The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

The following is from the sections of the Chronicle relevant to Scotland:

Introduction

The island Britain (1) is 800 miles long, and 200 miles broad. And there are in the island five nations; English, Welsh (or British) (2), Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia (3), and first peopled Britain southward. Then happened it, that the Picts came south from Scythia, with long ships, not many; and, landing first in the northern part of Ireland, they told the Scots that they must dwell there. But they would not give them leave; for the Scots told them that they could not all dwell there together; "But," said the Scots, "we can nevertheless give you advice. We know another island here to the east. There you may dwell, if you will; and whosoever withstandeth you, we will assist you, that you may gain it." Then went the Picts and entered this land northward. Southward the Britons possessed it, as we before said. And the Picts obtained wives of the Scots, on condition that they chose their kings always on the female side (4); which they have continued to do, so long since. And it happened, in the run of years, that some party of Scots went from Ireland into Britain, and acquired some portion of this land. Their leader was called Reoda (5), from whom they are named Dalreodi (or Dalreathians).

Sixty winters ere that Christ was born, Caius Julius, emperor of the Romans, with eighty ships sought Britain. There he was first beaten in a dreadful fight, and lost a great part of his army. Then he let his army abide with the Scots (6), and went south into Gaul. There he gathered six hundred ships, with which he went back into Britain. When they first rushed together, Caesar's tribune, whose name was Labienus (7), was slain. Then took the Welsh sharp piles, and drove them with great clubs into the water, at a certain ford of the river called Thames. When the Romans found that, they would not go over the ford. Then fled the Britons to the fastnesses of the woods; and Caesar, having after much fighting gained many of the chief towns, went back into Gaul (8).

A.D. 46. This year Claudius, the second of the Roman emperors who invaded Britain, took the greater part of the island into his power, and added the Orkneys to rite dominion of the Romans. This was in the fourth year of his reign. After Claudius, Nero succeeded to the empire, who almost lost the island Britain through his incapacity.

A.D. 116. This year Hadrian the Caesar began to reign.

A.D. 145. This year Marcus Antoninus and Aurelius his brother succeeded to the empire.

A.D. 189. This year Severus came to the empire; and went with his army into Britain, and subdued in battle a great part of the island. Then wrought he a mound of turf, with a broad wall thereupon, from sea to sea, for the defence of the Britons. He reigned seventeen years; and then ended his days at York.

A.D. 199. In this year was found the holy rood. (13)

A.D. 418. This year the Romans collected all the hoards of gold (14) that were in Britain; and some they hid in the earth, so that no man afterwards might find them, and some they carried away with them into Gaul.

A.D. 429. This year Bishop Palladius was sent from Pope Celesrinus to the Scots, that he might establish their faith.

A.D. 430. This year Patricius was sent from Pope Celestinus to preach baptism to the Scots.

A.D. 435. This year the Goths sacked the city of Rome; and never since have the Romans reigned in Britain. This was about eleven hundred and ten winters after it was built. They reigned altogether in Britain four hundred and seventy winters since Gaius Julius first sought that land.

A.D. 443. This year sent the Britons over sea to Rome, and begged assistance against the Picts; but they had none, for the Romans were at war with Atila, king of the Huns. Then sent they to the Angles, and requested the same from the nobles of that nation.

A.D. 449. This year Marcian and Valentinian assumed the empire, and reigned seven winters. In their days Hengest and Horsa, invited by Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance, landed in Britain in a place that is called Ipwinesfleet; first of all to support the Britons, but they afterwards fought against them. The king directed them to fight against the Picts; and they did so; and obtained the victory wheresoever they came. They then sent to the Angles, and desired them to send more assistance. They described the worthlessness of the Britons, and the richness of the land. They then sent them greater support. Then came the men from three powers of Germany; the Old Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes. From Anglia, which has ever since remained waste between the Jutes and the Saxons, came the East Angles, the Middle Angles, the Mercians, and all of those north of the Humber.

A.D. 560. Columba, the mass-priest, came to the Picts, and converted them to the belief of Christ. They are the dwellers by the northern moors. And their king gave him the island of Hii, consisting of five hides, as they say, where Columba built a monastary. There he was abbot two and thirty winters; and there he died, when he was seventy-seven years old. The place his successors yet have. The Southern Picts were long before baptized by Bishop Ninnia, who was taught at Rome. His church or monastery is at Hwiterne, hallowed in the name of St. Martin, where he resteth with many holy men. Now, therefore, shall there be ever in Hii an abbot, and no bishop; and to him shall be subject all the bishops of the Scots; because Columba was an abbot--no bishop.

A.D. 597. This year began Ceolwulf to reign over the West-Saxons; and he constantly fought and conquered, either with the Angles, or the Welsh, or the Picts, or the Scots.

A.D. 603. This year Aeden, king of the Scots, fought with the Dalreathians, and with Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, at Theakstone; where he lost almost all his army. Theobald also, brother of Ethelfrith, with his whole armament, was slain. None of the Scottish kings durst afterwards bring an army against this nation. Hering, the son of Hussa, led the army thither.

A.D. 681. This year Trumbert was consecrated Bishop of Hexham, and Trumwin bishop of the Picts; for they were at that time subject to this country.

A.D. 684. This year Everth sent an army against the Scots, under the command of his alderman, Bright, who lamentably plundered and burned the churches of God.

A.D. 699. This year the Picts slew Alderman Burt.

A.D. 710. This year… Alderman Bertfrith fought with the Picts between Heugh and Carau.

A.D. 875. This year went the army from Repton; and Healfden advanced with some of the army against the Northumbrians, and fixed his winter-quarters by the river Tine. The army then subdued that land, and oft invaded the Picts and the Strathclydwallians.

A.D. 891. This year… three Scots came to King Alfred in a boat without any oars from Ireland; whence they stole away, because they would live in a state of pilgrimage, for the love of God, they recked not where. The boat in which they came was made of two hides and a half; and they took with them provisions for seven nights; and within seven nights they came to land in Cornwall, and soon after went to King Alfred. They were thus named: Dubslane, and Macbeth, and Maelinmun. And Swinney, the best teacher that was among the Scots, departed this life.

A.D. 903. This year died… Virgilius abbot of the Scots.

A.D. 924. This year… the King of Scotland, with all his people, chose him [King Edward] as father and lord; as did Reynold, and the son of Eadulf, and all that dwell in Northumbria, both English and Danish, both Northmen and others; also the king of the Strathclydwallians, and all his people.

A.D. 926. This year… King Athelstan took to the kingdom of Northumbria, and governed all the kings that were in this island:--First, Howel, King of West-Wales; and Constantine, King of the Scots; and Owen, King of Monmouth; and Aldred, the son of Eadulf, of Bamburgh. And with covenants and oaths they ratified their agreement in the place called Emmet, on the fourth day before the ides of July; and renounced all idolatry, and afterwards returned in peace.

A.D. 934. This year went King Athelstan into Scotland, both with a land-force and a naval armament, and laid waste a great part of it.

A.D. 938. Here

Athelstan king,
of earls the lord,
rewarder of heroes,
and his brother eke,
Edmund atheling,
elder of ancient race,
slew in the fight,
with the edge of their swords,
the foe at Brumby!
The sons of Edward
their board-walls clove,
and hewed their banners,
with the wrecks of their hammers.
So were they taught
by kindred zeal,
that they at camp oft
'gainst any robber
their land should defend,
their hoards and homes.
Pursuing fell
the Scottish clans;
the men of the fleet
in numbers fell;
'midst the din of the field
the warrior swate.
Since the sun was up
in morning-tide,
gigantic light!
glad over grounds,
God's candle bright,
eternal Lord!--
'till the noble creature
sat in the western main:
there lay many
of the Northern heroes
under a shower of arrows,
shot over shields;
and Scotland's boast,
a Scythian race,
the mighty seed of Mars!
With chosen troops,
throughout the day,
the West-Saxons fierce
press'd on the loathed bands;
hew'd down the fugitives,
and scatter'd the rear,
with strong mill-sharpen'd blades,
The Mercians too
the hard hand-play
spared not to any
of those that with Anlaf
over the briny deep
in the ship's bosom
sought this land
for the hardy fight.
Five kings lay
on the field of battle,
in bloom of youth,
pierced with swords.
So seven eke
of the earls of Anlaf;
and of the ship's-crew
unnumber'd crowds.
There was dispersed
the little band
of hardy Scots,
the dread of northern hordes;
urged to the noisy deep
by unrelenting fate!
The king of the fleet
with his slender craft
escaped with his life
on the felon flood;--
and so too Constantine,
the valiant chief,
returned to the north
in hasty flight.
The hoary Hildrinc
cared not to boast
among his kindred.
Here was his remnant
of relations and friends
slain with the sword
in the crowded fight.
His son too he left
on the field of battle,
mangled with wounds,
young at the fight.
The fair-hair'd youth
had no reason to boast
of the slaughtering strife.
Nor old Inwood
and Anlaf the more
with the wrecks of their army
could laugh and say,
that they on the field
of stern command
better workmen were,
in the conflict of banners,
the clash of spears,
the meeting of heroes,
and the rustling of weapons,
which they on the field
of slaughter played
with the sons of Edward.
The northmen sail'd
in their nailed ships,
a dreary remnant,
on the roaring sea;
over deep water
Dublin they sought,
and Ireland's shores,
in great disgrace.
Such then the brothers
both together
king and atheling,
sought their country,
West-Saxon land,
in right triumphant.
They left behind them
raw to devour,
the sallow kite,
the swarthy raven
with horny nib,
and the hoarse vultur,
with the eagle swift
to consume his prey;
the greedy gos-hawk,
and that grey beast
the wolf of the weald.
No slaughter yet
was greater made
e'er in this island,
of people slain,
before this same,
with the edge of the sword;
as the books inform us
of the old historians;
since hither came
from the eastern shores
the Angles and Saxons,
over the broad sea,
and Britain sought,--
fierce battle-smiths,
o'ercame the Welsh,
most valiant earls,
and gained the land.

A.D. 945. This year King Edmund overran all Cumberland; and let it all to Malcolm king of the Scots, on the condition that he became his ally, both by sea and land.

A.D. 946. This year King Edmund died… and then succeeded to the kingdom Edred Atheling his brother, who soon after reduced all the land of the Northumbrians to his dominion; and the Scots gave him oaths, that they would do all that he desired.

A.D. 1031. This year went King Knute to Rome; and the same year, as soon as he returned home, he went to Scotland; and Malcolm, king of the Scots, submitted to him, and became his man, with two other kings, Macbeth and Jehmar; but he held his allegiance a little while only.

A.D. 1054. This year went Earl Siward with a large army against Scotland, consisting both of marines and landforces; and engaging with the Scots, he put to flight the King Macbeth; slew all the best in the land; and led thence much spoil, such as no man before obtained. Many fell also on his side, both Danish and English; even his own son, Osborn, and his sister's son, Sihward: and many of his house-carls, and also of the king's, were there slain that day, which was that of the Seven Sleepers.

A.D. 1066. This year came King Harold... he went to Scotland with twelve smacks; and the king of the Scots entertained him, and aided him with provisions; and he abode there all the summer. There met him Harold, King of Norway, with three hundred ships. And Tosty submitted to him, and became his man. (87)

A.D. 1067. This summer the child Edgar departed, with his mother Agatha, and his two sisters, Margaret and Christina, and Merle-Sweyne, and many good men with them; and came to Scotland under the protection of King Malcolm, who entertained them all. Then began King Malcolm to yearn after the child's sister, Margaret, to wife; but he and all his men long refused; and she also herself was averse, and said that she would neither have him nor any one else, if the Supreme Power would grant, that she in her maidenhood might please the mighty Lord with a carnal heart, in this short life, in pure continence. The king, however, earnestly urged her brother, until he answered Yea. And indeed he durst not otherwise; for they were come into his kingdom. So that then it was fulfilled, as God had long ere foreshowed; and else it could not be; as he himself saith in his gospel: that "not even a sparrow on the ground may fall, without his foreshowing.” The prescient Creator wist long before what he of her would have done; for that she should increase the glory of God in this land, lead the king aright from the path of error, bend him and his people together to a better way, and suppress the bad customs which the nation formerly followed: all which she afterwards did. The king therefore received her, though it was against her will, and was pleased with her manners, and thanked God, who in his might had given him such a match. He wisely bethought himself, as he was a prudent man, and turned himself to God, and renounced all impurity; accordingly, as the apostle Paul, the teacher of all the gentries, saith: "Salvabitur vir infidelis per mulierem fidelem; sic et mulier infidelis per virum fidelem," etc.: that is in our language, "Full oft the unbelieving husband is sanctified and healed through the believing wife, and so belike the wife through the believing husband.” This queen aforesaid performed afterwards many useful deeds in this land to the glory of God, and also in her royal estate she well conducted herself, as her nature was. Of a faithful and noble kin was she sprung. Her father was Edward Etheling, son of King Edmund. Edmund was the son of Ethelred; Ethelred the son of Edgar; Edgar the son of Edred; and so forth in that royal line: and her maternal kindred goeth to the Emperor Henry, who had the sovereignty over Rome. This Easter came the king to Winchester; and Easter was then on the tenth before the calends of April… Then it was told the king, that the people in the North had gathered themselves together, and would stand against him if he came. Whereupon he went to Nottingham, and wrought there a castle; and so advanced to York, and there wrought two castles; and the same at Lincoln, and everywhere in that quarter. Then Earl Gospatric and the best men went into Scotland.

A.D. 1068. … Edgar Etheling came with all the Northumbrians to York; and the townsmen made a treaty with him: but King William came from the South unawares on them with a large army, and put them to flight, and slew on the spot those who could not escape; which were many hundred men; and plundered the town. St. Peter's minster he made a profanation, and all other places also he despoiled and trampled upon; and the etheling went back again to Scotland.

A.D. 1072. This year King William led a naval force and a land force to Scotland, and beset that land on the sea-side with ships, whilst he led his land-force in at the Tweed; (96) but he found nothing there of any value. King Malcolm, however, came, and made peace with King William, and gave hostages, and became his man; whereupon the king returned home with all his force.

A.D. 1074. This year King William went over sea to Normandy; and child Edgar came from Flanders into Scotland on St. Grimbald's mass-day; where King Malcolm and his sister Margaret received him with much pomp. King Malcolm and his sister Margaret gave him and his men great presents, and many treasures; in skins ornamented with purple, in pelisses made of martin-skins, of grey-skins, and of ermine-skins, in palls, and in vessels of gold and silver; and conducted him and his crew with great pomp from his territory. But in their voyage evil befell them; for when they were out at sea, there came upon them such rough weather, and the stormy sea and the strong wind drove them so violently on the shore, that all their ships burst, and they also themselves came with difficulty to the land. Their treasure was nearly all lost, and some of his men also were taken by the French; but he himself and his best men returned again to Scotland, some roughly travelling on foot, and some miserably mounted. Then King Malcolm advised him to send to King William over sea, to request his friendship, which he did; and the king gave it him, and sent after him. Again, therefore, King Malcolm and his sister gave him and all his men numberless treasures, and again conducted him very magnificently from their territory.

A.D. 1079. This year came King Malcolm from Scotland into England, betwixt the two festivals of St. Mary, with a large army, which plundered Northumberland till it came to the Tine, and slew many hundreds of men, and carried home much coin, and treasure, and men in captivity.

A.D. 1087. King William… truly reigned over England; and by his capacity so thoroughly surveyed it, that there was not a hide of land in England that he wist not who had it, or what it was worth, and afterwards set it down in his book. (110) The land of the Britons was in his power; and he wrought castles therein; and ruled Anglesey withal. So also he subdued Scotland by his great strength.

A.D. 1091. In this year the King William… went, for the annoyance of his brother, out of England into Normandy. Whilst he was there, their reconciliation took place, on the condition, that the earl put into his hands Feschamp, and the earldom of Ou, and Cherbourg; and in addition to this, that the king's men should be secure in the castles that they had won against the will of the earl. And the king in return promised him those many [castles] that their father had formerly won, and also to reduce those that had revolted from the earl, also all that his father had there beyond, except those that he had then given the king, and that all those, that in England before for the earl had lost their land, should have it again by this treaty, and that the earl should have in England just so much as was specified in this agreement. And if the earl died without a son by lawful wedlock, the king should be heir of all Normandy; and by virtue of this same treaty, if the king died, the earl should be heir of all England. To this treaty swore twelve of the best men of the king's side, and twelve of the earl's, though it stood but a little while afterwards. In the midst of this treaty was Edgar Etheling deprived of the land that the earl had before permitted him to keep in hand; and he went out of Normandy to the king, his sister's husband, in Scotland, and to his sister. Whilst the King William was out of England, the King Malcolm of Scotland came hither into England, and overran a great deal of it, until the good men that governed this land sent an army against him and repulsed him. When the King William in Normandy heard this, then prepared he his departure, and came to England, and his brother, the Earl Robert, with him; and he soon issued an order to collect a force both naval and military; but the naval force, ere it could come to Scotland, perished almost miserably, a few days before St. Michael's mass. And the king and his brother proceeded with the land-force; but when the King Malcolm heard that they were resolved to seek him with an army, he went with his force out of Scotland into Lothaine in England, and there abode. When the King William came near with his army, then interceded between them Earl Robert, and Edgar Etheling, and so made the peace of the kings, that the King Malcolm came to our king, and did homage, (114) promising all such obedience as he formerly paid to his father; and that he confirmed with an oath. And the King William promised him in land and in all things whatever he formerly had under his father. In this settlement was also Edgar Etheling united with the king. And the kings then with much satisfaction departed…

A.D. 1093. In this year, during Lent, was the King William at Glocester so sick, that he was by all reported dead. And in his illness he made many good promises to lead his own life aright; to grant peace and protection to the churches of God, and never more again with fee to sell; to have none but righteous laws amongst his people. The archbishopric of Canterbury, that before remained in his own hand, he transferred to Anselm, who was before Abbot of Bec; to Robert his chancellor the bishopric of Lincoln; and to many minsters he gave land; but that he afterwards took away, when he was better, and annulled all the good laws that he promised us before. Then after this sent the King of Scotland, and demanded the fulfilment of the treaty that was promised him. And the King William cited him to Glocester, and sent him hostages to Scotland; and Edgar Etheling, afterwards, and the men returned, that brought him with great dignity to the king. But when he came to the king, he could not be considered worthy either of our king's speech, or of the conditions that were formerly promised him. For this reason therefore they parted with great dissatisfaction, and the King Malcolm returned to Scotland. And soon after he came home, he gathered his army, and came harrowing into England with more hostility than behoved him; and Robert, the Earl of Northumberland, surrounded him unawares with his men, and slew him. Morel of Barnborough slew him, who was the earl's steward, and a baptismal friend (115) of King Malcolm. With him was also slain Edward his son; who after him should have been king, if he had lived. When the good Queen Margaret heard this--her most beloved lord and son thus betrayed she was in her mind almost distracted to death. She with her priests went to church, and performed her rites, and prayed before God, that she might give up the ghost. And the Scots then chose (116) Dufenal [Donald III] to king, Malcolm's brother, and drove out all the English that formerly were with the King Malcolm. When Duncan, King Malcolm's son, heard all that had thus taken place (he was then in the King William's court, because his father had given him as a hostage to our king's father, and so he lived here afterwards), he came to the king, and did such fealty as the king required at his hands; and so with his permission went to Scotland, with all the support that he could get of English and French, and deprived his uncle Dufenal [Donald III] of the kingdom, and was received as king. But the Scots afterwards gathered some force together, and slew full nigh all his men; and he himself with a few made his escape. (117) Afterwards they were reconciled, on the condition that he never again brought into the land English or French.

A.D. 1094. This year… the Scots ensnared their king, Duncan, and slew him; and afterwards, the second time, took his uncle Dufenal [Donald III] to king, through whose instruction and advice he was betrayed to death.

A.D. 1097. In this year… soon after Michaelmas went Edgar Etheling with an army through the king's assistance into Scotland, and with hard fighting won that land, and drove out the King Dufnal; and his nephew Edgar, who was son of King Malcolm and of Margaret the queen, he there appointed king in fealty to the King William; and afterwards again returned to England.

A.D. 1100. In this year… was the King William shot in hunting, by an arrow from his own men, and afterwards brought to Winchester, and buried in the cathedral. (130) … after he was buried, the statesmen that were then nigh at hand, chose his brother Henry to king. And soon hereafter the king took him to wife Maud, daughter of Malcolm, King of Scotland, and of Margaret the good queen, the relative of King Edward, and of the right royal (132) race of England. And on Martinmas day she was publicly given to him with much pomp at Westminster, and the Archbishop Anselm wedded her to him, and afterwards consecrated her queen.

A.D. 1107. In this year… died the King Edgar in Scotland, on the ides of January, and Alexander his brother succeeded to the kingdom, as the King Henry granted him.

A.D. 1124. (This year) died the King Alexander of Scotland, on the ninth day before the calends of May. And David his brother, who was Earl of Northamptonshire, succeeded to the kingdom; and had both together, the kingdom of Scotland and the earldom in England.

A.D. 1126. All this year was the King Henry in Normandy--all till after harvest. Then came he to this land, betwixt the Nativity of St. Mary and Michaelmas... Then after Michaelmas came David, the king of the Scots, from Scotland to this land; and the King Henry received him with great worship; and he continued all that year in this land. In this year the king had his brother Robert taken from the Bishop Roger of Salisbury, and committed him to his son Robert, Earl of Glocester, and had him led to Bristol, and there put into the castle. That was all done through his daughter's counsel, and through David, the king of the Scots, her uncle.

A.D. 1127. This year held the King Henry his court at Christmas in Windsor. There was David the king of the Scots, and all the head men that were in England, learned and lewd. And there he engaged the archbishops, and bishops, and abbots, and earls, and all the thanes that were there, to swear England and Normandy after his day into the hands of his daughter Athelicia, who was formerly the wife of the Emperor of Saxony.

A.D. 1128. This same year came from Jerusalem Hugh of the Temple to the king (Henry) in Normandy; and the king received him with much honour, and gave him rich presents in gold and in silver. And afterwards he sent him into England; and there he was received by all good men, who all gave him presents, and in Scotland also: and by him they sent to Jerusalem much wealth withal in gold and in silver.

A.D. 1130. This year was Angus slain by the army of the Scots, and there was a great multitude slain with him. There was God's fight sought upon him, for that he was all forsworn.

A.D. 1135. In this year… was the king (Henry) dead… his nephew come to England, Stephen de Blois. He came to London, and the people of London received him, and sent after the Archbishop William Curboil, and hallowed him to king on midwinter day. In this king's time was all dissention, and evil, and rapine; for against him rose soon the rich men who were traitors; and first of all Baldwin de Redvers, who held Exeter against him. But the king beset it; and afterwards Baldwin accorded. Then took the others, and held their castles against him; and David, King of Scotland, took to Wessington against him. Nevertheless their messengers passed between them; and they came together, and were settled, but it availed little.

A.D. 1138. In this year came David, King of Scotland, with an immense army to this land. He was ambitious to win this land; but against him came William, Earl of Albemarle, to whom the king had committed York, and other borderers, with few men, and fought against them, and routed the king at the Standard, and slew very many of his gang.

Endnotes


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