Annals from A.D. 752 to A.D. 800
This year, the twelfth of his reign, Cuthred, king of the
West-Saxons, fought at Burford26
with Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, and put him to
This year Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons, fought against
This year died Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons; and
Sebright, his relative, succeeded to the kingdom, which he
held one year; Cyneard succeeded Humferth in the see of
Winchester; and Canterbury was this year on fire.
This year Cynewulf, with the consent of the West-Saxon
council, deprived Sebright, his relative, for unrighteous
deeds, of his kingdom, except Hampshire; which he retained,
until he slew the alderman who remained the longest with
him. Then Cynewulf drove him to the forest of Andred, where
he remained, until a swain stabbed him at Privett, and
revenged the alderman, Cumbra. The same Cynewulf fought many
hard battles with the Welsh; and, about one and thirty
winters after he had the kingdom, he was desirous of
expelling a prince called Cyneard, who was the brother of
Sebright. But he having understood that the king was gone,
thinly attended, on a visit to a lady at Merton,27
rode after him, and beset him therein; surrounding the town
without, ere the attendants of the king were aware of him.
When the king found this, he went out of doors, and defended
himself with courage; till, having looked on the etheling,
he rushed out upon him, and wounded him severely. Then were
they all fighting against the king, until they had slain
him. As soon as the king's thanes in the lady's bower heard
the tumult, they ran to the spot, whoever was then ready.
The etheling immediately offered them life and rewards;
which none of them would accept, but continued fighting
together against him, till they all lay dead, except one
British hostage, and he was severely wounded. When the
king's thanes that were behind heard in the morning that the
king was slain, they rode to the spot, Osric his alderman,
and Wiverth his thane, and the men that he had left behind;
and they met the etheling at the town, where the king lay
slain. The gates, however, were locked against them, which
they attempted to force; but he promised them their own
choice of money and land, if they would grant him the
kingdom; reminding them, that their relatives were already
with him, who would never desert him. To which they
answered, that no relative could be dearer to them than
their lord, and that they would never follow his murderer.
Then they besought their relatives to depart from him, safe
and sound. They replied, that the same request was made to
their comrades that were formerly with the king; "And we are
as regardless of the result," they rejoined, "as our
comrades who with the king were slain." Then they continued
fighting at the gates, till they rushed in, and slew the
etheling and all the men that were with him; except one, who
was the godson of the alderman, and whose life he spared,
though he was often wounded. This same Cynewulf reigned one
and thirty winters. His body lies at Winchester, and that of
the etheling at Axminster. Their paternal pedigree goeth in
a direct line to Cerdic. The same year Ethelbald, king of
the Mercians, was slain at Seckington; and his body lies at
Repton. He reigned one and forty years; and Bernred then
succeeded to the kingdom, which he held but a little while,
and unprosperously; for King Offa the same year put him to
flight, and assumed the government; which he held nine and
thirty winters. His son Everth held it a hundred and forty
days. Offa was the son of Thingferth, Thingferth of Enwulf,
Enwulf of Osmod, Osmod of Eawa, Eawa of Webba, Webba of
Creoda, Creoda of Cenwald, Cenwald of Cnebba, Cnebba of
Icel, Icel of Eomer, Eomer of Angelthew, Angelthew of Offa,
Offa of Wermund, Wermund of Witley, Witley of Woden.
This year Cynewulf deprived King Sigebert of his kingdom;
and Sigebert's brother, Cynehard by name, slew Cynewulf
at Merton; and he reigned thirty-one years. And in the
same year Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, was slain at
Repton. And Offa succeeded to the kingdom of the
Mercians, Bernred being driven out.
This year Eadbert, king of the Northumbrians, received the
tonsure, and his son Osulf the kingdom; which he held one
year. Him his own domestics slew on the ninth day before the
kalends of August.
This year died Archbishop Cuthbert. He held the
archbishopric eighteen years.
This year Bregowin was invested archbishop at Michaelmas,
and continued four years. Mull Ethelwold this year succeeded
to the Northumbrian kingdom, held it six winters, and then
This year died Ethelbert, King of Kent, who was the son of
King Wihtred, and also of Ceolwulf.
This year was the severe winter; and Mull, king of the
Northumbrians, slew Oswin at Edwin's-Cliff, on the eighth
day before the ides of August.
This year died Archbishop Bregowin.
This year Eanbert was invested archbishop, on the fortieth
day over mid-winter; and Frithwald, Bishop of Whitern, died
on the nones of May. He was consecrated at York, on the
eighteenth day before the calends of September, in the sixth
year of the reign of Ceolwulf, and was bishop nine and
twenty winters. Then was Petwin consecrated Bishop of
Whitern at Adlingfleet, on the sixteenth day before the
calends of August.
This year Archbishop Eanbert received the pall.
This year Alred succeeded to the kingdom of the
Northumbrians, and reigned eight winters.
This year died Archbishop Egbert at York, on the thirteenth
day before the calends of December, who was bishop
thirty-six winters; and Frithbert at Hexham, who was bishop
there thirty-four winters. Ethelbert was consecrated to
York, and Elmund to Hexham.
This year died King Eadbert, the son of Eata, on the
fourteenth day before the calends of September.
This year died Bishop Mildred.
This year the Northumbrians banished their king, Alred, from
York at Easter-tide; and chose Ethelred, the son of Mull,
for their lord, who reigned four winters. This year also
appeared in the heavens a red crucifix, after sunset; the
Mercians and the men of Kent fought at Otford; and wonderful
serpents were seen in the land of the South-Saxons.
This year Cynewulf and Offa fought near Bensington, and Offa
took possession of the town. In the days of this king, Offa,
there was an abbot at Medhamsted, called Beonna; who, with
the consent of all the monks of the minster, let to farm, to
Alderman Cuthbert, ten copyhold lands at Swineshead, with
leasow and with meadow, and with all the appurtenances;
provided that the said Cuthbert gave the said abbot fifty
pounds therefore, and each year entertainment for one night,
or thirty shillings in money;28
provided also, that after his decease the said lands should
revert to the monastery. The king, Offa, and King Everth,
and Archbishop Hibbert, and Bishop Ceolwulf, and Bishop
Inwona, and Abbot Beonna, and many other bishops, and
abbots, and rich men, were witnesses to this. In the days of
this same Offa was an alderman, of the name of Brorda, who
requested the king for his sake to free his own monastery,
called Woking, because he would give it to Medhamsted and
St. Peter, and the abbot that then was, whose name was Pusa.
Pusa succeeded Beonna; and the king loved him much. And the
king freed the monastery of Woking, against king, against
bishop, against earl, and against all men' so that no man
should have any claim there, except St. Peter and the abbot.
This was done at the king's town called Free-Richburn.
This year died Bishop Petwin, on the thirteenth day before
the calends of October, having been bishop fourteen winters.
The same year Ethelbert was consecrated Bishop of Whitern,
at York, on the seventeenth day before the calends of
This year Ethelbald and Herbert slew three high- sheriffs --
Eldulf, the son of Bosa, at Coniscliff; Cynewulf and Eggo at
Helathyrn -- on the eleventh day before the calends of
April. Then Elwald, having banished Ethelred from his
territory, seized on his kingdom, and reigned ten
This year a battle was fought between the Old-Saxons and the
Franks; and the high-sheriffs of Northumbria committed to
the flames Alderman Bern at Silton, on the ninth day before
the calends of January. The same year Archbishop Ethelbert
died at York, and Eanbald was consecrated in his stead;
Bishop Cynewulf retired to Holy-island; Elmund, Bishop of
Hexham, died on the seventh day before the ides of
September, and Tilbert was consecrated in his stead, on the
sixth day before the nones of October; Hibbald was
consecrated Bishop of Holy-island at Sockbury; and King
Elwald sent to Rome for a pall in behoof of Archbishop
This year died Werburga, Queen of Ceolred, and Bishop
Cynewulf, in Holy-island; and the same year there was a
synod at Acley.
This year Cyneard slew King Cynewulf, and was slain himself,
and eighty-four men with him. Then Bertric undertook the
government of the West-Saxons, and reigned sixteen years.
His body is deposited at Wareham; and his pedigree goeth in
a direct line to Cerdic. At this time reigned Elmund king in
Kent, the father of Egbert; and Egbert was the father of
This year died Bothwin, Abbot of Ripon, and a litigious
synod was holden at Chalk-hythe; Archbishop Eanbert resigned
some part of his bishopric, Hibbert was appointed bishop by
King Offa, and Everth was consecrated king. In the meantime
legates were sent from Rome to England by Pope Adrian, to
renew the blessings of faith and peace which St. Gregory
sent us by the mission of Bishop Augustine, and they were
received with every mark of honour and respect.
This year King Bertric took Edburga the daughter of Offa to
wife. And in his days came first three ships of the Northmen
from the land of robbers. The reve29
then rode thereto, and would drive them to the king's town;
for he knew not what they were; and there was he slain.
These were the first ships of the Danish men that sought the
land of the English nation.
This year there was a synod assembled at Fingall in
Northumberland, on the fourth day before the nones of
September; and Abbot Albert departed this life.
This year Elwald, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by
Siga, on the eleventh day before the calends of October; and
a heavenly light was often seen on the spot where he was
slain. He was buried in the church of Hexham; and Osred, the
son of Alred, who was his nephew, succeeded him in the
government. This ),ear there was a synod assembled at
This year Archbishop Eanbert died, and Abbot Ethelherd was
chosen archbishop the same year. Osred, king of the
Northumbrians, was betrayed and banished from his kingdom,
and Ethelred, the son of Ethelwald, succeeded him.
This year Baldulf was consecrated Bishop of Whitern, on the
sixteenth day before the calends of August, by Archbishop
Eanbald and Bishop Ethelbert.
This year Offa, King of Mercia, commanded that King
Ethelbert should be beheaded; and Osred, who had been king
of the Northumbrians, returning home after his exile, was
apprehended and slain, on the eighteenth day before the
calends of October. His body is deposited at Tinemouth.
Ethelred this year, on the third day before the calends of
October, took unto himself a new wife, whose name was
This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the
Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these
were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and
whirlwinds, and fiery, dragons flying across the firmament.
These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great
famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides
of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of
heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in
Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter. Siga died on the
eighth day before the calends of March.
This year died Pope Adrian; and also Offa, King of Mercia,
on the fourth day before the ides of August, after he had
reigned forty winters. Ethelred, king of the Northumbrians,
was slain by his own people, on the thirteenth day before
the calends of May; in consequence of which, Bishops
Ceolwulf and Eadbald retired from the land. Everth took to
the government of Mercia, and died the same year. Eadbert,
whose other name was Pryn, obtained the kingdom of Kent; and
Alderman Ethelherd died on the calends of August. In the
meantime, the heathen armies spread devastation among the
Northumbrians, and plundered the monastery of King Everth at
the mouth of the Wear. There, however, some of their leaders
were slain; and some of their ships also were shattered to
pieces by the violence of the weather; many of the crew were
drowned; and some, who escaped alive to the shore, were soon
dispatched at the mouth of the river.
This year was the moon eclipsed, between cock-crowing and
dawn,30 on the fifth
day before the calends of April; and Erdulf succeeded to the
Northumbrian kingdom on the second before the ides of May.
He was afterwards consecrated and raised to his throne, at
York, on the seventh day before the calends of June, by
Archbishop Eanbald, and Bishops Ethelbert, Hibbald, and
This year died Archbishop Eanbald, on the fourth day before
the ides of August; and his body is deposited at York. The
same year also died Bishop Ceolwulf; and another Eanbald was
consecrated to the see of the former, on the nineteenth day
before the calends of September. About the same time
Cynewulf, King of Mercia, made inroads upon the inhabitants
of Kent as far as the marsh; and the Mercians seized Edbert
Pryn, their king, led him bound into Mercia, and suffered
men to pick out his eyes, and cut off his hands.31
And Ethelard, Archbishop of Canterbury, held a synod,
wherein he ratified and confirmed, by command of Pope Leo,
all things concerning God's monasteries that were fixed in
Witgar's days, and in other king's days, saying thus: "I
Ethelard, the humble Archbishop of Canterbury, with the
unanimous concurrence of the whole synod, and of all the
congregations of all the minsters, to which in former days
freedom was given by faithful men, in God's name and by his
terrible judgment do decree, as I have command from Pope
Leo, that henceforth none dare to choose them lords from
lewd men over God's inheritance; but, as it is in the writ
that the pope has given, or holy men have settled, our
fathers and our teachers, concerning holy minsters, so they
continue untainted without any resistance. If there is any
man that will not observe this decree of God, of our pope,
and of us, but overlooketh it, and holdeth it for nought,
let them know, that they shall give an account before the
judgment-seat of God. And I Ethelard, archbishop, with
twelve bishops, and with three and twenty abbots, this same
with the rood-token of Christ confirm and fasten."
This year Offa, king of the Mercians, died on the fourth
before the kalends of August; he reigned forty years.
This year the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo, put out
his eyes, and drove him from his see; but soon after, by the
assistance of God, he could see and speak, and became pope
as he was before. Eanbald also received the pall on the
sixth day before the ides of September, and Bishop Ethelherd
died on the third before the calends of November.
This year a severe battle was fought in the Northumbrian
territory, during Lent, on the fourth day before the nones
of April, at Whalley; wherein Alric, the son of Herbert, was
slain, and many others with him.
This year Archbishop Ethelbert, and Cynbert, Bishop of
Wessex, went to Rome. In the meantime Bishop Alfun died at
Sudbury, and was buried at Dunwich. After him Tidfrith was
elected to the see; and Siric, king of the East Saxons, went
to Rome. In this year the body of Witburga was found entire,
and free from decay, at Dercham, after a lapse of five and
fifty years from the period of her decease.
This year was the moon eclipsed, at eight in the evening, on
the seventeenth day before the calends of February; and soon
after died King Bertric and Alderman Worr. Egbert succeeded
to the West-Saxon kingdom; and the same day Ethelmund,
alderman of the Wiccians, rode over the Thames at Kempsford;
where he was met by Alderman Woxtan, with the men of
Wiltshire, and a terrible conflict ensued, in which both the
commanders were slain, but the men of Wiltshire obtained the
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Beorgforda, Ethelw.; Beorhtforda, Flor.; Hereford
and Bereford, H. Hunt; Beorford, M. West. This
battle of Burford has been considerably amplified
by Henry of Huntingdon, and after him by Matthew of
Westminster. The former, among other absurdities,
talks of "Amazonian" battle-axes. They both mention
the banner of the "golden dragon"
minuteness of this narrative, combined with the
simplicity of it, proves that it was written at no
great distance of time from the event. It is the
first that occurs of any length in the older MSS.
of the "Saxon Chronicle".[Back]
the original, i.e. "of pence", or "in pence";
because the silver penny, derived from the Roman
"denarius", was the standard coin in this country
for more than a thousand years. It was also used as
a weight, being the twentieth part of an
called "sheriff"; i.e. the reve, or steward, of the
shire. "Exactor regis". --
the Grecian method of computation; between the
hours of three and six in the morning. It must be
recollected, that before the distribution of time
into hours, minutes, and seconds, the day and night
were divided into eight equal portions, containing
three hours each; and this method was continued
long afterwards by historians.[Back]
wanton act of barbarity seems to have existed only
in the depraved imagination of the Norman
interpolator of the "Saxon Annals", who eagerly and
impatiently dispatches the story thus, in order to
introduce the subsequent account of the synod at
Bapchild, so important in his eyes. Hoveden and
Wallingford and others have repeated the idle tale;
but I have not hitherto found it in any historian
702 to 750
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