Sunday, 13 September 2009

Characters in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series: Huda and Eilaf

853
Huda is Alderman of Surrey (???-853)
The same year also Elchere with the men of Kent, and Huda withthe men of Surrey, fought in the Isle of Thanet with the heathenarmy, and soon obtained the victory; but there were many menslain and drowned on either hand, and both the aldermen killed.


Eilaf, however, was one of Cnut's earls. He appears in the witness lists of Cnut's charters, from the beginning, to 1024. Furthermore, he is identified as Ulf's brother in Thorney 'Liber Vitae', and it seems likely he is the same Eilaf who accompanied Thorkell and his brother, Hemming, on their expedition to England in 1009. A single charter (S 1424) associates Eilaf with Gloucestershire, which makes it pretty certain that he is the same Eilaf who, as reported by the Welsh annals, devastated Dyfed (south-west Wales) in 1022. From the, late-11th century, 'Life' of St.Cadog (by Lifris), it appears that, en route, he raided Morgannwg (south-east Wales) as well: "... a certain sheriff of the English, very strong in troops, called by the name Eilaf, came to Glamorgan [Morgannwg] with a large company of followers to plunder and devastate." The attempts of his men ("a horde of plunderers, Danes and English") to steal the shrine of St.Cadog acquire legendary trappings.Only recorded in the 'Brut y Tywysogion', Eilaf is said to have "fled into Germania" (by which Norway is probably meant) after Cnut's death.
Also in 1022, Dyfed was ravaged by one Eilaf. Though not identified as such by the annals, Eilaf is almost certainly King Cnut's earl of that name. It appears that Earl Eilaf also raided Morgannwg. The attempts of his men to steal the shrine of St.Cadog - which had actually been removed from Llancarfan in an attempt to escape the raiders - receives some legendary embroidery in the, late 11th century, 'Life' of St.Cadog (by Lifris).


The house of Godwine: the history of a dynasty By Emma Mason
The Blackwell encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England By Michael Lapidge

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