Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Back Cover

Title: King Edwin and Northumbria
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00057845/00001
 Material Information
Title: King Edwin and Northumbria : a tale of old English times
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: John and Charles Mozley ( Publisher )
Robson, Levey, and Franklyn (Firm) ( Printer )
Publisher: J. & C. Mozley
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Robson, Levey, and Franklyn (Firm)
Publication Date: 1850
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00057845
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltuf - ALK2526
alephbibnum - 002250773

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Half Title 1
        Half Title 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Chapter I
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Chapter II
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    Chapter III
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Chapter IV
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    Chapter V
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Back Cover
        Page 47
        Page 48
Full Text



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the period of the commence-
ment of our tale, the tide of
Christian truth, which had re-
cently been poured upon the
pagan Saxons by the pious mis-
sion of St. Augustine from Rome, seemed
likely to fail in producing those fruits, the
seeds of which had been sown by that
zealous apostle.
The year 616 witnessed the death of Ethel-
bert, king of Kent, who was also Bretwalda,
or chief of the kings of the Heptarchy: he
was succeeded by his son Edbald, a hea-
then. The same had happened in the king-
dom of East Anglia, where Sebert had been
succeeded by his sons, who were pagans; and
Redwald, who was afterwards king of Essex,
succeeded also to the office of bretwalda.
Mellitus bishop of London, and Justus bi-
shop of Rochester, fled before the storm, and
found refuge on the continent. Lawrence
archbishop of Canterbury was preparing to
follow their example, when he was stayed

by a vision which he saw in the church of
the monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul
at Canterbury, and where he had desired his
bed to be spread, that he might pass his last
night in England in a place rendered so
dear to him as this church, which had been
founded by St. Augustine, and where his
body was then at rest. The relation of this
vision had such an effect upon the heathen
Edbald, that he not only replaced Lawrence
in his see, but was himself baptised, and
sent for Mellitus and Justus; the latter of
whom was restored to the see of Rochester;
but the inhabitants of London and their
heathen king would not receive Mellitus
into his former place. Thus the standard of
the faith again was raised in Kent; though a
dark cloud of apostacy hung on the court of
Redwald, king of East Anglia and bretwalda
of England.
It was during this period that a Saxon
prince, named Edwin, the son of Ella king
of Northumberland, sought refuge in the
court of Redwald. He had succeeded to
his father's throne when only three years
old; and his power had been usurped
by his uncle Ethelfrid, king of Bernicia.
From his tyranny and treason he sought
succour at first in the court of Ceori king
of Mercia, who entertained him for a time
with hospitality, and even gave him his

daughter in marriage. But Ethelfrid saw
no safety for himself so long as Edwin lived;
and therefore secretly undermined the good
faith of Ceorl, who would have given up
Edwin into the power of his enemies. The
prince had timely notice of this treachery,
and fled the court of this faithless monarch.
Alone and unfriended, he wandered forth
here and there for some years; and at last
found another home in the hospitality of
Redwald, who promised him protection from
the treachery of his enemies, and from the
barbarous designs of Ethelfrid.
It was not long, however, before another
change of fortune befel the prince; for his
brother-in-law discovered his retreat in the
court of Redwald, and sent an embassy to
East Anglia to bribe the bretwalda to mur-
der Edwin. The embassy was rejected with
scorn, and the prince thought himself safe.
But treason sleeps on a very restless pillow;
and Ethelfrid, feeling that his own security
depended on the death of Edwin, repeated
the embassy, and promised greater presents
still to Redwald; but they were of no avail
to corrupt his faith. A third embassy came,
not only offering bribes, but threatening war
if they were not accepted. Redwald was no
longer proof against this double argument,
and Edwin was again in danger of his life;
for the king of East Anglia promised either

to have him put to death in his own do-
minions, or to deliver him up to the North-
umbrian ambassadors; and all this had been
done with such secrecy, that Edwin still con-
sidered himself safe in the hospitality of the
treacherous Redwald.
It was early in the night, but the prince
Edwin had retired to rest in hopeful secu-
rity, little dreaming how close to him lurked
treachery and murder, when the door of his
room was opened by one who had always
been among his most faithful friends. Ed-
win wondered what the cause of the inter-
ruption might be; but his friend gave him
no time to speak, but bade him put on his
clothes and follow him into the open air.
When they had left the house, he said,
" Prince, there is danger and treachery lurk-
ing near you: Redwald has promised to de-
liver you to your enemies."
Impossible I" he replied; am I to
doubt my friend the bretwalda, who has so
long protected me, and refused all overture
and bribe from Ethelfrid, who cruelly seeks
my death ?" He considered a moment; and
then again repeated, "Impossible !"
S" It is so indeed, believe it or not; and
to-morrow's sun will not set on you unless
you fly for your life. All is prepared; I have
every thing ready for your immediate flight;
then, God speed you to a place where nei-

their Redwald nor Ethelfrid can find you !"
" I thank you for your warning," he re-
plied; but I cannot believe what you say-
it were unworthy of me to suspect Red-
wald, who has never yet done me harm. If
I suspect him, then who can I believe ? And
whither can I go ? Where is there a shelter
for me, the victim of treachery and danger ?
No; if I am to die, no one less worthy than
the bretwalda shall doom me to destruction.
I will die here."
History does not impart to us the argu-
ments his faithful adherent used to turn him
from his purpose; but whatever they were,
they appear to have been useless and unavail-
ing; and he left him alone, and sorrowful.
Edwin did not return to the palace; but
sat himself down on a stone to meditate on
his unhappy lot, ignorant alike what to do-
whether to stay-or, if he fled, where he
should bend his weary steps. The night
was dark and gloomy; neither moon nor
stars shone upon the unhappy prince; and,
except the pale flashes of the livid lightning
that gleamed on the prospect round, shew-
ing it with a death-like blue, the atmo-
sphere was too dark for a single object to
be visible. Suddenly the storm increased;
the lightning, which had shone only in the
distance and at intervals, now became more
frequent and more vivid; the thunder rolled

incessantly over his head: he minded it not,
-it seemed but in character with the rest;
and he listlessly remained exposed to the
fury of the storm.
Why am I here ?" he thought, almost
aloud-" Why am I here? Why am I at
all? A mark to be shot at from every
quarter How many years have I wandered
forth upon the world! how many courts
have I seen! and now, once more, to be
driven forth Oh, ye gods, pity me, spare
me!" And he extended his arms to the
storm. Then, gathering himself together
with a desperate resolution, he said, "If ye
have any mercy-any love for man-send
forth your lightning yet more sharply, and
strike this wretched creature to the earth.
Let me die-let me die in this manner, ra-
t other than fall into the power of deceitful
and cruel friends I"
Another, a longer, and more vivid flash
then dazzled before his eyes; whilst the
earth seemed to yawn to swallow up the
liquid fire; and a peal of thunder shook
the air, and rolled its echoes past him. When
* it had ceased, Edwin looked up, startled at
the dead silence which succeeded the thun-
der's roar. He looked again; the hair of his
head stood erect; his feet trembled.
"Who art thou ?" he exclaimed, still star-
ing round as he uttered these quivering

accents; for one appeared by his side who
seemed of more than mortal mould. A tall
stately figure stood between himself and the
dark horizon. The vision seemed to be il-
luminated by a light of its own ; for surely
no other light was there in that dark and
clouded night. But all was now still: in
that last and potent flash the storm appeared
to have gathered itself, as for a mighty and
final struggle; and a dead silence, more
awful than the tempest to endure, reigned
around; while the prince stood alone with
his mysterious visitor.
Who art thou ? Speak, if thou art a
man !"
"What do you dare ?"
"I dare any thing that man may dare. I
dare ask you the meaning of this visit !"
It is easily explained. Think not that
though I see you here alone, I know not
who you are; neither am I ignorant of the
wretchedness to which you are a prey, nor
to the cause of your condition. Yes; in
this place, and in this hour, I know who
you are; and I know your griefs and your
fears. Tell me, prince, what reward you
would give to him who should deliver you
from this terror, and persuade Redwsd
neither to injure you himself, nor to di-
ver you into the hands of your bitter te,

My means of rewarding such an one
would be but small; but such as I possess,
all should be his."
"And what if he should promise to de-
stroy your enemies, and restore you to your
father s throne; and raise you to such a
height of power, that you should not only
surpass your forefathers, but enjoy such a
dominion as none have ever yet enjoyed in
Britain ?"
Edwin received encouragement from the
manner of his visitor, which, though grave,
solemn, and impressive, contained nothing
severe or frightful; so he readily replied,
that all which he could do to demonstrate
his gratitude to such a person should be
thankfully done. When again the vision
addressed him the third time, and with even
more solemnity than before:
And what if he who has truly predicted
such events as those I speak of, should shew
you another and a holier way of life and sal-
vation than any of your parents or kinsfolk
have ever heard of before, would you con-
sent to obey him, and to listen to his pre-

ceadily the prince replied, that in all things
h would follow the teaching of such a one.
nhe vision then drew near, and placed his
t hand on the prince's head, saying,
"When one shall come to thee with this

token, remember this hour, and this our
conversation ; and hesitate not to fulfil what
thou hast promised."
At these words, the mysterious visitant
disappeared; and Edwin found himself alone
before the gate of the palace. There he stood
meditating for some time, doubting the real-
ity of all he had seen and heard, yet feeling a
weight taken off his mind by the predictions
of the stranger; whose solemn demeanour
contained so much of encouragement, that
he dared not doubt but that better days were
in store than those he had so long passed in
anger and anxiety.
He was thus occupied, when the friend
who had first warned him of his trouble
again stood before him; and with a coun-
tenance of cheerful calm, extended his hand
to him, saying, "Fear not: the storm is
over. Go into the palace again; for all is
peace and safety."
"And to whom, then," asked the prince,
"do I owe this happy change ?"
To the queen. She heard what Redwald
was about to do: and represented what
shame it would be for a prince to sell a
friend who had flown to his protection in
his need, and tarnish his honour for the
paltry bribe of gold."
"And she prevailed ?"
She did. And more; for, instructed

by her words, in a few days Redwald will
place you at the head of an armed force,
and make one more struggle for your king-
dom, before your hope is lost; for surely there
are those in Northumberland who will re-
ceive with open arms their true-born prince."
Inspired and cheered, Edwin appeared
again at Redwald's court; and in a few days
he was placed at the head of a numerous
army to claim and assert his rights. Ethel-
frid the usurper, alarmed at the news of the
sudden invasion of one whom he thought his
power had crushed, hastily collected toge-
ther an inferior force; and marched as far
as Retford, in Nottinghamshire, to meet his
foe. Edwin had a good cause, a clear con-
science, and an army on which he could
depend. And besides, he had Redwald's
queen's good wishes; and more, he remem-
bered the friendly vision; and he believed
himself to have the aid of Heaven fighting
on his side. He met his enemy near the
eastern bank of the river Idle; and a de-
cisive engagement ensued, which terminated
in the defeat and death of Ethelfrid. And
now there was nothing more for Edwin to
do, but to march and take possession of his
paternal kingdom, as it had been declared
to him by his mysterious visitor.



THE battle of which we have spoken, and
which placed Edwin on the throne of North-
umbria, took place, according to Camden,
in the year 616, the same year which had
witnessed the death of Ethelbert and the over-
throw of Christianity in the kingdom of Kent.
But though he was so seated, and the first
part of the oracle was thus fulfilled, yet much
remained undone that Edwin had still to
perform; and ten years elapsed, in which
he not only settled himself in his own king-
dom, but brought other nations who never
yet had submitted to the Saxon yoke within
his power ; and an account is still preserved
of his battle with Cadwallon, a British prince,
when victory was again on Edwin's side,
by which the islands of Man and Anglesea
were added to the Northumbrian dominions.
Of the islands of Mecania, as they were
called, the one was computed to be capable
of supporting nine hundred and sixty fami-
lies; the other more than three hundred.
The kingdom of Mercia, the dominion of
the faithless Ceorl, also became his tribut-
ary; and when his friend Redwald died,
he was elected bretwalda, being the fifth
Saxon king who had held that high office.

Thus it was that the second prophecy
of the mysterious oracle was fulfilled; and
Edwin had more power vested in his hands,
and a greater extent of dominion submitted
to his rule, than had ever yet been governed
by a single prince in Britain; for all Eng-
land, and the islands annexed to it, except
the kingdom of Kent, owned the power of
the prince, who was first introduced to us
as a homeless, wandering man, living on
charity, and almost by the permission of
those who had the power at once to crush
him beneath their feet: yet were his enemies
now overcome,-his power extended,-and
his kingdom firmly established.
But more remained to be done ere the
vision should be fulfilled. Edwin was still
a heathen,- a worshipper of his great an-
cester Woden,-and ignorant of those holy
truths which he was the chosen one of God
to introduce into his kingdom; and little
aware of the consequences of the step that
he was taking, or the meaning of the mes-
sage that he had received from Heaven as
the appointed means of his conversion, but
dazzled probably by the greatness of the
match, in the year 625 he sent an embassy
to the court of Canterbury, to Edbald king
of Kent, the son of Ethelbert, to ask in mar-
riage the hand of his sister Ethelburga, or, as
she is otherwise called, Tata. History does

not tell us what became of his former wife,
Cuniberga, the daughter of the treacherous
Ceorl king of Mercia, though we afterwards
hear of his sons Osfrid and Edfrid by that
princess : probably, therefore, she had died
in the period which had elapsed before he
sent his embassy to the court of Kent.
To this proposal Edbald returned for an-
swer, that it was impossible for him to per-
mit a Christian maiden to be wedded to
a pagan king, lest the faith of the King of
kings should be polluted by a union with
one who knew not the worship of the true
God. With this message the ambassadors
returned to the court of Edwin, who was
not, however, to be defeated by the result of
his first embassy. Another and more hon-
ourable embassy was despatched to Kent,
again to seek the hand of the fair maid, with
a promise that nothing should be done that
could admit of injury to the Christian faith ;
and further, that as her mother Bertha had
been permitted in the exercise of her reli-
gion, before the kingdom of Kent had been
Christianised, so Ethelburga, and all her
attendants whom she might bring, either
male or female, should have opportunities
of exercising their religion in their own way;
and there was even a hope held out, that if
on sufficient argument it should be proved
that Christianity was better than the religion

of his fathers, Edwin might himself be in-
duced to adopt the faith of his queen.
There was at that time in the court of
Edbald a Christian priest of singular holi-
ness and virtue, whose name was Paulinus;
a man zealous in the profession of the Gos-
pel, and firm but prudent in his method
of preaching it among the still half-pagan
population of the country. He was not
one who, by his violence of conduct, would
offend the heathen, and, so far from con-
verting them to his own opinions, only con-
firm and harden them in the obstinacy of
their unbelief; but, like the great apostle
St. Paul, he would seize on the opportunity
when it was presented to him, and teach
them the absurdity of heathenism, not by
attacking their prejudices on the subject,
but by opening their minds gradually to see
the truth of Him whom still even the hea-
then ignorantly worshipped.
Such was the man who was chosen to
attend the princess Ethelburga as her prin-
cipal chaplain; or, as the venerable Bede
expresses it, to attend a Christian virgin to
her marriage with an earthly prince; nay,
rather to call the whole kingdom into the
Church, and present it as a chaste virgin
to the heavenly Bridegroom. In the high
responsibility of such an office, the holy
priest was consecrated a bishop on the 21st

of July, 625, by Justus, the late bishop of
Rochester, who had been translated by Ed-
bald to the see of Canterbury, on the death
of Lawrence, the second archbishop of that
As soon as Paulinus was so installed, he
departed with the princess to the court of
the bretwalda, where so important a charge
awaited him. He preached to the people;
but for some time few appeared willing to
forsake their old superstitions; yet, though
he met with delay and disappointment,
Paulinus was not to be discouraged ;- as
well might the husbandman expect to reap
the corn as soon as the seed is sown;-if,
therefore, he converted a few, he esteemed
them as an earnest of better things to come;
but for the time the true faith appears to
have been confined to the private chapel of
the queen.
How much must the heart of this holy
man have been gladdened by the appearance
of an embassy from Pope Boniface at the
Northumbrian court, bearing letters to the
king and queen, which are still extant in
the history of the venerable Bede! Most
beautiful exhortations they tire, from the
pope, praying the queen to remain firm in
her faith, and, as she can, to lose no op-
portunity of spreading its holy influence in
her kingdom; and requesting the king to

listen to the doctrine of Ethelburga, who
appears, from all that we know of her, to
have been a most devout and sincere Chris-
tian. The ambassadors also brought with
them presents for the sovereigns. For Ed-
win, a coat of mail with a gold ornament
upon it, and a cloak of fine cloth: for the
queen, a mirror of polished silver,* and an
ivory comb set with gold. What influence
this flattering embassy might have had upon
the future conduct of Edwin it is impossible
to say, but the northern monarch must have
felt much gratified by an embassy from Rome
appearing at his court.
All seemed to be smiling upon the for-
mer exile, when an event occurred which
threatened to dispel all the hopes of Chris-
tianity that had dawned upon the northern
Saxons. Cwichelm king of Wessex, enter-
tained a design against the life of Edwin;
and in order to accomplish his wicked pur-
pose sent an ambassador to the court of the
bretwalda, who had orders to despatch Edwin
on some favourable opportunity. For this
purpose he carried concealed about his per-
son a poisoned dart. On the 17th of April,
which was Easter-day, he came to present
his pretended embassy to Edwin; and while
all the court were engaged in listening to
The mirrors of this period were made of polished
metal, the art of silvering glass being then unknown.

his long harangue, he suddenly rushed for-
ward, and attempted to plunge the dart into
Edwin's body.
Among the nobles present on the occa-
sion, there was one whose name was Lilla,
who had always been a faithful friend and
servant of the king, and who now attended
constantly at his court; and he, perceiving
in an instant the object of the ambassador,
ended his service to king Edwin by in-
terposing his own body between Eumer's
weapon and the king, thus saving his so-
vereign's life at the expense of his own.*
But with such force was the dart driven,
that it not only killed the noble Lilla, but
passing completely through his body, slightly
wounded the king. It was only after a severe
struggle, in which another of the king's at-
tendants was slain, that the assassin was
overpowered and despatched.
In the same night Ethelburga was safely
delivered of a daughter, afterwards named
Eufleda-who lived to be a distinguished
protector of the Northumbrian Christians.
For this double deliverance the king gave
thanks aloud to his gods, who he supposed
had both saved his own life, and with the
safety of his queen had given him a child.

See the cartoon, by Lucas, of Lila saving the life of
Edwin, lately exhibited in Westminster Hall.

The holy Paulinus was present, and when he
had also poured forth his thanks to Him to
whom alone they were due, he rebuked the
king for supposing that his gods of wood
and stone, or his ancestor Woden, could
either have saved him from the treason
of the ambassador, or have given the queen
a safe deliverance from her danger. Edwin
appeared struck with the bishop's words,
and he listened to them with anxiety; and
when Paulinus had finished, he declared
that if he should return victorious with
the force he resolved to take to East An-
glia, to punish the king of that country
for the treason he had attempted, and to
revenge the death of the faithful Lilla, that
he would then renounce his idols, and con-
form to the faith of the holy bishop, whose
arguments had worked such a change in his
heart. As a proof of the sincerity of his
intentions, he gave his infant daughter into
the hands of Paulinus, from him to receive
the sacrament of holy baptism, and to be
the first fruits of his family who should be
called into the bosom of the Church. A
happy day was that for the queen Ethel-
burga when she heard her husband's pious
resolve; and on the next Whitsunday fol-
lowing, which fell on the fifth of June, the
royal infant was baptised by the name of
Eufleda, and eleven more of the royal house-

hold on the same day received the sacrament
of initiation into the Church.
About the same period, the wound which
Edwin had received with the poisoned ar-
row was sufficiently healed to permit him
to place himself at the head of his army and
march against the king of East Anglia, who
had been the author of so much mischief to
his court: and again success crowned the
arms of the all-victorious prince; each battle
that he fought appearing a new completion
of the promise which had been given him
by the mysterious stranger, who, in the
midst of his utmost danger and difficulty,
had poured oil into the wound that, for so
many years, had been festering in his heart.
Up to that time all had been against him;
but since that messenger came, all that once
had seemed bent on his destruction bowed
before his power; and now that he was the
greatest prince in the island, and more
powerful than any sovereign that had been
before him, there remained but one thing
left to accomplish all that mysterious being
of the storm had promised. And things
seemed to be in train for the fulfilment of
that last prediction, by which the standard
of the cross should float triumphantly over
the ruins of paganism.


PAULINUS and Ethelburga awaited his re-
turn from this expedition with the greatest
anxiety. Daily did the princess and her
pious chaplain pour forth their prayers that
the heart of Edwin might be turned from
his idols, and that as her mother Bertha had
been the means of Christianising Kent, so
might it be her privilege to be the humble
means in the hand of Providence of spread-
ing the grain of mustard-seed which had
been planted in the private oratory, until it
should spread its branches wide over North-
umbria. Their prayers were heard, and
Edwin returned once more a conqueror into
his own dominions. But for all this, Edwin
was not one of those who consider that their
religion can be changed as easily as they
would their garments; it was to him a mat-
ter of deep responsibility to undertake to
forsake the religion of his ancestors, especi-
ally when that faith ascribed to him a lineal
descent from one of the principal deities,
and to adopt without deep thought and
proof this new religion which had been in-
troduced into the kingdom by the princess
whom he had married. Before he would
publicly come to such a resolution as this, he

held frequent conferences, not only with the
holy Paulinus, but some of the principal and
wisest of the nobles of Northumberland were
admitted to their councils, to consider a mat-
ter of such grave importance.
On one occasion, towards the end of the
year 626, King Edwin was sitting alone,
meditating on these important matters, yet
still wanting resolution sufficient to enable
him to forsake the worship of his fore-
fathers; when Paulinus entered the room,
and perceiving how much his sovereign's
mind was agitated, stood for a while in
silence; and then seeing that Edwin was
more at rest, he approached him, and plac-
ing his hand on the king's head, he said, in
a solemn voice, Do you acknowledge this
token ?"
All the events of Edwin's vision passed
through his mind in a moment, and he
would have thrown himself at the feet of
Paulinus, had not that holy man held him
by the hand, and refused the homage he
would have rendered him.
Behold," he said, from the hands of
your enemies whom you dreaded, by the
help of the Lord-that ready help in trouble
-you have escaped. Behold, the kingdom
which you desired, have you not received it
from the same Hand ? And now remember,
in the third place, your promise, and delay

no longer to embrace the faith and keep
the commandments of Him who hath raised
you from great tribulation to an earthly
throne, and will hereafter, if you obey His
will, which I have declared to you, deliver
you from the pains of eternal death, and
make you partaker of His kingdom in hea-
The solemn words of Paulinus wrought a
change at once in the heart of Edwin : the
words of the vision were fulfilled in all but
one respect; and he was now prepared to
complete them in that also. But he was
unwilling to undertake any thing without
the advice of his nobles; and therefore he
promised Paulinus, that, at the earliest pos-
sible period, he would call them together and
declare the conviction of his own mind, and
request them to join with him in the pro-
motion of the truth and the overthrow of
Early in the year 627 the great council
of the nation of Northumbria was assembled
by the king to debate on these important
matters. This council was attended by the
Saxon nobles and the chief priests of the
pagan faith; and of them Edwin demanded
what they thought of this new religion,
and their advice concerning its adoption
as the established faith of Northumber-
land. The first person who stood forward

to deliver his opinion on the occasion was
Coifi, the chief priest of Woden.
My lord the king," he said, you see
what this great thing is which has been now
declared to us; and for my own part I confess
to you most truly, from my own experience,
that the religion which we have hitherto
professed has no power or advantage in it.
For myself, none of your subjects have been
more zealous than I in the worshipping our
gods, and yet many others have received
from your hands more benefits and honours
than have fallen to my lot, and have pro-
spered more largely in all things which they
have desired to accomplish; wherefore, if
those things which, though they are novelties
to us, have now been set forth by Paulinus
are shewn upon examination to be better,
and resting on stronger foundations than the
ancient religion, let us by all means hasten
to accept of this new offer of salvation."
When the priest had concluded, another
noble, whose name is not preserved, ad-
dressed his sovereign in a speech more be-
fitting a consultation on the highest interests
of man.
My lord the king,-the life of man as
he now exists upon the earth, in comparison
of that long period which is unknown to us
before he enters the world, and after he has
departed from this life, reminds me of the

time when, in the depths of winter, yourself
and your lords and servants were seated at
a festival in your great hall, warmed with
a fire upon the hearth, while without there
raged the winds and the storms of winter.
A single sparrow flew through the hall; he
came in at one window and departed imme-
diately through another which was opposite.
While he was in the house, the wintry blast
could not reach him; but in an instant that
brief gleam of warmth and genial heat had
passed by, and he returned again to the
storm and to the tempest. So does the
life of man appear but for a little space;
yet what went before it, or what shall come
after, we know not. Wherefore, if this new
doctrine brings us any thing more certain,
surely it deserves that we should inquire into
it at least, leaving it then for our judgment
to decide whether we will follow it."
With such arguments and speeches as
these the elders and the council continued
their debate; till Coifi arose again, and
said, that all seemed now to be of one mind
concerning their former religion; but that,
with the permission of the king, he would
request Paulinus again to declare to them
the doctrines that he taught, so that they
might completely understand the whole na-
ture of their undertaking.
Then, at the command of the king, Pauli-

nus arose and addressed the council, teach-
ing them both the emptiness of their for-
mer religion and the sublime doctrines of
Christianity, which he proposed for their
acceptance. He taught them concerning
the resurrection of the dead,-the key-stone
of all our hopes,- and concluded his ad-
dress by telling them that if they were an-
xious of happiness, not in this life only, but
a safe conscience while here, and an eternity
of felicity hereafter, they must accept his
faith, which led to these results; and desert
their old, their blind devotion, which could
throw no light on the future prospects of
The aged Coifi then arose, and said:
I have long perceived that in the religion
which we serve there is no depth; for the
more zealously I inquire into the truth con-
cerning it, the less satisfactory I find it. And
now I declare publicly, that in this faith
which has but now been preached to us, we
may see that truth which hereafter shall gain
us the rewards of life, and salvation, and
happiness, for ever. I therefore propose,
0 king, that we instantly raze and con-
sign to the flames those altars and temples
in which we have so ignorantly worshipped."
When he had concluded, King Edwin
rose from his throne, and gave his public as-
sent to the word which Paulinus had declared

to them. He renounced idolatry from that
hour, and became a Christian, and willingly
gave his consent to the destruction of the
heathen temples. "But who," said he, with
something like doubt passing through his
mind, "who is there that dares to under-
take the work ?"
I," said Coifi, it is I! who so proper
a person to do this as myself? I conse-
crated these altars; and more, blindly wor-
shipped them; let me then, for the example
of the rest, according to the wisdom which
God has given me, destroy these altars upon
which our ignorance was lavished. Give
me a horse and a lance, that I may proceed
on my mission."
The king's own horse was immediately
led forth; when, girded with a sword and
bearing a heavy lance, the aged priest rode
towards a neighboring temple. The people,
who were then, as now, always ready for a
crowd, stood wondering at his conduct; for
it was not lawful for a priest to bear arms,
or to ride, except carried by a mare; and as
they looked on, they thought that Coifi was
insane; but he proceeded on his way, re-
gardless of their remarks, and hurled his
lance against the door of the temple. Then
he commanded the nobles who accompanied
him to set fire to the building, and destroy
every evidence that remained of the idol-

worship; and ere long the temple was level-
led with the ground. This was the temple
of Godmundingham,* near Weighton, in the
east riding of Yorkshire; a place that, even
in British as well as Saxon times, has been
celebrated for the beauty and extent of its
heathen temple.
We may perhaps, in these days, regret
that such spoliation should have taken place.
It might, indeed, have been interestingtohave
traced the walls, and discovered the manner
of the ancient worship of our forefathers. But
we should remember, it is but a trifling gra-
tification-a mere point of antiquarian lore
-that we have lost; nor forget that it is
highly probable that, had these Saxon tem-
ples remained as evidences of their heathen
worship, the preaching of the Gospel might
have met with more impediments in its course
than it actually encountered. They were
rude and barbarous times; and the Saxon
population of England must have presented
a curious aspect to the more refined eyes of
the Italian missionaries by whom they were
enlightened with the truth of the Gospel.
On a less worthy occasion, the noted re-
former of Scotland, Knox, scarcely more
refined in his ideas than the aged Coifi,
is reported to have said, that "you could
never get rid of the rooks unlea you destroyed
The home protected by the gods.

their sests." And therefore he sanctioned
the spoliation and destruction, not of hea-
then temples, but of the houses of God in
the land, and laid his impious hands on
walls consecrated not to Thor and Woden,
but where the worship of the true God had
been for centuries conducted by men who,
if they were mistaken in some things, never-
theless served their God in sincerity and
truth, and many of whom were the lights of
the age in which they lived.

IT was now some months to Easter, the
great festival for the administration of bap-
tism; and that time was employed by Pauli-
nus and the rest of the clergy his compa-
nions in catechising his new converts, and
teaching them, more perfectly than they
as yet knew, the doctrines of the faith
which they had professed. And we can
easily imagine the eagerness with which the
ardent Coifi would hear the words of Pauli-
nus, and the joy with which he would reject
the emptiness of heathenism for those more
prized and satisfactory truths in which he
was now to be instructed. In the mean
time a small wooden church was hastily

erected at York for the celebration of the
royal baptism, and was dedicated to St.
Peter. From such a humble beginning arose
that glorious Cathedral which has ever been
an object of wonder and admiration. York
Minster had its origin in the small wooden
structure which was built in the spring of
627; and here Edwin placed the holy Paulinus
as the first archbishop of York.
On the feast of Easter, as we have said,
which fell upon the 12th of April, Edwin was
baptised, and received into the communion
of the Catholic Church. At the same time
Osfrid and Edfrid, the sons of his first wife
Cuniberga, were baptised, and many of the
nobles of Northumberland. And afterwards
three other children of Ethelburga were
also christened in the same church. But
king Edwin did not rest satisfied with
this wooden edifice, and, by the advice of
Paulinus, he commenced a stone building,
which contained within its walls the wooden
church where the first Christians of Nor-
thumbria received the rite of baptism. This,
however, was not completed till the reign of
Oswald, his successor. The old Saxon kings
commonly resided at country villages, where
they had their halls or hunting-seats, and
changed from one of these houses to an-
other. Edwin had one of these in each of
the ridings of Yorkshire, and others farther

to the north. Paulinus removed from place
to place with the court; at one time preach-
ing and baptising at Yeverin in Glendale,
near the river Till in Northumberland, at an-
other at Catterick on the Swale, near Rich-
mond, and at another at Donafeld, which is
supposed to be near Doncaster. In the first
of these places it is said that the number of
people who flocked to him was so great, that
for six-and-thirty days he was engaged from
morning till evening in giving them daily in-
struction. When they could answer to the
catechism he taught, they were baptised in
the little river Glen and in the clear waters
of the Swale; "for as yet there were no
houses of prayer or baptisteries built," says
Bede, "in the first years of the infant Church."
However, at Donafeld the king built a second
church near his royal hall; but this, together
with the mansion, was shortly afterwards
destroyed by the pagan Angles of Mercia.
The kingdom of Edwin at this time ex-
tended into Nottinghamshire and Lincoln-
shire; and Paulinus crossed the Humber to
preach the Gospel at Lincoln. Here his first
convert was the reeve, or governor, of the
city, a man of wealth named Blecca, who,
after he had received baptism with all his fa-
mily, devoted part of his substance to build
a handsome stone church. He also visited
the banks of the Trent, and baptised near

Southwell, where, in Bede's time, about one
hundred years afterwards, the tradition of
the place preserved some memorial of the
personal appearance of this first bishop and
missionary of the province of York, of the
height of his stature, above the middle size,
his dark hair, his aquiline nose, and pale and
dignified countenance.
At these public baptisms the king was
usually present; and from the time of his
conversion to the breaking out of the war in
which he lost his life, the realms over which
he ruled are said to have enjoyed a most
prosperous state of peace. And so watchful
was he in maintaining justice, that it became
a proverb in after-time to describe a good
government as like king Edwin's reign, when
a mother with a tender infant might have
travelled in safety from one sea to the other.
It is also recorded, to the praise of his be-
neficence, that wherever a fountain of clear
water welled forth beside the public way, he
provided for the refreshment of wayfarers an
iron jack or drinking-vessel, fastened to a
post set in the ground; and such was the
love and fear of his name, that none of his
subjects would remove these vessels, or touch
them for any purpose but that for which they
were designed.
In the rivalry of so many small kingdoms,
however, peace was not easily preserved.

Penda, a rude pagan warrior, who had suc-
ceeded at an advanced age to the throne of
Mercia, made league with Cadwal, king of
Wales, against Edwin. In a battle fought at
Hatfield Chase, near Doncaster, the North-
umbrian monarch was defeated and slain;
and the country which he had so well go-
verned was laid open to the inroads of two
fierce chiefs, who made havoc of all that fell
into their hands, sparing neither women nor
children. Cadwal was, indeed, proposed by
a Christian; but his vengeance against the
Saxons, whom he naturally considered as
foreign invaders, aimed at nothing short of
their destruction. In the midst of this con-
fusion and calamity, Paulinus, taking with
him Ethelburga, Edwin's widow, with her
children, guarded by one of the bravest of
the king's thanes, made his way by sea into
Kent, where he and they were honourably
received by Honorius, whom he had shortly
before consecrated at Lincoln to the see of
Canterbury, and by king Edbald. It is a
strong proof of the fidelity of his escort of
Christian soldiers from Northumberland, that
he was enabled not only to preserve his life
and the lives of the women and children on
this dangerous journey, but even to convey
and deposit at Canterbury some precious ves-
sels and ornaments presented by Edwin for
the service of his church, particularly a large

cross of gold, and a golden chalice for the
holy communion. He left behind him in the
north his deacon James, or Jacob, the com-
panion of his missionary labours, who con-
tinued to preach and receive converts by the
rite of baptism, residing chiefly at Akeburgh,
"Jacob's Town," near Richmond; and who
afterwards, when peace was restored, taught
the Christians at York the use of chanting,
as it was already practised at Canterbury, in
the manner which Augustine had learnt at
Rome. Paulinus did not himself return any
more to York; but the see of Rochester
being then without a bishop, he was invited
to that charge, in which he died at a good
old age about ten years afterwards.
The death of Edwin took place on the
12th of October, A.D. 633, six years and a
half from the date of his baptism, in the
forty-ninth year of his age and the eighteenth
of his reign. His name, which has passed,
like that of Oswald, Alfred, and Edward, his
successors as Christian princes and defenders
of the faith, into a common English Chris-
tian name, is a memorial of the veneration
paid to his memory by our forefathers. A
faithful retainer carried his head from the
field of battle to York, where it was honour-
ably buried in a porch of St. Peter's Church,
called St. Gregory's porch, after the good
pope from whose disciples he had received

the word of life. His widow Ethelburga re-
tired from the world into the monastery of
Liming in Kent, founded for her by her bro-
ther Edbald, where her holy and exemplary
life caused her to be revered as a saint after
her death, in A.D. 647.

We have thus far seen the work of the Gos-
pel among our Saxon forefathers done only
by the Italian missionaries, and a few fellow-
labourers from the shores of France. But
we shall now see how the truth, taught by
the ancient Britons to the wild nations of
Ireland and Scotland, came back to enlighten
the country from which it had at first been
spread. The sons of king Ethelfrid, after
Edwin had succeeded to his throne, had
taken refuge among the Picts and Scots, with
a large body of young nobility attached to
their party. Here the disciples of Columba,
from lona, had taught them the Christian
faith, and they had been baptised. After
the fall of Edwin, one of whose sons by a
former wife had fallen by his father's side,
and the other was a prisoner in the hands of
Penda,-Ethelburga having carried his chil-
dren of the second marriage into Kent,-

there were none of his line left to dispute
the succession with them. Accordingly they
returned; and Eanfrid, the eldest, took pos-
session of Northumberland and Durham,
called by the Saxons Beorna-ric, or Bear-
land," either from the fierce creatures which
then infested it, or because it was by the
name of "bears" that the old pagans of the
north distinguished their bravest warriors.1
A nephew of Edwin's, by name Osric, was
at the same time set up by the Saxons of
Yorkshire to be king of Deer-land." The
choice was unhappy. Osric, who had re-
ceived baptism from the hands of Paulinus,
no sooner was declared king than he re-
nounced the Christian faith; and then march-
ing to York, which had surrendered to Cad-
wal, attempted to besiege him there. The
Welch chieftain, seeing him ill provided for
the attack, sallied out and destroyed him and
his forces; and, after long harassing the pro-
vince, contrived to slay Eanfrid also, who
had likewise become an apostate, at a con-
ference. Oswald, the second son of Ethel-
frid, was at hand with a small but resolute
band of followers; and by a victory near
To be called a ber in thee degenerate day is not con-
sidered a compliment; but in old times, in the north, u
the bear was the strongest animal known, it was as high a
title to be called Beorm-mod, or Beomrn-red, bear-hearted,'
a to have the surname of William the Lion, or Richbrd

Hexham entirely changed the fortunes of the
contending parties. Cadwal and his large
host were left in heaps of slaughter on the
field; and thus ended a war, m which the
Britons seemed for a short time likely to
regain their old possessions, but which was
disgraced by too much cruelty to be crowned
with lasting success.
There is no Saxon king whose name has
been more honoured in old traditions than
that of OSWALD, whom this victory raised
at once to the throne of Northumbria, and
to the title of "Lord of Britain," and all
the power of Edwin. It is said, that before
he led his men to this dangerous onset, he
planted an ensign of the cross in front of
their ranks, and, kneeling with them before
it, prayed for deliverance and victory. This
sign of the holy rood," he said, "is our
token of blessing; at this rood let us bow,
not to the tree, but to the Almighty Lord
that hung upon the rood for us, and pray
him to defend the right." When he was
established in the kingdom, he sent ambassa-
dors to the Scottish princes, with whom he
and his thanes had found refuge, and prayed
them to send him some bishop, from whom
the English people might receive the pre-
cepts of the faith which he had learnt among
them. They sent him without delay a man
of great gentleness and piety, as Alfred de-

scribes him, full of zeal and of the love of
God. This was AIDAN, to whom, at his
own choice, Oswald gave for his see the
island of Lindisfarne, on the coast of North-
umberland, near to Bambrough, his own
royal seat, A.D. 635. This was the first
foundation of the bishopric of Durham.
Aidan was a monk of Iona, the monastery
of St. Columba before mentioned, which in
this century had sent forth many missiona-
ries, who had founded other monasteries in
the north of Scotland, and was the chief seat
of dignity in the Scottish Church. After he
had come to Lindisfarne, many other Scot-
tish monks and priests came to associate
themselves with him. Aidan was a pattern
of that frugal and self-denying life, of which
his countrymen in later times have shewn
so many praiseworthy examples. He was
one," says Bede, "who seemed neither to
covet nor love any of this world's goods:
and all the gifts he received from princes or
rich men, he distributed in alms to the poor.
Wherever he went, whether to town or vil-
lage, he went on foot, never riding on horse-
back, unless some urgent need required it,
and inquiring of rich and poor whom he
met whether they were Christians; if they
were not, he invited them to learn the faith;
if they were, he sought by discourse to
establish them in what they had learnt, and

by words and deeds to encourage them in
works of mercy. His attendants, clergy or
laymen, wherever he journeyed, were seen
employed either in reading the Scriptures or
in learning psalmody, whenever they were
not engaged in holy prayers. If ever he was
invited to the king's table, he went with one
or two of his priests; and when he was re-
freshed, he soon rose and took his leave, to
return to read or pray. By his example, the
religious men and women were taught to
observe the fasts of Wednesday and Friday,
abstaining from food till the ninth hour of
the day; and this they did throughout the
year, except from Easter to Whitsunday.
To the rich and powerful he gave his re-
proofs without fear or favour; offering them
neither fee nor present, but entertaining them
when they visited his house with hospitable
cheer. Besides the bounty which he shewed
to the poor out of the worldly goods which
were presented to him, he employed a great
portion of them in redeeming those who had
been unjustly sold for slaves; and many of
those whom he had thus redeemed, he after-
wards made disciples in the faith; and when
they were well instructed, promoted them to
the sacred order of priesthood."
We may see in this character a pleasing
picture of the life of a good Christian bishop
in those simple times, and the social evils

which it was part of his task to remedy. Of
the amendments which Christianity brought
into the world, none is more remarkable
than the relief which it has ever sought to
administer to the unhappy condition of sla-
veY is said, that when Oswald first sent to

Iona for a Christian guide, there was sent
before Aidan a man of sterner mood, who,
not being well received by the Northum-
brians, returned to his countrymen with many
complaints against the untamed and harsh
nature of the people. "You seem to me,"
said Aidan, "to have been too hard with
these unlearned hearers. Remember the
apostle's practice, to feed them first with the
milk of gentler doctrine, till the are prepared
for that which is more perfect.' The remark
appeared to the council of Scottish Church-
men so discreet, that they unanimously chose
Aidan for the mission which he so meritori-
ously discharged. It appears, that when be
first came to Lindisfarne, he was too little ac-
quainted with the Saxon language to preach
to the natives in their own tongue; and that
Oswald, who in his years of banishment had
become master of the Scottish or Gaelic lan-
guage, was often seen acting as his inter-
preter, while he preached to his earls and
thanes. It was a fair sight," says Bede,
" to see a Christian king so employed;" and

a striking instance of the care of Providence,
turning the misfortunes of his youth to a
means of blessing.
Oswald married the daughter of Cynegil,
or Kingil, king of Wessex; at whose court,
when he was received as a suitor, he found
there Birinus, a new Italian missionary, sent
from Genoa, under a promise which he had
made to Honorius, bishop of Rome, to preach
to the pagan provinces of England. Kingil
and his people had listened favourably to his
message, and they were now many of them
prepared to receive baptism, when Oswald
came and stood godfather to his future fa-
ther-in-law. The Italian bishop, who had
received consecration in his own country,
was then placed by the two kings at Dor-
chester, near Oxford, A.D. 635. From this
see, a few years afterwards, the wars and trou-
bles of the little Saxon kingdoms were often
a hindrance to the progress of the faith.
The fierce old Penda renewed the war against
Oswald, who fell in a battle against him in
the ninth year of his reign, A.D. 643. Sige-
bert of East Anglia, and his successor Anna,
both recorded as excellent Christian princes,
were also slain by Penda in two different
wars, at some interval of time from each
other. Another Sigebert, surnamed the
Good, who had called Cedda from Lasting-
ham to restore Christianity in Essex, met

with his death from two of his own relatives,
in a manner which strongly marks the strug-
gle which was made between Christianity
and the old paganism. The two brothers
who had done the murder, on being brought
to trial, and questioned why they did it,
could only say that they were provoked be-
cause the king was so ready to spare his foes,
and so mildly granted forgiveness to all that
asked it. The Christian spirit of king Os-
wald, which had shone so eminently in his
life, did not desert him in the hour of death.
When he saw himself surrounded by the
enemy, and was on the point of receiving his
death-wound, he looked upwards; and those
who were near him, and lived to tell of that
disastrous day, reported that the last words
on his lips were, Spare, Lord, the souls of
my people."
Oswy, brother of Osward, obtained the
Northumbrian throne after the battle in which
Oswald fell; but he was for some time mas-
ter of only part of the province, another
competitor keeping a part, and was also for
his first years subject to the authority of
Penda. That warlike pagan being at length
slain in a bloody conflict near the river Aire,
Oswy became for the remaining years of his
reign undisputed "lord of Britain." At the
close of it, the arrival of THsoDonR of Tar-
sus to be archbishop of Canterbury, A.D.

600, brought further eminent benefits to the
English Church. But to pursue the history
farther would carry us beyond the limits as-
signed to this little book. Here, then, we
close the story of king Edwin and the con-
version of Northumbra.


Ris, small but trusty band, arise,
Prepare to meet the foe I
Cadwalla's pagan hordes advance,
But Heaven will bring them low.

For not in numbers is our trust;
Our hopes in His might
Who safer'd on the Crom; His arm
Will put the foe to flight."

Thu Oswald spoke, the brave and good,
And troops came rocking in;
They met upon King Edwin's lands,
With warlike pomp and din.

And trump and sword made music meet,
And Oswald's glancing held;
Before him soon the foemen fly,
And quit the crmson'd "d.


And in the hor of victory
Which God gave to his head,
Upon his brow wa set the crown
Of wide Northumberland.

Then reverently the croe. before
He knelt, with all his host;
For Thine, 0 Lord, the victory,
And Thine the praise and boast"

Then hied he to fair LAndbfirne
With kingly pomp and right,
And reign'd in good and pious wie,
By God' protecting might.

In old traditions, handed down
From listening sire to son,
No brighter name than Oswald's shines,
From pagan error won.

Till, hark again I the summons sounds
Of-" Arm ye for the field I
The heathen monarch Pends comes-
Prepare to fight or yield!"

And Oswald bravely fought and fell;
His brother fll'd his place,
And triumph'd, while the moon's pale beams
Shone on the foe's disgrace.

His blessed spirit oar'd on high,
On victory's heavenly breath;
But ere of time he took farewell,
We heard him pray in death:

46 xlw s 3DWw AND OITNVUMInIA.

Spre, Lord, my people's souls, 0 spare !"
And, won by fsith nd love,
HRese' sy *ntresssor rows
Ib plead p A prt.er bowe.

Load wall'd Northumbria for her king;
Brave Oswald thine the crown
That twines the martyr's glorious brow
With holiest renown!


ONOH. 1OW In..u rM.A LIO

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