Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. It is located 3 miles south-west of Ripon in North Yorkshire, near to the village of Aldfield. Founded in 1132, the abbey operated for 407 years becoming one of the wealthiest monasteries in England until its dissolution in 1539 under the order of Henry VIII; the abbey is a Grade I listed building owned by the National Trust and part of the designated Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a dispute and riot in 1132 at the Benedictine house of St Mary's Abbey, in York, 13 monks were expelled and, after unsuccessful attempts to form a new monastery were taken under the protection of Thurstan, Archbishop of York, he provided them with land in the valley of the River Skell, a tributary of the Ure. The enclosed valley had all the natural features needed for the creation of a monastery, providing shelter from the weather and timber for building, a supply of running water.
After enduring a harsh winter in 1133, the monks applied to join the Cistercian order which since the end of the previous century was a fast-growing reform movement that by the beginning of the 13th century was to have over 500 houses. So it was that in 1135, Fountains became the second Cistercian house in northern England, after Rievaulx; the Fountains monks became subject to Clairvaux Abbey, in Burgundy, under the rule of St Bernard. Under the guidance of Geoffrey of Ainai, a monk sent from Clairvaux, the group learned how to celebrate the seven Canonical Hours according to Cistercian usage and were shown how to construct wooden buildings in accordance with Cistercian practice. After Henry Murdac was elected abbot in 1143, the small stone church and timber claustral buildings were replaced. Within three years, an aisled nave had been added to the stone church, the first permanent claustral buildings built in stone and roofed in tile had been completed. In 1146 an angry mob, annoyed at Murdac for his role in opposing the election of William FitzHerbert as archbishop of York, attacked the abbey and burnt down all but the church and some surrounding buildings.
The community founded four daughter houses. Henry Murdac resigned as abbot in 1147 upon becoming the Archbishop of York and was replaced first by Maurice, Abbot of Rievaulx on the resignation of Maurice, by Thorald. Thorald was forced by Henry Murdac to resign after two years in office; the next abbot, held the post until his death in 1170 and restored the abbey's stability and prosperity. In 20 years as abbot, he supervised a huge building programme which involved completing repairs to the damaged church and building more accommodation for the increasing number of recruits. Only the chapter house was completed before he died and the work was ably continued by his successor, Robert of Pipewell, under whose rule the abbey gained a reputation for caring for the needy; the next abbot was William, who presided over the abbey from 1180 to 1190 and he was succeeded by Ralph Haget, who had entered Fountains at the age of 30 as a novice, after pursuing a military career. During the European famine of 1194 Haget ordered the construction of shelters in the vicinity of the abbey and provided daily food rations to the poor enhancing the abbey's reputation for caring for the poor and attracting more grants from wealthy benefactors.
In the first half of the 13th century Fountains increased in reputation and prosperity under the next three abbots, John of York, John of Hessle and John of Kent. They were burdened with an inordinate amount of administrative duties and increasing demands for money in taxation and levies but managed to complete another massive expansion of the abbey's buildings; this included building an infirmary. In the second half of the 13th century the abbey was in more straitened circumstances, it was presided over by eleven abbots, became financially unstable due to forward selling its wool crop, the abbey was criticised for its dire material and physical state when it was visited by Archbishop John le Romeyn in 1294. The run of disasters that befell the community continued into the early 14th century when northern England was invaded by the Scots and there were further demands for taxes; the culmination of these misfortunes was the Black Death of 1348–1349. The loss of manpower and income due to the ravages of the plague was ruinous.
A further complication arose as a result of the Papal Schism of 1378–1409. Fountains Abbey along with other English Cistercian houses was told to break off any contact with the mother house of Citeaux, which supported a rival pope; this resulted in the abbots forming their own chapter to rule the order in England and they became involved in internecine politics. In 1410, following the death of Abbot Burley of Fountains, the community was riven by several years of turmoil over the election of his successor. Contending candidates John Ripon, Abbot of Meaux, Roger Frank, a monk of Fountains were locked in conflict until 1415 when Ripon was appointed, ruling until his death in 1434. Under abbots John Greenwell, Thomas Swinton, John Darnton, who undertook some much needed restoration of the fabric of the abbey, including notable work on the church, Marmaduke Huby Fountains regained stability and prosperity. At Abbot Huby's death he was succeeded by William Thirsk, accused by the royal commissioners of immorality and inadequacy and was dismissed as abbot.
He was replaced by Marmaduke Bradley, a monk of the abbey who had reported Thirsk's supposed offences, testified against hi
A feud, referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, faida, clan war, gang war, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight between social groups of people families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another. Intense feelings of resentment trigger the initial retribution, which causes the other party to feel aggrieved and vengeful; the dispute is subsequently fuelled by a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence. This continual cycle of provocation and retaliation makes it difficult to end the feud peacefully. Feuds involve the original parties' family members or associates, can last for generations, may result in extreme acts of violence, they can be interpreted as an extreme outgrowth of social relations based in family honor. Until the early modern period, feuds were considered legitimate legal instruments and were regulated to some degree. For example, Serb culture calls this krvna osveta, meaning "blood revenge", which had unspoken but valued rules.
In tribal societies, the blood feud, coupled with the practice of blood wealth, functioned as an effective form of social control for limiting and ending conflicts between individuals and groups who are related by kinship, as described by anthropologist Max Gluckman in his article "The Peace in the Feud" in 1955. A blood feud is a feud with a cycle of retaliatory violence, with the relatives of someone, killed or otherwise wronged or dishonored seeking vengeance by killing or otherwise physically punishing the culprits or their relatives. In the English-speaking world, the Italian word vendetta is used to mean a blood feud, but in reality it means "vengeance" or "revenge", originating from the Latin vindicta, while the word faida would be more appropriate for a blood feud. In the English-speaking world, "vendetta" is sometimes extended to mean any other long-standing feud, not involving bloodshed. Sometimes, it is not mutual, but rather refers to a prolonged series of hostile acts waged by one person against another without reciprocation.
Blood feuds were common in societies with a weak rule of law, where family and kinship ties are the main source of authority. An entire family is considered responsible for the actions of any of its members. Sometimes two separate branches of the same family have come to blows, or worse, over some dispute; the practice has disappeared with more centralized societies where law enforcement and criminal law take responsibility for punishing lawbreakers. In Homeric ancient Greece, the practice of personal vengeance against wrongdoers was considered natural and customary: "Embedded in the Greek morality of retaliation is the right of vengeance... Feud is a war. In the ancient Hebraic context, it was considered the duty of the individual and family to avenge evil on behalf of God; the executor of the law of blood-revenge who put the initial killer to death was given a special designation: go'el haddam, the blood-avenger or blood-redeemer. Six Cities of Refuge were established to provide protection and due process for any unintentional manslayers.
The avenger was forbidden from harming the unintentional killer if the killer took refuge in one of these cities. As the Oxford Companion to the Bible states: "Since life was viewed as sacred, no amount of blood money could be given as recompense for the loss of the life of an innocent person. According to historian Marc Bloch: The Middle Ages, from beginning to end, the feudal era, lived under the sign of private vengeance; the onus, of course, lay above all on the wronged individual. The solitary individual, could do but little. Moreover, it was most a death that had to be avenged. In this case the family group went into action and the faide came into being, to use the old Germanic word which spread little by little through the whole of Europe —'the vengeance of the kinsmen which we call faida', as a German canonist expressed it. No moral obligation seemed more sacred than this... The whole kindred, placed as a rule under the command of a chieftain, took up arms to punish the murder of one of its members or a wrong that he had suffered.
Rita of Cascia, a popular 15th-century Italian saint, was canonized by the Catholic Church due to her great effort to end a feud in which her family was involved and which claimed the life of her husband. The blood feud has certain similarities to the ritualized warfare found in many pre-industrial tribes. Thus, for instance, more than a third of Ya̧nomamö males, on average, died from warfare; the accounts of missionaries to the area have recounted constant infighting in the tribes for women or prestige, evidence of continuous warfare for the enslavement of neighboring tribes such as the Macu before the arrival of European settlers and government. In Japan's feudal past, the samurai class upheld the honor of their family and their lord by katakiuchi, or revenge killings; these killings could involve the relatives of an offender. While some vendettas were punished by the government, such as that of the Forty-seven Ronin, others were given official permission with specific targets. At the Holy Roman Empire's Reichstag at Worms in 1495 AD, the right of waging feuds was abolished.
The Imperial Reform proclaimed an "eternal public peace
Kingdom of Northumbria
The Kingdom of Northumbria was a medieval Anglian kingdom in what is now Northern England and south-east Scotland. The name derives from the Old English Norþan-hymbre meaning "the people or province north of the Humber", which reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary. Northumbria started to consolidate into one kingdom in the early seventh century, when the two earlier core territories of Deira and Bernicia entered into a dynastic union. At its height, the kingdom extended from the Humber, Peak District and the River Mersey on the south to the Firth of Forth on the north. Northumbria ceased to be an independent kingdom in the mid-tenth century, though a rump Earldom of Bamburgh survived around Bernicia in the north to be absorbed into the mediaeval kingdoms of Scotland and England. Today, Northumbria refers to a smaller region corresponding to the counties of Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear in North East England; the term is used in the names of some North East regional institutions the Northumbria Police, (based in Newcastle upon Tyne, the Northumbria Army Cadet Force, the regionalist Northumbrian Association.
The local Environment Agency office, located in Newcastle Business Park uses the term Northumbria to describe its area. However, the term is not the official name for the EU region of North East England; the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria was two kingdoms divided around the River Tees: Bernicia was to the north of the river and Deira to the south. It is possible that both regions originated as native British Kingdoms which the Germanic settlers conquered, although there is little information about the infrastructure and culture of the British kingdoms themselves. Much of the evidence for them comes from regional names that are British rather than Anglo-Saxon in origin; the names Deira and Bernicia are British in origin, for example, indicating that some British place names retained currency after the Anglo-Saxon migrations to Northumbria. There is some archeological evidence to support British origins for the polities of Bernicia and Deira. In what would have been southern Bernicia, in the Cheviot Hills, a hill fort at Yeavering called Yeavering Bell contains evidence that it was an important centre for first the British and the Anglo-Saxons.
The fort is pre-Roman, dating back to the Iron Age at around the first century. In addition to signs of Roman occupation, the site contains evidence of timber buildings that pre-date Germanic settlement in the area that are signs of British settlement. Moreover, Brian Hope-Taylor has traced the origins of the name Yeavering, which looks deceptively English, back to the British gafr from Bede's mention of a township called Gefrin in the same area. Yeavering continued to be an important political centre after the Anglo-Saxons began settling in the north, as King Edwin had a royal palace at Yeavering. Overall, English place-names dominate the Northumbrian landscape, suggesting the prevalence of an Anglo-Saxon elite culture by the time that Bede—one of Anglo-Saxon England's most prominent historians—was writing in the eighth century. According to Bede, the Angles predominated the Germanic immigrants that settled north of the Humber and gained political prominence during this time period. While the British natives may have assimilated into the Northumbrian political structure contemporary textual sources such as Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People depict relations between Northumbrians and the British as fraught.
The Anglo-Saxon countries of Bernicia and Deira were in conflict before their eventual semi-permanent unification in 654. Political power in Deira was concentrated in the East Riding of Yorkshire, which included York, the North York Moors, the Vale of York; the political heartlands of Bernicia were the areas around Bamburgh and Lindisfarne and Jarrow, in Cumbria, west of the Pennines in the area around Carlisle. The name that these two countries united under, may have been coined by Bede and made popular through his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Information on the early royal genealogies for Bernicia and Deira comes from Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People and Welsh chronicler Nennius’ Historia Brittonum. According to Nennius, the Bernician royal line begins with son of Eoppa. Ida was able to annex Bamburgh to Bernicia. In Nennius’ genealogy of Deira, a king named Soemil was the first to separate Bernicia and Deira, which could mean that he wrested the kingdom of Deira from the native British.
The date of this supposed separation is unknown. The first Deiran king to make an appearance in Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum is Ælle, the father of the first Roman Catholic Northumbrian king Edwin. A king of Bernicia, Ida's grandson Æthelfrith, was the first ruler to unite the two polities under his rule, he exiled the Deiran Edwin to the court of King Rædwald of the East Angles in order to claim both kingdoms, but Edwin returned in 616 to conquer Northumbria with Rædwald's aid. Edwin, who ruled from 616 to 633, was one of the last kings of the Deiran line to reign over all of Northumbria. Oswald's brother Oswiu succeeded him to the Northumbrian throne despite initial attempts on Deira's part to pull away again. Although the Bernician line became the royal line of Northumbria
Malcolm II of Scotland
Malcolm II was King of the Scots from 1005 until his death. He was a son of King Kenneth II. To the Irish annals which recorded his death, Malcolm was High King of Scotland. In the same way that Brian Bóruma, High King of Ireland, was not the only king in Ireland, Malcolm was one of several kings within the geographical boundaries of modern Scotland: his fellow kings included the king of Strathclyde, who ruled much of the south-west, various Norse-Gael kings on the western coast and the Hebrides and and most dangerous rivals, the kings or Mormaers of Moray. To the south, in the Kingdom of England, the Earls of Bernicia and Northumbria, whose predecessors as kings of Northumbria had once ruled most of southern Scotland, still controlled large parts of the southeast. Malcolm II was born to Kenneth II of Scotland, he was grandson of Malcolm I of Scotland. In 997, the killer of Constantine is credited as being son of Malcolm. Since there is no known and relevant Kenneth alive at that time, it is considered an error for either Kenneth III, who succeeded Constantine, or Malcolm himself, the son of Kenneth II.
Whether Malcolm killed Constantine or not, there is no doubt that in 1005 he killed Constantine's successor Kenneth III in battle at Monzievaird in Strathearn. John of Fordun writes that Malcolm defeated a Norwegian army "in the first days after his coronation", but this is not reported elsewhere. Fordun says that the Bishopric of Mortlach was founded in thanks for this victory over the Norwegians. Malcolm demonstrated a rare ability to survive among early Scottish kings by reigning for twenty-nine years, he was a ambitious man. Brehon tradition provided that the successor to Malcolm was to be selected by him from among the descendants of King Aedh, with the consent of Malcolm's ministers and of the church. Ostensibly in an attempt to end the devastating feuds in the north of Scotland, but influenced by the Norman feudal model, Malcolm ignored tradition and determined to retain the succession within his own line, but since Malcolm had no son of his own, he undertook to negotiate a series of dynastic marriages of his three daughters to men who might otherwise be his rivals, while securing the loyalty of the principal chiefs, their relatives.
First he married his daughter Bethoc to Crinan, Thane of The Isles, head of the house of Atholl and secular Abbot of Dunkeld. His middle daughter, was married to Finlay, Earl of Moray, Thane of Ross and Cromarty and a descendant of Loarn of Dalriada; this was risky business under the rules of succession of the Gael, but he thereby secured his rear and, taking advantage of the renewal of Viking attacks on England, marched south to fight the English. He defeated the Angles at Carham in 1018 and installed his grandson, son of the Abbot of Dunkeld and his choice as Tanist, in Carlisle as King of Cumbria that same year; the first reliable report of Malcolm II's reign is of an invasion of Bernicia in 1006 the customary crech ríg, which involved a siege of Durham. This appears to have resulted in a heavy defeat by the Northumbrians, led by Uhtred of Bamburgh Earl of Bernicia, reported by the Annals of Ulster. A second war in Bernicia in 1018, was more successful; the Battle of Carham, by the River Tweed, was a victory for the Scots led by Malcolm II and the men of Strathclyde led by their king, Owen the Bald.
By this time Earl Uchtred may have been dead, Eiríkr Hákonarson was appointed Earl of Northumbria by his brother-in-law Cnut the Great, although his authority seems to have been limited to the south, the former kingdom of Deira, he took no action against the Scots so far as is known. The work De obsessione Dunelmi claims that Uchtred's brother Eadwulf Cudel surrendered Lothian to Malcolm II in the aftermath of the defeat at Carham; this is to have been the lands between Dunbar and the Tweed as other parts of Lothian had been under Scots control before this time. It has been suggested that Cnut received tribute from the Scots for Lothian, but as he had received none from the Bernician Earls this is not probable. Cnut, reports the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, led an army into Scotland on his return from pilgrimage to Rome; the Chronicle dates this to 1031, but there are reasons to suppose that it should be dated to 1027. Burgundian chronicler Rodulfus Glaber recounts the expedition soon afterwards, describing Malcolm as "powerful in resources and arms … Christian in faith and deed."
Ralph claims that peace was made between Malcolm and Cnut through the intervention of Richard, Duke of Normandy, brother of Cnut's wife Emma. Richard died in about 1027 and Rodulfus wrote close in time to the events, it has been suggested that the root of the quarrel between Cnut and Malcolm lies in Cnut's pilgrimage to Rome, the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II, where Cnut and Rudolph III, King of Burgundy had the place of honour. If Malcolm were present, the repeated mentions of his piety in the annals make it quite possible that he made a pilgrimage to Rome, as did Mac Bethad mac Findláich in times the coronation would have allowed Malcolm to publicly snub Cnut's claims to overlordship. Cnut obtained rather less than previous English kings, a promise of peace and friendship rather than the promise of aid on land and sea that Edgar and others had obtained; the sourc
Bamburgh is a village and civil parish on the coast of Northumberland, England. It had a population of 454 in 2001; the village is notable for the nearby Bamburgh Castle, a castle, the seat of the former Kings of Northumbria, for its association with the Victorian era heroine Grace Darling, buried there. The extensive beach by the village was awarded the Blue Flag rural beach award in 2005; the Bamburgh Dunes, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, stand behind the beach. Bamburgh is popular with holidaymakers and is within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the site now occupied by Bamburgh Castle was home to a fort of the indigenous Celtic Britons known as Din Guarie and may have been the capital of the kingdom of Bernicia, the realm of the Gododdin people, from the realm's foundation in c. 420 until 547, the year of the first written reference to the castle. In that year the citadel was captured by the Anglo-Saxon ruler Ida of Bernicia and became Ida's seat. Late medieval British author Thomas Malory identified Bamburgh Castle with Joyous Gard, the mythical castle home of Sir Lancelot in Arthurian legend.
According to Bede, St Aidan built a wooden church outside the castle wall in AD 635, he died here in AD 652. A wooden beam preserved inside the church is traditionally said to be the one on which he rested as he died; the present church dates from the late 12th century, though some pre-conquest stonework survives in the north aisle. The chancel, said to be the second longest in the country, was added in 1230. S. Hicks, depicting northern saints of the 7th and 8th centuries. There is an effigy of local heroine Grace Darling in the North Aisle; this formed part of the original Monument to Grace Darling but was removed due to weathering of the stonework. Her memorial is sited in the churchyard in such a position. An electoral ward of the same name exists; this ward includes Belford and stretches south to Ellingham with a total population taken at the 2011 census of 4,846. Æthelfrith of Northumbria William George Armstrong Joe Baker-Cresswell Ida of Bernicia Prideaux John Selby Grace Darling Bamburgh Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1910 to guide shipping both passing along the Northumberland coast and in the waters around the Farne Islands.
It was extensively modernised in 1975 and is now monitored from the Trinity House Operations and Planning Centre in Harwich. Routine maintenance is carried out by a local attendant, it is the most northerly land-based lighthouse in England. When built, the lamp was mounted on a skeletal steel tower which stood alongside the white building which housed an acetylene plant to power the lamp. During electrification in 1975 the tower was removed, the lantern was placed instead on top of the acetylene building. Bamburgh Coast and Hills, a Site of Special Scientific Interest along the coast north-east of Bamburgh List of lighthouses in England Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Bamburgh". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. Bamburgh Photos Local Information on Bamburgh, The Farne Islands and surrounding areas. Stained glass windows at St. Aidan's Church, Photos by Peter Loud Bamburgh Tourist Attractions Bamburgh Online GENUKI Northumberland Communities Trinity House
The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York known as York Minster, is the cathedral of York, is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the third-highest office of the Church of England, is the mother church for the Diocese of York and the Province of York, it is run under the Dean of York. The title "minster" is attributed to churches established in the Anglo-Saxon period as missionary teaching churches, serves now as an honorific title. Services in the minster are sometimes regarded as on the High Church or Anglo-Catholic end of the Anglican continuum; the minster, devoted to Saint Peter, has a wide Decorated Gothic nave and chapter house, a Perpendicular Gothic quire and east end and Early English North and South transepts. The nave contains the West Window, constructed in 1338, over the Lady Chapel in the east end is the Great East Window, the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world. In the north transept is the Five Sisters Window, each lancet being over 53 feet high.
The south transept contains a rose window, while the West Window contains a heart-shaped design colloquially known as The Heart of Yorkshire. York has had a verifiable Christian presence from the 4th century; the first recorded church on the site was a wooden structure built hurriedly in 627 to provide a place to baptise Edwin, King of Northumbria. Moves toward a more substantial building began in the decade of the 630s. A stone structure was dedicated to Saint Peter; the church soon fell into disrepair and was dilapidated by 670 when Saint Wilfrid ascended to the See of York. He renewed the structure; the attached school and library were established and by the 8th century were some of the most substantial in Northern Europe. In 741, the church was destroyed in a fire, it was rebuilt as a more impressive structure containing thirty altars. The church and the entire area passed through the hands of numerous invaders, its history is obscure until the 10th century. There was a series of Benedictine archbishops, including Saint Oswald of Worcester and Ealdred, who travelled to Westminster to crown William in 1066.
Ealdred was buried in the church. The church was damaged in 1069 during William the Conqueror's harrying of the North, but the first Norman archbishop, Thomas of Bayeux, arriving in 1070, organised repairs; the Danes destroyed the church in 1075, but it was again rebuilt from 1080. Built in the Norman style, it was 111 m long and rendered in red lines; the new structure was soon repaired. The choir and crypt were remodelled in 1154, a new chapel was built, all in the Norman style; the Gothic style in cathedrals had arrived in the mid 12th century. Walter de Gray was made archbishop in 1215 and ordered the construction of a Gothic structure to compare to Canterbury; the north and south transepts were the first new structures. A substantial central tower was completed, with a wooden spire. Building continued into the 15th century; the Chapter House was begun in the 1260s and was completed before 1296. The wide nave was constructed from the 1280s on the Norman foundations; the outer roof was completed in the 1330s, but the vaulting was not finished until 1360.
Construction moved on to the eastern arm and chapels, with the last Norman structure, the choir, being demolished in the 1390s. Work here finished around 1405. In 1407 the central tower collapsed; the western towers were added between 1433 and 1472. The cathedral was declared complete and consecrated in 1472; the English Reformation led to the looting of much of the cathedral's treasures and the loss of much of the church lands. Under Elizabeth I there was a concerted effort to remove all traces of Roman Catholicism from the cathedral. In the English Civil War the city was besieged and fell to the forces of Cromwell in 1644, but Thomas Fairfax prevented any further damage to the cathedral. Following the easing of religious tensions there was some work to restore the cathedral. From 1730 to 1736 the whole floor of the minster was relaid in patterned marble and from 1802 there was a major restoration. However, on 2 February 1829, an arson attack by Jonathan Martin inflicted heavy damage on the east arm.
An accidental fire in 1840 left the nave, south west tower and south aisle roofless and blackened shells. The cathedral slumped into debt and in the 1850s services were suspended. From 1858 Augustus Duncombe worked to revive the cathedral. During the 20th century there was more concerted preservation work following a 1967 survey that revealed the building, in particular the central tower, was close to collapse. £2,000,000 was raised and spent by 1972 to reinforce and strengthen the building foundations and roof. During the excavations that were carried out, remains of the north corner of the Roman Principia were found under the south transept; this area, as well as remains of the Norman cathedral, re-opened to the public in spring 2013 as part of the new exhibition exploring the history of the building of York Minster. On 9 July 1984, a fire considered "likely" to have been caused by a lightning strike destroyed the roof in the south transept, around £2.5 million was spent on repairs. The fire was photographed from just s
Cnut the Great
Cnut the Great known as Canute, whose father was Sweyn Forkbeard, was King of Denmark and Norway. Yet after the deaths of his heirs within a decade of his own, the Norman conquest of England in 1066, this legacy was lost, he is popularly invoked in the context of the legend of King Canute and the tide, which misrepresents him as a deluded monarch believing he has supernatural powers, contrary to the original legend which portrays a wise king who rebuked his courtiers for their fawning behaviour. As a Danish prince, Cnut won the throne of England in 1016 in the wake of centuries of Viking activity in northwestern Europe, his accession to the Danish throne in 1018 brought the crowns of England and Denmark together. Cnut sought to keep this power-base by uniting Danes and English under cultural bonds of wealth and custom, as well as through sheer brutality. After a decade of conflict with opponents in Scandinavia, Cnut claimed the crown of Norway in Trondheim in 1028; the Swedish city Sigtuna was held by Cnut.
Dominion of England lent the Danes an important link to the maritime zone between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, where Cnut, like his father before him, had a strong interest and wielded much influence among the Norse–Gaels. Cnut's possession of England's dioceses and the continental Diocese of Denmark—with a claim laid upon it by the Holy Roman Empire's Archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen—was a source of great prestige and leverage within the Catholic Church and among the magnates of Christendom. After his 1026 victory against Norway and Sweden, on his way back from Rome where he attended the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor, Cnut, in a letter written for the benefit of his subjects, deemed himself "King of all England and Denmark and the Norwegians and of some of the Swedes"; the Anglo-Saxon kings used the title "king of the English". Cnut was ealles Engla landes cyning—"king of all England". Medieval historian Norman Cantor called him "the most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history".
Cnut was a son of the Danish prince Sweyn Forkbeard, the son and heir to King Harald Bluetooth and thus came from a line of Scandinavian rulers central to the unification of Denmark. Neither the place nor the date of his birth are known. Harthacnut I of Denmark was the semi-legendary founder of the Danish royal house at the beginning of the 10th century, his son, Gorm the Old, became the first in the official line. Harald Bluetooth, Gorm's son and Cnut's grandfather, was the Danish king at the time of the Christianization of Denmark; the Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg and the Encomium Emmae report Cnut's mother as having been a daughter of Mieszko I of Poland. Norse sources of the High Middle Ages, most prominently Heimskringla by Snorri Sturluson give a Polish princess as Cnut's mother, whom they call Gunhild and a daughter of Burislav, the king of Vindland. Since in the Norse sagas the king of Vindland is always Burislav, this is reconcilable with the assumption that her father was Mieszko.
Adam of Bremen in Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum is unique in equating Cnut's mother with the former queen of Sweden, wife of Eric the Victorious and by this marriage mother of Olof Skötkonung. To complicate the matter and other sagas have Sweyn marrying Eric's widow, but she is distinctly another person in these texts, named Sigrid the Haughty, whom Sweyn only marries after Gunhild, the Slavic princess who bore Cnut, has died. Different theories regarding the number and ancestry of Sweyn's wives have been advanced, but since Adam is the only source to equate the identity of Cnut's and Olof Skötkonung's mother, this is seen as an error on Adam's part, it is assumed that Sweyn had two wives, the first being Cnut's mother, the second being the former Queen of Sweden. Cnut's brother Harald was the crown prince; some hint of Cnut's childhood can be found in the Flateyjarbók, a 13th-century source that says he was taught his soldiery by the chieftain Thorkell the Tall, brother to Sigurd, Jarl of mythical Jomsborg, the legendary Joms, at their Viking stronghold on the island of Wollin, off the coast of Pomerania.
His date of birth, like his mother's name, is unknown. Contemporary works such as the Chronicon and the Encomium Emmae, do not mention this. So, in a Knútsdrápa by the skald Óttarr svarti, there is a statement that Cnut was "of no great age" when he first went to war, it mentions a battle identifiable with Sweyn Forkbeard's invasion of England and attack on the city of Norwich, in 1003/04, after the St. Brice's Day massacre of Danes by the English, in 1002. If Cnut indeed accompanied this expedition, his birthdate may be near 990, or 980. If not, if the skald's poetic verse references another assault, such as Forkbeard's conquest of England in 1013/14, it may suggest a birth date nearer 1000. There is a passage of the Encomiast with a reference to the force Cnut led in his English conquest of 1015/16. Here it says all the Vikings were of "mature age" under Cnut "the king". A description of Cnut