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Asser of Saint David’s Annals of the reign of Alfred the Great From A.D. 849 to A.D. 887.

 
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Annals of the reign of Alfred the Great
From A.D. 849 to A.D. 887.


Asser of Saint David

Vita Ælfredi regis Angul Saxonum

In the year of our Lord's incarnation 849, was born Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, at the royal village of Wanating, (*) in Berkshire, which country has its name from the wood of Berroc, where the box-tree grows most abundantly.

(*) Wantage.

His genealogy is traced in the following order. King Alfred was the son of king Ethelwulf, who was the son of Egbert, who was the son of Elmund, was the son of Eafa, who was the son of Eoppa, who the son of Ingild. Ingild, and Ina, the famous king of the West-Saxons, were two brothers. Ina went to Rome, and there ending this life honourably, entered the heavenly kingdom, to reign there for ever with Christ. Ingild and Ina were the sons of Coenred, who was the son of Ceolwald, who was the son of Cudam, who was the son of Cuthwin, who was the son of Ceawlin, who was the son of Cynric, who was the son of Creoda, who was the son of Cerdic, who was the son of Elesa, who was the son of Gewis, from whom the Britons name all that nation Gegwis, (**) who was the son of Brond, who was the son of Beldeg, who was the son of Woden, who was the son of Frithowald, who was the son of Frealaf, who was the son of Frithuwulf, who was the son of Finn of Godwulf, who was the son of Gear, which Geat the pagans long worshipped as a god. Sedulius makes mention of him in his metrical Paschal poem, as follows: --

When gentile poets with their fictions vain,
In tragic language and bombastic strain,
To their god Geat, comic deity,
Loud praises sing, &c.

(**) The Gewisse, generally understood to be the West Saxons.

Geat was the son of Taetwa, who was the son of Beaw, who was the son of Sceldi, who was the son of Heremod, who was the son of Itermon, who was the son of Hathra, who was the son of Guala, who was the son of Bedwig, who was the son of Shem, who was the son of Noah, who was the son of Lamech, who was the son of Methusalem, who was the son of Enoch, who was the son of Malaleci, who was the son of Cainian, who was the son of Enos, who was the son of Seth, who was the son of Adam. The mother of Alfred was named Osburga, a religious woman, noble both by birth and by nature; she was daughter of Oslac, the famous butler of king Ethtelwulf, which Oslac was a Goth by nation, descended from the Goths and Jutes, of the seed, namely, of Stuf and Whitgar, two brothers and counts; who, having received possession of the Isle of Wight from their uncle, King Cerdic, and his son Cynric their cousin, slew the few British inhabitants whom they could find in that island, at a place called Gwihtgaraburgh; (***) for the other inhabitants of the island had either been slain, or escaped into exile.

(***) Carisbrooke, as may be conjectured from the name, which is a combination of Wight and Caraburgh.

In the year of our Lord's incarnation 851, which was the third after the birth of king Alfred, Ceorl, earl of Devon, fought with the men of Devon against the pagans at a place called Wiegambeorg; (****) and the Christians gained the victory; and that same year the pagans first wintered in the island called Sheppey, which means the Sheep-isle, and is situated in the river Thames between Essex and Kent, but is nearer to Kent than to Essex; it has in it a fine monastery. (*****)

(****) Wembury.
(*****) Minster.


The same year also a great army of the pagans came with three hundred and fifty ships to the mouth of the river Thames, and sacked Dorobernia, (******) which is the city of the Cantuarians, and also the city of London, which lies on the north bank of the river Thames, on the confines of Essex and Middlesex; but yet that city belongs in truth to Essex; and they put to flight Berthwulf, king of Mercia, with all the army, which he had led out to oppose them.

(******) Canterbury.


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