chapter 12

Howe a yonge man thries hanged vnlaufully, was thries delyuered by saynt Werburge from dethe to lyfe and lyberte.

stanza 140

975 Whiche thynge notified, so meruailous in syght,Told of which occurrence
The ministres returned / theyr labour in vayne:
Toke this innocent by power and myght,
Vpon the sayd gebbet hanged hym agayne.
Thus he was delyuered by myracle from payne:delivered
The tortuous turmentours cessed their tyrranny,tormentors / ceased
Permytted the prisoner to go at liberte. 1 Allowed / liberty

stanza 141

982Whiche myracle knowen / his frendes and cosyns all
Returned agayne with glad mynde and chere.mood
The prisoner mette them, louyng god in speciall praising / in particular
And blessed Werburge in his best manere to the best of his ability
The deuout citezens approched them nere,came up to them
Went all to the shryne the virgin thankyng;
The belles were tolled for ioy of this

chapter 15

A brefe rehersall of certayne kynges / and how kyng Edgare came to Chestre. Also howe Leofric, Erle of Chestre, repared diuers churches.

stanza 159

1108Afterthe decesse of kynge Edwarde seniour 2 death
Ethelstan his sonne was coronate at London 3 crowned
Kynge of this lande / regnyng in honourreigning
With power, regalite by true succession;sovereignty / hereditary succession
Valeant in chiualry and actes euerychone,Valiant / each and every one
Subdued danes / scottes / norwayes / britons all,
Opteyned triumphe / and dignite imperiall. 4 Obtained / status

stanza 160

1115The fourth year of his reigne / and the yere of grace
viii. hundreth .ii. and seuenty by full computacion 872 C.E. / reckoning of time
Guy erle of Warwike by fortune slayne hase has
Colbrond the gyaunt / floure of danes nacion.giant / flower
The sayd kyng Ethelstan by power and renowne glory
Thries subdued danes / and slewe the kyng of Irelande,Three times
Nominat prince Anlaff / as we vnderstande. 5 Called

stanza 161

1122 This noble Ethelstan was good and gracious
To all-holy churche / namely to religion,
Ryghtfull in iudgement / liberall and piteous Fair / generous / merciful
To his true subiectes through his dominion;subjects
To mynstres and holy places had great affection,minsters, monasteries
Confirmed theyr foundacions with libertes clere,Endorsed / excellent privileges
Whose noble actes be touched on a lytell here:Whose noble acts are touched on briefly here

stanza 161a

1128aRegia progenies produxit nobile stemma
Cum tenebris nostris illuxit splendida gemma
Magnus Ethelstanus patrie decus orbita recti
Illustris probitas a vero nescia flecti. 6

stanza 162

1129After Ethelstan regned Edmunde, his brothur, 7
Fyue yeres in honour / hauying great victory.Five
Princis Elred and Edwyn succided eytherothur, 8 Princes / succeeded each other
In great business with scottes and danes, truly.effort
Next whom meke Edgare / sayth the history,After whom / meek
xvi. yere of age / coronate at Kyngston, 9 16 / crowned
With peace and quietnes first ruled this region.

stanza 163

1136 In whose natiuite the blessed Dunstan At whose birth
Herde angles singe with mycle melody. 10 Heard / great
'Peace is nowe come to Englande, certan,truly
Quitenes / and rest / honour / and victory.'
Of cornes and frutes that tyme was plentie;corn / fruit / at that tyme
Danes / norwaies / scottes / britons in euery place
Submytted them-selfe to the kynges grace.


These stanzas, in the form printed by Pynson, are problematic. The chapter heading refers to the man who was 'thries hanged' ('hanged three times'), yet the narrative only refers to the man being hanged twice (lines 956-7 and lines 977-8). The adverb 'Thus' at the beginning of line 979 is also puzzling, as no explanation of how the prisoner has been freed is given. Back to context...
King Edward the Elder died in 924. Back to context...
King Æthelstan (ruled c.924-939). See PASE. Back to context...
This stanza alludes to Æthelstan's claimed status as King of All Britain. Contemporary charters refer to him as 'imperator' ('emperor') and 'King of the whole of Britain'. See PASE. The reference to 'danes / scotes / norwayes / britons' in line 1113 may specifically recall the poem The Battle of Brunanburh in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (versions A-D) for the year 937, which gives an account of a successful battle led by Æthelstan against various Scandinavian and British armies (see Campbell, 1938). Bradshaw may have known the poem via its translation into alliterative Latin verse by Henry of Huntingdon (see Greenway, 1996, 310-11). Back to context...
This condensed account of the exploits of Æthelstan and Guy of Warwick derives from medieval romance tradition. ‘This condensed account of the exploits of Æthelstan and Guy of Warwick derives from medieval romance tradition. M. Dominica Legge notes that ‘Guy of Warwick never existed, but his name may be derived from Wigod of Wallingford, Edward the Confessor’s cup-bearer, one of whose daughters married Robert d’Oilli; and some of his exploits may be borrowed from Brian Fitzcount, husband of his other daughter, who defended Wallingford in 1139. The fight between Guy and the Dane Colebrand is supposed to have been inspired by the Battle of Brunanburgh. It became, in England, the most popular incident in the story…’. See Legge, 1963, 162. Clearly this association between Guy, Æthelstan and Brunanburh is the reason for the allusion here. Romances of Guy of Warwick enjoyed great popularity in England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with further versions composed in the Early Modern period and beyond. For a full discussion of this romance tradition, see the essays collected in Wiggins and Field, 2007. As a writer influenced in many ways by Lydgate (see for example Horstmann, 1887, xxxi), Bradshaw may be specifically recalling the verse version of the romance by John Lydgate, produced between 1442 and 1468. See MacCracken, 1934, 516-38. Back to context...
These lines are inset in the Pynson text in a smaller typeface. They appear to be integral to Bradshaw's poem, as they supply the detail alluded to in the preceding line ('Whose noble actes be touched on a lytell here'). The verses derive from William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum Anglorum, Book II, Chapter 133. In Chapter 132, William comments that he disovered an old poem on Æthelstan in an 'ancient volume' ('uolumine uetusto'), and he includes the full thirty lines in his text, of which Bradshaw gives the first four. The Oxford Medieval Texts edition gives the translation as follows: 'Noble was the scion put forth by our royal stock, when on our darkness dawned the radiance of that splendid jewel, great Æthelstan, glory of his native country, the narrow path of virtue, shining integrity that knew not how to deviate from the truth.' See Mynors, 1998-9, 210-11. Back to context...
King Edmund 'the Elder' (ruled 939-946). See PASE. Back to context...
Edmund's sons Eadred (ruled 946-955) and Eadwig (ruled 955-957 and continued as king of Wessex and Kent only until 959). See PASE (Eadred) and PASE (Eadwig). Back to context...
King Edgar (ruled Northumbria and Mercia from 959 and all of Anglo-Saxon England until 975). See PASE. Edgar's first coronation at Kingston-upon-Thames was followed by a later 'imperial' coronation at Bath in 973. Edgar was monarch during the Benedictine Reform movement of the late tenth century, during which many monastic houses were re-founded or newly endowed. For recent discussions of the reign of Edgar, see Scragg, 2008. Back to context...
Archbishop Dunstan, a key figure in the Benedictine Reform. See PASE, or detailed discussion in Ramsay, 1992. Back to context...