Book 2, Chapter 9, Edward 975 AD to 1016 AD – Edmund Ironside
Edmund possessed great personal strength and bravery, and was known by the surname of Ironside, on account of his valour. He resisted Canute with such address and determination, that, although the Danes ultimately proved successful, it was not without the loss of many of their best and bravest troops. In the various battles which ensued, the country was alternately ravaged by its invaders and by its defenders, for Edmund was compelled to levy in the war districts necessary supplies for the support of his own army, which Ethelred had neither the ability nor the means to furnish with materials or with money, and in the midst of these sanguinary and miserable times, this unhappy monarch ended his long and inglorious reign, dying in London, April 23, 1016 while the Danes were preparing to besiege the capital.
To account for these rapid successes on the part of the Danes, it need only be remembered that they were strong, brave, and disciplined, while the Anglo-Saxons had become weakened under an incompetent government and by internal disputes and treachery. Edric (whom Edmund had long suspected, without being able to establish a charge of treason, so cunningly had the dastard’s plans been laid) openly went over to Canute with all his troops, just before a battle in which he was to have fought under Edmund’s orders. Ethelred was guilty of the crime of entrapping and murdering Sigeferth and Morcar, two powerful northern chieftains, whom he disliked or of whom he was jealous, thereby arousing among their dependants that could not be allayed, and he did this shortly after his brief exile in Normandy, when it was necessary to secure the hearty cooperation and help of all his subjects in order successfully to resist the invader.
Chapter 9, Edward the Martyr
Chapter 9, Ethelred
Chapter 9, Sweyn’s Revenge
Chapter 9, Thurkill Ravages England
Chapter 9, Edmund Ironside
Death of Ethelred
Categories: Book 2