Biography of Ulfcytel Snillingr -1016

1010 Battle of Ringmere

1016 Battle of Assandun

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1004. This year came Sweyne with his fleet to Norwich, Norfolk [Map], plundering and burning the whole town. Then Ulfkytel agreed with the council in East-Anglia, that it were better to purchase peace with the enemy, ere they did too much harm on the land; for that they had come unawares, and he had not had time to gather his force. Then, under the truce that should have been between them, stole the army up from their ships, and bent their course to Thetford, Norfolk [Map]. When Ulfkytel understood that, then sent he an order to hew the ships in pieces; but they frustrated his design. Then he gathered his forces, as secretly as he could. The enemy came to Thetford, Norfolk [Map] within three weeks after they had plundered Norwich; and, remaining there one night, they spoiled and burned the town; but, in the morning, as they were proceeding to their ships, came Ulfkytel with his army, and said that they must there come to close quarters. And, accordingly, the two armies met together; and much slaughter was made on both sides. There were many of the veterans of the East-Angles slain; but, if the main army had been there, the enemy had never returned to their ships. As they said themselves, that they never met with worse hand-play in England than Ulfkytel brought them.

In 1004 Ulfcytel Snillingr was appointed Earldorman East Anglia.

Battle of Ringmere

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1010. This year came the aforesaid army, after Easter, into East Anglia; and went up at Ipswich, Suffolk [Map], marching continually till they came where they understood Ulfcytel was with his army. This was on the day called the first of the Ascension of our Lord. The East-Angles soon fled. Cambridgeshire stood firm against them. There was slain Athelstan, the king's relative, and Oswy, and his son, and Wulfric, son of Leofwin, and Edwy, brother of Efy, and many other good thanes, and a multitude of the people. Thurkytel Myrehead first began the flight; and the Danes remained masters of the field of slaughter. There were they horsed; and afterwards took possession of East-Anglia, where they plundered and burned three months; and then proceeded further into the wild fens, slaying both men and cattle, and burning throughout the fens. Thetford, Norfolk [Map] also they burned, and Cambridge [Map]; and afterwards went back southward into the Thames; and the horsemen rode towards the ships. Then went they west-ward into Oxfordshire, and thence to Buckinghamshire, and so along the Ouse till they came to Bedford [Map], and so forth to Temsford, always burning as they went. Then returned they to their ships with their spoil, which they apportioned to the ships. When the king's army should have gone out to meet them as they went up, then went they home; and when they were in the east, then was the army detained in the west; and when they were in the south, then was the army in the north. Then all the privy council were summoned before the [his future father-in-law] king (age 44), to consult how they might defend this country. But, whatever was advised, it stood not a month; and at length there was not a chief that would collect an army, but each fled as he could: no shire, moreover, would stand by another. Before the feast-day of St. Andrew came the enemy to Northampton, Northamptonshire [Map], and soon burned the town, and took as much spoil thereabout as they would; and then returned over the Thames into Wessex, and so by Cannings-marsh, burning all the way. When they had gone as far as they would, then came they by midwinter to their ships.

In or before 1016 Ulfcytel Snillingr and Wulfhilda Wessex were married. She the daughter of King Æthelred "Unready" II of England (age 49) and Aelfgifu of York Queen Consort England.

In 1016 Ulfcytel Snillingr died.

Battle of Assandun

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 18 Oct 1016. When the [his brother-in-law] king (age 26) understood that the army was up, then collected he the fifth time all the English nation, and went behind them, and overtook them in Essex, on the down called Assingdon; where they fiercely came together. Then did Earldorman Eadric "Streona aka Acquisitive" Mercia as he often did before-he first began the flight with the Maisevethians, and so betrayed his natural lord and all the people of England. There had Knute (age 21) the victory, though all England fought against him! There was then slain Bishop Ednoth, and Abbot Wulsy, and Alderman Elfric, and Alderman Godwin of Lindsey, and Ulfkytel of East-Anglia, and Ethelward, the son of Alderman Ethelsy59. And all the nobility of the English nation was there undone! After this fight went King Knute (age 21) up with his army into Glocestershire, where he heard say that King Edmund (age 26) was. Then advised Earldorman Eadric "Streona aka Acquisitive" Mercia, and the counsellors that were there assembled, that the kings should make peace with each other, and produce hostages. Then both the kings met together at Olney, Buckinghamshire [Map], south of Deerhurst, and became allies and sworn brothers. There they confirmed their friendship both with pledges and with oaths, and settled the pay of the army. With this covenant they parted: King Edmund (age 26) took to Wessex, and Knute (age 21) to Mercia and the northern district. The army then went to their ships with the things they had taken; and the people of London made peace with them, and purchased their security, whereupon they brought their ships to London, and provided themselves winter-quarters therein.

Note 59. There is a marked difference respecting the name of this alderman in MSS. Some have Ethelsy, as above; others, Elfwine, and Ethelwine. The two last may be reconciled, as the name in either case would now be Elwin; but Ethelsy, and Elsy are widely different. Florence of Worcester not only supports the authority of Ethelwine, but explains it "Dei amici."

William of Malmesbury Book 2 Chapter 9. Ulfkytel, earl of the East Angles, was the only person who, at that time, resisted the invaders with any degree of spirit; insomuch that although the enemy had nominally the victory, yet the conquerors suffered much more than the conquered:1 nor were the barbarians ashamed to confess this truth, while they so frequently bewailed that victory. The valour of the earl was more conspicuously eminent, after the death of Ethelred, in that battle which mowed down the whole flower of the province; where, when he was surrounded from the rear, deeming it disgraceful to fly, he gave fresh confidence to the king by his blood; but this happened some time after.2 At this juncture, that the measure of king Ethelred's misery might be full, a famine ravaged all England, and those whom war had spared perished from want. The enemy over-ran the country with such freedom, that they would carry off their booty to their ships through a space of fifty miles, without fearing any resistance from the inhabitants. In the midst of these pressing evils, the expedient of buying off hostilities by money was again debated and adopted; for first twenty-four, and soon after, thirty thousand pounds were given to the Danes: with what advantage, succeeding times will show. To me, indeed, deeply reflecting upon the subject, it seems wonderful, how a man, as we have been taught to suppose, neither very foolish, nor excessively heartless, should pass his life in the wretched endurance of so many calamities. Should any one ask me the reason of this, I could not easily answer, except by saying, that the revolt of the generals proceeded from the haughtiness of the king. Their perfidy has been spoken of before: I now hasten to instances of his violence, which was so intolerable, that he spared not even his own relations.

Note 1. Ulfkytel attacked the Danes near Thetford, A.D. 1004, and though compelled to retreat, yet occasioned so severe a loss to the enemy, that they are said to have acknowledged that they had never endured a more powerful attack. See Flor. Wigorn., and the Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 1004.

Note 2. At Assingdon in Essex, A.D. 1016.