A Contemporary Picture

Book 2, Chapter 9, Edward 975 AD to 1016 AD – Thurkill Ravages England


We have a contemporary picture of the internal state of England during this reign, in a sermon of Lupus, one of the Anglo-Saxon bishops, preached in 1013: ” We perpetually pay them (the Danes) tribute and they ravage us daily. They ravage, burn, spoil, and plunder, and carry off our property to their ships. Such is their successful valour that one of them will in battle put ten of our men to flight. Two or three will drive a troop of captive Christians through the country from sea to sea. Very often they seize the wives and daughters of our thanes, and cruelly violate them before the great chieftain’s face. The slave of yesterday becomes the master of his lord today, or he flies to the vikingr, and seeks his owner’s life in the earliest battle.

 Soldiers, famine, flames, and effusion of blood, abound on every side. Theft and murder, pestilence, disease, calumny, hatred, and rapine, dreadfully afflict us. Widows are frequently compelled into unjust marriages many are reduced to penury and are pillaged. The poor men are sorely reduced and cruelly betrayed, and, though innocent, are sold far out of this land to foreign slavery. Cradled children are made slaves out of this nation, through an atrocious violation of the law for little stealing. The right of freedom is taken away, the rights of the servile are narrowed and the right of charity is diminished. Freemen may not govern themselves, nor go where they wish, nor possess their own as they like. Slaves are not suffered to enjoy what they have obtained from their allowed leisure, nor what good men have benevolently given for them. The clergy are robbed of their franchises, and stripped of all their comforts.” After mentioning many vices, he adds, that “far and wide the evil custom has prevailed of men being ashamed of their virtue, of good actions even incurring contempt, and of the public worship being publicly derided.”

Chapter 9, Edward the Martyr

Edward, Commonly Styled “the Martyr”

Elfrida’s Intrigues

Chapter 9, Ethelred

Reign of Ethelred

Dunstan’s Prophecy

Condition of the Country

Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Danes

Fresh Attacks by the Northmen

They are Bribed to Depart

Origin of the Danegeld

Ethelred’s Marriage with Emma of Normandy

Massacre of the Danes

Chapter 9, Sweyn’s Revenge

Sweyn’s Vengeance

Murder of Archbishop Alphege

Levy for a Fleet

Chapter 9, Thurkill Ravages England

Its Failure

A Contemporary Picture

Sweyn prepares for the Conquest of England

Sweyn Dies and’ is Followed by Canute

Ethelred’s Flight and Return

Chapter 9, Edmund Ironside

Death of Ethelred

Divisions and Treachery among the English

Edmund Ironside Proclaimed King

Successive Battles with Canute

Partition of the Country

Brief Reign of Edmund


Categories: Book 2

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