" To till the ground was to plough the sea: the earth bare no corn, for the land was all laid waste by such deeds; and they said openly, that Christ slept, and his saints. Such things, and more than we can say, suffered we nineteen winters for our sins".
I took this text from The Online Medieval & Classical Library, where they have uploaded older (i.e. 19th century) translations of the work. It would be great to find the original Anglo Saxon so that I could see why my Micheal Swanton translation does not include the phrase "19 winters" and just says "19 years". It is not a big difference. The curiosity for me is due to George R.R. Martin's Fire and Ice series which includes winters that could be this long. 'Winter is Coming' is a slogan from the series. It is loosely based on the civil war that was called War of the Roses but these 19 years, King Stephen's reign, were also marked by civil war since Stephen was a usurper of the throne. Henry I's daughter the Empress Matilda had been named Henry's successor. When Stephen's son Eustace died, Stephen passed over his other sons and made peace with Matilda and so Matilda's son, Henry II was crowned when he died. It is just curious. That is all.