FNQ: Hereward XI
boar.org.uk/ariwxo3FNQsupXI.htm Latest edit 1 Apr 2011.
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2007 R.J.PENHEY With
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De Gestis Herwardi Saxonis.
Pro qua re Herwardus cum quodam duce in Scaldemariland cum exercitu missus
est, et præcursorem exercitum superavit.
Præterea quoque Flandrensis comes legatos in Scaldemariland pro tributo diu
jam retento et censu terræ miserat : qui ferme his diebus illi in loco præfati
nuncii dextro oculo privati ob illius injuriam nunciantur et sinistro pede abscisi.
Ad opportunum principi et suis visum est Herwardum illuc una cum exercitu et
duce ipsius usque in illam regionem mittere, pro quibus aut justitiam valde
competentem acciperent, seu inimicum graviter vindicarent. Idque statim Herwardus gratanter licet rem difficilem exequitur. Classibus accensis secundaque admodum tempestate et prospero ventu ibi perveniunt. Sed non statim defuit eis
hostilem multitudinem ut repatriarent, minitantes aut sævis jaculis
perimerentur, vel captivi in servitutem redigerentur. Unde vehementer exacerbati et plurimi perterriti sunt, pedem referre
volentes. Ad hæc Herwardus corda trepidantium confortat leviter et scientia in bello vacuos timore posse asserens, licet multam nimis et incompositam multitudinem et temerariam audaciam fuerint : quod est confidentia
temeritatis et arrogantia annihilationis. Qua de causa quippe
valde animis accensis, persecutionem eorum acrius contra præcursorem exercitum consurgunt, aciesque erigunt iv. ex xl.
classibus et simul omnis exercitus
a tergo erectus, si alii deficerent, ut procederent. Verum etiam et Herwardus, incurrentibus aliis, locum dimicandi
contra fieri in medio postulavit
ut effebi et pueri quasi
suas vires probarent, aut
sic ipsi inde exacerbati provocarentur ad pugnam, seu potius taliter
virtutem eorum minorem experirentur in bello priusquam ad majora procederent ; hoc quippe adversariæ parti mandavit, quam gratanter suscipientes in fortitudine eorum confisi, unum in medio statuerunt, quem contra citius processit Herwardus ; siquidem illo prostrato,
alium aliumque miserunt, quibus quidem omnibus una mortis fuit occasio, armati se defensare nescientes, nec cum armis incomposita corpora protegere scientes, verum irritatos se autumantes, aut potius illum magum
æstimantes, omnes in illum irruere conati
sunt. Ac ergo repente conversus ad socios, indiscrete post eum dissociati sunt ; verum sic illos inter manum miserat, pro quo tandem superati sunt.
The Exploits of
Hereward the Saxon.
with a certain leader was sent into Scaldemariland
with an army, and how he overcame the army in front.
Moreover the Count
of Flanders1 had sent ambassadors into Scaldemariland2 for tribute now for a long time
withheld, and for the rating of the land : and about
this time in that place these messengers aforesaid were reported to have been
deprived of one eye, and to have had the left foot cut off, to his great
dishonour. It seemed therefore opportune to the Prince and his men, to send
Hereward to that region together with an army and his own general, in order to
receive fitting justice for them, or else to punish the enemy severely. And
that Hereward, although a difficult matter, gladly undertook. With a fleet3 in their train they arrived at the
place with very favourable weather and a prosperous wind. But it was not long
before they reached a great multitude of the enemy, who threatened to overwhelm
them with their javelins, or to take them prisoners and reduce them to slavery.
At this they were greatly exasperated, and very many
were much alarmed and wanted to retreat. And so Hereward strengthened the
hearts of the waverers, in a light-hearted fashion,
declaring that from their experience in war they must be void of fear, although
with an excessively great multitude, and ill arranged, and rash audacity ; for
this was the confidence of rashness, and the arrogance of destruction. Whereby
their courage was greatly inflamed, and they stand up the more eagerly to the
pursuit of them against the army in front, four out of every forty ships and
the whole army as well being in the rear, so that if some fell others might
take their place. Then Hereward, while the others were rushing to the attack,
demanded the centre as his position, for the fight, so that the youths and boys
might test their strength, or that so they themselves exasperated at it, might
be provoked to the battle, or rather in such a way they might try their
inferior valour in war, before they proceeded to greater deeds : and as he
directed this against the opposing party, they perceived it with joy, confiding
in their strength, and they set one man in the middle, against whom Hereward
very soon advanced ; and so when he was overthrown, they sent others, one after
the other, but to them all it was the same occasion of death, for though armed
they knew not how to defend themselves, nor how to protect with their arms
their awkward bodies, but declaring that they were mocked, or rather thinking
him a magician, all endeavoured to rush on him at once. But then suddenly he
turned round to his companions, and they were incautiously separated behind him ; but so he got them within reach, whereby they were at
† ↑ [Sweeting’s
seems omitted in the Latin.
1. ↑ This Count of Flanders was Baldwin V.
The feudal system had been
introduced to Gaul on the arrival of the
Franks but took its generally recognized form from the ninth century, as the
centre lost its grip on the vassals. Under this system, the counts of Flanders
were nominally vassals of the kings of France but since the edict of Quierzy-sur-Oise in 877, the tenure of the counties had
become hereditary. In Hereward’s time, they were in the middle of a long
struggle over the balance between independence and control as between the kings
and vassals (Norma
2. ↑ There is little doubt that Scaldemariland is Zeeland. One possible route
to this form of the name is by substitution of the Latin mare for the Germanic zee.
There are three parts of the name. Land is straightforward. Both zee and mare mean sea in respectively Dutch and Latin. The monk who wrote
it was working in Latin and professed to have difficulty in
reading English so he called it Mariland. (Mari is in the dative case implying that
the land was given to the sea.) But there were two Sealands,
one in Denmark which we know
as Zealand or Sjæland, the other in the estuary
of the Schelde. This would be the Schelder Sea Land.
The second and more convincing possibility
(found by FWP) is a construction which seems to have been used in
the name of Westmorland. When the Angles had newly settled in what became North-East England, Westmorland was still in the hands of
the earlier, British inhabitants, so the Anglian name for it was ‘Westmariangaland’. This translates as ‘the land of the
western border’, the ‘maringa’ part of the name
referring to the border. In Lincolnshire
place names, it takes the form ‘mer’ or ‘mere’. See
for example Meredyke, Mere Booth and Mer Lode (Wheeler Appx.
I). In 1092, the Normans had
brought Westmorland into
but ‘Westmarieland’ was the name by which the sheriffdom they set up there was known (Rollinson). The change to ‘mor’ will have
come from the normal ‘a’ to ‘o’ vowel shift. In Chapter I we are told that
information was salvaged from Leofric’s Old English
text up to the point of Hereward’s return to Bourne (in Chapter XIV) so here we
may be reading his name for Zeeland. ‘Scaldemariland’ seems to be of the ‘Westmarieland’
pattern; relating to the same borderland concept. This would be very
appropriate as, if the English writer were viewing it as from Flanders, it was beyond the Westerschelde,
across the border between Flanders (nominally in the Kingdom
of France) and the Kingdom of Germany, later to be formally, the Holy Roman Empire. It
will have been Robert of Flanders’
extension of his interest across this border (Fr. Wikipedia) which had given rise to the war
in which Hereward was involved.
The southern third of the modern province of Zeeland
is historically, part of Flanders, though in
Hereward’s day, much of this part (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen)
will have been more like salt marsh and mud flats. It was the formation of this
land which cut the direct sea access of Brugge
3. ↑ This fits the geography. To go from
Flanders to Walcheren or South
Beveland in Zeeland,
boats would have been needed. The modern administrative centre of Zeeland, Middelburg, is in Walcheren and until 2003, was
reached by the direct route from Flanders via
to Flushing ferry. Flushing existed as a
settlement well before Hereward’s time.
The above is a detail from a map of
the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, drawn by Johannes Jansson and published in Amsterdam in 1658, as part of his
collection, Belgii Foederati Nova Descriptio (thanks
to Wikimedia Commons).
It shows part of Flanders (Flandria) in the south and Zeeland
in the centre. The dunes along the North Sea
coasts are clearly shown. Walcheren is the westernmost of the Zeeland islands
with the name of Flushing (Vlissingen)
rather obscured by the cartographer’s coastal shading. Breskens
lies on the Flanders coast, facing it. The
areas of the Zeeland islands are somewhat
inflated at the expense of the estuaries. While this is an early map, it dates
from some 600 years after Hereward’s visit.
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