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histoby op southampton.
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At what time and under what circumstances the Saxons took possession of the town is not recorded, but the first authentic memorials we have, which belong- to the 9th century, speak of " Old Hampton " as a long-established and important town.
The Christian religion appears to have gained a firm " footing here during the time of the Saxons; the prosperous monastery at Redbridge, and the then existing works of Christian worship and institutions, point to this fact. The desolating attacks of the Danes during the 9th and 10th centuries, in which religious institutions for a long time met with no exemption from their ravag s, followed by the Norman invasion of the 11th century, and the disorder and warlike spirit engendered on the part of the inhabitants, caused the entire destruction of many religious houses, the general neglect of the churches and even their services, until regular priests could not be found to perform them, and married clerks were compelled to officiate—a trial from which Southampton did not revive
until the 12th century.
Few places suffered from the descent of the Danes to a greater extent than Southampton. In 838, under Ethel-wolf, the town was assaulted by a fleet of 83 galleys. The Danes, having effected a landing, were committing fearful ravages, until the governor of the country, Wolphard, having hastily collected some forces, marched to the assistance of the town, and, after a sanguinary conflict, drove the assailants to their ships. In 860, during the reign of Ethelbert, these marauders provided a larger force, and again landing at Southampton and extending their operations, attacked aud overcame Winchester. Having committed great barbarities, they were carrying their plunder to their ships, when the Earl of Southampton, Osric, with Ethelwulph, Earl of Berkshire, attacked them on the road and completely defeated them.
The reign of Ethelred, whose deplorable want of courage, energy, and wisdom, opened the way for new invasions, which continued more or less till the beginning of the lit century, when the town began to recover from its severe losses. King Canute, after having appointed certain dukes and earls as lieutenant-governors of the other provinces, reserved the kingdom of Wessex for his own immediate
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