Earle Tostie afflicteth his brother Harold on sea and land, he taketh the repulse, and persuadeth Harfager king of Norweie to attempt the conquest of England against Harold, Harfager & Tostie with their powers arriue at Humber, they fight with the Northumbers vnder the conrduct of Edwine and Marchar, and discomfit them; Harold leuieth an armie against them, the rare valiantnes of a Norwegian souldior; Harfager and Tostie slaine in battell; the Norwegians are foiled and fie; Harolds vnequall and parciall diuiding of the spoile, he goeth to Yorke to reforme things amisse.
The Ninth Chapter.
WHILEST Harold desirous to reteine, and verie loth to let go his vsurped roialtie, had crackt his credit with the duke of Normandie, and by his lewd reuolting from voluntarie promises ratified with solemne othes, had also kindled the fire of the dukes furie against him; it came to passe, that the proud and presumptuous man was (to begin withall) vexed in his
Tostie séekes to disquiet his brother. Matt. West. saith but 40. Polydor. Ran. Higd. Sim. Dun.
owne flesh, I meane his owne kinred. For Tostie the brother of king Harold (who in the daies of king Edward for his crueltie had béene chased out of the realme by the Northumbers) returning out of Flanders, assembled a nauie of ships from diuers parts to the number of 60, with the which he arriued in the Ile of Wight, & there spoiled the countrie, and afterward sailing about by the coasts of Kent, he tooke sundrie preies their also, and came at the last to Sandwich: so that Harold was now constreined to appoint the nauie which he had prepared against the Normans, to go against his brother earle Tostie. Whereof the said Tostie being aduertised, drew towards Lindsey in Lincolnshire, and there taking land did much hurt
Wil. Malm. Tostie repelled. Polydor. Ran. Higd.
in the countrie, both with sword and fire, till at length Edwine earle of Mercia, and Marchar earle of Northumberland, aided with the kings nauie, chased him from thence, and caused him to flie into Scotland, not without some losse both of his men and ships.
This trouble was scarse quieted, but streightwaies another came in the necke thereof, farre more dangerous than the first. For Tostie, perceiuing that he could get no aid in Scotland
Harold Harfager king of Norweie.
to make anie acccount of, sailed forth into Norweie, and there persuaded Harold Harfager king of that realme, to saile with an armie into England, persuading him that by meanes of ciuill dissention latelie kindled betwixt the king and his lords (which was not so) it should be an easie matter for him to make a conquest of the whole realme, and reigne ouer them as his predecessors had done before. Some authors affirme, that Harold king of Norwey tooke
Matt. West. Simon Dun.
this enterprise in hand of his owne mind, and not by procurement of Tostie, saieng, that Tostie méeting with him in Scotland, did persuade him to go forward in his purposed busines,
Simon Dun. saith 500.
and that the said Harold Harfager with all conuenient spéed passed foorth, & with a nauie of 300 saile entered into the riuer of Tine, where after he had rested a few daies to refresh his people, earle Tostie came also with his power (according to an appointment which should be
The Norwegians arriue in Humber. Richall. Hen. Hunt.
made betweene them.) They ad furthermore, that they sailed forth alongst the coast, till they arriued in the mouth of Humber, & then drawing vp against the streame of the riuer Owse, they landed at length at a place called Richhall, from whence they set forward to inuade the countrie, & néere vnto Yorke on the northside of the citie, they fought with the power of the
The English men dis omfited. This battell was fought on the euen of S. Matthew the apostle, as saith Si. Dun.
Northumbers, which was led by the earls Edwine and Marchar (two brethren) and there discomfited and chased them into the citie, with great slaughter and bloudshed.
Harold king of England being aduertised of this chance, made the more hast forward (for he was alreadie in the field with his armie, intending also to come towards his enimies) so that vpon the fift day after he came to Stamford bridge, finding there the said king Harfager and Tostie readie imbattelled, he first assailed those that kept the bridge, where (as some writers affirme)
Wil. Malm. Hen. Hunt. Matt. West.
a Norwegian souldier with his axe defended the passage, mauger the whole host of the Englishmen, and slue fortie of them or more with his axe, & might not be ouercome, till an Englishman went with a boat vnder the said bridge, and through an hole thereof thrust him vp into the bodie with his speare: yet Matt. West. saith that he was slaine with a dart which one
The Norwegians discomfited.
of king Harold his seruants threw at him, & so ended his life. Which bridge being woone, the whole host of the Englishmen passed ouer, and ioined with their enimies, and after a verie great and sore battell put them all to flight.
In this conflict Harold Harfager king of the Norwegians was slaine, & so was Tostie
The king of Norwaie and Tostie slaine.
the king of England his brother, besides a great number of other, as well in the battell as in the chase: neither did the Englishmen escape all frée, for the Norwegians fought it out a long
This battell was fought on the 25 of September as saith Si. Dun.
time verie stoutlie, beating downe and killing great numbers of such as assailed them with great courage and assurance. The residue of the Norwegians that were left to kéepe their ships vnder the guiding of Olaue sonne to the king of Norwaie, and Paule earle of Orkneie, after they vnderstood by their fellowes that escaped from the field, how the mater went with
Harfager and Tostie, they hoised vp their sailes and directed their course homewards, bearing sorowfull newes with them into their countrie, of the losse of their king and ouerthrow of all his people. Some write, that the king of England permitted them franklie to depart
with 20 ships, hauing first caused them to deliuer such hostages as they had receiued of the citizens of Yorke. Harold reioising in that he had atteined so glorious a victorie, and being now surprised with pride and couetousnesse togither, he diuided the spoile of the
M. West. Vnequall diuiding of the spoile.
field nothing equallie, but to such as he fauored he distributed liberallie, and to other (though they had much better deserued) he gaue nothing at all, reteining still the best part of all to himselfe, by reason whereof he lost the fauor of manie of his men, who for this his discourtesie, did not a little alienate their good willes from him. This doone, he repaired to Yorke, and there staied for a time to reforme the disordered state of the countrie, which by reason
of these warres was greatlie out of frame.
¶ But Harold being more presumptuous and foole-hardie, than prouident and wise in his enterprise ; bending all his force to redresse enormities in those quarters of Yorkeshire (much like vnto him, whom the Comediographer marketh for a foole, "Ea tantùm quæ ad pedes iacent contemplans, non autem ventura præuidens") neglected the kinglie care which he should haue had of other parts of his realme, from the which he had withdrawen himselfe, and (as it is likelie) had not left sufficientlie prouided of a conuenient vicegerent to gouerne the same by his warranted authoritie, and such fortifications as might expell and withstand the enimie Which want of foresight gaue occasion to the enimie to attempt an inuasion of the English coasts, as in the next chapt. shall be shewed.