Wednesday, 21 January 2015

One thousand years ago

In case you prefer to read it in the original
(actually the first page of the Peterborough version)
I feel that the typical 'on this day' or 'what happened a century ago' is far too shortsighted, so armed with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle I thought I'd give you a quick tour of the highlights of 1015. (For more, see The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - Whitlock, Douglas and Tucker)
In this year the great assembly at Oxford took place, and there Ealdorman Eadric betrayed Sigeferth and Morcar, the chief thegns belonging to the Seven Boroughs*: he enticed them into his chamber, and they were basely killed inside it. And the king the seized their property and ordered Sigeferth's widow  to be seized and brought to Malmesbury...
(Come on, forget Game of Thrones, this is the real deal)
At that same time, King Cnut came to Sandwich, and then turned at once round Kent into Wessex, until he reached the mouth of the Frome, and ravaged then in Dorset, in Wiltshire, and in Somerset. The king then lay sick at Cosham. Then Ealdorman Eadric collected an army, and so did the atheling Edmund in the North. When they united, the ealdorman wished to betray the atheling, and that account they separated without fighting, and retreated from their enemies. And then Ealdorman Eadric seduced 40 ships from the king, and then went over to Cnut; and the West Saxons submitted and gave hostages and supplied the Danish army with horses and it then stayed there until Christmas.
(I think, despite all the moaning about the electorate not being engaged, I'm happier with modern politics)

* A footnote in the book kindly explains this was probably the Five Boroughs plus York and Torksey, so now all we need to find out is what the Five Boroughs were. And where Torksey was. I've heard of York. Apparently the Five Boroughs were the main towns of the Danelaw, namely Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and Stamford. And Torksey is a village in Lincolnshire that back then was a more significant town. So now you know.

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