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f1657 CONTAINING The Next Three Hundred Years Following, With Such Things Specially Touched As Have Happened In England, From The Time Of King Lucius To Gregory, And So After, To The Time Of King Egbert. BY these persecutions hitherto in the book before precedent thou mayest understand, christian reader, how the fury of Satan and rage of men have done what they could to extinguish the name and religion of Christ: for what thing did lack, that either death could do, or torments could work, or the gates of hell could devise? all was to the uttermost attempted. And yet, all the fury and malice of Satan, all the wisdom of the world and strength of men, doing, devising, practising what they could, notwithstanding, the religion of Christ (as thou seest) hath had the upper hand; which thing I wish thee greatly, gentle reader, wisely to note and diligently to ponder in considering these former histories. And because thou canst not consider them, nor profit by them, unless thou do first read and peruse them; let me crave, therefore, thus much at thine hands, to turn and read over the said histories of those persecutions above described, especially, above all the other histories of this present volume, for thy especial edification, which I trust thou shalt find not unworthy the reading.
Now because the tying up of Satan giveth to the church some rest, and to me some leisure to address myself to the handling of other stories, I mind therefore (Christ willing) in this present book,—leaving awhile the tractation of these general affairs pertaining to the universal church,—to prosecute such domestical histories as more nearly concern this our country of England and Scotland done here at home; beginning first with king Lucius, with whom the faith first began here in this realm, as the sentence of some writers doth hold. And forsomuch as here may rise, yea and doth rise, a great controversy in these our popish days, concerning the first origin and planting of the faith in this our realm, it shall not be greatly out of our purpose somewhat to stay and say of this question, Whether the church of England first received the faith from Rome or not? The which although I grant so to be, yet, being so granted, it little availeth the purpose of them which would so have it. For be it that England first received the christian faith and religion from Rome, both in the time of Eleutherius their bishop, one hundred and eighty years after Christ, and also in the time of Augustine whom Gregory I. sent hither six hundred years after Christ; yet their purpose followeth not thereby, that we must therefore fetch our religion from thence still, as from the chief well-head and fountain of all godliness. And yet as they are not able to prove the second, so neither have I any cause to grant the first, that is, that our christian faith was first derived from Rome; as I may prove by six or seven good conjectural reasons, whereof, The first I take of the testimony of Gildas, our countryman; who in his history affirmeth plainly, that Britain received the gospel in the time of Tiberius the emperor, under whom Christ suffered; and saith moreover, that Joseph of Arimathea, after the dispersion a111 of the early church by the Jews, was sent of Philip the apostle from France to Britain, about the year of our Lord 63, and here remained in this land all his time; and so, with his fellows, laid the first foundation of christian faith among the British people, whereupon other preachers and teachers coming afterward, confirmed the same and increased it. F1659 2. The second reason is out of Tertullian; who, living near about, or rather somewhat before, the time of this Eleutherius, in his book “Contra Judaeos,” manifestly importeth the same; where the said Tertullian, testifying how the gospel was dispersed abroad by the sound of the apostles, and there reckoning up the Medes, Persians, Parthians, and dwellers in Mesopotamia, Jewry, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Egypt, Pamphylia, with many more, at length cometh to the coast of the Moors, and all the borders of Spain, with divers nations of France; and there amongst all other reciteth also the parts of Britain which the Romans could never attain to, and reporteth the same now to be subject to Christ; as also reckoneth up the places of Sarmatia, of the Dacians, the Germans, the Scythians, with many other provinces and isles to him unknown; in all which places (saith he) reigneth the name of Christ, which now beginneth to be common. This hath Tertullian. F1660 Note here how among other divers believing nations, he mentioneth also the wildest places of Britain to be of the same number; and these, in his time, were christened; who was in the same Eleutherius’ time, as is above said. Then pope Eleutherius was not the first which sent the christian faith into this realm, but the gospel was here received before his time, either by Joseph of Arimathea (as some chronicles record), or by some of the apostles or of their scholars, which had been here preaching Christ before Eleutherius wrote to Lucius. 3. My third probation I deduct out of Origen; whose words be these, “Britanniam in Christianam consentire religionem.” Whereby it appeareth, that the faith of Christ was sparsed here in England before the days of Eleutherius. F1661 4. For my fourth probation I take the testimony of Bede; where he affirmeth, that in his time (seven hundred years after Christ) here in Britain Easter was kept after the manner of the east church, in the full of the moon, what day in the week so ever it fell on, and not on the Sunday, as we do now. Whereby it is to be collected, that the first preachers in this land had come out from the east part of the world, where it was so used, rather than from Rome. F1662 5. Fifthly, I may allege the words of Nicephorus; where he saith that Simon Zelotes did spread the gospel of Christ to the west ocean, and brought the same unto the isles of Britain. F1663 6. Sixthly, may be here added also the words of Peter of Clugni; who, writing to Bernard, affirmeth that the Scots in his time did celebrate their Easter, not after the Roman manner, but after the Greeks, etc. And as the said Britons were not under the Roman order in the time of this abbot of Clugni, so neither were they, nor would be, under the Roman legate in the time of Gregory, nor would admit any primacy of the bishop of Rome to be above them. F1664 7. For the seventh argument, moreover, I may make my probation by the plain words of Eleutherius; by whose epistle written to king Lucius we may understand, that Lucius had received the faith of Christ in this land before the king sent to Eleutherius for the Roman laws; for so the express words of the letter do manifestly purport, as hereafter followeth to be seen. F1665 By all which conjectures it may stand probably to be thougt, that the Britons were taught first by the Grecians of the east church, rather than by the Romans.
Peradventure Eleutherius might help something either to convert the king, or else to increase the faith then newly sprung among the people; but that he precisely was the first, that cannot be proved. But grant he were, as indeed the most part of our English stories confess, neither will I greatly stick with them therein; yet what have they got thereby when they have cast all their gain? In few words, to conclude this matter; if so be that the christian faith and religion was first derived from Rome to this our nation by Eleutherius, then let them but grant to us the same faith and religion which then was taught at Rome, and from thence derived hither by the said Eleutherius, and we will desire no more. For then, neither was any universal pope above all churches and councils, which came not in before Boniface: III.’s time, which was four hundred years after; neither any name or use of the mass, the parts whereof how and by whom they were compiled, hereafter in this book following appear to be seen. Neither was any sacrifice propitiatory for the scouring of purgatory then offered upon hallowed altars, but only the communion frequented at christian tables, where oblations and gifts were offered, as well of the people as of the priests, to God, because they should appear neither empty nor unkind before the Lord; as we may understand by the time of Cyprian. Neither was then any transubstantiation heard of, which was not brought in before a thousand years after. Neither were then any images of saints departed set up in churches; yea, a great number of the saints worshipped in this our time were not as yet born, nor the churches wherein they were worshipped yet set up, but came in long after, especially in the time of Irene and Constans the emperor. Likewise neither relics nor peregrinations were then in use. Priests’ marriage was then as lawful (and no less received) as now; neither was it condemned before the days of Hildebrand, almost a thousand years after that. Their service was then in the vulgar tongue, as witnesseth Jerome. The sacraments were ministered in both kinds, as well to laymen as to priests, the witness whereof is Cyprian.
Yea, and temporal men which would not then communicate at Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas, were not then counted for catholics, the pope’s own distinction can testify. In funerals, priests then flocked not together, selling trentals and dirges for sweeping of purgatory; but only a funeral concio was used, with psalms of praises and songs of their worthy deeds, and hallelujah sounding on high, which did shake the gilded ceilings of the temple; as witness Gregory Nazianzen, Ambrose, and Jerome. In the supper of the Lord, and at baptism, no such ceremonies were used as now of late have been intruded: insomuch that (as in this story is showed hereafter), both Augustine and Paulinus baptized then in rivers, not in hallowed fonts; as witness Fabian, and the portues f1668 of Sarum, of York, of Bangor, with matins and evensong of the day. Again, neither were the orders and religions of monks and friars yet dreamed of, to the space almost of a thousand years after. So that, as I said, if the papists would needs derive the faith and religion of this realm from Rome, then let them set us and leave us there where they had us; that is, let them suffer us to stand content with that faith and religion which then was taught and brought from Rome by Eleutherius (as now we differ nothing from the same), and we will desire no better. And if they will not, then let the wise reader judge where the fault is, in us, or them, who neither themselves will persist in the antiquity of the Romish religion which they so much brag of, neither will they permit us so to do.
And thus much by the way, to satisfy the aforesaid objection; whereby we may have now a more ready passage into the order and course of the history. It being therefore granted unto them which they so earnestly stick upon, that the christian faith and religion of this realm was brought from Rome, first by Eleutherius, then afterward by Augustine; thus write the chronicles of that matter:— About the time and year of the Lord 180, king Lucius son of Coilus, which builded Colchester, king of the Britons, who then were the inhabiters and possessors of this land, which now we Englishmen call England, hearing of the miracles and wonders done by the Christians at that time in divers places (as Geoffry of Monmouth writeth), directed his letters to Eleutherius, bishop of Rome, to receive of him the christian faith; although about the computation of the year and time, great difference there is in authors when this should be. Nauelerus saith, it was anno 156: f1670 but that cannot be, forsomuch as Eleutherius was not yet bishop by the space of twenty years after that. Henry of Herford. saith it was A.D. 169, in the nineteenth year of Verus, emperor. But that agreeth not with approved histories, which all consent that Verus reigned not nineteen years; and if he had, yet that year cometh not to the year of our Lord 169, but to the year 179. Some others say that Eleutherius was made bishop in the sixth year of Commodus, which was the year of our Lord 185: but that seemeth to go too far. But let the authors agree as they can.
Let us return to Eleutherius, the good bishop, who, hearing the request of this king, and glad to see the godly-towardness of his well-disposed mind, sendeth him certain teachers and preachers called Fugatius, or by some Fagan, and Damian or Dimian, which first converted the king and people of Britain, and baptized them with the baptism and sacrament of Christ’s faith. The temples of idolatry and all other monuments of gentility they subverted, converting the people from their divers and many gods, to serve one living God. Thus true religion with sincere faith increasing, superstition decayed, with all other rites of idolatry. There were then, in Britain twenty-eight head-priests, which they called “Flamins,” and three arch-priests among them, which were called “Arch-Flamins,” having the oversight of their manners, and as judges over the rest. These twentyeight Flamins they turned to twenty-eight bishops, and the three archflamins to three archbishops, having then their seats in three principal cities of the realm; that is, in London, in York, and in Glamorgantia, videlicet in Urbe Legionum, by Wales. Thus the countries of the whole realm being divided every one under his own bishop, and all things settled in a good order; the foresaid king Lucius sent again to the said Eleutherius for the Roman laws, thereby likewise to be governed, as in religion now they were framed accordingly; unto whom Eleutherius again writeth after the tenor of these words ensuing:
THE EPISTLE OF ELEUTHERIUS, BISHOP OF ROME, SENT TO KING LUCIUS. F1674 Anno 169 a passione Christi, scripsit Dominus Eleutherius papa Lucio regi Britanniae, ad correctionem regis et procerum regni Britanniae; and so forth, as followeth in English.
The Roman laws and the emperor’s we may ever reprove, but the law of God we may not. Ye have received of late, through God’s mercy, in the realm of Britain, the law and faith of Christ; ye have with you within the realm, both the parts of the Scriptures. Out of them, by God’s grace, with the council of your realm, take ye a law, and by that law, through God’s sufferance, rule your kingdom of Britain. For you be God’s vicar in your kingdom, according to the saying of the Psalm, “O God, give thy judgment to the king, and thy righteousness to the king’s son,” etc He said not, the judgment and righteousness of the emperor, but thy judgment and justice; that is to say, of God. The king’s sons be the christian people and folk of the realm, which be under your government, and live and continue in peace within your kingdom, as the gospel saith, “Like as the hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,” so doth the king his people. The people and folk of the realm of Britain be yours: whom if they be divided, ye ought to gather in concord and peace, to call them to the faith and law of Christ, and to the holy church, to cherish and maintain them, to rule and govern them, and to defend them always from such as would do them wrong, from malicious men and enemies. A king hath his name of ruling, and not of having a realm. You shall be a king, while you rule well; but if you do otherwise, the name of a king shall not remain with you, and you shall lose it, which God forbid. The Almighty God grant you so to rule the realm of Britain, that you may reign with him for ever, whose vicar you be in the realm!
After this manner (as you have heard) was the christian faith either first brought in, or else confirmed in this realm of Britain by the sending of Eleutherius, not with any cross or procession, but only at the simple preaching of Fagan and Damian, through whose ministry this realm and island of Britain was eftsoons reduced to the faith and law of the Lord, according as was prophesied by Isaiah, as well of that as other islands more, where he saith, “He shall not faint nor give over, till he hath set judgment in earth; and islands shall wait for his law.” (Isaiah 42:4.) The faith thus received of the Britons, continued among them, and flourished the space of two hundred and sixteen years, till the coming of the Saxons, who then were pagans; whereof more followeth hereafter to be said, the Lord Christ assisting thereunto. In the mean time something to speak of this space before, which was betwixt the time of Lucius, and the first coming in of the Saxons; first, it is to be understood that all this while, as yet, the emperors of Rome had not received the faith, what time the kings of Britain and the subjects thereof were converted now, as is said, to Christ: for the which cause much trouble and perturbation was sought against them, not only here in Britain, but through all parts of Christendom, by the heathen infidels; insomuch that in the persecution only of Dioclesian and Maximian, reigning both together, within one month seventeen thousand martyrs are numbered to have suffered for the name of Christ, as hath been hitherto in the book before sufficiently discoursed.
F1677 Thus therefore, although the foresaid, Lucius the British king, through the merciful providence of God, was then christened, and the gospel received generally almost in all the land, yet the state thereof, as well of the religion as of the commonwealth, could not be quiet, for that the emperors and nobles of Rome were infidels, and enemies to the same; but especially for this cause, it so happening that Lucius the christian king died without issue. For thereby such trouble and variance fell among the Britons (as it happeneth in all other realms, and namely in this realm of England, whensoever succession lacketh), that not only they brought upon them the idolatrous Romans, and at length the Saxons, but also enwrapped themselves in such misery and desolation, as yet to this day amongst them remaineth. Such a thing it is where a prince or a king is in a kingdom, there to lack succession, as especially in this case may appear. For after the death of Lucius, when the barons and nobles of the land could not accord within themselves upon succession of the crown, the Romans stept in and got the crown into their own hands, whereupon followed great misery and ruin to the realm. For sometimes the idolatrous Romans, sometimes the Britons, reigned and ruled as violence and victory would serve; one king murdering another, till at length the Saxons came and deprived them both, as in process hereafter followeth to be seen. F1678 In the mean season touching the story of king Lucius, here is to be reproved the fable of some writers falsely feigning of him that he did, after his baptism received, put off all his kingly honor, forsake the land, and become a preacher, who, after long travail in preaching and teaching in France, in Germany, [especially] at Augsburg, and in Swabia, at length was made doctor and rector of the church of Coire, where (as this fable saith) he suffered martyrdom. But this fancy, of whomsoever it first did spring, disagreeth from all our English stories, who with a full consent do for the most part concord in this, that the said Lucius, after he had founded many churches, and given great riches and liberties to the same, deceased with great tranquillity in his own land, and was buried at Gloucester the fourteenth year after his baptism, as the book, “Flores Historiarum,” doth count, which was the year of our Lord, as it saith, 201; and reckoneth his conversion to be in the year 187. F1680 In some I find his decease to be the fourth, and in some the tenth, year after his baptism; and some hold that he reigned all the space of seventy-seven years. And thus much concerning king Lucius.
Now to proceed in order of the story, briefly to touch the state of the aforesaid land of Britain, between the time of king Lucius, and the entering of the Saxons, who were the kings thereof, and in what order they succeeded, or rather invaded one after another, this catalogue hereunder written will specify.
A Table of the Kings of Britain from the time of Lucius, till the coming of the Saxons. F1681 Lucius , a Briton. Severus , a Roman. Bassian , a Roman by the father. Carausius , a Briton. Alectus , a Roman. Asclepiodotus , a Briton. Coilus , a Briton. Constantius , a Roman. Constantine , a Briton by the mother, named Helena. F1682 Octavius , a Gewissian. F1683 Maximian , a Roman born, but his mother a Briton. Gratiain , a Roman. Constantine II., a Briton by the mother. Constans , a Roman by the father. Vortigern , a Gewissian or Briton. Vortimer , a Briton. Vortigern , the same.
By this table may appear a lamentable face of a commonwealth so miserably rent and divided into two sorts of people, differing not so much in country as in religion; for when the Romans reigned, they were governed by the infidels; when the Britons ruled they were governed by Christians.
Thus what quietness was or could be in the church in so unquiet and doubtful days, may easily be considered.
Albeit, notwithstanding all these foresaid heathen rulers of the Romans which here governed, yet (God be praised) we read of no persecution during all these ten persecutions above mentioned, that touched the christian Britons, before the last persecution only of Dioclesian and Maximian Herculius, who here then exercised much cruelty. This persecution, as it was the last among the Roman Christians, so it was the first of many and divers that followed after in this church and realm of England; whereof we will hereafter entreat (Christ willing) as order of the matter shall lead us. In the mean time this rage of Dioclesian, as it was universally through all the churches in the world fierce and vehement, so in this realm of Britain also it was so sore, that, as all our English chronicles do testify and record, all Christianity almost in the whole land was destroyed, churches were subverted, all books of the Scriptures burned, many of the faithful, both men and women, were slain. Among whom the first and chiefest was Alban, then Julius, Aaron, and Amphibalus, of whom sufficiently hath been said before. What were the others, or how many they were that suffered besides, stories make no rehearsal. And thus much thereof.
Now as concerning the government of these above-named kings of Britain, although I have little or nothing to note which greatly appertaineth to the matter of this ecclesiastical history, yet this is not to be past over. First, how in the order of these kings cometh Constantine, the great and worthy emperor, who was not only a Briton born, by his mother Helena (being king Coilus’ daughter), but also by the help of the British army (under the power of God), which the said Constantine took with him out of Britain to Rome, obtained, with great victory, peace and tranquillity to the whole universal church of Christ; having three legions with him out of this realm, of chosen and able soldiers, whereby the strength of the land was not a little impaired and endangered, as afterwards in this story followeth.
After him likewise Maximus, following his steps, took with him also (as stories record) all the power and strength which was left, and whatsoever he could make of able and fighting men to subdue France; besides the garrisons which he had out with him before, sending for more to the number of a hundred thousand soldiers at once, to be sent to him out of Britain into France. At which time also Conan his partner, being then in France, sent over for virgins from Britain, to the number of eleven thousand, who with Ursula a115A, the prince Dionet’s daughter, being shipped over, many perished in the sea, some were taken of the infidels marching upon the borders; by whom because they would not be polluted, all were destroyed, being miserably dispersed (some one way, some another), so that none escaped.
Thus poor Britain, being left naked and destitute on every side, as a maimed body, without might or strength, was left open to its enemies, not able to succor itself without help of foreign friends; to whom they were then constrained to fly, especially to the Romans, to whom the Britons sent this word or message: “AEtio ter consuli gemitus Britannorum.
Repellunt nos Barbari ad mare: repellit nos mare ad Barbaros. Hinc oriuntur duo funerum genera, quia aut jugulamur, aut submergimur.” But the Romans then began to forsake them, whereby they were in nearer danger to be oppressed by Gwanus and Melga, had not Gwetelinus the archbishop of London made over to Lesser Britain; and, obtaining their help, had brought Constantine the king’s brother, to rescue his country against the infidels. This Constantine was brother to Aldroenus, king of Little Britain, and father to Constans, Aurelius Ambrosius, and Uther, who after reigned kings in Britain. F1685 Thus, by the means of the good archbishop and Constantine, the state of the religion and realm of Britain was in some mean, quiet, and safety, during the time of the said Constantine, and of the good archbishop. But as the realm of Britain almost from the beginning was never without civil war, at length came wicked Vortigern, who cruelly causing Constans his prince to be murdered, ambitiously invaded the crown; who then, fearing the other two brethren of Constans, which were Aurelius and Uther, being then in Little Britain, did send over for the aid of the Saxons, being then infidels; and not only that, but also married with an infidel, the daughter of Hengist, called Rowena. Whereupon the said Vortigern, not long after, by the said Hengist and the Saxons, was with like treachery dispossessed of his kingdom, and the people of Britain driven out of their country, after that the Saxons had slain of their chief nobles and barons at one meeting (joining together subtlety with cruelty) to the number of two hundred and seventy-one; some stories say four hundred and sixty. This wicked act of the Saxons was done at Amesbury, or at a place called Stonehenge; by the monument of which stones, there hanging, it seemeth that the noble Britons there were buried. (The fabulous story of the Welchmen, of the bringing of these stones from Ireland by Merlin, I pass over.) Some stories record that they were slain, being bid to a banquet. Others say that it was done at a talk or assembly, where the Saxons came with privy knives, contrary to promise made; with the which knives they, giving a privy watch-word in their Saxon speech, “Neme your sexes,” slew the Britons unarmed. And thus far concerning the history of the Britons.
As this great plague could not come to the Britons without God’s permission, so Gildas showeth in his chronicle the cause thereof, writing thus: “Quod Britones propter avaritiam et rapinam principum, propter iniquitatem et injustitiam judicum, propter desidiam praedicationis episcoporum, propter luxuriam et malos mores populi, patriam perdidisse.”
THE ENTERING AND REIGNING OF THE SAXONS IN THE REALM OF ENGLAND.
This was the coming in first of the Angles or Saxons into this realm being yet unchristened and infidels, which was about the year of our Lord, as William of Malinesbury testifieth, 449; the captains of whom were Hengist and Horsa. Although the said Hengist and Saxons at their first coming, for all their subtle working and cruel attempt, had no quiet settling in Britain, but were driven out divers times by the valiantness of Aurelius Ambrosias, and his brother Uther abovementioned, who reigned after that among the Britons; yet, notwithstanding, they were not so driven out, but that they returned again, and at length possessed all, driving the Britons (such as remained) into Cambria, which we call now Wales. Hengist (as some chronicles record) reigned three and forty years, and died in Kent.
Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his history of Britain, saith, that he was taken in war by Aurelius Ambrosias, and beheaded at Coningsburgh, after he had reigned nine and thirty years. F1688 After the death of Hengist, his son Osca reigned four and twenty years, who also was slain by Uther Pendragon, leaving his son Octa, to whose reign with his son Imenricus histories do attribute three and fifty years.
F1689 The Saxons, after they were settled in the possession of England, distributed the realm among themselves first in seven parts, every part to have his king; that is, the first to be the king of Kent; the second to be king of Sussex and Southery, holding his palace at Cicester; the third king was of Westsex; the fourth king, of Essex; the fifth king was of the East Angles, that is, of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk; the sixth king of Merceland, or Mercia; and in his kingdom were contained the counties of Lincoln, Leicester, Huntingdon, Northampton, Oxford, Derby, Warwick, etc.; the seventh king had all the counties beyond Humber, and was called king of Northumberland.
Of the seven kingdoms, although they continued not long, but at length joined all in one, coming all into the possession and subjection of the West Saxons; yet for the space they continued (which was with continual trouble and wars among themselves), this is the race and order of them, as in this Table particularly followeth to be seen.
A TABLE DESCRIBING THE SEVEN KINGDOMS OF THE SAXONS REIGNING HERE IN ENGLAND. F1690 In the time of Vortigern above mentioned, began the reign of the Saxons in this land; the which, coming out of three sorts of the German people (to wit, the Saxons, the Jutes, and Angles), replenished the land, Of them called now Anglia. Of whom first Hengist reigned in Kent, which country of Kent he had obtained by Rowena his daughter, of king Vortigern, which was about the year of our Lord, as some do count, 476, or, as I find in the computation of our English Tables 456, in some 463. After Hengist came in Osca, with Eosa or Isse, his kinsman; who afterward succeeded the said Hengist in Kent. Not long after came in another company of the Saxons, with Elle their captain, which planted themselves in South-sax. And after them again another garrison of the Saxons, with Cerdic their captain, which did occupy the west part of the land, called by them West-sax. And so, likewise, the other multitude of the Saxons after them, which (as yet being unchristened and infidels) divided the whole land among themselves into seven kingdoms, as in this Table followeth:- KENT. The Kings of Kent with the Years they reigned.
A.D NAME YEARS 456 Hengist (slain) reigned 488 Eosa, or Issel 512 Ocha, or Octha 542 Emenric, or Emeric 560 Ethelbert the first of the Saxon kings that received the faith by Augustine, anno regni 616 Edbald 640 Ercombert 664 Egebert, or Edbrieth (slain) ... 673 Lotharius (slain) 685 Eadric 685 Nidred 685 Wilhard 694 Withred 728 Egfert, or Egbert 748 Ethelbert 748 Alric 760 Eadbert, surnamed Pren 760 Cuthred 760 Baldred (expulsed) 18 In the reign of this Baldred the kingdom of Kent was translated to Egbert, otherwise called Egbrict, king of the West Saxons; who, subduing the aforesaid Baldred in the year 832, gave the said kingdom to Athelstan his younger son. After whose decease it came to Ethelwolf, the elder son of Egbrect, and so was united to the West Saxons, who then began to be the monarch of the whole land. This kingdom began near about the year of our Lord 456, and continued 376 years, and had fifteen kings.
SUSSEX. The Kings of Southsax, now called Sussex, with the Years they reigned.
A.D NAME YEARS 478 Elle, or Alle, reigned Cissa. f1698 Nancanleus, or Naucanleod. f1699 Porth. f1700 Ethelwolf. f1701 Condebert f1702 Ethelred, or Ethereus.
Adelwold, or Ethelwald (slain.) f1703 Redwall Adelbrich, or Berethunus (slain.)
This kingdom endured the shortest season of all others, and soonest passed into other kingdoms, in the days (as some write) of Ina king of West-sax; and so endured not above two hundred and ten years, under seven, or at most eleven kings, beginning first in the year of the Lord 478, and about the thirtieth year from the first coming of the Saxons.
WESSEX. The Kings of Westsax, and the Years they reigned.
A.D NAME YEARS 495 Cerdic, or Credic, reigned ... 534 Kenric 560 Cheling 30, 591 Celtic, or Celfric 597 Celwulf, or Ceolulf 611 Kinigilsus, and Quicelinus ... 643 Kinewalkins 672 Sexburga 674 Escwin, Ascwin, or Elkwin ... 676 Centwine (died at Home) ..... 685 Cadwalla 688 Inn, or Ine .. 728 Edelard, or Athelard 741 Cuthred, or Cuthbert 754 Sigebert, or Sigher (slain) ... 755 Kinulf, or Kinewlf (slain) ... 784 Brithric 800 Egbert, or Egbricht, otherwise Athelbert, or Athelbrich, etc This Egbert subdued all the other seven kingdoms, and first begun the monarchy of all the Saxons, which after by Alfred was perfected, as hereafter followeth (the Lord willing) to be declared. This kingdom of the West Saxons began the year of grace 495; and as it subdued all the others, so it did the longest continue, till about the coming of William the Conqueror, which is about the time of 571 years.
NORTHUMBERLAND. The Kings of Northumberland, with the Years they reigned.
A.D NAME YEARS 547 Ida, reigned After Ida the kingdom of Northumberland was divided into two provinces, Deira and Bernicia 560 Alle or Elle, for Deira 560 Adda, of Bernicia 588 Alric, or Alfric, of Deira 593 Ethelfrid, of Bernicia. F1714 617 Edwin, of Northumberland (slain) 634 Osric, of Deira (slain) 634 Eanfrid, of Bernicia (slain) f1716 634 Oswald, of Northumberland (slain). 642 Oswy, of Northumberland 644 Oswin, reigned together with Oswy, in Deira, (slain) 670 Egfrid, of Northumberland (slain) 685 Alfred, of Northumberland (slain) 705 Osred, of Northumberland (slain) 716 Kenred, of Northumberland.. Osric, of Northumberland ... 731 Celulf, of Northumberland, (made a monk) 738 Edbert, or Eadbert, of Northumberland (monk) 757 Osulf, of Northumberland, (slain) . 759 Mollo, or Ethelwold, of Northumberland (in some chronicles six years) 765 Alcred, of Northumberland (expulsed) 774 Ethelbert, or Edelred, of Northumberland (expulsed) 778 Alfwold, of Northumberland (slain) 779 Osred II 780 Ethelbert, or Adelwald, of Northumberland (slain) 16 After this Ethelbert, the kingdom of Northumberland ceased the space of 25 years, till Egbert, king of the West Saxons, subdued also them, as he did the other Saxons, to his dominion. After the which Egbert, king of the West Saxons, succeeded his son in Northumberland.
KINGS OF WEST SAXONS, REIGNING IN NORTHUMBERLAND. Ethelwolf.
In the time of this Ethelred, there were two under-kings in Northumberland, Ella and Osbright, whom the Danes overcame, and reigned in their place, whose names were these: Erbert, Richsi, Egbert, Gurthed, Gurthrid; Danes.
After the reign of these foresaid Danes, the kingdom of Northumberland came into the hands of the West Saxons, in the time of Athelstan and his brother Edmund. It began first in the year 547 [and ended in the year 938], and so endured 391 years. It contained Yorkshire, the bishopric of Durham, Copeland, and others.
MERCIA. The Kings of Mercia, or Merceland, with the Years of their Reign.
A.D NAME YEARS 583 Crida, or Creodda, reigned Wibba Ceorlus 626 Penda, (slain) 635 Peda, or Weds (slain by his wife). 656 Ulfer 675 Adelred, or Ethelred, (made a monk) 30 or 19 704 Kenred made also monk at Rome 709 Ceolred, or Kelred f1731 716 Ethelbald (slain) 755 Bernred 755 Offa 794 Egfred 794 Kenulph, (slain) 20 or Kenelm (murdered) f1735 819 Ceolwolf (expelled) 821 Bernulf (slain) Ludecane (slain) f1736 Some chronicles here insert Milefred, Wilasius, or 828 Withlacus (beheaded) This Withlacus, in the beginning of his reign, was vanquished by Egbert king of West-sax, to whom he became tributary, with his successors here following:
Bernulf, 12 years; Buthred, 20 years; Celust, 1 year; Elfrid, 1 year.
Some writers say that these four kings were subdued by the Danes.
After this Elfred, the kingdom of the Mercians was translated unto the West Saxons, in the latter time of king Alfred, or in the beginning of Edward the eldest; and so was adjoined to the West Saxons, beginning in the year 586. It endured for the space of years, till about the latter end of Alfred, by whom it was joined to the kingdom of the West Saxons. This kingdom stretched out to Huntingdonshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Worcester, Warwick, Litchfield, Coventry, Chester, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Shrewsbury, Oxford, Buckingham, Dorchester, Lincoln, Leicester, etc.
EAST SAXONS. The Kings of the East Saxons, with the Years of their Reign.
A.D NAME YEARS 561 Erchwin, reigned Sledda 604 Sebert, or Sigebert Sexred, Seward, and Sigebert, brethren (slain) Sigebert, the Little Sigebert, the Good, or Sibert (slain) Switheline Sigherius,son of Sigebert the Little. F1740 Sebbi, son of Seward, which was made a monk.
Sigehard and Suefrid, brethren Offa Selred, or Colred (slain) Swithred This Swithred was subdued unto Egbert, king of West Saxons, albeit London remained under the Mercians to the time that they also were subdued to the West Saxons. This kingdom began in the year 561, and so continued till the time of Egbert. Some stories say it continued till the time of Edward son of Alfred, about the coming of the Danes, and contained under it the lordship of Middlesex and London. The metropolitan see of this province of Essex was London, where the famous church of St. Paul was builded by Ethelbert king of Kent, and Sebert king of Essex, whom Ethelbert had lately before turned to Christ’s faith; whereof the first bishop was Mellitus, the second bishop was Cedda, the third came in by simony, whose name was Wine. F1742 After him was Erkenwald, of whom writeth Bede, that he, being diseased in his legs so that he could not go nor ride, yet would be carried about in a litter, to preach in his diocese, etc. Although William of Malmesbury, writing of the bishops of London in his book “De Vitis Pontificum,” saith that Maurice, first the king’s chancellor, then bishop there, did first begin this so large and famous building of the church of St. Paul in London; which work after him Richard, his successor, did prosecute, bestowing all the rents of his bishopric upon the same, and yet was scarcely seen [to make any progress].
F1743 Yet herein may be answered peradventure, that the church builded before by king Ethelbert and king Sigebert, might be overthrown by the Danes, and afterward was re — EDified by these bishops above mentioned.
EAST ANGLIA. The Kings of East Angles, with the Years of their Reign.
A.D NAME YEARS Uffa, or Ulfa, reigned Titulus, or Titila Redwald Erpwald, or Corpwalous (slain) Sigebert, or Sibrect, first a monk (slain) Egnic, or Egric (slain) Anna (slain) Adelhere, or Adelred (slain) Adelwold, or Ethelbald Adulph Elkwold Beorna Ethelred (slain) Ethelbright, or Ethelbert (slain) 5 After the sinful murder of Ethelbert, the kingdom of East Angles, during the term of certain years, was in great troubler and desolation, under divers kings and tyrants; sometimes the king of Westsax, sometimes of Kent or of Mercia, having dominion over them; till the coming of St. Edmund, who was the last king there ruling under the West Saxons.
St. Edmund (martyred) reigned 16 years.
After the death of St. Edmund, being slain of the infidel Danes, the kingdom remained with the Danes fifty years, till at length Edward, king of the West Saxons, expulsed the Danes, and joined it to his kingdom. It began about the year of our Lord 561, and continued near about 350 years. Fabian numbereth but twelve kings, but in others I find more.
The metropolitan see of this province of East Angles was first at a town called Dunmoke, or Dunwich, which in times past hath been a famous and populous town, with a mayor and four bailiffs, and also divers parish churches and hospitals, whereunto great privileges by divers kings have been granted; which town is now fallen into ruin and decay, and more than half consumed by the eating in of the sea, as also greatly impoverished by loss of the haven, which heretofore, hath flourished with divers tall ships belonging to the same (the inhabitants thereof being not able of themselves to repair it without the help of other good people); where the first bishop was Felix, a Burgundian, who sat there fourteen years. After this, unto the time of Egbert king of Westsax, this province was ever ruled by two bishops, whereof the one had his see at Dunmoke, now called Dunwich; the other at Hemaham where ten sat one after another. From thence it was translated to Thetford, where sat two bishops. At last, by bishop Herbert it was removed to Norwich, where he erected a monastery of monks.
And thus standeth the order and race of the Saxon kings, reigning together with the Britons in this realm. Now followeth the description of the British kings, reigning with the Saxons in like manner.
Although the miserable Britons thus were bereaved of their land, by the cruel subtlety of the Saxons, yet were they not so driven out or expelled, but that a certain kingdom remained among them in some part of the land, namely about Cornwall, and the parts of Cambria, which is divided in two parts, South Wales called Demetia, and North Wales called Venedocia. The said Britons, moreover, through the valiant acts of their kings, sometimes reigned also in other countries, displacing the Saxons, and recovering again their own, sometimes more, sometimes less, till the time of Carecius, when the Britons, being deposed by Gormund (whose help they themselves sent for out of Ireland against Carecius their wicked king), utterly lost their land and kingdom; being thence driven utterly into Wales and Cornwall, A.D. 586. What the order of these kings was, what were their acts, their names and times when they reigned, in this brief table underwritten is expressed.
Wherein, first, is to be premonished that Constantine the Second had three children, to wit, Constans, who was made a monk in Winchester, and after made a king; the second was Aurelius Arabrosins; the third was Uther Pendragon. This being premised, we will now enter the description of our Table, beginning with Vortigern.
A TABLE DECLARING THE KINGS OF BRITAIN WHICH REIGNED TOGETHER WITH THE SAXONS, AFTER THEIR COMING INTO THEIR LAND. Vortigern.
Vortigern again Aurelius Ambrosius.
Carecius, or Careticus.
Here is to be understood that these British kings above mentioned did not so reign here in this land from the time of Vortigern, that they had the full government over all the whole realm, but only over parcels or parts, such as by force of arms they could either hold or win from the Saxons; who, coming in daily, and growing upon them, did so replenish the land with multitudes of them, that the Britons at length were neither able to hold that which they had, nor to recover that which they lost; leaving example to all ages and countries, what it is first to let in foreign nations into their dominion, but especially what it is for princes to join in marriage with infidels, as this Vortigern did with Hengist’s daughter, which was the mother of all this mischief; giving to the Saxons not only strength, but also occasion and courage to attempt that which they did. Neither was this unconsidered before of the British lords and nobility, who, worthily being therewith offended, justly deposed their king, and enthroned Vortimer his son in his room. By the which Vortimer, being a puissant prince, the Saxons were then repulsed, and driven again into Gemany, where they stayed a while till the death of Vortimer, whom Rowena, daughter of Hengist, caused traitorously to be poisoned. Then Vortigern being restored again to his kingdom, through the entreaty of Rowena his wife, sent into Germany again for Hengist, who, eftsoons making his return, came in with a navy of three hundred ships well appointed. F1751 The nobles of Britain, hearing this, prepared themselves on the contrary side in all forceable wise to put them off. But Hengist, through Rowena his daughter, so labored the king, excusing himself, and saying that he brought not the multitude to work any violence either against him or against his country, but only thinking that Vortimer had yet been alive, whom he minded to impugn for the king’s sake, and to take his part. And now, forsomuch as he heareth of the death of Vortimer his enemy, he therefore committeth both himself and his people to his disposition, to appoint how few or how many of them he would, to remain within his land; the rest should return. And if it so pleased the king to appoint day and place where they might meet and talk together of the matter, both he and his would stand to such order as the king with his council should appoint. With these fair words well contented, the king and his nobles did assign to them both day and place, which was in the town of Ambry, where he meant to talk with them; adding this condition withal, that each part should come without any manner of weapon. Hengist, showing himself well agreed thereto, gave privy intelligence to his side, that each man should carry with him secretly in his hose a long knife, with their watch-word also given unto them, when they should draw their knives, wherewith every Saxon should (and so did) kill the Briton with whom he talked, as is above declared. The British lords being slain, the Saxons took Vortigern the king and bound him; for whose ransom they required to be delivered to them the cities of London, York, Lincoln, Winchester, with other the most strong holds within the land; which being to them granted, they begin to make spoil and havoc of the British nation, destroying the citizens, plucking down churches, killing up the priests, burning the books of the holy Scripture, leaving nothing undone that tyranny could work; which was about the year of our Lord 462. The king, seeing this miserable slaughter of the people, fled into Wales. F1753 This while, Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon, brethren to king Constans above mentioned, whom Vortigern wickedly caused to be killed, were in Little Britain. F1754 To whom the Britons sent word, desiring their aid in helping their country. Aurelius, understanding the woful state of the realm, speedeth him over to satisfy their desire, and to rescue (what in him was) their necessity; who at his first coming eftsoons being crowned for their king, seeketh out wicked Vortigern, the cause of all this trouble and murder of king Constans, his brother. And finding him in Wales, in a strong tower wherein he had immured himself, setteth him and his castle on fire.
Our old English chronicles make record, that Horsa the brother of Hengist was slain before in the time of Vortimer. F1755 The same also do:record that this Hengist was taken prisoner in the field, fighting against Aurelius Ambrosius; who then consulting with his nobles and barons what was to be done with him, the bishop of Gloucester, called Eldad, standing up gave this counsel, saying, that if all men would deliver him, yet he with his own hands would cut him in pieces; alleging the example of Samuel against Agag king of the Amalekites, taken by king Saul in the field, whom the said Samuel caused to be cut in pieces. “Even so,” saith he, “do you to this Agag here; that as he hath made many a woman widow, and without children, so his mother may be made this day of him likewise.” And so was Hengist taken out of the city by Eldol consul or mayor of Gloucester, and there was beheaded, if truth or credit be to be given to these our old British stories, whereof I have nothing certainly to pronounce, but that I may suspect the truth thereof; which was about the year of our Lord 488.
A certain ancient written history I have in Latin, compiled in the fourteenth year of king Richard II., and by him caused to be written as the title declareth; which, because it beareth no name of the author, I call it by the name of him of whom I borrowed this book, with many others likewise without name, “Historia Cariana.” This history recordeth, that Hengist died in Kent the two and thirtieth year of his reign; which if it be true, then is it false that he was taken at Cuninburgh, and slain in the north. This Aurelius Arabrosins before-mentioned is thought of Polydore Virgil; citing the authority of Bede, to descend of the stock of the Romans; which as it is not impossible to be true, so this is certain by the full accord of all our old written stories, that both the said Aurelius and his brother Uther Pendragon, being the sons of Constantine, brother to Audroenus king of Little Britain, were nursed and brought up in England in their tender age, and instructed by Guitelinus, archbishop of London; and, after the murder of Constans their elder brother, were conveyed from hence to Little Britain; whereby it is manifest that they were born in this land; and though their father were a Roman, as Polydore pretendeth, yet likely it is that they were Britons born, and had a Briton to their mother. F1759 After the death of Aurelius, who (as the story saith) was poisoned by the crafty means of Pascentius son of Vortigern (suborning one under the weed of a monk to play the physician, and so to poison him), next succeeded his brother Uther, surnamed Pendragon, about the year of our Lord 497, who, fighting against Osca and Eosa, took them and brought them to London there to be kept; but they, breaking out of prison, returned into Germany for more aid. In this mean time daily recourse was of Saxons, with great companies coming out of Saxony, with whom the Britons had divers and sundry conflicts, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. Not long after, Osca and Eosa, renewing their power in Germany, in all most speedy haste did return again and join with the other Saxons against the Britons. Here began the state of miserable Britain more and more to decay, while the idolatrous Saxons prevailed in number and strength against the christian Britons; oppressing the people, throwing down churches and monasteries, murdering the prelates, sparing neither age nor person, but wasting Christianity almost through the whole realm. To these miseries it fell, moreover, that Uther their king was sick, and could not come out: notwithstanding, being grieved with the lamentable destruction of his people, he caused his bed to be brought into the camp, where God gave him victory, Osca and Eosa there being slain. After this victory, in short space Uther died of poison (as is said) put into a fountain, whereof the king was wont to drink; about the year of our Lord 516. F1761 About which time and year came in Scupha and Whigarus, two nephews of Cerdic king of West Saxons, with their companies, so violently upon the Britons, that they of the west part of the realm were not able to resist them. Then the merciful providence of Almighty God raised up for them king Arthur, the son of Uther, who was; then crowned after him, and victoriously reigned. To this Arthur the old British histories do ascribe twelve great victories against the heathen Saxons; whose notorious and famous conquests mentioned in the British stories I leave as I find them, referring them to the credit of their authors in whom they are found.
Notwithstanding, as I do not think contrary, but God, by the aforesaid Arthur, gave to the Britons some stay and quietness during his life, and certain of his successors; so, touching certain of his great victories and conquests, not only over this land, but also over all Europe, I judge them more fabulous, than that any credit should be gram unto them; and more worthy to be joined with the Iliads of Homer, than to have place in any ecclesiastical history. After Arthur, the next king of the Britons was Constantine III. After him Aurelius Conanus. Then Vortiporius; after whom followed Malgo, noted in stories to be a Sodomite. And after him the last king of the Britons was Carecius, all given to civil war, execrable to God and man; who being chased out by the Britons themselves, the land fell into possession of the Saxons, about the year of our Lord 586, by whom all the clergy and the christian ministers of the Britons were then utterly driven out: insomuch that Theon, archbishop of Lolldon, and Thadioc, archbishop of York, seeing their churches all wasted, and parishes dispersed, with their carriages and monments, left their sees in Britain, and fled into Cambria, which we now call Wales. F1762 Touching which matter, and touching also the cause of this desolation and ruin of the Britons’ kingdom, the first fountain and origin thereof partly before is declared; where was showed in the time of Constantine the Great and Maximian, how these noble princes, with others, achieving their venturous affairs in other countries, took with them great multitudes and armies out of Britain; through the occasion whereof the land was greatly impaired, and deprived of the most chief and principal nobles, being carried away to serve in foreign wars, which was no small cause why the realm of Britain (being so wasted) was the less able to help itself against their enemies. F1763 Although this was not the chief occasion, but other causes there were greater, wherefore God by his just judgment suffered this plague and overthrow to fall upon that people; as here out of an old author, and partly out of Gildas, I have found it, so I thought to annex it in his own words, first in Latin, then afterward Englishing the same, for the more credit of that which shall be alleged, in tenor as followeth: “The nobles of this realm following the princes and captains above named, the vulgar and rascal sort remained behind at home. Who, when they had gotten the rooms and places of the nobles, advanced themselves above that which their, dignity required; and through, their abundance of riches, being surprised with pride, they began to fall into such and so great fornication, as was never heard of even among the Gentiles. And as Gildas the Historiographer witnesseth, not into this vice only, but also into all manner of wickedness whereto man’s nature is inclined: and especially into that which is the overthrow of all good estate, the hatred of the truth, love of lies, embracing of evil instead of goodness, regarding of mischief instead of virtue, receiving of the devil as an angel of light. They anointed kings, not such as could well rule a commonwealth, but those which exceeded all other in cruelty; and if any might be perceived to be somewhat more humble or meek, or to be more inclined to favor the truth than the residue, him aid every one hate and backbite as the overthrower and destroyer of Britain. All things, whether they pleased or displeased God, they regarded alike. And not secular men only did this, but also the congregation of the Lord, and their bishops and teachers, without any difference at all. Therefore it is not to be marvelled that such people, so degenerating and going out of kind, should lose that country which they had after this manner defiled.”
And thus much hitherto concerning the history of the Britons, till (by the grace of Christ) the order of time shall bring us hereafter to treat of Cadwalla and Cadwallader. Now remaineth it, in returning again to the matter of the Saxons, to discourse particularly, that which before in the table above we have summarily comprehended. In this order and race of the Saxon kings above specified, which had thus thrust out the Britons, and now divided their land in seven kingdoms, as there were many naughty and wicked kings (whose pernicious examples, being all set on war and bloodshed, are greatly to be detested and eschewed of all true godly princes), so some there were again (although but few) very sincere and good. But no one almost from the first to the last, who was not either slain in war, or murdered in peace, or else constrained to make himself a monk.
Such was the rage then, and the tyranny of that time. Whether we should impute it to the corruption of man’s nature, or to the just judgment of God’s hand, so disposing the matter that, as they had violently and falsely dispossessed the Britons of their right; so they most miserably were not only vexed of the Danes, and conquered at last by the Normans; but also more cruelly devoured themselves, one warring still against another, till they were neither able to help themselves, nor yet to resist others. Of them which are noted for good among these Saxon kings, the first and principal is Ethelbert, or Ethelbrict, the first king in Kent above specified: who by the means of Austin, and partly through his wife named Bertha, first received and preferred the christian faith in all this land of the English Saxons, whereof more followeth hereafter to be said (the Lord so permitting) as place and opportunity shall require. The next place I give to Oswald of Northumberland, who not only did his endeavor in furthering the faith of Christ amongst his people; but also, being king, disdained not himself to stand up, and interpret to his nobles and subjects the preaching of Aidan, preaching Christ to them in his Scottish language. In the same commendation also, like as in the same line, cometh his uncle Edwin king of Northumberland, a good prince and the first receiver of Christ’s faith in that land, by the means of his wife, and Pauline, a bishop. Add to these also Sigebert, first christened king of the East Angles, and Sebert, first christened king of Essex: of whom the one was a great furtherer of religion, and setter up of schools; the other, which is Sebert or Serbricht, was nephew to Ethelbert of Kent, under whom he ruled in Essex. By the which Ethelbert, in the time of the said Sebert, the church of Paul’s was builded at London, and christian faith much enlarged. Of the same name there was also another Ethelbert king of the East Angles, a good prince; who, by the advice of his council, being persuaded to marriage (though against his will), went peaceably to king Offa for espousage of Ethelreda his daughter; where the good king meaning innocently, through the sinister and devilish counsel of king Offa’s wife, was secretly beheaded and made away.
In the catalogue of these good kings is also to be numbered Kenelm king of the Mercians, and Edmund king of the East Angles; of the which two, the first was falsely and abominably circumvented and beheaded, by the means of his cruel sister and his tutor, as he was; in his hunting at Corfe castle.
The other, who is called king Edmund the Martyr, was slain at Bury, or (as some write) at the castle of Halesdon, by the Danes: upon what occasion, histories do vary. The author of “Flores Historiarum” saith, f1766 it was by reason of one Lothbroke, a Dane, who, being of the king’s blood, and being with his hawk on the sea-side in a little boat, was driven by the force of the weather into the coast of Norfolk, where he, being presented to king Edmund, was retained in the court with great favor; till at length one Berike, the king’s falconer, envying and despiteing him for his great dexterity in that faculty, privily did murder him in a wood. This being at last spied, as murder lightly will come out, Berike was set in Lothbroke’s boat alone, without all tackling, to be committed unto the sea; and, as it chanced, was driven into Denmark, who there being seen in Lothbroke’s boat, was strictly examined of the party. He then, to excuse himself, falsely said he was slain by the commandment of the king. Upon the occasion whereof, Inguar and Hubba, sons to the said Lothbroke, gathering an army of Danes, invaded first Northumberland; after that, bursting into Norfolk on every side, sent this message to king Edmund after this tenor, signifying, that king Inguar, the victorious prince (dreaded both by sea and land), as he had subjected divers other lands under him, so, arriving now to the coasts of Norfolk, where he intendeth to winter, chargeth and commandeth him to divide with him his old treasures, and his father’s riches, and so to rule under him: which if he would not do, but would contemn his power so strongly furnished with such an army, he should be judged as unworthy both of kingdom and life, etc. The king hearing this message, not a little astonished hereat, calling his council about him, consulted with them, especially with one of his bishops, being then his secretary, what was best to be done; who, fearing the king’s life, exhorteth him by words and divers examples to agree to the message. At this the king awhile holding his peace, at length thereto made answer again in these words, saying, “Go,” saith he, “tell your lord, and let him know, that Edmund the christened king, for the love of this temporal life, will not subject himself to a pagan duke, unless before he become a Christian,” etc.
The messenger, taking his answer, was not so soon out of the gates, as Inguar, meeting him and bidding him to be short in declaring his answer, caused all the king’s garrison to be set round about. Some say, that the king flying to Thetford there pitched a field with the Danes; but the Danes prevailing, the good king from thence did fly to the castle of Halesdon above mentioned; where he, being pursued of the Danes, was there taken, and at length, being bound to a stake, there, of the raging Danes was shot to death. And thus much for the good kings.
Now as concerning those kings which made themselves monks, which in number be seven or eight, although the example be rare and strange, and much commended of the chroniclers of that time; yet I cannot rashly assent to their commendation, albeit the case thereof is no matter of our history. First, in altering their estate from kings to monks, if they did it to find more ease, and less trouble thereby, I see not how that excuse standeth with the office of a good man, to change his public vocation for respect of private commodity. If fear of jeopardy and danger did drive them thereunto, what praise or commendation deserve they in so doing? let the monkish histories judge what they list. Me-seemeth, so much praise as they deserve in providing their own safety, so much they deserve again to be discom-mended in forsaking the commonwealth. If they did it (as most like it is) for holiness’ sake, thinking in that kind of life to serve and please God better, or to merit more toward their salvation than in the estate of a king, therein they were far deceived; not knowing that the salvation which cometh of God, is to be measured and esteemed, not by man’s merits, or by any perfection of life, or by difference of any vocation, more of one than another, but only by the free grace of the gospel, which freely justifieth all them that faithfully believe in Christ Jesus. But here will be said again; peradventure, in the solitary life of monkery be fewer occasions of evils than in king’s courts; wherefore that life serveth more to holiness, and is more to be preferred than the other. To this I answer, to avoid the occasions of evil is good, where strength lacketh to resist: but otherwise, where duty and charge bind to tarry, there to avoid the occasions of evil, where rather they are to be resisted, rather declareth a weakness of the man, than deserveth any praise. As it is truly said of Tully, “Out of Asia,” saith he, “to live a good life, is no Godamercy; but in Asia, where so great occasions of evils abound, there to live a good man, that is praiseworthy.”
With the like reason I may infer, if a man be called to be a king, there not to change the vocation for avoiding of occasions, but rather to resist occasions, and to keep his vocation, declareth a good and perfect man. But of these by-matters hitherto sufficient.
These things now thus premised, concerning the order and reign of kings, as is above prefixed; consequently it remaineth to enter the tractation of such things, as, in the time and reign of the aforesaid kings, happened in the church; first putting the reader again in mind of the former persecutions within the realm, partly before touched in the time of the British kings, which especially were three or four, before the coming of Augustine into England. 1. The first was under Dioclesian; and that not only in England, but generally throughout all the Roman monarchy, as is above specified. In this persecution Alban, Julius, Aaron, with a great, number more of other good christian Britons, were martyred for Christ’s name. F1768 2. The second persecution or destruction of christian faith, was by the invading of Guanius and Melga, whereof the first was captain of the Huns, the other of the Picts. These two tyrants, after the cruel slaughter of Ursula and other eleven thousand noble virgins, made their road into Britain, hearing the same to be destitute of the strength of men. At which time they made miserable murder of Christ’s saints, spoiling and wasting churches, without mercy either of women or children; sparing none. 3. The third persecution came by Hengist and the Saxons; who likewise destroyed and wasted the christian congregations within the land, like raging wolves flying upon the sheep, and spilling the blood of Christians, till Aurelius Ambrosius came, and restored again the churches destroyed. 4. The fourth destruction of the christian faith and religion was by Gormund, a pagan king of the Africans, who, joining in league with the Saxons, wrought much grievance to the Christians of the land. F1770 Insomuch that Theon bishop of London, and Thadioc archbishop of York, with the rest of the people, so many as were left, having no place wherein to remain with safety, did fly some to Cornwall, and some to the mountains of Wales, about the year of our Lord 586; f1771 and this persecution remained to the time of Ethelbert king of Kent, in the year 595. F1772 In the reign of this Ethelbert, who was then the fifth king of Kent, the faith of Christ was first received of the Saxons or English men, by the means of Gregory bishop of Rome, in manner and order as here followeth, out of old histories collected and recorded.
First then, to join the order of our history together, the christian faith first received of king Lucius, endured in Britain till this time, near upon the season of four hundred years and odd, when by Gormundus Africanus (as is said) fighting with the Saxons against the Britons it was near extinct in all the land, during the space of about forty-four years. So that the first springing of Christ’s gospel in this land, was A.D. 180. The coming of the Saxons was in the year 449. The coming of Augustine was in the year 596. From the first entering in of the Saxons to their complete conquest, and the driving out of the Britons (which was about the latter time of Cadwallader) were two hundred and forty years. In sum, from Christ to Lucius were one hundred and eighty years. The continuance of the gospel from Lucius to the entering of the Saxons, was two hundred and sixty-nine years. The decay of the same to the entering of Augustine was one hundred and forty-seven years, which being added together make from Lucius to Augustine four hundred and sixteen years; from Christ to Augustine they make five hundred and ninety-six years. In this year then, five hundred and ninety-six, Augustine, being sent from Gregory, came into England; the occasion whereupon Gregory sent him hither was this.
F1775 In the days of Pelagius bishop of Rome, Gregory, chancing to see certain children in the market-place of Rome (brought thither to be sold, out of England), being fair and beautiful of visage, demanded out of what country they were? And, understanding they were heathenish, out of England, he lamented the case of the land, being so beautiful and angelical, so to be subject under the prince of darkness. And asking, moreover, out of what province they were? it was answered, “Out of Deira, a part of Northsaxons;” whereof, as it is to be thought, that which we now call Durham taketh its name. Then he, alluding to the name of Deira; “These people,” saith he,” are to be delivered de Dei ira,” which is, “from God’s wrath.” Moreover, understanding the king’s name of that province to be Alle (above mentioned), alluding likewise to his name, “There,” saith he, “ought Alleluja to be sung to the living God.” Whereupon he, being moved, and desirous to go and help the conversion of that country, was not permitted of Pelagius and the Romans for that time to accomplish his desire. F1776 But afterward, being bishop himself next after Pelagus, he sent thither the foresaid Augustine with other preachers near about to the number of forty. But by the way, (how it happened I cannot say,) as Augustine with his company were passing in their journey, such a sudden fear entered into their hearts, that, as Antoninus saith, they returned all.
Others write, that Augustine was sent back to Gregory again, to release them of that voyage so dangerous and uncertain, amongst such a barbarous people, whose language they never knew, nor were able to resist their rudeness. Then Gregory, with pithy persuasions confirming and comforting him, sent him again with letters to the bishop of Aries, willing him to help and aid the said Augustine and his company, in all whatsoever his need required, Also other letters he directed to the foresaid Augustine and to his fellows, exhorting them to go forward boldly to the Lord’s work, as by the tenor of the said epistle here following may appear.
THE EPISTLE OF GREGORY TO THEM WHICH WENT TO PREACH IN ENGLAND. F1778 Gregory, the servant of God’s servants, to servants of the Lord. Forsomuch as it is better not to take good things in hand, than, after they be begun, to think to revolt back from the same again, therefore now you must needs go forward, dear children, in that good business, which through the help of God you have well begun. Neither let the labor of your journey, nor the slanderous tongues of men appal you, but that with all instance and fervency ye proceed and accomplish the thing which the Lord hath ordained you to take in hand; knowing that your great travail shall be recompensed with the greater reward of eternal glory hereafter to come. Therefore, as we send here Augustine your chief back to you again, whom also we have ordained to be your abbot, so do you humbly obey him in all things, knowing that it shall be profitable for your souls, whatsoever at his admonition ye shall do. Almighty God with his grace defend you, and grant me to see in the eternal country the fruit of your labor; that, although I cannot labor as I would with you, yet I may be found partaker of your retribution, for that my will is good to labor in the same fellowship together with you. God keep you safe, most dear and well-beloved children!
Dated the tenth before the Calends of August, in the fourteenth year of the reign of our pious and most august lord, Maurice Tiberius; the thirteenth year after his consulship. The fourteenth indiction. F1780 Thus they, emboldened and comforted through the good words of Gregory, sped forth their journey till they came at length to the isle of Thanet, lying upon the east side of Kent. Near to the which landing place was then the manory or palace of the king, not far from Sandwich (eastward from Canterbury), which the inhabitants of the isle then called Risborough, whereof some part of the ruinous walls is yet to be seen. The king then reigning in Kent, was Ethelbert, as above appeareth, the fifth king of that province, who, at that time, had married to wife a Frenchwoman, being christened, named Bertha; whom he had received of her parents upon this condition: that he should permit her, with her bishop committed unto her, called Luidhard, to enjoy the freedom of her faith and religion; by the means whereof he was more flexible, and sooner induced to embrace the preaching and doctrine of Christ. Thus Augustine being arrived, sent forth certain messengers and interpreters to the king, signifying that such a one was come from Rome, bringing with him glad tidings to him and all his people of life and salvation, eternally to reign in heaven, with the only true and living God for ever, if Ethelbert would so willingly hearken to the same, as he was gladly come to preach and teach it unto him.
The king, who had heard of this religion before by means of his wife, within a few days after cometh to the place where Augustine was, to speak with him; but that should be without the house, after the manner of his law. Augustine against his coming, as stories affirm, erected up a banner of the crucifix (such was then the gossness of that time), and preached to him the word of God. The king answering again, saith in effect as followeth: “Your words and your promises be very fair: nevertheless, because they are to me new, and of uncertain import, I cannot soon start away from my country law, wherewith I have been so long inured, and assent to you. Albeit, yet notwithstanding, for that ye are come (as ye say) so far for my sake, ye shall not be molested by me, but shall be right well entreated, having all things to you ministered necessary for your supportation. Besides this, neither do we debar you, but grant you free leave to preach to our people and subjects, to convert whom ye may to the faith of your religion.” When they had received this comfort of the Icing, they went with procession to the city of Dorobernia, or Canterbury, singing Allelujah with this litany; which then by Gregory had been used at Rome, in the time of the great plague reigning then at Rome, mentioned in old stories. The words of the litany were these: “We beseech thee, O Lord, in all thy mercy, that thy fury and anger may cease from this city and from thy holy house, for we have sinned; Allehjah!” f1782 Thus they, entering into the city of Canterbury, the head city of all that dominion at that time (where the king had given them a mansion for their abode), there they continued, preaching and baptizing such as they had converted, in the east side of the city in the old church of St. Martin (where the queen was wont to resort), unto the time that the king was converted himself to Christ. At length, when the king had well considered the honest conversation of their life, and moved with the miracles wrought through God’s hand by them, lie heard them more gladly; and lastly, by their wholesome exhortations and example of godly life, he was by them converted and christened in the year above specified, 596, and the thirtysixth year of his reign. After the king was thus converted, innumerable others came in and were adjoined to the church of Christ; whom the king did specially embrace, but compelled none: for so he had learned, that the faith and service of Christ ought to be voluntary, and not coacted. Then he gave to Augustine a place for the Bishop’s see at Christ’s Church in Canterbury, and builded the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul in the east side of the said city, where, after, Augustine and all the kings of Kent were buried; and that place is now called St. Augustine. F1783 In this while Augustine sailed into France, unto the bishop of Arles, called Etherius, by him to be consecrated archbishop by the commandment of Gregory; and was so. Also the said Augustine sent to Rome Laurence, one of his company, to declare to Gregory how they had sped, and what they had done in England; sending withal to have the counsel and advice of Gregory concerning nine or ten questions, whereof some are partly touched before.
The tenor of his questions or interrogations, with the answers of Gregory to the same, here follow in English briefly translated.
THE QUESTIONS OF AUGUSTINE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, SENT TO GREGORY, WITH THE ANSWERS AGAIN OF GREGORY TO THE SAME. F1785 First Interrogation:—” My first question, reverend father, is concerning bishops, how they ought to behave themselves toward their clerks; and of such oblations as the faithful offer upon the altar, what portions or dividends ought to be made thereof?” Answer: —”How a bishop ought to behave himself in the church, the holy Scripture testifieth (which I doubt not but you know right well), especially in the epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, wherein he laboureth to inform the said Timothy how to behave himself in the house of the Lord. The manner is of the see apostolic to warn and charge all such as be ordained bishops, of all their stipend, or that which is given, to make four portions: one for the bishop, for hospitality and receiving comers-in; another for the clergy; the third for the poor; the fourth for the repairing of churches. But, because your brotherhood, instructed with rules of monastical discipline, cannot live separated from your clerks about you, therefore in the English church (which now through the providence of God is brought to the faith of Christ) you must observe that institution concerning your conversation, which was among the first fathers in the beginning of the primitive church; among whom there was not one which counted anything to be his own property of all that he did possess, but all was common among them.” Second Interrogation :—”I desire to know and to be instructed, whether clerks that cannot contain, may marry: and if they do marry, whether then they ought to return to the secular state again or no?” Answer: —”If there be any clerks out of holy orders, which cannot contain, let them have their wives, and take their stipends or wages abroad. For we read it so written of the foresaid fathers, that they divided to every person, according as their need was. Therefore, as concerning the stipend of such, it must be provided and thought upon.
And they must be also holden under ecclesiastical discipline, to live a godly conversation, to employ themselves in singing psalms, and to refrain their tongue, heart, and body (by the grace of God) from all things unseemly and unlawful. As for those which live in common, to describe what partitions to make, what hospitality to keep, or what works of mercy to exhibit, to such I have nothing to say, but to give of that which aboundeth (as our Master teacheth) in pious and religious works: of that,” saith he, “which aboundeth or is overplus, give alms, and behold all things be clean unto you.” (Luke 11.) Third Interrogation: —”Seeing there is but one faith, how happeneth it then the ceremonies and customs of churches to be so diverse? as in the church of Rome there is one custom and manner of mass, and the French church hath another.” Answer: —”The custom of the church of Rome, what it is, you know, wherein you remember that you have been brought up from your youth; but rather it pleaseth it me better, whether it be in the church of Rome, or the French church, where ye find anything that seemeth better to the service and pleasing of God, that ye choose the same, and so infer and bring into the English church (which is yet new in the faith) the best and pickedst things chosen out of many churches; for things are not to be beloved for the place’ sake, but the place is to be beloved for the things that be good therein: wherefore such things as be good, godly, and religious, those choose out of all churches, and introduce to your people, that they may take root in the minds of Englishmen.” Fourth Interrogation: —”I pray you, what punishment adjudge you for him that shall steal or pilfer anything out of the church?” Answer: —”This your brotherhood may soon discern by the person of a thief, how it ought to be corrected. For some there be, that having sufficient to live upon, yet do steal: others there be which steal of mere necessity. Wherefore, considering the quality and difference of the crime, necessary it is, that some be corrected by loss of goods, some by stripes, some others more sharply, and some more easily. Yea, and when sharper correction is to be executed, yet that must be done with charity, and with no fury; for in punishing offenders, this is the cause and end wherefore they are punished, because they should be saved, and not perish in hell-fire. And so ought discipline to proceed in correcting the faithful, as do good fathers in punishing their children, whom they both chasten for their evil, and yet being chastened, they look to have them their heirs, and think to leave them all they have, notwithstanding they correct them sometimes in anger. Therefore this charity must be kept in mind; and in the correction there is a measure to be had, so that the mind never do anything without the rule of reason. You may add, moreover, that those things ought to be restored again, which be stolen out of churches. But God forbid that the church should ever require again with increase, that which is lost in outward things, and to seek her gain out of such vanities.” Fifth Interrogation: —”Item, whether two brethren may marry two sisters, being far off from any part of kindred?” Answer: —”This in no part of Scripture is forbidden, but it may well and lawfully be done.” Sixth Interrogation: —”Item, to what degree of kindred may the matrimony of the faithful extend with their kindred; or whether is it lawful to marry with the stepmother and other kinsfolks?” Answer: —”A certain terrene law amongst the old Romans doth permit, that either brother or sister, or the son and daughter of two brethren, may marry together. But by experience we learn, that the issue of such marriage doth never thrive, nor come forward. Also the holy law of God forbiddeth to uncover the turpitude of thy blood or kindred. Wherefore of necessity it must be the third or fourth degree in which the faithful may lawfully marry; for in the second (being an unlawful) they must needs refrain. To be coupled with the stepmother is utterly abominable, for it is written in the law, ‘Thou shalt not uncover the turpitude of thy father.’ Forsomuch then as it is so written in the law, ‘And they shall be two in one flesh;’ the son then that presumeth to uncover the turpitude of his stepmother, which is one flesh with his father, what doth he then but uncover the turpitude of his own father? Likewise it was forbidden and unlawful to marry with thy kinswoman, which by her first marriage was made one flesh with thy brother; for the which cause John the Baptist also lost his head, and was crowned a martyr: who, though he died not for the confession of Christ, yet, forsomuch as Christ saith ‘I am the truth,’ therefore, in that John Baptist was slain for the truth, it may be said his blood was shed for Christ.” Seventh Interrogation: —”Item, whether such as so be coupled together in filthy and unlawful matrimony ought to be separated, and denied the partaking of the holy communion?” Answer: —”Because there be many of the nation of Englishmen, which being yet in their infidelity, were so joined and coupled in such execrable marriage; the same coming now to faith, are to be admonished hereafter to abstain from the like, and be made to know the same to be a grievous sin: and let them dread the dreadful judgment of God, lest for their carnal delectation they incur the torments of eternal punishment. And yet, notwithstanding, they are not to be secluded there-for from the participation of Christ’s body and blood; lest we should seem to revenge those things in them which they, before their baptism, through ignorance did commit. For in his time the holy church doth correct some faults more fervently, some faults she suffereth again through mansuetude and meekness; some wittingly and willingly she doth wink at and dissemble; that many times the evil, which she doth detest, through bearing and dissembling she may stop and bridle.
All they therefore which are come to the faith, must be admonished that they commit no such offense. Which thing if they do, they are to be deprived of the communion of the Lord’s body and blood. For like as in them that fell through ignorance, their default in this case is tolerable; so in them again it is strenuously to be prosecuted, who knowing they do naught, yet fear not to commit.” Eighth Interrogation: —”Item, in this I desire to be satisfied, after what manner I should deal or do with the bishops of France and of Britain?” Answer: —”As touching the bishops in France, I give you no authority of power over them. For the bishop of Arles hath of old time received the pall of our predecessors, whom now we ought not to deprive, of his authority. Therefore, when your brotherhood shall go unto the province of France, whatsoever ye shall have there to do with the bishop of Aries, so do, that he lose nothing of that which he hath found and obtained of the ancient ordinance of our fore elders. But as concerning the bishops of Britain, we commit them all to your brotherhood; that the ignorant may be taught, the infirm by persuasion may be confirmed, the wilful by authority may be corrected. Ninth Interrogation: —”Whether a woman being great with child, ought to be baptized? Or, after she hath had children, after how long time she ought to enter into the church? Or else, that which she hath brought forth, lest it should be prevented with death, after how many days it ought to receive baptism? Or after how long time after her child-birth is it lawful for her husband to resort to her? Or else, if she be in her monthly courses after the disease of women, whether then she may enter into the church, and receive the sacrament of the holy communion? Or else her husband, after the lying with his wife, whether is it lawful for him to enter the church, and to draw unto the mystery of the holy communion, before he be washed with water?— All which things must be declared and opened to the rude multitude of Englishmen.” Answer: — The childing or bearing woman, why may she not be baptized, seeing that the fruitfulness of the flesh is no fault before the eyes of Almighty God? For our first parents in Paradise, after they had transgressed, lost their immortality which they had received before, by the just judgment of God. Then, because Almighty God would not mankind utterly to perish because of his fall (although he lost now his immortality for his trespass), of his benign pity, he left to him, notwithstanding, the fruit and generation of issue. Wherefore the issue and generation of man’s nature, which is conserved by the gift of Almighty God, how can it be debarred from the grace of holy baptism? f1791 “As concerning the churching of women, after they have travailed, whereas ye demand after how many days they ought to go to the church, this you have learned in the old law, that for a man-child thirty-three days, after a woman-child sixty and six days be appointed her to keep in: albeit this you must take to be understood in a mystery. For if she should, the very hour of her travail, enter into the church to give thanks, she committeth therein no sin: for why? the lust and pleasure of the flesh, and not the travail and pain of the flesh, is the sin. In the conjunction of the flesh is pleasure, but in the travail and bringing forth of the child is pain and groaning: as unto the mother of all it is said, ‘In sorrow thou shalt travail.’ Therefore, if we forbid the woman after her labor to enter into the church, then what do we else but make a crime of the very punishment? For a woman after her labor to be baptized (if present necessity of death doth so require), yea, in the selfsame hour that she hath brought forth; or that which she hath brought forth, in the same hour when it is born, to be baptized—we do not forbid. “Moreover, for the man to company with his wife, that he must not do before the child that is born be weaned. But now there is a lewd and naughty custom risen in the condition of married folks, that mothers do contemn to nurse their own children which they have borne, but set them to other women out to nurse, which seemeth only to come of the cause of incontinency; for because they will not contain themselves, therefore they put from them their children to nurse, etc. “As concerning the woman in her menstruous course, whether she ought to enter the church? To this I answer, she ought not to be forbid. For the superfluity of nature in her ought not to be imputed for any fault, neither is it just that she should be deprived of her access to the church, for that which she suffered against her will.
And if the woman did well, presuming in touching the Lord’s coat in the time of her bloody issue; why then may not that be granted unto all women infirmed by the fault of nature, which is commended in one person done in her infirmity? Therefore to receive the mystery of the holy communion, it is not forbidden them. Albeit if she dare not so far presume in her great infirmity, she is to be praised; but if she do receive, she is not to be judged: for it is a point of a good mind in some manner to acknowledge faults there, where is no fault, because many times that is done without fault, which cometh of fault—as when we be hungry, we eat without fault, notwithstanding it cometh by the fault of our first father to us, that we are hungry, etc. “Whereas ye ask, if a man after the company with his wife may resort to the church, or to the holy communion, before he be purged with water? the law given to the old people, commanded that a man (after the company with his wife) both should be purified with water, and also should tarry the sunset before he came to the congregation. Which seemeth to be understood spiritually: for then most true it is, that the man companieth with the woman, when his mind through delectation is led to unlawful concupiscence in his imagination. At that time, before the said fire of concupiscence shall be removed, let the person think himself unworthy the entrance to the congregation, through the viciousness of his filthy will. But of this matter sundry nations have every one their sundry customs; some one way, and some another. The ancient manner of the Romans from our forefathers, hath been, that in such case, first they purge themselves with water, then, for a little, they abstain reverently, and so resort to the church,” etc.
After many other words debated of this matter, thus he inferreth: “But if any person not for voluptuousness of the flesh, but for procreation of children, do company with his wife, that man concerning either the coming to the church, or the receiving the mysteries of the Lord’s body and blood, is to be left to his own judgment; for he ought not to be forbid of us to come, who, when he lieth in the fire, will not burn,” etc.
To return now to the story again: Gregory, after he had sent these resolutions to the questions of Augustine, sendeth moreover to the church of England more coadjutors and helpers; as Mellitus, Justus, Pauline, and Rufinian, with books and such other implements as he thought necessary for the English church. He sendeth, moreover, to the aforesaid Augustine a pall, with letters, wherein he setteth an order between the two metropolitan sees, the one to be at London, the other to be at York.
Notwithstanding, he granteth to the said Augustine during his life, to be the only chief archbishop of all the land; and, after his time, then to return to the two foresaid sees of London and York, as is in the same letter contained, the tenor whereof here followeth in his own words, as ensueth.
THE COPY OF THE EPISTLE OF GREGORY, SENT TO AUGUSTINE INTO ENGLAND. F1794 To the reverend and virtuous brother Augustine, his fellow bishop, Gregory the servant of the servants of God. Although it be most certain, that unspeakable rewards of the Eternal King be laid up for all such as labor in the word of the Almighty God; yet it shall be requisite for us to reward the same also with our benefits, to the end they may be more encouraged to go forward in the study of their spiritual work. And forsomuch now, as the new church of Englishmen is brought to the grace of Almighty God, through his mighty help and your travail, therefore we have granted to you the use of the pall, only to be used at the solemnity of your mass: so that it shall be lawful for you to ordain twelve bishops, who shall be subject to your jurisdiction. So that hereafter always the bishop of the city of London shall be consecrated by his own proper synod; and receive the pall of honor from this holy and apostolic see, wherein I here (by the permission of God) do serve. And as touching the city of York, we would have you send also a bishop thither, whom you may think meet to ordain; yet so, that, if that city with other places bordering thereby shall receive the word of God, he shall have power likewise to ordain twelve bishops, and have the honor of a metropolitan; to whom also, if God spare my life, I intend (by the favor of God) to send a pall: this provided, that, notwithstanding, he shall be subject to your brotherly authority. But after your’ decease, the same metropolitan shall preside so over the bishops whom he ordereth, that he be in no wise subject to the metropolitan of London after you. And hereafter, betwixt these two metropolitans of London and York, let there be had such distinction of honor, that he shall have the precedence, which shall in time first be ordained. But with common counsel, and affection of heart, let them go both together, disposing with one accord such things as be to be done for the zeal of Christ; let them forethink and deliberate together prudently; and what they deliberate wisely, let them accomplish concordly, not jarring, nor swerving one from the other. But as for your part, you shall be endued with authority; not only over those bishops that you constitute, and over the others constituted by the bishop of York; but also you shall have all other priests of whole Britain subject unto you, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ: to the end that through your preaching and holiness of life, they may learn both to believe rightly, and to live purely; and so, in directing their life both by the rule of true faith and virtuous manners, they may attain, when God shall call them, the fruition and kingdom of Heaven. God preserve you in health, most reverend brother.
The thirteenth before the kalends of July, in the ninteenth year of the reign of our most pious lord and emperor Maurice, the eighteenth year after the consulship of our said lord. The fourth indiction.
Besides this, the said Gregory sendeth also another letter to Mellitus concerning his judgment, what was to be done with the idolatrous temples and fanes of the Englishmen newly converted; which fanes he thinketh not best to pluck down, but to convert the use thereof, and so let them stand: and likewise of their sacrifices, and killing of oxen, how the same ought to be ordered, and how to be altered; disputing by the occasions thereof, of the sacrifices of the old Egyptians, permitted of God unto the Israelites, the end and use thereof being altered, etc. f1795 He sendeth also another letter to the aforesaid Augustine, wherein he warneth him not to be proud or puffed up for the miracles wrought of God by him, in converting the people of England; but rather to fear and tremble, lest so much as he were puffed up by the outward work of miracles, so much he should fall inwardly through the vain glory of his heart: and therefore wisely exhorteth him to repress the swelling glory of his heart, with the remembrance of his sins rather against God, whereby he rather hath cause to lament than to rejoice for the others. “Not all the elect of God,” saith he, “work miracles; and yet have they all their names written in the book of life.” And therefore he should not count so much of those miracles done, but rather rejoice with the disciples of Christ, and labor to have his name written in the book of life, wherein all the elect of God be contained, neither is there any end of that rejoicing. And whatsoever miracles it hath pleased God by him to have been done, he should remember they were not done for him, but for their conversion, whose salvation God sought thereby, etc. f1796 Item, he directed another epistle to king Ethelbert, as is expressed at large in the chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon, in the which epistle, first he praiseth God, then commendeth the goodness of the king, by whom it pleased God so to work such goodness to the people. Secondly, he exhorteth him to persist and continue in the godly profession of Christ’s faith, and to be fervent and zealous in the same; in converting the multitude; in destroying the temples and works of idolatry; in ruling and governing the people in all holiness and godly conversation, after the godly example of the emperor Constantine the Great. Lastly, comforting him with the promises of life and reward to come, with the Lord that reigneth and liveth for ever; premonishing him, besides, of the terrors and distresses that shall happen, though not in his days, yet before the terrible day of God’s judgment. Wherefore he willeth him always to be solicitous for his soul, and suspectful of the hour of his death, and watchful of the judgment, that he may be always prepared for the same, when that judgment shall come. In the end, he desireth him to accept such presents and gifts which he thought good to send unto him from Rome, etc.
Augustine thus receiving his pall from Gregory, as is above said, and now of a monk being made an archbishop (after he had baptized a great part of Kent), afterward made two archbishops or metropolitans by the commandment of Gregory, as witnesseth Polychronicon, one at London, another at York. f1798 Mellitus, of whom mention is made before, was sent specially to the East Saxons in the province of Essex, where, afterwards, he was made bishop of London, under Sebert, king of Essex; which Sebert, together with his uncle Ethelbert, first builded the church and minster of St. Paul, London, and appointed it to Mellitus for the bishop’s see. Augustine (associate with this Mellitus and Justus) through the help of Ethelbert assembled and gathered together the bishops and doctors of Britain in a place, which, taking the name of the said Augustine, was called Augustine’s Oak. In this assembly he charged the said bishops, that they should preach with him the word of God to the Englishmen, and also that they should among themselves reform certain rites and usages in their church; specially for keeping of their Easter-tide, baptizing after the manner of Rome, and such other like. To this the Scots and Britons would not agree, refusing to leave the custom which they so long time had continued, without the assent of them all which used the same. Here the stories both of Beda, f1799 Cestrensis in Polychronicon, Henry of Huntingdon, Jornalensis, f1800 Fabian, and others, write of a certain miracle wrought upon a blind Englishman; whom when the Britons could not help, Augustine, kneeling down and praying, restored the blind man to sight before them all, for a confirmation (as these authors say) of his opinion in keeping of Easter.
Then Augustine gathered another synod, to the which came seven bishops of Britain, with the wisest men of that famous abbey of Bangor. But first they took counsel of a certain wise and holy man amongst them what to do; and whether they should be obedient to Augustine or not. And he said, “If he be the servant of God, agree unto him.” “But how shall we know that?” said they. To whom he answered again, “If he be meek and humble of heart, by that know that he is the servant of God.” To this they said again, “And how shall we know him to be humble and meek of heart?” “By this.” quoth he, “seeing you are the greater number, if he at your coming into your synod rise up, and courteously receive you, perceive him to be an humble and a meek man; but if he shall contemn and despise you (being as ye are the greater part), despise you him again.” Thus the British bishops entering into the council, Augustine, after the Romish manner, keeping his chair, would not remove. Whereat they being not a little offended, after some heat of words, in disdain and great displeasure, departed thence. To whom then Augustine spake, and said, “That if they would not take peace with their brethren, they should receive war with their enemies; and if they disdained to preach with them the way of life to the English nation, they should suffer by their hands the revenge of death.”
Which not long after so came to pass by the means of Ethelfrid, king of Northumberland, who being yet a pagan, and stirred with fierce fury against the Britons, came with a great army against the city of Chester, where Brocmaile, the consul of that city, a friend and helper of the Britons’ side, was ready with his force to receive him. There was at the same time at Bangor in Wales an exceeding great monastery, wherein was such a number of monks, as Geoffrey with other authors do testify, f1803 that if the whole company were divided into seven parts, in every of the seven parts were contained not so few as three hundred monks; which all did live by the sweat of their brows, and labor of their own hands, having one for their ruler, named Dino. Out of this monastery came the monks to Chester, to pray for the good success of Brocmaile, fighting for them against the Saxons. Three days they continued in fasting and prayer.
When Ethelfrid, the foresaid king, seeing them so attentive to their prayers, demanded the cause of their coming thither in such a company, and when he perceived it was to pray for their consul, “Then,” saith he, “although they bear no weapon, yet they fight against us, and with their prayers and preachings they persecute us.” Whereupon, after that Brocmaile, being overcome, did flee away, the king commanded his men to turn their weapons against the silly unarmed monks, of whom he slew the same time, or rather martyred, twelve hundred , a116 only fifty persons of that number did fly and escape away with Brocmaile; the rest were all slain.
The authors that write of:this lamentable murder, declare and say how the fore-speaking of Augustine was here verified upon the Britons; who, because they would not join peace with their friends, he said, should be destroyed of their enemies. Of both these parties the reader may judge what he pleaseth; I cannot see but both together were to be blamed. And as I cannot but accuse the one, so I cannot defend the other. First, Augustine in this matter can in no wise be excused; who, being a monk before, and therefore a scholar and professor of humility, showed so little humility in this assembly, to seven bishops and an archbishop, coming at his commandment to the council, that he thought scorn once to stir at their coming in. Much less would his pharisaical solemnity have girded himself, and washed his brethren’s feet after their travel, as Christ, our great Master, did to his disciples; seeing his lordship was so high, or rather so heavy, or rather so proud, that he could not find in his heart to give them a little moving of his body, to declare a brotherly and an humble heart.
Again, the Britons were as much or more to blame, who so much neglected their spiritual duty, in revenging their temporal injury, that they denied to join their helping labor to turn the idolatrous Saxons to the way of life and salvation, in which respect all private cases ought to give place, and to be forgotten. For the which cause, although lamentable to us, yet no great marvel in them, if the stroke of God’s punishment did light upon them, according to the words of Augustine, as is before declared. But especially the cruel king in this fact was most of all to blame, so furiously to fly upon them, which had neither weapon to resist him, nor yet any will to harm him. And so likewise the same or like happened to himself afterward. For so was he also slain in the field by christian Edwin, who succeeded him, as he had slain the Christians before, which was about the year of our Lord 610. But to return to Augustine again, who by report of authors was departed before this cruelty was done; after he had baptized and christened ten thousand Saxons or Angles in the west river, that is called Swale, beside York, on a Christmas-day, perceiving his end to draw near, he ordained a successor, named Laurence, to rule after him the archbishop’s see of Canterbury . a117 Where note by the way, christian reader, that whereas Augustine baptized then in rivers, it followeth there was then no use of fonts. Again, if that be true which Fabian saith, that he baptized ten thousand in one day, the rite then of baptizing at Rome was not so ceremonial, neither had so many trinkets at that time, as it hath had since, or else it could not be that he could baptize so many in one day.
In the mean season, about this time departed Gregory, bishop of Rome; of whom it is said, that of the number of all the ‘first bishops before him in the primitive time, he was the basest; of all of them that came after him, he was the best. About which time also died in Wales, David, archbishop first of Caerleon, who then translated the see from thence to Menevia, which therefore is called St. David’s in Wales. Not long after this also deceased the aforesaid Augustine in England, after he had sat there fifteen or sixteen years; by the which count we may note it not to be true, what Henry of Huntingdon and others do witness, that Augustine was dead before that battle of Ethelfrid against the monks of Bangor. For if that be true which Polychronicon testifieth of this murder, to be done about the year of our Lord 609, and the coming of Augustine first into the realm to be in the year 596, then Augustine enduring sixteen years, could not be dead at this battle. Moreover, Geoffrey of Monmouth declareth concerning the same battle, that Ethelbert, the king of Kent, being (as is said) converted by Augustine to Christ’s faith, after he saw the Britons to disdain and deny their subjection unto Augustine, neither would assist him with preaching to the English nation—therefore stirred up the foresaid Ethelfrid to war against the Britons. But that seemeth rather suspicious than true, that he being a christian king, either could so much prevail with a pagan idolater, or else would attempt so far to commit such a cruel deed; but of uncertain things I have nothing certainly to say, much less to judge.
About this present time above prefixed, which is the year 610, I read in the story of Ranulphus Cestrensis (the writer of Polychronicon) of John the patriarch of Alexandria, whom for his rare example of hospitality and bountifulness to the poor, I thought no less worthy to have place amongst good men, than I see the same now to be followed of few. This John (being before belike a hard and sparing man) as he was at his prayer, upon a time, it is said, there appeared to him a comely virgin, having on her head a garland of olive leaves, who named herself Mercy, saying to him, and proraising, that if he would take her to wife, he should prosper well. This, whether it were true or not, or else invented for a morality, I would wish this flourishing damsel to be married to more than to this John, that she should not live so long a virgin as now she doth, because no man will marry her. But to return to this patriarch, who after that day (as the story recordeth) was so merciful and so beneficial, especially to the poor and needy, that he counted them as his masters, and himself as a servant and steward unto them: this patriarch was wont commonly twice a week to sit at his door all the day long, to take up matters, and to set unity where was any variance. One day it happened, as he was sitting all the day before his gate, and saw no man come, he lamented that all that day he had done no good: to whom his deacon standing by answered again, that he had more cause to rejoice, seeing he had brought the city in that order and in such peace, that there needed no reconcilement amongst them. Another time, as the said John the patriarch was at service, and reading the gospel in the church, the people (as their used manner is) went out of the church to talk and jangle: he, perceiving that, went out likewise, and sat amongst them; whereat they marvelled to see him do so. “My children,” said he, “where the flock is, there ought the shepherd to be: wherefore either come you in, that I may also come in with you; or else, if you tarry out, I will likewise tarry out together with you,” etc.
As touching the acts and deeds of Gregory above mentioned, how he withstood the ambitious pride of John, patriarch of Constantinople, who would be the universal priest, and only chief bishop of all others, declaring him to be no less than the forerunner of Antichrist, that would take that name upon him; and how and with what reasons he answered again the letters of the emperor Maurice in that behalf, sufficient relation is made thereof in the first entry and beginning of this history. This Gregory, among many other things induced into the church (the specialties whereof hereafter shall follow, Christ willing, more at large), first began and brought in this title among the Roman bishops, to be called, “Servus servorum Dei;” putting them in remembrance thereby, both of their humbleness, and also of their duty in the church of Christ. Moreover, as concerning his act for the single life of priests, first began and then broken again; also concerning the order of Gregory’s Mass-book to be received in all churches, hereof whoso listeth to read more, shall find the same in other places hereafter; namely, when we come to the time of pope Adrian the first.
After the death of Gregory above-mentioned, first came Sabinian, who, as he was a malicious detractor of Gregory and of his works, so he continued not long, scarce the space of two years. After whom succeeded next Boniface III., who, albeit he reigned but one year, yet in that one year did more hurt than Gregory with so much labor, and in so many years, could do good before. For that which Gregory kept out, he brought in, obtaining of Phocas the wicked emperor, for him and his successors after him, that the see of Rome, above all other churches, should have the preeminence; and that the bishop of Rome should be the universal head through all churches of Christ in Christendom: alleging for him this frivolous reason, that St. Peter had and left to his successors in Rome, the keys of binding and loosing. And thus Rome first began to take a head above all other churches, by the means of Boniface III., who, as he lacked no boldness nor ambition to seek it, so neither lacked he an emperor fit and meet to give such a gift. This emperor’s name was Phocas, a man of such wickedness and ambition (most like to his own bishop Boniface) that, to aspire to the empire, he murdered his own master, the emperor Maurice, and his children. Thus Phocas coming up to be emperor, after his detestable villany done, thinking to establish his empire with friendship and favor of his people, and especially with the bishop of Rome, quickly condescended to all his petitions, and so granted him (as it is said) to be what he would,rathe universal and head bishop over all christian churches.
But as blood commonly requireth blood again, so it came to pass on the said Phocas; for, as he had cruelly slain his lord and emperor Maurice before, so he, in like manner, of Heraclius (the emperor who succeeded him) had his hands and feet cut off, and so was cast into the sea. And thus wicked Phocas, which gave the first supremacy to Rome, lost his own. But Rome would not so soon lose its supremacy once given, as the giver lost his life: for ever since, from that day it hath holden, defended, and maintained the same still, and yet doth to this present day, by all force and policy possible. And thus much concerning Boniface, whom, by the words of Gregory, we may well call “the runner before antichrist;” for, as Gregory brought in their style, “Servus servorum Dei;” this Boniface brought in their heads first, “Volumus ac mandamus, statuimus ac praecipimus:” that is, “We will and command, we enjoin and charge you,” etc.
Mention was made a little before, of Ethelbert, king of Kent, and also of Ethelfrid, king of North-Saxony or Northumbria. This Ethelbert, having under his subjection all the other Saxon kings unto the Humber, after he had first received himself, and caused to be received of others, the christian faith by the preaching of Augustine, confirmed afterward in the same faith, amongst other costly deeds, with the help of Sebert king of Essex, his nephew, then reigning under him, began the foundation of Paul’s church within the city of London, and ordained it for the bishop’s see of London. For the archbishop’s see, which before-time had been at London, was by Augustine and this Ethelbert, at the prayer of the citizens of Canterbury, translated to the said city. Wherefore such authors as say that Paul’s was builded by Sebert say not amiss: which Sebert was the king of Essex, in which province standeth the city of London. This Ethelbert also founded the church of St. Andrew in the city of Dorubrevi in Kent, now called Rochester of one Rof, distant from Canterbury four and twenty miles. Of this city Justus was bishop, ordained before by Augustine. Moreover, the forenamed Ethelbert stirred up a dweller or citizen of London, to make a chapel or church of St. Peter in the west end of London (then called Thorny, now the town of Westminster), which church or chapel was after by Edward the Confessor enlarged or new builded: lastly, of Henry III. it was newly again re — EDified, and made, as it is now, a large monastery. After these christian and worthy acts, this Ethelbert, when he had reigned the course of fifty and six years, changed this mortal life about the year of our Lord, 616; whom some stories say to be slain in a fight between him and Ethelfrid king of North-Saxons.
In the mean time the foresaid Ethelfrid, king of Northumberland, after the cruel murder of the monks of Bangor, escaped not long unpaid his hire: for after he had reigned four and twenty years he was slain in the field by Edwin, who succeeded in Northumberland after him.
This Edwin, being the son, not of Ethelfrid (as Geoffrey of Monmouth saith) but rather of Ella (as Giraldus Cambrensis seemeth to witness more truly), was first a paynim or idolater; afterward by Paulinus was christened, and the first christened king in Northumberland. The occasion of which his calling or conversion, as is in sundry stories contained, was this.
Edwin being yet a pagan, married the daughter of Ethelbert, king of Kent, called Ethelburga, a christian woman, otherwise called Tate. But before this marriage, Edwin being yet young, Ethelfrid the king, conceiving envy against him, persecuted him so sore, that he was forced to fly to Redweld, king of East-Angles, as in the table of the kings is expressed; the which Redweld, what for fear, what with bribes, being corrupted of Ethelfrid, at length privily had intended to have betrayed Edwin. But, as God’s will was, Edwin, having warning thereof by a secret friend of his, was moved to fly, and to save himself; being promised also of his friend to be safely conveyed away, if he would thereto agree. To whom Edwin said, “Whither shall I fly, that have so long fled from the hands of mine enemies, through all provinces of the realm? and if I must needs be slain, I had rather he should do it, than another unworthy person.” Thus he remaining by himself alone and solitary, sitting in a great study, there appeared unto him suddenly a certain stranger to him unknown, and said, “I know well the cause of thy thought and heaviness. What wouldst thou give him that should deliver thee out ,of this fear, and should reconcile king Redwald to thee again?” “I would give him,” said Edwin, “all that I ever could make.”
And, he said again, “And what if he make thee a mightier king than was any of thy progenitors?” He answered again as before. “Moreover,” saith he, “and what if he show thee a better kind and way of life, than ever was showed to any of thine ancestors before thee, wilt thou obey him and do after his counsel?” “Yea,” said Edwin, promising most firmly with all his heart so to do. Then he, laying his hand upon his head: “When,” said he, “this token happeneth unto thee, then remember this time of thy tribulation, and the promise which thou hast made, and the word which now I say unto thee.” And with that he vanished out of his sight suddenly.
After this so done, as Edwin was sitting alone by himself pensive and sad, his foresaid friend, which moved him before to fly, cometh to him, bidding him be of good cheer; “For the heart,” said he, “of king Redwald, which had before intended thy destruction, is now altered through the counsel of the queen, and is fully bent to keep his promise with you, whatsoever shall fall thereupon.” To make the story short, Redwald the king f1820 (although Fabian, following Henry of Huntingdon, saith it was Edwin) with all convenient speed assembled a host, wherewith he, suddenly coming upon Ethelfrid, gave battle to him about the borders of Mercia, where Ethelfrid, king of Northumberland, with Reignher, Redwald’s son, was slain in the field. By reason whereof, Edwin (his enemies now being destroyed) was quietly placed in the possession of Northumberland. All this while yet Edwin remained in his old paganism; albeit his queen, king Ethelbert’s daughter, a christian woman (as is above declared), with Paulinus the bishop, ceased not to stir and persuade the king to christian faith. But he, taking counsel with his nobles and counsellors upon the matter, was hard to be won. Then the Lord, who disposeth all things after his purpose, to bring all good things to pass, sent another trouble upon him, by means thereof to call him: for by affliction God useth commonly to call them whom he will save, or by whom he will work salvation unto others. So his divine wisdom thinketh good to make them first to know themselves, before they come to know him, or to teach him to others. So it was with Paul (who was stricken down before he was lifted up); with Constantine, Edwin, and many more. How long was Joseph in prison before he bare rule! How hardly escaped this our queen now being (queen Elizabeth), by whom, notwithstanding, it hath pleased God to restore this his gospel now preached amongst us! In what conflicts and agonies inwardly in his spirit was Martin Luther, before he came to preach the justification of Christ openly! And so be all they most commonly, which come to any lively feeling or sensible working of Christ the Lord.
But to return to Edwin again. The occasion of his trouble was this.
Quiceline with Kinegils his brother, kings of West-Saxons (as above is mentioned in the table of the Saxon kings), conspiring the death of Edwin, now king of Northumberland, upon envy and malice sent upon an Easter day a sword-man, named Eomer, privily to slay the said Edwin.
F1824 This sword-man or cut-throat came to a city beside the water of Derwent in Derbyshire, there to wait his time; and lastly, found the king smally accompanied, and intended to have run the king through with a sword envenomed. But one Lilla, the king’s trusty servant, disgarnished of a shield or other weapon to defend his master, started between the king and the sword, and was stricken through the body, and died; and the king was wounded with the same stroke. And after, he wounded also the third, which was a knight; and so was taken, and confessed by whom he was sent to work that treason. The other knight that was secondly wounded, died; and the king lay long after sick, ere he were healed. F1826 After this, about Whitsuntide, the king being scantly whole of his wound, assembled his host, intending to make war against the king of West-Saxons, promising to Christ to be christened, if he would give him victory over his enemies: and in token thereof caused his daughter, named Eanfleda, born of Ethelburga, the same Easter day when he was wounded, to be baptized of Paulinus, with twelve others of his family. Thus Edwin proceeded to the battle against Quiceline, and Kinegils with his son Kenwalc, and other enemies; who in the same battle being all vanquished and put to flight, Edwin, through the power of Christ, returneth home victor. But for all this victory and other things given to him of God, as he was in wealth with the world, he forgat his promise made, and had little mind thereof, save only that he, by the preaching of Paulinus, forsook his maumetry; and for his excuse said, that he might not clearly deny his old law, which his forefathers had kept so long, and suddenly be christened without authority and good advice of his council. F1827 About the same season pope Boniface the fifth sent also to the said Edwin letters exhortstory, with sundry presents from Rome to him, and to Ethelburga the queen: but neither would that prevail. Then Paulinus seeing the king so hard to be converted, poured out his prayers unto God for his conversion; who the same time had revealed to him, by the Holy Ghost, the oracle above mentioned, which was showed to the king when he was with Redwald, king of the East-Angles. Whereupon Paulinus, coming after to the king on a certain day, and laying his hand upon the king’s head, asked him if he knew that token. The king hearing this, and remembering well the token, was ready to fall down at his feet. But Paulinus, not suffering that, did lift him up again, saying unto him, “Behold, O king, you have vanquished your enemies, you have obtained your kingdom; now perform the third thing, which you promised, that is, to receive the faith of Christ, and to be obedient to him.” Whereupon the king, conferring with his council and his nobles, was baptized of Paulinus at York, f1830 with many of his other subjects with him; insomuch that Coifi, the chief of the prelates of his old maumetry, armed himself with his idolatrous bishops, and bestrode a stallion, which before, by their old law, they might not do, nor ride but only a mare: and so destroyed he all the altars of the maumetry, and their temple of idols, which was at Godmundham, not far from York. And this was in the eleventh year of his reign. f1832 From that time forth, during the life of Edwin, which was the term of six years more, Paulinus christened continually in the rivers of Gwenie f1833 and. Swala, in both provinces of Bernicia, and Deira; using the said rivers for his fonts, and preached in the shire of Lindsey, where he builded also a church of stone at Lincoln. f1835 This Paulinus was the first archbishop of York, and as he was of Just;us, archbishop of Canterbury, ordained archbishop of the see of York, so he again, after the decease of Justus, ordained Honorius to be archbishop of Canterbury. f1836 In this time was so great peace in the kingdom of Edwin after his conversion, that a woman laden with gold might have gone from the one sea-side to the other, and no man molest her. Moreover, by the highway sides, through all his kingdom, he caused by every well or spring to be chained a dish or bowl of brass, to take up water for the refreshing of such as went by the way, which bowls of brass there remained safe, that no man touched them during all the life of the said Edwin. Such was then the tender care and study of christian princes, for the refreshing of their subjects. But that was then the brasen world, which now is grown to iron and lead, called oetas ferrea , or rather plumbea.
This Edwin who first brought in the faith in the north parts, continuing after his baptism six years, at length was slain in battle by Cadwalla, king of the Britons, and by wicked Penda, king of the Mercians, with his son Osfrid also, in the field called Hatfield. F1838 Paulinus, after the death of godly Edwin, seeing unmerciful Cadwalla or Cadwallo, with his Britons, and wicked Penda, with the idolatrous Mercians, to spoil the land in such sort, as they made no spare neither of age, nor sex, nor religion, was compelled to fly with Ethelburga, the queen, and Eanfleda, her daughter, by water into Kent, where the said archbishop Paulinus remained bishop of Rochester the said space of nineteen years.
F1839 And so the church of Northumberland lacked a bishop for the space of thirty years after. Notwithstanding he left there one James his deacon, a good man, who continued there baptizing and preaching in the north parts, till that, peace being recovered, and the number of the faithful increasing, the church came again to his stay. F1840 By means of this Edwin, Erpwald, king of the East-Angles, son to Redwald above-mentioned, was reduced to Christ’s faith. F1841 After the decease of Edwin and his son Osfrid, both slain in battle, reigned Osric and Eanfrid, the one in Deira, the other in Bernicia. Osric was the son of Elfric, who was uncle to Edwin. Eanfrid was the eldest son of Ethelfrid; for Ethelfrid had three sons, to wit, Eanfrid, Oswald, and Osric.
These two kings of Deira and Bernicia, Osric and Eanfrid, being first christened in Scotland, after being kings returned to their idolatry; and so in the year following were slain, one after the other, by the aforesaid Cadwalla and wicked Penda, as in the table above expressed.
After whom succeeded, in Northumberland, the second son of Ethelfrid, named Oswald, having rule on both the provinces, as well Deira as Bernicia. Whereof when the aforesaid Cadwalla, or Cadwallo, the British king, had understanding (who before had made havoc of the Saxons, and thought to have rooted them utterly out of England), he kept king Penda with a mighty host of the Britons, thinking to slay also Oswald, as he had before slain his brother Eanfrid, and king Edwin before them. But Oswald, when he was warned of the great strength of this Cadwalla and Penda, made his prayers to God, and besought him meekly of help to withstand his enemy, for the salvation of his people. Thus after Oswald had prayed for the saving of his people, the two hosts met in a field named Denesesburn, some say Hevenfield, where was fought a strong battle. But finally, the army and power of Penda and Cadwalla, which were far exceeding the number of Oswald’s host, was chased, and most part slain of Oswald. Cadwalla himself, also, was there slain, after he had reigned over the Britons two and twenty years, leaving after him a son, whom Geoffrey calleth Cadwallader, the last king of the Britons. F1844 Of this Oswald much praise and commendation is written in authors, for his fervent zeal in Christ’s religion, and merciful pity towards the poor; with other great virtues more. As touching the miracles of St. Oswald, what it pleased the people of that time to report of him, I have not here to affirm. This I find in stories certain, that he, being well and virtuously disposed to the setting forth of Christ’s faith and doctrine, sent into Scotland for a certain bishop there called Aidan, who was a famous preacher. The king at what time he was in Scotland banished, had learned the Scottish tongue perfectly: wherefore as this Aidan preached in his Scottish tongue to the Saxons, the king himself interpreting that which he had said, disdained not to preach and expound the same unto his nobles and subjects in the English tongue.
Moreover, towards the poor and needy his pity and tenderness was such, being notwithstanding of so high and princely calling, that upon a time being then Easter-day, he, sitting with the said Aidan at meat, and served after the manner of kings in silver, there cometh to him one of the servitors, bringing him word that there was a great multitude of poor people sitting in the street, which desired some alms; of the king. He, hearing this, commandeth not only the meat prepared for his own table to be carried to them, but also taking a silver platter which stood before him, brake it in pieces, and sent it amongst them, and so relieved his poor subjects, not only with the meat of his table, but with his dishes also.
Aidan the bishop, seeing this and marvelling thereat, taketh him by the hand, wishing and praying in this wise: “This hand,” saith he, “I pray God may continue, and never putrefy.” F1845 What the stories say more concerning this hand of Oswald, I intend not to meddle further, than simple, true, and due probability will bear me out. In those days, and partly by the means of the said Oswald, Kinigils, king of the West-Saxons, was converted to Christ’s faith; especially through the godly labor of Birinus, who was sent by pope Honorins to preach in England, and was then made bishop of Dorchester. F1846 To whom Quiceline, brother of Kinigils, after he had also received baptism of the said Birinus, gave to him the said city to make there his see. And as Guido witnesseth, the said Quiciline gave after to the bishop of Winchester seven miles compass of land, to build there the bishop’s see; the which was accomplished and finished by Kenwalc, his son. F1848 Of this Birinus Malmesbury and Polychronicon, with divers other writers, do report a thing strange and miraculous; which if it be a fable, as no doubt it is, I cannot but marvel that so many authors so constantly agree in reporting and affirming the same. F1850 The matter is this: This Birinus, being sent (as is said) by Honorins to preach in England, promiseth him to travel to the uttermost borders thereof, and there to preach the gospel, where the name of Christ was never heard; thus he, setting forward in his journey, passeth through France, and so to the seaside; where he found a passage ready, and the wind served so fair, that he was called upon in such haste, that he had no leisure to remember himself to take all things with him which he had to carry. At length, as he was on the sea sailing, and, almost in the middle course of his passage, he remembered himself of a certain relic left behind him for haste, which Honorins had given him at his coming out. William of Malmesbury calleth it “Corporalia;” Histotis Jornalensis calleth it “Pallulam super quam corpus Christi consecraret,” which we call a corporas, or such a like thing; and what else enclosed within it, I cannot tell. Here Birinus, in great sorrow, could not tell what to do: if he should have spoken to the heathen mariners to turn their course back again, they would have mocked him, and it had been in vain. Wherefore, as the stories write, he boldly steppeth into the sea, and walking on foot back again, taketh with him that which was left behind, and so returneth to his company again, having not one thread of his garments wet. F1851 Of this miracle, or whether I should call it a fable rather, let the reader judge as he thinketh; because it is not written in the Scrip- ture, we are not bound to believe it. But if it were true, it is then to be thought wrought of God, not for any holiness in the man or in the corporas, but a special gift for the conversion of the heathen, for whose salvation God suffereth oft many wonders to be done. This Birinus, being received in the ship again with a great admiration of the mariners, who were therewith converted and baptized, was driven at last by the weather to the coast of the West-Saxons, where Kinigils and his brother Quiciline above-mentioned did reign: which two kings the same time, by the preaching of Birinus, were converted and made christian men, with the people of the country; being before rude and barbarous. It happened the same time, when the aforesaid king should be christened, that Oswald (mentioned a little before) king of Northumberland was then present, and the same day married Kinigilsus’s daughter, and also was godfather to the king.
Thus Oswald, after he had reigned nine years in such holiness and perfectness of life as is above specified, was slain at length in the field called Marfield, by wicked Penda, king of the Mercians; which Penda, at length, after all his tyranny, was overcome and slain by Oswy, brother to Oswald, next king after Oswald of Northumberland, notwithstanding he had thrice the people which Oswy had. This Penda, being a paynim, had three sons, Wolfer, Weda, and Egfrid. F1853 To the second son Weda, Oswy had before-time married his daughter, by consent of Penda his father; the which Weda, by help of Oswy, was made king of South-Mercia, the which lordship is severed from North-Mercia by the river Trent. The same Weda, moreover, at what time he married the daughter of Oswy, promised to him that he would become a christian man; which thing he performed after the death of Penda his father: but afterward, within three years of his reign, he was, by reason of his wife, slain. And after him the kingdom fell to Wolfer, the other brother; who, being wedded to Ermenilda, daughter of Ercombert, king of Kent, was shortly after christened; so that he is counted the first christened king of Mercia. This Wolfer conquered Kenwalc, king of the West-Saxons, and got the Isle of Wight, which after he gave to Sigbert, king of the East-Angles, upon condition he would be christened. And thus the East-Angles, which before had expulsed Mellitus their bishop, as is declared, recovered again the christian faith under Sigbert their king, who, by the means of the aforesaid Wolfer, was reduced and baptized by Finian, the bishop. F1854 But to return again to Oswy, from whom we have a little digressed; of whom we showed before how he succeeded after Oswald in the province of Bernicia, to whom also was joined Oswin, his cousin, over the province of Deira, and there, with his fellow Oswy, reigned the space of seven years. This Oswin was gentle and liberal to his people, and no less devout toward God; who, upon a time, had given to Aidan, the bishop abovementioned, a princely horse with the trappers, and all that appertained thereto, because he should not so much travel on foot, but sometimes ease himself withal. F1855 Thus Aidan, the Scottish bishop, as he was riding upon his kingly horse, by the way meeteth him a certain poor man, asking and craving his charity. Aidan, having nothing else to give him, lighted down and giveth to him his horse, trapped and garnished as he was. F1856 The king understanding this, and not contented therewith, as he was entering to dinner with the said Aidan, “What meant you, father bishop,” said he, “to give away my horse I gave you, unto the beggar? Had not I other horses in my stable that might have served him well enough, but you must give away that which of purpose was picked out for you amongst the chiefest?” To whom the bishop made answer again, saying, or rather rebuking the king: “What be these words, O king,” saith he, “that you speak? Why set you more price by a horse, which is but the foal of a horse, than you do by him which is the Son of Mary, yea, which is the Son of God?” He said but this, when the king, forthwith ungirding his sword from about him (as he was then newly come in from hunting), falleth down at the feet of the bishop, desiring him to forgive him that, and he would never after speak a word to him for any treasure he should afterward give away of his. The bishop, seeing the king so meekly affected, he then taking him up, and cheering him again with words, began shortly after to weep, and to be very heavy. His minister asking the cause thereof, Aidan answered in his Scottish language, saying to him: “I weep,” saith he, “for that this king cannot live long. This people is not worthy to have such a prince as he is, to reign amongst them.” And so, as Aidan said, it came to pass: for not long after, Oswy, the king of Bernicia, disdaining at him, when Oswin either was not able, or not willing to join with him in battle, caused him traitorously to be slain. And so Oswy, with his son Egfrid, reigned in Northumberland alone.
In the time, and also in the house of this Oswy, king of Northumberland, was a certain man named Benedict, who was the bringer-up of Bede from his youth, and took him to his institution when he was but seven years old, and so taught him during his life. This Benedict or Benet, descending of a noble stock and rich kin, and in good favor with Oswy, forsook service, house, and all his kindred, to serve Christ, and went to Rome (where he had been in his lifetime five times), and brought from thence books into monasteries, with other things which he thought then to serve for devotion. This Benedict, surnamed ‘Biscop,’ was the first that brought in the art and use of glazing into this land; for, before that, glass windows were not known, either in churches of in houses.
In the reign of the aforesaid Oswy and Egfrid, his son, was Botulph, an abbot, who builded in the east part of Lincoln an abbey, Also Aidan, Finian, and Colman, three Scottish bishops of Northumberland, holy men, who held with the Britons against the Romish order for the keeping of Easter-day. Moreover, Cuthbert, Jaruman, Cedda, and Wilfrid, lived the same time; whom as I judge to be bishops of holy conversation, so I thought it sufficient here only to name them. As touching their miracles where-for they were made saints in the pope’s calendar, seeing they are not written in the gospel, nor in my creed, but in certain old chronicles of that age, so they are no matter of my faith: notwithstanding, as touching their conversation, this I read, and also do credit, that the clergy, both of Britain and England, at that time plied nothing that was worldly, but gave themselves to preaching and teaching the word of our Savior, and followed the life that they preached by giving of good example. F1860 And over that, as our histories accord, they were so void of covetousness, that they received no possessions or territories, but they were forced upon them.
About this season, or not much before, under the reign of Oswy and Oswin, kings of Northumberland, another synod or council was holden against the Britons and the Scottish bishops, for the right observing of Easter, at Streaneshalch. F1862 At that time Agilbert, bishop of the West- Saxons, came to Northumberland, to institute Wilfrid abbot of Ripon, where this question for Easter-day began to be moved: for Colman, then bishop of Northumberland, followed not the custom of Rome, nor of the Saxons, but followed the British and the Scottish bishops, his predecessors in the same see before. Thus, on the one side, was Colman, the archbishop of York, and Hilda, the abbess of Streaneshalch, which alleged for them the doings and examples of their predecessors, as Aidan and Finian, archbishops of that see of York before them, both godly and reverend bishops, and divers more, who had used always to celebrate the Easter from the 14th day of the first month, till the 20th of the same: and specially, for that St. John the evangelist, at Ephesus, kept and observed that day, etc. On the other side, was Agilbert, bishop of the West-Saxons, James, the deacon of Paulinus, above-mentioned, Wilfrid, abbot of Ripon, and king Alfrid, Oswy’s son, with his queen, holding on the same side.
The full contents of which disputation here followeth, according as in the story of Bede at large is described, with their reasons and arguments on both sides, as ensueth, etc.
The question of Easter, and of shaving, and other ecclesiastical matters, being moved, it was determined, that in the abbey which is called Streaneshalch, of the which Hilda, a devout woman, was abbess, a convocation should be had, and this question there determined. To the which place came both the kings, the father and the son, bishop Colman, with his clergy of Scotland, Agilbert, with Agatho and Wilfrid, priests.
James and Ronanus were on their sides; Hilda the abbess, with her company, was on the Scottish part; and the reverend bishop Cedda was appointed prolocutor for both parties in that parliament. King Oswy began first with an oration, declaring that it was necessary for such as served one God, to live in one uniform order; and that such as looked for one kingdom in heaven should not differ in celebration of the heavenly sacraments, but should rather seek for the true tradition, and follow the same. This said, he commanded his bishop Colman to declare what the rite and custom was in this behalf that he used, and from whence it had its original.
Then Colman, obeying his prince’s commandment, said: “The Easter which I observe, I received of my elders that sent me hither a bishop, the which all our forefathers, being men of God, did celebrate in like manner: and lest it should be contemned or despised of any man, it is manifestly apparent to be the very same which the holy evangelist St. John (a disciple especially beloved of the Lord) did accustomably use in all churches and congregations where he had authority.” F1864 When Colman had spoken many things to this effect, the king commanded Agilbert to declare his opinion in this behalf, and to show the order that he then used, from whence it came, and by what authority he observed the same. Agilbert requested the king that his scholar Wilfrid, a priest, might speak for him; inasmuch as they both were of one opinion herein with the rest of his clergy, and that the said Wilfrid could utter his mind better and more plainly in the English tongue, than he himself could by an interpreter.
F1865 Then Wilfrid, at the king’s commandment, began on this sort, and said: “The Easter which we keep, we have seen kept by all in Rome, where the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, did live and teach, did suffer and were buried. The same also is used in Italy and in France; the which countries we have traveled in for learning, and have noted it to be celebrated of them all. In Asia also, and in Africa, in Egypt and in Greece, and finally in all the world, the same manner of Easter is observed that we use, save only by these here present with their accomplices, the Picts and the Britons; the which, being the inhabitants of these two remote islands (and yet they not altogether agreeing), condescend and strive foolishly in this order against the universal world.”
To whom Colman replied, saying: “I marvel you will call this order ‘foolish’ that so great an apostle as was worthy to lie in the Lord’s lap, did use, whom all the world doth well know, to have lived most wisely.”
And Wilfrid answered, “God forbid that I should reprove St. John of folly; who kept the rites of Moses’ law according to the letter, the church being yet Jewish in many points, and the apostles not as yet able to abdicate all the observances of the law before ordained of God. As for example, they could not reject images invented of the devil (the which all men that believe on Christ, ought of necessity to forsake and detest), lest they should be an offense to those Jews that were amongst the Gentiles. For this cause did St. Paul circumcise Timothy; for this cause did he sacrifice in the temple, and did shave his head with Aquila and Priscilla, at Corinth: all which things were done to none other purpose, than to eschew the offense of the Jews. Hereupon also said James to Paul, ‘Thou seest, brother, how many thousand Jews do believe, and all these be zealous (notwithstanding) of the law. Yet seeing the gospel is so manifestly preached in the world, it is not lawful for the faithful to be circumcised, neither to offer sacrifice of carnal things to God.’
Therefore John, according to the custom of the law, the fourteenth day of the first month at evening, did begin the celebration of the feast of Easter, nothing respecting whether it were celebrated on the Saturday or any other day of the week. But Peter when he preached at Rome, remembering that the Lord did arise from death on the first day after the Sabbath, giving thereby an hope to the world of the resurrection, thought good so to institute Easter as that, after the use and precepts of the law, he waited for the rising of the moon on the fourteenth day of the first month, even as John did; and when that came, if the next day after were Sunday, which then was called the first day after the Sabbath, then did he celebrate the Easter of the Lord that very evening, like as we use to do even at this day. But if Sunday were not the next day after the fourteenth day, but fell on the sixteenth day, or seventeenth, or on any other day unto the twenty-first, he tarried always for it, and did begin the holy solemnity of Easter on the Saturday evening next before. And so it came to pass, that Easter was always kept on the Sunday, and was not celebrated but from the fifteenth moon unto the twenty-first. Neither doth this tradition of the apostle break the law, but fulfill the same. In the whichit is to be noted, that Easter was instituted from the fourteenth day of the first month at evening, unto the one and twentieth day of the same month at evening; the which manner all St. John’s successors in Asia after his death did follow, and the Catholic church throughout the whole world. And that this is the true Easter, and only of all Christians to be observed, was not newly decreed, but only confirmed, by the council of Nice; as appeareth by the ecclesiastical history. F1866 Whereupon it is manifest that you [Colman] do neither follow the example of St. John, as ye think, nor of St. Peter, whose tradition you do willingly resist, nor of the law, nor yet of the gospel, m the celebration of Easter. For St. John, observing Easter according to the precepts of the law, kept it not necessarily on the first day after the Sabbath; but you precisely keep it only on the first day after the Sabbath. Peter did celebrate Easter Sunday from the fifteenth day of the moon to the one and twentieth day, but you keep Easter from the fourteenth unto the twentieth day; so that you begin Easter oftentimes the thirteenth day at night, of which manner neither the law nor the gospel maketh any mention. But the Lord, in the fourteenth day, either did eat the old passover at night, or else did celebrate the sacrament of the New Testament, in the remembrance of his death and passion. You do also utterly, reject from. the celebration of Easter, the one and twentieth day, the which the law hath chiefly willed to be observed: and therefore, as I said, in the keeping of Easter, you neither agree with St. John, nor with Peter, nor with the law, nor yet with the gospel,” Then Colman again answered to these things, saying: “Did then Anatolius, a godly man, and one much commended in the aforesaid Ecclesiastical History, against the law and the gospel, who writeth that the Easter of our Lord was to be kept from the fourteenth day unto the twentieth? Or shall we think that Columba, our reverend father, and his successors, being men of God, who observed the Easter after this manner, did against the holy Scripture? Whereas some of them were men of such godliness and virtue, as was declared by their wonderful miracles. And I, hereby nothing doubting of their holiness, do endeavor to follow their life, order, and discipline.”
Then said Wilfrid; “It is certain that Anatolius was both a godly man, and worthy of great commendation; but what have you to do with him, seeing you observe not his order? For he, following the true rule in keeping his Easter, appointed a circle of nineteen years; the which either you know not, or if you do, you condemn the common order observed in the universal church of Christ. And moreover, the said Anatolius doth so count the fourteenth day, in the observation of Easter, as he confesseth the same to be the fifteenth day at night, after the manner of the Egyptians; and likewise noteth the twentieth day to be, in the feast of Easter, the one and twentieth when the sun had set: the which distinction that you know not, by this may appear, for that you keep Easter before the full moon, i.e. on the thirteenth day. Or otherwise I can answer you touching your father Columba and his successors, whose order, you say, you follow, moved thereto by their miracles, on this wise, ‘that the Lord will answer to many that shall say in the day of judgment, that in his name they have prophesied and cast out devils, and have done many miracles,’ etc., ‘that he never knew them.’ But God forbid that I should say so of your fathers; because it is much better to believe well of those we know not, than ill. Whereupon I deny not but they were the servants of God; and holy men, which loved the Lord of a good intent, though of a rude simplicity: and I think that the order which they used in the Easter, did not much hurt them, so long as they had none amongst them that could show them the right observation of the same for them to follow. For I think, if the truth had been declared unto them, they would as well have received it in this matter, as they did in others. But you and your fellows, if you refuse the order of the apostolical see, or rather, of the universal church, which is confirmed by the holy Scripture; without all doubt you do sin. And though your forefathers were holy men, is their fewness, being but a corner of an island, to be preferred before the universal church of Jesus Christ, dispersed throughout the whole world? F1867 And if Columba your father (and ours also, being a servant of Christ Jesus) were mighty in miracles, is he therefore to be preferred before the prince of the holy apostles? To whom the Lord said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’” Wilfrid having thus ended his argument, the king said to Colman: “Is it true, that the Lord spake these things to St. Peter?” And Colman answered, “Yea.” Then said the king, “Can you declare any such power that the Lord gave to Columba?” Colman answered, “No.” Then quoth the king, “Do both of you agree and consent in this matter without any controversy, that these words were principally spoken to Peter, and that the Lord gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven?” And they both answered, “Yea.” Then concluded the king on this wise, “Forsomuch as St.
Upon this simple and rude reason of the king, the multitude eftsoons consented, and with them also Cedda was contented to give over; only Colman the Scot, being then archbishop of York, in displeasure left the realm, and departed into Scotland, carrying with him the bones of Aidan.
F1868 And thus much concerning this matter of Easter.
After the decease of Oswy, Egfrid his son was king after him in Northumberland fifteen years. By this Egfrid Cuthbert was promoted to the bishopric of the Isle of Lindisfarne: and Wilfrid, who before had been archbishop of York, was displaced through the means of Theodore archbishop of Canterbury, and Cedda possessed that see. F1869 Wilfrid, when he was put out, went to Rome, and complained of him to Agatho the bishop, and was well allowed in some things. But the king and Theodore had there such proctors and friends, that he returned without speeding of his cause. Wherefore tie returned into the South-Saxons, and builded an abbey in Selesey, and preached unto the South-Saxons, fifteen years. The king of the South-Saxons at that time was Ethelwold, to whom we declared a little before that Wolfer king of the Mercians gave the Isle of Wight upon condition that he would be christened, and so was he baptized by Birinus; the said Wolfer being his godfather, and son-inlaw, both in one day. Wherefore Wilfrid, now being licensed by Ethelwold the king, preached unto his nobles and people of South-Sax, and converted them to Christ. In the mean time of whose baptizing, the rain which before they lacked three years together was given them plentifully, whereby their great famine slacked, and the country was made fruitful, which before was dried up with barrenness; insomuch that (as in some stories it is said) the people, penured with famine, would go forty together upon the [top of the] rocks [or] by the seaside, and taking hands together, would throw themselves down, [or into] the sea. F1875 Moreover, whereas they lacked before the art of fishing, the foresaid Wilfrid taught them how with nets to fish.
And thus by process have we discoursed from time to time how and by what means the idolatrous people were induced to the true faith of Christ; of whom the South-Saxons with the Isle of Wight were the last.
After Egfrid, who was slain in the straits of Scotland, next succeeded Alfrid his brother, and bastard son to Oswy, and reigned eighteen or nineteen years in Northumberland. This Alfrid restored again the foresaid Wilfrid to the see of York, whom his brother had before expelled and put in Cedda. Notwithstanding, the same king within five years after expulsed the said Wilfrid again, and so went he to Rome; but at length by Osred his successor was placed again in the archbishopric of York, and Cedda was by Theodore ordained bishop of Mercia. The which province of Mercia the said Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, by the authority of the synod holden at Hatfield, did after divide into five bishoprics; that is, one to Chester, the second to Worcester, the third to Lichfield, the fourth to Cederna in Lindsey, the fifth to Dorchester, which was after translated to Lincoln.
Near about this time in the year of our Lord 666, the detestable sect of Mahomet began to take strength and place. F1877 Although Polychronicon, differing a little in years, accounteth the beginning of this sect somewhat before, but the most diligent searchers of them which write now, refer it to this year, which well agreeth with the number of that beast signified in the Apocalypse, cxv that is, 666. Of this Mahomet came the kingdom of Agarens (whom he after named Saracens), to whom he gave sundry laws, patched of many sects and religions together; he taught them to pray ever to the south; and as we keep the Sunday, so they keep the Friday, which they call the day of Venus. He permitted them to have as many wives as they were able to maintain; to have as many concubines as they listed; to abstain from the use of wine, except on certain solemn days in the year; to have and worship only one God omnipotent, saying that Moses and the prophets were great men, but Christ was greater, and greatest of all the prophets, as being born of the Virgin Mary by the power of God, without man’s seed, and at last was taken up to heaven; but was not slain, but another in his likeness for him; with many other wicked blasphemies in his law contained. At length this kingdom of the Saracens began to be conquered of the Turks, and in process of time wholly subdued to them.
F1878 But now to return again to the time of our English Saxons. In this mean season Theodore was sent from Italy into England by Vitalian the pope, to be archbishop of Canterbury, and with him divers other monks of Italy, to set up here in England Latin service, masses, ceremonies, litanies, with such other Romish ware, etc. This Theodore, being made archbishop and metropolitan of Canterbury, began to play the “Rex,” placing and displacing the bishops at his pleasure. As for Cedda and Wilfrid, archbishops of York, he thrust them both out, under the pretense that they were not lawfully consecrated; notwithstanding they were sufficiently authorized by their kings, and were placed against their wills. Wherefore Wilfrid, as is before touched, went up to Rome, but could have no redress of his cause. Yet to show what modesty this Wilfrid used against his enemy, being so violently molested as he was, because the words of his complaint are expressed in William of Malmesbury, I thought here to express the same both for the commendation of the party, and also for the good example of others, in case any such there be whom good examples will move to well-doing. This Wilfrid therefore, having such injury and violence offered unto him by the hands of Theodore, although he had just cause to do his uttermost, yet in prosecuting his complaint how he tempered himself, what words of modesty he used, rather to defend his innocency than to impugn his adversary, by this his suggestion offered up to the bishop of Rome may appear; whose words in effect were these. “How it chanceth that Theodore the most holy and reverend archbishop (myself being alive in the see, which I, though unworthy, did rule and dispose) hath of his own authority, without the consent of any bishop (neither having any simple voice agreeing to the same), ordained three bishops, I had rather pass over in silence than to stir any further therein, because of the reverence of that man; and no less thought I it my duty so to do. The which man, for that he hath been directed by the see apostolical, I will not, nor dare not, here accuse,” etc. Thus the cause of the said Wilfrid, albeit it was sufficiently known in the court of Rome to be well allowed for just and innocent, yet it was not then redressed: in such estimation was this Theodore then among the Romans. F1881 Upon this controversy of these two bishops I may well here infer the words of William of Malmesbury, not unworthy in my mind to be noted, which be these in his story. “In the which Theodore,” saith he, “the weak and miserable infirmity of man be seen and also lamented; considering, that although a man be never so holy, yet in the same man is found something, whereby it may be perceived that he hath not utterly put off all his stubborn conditions,” etc. f1882 In the time of this Theodore, and by the means of him, a provincial synod was holden at Thetford, mentioned in the story of Bede: the principal contents whereof were these: 1. That Easter-day should be uniformly kept and observed through the whole realm, upon one certain day, videlict prima, 14 luna mensis primi. F1885 2. That no bishop should intermeddle within the diocese of another. 3. That monasteries consecrated unto God should be exempt, and free from the jurisdiction of the bishops. 4. That the monks should not stray from one place (that is, from one monastery to another), without the license of their abbot; but to keep the same obedience which they promised at their first entering. 5. That no clergyman should forsake his own bishop, and be received in any other place, without letters commendatory of his own bishop. 6. That foreign bishops and clergymen coming into the realm, f1886 should be content only with the benefit of such hospitality, as should be offered them: neither should intermeddle any further within the precinct of any bishop, without his special permission. 7. That synods, provincial should be kept within the realm twice a year. F1887 8. That no bishop should prefer himself before another, but must observe the time and order of his consecration. 9. That the number of bishops should be augmented, as the number of the believers increaseth. F1888 10. That no marriage should be admitted, but that which was lawful; no incest to be suffered; neither any man to put away his wife for any cause, except only for fornication—after the rule of the gospel. And these be the principal chapters of that synod, etc.
In the next year following was the sixth general council kept at Constantinople, whereat this Theodore was also present under pope Agatho: where marriage was permitted to Greek priests, and forbidden to the Latin. In this council the Latin mass was first openly said by John bishop of Porto, the pope’s legate, before the patriarch and princes at Constantinople, in the temple of St. Sophia.
After the decease of Alfrid king of Northumberland (from whom it was digressed) succeeded his son Osred, reigning eleven years, after whom reigned Kenred two years, and next Osric after him eleven years.
In the time and reign of these four kings of Northumberland, king Iva or Ina reigned in West-Sax; who, succeeding after Cadwallader the last king of Britons, began his reign about the year of our Lord 689, and reigned with great valiantness over the West-Saxons the term of thirty-seven years: concerning whose acts and wars maintained against the Kentish- Saxon and other kings, because I have not to intermeddle withal, I refer the reader to other chroniclers.
About the sixth year of the reign of this Ina, or Ine, Polychronicon and others make mention of one Cuthlacus, whom they call St. Cuthlake, a confessor, who, about the four-and-twentieth year of his age, renouncing the pomp of the world, professed himself a monk in the abbey of Repingdon; and, the third year after, went to Crowland, where he led the life of an anchorite. In the which isle and place of his burying was builded a fair abbey, called afterward, for the great resort and gentle entertainment of strangers, “Crowland the courteous.” F1894 But why this Cuthlake should be sainted for his doings, I see no great cause; as neither do I think the fabulous miracles reported of him to be true: as where the vulgar people are made to believe that he enclosed the devil in a boiling pot, and caused wicked spirits to erect up houses; with such other fables and lying miracles. Among which lying miracles also may be reckoned that which the stories mention in the eleventh year of the reign of Ina to be done of one Brithwald or Drithelme, who, being dead a long season, was restored to life again, and told many wonders of strange things that he had seen, causing thereby great alms and deeds of charity to be done of the people: and so he, disposing of his goods given in three parts, went to the abbey of Melrose, where he continued the rest of his life. F1895 Moreover, about the sixteenth year of the said Ina, Ethelred king of Mercia, after he had there reigned thirty years, was made a monk, and, after, abbot of Bardney.
And about the eighteenth year of the reign of Ina died the worthy and learned bishop Aldelm, first abbot of Malmesbury, afterwards bishop of Sherborne, of whom William of Malmesbury writeth plenteously with great commendation; and that not unworthily, as I suppose: especially for the noble praise of learning and virtue in him above the rest of that time (next after Bede); as the great number of books and epistles, with poems by him set forth, will declare. Although, concerning the miracles which the said author ascribeth to him; as first, in causing an infant of nine days old to speak at Rome, to declare pope Sergius, who was then suspected the father of the said child; also in hanging his casule upon the sunbeams; item, in making whole the altar-stone of marble brought from Rome; item, in drawing a-length one of the timber pieces, which went to the building of the temple in Malmesbury; item, in saving the mariners at Dover—as concerning these and such other miracles, which William of Malmesbury to him attributeth, I cannot consent to him therein; but think rather the same to be monkish devices, forged upon their patrons to maintain the dignity of their houses. And as the author was deceived (no doubt) in believing such fables himself, so may he likewise deceive us, through the dexterity of his style and fine handling of the matter; but that further experience hath taught the world now-a-days more wisdom, in not believing such practices.
This Aldelm was bishop of Sherborne; which see after was united to the see of Winchester: in which church of Winchester the like miracles also are to be read of bishop Adelwold and St. Swithin, whom they bye canonized likewise for a saint.
Moreover, near about the five and twentieth of Ina, by the report of Bede, St. John of Beverley, who was then archbishop of York, died, and was buried at the porch of the minster of Deirwood or Beverley. In the which porch it is recorded in some chronicles, that as the said John upon a time was praying, being in the porch of St. Michael in York, the Holy Ghost, in the similitude of a dove, sat before him upon the altar, in brightness shining above the sun. This brightness being seen of others, first cometh one of his deacons running unto the porch, who, beholding the bishop there standing in his prayers, and all the place replenished with the Holy Ghost, was stricken with the light thereof, having all his face burnt, as it were, with hot burning fire. Notwithstanding, the bishop by and by cured the face of his deacon again, charging them (as the story saith) not to publish what he had seen during his life time. Which tale seemeth as true as that we read in Polychronicon about the same time done of St. Egwin, abbot of Evesham and bishop of Worcester (then called Wicts); who upon a time, when he had fettered both his feet in irons fast locked for certain sins done in his youth, and had cast the key thereof into the river, afterward a fish brought the key again into the ship, as he was sailing homeward from Rome. F1901 But to leave these monkish phantasies, and return to the right course again of the story: in the time of this foresaid Ina, began first the right observing of Easter-day to be kept of the Picts and of the Britons. In the observation of which day (as is largely set forth in Bede and Polychronicon ) three things are necessary to be observed: first, the full moon of the first month, that is, of the month of March; secondly, the Dominical letter; thirdly, the equinoctial day, which equinoctial was wont to be counted in the Eastern nations, and especially among the Egyptians, to be about the seventeenth day of March. So that the full moon on the equinoctial day, or after the equinoctial day, being observed, the next Dominical day following that full moon is to be taken for Easter-day. Wherein are diligently to be noted two things: first, the fullness of the moon must be perfectly full, so that it be the beginning of the third week of the moon, which is the fourteenth or fifteenth day of the moon. Secondly, it is to be noted, that the said perfect fullness of the moon, beginning the third week, must happen either in the very evening of the equinoctial day, or after the equinoctial day: for else, if it happen either on the equinoctial day before the evening, or before the equinoctial day, then it belongeth to the last month of the last year, and not to the first month of the first year, and so serveth not to be observed.
F1903 This rite and usage in keeping Easter-day being received in the Latin church, began now to take place among the Picts and Britons, through the busy travail of Theodore and Cuthlake, but namely of Egbert the holy monk, as they term him, and of Ceolfrid abbot of Jarrow in Northumberland, who wrote to Narcanus, or Naitonus the king of Picts, concerning the same: who also among other things writeth of the shaven crowns of priests, saying, that it was as necessary for the vow of a monk, or the degree of a priest, to have a shaven crown for restraint of their lust, as for any christian man to bless him against spirits, when they come upon him. F1907 The copy of which letter, as it is in Bede, I have here annexed, not for any great reason therein contained, but only to delight the reader with some pastime, in seeing the fond ignorance of that monkish age. The copy of the letter thus proceedeth. F1908 OF THE SHAVING OF PRIESTS: COPIED FROM A MONKISH LETTER OF ELFRID [OR CEOLFRID] TO KING NAITON, FOR THE SHAVING OF PRIESTS’ CROWNS.
Concerning the shaving of priests (whereof also you desired me to write unto you), I exhort you that it be decently observed, according to the christian faith. We are not ignorant indeed that the apostles were not all shaven after one manner, neither doth the catholic church at this day agree in one uniform manner of shaving, as they do in faith, hope, and charity. Let us consider the former time of the patriarchs, and we shall find that Job (an example of patience), even in the very point of his afflictions, did shave his head; and so proved also, that in the time of his prosperity, he used to let his hair grow. And Joseph an excellent doctor and executor of chastity, humility, piety, and other virtues, when he was delivered out of prison and servitude, was shaven: whereby it appeareth, that whilst he abode in prison he was unshaven. Behold, both these, being men of God, did use an order in the habit of body one contrary to the other, whose consciences notwithstanding within did well agree in the like grace of virtues. But to speak truly and freely, the difference of shaving hurteth not such as have a pure faith in the Lord, and sincere charity towards their neighbor: especially for that there was never any controversy amongst the catholic fathers about the diversity thereof; as there hath been of the difference of the celebration of Easter, and concerning matters of faith. But of all these shavings that we find, either in the church or elsewhere, there is none in mine opinion so much to be followed and embraced, as that which he used on his head, to whom the Lord said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it: and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ And contrariwise there is no shaving so much to be abhorred and detested, as that which he used, to whom the said St. Peter said, ‘Thy money perish with thee: because thou thinkest to possess the gift of God by money, therefore thy part and lot is not in this word.’ Neither ought we to be shaven on the crown, only because St. Peter was so shaven, but because Peter was so shaven in remembrance of the Lord’s passion. Therefore we that desire by the same passion to be saved, must wear the sign of the same passion with him upon the top of our head, which is the highest part of our body. For as every church, because it is made a church by the death of the Savior, doth use to bear the sign of the holy cross on the forehead, that it may the better by the defense of that banner be kept from the invasions of evil spirits; and by the often admonition thereof be taught to crucify the flesh with the concupiscence of the same; in like manner it behoveth such as have the vows of monks, and degrees of the clergy, to bind themselves with a stricter bit of continency for the Lord’s sake. And as the Lord bare a crown of thorns on his head in his passion, whereby he took and carried away from us the thorns and pricks of our sins; so must every one of us, by shaving our heads, show ourselves willing patiently to bear, and willingly to suffer the mocks and scorns of the world for his sake; and that we expect to receive the crown of eternal life, which God hath promised to all that love him; and that, for the gaining thereof, we contemn both the adversity and the prosperity of this world. F1912 But the shaving which Simon Magus used, what faithful man doth not detest, together with his magical art? the which at the first appearance hath a show of a shaven crown, but if you mark his neck, you shall find it curtailed in such wise, as you will say, it is rather meet to be used of the Simonites, than of Christians. Such, indeed, of foolish men be thought worthy of the glory of the eternal crown; whereas indeed for their ill living, they are worthy not only to be deprived of the same, but also are doomed to eternal punishment. I speak not this against them that use this kinder shaving, and live catholicly in faith and good works; for surely I believe there be divers of them be very holy and godly men; amongst the which is Adamnan, the abbot and worthy priest of the Columbians: who, when he came ambassador from his country unto king Aldfrid, desired greatly to see our monastery; where he declared a wonderful wisdom, humility, and religion both in his manners and words. Amongst other talk, I asked him, “Why, holy brother, do you, that believe to come to the crown of life that shall never have an end, use, by a habit contrary to your belief, the image of a crown on your head, which is terminated or rounded? And if you seek,” quoth I, “the fellowship of St. Peter, why do you use the fashion of his crown whom St. Peter did accurse, and not of his rather with whom you desire to live eternally?” Adamnan answered, saying, “Know right well, brother, that though I use Simon’s manner of shaving, after the custom of my country, yet notwithstanding do I detest, and with all my heart abhor, his infidelity; and I desire to imitate the footsteps of the most blessed prince of the apostles as far forth as my littleness will extend.”
Then said I “I believe it is so: but then let it be apparent that you imitate those things which the apostle Peter did from the bottom of your heart, by using the same upon your face, that you know he did: for I suppose your wisdom understandeth, that it is right decent to differ in the trimming your face or shaving, from him whom in your heart you abhor: and contrariwise, that, as you desire to imitate the doings of him whom you desire to have a Mediator between God and you, so it is meet you imitate the manner of his apparel and shaving.” Thus much said I to Adamnan, who seemed then well to like our churches; and showed how much he had profited from seeing the statutes of our churches, When, returning into Scotland, he by his preaching brought numbers of that nation over to the catholic observance of the pascal time; though he was not yet able to gain the consent of the monks in the island of Hii, over whom he presided. He endeavored also to have reformed their manner of shaving, if he had been able. And now, O king, I exhort your wisdom to labor with your people, over whom the King of kings and Lord of lords hath made you governor, to imitate likewise in all these points the catholic and apostolic church. So shall it come to pass, that at the end of this your temporal kingdom, the most blessed prince of the apostles shall open to you and yours the gates of the heavenly kingdom, together with the other elect of God. The grace of the Eternal King preserve you, most dearly beloved son in Christ, long time to reign over us, to the peace of us all.
When this letter was read before king Naiton with other of his learned men, and diligently translated into his proper language, he seemed to rejoice very much at the exhortation thereof; insomuch that, rising up from among his noblemen, he kneeled on the ground, and gave God thanks that he had deserved to receive so worthy a present out of England; and so caused forthwith, by public proclamation, the circles or revolutions of nineteen years to be written out, learned, and observed throughout all the provinces of the Picts, suppressing the erroneous circles or revolutions of eighty-four years that had been used there. For all the ministers of the altar and all monks were shaven on the crown; and all the people rejoiced for having been put under the new discipline of the most blessed prince of the apostles, St. Peter, and under his protection. f1916 By this monkish letter above-prefixed (void of all Scripture, of all probation and truth of history) thou mayest note, gentle reader, how this vain tradition of shaven crowns hath come up, and upon how light and trifling occasion: which in very deed was none other but the dreaming phantasies of monks of that time, falsely grounded upon the example of Peter, when by no old monument of any ancient record they can ever prove either Peter or Simon Magus to have been shaven. Moreover, in the said letter also is to be noted, how the Scottish clergy at that season, did wear no such priestly crowns as our English churchmen then did.
But to cut off this matter of shaving (more worthy to be laughed at than to be storied), let us now again return where we left at king Iva or Ina, of whom William of Malmesbury and Fabian in his chronicle do record, f1917 that when the foresaid Ina had ruled the West-Saxons by the term of thirty-seven years, by the importunate persuasion and subtle policy of his wife Ethelburga he was allured to go to Rome, there to be made a monk.
Which Ethelburga, after she had a long time labored him to leave the world, and could not bring about her purpose; upon a season, when the king and she had rested them in a fair palace richly hanged, and were upon the morrow thence departed, she, by her commandment, caused the palace to be replenished with all kind of filth and dung, and hogs and wild beasts therein to be laid, as well in the chambers, as other houses of office; and in their own chamber where they did lie, there was a sow laid with her young pigs. And when she knew that this palace was thus deformed, being a certain space out of the town, she besought the king to visit the said palace. And when she had brought him thereunto, she said to him, “I pray you, ray lord, behold now this house, where are now the rich tapets and clothes of gold and silk, and other rich apparel, that we left; here this other day? And where be the delicacies and pleasant servitors and costly dishes, that you and I lately were served with? Be not all these passed and gone?
My lord,” said she, “in like manner shall we vanish away, as suddenly as you see these worldly things be passed; and our bodies, which now be delicately kept, shall fall and turn into the filth of the earth. Wherefore have in mind my words that before-time to you I have often showed and told, and busy you to purchase that palace that ever shall endure in joy, without transmutation.”
By means of these and other words the queen turned so the king’s mind, that shortly after he resigned the governance of his kingdom unto Ethelard his nephew; and, for the love of Christ, took on him the habit of a poor man, and, setting apart all the pomp and pride of this wicked world, associated himself in the fellowship of poor men, and traveled to Rome with great devotion, when he had been king of West-Saxons (as before is said) thirty-seven years. After whose departing, the said Ethelburga, his wife, went unto Barking, seven miles from London, where, in the nunnery of Barking, before of Erkenwald [bishop of London] founded, she continued and ended the rest of her life, when she had been abbess of the place a certain time. The said Malmesbury in his story also testifieth, that this Ina was the first king that granted a penny of every fire-house through his dominion to be paid unto the court of Rome; which afterward was called Romescot, or Peterpence, and long after was paid in many places of England.
This Ina, like as for his time he was worthy and valiant in his acts, so was he the first of the Saxon kings (that I read of) which set forth any laws to his country: the rehearsal of which laws, to the number of fourscore and odd, were not unprofitable here to be inserted, together with other laws of the West-Saxon kings after him, before the time of William the Conqueror; in case it were not for the length and prolixity of this present vohme f1919 And thus much concerning the reign of Ina, king of the West-Saxons, by the way. Now to repair again to the course of Northumberland kings, something intermitted.
Next unto the foresaid Osric, followed Celulf, whom he had adopted, brother to Kenred above-specified. This Celulf, as he was himself learned, so were in his time divers learned men then flourishing in England, among whom was Bede, who unto the same king Celulf offered his story, intituled, “Anglorum Historia,” not only to be ratified by his authority, but also to be amended, as Malmesbury writeth, by his knowledge and learning.
And forsomuch as I have here entered into the mention of Bede, a man of worthy and venerable memory; because of the certifying of the truth of that man, and for that I see all writers (as touching his life) do not agree, some saying that he was no Englishman born: I thought so much to report of him, as I find by his own words testified of himself in the latter end of his Ecclesiastical History of England, offered to the said Celulf abovementioned, the words of whom be these. “Thus much, by the help of God, I, Bede, the servant of Christ, and priest of the monastery of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul at Wiremuth and Gurwum, have compiled and digested concerning the ecclesiastical history of Britain, and especially of the English nation.” And so the same Bede, proceeding further in his narration, declareth that he, being born f1922 in the territory of the said monastery, being of the age of seven years, was committed of his parents and friends, to the tuition and education of Benedict (of whom above relation is made), and afterward of Ceolfrid, abbots of the aforesaid monastery. In the which place or monastery he, continuing from that time forth, all his life long gave himself and all his whole study to the meditating of holy Scripture. Whatsoever time or leisure he had from his daily service in the church, that he spent either in learning or teaching, or writing something. About the nineteenth year of his age he was made deacon; in the thirtieth year of his age he was made priest.
From the which time, to the age of nine-and-fifty years, he occupied himself in interpreting the works of the ancient fathers for his own use and the necessity of others; and in writing of treatises, which came in all to the number of seven-and-thirty volumes, which he digested into threescoreand- eighteen books.
Some say that;he went to Rome, either there to defend his books to be consonant to catholic doctrine; or else, if they should be found faulty, to amend and correct the same, as he should thereto be commanded. Albeit the reporter of his life clare not certainly affirm that ever he was at Rome; but that he was invited and called thither to come, both it is manifest in stories, and also this epistle of pope Sergius doth sufficiently prove; declaring moreover in what price and estimation Bede was accepted, as well in the court of Rome, as in other places besides. The epistle of Sergius sent to Ceolfrid thus proceedeth, in tenor and form as followeth, in Latin.
THE EPISTLE OF POPE SERGIUS, SENT TO CEOLFRID, F1925 ABBOT OF WIREMUTH ABBEY; REQUIRING BEDE TO BE SENT UP TO HIM TO ROME, FOR THE FAME OF HIS WORTHY LEARNING.
Sergius episcopus servus servoram Dei, Celfrido religioso abbati, sal. Quibus modis ac verbis clementiam Dei nostri, atque inenarrabilem providentiam pos-sumus effari, et dighas gratiarum actiones pro immensis ejus circa nos beneficiis persolvere, qui in tenebris et in umbra morris positos ad lumen scientiae perducit? Et Infra . Benedictionis gratiam, quam nobis per praesentem portitorem tua devota misit religio, libenti et hilari animo sicuti ab ea directa est, nos suscepisse, cognosce. Opportunis igitur ac dignis amplectendae tuae solicitudinins petitionibus arctissima devotione satisfacientes, hortamur Deo dilectam religiositatis tuae bonitatem, ut, quia exortis quibusdam ecclesiasticarum causarum capitulis, non sine examinatione longius innotescendis, opus nobis sunt ad conferendum arte literaturae imbuti, sicut decet Deo devotum auxiliatorem sanctae matris universalis ecclesiae obedientem devotionem huic nostrae exhortation non desistas accommodare: sed absque aliqua immoratione religiosum Dei famulum Bedam, venerabilem monasterii tui presbyterum, ad limina apostolorum principum Dominorum meorum Petri et Pauli amatorum tuorum ac protectorum, ad nostrae mediocritatis conspectum non moreris dirigere. Quem, satisfaciente Domino sanctis tuis precibus, non diffidas prospete ad to redire (peracta praemissorum capitulorum eum auxilio Dei desiderata solennitate). Erit enim, ut confidimus, etiam cunctis tibi creditis profuturum, quicquid ecclesiae generali claruerit per ejus praestantiam impertitum, etc.
So notable and famous was the learning of this foresaid Bede, that the church of Rome (as by this letter appeareth) both stood in need of his help, and also required the same, about the discussing of certain causes and controversies appertaining to learning. Moreover, the whole Latin church at that time gave him the mastery in judgment and knowledge of the holy Scriptures. In all his explanations, his chiefest scope and purpose did ever drive to instruct and inform his reader, simply, and without all curiousness of style, in the sincere love of God and of his neighbor. As touching the holiness and integrity of his life, it is not to be doubted: for how could it be, that he should attend to any vicious idleness, or had any leisure to the same, who, in reading and digesting so many volumes, consumed all his whole cogitations in writing upon the Scriptures? For so he testifieth of himself in the third book of Samuel, saying in these words; “If my treatises and expositions,” saith he, “bring with them no other utility to the readers thereof, yet to myself they conduce not a little thus; that while all my study and cogitation was set upon them, in the meanwhile, of slippery enticements and vain cogitations of this world I had little mind.” Thus in this travail of study he continued till the age of sixty-two years. At length, drawing to his latter end, being sick seven weeks together, besides other occupyings of his mind, and other studies which he did not intermit, he translated also the Gospel of St. John into English. At length, with great comfort of spirit, he departed this life, pronouncing many comfortable sayings to them that stood about him, upon Ascension-day, the same year when Nothelm was instituted archbishop of Canterbury. And thus much concerning the story of Bede.
This Celulf, king of Northumberland, afore-mentioned, after he had reigned eight years, was made a monk in the abbey of Fame, otherwise called Lindesfarne, or Holy Island; where, by his means, license was given to the monks of that house to drink wine or ale, which before, by the institution of Aidan above-mentioned, drank nothing but milk and water.
After whom succeeded Edbert, his cousin, brother to Egbert the same time being archbishop of York; who brought again thither the pall that his predecessors had foregone, since the time that Paulinus had left the see, and fled to Rochester, as is before declared. The said Egbert also erected a noble library in York, whose example I wish other bishops now would follow.
About the beginning of the reign of this Edbert was Cuthbert, archbishop of Canterbury, who collected a great synod of bishops and prelates A.D. 747, in the month of September, near to the place called Clovesho. In the which synod assembled these decrees were enacted. f1929 First , That bishops should be more diligent in seeing to their office, and in admonishing the people of their faults. 2. That they should live in a peaceable mind together, notwithstanding they were in place dissevered asunder. 3. That every bishop once a year should go about all the parishes of his diocese. 4. That the said bishops, every one in his diocese, should monish their abbots and monks to live regularly: and that prelates should not oppress their inferiors, but love them. 5. That they should teach the monasteries which the secular men had in-waded, and could not then be taken from them, to live regularly. 6. That none should be admitted to orders, before his life should be examined. 7. That in monasteries the reading of holy Scripture should be more frequented. 8. That priests should be no disposers of secular business. 9. That they should take no money for baptizing infants. 10 . That they should both learn and teach the Lord’s Prayer and Creed in the English tongue. 11 . That all should join together in their ministry after one uniform rite and manner. 12 . That in a modest voice they should sing in the church. 13 . That all holy and festival days should be celebrated at one time together. 14 . That the Sabbath-day be reverently observed and kept. 15 . That the seven hours canonical every day be observed. 16 . That the rogation-days, both the greater and lesser, should be observed. f1930 17. That the feast of St. Gregory, and St. Augustine our patron, should not be omitted. 18 . That the fast of the four times should be kept and observed. 19 . That monks and nuns should go regularly apparelled. 20 . That bishops should see these decrees not to be neglected. 21 . That the churchmen should not give themselves unto drunkenness. 22 . That the communion should not be neglected of the churchmen. 23 . Item, that the same also should be observed of laymen, as time required. 24 . That laymen first should be well tried before they entered into monkery. 25 . That alms be not neglected. 26 . That bishops should see these decrees to be notified to the people. 27 . They disputed of the profit of alms. 28 . They disputed of the profit of singing psalms. 29 . That the congregation should be constituted after the ability of their goods. 30 . That monks should not dwell among laymen. 31 . That public prayer should be made for kings and princes.
These decrees and ordinances being thus among the bishops concluded, Cuthbert the archbishop sendeth the copy thereof to Boniface; which Boniface, otherwise named Winfrid, an Englishman born, was then archbishop of Mentz, and after made a martyr, as the popish stories term him.
This Boniface, being (as is said) archbishop of Mentz in the time of this aforesaid synod, wrote a letter to Ethelbald, king of Merce-land; which Ethelbald was also present in the same synod, of whom Bede maketh mention in his history, calling him proud Ethelbald, and the greatest of the Saxon kings in his time. First, this Ethelbald, after the departing of Celulf into his monkery, invaded and spoiled the country of Northumberland.
Moreover, he exercised mortal and horrible war a long space with Cuthred, otherwise of some named Cuthbert, king of West-Saxons: furthermore he, with other Saxon kings, so impugned the Britons, that from that time they never durst provoke the Saxons any more. At length the said Cuthred, refusing the intolerable exactions of proud Ethelbald, doth encounter with him in battle; where,, notwithstanding the great power that Ethelbald had to him adjoined, of the Mercians, of the East-Saxons, of the East- Angles, and of the men of Kent; yet the said Cuthred, through God’s power, and the means of a certain valiant warrior, called Edelhim, a consul, overthrew the pride of Ethelbald, after a sore and terrible conflict. Which Ethelbald, notwithstanding, repairing his power again the next year after, renewed battle with the foresaid Cuthred; in the which battle Ethelbald (after he had reigned one and forty years in Mercia) was slain by one Beornred, who after reigned in that dition but a small time. For Offa, nephew to the said Ethelbald, expelled the said Beornred, and succeeded king in that province of Mercia, where he reigned nine and thirty years; of whom more followeth hereafter (the Lord Jesus speeding therein our purpose) to be declared, as place and time shall require. In the mean season, not to forget the before-mentioned letter of Boniface, archbishop of Mentz, sent unto this Ethelbald; I thought the same not unworthy here to be inserted (at the least the effect thereof), not so much for the author’s sake, as for that some good matter, peradventure, may be picked thereout for other princes to behold and consider.
THE COPY AND TENOR OF THE LETTER OF BONIFACE, F1933 Archbishop of Mentz, and Martyr of God (an Englishman), sent to Ethelbald, King of Mercia, freely and yet charitably admonishing him of his Adulterous Life, and Oppression of Churches.
Regi et filio charissimo, et in Christi amore caeteris regibus Anglorum praeferendo Ethelbaldo, Bonifacius archiepiscopus legatus Germanicus Romance ecclesiae perpetuam in Christo charitatis salutem. Confitemur coram Deo, qui novit an vere atque ex animo dicam: quia quando prosperitatem vestram, et fidem, et bona opera audimus, laetamur: quando autem aliquid adversum vel in eventu bellorum, vel de periculo animarum, de vobis cognoscimus,, tristamur. Audivimus enim quod eleemosynis intentus, furta et rapinas prohibes, et pacem diligis, et defensor viduarum et pauperurn es, et inde gratias Deo agimus. Quod vero legitimum matrimonium spernis, si pro castirate faceres, esset laudabile: sed quia in luxu et adulterio et cum sanctimonialibus volutaris, est vituperabile et damnabile. Nam et famam gloriae vestrae coram Deo et hominibus confundit, et inter idolatras constitui, quia templum Dei violasti. Quapropter fill charissime poenitere, et memorare oportet, quam turpe sit, ut tu qui multis gentibus, dono Dei dominaris, ad injuriam ejus sis libidinis servus.
Audivimus praterea quod optimates pene omnis gentis Merciorum tuo exemplo legitimas uxores deserant, et adulteras et sanctimoniales constuprent. Quod quam sit peregrinum ab honestate, doceat vos alienae gentis institutio. Nam in antiqua Saxonia ubi nulla est Christi cognitio, si virgo in materna domo, vel maritata, sub conjuge fuerit adultera, manu propria stangulatam cremant, et supra fossam sepultae corruptorem suspendunt, aut cingulo tenus (vestibus abscissis) flagel-lant eam castae matronae et cultellis pungunt; et de villa in villam missae occurrunt novae flagellatrices, donec interimant. Insuper et Vinuli, quod est foedissimum genus hominum, hunc habent morem, ut muller viro mortuo se in rogo crementis pariter arsura praecipitet. Si ergo gentiles Deum ignorantes, tantum zelum castitatis habent, quid tibi convenit fili charissime, qui christi-anus et rex es? Parce ergo animae tuae: parce multitudini, populi tui pereuntis. exemplo tuo: de quorum animabus redditurus es rationem. Attende et illud, quid si gens Anglorum (sicut in Francia, et Italia, et ab ipsis Paganis nobis improperatur) spretis legitimis matrimoniis per adulteria deficit, nascituraque sit ex ea commixtione gens ignava et Dei contemptrix, quae perditis moribus patriam pessundet: sieur Burgundionibus et provincialibus, et Hispanis contigit, quos Saraceni multis annis infestarunt propter peccata praeteria?
Praeterea nunciatum est nobis, quod multa privilegia ecclesiarum et monasteriorum auferens, ad hoc audendum duces tuos exemplo provoces. Sed recogita quaeso quam terribilem vindietam Deus in anteriores reges exereuit, ejusdem culpae conscios, quam in to arguimus. Nam Celredum praedecessorem tuum, stupratorem sanctimonialium et eccleslastlcorum privilegiorum fractorem, splendide cum suis comitibus epulantem spiritus malignus arripuit: et sine confessione et viatico, cum diabolo sermocinanti et legem Dei detestanti, animam extorsit. Osredum quoque regem Deiorum et Bericiorum, earundem culparum reum, ita effraenatum egit, ut regnum et juvenilem aetatem contemptibili morte amitteret. Carolus quoque princeps Francorum, monasteriorum multorum eversor, et ecclesiasticarum pecuniarum in usus proprios commutator, longa torsione et verenda metre consumptus est.
And a little after:
Quapropter fili charissime, paternis et obnixis precibus deprecamur, ut non despieias consilium patrum tuorum, qui pro Dei amore celsitudinem tuam appellare satagunt. Nihil enim boni regi salubrius, quam si talia commissa cum arguuntur, libenter emendentur, quid per Salomonem dicitur: qui diligit disciplinam, diligit sapientiam. Ideo, fili charissime, ostendentes consilium justum, contestamur et obsecramus per viventem Deum, et per filium ejus Jesum Christum, et per Spiritum Sanctum, ut recorderis quam fugitiva sit vita praesens, et quam brevis et momentanea delectatio spurcae carnis: et quam ignominiosum sit ut brevis vitae homo mala exempla in perpetuum posteris relinquat. Incipe ergo melioribus moribus vitam componere, et praeteritos errores juventutis corrigere, ut hic coram hominibus laudem habeas et in future aeterna gloria gaudeas. Valere celsitudinem tuam, et in benis moribus proficere, optamus.
In this epistle here is to be seen and noted, first, the corruption and great disorder of life which alway, from time to time, hath been found in these religious houses of nuns; whose professed vow of co-acted chastity hath yet never been good to the church, nor profitable to the common-wealth, and least of all to themselves. Of such young and wanton widows St. Paul in his time complaineth, (1 Timothy 5.) which would take upon them the wilful profession of single life, which they were not able to perform, but falling into damnable luxury, deserved worthily to be reprehended. How much better had it been for these lascivious nuns not to have refused the safe yoke of christian matrimony, than to entangle themselves in this their superstitious vow of perpetual maidenhood, which neither was required of them, nor they were able to keep! Secondly, No less are they also to be reprehended, who maintained these superstitious orders of unprofitable nuns and of other religions. In the number of whom was this foresaid Boniface, otherwise called Winfrid; who, although in this epistle he doth justly reprehend the vicious enormities both of secular and of religious persons, yet he himself is not without the same, or rather greater, reprehension; for that he gave the occasion thereof in maintaining such superstitious orders of such lascivious nuns and other religious, and restraining the same from lawful marriage. For so we find of him in stories, that he was a great setter-up and upholder of such blind superstition, and of all popery. Who, being admitted by pope Gregory II. archbishop of Mentz, and endued with full authority legantine over the Germans, f1935 brought divers countries there under the pope’s obedience, held many great councils, ordained bishops, builded monasteries, canonized saints, commanded relics to be worshipped, permitted religious fathers to carry about nuns with them a-preaching. Amongst all others he founded the great monastery of Fulda in Germany, of English monks, into the which no women might enter but only Leoba and Tecla, two English nuns. Item, by the authority of the said archbishop Boniface, which he; received from pope Zachary, Childeric, king of France, was deposed from the right of his crown, and Pepin, betrayer of his master, was, confirmed, or rather intruded in. From this Boniface proceeded that detestable doctrine which now standeth registered in the pope’s decrees, Dist. 40, cap. “Si Papa.” Which in a certain epistle of his is this: that in case the pope were of most filthy living, and forgetful or negligent of himself, and of the whole of Christianity, in such sort, that he led innumerable souls with him to hell, yet ought there no man to rebuke him in so doing, for he hath (saith he) power to judge all men, and ought of no man to be judged again.
In the time of this archbishop, pope Gregory II. also Gregory III. and pope Zachary, and before these also pope Constantine I., wrought great masteries against the Greek emperors Philippicus and Leo III., and others, for the maintaining of images to be set up in churches. Of whom Philippicus lost both his empire and also his eyes: Leo for the same cause likewise was excommunicated of Gregory III. This Gregory III. (so far as I can conjecture) was he that first wrote the four books of Dialogues in Greek (falsely i bearing the name of Gregory I. ); which books, afterward, Zachary his successor translated out of Greek into Latin. Item, the said Gregory III. first brought into the mass-canon the clause for relies, beginning “Quorum solennitates hodie in conspectu,” etc. Item, he brought into the said canon the memorial, the offering and sacrifice for the dead; like as Zachary brought in the priests’ vesture and ornaments, and as the foresaid Constantine also, was the first that gave his feet to be kissed of the emperors. But to turn again into the course of our English story.
In the time of this Edbert, king of Northumberland, Sigebert or Sebright reigned in West-Saxony, a man of so cruel tyranny to his subjects (turning the laws and customs of his forefathers after his own will and pleasure), that when he was somewhat sharply advertised by one of his nobles, an earl called Cumbra, to change his manners, and to behave himself more prudently toward his people; he there-for maliciously caused him to be put to cruel death. Whereupon the said king Sigebert, continuing his cruel conditions, by his subjects conspiring against him was put from his kingly dignity, and brought into such desolation, that, wandering alone in a wood without comfort, he was there slain even by the swineherd of the said earl, whom before he had so wrongfully murdered, as partly is above touched; whereby is to be seen the cruel tyranny of princes never to prosper well, without the just revenge both of God and man.
This Sigebert being slain, in his place succeeded Kenulph, in the year of our Lord 78; who, with the agreement of the West-Saxons, was one of the chief doers against Sigebert his master. This Kenulph kept strongly his lordship against Offa, and against the power of all his enemies, till at length, after that he had reigned (as Fabian saith) one and thirty years, he, resorting to a paramour which he kept at Merton, was there beset, and likewise slain by the train and means of a certain kinsman of the foresaid Sigebert, named Clito or Cliton, in revengement of king Sigebert’s death.
Moreover, in the reign of the foresaid Edbert, king of Northumberland, and in the eighth year of Kenulph, king of West-Saxons; Offa, after he had slain the tyrant Beornred, who before had slain Ethelbald, king of Mercia and uncle to this foresaid Offa, reigned king of that province.
Of this Offa are told many notable deeds; which, because they concern rather political affairs, and do not greatly appertain to the purpose of this ecclesiastical history, I omit here to recite; as his wars and victories against Edbert, king of the Northumbers, as also against Ethelred, king of East- Angles. Item, against Earlbert, king of Kent, otherwise called Pren, whom (as Fabian saith) he took prisoner, and led bound with him to Mercia.
Malmesbury witnesseth otherwise this to be done not by Offa, but by Kenulph; as, Christ willing, hereafter shall appear. After these victories, Offa had such displeasure unto the citizens of Canterbury, that he [seized the] lands of Lambrith archbishop of Canterbury, and removed the archbishop’s see (by the agreement of pope Adrian) unto Lichfield. f1944 He also chased the Britons or Welshmen into Wales, and made a famous dike between Wales and the utter bounds of Mercia, or middle England, which was called Offdike, and builded there a church, which long time after was called Offkirke. This Offa also married one of his daughters to Brightric that was a king of West-Saxons. And, for that in his time was variance between him and the Frenchmen, insomuch that the passage of merchants was forbidden; therefore he sent Alcuin, a learned man, unto Charlemagne, then king of France, to commune the means of peace; which Charlemagne had, after that, the said Alcuin in great favor and estimation, and afterwards made him abbot of Tours, in France.
About the latter time of the reign of Offa, king of Mercia, Ethelbert being then king of East-Angles (a learned and a right godly prince) came to the court of Offa, provoked by the counsel of his nobles to sue for the marriage of his daughter, well-accompanied like a prince, with his men about him. Whereupon the queen, conceiving a false suspicion, and fearing that which was never minded, that Ethelbert with his company, under the pretense and made-matter of marriage, was come to work some violence against her husband and the kingdom of Mercia; so she persuaded with king Offa and certain of her council that night, that the next, day following Offa caused him to be trained into his palace alone from his company, by one called Guimbert; who took him and bound him, and there struck off his head; which forthwith he then presented to the king and queen. And thus the innocent king Ethelbert was wrongfully murdered, shout the year of our Lord 793; but not without a just revenge at God’s hands. For, as the story recordeth, the foresaid queen, worker of this villany, lived not three months after, and in her death was so tormented, that she was fain to bite and rend her tongue in pieces with her own teeth. Offs, understanding at length the innocency of this king, and the heinous cruelty of his fact, gave the tenth part of his goods to holy church; and on the church of Hereford, in the remembrance of this Ethelbert, he bestowed great lands.
Moreover, he builded the abbey of St. Alban’s, with certain other monasteries besides. And so afterward he went; up to Rome for his penance, where he gave to the church of St. Peter a penny through every house in his dominion, which was called commonly Rome-scot or Peterpence, paid to the church of St. Peter; and there at length was transformed from a king to a monk, about the year of our Lord 794 (with Kenred king of Northumberland above-mentioned ); although some stories deny that he was a monk. f1949 After Offa king of Mercia, when he had reigned nine and thirty years, succeeded his son Egfert, who reigned but four months, of whom thus writeth the aforesaid Alcuin: This noble young man died not so much for offenses of his own, as for that his father had spilled much blood to confirm him in his kingdom.”
Next to which Egfert succeeded Kenulph in the said kingdom of Mercia; which Kenulph keeping and retaining the hatred of Offs his predecessor against the men of Kent, made war upon them, where he took Eadbert their king, otherwise called Pren, whom he bound and led prisoner to Mercia.
Notwithstanding, shortly after being mollified with princely clemency in the town of Winchcombe, where he had builded the same time a church, upon the day when he should dedicate the same in the presence of thirteen bishops, and of Cuthred, whom he had placed in the same kingdom of Canterbury before, and ten dukes, and many other great estates, king Kenulph brought the said Eadbert king of Kent out of prison into the church, where he enlarged him out of imprisonment, and restored him to his place again. At the sight whereof, not only Cuthred the aforesaid king rejoiced, but also all the estates and people being there present made such an exclamation of joy and gladness, that the church (and not only the church, but also the streets) rang withal. At which time such bountifulness of gifts and jewels was then bestowed, that from the highest estate to the lowest, none departed without something given, according as to every degree was thought meet. Although Fabian referreth this story to king Offa, yet causes there be why I assent rather unto Malmesbury and to Polychronicon, which attribute the same to Kenulph the second king of Mercia after Offa.
A little before, in speaking of certain bishops of Rome, mention was made of pope Constantine I., pope Gregory II., pope Gregory III., and of pope Zachary who deposed Childeric, and set up Pepin the French king. Next after this Zachary, in order, followed pope Stephen II., a120 to whom the aforesaid Pepin, to gratify again the see of Rome for this their benefit showed to him, gave and contributed to the said see of Rome the exarchate, or princedom, of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and many other great possessions of Italy, with all the cities thereto adjoining unto the borders of Venice. And this donation of Pepin, no doubt, if the truth were rightly tried, should be found to be the same, which hitherto falsely hath been thought to be the donation of Constantine. For else, how could it be that the exarchate of Ravenna could belong all this while to the emperors of Constantinople, if Constantine, before, had given it and all Italy to the empiry of the see of Rome.
To this Pepin, as witnesseth Polychronicon, was sent first into France the invention of the organs out of Greece, by Constantine V. emperor of Constantinople, A.D. 757.
Next to this Stephen II. succeeded Paul I., who, following his predecessors, thundered out great excommunication against Constantine V. the emperor of Constantinople, for abrogating and plucking down images set up in temples. Notwithstanding this, Constantine, neglecting the pope’s vain curses, persevered in his blessed purpose, in destroying idolatry till the end of his life. Then came to be pope Constantine II., a layman, and brother to Desiderius the king of Lombardy; for the which cause he was shortly deposed, and thrust into a monastery, having his eyes put out.
In whose stead succeeded Stephen III., who ordained after, that no layman should be pope; condemning, moreover, the council of Constantinople (the seventh general) for heretical, because in that council the worshipping of images was reproved and condemned. Contrary to the which council, this pope not only maintained the filthy idolatry of images in christian temples, but also advanced their veneration, commanding them most ethnically to be incensed. At this time Charlemagne, a little before mentioned, began to reign, by whom this pope caused Desiderius the Lombard king to be deprived.
Then in this race of popes, after this Stephen III. cometh Adrian I., who likewise, following the steps of his fathers the popes, added and attributed to the veneration of images more than all the others had done before, writing a book for the adoration and utility proceeding of them, commanding them to be taken for laymen’s calendars; f1958 holding moreover a synod at Rome against Felix a121 and all others that spake against the setting up of such stocks and images. And as Paul I., before him, made much of the body of Petronilla, St. Peter’s daughter, so this Adrian clothed the body of St. Peter all in silver, and covered the altar of St. Paul with a pall of gold. This pope Adrian was he, whom we declared, in the former part of this treatise, to ratify and confirm by revelation the order of St. Gregory’s mass, above the order of St.
Ambrose’s mass: for unto this time, which was about the year of our Lord 780, the liturgy of St;. Ambrose was more used in the Italian churches. The story whereof, because it is registered in Durandus, Nauclerus, and Jacobus de Voragine, I thought here to insert the same to this especial purpose, for the reader to understand the time when this usual mass of the papists began first to be universal and uniform, and generally in churches to be received. Thus it followeth in the story by the foresaid authors set forth. Jacobus de Voragine, in the life of pope Gregory I., telleth a tale concerning this matter. “In times past,” saith he,” when the service which Ambrose made was more frequented and used in churches than was the service which Gregory had appointed, the bishop of Rome, then called Adrian, gathered a council together; in the which it was ordained, that Gregory’s Service should be observed and kept universally.
Which determination of the council Charles the emperor did diligently put in execution, while he ran about by divers provinces, and enforced all the clergy, partly with threatenings, and partly with punishments, to receive that order. And as touching the books of Ambrose’s service, he burnt them to ashes in all places, and threw into prison many priests that would not consent and agree unto the matter. Blessed Eugene the bishop, coming unto the council, found that it was dissolved three days before his coming.
Again, that they should all the whole night give themselves to prayer, that the Lord might reveal, open, and show unto them by some evident sign or token, which of these two services he would have used in the temples. Thus they, doing in all points as they had determined, in the morning opened the church doors, and found both the missals or mass-books open upon the altar: or rather, as some say, they found Gregory’s mass-hook utterly plucked asunder, one piece from another, and scattered over all the church, As touching Ambrose’s book, they only found it open upon the altar in the very same place where they before laid it. This miracle pope Adrian, like a wise expounder of dreams, interpreted thus; that as the leaves were torn and blown abroad all the church over, so should Gregory’s book be used throughout the world.
Whereupon they thought themselves sufficiently instructed and taught of God, that the service which Gregory had made, ought to be set abroad and used throughout the world, and that Ambrose’s service should only be observed and kept in his own church of Milan, where he sometime was bishop.
Thus hast thou heard, brother reader, the full and whole narration of this mystical miracle, with the pope’s exposition upon the same; which seemeth to be as true as that which Daniel speaketh of, how the idol Bel did eat up all the meat that was set before him all the night. Concerning the which miracle, I need not admonish thee to smell out the blind practices of these night-crows, to blind the world with forged inventions instead of true stories. Albeit to grant the miracle to be most true and infallible, yet as touching the exposition thereof, another man beside the pope percase might interpret this great miracle otherwise, as thus: that God was angry with Gregory’s book, and therefore rent it in pieces, and scattered it abroad; and the other as good, lay sound, untouched, and at the least so to be preferred. Notwithstanding, whatsoever is to be thought of this miracle with the exposition thereof, thus the matter fell out, that Gregory’s service only had the place, and yet hath to this day, in the greatest part of Europe; the service of Ambrose being excluded. And thus much touching the great act of pope Adrian for the setting up of the mass; by the relation whereof, yet this knowledge may come to the reader, at least to understand how that commonly in christian nations abroad, as yet no uniform order of any missal or mass-book was received, as hath been hitherto discoursed.
Now, from the popes to return again to the emperors, from whence we digressed: like as Pepin, the father of Charlemagne (as hath been before sufficiently told), had given to the papal see all the princedom of Ravenna, with other donations and revenues and lands in Italy; so this Charlemagne, following his father’s devotion, did confirm the same; adding moreover thereunto, the city and dominion of Venice, Istria, the dukedom of Forojulien, the dukedoms of Spoleto and Benevento, and other possessions more, to the patrimony of St. Peter, making him the prince of Rome and Italy. The pope again, to recompense his so gentle kindness, made him to be intituled “Most Christian King,” and made him “Patricium Romanum;” moreover, ordained him only to be taken for emperor of Rome. For these and other causes more, Charlemagne bare no little affection to the said Adrian above all other popes; as may well appear by this letter of Charlemagne sent to king Offa, what time the said Offa (as is above prefixed) sent to him Alcuin for entreaty of peace: whereto the aforesaid Charlemagne answereth again to the message of Offa in a letter, the contents whereof be these:- THE TENOR OF A LETTER SENT BY CHARLEMAGNE TO KING OFFA, F1965 ANSWERING TO HIS REQUEST CONCERNING THE TREATY OF PEACE BETWEEN THEM.
Carolus Rex Francorum et: Longobardorum, patricius Romanorum, viro venerando et fratri charissimo Offae regi Merciorum salutem.
Primo gratias agimus Omnipotenti Deo de Catholicae fidei sinceritate, quam in vestris laudabilibus paginis reperimus exaratam.
De peregrinis vero, qui pro amore Dei et salute animarum suarum beatorum apostolorum limina desiderant adire, cum pace sine omni perturbatione vadant. Sed si aliqui religioni non servientes, sed lucra sectantes, inveniantur inter eos, locis opportunis statuta solvant telonia. Negotiatores quoque volumus ut ex mandato nostro patrocinium habeant in regno nostro legitime, et si in aliquo loco injusta affligantur oppressione, reclament se ad nos vel nostros judices, et plenam justitiam jubemus fieri. Cognoscat quoque dilectio vestra, quod aliquam benignitatem de dalmaticis nostris vel palliis ad singulas sedes episcopales regni vestri vel Ethelredi direximus in eleemosynam domini apostolici Adriani, deprecantes ut pro eo intercedi jubeatis, nullam habentes dubitationem beatam illius animam in requie esse, sed ut fidem et dilectionem ostendamus in amicum nobis charissimum. Sed et de thesauro humanarum rerum, quem Dominus Jesus gratuita pietate concessit aliquid per metropolitanas civitates; direximus vestrae quoque dilectioni unum baltheum, et unum gladium, et duo pallia serica, etc.
The cause why this Charlemagne writeth so favorably of Adrian, partly is touched before; partly also it was because Caroloman his elder brother being dead, his wife called Bertha, with her two children, came to Adrian, to have them confirmed in their father’s kingdom; whereunto the pope, to show a pleasure to Charlemagne, would not agree, but gave the mother with her two children, and Desirerius the Lombard king with his whole kingdom, his wife and children, into the hands of the said Charlemagne, who led them with him captive into France, and there kept them in servitude during their life.
Thus Charlemagne being proclaimed a122 emperor of Rome, through the preferment of pope Adrian I. and pope Leo III. (who succeeded next after him), the Empire was translated from the Grecians about the year of our Lord 800 unto the Frenchmen, where it continued about one hundred and two years, till the coming of Conrad and his nephew Otho, which were Germans; and so hath continued after them among the Almains unto this present time. This Charlemagne builded so many monasteries as there are letters in the row of “A B C;” he was beneficial chiefly to the churchmen; also merciful to the poor; in his acts valiant and triumphant; skilled in all languages. He held a council at Frankfort, where was condemned the council of Nice, and [the empress] Irene, for setting up and worshipping images, etc.
Concerning which council of Nice, and things there concluded and enacted (because no man shall think the detesting of images to be any new thing now begun), thus I find it recorded in an ancient History of Roger Hoveden, called” Continuationes Bedae:” his words be these: —”In the year of our Lord 792 Charles the French king sent a book containing the acts of a certain synod, unto Britain, directed unto him from Constantinople; in the which book (lamentable to be told) many things inconvenient, and clean contrary unto the true faith, are there to be found; especially for that, by the common consent of almost all the learned bishops of the East church, not so few as three hundred, it was there agreed, that images should be worshipped: which thing the church of God hath always abhorred. Against which book Albinus wrote an epistle, substantially grounded out of the authority of holy Scripture, which epistle with the book the said Albinus, in the name and person of our bishops and princes, did present to the French king.”
And thus much by the way of Romish matters: now to return again to the Northumberland kings, where we left at Edbert, which Edbert (as is before declared) succeeded after Ceolulph, after he was made monk. And likewise the said Edbert also, following the devotion of his uncle Ceolwolph and of Kenred before him, was likewise shorn monk, after he had reigned twenty years in Northumberland; leaving his son Osulph after him to succeed.
About which time, and in the same year when Ceolulph deceased in his monastery, which was the year of our Lord 764, divers cities were burnt with sudden fire, as the city of Venta, the city of London, the city of York, Doncaster, with divers other towns besides. In the first year of his reign (which was the year of our Lord 757), Osulph being innocently slain, next to him followed Mull, otherwise called Adelwald, who likewise, being slain of Alcred, after he had reigned eleven years departed. After, Alcred, when he had reigned ten years, was expulsed out of his kingdom by his people. Then was Ethelbert, otherwise named Edelred, the son of the foresaid Mull, received king of Northumberland; which Ethelbert or Edelred, in like sort, after he had reigned five years was expulsed. After whom succeeded Alfwold, who, likewise, when he had reigned eleven years was unjustly slain. So likewise after him his nephew, and the son of Alcred, named Osred, reigned one year, and was slain. Then the foresaid Ethelbert, the son of Mull, after twelve years’ banishment, reigned again in Northumberland the space of four years, and was slain. The cause whereof (as I find in an old written story) was that, forsaking his old wife, he married a new. Concerning the restoring of whom, Alcuin writeth in this manner: “Benedictus Deus qui facit mirabilia solus. Nuper Edelredus, filius Edelwaldi de carcere processit in solium, et de miseria in majestatem, cujus regni novitate detenti sumus ne veniremus ad vos,” etc. And afterward the same Alcuin again speaking of his death, writeth unto king Offa in these words: “Sciat veneranda dilectio vestra quod dominus Carolus amabiliter et fideliter saepe mecum locutus est de vobis, et in eo habetis fidelissimum amicum. Ideo et vestrae directioni digna dirigit munera, et per episcopales sedes regni vestri; similiter et Edelredo regi, et ad suas episcoporum sedes direxit dons. Sed heu proh dolor, donis datis et epistolis in manus missorum, supervenit tristis legsrio per missos qui de Scotia per nos reversi sunt, de infidelitate gentis, et nece regis. Its Carolus retracta donorurn largitate in tantum iratus est contra gentem illam, ut sit, perfidam et perversam, et homicidam dominorum suorum, pejorem eam paganis aestimans, ut nisi ego intercessor essem pro ea, quicquid eis boni abstrahere potuisset, et mali machinari, jam fecisset,” etc.
THE KINGDOM OF NORTHUMBERLAND CEASETH.
Thus, as you have heard, after the reign of king Edbert before-mentioned such trouble and perturbation was in the dominion of Northumberland, with slaying, expulsing, and deposing their kings one after another, that after the murdering of this Edelred above-specified none durst take the government upon him, seeing the great danger thereupon ensuing.
Insomuch that the foresaid kingdom did lie void and waste, the space of three-and-thirty years together; after the term of which years, this kingdom of Northumberland, with the kingdoms also of the other Saxons besides, came altogether into the hands of Egbert, king of West-Saxons, and his progeny; which monarchy began A.D. 827, and in the eight-andtwentieth year of the reign of the said Egbert; whereof more shall be said (Christ willing) hereafter. Of this troublesome and outrageous time of Northumberland people speaketh also the said learned man Alcuin, otherwise called Albinus, in the same country born, writing out of France into England, and complaining of the same in divers of his letters; as first to Offs, where he thus writeth: “Ego paratus eram cum muneribus Caroli regis ad vos venire, et in patriam reverti. Sed melius visum est propter pacem gentis meae in peregrinatione remanere, nesciens quid fecissem inter eos, ubi nullus securus esse vel in salubri consilio proficere potest. Ecclesia sancta a paganis vastata, altaria perjuriis foedata, monasteria adulteriis violata, terra sanguine Dominorum et principum foedata,” etc. Moreover, the said Alcuin, writing to the foresaid Edelred a little above mentioned, after the same tenor reporteth: “Ecce ecclesia sancti Cutberti sacerdotum Dei sanguine aspersa (,omnibus spoliata ornamentis), locus cunctis in Britannia venerabilior, paganis gentibus datur ad depraedandum. Et ubi primum, post decessum S. Cutberti ab Eboraco, Christiana religio in nostra gente sumpsit exordium, ibi miseriae et calamitatis coepit initium,” etc. Item, writing to Osbert a noble peer of the Mercians, complaining on the same matter, he saith: “Regnum nostrum Northumbrorum pene periit, propter intestinas dissensiones, et fallaces conjurationes,” etc. Item, in another place the said Alcuin, writing to Adelard archbishop of Canterbury, complaineth moreover: “Hoc dico propter flagellum, quod nuper accidit pattibus insulae nostrae, quae prope trecentis et quadraginta annis a parentibus inhabitata est nostris. Legitur in libro Gildae sapientissimi Britonum, quod iidem Britones, propter avaritiam et rapinam principum, propter iniquitatem et injustitiam judicum, propter desidiam predicationis episcoporum, propter luxuriam et malos mores populi, patriam perdidere. Cavesinus haec eadem vitia nostris temporibus inolescere, quatenus benedictio divina nobis patriam conservet in prosperitate bona quam nobis misericordissima pietate perdonare dignatus est,” etc.
Over and besides, the same author, Alcuin, writing unto the foresaid Edelred, king of Northumberland, maketh record of a strange sight which he himself did see, the same time, in the city of York,—it rained blood: whereof his words which he wrote concerning the same, unto the said king Edelred, be these: “What signifieth the rain-blood which in time of Lent, in the city of York, the chief city of that dominion, and in the church of St. Peter the chief of the apostles, we ourselves did see to fall from the church top (the element being clear) out of the north parts of the temple,” etc. This wondrous sight, testified by Malmesbury, is thought of Fabian to happen in the second year of the reign of Brightric, (as with the time doth well agree), which was the year of our Lord 786, and is thought of some expositors to betoken the coming of the Danes into this land, who entered shortly after [; and again in] about seven years, in the ninth year of the reign of Brightric, king of the West-Saxons. Which Brightric, in defense thereof, sent forth his steward of his household with a small company, which shortly was slain: but by the strength of the said Brightric and the other Saxon kings, they were compelled to void the land for that time, which was in the year 787. F1976 To this Brightric king Offs, as is aforesaid, gave his daughter Edelburga, or Edburga, to wife, by whom he at length was impoisoned; besides certain other of his nobles, upon whom the said queen before him had practiced the same wickedness. Who then, after that, fled over to Charlemagne, into France; where she, being offered for her beauty to marry either to him or his son, because she choosed rather his son, married neither the one, nor yet the other, but was thrust into a monastery; where she, then playing the harlot with a monk, was expulsed from thence, and ended her life in penury and misery.
In the mean time, while this Edelburga was thus working her feats in England, Irene, empress of the Greeks, was as busy also for her part at Constantinople: who first, through the means of pope Adrian, took up the body of Constantine V., emperor of Constantinople, her own husband’s father; and when she had burned the same, she caused the ashes to be cast into the sea, because he disannulled images. Afterwards, reigning with her son Constantine the Sixth, son to Leo the Fourth (whom also we declared before to be excommunicated for taking away images), being at dissension with him, she caused him to be taken and laid in prison; who afterward through power of friends being restored to his empire again, at last she caused the same her own son to be cast into prison, and his eyes to be put out so cruelly, that within short space he died. F1977 After this the said Irene empress, with the counsel of Tarasius bishop of Constantinople, held a council at Nice, where it was decreed, that images should again be restored unto the church; which council after was repealed by another council holden at Francfort by Charlemagne. At length she was deposed by Nicephorus (who reigned after), and was ex-pulsed the empire; who, after the example of Edelburga abovementioned, condignly punished for her wickedness, ended likewise her life in much penury and misery.
About the time when the foresaid Brightric was impoisoned by Edelburga his wife, died also king Offa, which was about the year of our Lord 795, or (as some say) 802. After which Offa (as is aforesaid) succeeded Egfert; then Kenulph: after whom succeeded Kenelm his son, who in his younger age was wickedly murdered by his sister Quendrida and Askebert, about the year of our Lord 819, and in the church of Winchcombe was counted for a holy martyr. After him succeeded his uncle Ceolulph, whom Bernulph in the first year of his reign expulsed, and reigned in his place. Who likewise, in the third year of his reign, was overcome, and expulsed by Egbert king of the West-Saxons, and afterward slain by the East-Angles. And the kingdom of Mercia also ceased, and came into the hands of the West-Saxons.
Hitherto I have brought (as thou seest, good reader) the confused and turbulent reigns of these seven Saxon kings, who, after the expulsion of the Britons, ruled and reigned asunder in sundry quarters of this land together, unto this present time of Egbert king of the West-Saxons, by whom it pleased God to begin to reduce and unite all these scattered kingdoms into one monarchical form of dominion. Wherefore, as in the aforesaid Egbert beginneth a new alteration of the commonwealth here in this land among the Saxons, so my purpose is (the Lord willing), with the same Egbert to enter a new beginning of my third book, after a brief recapitulation first made of such things as in this second book before are to be collected and noted, especially touching the monasteries builded, the kings who have entered the life and profession monastic; also queens and queens’ daughters, who the same time professed solitary life in monasteries, which they or their ancestors had erected.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE PRECEDING STORY, CONCERNING THE SEVEN KINGDOMS OF THE SAXON KINGS, ABOVE MENTIONED.
And thus hast thou, gentle reader, concerning the seven kingdoms of these Saxons, ruling all together in England, the course and order of their doings briefly described and discoursed unto thee, in such order, as the matter being so intricate, in such confusion and diversity of things inc. incident together, would permit: following especially in this story hitherto the line of the Northumberland kings, as the other stories most follow the line of West-Saxon kings. The which seven kingdoms of these said Saxons, after they had untruly expulsed and chased out the Britons from their land, like as they never were in quietness among themselves (reigning thus together) till the time of this Egbert; so also, after the reign of Egbert, the whole realm being reduced into one regiment, no less were they impugned and afflicted by the Danes continually from time to time, till the last conquest of William the Norman. Thus it pleased God (ever lightly ) to revenge with blood bloody violence, and the unjust dealings of men with just and like retribution. But of this let the christian reader consider, as God’s grace shall work in him. In the mean time we, as much as in us did lie, satisfying the part of an historian, have thus hitherto set forth and declared concerning these seven foresaid kingdoms: first, the names and lineal descent of the kings severally by themselves, as by the table precedent may appear: then, what were the doings and acts of the same; how first being pagans, they were converted to the christian faith; what things in their time happened in the church; how many of them, of kings were made monks; how devout they were then to holy church and to the churchmen, and especially to the church of Rome. But the churchmen then were much otherwise in life, than afterward they declared themselves to be. Through which devotion of the said kings, first came in the Peter-pence or Romescots in this realm, as by Ina first in his dominion, then by Offa in his lordship, and afterwards by Ethelwulph were brought in and ratified through the whole realm: where also is to be noted, that by the foresaid kings and queens of the said Saxons the most part of the greatest abbeys and nunneries in this realm, were first begun and builded; as partly, by the names of some, here follow to be seen.
First, the church or minster of St. Paul in London was founded by Ethelbert king of Kent, and Sebert king of Essex, about the year of our Lord 604. F1981 The first cross and altar within this realm was first set up in the north parts in Hevenfield, upon the occasion of Oswald king of Northumberland fighting against Cadwalla, where he, in the same place, set up the sign of the cross, kneeling and praying there for victory. f1983 The church of Winchester was first begun and founded by Kinegils or Cynegils, king of the West-Saxons, having seven miles about it: after, finished by his son Kenwalc, where Wine of Englishmen was first bishop, A.D. 668. f1984 The church of Lincoln first founded by Paulinus bishop, A.D. 629. The church of Westminster began first by a certain citizen of London, through the instigation of Ethelbert king of Kent, which before was an isle of thorns, A.D. 614.
The common schools first erected at Cambridge, by Sigebert king of East- Angles, A.D. 686.
The abbey of Cnobhersburg builded by Fursey the hermit, A.D. 637. F1987 The monastery of Malmesbury by one Meydulph, a Scot, about the year of our Lord 640: afterward enlarged by Agilbert bishop of Winchester.
The monastery in Gloucester, first builded by Osric king of Mercia, as Cestrensis saith; but, as William of Malmesbury writeth, by Wolfer and Ethelred, brethren to Kineburga abbess of the same house. A.D. 679.
The nunnery of Heortheu, by Heiu, who was the first nun in Northumberland. f1990 The monastery of Hertsey by Oswy king of Northumberland; who also, with his daughter Elfrida, gave possessions for twelve monasteries in the parts of Northumberland, A.D. 656.
The monastery of St. Martin in Dover, builded by Whitred king of Kent.
The abbey of Lestinghen by Ceadda (whom we call St. Ced) through the grant of Oswald, son to St. Oswald, king of Northumberland, A.D. 651.
The monastery of Whitby, called otherwise Steaneshalch, by Hilda, daughter to [Heretic] the nephew of Edwin king of Northumberland, A.D. 657. F1993 Item, another monastery called Hacanos, not far from the same place, builded by the said Hilda the same year.
The abbey of Abingdon, builded by Cissa king of South-Sax, A.D. 666.
Item, an abbey in the east side of Lincoln, called Icanno, by St.
Botulph, A.D. 654.
The monastery of Chertsey in Southery, founded by Erkenwald, bishop of London, A.D. 674: thrown down by the Danes; after re — EDified by king Edgar.
Item, the nunnery of Barking, edified by the said Erkenwald, bishop of London, about the same time.
The abbey of Peterborough, called otherwise Modehamsted, founded by king Ethelred, king of the Mercians, A.D. 675.
Bardney abbey, by Ethelred king of the Mercians, A.D. 700. Glastenbury, by Ira or Ina king of the West-Saxons; and after, repaired and enriched by king Edgar, A.D. 701.
Ramsey in the time of king Edward, by one Ailwin a nobleman, A.D. 975.
King Edgar builded in his time forty monasteries; who reigned, A.D. 901.
The nunnery of Winburne builded by Cuthburga sister to Ingil-sus, king Ina’s brother, A.D. 717. F1999 The monastery of Sealesey by the isle of Wight, by Willrid archbishop of York, A.D. 678.
The monastery of Winchcombe by Kenulph king of the Mercians, A.D. 797.
St. Alban’s builded by Offa king of the Mercians, A.D. 755.
The abbey of Ethelingey, by king Alured, or Alfred, A.D. 89]. The nunnery of Shaftesbury by the same Alfred, the same year. Thus ye see what monasteries, and in what time, began to be founded by the Saxon kings, newly converted to the christian faith, within the space of two hundred years; who, as they seemed then to have a certain zeal and devotion to God-ward, according to the leading and teaching that then was, so it seemeth again to me, two things to be wished in these foresaid kings; first, that they which began to erect these monasteries and cells of monks and nuns, to live solely and singly by themselves out of the holy state of matrimony, had foreseen what danger, and what absurd enormities might, and also did, thereof ensue, both publicly to the church of Christ, and privately to their own souls: secondly, that unto this their zeal and devotion had been joined like knowledge and doctrine in Christ’s gospel, especially in the article of our free justification by the faith of Jesus Christ; because of the lack whereof, as well the builders and founders thereof, as they that were professed in the same, seem both to have run the wrong way, and to have been deceived. For albeit in them there was a devotion and zeal of mind, that thought well in this their doing, which I will not here reprehend, yet the end and cause of their deeds and buildings cannot be excused, being contrary to the rule of Christ’s gospel; forsomuch as they did these things seeking thereby merits with God, and for remedy of their souls, and remission of their sins, as may appear testified in their own records, whereof one here I thought to set forth for probation of the same.
Read this chart (if it please thee, gentle reader) of king Ethelbald’s donation, given to churches and religious persons; which Ethelbald was the builder (as is said ) of Peterborough. The words of his record and instrument be these.
THE DONATIONS AND PRIVILEGES GRANTED AND GIVEN BY KING ETHELBALD TO RELIGIOUS MEN OF THE CHURCH. F2002 Plerumque contingere solet, pro incerta temporum vicissitudine, ut ea quae multarum fidelium personarum testimonio consilioque roberata fuerint, fraudulenter per contumaciam plurimorum, et machinamenta simulationis, sine ulla consideratione rationis, periculose dissipentur, nisi authorirate literarum, testamento chirographorum, aeternae memoriae committantur. Quapropter, ego Ethelbaldus rex Merciorum, pro amore coelestis patriae et remedio animae meae, studendum esse praevidi, ut eam pro bona opera liberam efficerem in omni vinculo delictorum. Quoniam enim mihi omnipotens Deus per misericordiam clementiae suae, absque ullo antecedente merito, sceptra regiminis largitus est, ideo libenter ei, ex eo quod dedit, retribuo. Hujus rei gratia hanc donationem, me vivente, concedo, ut omnia monasteria et ecclesiae regni mei a publicis vectigalibus, et operibus, et oneribus absolvantur; nisi instructionibus arcium, vel pontium, quae nulli relaxari unquam possunt. Praeterea, habeant famuli Dei propriam libertatem in fructibus sylvarum et agrorum, et in captura piscium, ne munuscula praebeant vel regi, vel principibus, nisi voluntaria; sed liberi Deo serviant, etc.
By the contents hereof may well be understood (as where he saith, “Pro amore coelestis patriae, pro remedio animae, pro liberatione animae, et absolutione delictorum,” etc.) how great the ignorance and blindness of these men was, who, lacking no zeal, only lacked knowledge to rule it withal; seeking their salvation not by Christ only, but by their own deservings and meritorious deeds. Which I recite not here to any infamy or reprehension of them, but rather to put us in mind and memory, how much we, at this present, are bound to God for the true sincerity of his truth, hidden so long before to our fore-ancestors, and opened now unto us by the good will of our God, in his Son Christ Jesus. This only lamenting by the way, to see them to have such works, and to lack our faith; and us to have the right faith, and to lack their works. And this blind ignorance of that age, thus above pre-noted, was the cause not only why these kings builded so many monasteries upon zealous superstition, but also why so many of them, forsaking their orderly vocation of princely regiment, gave themselves over to monastical profession, or rather wilful superstition.
Concerning the names and number of which kings that were professed monks, is sufficiently in the story before declared: the names of whom we showed to be seven or eight, within the space of these: two hundred years.
Such was then the superstitious devotion of kings and princes in that age; arid no less also to be noted in queens and kings’ daughters, with other noble women of the same age and time; the names of whom it were too long here to recite: as Hilda, daughter to [Hereric] the nephew of Edwin king of Northumberland, abbess of Ely: Ercongota with her sister Ermenilda, daughters of Ercombert king of Kent, which Ercongota was professed in St. Briget’s order in France: Item, Ethelberga, wife and queen to Edwin king of Northumberland, and daughter of Ethelbert king of Kent, which was also in the same house of St. Briget made a nun: Item, Etheldreda, whom we term St. Eldred [or Audrey], wife to Egfrid king of Northumberland, [and daughter of Anna, king of East-Angles]; who, being married to two husbands, could not be obtained to give her consent to either of them, during the space of twelve years, but would needs live a virgin, and was professed nun at Ely. F2004 Sexburga, [another] daughter of king Anna, and wife of Ercombert king of Kent, was abbess at Ely.
Werburga was the daughter of Wolfer king of Mercians, and made nun at Ely. Kinedreda, sister of king Wolfer, and Kineswida her sister were both nuns professed. Elfrida, daughter of Oswy king of Northumberland, was abbess of Whitby: Elfleda, [another] daughter of king Oswy, and wife of Peda son of king Penda, likewise enclosed herself in the same profession and vow of Romish chastity. F2005 Mildreda, Milburga, and Milguida, all three daughters of Merwald, king of West-Mercians, entered the profession and vow of nunnish virginity. Kineburga wife of Alfrid king of Northumberland, and sister to Osric king of Mercians, and daughter of king Penda, was professed abbess of the monastery in Gloucester.
Likewise Alfrida wife to king Edgar, and Editha daughter to the said Edgar, with Wolfride her mother, etc. All which holy nuns with divers more the Romish Catholics have canonized for saints, and put the most part of them in their Calendar, only because of the vow of their chastity solemnly professed. Concerning which chastity, whether they kept it or no, little I have to say against them, and less to swear for them. But whether they so kept it or not, if this gift of chastity. which they professed were given them of God, worthy small praise was it in them to keep it: and if it were not given them, I will not say here of them so much, as hath been said by some others, which sufficiently have painted out to the world the demeanour of these holy votaries. But this I will say, that although they kept it never so perfectly, yet it is not that which maketh saints before God, but only the blood of Christ Jesus, and a true faith in him.
Likewise remaineth that, as we have declared the devotion of these noble women, who professing monastic life, have cast off all worldly dignity and delights: so we should also entreat of such noblemen, who among the Saxon kings in like zeal of devotion, have given over themselves from the world (as they thought) unto the contemplative life of monkish profession.
The names of whom as in the catalogue of the Saxon kings before is described, be these, to the number of nine.
A TABLE OF SUCH SAXON KINGS AS WERE AFTER MADE MONKS. 1. Kinigilsus, or Cynegils, king of West-Saxons. 2. Ina, king of West-Saxons. 3. Ceolulf, king of Northumberland. 4. Edbert, king of Northumberland. 5. Ethelred, king of Mercia. 6. Kenred, king of Mercia. 7. Offa, king of East-Saxons. 8. Sebbi, king of East-Saxons. 9. Sigebert, king of East-Angles.
Of which kings and their doings what is to be judged, look, gentle reader, before.
By these histories it is apparent, what mutations, what perturbations, and what alterations of state have been in this realm of Britain, first from British kings, to Romans; then to British again; afterward to the Saxons.
First, to seven altogether reigning; then to one, etc. And this alteration not only happened in the civil government, but also followed in the state ecclesiastical: for, as in the Britons’ time, the metropolitan see was in London, so in the Saxons’ time, after the coming of Augustine, it was removed to Canterbury: the catalogue and order of which metropolitans, from the time of Augustine to Egbert, is thus, as in the history of William of Malmesbury it is described. F2009 The Names and Order of the Archbishops of Canterbury from Augustine, to the time of King Egbert.
A.D NAME YEARS 596 Augustine 604 Laurentius 619 Mellitus 624 Justus 634 Honorius 654 Deusdedit 668 Theodore Hitherto from Augustine all the Archbishops of Canterbury were Italians and Foreigners.
A.D NAME YEARS 693 Berctuald (English) 731 Tatwine 3 735 Nothelm 742 Cuthbert 759 Bregowine 768 Lamhright or Lambert 793 Ethelard 803 Ulfred 830 Feologild 3 mo. 830 Celnoth During the course of these seventeen archbishops of Canterbury, in Rome passed in the mean time four and thirty popes, of whom partly heretofore we have declared.
And thus much touching the time of the seven kingdoms of the Saxons, ruling together in England, from the reign of Hengist unto Egbert, the first king and monarch of the whole land, after the expulsion of the Britons.
Now remaineth (by the grace of Christ) in the next book following, to prosecute the order of such kings, as, principally reigning alone, had this realm in their possession, from the time of Egbert king of West-Saxons, to the coming of William, the Norman conqueror; comprehending therein the rest of the next three hundred years, with the acts and state of religion, as in that space was in the church: wherein may appear the declining time of the church, and of true religion; preparing the way to Antichrist, which not long after followed. For here is to be noted, that during yet this mean time, Satan (as is said) was bound up from his raging and furious violence; counting from the time of Constantine, to the next loosing out of Satan, which was foretold by the revelation of St. John abovementioned to be a thousand years; whereof in the order of the history (Christ granting) more shall be said hereafter.
END OF BOOK THE SECOND