His obit was celebrated on the 14th of October by his brethren and suc- cessors in the Church of Durham/ but we have no information as to the year of his decease.'*' His History of the Kings of the Angles and Danes is brought down to the year 1129^ and his account of the archbishops of York must have been written «■ Hist. Besides the works enumerated above^ there is in the Cot- tonian Library a MS.
The number of the monks has been erased from the MS. Assuming the date of his profession to have been about A. 1083^ we cannot place that of his birth much later than A. 1060;, and these dates are consistent Tvith the fact relatcd by himself/ and with greater particularity by an historian of the succeeding century, Reginald of Coldingham/ that he was present at the exhumation of the remains of St. Their order of priority is, from Symeon's own list, as follows : — Turgot, the Prior (6). Tlie last- mentioned production occupies an intermediate position between an original composition and a mere transcript_, being for the most part a verbatim copy or an abridgment of earlier writers, with certain additions^ some of which are possibly from the pen of Symeon, whilst others have unquestionably been added by a later hand.
seven enrolled previous to Symeon had been reduced by deatlis and removals during an interval of nine or ten years. ' The names of those present are from Reginald, as above. Of the voluminous historical materials which have been printed under the name of Symeon of Durham_, two only are properly described as his works, in the sense in which we apply the term to the production of a modern writer^ the History of the Church of Durham, and the Account of the Archhishops of York. Cuthbert is only a transcript of an ancient document which has furnished matter for the compila- tion of the Durham History ; and the tract on the Siege of Durham, and the fortunes of Uchtred and his successors, earls of Northumberland, has apparently been transcribed for a kin- dred purpose, as many of the details have been incorporated in '" London, 8vo, 1732. IX the History of the Kings of the Angles and Danes.
It is not to be wondered at that Symeon^s name has been connected with this work_, althongh we have shewn that the original fabric at all events is of much earlier date. Cuthbertj but was dragged^ unarmed and almost dead with hungerj from the church.^ The natural inference seems to be that both acts of violence were committed by the king, or with his sanction^ but Symeon gives quite a different version, attributing the calamities which befell Offa_, in general terms^ to the persecution of his enemies^ and the punishment of the bishop to Eadberfs displeasure at his connivance or non-interference to prevent such atrocities. The original information which they supply relates more particularly to the kingdom of Northumberland^ but is by no means confined to it. Of these, three^ under the years 875^ 877^ and 883^ are from the Historia dc Sancto Cuthberto, and two of them are inter- lineations ; the fourth^ under the year 881^ is from an un- known source_, which has also been made use of in the second partj under the same date^ and is unconnected with English history.'^ From the death of Alfred there is nothing like a continuous narrative,, but a series of unconnected notices extend over a pcriod of fifty-eight years j of these^ about forty in all^ more than half are taken from the Saxon Chronicle ; the others fur- nish many particulars^ chiefly in connection with Northumbrian history^ which cannot be traced to any earlier source. Surely if it had been written nnder any of the succeeding kings of the Norman dynasty some allusion would have been made to that stupendous revolntion which overwhelmed the Anglo-Saxon commonwealth on Edward^s death.
Not only does he use it during a long period as the basis of the civil history which is nccessarily intermixed with his account of the Church of Durham, but in many instances he adopts the pccu- liarities of its language. Even if the text before us admitted of such an interpretation^ we have tliis serious difficulty to contend with, that Offa so far ^ Compare p. The following notices apply to the his- tory of the southern states. The last entry under the year 957 records the death of Edgar and the accession of Edwin, after whose reign of seven- teen years, we are told, ^^reigned his son Edward_, who was slain by the trcachery of his step-mother_, and rests at Shaftes- * Nam et patres coenobii sanctissimi Benedicti, (quod Floriacum dicitur,) ipsius reliquias a tumulo, quo locatse fuerant immensa pulchritudine, secum auferentes hac illacque discurrebant, The words in parentheses are only in the notice in the second part. Neither in the list of kings from Edgar to Edward would it have ignored altogether the reigns of Suane^ Cnute, Harold and Hardicnute.
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.
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.
The History of the Church of Durham forms no part of the present publication_, being reserved for a second volume, to which it may not be thought inexpedient to prefix both the treatise of Selden and the reply of Rudd^ and thus to exhibit a complete view of a discussion which^ although now set at rest^ has always excited peculiar interest amongst historical enquirers.