FLORENCE OF WORCESTER

1066.  On Thursday the vigil of our Lordís Epiphany, in the Fourth Indiction, the pride of the English, the pacific king, Edward, son of King Ethelred, died at London, having reigned over the English twenty-three years six months and seven days.  The next day he was buried in kingly style amid the bitter lamentations of all present.  After his burial the under-king, Harold, son of Earl Godwine, whom the king had nominated as his successor, was chosen king by the chief magnates of all England; and on the same day Harold was crowned with great ceremony by Aldred, archbishop of York.  On taking the helm of the kingdom Harold immediately began to abolish unjust laws and to make good ones; to patronize churches and monasteries; to pay particular reverence to bishops, abbots, monks and clerks; and to show himself pious, humble and affable to all good men.  But he treated malefactors with great severity, and gave general orders to his earls, ealdormen, sheriffs and thegns to imprison all thieves, robbers and disturbers of the kingdom.  He laboured in his own person by sea and by land for the protection of the kingdom.  On 24 April in this year a comet was seen not only in England but, it is said, all over the world, and it shone for seven days with an exceeding brightness.  Shortly afterwards Earl Tosti returned from Flanders and landed in the Isle of Wight, after making the islanders pay tribute he departed and went pillaging along the sea-coast until he came to Sandwich.  As soon as King Harold who was then at London heard this, he assembled a large fleet and a contingent of horsemen, and prepared himself to go to Sandwich.  Tosti, learning of this, took some of the shipmen of that place (whether willing or unwilling) and set his course towards Lindsey, where he burnt many villages and put many men to death.  Thereupon, Edwin, earl of the Mercians, and Morcar, earl of the Northumbrians, hastened up with an army and expelled them from that part of the country.  Afterwards he went to Malcolm, king of Scots, and remained with him during the whole of the summer.  Meanwhile, King Harold arrived at Sandwich and waited there for his fleet.  When it was assembled, he crossed over with it to the Isle of Wight, and, inasmuch as William, count of the Normans, was preparing to invade England with an army, he watched all the summer and autumn for his coming.  In addition he distributed a land force at suitable points along the sea-coast.  But about the Feast of the Nativity of St. Mary [8 September] provisions fell short so that the naval and land forces returned home.  After this Harold Hardraada, king of the Norwegians and brother of St. Olaf, the king, arrived on a sudden at the mouth of the river Tyne with a powerful fleet of more than five hundred large ships.  Earl Tosti, according to previous arrangement, joined him with his fleet.  Hastening, they entered the Humber and sailing up the Ouse against the stream landed at Riccall.  On hearing of this, King Harold marched with speed towards Northumbria.  But before his arrival the two brother-earls, Edwin and Morcar, at the head of a large army fought a battle with the Norwegians on the northern bank of the river Ouse near York on Wednesday [20 September] which was the vigil of the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle.  They fought so bravely at the onset that many of the enemy were overthrown; but after a long contest the English were unable to withstand the attacks of the Norwegians and fled with great loss.  More were drowned in the river than slain on the field.  The Norwegians remained masters of the place of carnage, and having taken one hundred and fifty hostages from York and left there the same number of their own men as hostages they went to their ships.  Five days after this, to with on Monday, 25 September, as Harold, king of the English, was coming to York with many thousand well-armed fighting men, he fell in with the Norwegians at a place called Stamford Bridge.  He slew King Harold and Earl Tosti with the greater part of their army and gained a complete victory.  Nevertheless the battle was stoutly contested.  Harold, king of the English, permitted Olaf, the son of the Norwegian king, and Paul, earl of Orkney, who had been sent off with a portion of the army to guard the ships, to return home unmolested with twenty ships and the survivors, but only after they had sworn oaths of submission and had given hostages.