Threads from "An Old English Tapestry"

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by perdu42, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    What follows is an occasional series of what is essentially 'flavour text' from my ATL. (Read: I haven't decided how my ATL will be formatted.)
    The plan is to post monthly. (Read: anywhere from two to eight weeks depending on other RL projects.)
    Comments most welcome.
    I hope you enoy. :)
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  2. Threadmarks: Random page "The Life of Stigand"

    perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Anon., Life of Stigand, (London: Printed by F. and J. Childe in Bowlane, Cheapside, N. D.). Believed to have been printed sometime between 1610 and 1630.

    was the result of Stigand’s uncanny knack for politicking rather than any miracle.

    The 1069 ‘Clofesho’ Synod

    1069. Here Cardinal Stigand arranged a synod at Clofesho on the feast of St Wulfilda; and Archbishop Ealdred passed away.

    So reads the relevant extract in the Chester (and a dozen other versions of the) Chronicle. The council has long been regarded as the crowning achievement of Stigand’s career. Before checking the veracity of that claim it is necessary to look at the events of the council.

    According to Goscelin of St Bertin’s in his Vita Stigandi, the opening on September 9 was attended by the kings of England, Scotland and Leinster, all of England’s bishops, two Welsh bishops (Herewald of Llandaff, Bleiddud of St Davids), a Scottish bishop (Fothad II of St Andrews), an Irish Bishop (Dúnán of Dublin) and most of England’s abbots and earls. There were also a number of continental clerics, notably the papal legate Hugh of Remiremont and Abbot Lanfranc of St Stephen’s, Caen.

    The synod almost ended before it had begun when, directly after the opening prayer, the monk Adam (representing the Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen) accused Malcolm of Scotland of being responsible for the death of Bishop John (of Cumbria). Bishop Æthelwine of Dunholm added to the uproar when he confirmed John had fled due to the Scottish invasion which occurred when the then earl (Tostig) was on pilgrimage. The council quickly adjourned before events could get uglier.

    The second day convened minus the lay magnates who had decided to go hunting. The cardinals (Stigand and Hugh) outlined the desired reforms. Stigand began with the uncontroversial point that bishops were forbidden to hold more than one see. Hugh continued, propounding clerical celibacy and condemning clerical marriage. This drew some murmurs, mainly from the Welsh but also from some of the English. Stigand then put the case that no cleric was to bear arms. Amid continuing murmurs Hugh condemned simony, forbidding under pain of anathema for any church office to be sold. Immediately the word “hypocrite” flew from more than one pair of lips. Once more the council adjourned early.

    The third day opened with Stigand alone outlining the reform programme. Diocesan synods were to be held annually, archdeacons appointed, tithes paid etc. Also proposed was the movement of dioceses from small villages to a larger town. The day ended with agreement on the move of Dorchester to Lincoln, Selsey to Chichester, Sherborne to Salisbury but Lichfield remained obstinate.

    Day four began with Lanfranc making the case for papal primacy and by extension the primacy of Canterbury. Uproar was the result. While Bishop Leofwine was making an argument that Lichfield should regain its metropolitan status, Archbishop Ealdred of York collapsed. Once more the council adjourned early.

    Day five was cancelled so that masses could be said for Ealdred who had died overnight. Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester led the service and while the King was being sought to communicate this sad news, Stigand and Hugh decided that Lanfranc should be the new Archbishop of York. Lanfranc disagreed. Their discussion was interrupted by the arrival of Bishop Dyfan of Bangor and news of a battle in Powys. Learning that Bleddyn ap Cynfyn was now the sole ruler of Gwynedd and Powys, Stigand promptly asked for Lanfranc’s profession of obedience so that he could be consecrated.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  3. Threadmarks: Random page "Porkington MS 33"

    perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Porkington MS 33, University of Cardiff Library. This anonymously penned MS is tentatively dated c.1250.

    Chapter 4

    The sins of Caradog ap Gruffydd ap Rhydderch

    Remembering the exploits of his grandfather and father, Caradog set himself to become the king of South Wales. His first move was in the year 1065 from the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, when from his base in Gwynllŵg he swooped into Gwent Is-coed. The raid was upon that scourge of the Britons, the Earl, later King, Harold's new hunting lodge at Portskewet. Caradog slew all the workers and carried off stores and equipment without suffering any reprisals.

    After this auspicious start Caradog’s ambitions were blocked. Cadwgan ap Meurig ap Hywel remained the reigning prince of Gwent. And then the English started pushing over the Afon Gwy towards the Afon Wysg. Even with the death of Cadwgan in some skirmish with the English, new competition appeared in the form of his cousin Rhydderch ap Caradog ap Rhydderch.

    And it seemed like the English were everywhere, their lightly armed mounted forces constantly harassing. They had learnt the lessons of Harold well! And they were staying. Burhs appeared in Gwent Uwch-coed and Gwent Is-coed. Probes were conducted beyond the Wysg.

    The princely cousins ap Rhydderch were sometimes competitors and sometimes allies for the mastery of Morgannwg. Maredudd ab Owain ab Edwin, prince of Deheubarth also set himself to become the king of South Wales. This Maredudd Sais was a weak, ineffectual prince who abstained from attacking the English and the princely cousins ap Rhydderch killed him in a battle on the Afon Rhymni. But still the English were like locusts and Deheubarth passed to Maredudd’s brother Rhys.

    It is to our great sorrow that our princes cannot band together to smite the English. And it is to our greater sorrow that Caradog devised a plan that was so wicked that he must have been supping with the devil. From being a prince of a bold and adventurous temper he quickly became a tyrant swift in the committing of evil.

    After the massacre of some English soldiers at Bettws, Caradog with his allies Goronwy and Llywelyn, sons of Cadwgan ab Elystan, struck deep into Gwent Is-coed. Their raid ended at the almost completed Benedictine priory of St Stephen and St Tathan at Caerwent. It sometimes happens that drunken men being deprived of the power of wisdom and piety commit heinous acts – however Caradog and his allies were sober when so great an outrage was committed.

    “Shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?” Abraham, Archdeacon of Gwent; Ieuan son of Rhun, priest of Caerwent; Elinwy, monk from Lanncwm; Prior Æthelwold and many English monks were slaughtered. What wickedness lies in mens hearts that they can slay the servants of our Lord in a place dedicated to our Lord? And so execrable a crime having been committed,
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  4. Threadmarks: Random page "The First Earl of Huntington"

    perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from E. A. Frigmann, The First Earl of Huntington, ed. Winifred Wood, (York: Combined Colleges Press, 2009). Frigmann was commissioned to write this work in 1871 by the then Earl of Huntington who hated it and thus it never saw print until the MS was discovered in 2007.

    15 The First Earl of Huntington

    was popular and thus spared and Somerled, who was not there, survived the massacre at Settrington.

    No one knows for sure why Waltheof decided at that moment to continue the bloodfeud with the sons of Carl. The romantics will, of course, argue that it was revenge for the slaying of his maternal grandfather. More sober analysis will point to the obvious grief the earl felt at the death of Osgood, his troop captain. Waltheof did declare that the death and destruction at Hindrelag was the work of the sons of Carl but he was the only who thought that. Certainly Bondi and most of the lords present thought that it was the work of outlaws, some of the more gung-ho suggested Galwegians or even Scots.


    Cnut immediately headed north and became a novice at Jarrow. More surprising was that Somerled sought redress through the law. The king compelled Waltheof to pay the weregild of everyone butchered and bring this bloodfeud to an end. And in that the king was successful - this particular bloodfeud was ended.

    There is no doubt that the king was furious with Waltheof. Part of this stemmed from a nervousness regarding the separatism of the North but mostly that the plans to retake Cumbria would be delayed. Beyond the obvious setback of the destruction of the burh at Hindrelag the reconquest went ahead as planned. More, the massacre acted as a catalyst to review the law codes of the kingdom. The resulting revision saw a transitional code put in place that furthered the integration of the North with the rest of England (if only in a formal sense).

    Besides the obvious dressing down and a certain impoverishment from paying the weregild, what impact did the episode have on Waltheof? The fact that he kept hold of the earldom of Huntingdon shows that he retained the confidence of the king. But not enough for fulfilment of Waltheof’s known desire for an earldom above the Humber. Although one could argue that it was the fact that Waltheof had many more enemies in the North rather than the massacre at Settrington putting an end to that hope. Just as one could argue it was a continuation of Waltheof’s piety, rather than a wish to atone, that led him to becoming a benefactor of the monastery at Jarrow.


    Waltheof did not return to the North for almost ten months, until after Whitsun 1075. In the interim, Ælfflaed, his first daughter was born on September 20, 1074 and by the time Waltheof arrived in Gloucester for the Witan, the Lady Hild was pregnant again.

    upload_2019-1-23_10-13-9.png Impression of Waltheof by an unnamed artist (c.1754) hanging at Ryhall,the family estate since 1065.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  5. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Ahhh, well this particular page looked beatiful in Office with wraparound text but I couldn't get it to transfer over...

    And I owe a big thanks to Juliet Dymoke's wonderful novel "Of the Ring of Earls" for two things in this post.
  6. clem attlee Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2014
    Exile in the American South
    Very interesting. Does this mean no Norman invasion?
  7. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Thank you for the question. There was a Norman invasion. And it was all going swimmingly (as per OTL) until Southwark.

    It just happens that the next random page torn from history seems to be a modern reprint (with full academic apparatus) of what appears to be the St Werbergh recension of The Great Chronicle. And like all chronicles it can be illuminating as mud.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  8. Threadmarks: "The Great Chronicle" 1066/67

    perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Merefin Swanton (ed.), The Great Chronicle Vol. 20: St Wæburh’s Recension, (Grantbridge: Grantbridge University Press, 2010).

    1066: … And the French had possession of the place of slaughter[1]. Archbishop Aldred and the garrison in London wanted to have the ætheling Edgar for king, just as was his natural right; and Edwin and Morcar promised him that they would fight for him.

    And Duke William waited in the vicinity of the place of slaughter to see whether he would be submitted to; but when he realized that no-one was willing to come to him, he went inland with all of his raiding army which was left to him and what came to him afterwards from across the sea, and raided all that region he travelled across.

    And Leofric, abbot of Peterborough, was at that campaign, and there fell ill and came home, and was dead soon after that on the night of All Saints[2]. God have mercy on his soul. And he did much to enrich the minster of Peterborough and he was beloved by all people. The monks then chose Brand the provost as abbot, because he was a very good man, and very wise, and then sent him to the ætheling Edgar because the local people thought he ought to become king, and the ætheling happily agreed it for him.

    And Earl Waltheof[3] and many hundreds of men with him, and Mærleswein[4] and many hundreds of men with him, came to London. And there came against them 5 hundred French men; and there at Southwark were killed 5 hundred French men. And Eadnoth[5] and many hundreds of men with him, and Æthelwig[6] and many hundreds of men with him came to London; and Margaret, sister of the ætheling was trothed to Earl Edwin of Mercia.

    And the ætheling Edgar gathered his raiding army and came upon the French men by surprise on the Feast of St Edmund[7] at Ulwardtūn[8]. The fight was very hard and there was great slaughter on either side. There were killed Earl Edwin, Tofig the sheriff[9], Wulfweard the White, and many other good thegns and countless people. And the English had possession of the place of slaughter, just as God granted them because of the French men’s sins. Duke William was killed there, and many thousands of French men with him, and many were led to captivity.

    Here the ætheling Edgar was consecrated as king in Winchester on the Feast of St Birinius[10] with great honour. Archbishop Aldred consecrated him, and fully instructed him before all the people, and fully admonished him as to his own need, and to the welfare of all the people. And the king proceeded to London for Christmas convocation of the witenagemot.

    Here Duke Conan died.[11]

    1067: Here in this year Archbishop Stigand travelled to Rome with Ælfsige[12] and [...][13]. And during the time the Archbishop was beyond the sea Bishop Wulfwig passed away, and is buried at his bishop’s seat in Dorchester. And King Edgar gave Æthelwig[14] that bishopric and Archbishop Aldred ordained him on the Feast of St.

    [1] ie. Hastings.

    [2] 31 October.

    [3] of Huntington.

    [4] Sheriff of Lincoln, appointed Staller on 26 September with responsibility for Northumbria.

    [5] Staller from the West Country.

    [6] Abbot of Evesham.

    [7] 20 November.

    [8] Modern Newbury in Berkshire, then the burh of Wulfweard the White.

    [9] of Somerset.

    [10] 3 December.

    [11] of Brittany, 11 December. Interpolation.

    [12] Monk at St Swithins, nominee of the cathedral chapter for the bishopric of Winchester.

    [13] Missing. The St Swithins (Winchester) recension adds Beorhtric Ælfgarson and Edmund Haroldson. The St Augustine (Canterbury) recension adds the captured Norman clerics but omits Ælfsige.

    [14] Abbot of Evesham.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  9. clem attlee Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2014
    Exile in the American South
    Gloria in excelsis Deo! No Harrying of the North. I hate the bloody Normans.
  10. FleetMac Patriotic Scalawag

    Jan 13, 2011
    VA boy living in a TX world
    Hail, Englaland hath sigor ofer the Norman deofles!
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  11. Threadmarks: Random Page 1 "Bulmers Big Book of Kings and Queens"

    perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Stephen Bulmer (ed.), Bulmers Big Book of Kings and Queens, (London: The Marshal Press, 1997).


    England (cont.)

    Ruler Date Ascended Relationship

    37. Edward III ‘the Confessor’ 8 June 1042 B 33

    38. Harold II Godwineson 6 January 1066 WB 37

    39. Edgar II 15 Oct 1066 GS 33

    40. Edmund III ‘the Grim’ 4 Feb 1100 S 39

    41. Edward IV ‘the Able’ 18 July 1110 B 40

    42. Edgar III ‘the Ambitious’ 10 Sept 1126 S 40

    43. Edwin I ‘of Wales’ 1 May 1150 S 42

    44. Eadwig II ‘the Crusader’ 30 Aug 1164 S 43

    45. Edwin II 28 Dec 1165 B 44

    46. Edgar IV ‘the Black’ 12 Dec 1212 S 45

    47. Edward V ‘the Young’ 7 July 1219 GS 46

    48. Edwin III ‘of York’ 9 Oct 1223 S 46

    49. Edwin IV ‘of Oxford’ 16 Nov 1258 S 48

    50. Edwin V ‘the Wise’ 19 Oct 1276 S 49

    51. Edmund IV 7 July 1305 S 50

    52. Eadred II ‘the Brave’ 21 Jan 1322 S 51

    53. Edwin VI 9 June 1346 S 52

    54. Eadwig III ‘the Just’ 21 Sept 1351 S 53

    55. Ælfweard I 6 April 1370 BS 54

    56. Edgar V ‘the Generous’ 25 Oct 1378 S 54

    57. Edmund V ‘the Wicked’ 1 Dec 1380 B 56

    58. Æthelred III ‘the Old’ 13 Nov 1390 DT 39

    59. Æthelstan II ‘the Builder’ 24 Jan 1399 S 58

    60. Æthelheard II ‘the Fair’ 14 Feb 1420 B 59

    61. Æthelheard III 2 June 1431 S 59

    62. Æthelred IV ‘the Last’ 21 May 1448 S 60

    63. Wilfred I ‘the Exile’ 6 April 1453 GGS 57

    64. Edmund VI ‘of Oxford’ 3 Oct 1483 S 63

    KEY: S = son, DT = descendent, B = brother, GS = grandchild via son, W = wife,

    BS = brothers son, GGS = great grandchild via son.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
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  12. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Apologies for the gloop in the above post.

    The regnal list should have looked like this:

    And the random page from post #4 should have looked like this:
  13. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

    Jan 17, 2015
    The heights of glory, the depths of despair.

    Hmm. In the three instances above, A's brother (or brother's son) B succeeded, followed by A's son C.

    Were these usurpations, or a sort of regency? I.e the succession was temporarily transferred to the cadet line?​
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  14. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Thankyou for the question(s).
    That's the thing with regnal lists, they don't provide enough information.

    Edgar III 'the Ambitious' was 13yo when his father died. England was in the midst of a conflict and a seasoned warrior was required, hence the ascension of his uncle Edward IV 'the Able'. The one thing Edward IV wasn't able to do was sire sons, so the throne reverted to Edgar III - the most throneworthy of the extant royal kin.

    Same with Edgar V 'the Generous' - 12 yo when his father died. England in the midst of a (different) conflict and his cousin Ælfweard I was seen as the best ætheling for the top job. Ælfweard I died unmarried (and childless) so the throne reverted to Edgar V. So, yes, in effect, in these two instances, succession was temporarily transferred to a cadet line.

    The third example is a bit more complex... England in the midst of a (different) conflict (again)... it is argued by the descendants of Edmund V 'the Wicked' (and their followers) that the ascension of Æthelred III 'the Old' was the usurpation. The "Chesterfield Kings" had a vision and were a tight kin-group who operated on the principle of whoever is the eldest got the nod for the top job.

    Hope I've answered your questions to your satisfaction.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  15. The Professor Pontifex Collegii Vexillographiariorum

    Feb 22, 2006
    Collegium Vexillarum
    Why have some Ead names been changed to Ed but not others?
  16. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Thankyou for the question.

    If I understand correctly, despite the existence of the Winchester Standard which was employed by scribes when copying manuscripts etc, there was no fixed spelling... which doesn't really make sense... was the Winchester Standard a form to aim for? Mayhap East Anglian or Mercian (or even West Saxon) scribes sometimes fell short of the Standard when producing literary material.

    In terms of TTL, one would think a uniform standard for the language and its spelling would have been reached after a thousand years of evolution...

    And just maybe the author of these random pages has dropped the ball and for that I do apologize. In my defence I will say that I was losing track of all the Æthel names and so, for example, Æthelstan may appear as Æthelstan or Ethelstan or Athelstan or even Athelstane, just so characters could be differentiated. The same reasoning has probably been applied to character naming as a whole.

    And that is most probably a very unsatisfactory answer to your question.
  17. Threadmarks: "The Great Chronicle" 1067/68

    perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Merefin Swanton (ed.), The Great Chronicle Vol. 20: St Wæburh’s Recension, (Grantbridge: Grantbridge University Press, 2010).

    1067(cont): Dunstan[1]; and Ælfric who was prior of Evesham became abbot there.

    And in this same year King Edgar took Gunnhild, the daughter of the late king[2], as his wife on Lammas day[3]. And in the same summer Selsey was raided; and Earl Godwin[4] went out after them in his ships and put them to flight[5].

    Here Archbishop Stigand came back to England on the Feast of St. Grwst[6]; and Pope Alexander had raised Stigand to be a Cardinal as was his due[7]. And on the Feast of St Nicholas[8] Ælfwynn, abbess of Wilton passed away; and that day Christ Church in Canterbury burned down.

    Here Earl Count Baldwin died.[9]

    1068: In this year Harding the earl’s son[10] and Toki the king’s thegn[11] and Earl Harold[12] led a raiding army into Wales and there killed King Cadwgan[13] on third June.

    Here Eadwin, abbot of Westminster died on the Feast of St Odulf[14]; and King Edgar and Cardinal Stigand gave the abbey to Beorhtric and Godwin the prior became abbot there[15].

    And in this same year at midwinter[16] Morcar arranged the outlawry of Wigod[17].

    [1] 19 May.

    [2] Harold Godwineson.

    [3] 1 August.

    [4] of Sussex, eldest son of King Harold Godwineson.

    [5] The St. Augustine (Canterbury) recension calls them French pirates. It is unknown whether they were Breton, Flemish or Norman. The dozen ships were destroyed in a battle near The Brambles on 29 August.

    [6] 1 December.

    [7] Pope Alexander II made Stigand a cardinal on 4 July with the titular diocese of Velletri. See Goscelin of St Bertin’s/of Canterbury Vita Stigandi (Winchester: King Alfred College Press, 1899).

    [8] 6 December.

    [9] of Flanders, 23 March. Interpolation.

    [10] Son of Eadnoth, staller who was made earl of Selwood probably at the Christmas 1066 witan.

    [11] Son of Wigod of Wallingford.

    [12] Son of Ralph ‘the Timid’, made earl of Hereford probably at the Christmas 1066 witan.

    [13] Cadwgan ap Meurig ap Hywel, king in Gwent since 1063.

    [14] 12 June.

    [15] Beorhtric, abbot of Malmesbury since 1053. Upon transfer to Westminster was succeeded by Godwin.

    [16] 15 December.

    [17] The chronicler obviously missed some words when making this copy. The Abingdon recension reads “Wigod of Wallingford broke his oath and was taken; and Morcar arranged for him to be outlawed”. Briefly, the most recent conjecture on the outlawry is as follows: Wigod (like Stigand) was known to be in contact with Duke William but events overtook any treasonable action. However Wigod was removed from command of the Wallingford garrison and overlooked when new earls were made. Fearful and resentful, he quickly found an ally in Morcar who felted slighted that his brother’s betrothed didn’t come to him like his brother’s earldom. The alliance was sealed by the marriage of Morcar with Ealdgyth, Wigod’s daughter. Upon the death of the bishop of Dorchester, there was an incident between the between the bishop’s tenants at Great Milton and Abingdon abbey over the abbey’s mill on the Thame at Cuddesdon. Abbot Ealdred faced down the tenants led by the bishop’s reeve, Ælfric ,who was the brother-in-law of Wigod, who decided to involve himself in the matter by threatening the Abbot but the new bishop defused the situation. Wigod was nursing a grudge against Ealdred and the abbey. When Leofric, a monk at Abingdon died, Wigod seized the chance for mischief. Leofric and his brother Æthelwine White were the owners of the manor of Whitchurch. To the detriment of Æthelwine, Leofric left his half to the abbey. Æthelwine was the man of Wigod and sought his support in taking possession of whole manor. The death of four ceorls in the ensuing conflict on 4 December was compounded by Wigod attacking Æthelwig the sheriff of Oxfordshire who just happened to turn up at Whitchurch on an unrelated matter. Such a blatant breach of the king’s peace was sure to be discussed at the Christmas witan. Wigod panicked and tried to incite the garrison at Wallingford but failed miserably. His son-in-law Morcar interceded at the witan to get a sentence of outlawry. Wigod and his man Æthelwine White went into exile. Cuthbert Fletcher, Early English Outlaws (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987) chapter 4.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
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  18. Threadmarks: "The Great Chronicle" 1069

    perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Merefin Swanton (ed.), The Great Chronicle Vol. 20: St Wæburh’s Recension, (Grantbridge: Grantbridge University Press, 2010).


    héo bealde arád þéáh Coventre tun[1]

    In this year on the Feast of the Annunciation[2] the lady Godgifu passed away; and she is buried beside her husband Earl Leofric at St Marys[3].

    And Benoît, subsacristan of the abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre came to Salisbury. This holy man had received visions from St Germanus[4] who had commanded him to found a cell in his name at a place in England. Benoît was found by Edward the sheriff[5] and taken by him to the Easter witan at Winchester; where it was learned that Benoît was to found a cell, held of the king, at Selby on the River Ouse near the city of York. And King Edgar and Cardinal Stigand and all the best men agreed and thought it was good and by Whitsunday[6] work began on the abbey that now stands at Selby and Benoît was its first abbot. And the witan agreed to an ordinance with the Wentsæte[7].

    Here Cardinal Stigand arranged a synod at Clofesho[8] on the feast of St Wulfilda[9]; and Archbishop Ealdred passed away[10]. And in this same year passed away Brand, abbot of Peterborough, on 27 November; and Æthelwold, prior there became abbot.

    [1] Remnant of unknown poem or proverb. Not copied into any other recension. First known allusion to the legend.

    [2] 25 March.

    [3] Coventry, the abbey founded by the Earl and his wife in 1043.

    [4] Bishop of Auxerre from 418-448, later canonised.

    [5] of Wiltshire.

    [6] 31 May.

    [7] Regulations for dealings (trade, dispute settlement) with the inhabitants of Gwent. Interpolation.

    [8] Clifton Hoo, Beds.

    [9] 9 September.

    [10] 13 September. The Worcester recension reads “Here passed away Aldred, archbishop of York, and is buried there at his bishop’s seat. And he died on St Eulogius day; and he held the arch-seat with great dignity for 10 years all but 15 weeks.”
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
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  19. Threadmarks: "The Great Chronicle" 1070

    perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Merefin Swanton (ed.), The Great Chronicle Vol. 20: St Wæburh’s Recension, (Grantbridge: Grantbridge University Press, 2010).

    1070: Here Lanfranc of Caen came back to England; he had been ordained by Pope Alexander as the metropolitan bishop of Saint Peter in York but still submitted personally[1] to Cardinal Stigand. And Sæwold, abbot of Bath passed away on Easter Sunday[2] and Wulfwold the sacristan became abbot there.

    In this year the Whitsun witan was held at Tamworth; and there was a festive[3] air for afterwards all the best men were to go to Radmore[4]. While the witan was meeting word was received that King Malcolm came from Scotland into England with a great army; and King Edgar was pleased. Earl’s Godwin and Æthelnoth[5] went south to gather the raiding ship-army; and the sheriffs were sent to summon the fyrd; and King Edgar took all the earls and their soldiers, the thegns and the huscarls gathered at the witan and headed up the Icknield Street to Yorkshire. The king’s pleasure was short-lived as the Scots withdrew after raiding Teesdale; and the raiding-land army pursued as far as the Forth but the Scots refused to give battle. And on the Feast of St Neot[6] King Malcolm came and made peace with King Edgar, and gave him hostages[7]; and afterwards Malcolm received Margaret the king’s sister as his wife but no-one except Edgar and Malcolm seemed pleased by the bargain.

    And in this same year King Swein came from Denmark with 300 ships to Norwich and there took men and gold and silver; and then sailed up the coast into the Humber, and the local people did greet him with weapons in hand and so he continued up the Ouse to York. And on 8 August the Danes landed near York[8] and the next day Swein led his army towards York and there by Stillingfleet[9] did King Edgar and his raiding land-army returning from Scotland stop him. Many men were killed on both sides and the English held the slaughter field.

    Thorkell made this known[10] but I[11] must set down what I saw. The battle was joined between terce and sext[12] as our men did rain down arrows on the Danes and many of them fell. Then, with Edgar our king out front, their shield wall was fiercely attacked and there was a great slaughter on either side. There were killed Ansgar[13] and Hakon[14] and Ringulf[15] and Godwine[16] and the other Godwine, my fellow companion[17]. And then Toki put down his arms for he faced his father and could not strike him; his father had no such honour but before he could strike, Waltheof that terrible battle-lord swung his axe and removed his head. Thus died the traitor Wigod and his head still adorns London bridge. And Waltheof killed the other traitor[18] and his head is spiked next to his lords. Then Skalpi[19] was cut down by Jarl Osbeorn[20] who was slain in his turn by Edgar our king. And there were killed Edward[21] and Ælfwold[22] and Wulfwine[23] and many other good men and shortly before vespers the Danes retreated and our men gave thanks to God. The Danes headed back to Riccall to find the only ships of theirs not burned were taken by Godwin and Æthelnoth and the raiding ship-army. The next day we found a much reduced Danish host drawn up near the woodland at Skipworth[24] and right after terce we rained arrows upon them; and Edgar our king again led the advance on their shieldwall. And the slaughter continued and there was killed Æthelwine and Wihtgar[25] and Ordgar[26] and Ketel[27] and just after sext, Swein the king of the Danes did die and two of his sons[28] followed him and then Jarl Thurkil was killed and the rest ran, pursued by our horsemen and no mercy was shown.

    Here Count Baldwin and Duke Robert died[29].

    [1] Emphasis in original where it is underscored twice. The underscoring also appears in the Lincoln and Dunholm recensions.

    [2] 4 April.

    [3] An interesting word choice which has caused much speculation, namely that Edgar intrigued to draw Malcolm into open battle. See Erik Hood, History of English Diplomacy (Stamford: Stamford University Press, 1967).

    [4] Earl Morcar’s hunting lodge in the Forest of Cannock.

    [5] Respectively, earl of Sussex and earl of Kent.

    [6] 31 July.

    [7] Including his eldest son Duncan.

    [8] At Riccall, about 8 miles south of York.

    [9] Some 7 miles south of York.

    [10] Thorkell Skallason, skald from Iceland and retainer of Earl Waltheof. Composed The Battle of Riccall in ON of which only a fragment survives. A much later ME version, essentially a panegyric to Waltheof, survives in half dozen manuscripts.

    [11] This switch to first person is what makes the Chester recension so valuable. From the scribe’s description of events, he is to be identified as Wulfgeat the White, one the kings companions who became a monk at Evesham before being appointed the first prior of St Werbergh in 1090.

    [12] Terce is 9am and sext noon so if taken literally about 10.30am.

    [13] the Staller.

    [14] Son of Earl Swein Godwineson.

    [15] Thegn from Norfolk.

    [16] Possibly the brother of Ralf, staller of Edward III.

    [17] Godwine, companion of the king, appears as a witness on a charter from 1068.

    [18] Æthelwine White, Wigod’s man who shared his outlawry and exile.

    [19] A huscarl.

    [20] King Sweyn’s brother.

    [21] Sheriff of Wiltshire.

    [22] One of Edward III’s chamberlains.

    [23] Thegn from Hertfordshire, one of Angsar’s men.

    [24] About 9 miles south-east of York.

    [25] Thegns from Derbyshire.

    [26] Sheriff of Grantbridgeshire.

    [27] Thegn of Norfolk.

    [28] Cnut and Beorn.

    [29] Baldwin VI of Flanders and Duke Robert II of Normandy, both on 17 July. Interpolation.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  20. Threadmarks: Random Page "English Historical Review"

    perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Audrey Barrow, "'Lament of a Peace Cow': A reappraisal of a forgotten early twelfth century manuscript", English Historical Review, (vol. 105, no. 2, 2001).


    “Lament of a Peace Cow”: A reappraisal of a forgotten early twelfth century manuscript

    Dr Audrey Barrow*


    The untitled manuscript[1] is made up of three pages approximately seven by four and three quarter inches in size. The manuscript was at one time bound but neither the binding or separation from the binding has damaged the text. It is written on both recto and verso in a naïve Winchester Standard. The text is much faded and it appears that some words are missing. However using a magnifying lens with a cold light source[2], all the text bar one word has been recovered.


    When Ralf Dugdale (1585-1654) saved Lament of a Peace Cow from a cooking fire at Priorslee in 1615 it was treated as a curiosity. Dugdale thought its interest lay in its age and duly printed it with the unfortunate but apt title (the phrase ‘peace cow’ appears ten times) in Curiosities[3]. It was printed with minimal comment but with much emendation and modernization then forgotten about – by Dugdale and most of ‘academia’[4]. Dugdale’s papers eventually came to Stamford University where they were catalogued and stored – thankfully not in a damp basement. The chance discovery and survival of this little manuscript almost nine hundred years old is nothing short of miraculous. It is past time for a fresh look at it.

    The ‘peace cow’ of the title is the Lady Aldith[5], daughter of Earl Ælfgar of Mercia and successively the wife of King Gruffydd ap Llywelyn ap Seisyll of Wales and King Harold II Godwineson of England. The value of the manuscript (let’s call it ‘The lament of Aldith’) for modern scholars is the insight it offers into the thoughts of a high status female during a dark and turbulent period of our history. The manuscript is especially illuminating of the nexus between high politics and familial concerns.

    The Lady Aldith disappears from public record after the marriage of her daughter Nesta[6] to Osbern fitzRichard[7] in 1075. It was thought she had died but the content of ‘The Lament’ is explicit that she survived the death of her son, the ætheling Harold in 1103[8]. Where Lady Aldith was between 1075 and 1103 is unknown but given the location of the manuscript it is conjectured that

    *Senior Lecturer in English History, King Alfred College, Winchester.

    [1] King Edwin V Library (Stamford) MS Dugdale 622.

    [2] The assistance of the staff of King Edwin V Library, Stamford University is cheerfully acknowledged. A special thank you to Dr. Wilfrid Wood, Curator of Manuscripts.

    [3] Ralf Dugdale, Curiosities: A selection from my collection, (Bridgnorth, 1630).

    [4] Dugdale’s version was used in E. A. Frigmann, Edmund ‘the Grim’, (Oxford: Woodstock Press, 1877).

    [5] Properly Ealdgyth but it is known that she preferred this Welsh rendering of her name.

    [6] Nesta ferch Gruffydd (1058-1110).

    [7] Osbern fitzRichard (1045-1101), a Norman lord located on the old Welsh march.

    [8] Harold Haroldson (1066/7-1103) died in a rebellion during the conflict known as The Brothers War.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019