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
    Extract from Erik Hood, History of English Diplomacy, (Stamford: Stamford University Press, 1967).

    The Investiture Controversy

    English involvement in the conflict began in March 1074 with Pope Gregory VII refusing ordination of the bishop-elect of Worcester, Ælfstan. Why is a question that has not been, and probably won’t be, satisfactorily answered. Having conferred the pallium upon Wulfstan, Gregory then denied Ælfstan his ring and staff, yet neither was married or had purchased his office although both had been appointed by Edgar. Perhaps Gregory was trying to send a message, both to Edgar and the Roman Emperor, Heinrich IV.

    Whatever the reasoning, Ælfstan’s denial was met with something like disbelief. Disbelief eventually turned to anger as shown by the hostile reception given to the papal legates at the September 1074 Clifton Hoo synod[1]. Gregory’s response was swift – removal of the married Leofwine I from his see of Lichfield and excommunication at the November 1074 papal synod[2]. In the meantime Edgar had dispatched, his now senior ambassador, Edmund Haroldson to Cologne. What discussions Edmund had with Heinrich or his advisors are, unfortunately, a matter of speculation however it is known that Edmund fought with Imperial troops at the First Battle of Langensalza in June 1075[3]. Edmund was back in England by September 1075 where it is believed he strongly urged Edgar to support Heinrich in his conflict with the pope.

    In the end Edgar decided against wholehearted support – Edmund and Bishop Ælfgar II of Norwich both attended Heinrich’s synod at Worms (January 1076) but neither signed Heinrich’s or the bishop’s letters calling for Gregory’s abdication. Such caution probably saved Edgar from Gregory’s counter move at the Lenten synod (February 1076) where Henry was excommunicated and deposed[4]. It was at that point that Edgar decided upon a policy of isolation. A policy strictly adhered to until Christmas 1078 when it was shattered by the arrival of Bishop Leofwine I who had travelled to Rome and received Dunholm from the hands of Gregory.

    Accompanying Leofwine were two monks, Dominic and, papal legate from 1074, Teuzo[5]. Dominic spent most of his time cloistered with Archbishop’s Wulfstan or Lanfranc or any other monk available. Leofwine and Teuzo on the other hand were aggressively promoting the papal agenda to any who would listen, not only at the Christmas (1078) and Candlemas (February 1079) witenagemots, but also on the streets of London. How much their threats to excommunicate the many married priests of London or their calls for the reintroduction of ‘Romescot’ won them support cannot be gauged except to note they were not stoned or chased out of the city. That is until Teuzo learnt that Edgar was still associating with the excommunicate former bishop of Lichfield. His threat to excommunicate the king was met with banishment from England and Leofwine being told to get back to his see and stay there.

    Edgar immediately dispatched Edmund and Ælfgar back to Cologne. Relations within the Empire and between the Empire and the Papacy had deteriorated further since ‘the walk to Canossa’ (January 1077). Once again Edmund fought with Imperial troops, this time against the anti-king Rudolf of Swabia at the Battle of Flarcheim (January 1080)[6]. Of more import, following Gregory’s spiteful second excommunication of Heinrich (March 1080) both Edmund and Ælfgar signed the decree deposing Gregory at the synod of Brixen (June 1080) and signalled their support for Guibert

    [1] Edmund Earle (ed.), Two Great Chronicles Parallel, (Grantbridge: Grantbridge University Press, 1876), p. 157.

    [2] ibid. The actual decree is no longer extant.

    [3] An ‘Edmund dux’ is noted in Lambert of Hersfeld, Annals, (Munich: Schriften der MGH,1955).

    [4] Respectively No’s 61,62 and 63 in Wilfrid Braddock (ed.), Documents of the Struggle Between Emperor and Pope, 1073-1250 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959).

    [5] Reconstruction of events in this paragraph based on letters between Wulfstan (Canterbury), Lanfranc (York), Eadward I (London) and Ælfsige III (Winchester). See Alfred Braddock (ed.), Epistolae Ecclesia Anglicana, Vol. 2, (Grantbridge: Grantbridge University Press, 1964).

    [6] Lambert of Hersfeld, op. cit.
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  2. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    1080: In this year the king wore his crown and held his court in Winchester at Candlemas; then in Gloucester for the Easter; then in York for the Pentecost; then in Tamworth for Lammas; then in Westminster for Christmas.

    Here Ælfwine[1] passed away before Easter – that Easter Day was on the 12 April. The monks chose Aldwin who was provost and King Edgar agreed.

    Here in this year Earl Godwin[2] and Earl Harding[3] with 40 ships killed Eilaf and scattered his fleet at Whitesand[4].

    And here on the Feast of St Mary[5], Leofwine, bishop in Dunhom was killed with his companions. The Northumbrians did this because of his oppressions. Here on 30 October Edmund and the others returned from the Empire.

    1081: In this year the king wore his crown and held his court in Winchester at Candlemas; then in Gloucester for the Easter; then in Tamworth for the Pentecost; then in Oxford for Lammas; then in Westminster for Christmas.

    Here on Palm Sunday[6] Leofwine of Lichfield died after a long illness; he held for tw[…][7] his seat. And King Edgar gave Dunholm to Beorhtric[8] and Lichfield to Eadred[9] and the monks chose Æthelweard.

    And in the summer[10] Earl Godwin and Earl Harding with 40 ships did battle a fleet from Waterford and scattered it near Porthclais[11].

    Battle at Mynydd Carn[12].

    1082: Here King Edgar wore his crown and held his court in Winchester at Candlemas; then in Gloucester for the Easter; then in Chester for the Pentecost and for Lammas; then in Westminster for Christmas.

    In this year Sihtric[13] passed away and this was two weeks after Easter[14]; he was abbot for 39 years and was succeeded by Ethelred.

    Here in this year King Edgar and Earl Morcar[15] and Earl Mærleswein[16] went into Wales as far as Caernarfon and King Edgar entrusted that land to the sons of Bleddyn[17]; and they gave hostages and swore oaths they would be loyal in all things. Here Meurig was consecrated bishop[18] by Archbishop Wulfstan.

    [1] Abbot of Ramsey.

    [2] Earl of Sussex.

    [3] Earl of Selwood.

    [4] Presumably the bay close to St David’s. The action took place between Easter and Lammas as Godwin attests bonafide charters at both those witenagemots. Eilaf is presumably a Hiberno-Norse pirate.

    [5] Feast of the Nativity, 8 September.

    [6] 28 March.

    [7] Missing. The St Swithins recension reads: “twenty seven years and four months and he is buried in his bishop’s seat”.

    [8] Abbot of Westminster, succeeded in that office by the abbey’s provost Æthelweard.

    [9] Canon of Waltham Holy Cross and royal clerk.

    [10] 8 June according to Bishop Sulien of St Davids. Letter to Lanfranc in Alfred Braddock (ed.), Epistolae Ecclesia Anglicana, Vol. 2, (Grantbridge: Grantbridge University Press, 1964).

    [11] Small harbour near St David’s.

    [12] 10 June according to Bishop Sulien of St Davids. Letter to Lanfranc in Braddock, Epistolae Ecclesia Anglicana. The British annals mention the battle with the victory of Rhys ap Tewdwr ap Cadell of Deheubarth over Trahaearn ap Caradog ap Gwyn of Gwynedd but do not date it beyond the year. Interpolation.

    [13] Abbot of Tavistock, succeeded in that office by the Canterbury (Christ Church) monk Ethelred.

    [14] 8 May.

    [15] Earl of Mercia.

    [16] Earl of Lindsey.

    [17] Unnamed but given later events, Maredudd and presumably either (or both) Cadwgan and Iorweth.

    [18] of Bangor.
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  3. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    An extract from

    Blood Feud: The High Ground

    No. 2 of this stirring new series by Peter Braddock!

    Sigrida was going to fall. She knew it was only a matter of time given her condition in this headlong flight. That and it was dark and she didn’t know for all the saints where she was.


    “We’re almost-”


    Bridoc whirled to tell his trothed to keep her voice down and stopped and stared as the flames consumed all the buildings on the high ground of Dunholm. He looked away but it was no good. He turned back to watch Dunholm burn. The distant flames invoked images of that arrogant shite Leofwine the bishop of Dunholm. Images of his former lord, robes alight, bursting through the door of his burning house and running onto the waiting spear. Images of swords slashing and axes falling until finally Leofwine fell back into the flames with the spear still caught in his belly.


    “Aye.” Bridoc kept staring at the flames. Damn arrogant shite but that was a bad death. And his brother-


    “Aye.” And reaching for Sigrida’s hand Bridoc turned away from the distant flames. “We should find somewhere to wait until dawn. It would be better to ford the Wear during daylight than in darkness.” And I’ll be able to find it in daylight…

    “And the sokemen will help us?”

    “Of course, Shincliffe is one of the bishop’s manors. I’m the bishop’s steward. They have no choice.” We all have no choice thought Bridoc bitterly. I tried to make a choice for myself and look where I am – on the run in a hostile land. Could have stayed with my family above the Tweed and found the same… sweet Jesus no, I made the right choice… it was a good plan because I got to live in Dunholm with Sigrida.

    And I was helping my father except he didn’t really want my help because he sent Edulf and the only plan my third elder brother had was to cause chaos. And Edulf was ably helped by that damned monk Teuzo. And that arrogant shite Leofwine, Christ knows what he really wanted… all dead now. All the bishop’s household, except myself, dead because ... Leofwine should’ve known murdering Ligulf would spark a bloodfeud, damn arrogant shite… my brother knew but then that’s what he wanted.


    “Here will do. Not long to wait."
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
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  4. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    1083: In this year the king wore his crown and held his court in Winchester at Candlemas; then in Gloucester for the Easter; then in York for the Pentecost; then in Lincoln for Lammas; then in Westminster for Christmas.

    Here Siward[1] passed away on 2 March and the monks chose the learned Fulcard[2] who was deeply versed in grammar and music.

    In this year on Whit Monday[3] Archbishop Lanfranc’s abbey, St Olaf’s was dedicated in York; Ealdred[4] was the first abbot but he died within six months and was succeeded by Leofwine[5].

    Here Æthelwold of the ‘Golden Borough’ passed away and the monks chose Godric who was Brand’s brother[6]. And not long after Godric[7] passed away; this was on the Feast of St Kenelm[8] and Godric held for 29 years. And then Eadwulf[9] also passed away and was succeeded by Æthelweard.

    Here in this year on the Feast of St Oswald[10] Aldwin left for Coldingham. Aldwin was the only one of us that still burned with the desire to follow in St Cuthbert’s footsteps. The sombre mood at Melrose was lifted two days later with the arrival of a small group of monks led by Harding[11], sometimes called Stephen.

    1084: In this year the king wore his crown and held his court in Winchester at Candlemas; then in Gloucester for the Easter; then in Chester for the Pentecost; then in Oxford for Lammas; then in Westminster for Christmas.

    Here one week before Easter Pope Clement III enthroned at the Lateran[12].

    Here on the Feast of St Elphege[13] Wulfwold[14] passed away and the monks chose Seaxfrith and King Edgar agreed.

    Here on the Feast of St Wulfilda[15] Archbishop Wulfstan convened a synod at Clifton Hoo; next day at the dedication of the new church of SS Mary and Wulfilda, which was begun the previous synod, Wulfwold[16] passed away and King Edgar gave it to Æthelsige[17]. Hugh Candidus[18] spoke on the fourth day of the synod and Archbishop Lanfranc objected saying that a representative of Gregory[19] should also speak. Lanfranc and Beorhtric[20] and Leofwine[21] and Ælfwine[22] then refused to sign the decree[23] officially recognizing Clement III.

    [1] Abbot of Thorney since the death of the arch-pluralist Leofric in November 1066.

    [2] Monk of St Bertin (St Omer, Flanders) resident at Thorney many years.

    [3] 29 May.

    [4] Abbot of Abingdon, succeeded in that office by the abbey’s provost Æthelhelm.

    [5] Sacristan of Dunholm.

    [6] Brand (d.1069) was abbot of Peterborough before Æthelwold who died 13 July.

    [7] Abbot of Winchcombe, succeeded in that office by the abbey’s infirmarer Edwin.

    [8] 17 July. Godric became abbot on the same day in 1054.

    [9] Abbot of Muchelney, succeeded in that office by the Canterbury (Christ Church) monk Æthelweard.

    [10] 5 August.

    [11] Monk of Sherborne.

    [12] Archbishop Wibert of Ravenna became anti-Pope Clement III in June 1080. The Lateran ceremony took place on 24 March. Interpolation.

    [13] 19 April.

    [14] Abbot of Chertsey, succeeded in that office by the abbey’s sacristan Seaxfrith.

    [15] 9 September.

    [16] Abbot of Bath.

    [17] Abbot of Athelney, succeeded in that office by the Bath monk Ælfwig.

    [18] Cardinal Hugh of Remiremont, legate of anti-Pope Clement III.

    [19] Pope Gregory VII.

    [20] Bishop of Dunholm.

    [21] Abbot of St Olaf’s (York).

    [22] Abbot of Jarrow-Wearmouth.

    [23] The decree was signed by King Edgar, Archbishop Wulfstan, Cardinal Hugh of Remiremont, 10 English bishops, two thirds (26) of England’s abbots and two Welsh bishops. The missing English bishops and abbots were presumably absent from the synod. 'Clofesho Decree' in Wilfrid Braddock (ed.), Documents of the Struggle Between Emperor and Pope, 1073-1250 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959).
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
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  5. clem attlee Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2014
    Exile in the American South
    Nice detail. St Olaf's Church is just next to the ruins of St Mary's Abbey in what is now the Museum Gardens. It could have gone the other way.
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  6. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    I thought it would be a given that a Benedictine monastery would be built in York – OTL St Mary’s was almost built on the church of St Olaf rather than St Stephen. Because ITTL the archbishop (Lanfranc) is also a monk who overrules his own canons of St Peters, it gets built on St Olaf’s or, more accurately, St Olaf’s is rebuilt as part of the abbey. Earl Waltheof was watching closely to make sure his da got treated right.
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  7. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    An extract from Godwin Cuthbertson, A History of the Order of Soldiers of Saint Cuthbert (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)

    The day after I arrived at Melrose, Morcar was showing me the site of the original monastery when we were attacked by evildoers. I wanted to run but was rooted to the spot… but Morcar wasn’t. He pushed me to the ground and proceeded to lay into our attackers with his pilgrims staff. The men ran off soon after and Morcar laughed that it happened all the time and the perpetrators never seemed to learn. The abbey and its inhabitants were the subject of an ongoing policy of harassment by the local laird who Morcar said would probably show up in half an hour to ask after our welfare. I thought there and then an order should be established to protect against violent persecution.

    Harding, Carta ordine milites Sancto Cuthbertum

    That the Benedictine priory at Melrose was the birthplace of a monastic military order is not as remarkable as it first seems. Indeed, given the peculiar circumstances in which the priory found itself its transformation can be considered unremarkable. The priory, despite its protestations that it served no king only God, was essentially an English house inside the kingdom of the Scots. That anomalous existence meant it received no benefactions from any possible English supporters. And while Malcolm III had richly endowed the house with land and extended it his protection it also seems he forbade any of his people from doing anything similar. The priory, because of its reputation for piety and sanctity, attracted both English and Scots looking for a higher purpose but to all intents and purposes a limit had been placed on its expansion. Coupled with the low intensity harassment by Gillomichael, and presumably other border lairds, something had to change. The arrival of the Sherborne monk Harding in the summer of 1083 was the catalyst of transformation.

    There was much at Melrose that Harding found positive – the brothers were zealous in their observance of the Liturgy of the Hours, the brothers all performed manual labour – the reputation of the priory was deserved. But the attitude towards the low level intimidation was troubling – all the brothers bar two (out of twelve; the arrival of Harding and his companions did alter the ratio a little – four out of sixteen) came from the warrior caste (sons of earls, thegns, sons of thegns, ceorls) and viewed the harassment as some sort of game. The net result being that Melrose was in a precarious situation, spiritually and physically. Decisive action would end the priory’s basically hand to mouth existence – somewhat ironic that the severity of life and its attending simplicity was part of the priory’s growing reputation – and allow the brothers to truly attend to the Work of God.

    Harding’s campaign to transform the priory met with overwhelming opposition from those former warriors. They had hung up their weapons with good reason and were in no hurry to take them up again. They constantly rejected Harding’s arguments with reference to canon law on the prohibition of clerical armsbearing or the shedding of blood. But one day Harding’s argument had been rebuffed by Cnut with reference to St Cuthbert arriving at Old Melrose to begin his monastic life on a horse carrying a spear. Harding managed to turn this to his advantage – St Cuthbert had postponed his calling to perform military service because the kingdom was in danger. Just as now the Kingdom of God was in danger. A weak argument to be sure as most brothers saw themselves as following in the footsteps of St Cuthbert. Bridoc was the first to be converted – he knew full well that his father or brothers would happily burn the priory to the ground with its inhabitants inside. Quoting the Sermon on the Mount to such people was a waste of breath. It took a further six months to get unanimity but finally at Christmas 1084 the monks at Melrose, now numbering eighteen, voted to seek papal approval for a new monastic order – the Order of the Soldiers of St Cuthbert and the recognition of the Abbey of SS Mary and Cuthbert (Melrose) as the mother house of this new monastic order. And given the schism in the church it was wisely suggested to seek approval from both popes.

    cuthbert001.jpg The stylized symbol of the Cuthbertines based on the pectoral cross in St Cuthberts coffin.
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  8. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    1085: In this year King Edgar wore his crown and held his court in York at Candlemas and for the Easter; then in Tamworth for the Pentecost; then in York for Lammas; then in Westminster for Christmas.

    Here three days before Candlemas Beorhtric[1] passed away; his estrangement from the king hastening his death. The monks chose Aldwine[2] but the king disagreed and wanted to place his chaplain Cynewulf in the seat. Archbishop Wulfstan suggested Æthelweard[3] and the king and Lanfranc and the monks agreed. The archbishops told the council that by their efforts Bristol was no longer a slaver’s port[4]. Soon after this, Lanfranc got leave from the king – though the king was unwilling, so it was considered – and went across the sea to France[5].

    In this year Gregory passed away[6].

    Here one week after Whitsun Edmund[7] passed away; he was abbot for 27 years and was succeeded by Leofric. And following that the burh at Upsettlington[8] was destroyed and most of the people there killed. And here on the eve of Martinmas[9] Witheric[10] passed away and the monks chose Ethelfrith and King Edgar agreed. And also this year began a severe winter.

    1086: In this year, the twentieth of his reign, the king wore his crown and held his court in Westminster at Candlemas; then in Gloucester for the Easter; then in York for the Pentecost and for Lammas; then in Westminster for Christmas.

    Here on the Feast of St Wulfsige[11] Ulfcytel[12] passed away and King Edgar gave the abbey into Ingulf’s care. Also in this year at Easter[13] Gamal[14] returned from Rome.

    Here Desiderius became pope[15].

    And this same year was a very wet year, and a very laborious and sorrowful year in England, in pestilence among cattle; and corn and crops were left rotting and there was such great misfortune with the weather as cannot be easily conceived; there was such great thundering, with much flooding and many people killed by lightning; and it always got worse and worse for men. May God Almighty remedy it when it be his will!

    [1] Bishop of Dunholm who died 30 January.

    [2] Provost of Dunholm. Beorhtric had replaced the canons with monks in the wake of Bishop Leofwine’s murder. Some of the monks came from Westminster but most were from Jarrow-Wearmouth.

    [3] Abbot of Westminster. An Edgar loyalist acceptable to the Gregorian’s because he was not a signatory to the ‘Clofesho Decree’ of the previous year.

    [4] Wulfstan, Lanfranc and Bishop Giso of Wells spent a lot of time over a number of years in Bristol preaching against the slave trade. While the trade may have ended in Bristol, slavery and slave trading was far from being eliminated.

    [5] To St Stephen’s (Caen) where previously he had been abbot. The Dunholm recension continues “France because it seemed to him that little was done according to justice and according to his direction.” Eadmer hints that Lanfranc was exiled by Edgar and given Wulfstan was his probable source of information he may be correct. Edweard Barrow (ed.), Eadmer’s Chronicle (Gloucester: Woodbridge Publishing, 1970).

    [6] Pope Gregory VII died 25 May. Interpolation.

    [7] Abbot of Pershore who died 15 June, succeeded in that office by the Winchester (New Minster) monk Leofric.

    [8] Upsettlington was the second burh the English attempted to establish above the River Tweed as part of their effort to project influence into Lothian. The first burh at nearby Horndean was destroyed two summers previously.

    [9] 18 November.

    [10] Abbot of Cerne, succeeded in that office by the abbey’s provost Ethelfrith.

    [11] 8 January.

    [12] Abbot of Croyland, succeeded in that office by Edgar’s secretary Ingulf, a monk formerly at St Wandrille’s (Fontenelle).

    [13] 5 April.

    [14] Monk, formerly a priest at Hexham who fled to Melrose after Bishop Leofwine’s murder. Had travelled to Rome seeking (and receiving from anti-Pope Clement III) papal endorsement of the Order of the Soldiers of St Cuthbert.

    [15] Abbot of Monte Cassino became Pope Victor II upon his election 24 May. Interpolation.
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  9. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Erik Hood, History of English Diplomacy, (Stamford: Stamford University Press, 1967).

    Wales 1000-1100

    It is tempting to view the relationships between the English and the various Welsh kingdoms/princedoms predominantly through the prism of power politics. Of the various struggles, submissions and shifting military alliances among the ‘great men’ either side of Offa’s Dyke. Certainly that was part of, maybe the primary characteristic of, the relationship but not the full story. ‘Meetings’ on the battlefield are just as frequent in the eleventh century, if not more so but that maybe down to a higher survival of evidence, but it also saw something new.

    The innovation began in the reign of Æthelred II ‘Unræd’[1] with the Ordinance concerning the Dunsæte[2]. The Ordinance sets out the regulations for dealings between English and Welsh in terms of trade, dispute settlement and the like. It was a localized agreement – most probably for the Archenfield[3] area – and it shows cross border interaction was not always adversarial. The ordinance provides the blueprint for a document produced early in the reign of Edgar II[4] known as the Wentsæte Ordinance[5].

    Ðis is seo gerædnes eð Angelcynnes Witenagemót 7 Wealhðeode rædboran betweox Wentsæte gesetton[6].

    So begins the Wentsæte Ordinance, which like the earlier Dunsæte agreement, sets out the regulations for trade, dispute settlement etc. The ordinance deepens the aspirations of Anglo-Welsh equality by removing the ethnic bias – contemporary English and Welsh law codes share an ethnic bias – in wergild payments. But whereas it is unknown for where or for whom the earlier ordinance was produced, the Wentsæte Ordinance was produced in Winchester by the king’s council for the old Welsh kingdom of Gwent – the area soon to known as Wentshire.

    Now this agreement does not signal that Gwent/Wentshire was some kind of proto-multicultural love-in. The provision of wergild is indicative of a violent society that goes beyond mere distrust of neighbours or cattle stealing. While English and Welsh might now share equality before the law, was this reflected in reality? What were the attitudes of those living in Gwent/Wentshire? The first real test of whether the Wentsæte Ordinance would be more than just words on paper came at the first shiremoot at Caerleon. Bishop Herewald of Llandaff bought suit before Cyneweard[7] (the sheriff) that Godric (the sheriff’s brother) had illegally seized the bishopric’s vill of Penrhos. Godric produced a charter confirming King Edgar’s grant of the vill, to which Herewald produced a charter from King Gruffudd ap Llywelyn showing the vill being granted to Llandaff. Of course Gruffudd had been an inveterate enemy of the English, nevertheless the six English and six Welsh lawmen pronounced in favour of the bishop.

    [1] The Ordinance cannot be dated accurately. Best guess is Æthelred II given some wording similarities with law codes from that reign. But it could easily be the reign of Edgar I or Cnut.

    [2] David Tewdor (ed.), The English Legal Tradition: Miscellaneous Documents, (Grantbridge: Grantbridge University Press, 1910), p. 30.

    [3] The Ordinance is irritatingly vague as to where it actually applied.

    [4] Easter 1069. See Earle, Two Great Chronicles Parallel, p. 150.

    [5] Tewdor, Miscellaneous Documents, p.53.

    [6] “This is the ordinance that the English national council and the counsellors of the Welsh people among the Wentsæte have established”.

    [7] Cyneweard of Laughern was a long term sheriff of Worcestershire. Resigned that office 1071 but accepted Edgar’s offer to become the first sheriff of Wentshire at Easter 1077. The first moot was at Michaelmas.
  10. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    1087: In this year the king wore his crown and held his court in Westminster at Candlemas; then in Gloucester for the Easter; then in Chester for the Pentecost; then in York for Lammas; then in Westminster for Christmas.

    This was a very pestiferous year in this land. Such a disease came on men that very nearly every other man had the worst illness – that is the fever, and that so severely that many men died from the illness. Afterwards, through the great bad weather which came as we already told, there came a very great famine over all England, so that many hundreds of miserable men died wretched deaths through the sharp famine. Alas! How wretched and how pitiful a time it was then!

    Who cannot pity such a time? Or who is so hard-hearted that he cannot weep for such misfortune? But such things happen because of the people’s sins, in that they will not love God and righteousness. Just so it was then in those days, that little righteousness was in this land with any man, except with monks alone – there where they behaved well. And some began to wonder whether the king and the principal men were responsible for this wretchedness by turning away from the Holy Father.

    Also, in the same year, before autumn, the holy minster of St Paul, the bishop’s seat in London, burned down, and many other minsters and the largest part – and the finest – of all the town. And the king was distraught because his father, the ætheling Edward, was buried in St Paul’s. And some began to wonder if God Almighty had turned away from the king. So also, at the same time, well-nigh every major market-town in all England burned down. Alas! A pitiful and tearful time it was that year, which brought forth so many misfortunes.

    Also, in the same year Thorgod returned to Melrose on St Ethelwin’s day[1] filled with sorrow – our friend and teacher Aldwin[2] had ended this present life. Everyone was grief stricken at the loss… he was the best of us; he was humble in dress and disposition; he was patient in adversity; he was acute in intellect and provident in counsel; he was always yearning after heavenly things and as far as he was able endeavouring to influence others in the same direction; he was the reason many of us were at Melrose.

    Here Æthelsige[3] passed away on 13 July; the monks chose Ælfred and King Edgar and Archbishop Wulfstan agreed. And not long afterwards Waltheof, that terror-boding battle lord, died at Roxburgh[4].

    1088: In this year the king wore his crown and held his court in Winchester at Candlemas; then in Gloucester for the Easter; then in York for the Pentecost; then in Chester for Lammas; then in York for Christmas.

    Odo acclaimed pope[5].

    Here Giso[6] passed away and he held the seat for twenty seven years and nine weeks; King Edgar gave it to Herewald[7] who was consecrated on 14 July. After Lammas Day King Edgar and Earl Morcar and Toki of Wallingford and Owain[8] the kings thegn travelled into Wales with a raiding land-army, and went deeply through that land with the army but King Edgar saw that he could achieve nothing[9] and returned to Chester.

    And in this year King Malcolm gathered his army and came from Scotland into England, raiding the land of the Northumbrians with greater folly than behoved him; he killed many men and took much treasure and led home many men in captivity; but Earl Waltheof[10] and his men by surprise trapped him, and Earl Oswulf[11] and Ulf the ætheling[12] killed him at Wooler[13]. This was on the Feast of St Osyth[14]. Here Æthelsige[15] passed away and the monks chose Wulfheard and King Edgar agreed.

    On All Saint’s Eve[16] the ætheling Eadward[17] of the Scots and Waltheof[18] of Dunbar arrived at Melrose with most of the Scottish royal family. Donald, Malcolm’s brother had taken the throne and expelled the English from court – more Queen Margaret and the baby ætheling David had been murdered. Abbot-General Harding was confidant we could keep everyone safe till King Edgar came to collect his relatives and bade Waltheof to continue into England.

    [1] 3 May.

    [2] Successively former provost of Winchcombe, Jarrow-Wearmouth and Melrose. Died a hermit at Coldingham on 12 April.

    [3] Abbot of St Augustine’s (Canterbury) succeeded in that office by Ælfred, a monk from the same abbey. Æthelsige was formerly a monk at St Swithin’s (Winchester) and that recension adds “he held for over twenty six years.”

    [4] Earl Waltheof I of Huntington died 28 July in a skirmish with ‘cattle raiders’ trying to destroy the recently completed burh. No evidence exists that the ‘cattle raiders’ were led by King Malcolm III of Scotland but given the ongoing contest for hegemony in Lothian it is highly probable. Said story first appears in the mid-fourteenth century in Ronán’s Historia Majoris Scotia.

    [5] Odo of Châtillon, cardinal-bishop of Ostia became Pope Urban II on 12 March. Pope Victor III having died 16 September 1087. Interpolation.

    [6] Bishop of Wells who died 19 June.

    [7] Provost of Bath abbey.

    [8] Owain ab Edwin ap Gronwy, Lord of Tegeingl. After death of Trahearn ap Caradog ap Gwyn in 1081, Owain had sided with the English. His sister had married Earl Harold of Hereford.

    [9] Apparently to assist Cadwgan ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. Cadwgan and his brothers Madog and Rhirid had forced Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth to flee to Ireland, however Rhys had returned with Hiberno-Norse help and killed Madog and Rhirid which seemed to be a signal for certain nobles of Gwynedd to turn against Cadwgan.

    [10] Earl Waltheof II of Huntington, son of Waltheof I by his mistress Elfgive.

    [11] Earl of Bamburgh.

    [12] Ulf Haroldson aka Ulf fæiger, the younger of the twin sons of Harold II by Ealdgyth of Mercia.

    [13] Malcolm was killed by Waltheof II’s men at Weetwood. The bulk of Malcolm’s army was destroyed at Wooler by Earl Oswulf and Ulf the ætheling.

    [14] 7 October.

    [15] Abbot of Bath who, according to the Gloucester recension “passed away 22 October after a long illness”. Succeeded in that office by the abbey’s provost Wulfheard.

    [16] 31 October.

    [17] Eldest son of King Malcolm and Queen Margaret.

    [18] Youngest son of the late Earl Cospatric of Dunbar. Cospatric had died trying to defend Queen Margaret.
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
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  11. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Peter Brand, The Acta of Edgar II, (London: Regal Historical Academy, 1998)


    No. 212

    1: Bede College Library (York) MS Preston 291.

    A: Ralf Dugdale, Collecteana II, (Bridgnorth, 1647)

    B: Arthur Thorpe, Monasticon Anglorum, (London: Antiquaries Society, 1750)

    MS Preston 291 is in a poor condition with tears and creases obscuring many words. And while use of a magnifying glass with a cold light source can see us through that hurdle there are areas that have been totally ruined due to an earlier attempt to restore the MS. From internal evidence the MS can be dated either 25 April 1090 or 1 April 1092 although the latter is more probable. Text taken from 1. Missing words, indicated thus [] are taken from A.

    † Ēadgār cynge gret eal[le mine] þegenas on Wentsætan . Wéalas 7 Englisce . freondlice . 7 ic cyðe eow ƀ ic hæbbe gegyfen [San]ctus Cuthberto æt M[argam] . saca 7 socna . tol 7 team . 7 infangeneþeof . wiðinne burh 7 wiðuten . 7 on ælce styde . be lande 7 be strande . be wude 7 be felde . ofer eallum þam landum þe wæron gyfene be C[aradog[1]] þegen innto Sanctus Cuthberti mynstre . 7 ne beo nan [man] swa deort þe hit undo ƀ ic hebbe gecyðet Criste 7 Sanctus Cuthberto . 7 ic wylle ƀ ðær beo æfre mynsterlif [7 canonic]a samnung ða hwile þe ænig man leofað. Godes bletsunge beo mid [eallum christen]um mannum ðe f[ilstað] to þes halgan weordscipe. [Amen].

    Ðis writ wæs gemaced æt Wintanceastre on fifta Éaster d[æei] . on Gunnhild gewitnysse ðære cwene . 7 on Éadmund[2] æt[heling . 7 on] Sæman[3] arcebiscop . 7 on Ælfsi[4] biscop . 7 on Godwi[nes[5] eorle]s . 7 on Heardinc[6] aƃƃ . 7 on Sæwold[7] mynsterprauost . 7 ón Magnus[8] burþen . 7 on Alwine[9] lagu .

    [1] Caradog ab Iestyn ap Gwrgant.

    [2] Eldest son of King Edgar II.

    [3] Archbishop Sæman I of York.

    [4] Bishop Ælfsige III of Winchester.

    [5] Earl Godwin I of Sussex.

    [6] Harding, abbot-general of the Order of Soldiers of Saint Cuthbert.

    [7] Sæwold, provost of St Swithin’s (Winchester).

    [8] Magnus Haroldson.

    [9] Æthelwine of Monkswood, one of the English lawmen for Wentshire.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  12. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    :oops:My apologies... The above random page/thread (post #51) bears little resemblance to the last random page torn from The Acta of Edgar II (post #29). The most obvious difference being the lack of translation which I humbly submit now. Of course, the lack of comment which is surely indicative of folks on this board knowing their OE means, this post is probably redundant. However I am nothing if not a perfectionist... well, sort of, if I really was I'd edit the above post properly but I really can't be... Anyhoo, here it is:

    "King Edgar sends friendly greetings to all my thegns in Wentshire, Welsh and English. And I make known to you that I have given to Saint Cuthbert at Margam, sake and soke, toll and team, jurisdiction within burh and without; and in every place, by land and by strand, by wood and by field, over all the lands which were given by the thegn Caradog to Saint Cuthbert’s minster. And let no man be so bold, that he undo what I have declared to Christ and Saint Cuthbert. And I will that there ever be monastic life and canonical congregation while any man lives. God’s blessing be with all Christian men who promote the worship of the saint. Amen.
    This writ was made at Winchester on the fifth day of Easter, with the witness of Gunnhild the queen, and of the ætheling Edmund, and of Archbishop Sæman, and of Bishop Ælfsige, and of Earl Godwin, and of Abbot Harding, and of the provost Sæwold, and of Magnus the chamberlain and of the lawman Æthelwine."
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  13. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    1089: In this year King Edgar wore his crown and held his court in York at Candlemas and for the Easter; then in Westminster for the Pentecost; then in York for Christmas.

    Here four days before Whitsun Æthelric[1] passed away; he held for over thirty years and is buried at St Wilfrid’s[2]. King Edgar gave it to Cynewulf[3]. And not long after Lanfranc passed away[4] and King Edgar gave the arch-seat to Sæman[5]. Here the king took a raiding land-army north and liberated Carlisle.

    Abbot-general Harding had argued with Thorgod and myself most strenuously – the Order of the Soldiers of St Cuthbert was not an auxiliary force of the English or any other crown and its mandate did not include making war on fellow Christians except in self-defence and the forthcoming conflict was purely about revenge. The abbot-general eventually swayed Thorgod with his arguments but my attachment to the late Queen Margaret was of much longer standing and thus on the Feast of St Etheldreda[6] I found myself once again riding to war beside my King; however this time I wore the black of a monk – Harding forbade me to wear the colours of the Order – and my duties included being Edgar’s chaplain.

    It seemed that not long after Edward and Waltheof had arrived at Melrose, Waltheof’s brother Dolfin[7] had turned up at Carlisle with a similar tale and convinced Sigulf to open the gates; except Dolfin had thrown his lot in with Donald and by this ruse Sigulf[8] and the garrison at Carlisle had been taken and executed. The first anyone knew of the fall of Carlisle was two weeks after Easter when Dolfin’s forces suddenly appeared in front of Penrith; the burh was holding but the Scots were laying waste to the Vale of Eden with impunity. Our desire for revenge was put on hold to rectify the uncertain military situation in Cumberland…

    There was nothing fancy in our tactics to retake Carlisle – it was pure brute force. Three days to batter the gate open and then a day of the most horrific slaughter; axe work, sword work, spear work. The Scots knew we were in no mood for mercy and so fought with a manic desperation… one cannot but admire them for they died bravely. Then came the butchers work, the seax work, the post-battle procedure to make sure all those that died were really dead. One wasn’t and I thought I had fought my last battle as a hulking Galwegian swung an axe, not enough force to sever my foot but enough to smash my ankle good and proper. By midwinter Edgar had set me up as the provost – Earl Morcar’s candidate had conveniently died – of the new Benedictine monastery in Chester.

    And in this year a great earth-tremor happened all over England on 11 August, a Saturday about the third hour of the day; and it was a very late year for corn and crops of every kind, so that many men reaped their corn about Martinmas[9] and even later. Here Æthelwold[10] passed away and King Edgar gave the abbey into Ralph’s[11] care.

    1090: In this year the king wore his crown and held his court in York.

    Here King Edgar gathered a raiding land-army and a raiding ship-army and the king and his counsellors decided to split the raiding land-army; one army supported by the raiding ship-army travelling up the east[12] march and the other army departing Carlisle in the west march. The king was with the army at Carlisle but there was a delay when they should have advanced into Scotland; a fleet of ships led by King Godred[13] appeared in the Solway at the mouths of the Eden and Esk. We don’t know if they were there at the behest of the Scots; they were there and they delayed the king’s advance by ten days and the damage was done. A storm dispersed the raiding ship-army led by Earl Godwin with the loss of many men and ships; the east army led by Earl Oswulf and Ulf fæiger were forced to withdraw when confronted by a larger Scottish army. The Scots forced the east army to give battle at Peebles and there were killed Earl Oswulf and Ulf fæiger and Cospatric[14] and many other good men; this was on 3 August and the Scots captured Duncan[15]. King Edgar arrived the next day or the day after and then turned back into England. Here at Christmas news was received that King Donald was reconciled with his nephew and that Duncan had married Uchtreda[16].

    [1] Bishop Æthelric II held Selsey from 1058 to 1070 then Chichester until his death on 16 May. A prominent legalist, Æthelric is believed responsible for most of the law code known as (I) Edgar II.

    [2] A mistake by the scribe. The old church at Selsey was St Wilfrid’s but Æthelric definitely buried at the new Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity at Chichester.

    [3] One of King Edgar’s chaplains.

    [4] In exile in Caen on 24 May.

    [5] Bishop of Lincoln. Eadnoth, another of King Edgar’s chaplains became the new bishop of Lincoln.

    [6] 23 June.

    [7] Eldest son of Earl Cospatric of Dunbar.

    [8] Originally a king’s thegn in Yorkshire who became one the leaders in the English reconquest of Cumberland.

    [9] 11 November.

    [10] Abbot of St Benet of Holme who died 14 November.

    [11] Monk at Peterborough. According to St Benet’s Liber Vitae he was a nephew of the Lady Gytha and thus cousin to Earl Harold I of Hereford.

    [12] Departing the hastily built burh at Berwick.

    [13] Godred Crovan, King of the Isles.

    [14] Second son of Earl Cospatric of Dunbar.

    [15] Eldest son of Malcolm III by his first wife. It seems that his half-brothers (Margaret’s sons) supported Duncan’s claim to the throne before their own.

    [16] Daughter of Earl Cospatric of Dunbar.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  14. JoshConnorMoon Member

    Mar 9, 2019
    Absolutely loving this and the way it's written!

    Anything with dead Normans has me hooked.
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  15. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot

    I've not really touched on events in Normandy beyond The Great Chronicle noting Duke Robert II's death in 1070. The chaos in the duchy following the English debacle is receding and as such they will be re-entering the world stage.
  16. JoshConnorMoon Member

    Mar 9, 2019
    I'm sure they will be, they were nothing if not driven!

    I also really enjoy reading (translated!) your TL per the AS Chronicle. I, for one, appreciate your work :)
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  17. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Again, thankyou:)
    It would have been pretty cool to have a version of The Great Chronicle completely in OE but I don’t have the skills for that. (Pushing my boundaries as it is)
    As noted, :oops:or maybe not, all of OTL recensions of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles have contributed to the St Wæburh’s (Chester) recension created for this ATL especially the Peterborough (or ‘E’) version. Hope it’s not too derivative.
  18. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Æthelwold, History of Not So Recent Events, ed. Merefin Swanton (London: Writers and Readers Publications, 2013)


    As a classic of English historiography since its discovery in the late seventeenth century one really need not offer a justification for a new edition of Æthelwold’s History of Not So Recent Events. However given the ongoing popularity of Olly Bradbury’s Ēadgār II: Prince of Darkness[1], culminating in the highly popular History Station dramas, “Kings of a Dark Age” and its spinoff “Wicked”[2], this new edition of an ‘authentic’ voice of the period will provide a much needed counterpoint to the misconceptions contained therein. Well, one can but hope. Æthelwold’s History has constantly remained in print since its discovery, in easily accessible editions much like Bede or Asser, indeed the last edition was published in 1990[3]. Despite being an easily accessible primary document Bradbury never mentions Æthelwold’s History; it is one of those sources that he dismisses as “dynastic propaganda” and as “an example of English triumphalism”. Still this is not the place to dwell on Bradbury’s shortcomings as an ‘historian’[4].

    Æthelwold (1122-1182) was a grandson of King Edmund III ‘the Grim’ (1069-1110) through his younger twin son Osbern (1097-1160) (see p.6 for a simplified family tree). As the youngest son of a younger son Æthelwold was always destined for the second of the regal family’s two businesses – the church. Æthelwold entered what later became known as Westchester College, Oxford when he was sixteen and upon graduation joined the staff of the bishop of Winchester. The bishop of Winchester at this time was Egbert I (1079-1153), the fifth son of King Edgar II (1052-1100) and thus Æthelwold’s great uncle. Æthelwold was ordained as a priest on his thirtieth birthday by Egbert I and upon the latter’s death, his cousin King Edwin I ‘of Wales’ nominated him for the vacant bishopric and he was duly consecrated the thirty-sixth bishop of Winchester by Archbishop Eadsige II of Canterbury (1101-1155) on Easter Monday 1153.

    It was during Æthelwold’s time with Egbert I that the History was conceived for the ‘authentic’ voice in the History is that of Egbert I. More accurately it is Æthelwold’s memory of that voice for, according to his own correspondence, he did not begin it until 1176[5]. How much of History is Egbert I’s voice is of course open to debate. By Æthelwold’s own admission[6] he drew on John of Worcester[7]’s History of Recent Events in Englaland and his title is obviously a play on John’s. Unfortunately John’s work is no longer extant so a comparison cannot be made to see how much similarity there may have been between the two. Nor is it possible to assess whether Æthelwold succeeded in producing a fuller account of the events between the years 1088-1119. One of the claims made by Æthelwold in a letter to King Edwin II (1141-1212) was that Egbert I actually began to write his own account of those years but stopped for some unspecified reason[8]. In 1995, staff at the Bede Library, King Alfred College Winchester undertaking restoration work on the cover of the St Swithins recension of The Great Chronicle found an enigmatically worded illustration bound inside.

    [1] Olly Bradbury, Ēadgār II: Prince of Darkness, (London: Te Deum Press, 1991).

    [2] Michael Hurstbridge, Kings of a Dark Age, (2008-09; Dublin: The History Station) and Michael Hurstbridge, Wicked, (2010-present; Dublin: The History Station). While artistic license on the part of their creator is all very well, these programmes take more liberty with historical accuracy than the celebrated ‘history’ plays of Wystan Shakspear. Needless to say, Bradbury was ‘historical’ consultant for Kings and the first two seasons of Wicked.

    [3] Æthelwold, History of Not So Recent Events, ed. Merefin Stenton (London: Writers and Readers Publications, 1930). Writers and Readers, Kent Books and English Library Classics all have this title and have regularly published it since 1880. This edition is a replacement of the Stenton edition last published in 1990. Kent Books have indicated their intention to reissue sometime in the next twelve months.

    [4] Many have done this already and there are literally too many to list.

    [5] For example, see the Letter to Queen Mafalda in Alfred Braddock (ed.), Epistolae Ecclesia Anglicana, Vol. 4, (Grantbridge: Grantbridge University Press, 1965).

    [6] Letter to King Edwin (II) in Braddock, Epistolae Ecclesia Anglicana, Vol. 4.

    [7] John of Worcester, monk of St Mary’s, the cathedral priory of Worcester where he was the secretarius – the Worcester recension of The Great Chronicle was maintained by him between the years 1093-1140.

    [8] Letter to King Edwin (II) in Braddock, Epistolae Ecclesia Anglicana, Vol. 4.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  19. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    1091: Here in this year before Easter Archbishop Sæman and Bishop Cynewulf and Bishop Eadnoth returned from Rome[1]. And here Sulien, that most cunning of Britons passed away[2]; Rhygfarch his son was consecrated two weeks after Whitsunday[3] at Canterbury by Archbishop Wulfstan. And Rhygfarch then spent much time in Canterbury and London and Winchester[4].

    Godred Crovan becames King of Dublin.[5]

    Here on 15 October the church of Winchcombe was struck by lightning, and the tower rent in twain; and here two days later a violent whirlwind descended on London and demolished the bridge between London and Southwark, many churches and over six hundred houses. Two men[6] were killed and the roof and rafters of St Mary’s[7] were lifted so high into the air that, on falling, six of the rafters sank so far into the ground that only a seventh or eighth part of their length remained visible.[8]

    1092: In this year Sigbert[9] passed away and he held seventeen years and eight weeks; this was two weeks after Easter and the monks chose Hakon and he went to the king at Winchester and the ætheling Edmund[10] agreed. And not long after Godric[11] passed away and he held twenty-one years less eleven weeks; and the monks chose Æthemær and the ætheling Edmund agreed. Also in this same year, just before Michaelmas[12], the ætheling Eadward[13] with the king’s support travelled into Scotland with an army[14], and won that land without a fight and drove out the king Donald, and (in allegiance to King Edgar) claimed the throne[15].

    And here at Martinmas[16] the king held court at the hall at Westminster and Harold gedwæ[17] and his companions came to London. His men wanted to take quarters where they liked; then one of his men wanted to lodge at the home of a certain townsman against his will, and wounded the townsman, and the townsman killed the other. This townsman was named Eadmær[18] and Harold gedwæ and his companions dragged him to the hall at Westminster; and they were followed by many Londoners for Eadmær was well liked and respected and an alderman no less. With difficulty the king talked the Londoners down and reissued and confirmed the charter of London’s rights; and Harold gedwæ had to pay the fine for breaking the king’s peace and the man price for the injury done to Eadmær and at midwinter Eadmær died and Harold gedwæ was not welcome in London for the rest of his days.

    It was not the first foolish thing the ætheling Harold had done, nor would it be his last.

    This year was a very wet year overall and the winter started with a severe frost.

    [1] Respectively the new holders of York, Chichester and Lincoln who were consecrated by anti-pope Clement III in November 1090.

    [2] Bishop of St David’s. It is not known whether his death was a result of (or in any way related to) the Hiberno-Norse assault on the cathedral which occurred roughly at the same time.

    [3] 15 June.

    [4] Not long after Rhygfarch’s arrival at Canterbury there was an uprising against Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth. In the ‘unsettled’ circumstances it was thought best for the new Bishop of St David’s to remain in England, indeed he didn’t return to Menevia for two years.

    [5] Interpolation.

    [6] Out of an estimated population for London of 18 000.

    [7] St Mary-le-Bow, named for the then newly completed arched crypt which survived the violent whirlwind.

    [8] St Mary’s was in the possession of Christ Church (Canterbury) and their recension of The Great Chronicle adds, “The rafters were said to be 27 or 28 feet long and since they could not be pulled out of the soil, they were cut off at ground level”

    The London event of Friday 17 October would now be described as a tornado, however the Christ Church (Canterbury) recension talks of a “great wind blew from the South” and Eadmer (Barrow, Eadmer’s Chronicle) of a “gale” which suggests a more widespread weather event. It is tempting to see the Winchcombe and London incidents as part of the same weather event but there is not enough evidence to draw such a conclusion. The fire which destroyed most of Croyland abbey in this year was most likely unconnected and was the result of, as the Peterborough recension says, “a north wind [rising] in the night”.

    [9] Abbot of Abbotsbury who died 11 April and was succeeded by that abbey’s provost Hakon.

    [10] King Edgar II’s eldest son.

    [11] Abbot of Tewkesbury who died 1 May and was succeeded by that abbey’s sacristan Æthelmær.

    [12] 29 September.

    [13] Eldest son of Malcolm III by Margaret and accompanied by his brothers Ethelred and Edgar.

    [14] Commanded by the ætheling Edmund with Earl Waltheof II of Huntington and Earl Mærleswein I of Lindsey.

    [15] Most of Lothian rose up against Donald forcing his court to abandon Edinburgh. It is unlikely Eadward claimed the throne by declaring his allegiance to Edgar.

    [16] 19 November.

    [17] Harold Haroldson aka Harold gedwæ, eldest of the twin sons of Harold II by Ealdgyth of Mercia.

    [18] Eadmær of Gracechurch.
  20. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Extract from Æthelwold, History of Not So Recent Events, ed. Merefin Swanton (London: Writers and Readers Publications, 2013)

    INTRODUCTION (continued)

    The illustration (see p. 30) of three horsemen, with the words ‘brothers war’ above them and the names ‘Edmund, Edward, Æthelred’ underneath is obviously unfinished (one can only imagine what the finished illuminated piece would have looked like) but clearly it is of three of the sons of Edgar II. The piece has been dated to c.1150 (which makes it one of the earliest examples of blackletter miniscule in England) and given where it was discovered it is tempting to think it part of Egbert I’s attempted history. Whether Egbert I started a history or if it really is his voice in History does not matter to some extent – the fact remains that Æthelwold has delivered a lively example of historical writing starting with death of King Malcolm III of Scotland (1031-1088) and covering every military/political/religious conflict subsequent to that death up until 1119. But Æthelwold’s personal and colloquial style makes this more than a story of power politics. The rhetoric combined with insightful characterization give the History a vivid and dramatic edge.

    The existence of Æthelwold’s History was well known – it was mentioned and used by Bowyer[1] and Ronán[2] in their respective chronicles – but it was thought to have been lost given that it never made it into print. The discovery of an almost complete MS by Osbert Stutley (1651-1709) in 1682 in an old Cuthbertine grange in Shropshire was a victory in perseverance for antiquarians and in particular for the newly founded Antiquaries Society. Less than six months later Stutley’s sometime collaborator and competitor, Harold Dodsworth (1654-1730), had discovered the fragments of another two MS at the Earl of Huntington’s manor of Ryhall. Unfortunately neither of Dodsworth’s two fragments contained the estimated ten leaves missing from the beginning of Stutley’s MS. (It is quite possible more leaves are missing – there appears to have been some kind of preface/introduction for the MS begins with the concluding remarks on the state of affairs in Scotland; presumably the missing leaves deal with the state of affairs in England and Wales.) The two antiquarians, at the behest of a dying Harold Dugdale (1606-1684) founding secretary of the Antiquaries Society, put aside their differences to produce an edition of Æthelwold’s History based on both of their finds[3].

    The Stutley/Dodsworth edition has remained the text used in every subsequent publication of Æthelwold’s History. Even Stenton, who did much to produce a better reading, kept the ‘superior’ or ‘best’ text approach of Stutely/Dodsworth although he did add three appendices each containing one of the fragments (a third fragment was found bound as part of a miscellaneous MS in the Bede Library, King Alfred College in 1899). This edition intends to use only the Stutley MS as the text with the three fragments contained in appendices. Ideally emendation and modernization would be minimal however this edition is aimed at the general reader not the textual critic or philologist so readability is the key.

    [1] Edwin Bowyer, Polychronicon ab initio mundi usque ad mortem regis AElfwardus, (Westminster: Edward Hadlow, 1473). One of the first books printed by Hadlow and based on Erik Bowyer’s translation of his brother’s MS – although the book was in ME it retained its Latin title. Edwin Bowyer completed his Polychronicon just before his death in 1380. It was a popular history and more than 50 MS copies, including Bowyer’s original, are extant.

    [2] Ronán, Historia Majoris Scotia, (St John’s Toun: 1499). This was its first known printing – the MS which is no longer extant was written in 1359.

    [3] Æthelwold, A History of Not So Recent Events in England, eds. Osbert Stutley and Harold Dugdale, (London: Antiquaries Society, 1689).
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
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