« PreviousContinue »
T'EST SAXONS, continued.
KENTWIN, 672. Cenwal having left no children, was succeeded by his brother Kentwin, He overran Somersetshire and Cornwall, and died without issue, after a reign of thirteen years.
CEODWALLA, 685. Ceodwalla, a prince of the royal blood, succeeded Kentwin, and greatly enlarged his dominions by the entire reduction of Sussex and several successful inroads in Kent. In 688, being seized with remorse for the cruelties he had committed in his wars, he took a journey to Rome, where he dicd. He was succeeded by his cousin Ina, a prince of great merit.
INA, 689. Ina obtained a great victory over the King of Wales, and made, in 694, the conquest of Cornwall and Somersetshire, which lie annexed to his kingdom. He spent the last years of his reign in the beneficial works of peace; and at last retired with his queen to Rome, where he died in a monastery, after having left his crown to Ethelard, brother of his queen.
ETHEL ARD, 729. Ethelard having defeated Oswald, another prince of the royal blood, and a pretender to the crown, reigned in peace to his death.
CUTHRED, 741. Cuthred, the successor of Ethelard, obtained a great victory in 752 against Ethelbald, King of Mercia, and another over the Britons. His reign lasted only thirteen years.
SEGEBERT, 754. Segebert, a cousin to Cuthred, succeeded him; but was driven from his throne by his own subjects, and murdered.
CYNEWLF, 755. Cynewlf, a prince of the royal family, who liad headed the insurrection against Segebert, succeeded him. He was defeated by Offa, King of Mercia, in 775, and slain in 784 by Cyneheard, a pretender to his crown, as being a brother to Segebert; but he was himself murdered, and cut to pieces with all his followers, by the nobility and people of the country,
BRITHRIC, 784. Brithric, a prince of the royal family, succeeded Cynewlf, though Egbert, descended from Ingeld, brother to king Ina, had a preferable title. Brithric, conscious of it, endeavoured by various means to get Egbert into his hands, which obliged this prince to take shielter in the court of Charlemagne, from whence he was recalled in 800 by his nobility, after the death of Brithric, who having inadvertently tasted a liquor prepared by his queen to poison one of his favourites, died with him by the same means, and was succeeded by Egbert, who becamc the first monarch of the British nation,
EAST SAXONS, or ESSEX. CRIDA, 527.
ERKENWIN, 527. A band of Saxons invaded at that The territories which composed period the territories which formed this kingdom were chiefly dismemthis kingdom. Crida was the first bered from that of Kent. 'Erkenwin of their chieftains who assumed the was the first king of Essex; but the title of King of the Mercians, in the time when he began to reign, the acyear 585.
tions he performed, and the names of PENDA, 626.
his successors, are equally unknown. Penda, the grandson and successor In 676 that small kingdom was unof Crida, was one of the most bloody der the subjection of the Mercian tyrants that ever disgraced royalty. kings. He slew in battle three kings of the
East Angles. After having fought against the King of Wessex without v any decided success, he entered into an alliance with Cadwallon, prince of
Wales, invaded Northur:berland with him at the head of a powerful army, on the 12th of October 633, defeated and killed the king Edwin. A few years after he declared war against Oswald, who had succeeded Edwin; and on the 5th of August, 642, a decisive battle was fought between them, in which Oswald was defeated and slain. Three years after, he invaded the kingdom of Wessex, defeated the king in several battles, and obliged him to abandon his country. In 654 he invaded Essex, killed the king; Annas, and cut almost his whole army to pieces. In the following year he entered Northumberland at the head of a powerful army; but the Northumbrians, commanded by their king Oswi, obtained a complete victory, and killed Penda; Oswi got possession of the whole kingdom of Mercia, and voluntarily bestowed the southern part of it upon Peada, the eldest son of Penda, and his own son-in-law; but this young prince being slain soon after by treachery, Oswi'governed the kingdom of Mercia during three years by his lieutenants, who at that period were expelled by the nobles.
WULPHERE, 659. The same revolution which expelled the lieutenants of Oswi raised Wulphere, the second son of Penda, to the throne of Mercia. He lived in perfect peace with Oswi to the end of his reign, which lasted sixteen years.
ETHELRED, 675. This prince, the youngest son of Penda, having succeeded his brother, turned his arms against Egfred, king of Northumberland, and after a bloody battle, concluded a peace with him. Thenceforward he lived in perfect tranquillity and acts of devotion to the end of his reign. He descended the throne, and became a monk in the year 704.
CENRED, 704. This prince, who succeeded his cousin Ethelred, was seized soon after with the fashionable frenzy of those times. He went to Rome, in the fifth year of his reign, to embrace the monastic life.
CEOLRED, 709. Ceolred, the son of Ethelred, succeeded Cenred, and reigned seven years.
ETHELBALD, 716. This prince being next heir to the crown, succeeded Ceolred; and, after a reign of nearly forty years, was slain in battle.
OFFA, 755.. Beornred usurped the crown of Mercia, but was dethroned before the end of the year by a general insurrection headed by Offa, a brave young prince, who was raised to the throne by universal consent. He reduced the kingdom of Kent under his subjection in 774; defeated the King of Wessex in 775; and enlarged his dominions still further by an act of the most horrid treachery. His daughter being asked in marriage by the King of the East Angles, he accepted the proposals, and invited him to the court of Mercia. When he arrived there, he was basely murdered, and Offa annexed his dominions to his own. He died after a reign of thirty-niac years,
EGFRID, 994. Egfrid, who succeeded his father Offa, died in less than five months after him, and left his throne to Kenewlf, a prince of the royal family, who was the last king of Mercia; as after his death, ia 819, that kingdom became a accne of annual revolutions, which soon brought on its ruin. ·
IDA, 457. Though a colony of Saxons was settled in that part of Britain towards the middle of the fifth century, none of their chieftains had the presumption tassume the title of King until they received a powerful reinforcement from Germany, under the command of Ida, in 547, a prince of great wisdom and valour, who assumed the royalty, and founded the kingdom of Norihumberland, or rather of Bernicia, the most northerly of the Saxons. It included not only the present county of Northumberland, but those of the Merse and the three Lothians. In the mean time Ælla, another Saxon chieftain, having subdued all the country between the Humber and the Tyne, founded there another state, which was called the kingdom of Deira, and was soon after united to the former by the marriage of Acca, a daughter of Ælla, with Ethelfrid, the grandson of Ida, who, having expelicd her brother Edwin, added his territories to his own, and thereby founded the powerful kingdom of Northumberland at the death of his father-in-law.
ETHELFRID, 590. Ethelfrid succeeded his father Athelric, son of Ida, in the kingdom of Bernicia, and thus united the two Northumbrian kingdoms into one. He engaged in a long war against the neighbouring British princes.
EDWIN, 617. Prince Edwin, assisted by the king of the East Angles, obtained a complete victory over Ethelfrid, who being slain in the battle, left to the conqueror the peaceable possession of the whole kingdom of Northumberland. In 633, Penda, king of Mercia, invaded Northumberland; and after a furious battle, in which Edwin was killed, the kingdoin was divided bę. tween a cousin of Edwin and the eldest son of Ethelfrid; hut the next year the two princes were killed by Cadwallon, prince of Wales, who usurped the whole kingdom.
OSWALD, 635. Oswald, the second son of Ethelfrid, at the head of a small army of brave and resolute men, assaulted, defeated, and slow the usurper, and took pesa session of the whole kingdom, which was soon restored to its former prosperity by his mild and wise administration. Penda, out of jealousy of Oswald's power, declared war against him, which was carried on for some years with various successes. At last a decisive battle was fought on the sth of August, 642, when Oswald was defeated and slain. Oswi, his bron ther, succeeded him, in Bernicia, and Oswin, his cousin, in Deira.
OSWI, 655. Penda having entered Northumberland at the head of a powerful army, Oswi collected his forces, though very inferior in number; and after a most desperate battle, in which Penda was slain, obtained a complete victory, and not only preserved his dominions, but took possession of the kingdom of Mercia, which he kept till the year 659, when Wulphere, the second son of Penda, was raised to the throne by the Mercian nobles.
EGFRID, 679. · Egfrid, son and successor of Oswi, having sustained a bloody war against Ethelred, king of Mercia, turned his arms against the Scots and Picts: in. 684 he gained some advantages against the former; but having ventured too far into that country, he was defeated and slain, and almost his wholc army cut in pieces by the Picts.
ALDFRIV, 685. Aldfrid, aatural brother to Egfrid, succeeded him, and being more ado
NORTHUMBERLAND continued. dicted to letters than to arms, he governed his subjects with wisdom and justice, and lived in peace with his neighbours to the end of his life, in December 704.
OSRED, 704. Osred, son and successor of Aldfrid, was about eight years of age at his father's death; Berectfrid was regent of the kingdom during his minority; but the young monarch had scarcely reached his majority when he was slain.
CENRED, 716. Immediately after the death of Osred, Cenred, a prince of the royal blood, seized the crown, of which he kept possession only two years.
OSRIC, 778. This prince, who was a second son of Aldfrid, succeeded Cenred, and died in 726, without having performed any thing memorable.
CEOLWOLF, 726. Ceolwolf, brother to Cenred, succeeded Osric, and retired into a monas. tery after a reign of eleven years.
CADBERT, 737 Cadbert, cousin to Ceolwolf, succeeded him, and was the last king of the Northumbrians who made any considerable figure by the spirit and success with which he defended his southern frontiers against Ethelbald, king of Mercia; but being seized with the epidemic madness of those times, he resigned his crown to his son Osulf, in 758, and retired into a monastery, where he lived long enough to see the ruin which this unwarrantable step brought upon his family and country.
OSULF, 759. This unfortunate prince was izurdered by his own domestics before the end of the year.
ETHELWOLD, 760. Ethelwold was not related to the royal family, but was advanced to the throne by the favour of the people. In 765 he was obliged to resign it in favour of Alchred, the son of Ozulf.
ALCHRED, 765. After a reign of nine years, Alchrçd was expelled in his turn by Ethelred, the son of Ethelwold.
ETHELRED, 774. This usurper was driven out, in the fifth year of his reign, by Elfwold, the brother of Alchred.
ELFWOLD, 779. The virtues of this prince could not preserve him from the fate of his predecessors; he was barbarously murdered in 788 by one of his ok ne generals, and succeeded by his nephew Osred, the son of Alchred.
OSRED, 788. One year was scarcely clapsed when Osred was dethroned and thrust into a monastery by the nobility; who recalled Ethelred, who had been expelled about ten years before.
ETHELRED, 789. Ethelred, to preserve himself from a second cxpulsion, got into his hands the two sons of the late king, Elfwold, and murdered them. Osred, his predecessor, being taken prisoner in an attempt he made to recover his crown, shared also the same fate. Spill farther to secure himself against his enemies, he married a daughter of Offa, the powerful king of Mercia; but in spite of all these precautions, he was murdered by his own subjects in the year 794.
So long a succession of revolutions and murders in the royal family occasioned a total dissolution of government in Northumberland, as it dem terred the most ambitious princes from aspiring to such a dangerous throne. Observations on that period.
The ferocious and destructive wars which attend. ed the Saxon invasion never ceased until they had obtained possession of the finest provinces of Britain by the complete extirpation of their ancient inhabitants. In the course of these wars, the cities, one after another, were laid in ruins, almost all the monuments of Roman art and industry destroyed ordefaced, and the most skilful artists of all kinds finding neither security nor employment in the island, fled to the continent. But the Britons discovered in the laws enacted by the Anglo-Saxons the origin of many ancient customs and institutions still existing, and in the form of their political government the principal foundations of the present free and happy constitution of this empire; thankful for so valuable a legacy, they have forgiven their ancestors for all the mischiefs of their invasion.
The inhabitants of Britain during this period were divided into different classes. The lowest was that of the slaves; who, with their wives and children, were the property of their masters. Some of them were called villani, or villans, because they dwelt at the villages belonging to their master, whose lands they cultivated, and to which they were so thoroughly annexed that they were transferable with them from one owner to another. Others were do. mestic slaves, and employed in the house of their master. Some of these, belonging to the king or the nobility, were taught the mechanic arts, which they practised for the benefit of their owners. Besides those who were slaves by birth, many others fell into that wretched state by the fate of war, or by forfeiting their freedom for their crimes, or even by contracting debts which they were unable to
The next class or rank of people in Britain was