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PELICAN BOOKS
A 245

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY
DOROTHY WHITELOGK

THE BEGINNINGS
OF ENGLISH SOCIETY
BY

DOROTHY WHITELOGK

PENGUIN BOOKS
BALTIMORE MARYLAND

Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, Middlesex
U.S. A.:

Penguin Books Inc., 3300 Clipper Mill Road, Baltimore n, AUSTRALIA: Penguin Books Pty Ltd, 762 Whitehorse Road,

Md

Mitcham, Victoria

First published IQSZ

Second impression 1954
Reprinted 1956, 1959, 1962

Made and printed in Great Britain by Hunt. Barnard & Co. Ltd, Aylesbury
Set in

Monotype

BaskervilJe

This book
that
it

is

sold subject to the condition

shall not,

by way of

trade,

be

lent,

re-sold, hired out, or otherwise disposed

of without the publisher's consent, in any form of binding or cover
other than that in which
it is

published

CONTENTS I II PREFACE THE HEATHEN ENGLISH THE BONDS OF SOCIETY Loyalty to one's Lord 7 II 2Q Duty III to one's Kin IV THE KING AND HIS COURT FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Finance 48 64 Royal Officials V THE CLASSES OF SOCIETY The Nobleman The Churl The Slave 83 VI TRADE AND TOWN Trade LIFE 115 Towns VII VIII IX THE LAW THE CHURCH EDUCATION AND LATIN SCHOLARSHIP 134 155 l8g X XI XII VERNACULAR LITERATURE ANGLO-SAXON ART CONCLUSION SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 204 223 241 244 249 INDEX .

All have sought to emphasize the sense of period. Each volume has been written by a specialist. consists of eight volumes. E. By Professor Ian Ricftmond.EDITORIAL NOTE The Beginnings of English Society is the second volume of a series planned to form an intelligent and consecutive guide to the development of English Society in all its aspects from the Roman invasion to the outbreak of the First World War. By THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. By A. Master of Sidney Sussex College. ENGLAND IN Maurice Ashley. MORPURGO . The complete work 1. 7. 6. in the period with which he deals. and each author has been left to decide what he himself considers significant and his interesting. for the most part. ENGLAND IN J. and to make own balance between the claims of the sub-divisions of his general thesis. By Doris Mary Stenton. 5jv David Thomson. THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY. THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY (FROM THE ANGLO-SAXON INVASION). Lecturer at Reading University. TUDOR ENGLAND.Bindoff. at Queen Mary By S. and of adapting the lessons of history to our own times. T. H+ Plumb. colonial expansion. and while some parallels are inevitable. foreign relations. J. economics. to the reader. as follows: ROMAN BRITAIN. R* Myers. Professor of History College. THE LATE MIDDLE AGES. Cambridge. Fellow of Christ's College. politics. 5. 3. By Dr 8. culture. is left. London. Oxford. the business of discovering comparison and conclusion. Professor of Archaeology. 2. Cambridge. Lecturer at ENGLISH SOCIETY Liverpool University. social life. Professor of Anglo-Saxon. ENGLAND IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY (18151 9 1 4). 4. Cambridge. IN THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES. religion. By Dorothy Whitelock.

and that the period can be divided jnto" twopa^prg. the year in which Alfred's victory Edington prevented the extinction of Christian culture in England.PREFACE THIS book Saxon sources political history. It is enough that the reader should know that Christianity first reached the English in 597 and within a century had spread over the whole country. but they retained many signs of Scandinavian influence in their language.. Northumbria. and became a serious menace between 835 and 878. It deals with the modifications Christianity introduced it and the art which which inspired. and in the how and these developed literature new land. of dates. The Viking raids began with a few isolated attacks at the very end of the eighth century. and a postViking period. By this date the Danes had already begun at the settlement of East Anglia. their administrative divisions and assessment. . whcrrEngland^consisted of* several small kingdoms. or of kingdoms and kings. does not set out to give an account of Anglobut to assemble from various learnt about the their settlement in Britain in the what can be English between of the fifth ways of life of the middle in 1066. wEST fo e Ji:H*ij[ f ^Wessex were the only English rulers. is not necessary for the understanding of these chapters.Viking period. It century and their conquest by the Normans examines the principles of society brought from their continental homes. By 954 these areas had all been recovered for the English crown by Alfred's son and grandsons. etc. their place-names and personal names. and the North-East Midlands. A detailed knowledge of political events.

Gnut and his sons. Wiltshire. will occasion no difficulty. a work to which this present book is deeply fessor. Danish kings. reaching. as its kings conquered their neighbours one by one among them the Middle Angles to the south-east. and the Upper Thames valley. While the names -Kent. when the English line was restored is in the person of Edward the Con- on Frank Stenton's AngloSaxon England. and that Wessex similarly developed from small beginnings. until it denotes the southern counties from Surrey to the Bristol Cornish border. A few terms used in this book will require explanation. and from the eighth century it includes London. A period of peace in the middle of the tenth century. given modern Anglo-Saxon terms have been equivalents. that Mercia was in the days of settlement a western outpost in the valleys of the Upper and Middle Trent and its tributaries the Tame and Dove. it should be noted that Northumbria describes all the lands in English hands north of the Humber. the Welsh Border and the East Anglian frontier. The reader who desires detailed information these matters referred to Sir indebted.the term Mercia comes to be employed to denote an enormous kingdom bounded by the Humber and the Thames. which continued throughout the reign of Ethelred the Unready and culminated in the conquest by Cnut. Channel and the Wherever possible. at least as far as the Forth on the north. but this is impossible with . the Hwicce of the Severn valley. in Hampshire. was followed by renewed Danish attacks from 980. the dwellers round the Wrekin . and to the Irish Sea on the west. but. East Anglia. Essex. in which took place a great monastic reform and revival of learning. Sussex. reigned from 1016 to 1042. the Magons&te about Hereford.8 PREFACE their law and social customs. at the period of their greatest extent.

the shilling referred to in notHsuafly a coin. We do not know the ^capacity of a 'ggglffc! or an 'amber^: a 'mancus* was a weight of gold of about 70 grains. or subject* It might have been possible some of the gaps by imaginative surmise. I give personal names which are still in use. 77-80. and it is well to remember that 30 pence was the legal price of an ox. in their familiar. what the surviving evidence While space all it would be impossible to enumerate in brief the scholars whose work has been utilized in this . a pound. except that the nature of the office of an/*ealdorman'. fourpence or fivepence that of a sheep. all references to in later" Aejn^jno^. is not discussed until pp. though I should prefer to render perhaps 'the Treacherous*. All workers in this field of study must alternate between thankfulness that so much information from so early a period has survived. In spite of the iossTof consistency. instead of form.PREFACE certain weights Q and measures. BuT money are misleadir^urflessT one Bears" mind the high purchasing power of the Anglo-Saxon penny (a silver coin). a Danish weight made up of eight 'qrgs^ and there were two systems current in relating it to "the native coinage. and was considered to ^tEIrty silver pence. I retain the well-known nickit name *of Evil Counsel'. but I have preferred to restrict myself to states or implies. and irritation that it is so unevenly distributed. but merely a unit of count. All other terms used in this volume are explained on their first occurrence. denoting 20 pence in early Kent.] the king's highest official. fivepence Jn Wessex in times. their and those of Anglo-Saxon 6 kings.jDontdned 240 pence. whether as regards period. fourpence in" Mercia and early Wessex. or to fill up locality. or the Unready'. for we tind on some occasionsjoTpence reckoned tojui' ^rcTofsitv^ our records is 16.

more than Saxons and to whose careful training I owe Bruce can be expressed.I0 PREFACE this opportunity of recording book. Sir in manu* Frank Stenton. my debt to that great interest in the Anglowho first aroused my Chadwick. whose reading of this book work which his interest final service to a script was only a over many years has brought into being. I should like to take scholar the late Professor H. and I wish to thank Professor and Dickins for his constant help and encouragement. M. .

landed in the romanized province of They would have derived this knowledge. Bede. and the Jutes.CHAPTER I THE HEATHEN ENGLISH ENGLISHMEN Anglo-Saxon times were aware of the Germanic origin of their race. the Saxons. their own people Saxons. contains of the English Nation^fhich he finished a chapter on the origin of his race much usecTby later writers. directly or indirectly. the Angles. Slightly older writers Northumbrian but call do not observe Bede's racial distinctions. from the writings of the great historian. Even Bede himself does keep during the in this rest of his work to the division laid down one chapter. his Ecclesiastical History in 731. Neither need Bede's attempted reconciliation of this tradition of threefold origin with the own day can be accepted as accurate in every detail. It matters little for our present purpose that when chroniclers liked to calculate the number of years that had elapsed since the Coming of e went beyond the the English* their choice of 449 as the date of this event original statement of Bede. Although there is enough supporting evidence to show that Bede's division had some basis of . or that the makes conflicting evidence of our early sources of information it impossible to assign a precise year to the begin- we worry overmuch whether political divisions of his ning of the English settlement in Britain. and most educated men in after the first half of the eighth century could probably have added that their forefathers came of three of the bravest nations of Germany. whose most famous work. though the Northumbrians are not Angles according to Bede. and first Britain in the year 449.

St Boniface was not excluding Saxons and Jutes when in 738 he addressed a letter to *all God-fearing Catholics sprung from the race and stock of the Angles'.) that the invaders remained so conscious of their Germanic origin. uses 'our stock' and 'the Germanic race' as parallel expressions. the Jutes. the Angles from Angeln. the region of the lower Elbe. this strong sense of kinship with the Germanic tribes on the Continent led the Anglo-Saxons to attempt their conversion even before the last strongholds of heathenism in England had fallen. no matter what their origin. by implication. From the re- 9 mains of their secular poetry we can see that they took an interest in the early history and traditions of all the Germanic peoples.' In fact. it is difficult to these differences of origin were no longer felt to be important. King Alfred (871- this tradition. the term English is used to refer to all the Teutonic races in Britain. and St Boniface was probably as yet unfamiliar with Bede's historical work when he wrote home from Germany in 738 asking tor support for a projected mission to the continental Saxons: 'Have pity on them. Sillende and many islands as 99) was familiar with . on the neck of the Cimbric peninsula. but meant all the inhabitants of England. term 'Angle-race* in just this language English. (In this book. that is. for he says *in those lands dwelt the English before they came hither* after he has mentioned Jutland. not Saxon. because even they themselves are wont to say: "We are of one blood and one bone '. uses the sense. and King Alfred. as in their own. from the e land north of this. and consistently calls his native and is to their common is What interesting language.12 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY avoid the impression that by his day fact. Bede's older contemporary. Bede brings the Saxons from the country held in his own day by the Old Saxons'. a Saxon. St Aldhelm. now called Jutland.

Reinforced by a continual to in later stream of immigrants. if we may accept an early tradition. which were known as the forts of the Saxon Shore* Saxon raiders appear to have penetrated far inland in 429. It has sometimes been questioned whether Bede was correct in placing the homeland of the Jutes where he does. * not necessary to suppose that even in their remoter homes the invaders were entirely unfamiliar with Roman It is culture. not with Jutland. often referred Anglo-Saxon writers. for the archaeology and institutions of Kent. by peaceful agreement as allies. though from one more exposed to influences from the Roman empire. for already in the late third century Saxon pirates had become such a menace to the Channel and North Sea coasts that the Romans built a series of forts from the Wash to the Isle of Wight. The Jutes spoke a language closely related to that of the Saxons and Angles but also akin to Frisian. they would still come from a Germanic district. but the 'Coming of the Saxons*. even if they did come from the Rhineland. where the Jutes settled.THE HEATHEN ENGLISH lying to starboard 13 when the traveller Ohthere sailed down the Cattegat from Norway to Schleswig. Agreement has not been reached regarding the implications of this fact. remains unchallenged that the majority of the invaders of Britain came from North Germany and the it Jutish peninsula. differed from such raids in that it was the beginning of a settlement. Articles of Roman make found their way to the Baltic shores by trade. but with the Prankish territory by the Rhine. though a subsequent revolt led to the conquest of the eastern part of the island. have affinities. and the Solway Plain. the invaders pressed further and further west. . at first. However. until eventually they held almost the whole of what is now England. and also as loot. the east of Scotland at least as far north as the Forth.

the Berkshire Downs. Long before 410 urban life in Britain had begun to decay. Arden. the Weald. and more extensive than their modern remnants. The areas under cultivation were on the whole small. Morfe. with a political and cultural function. Wychwood. The amount of available arable land was reduced also by the presence of large areas of marshland. Savernake. which in many . forests was heavily forested. capable of the lowland valleys. 1 The Weald stretched from Hampshire to Kent. all far Sherwood. it had always been from the economic point of view a luxury. the Chiiterns. but there was an exception to this: contrary to modern conditions. It was only in a very few areas. Romney Marsh was undrained. 20 miles long and 30 broad. surrounded by woodland and waste. According to Gollingwood. Wyre. The population in the cities had shrunk and the buildings were their forces in falling into disrepair. and with the defences like the great Wall and the forts of the Saxon Shore. with great stretches of continuous woodland. that a plough of this kind was in use in Roman Britain. and there was a great expanse of fenland in Somerset from the Mendips almost to Taun ton. the chalk and oolite plateaux. were cultivated The river valleys in these areas were deserted soils until the English introduced their of working the heavy heavy plough. not only in the eastern counties. Romans withdrew Few of the villas. Yet it was no flourishing Roman the civilization that the invaders found. The land was crossed by a network of Roman roads. as arable. and the North Downs. Kinver. connecting the cities and military stations with one another.14 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY The newcomers came to a land that differed It much from the England of to-day. Epping. according to a late ninth-century writer. those settled by Belgic tribes from Gaul. such as the of Selwood. such as Salisbury Plain.

THE HEATHEN ENGLISH

15

areas formed the basis of Romano-British rural economy, had survived the barbarian raids of 368, and subsequent
raids

had wrought

further destruction.

The

centralized

Roman

administration had broken down, and petty rulers of native race had established control over areas

of varying extent, though, from time to time, one of them may have exercised some sort of overlordship over his fellows. It was one of these, known already to Bede as
Vortigern, who invited Saxon of the land.
allies to settle in

the east

It is not, therefore, greatly to

be wondered at that in

general the earliest English settlements were not closely related to the Roman road system planned to meet the needs of a centralized administration which was no

longer in existence. Left unrepaired,

many of these roads

would rapidly become unusable over long stretches, though the more important of them were brought back into use as the necessity for intercourse between the settlements increased. Nor did the invaders take naturally to town life. Some Roman cities, Silchester, Caister-nextNorwich, Viroconium, Verulam, for example, were never re-occupied, others not immediately. Cambridge was derelict in Bede's day. Even in places where continuous
occupation seems likely, important centres like London, York, and Lincoln, the English settlement grew up beside, and not in, the Romano-British town. After all, a population unaccustomed to city life, not possessing a system

economy that enforced centralization of population, would hardly choose to inhabit decaying stone buildings which they did not know how to repair. They themselves were accustomed to build only in timber, or lath and plaster, and it seems clear that they did not retain
of
the services of Britons skilled in masonry, if indeed any such existed by the time of the invasion. After the conversion of the English to Christianity, the early church

l6

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY

builders always found

it necessary to import masons sometimes re-used Roman masonry from abroad. These for their work; but at the time of the settlement, the in-

vaders could have had
amenities they did not

little

use for buildings whose
to enjoy.

know how

Nevertheless, even in their partly derelict condition, the monuments of Roman civilization were impressive enough to people unaccustomed to stone buildings,

paved roads, and massive ramparts. Small wonder that they called these things 'the work of giants' in their poetry, as, for example, in a gnomic poem prefixed to one
manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle:
Cities are visible

from

afar, the

wondrous

fortifications in stone

cunning work of giants, the which are on this earth.

In later days, there was a tendency to build monasteries
in disused

Roman forts, as at Reculver, Othona, Dover, and
The Irishman Fursey was
probably Burgh Castle, a hermit. This practice may

probably at Coldingham.
given a deserted
Suffolk, in

Roman fortress,
to settle as

which
for

be accounted
tion afforded

on practical considerations the protecthe existing walls, the supply of masonry by

-

- yet one wonders whether ready to hand any feeling was involved that the continual prayers of men and women devoted to God would put to flight supernatural
powers that might inhabit these places. Educated men like Bede looked with admiration on the remains of the Roman period. He mentions the cities,
temples, bridges,

and paved roads surviving
writer of the earliest

to his
life

own

day*

The anonymous

of St

Cuthbert, in telling how the saint saw by second sight the defeat of the Northumbrian forces at Nechtansmert
in 685, says it was while he and others 'were looking at the wall of the city (Carlisle) and the fountain in it

formerly built by the

Romans

in a wonderful fashion, as

THE HEATHEN ENGLISH
Waga, the reeve of
the city,

17

who was conducting them,

explained.' To the Christian Anglo-Saxon poets, these tangible than signs of the decay of a civilization more

magnificent opportunity for moralizing on the theme of the transience of earthly splendour:
their

own provided an

Thus the Creator of men laid waste this habitation, until, deprived of the revelry of the citizens, the old works of the giants stood desolate.

We cannot guess which of the deserted cities gave rise to
this

springs,

poem, but there is another, with a reference which is believed to refer to Bath. The

to hot

poet's

imagination peopled it in the past with men 'glad at heart and bright with gold, adorned resplendently, proud and flushed with wine; they shone in their wargear; they gazed

on

treasure,

on

riches,

on

possessions,

on silver, on cunning gems, on precious stones, on this

bright citadel of a spacious kingdom.* All this was

changed by
period did
stitious

*the

mighty

fate*.

It is possible that the stone

remains of the

Roman

more than inspire the first settlers with superawe and the Christian moralists with a fruitful

It has been suggested that Roman sculptured remains in the north of England formed the inspiration of a school of Christian sculptors, who produced figure

theme.

sculpture of outstanding merit in the late seventh and eighth centuries, a time when no other part of Europe

was producing sculpture in the round.
*

The monuments of Roman Britain remained to impress the invaders. What happened to the native population? Few scholars would now maintain that they were completely massacred or driven out, even

from the

earliest

areas of settlement.

More and more,

archaeologists are

l8

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY

recognizing Romano-British influence on objects found in Saxon cemeteries. In the later settlements, in the

West, we find Welsh inhabitants far above the condition of serfdom. A British strain in the personal names of the
Anglo-Saxons, especially visible in Northumbria, is witness to a certain amount of intermarriage. Yet it would be grossly inaccurate to visualize the invaders as a mere military aristocracy over a large subject population of native origin. The Anglo-Saxon word for a Briton

came
fact

to

be used as a
tells its

which

common noun denoting a slave, a own tale of the normal status of the

Britons

invaders.

who remained in the parts conquered by the The influence of the natives on the language

of the newcomers was almost negligible; they passed on
to them many river-, forest-, and hill-names, and the names of Roman cities, but the invaders gave new names to their own settlements, and, except on the western fringes of the country, no place-name supplies a certain

name or personal name. bare handful of words of British origin became part of the English language. All this is incompatible with any view that the invaders were comparatively few in

instance of a British habitation

A

number and were absorbed
tion.

into the pre-existing populaSo also is the desertion of the upland villages on the downlands in favour of the valley sites that the

English

and worked with their own heavy plough. There is, in fact, little indication that the invaders* civilization was affected to any appreciable extent by the outlook and institutions of the inhabitants.
cleared

The Anglo-Saxons regarded

pre-English themselves as Germans, and

continued to repeat the songs and legends which they had brought over with them including versified catalogues of the kings and tribes of Germany and the North. The main outlines of English society - apart from those dements introduced later of by the

adoption

Christianity

THE HEATHEN ENGLISH

IQ

- are already distinguishable in the account of the German peoples on the Continent, written by Tacitus in
century of the Christian era, and can often be paralleled in later accounts of other races of Germanic
the
first

origin, especially in the rich literature of the Scandin-

avians.

Though

neither of these sources can be used

unreservedly as evidence for conditions in England, their statements may sometimes allow us to interpret more
clearly

something that

is

only hinted at in our own, in

some

respects,

more

scanty, records. *

The

Christian religion was established in Britain before

the English came, but there is no evidence that any of the invaders deserted in its favour the rites of their forefathers
tus,

which they brought with them. Thanks to Taciof what these were. He describes a sanctuary of a goddess called Nerthus, which was shared by a group of tribes to be located in North Germany, the Cimbric peninsula and islands, among

we know something

whom

the Angles are specifically mentioned, while the Saxons and Jutes are possibly referred to under other names. He says:
is on an island in the ocean an inviolate grove, and in a consecrated car, covered by a robe; only one priest is allowed to touch it. He perceives when the goddess is present in the sanctuary, and accompanies her with great reverence as she is drawn by heifers. Then are days of rejoicing, and festive

There

it

are the places which she honours with her coming and her stay. Men go not to battle, nor do they carry arms; all iron is locked

away; then only are peace and quiet known, then only are they loved, until the same priest returns the goddess to her temple,

when
car

she is weary of intercourse with mortals. Thereupon the and the robes, and, if you wish to credit it, the divinity herself, are washed in a secluded lake. Slaves perform this, who are immediately swallowed up by the same lake. Hence arises a mysterious terror and a piou.$ ignorance, what this may be which is seen only by those about to die.

she suffered a change of sex. The waggon in the English poem probably describes. for her name corresponds exactly with that of the sister Scandinavian god Njorthr. unless it were supported by other evidence. and we learn most where the writer is probably no longer aware of the original implications of the material he has happened There to preserve. It the East Danes. seems a far cry from here to the great god Freyr of Scandinavian mythology.' Yet Freyr only means 'lord and the god is also called Ingunar-Freyr and Yngvi Freyr. the Thus the Heardings named the hero. the twenty-second letter of the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet bore the name Ing. where. and 5 . all three being fertility gods. refers to some cult progress like the one Tacitus An god would be fertility obscure reference like this to a forgotten fertility insufficient to prove the continuance of cults after the invaders left their continental homes and ancient sanctuaries. and over the produce of the it is good to call on him for fruitfulness and peace.There to no direct evidence that the English continued worship Nerthus in Britain. and a poem about this alphabet contains the cryptic verse: Ing was first seen by men among afterwards departed east over the waves. Her cult survived in is Scandinavia. our records owe their preservation to Christian writers who had no great interest in heathen religion. are. from him. however. But evidence for the for heathen religion in England is hard to come by. the father of Freyr and his Freyja. The branch of the Germans to which the North German tribes be- earth as well. however. longed derived its name. hints of fertility cults. until he waggon followed. For example. Ingvaeones. Some measure of support is given by the existence of a charm for of one's ensuring the fertility . who. 'rules over the rain and the shining of the sun. in the words of the Icelandic author Snorri Sturluson.

so that afterwards no sword or battle-blade could pierce it. sacred to Freyr in Scandinavian mythology. whom Latin writers normally equate with Mercury. and one of these is described thus in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf: weapon-smith made it in former days. gods already known to the Germans in Tacitus's time. and to Erce. encompassed it with boar-figures. Erce is names of two other presumably the name of a goddess. from whom he derives the name of a spring festival which gave its name to and Hretha. forgotten. adorned it wondrously. and Tiw. Jove. Eostre. and Bede tells us the goddesses. The corresponding name is borne in Scandinavian sources by the husband of a fertility goddess. was regarded by the Anglo-Saxons as having protective powers. as if in this figure we have another trace It is also to their genealogies a certain Scyld of an old. therefore. e. an arrival from and departure into the unknown. for it includes an invocation has been only imperfectly christianized. even though they may no longer have connected its magical efficacy with the ancient gods of peace and plenty. and both English and Scandinavian traditions assign him a son whose name seems to mean 'barley'.g. fertility cult. and Mars respectively. of whom nothing known. Bede tells us also that the first night of the heathen New Year was called 'the night of the mothers'.land. but what ceremonies are implied by this name we do not know. are not dependent on scattered references in We prove the worship in England of Woden. These three literature to . The emblem was placed on helmets. Thunor. is further emblem. It is hardly accidental that the boarthe Christian Easter. mother of earth. as the be noted that the kings of Wessex included in who is mentioned in Beowulf and has there some attributes often associated with fertility divinities. It looks.

as the god of knowdivinity its ledge. and Hampshire . English accepted Christianity. of intellectual attainment. English sources do not tell us what qualities were attri- buted to these gods. Kent. Derbyshire. . Wensley. Worcestershire. Staffordshire.12 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY left gods have their mark on place-names first Woden is a frequent in England. Wiltshire. Wednesbury and Wednesfield. Tuesley. or a clearing in a wood. Wodnesfeld.e. but it is to be noted that among the heathen customs that the Church as late as the eighth century the observance of the fifth was eager to suppress was day of the week in honour of Jove (i. and the lost Wodneslawe. for a charm called the Nine Herbs Charm. Thunor occurs in Thunderfield. agrees well with one aspect of this in Scandinavian sources.before a second element Ieah which means a wood. In contrast to Woden. and Tyesmere. Bedfordshire. and one of his by-names to earthworks in different parts of the country called Grim's ditches. Wodnesbiorg. The god Tiw was 9 worshipped in Tysoe. then took nine glorious twigs. Thundridge. and in the lost Tislea. Hertfordshire. Sussex. obscurity. the building of prehistoric monuments was attributed to him. Surrey. Surrey. who wards off evil from mankind by his wisdom. it tore a man to pieces. Essex. The Christian poet When the who drew the contrast: . they came to regard their former gods as devils. and struck the adder that it flow into nine parts. his name is given to the Wansdyke.in Essex. Hampshire. Thunor). except once. and six times Surrey. Essex. and so on. In England. Thurstable. in the case of Woden. Thunor *the Thunderer* does not figure in English literary sources. Warwickshire. element in these names. as in Woodnesborough and Wormshill. which says: The Woden for all snake came creeping.

for in all three the second element (kearg. so that private ownership is suggested. Sussex. they were forgotten. long Words denoting a heathen sanctuary of some kind occur in place-names in all areas of early settlement. An extant charm claims to be effective against 'the shot of the gods. does not suggest that the old gods had never existed. so that when. end of the tenth century. in their own. the shot of the elves. while the first is a personal name in the genitive case. weoh) means a sanctuary. however. the spacious heavens. and that later continental and Scandinavian evidence bears out his statements* Some of the places which were the meeting-places of . and reminds us that Tacitus speaks of sacred groves among the Germans. Of special interest are Peper Harrow and the lost Cusanweoh. On the other hand. and the lost Besingakearh "sanctuary of the Besings'. Gradually. that is the powerful himself.THE HEATHEN ENGLISH Woden wrought idols. the shot of witches'. and Patchway. the Saviour of souls. whereas the number of place-names with heathen associations that contain a word meaning 'wood or 'woodland clearing* shows that heathen sanctuaries were often in the woods. reminiscent of the position of the Icelandic gofii> who combined the functions of chieftain and priest. the true King Almighty. the old name for Harrowon-the-Hill. he uses the Scandinavian forms of the names of at the the latter. the 23 God. heathen past. Some of these places are on 1 hill-tops. Presumably the fresh influx of heathen settlers in the Viking age had made these forms more familiar to an English audience than those used distant. wrought glory. Middlesex. which means sanctuary *of the Gumenings*. seem rather to refer to the holy place of a family or group. Surrey. Surrey. the homilist Abbot Mlfnc repeats the normal equation of classical and Germanic deities.

Bede's account makes it clear that this was never converted into a Christian church. advocating the conversion of pagan temples into Christian churches. little evidence that the missionaries went so far as to use a heathen building for a Christian church. a circumstance which implies that people continued after their conversion to Christianity to the hundreds in later times have meet at the places carry on their heathen where they had been accustomed to rites. while the feast after the autumn slaughtering of the surplus cattle caused Novem- . a feast was held in the second month of the year at which cakes were offered to the gods. however. a contemporary of Bede. we read rather of total destruction. remembered having seen in his boyhood the temple in which his predecessor King Rsedwald . after King Edwin's council had decided in favour of the Christian faith in 627. In so doing. or all over Essex in 665. c in order that the people may the more familiarly resort to the places to which they have been accustomed.' There is. King Aldwulf of East Anglia. This relapse may have brought it home to the men on the spot that the continued existence of heathen fanes had dangers greater than Gregory had realized.24 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY names containing heathen elements. From this passage and other places we learn that heathen sanctuaries might include temples and images of the gods. though Canterbury tradition believed that St Pancras's church had once been King Ethelbert's idol-fane.not fully comprehending the demands of the new faith had set up an altar to Christ beside those to his old gods. as at the great temple at Goodmanham near York. they would be acting in accordance with instructions sent by Pope Gregory to the missionaries in 601. when Christianity had been re-established after a relapse into paganism in time of plague. Great sacrifices were held at certain seasons.

The letters of the Germanic alphabet. The charms which kept away these evil influences were . for various words demon and goblin are common in them. release a prisoner from his Veneration was paid to trees. The a dragon residing was composed would not audience for whom the poem have felt these themes either fantastic or trivial. in devoted the greatest poem Anglo-Saxon to the freeing of human habitations from the ravages of the fens and from supernatural creatures that inhabit in a prehistoric burial-mound. and People the relics of saints to protect them from the evil powers with which they felt themselves surrounded. . holy water. came to rely on Christian prayers. A few scattered details of heathen customs can be garnered.' The Church preached for generations against these and other superstitions against the burning of grain Tor the health of the living and the house' after a death. amulets. were held to have magic powers if used in the correct arrangement. not being allowed to carry weapons or to ride on anything but a mare. and fetters. and giants who fought against God a long time. A priest had to observe certain taboos. they could. for example. runes. other mysteries of devilish art. and which could be fitted into the Christian scheme of things as the their daughters monstrous offspring of Cain. These were accompanied by ceremonial feastings. literature. is fenland demons whom his coming had displaced. from whom sprang 'ogres and for and ghouls.THE HEATHEN ENGLISH her to be 25 sacrifices known as 'sacrifice month'. wells and stones. and there was a firm trust in 'incantations. he was believed to be able to bind the hands of his enemies by chanting spells from a high mound. against women who placed on a roof or in an oven to heal fever.' Place-names afford ample evidence of elves for the prevalent belief in such creatures. The hermit St Guthlac had to fight long and earnestly against the Beowulf.

But it must be remembered that Bede was not in a position to paint a fair picture of the heathen point of view. or else it failed to convince the upper classes. No one at the council is reported to have dis- puted the nobleman's statement. and it is perhaps best to leave it an open question how far the heathen English connected divine favour with . 'coming in from the darkness and returning to it this belief was face-value the speech 9 . for he complains to the king: Not one of your men has applied himself to the worship of our gods more zealously than I. Their practice of burying goods with the dead would imply some belief in a future life in which these will be of use. it is fragmentary evidence for Anglo-Saxon not possible to form a clear idea of the pre-Christian views of an after-life. very indefinite. But if the gods were any good. or of the connexion between religion and ethics. among those that survive. but if we can take at its Bede puts into the mouth of a pagan Northumbrian nobleman. who have taken care to serve them the more assiduously. so that rare to find. and nevertheless there are many who receive fuller benefits and greater dignities from you than I . From the heathenism. they would rather wish to help me. The language used on Northumbrian the same occasion by Coifi.1Z THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY it is christianized. the high-priest. an uneradicated heathen reference like the ones mentioned above. suggests that what was ex- pected of the gods was material benefit in this life in return for the due observance of their rites.. There is certainly no evidence to justify the putting back into this period of the Scandinavian conceptions in the Viking Age of a Valhalla and *a twilight of the gods*.. comparing human life to the flight of a sparrow through the king's hall.

Each of us must experience an end to life in this world him who can achieve glory before he die. that will be best the lifeless let for warrior afterwards. for glory. is that men seem more concerned with the reputation they will leave be- hind them than with divine rewards in next. r To me. that the breaking of oaths sworn on sacred things was considered to bring down the wrath of the gods. and some have even seen a conflict between a faith in an omnipotent Christian God and a Jit is T trnsHrj iThlmd mexorablJtate. however. . his and The poet who hero wins his glory by virtues not in- he was the wrote this was a fi men the compatible with a Christian code. This this world or the view is expressed concisely in Beowulf: . often held that Anglo-Saxon poetry is permeated a strong belief in the power of fate inherited from by ^heathen times. a feature perhaps inherited from heathen times. One of the least Christian features of extant heroic poetry. 27 We may be sure.and the concludall poem 9 - is that of most eager Christian. such as changes the world under the 9 the decrees of fate I doubt if heavens or 'woven by these are more than figures of speech by the time the . and we are told by Tacitus that the assemblies of the Germans were placed under divine protection.THE HEATHEN ENGLISH obedience to an ethical code. this can mean simply exaggerated. Yet it emphasizes difference between this remark and a strict churchman's homilist point of view to note that the tenth-century ^Elfric uses an equivalent term to explain what is meant by the deadly sin of pride." what happens c 9 . The word used for fate and though there are passages ^event'. which would make a breach of their peace an act of sacrilege. view^seems where some degree of personification 'the creation of the fates 9 is present. this The poet's final comment on ing words of the hero .

even while yet heathen. but stronger evidence would be necessary before we could assume a belief in the fate-weaving Norns at the foot of the world. It would be natural enough that.28 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY poems were composed* If they are inherited from the heathen past. as described in the much later. they may indicate that men then believed in a goddess who wove their destiny. mythology of the Scandi- navians. poetic.tree Yggdrasil. . but the poet who says *to him the Lord granted the webs of victory* is unconscious of a heathen implication in his phrase. the Anglo-Saxons should feel that man's destiny is outside his own control.

it is the chief and withdraw from the battle. King Hygelac: . he gave me. In return for thejr^ service jfoe men expect horses and weapons. a lifelong infamy and reproach to survive To defend him. they covet the place ofhighest honour in it The acceptance of Christianity this attitude. alone in the van. even to ascribe to his glory their own exploits. The lord has his band offol-^ Iowers 3 often called gesithas 'companions .CHAPTER II THE BONDS OF SOCIETY Loyalty toonJs Lord_ THE strength of the bond between a man and his lord first in the Germanic races impressed Tacitus in the century. and feasting in the lord's household. Having mentioned that the loyalty successful chief tribes. is the essence of their sworn allegiance. to pro- tect him. Tacitus . The chiefs fight for victory. the followers for their chief. repaid him in battle for the treasures which Ever would I be before him in the troop. . . made no difference to it is and several centuries after Tacitus a very similar picture that is painted in the Anglo-Saxon poetry of Christian datte. causing him to write some famous words that find an echo throughout Anglo-Saxon literature. is personal a jot triK^ %^ may attract to him men from and that chieftain another. . Jn showuigLCOuragc and followeruvie with one on the battlefield. who sEare 'the should be prejoys of the hall* in time of peace and who 3 pared to die for him in time ot warTThus the aged Beowulf looks back with satisfaction on the services he performed for I his lord. continues: Furthermore.

material bencfitTon eitKeT s^de/Tne giving^ of arms Jhejbond between lord and retainer went deeper than^ and wKich was ceremoniously performed^had a treasure. although the deed was done by two of his thanes.30 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY the battle at Finnesburh tells The fragmentary poem on us that 'retainers never repaid better the bright mead than his young followers did to Hnaef.KTSfTlW^ service^jiLjDenmark. the armour of HYgelaCjjwho'Kad been killed in battle. and on another occasion he expresses his satisfaction that j^EIIIngthe Prankish champion^ Daeghrefn. far and near . the most splendid helmet and corslet that he could find. and his young kinsman Wiglaf speaks bitter words of reproach to the men who have failed to come to their lord's support: He who wishes to speak the truth can say that the lord who gave you those treasures.* Beowulf himself 'was not so well served. that war-gear that you stand up in when he often gave to men on the ale-benches in the hall. Such conduct earned lasting infamy. BeowulF gays^^ . h&itad denied himlE? trmrnjpFoT Bearing in person to his lord. almost by Daeghrefn himself. tjje lord takes the honour of in his fol- lowers' jacgloits^ jand Beowulf is called 'the slayerof Ongentheow'._the king^of the Franks. E&Tlord had given him a grant of land." .entirely tlirew away this war-gear. GrantTof land by a king to his thanes are mentioned elsewhere in certainly gave to his verse literature. The'^cmhstrel Widslth ownlorif on his r^urn^'n'iTnative land the which King Eonnenric had best5Weci on "^^gnidicent rin^r him. As " in Tacitus. The re- King Hygelac tainer brings the spoils he has won to his lord. when battle befell him. and Wiglaf goes on to draw a grim picture of the future dishonoured life of the men guilty of desertion. whom he richly rewarded. as a prince to his thanes.

The 1flHnnfihip. as sometimes in days of yore he enjoyed the bounty from the throne. but also it is among told in Beowulf.. in so allusive and obscure a fashion as to show that the poet expected his audience to be already it familiar with It is it. Then awakens the friendless man. Truly does he know this who must long forgo the advice of his dear lord. his sorrow is renewed." aTthe very least. mingled with hail.nf IfvrH anH fn11^ w^ involved the duty^of vengeance by the . the sea-birds dip- ping. It was no mere rt lowers ^QsWftH literary convention. When sorrow and sleep both together often bind the wretched lonely man. and lays hands and head on his knee. the sore wounds after his dear one. At thJTBeginning of Aldhelm of Sherbome wrote to perthis century. not only in poetry that we find instances of loyalty to the lord. Widsith refers to it also. he sees before him the dark waves.survivor if cither were slain or.. of now that thejonTwhom they were accompanying in exile is dead. A story that tolcT how the followers of a Danish prince Hnsef succeeded in apparently hopeless circumstances in avenging their lord by killing his slayer. the Frisian king Finn. 31 and it is not mere materiaJJoas thaL-insmres the following lament forlTdead lordT tained in a poem generallyjknown as The Wanderer: All joy has departed. frost and snow falling. was apparently very popular. The folf MftH-TnirnKrifl in the seventh ^qiurg and of ^Ethelbald of Mercia thelrT lords in in the eighth accompanied to interexiles cxil^andj^ little later we tind OnarleTtlTe Canterbury GjcaTasking the archbishop cede witbJKing Offa of Mercia that some English should be allowed to return. spreading their wings. for not only poem about is there a fragment of a our scanty remains.THE BONDS OF SOCIETY die significance. Bishop suade the clergy of Bishop Wilfrid of Northumbria that . Then are the wounds of his heart the heavier. it seems to him in his mind that he embraces and kisses his liege lord. the exaction of a compensation high "enough to^do honour to the slain man.

' In their turn. and 'continued to fight until they all lay dead. Greater sacrifices than voluntary exilewere Lilla. own body between the king and an assassin's and died in his lord's defence. The vengeance or exact com^nsati6a for tEc*sTaymg of . onjv the aristocratic recognized this obligation. and mentions as a matter of common knowledge that a layman who refused to go into exile with his lord would be an object of scorn and ridicule. men of the opposing party who were offered quarter on grounds of kinship by Cynecept for wulf's main forces when they arrived on the scene. The story is told with some measure of narrative art. Bishop Wilfrid's retinue swore to fight to the death. it may have been drawn from an oral account handed down for some time before it was written down. and the absence of any com- c ment on or any elaboration of the incident may indicate that it was what was normally expected. so we see thati^jy^iiQt. ex- one Welsh hostage. and he was severely wounded. in 666. against in 685 King Ecgfrith fell at Nechtanesmere. a vastly superior force of heathen South Saxons.32 it THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY was their duty to share his exile. a thane ofliciwin oi JNorthumbria. . EalHorman classes that ta<ke dilmbra. equally indignantly rejected the suggestion. The passage in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which records this incident stands out from the annals surrounding it in its fullness and circumstantial detail. they of terms in spite of their hopeless position. all his bodyguard having been killed'. The same annal relates that a swineherd took vengeance~oa4baH3la3er of his lord. when the thanes of King Cynewulf of Wessex were roused from sleep their king had been killed in a surprise night refused all offer to find that attack. but there is no reason to doubt the truth of the facts it records. preferring to stand by their leader to the end. if need be. An incident of 786 is recorded much more fully.made* In 625 thrust his stroke.

In 796 the death of Ethelred of Northumbria was engineered by one of his own nobles. and Ethelred's death was duly avenged by his thane Torhtmund. before whom these relics are holy. ^ BES-3 . Rsedwald's wife dissuaded her husband from so shameful an act. Such incidents were looked on with horror. When Edwin of Northumbria had taken refuge with King Raedwald of East Anglia. (however) accordance with God's rights and secular obligations. he felt that he could not break his pact with king even on the strong provocation of discovering was meditating betraying him to his enemies for money. favour. I and true to N.a later generation than those who had shared his exile more than forty years before . do anything that is hateful to him. Injffir/ ^Ethelbald of Mercia was murdered by his own bodyguard . and never. stoutly declaring that his honour should this that he be more precious than any treasure. This story shows also that the tie was ajjersonal. and hate in will all be that he hates. on condition that he keep me as I shall deserve. an act that caused Charles the Great to describe the Northumbrians as murderers of their lords. when I subjected myself to him and chose his A force of the story in Bede illustrates well the binding oath of allegiance even in heathen times. willingly and intentionally. and carry out all that was our agreement. and love all that he loves. In Christian times the lord man who took service under a : sworejhe following oath overTelics loyal By the Lord.and the following year Oswulf of Northumbria similarly perished at the hands of his retainers. in word or deed.must be paid It is to Ae kindreiTbf a 'slairTmanT' loyalty true that beside these instances of one must set acts of treachery and violence that sometimes violated the tie Between" lord and man.

the author. for thus their resources were impoverished and the young men of the country driven to take service outside where there was hope of more substantial reward. Edwin. after h^deathjmd the flight orhisarmy. and another occurs in the late tenth-century poem on the battle of Maldon. or supposedly religious. nor to save himself by A very few years tells Maldon how later. or fall in the army. who claims who had it from the saint's swordbearer. The ideals referred to pressed nine by Tacitus are still being exhundred years after his time. but men might voluntarily take service under the ruler of another tribe. die of wounds on the field of battle. yet he had carried out what he had promised his lord. it is true. Besides fugitives and voluntary guests. ealdorman of Essex. even hostages were expectedjio repay the host's hospitality with service in time of warTWe have mentioned one instance above. puts into Edmund's mouth a speech on heroic lines. close by his lord. He lay as befits a thane. expressing his determination not to live after his slain followers. the jsoem on the battle of Brihtnoth's retainers fought on. was a fugitive from his own race. where a Northumbrian hostage fights on with the bodyguard of Brihtnoth. with no hope of victory^but with determination to avenge his death. to derive his information from St Dunstan. after their lord has fallen. as a due return for his gifts andlavours. purposes. when he vowed to his treasure-giver that both together they should ride safely home into the stronghold.34 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY not necessarily a tribal one. . The heroic code is nowhere the lines: stated more completely or more simply than in Quickly was Offa cut down in the fight. flight. In the late tenth-century Life ofSt Edmund. One of the things that was distressing Bede towards the end of his life was the danger threatening the defences of Northumbria because of the kings' too lavish and indiscriminate gifts for religious.

THE BONDS OF SOCIETY Sentiments such as: will c 35 the steadfast men round Stunner lord has fallen. ' fore" his lord' was felt ^tTFcaaipalgu. probably with the incidents also. the men of Cambridgeshire stood 1010. or Ulfcytel of East Anglia. a fact'wKTcn su to have symbolic significance. Yet heroism was not altogether in dead in his reign.have been lord. led by Streonwold. To lliC"cndof the period k paid in kind. may represent. that I not need to taunt me. carried the day heavy losses. When they followed men like Brihtnoth of Essex. on the follower's death of the lord's This payment was remitted when the man fell 'begift. a translation into words of sentiments to which their deeds had borne ample witness. the maintain the heroic English of Ethelred's day could standards. the men of Devon 'who chose their lives by a death in battle than to live in spite of ignobly'. the chief men of the East Angles fell fightfirm at ing in 1004. but I intend to lie by the side of my . For example. The speeches in the Maldon poem. now my journeyed home lordless' or *he cannot waver who plans to avenge his lord in the army. rather to end In 988. . or Streonwold of Devon. at the very least. Ringmere in which was composed for an audience very familiar with the persons mentioned. of so dear a man' thought to contrast with the sad tale of treachery and cowardice strangely . and which was death representing paid tolhejlord on the of^his man. a ~" tenth-century ealdorman declares: . nor care about his life* or 'I will not retire. The lord's ifLQL53ff3icailLand horses to the man who developed into the legal due called c which means literally war-gear'. told other sources for the reign of Ethelred the Unready (978-1016).

Numbers of chartetSLSiirvivft in which kings grant land to an individual ealdorman or thane *on account of his taitSuf service'.l. he had to produce him to answer bility No one would g^wj a^charge in court. more frequently in historical sources. four with trappings and four without. and had received from him a grant of land suitable to his rank. and oneTcannot be certain that even thosfi^without this tell-tale phrase are nnf m.es_ masquerading as gifts.m'ifrny ca^s sa. and it is clear from a letter which Bede wrote to Archbishop Egbert in 734 that he considered that a young thane had a right to expect an endowment of land from his prince. be eager to molest a 10 had a powerfuriord ready to demand compensatloiTor^g take vengeance.36 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY And I bequeath to my royal lord as a heriot four armlets of three hundred mancuses of gold. the founder of the twin monasteries of Monk- wearmouth and Jarrow. and four swords and eight horses. or pay the damages himself. had been a thane of King Oswiu of Northumbria (641-70) before he entered religion at the age of twenty-five. Though the heriot might representwjn^orj^rete^forin^a man's sense of obligation to his lord. to enable him to marry and set up an establishment of his own. anjdjt would be tojiisjnterest to defend his man from a wrongful was held responsible evenTojndeeds accusatjonTfele cornmittcd before tl^e man_entered his service. the principal payment jmade to a/jToJlowgr" in 'Anglo-Saxon times wasln land. Benedict Biscop. "J* got something more than all this from his lord he got protection. but sometimes the words "^ancTbecause oTHj^^ The man : added. Such donations are occasionally mentionecTm "poetry. and four helmets and four coats-of-mail and eight spears and eight shields. The lord took responsifor the man's acts. and would . A law of Cnut in the eleventh century states the heriot due from different ranks mainly in terms of horses and weapons.

when the claims of the lord clashed with those of the kmcJred. The the Christian Church did not mme into rnnflirt principle of loyalty to the lord. strenuous in arms. the idea becomes estaDiisned during the conversion that the duly to the Io7d tViT^T^JniSJLJ^ should come first. imposes only a slight penance on the man who commits homicide at his lord's command. and we are hardly justified in assuming from Alcuin's attitude on this occasion that he would in general have approved of acts of vengeance.' But Ethelred was a king foully murdered. *a faithful thane of King Ethelred to Charles the Great a certain Torht(of Northum- bria). and considered the lord's command a than the desire to avenge greater extenuation of homicide even a close kinsman. The lord's responsibility for his followers is the aspect of tnis relationship which ?tanH g ently in the laws. itr^ nS f p rmT1 n i . of accepting compensation. which the Church encouraged. unyielding in its stern attitude to though it normally is what the Germanic code regarded as not merely justifiable but laudable homicide. Vengeance taken for a sanctity lord's murder is regarded as a laudable act by no less a Germanic churchman than Alcuin himself. This was expressly stated by the fol- . whom we find in 80 1 recommending mund. Church was to his How ready the admit the binding force of a man's duty lord can be seen in the Penitential of Archbishop to Theodore^ for this text. rather than the alternate procedure.THE BONDS OF SOCIETY therefore be unwise too readily to accept 37 an unknown man. This may explain why the in the poenflrTfe Wanderer man bereft of his lord finds it so difficult to find a new protector. who has boldly avenged the blood of his lord. Moreover. It placed this act on a level with killing in battle. a man approved in faith. Jt added its to the oath of allegiance.

in defence of a wrongfully attacked kinsman. entice him to sin. have passages in of treachery. without be- coming liable to a vendetta. The laws of King Alfred allow a man to fight. to our be gracious Duty be fore to one*s kin bond of kinship may at times have had to yield be- 1claim^ . or the making. the inclusion of this proviso in the legislation would have been unnecessary if in practice the claims of kinship and affection had not sometimes overridden those of duty to the lord. for the good of his souL A paragraph that sums up the Christian view of loyalty occurs in Cnut's laws and is probably from the pen of Archbishop Wuli- stan. through just loyalty to our lord. i.38 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY lowers of the King Cynewulf mentioned above. To praise of loyalty and condemnation Archbishop Wulfstan in 1014 there is a betrayal worse many than deserting a lord on the battlefield. The homilists. The Church taught that other^services than* yengeance c^uljd1be"r5n3ereid for a departedlord. This attitude agrees 9 with the tremendous horror at the crime of treachery to a lord expressed by this king in the introduction to his code. however. Possibly. It concludes: For all that ever we do.e. the to "Rome. will we do own great advantage. for they declared unequivocally that *no kinsman was dearer to 5 them than their lord and were willing to run the risk of kindred murder in order to avenge the king's death. for truly God to him who is duly faithful to his lord. or even than * plotting his death: 'for the greatest of all treachery in the world is that a man betray his lord's soul' . like the poets. but not if this involves fighting against his lord: 'that we do not permit .that is.of grants to reJigious houses.

such as friendship or marital affection.' This poet hear most of the claims and obligations of the kindred. who were entitled to receive the to for any ot their members' geance was no mere satisfaction of personal out even when TeelTng. The fear of the action of the kindred was originally the main force for J^J(&aiaJ3^ and thggrg'^ngiQ^gaxQn law regarded homicide as the" affair of the kindred.' Another poem speaks with sympathy of the man who must be alone . Butjn that case they couicTnorafterwards him or receive compensation if" had renounced their rightsJo claim ."tnr-to^exact~ conipensation. and a favourite theme situation TpudiaTed literature was provided by any duty clashed with other feelings. and the poetry shows that the position of the kinless Anglo-Saxon Beside the lament a dead lord quoted above could be placed a dirge in Beowulf by the last member of a kindred. ancestral treasures in the grave-mound and 'sad at heart grief. in the laws. both in literature and in connexion with the vendetta that we brother. day and night. it was the duty of his kindred to take yen^eajacjjDJx4b^ slayer or-fais kindred. is thinking of the but usually.'better would it be for him that he had a it is everyday affairs of life. Every individual deimportant on the support of the kindred in all the affairs of pen3e3 life. The duty was incumbent on both paternal and maternal kinsmen. and jh kinsmen of thejilayer were all liable to it unless they rethe slayer an3 thus di&S6ciated themselvesfero- in Germanic this when fesponsTSUity. He placed his for man was regarded as wretched indeed. until the surge of death he uttered his touched his heart.THE BONDS OF SOCIETY in 39 society. alone after them all he wandered wretchedly. If a man were killed. but a duty that had to be carried it ran counter to personal inclination.

40 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY composition. at first expressed irTnu^^ and the rate at which a man must be paid for if he killed. A portion of the wergild went to a group of very close relations.^In such a situation the old King Hrethel in Beowulf found life unbearable. or twelve -^hundred of_two (men) ~v\5lu (shilUngs)TIJt it.e. and the law was specific as to the amount of this and the limit of time in . jhis j^^ildjfo^jo^^ tant mark ofrank 1 that the various social classes were sometimes descnfrfir by tern^ Hfirnyp^jrnrn . in money or property. homi- manpwere* were established early. m withQuLU<^ri2^ pn^pxtjpjnLJto^^ L. In the same proportion as they paid for the act of one of their members. and his paternal and maternal kinsmen. j.or six. the gf the procedure. were were sponsibility carefully r^friilat^hyjaw^ There definite rules as to the division of the financial re- between the slayer. Alfred's laws this. by money. yet the prince had ^vendetta was not a wild act of lawlessness rnnritnns nrJ7 . eTg. they received if they were the injured party. seem to hayejtrieHlo change for slain but cide. preferred. he took to his bed and died when one of his sons accidentally killed another. This was so already in tHe time of Tacitus. ^reat grief^and humiliation if a kin^manjay 'unavenged ^and unatpned for'. for there could be no vengeance nor compensa* tion within the kindred : That was a fight unatoned for committed. weighing heavily on the to lose his life unavenged. the latter being responsible for only half as much as the former. though grievously spirit. could be accepted withoutloss^of honour provided it_ was adequate to the rank jpf the slain A man. but it was alwaysjspen to the mjured kindred to rejuse settlementjmcTcarry on the vendetta tf they.

or his IrimTnan from wrongful attack.in the. they must bring an action to prove this before they could legally take vengeance or exact compensation.nght. or who had killed a whom h?. his man. with the f 9ath-helpers.it. There were strict regulations regarding the circumstances in which vengeance was permissible. If they held that he had been unjustly executed. was wage a^yendetta on behalf of ftjrffginj^^iarf met his deatlLasTconvictecl tfr ie *^or crime. for both were debarred.fla. Probably a homicide concealment turned it into admit his act. from the consolation of an effective and their dead vengeance or an adequate compensation... according to the normaLpro- would usually! gf the courts. to be classed with slaying by secret means. The Beowulf poet compares HrethePs his son with that of an old man who grief for the loss of sees his son's body for swing on the gallows. he illegal to iJSpiilarly . thespot. Finally. sister 7 or mother provided. though different reasons. which could not be expiated by poison or witchcraft. r ac* n killed daughter. It was illegal tp_ committed carry on a vendetta against a man who had it homicide when defending either his lord. Among the local abuses of law that of Ethelred the Unready (978the reign legislation of was a practice that had grown 1016) aimed at correcting valid an accusation of up in the North which regarded as of the slaying. apparently homicide if made on the day . _a slayer's guilthad to be proved lay of homicide had the right to_deny it by oath. the money payments.-haid-. dishonoured. for attempted murder. In Kent it had to be paid at the open grave' and the rest of the wergild within forty days..THE BONDS OF SOCIETY which e 4! must be paid. liis kinjsmen perpetrator of some other capital steps wejrejpq^^ to avenge him.

was When the English wGr^co^Gr^js^ ' __ ^^voidable that there should ^be^ Christian and "]pre. They may have felt that by this leniency he was that failing in his may be. However the Penitential of Archbishop Theodore states in unambiguous language: If anyone kills a man in vengeance for a kinsman.Christian ethics in this matter of . half the penance to the homicide who is willits ing to pay the wergild to the injured kindred. let him do This attitude must have come as a shock to the early converts to Christianity. The Church was eager to encourage settlements by of course. penance as a homicide. Bede relates how Archbishop Theodore used his influence to .42 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY that it regardless of whether proof were forthcoming directed against the proper person or not. according to the penitential already mentioned. and even this penitential yields a by assigning a shorter penance if the vengeance taken was for a brother. in which King Sigeberht of Essex was killed by two of his heathen kinsmen because they were j [ angered by his habit of forgiving his enemies the wrong done to him. remitting. and' composjiEron. ^ e ~kjs t iat jies~"eft{n ^n incident reported by Bede. already in heathen times attempts were sometimes made to secure more lasting reconciliation of opposing families by means of diplomatic marriages. though the bride be fair. duty to protect his kindred. though the hero of Beowulf makes the comment: little Normally it happens but rarely that the slaughterous spear quiet even for a short time. lies The Church threw authority on the side of compensations. after the fall of men. no"~new ihiiiu. This was. seven or ten years.

punity. but homicide was an expensive matter.THE BONDS OF SOCIETY 43 bring about a settlement after King Ecgfrith's brother had been killed by the Mercians.not Hn this: so the king must act for it. or could not. But this way out of the dilemma was not always open. The King of him. adversary before justice had been demanded the slaying in venKing Edmund (939-46) prevented of the of except the actual perpetrator geance deed. We have already seen that in some circumstances Alcuin considered vengeance a praiseworthy act. The Dialogue of Archbishop Egbert of Tork concerns itself with the position that arises when the slayer of an ecclesiastic cannot pay the wergild. There remained the problem of dealing with the slayer who either would not. It is this which keeps the vendetta alive throughout the whole Anglo-Saxon period. pay the wergild. and declares that he is to be handed over to the king for punishment 'lest the slayers of the servants of God should think that they can sin with iminference is that he assumes that. . equating a priest with a thane. The law could try to bring pressure on the slayer and his kindred to make them pay. the kindred will carry on the vengeance. to get off scot-free. man left his kindred when he entered But a and com- positions were paid to his monastery. anyone He laments the prevalence of feuds: illegal The and manifold fights which are among us distress me and all of vis very greatly. and the man of a poor family could not be allowed . modifications in the laws of successive AngloSaxon kings of the regulations governing the blood-feud are themselves adequate evidence of its continued exAlfred forbade violent action against an istence. if no comn^nsation is obtainable.iTrrhoar. The Church took care to fit its own members religion into the scale of wergilds. ^The^ ini.' The natural when thellain mainrs^tavman.

so that he can come forward and punishable by a heav^jfce. on until after the Norman Conquest. a member of a rich landed family in Yorkshire. showing how easy it was for enmity to flare up again if the is parties were brought kindred of the face to face. him. It seemed so complete. under security. The prevalence offeuds)in King Edmund's time was probably in part due rcrthe influx of Danish settlers into the north and east of all century. one that lasted for three generations. and the feud descended to the latter's son Carl. Uhtred's son Aldred avenged his father by killing Thurbrand. After that. something - we are not told what .must have caused Carl to remember old grudges. a safe conduct. it is regarded as a breach of the king's protection. and mutual reparations were paid. while they were together at Carl's house at Rise. the slayer to deal with the man he who is to obtain for has slain through a go-between. if anyone attacks him. for in England at the end of the previous the Scandinavian lands vendettas were very common. It was not until 1073 that Ea Waltheot. but they were hindered by a storm. for he slew Aldred in Rise wood. that Aldred and Carl became sworn brothers and planned to go together on a pilgrimage to Rome. and there was an opinion current that to pursue vengeance was a more manly course of action than to accept compensation. and. It is certainly from the north of England that we get the most vivid account of a feud. Earl Uhtred of Northumbria roused the enmity of Thurbrand. First. but by the intervention of friends a settlement was made. as he entered the make submission to Gnut. give pledges and securities for the wergild. and he engineered the murder of hall at Wiheal to Uhtred his in 1016. The feud then lay dormant for a long time.44 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY His laws go into detail on the elaborate precautions to be taken when a slaying is being compounded. the son of Aldred's **l .

Settrington his excellent disposition. It is possible that at one time they acted as oath-helpers to support his oath of his innocence. and one who was present.all at one whom for except two. arand settled the terms of marriage ranged marriages that a^woman's agreements for their members. at interests after We know heT after the estate of marriage. they were forbidden to harbour him under pain of heavy penalties. Kinsmen a chilcTwhose father died while were responsible for seeing that an accused member came forward to answer a charge. Though the laws concern themselves principally with the kindred in its relation to th^loodWwc^^ kinds people depended on their kinsmen for many other but the obligations within the family were of support. . as is shown by an incident as late as the episcopate of Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester (1062-95). in whose diocese the five brothers of a slain man refused come to terms even though the slaying had been accidental. and if he did not. The nearest kinsmen looked it was a minor. avenged assassins his grandfather's 45 who killed all Carl's sons murder by sending and grandsons as they they spared not were feasting at the house of the eldest son. yet even in the more civilized South the blood-feud survived clearly till quite late. Thurbrand. any rate. they said that they preferred to be excommunicated rather than fail to avenge their brother. Conditions in the North after the Viking Age were undoubtedly much wilder than elsewhere. custom and are rarely expressly stated in our known by sources. and became an outlaw by default. . and to it required a miracle to make them change their minds.THE BONDS OF SOCIETY daughter. and that close kinsmen.

46

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY
;

There are some signs that inJjie later Saxon enod[ the Hndrjed^was^nq Jonger. an adequate force to maintain jorder, either from the point of view of the state or oTtEe"
individual. Homilists complain bitterly of the
this

decay of

bond:

Now too often kinsman does not protect kinsman any more than a stranger, neither a father his son, nor sometimes a son his own father, nor one brother another.

On

the other hand, the laws have from time to time to

deal with the abuse of power by a too powerful kindred, which tries to prevent the proper operation of the law in
relation to its own members. King Athelstan (924 39) ordered the transportation to another district of persons of a kindred so powerful that they could not be restrained

from crime or from harbouring criminals. The kindred's responsibility for producing its members to answer a

men to justice, so an was imposed from above for this purpose. According to ^..laAA^^JGnul^which may be Tlilfog an ft1 *fo r source, ftyery adult free man was to be
charge proved insufficient to bring
artificial association

that is, a group of ten men whoacted as one ano]Jiej^Jb^aviour a 'and his surety is to surejdesfor hold him and bring him to answer any charge/ Men also
in a
'tithing,

associations of a scmi^religious^semi^' social, ^character^ called gilds, which reinforced the

formed^Huntary
,

kindred in some of

its

protective functions, StatutSTof

such gilds have survived from the late tentlTand^tlie
eleventh centuries from Exeter, Bedwyn, Abbotsbury,

Woodbury, and Cambridge. The thanes' gild in Cambridge took on the responsibility of carrying on the vendetta after a wrongfully slain gild-brother, and also undertook to support any of their members who slew a

man

in a necessary feud,
If,

and

to help

him
a

to

pay the
without

wergUd.

however, any

member

killed

man

THE BONDS OF SOCIETY

47

good reason, 'foolishly*, he had to bear the feud alone. These statutes thus supply evidence, if such were needed, that the blood-feud was still prevalent in late AngloSaxon times. A rather similar organization was formed in London already in King Athelstan's time. It seems to have concerned itself primarily with common action to suppress cattle-lifting, but it also declared its members to be 'all in one friendship and one enmity*, that is, that they would avenge one another's wrongs.

CHAPTER

III

THE KING AND HIS COURT
THE
Anglo-Saxons were familiar with the institution of and kingship already in their continental homelands, settled in Britain they continued to tell long after they

who reigned in continental Angeln as far back as the fourth century, one of whom, Offa, reigning twelve generations before his famous Mercian namesake
stories of kings

and descendant, was remembered
lished the Eider as the

as the king

who

estab-

boundary between the Angles and

the Swafe, their southern neighbours in their homeland.

Most

royal families in England claimed to be descended

from gods,

Woden

in

most

instances, Saxneat,

a god

worshipped also by the continental Saxons, in the case of the royal house of the East Saxons. It is probable that in very early times the heathen kings had some priestly
functions.

Until the great Danish invasion of 865-78, England

was divided

into several kingdoms,

though

periods those south of the

Humber were

for long united under an

overlord known, according to a ninth-century authority, as a Bretwalda 'ruler of Britain'. This was no mere
title; subject kings paid tribute to their overlord, attended him from time to time at his court, they they obtained his consent to their grants of land, they fought

empty

his leadership in time of war. An Anglo-Saxon poet well have contemporary parallels in his rnind, of a may Bretwalda calling his subject kings to his standard, when

under

he describes the gathering of Pharaoh's host in the following words:

famous

He had chosen the flower of the men of noble birth, kings and

nations,

two thousand
,
.
,

kinsmen.

Therefore

THE KING AND

HIS

COURT
whom

49
he could

each of them led out his men, every warrior assemble in time.

By the time Bede was writing his Ecclesiastical History this overlordship had been held in turn for single reigns by Sussex, Wessex, Kent, and East Anglia, and for three
successive reigns by Northumbria. Wulfhere of Mercia held similar power in the late seventh century, and dur-

ing the greater part of the next century Mercia, under its kings ^Ethelbald and OrTa, was supreme over all the

lands south of the

Saxon

kings,

Humber. The supremacy of the West which was established early in the ninth

century, proved permanent because the other kingdoms were destroyed by the Danes. When the kings of Wessex had reconquered the Danelaw in the tenth century,

they became henceforward rulers of a united England. The richly furnished ship-burial at Sutton Hoo suggests that even the kings of heathen days had considerable wealth at their disposal, and, as the smaller kingdoms became absorbed into those of more powerful rulers, the

kings' dignity increased

and their courts became more Bede speaks of the pomp upheld by King impressive. Edwin of Northumbria:
Even in time of peace, as he rode with his thanes between his villages, and provinces, his standard-bearer was wont always to go before him; and also if he walked anywhere along
the streets, that kind of standard which the
'

cities,

Romans

call *tufa*

and the English 'thuuf was borne before him.
their Eighth-century poets, who are clearly drawing of contemporary courts when they speak of knowledge the kings of ancient Scandinavia or of Israel, describe a

on

somewhat elaborate
pavements,

court-etiquette,

and

refer to

the

material splendour of gold-inwrought tapestry, tessellated drinking-cups of precious metals. Later kings

were no
BES~4

less

concerned with their
all his

visible splendour; in

the midst of

many

activities,

King Alfred found

56

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY

-time to supervise the building of halls and chambers and the production of objects of beauty, inviting to him craftsmen from many nations to this end. His great-

grandson King Edgar showed by
tion

his impressive

coronapolitical

ceremony

at

Bath in 973 that he grasped the
*

value of external magnificence.

The king was in a unique position at law. His mere word -Was incontrovertible,! and he need not support it with an
oath.

An

harbouring

attempt on his life, whether directly, or by his enemies and outlaws, cost life and all

possessions. It

is obvious, therefore, that the slaying of a king by any of his subjects was a crime that could not be compounded for, and thus when documents mention the

amount of the king's wergild - that is, the price to be - they must be concerned paid for him if he were killed
with settlements between warring factions or nations, such as the occasion when the men of Kent paid to King
Ine of Wessex in 694 the
to obtain peace after they

sum of thirty thousand (pence), had burnt Mul, a member of
and
his followers

the West Saxon reigning house,

some

years previously. In a text dating from the post-Viking period and written in the north of thts country, a king's

wergild
it is

is set at fifteen times that of a thane, and half of be paid to his kindred, half to the people, Mercian law only demanded a wergild approximately six times that of a thane, but this evidently refers only to what was

to

paid to the kindred, for an equal amount, called a *royal payment', is to be paid in addition. We have no direct evidence for Wessex, but the amount paid for Mul is the wergild of a Mercian king, without the 'royal payment*. This would not be called for in not a king.
If
this instance, for

Mul was

anyone fought

in the king's house,
his life

that he possessed,

and

he forfeited all was at the king's mercy.

Later codes extend offenders. the penalty for to breach of this peace varied according whether it had been given by the king in person.THE KING AND HIS COURT 5! Increasing importance was attached to the sanctity of the king's person as the period advanced. or through a subordinate. This king. a sum equivalent to twenty oxen. he is to forfeit both life and goods. while lesser offences had smaller fines. quite another is his own command in his presence. and state also that if and for forcible entry into his house. King Edmund (939-46) decreed that no man guilty of bloodshed was to presume to come into the king's his neighbourhood until he had done penance for crime and undertaken to make reparation to the kindred. and the new. and a regulation which in effect forbade the appearance at court of anyone concerned as a principal in a feud must have been effective in the desired direction. and if he particular individuals or places did. .' Men liked to be precise on such matters. this prohibition to other categories of an excommunicated man comes into the king's neighbourhood. He might give his special peace to or occasions. given given by God through his prophets. 120 West Saxon shillings. himself: by Christ One his thing is caldorman or the ordinance which the king ordains through his reeve. A very heavy fine. Popular tradition interpreted the king's neighbourhood as extending on all four sides of the gate of the house in which he was residing 'three miles and three furlongs and the breadth of three acres. was greatly concerned to decrease the number of blood-feuds. was due to the king for various crimes regarded as a breach of his protection. and nine feet and nine "spear-hands" and nine barley corns. The homilist jElfric draws the following parallel to illustrate and bring home to his hearers the difference between the old dispensation. as we have seen.

which can be compensated by fines. it chose to redeem him from death. King Eadred ravaged Thetford in 952 when an abbot had been murdered there. It seems probable. therefore.52 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY distinction The law draws a between a breach of the with his own hand'. having produced him. kings sometimes used more summary methods than ing fines: they ravaged the district concerned. and King Edgar ravaged Thanet in 969 because of the ill-treatment there of some York merchants. 'given death penalty. and a breach of the peace given by the ealdorman or the king's reeve. Similar violent measures were taken by the unpopular kings Ethelred the Unready (978-1016) and efficient rulers Harthacnut (1040-2). ecclesiastical tinent. contribution to the idea of the of kingship. that the responsibility for payment lay with the whole district if it for failed to produce the disturber of the peace. It A . or if. Such arrangements were in force elsewhere: at Dover in the Confessor's time there was a special king's peace from Michaelmas until St Andrew's day 'and if anyone broke it. but it is clear that respected and on occasion took this line of action. and towards the end of the eighth century the practice of an its The Church made and [ coronation was introduced \from the Congrew in importance. Kings state in their dignity sanctity regnal styles that they reign by the grace of God. which incurs the king's peace. the king's reeve took a fine from all in common. These increase in size with the importance of the assembly in which the peace was pronounced.' In levy- dealing with corporate acts of violence or disobedience. and in the northern Danelaw they were so heavy that they must have been beyond the capacity to pay of any but the wealthiest of men. special emphasis being laid on the anointing of the coronation order king.

that I promise and command justice and mercy in all judgements. ^Elfric at the cepted fact that a king choice to elect end of the tenth century can state as an accannot be deposed. that the gracious and compassionate God. and Alhred of Northumbria was deposed in 774. Archbishop Wulfstan considered the expulsion of King Ethelred in 1013 as 'a very great treachery'. By the early eleventh century it could be declared that *A Christian king is Christ's deputy among Christian people. Secondly. some thirty years later gives a full the oath sworn by the king. First that God's Church and all Christian people of my dominions shall keep true peace. and much conflict was occasioned in some king- . There also survives a vernacular version of this. who li veth and reigneth. In early times. and it is as follows: In the name of the Holy Trinity 1 I promise three things to the Christian people subject to me. but after he is consecrated king. and this order later influenced the forms used abroad. Thirdly. and they cannot shake yoke off their necks. any man who could trace his descent back to the founder Though of the royal dynasty considered that he had a claim to the throne. second only to the betrayal of one's lord's soul. his he has authority over the people. as given by King Ethelred at his coronation at Kingston. He says: No man can make himself king. that I forbid to all ranks robbery and all injustice. but the people has the whom they like. The ceremony at Edgar's and a Latin writer account of it. the king was elected. may through that grant us his eternal mercy. Whereas in 757 a West Saxon king was deprived of his kingdom 'on account of his unjust deeds* by the West Saxon council.THE KING AND HIS COURT 53 was composed by Archbishop Dunstan for Edgar's delayed coronation at Bath in 973. the choice was normally limited to members of the royal family.' We can see the influence of this theory. including coronation made a great impression.

The body responsible appointment was the king's council of Vise men'. bishops. the ealdormen. with an invading army in the country. the for the abbots of the greater abbeys. whereas elected Ethelred's son Edmund. though it included men of standing and capacity. After this we hear of no further suggestion that a king should be chosen from this elder branch. there seems to have been no thought of passing over a descendant of Alfred in favour of an adult descendant of a more distant king. and sometimes the king's priests. but another wished to postpone decision until his arrival. when Cnut died in 1035 one party wished to elect his son Harthacnut. and. it was hardly the time to elect a child. and appoint Gnut's illegitimate son Harold as regent meanwhile. but his predecessor's sons were young. eldest son The election of a king was frequently nothing more than the acknowledgement of the obvious successor. and an attempt by the son of Alfred's elder brother and predecessor to obtain the throne was foiled.54 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY doms by rival claims. under abnormal conditions. absent in Den- mark. but when such was lacking. some decision among various possibilities might have to be made. which was made up of the archbishops. They were not always in unison regarding the succession to the throne. . A more remarkable disagreement occurred in 1016. and in the disordered state of the country an assembly at Southhampton chose Gnut another at London as his successor. Even after the murder of Edward the Martyr in 978. This custom was broken when King Alfred was chosen to succeed his brother in 871. the more important king's thanes. and this party prevailed. King Ethelred died while Gnut's Danish army was attempting the conquest of England. when his brother Ethelred was still a minor. It became increasingly the custom to elect the eldest son of the last king. his was chosen. On King Alfred's death.

Cnut's laws at Winchester important at Christmas. held councils that were attended tics by all the greater ecclesias- south of the Humber. the great festivals of Christmas. Offa of Mercia. A council at London of 989 or 990. To house so great a company with their retinues the royal residences must have been of considerable size. ecclesiastical and lay magnates came to the council from all parts. on the issue of laws HIS COURT 55 The him on important matters and the alienation of land by charter to religious houses and others. In these three cases the meeting took place in an borough. have been issued by councils that sat at these seasons. which is unusual because of the presence at is it of several northern dignitaries. but the council often met at royal estates in places of no particular significance. wide' The king summoned his council 'from far and when he needed it. Bede has left us a vivid picture of the deliberations of the Northumbrian council over the acceptance of the Christian faith. Edmund's first code at London at Easter. King Alfred's biographer. as overlord of the south of England. Bishop JJlfsige of Chester-le-Street had presumto attend a council ably made the long journey south . e called 'the great synod'. tells us that much attention to building and improving various gave royal vills. and Pentecost were favourite times for large know to gatherings.THE KING AND king's council advised of policy. Some of the company may have lived in tents. but after the reign of Athelstan (924-39) those from the extreme north seem rarely to have been present. the great assembly . and it may be that they were summoned only when matters of deep importance were to be discussed. and was probably felt to be 9 abnormal. and his king Asser. When all England was united under one rule. but only by Mercian laymen. Athelstan's fifth code at Exeter at Christmas. and several surviving law-codes we Easter. in the document that mentions it.

possessed tents. jElfric divides the court of a secular ruler into officials and thanes. ity says that A late. such Durham tradition. with the note that he did so 'south of Woodyates at Oakley (Down) in Wessex. Men journeying to and from councils and assemblies were protected by a special peace. occasionally we hear of royal grants of estates to serve as halting-places on oftas the grant of Crayke in Yorkshire of Northumbria to St Cuthbert. author- King Edgar gave estates in England to Kenneth of Scotland. so that he could stay at them on his way to court. the king was accompanied by a large company. collects into the ritual for ^Elfsige the bishop in his tent. Aldred the Provost. St Lawrence's day is in August. on Wednesday. the best that I had out on my journey with me' and tents are mentioned in other wills. five nights old. added some book the bishop had with him. e A certain Jlfric Modercope bequeathed to a bishop my tent and my bedclothing. the attenders at winter councils can hardly have been housed in tents. * Even apart from occasions on which the council was meeting. Travellers to the king's court could claim hospitality en route. before tierce. In any case. . St Lawrence's Day.' when the moon was But we cannot be certain that Woodyates was actually the place of assembly though a council had met there a century earlier. besides Bishop ^Elfsige.56 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY his when companion. but probably reliable. if we are to believe the made journeys. which meant that heavier penalties were attached to offences committed against them on their way. as a by King Ecgfrith resting place on his way to York. it may merely have been a halting place on the way to or from the council. Others. and King Eadred's will shows that his highest court officials were his 'dish-thanes* or seneschals.

and he refers in general terms to other office holders. with strict rules regulating their relations with the king and with each other. Similarly. and his butlers. among whom would probably be horse-thanes'.e. At first they formed a guard for a king of foreign race. perhaps the same official as one a 'bower. Alfred had organized these so that they served and two at him in regular rotation. Old English poetry divides a king's following into tried men' and 'young men and this division agrees well with one distinguishable in the writings of Bede between older men with an s . Cnut. of the penalties for various misdemeanours. It is only in later. i.THE KING AND called elsewhere HIS COURT 57 ) his 'wardrobe-thanes'. a term of Scandinavian retainers organized as a gild origin applied to military or fraternity. one month at home looking after their own concerns. Scandinavian. of the order of precedence at banquets. establishment of their own. King Alfred's court consisted of the sons of the nobility who were being brought up there and king's thanes who spent only part of their time there. in which were judged offences against their code. Moreover the royal court and kept houseEnglish noblemen copied the royal carls of their own. These offices were held by men of the highest class. The expense of maintaining tax. or marshals. became king. The court included c no special followers office. court When guarded the Dane. men who corresponded to the lord's * mentioned by Tacitus.thane'. They had an assembly of their own. even after the English line was restored. who spend only part of their time at court. chamberlain. and added to their also king's thanes who had prestige. but they were retained by Gnut's successors. and young followers who have not yet received a landed endowment. The boroughs of Dorset a house-carls was met by . Below these he had stewards. sources that we are told about the details of their organization. his court was by his 'house-carls'.

panied by their chaplains.58 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY in the reign of Edward the Confessor. When King Athelstan had promised to visit a lady of royal rank. the business of government remen of education at its centre. and this would without at least some rudimentary have been impossible form of royal treasury. the result that the . there time of King Athelstan (924-39). to By common also this reign. King Alfred divided his whole income into fractions earmarked for ecclesiastical special purposes. King called Felix. his purveyors came the day before to inspect her provisions for the royal visit. We know the name of one of the secretaries of King -Ethelwulf. called JSthelflsed. Alfred's father. ac- to offer hospitality to can have been no light matter such a company. After the conversion to Christianity. and probably long bewas a royal chancery in fact. though not in name. also. from ten hides. and only the From quired some order could supply them. it had become reward house-carls with land. that drew up the charters issued in the king's name. contributed for this purpose at the rate of one mark of silver and Devon. It royal estate to another. and reported all in order except that the of mead was supply The hostess prayed to the Virgin. Certainly by the fore. The king moved from one companied by his court. with inadequate. he was a Frank. Eadred left in his will fifty mancuses King of gold and five pounds to each of his priests 'at his relics*. five pounds to each other priest. quite early times. kings were accomwho acted also as secretaries. at The king's priests were in charge of his archives any rate from the tenth century. In the eleventh century it was not uncommon for a king's priest to be rewarded for his services with a bishopric. at any rate. when we begin to hear of documents kept with the king's relics.

THE KING AND mead never failed. letters and it increased as time went on. kings. HIS COURT 59 although the butlers served the guests all day with drinking-horns. and his consultation with the king before he permits them to pro. who claimed of King king's to have been the sword-bearer Edmund martyrdom of East Anglia. when Ethelbert of Kent married the daughter of the Prankish king Haribert. the court of the overlord was attended by the kings of subject provinces. Not all of these came in good faith. It may have been before the assembled company that the travellers Ohthere and Wulfstan gave King Alfred the accounts of their voyages in northern waters and the Baltic which he incorporated into his translation of Orosius. and song. before the newcomers are allowed into the king's presence . Foreign visitors were frequent at the courts of English In the days when England contained several kingdoms. The precautions. Pippin sent and gifts to King Eadberht of Northumbria (737-58). tell the story of that at the hands of the Danes. at Athelstan's court the young Dunstan heard an old man. and Charles the Great and Offa (757-96) were . and there were friendly visits and marriage alliances between the various royal houses.the herald's enquiry into their business and antecedents. King Edwin of Northumbria nearly lost his life by receiving without suspicion the envoy of a treacherous West Saxon king. and other vessels. goblets. The company was entertained by minstrelsy and men told tales of their experiences.are doubtless ceed. and an interchange of envoys on business of different kinds. 'as is the custom at royal banquets. leaving spears and shields outside drawn from life. described in Beowulf.' Feasting and drinking at the king's court are alluded to frequently in the poetic literature. Intercourse with foreign courts across the Channel existed even in heathen times. In Beowulf the aged king himself entertained the court in this way.

and in the same king's reign a scene was en- acted at Chester in 973 that impressed itself deeply on men's minds. was escorted to King Edgar's court by king the bishop of Chester-le-Street and the earl of Northum- bria. and married a Prankish princess as his second wife. of Scotland. Royal guests at Alfred's court included the Welsh king Anarawd of Gwyneth. Scandinavians). but much of what he says receives confirmation elsewhere. Welsh. Most of them acknowledged We King Athelstan's authority and some of his charters are witnessed by the rulers of Wales. his where he received the grant of Lothian in return for homage. hear more of visits from the non. Post-Conquest writers declare that Edgar was rowed on the Dee by eight subject-kings visiting his . Alfred's father maintained a connexion with the Carolingian court. pagans (i. and claims that embassies from foreign nations were a daily occurrence.e. Frisians. as he did also the Danish king Guthrum at which was agreed on after the Danish defeat Edington in 878. exchanging gifts and discussing the common interests of the lands they governed. They attest as sub-kings. son of Rhodri Mawr.English kings of Britain in the next century. and Bretons. who came in order to secure Alfred's support and was confirmed while at the court.GO THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY in constant communication. his baptism. We may allow a little for exaggeration. Alfred standing sponsor and presenting him with generous at gifts. Charles at one point went so far as to interfere in the succession to the throne of Northumbria. Irish. Gauls. his information that letters and gifts came from as distant a personage as the patriarch of Jerusalem is supported by the survival of some medical recipes sent to Alfred from this source. while Asser says that Alfred's court was visited by Franks. and (once) of Scotland. and of Strathclyde. present at his court when the documents were drawn up. Kenneth.

. that it reflected like a mirror the faces of so clear and polished those gazing on it. of Charles the Great. King Alfred married his youngest daughter to a count of Flanders. of the Cumbrians once came to Edgar. and submitted to Edgar's direction. the sword of Constantine the Great. eight kings on one day. Hugh. but some scenes are more fully reported. had been seen in England. which. and in whose pommel above thick plates of gold you see fixed an iron nail. when that most invincible the Saracens. many with such subtle art by the engraver that the cornfields seemed the forms of men to move. Paradise wound and so on through a list of further relics. being that precious into our Lord's side. son of Baldwin of Flanders and Alfred's daughter. perfumes such as never before in whose greenness the precious stones.THE KING AND court. to King Athelstan to ask for his sister's hand in marriage. sure that something spectacular took place from the words of c. The mission was received before an assembly of magnates at Abingdon. a certain vase of onyx. opened by the gash of to wretched mortals. including part . never failed to secure the victory. duke of the Franks. one of the four which the Jewish could spear the faction prepared for the crucifixion of our Lord's body. especially emeralds.. sun lit up the eyes of the onlookers with a pleasing reflected fleet horses. the vines to bud. It would be tedious to list all the references to foreign embassies and visitors that occur in the sources for the later part of our period. sent an embassy led by Athelwulf. and truly to wave. and several of his granddaughters were married into continental ruling families. carved light. leading an army against it was said to be the enemy. the kings Scots. HIS COURT we may be 6l Whether this is true or not. . hurled among emperor. an almost contemporary authority: And they all all and the who were in this island. and it brought an impressive set of gifts. on which the name of the original possessor could be read in letters of gold. driven by the hand of the centurion the same which.

surrounded within with a dense wall of very critical of what he gilded shields. the Danish priest Gerbrand who came in 1022 to be consecrated bishop of Roskilde by the archbishop of Canterbury. who has left us a reference to two visits to the court of King Aldfrith of Northumbria at the end of the seventh cenarrival of foreign messengers tury. Throughout the period. the monks from Fleury and Ghent who came to help King Edgar draw up a common rule of observance for English monasteries. and given rich gifts. their visit. Incidents of this kind but the and the return of English were common. Very different gifts were brought by another embassy. and were given by him a monastery at Bath. Harold had sent to Athelstan a ship with a golden beak and a purple sail. when Norman and Lotharingian ecclesiastics sought their fortune in England. to the days of Edward the Confessor (1042-66). the foreign scholars invited by Alfred to help his educational reform. Helgrim and Osfrid. the monks of St Benin's in St Omer who came to King Edmund (939-46) when dissatisfied with a reforming abbot at home. Foreign ecclesiastics and scholars envoys came also. there were envoys coming backwards and forwards from the . Adamnan. had taken the trouble to study Athelstan's tastes. and the envoys. We are not told of the political purpose of may have been rare.62 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY The suitor of the true cross and of the crown of thorns. This came from Harold the Fairhaired. this king was a great collector of relics and apparently not was told about them. of three To single out a few from many inwe may mention the sensational visit to Alfred Irishmen who had set out without oars or rudder and with food after for seven days and arrived in Cornwall a voyage of just that length. king of the Norwegians. stances. from the time of the Irishman. were received at York in royal fashion.

. Finally. Thus haps Gunnlaug Ormstunga came to the court of Ethelred the Icelanders Unready. All the host of the generous and warlike king fears England's and the race of men bows to Ethelred. The Norwegian Ohthere goods brought walrus tusks to King Alfred. we can add the rare HIS COURT 63 and occasionally the important event of the visits of merchants bringing from abroad. it was the habit of on trading ventures to visit the court and perenter into the service of the king for a time. and. As there would also be a conand going of the king's messengers who bore stant coming his writ and seal to the shire-moots and to the individual magnates in all quarters of his land. and sang before him a panegyric singularly inapplicable to that monarch. visit of a papal legate. one may believe that after attendance at court its members might return to their own localities with something to recount. lord as a god. We naturally need not assume that all the business of these visitors took place before the assembled court. Yet members of they would receive hospitality along with the hand on news of the outside world and the the court and tales of their own lands. if we can trust the evidence of the Icelandic sagas.THE KING AND papal curia.

each in the charge of a king's reeve. the fines for some of the more serious offences were reserved for the 9 . ing of labour to build fortifications and bridges. Though sometimes it was commuted into a money payment. Another important source of revenue was his 'farm a food-rent paid to him by all the lands in his realm that had not been freed from this charge by special exemption. Besides his actual income. king. it was normally paid in kind. each of which was to supply annually the 'farm of one night'. like the king's farm. and from fines and forfeitures incurred in the law-courts. honey. malt.CHAPTER IV FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Finance THE king derived his income partly from royal estates. whether in money or in produce. from tolls. It was rendered at the royal estates. These were distributed over . that is. Even when grants of the profits of jurisdiction were made to private individuals. He did not need to spend his resources on the equipment or payment of an army. from inheritance after foreigners. and livestock* The king drew income also from the tribute of subject kings. the provisions originally considered adequate to support the king and his court for a day. or on the hirobligations. and the lands from which it was due were grouped together into units. dairy-produce. in ale and corn. The king's reeves presided over these and collected what was due to the king. the king had many rights that he could claim from his subjects. which were scattered over the whole country.

were liable to special services. Oxford. and the sheriff should find the messengers* and the food out of his farm' . and similarly. as far as Reading. The king is more ready to grant .for a consideration . for giving aid to the king's messengers crossing the Channel. Six counties. if the king visited the sheriff supplied him on his departure Shrewsbury with twenty-four horses to accompany him as far as sailors' Leintwardine. or as far as the first house in Staffordshire. whether English or foreign. and falconers. should at Torksey. his rights to customary payments varied from place to place. because of their position. A bishop of Worcester in 855 paid three hundred his shillings to get falcons or * e an estate freed 'from feeding any hawks or any huntsmen of king or ealdorman. huntsmen. likewise from the feeding of those men whom we call in English the Welsh expedition" (a term of uncertain meaning). Worcester. Wallingford owed carrying services by land or water.FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION 65 the estates of the land.' Certain places. exemption from them was so rare that a charter that claims such exemption is immediately suspect. Sutton Courtenay. the priests of the king's three churches in Archenfield bore the king's embassies into Wales. Northampton. Blewbury. whether nobles or commoners.exemption from some of his other rights. and so on. and Wiltshire . from the duty of supplying hospitality to his messengers. and from giving lodging to them or to mounted travellers. Warwick. BES-5 Leicester. A variety of local arrangements about guarding the king's person and helping him in his hunting when he came on a visit are mentioned in Domesday Book. Thus an estate on the coast of Cornwall supplied maritime guard instead of bridge- work Dover was responsible . or of feeding his dogs or his hawks. the men of the same town should conduct them to York with their ships and their means of navigation. e if the king's messengers come thither. and Bensington.

66 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY each paid him ten pounds for a hawk. and weapons. that he have his land fully manned. We know from his life by Asser that King Alfred re- us his views on the organized his finances. and whatgifts. and clothes. I desired tools ever else those three orders require. Alfred gives in a passage which he inserts subject of royal expenditure into his translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy: to perform. whom he had gathered from many and the third for visitors who came to him from . one for his races. this is his material. nor without these tools do any of the things that he is charged to do. which he must have for those tools . Also. This. one for the soldiers and thanes who served him in turn at his court. * . for references to it begin in these about the is same time. He must have men who pray. and soldiers and workmen. thou knowest that without these tools no king can reveal his power. twenty shilland Warwickshire ings for a sumpter-horse. and materials for the work that I was charged namely that I might worthily and fittingly steer and rule the dominion that was entrusted to me. And without these things he cannot hold those tools. sums from 130 to 65 shillings for dogs. is a king's material and his tools for ruling with. and and food. then. to the men who pray* The other half he subdivided into three portions. . and Alfred may have learnt of it from Prankish sources. interesting to compare Alfred's actual division of the income that reached his treasury* Half of it he devoted to religious uses. is The division of mankind into the three orders common medieval doctrine. and their sustenance consists in land to live on.sustenance for those three orders. that is. Oxfordshire three royal manors in paid twenty-three pounds for dogs. and ale. Lo. workmen. Bedfordshire paid the city of Norwich supplied a bear and six dogs for bear-baiting. though it happens that Alfred's statement fuller and more complete than any other known to me It is from so early a date.

For example. any more than were the tillers largest class of the men who work. because they were estates belongto the king's sons. The king's wife received a gift of ing is said to have been given lands at her marriage: Edgar had given Emma Winchester. and Oxford. Grants of land Asser. and Rutland by Ethelred. highly probable that it became a separate county by reason of its having been a queen's dower. Alfred makes no provision in this division for the royal officials in the shires or on the royal estates. The soldiers mentioned connexion are the king's bodyguard. Warwick. the rank and file. and sums of gold from the Bedfordshire royal estates of Luton. lie The queen and outside the subject of this chapter in the princes were also provided for estates assigned to them.FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION every race. were not recompensed from the king's treasury. Leighton Buzzard. . the bulk of the men who fight. and the last-mentioned place appears in ^he possession of Edward the Confessor's queen also. the of the soil. The Confessor's queen is shown by Domesday book to have had very extensive lands. It is. far 67 in this and near. The same source shows in many places by the end of tomary gifts to the queen the Anglo-Saxon period. and Houghton Regis. but we cannot tell how many came to her from her own that there were cusfamily. in fact. but does not suggest that it was an innovation. these gave their services in return for the land they held. she received a hundred shillings from each of the counties of Worcester. and from lands allotted to them. for these derived their income from a share of the royal income before it was handed over to the king. The evidence for this is later than Alfred's time. Exeter. The king's council about 975 took away from the abbey of Abingdon some estates which King by there. Northampof from two to four ounces ton. and they may be of ancient date.

e. The process seems to have been as in follows a large district was given an assessment reckoned hundred hides or ploughlands. Greater sums of money than could be obtained from off the normal revenue were required for the tribute to buy Danish raids. or multiples of six. areas which could be worked by an eight-ox plough. All over the country estates were assessed in these measures for fiscal purposes round figures which even in the beginning could only roughly have approximated to the actual area of the individual estate. while the actual conditions might alter greatly. it tended to move further and further from any correspondence with the real size of the estates. Kent was assessed in 'sulungs i. but even at that time the notion of buying off an invader was not new. and doubtless made it at a price. which calculated by the long hundred of 1 20. Over most of the country the unit of assessment on which it was was the hide.68 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY The royal revenue so far described was planned to meet normal demands. any abnormal need for money had to be met by a special tax levied on the country. originally the amount of land felt sufficient for a peasant household. while in the parts of England settled by the Danes in the Viking Age the hide was replaced by the Danish *ploughland* which raised 9 . and this number was then divided locally among the component : in multiples of a estates of the district in units of five or multiples (in of five the Danelaw. and was probably first laid down in connexion with the payment of the king's farm. Oswiu of Northumbria had attempted to . As the assessment remained fixed over very long periods. carrucates). though from the beginning. Latin sources render *carrucata*. the units are usually of six. but it is much earlier than the introduction of this tax. We hear most of this assessment in relation to a tax known as 'Danegeld'. Already in 865 the East Angles 'made peace with the Danes'.

was in year that Archbishop JElfheah of to allow Canterbury. was accepted by a large part of England and resided at Gainsborough in 1013. which surincreasing payments thousand pounds. he imposed a tribute. and died a martyr's death at the hands .e. 872). refused further by paying a to be burdened any the people for ransom him. who died in 956. sent 9 . was bought for twenty-two by It 10 1 2 the amount had this risen to forty-eight thousand. and in the years that are made. When the Danish king. if they need. This his see in return for is shown clearly by a document in which a bishop of Worcester leases one of the estates of twenty mancuses of gold. and vives. learning of Swein's death as he was riding to deliver the money. Certain prominent ecclesiastics were to hold it in trust for the benefit of groups of counties in the south of England and in Mercia. After 865 the practice became only too common. and seems to have employed the existing machinery in its collection. for it was a local magnate. Harthacnut. Swein. in order to meet his church's contribution to 'the immense tribute of the barbarians in the year in which the pagans occupied London' (i. In 991 a 9 Danish army was bought off for the sum often thousand follow repeated and everpounds. brought it back and re-paid it to the contributors. and the requisite sums were obtained by special taxation. A treaty of 994. apparently from the royal treasure. and who. King Eadred. held prisoner by the Danes. Norfolk. and at Worcester the populace rose against two of them and killed them. left in his will sixteen thousand pounds to his people 'that they may be able to buy relief for themselves from famine and from th<f heathen army. Thurcetel. In 1040 another Danish king.FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION buy off 69 Penda of Mercia in 654. his own house-carls to collect a heavy tax for the payment of his ships' crews. surnamed 'Salmon who collected it from the hundred of Flegg.

He demanded both a . who had left their own side because they were shocked by the murder of the archbishop. More information on the provision of ships is available for Ethelred's reign (978-1016). the upkeep of a fleet. King Ethelred took into his service ships of Danish mercenaries. nor for Alfred's fleet. and in the same year also. had fleets. but as it seemed to him that they would be most useful* They were manned partly by Frisians. but we are not told who paid for their building and their manning. post-Conquest writer assigns to this A king three thousand six hundred ships. and it is possible that ship-builders were among the craftsmen whom Asser tells us the king invited to work able him and paid out of his revenue. After the Norman Conquest it was referred to as 'Danegeld*. But it is probthat the bulk of the cost of providing and maintainfor fleet ing ships was borne by the land as in later times. It was stopped by Edward the Confessor in 1051. and speaks of an annual circuit of the whole island* Without accepting his statements in full. and Edgar's fleet was at Chester in 973 when he received the submission of the Welsh and Scottish kings. An annual tax was levied to pay for them. Meanwhile another charge had become incumbent on the land. built 'neither according to the Frisian nor the Danish pattern. a part in the campaigns of Alfred's successors. and a standing force of housecarls was kept through the reigns of Gnut and his sons. and paid by a tax known as 'army-payment'. plays A Edward and Athelstan. Some early kings. such as Edwin and Ecgfrith of Northumbria. we may reasonably suppose that the of a strong fleet was one of the reasons why possession Edgar overawed the foreign kings of Britain.7<3 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY of his incensed captors. which he enlarged with new and larger ships.

more often. an archbishop of Canterbury left to the with sixty king his best ship with its sailing tackle along helmets and coats-of-mail. a ship to each of the Kent and Wiltshire. and about the same time a bishop of Grediton counties of left to the king also The archbishop bequeathed a sixty-four-oared ship. In 1008 the order went out that ships were to be built throughout England.' According to the laws of this reign.FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION c ?I land-army and the furnishing of ships in 999. according to what books tell us. There are traces in some counties of an arrangement of hundreds in groups of one ship. or or four pounds money: Warwick sent four boatswains of the king led a sea expedition. we read of contributions in men. and they were brought all together to Sandwich. 'they let all the nation's to naught.* They were ready the following year: There were more of them than there had ever been before in England in any king's day. each group to provide Book gives sporadic information on ship service at Maldon for example supplied one ship. but owing to delays and incompetent leadership at the end it effected nothing except oppression of the people and 5 waste of money and the encouragement of the enemy. and were to lie there and defend this land against every raiding army. and Domesday three. any more than it had been on many previous occasions. obviously to lessen their burden of supplying ships. if the king went against his enemies by by . warships were to be ready every year soon About 1005. various places. after Easter. Once come labour thus lightly again. 'a warship from 310 hides and a helmet and a coat-of-mail from eight hides. an annual charge when a house at Colchester could be devoted either to sixpence mercenaries or to an expedition provisioning the king's land or sea. But yet we had not the good fortune nor the glory that that naval force was of any use to this land. goods.

vague references to service by land or sea are sometimes found. to carry weapons or other things where they were needed. and for desertion state that all penalties for crime are when if the do not say there army has been was a limit to called out.e. and charged over four pounds) to for at the rate of eight marks (i. In times of crisis. A document from about the year to 1000 describes its how St Paul's apportioned over its estates obligation to supply forty-five seamen. This was done in 1016. paid twenty shillings. This king sent his men to guard the sea.* * The king's rights with army are not specified from the army. nor do they specify the minimum equipment in weapons and provisions that each man must bring with him. but the mere fact that the legislates to quality. without going himself all the men of the borough. no matter on whose land they dwelt. and the fleet was disbanded by Edward the Confessor in 1049 or 1050. when Ethelred took into his service forty- five Danish ships. though King Athelstan ensure that shields shall be of a proper them with sheepskin (instead of ox-hide). He forbids the covering of chronicler troubles to state this expressly implies that it was not the normal proceeding. but they the number of men whom the king could demand. From 1012. thus at Lewes 'if the the rowlock.72 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY burghers of Leicester must send sea. a standing fleet was kept. it is probable that every able-bodied man could be summoned to the host. It is only when we reach Domesday Book that we are told how many men must go . and increased regard to the calling out of the in detail in the laws. amounted to a heavy burden. By the end of his reign some of the Channel ports had responsibilities for sea-defence. These give the penalties for disobeying a summons. which was given to 'those who had charge of the arms on the ships. the him four horses London.

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION from estates of 73 normal rate in Edward man from five hides. Domesday Book occasionally tells us something of the was to perform the arrangements made locally as to who military service due from an estate. spear had become inadequate for changed condi- tions of warfare. Lidford. first said of obligations to the host when it was cannot be sure that any of these arrange- We ments are of great antiquity. a mark of silver for ten hides. Leicester supplied are told that Exeter performed the same and the three small Devon- We service as five hides of land. or a pound. together performed the same service as Exeter. 'when the king went by land*. that later kings aimed at smaller contingents in possible order to improve the quality of their equipment. at Malmesbury. The Dorset boroughs pay at exactly the same rate. Tor the needs of the house-carls'. A law of Athelstan's. as in this passage relating to land in Lincolnshire: . In Berkshire. but could buy itself free at the rate of a pound a man. This seems to let the Devon boroughs also paid annually a mark of silver off lightly. but between them they for mercenaries. a very much heavier demand. shire boroughs. Oxford ought to send twenty men. The traditional and shield. ten burgesses behalf of all the others. but there are differences in local custom as each place made its own bargain with the king. and Barnstaple. suggests. at Warwick went on twelve. Totnes. A the Confessor's time seems to have been one months or four shillings from each hide instead. if applies to the obligation of and it is military service. for in the half of the previous century. the king had the right to one man from five hides. armament of the Anglo-Saxon churl. a man went from five hides with provisions for two a certain size. ordering every landto owner have two well-mounted men it each plough in his possession. and nothing is summoned.

Edward to the Danes. and Siwate could go. the assembled host refused to act. only one of which was on service at any time. Then the two boys (i. and disbanded because the king was not present. testify that in the time of King Edward Siwate. a second went. forces King Alfred introduced the innovation of dividing the He could call on into two sections. two foundlings brought up in the village) were chosen for that military service.ffilfric uses to translate a vaguer The township was ordered to equip two soldiers for the army. Fenchel.e. and thus with respect to them all. and Siwate and the rest assisted him. and Aschil divided their father's land among them equally and share and share alike. the other brothers assisted him.74 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY The men of the Wapentake of Candleshoe. Alnod. Anglo-Saxon kings often led their armies in person. After Siwate. it was punishable . to be relieved by the other contingent when they had covered a set period. and they may well have suspected that the king's son who had summoned them was playing a lone hand. but the circumstances were unusual. We may perhaps see a glimpse of a village council deciding who shall words which Abbot Latin original: answer the king's summons in the specific . with the consent of the whole Riding. Desertion from the army was a much more serious offence if the king himself were leading it than otherwise. and held it in such wise that if there were a call to the king's army. having used up its provisions. The Chronicle records one occasion when the serving force came to the end of its term and. at one point in 1016. Indeed. In this event. but in general the system seems to have worked Certainly in the reign of Alfred's son the English army proved a most effective force for the offensive warfare of reconquering the land ceded well. disbanded before the relieving division arrived on the spot.

desertion from the army was punished by a fine of 120 shillings. manned away with trict and kept in repair by the surrounding districts. Alfred began therefore to surround his territories with a ring of fortresses. Asser complains . fine for neglecting Thus while the army was five West Saxon shillings) in pounds (which equals 240 Oxford and Warwick. do great damage. state Domesday Book shows a the general penalties for such that there could be local variations even in matters of this kind. in the king's absence. the kings had the right to demand work on fortifications as one of the three public charges on those charges which from the middle of the reserved whenever eighth century are almost always all estates. and before make mention of the fortification of strongholds charters in a few cases enlarging the obliga'against the pagans'. unless the culprit could redeem himself by payment of his own wergild. the same offence in Berkshire and to the summons in Worcester might cost all one's lands. tion to 9 was new. This became very obvious in the era of Viking invasions. any grant of exemption from dues or services is being made. and so it did not provide an adequate defence against sudden attack. only in its Alfred's 'burghal system scale. and perhaps in making more permanent arrangements for the upkeep of the strongholds. therefore. or on the banks of navigable rivers. While the laws offences. The assembly of the army took time. The labour for the great earthwork built by Offa on his Welsh frontier would be forthcoming under this Alfred's time early ninth-century charge. and the sail their plunder before the forces of the discould be mustered.FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION 75 by death. for Danes could land a powerful force on the coast. Long before Alfred's time. include the destruction of (enemy) fortifications.

or not begun. The laws of the next reign enjoin that the repairing of fortresses must be completed a fortnight after the Rogation days. and that eighty hides would be responsible for keeping in repair twenty of a definite poles of the wall. when invasion came. It was reckoned that a fortress would require as a garrison four men to every pole of wall. It may be that the charge of making them fell heavily on some already burdened districts. from whose time conies a document known as the Burghal Hidage. a fort at Towcester was surrounded with a stone wall. The repair of bridges is associated with military . and his sister ^Ethelflaed. the Lady of the Mercians.76 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY of the failure of the people to co-operate willingly with the king in this work. which meant that in some places the forts he had ordered were incomplete. followed the same plan in the area under her control. In the reign of Edward the Confessor the being demand of one man from each hide was still made at Chester. of Roman whereas at other places an earthwork and stockade were thrown up at some previously unforti* fied site. which was equivalent to 120 Mercian shillings. and the allotment number of hides of land to the maintenance and manning of a fortress is based on the assumption that one man would come from each hide. It is clear that the systematic defence of his realm by this means was not completed until the reign of his son Edward. The type of fortification differed according to local conditions. someexisting walls times it was merely a question of repairing origin. for- Edward also consolidated his advance into Danish-held territory by similar fortifications. which gives the number of hides of land allotted to the maintenance of the individual tresses. where the reeve summoned a man from each hide bridge. to the king The lord of in the county to repair the wall and any man who failed to appear paid and earl a fine of forty (Norman) shillings.

a different meaning.FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION service 77 and fortress work to make up list the three public dues. as he ing with an appeal to his judgement in his chamber. denotbut merely a man of the upper class. 'the affairs of the kingdom* were Various and manifold'. washing his hands'. as we shall seelater. until in the eleventh under Scandinavian century this term was superseded by the name earl. Some- times they were related to the royal house. used in this sense only in the parts of settled which had previously been England densely English territory the word earl had had. for to Chatham. one mentioned in 852 is called in a charter of King Beorthwulf of Mercia attached to the charter. ing. One surviving document shows how this duty might It consists be apportioned. and the way was open ealdorman. jThis called an ealdorman. Ifc usage to adopt the term earl to century. with the for which each was responsible. The king c deputies who could deal with the routine business_pf government deputy was influence in the various parts of the kingdom. in terms The second pier belongs to Gillingham and they have to provide planks in position. and one pole and put three beams Royal Officials As King Alfred remarks. replace the native term The ealdormen were appointed by the king. 'his uncle's son' in the boundaries the descendants of Alfred's elder brother are some- and . was obsolete long before the eleventh but this by the Danes. business it of a of the estates whose was number of piers such as : to repair Rochester bridge. and a reference we get to his dealin a law-suit. suggests a very was needed busy man with no time to waste. not an official.

easy to discover what was the area under an It is less ealdorman's control in Mercia and Northumbria. The . but later several shires are united under one ealdorman. Sussex. took their early administrative arrangement. the land south of the Thames that once belonged to the Saxons north of it. This superseded the conditions of the age of settlement. separated from one another of forest and waste in which precise boundaries were unnecessary. 932-58) succeeded him in East Anglia. The sons of Ealdorman Athelstan Half* King (c. and so on. Thames was normally JEthelweard. Hampshire from Southampton. for Until the tenth century an ealdorman south of the in charge of a single shire. Kent. Essex. Most often they were drawn but it beking's thanes. and Mercia was regarded as belonging to the house of Leofric 3 in the eleventh century. Somerset names from their chief from Somerton.78 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY and early eleventh centuries. Norfolk and Suffolk represent ancient divisions of East Anglia* But the shires of Wessex. Sometimes in the century ealdormen belong to the family that had times ealdormen of the Western Provinces in the late tenth eighth ruled the province as kings before its absorption into a from the larger kingdom. was Ealdorman of the southexample. The south of England had been arranged in its modern shires much earlier than the rest of England. and probably Middlesex represent originally independant kingdoms. Their office was not hereditary. except for Devon and settlement. western shires at the end of the tenth century. and Surrey is the 'south region'. and probably arose from a very Berkshire. stretches divided into smaller regions. and the same ealdormanry frequently remained in one family for more than one generation. when the land was by. came usual in the tenth century to choose ealdormen from a few outstanding families.

By this time it was no longer cus- each shire to have its own ealdorman. and sometimes treated as one large ealdormanry. He was entitled to a fine of . ealdormen in office do not know how Northumbria was ealdormen in its independent days. hospitality for his officials and rights of claiming and messengers.FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION modern the 79 shires here are of later growth. for it says: and the bishop gave to Ealdorman Sigred six hundred shillings in gold and to Ealdorman Mucel ten hides of land at Crowle. whereas sometimes Yorkshire was treated as a distinct area. which are similarly named from a single borough. hiding to a great extent the older division into regions.* The ealdorman received a proportion. at any rate by the end of the period. hospitality to the king or ealdorman has an ene dorsement that shows that the ealdorman's rights had had to be bought out. When it became part of the kingdom of England it was sometimes under a single ealdorman. divided among its We the king's representative. or even ten. while the shires of the South-West Midlands. probably owe their origin to a tenth-century reorganization which may have taken the West Saxon shires as its model. in war. A charter of estate from. Within his own area of operations. Like the estates. of the fines due to the king at the law-courts. he had official He led its the forces of his district judicial assembly. it seems to have tomary Mercia for is had as many as eight. and presided at king. Our shires of the East and North Midlands and of York have developed from the areas attached to Danish boroughs after the Viking settlement. though sometimes smaller ones are carved out of it. the ealdorman was concurrently. perhaps a third. but when Mercia was a separate kingdom. though we know names of the tribes of some of these. and a third of the revenues from the boroughs within his province. 836 which frees a bishop's among other things.

The . Book. Surrey ealdorman in Alfred's reign uses the expression my two wergilds . but nothing at all comparable to the enormous accumulation of landed pro- perty by the families of Earl Godwine and Earl Leofric in the eleventh century that is revealed by Domesday estates bequeathed in the wills can be have been acquired by inheritance. 1120 shillings if In the North. four times that of a king's thane. survived from the ninth and tenth and show that they had extensive lands. not to a sheriff*. It is difficult to judge therefore whether in general the holding of this office was highly profitable. the sheriff. It existed for possible that the office of some time before the first use sheriff may have of the specific title. his wergild was the only area for which evidence exists. but there would be little need for it while the ealdormanries were small. office as well Royal grants of land to individual ealdormen are common. but men who hold this office are sometimes referred to under the wider is designation of'king's reeve'. and in the ninth will century the laws assume that a man in need of assistance apply direct to the ealdorman. that is. and he had higher compensations than other men of the same class for breach of his protection.80 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY anyone fought at an assembly where he was presiding. fighting in his house or violent entry into it. e 9 A which suggests that. Many of the to shown When the area under an ealdorman came to consist of several shires. we begin to hear of an official called the 'shire-reeve'. The distinguish gifts in gratitude wills of several ealdormen have centuries. he may have been entitled to a wergild by reason of his as the normal wergild of a man of his class. like a Mercian king. He is first mentioned in the latter part of the tenth century. but one cannot for service from sales. and others may have been.

and in some circumstances he at the king's estate.or ^0rJ-reeve. had to keep prisoners The towns were similarly in charge of a king's reeve. nor is in frequent use before came into being. The king's reeve of Dorchester rode out to find out the business of the first ships of Danish men to reach the coast of Wessex (789- 802).FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION latter 8l was appointed by the king and took charge of his He presided at the shire-moot in the absence of the ealdorman. he collected the fines and forfeitures due to the king. was an important enough person for the Anglo-Saxon A Chronicle to record his death in 896. a land-suit in Kent between 964 and 988. the earl. refer to the sheriff. and at times the sheriff. It normally refers to the man in charge of a royal estate and responsible for the collection of the king's farm from the surrounding area. He presided at the 'folk-moot' mentioned in Alfred's laws. Sometimes estates were attached to the office. town-reeve of Winchester called a wic. The duties of these reeves included the control of the tolls paid by traders to the king. it was the sheriff who as the king's representative took Archbishop Dunstan's oath in rights in the shire. The town-reeve is mentioned by name when the king addresses a writ to a town. but does not necessarily. for toll. a trader had to bring the men he was proposing to take up country with him 'before the king's reeve in the folk- moot*. he sent a writ addressed to the bishop. while that of the reeve of Bath is entered in 906. The term that office 'king's reeve* usually. When the king wished to communicate with the shire. Toll had even to be paid BES-6 . his if they were traders it was his business to exact enquiry cost him his life. by the end of the period the practice was not unknown by which the sheriff paid an agreed sum to the king as the proceeds of the shire and made what profit he could out of the actual receipts.

Later. feited estates.ffific. and Winsige. ^Ethelwig. in his own home. He had to be and at the proceedings when He had duties of supervision with regard to the mint in his town. Ealdorman Leofsige complained to the king. tion we read of fricbetween an ealdorman and the king's reeves. Ealdorman Leofsige was banished a for slaying another favourite reeve of the king. . and so the Exeter manumissions often mention that the town-reeve took the toll on the king's behalf. called . In the reign of Ethelred the Unready. because the brothers had forC But the king. but also granted to this reeve the brothers* forfeited their right to this. not only refused to take action in the matter. buy outside a town. If Ethelred made tice man a prac- of upholding his reeves without enquiry into the legality of their actions. who was dear and precious to me'.82 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY slaves when were purchased for the purpose of manu- mitting them. this may help to account for the lack of good service and support from his ealdormen that is one of the features of his unhappy reign. the reeve in Oxford. In 995 two brothers had been killed while illegally defending one of their men who had stolen a bridle. who says I did not wish to sadden ^Ethelwig. The town-reeve's duties would be increased when it was forbidden to present as a witness. gave them Christian burial. property was attached. the king's reeve in Buckingham.

a term which carried no connotathree tion of office at that date . In Wessex.from that current in the rest of England. only in rhyming formula earl and churl'. Both . for exactly equivalent to that paid for a a West Saxon shilling contained at that date five pence. to denote a in the c the world.and his wergild wa^s hundred Kentish shillings. it has otherwise become obsolete. or in later times thanes but later went up in word which once meant 'servant* way. A period Kentish nobleman is called an earl in the seventh-century laws of that kingdom . because of the dignity involved in serving the referred to by a name derived king. or they might be the amount of their wergild. and probably contained four pence. so that the thane's the shilling only in Wessex and in Mercia wergild was rather lower.at any rate in the early . rThere was a different scale in force in Kent . probably the sum originally equivalent to three hundred oxen. and men of this class are -a called gesithas 'companions'.man^jhe_churLIn the other parts of the country the word earl is used in this poetry and man of the upper class. pence. by Alfred's time this amount is Kentish earl. in Mercia.CHAPTER V THE CLASSES OF SOCIETY IN the eyes of the law. for this was the number of shillings to be paid if one of them were slain. men 'of twelve from hundred'. which was called the wergild. which was just three times the wergild of the ordinary free. the chief mark that distinguished one class of society from another was the price that had to be paid in compensation for the slaying of one of its members. while in Kent the shilling had twenty in Wessex in early times.

the man of the highest class paid 120 shillings. Perhaps the class entitled to it was never a intermediate 9 large one. in Alfred's time. with a wergild of six hundred shillings. and the churl 30 shillings. similar ratio between the wergilds of the nobleman and churl's wergild the churl. Similar variations existed in the compensations due to them for other injuries. the higher ranks paid greater fines when convicted of crimes. for in these areas the was only about half that of his Kentish In Northumbria there was probably a counterpart. the offender had to pay the amount of his own wergild. the intermediate class 60 shillings. forcible entry into their houses or fighting on their premises. In Wessex . for example.evidence for other areas is lacking . of fourpence to the shilling instead of fivepence. and to suggest that they were not enthe highest wergild because they possessed less than five hides of land. . The oath of a man of a higher class was valued at more than that of a churl.84 it . These were of the gesith> not the churl class. such as the harbour- ing of fugitives. On the other side. we may assume that the six-hundred wergild was abolished. such as offences against persons or places under their protection. and the phrase 'of twelve hundred and of two hundred is used to cover the whole free population. but seems to have reckoned the churl's wergild in terms of Mercian shillings. for some offences. the neglect of military service. The tween the various wergild was not the only line of demarcation beclasses of free men. THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY six times that was of a churl. but the position has been obscured by the fact that the only record on the subject gives the thane a wergild exactly equivalent to that of a late West Saxon thane. for some others.there was up to the time of Alfred an intermediate class of men. As there is no later mention of this there is some evidence titled to class.

ui-ASSES OF SOCIETY 85 The Nobleman To the the eleventh-century writer of a private treatise on management of a large estate. and with the right to bequeath them to whom he wished. construction of and repair of bridges. somewhat . written probably in the eleventh century. the thane may be liable to some other services at the king's demand. how from some lands in Kent the king has a bodyguard for six days at Canterbury or Sandwich and it is supplied by the king with food and drink. Domesday Book supports him. There survive a few other private dicta as to what were the qualifications that entitled a man to be a thane. guard duties in the host. called The Rights of Various Classes'. provision of the equipment for a ship. that on some estates. watch over his person. The writer admits. be paid for with the wergild of a thane. should. otherwise they son similarly became were to be paid for at the churl's rate. the building of deer-hedges at the king's estate. however. It tells. that is to say. free from dues and services to the king except for the fortifications. One says that a churl who throve so that he possessed five hides of land on which he paid the royal dues. maritime guard. his children were born to the rank of thane.Ajajc. the rights and obligations of a thane were that he held his lands by tide-deed. if killed. for example. he is never- theless a churl. according to this writer. if he has not the land. it adds : And even xnail if he thrive so that he have helmet and coat-ofand a gold-plated sword. if he Even had the not. three public charges of military service. the rank hereditary only if his son and his son's held this amount of land. necessary five hides. in a Another document.

The thane Wulfric Spott. There is an unpublished passage in an eleventh-century manuscript that shows that a churl was made a thane by an act as definite as that by which an owner manumitted his slave. that a churl became a thane 'by the earl's gift** pome men tates.86 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY mood about things that nostalgic had 'at one time* been the practice. then was he henceforth worthy of the status of a thane. or the king appointed his ealdorman by this date called an earl. a church and a kitchen. a bell-house and a castlegate. the practice. says: If a churl prospered. possessed seventy-two estates in addition to an unspecified number in South Lancashire and the Wirral. . scattered over of the upper class possessed extensive esa wide area. and what it would cost to kill him. or at least essential. a seat and a special office in the king's hall. Has it what way things have become too difficult for to receive the coveted recognition ? Or a deserving man are men with in- adequate qualifications becoming members of the higher class ? Perhaps both things are happening. the founder of the monastery of Burton-on-Trent in 1004. So his also was a merchant who had tell thrice crossed the sea in own ship. so that he had fully five hides of land of his own. or ought to be. On general grounds we may be sure that this rise in status would not be automatic: some cerefeel some public notification. would be community must know how much a man's oath is worth. us in This writer does not changed. We mony. not merely somebody's theory as to what once was. the writer may that thaneship is now granted for other things than honest merit. for the are told in a context that shows that we are dealing with an actual fact. There was room for no vagueness or difference of opinion about individual cases.

the hero of the her poem on thirty-six estates. Sussex. of the type from which the ealdormen were often chosen. the battle of Maldon. which he had fora year or two earlier for some unspecified offence. siderable landed possessions. son of Cufa. one called by will between 966 and 975 chiefly in Buckinghamshire. difficulties were caused for the purveyors by his countess's refusal to eat any food grown on the estate 'because of the destruction of the minster. and Gloucestershire. Leicestershire. disposed of most of which she had inherited from own family. It would be interesting to know a custom observed on Earl Morcar's estate at Bangs- land. Yorkshire. More common. or of a certain Wulfric.* We know nothing of the circumstances in which Berkeley . Herefordshire. to feited whom were restored in 960 fifteen estates in Berkshire. but at any rate by the reign of Edward the Confessor thanes with equally extensive and widespread holdings are not rare. who bequeathed in his will land in twenty places. and he gave ten shillings to the steward and other servants. while the widow of Ealdorman Brihtnoth. though one lay as far afield as Dorset. and Essex. was at all usual. and Hampshire. were men of the standing of ^Elfhelm Polga. but also in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. resided Such landowners another of their if now at one and now at estates. and isolated estates in Worcestershire and Lincolnshire. At Earl Godwine's estate at Berkeley. class The women of this ^Elfgifu left of society also might hold confifteen estates. He be- longed to one of the leading families. mainly in Cambridgeshire. for example. Shropshire. Suffolk.THE GLASSES OF SOCIETY shire. that she might be in a good mood (laeto animo]. Gloucestershire. 87 the majority of his lands were in Staffordshire and Derby- but he had several in Warwickshire. there the reeve of the estate presented to his lord's wife on her arrival eighteen ores of pence. however.

but we know from written sources that they were commonly built of wood. Such arrangements are implied in the poems. that is. called 'bowers'. it was quite separate from the place where his retainers were being housed. and as sleeping quarters for the retainers at night. Alfred built halls and chambers in both materials. used for meals. but it is clear that the countess that a curse might descend on the users of the land. and was known as a burh. some domestic architecture was carried out in stone. One at Calne. a fortified residence. and his biographer Asser does not suggest that this was an innovation. for the various domestic offices. however. and loss of life. with smaller. and the greatest magnates. in the opinion of contemporaries.88 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY came to minster felt an end. Her husband had to buy an estate at Woodchester for her to live off whenever she was at Berkeley. Earl Harold's hall as depicted on the Bayeux tapestry was a stone building raised on arches. was. and had only one door. and for the bedrooms of the owner and his family and his guests. detached buildings. No remains of their residences survive. and upper storeys are occasionally mentioned from the tenth century on. be standing on one of the beams. causing injury St Dunstan. lay or ecclesiastical. entertainment. Many land- owners possessed a house or houses in their county town. with his mistress. miracu* who chanced to . and in the account in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of the surprise attack on King Cynewulf in 786. gave way. Before the end of the Saxon period. and in the early days consisted of a single-storied great hall. The whole was surrounded by an earthwork and stockade. would find it convenient to have one in London. and all the main daily business. the king. was in a 'bower* which could be surrounded by the attacking party. in which a meeting was being held in 978.

as they con- grant to St Peter's monastery at Bath . presumably including his heroic death at the battle of Maldon. and sills.THE GLASSES OF SOCIETY 8q lously preserved. however. . the exception. The hall was furnished with trestle tables and fixed benches. implies that in early days hangings were used only on special occasions.and eleventh-century wills. describes the building of a house as follows: First. and it is probable that a tapestry presented to the monastery of Ely by Ealdor- man Brihtnoth's widow was something similar. which mentions gold-inwoven tapestry. even in a royal hall. Byrhtferth of Ramsey. which were strewn with mattresses and pillows when the hall was used as sleeping quarters. and supports and (it) with buttresses fairly the (?). afterwards adorns the house pleasantly. on it were depicted the deeds of her husband. It was hung with tapestries. . that I have or: And curtain to Eadgifu two chests and a linen covering and inside them her best bedand all the bed-clothes that go with it. The wills were valuable enough tain clauses like: I supply further information about those furnishings that to be handed down. the best dorsal and a set of bed-clothes with tapestry and curtain and with everything that belongs with it. but they later. Building in stone was. and lays the beams. as when doubtless became more common the assassins of Earl Uhtred hid behind at Wiheal in 1016 them in the hall and murdered him when he came in to make his peace with Cnut The Bayeux tapestry has survived to show us what could be the quality of English work at the end of the period. Beowulf. . They could be used for sinister purposes. and are quite frequently mentioned in tenth. writing in 1011. fits to one examines the site. and fastens the rafters the ridge-pole. and also hews the timber.

picture given in the devil's speech in the poem Juliana. on scale. in later centuries. In the hall men amused themselves with feasting and drinking. lay and ecclesiastical lords had their officials: the prince Athelstan speaks of his seneschal. Great ecclesiastics. Like the king. Life in a a smaller nobleman's hall was very like that at court. and in the seventh century Bishop Wilfrid's was so large that it aroused the envy and enmity of the queen. 'the drinking horn which I bought from the community of the Old Minster' and cup'. of the abbey in Cambridgeshire. Ealdor- man chamberlain fought beside him at the seneschal of the abbot of Ely held an estate Maldon. and that the Anglo-Saxon valued beautiful table-ware enough to import the Channel and silver-ware from as glass from across the Eastern Empire. a bishop of Elmham of his cup-filler. All great houseBrihtnoth's holds included one or more domestic chaplains. often reproachfully to too heartily beyond measure. 'her gold-adorned wooden bowl of two and a half pounds'.90 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY The of the heathen period objects found in the graves us that already then drinking cups and elaborately show decorated horns were made. 'a soon.g. and e. 'a cup supplied with a lid'. whose functions were secretarial as well as religious. 'two silver cups'. an eleventh-century testatrix makes bequests to two stewards. as well as laymen. kept a large retinue of retainers. 'two ornamented horns'. of men ready to renew old quarrels when they The have drunk too much. and the graphic account of a . Abbot ^Elfric writes an Oxfordshire thane who has plied him with strong drink when he was his guest. There is no reason to far away as chieftains this respect deteriorated suppose that their standards in such objects are often bequeathed.

were reminded of the vows they had often made about to. and a king's thane supplies entertainment on another occasion. they speak words of thanks. In Beowulf the king himself performs to the ings. and King Alfred saw to it that harp. Other indoor amusements included dicing and a game akin to chess. battlefield. when 'Now can be nothing. his sons and daughters should be taught Saxon songs. fox-hunting. may have been drawn from life. provided the boast was lived up Brihtnoth's men. was a skilled performer. Over their cups men made boasts of what they would perform. tested drinking on the benches in the hall: who is brave. generous in gifts. and it is common for services in connexion with these sports to . but a man who promised would probably who refused to commit himself. stern battle. Stag-hunting. faced with certain defeat at Maldon. Harp-playing and song helped to pass the long evenand certainly the performers were not always professionals. and this was regarded not only as excusable.' wise man will take A thought before he utters a vow. important thane's life A though these were. All such men had their huntsmen and their fowlers. but to be admired. they Some of went from Widsith: hall to hall. destined to wander through many tell their needs. and hawking were favourite pastimes for kings and nobles. In the early period.THE CLASSES OF SOCIETY riotous feast in the gi poem Judith. at any rate. as described by the poet of So go the lands. the professional minstrels may have been of aristocratic rank. not have been admired. They singers of men. who wishes to exalt his fame before the company. St Aldhelm. ever south or north they find someone wise in songs. as was not spent between the hall and the one might almost imagine from poetic sources alone. nor in the sports of the field. who was of royal descent.

They had to keep order in their households. estates. having to bring the accused to answer to a charge or themselves pay the compensations. and all had their obligations to the Church. probably they were often concerned in litigation on behalf of themselves or their men. These were the pastimes of men of rank. but they had horse-racing as they more serious occupations also. as his horse was hovering on the brink. for whose offences they were legally responsible. A Kentish thane. of riding out on the their track of stolen cattle. late in the tenth century. military duties in time of war. to recall Dunstan from exile. When we add we to all this the supervision of their realize that 'the joys of the hall* so extolled in verse can have occupied the thane's time. that they should procure for him some falcons of a kind unobtainable in country. legal duties of attendance at assemblies. and made a vow. A king of Kent writes to the missionaries in Germany. no disproportionate amount of . nor does the swift horse stamp in the courtyard. in addition to their prayers.' verse in the Runic Poem gives us a glimpse of men discussing the includes the lines : c A points of a horse. and it was while stag-hunting that King Edmund was almost carried over a precipice. and dogs of a specially fine breed were sent by King Alfred as a present to the archbishop of Reims when he wished to obtain his help with his educahis own tional reforms. Trouble was taken to secure fine dogs and hawks. requesting. of assisting in the suppression of crime. The more important of them had duties at court. A picture of a deserted hall in Beowulf No good hawk flies through the hall.92 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY form part of the terms by which landowners let out their lands. two hawks and all bequeathed to the king his stag- hounds. vignettes of young and both Beowulf and Bede supply men testing the speed of their horses by go on a journey.

Ramsey assumes that some laymen may want learned matters explained to them. Bishop jfilfwold of Crediton left a copy of a theological treatise to a layman. fully may * well-informed about the activities of the of this class. in ion. no small matter when baking. spinning. everywhere. able thing for lay households to have some books. but laymen and adequate means How far this dream was who could read were no and a casual reference to 'books and such small things' in a woman's will perhaps suggests that it was no remark- rarity in the late tenth century. cheerful. He says. The qualities that the author of a gnomic poem regards as desirable in a queen can be taken to apply to noble ladies in general. be liberal with horses and treasure. was himself the author of a Latin chronicle. young men of Alfred planned free birth realized should learn to read English. be loved among her people. and less We are women weaving were all done at home. greet first at the mead-drinking the protector of nobles before the band of retainers. JElfric wrote theological treatises for Wulfgeat of Ilmington and Sigeferth of Asthall. that priests must understand the 'moon's leap'. Byrhtferth of thane class. give the first cup promptly into her lord's hand. and study the benefit of both of them in their housekeeping. A small tow-chest is one of the articles bequeathed in a woman's will. both of them men of the ordinary of no particularly distinguished position. for the poem was composed at a time courts were small and domestic: when A woman shall prosper. shall be keep counsel. is uncertain. Ealdorman ^Ethelweard. otherwise they be put to shame 'before the king's nobility'. but we may assume that the mistress of the house was occupied in supervising the running of it. always. while his patron.THE CLASSES OF SOCIETY Some men that all 93 of this class were literate. . brewing.

She could hold own right. Sometimes Hrothgar's daughter bore the ale-cup before the heard the company in the hall call her Freawaru. When a man died leaving a child.94 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY herself attended to the needs of The mistress of the house important guests. very much more independent than were women after the Norman Conquest. and continued to serve us with drink as she had begun till the meal was over. and defend her right in the courts. dispose of it freely. as she gave the studded goblet to the retainers. to the nobles in turn. He among the people in that he The to her activity of an Anglo-Saxon lady was not confined land in her own home. and she and her daughters presented the wine-cup to those persons whom they wished to honour. for it says: One shall not rebuke a youth in shall thrive he can is reveal himself. Thus we read in Domesday Book of a certain Asa . until to regard as modern. the law held that *it was right children in that the child accompany the mother* while the kindred administered his property during his minority. She could act as a compurgator in law-suits. as it says of the king's daughter in Beowulf. It is perhaps worth noting that the gnomic poetry reveals an attitude to the education of the young which we tend his childhood. confident. though youths of noble birth might be brought up at court. I warriors. is 9 Little said in our records about the upbringing of Anglo-Saxon times. A gesith's wife who Bede says was healed by Bishop John of Beverley 'presented the cup to the bishop and to us. and those destined for the Church be placed early in episcopal households. in short. She was. She could make donations for religious purposes and she could manumit her slaves. and I know no evidence that there was any general habit of letting them be fostered away from home.

Gold and silver finger-rings. *a spear inlaid with gold. 'the inlaid sword which belonged to Withar'. even when they were together. was the great Mercian king who died in 796. One would like to know if the sword so treasured was the Avar sword magne. and possessed it as its lady/ That the upper mainly from the classes cared for fine apparel it. so that he could neither give nor sell nor forfeit it. often of beautiful workmanship and great size. monks. 'the sword worth 120 mancuses of gold with four pounds of silver on the belt'. Men wore a mantle over a knee-length tunic and trousers. and sometimes bequeath silken robes and fur cloaks. 'my round shield*. we know especially homilists' diatribes against against priests. and collars might be worn. The mantle was fastened by a brooch. armlets.in Yorkshire. but after their separation she withdrew with all her land.' How long such things could be treasured and handed down as heirlooms is shown by the bequest made by his brother in owned/ The the prince Athelstan to of 'the sword which King OfFa 1015 latest king of this name. or a coat-of-mail. As sent to Offa as a gift from Charle- for horse-trappings. and much interest was taken in the elaborate ornamentation of weapons and of horse-trappings. and men speak with loving precision of such things in their wills. can spare several lines to depict a helmet. THE CLASSES OF SOCIETY who 'held her land separate and 95 free from the domination and control of Beornwulf her husband. The verse literature. when they specify who shall have 'the silver-hilted sword which belonged to UlfceteP. and nuns who emulated the laity in this respect. which never describes clothes. *the sword with the pitted hilt*. the tunic held by a belt that might have richly ornamented clasps and mounts. a sword-hilt. they are often included . and presumably the one meant.

They wore rings. *a necklace of forty mancuses*. 8d. paying between them a year. but naturally the price of land varied with its nature. 'her old filigree brooch c worth six mancuses*. when considered in relation to the purchasing power of money. or fifteen male slaves. and the bridle whose theft. would have purchased 120 oxen. . but probably only those garments of especial value. however.96 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY in heriots. a mancus seems fairly frequently to have bought three acres of land in the East Midlands about the same period. used for great occasions. and. a tunic. one on each shoulder. such comparisons show that quite a few articles of adornment might constitute a large capital. at the price assigned to them by the laws. such as one reads of in the tenth century. gold-plated bridles and saddles adorned with precious metals occur in poetry. referring to linen and woollen kirtles. or 600 sheep. spiritual benefits may be that the seller hopes to get by letting it go cheaply. gives the impression of having an extensive wardrobe. and a mantle. as the recorded sales are it usually to churches. armlets. as we saw above. fastened by brooches that were often worn in pairs. and also diadems or circlets of gold* Their wills show more interest than those of menfolk in their garments and jewellery. A necklace of 120 mancuses of gold. led to such trouble in the reign of Ethelred may have been a valuable article. and we need not take be exaggeration. Women wore a kirtle reaching to the ground. 'a headband of thirty mancuses of gold. in exchange for a bridle.' No testatrix. Norfolk. One Ralf the service of IQS. and necklets. Just after the Norman Conquest the reeve of Saham. transferred to a man of Earl this to five sokemen. Nevertheless. to her best dun tunic'. is often struck in reading documents of the period by the very great value of articles of adornment. are thought worthy of mention.

though in the west . Over the rest of England. with a wergild that varied from four-fifths to two-fifths of that of a churl.THE GLASSES OF SOCIETY The Churl 97 The ordinary freeman is most commonly called a churl. Below him was a class called lat. a sum equivatherefore sometimes called 'a 9 ings. 120 acres being reckoned to the hide in the East Midlands in the tenth century. A hundred West Saxon shillings. the churl in the other of the Heptarchy was nevertheless a man with full rights of a freeman. By the later part of the period. for a corresponding term was used among some German tribes to denote a class intermediate between freemen and slaves. The continental 5 acreage considered necessary varied in different parts of the country. and he is man of two hundred (shillKentish churl had a wergild of double this amount. by a as rough equation. and was a man of substance. of one hundred Kentish shillings. for this term means 'household and once denoted the land that was considered adequate for one family. whose members have been thought to be a subject population. and often held land that he his ancestors had inherited from BES-7 and would leave to his . a Kentish ploughland was reckoned two hides. in the social scale with pasture and woodland in addition. the churl's holding was probably originally a hide of land. Below the churl in Wessex were classes of Welsh peasants with lower wergilds than Englishmen of the same status. whose normal holding was the amount of land that an eight-ox plough could keep under cultivalent to four tion. Though he apparently kingdoms the lived at a lower economic level than his Kentish counterpart.barely half this country hides were much smaller number of acres. In Wessex and Mercia his wergild was only one-sixth of that of a nobleman of the twelve hundred class.

He might well own more than one hide of land. fulfilled his military obligations. Even in the early days there were churls who did not own land that they could live off. only with the Danish freed- who occupied late in the ninth century. by about men who 700.98 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY children. manumitted slaves. in their witness and that of ^Elfheah the priest and of all the servants of God at Bedwyn and of all the people.or eleventh-century entries in a Gospel-book from Bedwyn imply that occupiers ofgeburland cannot leave at will. It is generally agreed that the position of the churl deteriorated as time went on. that Edwin granted her that she might bring herself out of the gcburland. there were took their land at a rent from a lord. if they also accepted a homestead from him. for there was a to widespread feeling that a property of five hides was necessary before a class as man began be regarded above his a churl. A tenth-century testatrix bequeaths along with an estate peasants (geburas) of whose Le. he to agricultural services as well as rent.he could *go whither he would*. as the following example will show: it This is Ecgwynn's witness. land for which they paid men. and perhaps long before. attended the popular assemblies. He paid a freeman's dues to the Church. claimed compensation for trespass into his homestead. tenure she uses the phrase in Alfred's treaty* Some late tenth. in return for ten mancuses of silver. for the purpose of compensation by wergild if they were slain. and wap not bound to the soil . when /Elfsige held office and Wynstan was his deputy. had a right When King Alfred made his treaty with the Danes peasants (churls) rent were set level. 'rustic* A charter of King Ethelred in 984 meneight hides of land near the tions a who had had Kennet. We are expressly told in an eleventh-century document . and. free to journey into every land. or for fighting inside it.

From Domesday Book we suspect that such men but apparently they were not very numerous in the South and West in late Anglo-Saxon times. Highest come men called geneatas. They seem of Worcester leased out a number of the estates of their .' Cnut's laws complain of overbearing men who defend their followers at law either as freemen or bondmen. The bishops so on. nor to deal with their own property as they would. escort duties for his guests. the areas The document on estate management from a deals with various classes that hold their land lord. the average peasant in the south and west of England was in this matter of of the peasantry in personal freedom below the majority settled by the Danes. services connected to be represented with his hunting. whichever seems easiest to them. for these lie outside its theme. and we can never hope to get into a simple formula the differences between the minor categories of the peasant class up and down the country. watch over services. existed. his horses. who pay rent and of a non-agricultural kind . by men called radcnihts. Many an independent freeman tion may have had to purchase protec- and financial help in times of stress and disorder at the cost of relinquishing some of his rights. especially in in the Domesday survey of the West Midlands. and several counties. This document tells us nothing about churls who lived on land of their own. nor to go whither they would. Through one cause or another. Not all powerful men were scrupulous in observing the rights of weaker individuals.THE GLASSES OF SOCIETY 99 dealing with the management of a large estate that there were great varieties in local custom with regard to the rights of the various classes of men. and Archbishop Wulfstan includes the les- sening of the rights of freemen among the abuses of his day: 'Freemen are not allowed to rule themselves. bodyguard 'companions'.riding render services mainly over their lord's person.

his lord inherits his goods. a peasant who had been - quarter of a hid': oxen. or twopence. he must plough one acre a week in the autumn ploughing. one cow. from which an eleventh-century survey Similar survives. but local conditions cause variation in detail Fish-weirs on the Severn and Wye were an important source of income on this estate. As part of his rent. and supplied with two by six sheep as initial stock. and he gives six loaves to the latter's swineherd when he drives his herd of swine to the mast time. after the lapse of a year. twenty-three sesters of barley and two hens at Martinmas. and plough three acres extra as 'boonwork two acres in return for his pasture rights.a given his holding the lord. demands were made from men of this class at Tiddenham. he ploughs a further three acres and sows them with his own seed. Wherever there were special industries separate arrangements of this kind would be made* . tools for his work and utensils for his house. 1 . fetch the seed from the lord's barn. so here the gebur must provide rods and help in the building of the weirs. pasture. In addition. he is to give two days' work every week. learn also We what could be demanded from the gebur. At Martinmas he gives a ball of good net-yarn. a young sheep. he is to keep watch at his lord's fold in the period between Martinmas and Easter. and . In rotation with others of his kind. unless he should be using his horses on the lord's service. He joins with one of his fellows in keeping a staghound for his lord. seven acres already sown. at Easter. On his death. He is to pay a rent of tenpence at Michaelmas. and we may note that was a geneat that a landowner in 896 sent to ride round the boundaries of a disputed estate with the claimant's representative. In return.100 see it THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY on terms very similar to these. and three days at harvest and from Candlemas to Easter.

ploughing. the time of 'boonwork' in the harvest. c 5 may be given at the bringing A good example of an estate very much of the type the author of this treatise had in mind is afforded by the Domesday Book account of Queen Edith's estate at on the Leominster. and gloves. Special allowances or feasts are customary on certain occasions. his overseers.THE CLASSES OF SOCIETY custom. etc. or at the Easter. the cowherd is to have the milk of every grown cow for seven days after it has calved. his herdsmen. The lord did not depend entirely on the services of his tenants. Such persons were somehold as little as five acres times slaves. he had his specialist workmen. falls at the door of the barn. such as Christmas. who may for their holding. They received their perquisites by custom: the sower has a right to a basketful of every kind of seed he sows. the oxherd may pasture two oxen or more with his lord's oxen on the common meadow. but often free. varying according to the custom of the district. a rickcup home of the corn. the woman who makes the cheeses has all the buttermilk except the herdsman's the overseer of the grain gets all the corn that 9 portion. shoes. and the milk of his herd for seven days after the equinox. and his cow may go with the lord's cows. the shepherd has twelve nights dung at Christmas and one lamb of those born in the year. and a bowl of whey or oi buttermilk throughout the summer. It had 30 ploughs . and a bell-wether's fleece. but and who do services no rent. men are not is but definitely limited by the lowest in the scale of freemen. and his cow may go with the lord's oxen. These 101 The demands are heavy. every tree blown down in the wood belongs to the woodman. and there are free pay labourers without homes of their own. his dairymaids. There a class of cotsetlan 'cottage-dwellers*. Herefordshire. whom the lord is to supply with food.

In its general make-up this great estate agrees with the treatise. There was also much local variation in the system of working on the land. It was distributed among the various holders in strips. There were eight mills. though naturally Domesday closely Book cannot go into minute detail on local customs. and 230 others. all the available arable was not cultivated in any year. The radcnihts gave 14 shillings and fourpence and three sesters of honey.whether or formed by the part of the arable permanent that was lying fallow . they had common pastures . Our documents mainly give us information about the open-field system and we are told little about the estates where owners held their arable land in blocks.in the woodlands. 8 radcnihts (corresponding to the geneatas of the 238 villeins (corresponding to the geburas).. each strip representing a day's ploughing. worth 73 shillings and 30 sticks of eels. The woodland rendered 24 shillings in addition to pan- land and sowed nage. but scattered over the fields as rotation. and there were 8 reeves. and the part under cultivation was further divided among winter-sown and spring-sown crops. part. When the open-field system was in use. The villeins ploughed 140 acres of the treatise). a half or a third. they and 52 pence. or about the isolated farms in the clearings that were being steadily won from the waste throughout the period. lord's paid eleven pounds it with their own wheat seed. that were imhis definite rights in the these were portant for pasturing of swine as well as for the provision of timber and firewood and for the hunting of game. and . was left fallow. Meadow was similarly fell to him by and each man divided. and an individual holder did not receive adjacent strips. 75 bordars (corresponding to the cotsetlan) and 82 persons of unfree birth.IO2 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY demesne. 8 beadles.

and whatever is contained in At one time the Weald of Kent was used as unen- closed swine-pasture by the large communities which made up the Kentish people. Orwin: 'Autumn sowing on the fallow was followed by winter cultivation of the stubble sowing. pastures. it needed steady work all the year round. communities whose terri- became the lathes of Kent. Owminimum of many beasts . fowling- places. hunting-grounds. and spring and hay-making occupied the farmer until corn harvest finished the barley were the principal the latter being necessary not only for bread but crops. The plough was drawn by oxen. only be kept throughout the winter. and 0.' waters. fisheries. meadows. it. few churls would be wealthy enough to possess a full team. for example. We see him about 700 in tories association with his neighbours in the laws of Ine of Wessex. and peas are farming year. beans. also to provide malt for brewing. rye. as. after which fallow 9 cultivation the.THE CLASSES OF SOCIETY in the fisheries or 103 any other sources of profit belonging to the vill/Such appurtenances are often specifically mentioned in grants of land. and stock could flax was cultivated a ing to the shortage of feeding stuffs. S. mills. in a charter of 822. the land would not easily be made to produce a livelihood. which fix the responsibilities for fencing the common fields and meadows. woods. and most would have to combine with their fellows to get their land ploughed. Wheat and mentioned sometimes. S. To quote C.'fields. Under the methods of agriculture current. and he also had his duties and obligations. also. which gives an exhaustive list . Each man had his rights in proportion to the size of his holding. but before long portions were assigned to individual manors. and it was assumed that a team would normally consist of eight. and discuss the amount to be paid for the hire of another's yoke of oxen.

parts of the country rents continued to be paid in sesters of honey after the remaining dues had been to a money payment. or a wether worth fourpence. and Abbot ^Elfric accepts the fact that men : die of hunger as part of the divine scheme of things The Almighty Ruler sometimes withdraws sustenance from men on account of sins. The destitute depended on the alms of the charitable. a king can order his reeves to supply one poor man on each of his estates every month with an 'amber* of meal. carried lord. Most men would have a small which they could grow the few vegetables then in and the herbs required for seasoning and medicinal use.104 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY to had for winter croft in be slaughtered in the autumn and the flesh salted consumption. hawkers. it was the major ingredient of mead in some . and a succession of bad years or the dislocation caused by wars and invading armies brought about serious famine. food could become very scanty be- fore the next year's crops were garnered. The poorer men had few reserves. for honey was not merely their sole means of sweetening. a testator may leave by will that a hundred poor men are to be fed annually at Ely on St Audrey's day. purposes. After a commuted bad season. and with clothes for a year. his falconers. and dog-keepers^ . but such mitigations were occasional and haphazard. Asser It were engaged in tilling the was men of this class who on the necessary crafts. The chroniclers and homilists speak frequently of famine. often in the service of a mentions King Alfred's goldsmiths and craftsmen of all kinds. A much more important activity was beekeeping. a flitch of bacon. but nevertheless we believe that he whom hunger kills goes to God unless he was particularly sinful* * Not all men of the churl class land and minding the flocks.

with estates in three counties. and seamen such as King Edward's steersmen. and sometimes gives me a I may the more joyfully ply my is and in one manuscript he hall. In the Latin dialogue composed by Abbot Mlfric to exercise his pupils in Latin vocabulary. and are sometimes rewarded for their services with estates of considerable size. the king's huntsman is made to say: 'He clothes and craft' feeds horse or armlet. may not have been churls.THE GLASSES OF SOCIETY The king's 105 huntsmen and foresters occur frequently in our records. called ^Elfric and . not recipients. one of them. and Surrey. feeds thus in fetters the creature exulting in its w ngs. ought to entitle a man to the status of a thane. until the bird of prey becomes gentle. : Similar sketches survive of the builder. Berkshire. where several of King Edward's goldsmiths are mentioned as holders of lands. me well. the merchant.the poet's statement is supported by charters and Domesday Book.' made to add: e l hold the is first place in his preferable to the trained birds throughout the summer. man of a c mighty king' he received "broad lands in recompense' . the his goldsmith. in an entry in a smiths Gospel-book from Thorney: two. There was an opinion current among some people at any rate. as when in 987 Ethelred gave three hides and three perches at Westwood and Farnley to his huntsman Leofwine. Goldoccur as donors. successfully carried out. he puts jesses on it. the hawk on the hand. that . Oxfordshire. Private persons also rewarded their goldsmiths with land. that the latter's trade. for Cambridgeshire thane JElfhelm Polga gave half a hide to him to alienate as he pleased. for example. Theodric. if The he were the goldsmith also plied a much honoured craft. who held land in Domesday Book. the seaman. etc. and in an Old English poem we are given a sketch of his methods: The fowler discusses whether it tame new birds every season or to feed One man shall tame the proud wild bird.

who for *can make many weapons battles when men's he works a helmet or a dagger or a coat-of-mail. who makes ploughshare and coulter. gave two ounces of gold which.but often they were free folk of the churl class. is on the outside of this same book in filigree work'. firmly fitted to repel the flying javelin. but which. We hear also of the weaponsmith.a female weaver. alas. not for men's needs. and we are told: *This Leofgeat made and makes orphreys for the king and the queen. the salter. kept a swordpolisher. whose will of 1015 betrays a great interest in his weapons.106 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY c Wulfwine. 9 Leofgeat is women. the tailor. but for houses and ships. responsible not only for various tools and utensils. Another skilled craftsman is mentioned in the Wiltshire section of the Domesday survey: a certain holding hi 1086 land held by his man in King Edward's day. who served a lady by name Eadgifu. a bright sword or a shield-boss. such This sort of gold-embroidery could also be done by as a certain -Elfgyth 'the maid' to whom Godric the sheriff gave in the Confessor's reign half a hide of laud in Buckinghamshire on condition that she should teach his daughter to make orphreys. This suggests that it was regarded as an accomplishment for a high-born woman. and the cook. not merely a means of earning one's bread. goad and fish-hook. is there no longer. Much less exalted craftsmen are the blacksmith. the baker.' The young prince Athelstan. for the use of men. and a male cook arc bequeathed in wills and a male weaver is granted his freedom in a manumission . but for their pleasures. the entry says. the carpenter. the fisherman who sells his catch in the towns and could sell more if he had it. minstrels of a humbler type . a sempstress. Finally. Sometimes these people were of unfree birth . awl and needle. we have the trades that catered.

or even in the church itself.THE GLASSES OF SOCIETY IO7 than those mentioned in a previous chapter. the routine of daily work. would probably little leisure on their hands. Occasional glimpses are to be had of other entertainers.* The churl was not. to the scandal of the Church. Bede speaks elsewhere of men drinking and making merry together. or the tracking leave men of this class with legal duties. and their method was imitated by St Aldhelm. a buffoon figures in an account of a tenth-century miracle. and e some sort of acrobat or tumbler 6 is described in the words of the poem: One is agile. Among outdoor amusements men had bull-baiting and cockin general. But by attendance at assemblies. which complained also that men as used the Church holidays for feasts instead of religious observance. These gleemen sang their and the ale-houses. later turning to more edifying matter. the dependent on professionals men on an estate of Whitby Abbey in the seventh century were able to perform each in his turn with the harp . in which quarrels arose only too easily and gave rise to bloodshed. Ale-houses are sometimes mentioned. he has a skilful art. if William of Malmesbury's tale is true. and listening to a traveller's account of what had befallen him on his way. In the eleventh century. It was not easy to prevent riotous behaviour in the churchyard. or the hue and interruptions of stolen cattle. any more than his betters. vigils over the dead were seized on an opportunity for conviviality. light and flexible. little One knows but of the conditions in which they . the gift of giving entertainment before the retainers by his actions. when he stood on the bridge to attract an audience to him by his songs. entirely for his entertainment.all except Caedmon. and its fighting. or other cry after a thief. who were probably of the thane class. priests are lays in the market-places forbidden to be ale-minstrels' or gleemen.

while richer remained in continuous occupation. as. as on any other sale. in cramped huts whose floors they used as refuse heaps. so that the purchaser could vouch the seller to warranty if later anyone claimed that the slave had been stolen. in any case. the house itself being of wood or lath and plaster. later deserted. The usual price of a slave was a pound. he had merely to pay his value to the owner.108 lived. for example. The Slave The one had no wergild. If we could take as typical the few AngloSaxon villages whose sites have been discovered and excavated. etc/ As a slave had no property of his own inventories of stock. the equivalent of eight oxen. But these. and if anyhim. we should be forced to assume that the peasants in the heathen period lived in extreme squalor. in the Rape of Lewes in the reign of Edward the Confessor the toll was fourpence. Slaves are sometimes included in men capable of work and five women and eight young men and sixteen oxen. slave killed like that of cattle or other goods. sites may have been occupied by sites it unusually poverty-stricken sets of men. The fire burned in an open hearth and the smoke found its way out through a hole in the roof. Toll was paid on the transaction. He was a chattel. and the sale of a slave took place. which was often of thatch. is hardly legitimate to use this evidence for the standard of living of the average churl in Christian times. it followed that he could not be punished by fines when convicted of crime. with a main all-purpose room and some outbuildings. 'thirteen in the eyes of the law. and he was therefore liable to flogging for minor offences. THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY The house of the average peasant was a simple affair. before proper witnesses. and to .

THE CLASSES OF SOCIETY IOQ mutilation and death for serious crimes. The_slave_gbtained certain rights by custom. or a penny. a sester of beans as Lenten a man got relish. local variations .with. two sheep. and Archbishop Wulfstan considers the disregard of these rights as one of the abuses that have brought down on his countrymen the wrath of God. of course. preaching 'We are all God's bondmen. as winter relish. unless the owner were willing to redeem him by paying the fines and compensations involved.' Slaves . a in addition to their plough-acre and a harvest handful. one good cow. An unfree swineherd received a little pig and his chitterlings. There was also a fixecl standard . were sometimes able to buy their which is a further indication that in practice freedom. and so he will judge us. the large pound. His right to earn for himself in his free time was admitted. in the form of the Viking invasions. Moreover 'to all bondmen be- Christmas and an Easter food-allowance. he incurred ecclesiastical but it was not the concern of the law. as we judge those over whom we have authority. right to cut wood. Similar injunctions are met with elsewhere.' Stories were told of the intervention of saints to prevent harsh treatment of slaves.of what was due to a bond- man for his labour. If the owner himself ill-treated or even killed his slave. and Alfred's laws ordain that slaves are to be allowed the four Wednesdays in the Ember weeks in order that they may sell what has been given to them or what they have been able to earn in their leisure time. a sheep. Christian influence worked to mitigate the lot of the slave. 'and otherwise the rights which belong to bondmen. approximating to a hundredweight) of corn.' A bondwoman was to receive as yearly provisions eight 'pounds' (i. essential right. or threepence. whey. their right to have possessions was acknowledged. in the summer. while and the long a twelve 'pounds* of good corn. 1 penalties.e.

It is never so harsh home for fear of master. intentionally. he is to pay half. even unSlaves often ran away. To not his questioner's remark 'Alas! ploughman free. The two treaties which are extant between English and Danish armies. was to recompense the owner. If the lender proved particularly difficult to prevent slaves from running away to join the Danish forces during periods of Viking ravages. because I am it is this The law tried to put a stop to harsh penalties if the runaway were caught. If he lends him a horse. The loan of a weapon to a slave was regarded as giving him a chance to get away: anyone lends a sword to a man's servant. I must plough each day a full acre or more. but go out at dawn driving the oxen to the field and yoke them a winter that I dare lurk at when the oxen have been my yoked and the ploughshare and coulter fastened to the plough.' replies: 'Yes. . and clear out the dung. one from Ethelred the Unready's reign. and water them. he is to be stoned to death. I must fill the oxen's manger with hay. and he runs away... The English slave who the Vikiug forces ravaging his district joined might seize the opportunity to turn the tables and pay off old runaway grudges on his former master. Acby cording to the laws of King Athelstan (924-39). Anyone who abetted him. Wulfstan laments that 'often a thrall binds very tight the thaue who was . is to pay a third (of his price). it is heavy work. one from Alfred's reign. he is to pay the full price. If he provides him with a spear.lib THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY in ^Elfric's Colloquy describes a hard The ploughman lot: I to the plough. each contain a clause stating that neither side shall receive the It slaves of the other.' the heavy work.

' The Penitential of Archbishop to be led off shows that it was not uncommon for people order that she may into slavery. into the power of foreigners. and there is extant an interesting captive letter from Archbishop Berhtwald of Canterbury to Forthere. and no wergild was paid to the kindred. the descendants of the British population. Some slaves were captives taken in the wars between the different English kingdoms. or one brother another. bishop of Sherborne. son of the sister of the queen whose had once been. class consisted of persons of different origins. or it might happen that the slave killed his former lord in a fight. . as the use of the word for 'Briton* to The mean simply 'slave* menial tasks described in some Anglo- Saxon riddles are performed by 'Britons*. not in the sadness of servitude. The unfree Some were testifies. men might be reduced to the children or other kin into extremity of selling their in 1014: slavery. Thus the Mercian captor of a Northumbrian thane sold him to a Frisian slave-merchant in London. asking him to persuade release in return for a ransom of three a captive tion. an abbot of Glastonbury to hundred shillings have asked for his mediawhose relatives life with pass the rest of her but in the her kindred. from whom he was ransomed by the Kentish thane the king. Wulfstan writes ocAlso we know full well where that miserable deed has or a son his curred that a father has sold his son at a price. for he found it necessary to permit reto the husband or wife marriage after a lapse of five years of anyone led into captivity who could not be redeemed. In times of great dearth. and makes him a slave' . written between 709 and 712. in c girl.THE CLASSES OF SOCIETY III formerly his master. mother. Theodore delights of liberty.

such as: 'and all my men are to be free. sometimes speaking in general terms. by which phrase the heathen Danes are primarily meant. though Archbishop in the seventh century that it could. . his wife could marry again. penal or otherwise.112 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY relinquish their They might even to be fed. and each is to have his homestead and his cow and his corn for food/ Separate manumissions were entered on the flythe Church. II of Worcester tried to put an end at Bristol after the Norman captives Conquest. Other land- owners than bishops give instructions in their wills that all the penal slaves on their estates are to be set free. The offspring born in slavery to slaves of any origin would be themselves unfree. as a own freedom in order manumission states in vivid words: a woman sets free 'the men who gave her their heads to obtain food in the evil days. a foreign slave trade persisted. in spite and Bishop Wulfstan to it of the laws. or they lost all subsequent right to his wergild if he were slain. and. The redemption of slaves were Christian acts and the manumitting of of mercy much encouraged by Most surviving wills contain instructions fur the freeing of some slaves. yet. or into the control of foreigners. and perhaps people were not altogether comfortable at owning slaves of their own race. persons enslaved as a punishment for certain their inability to they had specific crimes. after a year. Except in Kent in very early days. sometimes mentioning them by name. There was originally some doubt whether the Church ought to own Theodore pronounced penal slaves. the Council of Chelsea of 816 made their manumission on the death of a bishop obligatory. or because of the fines and compensations which pay incurred.' But the commonest type of English slaves were the penal slaves. The kindred of a slave of this kind must redeem him within a year. it was strictly forbidden to sell people of English race across the sea.

Bedwyn. Lichfield. to eternal freedom.may he have He who this. and St Augustine's. A particularly interesting manumission is one performed by King Athelstan. who would prevent its infringement if any person were bold enough to attempt this in defiance of the ecclesiastical anathema with which most essential thing manumissions are provided. by God's mercy. in the witness of Brihtstan the Cynestan and of the cleric who wrote this. and his were killed. have obtained in England. Bodmin. priest were witness of the disfavour of God and of all perverts the relics which I. Durham. for example: and of Eadgifu freed Wulfric at the cross-roads. probwhich runs: ably on the day of his coronation. three weeks before midsummer. This was a necessary protection . and Byrnstan this . to symbolize the slave henceforward to choose her own path. Exeter.THE GLASSES OF SOCIETY and have come down 113 leaves or other blank spaces of gospels and service books. Canterbury. Christ blind him who ever perverts this. the same that I grant the father. And I grant the children The manumitter he had wergild BES-8 freed. ^Elfric the reeve. The ceremony instead be freedom of the manumitted his or often took place at the altar. to us from Bath. after he first was King Athelstan freed Eadelm immediately ^Ifheah the priest and the community. in the witness of all the community at Bath. priest The was that the act should be done before adequate witnesses. Eanstan the prior. the Wulfnoth the White. king. Here is a typical example: Here it is made known in this gospel that Godwick the Buck has bought Leofgifu the dairymaid at North Stoke and her offspring from Abbot ^Elfsige for half a pound. but it might performed at cross-roads. if he He retained certain rights over the man had the inheritance after him.

like the freedman. It was his former owner's duty to claim the compensation. put a man at once exactly on the level of a man who is freeborn. will be unlikely to have kinsmen in the land to act for him. Manumission does not. for for the no it might easily happen that he had kinsmen and therefore no one to exact compensation if he were injured or slain. otherwise the freedman could have been molested with impunity. . and it may be that the term half-free which is occasionally met with in our records was applied to manumitted slaves. therefore.114 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY freedman. who. It is an application of the same principle that makes the king the free receiver of the wergild of a foreigner.

the latter essential for the tools with which a livelihood was obtained. and from the salt districts of Worcestershire and Cheshire as soon as the English invaders pressed so far west. for these were to a considerable extent self-sufficing for the necessities of life. Express mention of saltpans as an important ^ adjunct of an estate occurs fairly early in charters.CHAPTER VI TRADE AND TOWN LIFE Trade TRADE did not play a very large part in the activities of the early English communities. yet from the beginning most settlements had to import two very important commodities. appears as a very specialized community. naces in two namely on the north side of the said river. It salt is which likewise mentions 285 saltpans in Sussex alone. at the south side of the river which for the construction of three saltis called Salwarp * * church of Worcester *a .' Domesday Book allows us to see something of the organization of the salt industry by the latter part of the Saxon period. the former necessary for preserving meat and fish for winter consumption. already in 716-7 King ^Ethelbald granted to the portion of land on which salt is wont to be produced. in which. Salt was obtained from saltpans in coastal areas. salt and metals. mentioning the need of salt for ritual uses as well as for the seasoning of food. houses and six furnaces*. while the majority of the saltpans . in exchange for salthouses in 'six other fur- made. Droitwich. for example. King Cynewulf of Wessex gave one at Lyme Regis in 774 to the bishop of Sherborne. The chief salt town of England.

and St Denis of Paris. men from the same hundred. In this king's in Gloucestershire form. or on eight men's loads There were preferential rates for those dwelling within the hundred or in the county. St Guthlac of Hereford. Northamptonshire. besides the nearer churches.* and it was an important industry in the forest of Dean. for given of the industry we learn not only of the ownership of the salthouses. on a horse. in Kent. had to it pendent on pedlars such as these for their supplies. many other persons had the estates of lay landowners. but also details relatif the earl sold any ing to tolls. The rate of payment to place. Yorkshire. most people must have been desell it. who carried salt about the country to however. etc. St possessed by the churches Peter of Gloucester.Il6 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY belonged to the king or the as Oxfordshire earl. and others are saltpans in of Westminster. Coventry. and tools of all kinds by local . etc. Sussex. but was normally fourpence on a cart drawn by four oxen. whereas other owners had their salt for their own consumption free of toll only from Ascension varied a little Day to from place Martinmas. and we get a glimpse of the salt pedlars. Iron-working was carried on on a small scale at various places. they paid a penny at Martinmas. to be made into ploughshares. one-third to himself. if. iron was traded over the country. A fuller and more interesting account is in Cheshire. Lincolnshire. Landowners who possessed saltpans of their own were a minority. and Buckinghamshire. Thus it is stated that of the salt from one salthouse which supplied his manor of Acton all the year round. with the result that estates and Somerset often pay part of the farm and of their rents in blooms of iron. fishhooks. Worcester and Pershore. sometimes have Droitwich attached to them. they carried pay a penny for each cart. even as far afield interests. twopence on a horse-load. two-thirds of the toll went to the king.

Gloucester supplied the iron for the rivets of the king's ships. but our records reveal little about methods of quarrying and distributing five cartloads ing-stone was another it. Thus in 835 Wirksworth was rendering annually to the archbishop of Canterbury lead to the value of 300 shillings. consisting of fifty slabs. but probably from very early times there was specialization in the production of the finer of the goods weaponsmith. The most important source for the supply of lead was Derbyshire. in Sussex with annual values from ten and tenpence to four shillings. There were eight smiths at Glastonbury in the Confessor's reign. four quarries. and six at Hereford. seek a quarry. one for millstones. it was natural also that they should be found in places where there were markets and a general concourse of people. and in the reign of Edward the Confessor a group of royal manors in the county included in then- farm of lead. each of whom made annually for the king a hundred and twenty horseshoes. they did not. but found what they wanted in the deserted Roman site of Cambridge* Only sporadic mention is made of quarries. for example. Buildarticle of commerce after it became customary to build in this material. however. for by only the wealthiest of magnates could employ workmen of such expert skill. as. and Ely set would be was thus that the brothers of out to fetch stone for St Audrey's coffin. specialist craftsmen were employed by the king and great nobles. . As far as possible material of such weight it conveyed by water.TRADE AND TOWN LIFE 117 smiths. coats-of-mail. and inlaid swords would be obtained trade. The ordinary local smith could no doubt supply the plain spear-heads and simple shield rims and bosses required the common man. so that ornamented helmets. As we by have seen.

would be more than could be used to the importof the value of an Very frequent references can be found ance of estate. and the manufacture of sheep-milk cheese in the Essex marshlands. fisheries in the assessment and in many cases the yield is far too great for home consumption. especially in Wisbech alone seventeen fishermen paid eels. and which they were to trade their surplus for necessi- Horse. glassware from the Rhincland. 60. and Dunwich. here and in many other sheep-farming areas the yield of wool up at home.Il8 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY not exaggerate the self-sufficiency of the in- One must dividual settlements even with regard to foodstuffs and clothing materials. Suffolk. Petersham. Archaeology shows that elaborate jewellery from Kent. Sussex. of the Vale of the White in less own needs. It is less a rent of 59. rendered 38. silver vessels from as far afield as the eastern Mcditer- . number of conditions Surrey. and Southease paid four pounds 'for is porpoises'. especially cheese. The rent from the sea fisheries along the coasts is normally expressed in herrings. paid a thousand lampreys as well as the same eels. ^Elfric when he lets his probably describing contemporary fisherman say that he sells his catch in the towns and cannot catch as sell many as he could There is evidence as far back as heathen times of some trade in luxury articles. or even for luxury goods.500.000. but a fishery belonging to Earl Edwin at Eaton by Chester paid a thousand salmon. Southease.1260 common to find mention of other kinds offish. It cannot have been long before certain well-placed communities found themselves able to produce supplies of this or that commodity in excess of their ties supplied. at and were caught in great numbers.-Instances that leap to one's mind are the dairy produce. Eels were the most important product of inland fisheries the fenlands.

and cheese are mentioned as exports. though it may not have flowed so freely hi real life as it appears to do hi poetic descriptions of life in royal halls. and in the eleventh an estate of Hyde Abbey was paying as a yearly rent six sesters of wine. and blubberfish. precious stones and gold. It occurs also ha the list of imports given by the merchant in JSlfric's Colloquy. English cloaks are the subject of correspondence between Charles the Great and Oflfa.^ In the late sixth century Pope race could be Gregory assumed that boys of English bought in Gaul. ivory and brass. wool. and at Chester the king's reeve had a right of pre-emption on any marten pelts brought into the port. .' Furs were imported also. wine. copper and tin. and gave instructions for their purchase. They could buy the wool only after it had been unloaded. which I to buy from the presume to be a regulation to force them instead of buying thewhole cargo direct Londoners. Wine was imported also. put the earliest comfrom England is modity to be mentioned as an expolt slaves . besides three live pigs for their ships.not necessarily because it was the most impor- interest for other than tant. sulphur and glass. which runs: 'Purple robes and silk. A document relating to London in the reign of Ethelred the Unready mentions incidentally the following goods brought in at this port: timber. from a ship bringing it to the city. wine and oil.TRADE AND TOWN LIFE ranean. it is not said that the first two items came from abroad. rare apparel and spices. but because it eyoked most commercial reasons. It was one of the products brought by merchants from Rouen at the end of the tenth century. fish. Less can be said about exports. and many such things. and the code of about 1000 which deals with the trade of London allowed foreign traders to buy in London wool and fat. found their IIQ way gradually into the houses of Anglo-Saxon royal and noble families. cloth.

an Anglo-Danish great lady was trading English girls to Denmark. according to an accusation levied by William of Malmesbury. Only in Northumbria did a different coinage continue in use.120 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY that they might be reared in the Christian faith and help to convert their countrymen. as can be seen by the care with which kings guarded their rights to receive tolls. This type of coinage was superseded in the reign oi King Otta (757- by another silver coinage influenced by that of the Franks of the period. Bristol in the latter part of the eleventh century. an innovation clearly in the interests of the trade between the two countries. Merovingian coins have been found in English deand at any rate in the first half of the century kings in England began to mint a coinage of their own. the earliest identifiable ones being those of Eorpwald of East Anglia (about 616-28) and penny 96) Penda of Mercia (632-54). remission of the toll on a single ship for the benefit of a religious house was . As late as the eleventh century. and that it was being carried on at in the sixth century. The new type of penny remains in use throughout our period. Roman market posits of the seventh century. a coinage much debased with copper. from whose name the word is believed to have been derived. until it too was replaced by the ordinary silver pennies soon after the Viking settlement. Bede and his contemporaries thought it likely that English slaves should be sold in a about 679 a Mercian nobleman sold to a Frisian merchant in London a Northumbrian prisoner oi war. The Danish rulers were too aware of the importance of foreign trade to continue with so poor a currency* * Trade was certainly not inconsiderable by the eighth century. We have already seen that attempts to put an end to the overseas traffic in slaves were unavailing. The.

Worcester. as may Athelstan forbids the export of horses and when Kings King various kings prohibit the sale of men across the sea. a mints is careful supervision of the on maintained. They interfere to forbid the export of certain goods.a wey of wool is not to be sold at less to Edgar's law. on a man fourpence. References of in general terms to the payment toll. and charters of his survive which remit the dues on ships a London for the abbess of Minster and the bishops of Rochester. Precautions at the ports of hostile ships. and the toll on an ox was no halfpenny. ^Ethelbald of Mereia was addicted to gifts of this kind. or to grant of the right by the king to private persons. issue trade regulations of various kinds. that at Southwark at we Humber learn that in the Confessor's time the ferries one had any right on the strand or in the water16. Eadberht of Kent freed a ship at Fordwich for the benefit of the abbot of Reculver and another at Sarre for the abbess of Minster. and London. street except the king. the same code than 120 pence according standardizes weights and measures 'as one observes in London and Winchester'. In some of these documents it is specified that if the ship is lost or wrecked. It is South Ferriby and Barton-onHumber were valued at three pounds and four pounds a year respectively. they establish prices . but it is mainly in Domesday Book that we are given there that across the details. are common throughout the period. prevent the entry were necessary to we know something of . His rights here were valued at but this figure included fines paid by those who comto toll mitted a crime in these places. the Church's veto of trading festivals is Sundays and certain enforced by the secular authorities.TRADE AND TOWN LIFE 121 a matter of enough moment to call forth a royal charter. it can be replaced by another on the same terms. that at Lewes both buyer and seller a paid a penny on a horse.

so as to make the sale of stolen goods difficult* Ine's laws. and in the early tenth century Edward the Elder tries to insist that all trading must take place in a town. to be either slain or redeemed. or a stranger. If a man from and he then neither shouts nor blows a horn. about 700. this innovation was not kept up. and later King Alfred enjoined that every trader was to bring the men he was taking into the country before the king's reeve at a public meeting. where a ship must await a licence to enter* If a ship arrived or departed without the king's permission. crew. But most of all. the ship. laws are con- cerned to see that all trading takes place before proper witnesses. a road. Precautions were particu- larly necessary if trade was to be carried on between men of different kingdoms or different nationalities. the clause: a distance. thus the laws both of Wihtred of Kent and Ine of Wessex contain. They must not behave in a suspicious fashion. state the necessity of witnesses. each man on board was liable to a fine of forty shillings to the king and the earl. namely the possibility 'of misdemeanours and offences by or against traders as they moved about the country. There was also another problem to be dealt in every with. before whom purchases were to be made. journey away from is to be assumed to be a thief. and was to take only such men as he could bring to justice if necessary. but his grandson Edgar enjoined the appointment of a standing body of witnesses all borough and every hundred.122 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY the arrangements at Chester. he An earlier Kentish law made a man who entertained trader or other stranger for a more than three days responsible any injury he might commit. by what must have been an agreement between the king- doms. already . and cargo were confiscated if the ship carne in in spite of a royal prohibition.

he has an English name. Haff. mart of many nations.TRADE AND TOWN LIFE 123 the early laws of Kent protect the Kentishman buying in London. will be who met with in foreign harbours. travelling in their lands. kings might interest themselves in the conditions of trading across the sea. and Alfred's treaty with Guthrum stipulates that hostages ings must be given and honest as security for peaceful dealintentions before trading takes place be- tween English and Danes.! Wulfstan deny English nationality to a certain taken to the Frisches described to King Alfred a journey tenth century. Bede speaks to it by sea and land'. we hear of foreign traders in of London as 'the England from early times. perhaps as an agent raids of the late eighth and sold in England. and there is other evidence in the same direction. there is no reason to opened up about this time. These instances show that foreign trade was not exclusively in the hands of the foreign traders. but the ninth centuries disrupted Baltic trade Englishmen may well have taken part in the At least. Cnut on a pilgrimage to Rome took the opportunity of obtaining from the Emperor and other rulers he met there greater security and reduction of tolls for his subjects. Oflfa entered into an agreement with Charles the Great by which each undertook to protect the traders of the other country when within their realm. and again. resorting and mentions the purchase of a captive by a Frisian . [The Viking trade on the Continent. in the eleventh century. Already in the eighth at century an English merchant called Botta was settled for collecting goods to be Marseilles. Similar regulations were necessary for traffic between the English and the Welsh. traders and others. On the other hand. In the late merchants go to ^Elfric remarks casually that English Rome. Finally. and Sir Frank Stenton has noted that King Ethelr assumes that English ships treaty with the Danes red's.

Nivelles. grants him on land other lands came also. especially Danes. At the end of the tenth a document dealing with trade in London century speaks of men from Rouen. But merchant perhaps the strongest evidence for the amount of seatraffic in Frisian hands is the assumption of an AngloSaxon poet that a seaman is likely to have a Frisian wife: Dear is the welcome guest to the Frisian woman when the ship comes to land. The existence of a Frisian comYork in the eighth century is indicated in the munity life of a Frisian saint. and the territories of the Emperor.134 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY in at London. Flanders. The poets speak with appreciation of the seaman 'who can boldly drive the ship across the salt sea 1 or 'can steer the stem on the dark wave. Ponthieu. We learn of this because a certain priest called Cambridge about Leofstan stole a cloak from them. Men from Normandy. and she invites him in. Irish traders visited this time. washes his stained raiment what his love and gives him new demands. knows the currents. France. the bulk of the internal trade in England was probably in English hands. and at the end of the ninth century Alfred's fleet was partly manned by men of this race. her own bread-winner. His ship is come and her husband. It will be enough to illustrate this by reference to the freedom from toll over all England claimed by the men of Dover. or to the incident in 969 when King Edgar took venge* ance on the men of Thanet for ill-treating some York merchants. (being) . the incidental nature of this reference should serve as a reminder of how piece- meal and fragmentary our evidence is on this subject as on many others. clothes. Li&ge. is at home. Huy. Nevertheless. from about the same date comes a description of York as the resort of merchants from all quarters. The merchant and seaman plied an honoured trade.

c as at Reading. loss of all my goods. or Bedwyn. while the populaburgesses at St Albans. the new 1080. navigable rivers. and it was at least a current opinion in the early eleventh century that the merchant who had crossed the sea three times at his own cost should be entitled to a thane's rank. new towns spring up on harbours. Windsor. For a Berkshire example. throughout veniently situated the Saxon period and beyond it. might cause the congregation and artisans. of a or of a large monastery. and I bring it hither to you with great danger over the sea. and it caused its old name to be ousted by Newbury. Many dwelling . at the junction" of roads* or important where such roads crossed the greater rivers. Or some more acciborough'. The merchant lot: in ^Elfric's Colloquy stresses the dangers of his I go on board my ship with my freight and row over the regions of the sea. portant royal estate. and. at the date of Domesday Book. place called Ulvritone is said to have 51 'haws' (townwas doubtless this circumstance that houses). Whether or not there was unbroken continuity at such places.TRADE AND TOWN LIFE f 125 the pilot of the company over the wide ocean'. and sometimes I suffer ship- wreck with the life. it was natural that at places conpopulation should begin to congregate for meeting-places. near Abingdon included ten tradesmen tion of Barton in front of the door of the church. and sell my goods and buy precious things which are not produced in this land. barely escaping with my Towns The places first mentioned as centres of trade had been towns in the Roman period. By 1066 there were 46 of tradesmen group 28 at Pershore. recorded from about such as the requirements of an imdental circumstance.

seem to belong to this class.e. each founded on eight yardlands of land. Oxford and Wallingford. i. centre already in at Rochester and Canterbury by London was an important trading Bede's time. in 857 a bishop of Worcester obtained a house there. for which our evidence is and life woefully scanty. which gives the names of the boroughs thus formed in the area under West Saxon rule. from whose reign comes a document known as the Burghal Hidage. others. were new. as we are expressly told by Asser. not far from the west gate. while it was still under the kings of Essex. . a policy continued under his son Edward. Some of the boroughs were places which already had some concen- tration of population and were now supplied with new or improved defences.126 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY had towns springing up around them. Sir Frank Stenton has shown that there was townthe ninth century. King Alfred inaugurated his 'burghal system'. with certain commercial rights. To combat these invasions. that is were founded at places of little previous importance. It is not likely that this church was the only distant landowner to find it convenient to secure a footing in this city. and a later bishop carried out a similar transaction in 889. and the account in Domesday Book that population had been attracted to able conditions of tenure* In suggests them by favourthe security any case. the Kentish kings possessed a hall in it. of the places which are ancient boroughs by the other monasteries Many time of Domesday Book may have started from similar small beginnings in a distant past. the provision of fortified centres that could protect a tract of country against enemy at- tack. There is also early evidence for a trading community at York and there were doubtless a number of other places that were something more than agricultural settlements in the period before the Viking invasions. What there is relates mainly to Kent.

includes 'the haw in thtport (market- which included among 5 town) inside the south wall. which belongs to that estate . bishops of Worcester were acquiring houses in London at an early date. for the king seems to have retained the whole at places. in general the burgesses held their tenements at a fixed rent fromjhe. whereas at others he granted some of his rights away: two-thirds of the profits of Fordwich went to the abbey of St Augustine's. The profits arising from the jurisdiction in the borough were usually divided between the king and the earl. the details of which varied from place to place. but there is not complete uni- some formity. Although by the end of the Saxon period other persons might own property and rights in the boroughs. for example in the Wiltshire and Somerset boroughs. If there ever was any simple or uniform plan it has been complicated by many private arrangements before the period for which any considerable information is available. who also had other 'customs'. Moreover in most boroughs there were owners who possessed the profits of jurisdiction arising from offences committed on their property or by their men.TRADE AND TOWN LIFE afforded 127 by the new defences of the boroughs would draw traders and craftsmen.kjng. the archbishop had all the king's dues in one ward at Yor^. Hampshire. The process by which many landowners acquired boroughs is mainly hidden from our sight. From interests in the property and the tenth century estates we get many references to country their appurtenances one or more properties. An eleventh-century bishop of East Anglia disposes by will . and similar statements become increasingly common. called 'haws'. in a neighbouring borough. As we have seen. the bishop had a third of those at Worcester. For example a lease of an estate at Kilmiston. in 961. two-thirds to the king and one-third to the earl.

But it is obvious that the convenience of a town-house for obtaining supplies for the estates. It can hardly be questioned that some landowners have been investing in house-property in the boroughs. London . According to Tait. document of have required ten houses in Bristol to A 975-8 suggests that land in Winchester had become expensive. It is not easy to estimate the size and population of any of these places. the archbishop of Canterbury could not have required six houses in Wallingford. they in the city. or those that had grown up on on those of ecclesiastical or secular lords. for the community at the Old Minster was content to relinquish a country estate of twelve hides which were holding at an annual food-rent. estates are Many Surrey connected with Southwark. supply the manor of a certain ^Elfgar in Bishopsworth. while those of South Oxfordshire regard Wallingford as their centre. It is no longer usual to connect the ownership of such townhouses by country landowners with the duty of garrisoning and repairing the borough. It would obviously be convenient for a landowner to possess a house in a trading centre nearby. not with Guildford the county-town. thus cutting across the shire system. They are always spoken of as sources of profit to their owners. there are seventy-one boroughs in Domesday Book. or as a residence during visits to town. or the abbess of Barking twenty-eight in and it cannot London. will not the explain number of cases when we find a landowner in possession of a great number of houses in a borough. or the bishop of Chester fourteen in Stafford. in order to obtain a plot of only two acres. with the stream adjacent to it. laid on the shire. and the thanes of North Berkshire tend to possess houses in Oxford.128 of a THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY haw in Norwich and another in London. To take a few by no means extreme instances. apart from royal estates. and two of the most important.

for both before and after they have many more moneyers than this. it gives not much over eight thousand to York. with only twelve. working at the same time. Chester. Lincoln seems about the same size as Norwich. of course. seven to Canterbury. into 'principal'. that is trading places. six to Winchester.TRADE AND TOWN LIFE I2Q and Winchester. Worcester. Gloucester. Oxford. Hythe. divided 'ports . would he be quite so wildly out as that? Even retaining this conservative estimate of 5 persons to a tenement. as well as some others such as Bristol. The figure five usually many persons taken as a basis for calculating the population is almost number of burgage certainly too low.600 persons in 1066. Hereford. . King Ethelred. Norwich. and Winchester. and small. King Athelstan (924-39) had allowed eight 'others' which are lie London. Hastings. The greatest places outside this division. large. Domesday does not state the population. Norwich had a population of 6. except. Lincoln. to which he allows three moneyers. AH other boroughs are smaller. probably between 9 991 and 1002. but only the tenements. and Ipswich. The evidence of existing coins and of Domesday Book estabto lishes as front-rank boroughs London. Thetford. Thetford of nearly five thousand. for which there are no figures. Romney. and it is uncertain how inhabited each. which must have a body of thirty-six standing witnesses. and must to have only one. are not surveyed in this record. York. Canterbury. London and Winchester. but towards the end of the Saxon period there were over twenty at London and more than ten at York. and though a writer about 1000 may be greatly exaggerating thirty when he says York had a population of thousand adults. Tamworth. A law of King Edgar (958-75) made a rough division of boroughs into two classes.

fourteen are mentioned in the Domesday record of Derby. The churches were probably not the only stone-built buildings in the towns in the later period. and we hear also of and cheese hi London and of hampers of eggs and of hens. A comparatively small place like Wallingford had three churches of sufficient antiquity for them to be mentioned in the early twelfth century in a charter purporting to come from 948. One of the features ol a town of the later Saxon period that would have struck a modern observer was the very great number of churches place. and the old mill. one of the earliest recorded streetnames is that of the vendors of meat. there were crofts and gardens within and around the walls. who sold his catch in the towns.130. brought London market. One remembers ^Elfric's fisher- man. yet we know ot about twenty in Norwich and over a dozen in Lincoln. THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY The boroughs and towns possessed arable fields. . for Domesday Book mentions them only incidentally. it them The majority of the population must have depended for food and other supplies on the produce brought from outside to their markets. common pastures. and many citizens possessed cattle which they pastured on the common of the town. but not in a quantity to make to any degree self-sufficing communities. women who to the sold butter boat-loads of fish. There were also several corn mills inside the towns. and five churches at Oxford occur in Domesday. and Derby had at least six. and meadows. the east mill. and che tenth-century boundaries of a small site in Winchester include the west mill. Our evidence is in proportion to the size ol the incomplete. nor must be supposed that each burgess cultivated his share. in some places the arable was let out to a few individuals. Eight besides the minster are clearly referred to the Domes- m day survey of York. Nevertheless the average Anglo-Saxon town probably presented a somewhat rural aspect.

and the Confessor's queen. and in the reign of Edward the ConDomesday drawn up in Henry I's fessor. in the gild there is a document conreign of Athelstan (924-39). The majority of the houses were. still built of wood. Toki. and sometimes there were halls of other great personages. and two shill- ings to his nearest neighbour. The king's hall is referred to in many towns. At Chester the man in whose house it started had to pay three ounces of pence. Earl Godwine in Southwark. 13! built in stone already in and this material would be most likely to be used for them in towns. though it is uncertain what was meant by a knight at that time. at London had a Gilds 'knights' gild' by the eleventh century. and later we hear of a hall 'where the good men of Wtichester drank then* gild. a 'peace-gild' of the London district.TRADE AND TOWN LIFE Royal residences were being Alfred's time. son of Outi. a 'knights' Canterbury occurs as early as the mid ninth century. in Stamford. of one reign. where the risk of fire was great. Besides its police secular obligations to duties. however. of which we are told that it was 'where they drank their are mentioned at and they held it freely under King Edward. into which men were forming themselves in the later Saxon period. which cerning of the bishops and reeves of the area under the presidency is active for the suppression of theft. Queen Emma had one in Winchester. Thurbert in Colchester. according to a survey there were two 'knights' halls' in Winchester. Canterbury and Dover in Book. the gilds.' Other Winchester evidence speaks of a chapmen's hall. in Lincoln. it has both religious and . it may already have borne its late Old English meaning of an armed retainer of a lord. gild'. Edith.' At a much earlier date. and hence the laws were strict about the responsibility for fire. Mention has been made in an earlier chapter of the voluntary associations.

the borough-moot that according to a law of King Edgar was to meet three times a year. and a storehouse which was belonged rented by a reeve from King Edward. and it has a somewhat elaborate organizaand a common purse. Among the householders of the town at that time were several priests. The it size of London made its organization was divided into wards. some of which had to Queen Edith. it must be admitted that we have nadequate evidence to form a clear picture of how life was lived in an Anglo-Saxon town. *and they banquet. including a master moneyer. Not only the holders of houses are recorded. moot presided over by an ealdorman. but it is worth looking at the so-called Wintou Domesday. and have their shall feed themselves as they themselves think fitting' . a soap-maker. but there is no evidence that any had more than one form of assembly.132 its THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY tion members. like London and Winchester. The boroughs were under a royal official usually called a port-reeve. More than one . and so did a goldsmith. and had a meeting called a misting for settling its civil cases as well as a great open-air folk-moot for maintaining order. the butts are being filled. a hosier^ a turner. and which helps to make up for the omission of this city from Domesday Book.an early instance of a civic usually when meal together. the text which supplied information about the gilds mentioned above. a park-keeper. When all is said. In the reign of the Confessor Winchester has a balchus of the king where thieves lay in prison. Some other towns were divided into wards. a number of moneyers held houses. Its officials meet once a month. a 'brand-wright'. each with a wardpeculiar. there were more than one at a time. and in some of the bigger places. and some beadles. a shoemaker. The burgesses also possessed storehouses which had since been turned into forges. but also those who had stalls and shops.

Foul-beard. shoemakers' street. Many of the persons were distinguished by nick-names. and Penny-feather. showing the ten- dency of men of the same trade to congregate together. Moneytaker. flesh-mongers' street. Bit-cat. But most of the names occur without any occupations attached. Penny-purse. Fresh-friend. Soft-bread. Street-names include tanners street. they include were fertile in names meaning Clean-hand. citizens of Winchester .TRADE AND TOWN LIFE reeve of Winchester 1 133 . which show that the invention. and shield-makers* street. is mentioned.

whose basic principles were shared by other Germanic nations. but It it left the structure unchanged^ was owing to the influence of the Church that the law began to be put in writing. In England the Christian influence to which the law was exposed from the end of the sixth century caused some alteration. were by his . howexisting among other things putting on record the tariff of compensations to be paid for all types of bodily injury. These laws survive. i. inspired probably contemporary. with the advice of his councillors. judicial decisions.twelve-fold payment'. or to re-state old law that was being disregarded.e. when there exist- was occasion either to add new statutes or modify ing ones. and are still kept and observed by them. especially in relation to family law. what is stolen must be repaid at twelve times its value. Ethdbert's seventh-century successors in Kent issued codes. to deal with secular matters. Wihtred of Kent. 'established. and they begin: 'God's property and the Church's . after the Roman model.' What brought this about in *he first place was the necessity to add to law injunctions relating to the Church.CHAPTER VII THE LAW THE English tribes came over from their continental homes already possessing an elaborate and developed legal system. Ethelbert ot Kent. the greatest of Mercian kings. The laws of Offa (757-96). and so did Ine of Wessex (688-726). The first Christian Eng- lish king. though in the course of time modifications made in the various systems caused them to move apart. ever. They continue. which are written in the language of the English. After this other kings promulgated laws.

and finally. was brought to the judicial enquiry at Penenden Heath in 1075-6 to answer questions on Anglo-Saxon law. Anglo-Saxon law was never codified in full in pre-Conquest times. because he was learned in the law. and as late as the reign of William II we find the king recom- mending that a certain priest called Mlfwig should con- tinue to hold the living of Sutton Courtenay. There is no evidence that the English possessed. as did the Scandinavian races. with the laws of Ine as an appendix to it. The aged ^Ethelric. when much was forgotten or misunderstood.THE LAW known to 135 King Alfred. whose business it was to keep alive the knowledge of the law by reciting it at public gatherings at regular intervals. and after his day most of his successors issued codes. . but have not come down to us. liberate' as well as one who 'can in the when men de- assembly of wise men determine this expert the custom of the people. formerly bishop of Selsey.codify it until the days of the Norman legists. Something is added to our knowledge of AngloSaxon law in the working by the survival of records of law-suits. which he now granted to Abingdon. knowledge was sometimes possessed by the clergy. generally relating to land. and no attempt seems to have been made to -. an official law-speaker.' In later times. Alfred himself issued a long code. but a great mass of customary law was handed on orally. but it is worth noting that a poem known as The Gifts of Men enumerates among the men whom an all-wise Deity endows with special faculties one who 'knows the laws. by many statements in Domesday Book on the customs in force in the reign of Edward the Confessor. In addition to the enactments of kings we possess a few short treatises on private individual subjects. Yet. although the surviving body of written law fills a formidable volume. and by occasional references in literary sources.

that is. on account of your loyalty. Hertfordshire. it In the reigns of Ethelred and Gnut was Archbishop . the law of Mercia. Derby. Huntingdonshire. The king fact. Some differences between Wessex and that part of Mercia that was never under Danish rule are of older origin. and Essex. When the English kings brought this area back under their rule. Nottingham. Stamford. Buckinghamshire. they did not greatly interfere with expressly: its legal customs.in to have gone out in the name of the latter alone. and the Danelaw. and I always conceded this to them and will concede it as long as my life lasts. Anglo-Saxon law. with the king.136 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY areas. Rutland. King Edgar states Moreover it is my will that among the Danes such good laws be valid as they best appoint. but also Northamptonshire. final The measures agreed on were put into form by one of the ecclesiastical members present. however. These sources reveal variety of custom in various three great divisions of the law of Wessex. Middlesex. Cambridgeshire. which you have always shown to me. the law current in those parts The Norman lawyers recognized of the country ceded to the Danes at the end of the ninch century. while imposing a universal measure aimed at the suppression of theft. shall He insists strongly on this right to local differences in general. Bedfordshire. including not only Northumbria and East Anglia and the area of the Danish Five Boroughs of Lincoln. dating from the days when they were separate kingdoms. This threefold division. and Leicester. legislates some enactments seem with the advice of his council . by no means covers all the varieties of local custom revealed and we have already noted in previous some instances where the general injunctions chapters laid down in the laws have been modified in individual areas as each of these made special and separate terms in our sources.

and an appeal from it was made direct to the king. and Worcester. to deal with cases in which the interests of the Church were to keep himself informed of any developments in the law. where the term used is had a court that met every four while above this there was a shire-moot. and they are to send them in all directions. be made from the hundred to the shire. which A . who presided beside the ealdorman at the shire-moot. who framed most various provinces. so that this measure be known both to the poor and the rich. The duty of the Northumbrian in earl had been mentioned a previous chapter of the code.lhe official law-books of the involved. There is no suggestion in King Alfred's laws that there was any higher court than this. as Edgar's codes: Copies were sent to the ealdormen in charge of the is stated at the conclusion of one of Many copies of this are to be written and sent both to the Ealdorman ^Elfhere (of Mercia) and Ealdorman ^Ethelwine (of East Anglia). which weeks. It is to the Church that we owe the preservation of the laws.THE LAW Wulfstan of York 137 of the enactments. law of Cnut's suggests that appeal met twice a year. In the tenth century there appears to have been a reorganization by which the land was divided into areas called 'hundreds' (except in the northern Danish counties. would need administration have not survived. and our knowledge of An^lo-Saxon law would be poor indeed but for the preservation of the archives of the cathedrals of Rochester. Copies would also be sent to the greater ecclesiastics. * Law-suits were brought forward in a public assembly which the early laws call vaguely a folk-moot. for it forbids can recourse to self-help until justice has been refused three *wapen-take'). London. the bLhop of the diocese.

e. Just how far the organization into hundreds altered pre-existing conditions folk-moots every four difficult to s ay. The tenth-century aimed country. there is little sign of such neat assessment. which means 'sanctuary' or Thurstable. Kent. etc. however. e and Maidstone. Appletree. which suggests either that the name was given to areas that had never consisted of a hundred hides. The activities of the courts are sometimes mirrored in the names.138 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY and once in the shire. reorganization at securing regularity may mainly have and uniformity over the The meetings took some prominent landmark that gave hundred. Essex. so that much older any original correspondence between the name and the assessment has been obliterated. Oxfordshire. and met at places whose names suggest that they have been places of term hundred in selves often assembly from early times. Besides the hundred and the . trees or stones at bridgeshire. or that the division was of a date. Somerset. There is evidence that the met under the presidency of a king's reeve weeks long before any mention is made of the it is this connexion. often at its name to the purpose at Babergh. Kent. Spelhoe. 'Thunor's pillar'. in the South. even from heathen days. barrows served Suffolk. and Buckinghamshire. words meaning hill of assembly' as at Modbury. The hundreds thembear names of an early form. occasionally. Staine. references common. Derbyshire. fairly Norfolk. as at Wye. The later hundred seems to have taken over the meeting-place as well as the function of the earlier popular assembly. artificial times in the hundred into The division hundreds has a recent and look in the Mid- lands. Northamptonshire. Ploughley. Cheneward'berge. this place in the open. i. Dorset. CamStone. for the areas there are often neatly assessed at just one hundred hides. or 'hill of speech' as at Spellow. being shire courts.

were almost always reserved for the king's courts jurisdiction were made. for. one would have expected him to lose his office rather than his thaneship. All these assemblies were held for other purposes besides the trial of suits. the judge who according to the laws of Edgar (958if he gives a false judgement 75) is to lose his 'thaneship' is probably to be taken as the holder of a private court. This is so already at the date of King Ine's laws. It may underlie a regulation of King Athelstan (924-39).THE LAW 139 occur from the tenth century onwards to a borough court which met three times a year. or legally essential. Several serious offences. given by the king's forcible entry into officials own hand. From early times kings were in the habit of granting to private landowners. Such a grant came eventually to include the right to hold a private court in the area covered by this immunity. when a house. lay or ecclesiastical. in which the statement of the penalties incurred by a reeve who takes bribes and allows them to influence his judgement e is immediately followed by a chapter beginning: lf it is a thane who does this/ Moreover. Sir Frank Stenton has pointed out that the existence of some sort of court of this kind is implicit in the terminology of certain eighth-century charters. when grants of private The procedure in law-suits was strictly formal. and sometimes over wider areas. violent obstruction of royal discharging their duty. the profits of jurisdiction over their own lands or over their own men. to have adequate witnesses were carried out there. such as breach of the peace the harbouring of outlaws. if a royal official were all that was meant. It was at them the king made known by messenger or writ his will to his people. and any from common form might cause the loss of a departure . and many transactions for which it was desirable.

it was normal for the plaintiff to make a pre- liminary oath. he became an outlaw. could swear for sixty hides. which shows that somea modern property qualification came into consideration. if he. Henceforward he bore *a wolf's head'. or his kindred for him. a due number of lawfully given summonses. that he was not acting out of 'hatred or malice or wrongful most cases the defendant was then alforward an oath to prove his innocence. The defendant swore: "By the Lord. worse liable to very charge. whose number was conditioned by the nature and severity of the involved. became heavy penalties. We are told that a king's 'companion'. If the defendant appeared in court to answer the or.' and the compurgators simply swore in support of this: 'By the swore.I4O suit. did not then pay the fines and compensations involved.' He would do this with the aid covetousness. he lost his suit by default. the given oath of so number of compurgators required for a is somewhat charge obscurely expressed as 'an hides of land'.' In Lord. to get them together. quately witnessed. The outlaw could recover his rights only by the king's pardon. or oath-helpers. after he had pledged himself to produce the oath.' In to bring lowed of compurgators. still. for the law clung to the principle 'denial is always stronger than accusation. to prove the honesty of his motives. anyone could kill him with impunity. I am guiltless both of deed and instigation of the crime with which N charges me. and anyone who harboured him. They were not required to supply information of the facts of the case at issue. that is to say. if a communicant. THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY The plaintiff summoned the defendant to appear to answer after and if the defendant failed to appear. the oath is pure and not false which M early law. took vengeance for his slaying. charge and he was allowed a respite. often of thirty days. adehis charge. and there is many thing like .

for example. the suit was ended and he was clear. who would swear: witness. Sometimes. indeed. The Church . as I saw with my eyes and heard with my ears that which I pronounce with him.g. the judgement of God. when the oath had been granted to the defendant and he had proved unable to give it. was awarded the oath if he had witnesses of the crime. however. statements occur such as 'let him it with an oath of three twelves. instead of the defendant.' on the appointed day the defendant came to court and performed the oath in full. the size of the oath is expressed in terms of money.worthy '. or he might have deny If his crime. The size of the oath required was normally related to the amount of the defendant failed to clear himself. the defendant might then go to the ordeal. e. In been taken in the act of committing oath to the such cases. or if he had ever been convicted of perjury. so I stand here by N in true unbidden and unbought. Similarly. had been done from early times in Kent. In the later laws. or in circumstances. the court awarded the right of bringing an plaintiff. for example. If he were a man of suspicious character who had been frequently accused. who then brought forward his com- purgators to swear to the defendant's guilt. the plaintiff. In the When or the plaintiff had in this way produced his oath. as. But there could be circumstances that cut the defendant off from the right to produce an oath. a man might have to produce an oath of 120 hides or pay 120 shillings fine.THE LAW 141 evidence that suggests that a churl could swear for five. name of Almighty God. it is more usual for the actual number of com- purgators to be stated. he was no longer 'oath. an oath of a pound in value' and e it appears that a churl's oath was valued at five fine involved if the shillings. as. in possession suspicious of stolen property for which he could not account.

In serious charges. holy water was given to the accused to drink. the arm must be plunged to the the wrist in the ordeal of hot water. that is to say. or know who did it. to ensure that no trickery was attempted. If the accused floated. the ordeal used was that of the consecrated morsel. and by the holy cross on which God suffered. The other forms of ordeal took place within the church itself. that you should not dare to partake of this sacrament nor to go to the altar if you did this of which you are accused. and while the preparations were going on each of the parties in the suit was represented by an equal number of members. The hand was then bound up. and by the holy gospel and the relics which are in this church. and by your Christianity which you have received. the man was cleared of the charge. in the ordeal of hot water he plunged his hand into boiling water to take out a stone. In the ordeal of iron. This part of the ceremony was in English. which the accused swallowed after pronouncing a prayer that it might . after the Deity had been adjured to accept the innocent into the water or cast out the guilty. the weight of the iron was increased from one to three pounds in the ordeal of iron. his guilt was taken to be established. the accused carried the glowing iron for nine feet. In the ordeal of cold water. a man must clear himself by the threefold ordeal. The elbow instead of accuser was allowed to decide between the ordeals of iron and of If the accused were a member of the clergy. and if the wound had healed after three days without festering. and he was then thrown into the water. water. and in one version it runs: I charge you by the Father and the Son and by the Holy Ghost. The ordeal was preceded by a three-days' fast and a mass in which the accused was charged to confess his guilt before receiving the sacrament.142 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY then took control of the proceedings.

.are called 9 bootless crimes. and not destroy for a little matter God's own handiwork and his own purchase which he bought at a great price. a circumstance that suggests some uncertainty as to the infallibility of the 'judgement of God'. this was more lenient than if he had been taken in the act. treachery to one's lord . but a man convicted of theft by the ordeal alone faces this extreme penalty only if he is a man frequently accused. In some other cases. substitution of mutilation. A thief caught in the act 'shall die the death'. - but which are punishable by death and forfeiture of property. he was con- the assembled court to the punishment laid down by the law for that particular crime. Some crimes arson. In one or two cases. Elaborate rituals for use in ordeals oi all kinds are contained in the ritual books of the Anglo-Saxon clergy. if anyone is taken in circumstances con- sidered so damning as to rob him of the right to an oath. fit of the people. This attitude must have had some effect Elsewhere.THE LAW choke him if 143 he were speaking falsely. This view is strongly expressed in the laws composed for Ethelred Archbishop Wulfstan: Christian and Cnut by men shall not be condemned to death for all too but one shall determine lenient punishments for the benelittle. The Church favoured the avoidance of the death-penalty. If a man were convicted at the ordeal. obvious murder. for which no compensation can be offered.e. i. but by prison and a fine if the accusation is proved by ordeal after the failure of his oath. as this gave preferring even the maleiactor an opportunity of expiating his crime in the this world and thus saving his soul. open theft. Slaying by witchcraft is punished by death *if the accused cannot demned by deny it'. house-breaking. a criminal condemned to death can be redeemed at the price of his own wergild.

Other forms of execution are more rarely mentioned: beheading is one of them. burning if of Athelstan which survives Some crimes were punished by slavery. It must often have resulted from the . whereas mutilation is not mentioned in the laws of his time as a punishment for occurs as the penalty for coining false money. and with it ^Elfric expects his readers to be familiar when he says that the criminal if he call A woman convicted of encomdeath by witchcraft was drowned at London passing Bridge in the tenth century. in the reign of Athelstan. In spite of Wulfstan's efforts.' have compassion on on him "before the sharp sword will God method of executing a thieving female. and a as The Fates of Men gives a gruesome picture of a thief's body left hanging on the gallows. and Abbot -ffilfric the story of a miracle with the words 'A certain begins thane was mutilated for theft'. and hence phrases like 'to the gallows tree' or 'to the old place of execution' are not infrequent in lists of boundaries of estates.144 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY among the Wulfstan shows that he includes mutilation 'lenient* punishments he advocates. while stoning might be the descend on his neck. It the normal fate of a thief. if we can trust a code slave if male. but in general plays little part in the Anglo-Saxon legal system. Hanging was the commonest form of execution. execution remained theft. a smith at Hatfield Broad Oak in Essex in the time of Edward the Confessor was put to death for theft and the thirty acres he had held were seized by the king's reeve. and we find lords in possession of penal slaves long after the date of the last reference to this penalty in the laws. for example. It k in agreement with native custom that the poet should cause St Juliana to be led out to execution 'near the land-boundary'. These were often placed on the boundary between settle- poem known ments. only in a later Latin version.

By far the commonest penalty was the payment of compensation and fines. or to the holder of the private jurisdiction. higher it ment to the Church. at the king's estate. and to the lord of the slain man. rank. or certain other Church seasons. There were some other circumwhich private persons other than the injured could claim a sum for breach of their protection. to be though other sums occur sometimes. sixty. while a fine for fighting was due to the king. the owner was entitled to a compensation graduated in accordance with his rank. such as that for perjury. or in violation of the king's special peace. The amount for any offence was not left to the discretion of the paid BES-IO . or when the army had been called out.the laws of Kent demand twelve-fold paynine-fold to the king. or inside a church or at court. Finally. All fines and compensations were increased if the crime were committed in Lent. Some fines were divided between the king and the Church. liable to pay bigger and the compensations were fixed by the laws there was quite a long tariff of the amounts due fines for bodily injuries of all kinds. as this involved the breaking of an oath sworn on sacred relics. while fines fixed at thirty. while entitled men to higher compensations. to the churl stances in received six. In a suit for place hi anyone's house. or a were mainly hundred and twenty shillings. as a breach of the marriage law of the homicide. More than simple repayment of stolen goods had often to who be made . or that for incest. or against men going to or coming from an assembly. and if it took Church. compensation had to be paid to the kindred. if such had been granted. fines for their misdeeds. from the ealdorman who could claim sixty shillings. is mentioned. the former to the injured party. the latter normally to the king.THE LAW 145 offender's inability to meet the fines and compensation which he had incurred. made them Both the . Occasionally imprisonment.

and easier for the owner to track his property.' He was thus able to turn his attention to the limitation of blood-feudi which we considered in a previous chapter. All goods should be purchased before proper witnesses. so that the buyer can vouch the seller to stolen. the crime that occupies the biggest place in the codes. Many sections are filled with regulations that make it more difficult for the thief Theft is to dispose of stolen goods. THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY it was for it to pronounce the sentence in accordance with the law-books. It imposes very heavy fines for a breach of the king's . Edmund. Athelstan expresses horror at the execution of young thieves for petty theft. warranty if the goods are later proved to have been and from time to time the conditions under which purchase can be made. are the subject of careful legislation. The freedom from thefts of which King Edmund boasts was short-lived. an attempt his son. and apparently were effective. ties to and the laws are if explicit on the formali- be observed the trail should lead into another area of jurisdiction. It was made incumbent on all men to help their neighbour to track his stolen cattle.146 court. In spite of his determination to suppress theft. is able to say proudly: 'I thank God and all of you who have supported me for the peace from thefts which we now have. Ethelred the Unready issued at Wantage a code in- tended to suppress lawlessness and violence in the North. issued elaborate measures in to make cattle-stealing difficult. and allowed the death- penalty to be applied only if the thief were over fifteen years of age. especially cattle-lifting. and the procedure of vouching to warranty. Athelstan's laws are particularly concerned with the suppression of cattle-stealing. for his successor. instead of twelve years. Edgar.

many sentences passed against * him in the It may lawsuit man belt. A called Helmstan had been convicted of stealing a A certain ^Ethelm then tried to obtain from him an estate his opportunity litigation. especially in the case of a certain Wulfbold in Kent. oath since the law held that 'proof of possession is always . they are to arrest the men frequently accused. defying courts. who committed many acts of violence and lived unmolested until his death. and it 147 employs a method of bringing malefactors to justice that is probably derived from Scandinavian law: An assembly is to be held in each wapentake. tion in which the ordinary machinery of the law has proved inadequate to bring individuals to justice. If convicted at the ordeal. presumably seizing Helmstan's crime would make him less likely to because be allowed to bring forward an oath in defence of his He would normally have been allowed this by possession. recorded perhaps be of interest to examine one and see something of the law in the working. and Cambridge. and the twelve leading thanes and with them the reeve are to go out and swear on the relics which are placed in their hands that And they will accuse no guiltless man nor conceal any guilty one. he is to be beheaded. stand fold Each of these men of ill repute is to pledge that he will trial. Chester. seems called for to meet a situaYork. and this measure of Ethelred's. Stamford. who are at issue with the reeve. and to go to the threefold ordeal or pay fourpayment. The weakness of the executive in this reign can be illustrated from events in other parts of the country also.THE LAW peace. These twelve leading thanes are to be compared with the 'lawmen' of whom we hear in later sources at Lincoln. which provides the first instance of a 'jury of presentment'.

148

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY
him who has than
to

nearer to

him who

claims.

5

Helm-

stan asked for help from the man who gives us the account of the case, probably Ealdorman Ordlaf, and because of his intercession King Alfred granted that Helmstan should be entitled to justice, and advised settlement by arbitration. The arbitrators agreed that Helmstan should be allowed to produce his title-deeds and make

good

his right, the history

of the estate was given, and

all

thought that Helmstan 'was the nearer (of the parties) to the oath'; but ^Ethelm would not accept their decision without going to the king, who was in his chamber at c his hands'. He Wardour - he was their

washing

upheld

and named a day for the oath. Helmstan seems to have doubted his power to get sufficient compurgators; at any rate, he applied to Ordlaf again, offering him the estate if he would help him with the oath, and Ordlaf replied that he would help him to obtain justice, but not in any false practice, on condition that he granted him the land. He pledged the estate and the oath was
decision

duly performed.

Then we
tence was

all

said that that

was a closed

suit

when

the sen-

be ended if one cannot end it with compensation or with oath ? Or if one wishes to set aside every judgement which King Alfred established, when shall we have finished disputing?
fulfilled.

And,

sire,

when

shall

any

suit

Helmstan handed over

his title-deeds to Ordlaf,
lived,
*if

who

permitted him to use the land while he

he would

keep himself out of disgrace.' But a year and a half or two years later, he stole some cattle and was tracked, and
in his flight

and

he was scratched in the face by a bramble, was brought up against him when he wished to deny the charge; it provided one of those suspicious circumstances which could cut off a defendant from the right to bring an oath. The king's reeve seized all his property because he was a thief and the king's man; but
this

THE LAW

149

he could not forfeit the estate which he had given to Ordlaf, for he was only holding it on lease. King Alfred was now dead, and King Edward declared Helmstan an
outlaw.

He then visited King Alfred's tomb and brought

who gave it to the king at Chippenham, and he removed the sentence of outlawry. I am indebted to Sir Frank Stenton for the explanation that by 'seal' is probably meant a sealed document certifying that Helmstan had sworn some oath over King Alfred's tomb.
a
'seal'

to Ordlaf,

Ordlaf exchanged the estate for another with the bishop

The very existence of this long letter explaining the whole transaction to the king would seem to imply that it had not gone uncriticized. It contains
of Winchester.

many
that

features of interest,

and

it is

not the least of them

brings us face to face with one of those 'oftenaccused' persons so much mentioned in the laws, and
it

suggests that they were not always dealt with in accordance with the full rigour of the law.

Far
law.

less

information

is

available

on Anglo-Saxon family

Much of the custom regulating matters like marriage

and inheritance was handed on orally, and cannot all be recovered from the scattered references to these topics. It
is

in this province of the law that the acceptance of Christianity made most difference; the Church had to
its

enforce

rules forbidding divorce

persons within the prohibited degrees,

and the marriage of and this was not

done without a long struggle. Questions relating to marriage were referred to the decision of Pope Gregory by the earliest missionaries; Archbishop Theodore's penitential decrees

show that various problems in this connexion were presented to him, and it was one of the subjects discussed at his synod at Hertford in 672; and
after the settlement of the northern

and

eastern districts

I5O

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY

with heathen Danish immigrants in the ninth century the battle had to be fought afresh in these areas, and as
far as

Northumbria was concerned,

it

was fought with

indifferent success.

within the third

Pope Gregory had been willing to admit marriage and fourth degree of kinship, but the later Church forbade it within the sixth degree, and with the widows or widowers of kinsmen within the same degree, and between co-sponsors. Archbishop Wulfstan's
fulminations against incest, fire in the eleventh century, may indicate nothing more than that these strict rules

were being disregarded. A very early law-code, of Wihtred of Kent, prohibits illicit marriages, and excludes from the country foreigners who will not conform, and it was found necessary to revive this law well over four centuries later, in the reign of Cnut (1016-35), presumably to apply to the Scandinavians settled in England. One thing that caused grave scandal to the Church was

Germanic practice which allowed a man to marry his stepmother. King Eadbald of Kent did this on the death of his father Ethelbert in 616, but was brought to see the
the
error of his ways by Archbishop Laurentius; his act was repeated in the ninth century, when ^thelbald, the son of the most pious King -ffithelwulf, married the Prankish
princess Judith, who had been married to -^Ethelwulf when she was a child; but the cases are not really parallel,
for

The

^EthelwulPs marriage had not been consummated. earliest Kentish laws suggest that divorce was

originally as easy

Scandinavia.

among the English as They allow the wife who
9

it

was

in heathen

'wishes to depart

with her children half the goods of the household; but if the husband wishes to keep the children, the wife is to

have a share equal to that of a child. The same state of things was re-introduced into the north of England by the Danish settlers, and a Durham writer speaks
quite

THE LAW

151

casually of an eleventh-century earl who divorced two wives in succession in order to marry higher in the social scale, and of the re-marriage and second divorce of his
first

cannot wonder that Wulfstan, who was of this northern province, should lament in archbishop the pulpit the prevalence of breaches of the marriage
wife.

We

of his predecessors had taken action against a flagrant outrage, and received an estate as payment of a fine by two brothers who had shared one wife, but one
laws.
gets the impression that the Church had to tolerate easy divorce in this part of the land. One may recall the

One

casual reference in Domesday Book to the separation of Asa from her husband, mentioned in a previous chapter. The wording of the Kentish laws suggests a crude view

of marriage, as the purchase of a wife, as in the injunction:
If a

freeman

lie

with the wife of a freeman, he shall pay his

(or her?) wergeld, and get another wife with his and bring her to the other man's home.

own money

There are similar implications in the laws of Ine, and in the poem which says: 'A king shall buy a queen with property, with goblets, and bracelets.' Yet the position of women in Anglo-Saxon society was a high one (already Tacitus had been struck by their influential position in the Germanic races), and very soon the bride-price came to be regarded as the property of the bride herself. It is probably what is referred to later on as what the suitor
paid *in order that she might accept his suit.' Before the end of the period the law states categorically:

No woman or maiden shall ever be forced whom she dislikes, nor be sold for money.

to

marry one

A

widow was allowed

to decide herself
also

about a second

marriage.

undisputed control of her *morning-gift', her husband's present to her the day after the consummation of the marriage; if she died childless,

A

woman had

152

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY
own kinsmen
inherited
it;

her

she retained

it

after her

husband's death, unless she married again within a year. If she did, the gift became forfeit; Domesday Book tells us that Bishop ^Ethelmaer of Elmham seized an estate at
Plumstead, Norfolk, because a woman who held it married within a year of her previous husband's death. A woman had also a right to a proportion of the household
goods; the fraction varied in different
often a third,
the

localities,

but was

little though woman the writer says that if it is formally agreed 'it is right that she be entitled to half the property - and all if they have a child together unless she marry 5 again. Among the upper classes it would certainly appear that household furnishings were considered the wife's

in a

legal text called Concerning

marriage of a

possessions for it is only women who bequeath such woman retained her due share of things in their wills.

A

husband were convicted of theft and forfeited his property. She was not responsible for stolen property found in her house, unless it were under her own lock and key, for 'she must obey her husband' and could not prevent him bringing what he wished into the house.
the goods
if her

Among the upper classes marriage agreements were often
made about
succession to land
either partner of the marriage.

and goods on the death of The freedom with which
is

women
trast to

could hold and dispose of land

in striking con-

post-Conquest conditions.

to marriage: the 'wedding*, the pledging or betrothal, when the is, bride-price was paid and the terms were agreed on; and the 'gift*, the bridal itself, when the bride was given to the bridegroom,

There were two parts

a

that

with feasting and ceremony. Ecclesiastical blessing was
not necessary to the legality of the marriage, though the Church advocated it. The Church discouraged second
marriages and advised the priests to withold their blessing from these.

which would then go to the upkeep of the religious establishment. which could not originally regarded land as something easily or arbitrarily the family. modelled on the late Roman private deed. They are an ecclesiastical importation. and a great number of these 'books' have come down to us. They do not say that the consent of kinsmen is necessary. method of holding land grew up and that the English. and for females to inherit in the absence of male heirs of the same degree of kinship. from the of holding was created by a type c title-deed called a book in the vernacular. by the end of the seventh century. There was. like other be alienated from Germanic tribes. and usually by a proem either declaring land. but instances occur where a religious house later had trouble with the donor's descendants. however. it has become customary to record this act of liberation in writing.THE LAW The are it 153 laws governing inheritance in Anglo-Saxon times nowhere stated. A system developed by which land was freed for religious purposes from the payment of royal dues. . this this s he and was known be in little doubt that this Christian times. and they show us that the consent of the king's council was obtained for the act of creating book- Sometimes they mention that money has been paid and no doubt his rights have been bought out in many cases where no reference to payment is made. and also from the claims of the kindred. The title-deeds were introduced by a religious invocation. There can liked. one type of land which the owner was free to bequeath as circumstance that as 'bookland'. and all that can be gathered is that was normal for a man's sons to divide his land between them. and probably a donor would be well advised to get the consent of his heirs to his gift. After the adoption of Christianity it would be necessary to find some means by which the Church could receive some permanent landed endowment. to the king.

although before long.it becomes common to make grants of bookland to laymen without there being any intention of its being turned to pious use. and later before the king and his council* Land not so freed. to the king who made a grant of bookland may have afforded a means of rewarding his thanes and others for services rendered. which meant that if any of them committed a deed which involved forfeiture. or of raising ready money. The advantage to the receiver of having land which he could alienate at will and which was free from royal dues is obvious. These religious sections of the deeds increase in length and elaboration as the period advances. land still subject to the king's farm and other charges. The king always retained the jurisdiction over those men who held bookland. synods in the eighth and ninth centuries. the dona- was safeguarded from interference by an anathema calling down the wrath of heaven on any who attempted to set it aside. Moreover. the land came into the king's hands. Litigation about bookland is often brought before Church it. is probably what is meant by the rare term 'folkland*. Disputes concerning this were dealt with in the ordinary courts. .154 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY the advisability of having written record of acts of eternal blessings by piety. or advising the purchasing of the tion gift of temporal possessions for pious uses. and he was willing to pay for it. and bound by customary rules of descent.

ever. in the early seventh century. how- sionary Bristol unknown to Bede. When the mission sent from Rome by Pope Gregory under the leadership of Augustine arrived in Kent in 597. which had survived from the days of British Christianity. Devon and Cornwall. that Christianity and there is no doubt was a strange and foreign faith to the . the king and his court were familiar with some of the outer forms of the Christian religion.Bede buildings had once been Christian to this use by the missionaries. and regards their subsequent misfortunes as a sign of divine Church dedications in Somerset suggest.CHAPTER VIII THE CHURCH AFTER the coming of the English the British Church survived in Wales. dedicated to St Martin. Cumbria. But King Ethelbert certainly at first regarded the missionaries with suspicion. speaks of their restoration Some Englishmen had become acquainted with the new abroad. and in the little British kingdom of Elmet in the West Riding until its conquest by the Northumbrians making no attempt disfavour. and Strathclyde. a certain amount of miswork was carried on by the Welsh across the Channel. that. but that the priests in their vicinity were not willing to undertake the task. Men were aware that other churches . Bede blames the Britons for to convert the hated invader. for the queen was a Christian Prankish princess and had with her her own bishop to whom had been assigned a church. we hear of Saxons with St Columba at religion lona a generation before Gregory's mission. Gregory wrote to the Prankish rulers that it had reached him that the English race wished to become Christian.

with his see at Rochester. but not Essex. The king of Essex. while still another years later the laws of Wihtred of Kent find it necessary to impose penalties for heathen worship. The Ethelbert's Christianity. King nephew. in spite ot some early spectacular successes. Mellitus. and on Ethelbert's death in 616 there was a reaction in favour of paganism and for a time the whole fate of Christianity in England hung in the balance. 597. more than ten thousand of English were reported to have been baptized. not from the Kentish Church. Gregory wrote to Bishop Eulogius of Alexandria that on Christmas Day.156 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY when was preached and lona. when its permanent conversion came from the North. London. Ethelbert's attempt to convert King Raedwald of East fifty Anglia came to nothing. had been persuaded to accept and one of the new arrivals from Rome. was made bishop in his capital. Another band of missionaries was sent to join in the work the in 60 1 3 bearing letters of congratulation and instruction to Augustine. which remained heathen for some forty years longer. Kent was saved. Ethelbert. was not until ten years after Ethelbert's death that Church made any recorded progress outside the borders of Kent. and by this year the conversion had gone far enough to justify the creation of a second bishop for Kent. The marriage of a Kentish princess to It the . accepted the new faith and gave Augustine a see in Canterbury. Yet it was not until nearly fifty years after Augustine's landing that a Kentish king dared to order the destruction of idols throughout his land and to enforce the Lenten fast. Rome it vast majority of the English them by the missionaries from to The process of conversion was a long one. king of Kenf and overlord of all the lands south of the Plumber. laws issued by King Ethelbert put the Christian Church in a highly favoured position.

But the pope's information was out of date: more than eighteen months before he took this action King Edwin had been killed in battle. and there had been a widespread relapse into heathenism. king of East Anglia. after some hesitation and a consultation with his council which Bede has graphically described. the spread of the Christian faith appeared to be rapid. and building of the stone church at York given up. and it was also accepted in the province of Lindsey. all the nobility of Northumbria and many persons of lower rank are said to have been converted in the same year as the king. As in Kent. James.THE CHURCH jr^ King Edwin of Northumbria caused that king. and Pope seemed time to put the latter part of the plan into effect. and we read of baptisms of people in great numbers. Campodonum. and ChrisJanity was but it was mainly from another deacon. too. for Eorpwald was killed by a heathen successor very soon after his conversion. Churches were built at York. that this restoration came about. Paulinus had escorted the queen back to Kent. where an old man who lived until Bede's time saw as a boy Paulinus baptizing people in great numbers in the Trent at Littleborough. the church at Campodonum had been burnt by the pagans. for a king ascended the throne who catastrophe. the permanent conversion of this kingdom was brought about. . in the river Swale near Catterick. The results of Paulinus's work were perhaps not entirely eradicated. In East Anglia. Edwin persuaded Eorpwald. Honorius sent to Paulinus an archiepiscopal pallium in 634. Three years later. to embrace the faith. and in the Glen near Yeavering. for Gregory had laid down that Britain should be divided into two provinces. however. the it London and York. stayed on after the restored a year later. to be baptized. unconnected with the Kentish Church. Christianity was for the time being short-lived. his source. with sees at archbishop's and Lincoln.

nor did they do so till a long time later. preached the Burgundians and Franks. Moreover. this invasion had cut them off from intercourse with the rest of the Church.158 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY exile in had become a Christian while an Gaul. Irish missionaries missionary zeal in the sixth and seventh were active on the Continent towards the end of the sixth century. who came. According to the story that reached Bede. and it was therefore natural that King Oswald should apply to lona for a missionary . but differed from it in the that they fervour of its centuries. they were unwilling to give these up at Augustine's orders. was sent by Archbishop Honorius work in this province.632. Meanwhile St Columba had crossed from Ireland to the Irish colony in among western Scotland. this was largely because of his arrogant behaviour. The same peculiarities were shared by the Irish Church. to Canterbury. intent on missionary work. but it was not to be expected lish relations would welcome subjection to the head of the Church of their hated invaders. and there he founded the famous monastery of lona. and eventually crossed into Italy and founded Bobbio. with the result that they were observing an antiquated method of calculating Easter. which was an offshoot from British Christianity. It was from this centre that most of the remaining districts of England were won to the Christian faith after the breakdown of Edwin's Christian kingdom 111. The sons of Edwin's predecessor and rival had taken refuge in lona during his reign and had been converted there. but the latter's attempt to estab- with them failed completely. when one called Columbanus founded the monastery of Luxeuil. and a Burgundian bishop called Felix. had intended that the bishops of Wales and Gregory the other territories in British hands should be under to Augustine's authority. and had also their own customs in some other matters.

Fursey and his brothers at Burgh Castle in Suffolk. who appears to have had no connexion with the Church at Canterbury. received a missionary direct from Rome. Oswald took no objection to him. the Church of Northumbria brought about the conversion of all the Midlands and of Essex. Wessex also Roman in usage. learnt to influence of his friend adopt the Roman forms under the him young King Cenwealh of Wessex. but apparently in a position of isolation. for she had been brought up in Kent and brought her chaplain. which re- mained heathen until after the Church had become united under Rome. however. as Oswald and his successor Oswiu became overlords of southern England also. under the authority of the archbishop of Canterbury. and. Though he must have taught the Roman. while a band of Irish monks were living at Bosham. on the other hand. generation after the arrival Roman influence in this kingdom was reinforced when Oswiu married Edwin's daughter.THE CHURCH 159 bishop once he was established on the Northumbrian throne. with her. Sussex. he joined with the West Saxon king in giving him an endowment for his see at Dorchester-on-Thames. James the Deacon continued to teach the in Northumbria for a practices of the Roman Church of the missionaries from lona. except for Sussex and the Isle of Wight. not the Celtic usages. Oswiu's son. the English Church was divided. the underking of Deira. Maildubh at Malmesbury. East Anglia and Kent following the practices of Rome. and attracted to studied on the Continent or been to Rome. Wessex. as overlord. a certain Birinus. Romanus. For a time. before this kingdom was converted. founder of . Yet this picture is over-simplified: in both East Anglia and Wessex Irish ecclesiastics had settled and helped with the work of conversion. men who had of whom the most important was St Wilfrid. and all the rest of the country owing allegiance to the mother church of lona.

gained authority of St Peter. Nor was there any complete cleavage with lona after the synod of Whitby. Here. Because of dissensions. Adamnan. a synod was held in which the bishop of Paris. and founded a monastery on the island of Inishbofin off the coast of Mayo. the Englishmen among them were moved Irish brethren to another site. when I and King Oswiu. burning missionary the period in which more than half of the English Church looked to lona for guidance lasted only thirty years. it left permanent results on the ritual. Roman party. was a friend of King Aldfrith of Northumbria. its zeal. Most of the English clergy Church. the scholarship. They appealed to the come to the gates of the kingof heaven. and the penitential system of the Though English Church. leaving their mentioned island. including one called Ronan who came to Northumbria. and in the middle of the next century Abbot Slebhine visited . poverty. They handed on much of the spirit of the Irish Irish usages century history. English bishops of occasionally in English sources of on the Mayo are eighth- who had been reared in the remained and conformed on points of observance. and recounts two visits to his court. judged in dom The extremists of the Irish party returned to Ireland.l6o THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY Ripon and later bishop of Northumbria. Agilbert. its stress on pilgrimage and voluntary exile for the love of God. he being my adversary who is known to possess the keys. The southern Irish had accepted the Roman Easter already in 634 and most of the Irish on the Continent had conformed. West Saxons. in the autumn of 663. who had probof action beforehand. and humility.' ably decided his line their favour 'lest. who had formerly held the see of the their point. there should be none to open them. in 686 and 688. reinforced by a foreign guest. its love of simplicity. One of its later abbots. its often exaggerated asceticism.

and confirming wherever they came. They made long journeys. BES-II . opposed the Irish Church realized Some of them had been to Rome.THE CHURCH l6l Ripon. their austerity of life. being too haphazard. and utter unworldliness. a monastery might include among its members or in its daughter houses a number of men in bishop's orders. where he obtained some information about an historical date he was interested in. it produced men devoid of all personal ambition. They had no personal possessions and they made no attempt up permanently-served. The Irish Church was purely monastic. but were free to exercise their office wherever they were required. They had no fixed dioceses. free from any duties of organization that might restrict their preaching work. It was a system well suited to missionary work in a new to set field. preaching. and eventually returning to their monastery. who were nevertheless under the authority of the abbot. Much more was involved in the decision at Whitby than the question of usage that was discussed there. and had been imcame back laden with pressed by its magnificence. too dependent on the fervour of the individual of the Roman Church preacher. and some of the men who supplied this. The two Churches differed fundamentally in their organization. They imbooks. who lived as a voluntary exile in Ireland. They and sacred vessels. non-monastic churches. Intercourse would become easier after the Englishman Egbert. men who attracted people to the faith by their warm sincerity. The diocesan system the necessary stability. But it was not a system to supply the needs of the population when the permanent religious first stage of the conversion was over. pictures. finally prevailed on the monks of lona to accept the Roman Easter in 716. baptizing. treasures.

the one society with the experience of govern- ment to enable it to supply the organization the English Church so badly needed. had caused men to revert to their whole country. As we shall see in a later chapter. He held at Hertford in 672 the first synod Roman method of the whole English Church. and the of chanting. but desired beautiful buildings.l62 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY ported masons to build churches such as they had seen abroad. To Theosending with him another crating a Greek dore lish the task of organizing the recently united EngChurch. services as impressive as gorgeous altar-furnishings. a task all the more pressing because the fell and great plague of 664 in some areas had carried off many of the clergy. a scholar with a great reputation. an African by origin. and Pope Vitalian filled the vacancy by conse- monk. The acceptance. man of learning. and skilful chanting could make them. and this was emphasized in 667 when Egbert of Kent and Oswiu of Northumbria together chose an arch- Church to bishop to succeed Deusededit at Canterbury *with the consent of the English people. visitation of the *the right rule of life and the canonical ecclesiastical of celebrating encouraging learning. But above all they were alive to the advantages of union with the universal They wished Church. with a retinue befitting their high office. these men brought a priceless gift of learning and culture. consecrating bishops to vacant sees and investigating the validity of previous consecrations. in which. among other . They did not admire the poverty of the Irish church buildings.of Roman for the English usage now made it possible be organized as a single body. who was abbot of a monastery near Naples. He made a Easter'. Hadrian. teaching rite heathen gods for help.' Their nominee died in Rome. that bishops should live with dignity. gold and silver plate.

and on occasions consecrated bishops for these sees. The synod admitted that more bishops ought to be made. its and the North did not hundred receive own for another When cept kingdoms in which they stood. usage had sanctified the position of Canterbury as the archiepiscopal see. But at the time of the mission. bury. each archbishop to have twelve suffragan bishops under him.exfor Rochester . Theodore took every opportunity to divide these great bishoprics. and dealt with questions of Christian marriage.had been conterminous with the pallium. which . Paulinus had fled from York before he received his an archbishop of it did. but he met with much opposition. divided into two archbishoprics with sees at London and York. and at a later date York claimed supremacy over the bishops of Scotland. South of the Humber at the time of Theodore's arrival there were only five sees besides Canterbury and all were vacant except London. he had years. had planned its organization as a single Church. but decided to postpone this matter for the present. Pope Gregory. who may have thought more easily of Britain as a lost Roman province than as a group of distinct kingdoms. 163 he established the principle of annual synods. Gregory's figure was probably based on the assumption that some sees in the nonEnglish parts of Britain would be under his control. whose appeal to Rome on the matter is the . after the death of Augustine. before Essex (in which London was situated) was permanently won for Christianity. especially from Wilfrid.THE GHURGH things. a Kentish king was supreme in southern England and established Augustine in his chief Cantercity. precedence between the archbishops to depend on seniority of appointment. bishop of the Northumbrians. only three suffragans. passed measures directed against the Irish habit by which bishops did not confine their activities to a fixed diocese. and.

After Theodore's death. the diocese of Sherborne being carved out of that of Winchester in 705. and Abercorn (though this last soon ceased to the sees of exist because the Northumbrians lost control of this territory to the Picts). Theodore had divided East Anglia into Dunwich and Elmham. and the temporary elevation of Lichfield into an archiepiscopal see from 788 to 803. in the time of Theodore's successor. By the time of his death. and had also appointed a separate bishop for Lindsey. at Selsey. . where the bishop had his church. Worcester. Northumbria into the sees of York. Hexham.164 first THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY appeal of an English ecclesiastic to Rome. Wessex was divided. and the last of the English kingdoms to be converted. and no changes were made in Kent. Lindisfarne. the dioceses covered far too exan area for central administration to be sufficient. A new Northumbrian see was formed at Whithorn in Galloway about 731 The grant of an archiepiscopal pallium to Egbert of York in 735. In Italy dioceses were usually small and could be administered from the episcopal see. are the only major alterations in this state of things until the disruption caused by the Viking invasions. was given a see of its own. his household of clergy. for Essex was left undivided. In England. with its see at London. also The Mercian dependency of Middle Anglia had bishops of its own in Theodore's time. at that time under Northumbrian control. Sussex. and Hereford. Leicester be- coming its bishop's seat. but soon to be reconquered by the Mercians. . though the see was not permanently established until 737. and a school for the training of priests. even after the subdivision effected tensive by Theodore. This brought the number of suffragan sees south of the Humber to twelve. Mercia and its dependencies into those of Lichfield.

and especially to performing baptism/ Some of the injunctions of the Synod ofClofesho of 746 relate to the institution of priests to local churches by Anglo-Saxon period throughout bishops. we read of three churches built or commenced in his time. many churches. Catterick. and He points out that the archthe places in his diocese in a therefore advises him to appoint others visit all to help him 'by ordaining priests and instituting teachers. small communities of priests sup- from plying the needs of the surrounding countryside some of which still survive. let us first turn aside to this. and Littleborough. that these places normally reendowment to support a permanent priest. churches continued to be built in the villages. bishop could not whole year. who may devote themselves to preaching the word of God in the individual villages. perhaps mainly and Bede speaks more than once of noblemen who had churches built on then* estates. that is. It is ceived an not clear. however. Paulinus seems to have worked from royal estates. The mission from lona built at royal estates. especially places of Roman origin.THE CHURCH The growth of the 165 parochial system is obscure at many points of its history. It was neceslarge churches. In one of his commentaries he says: When perchance we enter any village or town or any other place in which there is a house of prayer dedicated to God. and Bede's words to Archbishop Egbert in 734 show that there was at that time? nothing like an organized parochial system in existence. and to celebrating the celestial the sacred rites of mysteries. Lincoln. as at York. of these minsters sary to safeguard the financial interests habit spread of landowners building churches on as the . but there districts of some size which were served remained and the many by 'minsters'.

though it allows a tithe to a church on his land. the bishop ought to have on St Martin's day one load of grain. due at Martinmas. Ethelred's laws in 1014 graduate churches as regards their right to obtain compensation for the violation of their sanctuary. non-payment of which was punishable by a heavy fine 700. . and 30 shillings to a 'field' church. . was the churchscot. for Domesday Survey. Soul- burial fee. due three times a year. that is.l66 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY and so a law of King Edgar (958-75) orders and church-scot are to be paid to the old is their estates. he must pay his tithe in full to the old church. The churches had received landed endowment of varying extent. a penny for every working plough-team. By the tenth century these consist of plough-alms. of the best that is grown there. Peter's Pence due by St Peter's Day. payable at Whitsuntide. to be rendered by All Saints' Day. This example: From every hide of land .third of his own due. provided it has a burial-place. The oldest of these dues. . that all tithes minster to which obedience thane to pay one. tithe of young stock. Then there was also the burial which was 'best paid at the open grave*. where there dues paid to them. By the early eleventh century a payment for lights. on the following scale: five pounds is to be paid in English districts to a 'head* minster. and endow his private scot. was added. apart from the burial fee. church-scot. 60 shillings to one smaller is nevertheless a burial-place. 120 a smaller minster. if it has not. to be paid fifteen days after Easter. fee. no matter where the body is buried. own church out of the is rest of his income. and twelve-fold payment already in Ine's laws about and very similar regulations were in force in Worcestershire at the time of the states. that has the right to always to be paid to the minster it. but their main income was drawn from the shillings to still. tithe of the fruits of the earth.

the relief of poor men. Continued contumacy occasioned still heavier loss. and churchvestments. the bishop's and the priest are to go and take one-tenth of the produce of the defaulter. Archbishop Wulfstan declares that tithe should be divided into three portions. bells. the churches founded by land- . to mentioned as a voluntary payment in Theobe devoted to the poor. leaving the defaulter only one-tenth of the whole.THE CHURCH But if that day should pass without the grain being rendered. soul-scot. In the tenth century. one for the servants of God. and that the income that the Church derived from fines should be expended on the provision of prayers. to pilgrims. as and the bishop moreover he ought to have from his land. and tithe to the old church that originally had the right to them. dore's time. however. About the same time. Buckinghamshire. the repair of churches. varying with the rank of the defaulter. The same law insists that he who fails to pay a heavy fine to the king. At any rate an eleventh-century code applying to an area of Danish settlement imposes only reasonable penalties. by every 'sokeman' possessing one hide of land or more in any of the surrounding eight hundreds. one load of grain. Whether laws of such exaggerated stringency could have been enforced in addition pay and Peter's Pence in time must take it himself to Rome seems doubtful. the lord and the bishop are to reeve. and poor slaves. one for God's poor. one for the repair of churches. and never on vain worldly pomp. he who has kept it back shall render the grain and shall pay elevenfold . Although the law insisted on the payment of churchscot. shall receive such penalty The same amount. enforced share eight-tenths. books. the clothing and feeding of those who serve God. and to churches. education. its payment was is : Tithe by heavy penalties the king's reeve. had to be paid to the church of Aylesbury.

. it is the speed with which transaction follows transaction that church without makes this case remarkable. their Testators sometimes make arrangements about is churches in their wills .. who sold it to King Edward's chamberlain. and the descendants of the founders treated them as their own property. as . and then King Edward gave it to Vitalis and Bernard.and the long as they are in holy orders' private ownership of churches.'my church to be free and Wulfmaer my priest is to sing thereat. he and his issue. neither livery. . for the owner could own use a portion of the income. or even of fractions of churches. God. nor seisin.l68 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY still owners might receive enough income for them to be regarded as profitable. Hugh. not the nature of the transactions themselves. sometimes in writes at the a way that shocked ecclesiastical opinion. as Sir Frank Stenton has pointed out. according to whatever bargain he made with the priest he appointed. is frequently recorded in Domesday Book. and whoever does to the worship of not fitting that God's house be treated like a mill so. writ. It is more than a right of patronage that is implied. and Eustace was holding the King describe how the church of St any evidence of lawful possession. At the time of the survey. although they had Edward's sealed writ. his priests. he sins very deeply. for the jurors Mary and the land belonging to it were given by the abbot of Thorney in pledge to the burgesses. It is wretched toll. who in his turn sold it to two priests of Huntingdon. just The glorious house of God was devoted for common mills. take to his A striking example of trafficking with a church occurs in the Domesday account of Huntingdon. these priests had been dispossessed. Thus end of the tenth century: like JElfric Some men let out churches for hire. . But.

Many Northumbrians went to Irish monasteries. it was a different youth. and the abbot's cell whole surrounded by a wall. himself. was soon followed by others at Gilling. and by communities for some distance away. Gateshead. Melrose. Tynemouth. where he and the early archbishops of Canterbury were buried. in Rome. the The earliest was Lindis- both sexes at Hartlepool. which he claimed to have been to introduce into England. Some men were more humane type of monastic Wilfrid had spent some time at Lindisfarne in his life. but after his sojourn form of monasticism that he introduced into Northumbria at his foundations of Ripon and Hexham. founded by the first missionary. to study then. Seventh-century Kentish monasteries were founded at Reculver and Dover. based on the Benedictine rule. Ceolfrith entered the and monastery of Gilling. searching for a broader. but left it. and Coldingham. foundation. He finally joined company with founded by . Augustine. and nunneries at Folkestone. begreat gan the monastery of St Peter and St Paul. in which the monks lived in separate cells built close together. In the North the first monasteries were of the Celtic type. and Minster in Thanet.THE CHURCH The first 169 age of Christianity in England was one of very monastic fervour. Lyminge. at least one connunnery at Chelles. Whitby. send To assist in their tinental house. bury and at the East Anglian monastery St Botolph. it farne. in search of St Peter and St Paul at Canterat the the the first abbey usages of Icanko. to add the merit of exile from their native land to their renunciation of the world's pleasures. and Lastingham. the disciples. Aidan. with a common church. outside the walls of Canterbury. had been asked to Already before this. himself a monk. first going to Ripon of an ideal form of monastic life. Kentish women had life entered the religious as Chelles at the continental houses such and Burgundofara.

a saint's life. This was a Northumbrian who made I7O several visits to Rome. was for two and St Paul. The double monasteries mentioned above. in a charter. Bede spent his life. the Benedictine rule was ntroduced into Mercia. or a letter. where St Guthlac entered . Surrey. founded by the queen of Ecgfrith of Northumbria. in the Thames valley were Abingdon and Chertsey. Bermondsey and Woking. where many small monasteries were placed under his authority. and soon had daughter houses in places as widely scattered as Breedon. who had studied in Canterbury.THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY Benedict Biscop. escorted Theodore to England on his appointment as archbishop. In the latter. In addition. and Hoo. after another visit to Rome. Kent. spent two years at the abbey of Lerins off the south coast of France. returned Northumbria and founded the twin monasteries of St Peter at Monkwearmouth (674) and St Paul at Jarrow (681). the great abbey of Peterborough was founded soon after the middle of the seventh century. at Glastonbury. thus affording a striking illustration of the ecclesiastical way in which arrangements overrode tribal boundaries. Canteryears abbot of the abbey of St Peter bury. East Anglia had Beadricesworth (later Bury St Edmunds) and Icanho. there were a number of early foundations of whose existence we know from a chance reference here and there. and at Malmesbury. all before the seventh century came to an end. over which Geolfrith became abbot. but to that kingdom. Leicestershire. Lindsey had Barrow and Partney. originally an Irish foundation. Early West Saxon monasteries existed at Nursling and Tisbury. Repton in Mercia. to and finally. Moreover. Owing to Wilfrid's influence. this of Northumbria have been kind of house was not peculiar Of the same type were the great fenland abbey of Ely. but ruled in the late seventh century by the English scholar Aldhelm.

for even the abbess spoke to the monks only through a window. Most of the places mentioned above were destroyed in the Danish invasions. but our evidence is rather scanty. monasteries were considered the Alcuin property of the family which had founded them. Leofgyth. and bequest. The whole was under an abbess. Whitby supplied several bishops to the church. ternal administration education. Minster in Thanet. Much Wenlock in the to ancient province of the Magons&te. Boniface's chief woman helper in his mission to the Germans. . as he was of the kindred of the founder.THE CHURCH religion. Synods had to interfere to insist that the laity should not be appointed gift. Boniface and missionaries founded similar establishments in the lands which they converted. sale. and were not refounded as double monasteries. Like the churches. and Wimborne in Dorset. as far as our evidence his fellow- goes. tells us that a small monastery on Spurn Point had descended to him by inheritance. but had alongside who saw to the exand provided the priests to serve the community of women. and many of these double monasteries rose to distinction as places of learning and it a house of monks. Such monasteries are mentioned in documents as changing hands by exchange. and been more complete than the segregation seems to have it was. was educated first at Minster. iyi Barking in dedicated his treatise whose nuns Aldhelm Essex. After the middle of the eighth century there is no clear reference to them in England. on chastity. St Willibrord's father. and it would be unsafe to assume that they ceased to exist about this time. at other places. Her biographer tells us that at the latter place there were separate monasteries for the monks and the nuns. then at Wimborne. This type of foundation was primarily a house for nuns. often of royal birth. Bardney in Lincolnshire.

King Eadberht. about the removal of three monasteries from an abbot to give them to one of his nobles. however. were being diminished. for Pope Paul I complained to the archbishop's brother. Bede wrote in 734 complaining that many such foundations were of fraudulent origin. a mere pretext on the part of landowners to get their lands exempted from payment of royal dues as being set apart for religious purposes. to listen to the voice of heathen. calamity such as the sack of Lindisfarne in 793 could not. with the result that by such frauds the royal resources. but there is Alfred's testimony that. Such suppression of spurious houses did not. He advised Archbishop Egbert to investigate such cases and suppress unworthy houses. to avoid luxury in dress.172 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY and abbesses of these houses as abbots and that the diocesan bishop must see that proper religious observances were maintained. in con- A temporary eyes. which should be available for rewarding the king's followers. and not only in relation to fraudulent foundations that complaints are made of lax behaviour. The archbishop evidently acted on this advice and it produced papal remonstrance. to study the scriptures. the lector in the refectory rather than to the songs of the The author of a poem on St Guthlac went out of his way to create an opportunity to rail at the slackness in monasteries in respect of vigils and prayers. its first No institution it is remains for ever in fervour. have occurred unless God were displeased with the monastery. We need not take such admonitions as evidence that corruption was rife in religious houses at this time. before the destruction of monasteries by the Viking . affect the principle that monasteries were the property of the family that founded and endowed them. and Alcuin's letters are of exhortations to monks to live up to their vows. Bede himself tells discipline how had been relaxed full at Goldingham. and not go fox-hunting.

Other kings gave up their rank to retire to Rome and end their days near the tombs of the Apostles.THE CHURCH raids. or Rome. People of other ranks were not behind their rulers in piety. as at a later date did Burgred of Mercia when the Danes conquered his kingdom. and Latin scholarship had greatly great monastic revival was carried through. They became hermits. or exile from their land example of Abraham and Matthew xix. or father. or wife. Ceolwulf of Northumbria. Royal princesses chose to enter religion. and that Eadberht Pope Paul rebuked for suppressing monasteries. or in some cases were devoted to the service of God from infancy. and shall inherit everlasting life. and it was not until the middle of the next and effective century that a decayed. or lands. OfFa of Essex. all gave up their thrones to enter monasteries. is no need to doubt the sincerity of the majority of the founders of houses of religion or of the men and women who renounced the world to enter them. quoting the relying on the promise of 'And every one that hath forsaken 29: houses. or chose voluntary in Ireland. Cenred of Mercia. shall receive an hundredfold. kingdom. whom devoted to instance. for my name's sake. These There included people of all ranks. or sisters. Ethelred of Mercia. kings like Sigeberht of East Anglia. ^Elflaed. Oswiu's infant daughter. Ceadwalla and Ine of Wessex all took this course. the Frankish entered monasteries in great numbers. being the most famous Queens often entered nunneries in their widowhood. or mother. God with a large gift of land in whom he thanksgiving for his victory over Penda in 654.' . divine studies 173 When he tried to revive interest in the monastic he met with little success. ideal. or brethren. or children.

or disposing of property in case of death on the way. he says: 'which in those days was considered to be of great virtue. in which there is not an adulteress or harlot of the English race. There are indeed few cities in Lombardy. An abbess writes dolefully to St Boniface of The her unprotected condition arising partly from this cause. or in Gaul. or in France. the crown is more glorious. and the father of the missionaries Willibald and Wynne- bald was reluctant to accompany his sons. perhaps He did not live to reach Rome.' Boniface writes with concern of the moral dangers involved to when women pilgrims got stranded . he suggests Archbishop Cuthbert that it would be a good thing if they were forbidden by a synod to go: 'because for the most part they are lost. The Besides those express statements of contemporaries. and . who went on permanent exile were others who made pilgrimages to pray at foreign shrines. especially to Rome. gave way in the end. realizing that he He was a dying man. living finds it necessary to defend the practice of pilgrimage against those sceptical of its value: 'where the battle is harder. Bede speaks in one place as if he thought that its spiritual benefits could be exaggerated: referring to Bishop Oftfor's resolve to make a journey to Rome. In the tenth century a Breton pilgrim.' His opinion represented the view of the majority. and the survival of documents arranging the sale of estates to provide money for the journey. declaring stoutly that it was shameful to leave one's womenfolk without protection. 9 as an anchorite in England. are all evidence for the prevalence of pilgrimage.174 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY desire for such exile was so strong in some families that the kindred that remained at home was sadly weakened. few remaining pure. and the need to make arrangements for the reception of pilgrims en route and at Rome itself.

Thurbrand's son. The members of an eleventh-century gild were bound to contribute to the expenses of one of their number going to Rome. Canterbury. and used the opportunity to secure that English travellers should not be so heavily mulcted in future. The first abbot of the monastery of St Peter and St Paul. was drowned the Channel. and those who imposed The journey was no defended against critics its value as mortification could have listed a number of dangers that beset travellers. with a church dedicated to St at Mary and a hostelry for pilgrims. seventy-nine stages from Rome to the Somme. a white and a yellow. and St Wilfrid suffered shipwreck crossing . ecclesiastics. with disastrous results. that he valued enough to bequeath them specifically in his will. and an Anglo-Dane called Ketel with his stepdaughter.THE CHURCH pilgrimages remain common throughout the period. and hostelries existed many points on the main routes. and Earl Tostig and his wife Judith. It was sometimes on men as penance for heavy sins. pleasure trip. In this city there was a quarter known as the e School of the English'. whether pilgrims. a Kentish reeve and his wife made the pilgrimage. it may have been on a pilgrimage to Rome that Bishop Theodred of King London (about 926-51) bought at Pavia two chasubles. Alfred's father journeyed to Rome in 855 taking the child Alfred with him. There survives an on his return journey from which gives the names of itinerary of Archbishop Siric fetching his pallium in 990. and messengers to the papal curia. The appeal was and felt by men of violent temperament like Earl Aldred Carl. or merchants. The protection of pilgrims was a subject of correspondence between Offa of Mercia and Charles the Great in 796. but were hindered by a storm. and so did various West Saxon thanes. who planned to go to Rome when they had settled their family feud. and Cnut went in 1027.

in the eleventh century Archbishop Ealdred of York was robbed by brigands and had to return to the pope for financial assistance to con- when they affected personages of importance. an English priest sent by the pope to King Eardwulf of Northumbria in 809 was captured by pirates on his return. was buried by the clergy of Reims. a few went to Jerusalem. He had the treacherous lips. they were not likely to have been isolated events. and some people failed to support the physical hardships of the journey and died on the way. Leofgifu. died on . but there is no hint that other persons mentioned are expiating heavy sins. own and brutal murder of his cousin on his conscience.' Yet even the hardships of the journey to Rome did not content some pilgrims. in the mid tenth century an archbishop of Canterbury was frozen to death crossing the Alps. and it is unlikely that it was only the unhappy women mentioned by Boniface who found their money giving out before their safe return. There way survives the written tery at life of an eighth-century pilgrim to Syria an Anglo-Saxon nun at the German monasby Heidenheim from the account received from his In the eleventh century the pilgrimage to Jerusalem is mentioned several times. from Abbot Ceolfrith of Jarrow who died at Langres in 716 to the son of the eleventh-century Earl ^Elfgar of Mercia. The travellers were often subjected tinue. It was clearly a wise precaution make arrangements 'if the disposal of their possessions before they went for death befall us on the to Rome. an act whose body which pro- from the grateful for pilgrims to cured for them the grant of two estates in Staffordshire father. We know of these incidents to exactions on their way. Earl Godwine's unruly son Swein undertook it. a London woman. more than one band of pilgrims was slaughtered by Saracens in the ninth century.176 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY on one of his crossings.

sent numbers of English men and women as missionaries across the sea. to live as a stranger our Lord in order the more easily to enter into the c heavenly kingdom'. too. who wished to go himself to bring to the faith the nations from which his people derived their origin. combined with the desire to spread the Christian faith among their Germanic kinsmen on the Continent. who had himself been to Jerusalem in 1058. nor of that of his even greater colleague. in 677. the Apostle to the Frisians. Space does not allow a detailed account of Willibrord's work. set out in 690. who took the name of Boniface. If Ulf did come home. which ended in their martyrdom. and it was from Ireland. after the failure of a mission sent two years earlier. which ended in the conversion of Frankish Frisia and the creation of the see of Utrecht. that two English priests made an abortive attempt to convert the Old Saxons. when he delayed on his first journey of Rome to convert the Frisians. The permanent mission to the Frisians was inspired by an Englishman called Egbert living as a voluntary exile in Ireland. three years before he began to convert the South Saxons. He was prevented by what he believed to be an expression of the divine will. He was a friend of Archbishop Ealdred.THE CHURCH 177 the road to Jerusalem in about 1060. and a Lincolnshire thane called Ulf set out for this city with his wife just after the Norman Conquest. The for voluntary embracing of exile. it would be to find his lands possessed by Norman and we hear nothing more of him* lords. The work was begun by Wilfrid. and who was appointed papal BES-I2 . But his success was only temporary. making testamentary ar- rangements before he left *if I do not come home*. but it was appeal to at his instigation that Willibrord. the West Saxon Wynfrith.

his other achievements include the introduction of the diocesan organization in Bavaria. Boniface's chief . mentioned above. who became archbishop of Sens (died 797). abbess of Tauberbischofsheim. Willibrord conseaid. and Wynnebald of Heidenheim. Abel of Reims. Both he sessed the veneration for the the gratitude felt version from Rome. lies outside the subject of this volume. It is more important for our stress the great numbers of English helpers that went out to Willibrord and Boniface. in which he was succeeded by his sister Waldburg. for neither neglected to train native clergy from the first. and Willibrord posPapacy that was a mark of by the English Church for its con- They acted all along in close co- operation with it. Seven continental prelates of English birth joined with him about 746 in writing to JEthelbald of Mercia. a double monastery like those they were accustomed to at home. He preached for a time in Frisia. we know more about Boniface's helpers because of the survival of his correspondence.178 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY legate and archbishop to the Germans. The work was followed with great interest at home. The far-reaching effect of this on the relations of the Papacy with the Frankish empire. whose great purpose to achievements would have been impossible without such Englishmen were placed as bishops of newly created sees. and on the subsequent history of Western Europe. woman-helper was Leofgyth. and the persuasion of the kings of the Franks to undertake the reform of their church. Beornred of Echternach. including one arch- bishop. Abbots include Wigbert of Fritzlar. Other positions of importance were held by continental pupils of Willibrord and Boniface. but crated bishops of English race whose names are unknown. and monasteries were founded with English abbots and abbesses at their head. but his main missionary work was in Thuringia and Hesse.

encouragement. In 738. and many of them were accepted in a synod of the English land. by the of Almighty God. When he was martyred at bishop Cuthbert in the name of the English people. was later called to play a part in the conversion Utrecht were sent by of the Old Saxons. called Boniface. along with lently instructed disciples. The men copies abroad did not lose interest in the affairs of their native prayers. abbesses. and one of them. so grace famous an investigator of divine books and so noble a itself before in 754. sent a long letter to King JLthelbald of Mercia. hood that the conversion of the Old Saxons might be undertaken. and priests from kings.* many well-trained and excel- English missionary enterprise did not come to an end with the death of Boniface. he thanks God that the race of the English 'has deserved to send out from the eyes of all to spiritual agonies and. A particularly close concern was felt by the Northumbrians in the continuance of the conversion of the Frisians. but sent He and his fellow bishops. nobles. Boniface sent to Archbishop Cuthbert the statutes of reform adopted at a Prankish synod. Boniface addressed a letter asking for the support and prayers of all the English nation. and if need be admonition. Liudger. and . of English birth. urging him to reform his behaviour. when there seemed a likeliChurch. Meanwhile aa . when at last their conquest by Charles the Great made their conversion possible. the words that Archwrote to his successor Lul were uttered Dokkum soldier of Christ. home advice. Young Frisians from the abbey of their abbot. for the safety of many souls.THE CHURCH for the missionaries wrote letters 179 received home frequently. nor did the interest of people in England flag.letters of encouragement and of request for their accompanied by gifts. abbots. bishops. a Frankish pupil of to study at York. the most precious being of the Scriptures and of theological works.

Lindisfarne was sacked in the following year. and English influence left a long-lasting effect on the German Church.l8o THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY Englishman. which aimed at the conquest of the country. that churches and serted. monasteries were destroyed in great number and left deThe kingdoms of Northumbria and East Anglia. and he fixed his see at Bremen. who operated for a time from Dokkum. the see of Hexham ceased to exist. he was con- secrated as the bishop of this people in 787. received and Mercia north-east of the Watling a large immigration of heathen Danish. settlers. The re- maining monks of Lindisfarne took up St Cuthbert's body and their other most treasured relics and wandered for some years before the see was established at Chester-leStreet. the fate of Whithorn is obscure. and all the church organization was dislocated for a time. to be removed to Durham in 995. But raids depleted the Church in the ninth century the Viking in England 3 and after the to Danish settlement Englishmen must have found enough absorb their missionary zeal at home. by the Danes life in 793 but religious and Jarrow was resumed after the raiders had gone. but was later called by Charles the Great to lead the mission to the Old Saxons. only at York does the continuity seem to have been un- . and somewhere about the same time a Northumbrian synod. and it was not until the large-scale invasions in the second half of the next century. sent out to North Frisia a Northumbrian priest called Willehad. Street. along with men of and Frisian birth from the monasteries founded by the earlier generation of English missionaries. After various set-backs. under King Alhred. There were other Anglo-Saxon missionaries Prankish working at this time. was consecrated as bishop for the Old Saxons at York in 767. Aluberht.

and its control in secular affairs was entrusted to a religiously-minded ealdorman of West Saxon origin. After the Norman Conquest. and there was no bishop for this area until about 956. All this area had been full of important religious houses. We cannot tell whether the native priesthood which had survived the Danish invasion was adequate to the task of converting the newcomers. Before the end of the century the cult of St Edmund. when Elmham was restored as the see of the whole province. the combined see was moved from Dorchester to Lincoln. or whether help was forthcoming from the parts of England outside Danish control. and by 918 the district had been reconquered by the English. but now they came to an end. The East Anglian sees of Dunwich and Elmham were both destroyed. and we know nothing of the means used to convert the settlers to the Christian religion. In the eastern counties heathenism seems to have been fairly quickly eradicated. Up to the middle of the century it appears to have been under the authority of the bishop of London. In the Midlands the see of Leicester was moved for safety to Dorchester-on-Thames and at some uncertain date joined to that of Lindsey. except for a gap of a year when the archbishop fled to Mercia. One result of this was that little of what took place in these districts for the next two generations found anyone to record it. probably a native of the area. This is probable on general grounds. was well-established.THE CHURCH l8l broken. The Danish king of East Anglia had agreed to be baptized as part of the terms he made with King Alfred in 878. Theodred 'the Good'. who was succeeded by equally pious sons when he retired to end his life in the monastery of Glastonbury. the king slain by the Danes in 869. for there is evidence that Edward the Elder encouraged his thanes to settle among *the pagans* .

but the English chronicler regards the . and the foundation of the great fenland abbeys from 970 onwards made this area as advanced as any part of the country in ecclesiastical matters. Southwell. What is clear is that from the middle of the century there are references to small religious communities in the eastern Danelaw.l82 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY won back the Danelaw. In 956 and 958 large estates in Nottinghamshire were granted by the king to the archbishop of York. which makes one wonder by English whether the continental Churches established missionaries sent contingents to their mother-church when it required more clergy to convert the Danes than it could supply. and he before he may well have directed priests to the area also. But Northumbria was conquered in the early tenth century by a fresh heathen invasion. that of the Irish Norsemen from Dublin. Soon after the middle of the tenth century the see of Lindsey seems to have been temporarily revived. an important minster was subsequently founded. on one of which. but possibly only as a subordinate which it merged again In Northumbria there was a Christian Danish king reigning some years before the close of the ninth century. depleted as it was by the Viking ravages. with later. and there was hardly a break in continuity at the see of York. see to that of Dorchester. It is perhaps worth noting that Bishop Theodred makes bequests in his will to clergy with German names. and it is probably on this account that more is heard of heathen worship here. It is were converted not much probable that the Danes of North-East Mercia later. took oath to suppress paganism at their treaty with King Athelstan in 927. This can only be conjecture. The name was given to Roseberry TopOthenesberg) *Othin*s hill and a tenth-century encroacher on the lands of St ping Cuthbert swore by Thor and Othin. The Scandinavians 5 . They are certainly con- sidered Christians in 942.

The monastury. and during these the archbishop of York normally astical Scandinavian king was driven out in 954. From 956 the archbishops of York were not chosen from the Northumbrian clergy. because the northern province had been impoverished by the Danish invasions. destroyed by the invaders were not restored in the North. the laws of the Church relating to marriage and divorce were often ignored. but heathen customs were not so easily eradicated. Men of southern education were appointed. it became customary to allow the see of York eastern counties. that the archbishops might spend much of their time outside their northern but for all we know the kings may have conthat they thus kept a closer control over the sidered diocese. for Worcester had an ancient tradition of learning and belonged to the one part of England that had escaped to fits serious ravaging. and they are still being preached against and legislated against in the early eleventh cen- We As we have seen. perhaps because the last holder of the see under the Scandinavian kings had been suspected of favouring these kings rather than the West Saxon royal house. It meant. and. be held in plurality with that of Worcester. attended the meetings of the English council. hear no more of heathen gods. Yet Northumbria was not cut off from the ecclesiteries movements of the South. 183 Northumbria passed permanently under the English crown in 954.THE CHURCH Norsemen of York as heathen in 942. of some unknown see. however. Even before the last it had been ruled by the English kings for several periods of some years. . The beneof this arrangement would not be material only. sometimes in Athdstan's reign accompanied by the bishop of Chester-le-Street (to which place the see of Lindisfarne had been removed) and by at least one other suffragan. and usually men from the who would be familiar with the AngloScandinavian speech and customs.

and though many of that them may have been sincere and religious men - for we need not accept all that their enemies and supplanters tell us at a later date . and to the Danes. Wiales. and even its churches had not escaped impoverishment caused by the general dislocation of affairs and the taxation imposed to pay tribute to the Danes. Wells. The long drawn-out Viking wars had brought about a England that were not ceded had Only suffered little from the raiding armies. many places had once been monasteries were possessed by bodies of secular clerks. Meanwhile there had been a great Benedictine revival on the Continent and it profoundly influenced the reform in England. where he was made archbishop of Canterbury in . Winchester.before the middle of the tenth century there was a widespread feeling that the situation was unsatisfactory and that reform was desirable. King Alfred's labours brought about some degree of recovery in Wessex. Of the main English movers in this matter. But there was little monastic zeal in the country at that time. and Crediton. with outside aid from Merca. often married.184 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY rulers primates of a part of the kingdom whose loyalty to the West Saxon was suspect. and the Continent. decline in the Church also in the parts of the Severn valley his successor subdivided the great diocese of western Wessex by creating three new sees. which his father had planned. and he continued to keep up a correspondence with his hosts after he returned to England. Ramsbury. Dunstan had spent two years at the reformed house of Blandinium in Ghent. Alfred also founded a monastery at Athelney and a nunnery at Shaftesburya and his son completed the church of Newminster. which must have resulted in more effective episcopal control.

which Athelwold restored. and Thorney. and when later he founded at the request of the East Anglian ealdorman a large monastery at Ramsey in Huntingdonshire he invited from Fleury a distinguished continental scholar. endowed in the North-East Midlands. tion. and this Oswald became bishop of Worcester and archbishop of York. the most im- portant being the fenland abbeys of Peterborough. A great West Saxon family. who earned the epithet 'father of the monks'. a 185 Dane by birth and an reforming prelate. an area otherwise lacking such houses. Oda. though . the great abbey of Burton-on-Trent. The most energetic of all the reformers. A common form of usage was drawn up. sent his nephew Oswald to study the new monasticism at the great abbey of effective Fleury-sur-Loire. the secular clerics were replaced by monks in many existing houses and new houses were founded. especially had only a temporary success. A reac- in Mercia. Ely. The influence of this movement on art. Oxfordshire. and monks from Ghent and Fleury came over to assist in its preparation. he sent a monk from Abingdon to learn the practice of the rule there. learning. more important. Abbo. and literature will be considered in a later chapter. a very wealthy and influential Mercian thane. jElfric's patrons. and the founding of Benedictine houses continued. one of his predecessors. to instruct his novices. on the death of Edgar in 975. He placed a fellow student from Fleury over his foundation at Winchcombe. The movement made no headway in the North. the monks were supported by most of the great nobles. Wulfric Spott. had wished to go to Fleury. Dorset. founded Cerne Abbas. Athelwold. and Eynsham. especially at places where former abbeys had been destroyed by the Danes. abbot 01 Abingdon and later bishop of Winchester. when prevented. The re- form was strongly supported by King Edgar.THE CHURCH 960. and.

and drunkenwere supporting existMany village priests ence in a position little better than a poor peasant. bishops should examine carefully the qualifications of candidates for ordination. accused of neglecting their duty of supervision.186 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY most archbishops there were men trained in houses founded by it. were trans- Old English. the rule of Chrodeand that of Amalarius of Metz. himself a man very learned in the ecclesiastical canons. neglect of duty. and Byrhtferth of Ramsey wrote in 101 1 a treatise on computation to help priests 'to relax their dice-playing and obtain a know- ledge of this art communal life Secular canons are enjoined to live a and two of the best-known Frankish 5 works regulating gang of Metz lated into this manner of life. He had himself composed an address of exhortation to 'all the thanes. some men seek orders because of the greater dignity of station. obtained from ^Elfric two such letters for the clergy of his own diocese. lay and ecclesiastical. tirades against ignorance. Abbot ^Elfric produced a pastoral letter for Bishop Wulfsige of Sherborne to circulate to his clergy. -ffilfric's books of homilies for the whole Christian year were aimed at improving the preaching of the clergy. All these pastoral letters try to impress on the clergy the principle . setting out what the canons demanded of men in their office. Complaints of the shortcomings of the clergy are not lacking. and Archbishop Wulfstan. and it would be too much to expect high standards of But the episcopate cannot be scholarship everywhere. entrusted to his direction in spiritual concerns' and a set of ecclesiastical injunctions known as The Canons of Edgar. ness occur. Great effort was made in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries to improve the quality of the parish clergy. It probably proved impossible to interest sufficient Anglo-Danish nobles in the endowment of monasteries.

nor corrupt when English Church was neither decadent came. However. the young king came under the influence of the English bishops. His laws include statutes against heathen practices. During the rest of the Anglo-Saxon men of learning and period most sees were occupied by and as Professor Darlington has shown. and a generous donor to religious houses. But no correspondence reto it has survived. to an English bishop . Frequently references to married priests occur. but churchmen must have had an anxious time when the kingdom passed to Cnut at the end of 1016.THE CHURCH 187 of celibacy. There are references to English lating priests working for Hakon the Good and Olaf Trygg- vason in tenth-century Norway. Scandinavia might be little less interesting than that of be active again in missionary work. the conversion of Germany. it had the vitality in the tenth arid eleventh centuries to If only we the story of the English missions to had as good evidence. Reform in the Church seems to have gone on steadily in spite of the resumption of Danish invasions in the reign of Ethelred the Unready. especially the veteran Archbishop Wulfstan of York. but in this they failed. who drew up his laws for him and may well have been instrumental in inspiring him with the ambition to reign like his Christian predecessors. a testator can leave a church to a for priest and his issue.' Cnut showed himself a defender of the rights of the Church. definitely accepted in the eleventh-century law issued for the priests of the diocese of York that they are likely to be married. The agreement reached between English and Danes at Oxford in 1018 decided: 'that above all other things they would ever honour one God and steadfastly hold one Christian faith. the integrity. and it is not uncommon It is a son to follow his father in his clerical office. the Normans Moreover.

.l88 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY who was given an estate in Skane in the reign of Swein Forkbeard. In general. and to bishops and priests from England in attendance on St Olaf in the eleventh century. especially that of Norway. the part played by the English Church has to be surmised from the undoubted influence it had on the organization and ritual of the Churches of Scandinavia. which he used as a base for work in Sweden and Norway. however.

were from areas where no education was obtainable at that early date. of the century. King Sigeberht. who had been converted in Gaul and was eager to imitate the things which he saw well ordered there set up a school in his own land. Afterwards. the Irish missionaries at once commenced the education of a native clergy. Augustine at Canterbury and his suffragan at Rochester would establish such schools. and Damian the South Saxon who became a bishop in the next year.the Latin language. the Scriptures. About the middle also be acquired from the Irish community settled at Malmesbury. and it was here that Aidhelm was introduced to learning. In these early schools attention was first concentrated on the knowledge essential for the priestly office . Eata. and two of them.CHAPTER IX EDUCATION AND LATIN SCHOLARSHIP have at Roman system a bishop was bound to a school for educating suitable persons for the ministry.' These early schools probably attracted pupils from beyond the frontiers of the kingdom in which they were situated. Aidan was given twelve boys to train for this purand one of them. education could 651. of the people of Kent. 'Bishop Felix helping him and furnishing him with masters and teachers according to the custom when East Anglia was c 5 . Similarly. Deusdedit the West Saxon who was made archbishop in 654. SINGE under the his see converted. was abbot of Melrose by pose. already before the middle of the seventh century men of Anglo-Saxon race were equipped to become bishops. the computation of the .

which included some attention to secular Latin literature. and Abbot Hadrian. they had not shared in the general decline. even as far as Rome. and his foundations of Monk- wearmouth and Jarrow doubtless benefited by teaching. to the familiarity with his Northumbrians flocked to the monasteries of Ireland in the second half of the seventh century. but as the Irish schools had lain far from the path of the barbarian invasions. though have already seen many unnecessarily go to Ireland. who spent his life in these foundations. By the end of the century Aldhelm is claiming that as good an education is obtainable in England. and Latin authors revealed by Aldhelm very early in literary career.igO THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY seasons. Aldfrith. but Ogilvy has drawn attention to the citation of Rufinus's Latin trans- Church lation of the Greek Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius at the synod of Whitby in 663. their Bede. king of Northumbria. How far beyond this studies went before the days of Theodore and Hadrian is uncertain. that before this several young Northumbrians looked towards Canterbury and the Continent. were both erudition men of great and must have had access to libraries well . 'to study the Theology held first place in the curriculum. the music necessary for the services. a man of similar attainments. later celestial wisdom . went "to acquire and Cynefrith. whether Greek or Latin'. and his older contemporary Aldhelm. 9 Scriptures'. Benedict Biscop stayed two years with them in Canterbury. whom Bede calls a man deep in all secular and ecclesiastical learne We ing. and a new era set in for scholarship in England with the arrival of Archbishop Theodore. and continued to study grammar and rhetoric. who was educated at Malmesbury and then at Canterbury and who became bishop of Sherborne in 705. brother of Abbot Ceolfrith.

EDUCATION AND LATIN SCHOLARSHIP

IQI

equipped with the works of Latin authors. They were, of course, familiar with the Bible and the writings of the
Christian Fathers,

and with the Christian

poets,

Juven-

cus, Prudentius, Sedulius, Prosper, Fortunatus, Lactantius, and Arator. Bede makes use of a number of historical

writings, of Josephus, Eusebius (in Latin translation

from

the Greek), Orosius, Cassiodorus, Gregory of Tours, etc., and of saints* lives such as Paulinus's Life of Ambrose,
Possidius's
Life

of Augustine,
at
first

Constantius's

Life

of

Germanus.

Of classical

authors, both

knew

Virgil

and Pliny

Bede and Aldhelm hand, and Aldhelm used

Lucan, Ovid, Cicero, and Sallust. Citations of other authors occur, but could have been taken from the works of Isidore of Seville, or from the Latin grammarians, of whom a really remarkable number were available in

England already in the seventh century. Some very rare works had already found their way to England, and one, the grammar of Julian of Toledo, owes its preservation
to this circumstance, for all surviving manuscripts go

back to an English copy. The apocryphal literature of the in England, and works like early Church also was known
The Gospel of Nicodemus, The Vision of St Paul, various rarer works like The Pseudolegends of the Apostles, and St Matthew, and the legend of Jamnes and of

gospel

Mambres, influenced both Anglo-Latin and vernacular
literature.

Books must have been imported in great numbers soon after the conversion for such learning to have been possible.

King Alfred believed that Augustine's equipment included Pope Gregory's Pastoral Care, which is probable have come proenough, Theodore and Hadrian may some Greek books as well as Latin works, for vided with
Bede testifies to the proficiency of their disciples in the Greek language, but it is difficult to discover direct influence of Greek writings in Anglo-Saxon authors, though

ig2

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY
liturgical

some Greek influence on
demonstrated.
ties

manuscripts can be

We read also of the book-collecting activi-

of Benedict Biscop, Acca, and Bishop Guthwine of Dunwich (716-31), who collected illuminated manuscripts, and of the dispatch to England of many books

from a monastery in Gaul in the seventh century. William
of

Malmesbury has preserved a

tradition of

Aldhelm

looking among valuable books,

the merchandise landed at Dover for

and it is likely enough that traders were to realize that there was a market for books in quick
England. The books that were introduced were not
left

to lie

fallow.

industriously copied in the scriptoria of English monasteries. Already by 678 Wilfrid ordered

They were

for his

purest gold
first

church of Ripon the four gospels *in letters of on purpled parchment and illuminated' ; the abbot of Jarrow, Ceolfrith, ordered three whole
of the 'new* translation by Jerome, to be tran-

bibles,

scribed in his monastery. One which he had meant to present to the Pope, if death had not overtaken him on
his

way

to

Rome,

still

survives to witness to the

skill

of

founded house, and fragments of another are in the British Museum and Durham. The famous Lindisfarne Gospels were produced about this time. Other biblical manuscripts and copies of other works
this recently

were produced in England

in considerable

number

in

the eighth century. The missionaries on the Continent frequently write home to ask for books to be written, both

monial

elaborate, impressive copies of the Scriptures for cereuse, and also plainer texts, and it is of interest to

women practised this art, not men alone. Boniface asked the Abbess Eadburh to copy the Epistles of St Peter in gold. Meanwhile the import of books from abroad did not cease and by the time of Alcuin York had
note that

an

excellent library, of

which he

gives

some account

in

EDUCATION AND LATIN SCHOLARSHIP
his

193

the saints of York, and for which he sighed after he left England in 782 to help Charles the Great in his educational schemes. As late as the mid ninth century,

poem on

about 890: *I remembered how I saw, before everything was ravaged and burnt, that the churches throughout all England were filled with treasures and books.'
in

an abbot of Ferrieres applies to it rare books. Well could Alfred say

for the loan of

some

very long after the conversion to Christianity that the English were producing origmal_jivorks.-.theniselves, in

It

was not

poem and prose
taste

the Latin language. Aldhelm's major works, his treatise on virginity, are alien to modern

both in subject and style, but the number of surviving manuscripts witnesses to their great popularity in the Middle Ages. His style was ornate and artificial, fond of rare words and elaborate similes, and full of alliteration. It was admired in his own day, and imitated by
later writers, though fortunately others preferred the simple straightforward style of Bede. Aldhelm's letters and shorter poems have more interest for us; he

many

describes in detail a contemporary church, and tells us something of Theodore's teaching at Canterbury; a long
letter

addressed to King Aldfrith of Northumbria in-

cludes a
this

hundred metrical riddles, the first examples in country of a type of intellectual activity that proved

popular

among men
It

of scholarship in

their

lighter

moments.

had

fifth-century

work of the poet Symphosius, and the example was
classical authority in the

followed by Hwaetberht, abbot of
succession to Ceolfrith,

Monkwearmouth

in

and by Tatwine, archbishop of Canterbury from 731 to 734. Boniface and his fellows also amused themselves with riddles and acrostics, and the metrical riddle was adopted by vernacular poets. While
BBS- 1 3

194

THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY

the riddles vary greatly in literary quality, they often

show the authors' acute observation of the things around them, and are of assistance to the historian who desires a picture of everyday things. As far as we know, Aldhelm was the first Englishman to compose Latin verse. Meanwhile Northumbria was producing a crop of biographies. Prior to the work of Bede are anonymous lives of St Cuthbert and of Ceolfrith, abbot of Jarrow, the life of St Gregory by an anonymous monk of Whitby, and Eddius's interesting life of St Wilfrid. These were all known and used by Bede, who also had access to a lost
life of St ^Ethelburh of Barking, the nunnery for which Aldhelm wrote his prose work on virginity; the writing of saints' lives was therefore not confined to Northumbria. Bede was in communication with learned men from all over the country. It was Albums, abbot of the monastery of St Peter and St Paul at Canterbury, who encouraged him to write his Ecclesiastical History, and supplied him with material from Kent, and Nothhelm, a priest of

Bishop Daniel of Winchester, the writer later on of shrewd advice to Boniface on the conversion of the heathen, corre-

London, searched the papal archives in Rome to find Bede the letters relating to the English mission.

for

sponded with Bede about the history of the conversion of Wessex and Sussex, and an East Anglian abbot Esius and Cyneberht, bishop of Lindsey, were consulted on
matters in their provinces.

We

have seen that Aldhelm

was

in correspondence with the learned king, Aldfrith of

Northumbria, and Bede speaks with appreciation of Tobias, bishop of Rochester, and Tatwine, who was a Mercian, It is clear that political boundaries formed no
obstacle to scholarly intercourse.

Aldhelm was

also in

correspondence with a continental abbot,

Cellan of

Pronne. Bede was

not,

first

and foremost, a

historian in con-

EDUCATION AND LATIN SCHOLARSHIP
temporary eyes,
literary career,

195

and

his

most famous work,

his Ecclesias*

end of his which began with the writing of textbooks, on metrics, orthography, science, and chronology. In connexion with the latter subject, he included a short chronicle of world history, and his verse Life of St Cuthbert was written early in his career, but between these works and his major historical works must be placed volume after volume of commentaries on various books of the Bible, and it was as a theologian rather than a historian that the Middle Ages honoured him most. Some time after 716 he wrote his Lives of the Abbots, followed in two or three years by the prose Lift ofSt Cutkbert. His longer chronicle can be dated 725, and he finished his Ecclesiastical History in 731. Between this and his death in 735 can be placed a commentary on the Acts, and a long letter on Church organization addressed to his pupil Egbert, archbishop of York, and there survive also a number of theological treatises, homilies, hymns, etc., whose date is uncertain. In contrast to the writings of Aldhelm, there has never been a period in which Bede's work was entirely neglected; manuscripts were multiplied throughout the Middle Ages, and it has always formed the basis of modern historical studies of the early Saxon period. One cannot sum up better the reason for this than to quote Sir Frank Stenton's words: *But the quality which makes his work great is not his scholarship, nor the faculty of narrative which he shared
with
to

tied History of the English Nation, belongs to the

contemporaries, but his astonishing power of co-ordinating the fragments of information which came

many

him through tradition, the

relation of friends, or docu-

mentary evidence. In an age when little was attempted beyond the registration of fact, he had reached the conception of history.' During Bede's lifetime a

work of a

different kind

was

Bede's pupil Guthbert wrote an acdays of his master. a school which under Egbert and his kinsman Ethelbert became one of the most famous centres of learning in Europe. and the purpose of the dialogue left life in 782 to spend most of the rest of his abroad. and much of his writing is on religious polemic. It consists of a collection of the answers and decisions given by Archbishop Theodore on matters of penance and canon law. From the work of Alcuin and his biographer we find that and by diswas to give practice in discourse in the Latin tongue. Alcuin carried the method with him to the Continent. and he speaks with great reverence of his master Ethelbert. before he was invited to take charge of Charles the Great's palace school. and his life of the Anglostudents at York. Of greater general interest are his poem on York. Latin poems. He had himself succeeded Ethelbert as master of the school of York. the founder of the great library there. and some of his own work is couched in dialogue form. letters. there is ascribed a penitential and a dialogue concerning ecclesiastical count of the last government. sent to him by his Northumbria on the miracles of St Ninian. are extant. and to the pen of another pupil. assisting the revival of learning in the Carolingian empire. He saw himself divinely called to the Continent to combat the Adoptionist heresy. and Egbert's successor in the see.ig6 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY compiled by a man who called himself *a disciple of the Humbrians'. . and pupils were instructed both by exposition putation. and goes under the name of Theodore's Penitential. etc. poems. Archbishop Egbert. and at the same time impart necessary information on an important subject. and acquired a reputation that brought foreigners to study there. This last work illustrates the system of teaching used in the school of York. treatises. It was here that Alcuin was educated. and much work from his own pen.

written from his recollections. There were many men and women throughaffairs. but not to know that this was but the beginning of a catastrophe destined within a century totally to destroy Northumbrian scholarship. in the third quarter of the eighth cenaccount of a pilgrimage tury. one of the monasteries founded in Germany by the missionaries. though the letters of St Boniface reveal a powerful intellect that might have been productive of distinguished literary work if the writer's energies had not been so completely occupied in other As it is. He was not an original scholar. He lived to see and be overwhelmed with grief by the first of the Viking raids. His work as a liturgical and biblical scholar had very far-reaching results. one gets the impression that in almost all parts of England during the eighth century there were centres . that his work had permanent results. From the lands south of the Humber few original works have been preserved. but his work was influential out of all proportion to its literary merits. a work which throws some welcome light on a period and locality for which evidence is hard to come by. In spite of scanty evidence. It was on the Continent.EDUCATION AND LATIN SCHOLARSHIP ig7 Saxon missionary St Willibrord. not at home. the Lives of St Willibald and St Wynnebald. From the Midlands a generation earlier comes Felix's Life ofSt Guthlac of Crowland. and Dr Levison has pointed out that his methods opened the way for later thinkers of greater independence. the sack of Lindisfarne in 793. out England of adequate education to write good Latin letters to him and his successor Lul. and an English nun at Heidenheim. some of them of English nationality. by name Hygeburh. It includes a fascinating undertaken by Willibald to the Holy Land. and he left behind a number of men. there are only these letters and a grammar from his pen. has left us a most interesting work. to carry on his work in the ninth-century Prankish empire.

chronography.ig8 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY and it -where a liberal education could be obtained. and often survive manuscripts. was not confined to the male sex. in which he saw prophetically King Ceolred of Mercia among the damned. what they have seen became for the benefit of The visions of the Irish hermit Fursey and of the Northumbrian Dryhthelm nowned. but whose contents are known in part from the horror its bishop and of heresy roused in the breasts of the archhis suffragan at Lindisfarne. Wimborne. and this letter into English. the works of the Fathers. This seems like a reference to the work of a priest Pehtred. It told of a . in particular. which threatened famine and pagan attack if men did not amend their ways and. Boniface's who was educated at show that women. Aldhelm's writings for the nuns of Barking and Rudolf's Life ofStLeofgyth. and in 839 by King ^Ethelwulf of Wessex to the Emhim of the vision revealed to a cer- peror Louis warned tain religious priest. like men. who wrote in the province of York (though not in that diocese or that of Lindisfarne) before 837 a book which has been lost. particularly reas separate extracts in our letters describes at One of Boniface's length a similar vision seen by a man at the abbey of Wenlock. keep religiously the proper observance of Sunday. The terror of the was later translated Danish invasions in the ninth century caused envoys sent men to see more visions. studied the scriptures and their fourfold interpretation. the accounts of visions of heaven and hell revealed to various individuals to whom it is permitted to return to earth to relate others. and helper in his missionary work. Minster and at metrics. grammar. Already Bede's Ecclesiastical History includes several examples of a type of literature that attained a great vogue.

However. con- names of those for whom they were bound to York was still in touch with at least one continental pray. and never partook of food afterwards. and the bishop of Lindisfarne is urgent that effective steps be taken to suppress this heresy. A certain ^Ethilwulf wrote a long Latin poem on the abbots of an unidentified Northum- brian monastery. King Alfred's impression was that before the monasteries were destroyed by these raids . too. and the monks of Lindisfarne wrote in letters of silver and gold their 'Book of Life'. This tale had been con- demned by a Prankish capitulary already in the eighth century.seven weeks. of a letter of gold written by the hand of God. and found on St Peter's altar in the days of EDUCATION AND LATIN SCHOLARSHIP deacon Nial who came to life after being dead for IQQ Pope Florentius. Yet already Alcuin had complained of a decline in the zeal for study in England. as well as a work on the English saints which has not survived. had its continental connexions: taining the King ^Ethelwulf at one time employed a Frankish secretary. eleventh-century manuscripts which accept the authenof this letter from heaven indicates how unsuccessful were the efforts of the saner element of the population ticity to prevent the spread of such wild tales. Northumbria was not only producing heresy in the ninth century. monastery. and this can only have been hastened by the constant threat of Viking raids. Book-production had not entirely ceased. The knowledge shown of the lives of Frankish saints in the ninth-century Old English Martyrology is further evidence of intercourse across the Channel.and consulted lists Pope Florentius. Wessex. dealing with the due observance of Sunday. With a historical sense proper to a countryman of Bede he had of popes and failed to find any trace of a Yet the fact that no fewer than six vernacular homilies are to be found in tenth. and was a benefactor to continental houses.

probably from Glastonbury. King Athelstan was generous in gifts of books to religious houses.2OO THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY the monks in them did not know Latin and could make no use of their richly equipped libraries. to study Latin. Oda. and there survive manuscripts of works of Bede and Aldhelm which are assigned to this influence of Aldhelm's style is visible in the highly flamboyant Latinity of the charters of this period. Parts of a Latin verse panegyric on life . Alfred's educational reforms. obtaining some from abroad. clear that Alfred regrets that the decay of Latin scholarship should have made translation half-century following his death is not necessary. yet the it was not as utterly devoid of such signs as mid tenth-century reformers and their pupils were ready to believe. aimed at spreading the ability to read English and at supplying suitable books in English . who became archbishop of Canterbury in 940. which he found time to put into force during the latter part of his reign. Men destined for the Church are. and it may well be that men's energies were largely absorbed in the reconquest and re-conversion of the areas ceded to the The Danes. was however an English production. and it is however. which he gave to the church of that saint at Chester-leStreet. had been able to obtain an education in a thane's household. The copy of Bede's Life ofSt Cuthbert. The version of the History of the Britons of Nennius during the reign of King Edmund (939-46). and who is the author of a short series of Latin canons. and a Latin poem on the to of St Wilfrid by a certain Frithegod was dedicated Archbishop Oda. prolific in signs of intellectual activity. in prose and verse. There is evidence of the production in England of a period.a subject which belongs to the next chapter.

His own compilation for securing uniformity of observance in the monasteries of England. It was a monk of Ramsey who wrote a Latin biography of St Oswald. This life contains a brief comment on Athelwold as a teacher: It and was always a pleasure to him to teach young men and boys. and with kindly ex- hortations to encourage them to better things. it was at the special request of the king and queen that he undertook this task.EDUCATION AND LATIN SCHOLARSHIP 201 King Athelstan are quoted by William of Malmesbury. Works meant solely for use there are in Latin. master of Old English prose though he was. Abbo. at Ramsey. and for the Life of St Athelwold which he meant for monastic reading. used Latin for his letter to his monks at is Eynsham which based on this Concordia. the Regularis Concordia> he wrote in Latin. to explain books to them in English. When ^Elfric and in English. Archbishop Oswald brought over from Fleury a disto teach his monks tinguished continental scholar. Athelwold translated the Benedictine Rule into English. Nevertheless the best minds of the time thought that in scholarship as in monastic usage England was behind the Continent. and Abbo wrote a grammar for their use and a Latin Life ofSt Edmund. but there is a possibility that he did so for the use of communities of women. and the reform movement drew its inspiration from abroad. when he says: . and similarly his pupil ^Elfric. Manuscripts of vernacular prose were being copied. Byrhtferth shows his belief that the education of the average priest would be below that obtainable in the cloister. they are Byrhtferth of Ramsey write works of a wider public than those trained in monasthinking teries. receiving an estate hi recompense. At any rate. The monastic reformers devoted great care to the teaching of Latin in their monasteries.

for the benefit . Distichs of the bald fellow Cato. Atto of Vercelli. Smaragdus. the man from across the sea. and a colloquy to exercise his pupils in Latin conversation. and to whom William of Malmesthe knowledge revealed ^Elfric bury attributes a life of St Athelwold. in addition to the works of the Fathers and classical writers. especially canonistic writings. Hrabanus Maurus. and an account of the miracles of St Swithin was written at Winchester by someone whom JElfric calls 'Landferth.' Winchester possessed also a writer of Latin verse. chiefly by and Wulfstan. a Latin-English are a master. Ealdorman JLthelweard. And Abbo was not the only foreigner to write in England. and so on. the venerable scholar. those of the more recent authors Alcuin. and the narratives of Bede. an Englishman called Wulfstan the precentor. we will now address our words to the young monks who have occupied their childhood with scientific books. crafts. Scholars of this age knew. a novice. they have to clerks and gone slowly through the investigated Sergius and Priscian. Alfred's elder brother. It is clear both from extant manuscripts and also from by writers of the period. ^Elfric wrote a Latin glossary. grammar. written One King Latin work is by a layman. one of the earliest lives of St Dunstan was the work of a foreigner. some of which were translated into English. whose poem on St Swithin is extant.202 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY But because we know that these things seem complex enough and rustic priests. out of many. The characters and representatives of the various This work has been drawn on in previous chapters for the evidence it affords of contemporary conditions. He was a descendant of and he wrote. To assist in the teaching of Latin. I mention a few such. Amalarius of Metz. that the monastic revival led to the introduction into England of many Latin works of the Carolingian revival and later. a patron of ^Elfric. Haymo of Halberstadt.

a Latin chronicle. works of earlier Lathi writers.EDUCATION AND LATIN SCHOLARSHIP of his 203 kinswoman. which. almanacs. There poured out elaborate illu- minated manuscripts and plainer utilitarian ones. he wrote a strange and at times incomprehensible Latin. a descendant of Alfred. Felix's Life of St Guthlac. which continued for the rest of the Saxon period. including the English scholars Aldhelm and Bede. gospels. etc. collections of canons. is all that we possess. Another result of the revival was an enormous activity in manuscript production. . Before 1066 the libraries must have again become as full as ever they were in the days before the Viking ravages. except for a few badly scorched and illegible fragments of the burnt manuscript. manuservice scripts in Latin and in English. books of all kinds. calendars. If the printed text of his work. abbess of Essen. and the Life of King Alfred by the Welshman Asser. based in general on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. of which he seems to have possessed a manuscript better in some respects than any that have survived. psalters. books of extracts from various sources. fairly represents him. Matilda. but it is remarkable that a layman should attempt such a task at all.

the historian of the Lombards. and only a few fragments survive. are mainly interested in poems celebrating the heroes of the that poems of other kinds existed from probable past. hymns in honour of early times heathen gods. Though it is historical writers. Widsith. from Tacitus onwards. The English over with them heroes of their homeland. and mnemonic poems. and the gnomic poetry. Paul. could draw information from poems historians of the who wrote which have not survived. of the Goths. tribes brought traditions in verse form. the anonymous Frank who wrote of the acts of Charlemagne. which purports to be a minstrel's account of the races and courts he has visited.CHAPTER X VERNACULAR LITERATURE the Germanic races had their Tacitus speaks of these as the only type of memorial songs. embedded in the work of later Christian writers. dirges for the dead. Some of the statements in Bede's works and in the AngloSaxon Chronicle are probably derived from such sources. but in England pre-Christian poems had little chance of being written down. and FAR back in heathen days the Jordanes individual Germanic nations. which seems to . by which the wisdom of the past could be handed on in easily remembered form. includes catalogues of kings and peoples which express the point of view of the age of national migration rather than that of England in Christian times. and chronicle they possessed. Thus a poem of Christian date. relating to the and naturally they would continue to compose such poems in their new settlements.. mentioning specifically that the former leader Arminius was celebrated in song.

and it is probable that he drew his audience will be familiar with from charms one even gets an occasional remembrance of a heathen his descriptions of long-discontinued funeral rites poems with their roots in a distant past. So also was St Dunstan. blood. The poet of Beowulf who was undoubtedly a ] Christian. The survival into Christian times of the older poetry was aided by the interest which the Anglo-Saxon royal and noble families took in the traditions of the deeds of their ancestors. who . both these men were related to royal houses. Aldhelm. such as: Feud first came to mankind when the earth swallowed Abel's That was no enmity of a single day. Bede Ceolwulf of Northumbria for sent his Ecclesiastical History to King his criticism because he was well versed in the ancient traditions of his race.205 be a collection of the more memorable utterances of wise men. In the deity as a protective power. knows that tales of family feuds among the races who were neighbours of the English on the Continent. includes a passage accepting cremation as the normal burial-rite - VERNACULAR LITERATURE The holly shall be kindled. and his contemporary St Guthlac was in his youth inspired to the profession of arms by remembering the deeds of the heroes of old. may be that heroic verse was included among the and it Saxon which King Alfred made his children learn. bishop of Sherborne from 705 to 709. while the chronicler JLthelweard. for many peoples far and wide. added to from age to age. the inheritance of the dead divided. from which sprang for men. sang and composed vernacular songs. bloodshed from strife. whom we know to have been interested in songs native poetry. pernicious hatred. fame is bestside man by side with passages of Christian date. great crime.

206 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY work a knowledge of the old traditions. that this poetry was normally transmitted. (Now we must praise the guardian of the heavenly king- . Men such descended as these could see to it that what they were interested in should be written down. he serist scop aelda barnum heben til hrofe. or astelidse. but we need not assume betrays in his that their tastes were not shared by the lesser folk who could not employ the services of scribes. firum foldu. eci dryctin. and to us. It may therefore be of interest to quote them in the original as well as in translation. uerc uuldurfadur. for they survive in a manuscript written two or three years after Bede's death. haleg scepen. was from King Alfred's elder brother. sue he uundra gihuaes. Tha middungeard moncynnaes eci dryctin. but by the minstrel. It was not by the scribe. The lines which he in his sleep and repeated next morning con- stitute the earliest datable English poetry. first it had the taking his turn at guarding the cattle of the abbey of Whitby that Csedmon saw one night in a vision a man who told him to composed sing of the Creation. the bulk of it has not come down was a man of the peasant class who inspiration to employ the diction and metre of native verse for Christian themes. and it is to them or others like them that we owe the preservation of works that are without ecclesiastical interest. They are as follows: Nu scylun hergan hefaenricaes uard. whether professional or amateur3 whether king's thane or humble singer in taverns. metudaes maecti end his modgidanc. sefter tiadae uard. frea allmectig. it was while he was According to Bede.

the holy Lord. the concept is given a fresh significance by . the Guardian of mankind. the works of the Father of glory. it is form. he. but it should be complete agreement noted that rhythm and alliteration follow the natural of the lines.) The metre of Old English verse is sufficiently akin to that of Old Norse. the most widely acknowledged system of scansion recognizing five main number of syllables types with various subdivisions. not so end of the line. Each half-line belongs to one of a limited number of rhythmical types. the earth. elements in the sentence . Old Saxon. two halves of the line. Ruler Almighty. and Old High German to prove that it descends from the same Germanic verserarely used. Then the eternal Lord. which is divided into more or less equal parts by a caesura. for men. and it is generally held that the normal halfline consisted of two stressed portions. the eternal Lord.nor. the powers of the Creator and 207 his thoughts. Rhyme is and then only as an addi- alliteration that binds together the tional ornament. first created for the children of men the heaven as a roof. and a varying number of unstressed place to syllables.or even of whole clauses. This is not the is there go on the subject. The length of the sentence arises much from elaborate periodic structure as from the restatement in fresh words of significant 'parallelism'. the is not fixed. for God in Csedmon's hymn In the best Old English poetry this is not empty repetieach new tion. known as lifts. in fact. either one or two strongly stressed syllables of the first half-line alliterate with the first stress alliterate of the second half-line (any vowel being able to with any other). and that the sentences are logical emphasis often long and may be stopped at the caesura as well as at the into technical detail . appointed the beginning of every wondrous thing. afterwards adorned the world.VERNACULAR LITERATURE dom. as he.as for example the expressions .

'candle of the heavens' for the sun. various terms used of the chieftains of heroic poetry. in terms of the Teutonic code of loyalty between man and lord. How far this terminology retained its original martial connotation is a moot point. for etc.). This compounds and kennings applies especially to the poetic used instead of the name of (brief descriptive expressions the thing itself. or Christ and his disciples. the vague 'land' is particularized as 'steep hills' and 'broad sea-headlands' in the succeeding lines. which made it possible an Old English poet to pack into a few words great richness of description and association. and it re- modification to turn pre-Christian lines advocating liberality into praises of the Christian virtue of almsgiving. S. words such as brave leaders'. or to give a Christian emphasis to the quired little Germanic tion. Poetry had its own The requirements of alliteration had already far brought into being a large vocabulary of synonyms. : include the Christian account of the origin of as one poet puts (in W. such as 'gannet's bath* for the sea. at table'. personified as a 'pale guest over into the service of the Christian was carried is was more than the metre. insistence The mnemonic poetry could it on the acquisition of a good reputaenlarge its compass to all things. were applied to 'battlemen'. 'famine* What religion diction. To some extent this is a question of date: some words had become archaic others when we begin to get vernacular prose. and the Christian God was spoken of in the 9 . 'warriors the disciples. many of which are not found in prose. but it came easy to the Anglo- Saxon to conceive the relationship between God and his angels.208 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY it: reference to Hrothgar's 'hall-troop' becomes his 'war- band'. By the time of Gaedmon many stereotyped expressions were in use and were taken over by the religious poetry. Mackie's translation) . but may have been poetic from the beginning.

An address of a sinful soul to the body it has just left is one of the few poems to survive in more than one version. There are also poems of direct religious and moral exhortation. The extant Anglo-Saxon religious verse is varied in range and style. could often utter and say the truth in the art of song. by always asking and repeating and remembering. and some surviving poems may date Of the us from this time. secrets of Creation. inscribe in his understanding the art of narrating them. it includes close paraphrases of the Old Testament. tells many poems on religious themes which Bede Caedmon composed. gained knowledge of the web of mysteries. And thus we have poems that illustrate the workings of divine providence in the distribution of gifts and fortunes to men by a series of cameo-like descriptions of men's various occupations . in Bede's opinion inferior. by means of lays. During the eighth century the English missionaries to the Continent probably spread the habit biblical paraphrases in alliterative verse. An earnest man must not become weary of wisely completing his knowledge of the world.minstrelsy.VERNACULAR LITERATURE It is. an obvious example to every one who can by wisdom comprehend in his mind all the world. of composing for the extant Old Saxon poetry betrays English in- fluence. a heroic poem on how Moses led the BES-I4 .and of the ways by which men meet their end. ponder over them well. and there are poems that deal dramatically with the Last Judgement. so that most of mankind. that long ago men. as in Genesis and Daniel. nothing has come down that can with certainty be ascribed to him except the few lines quoted above. He had many. on the festivals of the Church and the fasting seasons. such as An Admonition to Christian Living and The Advice of a Father to his Son. thinking man. So the studious man. and poems of practical mnemonics. the goldsmith's craft. Besides the works already mentioned. inquire about the let him who is zealous. imitators before 731. seamanship. fix his mind on them. hunting and hawking . well-advised people.

called Cynewulf. It is to a glorious not true. of into Andrew. poems Moreover. as is is Anglo-Saxon poetry sometimes maintained. one on the Ascension. and saints' lives. that all gloomy. in this a poet with and imaginative of expression. and one a brief summary of the deaths of the his. are known to be learned origin also are some fragments of a on the Phoenix based on the PhysiologuS) and a poem Of Latin tion poem ascribed to Lactantius. or the claim of The Seafarer: 'for my Lord than to this sound a despairing note. Juliana. Apostles. all based on Latin Israelites across the originals and none earlier than the second half of the eighth century. allows the cross to tell its own economy story of the crucifixion and of its metamorphosis from insight and an amazing restraint forest tree to instrument of death and then and venerated symbol of redemption. Guthlac. Helena. poems on Christ's descent Hell and his Second Coming. and Latin inspirais lies behind the verse Much more original the well-known poem called The in which some lines were carved Dream of the Rood. whose work is distinguished by a graceful mastery of technique and by a logical clarity and smoothness of his classical scholarship. of runes on the stone cross deep religious feeling. where for us all that security stands'. but it is only for those who dismiss as mere empty convention the Wanderer: 'Well will it final conclusion of The be with him who seeks mercy and consolation from the Father in heaven. Another type of religious poetry deals poignantly with the transitory nature of all earthly joy. Two of these are the work of a poet of the late eighth or the ninth century. riddles. at Ruthwell. life'. these poems would move us little if their authors were less conscious of the beauty of the world heart to the joys of the warms more dead that these . syntax that owes something to Two other poems.S?IO THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY Red Sea.

it was the Christian's duty to esteem the works of the Creator. Anglo-Saxon poets excel at painting nature in its stormy and forbidding moods. or again: Groves begin to blossom. fair. Beowulf. and any impression of the poetry is one-sided that leaves out of count passages such as the following: Full often. the courts become beautiful. and the groves of the forest teem with branches.VERNACULAR LITERATURE 211 around them and of the human relationships that will not last for ever. thou sendest through the air rain for the benefit of men. the poet supplies a realistic background to this theme. from the ravages of evil monsters. of civil or foreign warfare. is similarly alive to the beauty of nature and of some of the works of men's hands. to me the extent of Christian education it assumes in its audience suggests a date late in this period. of shining headlands. but they did not see it exclusively like this. of the sailing ship driven by the wind most like a bird'. the plains grow The poet of the longest extant poem. Both . of the flash of the sun on the gold-adorned helmets of a marching c band of men. this poem cannot be dated exactly. or even during the following half-century. Like most Old English poetry. where all is transitory. the world quickens. Many a plant shall then awaken. saves first the Danish royal hall. the descendants of the first murderer. and a foil to it. It tells how a strong and valiant hero. Most scholars place it between 650 and 750. By subtle reminders to an audience steeped in stories of the past. and he seems to point a moral that there are intangible and permanent values that remain untouched by the vicissitudes of fortunes in this life. O the soft morning King of Glory. putting it in a setting of human strife. trusting in the help of God. and later his own people. Cain.

has left us the little lyric Deor. he is not afraid to face the Ruler of men'. Both poems. Another poet. shows how a man's yearning for 'the joys of the Lord' impels him to undertion of a lordless contrast it take afresh a journey across the sea in spite of his sufferings. and who comforts himself in a series of strophes each referring to the sorrows of a character of heroic legend. a woman laments her due to the machinations of her husunhappy band's kinsfolk and his alienation from her. urge their tall ships from afar over the mists of the ocean. and another. and concluding with the refrain: 'That was surmounted. which purports to be the utterance of a minstrel who has been supplanted by a rival. . some would connect with this poem another in which a man who has the speaker is situation. dying. e who may Beowulf's barrow. on former voyages. It is probable that such poems are concerned with the sentiments of people in typical situations.212 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY the races the hero delivers have a tragic history ahead of them. Neither conveys any religious message. Only fragments remain of direct heroic narrative. known as The Seafarer. and the hero slays the dragon only at the cost of his but. call it own life. so that in after days seafarers. and also a fragment called The Ruin. gone into exile across the sea sends for his wife to join him in his new-found prosperity. contain laments for the splendour of earlier and greater civilizations. using the stories of old heroes to impart a moral. not with personages of specific story.' In other so-called lyrics anonymous* In one. most graphically recounted. as he wished: tower high on Hronesruss. so can this be. that it may. whereas a poem known as The Wanderer poignantly describes the desola- man and of a ruined city in order to with the security of trust in the eternal Lord. and the poem closes with the building of a barrow to his memory.

the Genesis. The vast bulk of Old English poetry has come down to us in four codices compiled towards the end of the tenth century or early in the eleventh. and the latter part of a vigorous poem on Judith. A manuscript containing a long Old Saxon poetic paraphrase of parts of the Bible reached England some time towards the end of the ninth century or in the first half of the tenth. but also by its spirit. for the chances of surany rate for secular verse.VERNACULAR LITERATURE two of a poem on Waldere. but that little vival. Some- what prosaic verse renderings of the Metro. Some historical poems are entered into the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of the tenth and eleventh centuries. at it would be unsafe to assume that this means was being produced. and show the old heroic poetry were that the conventional expressions of still in use. Little survives from the second half of the ninth century or later. the Walter of continental story. at least. It stands out from this not only by differences in language and metre. and the English were sufficiently interested in the productions of a daughter church on the Continent to make an illuminated manuscript of one of these poems. which was also the theme of a lay sung by a minstrel in Beowulf. for it is a vigorous dramatic. and one of a highly dramatic account of a fight at Finn's hall. of the other. of Boethius and of the Psalms have been preserved. it is mostly of much earlier date than these manuscripts. and a translation of part. were not high. which must owe their existence to a desire to preserve the work of the past. By far the best poem of the later Saxon period. Several hundred lines of this were inserted into the Old English poem on this subject. that on the battle of . and unorthodox treatment of the story of the Fall of the Angels and the Fall of Man. the Heliand.

which may suggest that there were things for them to read which have not survived. It is probably accident that this is so. the history of English prose has to begin with the reign of Alfred. This has not survived. has been preserved by the accicircumstance that the leader in this battle was dental also a great benefactor of monasteries. for preaching was done in the native tongue. as we know that pre-Alfredian manuscripts of verse existed and have been lost. would presumably be among the less learned. and except for laws and a few charters. a code of honour even when Vernacular prose for utilitarian purposes began early. but it ploys very few of the cliches as it does with men whose inherits their spirit. the same may have with prose works.214 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY Maldon fought in 991. dealing from a fight in which their loyalty forbids them to return lord has fallen. The Battle of Maldon emof the older poems. mentioned above. and interlinear glosses in the vernacular were written in Latin texts in the seventh century. beginning with those of Ethelbert of Kent. The spread of the heretical matter from Pehtred's book. It is likely that there were homilies in the vernacular. but a living up to it leads to certain death. since it was frowned on by the higher clergy. Bede was engaged glossaries by the end in translating into consecutive prose the Gospel of St John when he died. and it may well have . Laws were from the first written in English. and it is improbable that every preacher composed his own sermons. Alfred declares that many happened in his day could read what was written in English. There may have been many poems of a like nature which were never entered in manuscripts at all. and had begun to be collected into of the century. As in Beowulf it is not success that matters.

VERNACULAR LITERATURE 215 been facilitated by English versions. Adamas well as of older Latin writers like nan. of Bede. 890. archbishop of Reims. Boethius' of the English On which handed down of Philosophy. to each of his bishops a letter accompanying a gift of his translation of The Pastoral Care of Gregory the Great. Probably in. Felix. Aldhelm. Eddius. Other Plegmund. and two priests came from Mercia. and the books 'which are most necessary for all men to know' translated into English. Some of the materials available to the compiler of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in Alfred's day may have been in English. later archbishop of Canterbury. were used for this compilation. the book to the Middle Ages some of the ideas the Consolation . and he invited Asser from Wales and John from the Old Saxons. An Old English martyrology. ties. who sent him a Frankish scholar called Grimbald. and in it he outlined his plan by which all free-born youths of adequate means were to be taught to read English. he asked assistance from Fulk. also lives of The works Gregory and Jerome. bishop of Worcester. Pastoral Care. and Werferth. or soon after. The books chosen were The which had always been a book much used by the English clergy. two history books. Like Charles. the Universal History against the Pagans Ecclesiastical History of Orosius and Bede's Nation. he invited learned men from abroad. and the measures he employed in his distress at the decline occasioned by the Danish in- vasions may owe something to this example. may date from before the Alfredian revival. and Prankish saints and apocryphal matter such as the Passions of the Apostles. of which a fragment survives in a manuscript of Alfred's reign. the Dialogues of the same author. Alfred sent helpers. King Alfred grew up in a court with Frankish affiniHe was almost certainly aware of what Charles the Great had done to improve the standard of learning among his people.

were translated by Bishop Werferth. to which was added material from other writers on similar topics. they do not rank very high. on To though the balance and smoothness of an ^Elfric is lacking. sometimes adds greatest interest. In such passages one has a chance to judge what Old English prose could be when unshackled by the need to render Latin. and appended to it two seamen's accounts of voyages in these regions. it is a workmanlike medium enough. with the help of his assistants. Early postConquest authors attributed to Alfred a translation of the Psalms. but the other works are his own. and part of St Augustine's Soliloquies. who had no slavish attitude of literal fidelity to the text. the meaning. the rendering is often clumsy.2l6 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY of the Greek philosophers. and even of the whole Bible. especially in the more it misrepresented. Yet philosophical works. part of which may well be preserved in the Paris Psalter. and there is some doubt relation to far Alfred himself how was concerned in the translation of Bede. sometimes is these works that have the them Alfred. and Chapter he added an account of the geography of Northern Europe. like that the art of government quoted in IV above. and his Orosius occasionally he may add a whole chapter. treat of the lives of the early saints of Italy. We see something of the impression his work made already in his lifetime. for in passages from his own experience and ponderings on such matters. as when he compares God's foreknowledge to the steersman's anticipation of a great wind at sea before it comes. sometimes he gives a concrete simile to make clear the abstract reasoning of his author. Gregory's Dialogues. in a Latin . As translations. the heavenly wisdom and the which God of the human soul. but it is natural that the thought of a king translating for his people's good should fire men's imaginations and cause works not his to be attributed to him.

and The Pastoral Care were being is copied in. on Bede and regnal lists. # Modern. but through his stilted language we glimpse genuine admiration of a king who turns trom temporal pleasures to the discipline of scholarship. or soon after. and we have ^Elfric's evidence that they were obtainable in his day a century after they were composed. and his words imply that this work was read aloud to those unskilled in reading. and was the Martyrology. Moreover so ^Ethelweard about the same period speaks of his translations with admiration.VERNACULAR LITERATURE acrostic script. There Orosius. especially the Boethius. early annals. Lindsay's translation) : Rightly do you teach. Alfred's labours had more than a temporary effect. the first half of the tenth century. medieval. manuscript evidence that the Old English Bede. these materials were put together in Alfred's reign. in Latin and perhaps sometimes in English. on him in a Cornish (or perhaps Welsh) manuwhich ends (in W. Behold you are ever fit to turn shining talents to profit. Boethius. The Chronicle was based on older records. hastening from the false sweetness of the world. on some and on various sets of brief epitome of world history. scholars have been ready to atThere is no clear evidence that he was responsible for the compilation of the AngloSaxon Chronicle. The author end his is much hampered by with the letters his lines of Alfred's need to begin and name. like tribute works to Alfred. the annals becoming much fuller as the period within living . Learnedly run through the fields of foreign lore. Copies of all the Alfredian works survive from the time after the monastic revival. though it is possible that the rather work owes multiplication of manuscripts of this rapid something to royal encouragement. M.

this version was at Winchester in the tenth century and may have been originally copied for this manuscripts are later. though the latter account reached only one of our extant manuscripts. but over long stretches several versions . it. a historical source of the first importance over centuries. The extent to which the Chronicle is kept up varies at different periods. All other surviving copies of versions kept at different religious establishments. and one of these manuscripts reached Peterborough by the early twelfth century. from Bede and from some sets of local annals. which allows us to study the development of prose writing. are recorded in minute detail. There is a full and excellently written record of the reign of Ethelred the Unready. problems of relationship and transmission of the various versions are too complicated to be dealt with in a paragraph.and sometimes all . where it was kept up until the early days of 1 155. and the re-conquest of the Danelaw by his son. . But it is. the unequal Chronicle is though a remarkable achievement. all the other versions having come to a close at various Each version contains passages peculiar to usually of local interest.are in agreement. and had there had dovetailed into it a large amount of northern material. probably York. and the gap filled later with scrappy entries. poems. More independence is shown from the reign of the Confessor on. Two of the manuscripts go back to a text which had been at some northern centre. The earlier dates. Round about 890 copies began to be disseminated. In the intervening period the Chronicle was neglected. The oldest extant copy is written up to 891 in a single handwriting. probably written at Abingdon. the later campaigns of Alfred. and it is already two stages removed from the original work. which achieved wide circulation. and represent house. and notices of events of mere domestic interest.2l8 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY memory was reached.

whose Chronicle was kept up fully until the laws are lost. and the picture given of the of their predecessors may well be overdrawn. they are little touched by the standards of the post-revival writers. It is in the Blickpossible that some of the homilies collected and Vercelli manuscripts may belong to the first ling half of the tenth century.VERNACULAR LITERATURE 2ig not based on Latin originals. and Offa of Mercia. There may have been writings that have perished. but we cannot assign with certainty much original work to this age. end of his son's reign. letting us see the conattitude to events as well as the events themtemporary moving and selves. The works of Alfred's reign continued to be copied. following Alfred's example. about 960. We know of conditions in the religious houses prior to the revival only from the writings of the reformers themsloth and ignorance selves. It was prolific in lawcodes. and the period was The not altogether devoid of Latin culture. for he had issued a long code. and works frowned on as unorthodox by the monastic party would have small chance of survival. From a brief record of outstanding events it develops at times into a vivid narrative. * Our materials suggest that the period of more than half a century between Alfred's death and the revival due to the Benedictine reform of the mid tenth century was somewhat barren of literature. but the real lation harvest of post-revival literature begins with the genera . moved by the example of the early Kentish kings. The first vernacular work to result from the tenth- Athelwold's transcentury monastic revival was Bishop of the Benedictine Rule. for ^Elfric complains in 990-1 of the currency of many English books that contained error. over a long period. and a short set of annals known as the Mercian Register was written in Mercia. his predecessor Ine.

There are direct translations of continental canonistic and penitential books. while Abbo's pupil. there are homilies of exegesis. there are impassioned de- nunciations of society and appeals for repentance. like that of Hrabanus Maurus. Halitgar of Cambrai. The homi- ^Elfric. as well. The more exacting standards of this age in the matter of style can be seen by comparing the revision made at this time of Werferth's translation of the Dialogues of Gregory with Werferth's own work. the Gospels and a part of the book of Genesis were translated by anonymous writers. while ^Elfric is responsible for renderings ^Elfric of parts of the Hexateuch. but using later work. Theodulf of Orleans. of Chrodegang and Amalarius of Metz. Job. and an and often a distinguished prose ability to style. based largely on Bede. ^Elfric prefers to translate afresh passages from Bede instead of using the existing English version. and Benedict of Aniane. wrote his scientific manual in ion. and he wrote a treatise on the Old and New Testaments. and Judith. semi-poetical descriptions of the Last Judgement and and the torments of the damned. issues his first work about 990. perhaps diversified with exempla. Byrhtferth of Ramsey. Great variety exists in the subject matter of the very extensive homiletic literature of this date. The range is varied. Works of about the same period have come down from many writers whose names we do not know. and Byrhtferth both wrote works on scientific matters. of Judges. Esther. explaining the symbolism of the gospel for the day. and of straightforward teaching on the outlines of the Christian faith. Wulftsan's datable work begins in the next decade. All these translators show a competence write a smooth above that of the Alfredian writers. a pupil of Athelwold. and .22O THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY by the first tion of students taught list reformers. There are sermons of plain moral instruction.

in comparatively straightforward narrative. translated in There are great differences in style as in theme. rhetorical question. and at the other stylist by poetic diction.exasperation. but with a his is vehemence and intensity as suited to denunciatory sermons as ^Elfric's calm reasonableness to his logical expositions. and other devices. he developed. Equally the fiery eloquence of Archbishop Wulflike him wrote a deliberately rhythmical is prose. historians. and canonistic writers. contempt. The But -ffilfric is remarkable stan.of the carefully chosen rhythms. which he can use effectively to convey his emotions at what he has yet to relate . heightened metaphor. of the use of antithesis. we should style. These are mostly of a length suitable for preaching. full. most carefully selected and tention to a felicitous and forcible rendering. who not the only stylist of distinction. under the influence of his classical training. for it was the aim of writers like ^Elfric to raise the level of morality by providing the priesthood with material but Felix's Life of St Guthlac is for sermons. there is the who added to the Chronicle the account of the reign of Ethelred. simile. accentuated by alliteration. not have guessed this from his stilted translation prose is a thing of the past. with an economy of artistic device. and end of the scale. ^Elfric holds the first place in this. a restrained and balanced style which carries his argument is to its conclusion so inevitably that the reader almost unaware of the artistry by which this marvellous lucidity has been obtained . We know but that much of his work is based on Latin originals.VERNACULAR LITERATURE numbers of saints' lives 221 and apocryphal legends. on the Latin Fathers. One is surprised to find that translated with at- Wulfstan's utterances are often translated from Latin canonists. as he does also by the sheer bulk of his work. And there are anonymous homilists capable of writing a highly rhetorical prose. and occasionally .

is small. Apart from the Chronicle and legal documents. especially the Orient. level of English writing is The general high truly remarkable. and Chambers has demonstrated that its influence never died out.222 pride. presumably for practical use . as the men with such enormous ears that they could sleep on one and cover themselves up with the other. but was handed on to modern times through a line of Middle English authors. practically unchanged. material that ultimately goes back to ancient Babylon. for example. and lunar almanacs. surely. More didactic in purpose are dialogues in prose and verse such as that of Salomon and Saturn. Here. .though one hopes that some were left untested -. Both deal with the strange creatures men were willing to believe lived in remote lands. which descends ultimately from Greek texts of the early Christian era. which survives in another manuscript as well. a collection of strange lore from many sources. and so also one must regard the fragment of a Greek romance Apollonius of Tyre. Of this genre are the two texts immediately preceding Beowulf'in our only manuscript. such. we have the prose of entertainment rather than instruction. which Forster has shown hand on. THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY He is a master of ironic understatement. the amount of extant prose that was written for non-religious ends vive. the so-called Letter of Alexander to Aristotle and the Marvels of the East. naturally so. and finally must be mentioned manuscripts with collections of medical recipes of various origin. for such is less likely to sur- Yet we have a few small pieces to indicate a taste in the literature of the marvellous.

the coins. when they were buried with the dead.CHAPTER XI ANGLO-SAXON ART THE to artistic ability some extent in the actual remains of the Anglo-Saxons can be studied which date from this period. in the and tombstones. while few of the more valuable objects. the technical skill. some types of work. The crosses covered with gold larger church ornaments. in the jewellery and weapons. silver. thus. and gems. and the illuminated manuscripts. It necessary in considering Anglo-Saxon art to make use of documentary evidence as well as that of surviving works. The cathedrals and greater monastic churches have been replaced by later to buildings. Nevertheless. such as wood-carving and embroidery. Ob- jects of secular use have rarely survived except from the heathen period. in the stone crosses churches and parts of churches. were carried off by plunderers or sold pay the debts of the church. and the various influences to which the art of our forefathers was exposed. which were given by various donors to churches in the late tenth and eleventh centuries. escaped the rapacity of later generations. crucifixion scenes. the church-plate and ivories. are little represented because of the perishable nature of the material. while the St Guthbert stole and the is needleBayeux tapestry letjuajmder^^ on the Continent. it is tfieTconstant work was so prized .a cloak of remarkable reference to precious objects interwoven throughout with gold in the manner purple. information so gathered is incomplete. of gold. . great and silver. All such things give us some insight into the taste. with figures of St Mary and St John.

dorsals. and some of their products. Remains show that weapon-smiths and ewellers existed even in the heathen age. croziers. robes of silk interwoven with precious work of gold and gems. treasures the etc. the inand a space may be adorned with a pattern of terlace. . beasts or birds with intertwined necks or legs. which was turned into a chasuble. long before the Anglo-Saxons used it. great explains the richimpression made on the Norman conquerors by should ness of the equipment of the English churches. bells. great cancovered with delabra. a chalice of gold flashing with gems as the heavens glow with blazing stars'. images of the saints.vestments. had lost all naturalistic intention and become a mere pattern formed by distorted animal or bird forms. Other . heads or limbs arranged as mere elements in a design. skilled helmet and polished spear-tip glancing in the sun. We never have guessed this without the aid of literary records.which shrines. full of vitality and energy. their drinking-horns design. however. such as their garnet-inlaid brooches and mounted with chased gold arouse general admiration. tapestries. which is unrestrained and often misdirected.224 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY of a corselet. Many of the objects of bands. are covered all over with vigorous buckles. a beautiful chasuble that shone like gold e when worn in the house of the Lord. altar-cloths. The commonest decoration is the Germanic zoomorphic style. . this time. or even by detached parts of such forms. which. and countless other gold and silver and precious stones. Poetry shows that the Anglo-Saxons were alive to the beauty of metal-work and to the impressive splendour of the warrior in his grey steel mail with its glittering appliques. This motif is sometimes combined with another. all of gold. his sword-hilt his boar-crested adorned with gold plates or filigree.

whereas Benedict Biscop brought his from Gaul.ANGLO-SAXON ART 225 types of decoration go to make up the advanced decorative art of the Anglo-Saxon period.but nothing is left but the crypts. from which it was separated by a triple arch. and the narrower northern type of church with very high walls and a small rectangular chancel. Wilfrid had the windows of the church of York glazed. 9 BBS. From and passages Gaul Benedict Biscop brought glaziers. spiral staircases . and geometric patterns of a simple nature to the are used also. their eastern apse. almost as wide as the nave. curvilinear style derived eventually from late Celtic art. and they taught their art to the English. transmitted Saxon invaders by some obscure. or at least disputed. there is a purely abstract. seen at its best in manuscript illumination of the late seventh and early eighth centuries. Augustine probably introduced Italian masons. From descriptions we know that these churches had side-aisles and columns. and there is a corresponding difference in style between the southern group of early churches. and he also brought across from the Continent 'artisans of every kind Mention has been made in a previous chapter of the abroad. This was to be expected. Some of them were great influx of books from illuminated. for in 764 a later abbot of his monastery asked the missionary Lul to send him from Germany a man who could make vessels of glass well. To added these motifs others of Mediterranean origin were in Christian times. so that in Bede's day the church at Monkweai*mouth had . their several porticos. Our sources refer frequently to the introduction from the Continent both of objects of art and foreign workmen. Pictures also were brought from Rome. perhaps not all branches of it.1 5 . with their wide nave. means. Wilfrid brought masons from Rome for his ambitious buildings at Ripon and Hexham. however.

of scenes from the Gospels and the Book of Revelation. and the altar at Ripon was vested in purple chalice of gold lesser altars woven with gold. The most important of the new decorative motifs is the vine scroll. were considered so valuable that King Aldfrith gave him an estate of three hides in exchange for them. and precious stones. skilled in metal work as we know them have been. We are not told that all these things were imported. which Benedict Biscop brought back. Wilfrid. deities. and it is likely that native craftsmen. it had twelve dedicated to the twelve apostles. Two cloaks. whether with birds and animals in the volutions of the scroll or not. and Aldhelm spared nothing that would make God impressive and beautiful. learnt to turn their talents to the service of the Church. Pictures of the Virgin were brought life of our back from Rome by three unnamed pilgrims. and its windows were glazed. the worship of the Christian and a contrast to the Wilfrid sacrifices to heathen had a case of the purest gold set with most precious gems made for his magnificent gospel-book. Aldhelm describes a church with an altar-frontal of gold filament. and the Lady Chapel a depicting the Lord. along with books and with silk vestments of brilliant colours. while the church of Jarrow had pictures to illustrate the connexion between the Old and the series New Testaments. and to copy the treasures from abroad. and its appearance in must be attributed to foreign craftsmen or England . silver. all of silk and of incomparable workmanship. It is easy to see how foreign styles and motifs could be introto duced into native art.226 its THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY and the walls surrounded with paintings of the Virgin twelve Apostles. and a and paten of wrought silver. Its closest parallels seem to be with the eastern Mediterranean. Acca filled Hexham with orna- ments of gold. Men such as Benedict.

it is to get so soon after the conto Christianity the production in England of a version decorative art of the high standard of the illuminated Remarkable though manuscripts. Italian representations of and figures are imitated in the pictures of the Evangelists. greatly advanced in grandeur and sumptuousness. or of David.ANGLO-SAXON ART objects. Manuscripts illuminated in this style. and are schematized as if they are merely part of a pattern. and hence the style is known as Hiberno-Saxon. and even the figures of the Evangelists were not immune from a decorative treat- ment. they become less realistic. The use of bright contrasting colours adds to the general effect of magnificence. the native love of decoration triumphed over the classical art of natural representation. but scholars are not agreed as to which country originated this manner of illumination. while the pages of ornament are filled with the motifs of the earlier native art. arranged in panels so that the rich and elaborate detail is subordinated to a clear and dignified main theme. More and more. a still more striking phenomenon is the ap- pearance about the same time of a school of Christian sculptors which has no parallel anywhere in Europe at The excellence of some of the figure sculptures on the great Anglian crosses at Bewcastle in Cumberland and Ruthwell in Dumfriesshire led some scholars to that date. in the best examples. it introduced the English to a representational art. and. 22? to- But foreign influence was not confined the importation of new patterns. though with less restraint. . and it taught them to restrain the over-exuberance of their decoration to impose some feeling for order over the whole. A combination of native and foreign influences is seen in the manuscript illumination. to pictures of human beings and the scenes of biblical and other narrative. however. are also produced in Ireland. such as the famous Lindisfarne Gospels of about 700.

trampling on the beasts. and one reference is that they were not confined to Northumbria. but the art-motifs. and the other three sides of the cross have decorative motifs only. showing and in indicating the purpose for which they might be raised. We are told in the Life of St Willibald.5228 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY believe that they could not be earlier than the twelfth the form of the inscribed century. below St it one of John the Evangelist. it being the custom of the Saxon people to erect a cross for the daily service of prayer on the estates of noble and good men. scenes. It has belong been suggested that it was the sculptured remains of the Romano-British period that gave the Anglo-Saxons the idea of erecting large monuments in stone. plaits. on small objects such tive motifs introduced into England as ivories. Such a purpose would be well served by the Bewcastle and Ruthwell crosses. and there is the cross in the lifetime of nothing to prevent our dating those who would remember him. where there was no church. of the inscriptions show that they runes. vine scrolls. for. The Bewcastle cross bears the name of Alhfrith. a West Saxon who left England in 720 and later became bishop of Eichstadt. and chequer patterns. At Ruthwell two faces have figures sub- . ceased to be under-king of southern Northumbria soon after 664. that he was taken as a child in the hope that he might be cured of an illness to the cross of the Saviour. the Bewcastle has above this a representation of St John the Baptist. into which medium and decorathey could translate figures. and his wife Cyneburh. as it has been recently emphasized.' Both crosses give central place to the majestic figure of Christ as judge. the subchosen to 'convey to the jects sculptured on them were faithful the essential ideas of Christianity. who There is also literary evidence for the existence of such of particular interest in crosses. and the language to the earlier period of Northumbrian art.

It can hardly have been on a large scale. but naturally these have not Wilfrid's body survived. the scrolls. where tinued. though few can have attained the grandeur and dignity of these two. into the eleventh into Mercia in the century. The cross-head is originally had the symbols of the four mutilated. narrower faces of the shaft have ornamental All over the north of England crosses or cross fragments are common. for the monks of Lindisfarne . breaking bread. in view of the rarity of remains from the south of England. an allusion to the Mass. the hermits Paul and Anthony in the desert. This would not prevent them from serving the purpose mentioned above. the healing of the blind man. St John the Baptist. and inhad scribed with his name in memory of him. that the elaborately sculptured stone cross never had the it convogue there which it had in Northumbria. but probably Evangelists. who was bishop of Lindisfarne from 724 to 740.ffithelwold. the Flight into Egypt. but also it was apparently a we have seen that in Wessex common thing for a cross to be supported by William of Malmesbury. the Magdalen at the feet of Christ. Grosses in wood were set up also. but sometimes they were simply funeral monuments. Some were set surviving crosses have inscriptions that say they up in memory of a particular person or persons. the Visitation. It seems likely. . From Northumbria it spread ninth century. this is and of persons living at the end of the seventh century and the very beginning of the eighth. who describes two stone pyramids with sculptured figures which he saw at Glastonbury. set up in the graveyard of a church. with modifications in style by natural development and by Scandinavian influence. the Annunciation.ANGLO-SAXON ART 22g jects. one of which bore names erected. as for example that raised at Oundle over the place where St was washed. a stone cross made of skilful workmanship.

solely They have no by vine figure subjects. we at its head and the other at its foot. The is without any bird or animal figures purpose of another cross mentioned in our records uncertain. during this period. and it is crosses. or as 9 much a place from which the Gospel could be preached. and a ninth-century writer considered that his work surpassed anything which his own age could produce. and gifts and letters were exchanged with the English missionaries in Frisia and Germany. an inmate of the unnamed monastery just mentioned. when his his congregation was greater than church could hold. Pilgrimages and visits to Rome continued. in the scrolls. Throughout the eighth century sculpture and illuminated manuscripts continued to be produced in the same style in Northumbria. At a later date Bishop Oswald of Worcester (961-92) was in the habit of preaching by a cross sepulchral set up as a monument. and in fact probably increased. The grave of Durham are told. He was a priest of Irish race.230 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY carried it with them when they wandered with St It Cuth- was eventually erected in the cemetery of bert's body. and was there in Symeon's day. but are ornamented scrolls. The name of an early eighth-century illuminator has come down to us. Perhaps the founder set it up as a memorial to himself. one the remains of a beautiful cross generally assumed that Cathedral library are from one of now in the Durham these. had two carved Bishop Acca of Hexham. Foreign works of art reached the North. A Northumbrian nobleman founded a monastery at an unidentified place in the early eighth century. Contact with the Continent was maintained. We are not told what the royal gifts . and later the fifth abbot of the house was buried by the high cross which the 'prince set up. called Ultan.

and a multicoloured coverlet to protect Abbot Guthberht from the cold.ANGLO-SAXON ART sent 2$! by King Eadberht consisted of. with recognizable leaves and delicate tendrils as in Carolingian ivories. and Abbot Guthberht sent to Lul in return for his gifts 'two palls of subtle workmanship. and there is a return to a more realistic The Easby and Rothhave crowded figure scenes which in general bury arrangement and in some of their detail resemble those of Carolingian illuminations and ivory carvings. Archbishop Lul sent to Jarrow a (737-58) robe all of silk for the relics of Bede. the effects of the Carolingian revival reached Northumbria. crosses necessary to turn back to consider what was on meanwhile in the South and Midlands. As a result of the intercourse with the Prankish kingdom. But the Northumbrians could give as well as receive. and linen. his demands on his continental friends are for simpler things. king of the Franks. for the abbot gave it to clothe the altar in the church of St Paul. and Charles the Great sent dalmatics and palls to all the episcopal sees in Northumbria and Mercia. Alcuin also sent home to Northumbria silk robes. his most interesting request is for pigments of colours good for painting. garments and hoods of goat-hair and wool. to manuscripts went abroad and were much copied in continental scriptoria. Dr Kendrick thinks that the North would have developed further in a classical direction if the Danish settlement in the latter part of the ninth century had not taken place. their illuminated Pippin. From going It is now . representation of figures. this must have been considered too good for such a use. one white. along with books which had been asked for. the other coloured'. The vine-scroll becomes more natural. When Alcuin was at home.

one cannot with certainty assign manuscripts and Midlands during this period. just as Northumbria did. bishop of Dunwich. manuscripts were being produced at southern monasteries in the early eighth century. it must not be supposed that the monasteries and churches in this area were necessarily unproductive. while it was from Worcester that Lul tried to obtain the work of Porphyrius on metre. may well have been brought to Canterbury by Augustine himself. and churches in Wessex could be richly equipped already in Aldhelm's time. which used to be assigned to the seventh century. The letters of St Boniface show that elaborately Christi College. Some of the manuscripts of mixed continental and Hiberno-Saxon styles may have been executed in Mercia. The most Paschale .232 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY first the days of the missionaries onwards these areas received art treasures from abroad. but have recently been claimed for Lichfield. be attributed to Canterbury at later. There now seems to be some doubt whether a carved column at Reculver. in the use of the acanthus leaf and the rosette in the decorative portions. In these manuscripts the decoration is mainly of the Hiberno- which used to about 750. belongs to anything like so early a date. one was a copy of an Italian manuscript of Sedulius's Carmen which had been owned by Cuthwine. Gospels. or a little Saxon type. An illuminated copy of the Gospels. and in the greater naturalness Though solidity of the figure subjects. Among the to East Anglia or the many Anglo-Saxon illuminated manuscripts which were taken to the Continent by the missionaries. but. foreign influence is visible also. now in Stockholm. The earliest surviving Christian works of art from the lands illuminated south of the Humber seem to be the Golden and the Vespasian Psalter. now at Corpus Cambridge. as might be expected from the close con- tact with the lands across the Channel.

it is a book of prayers ofCerne\ some of its contents are of siders Northumbrian origin. and Dr Kendrick consome features of its illumination to be closer to contemporary work in the North than that in the South. 'treasure-adorned*. but the best Mercian work is on friezes and other architectural ornaments.Viking Age a Mercian one. is Towards the end of the eighth century and during the early part of the ninth. as he did literature.ANGLO-SAXON ART spacious and impressive of 233 churches surviving pre. century The Viking Age was naturally not a period of great productiveness in the arts. Some of the manuscripts of the late eighth century. which He for the as 'goldBeowulf poet conceives a royal hall 'adorned with (gold-) adorned'. . but we cannot be certain. stone carving was being produced in Mercia. and early ninth. Huntingdonshire. which art historians designate vaguely 'southern' may come from West Saxon scriptoria. In Derbyshire there are crosses imitating Northumbrian work. Leicestershire. and Fletton. having features which occur in Merovingian illumination. and one of its results is the Book . Brixworth in Northamptonshire. an aisled basilica which. as at Breedonon-the-Hill. stone. opening into a square presbytery with an apse beyond it. had originally a triple arcade at the east end. cannot be dismissed altogether as empty rhetoric. and shows some influence from Frankish art. There are also a few pieces of from early ninthsculpture and minor objects of metal Wessex which reveal Frankish influence. though King Alfred encouraged them. In the early ninth century there is evidence for bookproduction at Lichfield. Asser tells us of his building of halls and chambers wondrously constructed in wood or even speaks of buildings in gold and silver. like the early Kentish churches.

It has been suggested that the angel-panel at Deerhurst dates from Alfred's reign. The centre of this is as definitely in the south of England as that of the earlier in the north. an illuminated copy of Bede's Life ofSt Cuthbert. however. and one from Ireland. a gospel-book which contains the names of Otto the Great and his mother. but the name is used to cover works in the new style. woven with not. many of which .e. perhaps i. and some works of art can be located there. by which foreign works of art reached this country. Each of the which the king gave to his bishops' sees be accompanied by a a pointer. place mid tenth 'golden age' had been took an important part in the revival of art and learning. however. of gold. and as a representative of minor works there remains the famous Alfred copies of the Pastoral Care Jewel.500 grains. precious object. It is France. perhaps lish illuminations made at Glastonbury. The beautiful stole.234 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY 9 . about 3. Canterbury. which was found in St Cuthbert's coffin. One of the books which he gave to St Cuthbert's was. until after the monastic revival of the century. for called the 'Winchester School'. and Engfrom were added to a psalter obtained figures of saints and prophets. Athelstan gave to other re- ligious houses illuminated manuscripts which had been produced in France. of fifty mancuses. and which was probably a gift from this German prince. in great numbers. to was In the reigns of Alfred's immediate successors one reads of the continued exchange of gifts with foreign royalties. of southern English origin. This convenience. plating Alfred invited craftsmen from all nations. and ?s a result of it. and King Athelstan gave to Christ Church. is English work of the second decade of the tenth century. that the second 'golden age' of English art begins. and it is often. The description of the church of his foundation at Athelney shows that he followed Carol- ingian models.

Early in the series is the Benedictional of St Athelwold. ANGLO-SAXON ART The monastic styles the Prankish Empire. the figures are clothed in fluttering draperies. All manner of subjects are represented. a beautiful manuscript of gorgeous colours and rich in gold. It drew from this source its fondness for covering whole pages with ornament. The Garoligian schools of illuminators went back to late antique models of the fifth and and produced illustrated psalters. sacramentaries. with the figure paintlater in architectural settings and heavily framed in borders of acanthus. for this is the abbot of Thorney. Later examples in this style show greater mastery and grace in figure drawing. interlace survives. and the was in itself partly based on the earlier The arrangement of this in panels filled with minute patterns. and it is often both dignified and expressive. owed much of its inspiration to and it is from there that the art To some extent it was the repayment of revival a debt. but from all over the area where the monastic revival was effective. which exercised such a strong influence in England at this time. but the commonest decorative pattern is not one derived from insular art. but the acanthus of classical art. etc. come also.235 were not from Winchester. and the artists are skilful in suggesting swift action and deep emotion. static representation.. however. written about 980 by Godemann. and these in their turn were imitated in England. which There . Anglo-Saxon manuscripts taken over in the eighth century by the English missionaries. Far more important than any new decorative motif. scripts. There are numbers of such manusixth centuries period of tremendous activity in many English scriptoria. for the art of the Carolingian revival. is a breakaway from the older. was the return to a representational art. bibles. Outline drawing is also common on the manuscripts of this ings period.

and 1029. wife of Earl Tostig. yet the drawings are difficult subjects. depicting Christ coming to Mary's house and the raising of Lazarus. garments. they depict crowded scenes and other swift clear strokes. Some illuminated manuscripts . A benedictional from Fleury. such as produced also a *Winchester' naturalistic figures in low the angels at Bradford-on-Avon and Winterborne Steepleton. It is disputed whether the Romsey Rood and the Chichester panels. which is now in the Pierpont Morgan The artistic relief. and remains in the library there. and another was given by Queen Emma to Archbishop Robert of Rouen. gave to Weingarten an illuminated gospel-book. Judith. it is probable that the figures were * copied from ivories. now in Paris. affected by the mannerisms of a continental school scripts of outline-drawing best known from the Utrecht Psalter. from near Reims. necks poked forward. and before very long English manuscripts were being taken across the Channel. a work of the early ninth century. which was much copied. They attempt and are drawn with both architectural and landscape backgrounds to the in these styles continued figure scenes. are of this period or poet. The figures have shrugging shoulders. as judge. the Harrowing of Hell in Bristol Cathedral.5336 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY This is especially present in manugive a restless quality. As there are no examples of stone sculpture on the Con- tinent at this time. exaggerated fluttering full of vitality and vigour.Conquest. may be the one given to that house by the abbey of Ramsey between 1004. Illumination throughout the rest of the Saxon period. who carved revival school of sculptors. Only little far as we can of the 'Winchester' art reached the North. Library in New York. and some still survive in French libraries. the Virgin and Child at Inglesham.

and there were none north of the Humber. and it is possible that the equipment of the major churches of the North did not represent a very different taste from that in vogue else- where. Stone crosses and grave-slabs in the Hiberno-Saxon style continue to be set up. its ornaments and books perished. the stone carving of the North is abundant.ANGLO-SAXON ART 237 reached Durham. made at Beverley in the time of his predecessor. who were all men from south of the Humber. There are also c some crosses put up by the Irish-Norse settlers. but is influenced date by Scandinavian. When the Normans burnt the church of York. though some would it twelfth-century. Earl Tostig and his wife gave to Durham a great crucifix flanked by images of St Mary and St John. taste. and some of the treasures given by the archbishops of York. But it has not survived.' The main type of decoration goes by the name of Jellinge. Aldred's great pulpit and crucifix at Beverley was of German work'. though mutilated. with its animal-ornament influenced more or less by what Dr Kendrick has called a Scandinavian wildness and evenly distributed heaviness. It is in any case exceptional. production. such as we hear of in southern churches. may have been of southern or continental provenance. nor has the shrine of gold and silver and precious stones c 'of incomparable workmanship'. but the unhappy years after the Norman Conquest were not favourable to the survival of works of art. carved stone slab of the Virgin and Child in York Minster is sometimes claimed as pre-Conquest work. with . The very beautiful. after a seat of the Danish kings in Jutland where work in this style is found. and it is a barbaric interpretation of the Anglian beast motif of the Northumbrian crosses. Vine-scrolls are retained but in a flattened and stylized form. not continental. The North did not share in the great activity in book for this was mainly carried on in monasteries.

with tiny figure subjects more like those on Manx crosses Anglian crosses. several examples of Viking art occur. untouched by Viking devices. and it appears to be a survival of pre. are also to be found on grave slabs in East Anglia. but in the south of England. and there documentary evidence we know was being penetrated by Mercian thanes in the tenth century. ing the reigns of the Danish kings. at Most of our surviving Saxon churches date from the tenth or eleventh centuries. Cumberland. one not infre- . various types of art met in London. is a development in Scandinavian hands of the acanthus pattern of English illumination and and it is found. another form of Scandinavian became influential in England. and subjects from Scandinavian legend take their place beside Christian themes on some monuments. It is probable therefore that the round-shafted cross represents Mercian taste. such as the Life ofSt Wulfstan. Remnants of Hiberno-Saxon art. and in the sources for this late period. The most spectacular is the cross at Gosforth. Lincolnshire. not in the areas of Scandinavian settlement.338 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY Celtic designs. and Cambridgeshire. whereas recent fragments discovered All-Hallows-by-the-Tower are in the style of the Anglian panelled crosses. known as the art Ringerike style. This. etc. although apparently of eleventh-century date. When the Danish invasions culminated in the conquest of England by Cnut. It presumably indicates a vogue for Scandinavian motifs durivories..Viking art represented by remains at Dewsbury and Collingham. is a group of these mainly in Derbyshire and Staffordshire and in that area of South Yorkshire which from than the monumental figures of earlier This is a round shafted cross. As one might expect.

ANGLO-SAXON ART 239 quently reads of the bishop being called to dedicate a new church. the western one being placed either in a gallery. and Archbishop Oswald's church at Ramand Thorney. Sporadic examples of centrally-planned churches occurred elsewhere. double-splayed windows and mid-wall shafts. as well as spiral staircases. that churches served by a body of priests and acting as the mother-church of a considerable area. This style of architecture seems to have drawn its inspiration from the is Rhineland. many English buildings had altars at both ends of the church. None of these survives. but there are a few of impressive size. which were 'minsters'. but arches always rounded. the quoins. or a western apse. in the eighth century in Hexham. west-end towers sometimes divided into stages by horizontal strips. but enough can be gathered from literary sources and uncovered foundations to show the influence of the Carolingian buildings. walls decorated by pilaster strips and rounded or triangular arcading. and it is in the Carolingian empire also that one gets parallels to the great cathedral and monastic churches. Peterborough. or a western transept. Churches of this later Saxon period are often easy to distinguish. such as Bosham in Sussex and Great Paxton in Huntingdonshire. churches built by Bishop Athelwold for his cathedral and his foundations of Ely. series minor circular towers containing The major towers were sometimes a The of receding stages of open arcading. they have 'long and short work*. Like these. whether in part or complete. Doorways are occasionally triangular-headed. They had towers at the west end and over the central crossing. built in timber. sey all had some of these features. The greater number of Saxon churches still standing. but Athelwold's at Winchester earliest building. . the church of Abingdon. are small. was a round church. that is stones set alternately upright and at horizontal.

the greater Saxon churches of the tenth and eleventh centuries. Exeter time of Gnut. which are all that are left. Canter- bury. and all the time new religious houses was restored in the were being from We cannot judge Anglo-Saxon architecture minor monuments. and in every other direction were quite up to the standards of the age. Sir Alfred Clapham has well summed up the position 'In the major art of architecture it is not unreasonable to suppose that. As it was. would have produced an architecture not unlike the Garolingian Romanesque of the great cathedrals and abbey churches of that province. left to themselves.. were probably built. given peace and prosperity. St Oswald built a new church at his see of Worcester. the last three Saxon archbishops of York made great additions to Beverley.240 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY in the ninth at Athelney. however. the Saxons would have travelled along the same road as their Rhineland kinsmen and. in the tenth at Bury St Edmunds. Extensive building was going on in the later Anglo-Saxon period. St Dunstan extended Glastonbury. where.. though lacking the scale of their continental contemporaries. its : not unworthy to survive.' . . the great rotunda begun by Abbot Wulfric was never finished. Bishop Aldhun built a cathedral at Durham 995-9. and in the eleventh at St Augustine's.

Earls Barton. Great Paxton. whose name survives in Peakirk. Beautiful carved some still in situ. a Danish lady who was a benefactor of Abbotsbury. of Tolpuddle. including some.1 6 . an official of Edward the Confessor. or Tola. Deerhurst. and museums. It is true that the great Saxon churches have vanished. which add to BBS. the ivory caskets and diptychs. nor to be venerated on grounds of crosses have come down antiquity alone. Only the crypts survive of Wilfrid's buildings contemporaries no absurdity to compare with those smaller churches . Wulfrun. the garnet inlays of Kent and Sutton Hoo. felt it Brixworth. and several of them. the elaborate gold filigree work. who possessed Wolverhampton. the name of whose 'town' has been corrupted to East Garston. a noble Mercian lady. More often they were lesser folk whose doings history does not record. The latter are full of specimens of AngloSaxon handicrafts.whole or in part of Rome. Sometimes we know a little about the persons who thus left their names: about Pega. others preserved inside churches to us. like the Alfred Jewel and the St Cuthbert stole.CHAPTER XII CONCLUSION A MILLENNIUM and a half separates us from *the Com- ing of the English' and close on nine hundred years from the last persons mentioned in these chapters. often after the man or woman who settled there in this distant past. and other objects. or Esgar. St Guthlac's saintly sister. still call We most of our towns and villages by the names the AngloSaxons gave them. superseded by the grander buildings of a later which age. Tangible remains of Anglo-Saxon civilization are not lacking. But many have continued in use until to-day. are not unimpressive.

with musical notation. the copy of King Alfred's translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care which the king himself sent as a gift to his friend and helper Bishop Werferth of Worcester. many a beauty of script and illumination that has never with been surpassed. pride. Cambridge. and the calendar at Paris which belonged St Willibrord. believed. . Some bring us very near to the people Our of whom we read. in which the litany prays: 'that thou wilt deign to preserve King Ethelred and the army of the English. Among the most interesting are the great bible codex at Florence. their intrinsic interest the their of connexion with historic older libraries are full of their manuscripts. Among the treasures of the Bodleian Library are the Italian copy of the Acts of the Apostles which Bede used when writing his commentary. but a Canterbury book of Gospels at Corpus Christi College.24*2 THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SOCIETY more sentimental appeal figures. in which the saint has entered in his own hand his consecrato tion by Pope Sergius in 695. with pardonable. as the monks of St is Augustine's Abbey. adding the words 'although unworthy 9 .' The Lindisfarne Gospels. The medieval monks of Canterbury were very ready to claim that books in their possession had been brought over by St Augustine. and they were usually wrong. which Abbot Ceolfrith ofJarrow. as a specimen of what was being produced in this northern outpost of Christendom. to whom it once belonged. the missionary to the Frisians. Continental libraries have numbers of manuscripts pro- duced in England in pre-Conquest times. Guthbert's body as its guardians bore it accompanied from place St to place in search of safely in the chaotic years that followed the Danish invasion. first brought by the old enough to have been missionaries. now in the British Museum. intended to present to the pope in 716. and a book of tropes and sequences.

and follow and whose aspirations and sorrows rouse our sympathy. however. grace of God. and who. have left behind from so early a date a noble literature in verse and prose.CONCLUSION 243 And in the books and documents that survive are many passages that bring us nearer tors of ours. alone of the Germanic races. they handed on to us. are worthy of respect and study for their own sake. the Anglo-Saxons come alive as individuals whose mental processes we can as martyrdom. Subsequent volumes in this series will doubtless show how the society here depicted changed gradually by natural growth or more violently by external influence. estate. that 'he would rather that fire or flood had it' or the noble letter of condolence written by the archbishop of Canterbury to Boniface's followers after his one reads. still to these remote ances- One reads the tactful remark with which King Alfred disarmed criticism as he sent to his bishops an English version of a Latin work: 'It is uncertain how long there may be such learned bishops as now. Quite apart. are almost everywhere' or the angry reply of a litigant. the people who led the scholarship of Western Europe. . in the eighth century who were mainly conversion to Christianity of the responsible for the German and Scandinavian peoples. The time is past when historians regarded the Norman of our Conquest as a complete break in the continuity from any question of what history. whose brother will pay a fine for will relinquish him if he an . by the .

For the period up to the death of Alfred. M.. Plucknett. J. Arbman. The Vikings (Pelican Books. Kendrick. see C. 1933). D. B. A. B. Viking and Norman life is C. English Field-Systems (Cambridge. the Great (Oxford. Quennell. Social and Economic History For early Germanic society. The Medieval English Borough (Manchester. see J. L. W. C. H. 1892). H. See also P. Vol. 1902). andH. towns. 1912) . 1926). Clapham and E. 1955). 3rd A History of the edn 1952) may be consulted. S. by T. Vikings (London. The History of English Law (Cambridge. Ecclesiastical History A general (ed. Pollock and F. An Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Bibliography (Blackwell. The Constitutional History of Medieval England (London. 1915). Principles of law are dealt with by F. sheds light on land-tenure and many other matters. B. A Concise History of the Common Law 5th edn 1956). Alfred the Great and his England (London. Hodgkin's beautifully illustrated Anglo-Saxons (Oxford. and edn 1947) has largely superseded previous histories of the period. (London. The influence of geographical factors is shown in chapters by S. Ekwall in A Historical On Geography of England before A. An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Two important reigns are covered by G. the Blair. Andrews. The Heroic Age (Cambridge. 1937). E. 2nd edn 1898) and F. and the relevant chapters in The Cambridge Economic History (ed. This Jutes agrarian matters. 1907).D. Duckett. L On the . Everyday Life in Times (London. and L. On Pre-Feudal England. Plummer. S. (Oxford. T. 1892). J. Sir Frank Stenton. A. R. 1800 (Cambridge. On the Vikings see T. The Open Fields (Oxford. It includes an excellent bibliography. Oxford. Hunt. Chadwick. The (London. J. 1957). account W. The Old Manor (Baltimore. 1912). Cnut the Great (New York. M. H. Br0ndsted. 1905). 1941). W. W. Woodbridge and E. 1936). England (Cambridge. The reader who wishes to pursue the subject more deeply is advised to consult the bibliographies given below and also W. and English M. Bonser. H. Hunt. History of the English Church Stephens and W. see his Studies on Anglo* Saxon Institutions (Cambridge. Orwin. P. see H. and Anglo-Saxon. 1915). 1962). S. is given in W. VinogradofT. Power. General and Political History Sir Frank Stenton's Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford History of England. The Latin Charters of the Anglo-Saxon Period (Oxford. The Life and Hunter 1956) . London. and only exceptionally includes articles in periodicals and journals. 1938). Mass. A. A History of the Times of Alfred Truth Teller (New York. Villeinage in England (Oxford. Alfred the Great. Tait. Larson. Lees. Gray. An illustrated account of daily C. Maitland. Institutions. given in M. 1957).SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY THE following list of suggestions is confined to works written in English. E. and C. Vikings 1960). for Anglo-Saxon society. 1936). Jolliffe. 1930).

D. Duckett. M. G. S. 1936). T. Alcuin.. in A of England (ed. Dom David Knowles. English Literature before Chaucer (London. Literature and Learning Vol. Thomas. 'Archbishop Wulfstan. E. England and the Continent in the Eighth which shed new light on the eighthcentury church and missions. 1936). After Bede (Jarrow Lecture. xxiv. His Life. Studies in the History of Old English Literature (Oxford. 900 (London. and edn 1949). Mass. and E. S. Duckett. D. Malone. Kennedy. C. S. The Times of St Dwistan (Oxford. and E. Mass. A. particularly . see Beds. 1923). B. The AngloSaxons (London. and The Tear*s Work in English Studies (issued annually since 1921 for the English Association). Homilist and Statesman* of English Literature (Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. ed. see P. Whitelock. 1951). 1936). see J. and byj.D. Century (Oxford. Books known to AngloLatin Writers from Aldhelm to Alcuin (Cambridge. 190337). Anglo-Saxon Saints and Scholars (New York. Anglo-Saxon Art to A. 1951). G. Laistner. 1939). 1928). Whitelock. W. 1953). Lawrence. E. E. Ogilvy. 1947)..U. Art and Archaeology Only a small selection of works on these subjects can be given. Levison. 1955). 1933). See also articles in Dark Age Britain: Studies to E. L. Times and Writings (ed. J. 1889). Thought and Letters in Western Europe (London. Early Anglo-Saxon Art and Archaeology (Oxford. Supplement. L. Kendrick. Armitage Robinson. Wilson. White. 1948). New York. Leeds (ed. rev. Leeds. Sisam. 1943). W. Orton. Charlemagne R - D. L. W. 1956). Mlfric (Yale Studies in English 2. Crawford. 1948). I. For further bibliography see The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (Vol. The following works are most illuminating to the general reader: C. Saint Dunstan ofCanterbury (New York. begun in 1957. Anglo-Saxon Influence on Western Christendom (Oxford. 4th series. A. Baldwin Brown. edn 1957). ed. Duckett. Watson. On vernacular literature. Baugh.P. Renwick and H. London. Beowulf and Epic Tradition (Cambridge.. The Beginnings Literary History to Skelton (London. I of The Cambridge History of English Literature (1907) has chapters on vernacular and Latin writings. Part L Several valuable studies on various works and authors are contained in K. The presented is valuable periodicsl Medieval Archaeology. Anglo-Latin scholarship is dealt with by M. F. T. W. D. 1960). S. Harden. Book I. 'Ecclesiastical Reform in the Late Old English Period' (English Historical Review. W. Oxford. 1946). both of and W. On the later period. and K. T. A. D. D. 1924). 1940. The Earliest English Poetry (O. li. Friend of (New York. RDarlington's important article. D. 1957). exposed the fallacy that the eleventh-century English church was decadent. 1942) and The Audience of Beowulf (Oxford. 1938) and his LaU Saxon and Viking Art (London. Bateson. The Arts in Early England (London. W. 1960). 1935). The Monastic Order in England (Cambridge.SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 245 early period. Hamilton Thompson. General works: G. C.

Myres. M. G. 1907) or by L. e. Collingwood. London. The Life of Bishop Wilfrid by Eddius Stephanus (Cambridge. E. 1955) . Schools of Illumination: Part I: Hiberno-Saxon and Early English Schools. 1955). T. Clemoes. Vol. A. N. Thompson. De-Wald. on Viking antiquities. and Felix's Lye of Saint Guthlac (Cambridge. D. Kendrick. T. C. 700-1000 (1914) . E. F. The Cadmon Manuscript of Anglo-Saxon Biblical Poetry. E. G. ed. O. Brace-Mitford to Hodgkin's work (cited in above). The Benedictional of St&thelwold. Dodwell. Bishop of Winchester 963-84) (Roxburghe Club. Gollingwood and J. L. Gollancz (Oxford. Clapham. The Sequence of English Medieval Art (London. 1950). W. Offa's Dyke (London. Battiscombc. I. with introduction by Sir I. Two Lives of St Cuthbert (Cambridge. Whitelock. M. R. English Illuminated Manuscripts from Xth to XHth Century (Paris and Brussels. 1910). Douglas and G. Many expensive books with reproductions of manuscripts can be consulted in our major libraries. Vol. 1952). Wormald. see The Ship-Burial (British Museum. Sir Frank Stenton. Sellar (London. Douglas). and Sir Cyril Fox.. c. 1947). Studies presented to Bruce Dickms. C. I (Florence and Paris. Northumbrian Crosses (London^ 1927). W. A. (Oltun and Lausanne. and the English Settlements Hoc A Frank Stenton. 1927). cd. Saunders. etc. Longhurst. 1933). English Illuminated Manuscripts (London. F. 1956). D. C. Shetelig and H. There is an excellent book on architecture. English Drawings of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (London. Falk. English Ivories (London. Greenaway. all edited with translation by B. Warner and H.g. 1936) . Roman Britain and Sutton R. W. Oxford. The Relics of St Cuthbert (ed. Other specialist studies include W. 1945). Scandinavian Archaeology (trans by E. 1959). V.U. G. Kylie. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY For archaeological evidence relating to the Saxon G. On illumination. the appendix by L. Sir (Oxford. 1928). Sources available in is A large selection Modern English Translation contained in English Historical Documents (general D. 1937). invasions see R. Sir E. on special subjects. 1926). 1042-1 189 (ed. Anglo-Saxon Jewellery (London. M. 1956) and The Bayeux Tapestry (ed. The Utrecht Psalter (Princeton. the facsimiles published by the Palaeographical Society (1873-94) ar*d by the New Palaeographical Society (1903-30) . 'The East Anglian Kings of the Seventh Century* (in The Anglo-Saxons. 1895). 1955). D.246 for this period. Main ed. Millar. S. Evangeliorum quattuor Codex Lindisfarnensis. H. 1956-60). Separate works are translated as follows: Latin sources: Bede. English Romanesque Architecture before the Norman Conquest (Oxford. Jessop. F. 1950). Sherley-Price (Penguin Books. F. English Illumination^ Vol.P. C. P. R. II. Wilson. 1927). 500-1042 (ed. 1926). Ecclesiastical History. The . 1957). 1953) these volumes include studies of sources and extensive bibliographies. see H. Oakeshott. E. Gordon. see O. London. and the introduction to The Canterbury School of Illumination io66-isoo (Cambridge. translated by A. the British Museum publication. 1940). Colgrave. 1930).

. 1922) and A. W. Gollancz. Alfred's version of The Soliloquies of St is Augustine translated New York. R. W. W. Mfric's Lives of Saints.. 1904) by H.. ed. 1914) and Anglo-Saxon Writs (Manchester. E.E. Anglo-Saxon and Norse Poems (Cambridge. Byrhtferth's Manual. Kennedy. J. 1952).. and Symeon of Durham in The Church Historians of England.U. The best prose translation of Beowulf ]& that ofJ. E. corrected edn 1960) and D. ed. Tait. 1925)* G. Foster and T. Longley. andG. The Anglo-Saxon Missionaries in Germany (London and New York.P.E. Anglo-Saxon Wills (Cambridge. Sir I. The Exeter Book (Part I. 1910) and Early English Christian Poetry (London. William of Malmesbury and Florence of Worcester are translated in Bonn's Antiquarian Library.J. 1924). Select English Historical Documents of the Ninth and Tenth I. Talbot.S. K. Anglo-Saxon Charters (Cambridge. Jane (London. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (London. London. Kennedy (O. for the laws. Anglo-Saxon Poetry (Every- man's Library. L. G. S. N. Clark Hall (revised by G. Robertson. with D. edn 1956). 1881-1900).. ed. Skeat (E. H. Ill. Whitelock. London. 1952).E. see G.SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 247 English Correspondence ofSt Boniface (King's Classics. J. 1922). Part II. Domesday Book for several counties is translated in the Victoria County lost Lincolnshire Lincolnshire by G. 1961). Of Anglo-Norman historians with access to pre-Conquest sources. see F. Gordon. A. 1916). Campbell.W. B. and for Cheshire by J. Vol. 1895 and 1934). T.T. ed. and The Regularis Concordia : The Monastic Agreement. Crawford (E. see G.T. Wrenn. Robertson. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Barnes (4th edn 1960). Manchester. 1945). The Laws of the Kings of Englandfrom Edmund to Henry I (Cambridge. Two good general . G.T. The Ciedmon Poems (London. Garmonsway.S. 1930) and A. 1871). N.T. H. Harmer. J. G. The Domesday and the Lindsey Survey (Lincoln Record Society. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Everyman's Library. for Douglas and S. G. 1938). Strong (London. Mackie. Much of the poetry is translated by R. D. 2nd edn 1956). 1940). translated by L. with translation by Dom Thomas Medieval Symons (Nelson's Classics. Tucker. W. L. see F. The standard editions of several prose works include translations: King Alfred's West Saxon Version of Gregory's Pastoral Care. 1911). 1954) > -4W* Life of King Alfred. 1916). The Poems ofCynewulf (London. Sedgfield (Oxford. London. 1929). tod his Bwifttiw by W. Centuries (Cambridge. Histories. For other poems. 1900).. ed.S. 1926). 1925) for charters. rev. ed. ed. Sweet (E. W. Kershaw. The Laws of the Earliest English Kings (Cambridge. S. Part II. Ekwall. Thorpe (London. Ancilliary Sources Place-name evidence should be studied in the publications of the English Place-Name Society and in E. The Homilies of Mlfric. Bone (Oxford. 1950) and of verse renderings may be noted those by A. The Domesday Survey of Cheshire (Chetham Society. Hargrove (Yale Studies in English 22. Attenborough.S. L. 1953). 1844-6). The Battle of Brunnanburh (London.E. Vernacular sources: for the Chronicle. Whitelock.

'The AngloSaxon Coinage and the Historian* (Medieval Archeology. English Place-Names (London. Reaney.). those of the Museum. M. iv. Grierson. Dolley (London. xxi-v. Collections of Anglo-Saxon coins are being published for the British Academy Fitzwilliam in Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles (O. ed. 1961). Robertson. 1961). A. The Origin ofEnglish Place-Names (London. See also Sir Frank Stenton's presidential addresses on 'The Historical Bearing of Place-Name Studies' in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. and of the. 1960). Glasgow (ed. and K. Cambridge (ed.P. Cameron. 1961). The importance of coin-evidence is shown in Anglo-Saxon Coins: Studies presented to F. are already available. Blunt. H. E. 1960). 1958).U. H. . Stenton. 1939-43. M. Hunter Library. P. R. There is an excellent survey by C. S.248 SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY accounts are P.

29-31. 169. Cornish poem on. Bishop. 49. 24 Alfred. 76. 215. 235. Birinus. 234. 74 f. 40. io8. 12.239 Acca. 88 f. 223 trans- Alcuin. 220 Abercorn. cross of. lives of. 200. desertion from. 150. 76. Chronicle of. 137 ^Elfric the Homilist. 169 f. 81. 216 f. 121. 46.Earl. 232 Wilts. 74. 62. Aldhelm. 105. et army.. 55. Adamnan. architecture. St. 198. 43. 201. 19. 192 King of Northumbria. 89. 66 Bede. 74 art motifs. cians. 193 f. 59. 189 Augustine. 72-5. 160 agriculture. 78. 12. 81. 185. 32. 242 171. 3349>H5. Ealdorman. 70. 21. 37. laws of. 196 f. 62. 226. 239. 173-9. 213. 205. panegyric on. 50. 232. 159 220 blood-feud. 220 archaeological remains. 53. -dEthelbald. 144. 58. 153 f. 7.222. uf. laws of. 60. 185. 205. 59.. 18. 81. etc. 88. 135. St.. 225 f. lation of.. Bath. 226. 137 f.218. King of Wessex. 164 Abingdon. 88. 190. 27. 201 f. 93. 1 76 161. 51. works of. etc. 21.44f. Aldred... 224-38 Asser. King of East Anglia. 1 1 1 Bible. Boethius.. 72.217 16. 170. 150 Lady of the Mer- 76 <<Ethelweard Ealdorman. 233 Berhtwald. Athelstan. 36.22 3 f. 219.. 66. 23. 3942. 199 Agilbert. 67. 62. 202. 61.ii8f. 1 1-16. 155 f-> 158. 201. 53> 179 see vengeance boar-emblem. 17. 215. 69 ^Elfhere.. 126... 91 f. 113. 215. f. 234 Alfred Jewel. 30. King of Wessex.. et passim. Athelstan man ^thilwulf.. 107 f. 205. 38. 204. 55. benedictional of. 192. 55. no. 233 f. 230 130 f. 43. 217. 215. 198 Half-King. 125 Benedict Biscop.. King.. 90-2. Archbishop. 145. 93 !<>2 jEthelwulf. Archbishop. 64. 192-8. 239 f. 76.. domestic. King of Mercia. 12. 88 f. St. King of Wessex. 139. 113 Bayeux tapestry.231 Aldfrith. Northumbrian poet. 107. 94. ^Ethelflaed. 189-95. 14.. 31. 17. of Canterbury. St. 226 St. 46 f. 89. 199. 203. 108. -dElfheah. 219 Beorhtwulf. 31. of. 213 f. 215. 191.. tomb 211-13. 253 assessment. Benedictine Rule. 13. 98-104 Aidan. 202. 227 f. church. Boniface. 66. 170 f.48 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. King of Mercia. 66. 77 Beowulf. St. 146. 72. apocryphal literature. IO 9> I 37> Hfe of> see Asser.202. 215 ^Elfgar. 98. Bewcastle cross. 241 Alhred King of Northumbria.. 215 et passim. 233 f. 21 amusements. . Ealdor78 Athelwold. translation of. 27. 225. Andes.. 178 f.. Earl. 171 f.SELECT INDEX Abbo of Fleury. 160. Bishop. 175 Aldwulf. translation of. 68. 149. 20 1 f. 25. 215-17. 217-22 bookland. 60. 190. 192. 125. 185. 170. Bedwyn. 160. bear-baiting. 200 passim -dEthelbald. 91. 66 f..

89. life of.53. Archbishop. passim. reconquest of. 15. 187 Danish boroughs. 192. ^Elfheah. Berhtwald. PlcgTatwine. 45. 163 Britons. 206-9 Cambridge. upbringing of. see 232. Siric. 132. 46. 143 borough-moot. 32. St. 121 128 f. Dunstan. 8. churl. 7. 174. 237-9 coronation.. : f Csedmon. 52. laws of. 80. 158. 190. 161. King of Mercia. 1 73 Cenwealh. 34 f. a * 155. 64 f. King of Mercia. influence of. 137. 182. 234. 194. 155-88. 169 f. 55. 101 f. 17 f. 173 Celtic art. *73> 205 chancery. 137. 93. 58.. 79. 127.. 185 Byrhtferth of Ramsey. 55> 99. archbishops of. 186. SELECT INDEX 179. 98. 166. 119. lives of. 16. 92. bridge-repair. 165-8 Clofeshoy 219 f. 139 boroughs. income of. 199-201. 179 Cuthbert. 230.. 122 f. 134. 155. Chelsea. 234. 232 f. etc. St. 7. see Five King of Northumbria. f. Chester-le-Street. 109. 241 238^-40 Carolingian revival.. 1 6. 202. 218 Danes. poems of. St Martin's Crediton. Augustine. et passim 89-91 Bristol. 58 Charles the Great. 200. 231. 38. 232 Cynewulf. 76. council of. 146. 143. 145.. 75 f. 46. 147 60 f. 36 38. 136. 201. 119. 22 f. 194. 176.200. 25 f. 73. King of Wessex. Bishop of Dunwich. 113 cotsetlan. 225 f. 198 Ceolwulf. 125-33 Bretwalda. Deusdedit. 210 Danegeld.. 56. 155 Burghal Hidage. 93. 175. King of Wessex. 181-3.204. 107 HI. 24 f.. Benedict Biscop. 59. Ealdorman. treaties with. 184 Cuthbert.215 charms. 92. King of Mercia.. 202.. 15. 48 f. 31. 112. 60. 108. etc. King. 159 Ceolfrith. 49. 126 Burgred. I79 I93 196. conversion of. 147. British 128 f. 112. Theo- dore. 70 Danelaw.. 76. Durham. 192.115 Cynewulf. 98. 134. 33. 60. 173 Burton-on-Trent. Boroughs . 175. 199 203. 180. 147 Canterbury. 70. 215* 23i> 235 196.183. 234. 79 f. 123. 238 Cenred. 54 f. 107. 167. stole of. 24 Carolingian influence. 71. sec also mint 158 compensations. no. 242. cattle-stealing.88. legal position of. St Pancras at. !93 Ccolred.. King of Wcsscx. 143-5. 37.. 24. 223. 107 coinage.. Laure^tius. 113. 94 Christianity: conversion to. 187 cock-fighting. 165 Cnut.. 142 f.. 235-7 bootless crimes. 191 f. Cuthwine. et 150. 21-3. 192. 85 Brihtnoth. 155. 234. 95. 117.. mund. 31. 1 12 Chester. 86. import of. bull-baiting. 240. 169.. 41-4. 153 f-> 165-7. 44. 194 f. 183. Columba. 242. Abbot. private ownership of.. 83-6 synod of. 58. 76 f. Hadrian. 68. 131. } 231 . 236 Church.. 124. 234. 119. see also wergild continental influence. 192 f. Staffs. 19. Oda.234 children. also Abbots. production of.. 50. 47. 84. 225. 87. 56.180.. 155-64.250 books: export of. 120. 148 Ceadwalla. church. 200. 120. Cuthbert. Honorius. 33. 242. St Augustine's at.

146 f. 143 f. Deusdedit. 51. 50. 24. 129. 194. 182-4 into. 1 Ethelbert. 98. 151. 91. 18. 237. 9 f. 98 . 189 dicing. Queen. King of Northumbria. 112. 150 167. 105 famine. 137. 100. *5* Exeter. 72. 76 f. 199 Felix's Life ofSt Guihlac. 118. 33. 99. : lives of. 192. 202 89 239 f. St. 34. 69 ealdorman. 183 dogs. 116. 84. 95. King of East Anglia. 113. 172.. 80 f. et passim the Elder. 118 fines. 120. S5I I. 103. 58. 68 f. 104. 131. passim. 43. 181 . et passim.214 Ethelred the Unready.. et Danish settlement. 181.. 21 Ecgfrith. 150. 37 72 f. Queen. 180. 52 f. 159. Kings of. 86. 143. wald. Archbishop of York. 53.. 52. 80 f. 237 Eardwulf. etc. 146 f. 131 f. 121 Eadberht. Kings of.. 132. cult of. 198 Felix. laws of. et passim. 76. 230. 53. King. 56. 67. dioceses. 117. 77... 54. 150 Eadberht. 69. 181. laws of. 200. 73. Five Boroughs. 144 f-. 31-3. 122 Edward the Martyr. Suffolk. 34 84 f. King of Kent. n r ft 51 f. 155 f. King. 136 five-hides unit. King of East 59.^77 Easby cross. King of Northumbria. King of Kent. Edmund 1 80. 22. 121.SELECT INDEX Danish invasions. Dialogue of. 152. 77. 1602.165 Edith. 141. division 1 80. exile. Emma.. 134. 49. 55 Edward the Confessor. 236 Eorpwald. Rsed- Easter. 75. penalty for. 32. 1 13. 118 Edwin. 82. King of Mercia. 92. Norfolk. King of Kent.. name of. 215 fertility cults. - on - Thames. *75 60. life of. 48 passim f. King of Northumbria. 139. 1 94 death-penalty.. especially. Aldwulf. King. 67. 156. 126. 231 Eadred. 129. 148-51. laws of. 75. St. 62. Sigeberht Ethelbert. 65. 43. Bishop. 112. 150. Dunwich.. I5 1 * J 66 fisheries. 232 Durham. 194. 65. King of Kent. 95 f. 164. King. 109. 43 f. 109. 157 Essex. 240 160. 8. 70. 170. 137.. 196. 8. 64. et passim. 172 Dunstan. 59. 149. 55. 56 f. Prankish secretary... 181 Ely. 44. 46. Guthrum.. 120. 186 Edward 52. 567o 170 19-21 Eddius's Life of Wilfrid. 70. Offa. earl. et passim Dorchester 180-2 dress. 158. 240 196 Eadbald. King of Northumbria. 67. 176. 51. King. 101. King. 65 f. 231 Daniel. 59.. 36. 80. fighting. 162. 164 f. 74. 55 Edmund II. 43 Egbert... King of Northumbria. 84. 161-4. calculation of. Archbishop. Eorpwald. Sigeberht Edmund. 42. 8. 51. King. 192. 7782 Ealdred. voluntary. Archbishop. laws of. 90. 173 Ethelred. divorce. King. 173 f. 189 Felix. 122.. 197. 215 Edgar.. 92 Domesday Book. Anglia. Falconers. 54 Edwin. 32-4. et passim. 35. 164. 83. 24.145 Edmund. 158. 34. 185. 203. Earl. 166 Ethelred. 127. 104. f. 162 Elmham. H6. 231 East Anglia. laws of. 157-9 Egbert. Archbishop.

I79 140 f. 51 70. Guthrum. Hertford. TOO. 167 Honorius. 91. 192. heriot. illuminated MSS. Archbishop. 226. 240 Godwine... 64. 236 . 71. see town-houses hawking. 88 Harold Fairhaired of Norway 62 Harthacnut. 176 Golden Gospels of Stockholm 232 goldsmiths. 84* 2. Hexham. 52.. 119. 185. 16. Abbot. 154 folk-moot. 66. 139 foreign craftsmen. i37f.SELECT INDEX Fleury-sur-Loire. 56. 105. Cnut's son. 138 156 f. Ig 8 f. 162. i6 iron industry. 91 f. 117. I29 ' hostages. 162. 180.. 35 f. 69 Gebur. King. 92 hospitality. 73 hundred. 215.203-5. 6 L 5. 234. ivories. 234. forcible entry into houses. 169. 54.. 105 Hwaetberht. 65 f. 231 Jellinge style. 89 f. harbouring of outlaws. Ine. 49 88. 57 f. gesith. 58-63. 16. 64. 208 Greek. 91. 70. King. Dialogues of. 123 house-carls. 68. 201. 19-28. geneat. ' ^8 50.. 83 94 gilds. 46.234 foreigners: harbouring of.227. 76. 170.. in. 123 f. 46. 26... 66. "' 172. 159 Jarrow. 29. 238. 97 f 75 jox-huntmg. 122. 154 fortress building. 79 f. life of. 98. 65. in. nun of Heidenheim 197 175 Glastonbury. 225 foreign scholars. 170. 236 folkland. 80. 225 f"* 230. 50 139 f. 50. St. 22 Guthlac. Hygeburh. 182 . 114. 116 f. 85 215. 228. 166.. Earl. 232.. 62. 219 inheritance. 208.. 105 f. 114 foreign masons. 73. 242 Grim's Ditches. 184 f. 84. Deacon. 71. foreign visitors. X 97> 203. 177. 236. 99 huntsmen. 48. 200. Hadrian. 240 hide. 23 heathen burial customs. Abbot. Kins. 24. 229. 102 geburland. 132. 2-u . etc. 164. 69 haw. 81 f. 159. Frisian merchants. 24. 122 J ames 162. ?3*-? 23 1 t. 220. 66 forfeiture. 208 hearg. 201 f. 190 f. 158-62. 231 furniture. 190 f. poem on. 172 Frankish influence. f. 223. 223. 62. 34. Earl. 210 151. 192. Icanho. 149. 62. 32. 91. 85.. 193. 91. 14 Irish Church. 161. 225. inheritance after. 149. .. 169 f. *d * Harold. 120. 162 f. 143. 157. 180. St. life of. 172. 84. 51. Frisians. 64. King of Wesscx. 241 . 80. 2257 *42J export of. of. Pastoral Care of. 237 the . import of. 103. 152. 25. 231. 145. 158 horse-racing. 215. 232. 191.. 13 if. 98. 193 137-9. xoo. 167 hunting. J* ' incest. XI 6. 98 f. Harold. 69..222 Gregory the Great. 81. 170. 60. 98 102 f.187.. 205 heathen religion. 181. duty of. 87. 194. 152 Fursey. 131. 190. 60. duties . synod of. 97 87. 36.. 64.

127. 65.. of Mellitus. 86. 215 Mellitus. Aidan. 91. Eadberht. 61. 225. kindred. 80. et passim. 177-80. 180. 182. . 150 law. poem on 87. to Scandinavia. Kings of. 62. 37~47> 94> JI1 f-> X 45> *49-53> 1. 60 Kent. Geolred. 129. ^Elfhere. 150 f. 190. Lincoln. 169 f. 107. private ownership of.73 f .. bishops morning-gift. 60 Louis. 15. services on. 169. 129-31. etc. 68. 161. 15. 200. 184 f. clergy. 144. 157. Wulfhere. 226 Morcar. moneyers. 178. I43-53. gospels of. ealdormen of. 169-73. laws of. law of. see reeves king's writ. 129 missions: to the continent. Ethelred. 65. 199. 153 f. 234. 171 f. 1 12-14 maritime guard. 224 jewellery. 145. 192. 217. 243 monasteries. 170. 42. 19 Lothian. 171 Maldon. 59-61. 8. 56. councils at. 121. 105. 153 f. 86. 113. 94 f. 232 f. spurious . 172. land. 85 of. 165 f. St.. English see in. private.. 13 f. Egbert. 182. Ethelbert. 197. Penda. 139. 62. manumission. money.. 164.. 146 of. king's priests. bishops of. 178-81. 21 8. 164 minsters. grants 30. 55.. 45. 201-3. 58. 179.. 53. 139.. Bishop..SELECT INDEX 118. 100. 160 m f. St Pauls at. 186 king's farm. 149. 181 164. 97 of. 117 Leofeyth. 162. 209.. 187 f..227. 154 king's peace. 119. 145. 158. X 455 districts of. lease of. 204 f. Jilfgar.. Leofric. Earl. double . 164. 194. 82. 183. 173. 136. 34. 219 Laurentius. 232. 124 f. set also traders Mercia. 49. 34 f. . 82. 136. Q09 1 mints. 8. etc. Mercian Register. 56. 200 Lichfield. f. 122. 76. 198 Leofric. 50. 95 John of Beverley. 145 Jutes. 186 Mayo. Edwin. 168 marriage. St. 136 knights' gild. John the Old Saxon. 12. 192. 87 36. 51 f. Guthbert. Magonsate. 136. Emperor. 171. Theodred. 313 battle of.. 2 1. 9. . Archbishop. Kings of. Middle Angles. 83. 152 . 168. Wihtred. 94. 193. jEthelbald. 54-6. 8. 64. Beorhtwulf. libraries. 8 f. 184 f. 80 191-3. Lindisfarne. OflEa. 145. St. 13.. purchasing power 96. 231 f. 147 lead-mining. king. 137 lawmen. Eadbald.. Genred. 171. et passim. life of. 157. 184.. 221. London.. 197. 147. 173. courts of. 243.242 Lindsey. Irish . 107. 187. King of Scotland. promulgation of. deposition of. 53-5 king's council. 59. 78. 63.. reform of. 54. 156 merchants. held by title-deed. Kenneth. 72 jurisdiction. 157* 165. bridge at. 139. i if. 198 Lul. 132 Monkwearmouth. et passim. 230-2. 8 f. 85. 137-9. Burgred. 170. 131 Last. Earl. 65 king's reeve. 239 minstrelry. 219. 81 f.. 43. 235. 161 . 92 Latin scholarship. 253 of. election ...

129. 76. Oswald. appeal to. income of. Oswulf Norwich. 33..163. King of East Anglia. nature in. 175. 50. 81. King of Northumbria. Waltheof. Oswiu. 141 . 194. 18.. 80. see also king's . 137. 123. overlordship. 48 dyke of. 80-2. 125. 102 185. 148 oatfc. of. harbouring of. 100 f. etc. Earls of. 31.. 185. 213. 177.rvugjcs. St. 63 ordeal. 141 f. 51. 132. vernacular 214-22 140 5. MSS. 127. 140 f. 75 Oftfor. et passim. 41. usages 159- Parish churches. 238 Rochester. 231 Edwin. 17. breach of. Oswiu. Archbishop.. f. Oath-helpers. 73. 163. 241 3i. 187 Church. 126.. 48 f. 225 f. 17 f. 158 f. 228 156. 232 reeves. 96. 123.113. Oswald. 81 f. 218. 149 outlaws. . 44. 201.. 62. Eadberht. 160. 120. King of Mercia. 225-32.. prose. 13.173 Oswulf.61^. 156 radcniht.L. I59> 163 oxen. 41. 141. 163 Pehtred. voyage of. 86. 162. 210 f! pound. 52. 46. Uhtred.' missionaries from. Kings of. 59.. 75. 13. 6.68. 46. 234 prison. 143. 7 f. 46. 59.jLug vt. 50. Morcar. influence. 77. 239 1 Oswald. Bishop.. 155 f. 191. 27. preliminary . 169. 13. f. Queen. protection. 82.. 162. 17. 59. 193^. 162. Offa. 67 Raedwald. 51. uuc . 46. 84. and metre precious objects. 236. . 159 Reculver. 157. 52. 176 penny. 103. 173 King of Mercia. f. Alhred. 'School' English at. 120 perjury. 66. sheriff riddles. f... 140 /.. price of. 112 f.. Aldfrith. King of Northumbria. Northumbria. 120 173 9. 59-6!. 84. 147 Orosius. 69. *9o. Ecgfrith. 147-9. 198. Offa. *73 * *76 f. King of Northumbria.j 197. 9.189.210 ^58. townreeve. 142 f. 84. 159 .145. 68. Roman 62 Oxford. 214 penal slavery. * of. 230 pilgrimage. 215-17 etc. King of the Franks. 145 murder. value of the. Ceolwulf. i 34i 153. in shillings. 121. 215 ploughland. King of Essex. 201.. Ethelred. 156. 184 230.239 in. 33. 230 Pippin. 170. 165. 205 206-8. 143 f. 159. 33 outlawry. 33. 140. 228 Rome. 108 Ringerike style. 140 Plegmund. 231. 64. 53.. Aldred. 9.. diction 12. 164-7 Paulinus. Peterborough. 55. 49) 61. u 8. 99. export of. import of.. expressed in hides. 128-30. Rhmeland. Eardwulf. see also 178.. Archbishop.1^ f. 145. 24. pilgrimage . 121. i 8 aristocratic interest in. 97 poetry. 75. 132 v**<. 41. SELECT INDEX Penda. et passim. etc. 36.194 11-19. Roman Britain.254 mutilation. p^sim. life of. book by. 201 Ramsey Abbey. 126. 84. of. 129 f. 174 Ohthere. Roman 144 241.

1 75 slaves. f. 140. price of. 65. 143 treasure-giving. King of Essex. 124. 81 f. 36-43. 17. 255 f. 236 I44' i slave-trade. 241 Swein Forkbeard^ King. 30. 83 f. 9. 68 123. 164 sheriff. 93 treasury. 1 f. see 69-72. 40. 117 Strconwald. 49. 127-9 town-reeve. 8. 43.. 26 schools. poetry of. 120-a shipwreck. 81. see also boroughs trade. 18. 82. 31-3. 153 tolls. 38. 25 27. f. 77.. 42 Siric. 128 traders. Ruthwell 210. 119-21. 64.. 136. f. 82. 75. gild of. 241 Selsey. 53. 150 f. 135. 33. in. 229. Old or Continental. 66 Archbishop. 1 1 1. 150 *5 7 Vengeance. 177-9. 13. 67. 187 Tacitus. 50. Uhtred. eta 331 royal estates. 51.. 8 1 f. 135. 190-*. thanes. 121. inf. towns. 81. 36 f. 108-14. 29-31. 12. 148. 165 royal officials. 146. 169.. King of East Anglia. 196-8. 145. 215. 89 Ulfcytel of East Anglia. I4I-9. 19 cross.. in 196. 42. 148. 233> 237 f-. 120 f.. 164 sheep. 57 Scandinavian religion.. 4. 1 15. Sunday observance. 85 f. 81 f. 151. *73> J 89 Sigeberht.. 44. Earl. 223 Tatwine. 147 stepmother. 125.Earl. 20. 7 f. 200-2 sculpture.. 100. 19. 116. 118-55. 7. 63. 41. 49. 106 shilling. 230 Utrecht Psalter. 68 121. 198 f. 122. 117 soulscot. 223. 139. three public charges. 122. et passim vouching to warranty. 69. 99. the. 119-21 smiths. Stamford. 227 46 f. twelve leading thanes.. 63. 205 Vespasian Psalter. 37. runes. tithing. 124. Salt. Archbishop. 228 34. *92. title-deeds. 88. 48. 204 tapestry. sheriff Suttpn Hoo. 82. 58. 22 f. 85. 125.. 115 f. 236 town-houses.. 97 ships. 228-30. 77-82.. value of. 4. Theodore. Scandinavian law.. 80. 20-3. 107. 108. 137-9 Sigeberht. Sussex.. 147 Scandinavian literature. 62.. marriage with. penitential of. 236-5 sculptured crosses. earl. 22 51. f. 162167. 43. 152 212 Scandinavian influence. merchants 78-80 shire-moot. 60. see also ealdonnan. 175. 146 Sher borne. 193 f. 209. Saxons. 35 f. 101 96 f. ?B Saxons. reeve. 149 f. illuminator. 237 f. 181 f. 196 Theodred. shire. 108.. ** passim. 108. 180-91... 1 06. 175 115-26. J 9. Archbishop. 232 Viking raids. 9. 35 Ultan. 44. 94. 45~7 51. 67. 164. Bishop. 81 also f. 233 f. 146 stone-quarrying. f. f... 166 f. 29 f. Dorset. 80 f. Tostig. 175. 11-13. . 106. 236 Rothbury cross.SELECT INDEX Romsey rood.. 1 64. 64 tithe. 46 131- theft. 57. 35 sulungs.. treachery to a lord. 88 f. 125-33. 96. 86.77.

Spott. St. Oswald. 75. 185 Wulfrun. 156 Wilfrid. 143. 171.. Daniel. 220. 'Welsh expedition'. (Arch) bishops of. St. Ealdred. 45. St. 194. 122. 229 Willibald. 65 weoh.. 180 William of Malmcsbury. 117. 31 f. Oswald. 32. 106. 192. 163. 173. Paul- inus.. 224 Welsh. 139. 45. 241. St. position of. 143 witnesses. 108. etc. 49 f. 178. 164. 171. 81. 151 Wessex. 45 Wansdyke. Newminster (Hyde at. 112. King of Kent. St. Oftfor. 23 236 f. 169 f. traveller to the Baltic. hamptonj 241 Wulfsige. bishops of. 82. Bishop of Worcester. 80. 108. 234. 65. Wulfstan . 122. 197. Old Minster at. Werferth. 202 Wulfstan. Kings of.. 23. Egbert. 49 Wulfric. 55. 114. 242... St. 229. Cen- 150-3 wool. 39-47. 19*9 225 f. 169. 97 f. Bishop of Sherborne. Bishop. ^Ethelwulf.. Earl. of.. Synod at. 8 f. J ohn. 90. occupations of. 93 f. 107. 128 'Winchester School' of art. 87. 150-2 Wihtred. Life of. Winchester. ^Ethelbald. 86. 18. 22 wapentake. of. Ine Whitby. etc. 173. 21. 129. Life 197 228 Willibrord. Ethelbert. 96. 160 Whithorn. 121 Worcester.256 Waltheof. translated by. 239 Wulfstan. precentor.. 184. Alfred. Life of. Life of. 106. 41. 67. 83-6. 220 wergild. 8. 15. 59> *23 120. et passim. 190. 206. 215 f. 143. 93-5. Abbey) weapon-smith. Dialogues Gregory's 252 . 50 f. 180 SELECT INDEX Swithin. t Winton Domesday 132 witchcraft. Werferth.. Athelwold. 107. 75. Cynewulf. 112. 159. 196 f. 177. 52 et passim. Archbishop of York. 137. 198. Wilfrid. 3 8 > 53> 99 etc Wulfstan. 69. Life of. 147 Watling Street. 177. Calendar of. 1 86 - laws Wulfstan. n8f. 134. 180 widows. 175.. 194.. York.. etc. 90. 200 Willehad. foundress of Wolver- wealh. Latin poem on. 201. 24. King of Mercia. 146 women: education of. bishops of. Wulfstan Wulf here. Wynnebald. Galloway. Ceadwalla. 192.

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