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Danelagh

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DANELAGH, the name given to those districts in the north and north-east of England which were settled by Scandinavian invaders in the 9th and loth centuries and in which Danish cus tomary law subsequently prevailed. The real settlement of Eng land by Danes began in the year 876, when a division of the great army, which had been ravaging widely over England, divided out Northumbria among its members. Next year, another portion of the same army divided out Eastern Mercia and in 88o so much of the army as remained in England divided out East Anglia. A similar division of Wessex had been prevented by the victories of King Alfred (q.v.), and between 88o and 890 definite boundaries were drawn between Alfred's kingdom and that of Guthrum, king of East Anglian Danes. The boundary thus drawn ran along the Thames estuary to the mouth of the Lea (a few miles east of London), then up the Lea to its source, then due north to Bedford. then up the Ouse to Watling street at Stony Stratford. From this point the boundary is left undefined, perhaps because the kingdoms of Alfred and Guthrum ceased to be conterminous here. Thus Eastern Mercia, Northumbria from Tees to Humber, East Anglia, and the shires to the immediate west and south were handed over to the Danes and henceforth constitute the district known as the Danelagh.

The three chief divisions of the Danelagh were: 0) the king dom of Northumbria, corresponding, roughly, to the modern Yorkshire, (2) the kingdom of East Anglia, (3) the district of the five (Danish) boroughs—lands grouped round Leicester, Not tingham, Derby, Stamford and Lincoln. Of the history of the two Danish kingdoms we know very little. Guthrum of East Anglia died in 89o, and later we hear of a King Eric or Eohric, who died in 902. The history of the Northumbrian kingdom is yet more obscure. The original Danish kingdom seems to have come to an end in 9o9, but within a decade this region was over run by fresh invaders of Norwegian rather than Danish extraction, and Northumbria was not brought definitely under English rule before the middle of the loth century.

More is known of the history of the five boroughs. From 9o7 onwards Edward the Elder, working together with Aethelred of Mercia and his wife, worked for the recovery of the Danelagh. In that year Chester was fortified. In 911-912 an advance on Essex and Hertfordshire was begun. In 914 Buckingham was fortified and the Danes of Bedfordshire submitted. In 917 Derby was the first .of the five boroughs to fall, followed by Leicester a few months later. In the same year after a keen struggle all the Danes belonging to the "borough" of Northampton, as far north as the Welland (i.e., the border of modern Northampton shire), submitted to Edward and at the same time Colchester was fortified ; a large portion of Essex submitted and the whole of the East Anglian Danes came in. Stamford was the next to yield, soon followed by Nottingham, and in 92o there was a general submission on the part of the Danes.

Although the independent existence of the Danelagh did not last for half a century, it profoundly affected the later history of this region. It was subsequently distinguished by a large population of free peasant landowners, who undoubtedly repre sent the descendants of the Danish settlers of the Viking age. The signs of Scandinavian occupation are particularly evident in Yorkshire and the territory of the. five boroughs, where land was divided into ploughlands and oxgangs instead of hides (q.v.) and yardlands, where the Scandinavian wapentake replaces the English hundred (q.v.), and where many traces of Scandinavian methods of monetary and fiscal computation survived into the middle ages. For at least two centuries the language of this region must have been a Scandinavian dialect, gradually modified by English influences from the south. In the early i 2th century the legal custom of the Danelagh was sharply distinguished from the customs of Wessex and English Mercia, and to the present day a Scandinavian institution, the riding, survives, in the three ridings of Yorkshire. A number of Danish place-names still exist in the original Danelagh.

See J. C. H. R. Steenstrup, Normannerne (4 vols., 1876-82) ; P. Vinogradoff, English Society in the Eleventh Century (19o8) ; F. Al. Stenton, Danelaw Charters (192o) and The Danes in England (1928). The place-names of this region are discussed by E. Ekwall in the Introduction to the Survey 'of English Place-Names, pt. I., ch. iv. (1924). (A. M.; F. M. S.) DANGERFIELD, THOMAS (c. 1650-1685), English con spirator, was born at Waltham, Essex, the son of a farmer. He began his career by robbing his father, and, after a wandering life on the continent, took to coining false money, for which offence and others he was many times imprisoned. Faithless to everyone, he first tried to involve the duke of Monmouth and others by concocting information about a Presbyterian plot against the throne, and, this having been proved a lie, he pretended to have discovered a Catholic plot against Charles II. This was known as the "Mealtub Plot," from the place where the incriminating documents were hidden at his suggestion, and found by the king's officers by his information. Mrs. Elizabeth Cellier—in whose house the tub was—almoner to the countess of Powis, who had befriended Dangerfield when he posed as a Catholic, was, with her patroness, actually tried for high treason and acquitted (168o). Dangerfield, when examined (Oct. 26, 168o) at the bar of the House of Commons, made other charges against the duke of York, the countess of Powis and the earl of Peterborough. He con tinued to defame the Roman Catholics in a long series of pam phlets, among others being Danger field's Narrative. This led to his trial for libel, and on June 29, 1685 he received sentence to stand in the pillory on two consecutive days, be whipped from Aldgate to Newgate, and two days later from Newgate to Tyburn. On his way back he was struck in the eye with a cane by a bar rister, Robert Francis, and died shortly afterwards from the blow. The barrister was tried and executed for the murder.

danes, english, east, danish, scandinavian, kingdom and history