871-78
A.D. 871 . This year came the army to Reading in Wessex; and in
the course of three nights after rode two earls up, who were met
by Alderman Ethelwulf at Englefield; where he fought with them,
and obtained the victory. There one of them was slain, whose
name was Sidrac. About four nights after this, King Ethered and
Alfred his brother led their main army to Reading, where they
fought with the enemy; and there was much slaughter on either
hand, Alderman Ethelwulf being among the skain; but the Danes
kept possession of the field. And about four nights after this,
King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought with all the army on
Ashdown, and the Danes were overcome. They had two heathen
kings, Bagsac and Healfden, and many earls; and they were in two
divisions; in one of which were Bagsac and Healfden, the heathen
kings, and in the other were the earls. King Ethered therefore
fought with the troops of the kings, and there was King Bagsac
slain; and Alfred his brother fought with the troops of the
earls, and there were slain Earl Sidrac the elder, Earl Sidrac
the younger, Earl Osbern, Earl Frene, and Earl Harold. They

put both the troops to flight; there were many thousands of the
slain, and they continued fighting till night. Within a
fortnight of this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought
with the army at Basing; and there the Danes had the victory.
About two months after this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother
fought with the army at Marden. They were in two divisions; and
they put them both to flight, enjoying the victory for some time
during the day; and there was much slaughter on either hand; but
the Danes became masters of the field; and there was slain Bishop
Heahmund, with many other good men. After this fight came a vast
army in the summer to Reading. And after the Easter of this year
died King Ethered. He reigned five years, and his body lies at
Winburn-minster. Then Alfred, his brother, the son of Ethelwulf,
took to the kingdom of Wessex. And within a month of this, King
Alfred fought against all the Army with a small force at Wilton,
and long pursued them during the day; but the Danes got
possession of the field. This year were nine general battles
fought with the army in the kingdom south of the Thames; besides
those skirmishes, in which Alfred the king's brother, and every
single alderman, and the thanes of the king, oft rode against
them; which were accounted nothing. This year also were slain
nine earls, and one king; and the same year the West-Saxons made
peace with the army.

((A.D. 871 . And the Danish-men were overcome; and they had two
heathen kings, Bagsac and Halfdene, and many earls; and there was
King Bagsac slain, and these earls; Sidrac the elder, and also
Sidrac the younger, Osbern, Frene, and Harold; and the army was
put to flight.))

A.D. 872 . This year went the army to London from Reading, and
there chose their winter-quarters. Then the Mercians made peace
with the army.

A.D. 873 . This year went the army against the Northumbrians, and
fixed their winter-quarters at Torksey in Lindsey. And the
Mercians again made peace with the army.

A.D. 874 . This year went the army from Lindsey to Repton, and
there took up their winter-quarters, drove the king, Burhred,
over sea, when he had reigned about two and twenty winters, and
subdued all that land. He then went to Rome, and there remained
to the end of his life. And his body lies in the church of
Sancta Maria, in the school of the English nation. And the same
year they gave Ceolwulf, an unwise king's thane, the Mercian
kingdom to hold; and he swore oaths to them, and gave hostages,
that it should be ready for them on whatever day they would have
it; and he would be ready with himself, and with all those that
would remain with him, at the service of the army.

A.D. 875 . This year went the army from Repton; and Healfden
advanced with some of the army against the Northumbrians, and
fixed his winter-quarters by the river Tine. The army then
subdued that land, and oft invaded the Picts and the
Strathclydwallians. Meanwhile the three kings, Guthrum, Oskytel,
and Anwind, went from Repton to Cambridge with a vast army, and
sat there one year. This summer King Alfred went out to sea with
an armed fleet, and fought with seven ship-rovers, one of whom he
took, and dispersed the others.

A.D. 876 . This year Rolla penetrated Normandy with his army; and
he reigned fifty winters. And this year the army stole into
Wareham, a fort of the West-Saxons. The king afterwards made
peace with them; and they gave him as hostages those who were
worthiest in the army; and swore with oaths on the holy bracelet,
which they would not before to any nation, that they would
readily go out of his kingdom. Then, under colour of this, their
cavalry stole by night into Exeter. The same year Healfden
divided the land of the Northumbrians; so that they became
afterwards their harrowers and plowers.

((A.D. 876 . And in this same year the army of the Danes in
England swore oaths to King Alfred upon the holy ring, which
before they would not do to any nation; and they delivered to the
king hostages from among the most distinguished men of the army,
that they would speedily depart from his kingdom; and that by
night they broke.))

A.D. 877 . This year came the Danish army into Exeter from
Wareham; whilst the navy sailed west about, until they met with a
great mist at sea, and there perished one hundred and twenty
ships at Swanwich. (36) Meanwhile King Alfred with his army rode
after the cavalry as far as Exeter; but he could not overtake
them before their arrival in the fortress, where they could not
be come at. There they gave him as many hostages as he required,
swearing with solemn oaths to observe the strictest amity. In
the harvest the army entered Mercia; some of which they divided
among them, and some they gave to Ceolwulf.

A.D. 878 . This year about mid-winter, after twelfth-night, the
Danish army stole out to Chippenham, and rode over the land of
the West-Saxons; where they settled, and drove many of the people
over sea; and of the rest the greatest part they rode down, and
subdued to their will; -- ALL BUT ALFRED THE KING. He, with a
little band, uneasily sought the woods and fastnesses of the
moors. And in the winter of this same year the brother of
Ingwar and Healfden landed in Wessex, in Devonshire, with three
and twenty ships, and there was he slain, and eight hundred men
with him, and forty of his army. There also was taken the war-
flag, which they called the RAVEN. In the Easter of this year
King Alfred with his little force raised a work at Athelney; from
which he assailed the army, assisted by that part of
Somersetshire which was nighest to it. Then, in the seventh week
after Easter, he rode to Brixton by the eastern side of Selwood;
and there came out to meet him all the people of
Somersersetshire, and Wiltshire, and that part of Hampshire which
is on this side of the sea; and they rejoiced to see him. Then
within one night he went from this retreat to Hey; and within one
night after he proceeded to Heddington; and there fought with all
the army, and put them to flight, riding after them as far as the
fortress, where he remained a fortnight. Then the army gave him
hostages with many oaths, that they would go out of his kingdom.
They told him also, that their king would receive baptism. And
they acted accordingly; for in the course of three weeks after,
King Guthrum, attended by some thirty of the worthiest men that
were in the army, came to him at Aller, which is near Athelney,
and there the king became his sponsor in baptism; and his
crisom-leasing was at Wedmor. He was there twelve nights with
the king, who honoured him and his attendants with many presents.

Notes:

(36) It is now generally written, as pronounced, "Swanage".

Chronicle Years: 843-70
Chronicle Years: 879-93


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