|Anglo Saxon Life &Religion|
|"Anglo-Saxons"||Kings of Northumbria, Bernicia and Deira.|
|Some Yorkshire Towns||Dewsbury District.|
|Angles, Norse and Danes.||Thornhill rune stone|
|Anglian paganism and mythology.||Bingley.|
|Of trades.||Bingley rune stone.|
The term "Anglo-Saxon" is a relatively modern one used by the Normans for legal purposes. Originally Bede referred to Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians, as distinct groups from the continent. Achaeological evidence from grave goods on the continent also support this difference. The Anglo-Saxon approach to religion was one of the natural cycle of the seasons, survival in a harsh climate with the Earth being the fertile mother which produced food and thus gave life.
Christianity between the 7th and 9th century (St. Paulinus aligned the
A/S festivities with Christian services) attempted to replace the seasonal
festivals with deities of its own, more related to how people should treat
each other. The monks of Wearmouth, Jarrow and Whitby etc. were busy changing
and recording the new order. The power of the Roman Church overcame that of
the Celtic Church at the Synod of Whitby in 664 A.D. from then on the Roman
Church grew in England, first as a worker amongst the people e.g. by setting
up hospices, which later became corrupted by ecclesiastical and economic
power in the monasteries, eventually becoming politically powerful, leading
to their demise under Henry VIII
Some Yorkshire Towns
[Essentially the Anglian Deira and the British Elmet]
The following is from The Dictionary of Place Names, West Riding, Bingley, 1822 with some additions including Runic Script.
Castleford, situated on the Ermine-Street, near the confluence of
the rivers Aire and Calder, is called by Marianus, Casterford. Here
was a Roman
station, named Legeolium, by Antoninus; and which Hovedon, the historian, expressly calls a city. Here many Roman ruins, and other antiquities have
been frequently found; and at this place a battle was fought, between the Danes and Saxons, under Edred, in 950, in which the former were entirely
defeated. The Danes, after having experienced the clemency of Edred at York, followed the Saxons from that city to Castleford, unnoticed, where they fell
upon his rear with great fury; but such was the invincible valour of Edred, that he completely defeated them, and severely punished them for their
ingratitude. Few or no traces of the antiquities of Castleford are now to be seen. --Camden. --Drake.
Claro-Hill near Allerton-Mauleverer.
Here, in Saxon times, was held the Gemote, or assembly of the people of this wapentake (Weapon-take), for the transacting of all public concerns, relative to
the district; and where, by the laws of King Edgar, every freeman in such district was obliged to attend. The custom of the people meeting to receive
the governor of the wapentake, is distinctly mentioned in the laws of Edward, the Confessor. The person appointed repaired to the usual place of meeting,
for that purpose, and was there met by the principal persons in that district; after he had quitted his horse, and placed himself on some elevation, he held up his spear; each person then approached him, and touched his spear with theirs; which ceremony of touching of armour, was looked upon to confirm that community in one common interest; and hence the term Weapontouch, or Wapentake.
The Angles, Norse & Danes.
Though the materials in Bingley parish do not afford scope for expatiating
on the Roman occupation as those of the neighbouring parish of Ilkley did
for "Ilkley, Ancient and Modern," we have ampler remains for the story of the Anglian history, a history that so seldom occupies much attention in a local work that I venture to enlarge somewhat at length upon it. The story of the Angles, though covering only six centuries, must be divided into two parts, Pagan and Christian. Of the Pagan history we have no contemporary records as they had no literature in Yorkshire, probably, they had not even brought with them the art of carving records on stones, in runic letters. So far as I know, all the runic remains that have been found in Yorkshire are of a Christian character. One of the earliest is the
carved stone in Bingley Church. Those who get letters from France, Spain, Italy &c., will know they are always addressed to Anglo-land (Angleterre), and we in the north are more nearly related to the Scandinavians, Icelanders, Jutes and Dance, Holsteiners and Frisians, than to the Saxons, whose descendants populated Essex, Middlesex, Sussex, Wessex. But all these tribes had a common language originally, and as Pagans had similar manners and customs.
The Angles were, when we first hear of them fearless and active pirates, and marauders. They not only robbed, but massacred and burnt in wanton mischief. They were a physically powerful race, trained as athletes, and expert in using their clubs or hammers and sachs, (short daggers), from which possibly the name Saxon is derived.
"The Hardy Norseman's house of yore, was on the foaming wave." The
dangers of mountain life and sea-roving trained our Anglian, Norse and Danish
ancestors to vigorous activity, daring enterprise and presence of mind. The
stern wildness of their barren hills, the exhilarating influence of the scenery,
and the sombre effects of
Scandinavian pine-forests had much to do in preparing their piratical emigrants for the bravery and perseverance needed to subdue the country and
the people they invaded. Fortunately they brought with them their free spirit. Servility they could never endure, and this high type of humanity has been manifest in these dales for a thousand years. It stands in high contrast to the mild character of the Saxon of Middle England and the cringing double-facedness ascribed to Celtic races. Retainers or slaves existed, but they were of British descent, and were not amenable to the tything. They were clan-governed, and paid greatest respect to the aged, or Aldermen. Elder was synonymous with greatest in their language. These Chieftains or Eldermen chose a leader or Cyning in time of war, but he
relinquished his kingship when the war was over. It was these warlike clans that first left the eastern shores of the German or North-sea, but more peaceable Norse settlers soon followed as colonists, on hearing of the rich vales and dales of England, so that for four centuries a constant stream of settlers landed on the British shores, in much the same manner as we have sent emigrants to North America. Their condition in a strange land necessitated combination, and thus after a hundred years' unrest, wherein we find traces of Anglian, British, and Danish clans, mutually jealous of each other, struggling for self-defence, fortifying villages, making
earthwork castles, erecting wooden ramparts, &c., the country settled under the rules of eight kings, and the contentions continued until about 827
when Egbert gained in a general sense, the supreme power in England. Bernicia, founded by Ide (Ida), was the name of the kingdom north of the Tees;
Deira, established about A.D. 500, was about co-extensive with our present Yorkshire, but after fierce conflicts they were united under the name
Northumbria (north of the Humber.) Their chiefs, like those of Northern Countries now, called their ealdermen, wisemen or witan together in
cases of emergency. A peculiarity of their spoken laws was that payments were demanded in cases of injuries and criminal offences. Wealth was
accumulating, and reckoned by the number of cattle rather than by extent of land. They were exceedingly vigorous in punishing cases of unchastity in men and women. The civilization and material remains, (houses, roads, &c.), left by the Romans had a beneficial effect on the Anglian settlers.
It is almost certain that many large districts had been mapped out
by name as Elmet, Rombles, before the formation of townships under
the Angles, and
some think that townships were first formed here in Roman times. Ten free families had a court of self-government, called a ty thing. Ty means ten, and thing or ding means a court or moot, still preserved in the words hustings (house-courts), Dingwall, Tynwald, Storthing, Tinglaw (now Tingley), Headingley, where the Shireoak of Skirack (shire-ack) wapentake may still be seen. As these dings were also movable it is possible that the word Cottingley may have a reference to it, but of this anon.
Folk-moots, or folk-meetings, is the old term for a town's meeting, and was used by Saxon and Norse. The Norman feudal system crippled the moots in some measure by coupling them with the Manor Court, which was followed by the older Court Leet, held on the same
day and at the same place. Every wick, ham, stead or ton was largely self-governed,
as the neighbours or nigh-bour, were mutually pledged; whilst under
the Wapentake Court the privileged weapon-bearing men were in like manner
brought under fealty. Blood-wite in case of injury was paid by the hamlet
of the wrong-doer to the hamlet of the injured person in Anglian times, just
as in later centuries-even two centuries ago, a highway robbery in any wapentake
had to be recouped by the inhabitants of that wapentake. Then moots were
held under a stately tree, like the one on Elm Tree Hill, on some rock or
mound, but always in the open air, possibly for fear of witchcraft as one
reason. The Witan-moot was the national parliament. As special privileges,
sanctuary was often granted to favoured
or ecclesiastical properties, and doomed-crosses erected as boundary marks.
The Shire-moot met in spring and autumn and all thanes-men who
held 600 acres minimum - were required to attend.
The Norwegian parliament is named the Storthing, or great court; and our town courts for nominating Members of Parliament were called hus-tings,
(house-court). The Tynwald (Thing-wald) Court is annually held near Peel for the Isle of Man.
Bingley is in Skirack Wapentake or hundred, which would originally have been formed of ten tythings. At the Wapentake Court-the freemen had to attend with their weapons and touch or tac' the shire-reeve's weapon in token of fidelity to the King, whom the sheriff represented. We have the word still in the child's game, "tiggery, tiggery, touch wood." The great meeting place of Skirack hundred was probably at the shire-oak; that of Morley hundred at Thinglaw, now Tingley; of Agbrigg at the village of Agbrigg.
We have no need to advance further proof of the paganism of our ancestors than to remind the reader of the pagan names still given to our days, Sunnan daeg, Monan daeg, Tiwes daeg, Wodnes daeg, Thur* or ;Thunres daeg, Frigas daeg, Seternes daeg. The g is like y, as in yate for gate. Their name for idol was wig or wic, and, in passing, we may offer the suggestion that the modern spelling of Eldwick, which for many centuries was Helgewic, was probably a reference to a sacred or holy idol. Wig was also applied to a warrior. But we know such conjectures are dangerous, for the science of local etymology is in its infancy. From the great god Odin or Woden our lines of kings profess to be descended. The Anglian mythology also comprised beliefs in witchcrafts, oracles, holy-wells, and it is not difficult to produce many local evidences of the great impressions those made on the minds of our race, for a thousand years of Christianity have not removed the ingrained beliefs
*Thor was the god of war. Loki or Luck was a god of evil. They had gods for music, springs and rivers.
Anglian paganism & myths.
Amongst the many Yorkshire incantations the following was a favourite
one in this district; "From witches and wizards, and long-tailed
buzzards, and creeping things that run in hedge-bottoms, good Lord deliver us." To this end they carried lucky stones, lucky bones, charms of various descriptions to protect themselves. A boy finding a white stone would spit on it, as many men do still on the first coin received in the first day's trading as indicating good luck. Perforated stones were specially endowed with blessings to the owner.
Our Folk-lore is mainly the un-written and un-scientific history of
Anglian paganism. Our Christian Easter is the pagan Eostre; our Christmas
is the pagan Yule, both of them relics of Sun or Baal worship. Their sacred
stones, groves, fountains; their elf-rings and charms-their Ochy-pochy or
Magician, their wicked Neccus or old Nick; their holy-trees and a score
other superstitious notions have become part and parcel of to-day's creed.
After Yule we now name January, but one name is as pagan as the other. February or Sol-monath is cake-month, the pancake being offered to Sol. Rehd monath corresponds with our March and Rehda, or Ridda, became a family name, but I hardly think it has aught to do with Riddlesden. Eostur monath or April, was followed by Tri-milchi or three-milky month, May. Lida, first and second, and Wenden represent the mild months June, July and August. September was called Halig monath; or holy-month. Wyntyr filleth, preparing for winter, October; Bloth monath means the killing month for winter provisions, and blood was offered to the gods. AEra Yule, before Yule, was the great feast time of winter, as Bel was of midsummer, only the midsummer fires were lit on the prominent hills, whilst the Yule log was put
on the manor-house fire. To let the fire go out on that eve was a sign of most disastrous consequences in the following year, and till recent times I haveknown cases where neighbours have refused to allow any fire to be taken out of one house to another on Christmas and New Year's mornings. I take theantipathy to a red-haired boy, or to any girl letting the "New Year in," called in Scotland the "first foot," to have originated in Saxon times, when the Danes were harassing the inhabitants. Many, if not all, of the Norse tribes had acquired the art of writing on books, or beech-bark (as the word book probably means), about the year 500, and they also scratched or carved these letters on stone or other hard materials. The letters are quite different from the Romans in shape, corresponding more with Greek forms. They are called Runes, but the word is used as we use the word letters, for learning as well as the alphabet. There are various alphabets
of the Runae, but the difference is only slight. The characters are called runa-staves, and like the Hebrew phylacteries, they were so scarce, wonderful and mysterious to the ignorant that they were treasured as charms. The heathen of South Africa held in veneration a chip of wood on which Dr. Moffatt had written a note to his wife.
Our letters th and w (thorn aad wen) are relics of Runes.
The Angles used the word staef in preference to rune; thus "staef be staef"
means "letter by letter"; and the word write comes from writan, a stave or
letter, or writ. After the introduction of Roman ecclesiasticism under
Paulinus, the Roman forms were advocated and runes were deprecated as heathenish;
but this prejudice cannot have been very great in Yorkshire for the few monuments
of the period that still exist are in runes and not in Roman letters. They
were used in the Isle of Man much later than in Yorkshire, and in Denmark
and Iceland till after 1400.
Following upon the great influence exerted on the Angles by the Roman British who had learnt government, arts, comforts of home, food, clothing, health, &c., the introduction of Christianity and the Christianizing of heathenish worship, tended vastly to civilize the active settlers who had seized the land perforce, and made the few remaining aborigines into slaves. They followed the practice of farming and gardening which had been in vogue from Roman times; and regularly enjoyed hot-baths as the Romans had done before them. The Angles were not a literary people like the Romans, so their enthusiasm spent itself in athletic exercises, leaping,
running, wrestling, and active games. They had no surnames, but gave their children such names as Ethelwulf, (noble wolf), Albert (all-bright), Egbert (eye-bright), Eadric (happy and rich), Edgiva (happy gift). When necessary the father's name was added AElmer AElfrices suna, that is Elmer son of Elfric, or Wulfrig Madding (son of Madd). Only a few of the wealthiest Angles were taught to read, and such generally became Monks. Boys and girls were of age at fifteen, but reverence for parents and seniority was a marked feature of their character. The food of the Anglo-Saxons comprised bread of wheat, oats, barley and rye; and the flesh of oxen, sheep, and particularly swine. Of fish, the eel was the most common. Eel dykes formed boundaries of their lands, and I take it that Elam gets its name from Eel-holme.
Under Alfwold of Northumbria, 785, horseflesh was prohibited as food for human beings. They ground their corn in hand-mills or querns, one of which
may be seen in Bingley Free Library. Bread was mostly eaten fresh baked when warm from the bake-stone. The floors were mostly of mud, a fire was placed on a stone, and there were no chimneys. Such cottages still exist in Sulby Glen, Isle of Man, and I have often seen them in various parts of Ireland. The family name Baxter has come down to us from such primitive bakers. Orchards were fairly numerous, and honey was largely used. They also fed on herbs, beans, eggs, butter and cheese; and drank home-brewed beer from malt, mint, and sundry herbs. Salt meats were general from November to Spring. Meat was rigidly forbidden during fasts, and of course this rule was strictly observed during Lent not only in Roman Catholic times, but since, in order to encourage the fisheries. The father of Samuel Sunderland, of Harden, got leave from the Vicar of Halifax to have meat during Lent on account of illness. Wooden trenchers, made by the Turners, and
drinking horns obtained from the horns of oxen, were, with coarse brown pottery, the chief domestic utensils. Forks were unknown, and knives were very rudely made, except for the wealthy. Ale-thelamus or alehouses were not unknown in burghs or towns. Christian influence also modified the rude dress of the Angles. The women painted their faces and wore the hair in twisted locks. We read of their kirtles, gowns and mantles. These, like the clothing of men, were not confined to woollen materials, for flax and silk were obtained by the rich. The men bandaged their legs with leather and cloth strips. The style was nearer the Scotch kilts than our present fashion. A leather girdle, a cap, and rude shoes completed the outfit. The skins of wolves, lions, beavers and foxes served for linings. The household
furniture, even of the yeomanry class, was heavy and inelegant; whilst a table, bed, stools, and a chest were the stock of the cottar. Hangings were necessary to shield from the storms in such ill-built dwellings; and rugs, straw branches and rushes made up for the comfortless furniture.
Iron utensils were made at the charcoal furnaces both for home and agricultural purposes. They often made merry; sang wild war-songs, and supported the remnant of the Britons who played on rude harps and crowds. Our names Harper and Crowther indicate a descent from these harpers and crowders at a later date. Bear-baiting and bear-dancing were popular amusements. Hunting was a great diversion. Deer were common before and after wolves were extinct, and the wild boar was an object of chase. Hawks and falcons were a more genteel method of hunting in after-times.
The rights of a wife were carefully arranged before marriage, and women had such freedom as the Eastern nations never dreamt of. They frequently held lands and assembled at the Shire Moot debates. Still wives were considered to be purchased. A freeman was simply able to choose which master he would
serve, and the king was his lord and patron. If by misfortune or misdeed the freeman fell into slavery he was called a wite theow, or penal slave.
The theows and esnes were bought and sold like cattle, and we shall find some late instances from Mr. Ferrand's muniments. The sale of the Anglian
boys at Rome in Gregory's time shews that they were even exported for sale. Exportation was afterwards forbidden. The bulk of the population down to the
time of the Conquest was in real or semi-slavery, but manumissions in Christian times had augmented the freed class. The names often are given of
men and women thus freed: Wulfware, Gerburg, Aelfsige and his wife, and eldest daughter, Ceolstane's wife, Pysus, Edwin, Wulfiede and her daughter,
Spror and his wife, Bicca's wife, Ethelgythe, Effa, Beda, Gurhan's wife, Bryhsig's wife, Wulfar's sister; Hagel, Hig, Dunna, Elfwig, Sewi Hagg, Egilsig, &c.
Of Trades: smiths,
woodworkers, shoemakers, salters, weavers were the chief besides farming;
markets were held at principal towns. Travellers were
hospitably entertained for a night, but the host was held responsible if the stranger remained over two nights and did any wrong. If any wicca or horewenan (witch or whore-queen) be known, they shall be driven out. All welworthunga (well-worshippers), liewiglunga (incantations of the dead), hwata (omens), frith plots and elm tree enchantings were discouraged by the Christian teachers. In the frequent cases of plagues, storms, &c., the Angles often resorted to pagan customs. Besides a strong faith in charms, they were much guided by prognostications, as to lucky and unlucky days.
Nativities were specially believed in. They had even charms to find lost and stolen cattle, and for making fields fertile. Cremation was much in
vogue till Christian times, when wooden coffins became common, but occasionally coffins were cut out of the solid rock. It is possible the
large coffin in the rock near St. Ives, Harden, was made in Anglian times. Burials in towns and in and near churches were practised after the
introduction of Christianity. A soul-shot was generally paid to the priest at the death of freemen. A gibbet was generally maintained in each manor.
The Angles held lands in freehold, and carefully describe the boundaries. Amongst the commonest words in these land marks we find Hlidegate, the
Lidgate that swung like a lid between the enclosed lands and the commons, sheep-lea, hence Shipley; the military ways or forths, fyrds, as Bradforth, Horsforth, &c.; the Stocks of the high-ford, from which we may obtain a correct etymology of Stocks, near Keighley. Their chief land measure was the hide, or 120 acres. Their kings were elected, but nearly always from the royal family. This custom fell with the fall of the Witenagemote after the Conquest.
The Ealderman was a member of the national witan, or wise council. He was the Sheriff, (shire-reeve); afterwards named Earl, but the office was given
to lesser landholders. The greaves or town-reeves were annually elected from the local landowners, and were men of great responsibility. They assisted in the folk-moots, court-leets, halmoots, &c., to dispense justice. They had to secure robbers, see that the gates to the village were repaired (not only to keep cattle from wandering into the place from the unenclosed lands-but for defence of the inhabitants), and execute by their servants punishments, even death, on delinquents. Their chief assistants were the constable, pinder, &c. One unfair regulation was that men were valued according to rank,-each having his "were" or price, in
case of injury, or manslaughter, or murder. It was eventually settled that no one should be gibbeted for stealing unless the value exceeded 12d.
(say £1 of present money). See "Halifax Gibbet Law." Nigh-bors or neighbours were personally responsible for each other as pledges or bonds,
or bail; so every man had to belong to a tything. "Every man shall have borh and the borh shall produce him to every legal charge." A most
unsatisfactory mode of trial was by ordeal-by hot water or hot iron; and these were ecclesiastical rather than civil methods. Trial by jury was only partially developed.
Kings of Northumbria, Bernicia & Deira.
On the removal of the Roman Soldiers, the country in the northern
parts particularly was over-run by Scottish hordes, chiefly the Picts, and
meanwhile gangs of emigrants were arriving on the east-coast. These were
mostly marauders from Denmark, Jutland, Anglia, and North Germany. They were
not savages, for there is evidence that they had been long accustomed to
trade with tribes and nations along the north and centre of Europe to the
Asiatic borders. Of course, they were heathens. The first great leader that
touched our country was Horsa, about 457, he having brought his disciplined followers from the south, (where Hengist had been
settled as King of Kent), to assist the Brigantes in repelling the incursions
of the Picts. He is said to have been slain at Conisborough. From this
time a continuous stream,-many of the vessels being loaded with colonists
rather than pirates and soldiers-poured into the island, and Northumbria
(the land north of the Humber) was chiefly peopled by Anglian settlers.
They pushed their way up the river Humber, and thence up the Yorkshire
streams,"winning by inches."
Tradition relates us wondrous stories of desperate struggles with the remaining British tribes, headed by King Arthur of Richmond Castle, where he and his Knights of the Round Table are said to sleep. The desperate struggles and lawless period of ninety years passed by, when an Anglian named Ida or Ide, more powerful or more favoured than his precursors subdued the territory of Northumbria and reigned as King from 547 to 560.
His kinsman Ella (Aelle), wrenched the Yorkshire or southern part of the kingdom from him, and became King of Deira, whilst Ida was ruler of Bernicia, (from the Tees northwards). Ide and Ella were favourite Anglian names, and places such as Ide-hill, Idil, Kirkella, are memorials of Anglian foundations, whilst Deira forms part of the name Driffield, it is thought. The names of one or two chieftains who tried to sustain the British power against Ide and Ella have come down to us. Urien(of Rheged) son of Guvare, Owen son of Brian, are mentioned for their prowess by Cymrye Bards. Ide the Anglian, of Schlesvig, was the son of Eoppa, and like monarchs the world-over claimed to be descended from a god. Bealdeag, fifth son of Woden, was his reputed ancestor. Our Wednesday-the day for worshipping Woden-reminds us of this powerful deity. Ida's praise is duly chronicled by William of Malmesbury, and his fame led other Anglians to emulate his example. Adda (after whom, or another of the same name, Adel is called), and Gloppa or Ellapa, succeeded their father Ida, as King of Bernicia. Ella (Aelle) held Deira from 560 to 588, reigning at Elloughton and York. He was son of Yffa, and of course, claimed Woden as progenitor. The beautiful story of Pope Gregoryand the little Anglian slaves from Deira, stolen from Ella's kingdom to be sold in Rome most probably is true in the main, and led to the reintroduction of Christianity to Deira.
Ethelfrith [Aethelfrith] son of Ethelric [Aethelric], fourth son of Ide [Ida], had married Acca the daughter of Ella (Aelle), and succeeded to Deira in 589 and to Northumbria in 593. He was slain in 617 by Eadwine(Edwin) his wife's brother, who after attaining his majority, was assisted by Redwald of East Anglia to gain Deira. Ethelfrith had the reputation of being an able monarch but stained his laurels by the massacre of the Monks of Bangor. He bore a bear as his cognizance on the standard and it was impressed on coins by other kings afterwards. His sons Eanfrith, Oswald and Oswy [Oswiu] fled when he was slain.
|Descendants of Ida of Bernicia, rulers are emboldened.|
or Edwin, the martyr ruled Northumbria from 613-633. Whilst an exile, he married
Queenburga daughter of Ceorl, King of Mercia, and had two
sons, Osfrid and Eadfrid; and had issue by his second wife Ethelbur(ga)-a-daughter
of Ethelbert, King of Kent-Ethline Uskfrea, Eanfleda, and
Ethelreda. He founded Edinburgh in 624, when Redwald his friend died, he
was acknowledged as Bretwalda, or chief king in Britain. The British
kingdom of Elmet, with Leeds as its capital, had with varying vicissitudes
kept fairly compact till Edwin ended the guerilla warfare by subjugating
Ceretic, the Elmet King, about 616. Edwin had a glorious
reign, adopted Christianity, encouraged Paulinus to preach the Gospel throughout
our Yorkshire dales. Coifi, the high-priest at Godmundham, led
the way to desecrate the heathen temples, and on their sites were erected
our firstchurches This was in 627, and at York, Dewsbury, Whalley
and other Christian centres began the diffusion of the new tenets that year.
the old pagan king of Mercia, swore to root out the new faith,
and, joined by Cadwallon of North Wales, he encountered Edwin at Hatfield
near Doncaster, 633, and Edwin the Martyr and Osfrid his son
were slain, the whole territory was ravaged, and Cadwallon became ruler. Ethelburga
the queen fled to Kent with Paulinus, where she died and was canonized.
Eadfridfled to Mercia, and his grand-daughter Hilda became Abbess of Whitby. Osric was ruler of Deira 633-4, Eanfrid (Eanfrith)
of Bernicia, the same year. They were grandsons of Ell (Aelle) but relapsed into paganism. Osric's
son Oswin became King of Deria 644-651. Meanwhile, Oswald the Saint ruled Northumbria
from 634 to 642. He was son of Ethelfrith and Acca, Ella's (Aelle's)
daughter. He adopted Christianity at Iona-where the new faith had been introduced
from Ireland sometime before any Roman influence was known. He led an army
against Cadwallon at Heavenfeld, and there the Cymric king fell. Oswald founded
Lindisfarne, completed the York Minster of that day, and several churches are
still dedicated to his memory. Oswald was slain in fighting against
old Penda at Masserfeld. Oswy succeeded his half-brother Oswald, 642-670.
He married Enfleda daughter of king Edwin and had issue Eagfrid and Alfred,
both kings of Northumbria, and three daughters, one of whom, Elfleda became
second Abbess at Whitby, which abbey her father had founded. Oswin
son of Osric regained Deira 644-651, and when he was murdered, the Deirians elected
Ethelwald, son of St. Oswald, as their ruler. When Oswy gained the famous
battle of Winwidfield, near Leeds, 642, where old Penda and Ethelbert
fell, he seized Deira, and again united Northumbria. Ethelwald died soon after
the great battle, so there was little obstacle in the way to the unity. The
synod of Whitby, 664, was presided over by Oswy, when the two rival
sections of Christians-the British and the Romans-had disputations, and
the supremacy of Rome began to prevail. Oswy was buried at Whitby, and his son
Ecgfrid (Eacfrith) succeeded to the Northumbrian throne 670-686, a period of wars and
intrigues. In 675 he fought the Picts, and drove them back, but the Redshanks returned often, and he fell in Scotland whilst fighting
them. Alfred, king of Northumbria, 686-705, was son of Oswy. He
was a very learned man for his time, like his future namesake Alfred the Great.
He was mortally wounded near Pickering in a Pictish battle, and was
buried at Little Driffield. His son Osred, aged eight years,
under Brithric'sprotectorship became king, 705. His rebellion ensued and he was slain,
when Keonred, son of Kuthwyne, a descendant of Ida, ascended
the Northumbrian throne in 716, his kinsman Osric II succeeded in
718, and in 730 he was followed by his cousin Keonwulf, brother of Keonred.
He had a peaceful reign of eight years, and then assumed the cowl and died
in Lindisfarne Abbey. These two Keons were brothers of Egbert the
Archbishop of York, and of Eata, whose name along with his son
will always be coupled with notices of Bingley. Eata's son Eadberht, sometimes written
Egbert, became king of Northumbria in 738. Soon after his accession, he led
an army across to Scotland in repelling an invasion of the Redshanks
or Picts. During his absence the Mercians entered his dominions
and carried off a great quantity of plunder. He enlarged the boundaries
of his kingdom, and so managed with the troublesome king of the Picts as
to make friends with him, and thus secure on the whole a prosperous and peaceful
reign until 757, when he imitated his uncle, King Keonwulf, by resigning the crown and entering a monastery where the remainder of his life
was spent. One authority says Eadberht received the kingdom of Northumbria from his cousin Ceolwulf.
It appears from an inscription on a cross, placed on the top of the
church over the east window,
that at an early period it was honoured by the preaching of Paulinus, the first Archbishop of York;
and it was formerly considered the mother church of that part of the country".
-Pigot & Co's National Commercial Directtory, 1834
On runic stones at Dewsbury and Thornhill are the names of Ethilberht and Osberht respectively. Here our Bingley runic stone has its story to unfold. The Rev. Daniel H. Haigh had his attention called to it by Mr. Ainley, but he could then only make out six runic signs. The stone had been used as a step for the Grammar School entrance. In 1863 he took further casts, and assisted by the Rev. J. T. Fowler, he concluded that the inscription recorded:-
+ Eadbert Eatting ey | ning Rehte Geban (Este Nys | ode Ongus
+ Eadbert Eatting ey | ning Rehte Geban
(Este Nys | ode Ongus
In an article on Runic Monuments (Yorks. Archaeo. Journal, Vol. 2.), Father Haigh thus writes of the Bingley relic:-
"The inscription on a stone, which I believe was once the socket in which a memorial cross stood, at Bingley, demands particular attention.
During the course of the past winter [ca. 1871], I took up the photograph
of this inscription one day, and was very much surprised to find that the
sixth rune in the third line, which I had read E, was certainly U, and
that it was followed by S, not by N. This discovery, most unexpected, throws
new light upon the whole. I had identified Ouama or Ouoma the place
whence Eadberht led his army to the aid of Oengus (Angus), king of the
Picts, A.D. 756, with Hewenden near Bingley, and supposed that the assembling
of his forces there might be the occasion of Eadberht's visit*. The identification
is now confirmed: the army really assembled at Hewenden, but the person
whose visit to Bingley is recorded, was not Eadberht, but his ally Oengus,
whose name is here spelled Augus or Ongus§, (for as and os
differ but in asingle stroke, and I cannot be sure which letter is here.)
I give a tracing from the photograph (by Mr. Holgate, of Bingley,) collated with the east. My reading now is
+ EADBERHTEATTINGCY + Eadberht
NINGRIHTEGIBANOCESTENYS ning rihte giban oeste Nys
ODEONGYSBINGALEAHES I ode Ongus Bingaleahes
Thus Bingaleahes would be written Bingaleahes in Runic Script, Likewise Midgley which could have been Midgaleahes would be written
+ Eadberht, son of Eatta, King, uttered a gracious ban. Ongus visited Bingley. It is but part of a longer record. The 'gracious ban' no doubt resulted in the alliance between Eadberht and Oengus, previously enemies, and at Bingley, we may believe, that alliance was cemented." Father Haigh ascribes the erection of the Collingham cross, near Wetherby, to Queen Eanfleda, though called King Oswin's. The Leeds cross bears the name of King Onlaf. Guiseley church is dedicated to St. Oswald. These and numerous other items shew the identity of this immediate locality as a chief centre in the melancholy story of Saxon, or rather Anglian, wars and bloodshed.
Thornhill Runic Stone
At Thornhill, Dewsbury, are fragments of runic inscriptions
referring to Ethelbert, Osbert, and one to Eadred who set up a
cross to Eata, a hermit.
+ EADRED ISETE AEFTE EATE INNE.
EADRED ISETE AEFTE EATE
*Father Haigh's reference is to the following from Sim. Dunelm. et Rog.
Houeden (Simeon of Durham and Roger Howden, the early chroniclers).
"Eadberht rex, xviii. anno regni sui, et Unust rex Pictorum duxerunt
exercitum ad urbem Alewith (or Alelut,) ibique Brittones in conditionem
receperunt, prima die mensis Augusti. Decima autem die eiusdem mensis
interiit exercitus pene omnis quem duxit de Ouama (or Ouana) ad
Niwanbirig, id est ad novam civitatem. "Ouamdene would become Ouandene,
m changing to n before d.
§This form of the name is given by the continuator of Ven. Bede's
Chronology (to A.D. 766). Aongus, in the "Duan Albanah," more nearly
represents the name on this monument. Onuis, in the "Chronicon
Pictorum," gives initial o. Misecllanea Picta: the History of the Picts,
with a Catalogue of their Kings and of the Roman Governors who fought
against them and the Scots. Maule, 1818.
The omission of the usual asking prayer for the deceased is very remarkable
at Thornhill. Simeon of Durham records that Eata the hermit died at Craic,
near York, about 752, and in another place at Cric, ten miles from York. A
hermit at that time was not a Job Senior of Rombalds Moor, but one of the
most noble and powerful souls of the period, a man of wealth and dignity,
and the veneration he was held in accounts probably for the preservation of
the cross at Thornhill. To further shew the importance of the district at
the period, it is known that most of the coins of Cnut, or Guthrum, were
minted at York. Regnald son of Guthfrith and grandson of Ivar reigned at
York 919-923, and issued coins bearing his name Rahenalt and Racnolt. Eric,
son of Harold Harfager ruled at York under Athelstan, 937. He fell in
battle in 940, and Olaf son of Sihtric became king, and issued coins at
York. Nigel or Neil, Earl, coined at Leeds, judging by the superscription
Leiade. He was slain in 918 by his brother Sihtric, who claimed the greater
title of king.
Yorkshire sundials exist that were erected at this period, the finest, at
Kirkdale, bearing the name of Orm son of Gamel son of Orm, each great
landowners in East Yorkshire particularly.
In 1816, Father Haigh found at Wensley a gravestone, the top of which was
broken off, and had probably borne the words ORATE PRO, EAT-BER-EHT ET
ARUINI, Carved about the head of a cross, both cross and lettering being
in relief. From the "Historia Ecclesiastica" and Simeon of Durham, we get
the date, "A.D.740, Aruwini et Eadberetus interempti." 23 Dec., 741, the
same year that St. Acca went to heaven, Arwine son of Eadulf was killed.
The coins of king Eadberht have the same spelling as this stone; as also,
Eadberehtus and Eotberehtus.
Prof. G. Stephens, Copenhagen, from rubbings and photographs sent by Rev.
J. T. Fowler, Durham, writes:
If my reader will kindly go back to my Vol. I, p. 485, he will see what
was then known about this runish lave. (Bingley.) He will perceive that
Mr. Haigh had done what he could but that the times were unpropitious.
Since then circumstances have altered. Fresh materials have been placed at
my service. The same energies and opportunities which have enabled my
noble countryman Mr. Fowler, to restore to us the Crowle Runie Cross, have
also permitted him to do what can be done for the Bingley Font. To do what
can be done, for this precious relic, hundreds of years neglected, is now
so shattered and worn as almost to make us despair. The staves are so faint
and broken, the stone has so many false jags and cruel scratches, that the
risting is almost unreadable. The best men may differ, and widely differ
as to its meaning. And this difficulty is largely increased because it is
not yet commonly agreed what this piece was intended for. I look upon it
as a FONT, Mr. Haigh thought it the SOCKET OF A CROSS. But to understand
this better let us describe it, using the details kindly given me by Mr.
Fowler and Mr. Haigh. This piece, years ago, was found turned upside down,
doing duty asa step to the entrance of the Grammar School at Bingley.
When the said school was rebuilt this stone was taken to the church-yard,
where it was for no-body knows how long. I now follow Mr. Fowler: " Material-The
ordinary strong gritstone of the district.
General Form-Irregularly four-sided, the inscribed side being longer than the opposite side. The
under part is quite rough, as if it had never been workt. The sides are
very thick, and the cavity accordingly small in proportion, especially at
the bottom. Dimensions-About 2.« feet square by 1¬ high, and 10 inches
deep. Details-The ornamentation is confined to the four sides. These appear
to have had a cable-moulding running all round the upper margin, which may
perhaps have been continuous with the interlaced patterns on the sides.
These are different on all the three sides which bear them, and are rude
and irregular in character. The runic inscription is in three lines
occupying what appears to have been the front side. There is a shallow
rebate all round the brim of the cavity as if for the reception of a cover,
but there are no traces of fastenings. The aperture is roughly made in one
cover, and the stone so much broken away from it all round on the outside,
as if driven off from within at some later period. Present condition-The
under part is very rough as above stated, and perhaps it has never been
otherwise. This condition may however be the result of the action of the
frost or of mechanical violence. It is so much weathered all over that
none of the original surface remains, and little hard points stand up,
having resisted corrosion longer than the rest. It must have been in the
open air for a long time, but of late years it has been kept in the church.
Similar remains in the neighbourhood-Uninscribed runic stones have been
found in South Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire as shown by my brother and
myself in "Pro. Soc. Ant."
The hole or aperture above spoken of is cut horizontally in the corner as
described. This being so, and without reference to the inscription, what
would the piece seem to have been made for? I think undoubtedly for a
church FONT. And this for three reasons, its general appearance, the
rebate all round the brim of the cavity as if for the reception of a cover,
and the HOLE to let out the water. Certainly it is large enough, for the
hollow basin is about 1 foot 9 inches square at the top and about 10 inches
deep, besides which baptism by sprinkling was not uncommon from the very
oldest times. But general objections-smallness of the water cavity,
barbarism of the work, &c., are quite inapplicable here. What do we know
about Baptismal Fonts anywhere in the 8th century ? How many have we left
to us from that early date? In a rude neighbourhood and a half-heathen
period, we must expect helpless workmanship. And this piece is very rude
indeed. Perhaps its want of proportion was partly owing to the shape of the
original block, while its unfinisht base was to spare labor. But both its
rough ornamentation and its careless runes show the hand of an unskilled
workman. True, and how many skilled workmen-carvers of stone should we
expect in a small, poor, out-of-the-way hamlet in Yorkshire even now? And a
thousand years back, I trust none. We know that all the earliest skilled
workmen in whatever was not wood were brought over by the early Christian
clergy about this time from the Continent, chiefly from Italy. Native
village stone-cutting from the 8th year-hundred is scarce enough, and
barbarous enough. A Font so old I have never seen. But I have examined,
particularly in Scandinavia, some very old native-cut Fonts, as old as the
11th and 12th and 13th centuries, and I can testify that several of these
are as rude and helplessly fashioned-tho' not perhaps so much ruined by
time and brutality, which is quite another thing-as this piece at Bingley.
And several of them have a water-basin even much smaller-than the Bingley
one. In plans and drawings of Fonts, sizes of top and bowls, &c.. (measured
inside from rim to rim and the depth) are seldom given, else it would be
easy to refer to scores of publisht instances. And many of these oldest
fonts have the drain (water hole) not in the middle, but, as at Bingley,
at one corner below, while others have no drain at all! These old Fonts are
often square, as well as round, and this applies to the Bowl also. If we
now turn to the runes we shall see that apart from all wearing and
damage-they have never been so even and regular as on many other laves. It
is also clear that the staves in the lower line have been purposely spread,
partly to fill up the space and partly perhaps from the stone being
unsmooth at parts. At p. 486 in Vol. I. of this work Mr. Haigh tells us
In 1869-70, Mr. Fowler generously and enthusiastically rusht into the
field. At great expense both of time and money he lavished favour on favour
upon me-details of every kind, drawings, rubbings, photographs, and at last
a Cast of the runic side. For all this labour of love I and the whole
Republic of Letters offer him our hearty thanks. At this time a letter
reached me from Mr. Haigh, dated 9th March, 1870, which contained the
passage: "I have thought that the first line may be (see block-fourth line)
EADBERHT CVNING. As my materials came in I began to work upon them,
and at last-after some few gradual ameliorations-have come to my present
text. Should I be right in this, of course we are sure that the stone
trough was made for a Font. Mr. Haigh has come to a different conclusion.
He rejects both my opinion that it was a Font and also my reading of the
runes. He insists that it was the socket of a Cross, and has gradually
decided that the stone bears (besides at least one other line):
"EADBERHT EATTING KY.
NING REHTE GIBAN OESTE NYS.
ODE ONGEN BINGALAEHES"
EADBERHT EATTING KY.
NING REHTE GIBAN OESTE NYS.
ODE ONGEN BINGALAEHES
This he translates: "Eadberht Eatting, King, published a good ban, visited
again Bingley." [In the Runic Monuments of Northumbria, 1870, p. 2', my
late accomplished friend has modified this to EADBERHT EATTING CYNING REHTE
GEBAN (ETSE NYSODE ONGEN BINGALEAHES. Eadberht son of Eatta, King,
uttered a gracious ban, visited again Bingley.
EADBERHT EATTING CYNING REHTE GEBAN (ETSE NYSODE ONGEN BINGALEAHES
But the appended plate gives GIBAN
as before). To this I answer that-however much the stone has suffered,
still enough is left for us to see (at least in my opinion) that the above
runes have never been there. Minor points, as to the strangeness of some
things in the words as given and the-to say the least-unlikely and
meaningless character of this whole inscription on a public monument, we
can pass by. I now come to my own reading, to which men able to judge will
perhaps object as strongly as I have done to that of my learned friend.
After numberless and patient examinations of all my materials, in all
lights, and guided by the faint traces still left, and avoiding what I
conceive to be accidental dints and jags, and partly holpen by the dividing
dots which I think here and there exist, I make out that the letters were
as below, complete in three lines, no more; my fancy may have misled me as
I think his has misled Mr. Haigh, but still I submit my text for comparison.
The reader will then judge for himself. Font as I see it from east and
light bild, &c. Runes as I see them, some more or less plain, others partly
or nearly worn away. As the whole surface has suffered so much, it was
impossible to engrave it otherwise. No photograph could bring out the
details of so excessively worn a stone; besides which, to give a Sunbild
to every copy of this work would have been very expensive, and no artist
can engrave such a photograph without himself FIXING THE SHAPE OF EVERY
In the last line, in the word GIBID parts of only two of the upper strokes
of the G are left, all the rest is broken away. Thus my reading and
version will be:
EADBIERHT CUNUNG Eadbierht,
HET HIEAWAN DOEP-STAN US Hote (ordered) to hew
HET HIEAWAN DOEP-STAN US
the dipstone (font)
GIBID FVR HIS SAULE for us
GIBID FVR HIS SAULE
Bid (pray) for his soul
I need not remark that the longer and oftener I look at the light-build
of the runes, the more will the at first so indistinct staves gather shape
and look into our eyes. Should the above reading be accepted as
substantially correct, the next question is the age of this font. Putting
together, in short, the notices of EADBERT EATING (Eata's son), King of
Northumberland, given in the Old English Chronicle, the addition to Beda,
Florence of Worcester, Simeon of Durham, &c., we find that in 737 Ceolwulf,
in the 9th year of his reign, takes St. Peter's tonsure (becomes a monk) at
Lindisforn (Holy Island) and gives up his sceptre to Eadbert (spelt in the
skinbooks Eadberht, Eadbert, Eadberth, Eadbryht, Eatbert, Eathbert,
Edberht, Edbrict, &c.), faederan sunu, his uncle's son. In 740 Eadbert wars
against the Picts. In 750 he adds the district of Cyil, in Ayrshire, to his
dominions. In 756 he fights against the Britons, and loses most part of his
army. In 757 he takes St. Peter's tonsure (is shorn as a clerk), gives up
his kingdom to his son Oswulf, and becomes a Canon in York under his
brother Archbishop Ecgbert. In 768, on the 20th August, Eadbert dies at
York after ten years of private life, and he and the Archbishop both rest
entombed in the same porch in the city of York.
BINGLEY RUNIC STONE, (2).
Eadberht may have ordered this font for the church in Bingley while yet
king, but the prayer for his soul makes it more likely that he did this
when near death, in the usual way, by this oral or written will, by which
doubtless many pious gifts were made to monasteries and churches near him
for the good of his soul. A year or two would be sufficient for so simple
a font, and therefore its date will probably be between 768 and 770.
Perhaps the church at Bingley was first built or restored in his reign, or
a stone church may have been raised instead of a ruined wooden one. Bingley
is nowhere spoken of in our oldest books, and must have been in the 8th
century an obscure hamlet with some scores or perhaps a hundred souls.*
*Of course, this is a great mistake on the part of Prof. Stephens.-J.H.T.
(So late as 1284 the Bingelei of the Domesday Book and the Byngeley,
Bingeley, Byngley (of Kirkby) was but a single manor of fourteen carucates
of land, making only one Knight's fee, (Kirkby's Inquest or Survey of
Yorkshire, Surtees Society, 1867.) Even now it has only one church (?) So
much the more extraordinary would it have been to raise a monument with a
formal inscription to commemorate a first or second casual visit thither
of a local king.)
Anxious to do full justice to this valuable relic, and wishful to give
every view respecting it fair play, I now add that I have just (Oct. 1872),
received my deceased friend's paper on "Yorkshire Runic Monuments." Mr.
Haigh here partly abandons his former readings and gives a third or fourth,
as follows, "During the course . . . . cemented."
See page 36.
BINGLEY RUNIC STONE (3).
With these words Mr. Haigh passes to the Frank's casket. Thus for the last:
KYNING, REHTE, ONGEN, BINGALAEHES we have now CYNING, RIHTE,
KYNING, REHTE, ONGEN, BINGALAEHES
CYNING, RIHTE, ONGUS,
I can as little see this inscription on the stone as Mr. Haigh's former
ones, and look upon this gracious ban and Ongus as equally improbable on a
Runic Cross at Bingley with the good ban and again. At all events these
frequent alterations show-what we must all admit-that the block is too much
damaged to justify us in looking for any-historical names whatsoever, other
than the first plain EADBIERHT. Whether the reader agrees generally with Mr.
Haigh or with myself, he will equally remember that he was to thank the
indomitable zeal of Mr. Haigh for first drawing attention to the pieces,
and the noble labors of Mr. Fowler for the careful materials and
trustworthy information here laid before him. We can now
proceed to show the other sides of the Font which I here give
photoxylograph by Herr Rosenstand but on a very reduced scale, from Mr.
Fowler's excellent rubbings, taken by him in February 1870. As has been
said, the Runish side is the longest. The opposite or back is the shortest.
Figure (4). The right side is still more simply ornamented. We can here see
the water-hole in the right corner below. Figure (5). The left is the most
graceful of them all. Figure (6).
BINGLEY RUNIC STONE (4).
BINGLEY RUNIC STONE (5).
This rude and undevellopt and backward decoration not only points to an
early date, for art was not so low and helpless as this in the 8th century,
either in Great Britain and Ireland, or on the Continents still less in
Scandinavia, (of course I here speak of Barbarian art)-but conclusively
suggests a poor village in an outlandish part of the country, and no
workmen at hand but the honest stone-smith of the hamlet.* Thus far Prof.
* A very ungrounded surmise.-J.H.T.
BINGLEY RUNIC STONE (6).
Although, from the little knowledge I have by personally inspecting the
runic remains of Yorkshire and the Isle of Man and a large collection of
runic photographs, I lean to Father Haigh's final rendering, it is but fair
to add the only other great authority who has written on the Bingley stone.
When spending an evening with Professor Armitage, I was shewn a German work
entitled "Die Northumbrischen Runensteine" by Professor Victor, of Marburg,
from pages 20 and 21 of which, the following extract respecting Bingley
stone, kindly translated by Mrs. Armitage, has been taken.
"This stone, "a square basin with a hole in the corner,' as Haigh describes
it, with an inscription about 2 ft. 5 in. in length by l ft. 2in. in height,
is now in the church at Bingley. Haigh regarded it at one time as a
baptismal stone, at another time he thought it the socket of a cross, and
gave an interpretation of it! Before it was placed in its resent position
it served a very profane purpose in the Grammar School of the place, as I
was informed by the photographer Mr. Holgate. I made squeezes of the
inscription, and have also received from Mr. Holgate two new prints of the
negative taken by him some time ago. One of these prints I reproduce here,
by Mr. Holgate's kind permission.
Unfortunately I can contribute little to the elucidation of this
enigmatical text. Haigh's different readings (compare Stephens, I. and
III.) are so different one from another that in the remarks which I have
to offer I shall not assume any fixed interpretation.
First Line. The sign + at the beginning seems certain. Next ton this Haigh
reads SIGEB (Stephens I.) and I read SI; but the traces which follows will
hardly fit with G. The next letters might perhaps be EB, or even ER, but
the form of the latter letter is more like OE: I do not profess to be able
to read them. In the middle of the line and one or two letters further on
the photograph shews forms very like the runic S, but in the paper squeeze
these are much less marked. The sign + in the middle of the parts of the line]
which yet remain appears in the squeeze, but all the rest is indistinct.
Second line. The second stroke, under the questionable G E of the first
line looks in the squeeze like an A. The sign standing under the R ? (OE?)
looks like the runic N. Of the NUS or NYS which Haigh read from here to the
end of the line, I cannot see the S; Y (with a cross stroke) is possible; N
is clearer in the squeeze than in the photograph. The down-strokes which
are visible before this appear in the squeeze to be N I C: the sign
before, which looks like S in the photograph, is indistinct.
Third line. The word Saule, which Haigh read at the end of this line is
contradicted by the letters, even although they are much injured. At the
beginning of the line, where Haigh and others read GIBID, might very well
be D D AE D. The space left between would be too large for the remains of
the usual formula (pray for his soul) even with a much longer pronoun."
Our prejudices are likely to be more in favour of making 'something' of
this rare relic than Prof. Victor's "nothing," and I think the care
bestowed by Messrs. Stephens, Haigh and Fowler entitle them to have given
the general tenour of the reading until an equal authority not only
disproves certain runes but substitutes a more reasonable consecutive
reading. Whether a font or a cross, it is equally interesting. In one case
the church dip-stone will satisfy us of an unexpected proof of the
antiquity of the Church; in the other we have a King's Cross that puts to
the shade the antiquity of any other in England. In both cases we have
evidences of the great antiquity of Bingley, and more interesting still,
the residence-permanent or temporary-of a King; for the names Angus,
Eatta, and Eadberht are no inventions, they are well-known names in Saxon
history. It is amusing to read how our Danish friend be-littles Bingley.
If it had been found at Bradford he could have found in the directories
that Bradford was an important place, but Professor Stephens had no one to
tell him that Bingley was formerly a larger village than Bradford, and had
a market and castle, when its big neighbour was but an insignificant
Runes have been clearly traced to a Greek and Phoenician source, namely the
Thracian or second Ionian alphabet, which through the intercourse of Greek
colonists at the mouth of the Danube with the Goths south of the Baltic was
introduced in a modified form into Northern Europe before the Christian era.
There are three forms, the Gothic, Anglian and Scandinavian; so that even
the stones indicate by the style of rune which tribe settled in these
parts. The Scandinavian type is largely found in the Isle of Man,. but they
are of a later date by several centuries than our West Yorkshire
Continuing our Anglian history, from which we may gather some notion of the
calamities that harassed the inhabitants of Bingley parish at that period,
we find that good king Eadberht, (the friend of Ongus,) was succeeded by
Oswulf, his son, on the Northumbrian throne in 757?, but he only reigned
one year, being assassinated at Machel Waytone (Market Weighton, or Micke-wayte?)
by nobles, and no successor was
found for twelve months. Moll Eadilwold, a brave but common soldier, had
gained great influence over the nobles, and led the rebellion against
Oswulf and managed to become king in 759. He slew Oswin, a noble who
revolted, in 761. Ailred, a descendant of Ida, conspired against Eadilwold,
and the plebeian king lost his life in 765. His son Ethelred escaped, but
secured the throne in 774, was deposed in 778, restored in 789, slain by
his subjects at Ripon in 794. He had married the daughter of King Offa of
Ailred, son of Tanwise, the conspirator just named, ruled from 765-774 in
a most tyrannical manner. Alfwold his brother ruled from 778 to 788, when
he was murdered. Osric II.. son of Ailred, enjoyed the Northumbrian
kingship in 788, but fled to the Isle of Man from the revolt of his nobles,
and Ethelred resumed his mad career till 794. Under all this ghastly
misrule, the Danes had made constant incursions, and had securely
established themselves at thorpes and bys throughout our Yorkshire dales
as may be traced in our place name chapter.
Osbald, the son of Ethelred the cruel, held the sceptre of Northumbria
twenty-eight days, when he was deposed, 794. Eardulf an Anglian noble, had
a troubled reign from 794 to 808. Even Archbishop Eanbald led a rebellion
against him, and the king fled. Complete anarchy reigned; sanguinary
conflicts with Picts and Danes were the regular duties of the Anglians.
Rival factions made things worse; rival kings reigned in divers localities.
Amongst these we can only stop to name Eardulf's sons, Alfwold II 808-810;
and Eanred, 810-833, latterly as sub-king under Egbert of Wessex. Osbert
held Deira, 850-867. Rayner Lodbrog the Dane-a hero of Scandinavian
Sagas-having died in Creyke dungeon, his sons Hinguar and Hubba joined Earl
Bruern against Osbert in 867, and the Danes gained York, and Hinguar became
Danish King of Northumbria, 867-872. Angles and Danes had intermarried in
the north, and made the Danish rule easy. When Hinguar died, fighting and
assassination became the normal condition. Halfden Guttman, Guthrum, Ochta,
Other, Egberht, Regnald, Nigel or Neal, Sytric, Rigridge a Dane, won and
failed, ruled and fled or fell till 910. Sytric the Dane, brother of Nigel
and Regnald sons of Hinguar, got permanent hold from 910 to 927. Eric and
Anlaf reigned 934 to 948, off and on. Athelstan fought the great battle of
Brananburg, (Brunanburgh 937) the site of which is claimed by both Yorkshire and
[Aethelstan son of Edward had received the submission of the Kings of Scotland,
Strathclyde & the ruler of Northumbria on 12th July 927 at Eamont Bridge,
S.W. of Penrith
The River Eamont which today marks the western boundary of Cumberland
may have marked the N.W. boundary of England at this time.]
Anlaf fled at Brunanburg but returned and ejected Earl Eric after
battles at Ripon and Castleford. At Anlaf's death in 948, Northumbria
became a province of England, and was ruled over by Yarls or Earls until
Danish Coins were issued from the York Mint bearing the impresses of
Halfden, 875; Gnut, alias Guthrum, 877; Siefred, 895;
Alwald, 901-Regnald, 923; Sitric, 925; Eric, 927; Anlaf II., 943; Anlaf
III., 949. It will thus be seen that Yorkshire was more under the rule of
the Danes than under the greater kings, Alfred the Great, &c., of the
south. Amongst the York Moneyers (Mint-masters) were Rafen, Stire, Odin,
Ketel, Grim, Ulfgrim, Ulfketel, &c.§. These issued coins under Cnut
the Great, who died Nov. 11, 1035. The York Mint was in operation also
under the mightier monarchs of the south from Edward the Elder, 901, to
Edward the 6th, 1533. From the thousands of York coins, ante the Conquest,
about fifty names of moneyers have been secured. We thus find that the
people were not the barbarians sometimes assigned.
Place-names were once as readily understood by all the people as West-wood
and Salt-aire are to us. They are generally descriptive of their situation
and surroundings, or they indicate their Anglian owner, just as in
after-times many new fields bear the names of the men who ridded the wood
from the ground, and thus formed a riding, or field. We have shewn already
most peculiar names held by the Danes and Angles, but such works as
Vigfusson's Icelandic Dictionary and Worsaae's Danes and Norwegians in
England will have to be examined before reliable etymologies are advanced
for many of our place-names.
Ton-*Mortune, *Sutun, *Middletune, *Dentune,
*Cliftun, *Birchertun, *Ectone, *Mesintone,
*Hateltun, (*Halton, not Harden as given
by Bawdwen's translation of Domesday, and
so followed by others). *Heldetone,
Snitterton now Priest-thorpe (?). Heaton,
Allerton, Thornton, Skipton.
Den-*Redelesden, *Wilseden, Harden, Hewenden,
Silsden. Arden is a Celtic for a wood.
Ley-*Cutnelai (Cononley), *Bradelei, *Vtelai,
*Chichela (Keighley), *Othelei, *Fernelai,
SPEED'S MAP, 1610. *Gisle, *Burghelai, *Scipeleia, *Bingheleia,
*Cotingelei, *Mardelei (Marley), Bailey, Crossley, Dowley. There is a
Bingfield in Berkshire. The likeliest etymology
§ It will readily be recognized that these personal names are incorporated in such places as Ravenroyd, Grimshaw, Kettlewell; and Stirk is still a local family name.
* Mentioned in Domesday
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