of the spring, with the rigour whereof, trees and fruits withered awaie, and lost their liuelie shape and growth: and not onelie feathered foules, but also beasts on the land, & fishes in the sea died in great numbers. The same yeare died Ceolwulf then king of Northumberland, vnto whome Beda did dedicate his bocke of histories of the English nation.
Moonks licenced to drinke wine.
After that he was become a moonke in the monasterie of Lindesferne, the moonks of that house had licence to drinke wine, or ale, whereas before they might not drinke anie other thing than milke, or water, by the ancient rule prescribed them of the bishop Aidan first founder of the place. The same yeare sundrie cities, townes, and monasteries were defaced and sore wasted with fier chancing on the sudden, as Stretehu, Giwento, Anwicke, London, Yorke, Doncaster, &c.
After that Moll had reigned 6 yeares, he resigned his kingdome. But other write that he
Wil. Malm. Altred began his reigne in the yeare 765 as Sim. Dun. saith. Henr. Hunt. Matth. West. Ethelbert.
reigned 11 yeares, and was in the end slaine by treason of his successor Altred. This Altred reigned ten years ouer the Northumbers, and was then expelled out of his kingdome by his owne subiects. Then was Ethelbert, named also Edelred, the sonne of the foresaid Moll, made king of Northumberland, and in the fift yeare of his reigne, he was driuen out of his kingdome by two dukes of his countrie named Edelbald and Herebert, who mouing warre against him, had slaine first Aldulfe the sonne of Bosa the generall of his armie at Kingescliffe; and after Kinewulfe and Egga, other two of his dukes, at Helatherne in a sore foughten field: so that Ethelbert despairing of all recouerie, was constrained to get him out of the countries. And thus was the kingdome of Northumberland brought into a miserable state, by the ambitious working of the princes and nobles of the same.
Henr. Hunt. Iohn Capgraue. Matth. West. and others. Ethelbert king of Eastangles.
After that Ethelbert king of Eastangles was dead, his sonne Ethelbert succéeded him, a prince of great towardnesse, and so vertuouslie brought vp by his fathers circumspect care and diligence, that he vtterlie abhorred vice, and delighted onelie in vertue and commendable exercises, for the better atteining to knowledge and vnderstanding of good sciences. There remaine manie sundrie saiengs & dooings of him, manifestlie bearing witnesse that there
The saieng of king Ethelbert.
could not be a man more honorable, thankefull, courteous or gentle. Amongest other he had this saieng oftentimes in his mouth, that the greater that men were, the more humble they ought to beare themselues: for the Lord putteth proud and mightie men from their seates, and exalteth the humble and méeke.
Moreouer he did not onelie shew himselfe wise in words, but desired also to excell in staiednesse of maners, and continencie of life. Whereby he wan to him the hearts of his people, who perceiuing that he was nothing delighted in the companie of women, and therefore minded not mariage, they of a singular loue and fauour towards him, required that he should in anie wise yet take a wife, that he might haue issue to succéed him. At length the matter being referred to his councell, he was persuaded to follow their aduises. And so Alfreda the daughter of Offa king of Mercia was affianced to him: so that he himselfe appointed (as meanes to procure more fauour at his father in lawes hands) to go fetch the bride from hir fathers house.
Manie strange things that happened to him in taking vpon him this iournie, put him in
Tokens of mishap to follow.
great doubt of that which should follow. He was no sooner mounted on his horsse, but that (as séemed to him) the earth shooke vnder him: againe, a she was in his iournie, about the mid-time of the day, such a darke mist compassed him on ech side, that he could not sée nor discerne for a certeine time anie thing about him at all: lastlie, as he laie one night asléepe, he thought he saw in a dreame the roofe of his owne palace fall downe to the ground. But though with these things he was brought into great feare, yet he kept on his iournie, as he that mistrusted no deceit, measuring other mens maners by his owne. King Offa right
The innocent miscrustfull of no euill.
honourablie receiued him: but his wife named Quendred, a wise woman, but therewith wicked, conceiued a malicious deuise in hir hart, & streightwaies went about to persuade hir husband to put it in execution, which was to murther king Ethelbert, and after to take into his hands his kingdome.
Offa at the first was offended with his wife for this motion, but in the end, through the importunate request of the woman, he consented to hir mind. The order of the murther
Iohn Capgt. Winnebert.
was committed vnto one Winnebert, that had serued both the said Ethelbert & his father
Sim. Dun. saith 771. Offa conquereth Eastangies.
before time, the which feining as though he had beene sent from Offa to will Ethelbert to come vnto him in the night season, slue him that once mistrusted not anie such treason. Offa hauing thus dispatched Ethelbert, inuaded his kingdome, and conquered it.
But when the bride Alfreda vnderstood the death of hir liked make and bridegrome, abhorring the fact, she curssed father and mother, and as it were inspired with the spirit of prophesie, pronounced that woorthie punishment would shortlie fall on hir wicked mother for hir heinous crime committed in persuading so detestable a déed: and according to hir woords it came to passe, for hir mother died miserablie within three moneths after. The maid
Alfreda a nun. Beda. Matth. West.
Alfreda refusing the world, professed hirselfe a nun at Crowland, the which place began to wax famous about the yéere of our Lord 695, by the meanes of one Gutlake, a man esteemed of great vertue and holinesse, which chose to himselfe an habitation there, and departing this life about the yéere of our Lord 714, was buried in that place, where afterwards an abbeie of moonks was builded of saint Benets order. The bodie of K. Ethelbert at length was buried at Hereford, though first it was committed to buriall in a vile place, néere to the banke of a riuer called Lug.
The kingdome of Eastangles from thencefoorth was brought so into decaie, that it remained subject one while vnto them of Mercia, an other while vnto the Westsaxons, and somewhile vnto them of Kent, till that Edmund surnamed the martyr got the gouernment thereof (as after shall appéere.) After that Selred king of the Eastsaxons had gouerned the tearme of 38 yéeres, he was slaine, but in what maner, writers haue not expressed. After
him succéeded one Swithed or Swithred, the 11 and last in number that particularlie gouerned those people. He was finallie expelled by Egbert K. of Westsaxons, the same yéere that the said Egbert ouercame the Kentishmen (as after shall be shewed) and so the kings of that kingdome of the Eastsaxons ceassed and tooke end.
¶ About this time, there was a maid in Oxford named Friswide, daughter to a certeine
Frswide a virgine.
duke or noble man called Didanus, with whome one Algar a prince in those parties fell in loue, and would haue rauished hir, but God the reuenger of sinnes was at hand (as the storie saith.) For when Algar followed the maid that fled before him, she getting into the towne, the gate was shut against him, and his sight also was suddenlie taken from him. But the maid by hir praiers pacified Gods wrath towards him, so that his sight was againe restored to him. But whether this be a fable or a true tale, héereof grew the report, that the kings of this realme long times after were afraid to enter into the citie of Oxford. So easilie is the mind of man turned to superstition (as saith Polydor.)