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XVI. An Account of the Discovery at Hexham, in the County of Northumberland, of a brass vessel containing a number of the Anglo-Saxon Coins called Stycas; Communicated to the Society of Antiquaries by John Adamson, Esq. M.R.S.L., F.SS.A., London and Edinburgh, F.L.S. Corresp. Memb. Roy. Acad. of Sciences at Lisbon, Memb. of the Roy. Soc. for Ancient Northern Literature at Copenhagen, one of the Secretaries of the Lit. and Phil. Soc. and of the Antiq. Soc. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, &c. &c.

  • John Adamson


The accidental discovery of a number of these Coins, greater than any hitherto made, having been communicated to me by the Reverend William Airey, the Perpetual Curate of Hexham, I am enabled to lay the following account before the Society of Antiquaries.

On Monday the fifteenth day of October last, the sexton and his assistant were employed in preparing a grave, at the west side of the north transept of the present church of Hexham, about three yards from the wall. It was in that part of the church-yard now used, which is called the Campey Hill; and which many years ago was an eminence, but has since been levelled; and, though not originally any portion of the burial ground, has been of late years appropriated for that purpose. Why this place received its name of the Campey Hill we have not at the present day the means of ascertaining; but the hill would appear to have been principally formed by the ruins of part of the church, and the consequent accumulations of soil and rubbish since the time at which the Coins were concealed, which was prior to the erection of the present building.



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page 280 note a Five hundred and forty-two were in 1808 turned up by a plough in the parish of Kirk Oswald in Cumberland, viz. 99 of Eanred, 350 of Ethelred, 14 of Redulf, 15 of Osbekcht, 1 of Eanbald with the title, 58 of Vigmund, and 5 of Archbishop Wulfhere. The next discovery of any moment was of the Coins of Ecgfrid in the year 1813, in the Chapel-yard at Heworth, in the County of Durham. See Ruding's Annals of the Coinage of Britain, vol. i. p. 223. Arehæologia Æliana, vol. i. p. 124.

page 290 note b Chron. Mail. Sim. de Gestis Reg. Angl.

page 292 note c “Ex semine regio.” Johannis Wallingfori Chron. 530.

page 292 note d The year of his accession is stated variously by the Chroniclers. The Saxon Chronicle has the 2 id. Maii 795, and adds that he was consecrated and “το hiτ cine-τοole ahoρen,” vii. kal. Junii. The Chronicle of Mailros makes it 794. Simeon of Durham “de Gestis Regum Anglorum,” has the following, “Anno DCCXCVI (796) Eardulf filius Eakdulfi de exilio vocatus, regni infulis est sublimatus, et in Eboraca in ecclesia Sancti Petri ad altare beati Apostoli Pauli, ubi iila gens primum perceperat gratiam baptismi, consecratus est vii. kal. Junii.” Matt. Westmin. says 797.

page 292 note e Both the Chronicle of Mailros and the Monk Simeon make particular mention of this act of Ethelred's cruelly. From the latter we learn that it happened in the second year of Ethelred's reign, that is in 792. I subjoin their respective accounts: “Qui (Ethelredus) Eardulfum ducem capiensj et ad Ripum producens ibi eum occidit extra portam monasterii: Dilato autem corpore ipsius, in ecclesiam, et psallentibus circa eum et pro eo fratribus, post mediam noctem vivus nventus est.” Chron. Mailros sub anno 790; under the year 794 it adds, “Eardulfus vero filius Eaknulfi, qui ut supra diximus post occisionem revixit, de exilio revoeatus, Rex est constitutus.” In the “Historia Simeonis de Gestis Regum Anglorum III.” we find, “cujus (Ethelredi) anno secundo (the same authority makes his reign commence in 790) Eardulf dux captus est et ad Ripun perductus, ibique occidi jussus extra portam monasterii à. rege præfato. Cujus corpus fratres cum Gregorianis concentibus ad ecclesiam portantes, et in tentorio foris ponentes, post mediam noctem vivus est in ecclesia inventus.”

page 293 note f Turner, Ang. Sax. vol. i. p. 400, who quotes Ann. Franc, ap. Duchesne, vol. ii. p. 45.

page 293 note g In this year the great Synod was held by Eanbald at Finchale. See after, in the account of the Archbishop.

page 293 note h Anno DCCXCVIII Conjuratione facta ab interfectoribus Etheldeedi regis, Wada dux in ilia conjuratione cum eis bellum inierunt contra Eardwlfum regem in loco qui appellatur ab Anglis Billingahoth juxta Walalege, et ex utraque parte plurimis interfectis Wada dux cum suis in fugam versus est, et Eardwlfus rex victoriam regaliter sumpsit ex inimicis.” Sim. Dun. de Gestis Regum Anglorum. “Anno DCCXCVIII Interfectores Ethelredi Regis cum duce Wada bellum inierunt contra Eardulfum successorem apud Billangaho juxta Waleleie, in quo multi cecideir.nt, sed, duce Wada in fugam verso, victoriam habuit Eardulfus.” Chron. de Mailros sub anno. “Per idem tempus rex Northanhumbrorum Eardulfus, in loco qui Bilingeho dicitur, prelium commisit contra Wadum ducem, et alios quosdam conspiratores suos. Sed demum multis hinc inde interfectis, rex regaliter victoriam obtinuit ex hostibus supradictis.” Matt. Westm. sub anno 798.

page 293 note i De Gestis Reg. Anglor. 115—sic etiam Chron. de Mailros sub anno 799.

page 293 note k Sic Matt. West, et Chron. de Mailros sub anno 800.

page 294 note l Anno Dccci. Eardulfus Northumbrorum Rex et Kinewlfus Merciorum ad bellanduin convenerunt, sed Episcoporum ac Principum consilio pacem inter se jurejurando confirmaverunt, quamdiu viverent tenendam. Chron. de Mailros sub anno. In Simeon (deGestis Reg. Angl. 117) we find, “801. His temporibus Eardulf Rex Northanhymbrorum duxit exercituai contra Kenwlfum regem Merciorum propter susceptionem inimicorum ejus. Cjui et ipse eongregans exercitum secum aliarum promovitauxilia Provinciarum plurima, longa inter eos expeditionefacta. Tandem cum consilio episcoporum ac principum Anglorum ex utraque paite pacem inierunt per gratiam regis Anglorum. Factaque firmissimBe pacis concordia inter eos, quam sub jurejurando in evangelio Christi ambo reges confirmaverunt, Deum testem et fidejussoiem interponentes, ut in diebus eorum quamdiu vita potirentur praesenti, et regni essent infulis suffulti, pax firma veraque inter eos amicitia inconcussa et inviolata persisteret.”

page 294 note m An. DCCCVI. “þeɲ ɼe mona aþɪɲτɲoδe on kl΄Seɲτ. յ Єapδpulɲ Noɲþanhẏmbpa eɪnɪnʓ . pæɼ oɲ hɪɼ ɲɪce aδɲɪɲen.” Chron. Sax. sub anno.

page 294 note n Matt. Westm.

page 294 note o Sir Andrew Fountaine in Tab. x. at the end of his Dissertation on Saxon Coins in Hickes's Thesaurus, gives five Stjcas of a king Heardulf, all of different moneyers, amongst which are Odilo and Broder.

page 295 note p “Post Alfwodum Eanredus (successit) qui regnavit xxxix annis.” Chron. Joan. Hrallingford. This is a mistake which a little further clown the same Chronicler corrects; his words are, “qui XXXII annis regnanit in Northimbria.”

page 295 note q “Anδ ɼe Єeʓbɲẏhτ ɪæδδe ɽẏɲδe τo Doɲe þıð Noɲðanhẏmbɲe յ hy him þæɲ eaþmeδο buδon յ ʓeþ þæɲneɼɼe. յ hẏ on þam τo-hpuɲɲan.” Saxon Chron. sub anno DCCCXXVII.

“827. Eodem anno Rex Occidentalium Saxonum Egbei tus, expulso regno Wiglafo, regnum Merciorum suo abjecit imperio. Deinde suam movit expeditionem ultra Humbri flumen. Cui Northimbienses (in loco qui Dore vocatur) occurentes pacifice, ei coucordiam humilemque sub-jectionem obtulere; absic ab invicem diwsi sunt magna mentis alacritate.” Flor. Wigorn. 288. “Anno gratiæ 829. Cum Egbertus rex Occidentalium Saxonura omnia australia Angliæ regna obtinuisset, exercitum grandem in Northanhumbria ducens, provinciam illam gravi depopulatione contrivit, regemque Eandredum statuit sub tribute.” Matt. West, sub anno.

page 296 note r “Anno gratiæ 840, defuncto rege Northanhumbrorum Eandredo, Æthei-Redus filius ejus septem annis successit.” Malt. West.

page 298 note s The present is only one amongst the many instances of variations in the orthography of Anglo-Saxon names In a note in vol. i. p. 472 of Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, that gentleman, speaking of the different modes of writing the name of Ethelwulf the successor of Egbekt, says, “The name of this king has been disfigured by that variety of orthography which prevailed at this time, and often confuses history. Ethelwlfus, Ethulfus, Athulfus, Adulrus, Aithulfus Adheholfus, Athelwlfus, Atwulfus.” The cause of this fluctuation was no doubt owing in a great measure to the writers of subsequent ages, having, in the absence of contemporary originals, to depend so much upon oral tradition, received perhaps through the medium of a vitiated or provincial pronunciation.

page 298 note t Matthew of Westminster makes him reign seven years. In the Chron. Joannis Wallingford 531 we find Athelredus qui regnavit ix annis.

page 299 note u Matt. West.

page 299 note x “Anno gratiæ 848 Athelredo rege Northanhumbrorum interfecto, Osbertus successit pro eo annis 18.” Matt. West, sub anno. Simeon the Monk, in his History of the Church of Durham, lib. II. cap. v. makes this event happen in 849, His words are, “anno ab incarnatione Domini Dcccliiij imperii autem Osberti, qui occiso Ethelredo in regnum successerat anno quinto.”

page 300 note y A single specimen of this moneyer's coin was found by Mr. Airey, and has been unfortunately mislaid or lost.

page 301 note z Mr. Ruding writes that he had not been able to discover the date of the accession of this king. Vol. i. p. 243.

page 301 note a “Anno gratiae 844.... Eodem anno rex Northanhumbrorum Æthelredus a regno fugatus est, cui Readwlfus successit in regnum, qui confestim diademate insignitus, cum Paganis commisso prselio apud Aluetheleie, ipse et consul Ælfredus ceciderunt cum parte maxima subditorum, et tune iterum Æthelredus regnavit.” Matt. West, sub anno.

page 302 note b Rudiug, Plate XI. Nos. 1 to 10. Plate XXVII. Nos. 1 to 3.

page 303 note c For a detailed history of Ragnar Lodbrok see Mr. Turner's very learned History of the Ang. Sax. vol. i. p. 445.

page 303 note d “An. DCCCLXVII. þeɲ ɲoɲ ɼe heɲe oɲ Єaɼτ-Єnʓlum oɲeɲ þumbɲe muðan τo Єoɲoɲɲɪc-ceaɼτɲe on Noɲð-humbɲe.” Sax. Chron.

867. “Paganorum exercitus de Orientalibus Anglis ad Eboracnm civitatem migravit, quse in aquiloni ripa Humbra fluminis sita est.” Flor. Wigorn.

“Anno gratia? 867. Eodem anno Danorum nefandus exercitus, in die Omnium Sanctorum, ab Orientalibus Anglis ad Ebor. civitatem migravit.” Matt. Westm.

page 304 note c Sic Chron. de Mailros sub anno 867.

page 304 note f [An. DCCCLXVII.] Anδ þæɲ ɲæɼmical un-ʓeþpæɲneɼ þæɲe þeoδe beτpeox hɪm ɼelɲum. յ hẏ hæpδon hɪopa cẏninʓ apoɲɲenne Oɼbɲẏhτ. յ un-ʓecẏnδne cẏninʓ unδeɲ-ɲenʓon Ællan. Anδ hẏ laτe on ʓeaɲe τo þam ʓecẏɲδon. [The passage in connection with this is given in the preceding note.] յ hẏ [Oɼbɲẏhτ Ælla] ɲɪð þone hepe pinnenδe pæɲun. Anδ hẏ þeah mɪcele ɲẏɲδe ʓeʓæδeɲoδon. յ þone hepe ɼohτon æτ Єoɲoɲpic-ceaɼτpe. յ on þa ceaɼτɲe bpecon. յ hẏɼume ɪnne puɲδon. Anδ þa pæɼ un-ʓemeτlic pæl ʓeɼleʓen Noɲðan-hẏmbpa. ɼume binnan ɼume buτan. յ þa eẏnɪnʓaɼ beʓen op-ɼleʓen þæɲ pupδan. յ ɼɪo lap pɪð þone hepe ɲɲɪð namon. Sax. Chron.

The respective accounts of Asser and Florence of Worcester being so verbally alike, I refrain from givingboth. I have added that of Asser as being (he older historian. There is a balance of authorities in favour of the date 867, which Asser has 866.

866. Anno DCCCLXVI.... Eo tempore maxima inter Nordanhymbros discordia diabolico instinctu orta fuerat, sicut semper populo, qui odium incurrerit Dei, evenire solet. Nam Nordan-hymbri eo tempore, ut diximus, legitimum Regem suum, Osbrichtum nomine, Regno expulerant, et tyrannum quendam Aella nomine, non de regali prosapia progenitum, super Regni apicem constituerant. Sed, advenientibus Paganis, consilio divino & optimatum amminiculo, pro com-muni utilitate discordia ilia aliquantulum sedaia, Osbrichtus & Aella, adunatis viribus, congregato exercitu, Eboracum oppidum ademit. Quibus advenientibus Pagani confestim fugam arripiunt, et intra urbis moenia se defendere procurant. Quorum fugam & pavorem Christiani cernentes, etiam intra Urbis moenia eos persequi et tnurum frangere instituunt quod & fecerunt. Non enim tune adhuc ilia ciutas firnios & stabilitos muros illis temporibus habebat. Cumque Christiani murum ut proposuerant fiegissent, & eorum magna pars in civitatem sinml cum Paganis intrasset, Pagani dolore & necessitate compulsi super cos atrociter irrumpunt, cædunt, fugant, prosternunt intus & extra, illic maxima ex parte omnes Nordanhymbrensium capti, occisis duobus Regibus cum multis Nobilibus ibi occubuerunt, reliqui vero, qui evaserunt, pacem cum Paganis pepigerunt. Annales Asserii, p. 159.

page 305 note g The Stycas called Alla'S given in Sir Andrew Fountaine's work at the end of Hickes's Thesaurus, cannot be appropriated to this king, and the legends have probably been mistaken by that author.

page 305 note h “An. DCCXCVI. þeɲ ɲoɲð-ɲeɲδe Єanbalδ Aɲceb on IV. ɪδuɼ Auʓ. յ hɪɼ lic lɪʓð on Єoɲeɲɲic. Anδ þeɼ ɪlcan ʓeaɲeɼ ɲoɲð-ɲeɲδe Leolɲulɲ bɪɼcop. յ man ʓehal ʓoδe oþeɲ Єanbalδ on þæɼ oþɲeɼ ɼτal on XIX kal. Sepτ.” Sax. Chron.

“An. DCCXCVII. Anσ εanbalσ on-ρeng Pallium on vi. iσur Sepr.” Ibid.

“Accepto ab Apostolica sede pallio, in Archiepiscopatum connrmatus est Sept. S, 797.” Hoveden, 233.

“Anno gratis 797.... hoc quoque anno Eanbaldus Ebor. Archiepiscopus decessit, et alter Eanbaldus successit, quo utique anno Eanbaldus Ebor. Archiepiscopus, accepto pallio, per antistitem ordinavit Eadredum, adjuncto sibi Higbaldo Episcopo, ad pontificatus honorem.” Matt. Westm.

“Anno DCCXCVI. Eanbaldus Archiepiscopus Eboracensis obiit, cui successit alter Eapbaldus ordinantibus eum Episcopis Ethelberto, Higbaldo, et Badulfo.” Chron. de Mailros.

“746. Et paulo post, id est mi Ides Augusti Eanbaldus Archiepiscopus obiit in monasterio quod dicitur Etlete, corpusque ejus magno comitante agmine ad Eboracam civitatem portantes, in Ecclesia beati Petri Apostoli sepultum est honorifice. Statim vero alter Eanbaldus ejusdem Ecclesise Presbyter in episcopatum est electus, convenientibus ad ordinationem ejus Ethelberto et Hygbaldo atque Badulfo episcopis, in Monasterio quod dicitur Sochasburg xviij. kal. Septemb. die dominica. Anno DCCXCVIJ. Eanbaldus, ille posterior accepto ab apostolica sede pallio in Archiepiscopatum genti Northanhymbrorum. Confirmatus est vi Idus Septembris, qua die celebratur, id est, nativitas Sanctae Maria? de qua poeta ait:

Splendet honore dies est in quo virgo Maria

Stirpe David regis procedens edita mundo.

Sim. Dun. de Gestis Reg. Angl.

page 306 note i Stubbs, in his Chronicle of the Archbishops of York, writes, “congregata est Synodus non parva in loco qui vocatur Pinchamhalch, cui ipse præsidens cum magnis et sapientibus personis quamplurimis quorum prudentia et justicia status regni Northumbrorum illis temporibus incredibiliter redolebat.”

page 306 note k The Chronicle of Mailros barley mentions this convention, “Anno DCCXCVIII. Congregata est Synodus apud Pinkenhalhe præsidente Eanbaldo Archiepiscopo;” a similar entry occurs in Matthew of Westminster's History, “Eodem anno (798) Eanbaldus, Ebor. Archiepiscopus apud Finchale Synodum congregavit.”

The following is an extract from Simeon de Gestis Regum Anglorum 798. “Eodem quoque anno qui est annus i n Cenwlfi preedicti Regis (Merciorum) Synodus congregata in loco qui appellatur Pincanhalth, praesidente Eanbaldo Archiepiscopo, aliisque quamplurimis principalibus et ecclesiasticis viris, multa de utilitate Sanctse Dei ecclesia? gentisque Northanhymbrorum omniumque proiineiarum consiliati sunt, & de observatione Paschalis festi, & judiciorum divinorum atque secularium, quae in diebus justorum regum et ducum bonorum atque sanctorum episcoporum aliorumque sapientum, monachorum scilicet atque clericorum, quoque prudentia, et justitia, atque divinis artibus status legni Northanhymbrorum suavker & inedicibiliter redolebat his temporibus. Rationabili vero consilio providebant, ut de honore ecclesiarum Dei servorumque ejus necessitatibus disputarent et servitium Domini augerent, ut pro his mercedem seternse retributionis bonam perciperent. Praecepit dominus antistes Eanbaldus recitari quinque Synodorum fidem.”

For a copy of what was commanded “recitari” by Eanbald, I would refer the reader to Simeon of Durham de Gestis Keg. Angl, sub anno, and also to Stubbs's account of this occurrence.

page 308 note l Anno gratiae S54, defuncto Wymondo Ebor. Archiepiscopo Wlferus suceessit. Matt. West.

page 309 note m “Anno Dominicae incarnationis Dcccliv Wlfere Archiepiscopus pallium suscepit.” Simeon de Gestis Reg. Angl.

page 309 note n “Anno occclxxij. Northumbri suum regem Egbertum et suum Archiepiscopum Wlfebe expulerunt.” Ibid.

page 309 note o “Anno Dccclxxiij. Egbertus rex Northanhymbrorum moriens successorem habuit Ricsig qui regnavit tribus annis; et Wlfere in suum Archiepiscopatum receptus est.” Ibid.

page 309 note p “Anno DCCCXCIJ. Wlfeae Archiepiscopus Eboracensis obiit annosui Archiepiscopatus xxxix.” Ibid. “Anno 892. Wlfere Archiepiscopus Eboracensis obiit anno prasulatus sui xxxix.” Chron. Mailtos.

page 310 note q See remark in a former note upon the modes of spelling Ethelred.

XVI. An Account of the Discovery at Hexham, in the County of Northumberland, of a brass vessel containing a number of the Anglo-Saxon Coins called Stycas; Communicated to the Society of Antiquaries by John Adamson, Esq. M.R.S.L., F.SS.A., London and Edinburgh, F.L.S. Corresp. Memb. Roy. Acad. of Sciences at Lisbon, Memb. of the Roy. Soc. for Ancient Northern Literature at Copenhagen, one of the Secretaries of the Lit. and Phil. Soc. and of the Antiq. Soc. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, &c. &c.

  • John Adamson


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