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THE PUBLICATIONS OF THE SUETEES SOOIETY, ESTABLISHED IN THE YEAR M. We have evidence, at all events, that it was compiled previous to the year of Halfdene^s incursion, 875, in which the church of Hexham was destroyed. 788 the author describes it as still existing in his own time, as it stood at the date referred to, in all its pristine splendour; whereas we know that the torches of Halfdene^s fo Uowers had consumed the woodwork and ornamental fittings, and left nothing but the wreck of its bare and blackened walls. The account given in this wwk of the attack of the Danes on the monastery at the mouth of the Don is copied verbatim in the History of the Church of Durham, but in the lattcr w^e have an explanation^ w^hich was unnecessary in the time of the earlier writer^ that Portus Ecgfridi was the old name of the estuary at Jarrow at the confluence of the Don with the Tyne.'" The number of cases of this kind^ of the recurrence of combinations of words which would never spontaneously have presented themselves to two independent writers^ might be extended, but the above are the most remarkable. For the earlier portion of this interval there are no other details in the History of the Church of Durham than are to be met Avith in the ancient History of St. XXI We have also several details of the history of Scotlaiid during the period of the Pictish predominance, which are either altogether unnoticed elsewhere^ or confined to the text before us^ and the kindred pages of the Northumberland Annals. been already stated^ with an abridged paraphrase of Asser^s Life of Alfred, wliicli is continued from the Saxon Clironicle to the end of his reign. 802^ forty- seven years before Alfred^s birth_, being a narrative of events at that dat Cj which are introdnced by Asser in explanation of a custom to which he has occasion to allude under a.d. These particulars are here inserted in chronological order imme- diately before the last imperfect items belonging to the first division. The last chapter of Beda contains_, as is well known, what is called a Recapitulation of the whole work, but which is in fact a chronological summary of the affairs of Britain^ founded for the most part on the previous narrative^ but containing some information of considerable importance which does not occur there/ This summary is continued up to and after the death of the author in various existing MSS. From 7QQ to the com- mencement of the following century it is of precisely the same character, being to all appearance a series of notes committed to writing whilst the events were fresh in the memory of the authors. XVll been removed by his own express statement that he copied from an earlier writer/ 5. We have seen that in these annals the church of Hexham is represented as existing in its pristine magnificence and integrity^ and so it did remain till this calamitous period, but scarcely had the pen dropped from the hand of the writer,, when it was reduced to a scorched and blackened ruin. This continuation was probably not the work of a contemporary^ nor is it probable that there ever existed a complete and continuous history of the affairs of Northumberland during the troublous period which intervened between the reign of Ricsig and that of Eric^ or Hyric_, the last of her Danish rulers. The Northumberland Annals add, " qui regni sui principium usque ad finera facinore cruentum tj^rannus carnifex produxit." C XXU PREFACE.
Its value as an authority is of course nullified by the existence of the original document from which it is paraphrased ; but it is of some interest in consequence of the similarity of its style to that of a version of Asser^s Life of Alfred, which is incorporated with the first part of the History of the Kings, which points to the inference that both are from the same hand; that if one^ then both have been operated upon by Symeon ; and that the Kentish legend from which the phraseology is derived, in which both are clothed_, must have formed part of the collections of the same writer. Next before this is the epistle to Dean Hugh on the archbishops of York, which is une- quivocally Symeon's, and in the body of which his name occurs. Not only has Symeon availed himself of these ancient annals in the compilation of his History of the Church of Durham up to the year 803^ where they terminate imperfectly in our copy^ but he seems to have followed an unmutilated text to a much later date^ for he gives us the succession of the North- umbrian kings from that period to the disruption of the mo- narchy in 867/ and^ after that_, the reigns of two petty princes, Ecgbert and Ricsig/ whose dominions were limited to the terri- tory north of the Tyne ; which particulars are not to be found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, nor^ so far as we are aware^ in any other authority which existed at the time he wrote. On the tenth of the same month almost the whole of the army perished, on the route from Ouania to Newburgh. Now the Irish Annals give the date of Cynoht^s death a.d. Another tract has been printed by Twysden, consisting of various historical and topographical extracts^ which have been inserted in the MS. in which the History of the Kings of the Angles and Danes is preserved, being indeed described as part of that work_, and placed after the rubric to which reference has already been made. render its publication highly expedient in connection with the other pieces in this volume. Barbara, his successor, was as earl}^, if not earher, than 1138. Symeon must at that time have been between seventy and eighty, and it is probable that his life did not extend long beyond the period of his literary labours. It is dedicated to Hughj dean of York, of whose tenure of that dignity we have evidence in 11.