Viking Sources in Translation

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Abingdon manuscript

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle contains an account year by year of events relevant to English history. King Alfred might have been the original initiator of this history work. It is preserved in several medieval manuscripts, which all contain the same text for the early years, but then provide more or less differing accounts of more recent year.

This is the text of the Abingdon manuscript. Only those passages that differ significantly from the Peterborough manuscript have been included here.


Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Abingdon Manuscript

855 [As Winchester MS] . . . . Itermon Hathra's offspring, Hrathra Hwala's offspring, Hwala Bedwig's offspring, Bedwig Scef's offspring, that is the son of Noah: he was born in Noah's Ark; Lamech, Methuselah, Enoch, Jared, Mahalaleel, Cainan, Enos, Seth, Adam the first man, and our father who is Christ.

902. Here Ealhswith passed away, and the same year was the fight at the Holm of the inhabitants of Kent and the Danish.

904. Here the moon grew dark.

905. Here a comet appeared.

907. Here Chester was restored.

909. Here St Oswald's body was brought from Bardney into Mercia.

910. In this year English and Danes fought at Tettenhall, and the English took the victory. And the same year Aethelflaed built the stronghold at Bremesbyrig.

911. Then in this, the next year, Aethelred, lord of the Mercians, departed.

912. Here, on the holy eve of the Invention of the Holy Cross, Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, came to Scergeat and built a stronghold there, and the same year that at Bridgnorth.

913. Here, God helping, Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, went with all the Mercians to Tamworth, and then built the stronghold there early in the summer, and afterwards before Lammas that at Stafford.

914. Then in this, the next year, [was made] that [stronghold] at Eddisbury in early summer; and later in the same year, late in harvest-time, that at Warwick.

915. Then in this, the next year after mid-winter, [was built] that stronghold at Chirbury, and then that at Weardbyrig; and in the same year before mid¬winter that at Runcorn.

916. Here before midsummer, on 16 June, Abbot Ecgberht, guiltless, was killed with his companions. The same day it was the festival of St Cyricus the martyr. And three days later Aethelflaed sent an army into Wales and broke down Brecon Mere, and there took the wife of the king as one of thirty-four.

917. Here before Lammas, God helping, Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, took possession of the stronghold which is called Derby, together with all that belonged to it; also four of her thegns, who were dear to her, were killed there inside the gates.

918. Here in the early part of this year, with God's help, she peaceably got in her control the stronghold at Leicester, and the most part of the raiding-armies that belonged to it were subjected. And also the York-folk had promised her - and some of them granted so by pledge, some confirmed with oaths - that they would be at her disposition. But very quickly after they had done that, she departed, 12 days before midsummer, inside Tamworth, the eighth year that she held control of Mercia with rightful lordship; and her body lies inside Gloucester in the east side-chapel of St Peter's Church.

919. Here also the daughter of Aethelred, lord of the Mercians, was deprived of all control in Mercia, and was led into Wessex three weeks before Christmas; she was called Aelfwynn.

921. Here King Edward built the stronghold at the mouth of the Clwyd.

924. Here King Edward died at Farndon in Mercia, and very soon after that his son Aelfweard died at Oxford; and their bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen as king by the Mercians, and consecrated at Kingston.

956. Here King Eadred passed away, and Eadwig succeeded to the

kingdom.

957. Here the aetheling Edgar succeeded to the kingdom of Mercia.

959. Here King Eadwig passed away, and Edgar, his brother, succeeded to the kingdom both in Wessex and in Mercia and in Northumbria; and he was then 16 years old.

971. Here passed away Archbishop Oscytel, who was first consecrated diocesan bishop for Dorchester; and afterwards it was by consent of King Eadred and of all his councillors that he was consecrated as archbishop for York city. He was bishop 22 years and he passed away at Thame on the night of All Saints' Day, 10 days before Martinmas. And Abbot Thurcytel, his relative, carried the bishop's body to Bedford, because he was abbot there in those days.

976. Here in this year was the great famine in the English race.

977. Here was the great assembly at Kirtlington after Easter, and there Bishop Sideman passed away in a sudden death on 3 o April; he was bishop of Devonshire, and he wanted that his burial should be at at Crediton - at his bishop's seat. Then King Edward and Archbishop Dunstan ordered that they carry him to St Mary's minster, that is at Abingdon - and so it was done thus. And also he is honourably buried on the north side in the side-chapel of St Paul.

978. Here in this year King Edward was martyred, and his brother, the aetheling Aethelred, succeeded to the kingdom; and he was consecrated as king the same year. In that year passed away Aelfwold, who was bishop of Dorset, and his body lies in the minster at Sherborne.

979. In this year Aethelred was consecrated as king on the Sunday, fourteen days after Easter, at Kingston; and there were at his consecration two archbishops and ten diocesan bishops. The same year a bloody cloud was seen, many times in the likeness of fire; and it appeared most of all at midnight; and it was formed thus of various beams; then when it became day it glided away.

980. Here in this year, on 2 May, Abbot Aethelgar was consecrated as bishop for the bishop's seat at Selsey, and in the same year Southampton was ravaged by a raiding ship-army and most of the town-dwellers killed or taken prisoner. And the same year the land of Thanet was raided; and the same year Cheshire was raided by a northern raiding ship-army.

981. Here in this year Padstow was raided; and the same year great harm was done everywhere along the sea-coast, both in Devon and in Cornwall. And in the same year Aelfstan, bishop in Wiltshire, passed away; and his body lies in the monastery at Abingdon; and Wulfgar succeeded to the bishopric. And in the same year Womar, abbot in Ghent, passed away.

982. Here in this year 3 ships of vikings came up in Dorset and raided in Portland. The same year London town burned; and in the same year two ealdormen passed away, Aethelmaer in Hampshire and Edwin in Sussex; and Aethelmaer's body rests in the New Minster in Winchester, and Edwin's in the monastery at Abingdon. The same year two abbesses in Dorset passed away: Herelufu in Shaftesbury and Wulfwynn in Wareham. And the same year Otto, emperor of the Romans, went to the land of the Greeks, and then met a great army of the Saracens coming up from the sea [who] wanted to make a raid on the Christian people. And then the emperor fought against them, and there was great slaughter on either side, and the emperor had possession of the place of slaughter; and yet he was greatly harrassed there before he turned back from there. And then, as he went home, his brother's son, who was called Otto, passed away; and he was the son of the setheling Liudolf, and this Liudolf was son of Otto the Elder and King Edward's daughter.

983. Here Ealdorman Aelfhere passed away, and Aelfric succeeded to the same ealdormanship; and Pope Benedict passed away.

984. Here Bishop Aethelwold passed away on 1 August.

985. Here Ealdorman Aelfric was driven out of the country, and in the same year Edwin was consecrated as abbot for the monastery at Abingdon.

986. Here the king did for the bishopric at Rochester; and here the great pestilence among cattle first came to England.

988. Here Watchet was raided, and Goda, the Devonshire thane, killed and a great slaughter with him. Here Archbishop Dunstan died, and Bishop Aethelgar succeeded to the arch-seat after him; and he lived for a short time after that - no more than 1 year and 3 months.

990. Here Sigeric was consecrated as archbishop; and Abbot Edwin passed

away, and Abbot Wulfgar succeeded to the rule.

1023. Here King Cnut came back to England, and Thurkil and he were agreed. And he entrusted Denmark and his son to Thurkil to guard, and the king took Thurkil's son with him to England. And afterwards he had the relics of St Aelfheah conveyed from London to Canterbury.

1028. Here King Cnut went to Norway with 50 ships.

1030. Here King Olaf was killed in Norway by his own people and was afterwards canonized. And before that this year, Hakon, the doughty jarl, perished at sea.

1034. Here Bishop Aethelric, departed, and he lies in Ramsey.

1035. Here King Cnut passed away on 12 November at Shaftesbury; and he was conveyed from there to Winchester and buried there. And the Lady Aelfgifu Emma then settled inside there. And Harold, who said that he was son of Cnut and the other Aelfgifu - although it was not true - he sent and had taken from her all the best treasures which King Cnut had, which she could not withhold; nevertheless she stayed on inside there as long as she could.

1036. Here Alfred, the blameless aetheling, son of King Aethelred, came in here, and wanted to visit his mother who was staying in Winchester; but Earl Godwine would not allow him to - nor also would other men who wielded great power - because the murmur was very much in Harold's favour, although it was unjust.

[THE DEATH OF ALFRED] But then Godwine stopped him, and set him in captivity,
and drove off his companions, and some variously killed;
some of them were sold for money, some cruelly destroyed,
some of them were fettered, some of them were blinded,
some maimed, some scalped.
No more horrible deed was done in this country
since the Danes came and made peace here.
Now we must trust to the dear God
that they who, without blame, were so wretchedly destroyed
rejoice happily with Christ,
The aetheling still lived; he was threatened with every evil;
until it was decided that he be led
to Ely town, fettered thus.
As soon as he came on ship he was blinded,
and blind thus brought to the monks.
And there he dwelt as long as he lived.
Afterwards he was buried, as well befitted him,
full honourably, as he was entitled,
at the west end, very near at hand to the steeple,
in the south side-chapel. His soul is with Christ.

1037. Here Harold was everywhere chosen as king, and Harthacnut forsaken because he was too long in Denmark; and his mother, Queen /Elfgifu, was driven out without any mercy to face the raging winter; and she then came beyond the sea to Bruges, and there Earl Baldwin received her well, and kept her there as long as she had need. And earlier this year Aefic, the noble dean in Evesham, departed.

1038. Here the good Archbishop Aethelnoth departed, and Aethelric, bishop in Sussex, and Aelfric, bishop in East Anglia, and on 20 December Beorhtheah, bishop in Worcestershire.

1039. Here came the great gale; and Bishop Beorhtmaer died in Lichfield. And the Welsh killed Eadwine, brother of Earl Leofric, and Thurkil and Aelfgeat, and very many other good men with them. And here also Harthacnut came to Bruges, where his mother was.

1040. Here King Harold died. Then they sent to Bruges for Harthacnut - it was supposed that they did well - and then before midsummer he came here with 60 ships, and then started a very severe tax that was endured with difficulty: that was 8 marks a rowlock; and all who had hankered for him before, were then disloyal to him. And also he never accomplished anything kingly for as long as he ruled. He had the dead Harold dragged up and flung into a fen.

1041. Here Harthacnut had all Worcestershire raided on account of his two housecarls who Were collecting the formidable tax when that people killed them within the market-town, inside the minster. And soon in that year came from beyond the sea Edward, his brother on the mother's side - King Aethelred's son, who had been driven from his country many years earlier, and yet was sworn in as king; and then he dwelled thus in his brother's court as long as he lived. And also in this year Harthacnut betrayed Earl Eadwulfunder his safe-conduct - and then he was a pledge-breaker.

1042. Here Harthacnut died as he stood at his drink, and he suddenly fell to the earth with an awful convulsion; and those who were close by took hold of him, and he spoke no word afterwards, and he passed away on 8 June. And all the people then received Edward as king, as was his natural right.

1043. Here Edward was consecrated as king in Winchester on the first day of Easter with great honour: and Easter was then on 3 April. Archbishop Eadsige consecrated him, and fully instructed him before all the people, and fully admonished him as to his own need and that of the people. And Stigand the priest was blessed as bishop for East Anglia. And quickly afterwards the king had brought into his hands all the lands which his mother owned, and took from her all she owned in gold and in silver and in untold things, because earlier she had kept it from him too firmly. And quickly after, Stigand was put out of his bishopric and all that he owned was taken into the king's hands, because he was his mother's closest advisor and because she did just as he advised her - so men supposed.

1044. Here Archbishop Eadsige left that bishopric because of his infirmity and blessed Siward, abbot of Abingdon, as bishop to it by leave and counsel of the king and Earl Godwine. Otherwise it was known to few men before it was done because the archbishop thought that, if more men knew about it, some other man whom he trusted and favoured less would ask or buy it. And in this year was a very great famine over all the land of the English, and corn as dear as any man remembered before, so that the sester of wheat went to 60 pence and even further. And the same year the king went out to Sandwich with 3 5 ships; and Athelstan, the sacristan, succeeded to the abbacy at Abingdon. And in the same year [1045] King Edward took Edith, the daughter of Earl Godwine, as his wife 10 days before Candlemas.

1045. Here in this year Bishop Beorhtwold passed away on 22 April, and King Edward gave his priest Hereman that bishopric. And in the same summer King Edward went out with his ships to Sandwich; and there was gathered so great a raiding-army that no-one had ever seen a greater raiding ship-army in this land. And in this same year [1046] Bishop Lyfing passed away on 20 March, and the king gave his priest Leofric that bishopric.

1046. Here Earl Swein went into Wales, and Gruffydd, the northern king, together with him, and he was granted hostages. Then, when he was on his way home, he commanded the abbess in Leominster to be fetched to him, and kept her as long as it suited him, and afterwards let her travel home. And in this same year Osgod Clapa was outlawed before midwinter. And after Candlemas in this same year [1047] came the severe winter with frost and with snow and with all bad weather, such that there was no man alive who could remember so severe a winter as that was, both through the mortality of men and mortality of cattle; both birds and fish perished through the great cold and hunger.

1047. Here in this year Bishop Grimcytel passed away: he was bishop in Sussex; and he lies in Christ Church in Canterbury; and King Edward gave that bishopric to Heca, his priest. And in this same year, on 29 August, passed away Bishop Aelfwine, and King Edward gave Bishop Stigand that bishopric. And Athelstan, abbot in Abingdon, passed away in the same year [1048] on 25) March; Easter Day was then on 3 April. And there was a very great pestilence among men over all England in this same year.

1048. Here in this year was a great earth-tremor widely in England. And in the same year Sandwich and Wight were raided, and the best men that were there were killed; and King Edward and the earls went out after them in their ships. And in the same year Bishop Siward resigned the bishopric because of his infirmity, and went to Abingdon, and Archbishop Eadsige again succeeded to the bishopric; and within 8 weeks of this he [Siward] passed away on 23 October.

1049. Here in this year the emperor gathered a countless army against Baldwin of Bruges, because he had broken down the palace at Nijmegen, and also caused him many other offences. The army which he had gathered was untold; there was: Leo, the pope from Rome,' and numerous famous men from many nations. He also sent to King Edward, and asked him for support with ships so that he would not allow his escape by water. And then he [Edward] went to Sandwich, and lay there with a great raiding ship-army until the emperor had all that he wanted from Baldwin.

There Earl Swein came back again to King Edward, and begged him for land so that he could maintain himself on it; but Harold his brother, and Earl Beorn opposed it, in that they did not want to give him back anything of what the king had given to them. He came here with guile, said that he wanted to be his [the king's] man, and asked Earl Beorn that he should be of help to him, but the king refused him everything. Then Swein turned to Bosham to his ships, and Earl Godwine went from Sandwich with 42 ships to Pevensey, and Earl Beorn along with him. Then the king allowed all the Mercians to go home, and they did so. Then when the king was informed that Osgod lay in Wulpe with 29 ships, the king sent after the ships he could send for, which lay within the North Mouth. But Osgod set his wife in Bruges, and turned back again with 6 ships, and the others went to Eadulf's Ness in Essex and did harm there and turned back to the ships. Earl Godwine and Earl Beorn then lay at Pevensey with their ships. Then Earl Swein came with treachery and asked Earl Beorn that he should be his companion to Sandwich to the king - said that he wanted to swear him oaths and be loyal to him. Then, because of their kinship, Beorn imagined that he would not betray him, then took 3 companions with him, and then rode (just as if they were to go to Sandwich) to Bosham, where Swein's ships lay. And he was immediately bound and led on ship, and then conveyed to Dartmouth, and there killed and buried deep. But Harold, his relative, fetched him from there and led [him] to Winchester, and there buried [him] with King Cnut, his uncle.

And the king and all the raiding-army then declared Swein to be a 'nithing'.He had 8 ships before he murdered Beorn; afterwards all abandoned him except 2. And then he turned to Bruges, and lived there with Baldwin.

And in this year passed away Eadnoth, the good bishop in Oxfordshire,and Oswy, abbot in Thorney, and Wulfnoth, abbot in Westminster. And King Edward gave that bishopric to Ulf, his priest, and bestowed it badly.

And in this same year [1050] King Edward ended the contract of 9 ships, and they went away with ships and everything; and 5 of the ships were left behind, and the king promised them 12 months' pay.

And in the same year Bishop Hereman and Bishop Aldred travelled to Rome to the pope, on a mission for the king.

1050. Here in this year the bishops came home from Rome, and Earl Swein was reinstated. And on 29 October in this same year, Archbishop Eadsige passed away, and also on 22 January in this same year [1051] Aelfric, archbishop in York, and his body lies in Peterborough. Then at mid-Lent [1051] King Edward had a council-meeting in London, and set Robert as archbishop for Canterbury and Abbot Sparrowhawk bishop for London, and gave Bishop Rudolph, his relative, that abbacy in Abingdon. And in this same year he laid off all his fleet-men. 1051. Here in this year Archbishop Robert came across the sea here with his pallium; and in this same year Earl Godwine and all his sons were put to flight from England, and he turned to Bruges, and his wife and his three sons: Swein and Tostig and Gyrth. And Harold and Leofwine turned to Ireland, and lived there for the winter. And in this same year [1052] on 14 March passed away the Old Lady, mother of King Edward and Harthacnut, called Emma. And her body lies in the Old Minster with King Cnut.

1052. Here Earl Harold came from Ireland with ships into the mouth of the Severn near the borders of Somerset and Devonshire, and raided there a lot; and the local people, both from Somerset and from Devonshire, gathered to oppose him, and he put them to flight and killed there more than 30 good thegns besides other people, and immediately after this went around Penwith Tail. And then King Edward had 40 cutters embarked which lay at Sandwich for many weeks. They were to waylay Earl Godwine, who was in Bruges that winter; however, he came here to the country first before they knew about it, and during the time he was here in the land he enticed to him all the Kentish and all the boatmen from Hastings and everywhere there along the sea-coast, and all the east part, and Sussex and Surrey and much else in addition. Then they all declared that they would live and die with him. Then when the fleet which lay in Sandwich learnt about Godwine's expedition, they set out after him, and he escaped them and defended himself wherever he could, and that fleet turned back to Sandwich and so homeward to London town. Then when Godwine learnt that the fleet which lay at Sandwich had turned home, then he went back to Wight, and lay thereabouts along the sea-coast until they came together - his son, Earl Harold, and he. And they did no great harm after they came together, except that they seized provisions; but they enticed to them all the local people along the sea-coast and also up inland. And they went towards Sandwich, and kept on collecting to them all the boatmen that they met, and then came to Sandwich with a streaming raiding-army. When King Edward learnt that, then he sent up for more help, but they came very late, and Godwine kept moving towards London with his fleet, so that he came to Southwark, and there waited for a while until the tide came up. In that time he also settled with the town inhabitants so that they wanted almost all that he wanted. Then when he had arranged his passage, the tide came and then they immediately pulled up their anchors and held on through the bridge along the south bank; and the land-army came down and arrayed themselves along the shore. And then they veered with the ships towards the north bank as if they wanted to circle around the king's ships. The king also had a great land-army on his side in addition to his shipmen, but it was abhorrent to almost all of them that they should fight against men of their own race, because there was little else of any great value except English men on either side; and also they did not want that this country should be the more greatly laid open to foreign nations, should they themselves destroy each other. It was decided then that wise men should be sent between them and arrange peace on either side; and Godwine landed, and Harold his son, and as many of their fleet as they thought, and then there was a meeting of the council; and Godwine was clean granted his earldom as fully and as completely as he ever owned it, and his sons all just what they earlier owned, and his wife and his daughter as fully and as completely as they earlier owned; and they affirmed complete friendship between them, and promised good law for all the people; and then outlawed all the French men who earlier promoted illegality and passed unjust judgments and counselled bad counsel in this country, except for as many as they decided that the king liked to have about him, who were faithful to him and all his people. And Bishop Robert and Bishop William and Bishop Ulf escaped with difficulty with the French men who were with them, and thus came away across the sea. And Earl Godwine and Harold and the queen retained their estate. Swein had earlier gone from Bruges to Jerusalem, and died while on his way home at Constantinople on Michaelmas Day. It was on the Monday after the Feast of St Mary that Godwine came to Southwark with his ships, and the next morning on the Tuesday they became reconciled, as it stands above. Then soon after he landed Godwine was taken ill, and afterwards recovered but he made all too little reparation for God's property which he had from many holy places. In the same year came the strong wind on the eve of the Feast of St Thomas and did great harm everywhere. Also Rhys, brother of the Welsh king, was killed.

1053. In this year the king was in Winchester at Easter, and with him Earl Godwine, and Earl Harold, his son, and Tostig. Then when on the second day of Easter he sat at dinner with the king, he suddenly sank down against the footstool, deprived of speech and of all his strength; he was carried into the king's chamber and it was thought it would pass over, but it was not so; but he remained thus, unspeaking and helpless, through until the Thursday, and then gave up his life. And he lies there in the Old Minster; and his son Harold succeeded to his earldom, and left that he earlier had, and Aelfgar succeeded to that.

This same year departed Wulfsige, bishop in Lichfield, and Leofwine, abbot in Coventry, succeeded to the bishopric, and Aethelweard, abbot in Glastonbury, departed, and Godwine, abbot in Winchcombe.

Also the Welsh men killed a great part of the English people of the guard near Westbury.

In this year there was no archbishop in this land, except Bishop Stigand held the bishopric in Canterbury in Christ Church; and Cynesige in York and Leofwine and Wulfwig went across the sea and had themselves ordained bishop there. That Wulfwig succeeded to the bishopric which Ulf had while he was living and driven out.

1054. Here Earl Siward went with a great raiding-army into Scotland, and made great slaughter of Scots and put them to flight; and the king escaped. Also many fell on his side, both Danish and English, and also his own son. This same year the minster in Evesham was consecrated on JO October. In the same year Bishop Aldred travelled south across the sea into Saxony, and was received there with great honour. The same year Osgod Clapa departed suddenly as he lay in his bed.

[1055]. In this year Earl Siward passed away in York, and his body lies within the minster at Galmanho, which he himself earlier built to the glory of God and all His Saints. Then within a short while after this there was a council-meeting in London, and then Earl Aelfgar, son of Earl Leofric, was outlawed without any fault; and then he turned to Ireland, and there got himself a fleet, which was 18 ships apart from his own, and then turned to Wales to King Gruffydd with that troop; and he received him under his safe-conduct. And then they gathered a great army with the Irish men and with the Welsh race, and Earl Ralph gathered a great army against them at Hereford market-town, and they sought them out there; but before there was any spear thrown, the English people already fled, because they were on horse; and a great slaughter was made - about four hundred men, or five - and they none in return; and they then turned to the market-town and burned it down; and the famous minster which the reverend bishop Athelstan had built earlier, that they stripped and robbed of holy things, and of robes and of everything, and killed the people, and some led away. Then an army was gathered throughout all neighbouring England; and they came to Gloucester and turned a little way out into Wales, and lay there for some time; and in that time Earl Harold had a dyke built round the town.Meanwhile peace was spoken about, and Earl Harold and those who were with him came to Billingsley, and there affirmed peace and friendship between them. And then Earl Aelfgar was reinstated and given back all that was earlier taken from him. And the fleet of ships turned to Chester, and there waited for their pay which Aelfgar had promised them. The massacre was on 2.4 October. In the same year, soon after the raid, Tremerig, the Welsh bishop, passed away; he was Bishop Athelstan's deputy after he was unwell.

[1056]. Here departed the reverend bishop Athelstan on 10 February and his body lies in Hereford market-town, and Leofgar, who was Earl Harold's mass-priest, was set as bishop; he wore his moustaches during his priesthood until he was bishop. He abandoned his chrism and his cross, his spiritual weapons, after his ordination as bishop, and took up his spear and his sword, and went thus to the campaign against Gruffydd, the Welsh king, and they killed him there, and his priests with him, and the sheriff Aelfnoth, and many good men with them, and the others fled away. This was 8 days before midsummer. It is difficult to describe the hardship, and all the travelling and the campaigning, and that labour and loss of men, and also horses, which all the raiding-army of the English suffered, until Earl Leofric and Earl Harold and Bishop Aldred arrived and made reconciliation between them there, so that Gruffydd swore oaths that he would be a loyal and undeceiving under-king to King Edward. And Bishop Aldred succeeded to the bishopric which Leofgar earlier had for n weeks and 4 days. In the same year departed the emperor Cona. This year departed Earl Odda, and his body lies in Pershore; and he was ordained a monk before his end. He departed on 31 August.

1065. Here in this year before Lammas, Earl Harold ordered construction in Wales at Portskewett now that he had won it, and there he gathered many goods, and thought to have the king Edward there for the sake of the hunting. And then when it was almost gathered, Caradog, Gruffydd's son, came up with all those whom he could get, and killed almost all the people who built there, and seized the goods which were gathered there. And the massacre was on St Bartholomew's Day. And then, after Michaelmas, all the thegns in Yorkshire went to York, and there killed all Earl Tostig's housecarls whom they could find out about, and seized his treasures.

And Tostig was then at Britford with the king. And then very quickly after that, there was a great meeting at Northampton, and so [also] in Oxford, on Simon and Judes' Day; and Earl Harold was there, and wanted to work their reconciliation if he could, but he could not. But all his [Tostig's] earldom unanimously deserted and outlawed him, and all those with him who promoted injustice, because he robbed God first, and then despoiled of life and of land all those he had power over. And they took Morcar as their earl, and Tostig then went across the sea, and his wife with him, to the land of Baldwin, and took winter-quarters at St Omer. And King Edward came to Westminster towards midwinter, and had consecrated there that minster which he himself built to the glory of God and St Peter and all God's saints; and the church consecration was on Holy Innocents' Day; and he passed away on the eve of Twelfth Night, and he was buried on Twelfth Night in the same minster, as it says hereafter:

[THE DEATH OF EDWARD]
Here King Edward, lord of the English,
sent a righteous soul to Christ,
a holy spirit into God's keeping.
Here in the world he lived for a while
in kingly splendour, skilful in counsel;
24-and-a-half
in number of years, a noble ruler,
distributed riches. Aethelred's son
ruler of heroes, greatly distinguished,
ruled Welsh and Scots, and Britons too,
Angles and Saxons, combatant champions.
Cold sea waves thus encircle
all youthful men that loyally
obeyed Edward, princely king.
The blameless king was ever blithe of mood,
though long before, bereft of land,
he lived in paths of exile widely through the world,
after Cnut had overcome the race of Aethelred,
and Danes ruled the dear kingdom
of England for 28 years
in number, dispensed riches.
Afterwards came forth, noble in array,
a king good in virtues, pure and mild;
the princely Edward defended homeland,
country and nation, until the very bitter death
suddenly came and seized so dear
a prince from the earth. Angels conveyed the
righteous soul into heaven's light.
However, the wise man committed the kingdom
to a distinguished man, Harold himself,
a princely earl, who at all times
loyally obeyed his superior
in words and deeds, neglecting nothing
of which the nation's king was in need.

And here also Harold became consecrated as king, and he experienced little quietness in it while he ruled the kingdom.

[1066]. In this year King Harold came from York to Westminster at the Easter which was after the midwinter that the king passed away; and Easter was then on 16 April. Then throughout all England, a sign such as men never saw before was seen in the heavens. Some men declared that it was the star comet, which some men call the 'haired' star; and it appeared first on the eve of the Greater Litany, that is on 24 April, and shone thus all the week. And soon thereafter came Earl Tostig from beyond the sea into Wight, with as great a fleet as he could get, and there he was given both money and provisions; and then went from there, and did harm everywhere along the sea-coast where he could get to, until he came to Sandwich. Then when King Harold, who was in London, was informed that his brother Tostig had come to Sandwich, he gathered a greater ship-army and also land-army than any king in the land had ever gathered before, because he was told for certain that Earl William from Normandy, relative of King Edward, wanted to come here and win this land, just as it afterwards came to pass. Then when Tostig found out that King Harold was on his way to Sandwich, he went from Sandwich, and took some of the boatmen with him, some willingly, some unwillingly; and then turned north into. . . ., and there raided in Lindsey, and killed many good men there. Then when Earl Edwin and Earl Morcar realised that, they came there and drove him out of the land. And he then went to Scotland - and the king of Scots gave him safe-conduct and helped him with provisions - and lived there all summer. Then King Harold came to Sandwich, and waited for his fleet there, because it was long before it could be gathered. And then when his fleet was gathered, he went into Wight, and lay there all the summer and the autumn; and a land-army was kept everywhere by the sea, although in the end it was to no avail. Then when it was the Nativity of St Mary, the men's provisions were gone, and no one could hold them there any longer. Then the men were allowed to go home, and the king rode inland, and the ships were sent to London, and many perished before they came there. Then when the ships came home, King Harald from Norway then came by surprise north into the Tyne with a very great raiding ship-army - and no little one: it could be. . . ? or more - and Earl Tostig came to him with all that he had got, just as they had earlier spoken about; and then both went with all the fleet along the Ouse up towards York. Then King Harold, in the south, was informed when he came off ship, that Harald, king in Norway, and Earl Tostig were landed near York. Then he went northward, by day and night, as quickly as he could gather his army. Then before the king Harold could come there, Earl Edwin and Earl Morcar had gathered from their earldom as great a force as they could get, and fought with that raiding-army and made a great slaughter; and there many of the English people were killed and drowned and driven in flight; and the Norwegians had possession of the place of slaughter. And this fight was on the Vigil of St Matthew the Apostle, and that was Wednesday. And then after the fight Harald king of Norway and Earl Tostig went into York with as great a force as seemed to them [necessary] and they were given hostages from the town, and also help with provisions, and so went from there to ship, and spoke of complete peace provided that they would all go south with them and win this land. Then in the middle of this came Harold, king of the English, with all his army on the Sunday to Tadcaster and there marshalled his fleet; and then on Monday went right through York. And Harald, king of Norway, and Earl Tostig and their division had gone from ship beyond York to Stamford Bridge, because it had been promised them for certain that hostages would be brought to meet them there from the whole shire. Then Harold, king of the English, came upon them beyond the bridge by surprise; and there they joined battle and were fighting very hard long in the day; and there Harald, king of Norway, was killed and Earl Tostig and countless people with them, both of Northmen and of English. And the Northmen fled from the English. There was one of the Norwegians who withstood the English people so that they could not cross the bridge nor gain victory. Then one Englishman shot with an arrow but it was to no avail, and then another came under the bridge and stabbed him through under the mail-coat. Then Harold, king of the English, came over the bridge, and his army along with him, and there made a great slaughter of both Norwegians and Flemings; and Harold let the king's son, who was called The Elegant, go home to Norway with all the ships.


Source:The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, trans. by Michael Swanton (London, 1996). Scanned and proofread by Eric C. Knibbs, 2006. Annotated by Anders Winroth.

This text is part of Viking Sources in Translation. Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© 2006 Anders Winroth
Anders.Winroth@Yale.edu