Book 2, Chapter 7, Alfred’s Children from 901 AD to 955 – Edred
The full statement of the first contest belongs properly to the next reign, and will be given in connexion with it, as will also the particulars relating to Archbishop Dunstan, the great actor in it on the part of the church, but who during the reign of Edred was abbot of Glastonbury. Dunstan was a favourite, with the king, who made him director of the royal conscience, as the phrase then went, and the confessor exerted a great influence upon his royal master.
The other prominent man during Edred’s reign was Turketul, a clergyman of royal descent, being the eldest son of Ethelward, son of the great Alfred. He had refused preferment in the church, but accepted the post of chancellor or secretary to the king, under his cousins Athelstan, Edmund, and Edred. He held the first place in the royal councils, the most important offices, civil and ecclesiastical, were conferred by his advice, and his attendance on the sovereign was required in every military expedition.
The important part which he acted in the battle of Brunanburh has been already noticed. Ingulf, who devotes a considerable portion of his chronicle to a history of the temporalities and a glorification of his favourite Abbey of Croyland, and to a recital in full of various royal charters granted to it, records with much pride that when Turketul was sent by Edred to Archbishop Wulfstan, his road led him by the ruins of Croyland, which still afforded miserable shelter to three monks, the survivors of the Danish devastations in 870 (although, unless Ingulf’s statements be apocryphal, these must have been considerably over one hundred years of age, but he mentions not one only, but several, who had attained to an age greatly exceeding a century).
Turketul was affected by the piety and resignation of these aged anchorites, and felt a desire to enter their society and to restore their monastery to its ancient splendour. At his return he solicited, and after several refusals, obtained the permission of Edred. Having wound up all his affairs, Turketul gave to the king fifty four manors, which he had received from his father, reserving six for the use of the monastery. At Croyland he made his monastic profession, received the investiture as abbot from Edred, was blessed by the bishop of Dorchester, and the next day resigned the abbey with its appurtenances to the king.
All the lands which formerly belonged to it, had, during the Danish wars, been seized by Burhred, king of Mercia, who annexed a part to the crown, and divided the remainder among his thanes. The former were restored by Edred, of the latter several manors were purchased by Turketul from their possessors. At the next meeting of the witan he received a new grant of the whole from the king in the most ample form, excepting the privilege of sanctuary, which was refused, as a violation of justice, and an incentive to crime. From this period he spent twenty seven years in the discharge of his duties as abbot, and at his death in 975 there was a numerous community of monks.
Chapter 7, Alfred’s Children
Chapter 7, Athelstan
Chapter 7, Renown of Athelstan
Chapter 7, Edmund
Chapter 7, Edred
Dunstan and Turketul
Categories: Book 2