Alfred of Northumbria’s Contest with Wilfrid and the Pope

Book 2, Chapter 2, 597 AD to 827 AD – Kings Alfred and Ethelbald

 From this point onwards, the interest centres in the three kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex, for those of Kent, Sussex, Essex, and East Anglia had been gradually brought into a state of vassalage, and was soon to be merged into the more powerful states. Among the Kings of Northumbria, Alfred, surnamed the “most wise,” possesses an interest as being the first king in Britain who waged a contest with the pope, of which too many illustrations will be found in subsequent reigns. Alfred had rewarded his early instructor Wilfrid with a bishopric, but when he claimed undue ecclesiastical privileges, the king disallowed the claim, and Wilfrid, though a good and able man, being ambitious and domineering, would not submit, but retired to Mercia.

 Thence he sent letters which Pope John VII had addressed, and expostulated with Alfred, who remained firm, and gave this answer to the monks, “Ask of me whatever things are necessary to your own comfort, and I will grant them, as proofs of my great respect for you, but from this day make no solicitations on behalf of Wilfrid your lord. What my royal predecessors, and the archbishop sent formerly from Rome with almost all the prelates of Britain, thought fit to order, I will never change whatever writings you may bring me from the apostolic seat, as you call it.”

Chapter 2, Ethelbert of Kent

Ethelbert of Kent

Laws of Ethelbert of Kent

Union of Bernicia and Deira, as Northumbria

Reign and Wars of Penda

Chapter 2, Kings Alfred and Ethelbald

Alfred of Northumbria’s Contest with Wilfrid and the Pope

Contest for Supremacy Between Mercia and Wessex

Modes of Punishment

Chapter 2, King Egbert

History of Each Kingdom

Supremacy of Wessex Established

Chapter 2, Invasion of the Northmen

Invasion of the Northmen

Sketch of Their History and Character


Categories: Book 2

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