- her hine besæ? sehere on midne wintr ofer uelftan niht to Cippa
- hamme Ygeridon wesseaxna lond Y gesæton micel thæsfolces Yofer
- se adræfdon Y thæs othres thone moestan del hie geridon Y him toge
- cirdon buton tham cyninge elfrede Y he???e werede uniethelice
- æfter wudum ??r Y on mor??? Y thoes ??can wintra wæs Inwæras
- brothur Y heilfdenes on westseaxum on defenascire mid.xxiii. sci
- pum Y hiene mon thærofslog Y dccc mona mid him Y xl. mo
- na his heres Y thæs on Eastron worhte elfred Cyning lytle werede
- geweorce æt ethelinga ægge Y oftham geweorce was winnen? with thone
- here Y sumursætna sedel sethær niest was thaonthoere seofodan
- wiecan ofer Easteron hegerad to Ecgbryhtes stane be eastun seal
- wyda Y him to comon tharongen sumorsæte alle Y wilsætan Y hamptun
- scir sedel se hiere behinon se was Y his gefægene wærun Y hefor
- ymb ane niht oftham wicum to iglya Y thæs ymb ane to ethandune
- Y theargefeaht with alne thone here Y hiene gefliemde Y him after rad
- oththæt geweorc Y thæsæt .xiiii. niht Y thasalde se here him fore
- gislas Y micle athas thoet hie of his rice uuolden Y him eac geheton
- thoethiera kyning fulwihte onfon wolde Y hie thoet gelæston swa
- Y thæs ymb .iii. wiecan com se cyning to him godrum thritiga sum tharamonn?
- theintha here weorthgte wæron æt alre Y thoet is with ethelingga eige Y his
- se cyning thær onfeng æt fulwihte Y his Crism lising was æt weth
- mor Y ? was .xii. niht mid tha cyning Y ? hine miclum Y his geferon mid feoweordude
There are several extant copies of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Being hand written, palaeographers can distinguish one ‘hand’ from the other and, since the annals were dated, it is sometimes possible to determine the date of writing. In the case of Manuscript A, donated to Corpus Christi College Cambridge by Archbishop Matthew Parker in the sixteenth century, the hand that begins the text stops after completion of the record for 891. Since the Chronicles were instigated by King Alfred shortly after 878, this manuscript must have been a very early copy of the original. (The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles by Professor Michael Swanton of Exeter University (1996 Phoenix).
As was traditional at the time, the Chronicle retraces the Geneaology of King Alfred, the patron of the work, back to the first king of the West Saxons, Cerdic, and beyond. The scribe also borrows much from Bede’s ecclesiastical history to relate events from 60 years before Christ’s birth, when it is claimed that Julius Caesar first conquered Britain. The chronological sequence from ‘the incarnation of Christ’ was thus established.
There are numerous sources of information on the various chronicles. Apart from Swanton’s book, which covers the Peterborough, Canterbury, Worcester and Abingdon variations. I have found Tony Jebson’s site extremely helpful in providing Old English (OE) transcriptions – it is remarkable how much clarity is produced by seeing the actual words used by the scribe, even if you are no Anglo-Saxon scholar. And it is sometimes possible to see how, with the best of intentions, an historian may have been faced with a choice between ambiguous meanings.