Around 953 Archibishop Ælfheah was born.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 984. This year died the benevolent Bishop of Winchester, Athelwold (age 80), father of monks; and the consecration of the following bishop, Elfheah (age 31), who by another name was called Godwin, was on the fourteenth day before the calends of November; and he took his seat on the episcopal bench on the mass-day of the two apostles Simon and Jude, at Winchester.
On 14 Oct 984 Archibishop Ælfheah (age 31) was consecrated Bishop of Winchester.
On 28 Oct 984 Archibishop Ælfheah (age 31) was enthroned Bishop of Winchester.
In 1004 Archibishop Ælfheah (age 51) was elected Archbishop of Canterbury.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1005. This year died Archbishop Elfric; and Bishop Elfeah (age 52) succeeded him in the archbishopric. This year was the great famine in England so severe that no man ere remembered such. The fleet this year went from this land to Denmark, and took but a short respite, before they came again.
In 1006 Archibishop Ælfheah (age 53) was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1006. This year Elfeah (age 53) was consecrated Archbishop; Bishop Britwald succeeded to the see of Wiltshire; Wulfgeat was deprived of all his property;51 Wulfeah and Ufgeat were deprived of sight; Alderman Elfelm was slain; and Bishop Kenulf52 departed this life. Then, over midsummer, came the Danish fleet to Sandwich [Map], and did as they were wont; they barrowed and burned and slew as they went. Then the king (age 40) ordered out all the population from Wessex and from Mercia; and they lay out all the harvest under arms against the enemy; but it availed nothing more than it had often done before. For all this the enemy went wheresoever they would; and the expedition did the people more harm than either any internal or external force could do. When winter approached, then went the army home; and the enemy retired after Martinmas to their quarters in the Isle of Wight, and provided themselves everywhere there with what they wanted. Then, about midwinter, they went to their ready farm, throughout Hampshire into Berkshire, to Reading. And they did according to their custom,-they lighted their camp-beacons as they advanced. Thence they marched to Wallingford [Map], which they entirely destroyed, and passed one night at Cholsey. They then turned along Ashdown to Cuckamsley-hill, and there awaited better cheer; for it was often said, that if they sought Cuckamsley, they would never get to the sea. But they went another way homeward. Then was their army collected at Kennet; and they came to battle there, and soon put the English force to flight; and afterwards carried their spoil to the sea. There might the people of Winchester see the rank and iniquitous foe, as they passed by their gates to the sea, fetching their meat and plunder over an extent of fifty miles from sea. Then was the king (age 40) gone over the Thames into Shropshire; and there he fixed his abode during midwinter. Meanwhile, so great was the fear of the enemy, that no man could think or devise how to drive them from the land, or hold this territory against them; for they had terribly marked each shire in Wessex with fire and devastation. Then the king (age 40) began to consult seriously with his council, what they all thought most advisable for defending this land, ere it was utterly undone. Then advised the king (age 40) and his council for the advantage of all the nation, though they were all loth to do it, that they needs must bribe the enemy with a tribute. The king (age 40) then sent to the army, and ordered it to be made known to them, that his desire was, that there should be peace between them, and that tribute and provision should be given them. And they accepted the terms; and they were provisioned throughout England.
Note 51. See a more full and circumstantial account of these events, with some variation of names, in Florence of Worcester.
Note 52. The successor of Elfeah, or Alphege, in the see of Winchester, on the translation of the latter to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1011. This year sent the king (age 45) and his council to the army, and desired peace; promising them both tribute and provisions, on condition that they ceased from plunder. They had now overrun East-Anglia, and Essex, and Middlesex, and Oxfordshire, and Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire, and Buckinghamshire, and Bedfordshire, and half of Huntingdonshire, and much of Northamptonshire; and, to the south of the Thames, all Kent, and Sussex, and Hastings, and Surrey, and Berkshire, and Hampshire, and much of Wiltshire. All these disasters befel us through bad counsels; that they would not offer tribute in time, or fight with them; but, when they had done most mischief, then entered they into peace and amity with them. And not the less for all this peace, and amity, and tribute, they went everywhere in troops; plundering, and spoiling, and slaying our miserable people. In this year, between the Nativity of St. Mary and Michaelmas, they beset Canterbury, Kent [Map], and entered therein through treachery; for Elfmar delivered the city to them, whose life Archbishop Elfeah (age 58) formerly saved. And there they seized Archbishop Elfeah (age 58), and Elfward the king's steward, and Abbess Leofruna56, and Bishop Godwin; and Abbot Elfmar they suffered to go away. And they took therein all the men, and husbands, and wives; and it was impossible for any man to say how many they were; and in the city they continued afterwards as long as they would. And, when they had surveyed all the city, they then returned to their ships, and led the archbishop with them. Then was a captive he who before was of England head and Christendom;- there might be seen great wretchedness, where oft before great bliss was seen, in the fated city, whence first to us came Christendom, and bliss 'fore God and 'fore the world. And the archbishop (age 58) they kept with them until the time when they martyred him.
Note 56. "Leofruna abbatissa".-Flor. The insertion of this quotation from Florence of Worcester is important, as it confirms the reading adopted in the text. The abbreviation "abbt", instead of "abb", seems to mark the abbess. She was the last abbess of St. Mildred's in the Isle of Thanet; not Canterbury, as Harpsfield and Lambard say.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1012. This year came Earldorman Eadric "Streona aka Acquisitive" Mercia, and all the oldest counsellors of England, clerk and laity, to London before Easter, which was then on the ides of April; and there they abode, over Easter, until all the tribute was paid, which was 48,000 pounds. Then on the Saturday was the army much stirred against the bishop; because he would not promise them any fee, and forbade that any man should give anything for him. They were also much drunken; for there was wine brought them from the south. Then took they the bishop (age 59), and led him to their hustings, on the eve of the Sunday after Easter, which was the thirteenth before the calends of May; and there they then shamefully killed him. They overwhelmed him with bones and horns of oxen; and one of them smote him with an axe-iron on the head; so that he sunk downwards with the blow; and his holy blood fell on the earth, whilst his sacred soul was sent to the realm of God. The corpse in the morning was carried to London; and the bishops, Ednoth and Elfhun, and the citizens, received him with all honour, and buried him in St. Paul's minster [Map]; where God now showeth this holy martyr's miracles. When the tribute was paid, and the peace-oaths were sworn, then dispersed the army as widely as it was before collected. Then submitted to the king five and forty of the ships of the enemy; and promised him, that they would defend this land, and he should feed and clothe them.
On 19 Apr 1012 Archibishop Ælfheah (age 59) was executed.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1013. The year after that Archbishop Elfeah was martyred, the king (age 47) appointed Lifing to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury. And in the same year, before the month August, came King Sweyne (age 53) with his fleet to Sandwich [Map]; and very soon went about East-Anglia into the Humber-mouth, and so upward along the Trent, until he came to Gainsborough [Map]. Then soon submitted to him Earl Utred, and all the Northumbrians, and all the people of Lindsey, and afterwards the people of the Five Boroughs, and soon after all the army to the north of Watling-street; and hostages were given him from each shire. When he understood that all the people were subject to him, then ordered he that his army should have provision and horses; and he then went southward with his main army, committing his ships and the hostages to his son Knute (age 18). And after he came over Watling-street, they wrought the greatest mischief that any army could do. Then he went to Oxford [Map]; and the population soon submitted, and gave hostages; thence to Winchester, where they did the same. Thence went they eastward to London; and many of the party sunk in the Thames, because they kept not to any bridge. When he came to the city, the population would not submit; but held their ground in full fight against him, because therein was King Ethelred (age 47), and Thurkill with him. Then went King Sweyne (age 53) thence to Wallingford; and so over Thames westward to Bath, where he abode with his army. Thither came Alderman Ethelmar, and all the western thanes with him, and all submitted to Sweyne (age 53), and gave hostages. When he had thus settled all, then went he northward to his ships; and all the population fully received him, and considered him full king. The population of London also after this submitted to him, and gave hostages; because they dreaded that he would undo them. Then bade Sweyne (age 53) full tribute and forage for his army during the winter; and Thurkill bade the same for the army that lay at Greenwich [Map]: besides this, they plundered as oft as they would. And when this nation could neither resist in the south nor in the north, King Ethelred (age 47) abode some while with the fleet that lay in the Thames; and the lady (age 28)57 went afterwards over sea to her brother Richard (age 49), accompanied by Elfsy, Abbot of Peterborough. The king sent Bishop Elfun with the ethelings, Edward (age 10) and Alfred (age 8), over sea; that he might instruct them. Then went the king from the fleet, about midwinter, to the Isle of Wight [Map]; and there abode for the season; after which he went over sea to Richard (age 49), with whom he abode till the time when Sweyne (age 53) died. Whilst the lady (age 28) was with her brother (age 49) beyond sea, Elfsy, Abbot of Peterborough, who was there with her, went to the abbey called Boneval, where St. Florentine's body lay; and there found a miserable place, a miserable abbot, and miserable monks: because they had been plundered. There he bought of the abbot, and of the monks, the body of St. Florentine, all but the head, for 500 pounds; which, on his return home, he offered to Christ and St. Peter.
Note 57. This was a title bestowed on the queen.
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.