A.D. 894 . This year, that was about twelve months after they had
wrought a work in the eastern district, the Northumbrians and
East-Angles had given oaths to King Alfred, and the East-Angles
six hostages; nevertheless, contrary to the truce, as oft as the
other plunderers went out with all their army, then went they
also, either with them, or in a separate division. Upon this
King Alfred gathered his army, and advanced, so that he encamped
between the two armies at the highest point he could find
defended by wood and by water, that he might reach either, if
they would seek any field. Then went they forth in quest of the
wealds, in troops and companies, wheresoever the country was
defenceless. But they were also sought after most days by other
companies, either by day or by night, both from the army and also
from the towns. The king had divided his army into two parts; so
that they were always half at home, half out; besides the men
that should maintain the towns. The army came not all out of
their stations more than twice; once, when they first came to
land, ere the forces were collected, and again, when they wished
to depart from their stations. They had now seized much booty,
and would ferry it northward over Thames into Essex, to meet
their ships. But the army rode before them, fought with them at
Farnham, routed their forces, and there arrested the booty. And
they flew over Thames without any ford, then up by the Colne on
an island. Then the king's forces beset them without as long as
they had food; but they had their time set, and their meat noted.
And the king was advancing thitherwards on his march with the
division that accompanied him. But while he was advancing
thitherwards, the other force was returning homewards. The
Danes, however, still remained behind; for their king was wounded
in the fight, so that they could not carry him. Then collected
together those that dwell in Northumbria and East-Anglia about a
hundred ships, and went south about; and with some forty more
went north about, and besieged a fort in Devonshire by the north
sea; and those who went south about beset Exeter. When the king
heard that, then went he west towards Exeter with all his force,
except a very considerable part of the eastern army, who advanced
till they came to London; and there being joined by the citizens
and the reinforcements that came from the west, they went east to
Barnfleet. Hasten was there with his gang, who before were
stationed at Milton, and also the main army had come thither,
that sat before in the mouth of the Limne at Appledore. Hasten
had formerly constructed that work at Barnfleet, and was then
gone out on plunder, the main army being at home. Then came the
king's troops, and routed the enemy, broke down the work, took
all that was therein money, women, and children and brought all
to London. And all the ships they either broke to pieces, or
burned, or brought to London or to Rochester. And Hasten's wife
and her two sons they brought to the king, who returned them to
him, because one of them was his godson, and the other Alderman
Ethered's. They had adopted them ere Hasten came to Bamfleet;
when he had given them hostages and oaths, and the king had also
given him many presents; as he did also then, when he returned
the child and the wife. And as soon as they came to Bamfleet,
and the work was built, then plundered he in the same quarter of
his kingdom that Ethered his compeer should have held; and at
another time he was plundering in the same district when his work
was destroyed. The king then went westward with the army toward
Exeter, as I before said, and the army had beset the city; but
whilst he was gone they went to their ships. Whilst he was thus
busied there with the army, in the west, the marauding parties
were both gathered together at Shobury in Essex, and there built
a fortress. Then they both went together up by the Thames, and a
great concourse joined them, both from the East-Angles and from
the Northumbrians. They then advanced upward by the Thames, till
they arrived near the Severn. Then they proceeded upward by the
Severn. Meanwhile assembled Alderman Ethered, Alderman Ethelm,
Alderman Ethelnoth, and the king's thanes, who were employed at
home at the works, from every town east of the Parret, as well as
west of Selwood, and from the parts east and also north of the
Thames and west of the Severn, and also some part of North-Wales.
When they were all collected together, they overtook the rear of
the enemy at Buttington on the banks of the Severn, and there
beset them without on each side in a fortress. When they had sat
there many weeks on both sides of the water, and the king
meanwhile was in Devonshire westward with the naval force, then
were the enemy weighed down with famine. They had devoured the
greater part of their horses; and the rest had perished with
hunger. Then went they out to the men that sat on the eastern
side of the river, and fought with them; but the Christians had
the victory. And there Ordhelm, the king's thane, was slain; and
also many other king's thanes; and of the Danes there were many
slain, and that part of them that came away escaped only by
flight. As soon as they came into Essex to their fortress, and
to their ships, then gathered the remnant again in East-Anglia
and from the Northumbrians a great force before winter, and
having committed their wives and their ships and their booty to
the East-Angles, they marched on the stretch by day and night,
till they arrived at a western city in Wirheal that is called
Chester. There the army could not overtake them ere they arrived
within the work: they beset the work though, without, some two
days, took all the cattle that was thereabout, slew the men whom
they could overtake without the work, and all the corn they
either burned or consumed with their horses every evening. That
was about a twelvemonth since they first came hither over sea.

A.D. 895 . Soon after that, in this year, went the army from
Wirheal into North-Wales; for they could not remain there,
because they were stripped both of the cattle and the corn that
they had acquired by plunder. When they went again out of North-
Wales with the booty they had acquired there, they marched over
Northumberland and East-Anglia, so that the king's army could not
reach them till they came into Essex eastward, on an island that
is out at sea, called Mersey. And as the army returned homeward
that had beset Exeter, they went up plundering in Sussex nigh
Chichester; but the townsmen put them to flight, and slew many
hundreds of them, and took some of their ships. Then, in the
same year, before winter, the Danes, who abode in Mersey, towed
their ships up on the Thames, and thence up the Lea. That was
about two years after that they came hither over sea.

A.D. 896 . This same year wrought the aforesaid army a work by
the Lea, twenty miles above the city of London. Then. in the
summer of this year, went a large party of the citizens. and also
of other folk, and made an attack on the work of the Danes; but
they were there routed, and some four of the king's thanes were
slain. In the harvest afterward the king encamped close to the
city, whilst they reaped their corn, that the Danes might not
deprive them of the crop. Then, some day, rode the king up by
the river; and observed a place where the river might be
obstructed, so that they could not bring out their ships. And
they did so. They wrought two works on the two sides of the
river. And when they had begun the work, and encamped before it,
then understood the army that they could not bring out their
ships. Whereupon they left them, and went over land, till they
came to Quatbridge by Severn; and there wrought a work. Then
rode the king's army westward after the enemy. And the men of
London fetched the ships; and all that they could not lead away
they broke up; but all that were worthy of capture they brought
into the port of London. And the Danes procured an asylum for
their wives among the East-Angles, ere they went out of the fort.
During the winter they abode at Quatbridge. That was about three
years since they came hither over sea into the mouth of the

A.D. 897 . In the summer of this year went the army, some into
East-Anglia, and some into Northumbria; and those that were
penniless got themselves ships, and went south over sea to the
Seine. The enemy had not, thank God. entirely destroyed the
English nation; but they were much more weakened in these three
years by the disease of cattle, and most of all of men; so that
many of the mightiest of the king's thanes. that were in the
land, died within the three years. Of these. one was Swithulf
Bishop of Rochester, Ceolmund alderman in Kent, Bertulf alderman
in Essex, Wulfred alderman in Hampshire, Elhard Bishop of
Dorchester, Eadulf a king's thane in Sussex, Bernuff governor of
Winchester, and Egulf the king's horse-thane; and many also with
them; though I have named only the men of the highest rank. This
same year the plunderers in East-Anglia and Northumbria greatly
harassed the land of the West-Saxons by piracies on the southern
coast, but most of all by the esks which they built many years
before. Then King Alfred gave orders for building long ships
against the esks, which were full-nigh twice as long as the
others. Some had sixty oars, some more; and they were both
swifter and steadier, and also higher than the others. They were
not shaped either after the Frisian or the Danish model, but so
as he himself thought that they might be most serviceable. Then,
at a certain turn of this same year, came six of their ships to
the Isle of Wight; and going into Devonshire, they did much
mischief both there and everywhere on the seacoast. Then
commanded the king his men to go out against them with nine of
the new ships, and prevent their escape by the mouth of the river
to the outer sea. Then came they out against them with three
ships, and three others were standing upwards above the mouth on
dry land: for the men were gone off upon shore. Of the first
three ships they took two at the mouth outwards, and slew the
men; the third veered off, but all the men were slain except
five; and they too were severely wounded. Then came onward those
who manned the other ships, which were also very uneasily
situated. Three were stationed on that side of the deep where
the Danish ships were aground, whilst the others were all on the
opposite side; so that none of them could join the rest; for the
water had ebbed many furlongs from them. Then went the Danes
from their three ships to those other three that were on their
side, be-ebbed; and there they then fought. There were slain
Lucomon, the king's reve, and Wulfheard, a Frieslander; Ebb, a
Frieslander, and Ethelere, a Frieslander; and Ethelferth, the
king's neat-herd; and of all the men, Frieslanders and English,
sixty-two; of the Danes a hundred and twenty. The tide, however,
reached the Danish ships ere the Christians could shove theirs
out; whereupon they rowed them out; but they were so crippled,
that they could not row them beyond the coast of Sussex: there
two of them the sea drove ashore; and the crew were led to
Winchester to the king, who ordered them to be hanged. The men
who escaped in the single ship came to East-Anglia, severely
wounded. This same year were lost no less than twenty ships, and
the men withal, on the southern coast. Wulfric, the king's
horse-thane, who was also viceroy of Wales, died the same year.

A.D. 898 . This year died Ethelm, alderman of Wiltshire, nine
nights before midsummer; and Heahstan, who was Bishop of London.

A.D. 900 . This year died ALFRED, the son of Ethelwulf, six
nights before the mass of All Saints. He was king over all the
English nation, except that part that was under the power of the
Danes. He held the government one year and a half less than
thirty winters; and then Edward his son took to the government.
Then Prince Ethelwald, the son of his paternal uncle, rode
against the towns of Winburn and of Twineham, without leave of
the king and his council. Then rode the king with his army; so
that he encamped the same night at Badbury near Winburn; and
Ethelwald remained within the town with the men that were under
him, and had all the gates shut upon him, saying, that he would
either there live or there die. But in the meantime he stole
away in the night, and sought the army in Northumberland. The
king gave orders to ride after him; but they were not able to
overtake him. The Danes, however, received him as their king.
They then rode after the wife that Ethelwald had taken without
the king's leave, and against the command of the bishops; for she
was formerly consecrated a nun. In this year also died Ethered,
who was alderman of Devonshire, four weeks before King Alfred.

Chronicle Years: 879-93
Chronicle Years: 902-24

History | Monarchs | Prime Ministers | Travel | London | Wales | Earth Mysteries
Church | News | People | Science | Arts | State | Catalog | Sports | Panorama | Links

Comments: e-mail us at history@britannia.com
© 1995, 1996, 1997 Britannia Internet Magazine, LLC