The following is taken from the introduction to a book I am reading on UK sea power at present. "In the dark days towards the end of the century, men looked back with longing to their grandfathers' time, to a lost age of imperial and naval greatness sixty years before, 'when no fleet was ever heard of except of our own people who held this land'.! The phrase, and the sentiment, has perhaps a certain modern resonance, but it is not quite a modern author from which it comes. It is in fact from the Life of 5t 5within by Ælfric of Eynsham, a book written approximately a thousand years ago. Looking back on the reign of King Edgar, as the clouds gathered over Æthelred II, it must have seemed sadly obvious that England's brief period as a great naval power was past beyond recall, as another, greater, empire rose to dominate the northern world. Ælfric was probably not the first, and certainly not the last English historian to look back with nostalgia, and forward with melancholy satisfaction to a future of inevitable national decline."