Before 1020 Archbishop Æthelnoth was appointed Dean of Canterbury.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1020. This year came King Knute (age 25) back to England; and there was at Easter a great council at Cirencester, Gloucestershire [Map], where Alderman Ethelward was outlawed, and Edwy, king of the churls. This year went the king (age 25) to Assingdon; with Earl Thurkyll, and Archbishop Wulfstan, and other bishops, and also abbots, and many monks with them; and he ordered to be built there a minster of stone and lime, for the souls of the men who were there slain, and gave it to his own priest, whose name was Stigand; and they consecrated the minster at Assingdon. And Ethelnoth the monk, who had been dean at Christ's church, was the same year on the ides of November consecrated Bishop of Christ's church by Archbishop Wulfstan.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1022. This year went King Knute (age 27) out with his ships to the Isle of Wight [Map]. And Bishop Ethelnoth went to Rome; where he was received with much honour by Benedict the magnificent pope, who with his own hand placed the pall upon him, and with great pomp consecrated him archbishop, and blessed him, on the nones of October. The archbishop on the self-same day with the same pall performed mass, as the pope directed him, after which he was magnificently entertained by the pope himself; and afterwards with a full blessing proceeded homewards. Abbot Leofwine, who had been unjustly expelled from Ely, was his companion; and he cleared himself of everything, which, as the pope informed him, had been laid to his charge, on the testimony of the archbishop and of all the company that were with him.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1023. This year returned King Knute (age 28) to England; and Thurkyll and he were reconciled. He committed Denmark and his son to the care of Thurkyll, whilst he took Thurkyll's son with him to England. This year died Archbishop Wulfstan; and Elfric succeeded him; and Archbishop Egelnoth blessed him in Canterbury. This year King Knute (age 28) in London, in St. Paul's minster [Map], gave full leave60 to Archbishop Ethelnoth, Bishop Britwine, and all God's servants that were with them, that they might take up from the grave the archbishop, Saint Elphege. And they did so, on the sixth day before the ides of June; and the illustrious king, and the archbishop, and the diocesan bishops, and the earls, and very many others, both clergy and laity, carried by ship his holy corpse over the Thames to Southwark [Map]. And there they committed the holy martyr to the archbishop and his companions; and they with worthy pomp and sprightly joy carried him to Rochester. There on the third day came the Lady Emma (age 38) with her royal son Hardacnute (age 5); and they all with much majesty, and bliss, and songs of praise, carried the holy archbishop into Canterbury Cathedral [Map], and so brought him gloriously into the church, on the third day before the ides of June. Afterwards, on the eighth day, the seventeenth before the calends of July, Archbishop Ethelnoth, and Bishop Elfsy, and Bishop Britwine, and all they that were with them, lodged the holy corpse of Saint Elphege on the north side of the altar of Christ; to the praise of God, and to the glory of the holy archbishop, and to the everlasting salvation of all those who there his holy body daily seek with earnest heart and all humility. May God Almighty have mercy on all Christian men through the holy intercession of Elphege!
Note 60. Matthew of Westminster says the king took up the body with his own hands.
John of Worcester. 1031. Canute (age 36), king of England, Denmark, and Norway, went in great state from Denmark to Rome58, and, having made rich offerings in gold, silver, and other precious objects, to St. Peter, prince of the apostles, he obtained from pope John that the English School should be free from all tribute and taxes. On his journey to Rome and back, he distributed large alms among the poor, and procured at great cost the abolition of the tolls levied at many barriers on the roads, where they were extorted from pilgrims. He also vowed to God, before the tomb of the apostles, that he would amend his life and conduct; and he sent thence a memorable letter by the hands of Living, the companion of his journey, (a man of great prudence, at that time abbot of Tavistock, and afterwards, in the course of the same year, Ednoth's successor in the see of Crediton), and others his envoys to England, while he himself came back from Rome by the same road he went there, visiting Denmark before his return to England. I think it right to subjoin the text of this letter.
"Canute (age 36), king of all England, and of Denmark, Norway, and part of Sweden, to Ethelnoth, metropolitan, and Alfric, archbishop of York, and to all the bishops and prelates, and to the whole nation of the English, both the nobles and the commons, greeting:
"I notify to you that I have lately taken a journey to Rome, to pray for the forgiveness of my sins, and for the welfare of my dominions, and the people under my rule. I had long since vowed this journey to God, but I have been hitherto prevented from accomplishing it by the affairs of my kingdom and other causes of impediment. I now return most humble thanks to my God Almighty for suffering me in my lifetime to visit the sanctuary of his apostles, SS. Peter and Paul, and all others which I could find either within or without the city of Rome, and there in person reverentially worship according to my desire. I have performed this chiefly, because I have learnt from wise men that St. Peter the apostle has received from God great power in binding and in loosing, and carries the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and therefore I esteemed it very profitable to seek his special patronage with the Lord.
"Be it known to you that, at the celebration of Easter, a great assembly of nobles was present with our lord, the pope John, and Conrad the emperor; that is to say, all the princes of the nations from Mount Garganus to the neighbouring sea. All these received me with honour and presented me with magnificent gifts; but more especially was I honoured by the emperor with various gifts and valuable presents, both in gold and silver vessels, and in palls and very costly robes. 1 spoke with the emperor himself, and the lord pope, and the princes who were there, in regard to the wants of my people, English as well as Danes; that there should be granted to them more equal justice and greater security in their journeys to Rome, and that they should not be hindered by so many barriers on the road, nor harassed by unjust tolls.
The emperor assented to my demands, as well as king Rodolph (age 60)59, in whose dominions these barriers chiefly stand; and all the princes made edicts that my people, the merchants as well as those who go to pay their devotions, shall pass to and fro in their journeys to Rome in peace, and under the security of just laws, free from all molestation by the guards of barriers or the receivers of tolls. I made further complaint to my lord the pope, and expressed my high displeasure, that my archbishops are sorely aggrieved by the demand of immense sums of money, when, according to custom, they resort to the apostolical see to obtain the pallium; and it is decreed that it should no longer be done. All things, therefore, which I requested for the good of my people from my lord the pope, and the emperor, and king Rodolph, and the other princes through whose territories our road to Rome lies, they have most freely granted, and even ratified their concessions by oath; to which four archbishops, twenty bishops, and an innumerable multitude of dukes and nobles who were there present, are witnesses. Wherefore I return most hearty thanks to Almighty God for my having successfully accomplished all that I had desired, as I had resolved in my mind, and having satisfied my wishes to the fullest extent.
"Be it known therefore to all of you, that I have humbly vowed to the Almighty God himself henceforward to amend my life in all respects, and to rule the kingdoms and the people subject to me with justice and clemency, giving equitable judgements in all matters; and if, through the intemperance of youth or negligence, I have hitherto exceeded the bounds of justice in any of my acts, I intend by God's aid to make an entire change for the better. I therefore adjure and command my counsellors to whom I have entrusted the affairs of my kingdom, that henceforth they neither commit themselves, nor suffer to prevail, any sort of injustice throughout my dominions, either from fear of me, or from favour to any powerful person. I also command all sheriffs and magistrates throughout my whole kingdom, as they tender my regard and their own safety, that they use no unjust violence to any man, rich or poor, but that all, high and low, rich or poor, shall enjoy alike impartial law; from which they are never to deviate, either on account of royal favour, respect of person in the great, or for the sake of amassing money wrongfully, for I have no need to accumulate wealth by iniquitous exactions.
"I wish you further to know, that, returning by the way I went, I am now going to Denmark to conclude a treaty for a solid peace, all the Danes concurring, with those nations and peoples who would have taken my life and crown if it had been possible; but this they were not able to accomplish, God bringing their strength to nought.—May He, of his merciful kindness, uphold me in my sovereignty and honour, and henceforth scatter and bring to nought the power and might of all my adversaries ! When, therefore, I shall have made peace within the surrounding nations, and settled and reduced to order all my dominions in the East, so that we shall have nothing to fear from war or hostilities in any quarter, I propose to return to England as early in the summer as I shall be able to fit out my fleet. I have sent this epistle before me in order, that my people may be gladdened at my success; because, as you yourselves know, I have never spared, nor will I spare, myself or my exertions, for the needful service of my whole people. I now therefore command and adjure all my bishops and the governors of my kingdom, by the duty they owe to God and myself, to take care that before I come to England all dues belonging to God, according to the old laws, be fully discharged; namely, plough-alms, the tithe of, animals born in the current year, and the pence payable to St. Peter at Rome, whether from towns or vills; and in the middle of August the tithes of corn; and at the feast of St. Martin the first-fruits of grain (payable) to every one's parish church, called in English ciric-sceat. If these and such-like dues be not paid before I come, those who make default will incur fines to the king, according to the law, which will be strictly enforced without mercy. Farewell."
Note 58. The Saxon Chronicle and Henry of Huntingdon agree with John as to the date of Canute's journey to Rome; but it was probably five or six years earlier. Wippo, a contemporary writer, places it in 1027.
John of Worcester. 1038. Æthelnoth, archbishop of Canterbury, departed this life on the fourth of the calends of November [29th September]. Seven days after, Ethelric, bishop of Sussex, died; for he had prayed to God that he might not long survive his beloved father Ethelnoth. Grimkytel succeeded him in the bishopric, and Eadsige, one of the king's chaplains, succeeded Ethelnoth in the archbishopric. In the same year died Ælfric, bishop of East-Anglia, and Brihteag, bishop of the Hwiccas [Worcester], ended his days on Wednesday the third of the calends of January [20th December], whose see king Harold (age 22) gave to Living, bishop of Crediton. Stigand, the king's chaplain, was appointed in Ælfric's place, but was afterwards ejected, and Grimkytel chosen in his stead; so that he held for the tune the two dioceses of Sussex and Essex; but Stigand was restored, and Grimkytel ejected, and Stigand kept the bishopric of Sussex for himself, and procured that of East-Anglia for his brother Ethelmar; but not satisfied with this, he was raised to the thrones of Winchester and Canterbury: he also strove hard to hold with them the bishopric of Sussex, and nearly carried his point. Ethelmar; was succeeded by Ærfast, bishop of Elmham, who, lest he should have seemed to have done nothing—for the Normans are very ambitious of future renown—transferred the see from Elmham to Thetford.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1038. This year died Ethelnoth, the good archbishop, on the calends of November; and, within a little of this time, Bishop Ethelric in Sussex, who prayed to God that he would not let him live any time after his dear father Ethelnoth; and within seven nights of this he also departed. Then, before Christmas, died Bishop Brihteh in Worcestershire; and soon after this, Bishop Elfric in East Anglia. Then succeeded Bishop Edsy to the archbishopric, Grimkytel to the see of Sussex, and Bishop Lifing to that of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.
On 01 Nov 1038 Archbishop Æthelnoth died.