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167 [167]

The Saxons kings Actes and Monumentes of the Church. Britayne conquered.

estates, the hatred of the truth, loue of lies, imbracing of euill in stead of goodnes, regarding of mischiefe in stead of vertue, receauing of the deuil in stead of an Angell of light. They annoynted kings not such as could wel rule a common wealth, but those which exceded all other in crueltie. And if any might be perceaued to be somwhat more humble or meeke, or to be more enclined to fauor the truth then the residue, him did euery one hate and backbyte as the ouerthrower & destroyer of Britaine. All things, whether they pleased or displeased God, they regarded alike. And not seculer men onely did thus, but also the congregation of the Lord and their Bishops, & teachers without any difference at all. Therefore it is not to be marueled, that such people so degenerating and going out of kinde should lose that countrye, which they had after this maner defiled.

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And thus much hitherto concerning the historye of the Britaines, till, by the grace of Christ, the order of time shal bring vs hereafter to the treatise of Cedwalla & Calwalladrus. Now remayneth, in returning againe to the matter of the Saxons, to discourse particularly, that which before in þe table aboue we haue summarely comprehended.

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In this order & rase of þe Saxon kings, aboue specified whiche had thus thrust out þe Britons, and now deuided their land in. vij. kingdōs: as ther were many noughty & wicked kings (whose pernicious exāples, being al set on warre and bloodshed, are greatlye to be detested and eschued of all true godly Princes) so some there were agayne (although but few) very sincere and good. But none almost from the first to the last, which was not either slayne in warre, or murdered in peace, or els constrayned to make himselfe a Moonke. Suche was the rage thē and tyranny of that tyme. Whether we should impute it to the corruptiō of mans nature, or to the iust iudgement of Gods hand, so disposing the matter, that as they had violentlye and falselye dispossessed the Britons of their right: so they most miserably were not onely vexed of the Danes, and cōquered at last by the Normans: but also more cruelly deuoured them selues, one warring stil against an other, til they were neither able to helpe them selues, nor yet to resist others. Of them which are noted for good among these Saxon kynges, the first and principal is Ethelbertus, or Ethelbrict the first kyng of Kent aboue specified: who by the meanes of Austen and partly through his wyfe, named Berda, Marginalia This Berda beyng a Christian was maried vnto Ethelbert vpon the condition that she should be suffred to inioye her religion.
Ethelbertus kyng of Kent.
firste receiued and preferred the Christian faythe, in all this lande of the English Saxons, whereof more foloweth hereafter to be sayd (the Lord so permitting) as place and oportunitie shall require. Marginalia Oswaldus king of Northumberland.The next place I geue to Oswaldus of Northumberland, who not onely did his endeuour in furthering the fayth of Christ amongst hys people: but also being kyng, disdayned not himselfe to stand vp and interpreate to his nobles & subiectes the preaching of Aidanus, preaching Christ to thē in his Scottish language. Marginalia Edwinus king of Northumberland.In the same commendacion also, like as in the same lyne, cōmeth hys vncle Edwin, king of Northumberland, a good Prince, and the fyrst receauer of Christes fayth in that lande, by the meanes of his wyfe, and Paulinus bishop. Marginalia Sigebertus of Eastanglis.Adde to these also Sigebert, first christened kyng of the Eastanglis, and Sebert, first christned king of Essex: of whom the one was a great furtherer of religion, and setter vp of schooles: Marginalia Sebert or Sexbrickt of Essexthe other which is Sebert or Sexbricth, was neuewe to Ethelbert of Kent, vnder whom he ruled in Essex. Byt the which Ethelbert, in the tyme of the sayd Sebert Marginalia The first building of the church of Paules in Londonthe church of Paules was builded at London, and Christiā fayth much enlarged. &c. Marginalia Ethelbert king of the Eastangles.Of the same name there was also an other Ethelbert king of the Eastanglis, a good Prince: who by the aduise of his counsail perswaded to mariage (though agaynst hys wyl) went peaceablye to kyng Offa, for despousage of Althride hys daughter, wher þe good king meaning innocētly through þe sinister& deuilish coūsayl of kyng Offa his wyfe, was secretely beheaded and made away. Marginalia Peter pēce how they fyrste came to be paid to Rome.Whereupon Offa throughe repentaunce thereof, made the firste Peter pence to be geuen to S. Peters church in Rome.

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Marginalia Kenelmus king of the Mercians.In the Cataloge of these good kings is also to be nūbred Kenelmus, king of the Mercians, and Edmundus king of the Eastanglis: of the which twoo the first was falsely and abhominably circumuented and beheaded, by the meanes of hys cruel sister & hys tutor, as he was in hys hunting at Corfcastle. Marginalia S. Edmund kyng of EastanglesThe other which is called king Edmunde the martyr, was slayne at Bury, or as some wryte at the Castel of Halesdon by the Danes: vpon what occasion, histories do vary. The autor of Flores historiarum sayth, it was by reason of one Lothebrocus a Dane: who being of the kynges blood, and being with his Hawke on the sea syde in a litle boate, was dryuen by force of weather into the coast of Norfolke, wher he being presented to kyng Edmund, was retayned in hys court with great fauour: tyll at length one Bericke the the kynges Fawkner, enuying and despiting him, for his great dexteritie in that facultie, priuely did murder him in a wood. This being at last spied (as murder lightly wil come out) Bericke was set in Lothbrockes bote alone without al tackling, to be cōmitted vnto the sea: and as it chaunced so was driuen into Denmarke, who there being seene in Lothebrockes bote, was straitly examined of the partie. He then to excuse him selfe, falsely said he was slaine by the commaundement of the kyng. Vpon the occasion wherof Inguar and Hubba sonnes to the said Lothebroke gathering an army of Danes, inuaded firste Northumberland: after that brusting into Northfolke on euery side, sent this message to king Edmund after this tenor: Marginalia The message of Ingnar to king Edmunde.Signifieng that king Inguar the victorious Prince (dread both by sea and land) as he had subiect diuers other landes vnder him, so arriuing now to the coastes of Norfolke, where he intendeth to wynter: chargeth & commaundeth him to deuide wyth him his old treasures and his fathers riches, and so to rule vnder him: which if he woulde not doo, but woulde contemne his power so strongly furnished with such an army, he should be iudged as vnworthy both of kingdom and life. &c. The king hearing this message, astoined not a litle therat, calling his counsaile about him, consulted with them, especially with one of his bishops, being thē his Secretary, what was best to be done: who fearyng the kinges life, exhorted him by wordes and diuers examples to agree to the message. At this a while the king holding his peace, at length therto made answer againe in these wordes saying: Go (sayth he) tel your Lord, and let him know that Edmundus the christened king, for the loue of this temporal lyfe, wil not subiect himself to a Pagane Duke, vnles before he become a Christian, &c. The messenger taking hys answere was not so sone out of the gates, as Inguar meeting him and bidding hym to be short in declaring hys answere, caused all þe kings garrison to be set round about. Some say that the king flying to Tetford, there pitch a fielde with the Danes, but the Danes preuayling, the good king from thence dyd flye to þe castle of Halesdon aboue mentioned: Marginalia The martirdō of kyng Edmūd in Northfolkewhere he being pursued of the Danes was there taken, and at length being bound to a stake, there of þe rayling Danes was shot to death. And thus much for the good kinges.

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Marginalia A question whether kynges whiche made them selues Monkes did wel in so doyng or not.Now as concerning those kinges which made them selues Monkes (which in number be. vij. or. 8.) although example be rare and straunge, and much commended of the Chronicles of that time: yet I can not rashly assent to their commendation, albeit the case therof is no matter of our historie. Marginalia Aunswer.Fyrst in altering their estate frō kinges to Monkes, if they did it to finde more ease, and lesse trouble therby: I see not how that excuse standeth with the office of a good man, to chaunge hys publique vocation, for respecte of priuate commoditie. If feare of

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