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Today in History: The Saint Bryce's Day Massacre

Posted by Gilbert Stack on November 14, 2017 at 1:30 PM
On this day (November 13) in 1002 Aethelred II of England (referred to later as Aethelred the Unread or Unready) ordered the death of all Danes in England. The order is controversial to this day and historians argue over whether or not it was intended to be carried out only against Danish mercenaries who had turned on Aethelred or was directed at all Danes in England as a punishment for the raids being carried out against England since 997. Whatever the intention, the infamous St. Bryce's Day Massacre occurred. In Oxford, the Danes were chased into St. Frideswide church where they attempted to defend themselves. The church was burnt down with the Danes inside. Sweyn's invasion the following year was probably inspired at least in part by the massacre. It is thought that his sister, Gunhilde, was one of the victims. It was one of the incidents that led to the conquest of England by Cnut in 1016.

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