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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Herefordshire in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

The following extracts are taken from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, translated and edited by Michael Swanton (J.M. Dent, 1996).

The Worcester Manuscript, AD 915

... Here in this year Warwick was built, and a great raiding ship-army came over here from the south from Brittany, and with them 2 jarls, Ohtor and Hroald, and then went around west until they got into the mouth of the Severn, and raided in Wales everywhere along the banks where it suited them, and took Cameleac, bishop in Archenfield, and led him to ship with them; and then King Edward ransomed him back for 40 pounds. Then after that the whole raiding-army went up and wanted to go on a raid against Archenfield; then they were met by [the men] from Hereford and from Gloucester and from the nearest strongholds, and fought against them and put them to flight, and killed the jarl Hroald and the other jarl Ohtor's brother and a great part of the raiding-army, and drove them into an enclosure and besieged them there until they gave them hostages, that they would leave the king's domain. And the king had arranged that there should be positions on the southern side of the Severn mouth from Cornwall in the west, eastwards as far as Avonmouth, so that they dared seek land nowhere on that side ... (p. 99)

The Peterborough Manuscript, AD 1048 [1051]

... Then the king sent for all his council, and ordered them to come to Gloucester around the second Festival of St Mary. The foreigners had then built a castle in Herefordshire in Earl Swein's province, and inflicted every injury and insult they could upon the king's men thereabouts ... (pp. 173-74)

The Worcester Manuscript, AD 1052

... In the same year Gruffydd, the Welsh king, raided in Herefordshire, so that he came very near to Leominster; and men gathered against him, both local men and French men from the castle. And there were killed very many good men of the English, and also from among the French ... (p. 176)

The Peterborough Manuscript, AD 1055

... and in this year Gruffydd and Ælfgar burned down St Æthelbert's minster and all the town of Hereford ... (p. 187)

The Abingdon Manuscript, AD 1055/6

... Then within a short while after this there was a council-meeting in London, and then Earl Ælfgar, son of Earl Leofric, was oulawed without any fault; and then he turned to Ireland, and there got himself a fleet, which was 18 ships apart from his own, and then turned to Wales and King Gruffydd with that troop; and he received him under his safe-conduct. And then they gathered a great army with the Irish men and with the Welsh race, and Earl Ralph gathered a great army against them at Hereford market-town, and they sought them out there; but before there was any spear thrown, the English people already fled, because they were on horse; and a great slaughter was made - about four hundred men, or five - and they none in return; and they then turned to the market-town and burned it down; and the famous minster which the reverend bishop Athelstan had built earlier, that they stripped and robbed of holy things, and of robes and of everything, and killed the people, and some led away [into slavery]. Then an army was gathered throughout all neighbouring England; and they came to Gloucester and turned a little way out into Wales, and lay there for some time; and in that time Earl Harold had a dyke built round the town [Hereford] ... (pp. 184, 186)

(1056) Here departed the reverend bishop Athelstan on 10 February, and his body lies in Hereford market-town ... (p. 186)

The Worcester Manuscript, AD 1053

... And soon after that, Earl Ælfgar, son of Earl Leofric, was outlawed wellnigh without fault; but he turned to Ireland and Wales and there got himself a great band, and travelled thus to Hereford; but there Earl Ralph came against him with a great raiding-army, and with a little struggle they were brought to flight, and many people killed in that flight, and then turned into Hereford market-town and raided it, burned down the famous minster which Bishop Athelstan built, and killed the priests inside the minster, and many others as well, and seized all the treasures in there and led them away with them. And then when they had done most harm, it was decided to reinstate Earl Ælfgar, and give him back his earldom and all that was taken from him. This raid was made on 24 October ... (pp. 185, 187)

The Worcester Manuscript, AD 1067

Here the king came back again to England on the Feast of St. Nicholas. And that day Christ Church in Canterbury burned down. And Bishop Wulfwig passed away, and is buried at his bishop's seat in Dorchester. And Prince Eadric and the Welsh became hostile and they attacked the castle-men in Hereford, and did them many injuries. And here the king set a great tax on the wretched people, and yet nevertheless always allowed to be raided all that they went across ... (pp. 200-201)