Medieval Romance

The Romance of Sir Bevis of Hampton

12th century Anglo-Norman Boeuve de Haumton | 14th century Middle English: National Library of Scotland, Cambridge, Manchester, Naples.

Once in the water, Bevis and Trenchefis made good progress over the sea. In the space of a day and a night, the horse carried Bevis across.

King Bradmond soon arrived with his host of followers and they all gave pursuit, certain that they would be able to catch up with Bevis. They chased and chased until they trapped Bevis on the seashore. Now listen to a marvellous thing that happened; for Bevis had two choices: either to plunge into the sea or turn and face his enemies. He asked Jesus Christ for help, and it was granted at once!

‘Lord,’ he said, ‘you are the king of heaven and maker of all things, you made fish as well as mankind and fish can do no sin, but these heathen dogs tied you up and beat you and had you killed. And now I may just as easily go into the water with the fishes, who have never committed any sin, than stay here on dry land and suffer death at the hands of the ungodly.’

Bevis spurred his horse so that it leapt into the deep sea.

Once in the water, Bevis and Trenchefis made good progress over the sea. In the space of a day and a night, the horse carried Bevis across. When at last they had crossed that great stream, the horse stumbled ashore and shook itself, and Bevis fell to the ground, overcome by exhaustion and hunger.

‘Alas!’ he exclaimed when he’d recovered his senses. ‘I once had an earldom, I’ve got this fine warhorse, but even if I had Arundel as well, I’d give it all away at once for a slice of bread!’

Bevis was so hungry that he didn’t know what to do. But he leapt back onto Trenchefis and they rode over dale and down until he came to a settlement, and there was a castle nearby and in a turret he could see a fair lady. He thought there might be a good chance of getting some food here – but he’ll have to pay a high price for it first!

It is the castle of a giant.

Story fragment retold in Modern English from: Fellows, Jennifer, 2017. Sir Bevis of Hampton: Edited from Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale MS XIII.B.29 and Cambridge, University Library MS Ff.2.38. Published for the Early English Text Society by Oxford University Press. This Middle English fragment of SIR BEVIS OF HAMPTON retold from Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale MS XIII.B.29, lines 2288–2339.

See for yourself

Bevis of Hampton – TEAMS Middle English text

Medieval Romance – Wikipedia

Bevis of Hampton – Wikipedia

Medieval Institute Publications – Herzman, Ronald B, Drake, Graham and Salisbury, Eve, 1999. Four Romances of England. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications. TEAMS Middle English text series

The Middle English poem Sir Bevis of Hampton edited from Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS XIII.B.29 and Cambridge, University Library, MS Ff.2.38 by Jennifer Fellows, 2017, 2 volumes, available through the Early English Text Society (EETS)

…or direct from Oxford University Press

Lakes and seas

Piccadilly Line

magical water
open ocean

Navigate the tunnel

Change motif

Lakes and seas: summary

Station location: explore the motifs

hawk in flight
Advanced Tips
Type Example Notes
Fuzzy kettle~ Contain terms that are close to the word kettle, such as cattle
Wild cat* Contain terms that begin with cat, such as category and the extact term cat itself
Exact-Single orange Contain the term orange
Exact-Phrase "dnn is awesome" Contain the exact phase dnn is awesome
OR orange bike Contain the term orange or bike, or both. OR, if used, must be in uppercase
orange OR bike
AND orange AND bike Contain both orange and bike. AND must be in uppercase
Combo (agile OR extreme) AND methodology Contain methodology and must also contain agile and/or extreme
Results per Page:
Limit the search results with the specified tags.
Limit the search results modified within the specified time.
Limit the search results from the specified source.
Search results must be an exact match for the keywords.
sunset across the waves