Past and Present
A.D.604 - A.D. 624
A.D. 604. This year Augustine consecrated two bishops, Mellitus and Justus. Mellitus he sent to preach baptism to the East- Saxons. Their king was called Seabert, the son of Ricola, Ethelbert's sister, whom Ethelbert placed there as king. Ethelbert also gave Mellitus the bishopric of London; and to Justus he gave the bishopric of Rochester, which is twenty-four miles from Canterbury.
((A.D. 604. This year Augustine consecrated two bishops, Mellitus and Justus. He sent Mellitus to preach baptism to the East-Saxons, whose king was called Sebert, son of Ricole, the sister of Ethelbert, and whom Ethelbert had there appointed king. And Ethelbert gave Mellitus a bishop's see in London, and to Justus he gave Rochester, which is twenty-four miles from Canterbury.))
A.D. 606. This year died Gregory; about ten years since he sent us baptism. His father was called Gordianus, and his mother Silvia.
A.D. 607. This year Ceolwulf fought with the South-Saxons. And Ethelfrith led his army to Chester; where he slew an innumerable host of the Welsh; and so was fulfilled the prophecy of Augustine, wherein he saith "If the Welsh will not have peace with us, they shall perish at the hands of the Saxons." There were also slain two hundred priests, (18) who came thither to pray for the army of the Welsh. Their leader was called Brocmail, who with some fifty men escaped thence.
A.D. 611. This year Cynegils succeeded to the government in Wessex, and held it one and thirty winters. Cynegils was the son of Ceol, Ceol of Cutha, Cutha of Cynric.
A.D. 614. This year Cynegils and Cwichelm fought at Bampton, and slew two thousand and forty-six of the Welsh.
A.D. 616. This year died Ethelbert, king of Kent, the first of English kings that received baptism: he was the son of Ermenric. He reigned fifty-six winters, and was succeeded by his son Eadbald. And in this same year had elapsed from the beginning of the world five thousand six hundred and eighteen winters. This Eadbald renounced his baptism, and lived in a heathen manner; so that he took to wife the relict of his father. Then Laurentius, who was archbishop in Kent, meant to depart southward over sea, and abandon everything. But there came to him in the night the apostle Peter, and severely chastised him, (19) because he would so desert the flock of God. And he charged him to go to the king, and teach him the right belief. And he did so; and the king returned to the right belief. In this king's days the same Laurentius, who was archbishop in Kent after Augustine, departed this life on the second of February, and was buried near Augustine. The holy Augustine in his lifetime invested him bishop, to the end that the church of Christ, which yet was new in England, should at no time after his decease be without an archbishop. After him Mellitus, who was first Bishop of London, succeeded to the archbishopric. The people of London, where Mellitus was before, were then heathens: and within five winters of this time, during the reign of Eadbald, Mellitus died. To him succeeded Justus, who was Bishop of Rochester, whereto he consecrated Romanus bishop.
((A.D. 616. In that time Laurentius was archbishop, and for the sorrowfulness which he had on account of the king's unbelief he was minded to forsake this country entirely, and go over sea; but St. Peter the apostle scourged him sorely one night, because he wished thus to forsake the flock of God, and commanded him to teach boldly the true faith to the king; and he did so, and the king turned to the right (faith). In the days of this same king, Eadbald, this Laurentius died. The holy Augustine, while yet in sound health, ordained him bishop, in order that the community of Christ, which was yet new in England, should not after his decease be at any time without an archbishop. After him Mellitus, who had been previously Bishop of London, succeeded to the archbishopric. And within five years of the decease of Laurentius, while Eadbald still reigned, Mellitus departed to Christ.))
A.D. 617. This year was Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, slain by Redwald, king of the East-Angles; and Edwin, the son of Ella, having succeeded to the kingdom, subdued all Britain, except the men of Kent alone, and drove out the Ethelings, the sons of Ethelfrith, namely, Enfrid. Oswald, Oswy, Oslac, Oswood. Oslaf, and Offa.
A.D. 624. This year died Archbishop Mellitus.
By Dr Miles RussellThe chapters in this volume, each written by a leading scholar of the period, analyse in turn the different nationalities and kingdoms that existed in the British Isles from the end of the Roman empire to the coming of the Vikings, the process of conversion to Christianity, the development of art and of a written culture, and the interaction between this written culture and the societies of the day. Available from: