Its Failure

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


The great fleet which was collected for the defence of the coast proved of no avail through the dissensions and intrigues of some of the leaders. The traitor Edric had instigated his brother Brihtric to prefer a charge of treason against Wulfnoth, governor of Sussex, who, either being unable to repel the charge, or knowing the malevolence and power of his accusers, deserted with twenty ships, in order to commence a pirate life on his own account. Brihtric undertook to bring him back, and went in pursuit with eighty vessels, but had the misfortune to be wrecked by a storm, and was then attacked and totally routed by Wulfnoth. Disquieted and worried by such strife, Ethelred left the fleet, and the mariners speedily returned to their respective forts. On this the Danes again sallied forth, under the leadership of Thurkill, A.D. 1010, and for nearly three years they committed incalculable mischief.

Thurkill was a tributary chieftain to Swop, who permitted him to engage in the enterprise under the pretence of avenging the death of his brother who had perished in a former expedition. He carried fire and devastation into almost every part of the kingdom, even penetrating into the fens of East Anglia, which had afforded a secure asylum to the fugitives in former years. Nothing is read of in the chronicles of the period, but the sacking and burning of towns, the systematic destruction of all that was not portable, the ravaging of monasteries and nunneries, the wholesale murder of men, the violation of women, children sold in slavery, an accumulation of horrors and cruelties which weary and disgust the reader.

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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