Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ælfwine

ÆLFWINE (d. 1047), bishop of Winchester, one of the priests or chaplains of Cnut, was made bishop of Winchester in 1032, and died in 1047. He is said to have been a monk and sacristan of the monastery of St. Swithin's, the cathedral church of Winchester. He is made the lover of Emma, the widow of Æthelred and Cnut, in the famous legend of her ordeal. Emma fell under the displeasure of her son Eadward in 1043, and passed the rest of her life in retirement at Winchester, which was the natural place for her abode. In order to make the relations between the bishop and the lady perfectly intelligible, the legend-mongers represent Ælfwine as her kinsman, and allege that he came over from Normandy with her; that he was then a layman, and that before he became a monk he was earl of Hampshire. The whole story is unhistorical. It is one of the most famous legends of our early history, and was the subject of a ballad said to have been sung at Winchester, in 1333, at the enthronement of Adam of Orlton.

[Anglo-Saxon Chron.; Ann. Winton. ap. Annales Monast. ii. 21, ed. Luard, R.S.; Rudborne, Hist. Maj. ap. Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 233; Higden, Polychronicon; Warton, History of English Poetry, i. 87.]

W. H.