980-99
A.D. 980 . In this year was Ethelgar consecrated bishop, on the
sixth day before the nones of May, to the bishopric of Selsey;
and in the same year was Southampton plundered by a pirate-army,
and most of the population slain or imprisoned. And the same
year was the Isle of Thanet overrun, and the county of Chester
was plundered by the pirate-army of the North. In this year
Alderman Alfere fetched the body of the holy King Edward at
Wareham, and carried him with great solemnity to Shaftsbury.

A.D. 981 . In this year was St. Petroc's-stow plundered; and in
the same year was much harm done everywhere by the sea-coast,
both upon Devonshire and Wales. And in the same year died
Elfstan, Bishop of Wiltshire; and his body lieth in the minster
at Abingdon; and Wulfgar then succeeded to the bishopric. The
same year died Womare, Abbot of Ghent.

((A.D. 981 . This year came first the seven ships, and ravaged
Southampton.))

A.D. 982 . In this year came up in Dorsetshire three ships of the
pirates, and plundered in Portland. The same year London was
burned. In the same year also died two aldermen, Ethelmer in
Hampshire, and Edwin in Sussex. Ethelmer's body lieth in
Winchester, at New-minster, and Edwin's in the minster at
Abingdon. The same year died two abbesses in Dorsetshire;
Herelufa at Shaftsbury, and Wulfwina at Wareham. The same year
went Otho, emperor of the Romans, into Greece; and there met he a
great army of the Saracens, who came up from the sea, and would
have proceeded forthwith to plunder the Christian folk; but the
emperor fought with them. And there was much slaughter made on
either side, but the emperor gained the field of battle. He was
there, however, much harassed, ere he returned thence; and as he
went homeward, his brother's son died, who was also called Otho;
and he was the son of Leodulf Atheling. This Leodulf was the son
of Otho the Elder and of the daughter of King Edward.

A.D. 983 . This year died Alderman Alfere, and Alfric succeeded
to the same eldership; and Pope Benedict also died.

A.D. 984 . This year died the benevolent Bishop of Winchester,
Athelwold, father of monks; and the consecration of the following
bishop, Elfheah, who by another name was called Godwin, was on
the fourteenth day before the calends of November; and he took
his seat on the episcopal bench on the mass-day of the two
apostles Simon and Jude, at Winchester.

A.D. 985 . This year was Alderman Alfric driven out of the land;
and in the same year was Edwin consecrated abbot of the minster
at Abingdon.

A.D. 986 . This year the king invaded the bishopric of Rochester;
and this year came first the great murrain of cattle in England.

A.D. 987 . This year was the port of Watchet plundered.

A.D. 988 . This year was Goda, the thane of Devonshire, slain;
and a great number with him: and Dunstan, the holy archbishop,
departed this life, and sought a heavenly one. Bishop Ethelgar
succeeded him in the archbishopric; but he lived only a little
while after, namely, one year and three months.

A.D. 989 . This year died Abbot Edwin, and Abbot Wulfgar
succeeded to the abbacy. Siric was this year invested
archbishop, and went afterwards to Rome after his pall.

A.D. 991 . This year was Ipswich plundered; and very soon
afterwards was Alderman Britnoth (47) slain at Maidon. In this
same year it was resolved that tribute should be given, for the
first time, to the Danes, for the great terror they occasioned by
the sea-coast. That was first 10,000 pounds. The first who
advised this measure was Archbishop Siric.

A.D. 992 . This year the blessed Archbishop Oswald departed this
life, and sought a heavenly one; and in the same year died
Alderman Ethelwin. Then the king and all his council resolved,
that all the ships that were of any account should be gathered
together at London; and the king committed the lead of the land-
force to Alderman Elfric, and Earl Thorod, and Bishop Elfstan,
and Bishop Escwy; that they should try if they could anywhere
without entrap the enemy. Then sent Alderman Elfric, and gave
warning to the enemy; and on the night preceding the day of
battle he sculked away from the army, to his great disgrace. The
enemy then escaped; except the crew of one ship, who were slain
on the spot. Then met the enemy the ships from East-Anglia, and
from London; and there a great slaughter was made, and they took
the ship in which was the alderman, all armed and rigged. Then,
after the death of Archbishop Oswald, succeeded Aldulf, Abbot of
Peterborough, to the sees of York and of Worcester; and Kenulf to
the abbacy of Peterborough.

((A.D. 992 . This year Oswald the blessed archbishop died, and
Abbot Eadulf succeeded to York and to Worcester. And this year
the king and all his witan decreed that all the ships which were
worth anything should be gathered together at London, in order
that they might try if they could anywhere betrap the army from
without. But Aelfric the ealdorman, one of those in whom the
king had most confidence, directed the army to be warned; and in
the night, as they should on the morrow have joined battle, the
selfsame Aelfric fled from the forces; and then the army
escaped.))

A.D. 993 . This year came Anlaf with three and ninety ships to
Staines, which he plundered without, and went thence to Sandwich.
Thence to Ipswich, which he laid waste; and so to Maidon, where
Alderman Britnoth came against him with his force, and fought
with him; and there they slew the alderman, and gained the field
of battle; whereupon peace was made with him, and the king
received him afterwards at episcopal hands by the advice of
Siric, Bishop of Canterbury, and Elfeah of Winchester. This year
was Bamborough destroyed, and much spoil was there taken.
Afterwards came the army to the mouth of the Humber; and there
did much evil both in Lindsey and in Northumbria. Then was
collected a great force; but when the armies were to engage, then
the generals first commenced a flight; namely, Frene and Godwin
and Frithgist. In this same year the king ordered Elfgar, son of
Alderman Elfric, to be punished with blindness.

((A.D. 993 . In this year came Olave with ninety-three ships to
Staines, and ravaged there about, and then went thence to
Sandwich, and so thence to Ipswich, and that all overran; and so
to Maldon. And there Britnoth the ealdorman came against them
with his forces, and fought against them: and they there slew the
ealdorman, and had possession of the place of carnage. And after
that peace was made with them; and him (Anlaf) the king
afterwards received at the bishop's hands, through the
instruction of Siric, bishop of the Kentish-men, and of Aelphege
of Winchester.))

A.D. 994 . This year died Archbishop Siric: and Elfric, Bishop of
Wiltshire, was chosen on Easter-day, at Amesbury, by King
Ethelred and all his council. This year came Anlaf and Sweyne to
London, on the Nativity of St. Mary, with four and ninety-ships.
And they closely besieged the city, and would fain have set it on
fire; but they sustained more harm and evil than they ever
supposed that any citizens could inflict on them. The holy
mother of God on that day in her mercy considered the citizens,
and ridded them of their enemies. Thence they advanced, and
wrought the greatest evil that ever any army could do, in burning
and plundering and manslaughter, not only on the sea-coast in
Essex, but in Kent and in Sussex and in Hampshire. Next they
took horse, and rode as wide as they would, and committed
unspeakable evil. Then resolved the king and his council to send
to them, and offer them tribute and provision, on condition that
they desisted from plunder. The terms they accepted; and the
whole army came to Southampton, and there fixed their winter-
quarters; where they were fed by all the subjects of the West-
Saxon kingdom. And they gave them 16,000 pounds in money. Then
sent the king; after King Anlaf Bishop Elfeah and Alderman
Ethelwerd; (48) and, hostages being left with the ships, they led
Anlaf with great pomp to the king at Andover. And King Ethelred
received him at episcopal hands, and honoured him with royal
presents. In return Anlaf promised, as he also performed, that
he never again would come in a hostile manner to England.

A.D. 995 . This year appeared the comet-star.

A.D. 996 . This year was Elfric consecrated archbishop at Christ
church. (49)

A.D. 997 . This year went the army about Devonshire into Severn-
mouth, and equally plundered the people of Cornwall, North-Wales(50) ,
and Devon. Then went they up at Watchet, and there much
evil wrought in burning and manslaughter. Afterwards they
coasted back about Penwithstert on the south side, and, turning
into the mouth of the Tamer, went up till they came to Liddyford,
burning and slaying everything that they met. Moreover, Ordulf's
minster at Tavistock they burned to the ground, and brought to
their ships incalculable plunder. This year Archbishop Elfric
went to Rome after his staff.

A.D. 998 . This year coasted the army back eastward into the
mouth of the Frome, and went up everywhere, as widely as they
would, into Dorsetshire. Often was an army collected against
them; but, as soon as they were about to come together, then were
they ever through something or other put to flight, and their
enemies always in the end had the victory. Another time they lay
in the Isle of Wight, and fed themselves meanwhile from Hampshire
and Sussex.

A.D. 999 . This year came the army about again into the Thames,
and went up thence along the Medway to Rochester; where the
Kentish army came against them, and encountered them in a close
engagement; but, alas! they too soon yielded and fled; because
they had not the aid that they should have had. The Danes
therefore occupied the field of battle, and, taking horse, they
rode as wide as they would, spoiling and overrunning nearly all
West-Kent. Then the king with his council determined to proceed
against them with sea and land forces; but as soon as the ships
were ready, then arose delay from day to day, which harassed the
miserable crew that lay on board; so that, always, the forwarder
it should have been, the later it was, from one time to another;
-- they still suffered the army of their enemies to increase; --
the Danes continually retreated from the sea-coast;-- and they
continually pursued them in vain. Thus in the end these
expeditions both by sea and land served no other purpose but to
vex the people, to waste their treasure, and to strengthen their
enemies. "

Notes:

(47) Vid. "Hist. Eliens." ii. 6. He was a great benefactor to
the church of Ely.
(48) This was probably the veteran historian of that name, who
was killed in the severe encounter with the Danes at Alton
(Aethelingadene) in the year 1001.
(49) i.e. at Canterbury. He was chosen or nominated before, by
King Ethelred and his council, at Amesbury: vid. an. 994.
This notice of his consecration, which is confirmed by
Florence of Worcester, is now first admitted into the text
on the authority of three MSS.
(50) Not the present district so-called, but all that north of
the Sea of Severn, as opposed to West-Wales, another name
for Cornwall.

Chronicle Years:973-79
Chronicle Years: 1000-06


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