Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/52

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. ix. JAN. is, 1902.

(' Chron.,' a. 825), and the arrangement may be traced back as far as Wulfhere s time, if the abstract of his charter of 664 given in the 4 Chronicle' is trustworthy. There is nothing obviously suspicious either in contents or signatures, but it does not profess to be an exact copy. Here there are five ealdormen named as witnessing the endowment of Peter- borough Immine, Edbert, Herefrid, Wilbert, and Abon. The first two of these are named by Bede(iii. 24) as having, in conjunction with a third named Eafa, broken the Northum- brian yoke and set Wulfhere on the throne. There is an Imingham in Lindsey, so that Immine may have been the ealdorman of this district, the people of which were so jealous of their freedom that they would certainly take their share in the overthrow of Oswy's rule (see Bede, iii. 11). At that time, then, the Mercians had probably the three ealdormen named for the districts of the North Mercians, the South Mercians (King Peada being dead and leaving no suc- cessor), and the Middle Angles, the Gyrwas being, perhaps, joined with these last. The two other ealdormen would govern the annexed districts in the west, the Hwiccas and Hecanas.

1. With respect to the North Mercians, it has been stated above that the men of Lindsey had traditions of a royal line going back to Woden. When Paulinus visited the dis- trict (c. 628 ; Bede, ii. 16) Blecca was the prin- cipal man there. In 702 i( Kenred succeeded to the kingdom of the South umbrians," becoming King of Mercia in 704. 2. The South Mer- cians provided the king for the whole, and therefore would have no special ealdorman, except in such an interregnum as that between Peada's death and Wulfhere's successful insurrection. But on the east they had the Gyrwas, who, under the old East Anglian rule, had an ealdorman (of the South Gyrwas), and this ruler may have continued for a time until the Gyrwas were thoroughly merged in the general body of Mercians. Tonbert, the husband of St. Etheldreda, died in 653, and was succeeded by the young son (Ethel wald) of some unnamed chieftain, whose widow Siwara was actually governing in 654, when St. Botolph's story mentions her. When the King of Mercia became more absorbed in the western portion of his dominions, an ealdorman would be found necessary for the eastern half. 3. The Middle Angles were assigned to Peada by his father Penda, and Beortwald, son of Wulfhere, may have had a similar position under his uncle Ethelred. Later Dudda, father of St. Fride- swide, occurs as under-king in the Oxford

district. 4. The Hwiccas had a line of under- kings, whose names are preserved in the Worcester charters. Often there seem to have been two rulers at once, a chief and an assistant. Among the names are Osric (676), Oshere (680), the brothers Osric and Oswald (681), Ethelweard, son of Oshere (706), Ean- bert (757), Uhtred and Aid red, his brothers (767), Ethelmund (800). 5. The Hecanas had Merewald, brother of Wulfhere, as their under-king for a time.

This distribution of authority in the secular sphere may be compared with the eccle- siastical arrangements sanctioned by arch- bishop and king in 679 (Florence of Worcester, Appendix) :

The king Bp. of Lichfield.

Ealdorman of N. Mercians ,, Lindsey (or


S.Mercians (Gyrwas) ,, Leicester.

,, Middle Angles ,, Dorchester.

,, Hwiccas ,, Worcester.

,, Hecanas ,, Hereford.

The bishopric of Dorchester did not continue, being merged in Leicester, the three origin- ally distinct countries of the South Mercians, Gyrwas, and Middle Angles becoming a united whole, though they appear to have retained the double ealdormanship.

IV. The Lindsey bishopric. It is well known that not only Yorkshire, but Notting- hamshire also belonged to the diocese of York, and that when it was, after the Conquest, proposed to transfer the Midland see of Dorchester (representing the older Leicester) to Lincoln, the Archbishop of York objected, on the ground that Lindsey was in his diocese. Thus it might be argued that originally Lindsey and Hseth feld land, iden- tified above as the country of Bede's Northern Mercians, originally belonged to Northum- bria, York being certainly within the bounds of the latter country. Yet it is quite clear not only that the men of Lindsey were not Northumbrians politically, but that Notting- hamshire was Mercian. Was, then, the diocese of York from the beginning a composite one, partly Mercian and partly Northumbrian? This seems unlikely in itself ; for it would be extremely difficult for a bishop to administer a district lying in the territories of two independent kings who from time to time made war on each other. It is better, there- fore, to take the only alternative, and define the old diocese of Lindsey as comprising the Lindsey, Hatfjeld (this extending over all Nottinghamshire), and Elmet of the 'Tribal Hidage.' Thus it would be entirely Mercian, and York entirely Northumbrian. This theory seems confirmed by the story of St. Wilfrid.