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BOOK I.: FROM THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BRITONS TO THE NINTH CENTURY. bc 55—ad 787 - Augustin Thierry, History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, vol. 1 
History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, translated from the seventh Paris edition, by William Hazlitt (London: H.G. Bohn, 1856). In 2 volumes. Vol. 1.
Part of: History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, 2 vols.
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FROM THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BRITONS TO THE NINTH CENTURY.
Ancient populations of Britain—Picts and Scots—Social state of the Britons—Their form of government—Attacks from without—Internal discords—The Saxons called in as auxiliaries of the Britons; become their enemies—Conquests of the Saxons in Britain—Emigration of the Angles—Conquests of the Angles—Anglo-Saxon colonies—Settlement of Britons in Gaul—Political state of Gaul—Influence of the Gaulish bishops; their friendship towards the Franks—Conversion and baptism of Chlodowig, king of the Franks—Successes of the Franks; their conquests—State of the Britons in Gaul; their quarrels with the Gaulish clergy; their wars with the Franks—Heresy of Britain—Character of pope Gregory—His desire to convert the Anglo-Saxons—Roman missionaries sent into Britain—Conversion of an Anglo-Saxon king—Plan of ecclesiastical organization—Ambition of bishop Augustin; Religious belief of the Welsh—Conferences of Augustin with the Welsh clergy—His vengeance upon them—Return of the Anglo-Saxons to paganism—Fresh successes of the Romish priests—Essays at conversion in Northumberland—Conversion of Northumberland—Anglo Saxon church—Attempts of the Romish clergy against the church of Ireland—Religious zeal of the Irish—Catholic devotion of the Anglo-Saxons—Rupture of the Anglo-Saxons from the Romish church—Respective limits of the various populations of Britain—Remnant of the British race—Feelings of the historian with regard to the conquered peoples.
Ancient tradition informs us that the great island which now bears the name of the united kingdom of England and Scotland, was primitively called the Country of the Green Hills, then the Island of Honey, and thirdly, the Island of Bryt or Prydyn;1 the Latinization of the latter term produced the name Britain. From the most remote antiquity, the isle of Prydyn, or Britain, was regarded, by those who visited it, as divided from east to west, into two large unequal portions, of which the Firth of Forth, and the Clyde, constituted the common limit. The northern division was called Alben (Albyn, Alban, Latinè Albania), that is to say, the region of mountains; the other portion, towards the west was named Kymru, towards the east and south Loegwr. These two denominations were not, like the first, derived from the nature of the country, but from the appellation of two distinct nations, who conjointly occupied nearly the whole extent of Southern Britain, the Kymrys and the Lloëgrwys, or, according to the Latin orthography, the Cambrians and the Logrians.
The nation of the Cambrians boasted the higher antiquity; it had come in a mass from the eastern extremities of Europe, across the German ocean. A portion of the emigrants had landed on the coast of Gaul; the remainder, disembarking on the opposite shores of the straits (Fretum Gallicum, Fretum Morinorum), had colonized Britain, which, say the Cambrian traditions,2 had previously no other inhabitants than bears and wild cattle, and where, consequently, the colonists established themselves as original occupants of the soil, without opposition, without war, without violence.3 The claim is honourable, but scarcely historical; the great probability is that the Cambrian emigrants found in the island men of another origin and of a different language from their own, whom they dispossessed of the territory. This probability is rendered almost matter of fact, by the existence of many names of places altogether foreign to the Cambrian language, and by ruins of an unascertained period, which popular tradition assigns to an extinct race of hunters who employed foxes and wild cats, instead of dogs in the chase.4 This aboriginal population of Britain was driven back towards the west and north by the gradual invasion of the foreigners who landed on the eastern shores.
A portion of the fugitives passed the sea to the large island called by its inhabitants Erin (Latiné, Iierne, Inverna, Iiernia, Hibernia), and to the other western islands, peopled, according to all appearance, by men of the same race and language with the British aborigines. Those who retreated into North Britain, found an impregnable asylum in the lofty mountains which extend from the banks of the Clyde to the extremity of the island, and maintained their position here under the name of Gael or Galls (more correctly, Gadhels, Gwyddils), which they still retain. The wreck of this dispossessed race, augmented, at different periods, by bands of emigrants from Erin, constituted the population of Alben, or the highlands of Britain, a population foreign to that of the plains of the south, and its natural enemy, from the hereditary resentment growing out of the recollection of conquest. The epoch at which these movements of population took place is uncertain; it was at a later period, but equally unascertained, that, according to the British annals, the men called Logrians landed on the south of the island.1
These, according to the same annals, emigrated from the south-western coasts of Gaul, and derived their origin from the primitive race of the Cambrians, with whom they could readily converse.2 To make way for these new comers, the previous colonists voluntarily, says the old tradition, but more probably on compulsion, retired to the shores of the western ocean, which then exclusively assumed the name of Cambria, while the Logrians gave their own appellation to the southern and eastern coasts of the island, over which they diffused themselves. After the establishment of this second colony, there came a third band of emigrants, issuing from the same primitive race, and speaking the same language, or, at all events, a dialect very slightly differing from it. The district which they had previously occupied was the portion of western Gaul comprehended between the Seine and the Loire; these, like the Logrians, obtained lands in Britain with very little difficulty. It is to them that the ancient annals and the national poems especially assign the name of Brython or Briton, which, among foreigners, served to designate generally all the inhabitants of the island. The precise site on which they settled is not known; but the most probable opinion places them to the north of the Cambrians and Logrians, on the frontier of the Gaelic population, between the Firth of Forth and that of Solway.
These nations of common origin were visited at intervals, either pacifically, or in a hostile manner, by various foreign tribes. A band from that portion of the Gaulish territory now called Flanders, compelled permanently to quit their native country, in consequence of a great inundation, passed the sea in sail-less vessels, and landed on the Isle of Wight and the adjacent coast, first as guests, and then as invaders.1 The Coranians2 (Corraniaid, latinè, Coritani), men of Teutonic descent, emigrating from a country which the British annals designate the Land of Marshes, sailed up the gulf formed by the mouth of the Humber, and established themselves on the banks of that river and along the eastern coast, thus separating into two portions the territory of the Logrians. Lastly, Roman legions, led by Julius Cæsar, disembarked on the eastern point of the district now called Kent. They encountered a determined resistance at the hands of the Logrian-Britons, entrenched behind their war-chariots; but, ere long, thanks to the treachery of the tribes of foreign race, and more especially the Coranians, the Romans, penetrating into the interior of the island, gradually achieved the conquest of the two countries of Logria and Cambria. The British annals call them Caisariaid, Cæsarians,3 and enumerate them among the invading peoples who made but a temporary stay in Britain: “After having oppressed the land during four hundred years,” say these annals, “and having exacted from it the yearly tribute of three thousand pounds of silver, they departed hence for Rome, in order to repel the invasion of the black horde. They left behind them only their wives and young children, who all became Cambrians.”4
During this sojourn of four centuries, the Romans extended their conquests and their domination over the whole southern portion of the island, up to the foot of the northern mountains which had served as a rampart for the aboriginal population against the Cambrians. The Roman invasion stopped at the same limit with the British invasion; and the Gael remained a free people throughout the period that their former conquerors were groaning under a foreign yoke. They more than once drove back the imperial eagles; and their ancient aversion for the inhabitants of Southern Britain grew stronger and stronger amidst the wars which they had to maintain against the Roman governors. The pillage of the coloniæ and municipia, adorned with sumptuous palaces and gorgeous temples, increased, by a new feature, this national hostility. Every spring, the men of Alben, or Caledonia,1 passed the Clyde in boats of osier covered with leather: becoming formidable to the Romans, they obliged the latter to construct, on the limits of their conquest, two immense walls, furnished with towers, and extending from one sea to the other.2 These irruptions, which grew more and more frequent, acquired a terrible celebrity for the people of Alben, under the designation of Scots and Picts, the only terms employed by the Latin writers, who appear to have been unacquainted with the appellation, Gael.3
The former of these two names appertained to the inhabitants of the island of Erin, which the Romans called indifferently Hibernia or Scotia. The close relationship between the British highlanders and the men of Hibernia, with the frequent emigrations from the one country to the other, had produced this community of name. In northern Britain itself, the term Scots was applied to the inhabitants of the coasts and of the great archipelago of the north-west, and that of Picts to the eastern population on the shores of the German ocean. The respective territories of these two peoples, or distinct branches of one population, were separated by the Grampian hills, at the foot of which, Gallawg (Galgacus), the leading chieftain of the Northern Forests (Calyddon), had valiantly combated the imperial legions. The manner of life of the Scots wholly differed from that of the Picts; the former, dwellers on the mountains, were hunters or wandering shepherds; the latter, enjoying a more level surface, and more fixedly established, occupied themselves in agriculture, and constructed solid abodes, the ruins of which still bear their name. When these two peoples were not actually leagued together for an irruption into the south, even a friendly understanding ceased at times to exist between them; but on every occasion that presented itself of assailing the common enemy, the two chiefs, one of whom resided at the mouth of the Tay, the other among the lakes of Argyleshire, became brothers, and set up their standards side by side. The southern Britons and the Roman colonists in their fear and their hate, made no distinction between the Scots and the Picts.1
Upon the departure of the legions, recalled to defend Rome against the invading Goths, the Britons ceased to recognise the authority of the foreign governors who had been left in charge of their provinces and towns. The form, and even the name of these administrators perished; and in their place arose once more the ancient authority of the chiefs of tribe, which had been abolished by the Romans.2 Old genealogies, carefully preserved by the national poets,3 ascertained those who were entitled to claim the dignity of chief of a district or family; for these words were synonymous in the language of the ancient Britons4 among whom the ties of family relationship constituted the basis of the social state. With them, people of the lowest condition committed to memory the whole line of their descent, with a care which, among other nations, was peculiar, in such matters, to the wealthy and exalted. Every Briton, poor as well as rich, had to establish his genealogy, ere he could be admitted to the full enjoyment of his civil rights, or of any property in the district of which he was a native; for each district belonged in original ownership to one particular primitive family, and no man could legally possess any portion of its soil unless he were by descent a member of that primitive family, become, by gradual extension, a tribe.
Above this singular social order, of which the result was a federation of petty sovereignties, some elective, some hereditary, the Britons, delivered from the Roman authority, raised, for the first time, a high national sovereignty: they created a chief of chiefs, (Penteyrn,) a king of the country, as their annals express it, whom they made elective. This new institution, which seemed destined to give the people more union and more strength against external aggressions, became, on the contrary, a cause of divisions, of weakness, and, ere long, of subjection. The two great populations who shared the southern portion of the island, respectively asserted the exclusive right of furnishing candidates for the monarchy. The seat of this central royalty was in the Logrian territory, in the ancient municipal town, called by the Britons Lon-din, the town of ships, (Llundain, latinè, Londinium.) The Cambrians, jealous of this advantage, maintained that the royal authority belonged of right to their race, as the most ancient, as that which had received the others on the soil of Britain. To justify this claim, they carried back the origin of the power they sought, far beyond the time of the Roman conquests, attributing its institution to a certain Prydyn, son of Aodd, a Cambrian, who, according to their account, had combined the whole island under one monarchical government, and decreed that this government should for ever remain vested in his nation.1 With what fable this fable was met by the southern and eastern peoples, is not known; but this is certain, that the dispute grew fiercer and fiercer, until at last this rivalry of self-love had lighted up civil war throughout south Britain. The intervention of the tribes of foreign origin, ever hostile to the two great branches of the British population, encouraged its discords and nourished the intestine war. Under a succession of chiefs, called national, but regularly disowned as such by a portion of the nation, no army was levied to replace the Roman legions which had guarded the frontiers against the invasions of the Gaelish tribes.
Accordingly, amidst the disorders which thus afflicted South Britain, the Picts and Scots broke down the two great Roman walls, and passed into south Britain, at the same time that other enemies, not less formidable, burst upon the country from the sea. These were pirates come forth from the coasts and islands along the German ocean, to pillage and then return home laden with booty. When the great ships of Roman construction were forced by tempests back to port, the light vessels of these men of the sea1 dashed boldly on at full sail, and suddenly attacking the tall ships amid the terror and confusion of the storm, seldom failed to capture them. Several British tribes made singly great efforts against the enemy, and in a number of engagements defeated their aggressors, both of German and of Gallic race. The inhabitants of the southern coasts, who had frequent communication with the continent, solicited foreign aid; once or twice Roman troops, coming over from Gaul, fought for the Britons, and assisted them in repairing the great walls of Hadrian and Severus.2 But, ere long, the Romans themselves were driven from Gaul, by three invasions of barbarians from the south, the east, and the north, and by the national insurrection of the maritime districts of the west.3 The legions fell back upon Italy, and from that time forth the Britons had no succour to expect from the empire.4
At this period, the dignity of supreme chief of all Britain was in the hands of one Guorteyrn,5 a Logrian. On several occasions he assembled around him all the chiefs of the British tribes, in order to take, in concert with them, measures for the defence of the country against the northern invasions. But little union prevailed in these deliberations, and, justly or not, Guorteyrn had many enemies, more especially among the western people, who seldom assented to anything proposed by the Logrian. The latter, in virtue of his royal preeminence, and by the counsel of several tribes, though without the consent of the Cambrians,1 suddenly adopted the resolution of introducing into Britain a population of foreign soldiers, who, in consideration of pecuniary subsidies and grants of land, should, in the service of the Britons, carry on the war against the Picts and Scots. At about the epoch when this decision was formed, a decision which the Cambrians denounced as base and cowardly, chance directed to the shores of Britain three German piratical ships, commanded by two brothers, called Henghist and Horsa,2 who landed in Kent, on the same promontory where the legions of Rome had formerly disembarked.
It would appear that the three vessels had come to Britain on this occasion on a mission, not of piracy, but of trade. They were of the nation of the Jutes, or, more correctly, Iutes, a nation forming part of a great league of peoples spread over the marshy coasts of the ocean, north of the Elbe, and all designating themselves by the general name of Saxons, or men with the long knives.3 Other confederations of the same kind had been already formed among the Teutonic tribes, either for the better defence of all from the Romans, or in order the more advantageously to assume the offensive against them. Such had been the league of the Alamans, or men of men, and that of the Franks, or men rude in fight.4 On landing, the Saxon chiefs, Henghist and Horsa, received from the British king, Guorteyrn, a proposition to enrol them and an army of their countrymen in his service. There seemed nothing strange in this to men with whom war was a business. They at once promised a considerable body of troops in exchange for the little island of Thanet,5 formed on the coast of Kent, on one side by the sea, and on the other by a river with two arms. Seventeen vessels speedily brought over from the north the new military colony, which divided out its new settlement, and organized itself there according to its national customs, under the command of the two brothers, he promoters of the enterprise. It received from its hosts, the Britons, all the necessaries of life; it fought well and truly for them on several occasions, advancing against the Picts and Scots its standard of the White Horse, emblem of the name of its two leaders; each time, the mountain bands, strong in numbers, but ill armed with long, brittle pikes, fled before the great axes, the national weapon of the Saxon confederation.1 These exploits created throughout Britain infinite rejoicing and warm friendship for the Saxons.
“Having overthrown our enemies,” says an ancient poet, “they celebrated with us the festival of victory: we vied with one another how best to show to them our gratitude and our loving welcome! but woe to the day when we loved them! Woe to Guorteyrn and his craven councillors.”2
In effect, the good understanding was of no long duration between those who made war and those for whom it was made; the former soon demanded more land, more provisions, and more money than had been stipulated, and menaced, in the event of refusal, to pay themselves by pillage and usurpation.3
To render these threats more effective, they called to their aid fresh bands of adventurers, either belonging to their own nation or to other peoples of the Saxon confederation. The emigration continuing, the lands assigned by the Britons no longer sufficed; the bounds agreed upon were violated, and ere long a numerous German population collected upon the coast of Kent. The natives, who at once needed its aid and feared it, treated with it on the footing of nation with nation. On either side there were frequent embassies and fresh treaties, broken almost as soon as concluded.4 At length, the last ties were broken: the Saxons formed an alliance with the Picts; they sent messengers inviting them to descend in arms towards the south; and themselves, favoured by this diversion, advanced into the interior of Britain from east to west, driving the British population before them, or forcing it to submit. The latter, indeed, did not give way to them unresistingly; they once even drove them back to the seacoast, and compelled them to re-embark; but they soon returned with increased numbers, and with a fiercer determination subdued the country for many miles on the right bank of the Thames, and did not again quit the conquered lands. One of the two brothers who commanded them was killed in battle;1 the other, from a mere military chief, became the ruler of a province;2 and his province, or, to use the customary language, his kingdom, was called the kingdom of the men of Kent; in the Saxon language, Kent-wara-rike.3
Twenty-two years after the first landing of the Germans, another Saxon chief, named Œlla, came with three vessels to the south coast of Kent, and, driving the Britons back towards the north-west, established a second colony, which received the name of the kingdom of the South Saxons, (Suth-seaxna-rice.) Eighteen years afterwards, a certain Kerdic,4 followed by the most powerful army that had yet passed the ocean to seek lands in Britain, disembarked on the southern coast, to the west of the south Saxons, and founded a third kingdom, under the name of West Saxony, (West-seaxna-rice, more briefly, West-seax.)5 The chiefs who succeeded Kerdic gradually extended their conquests to the vicinity of the Severn: this was the ancient frontier of the Cambrian population; the invaders did not find this population disposed to give place to them; it maintained against them an obstinate struggle, during which other emigrants, landing on the eastern coast, obtained possession of the left bank of the Thames, and the great city of Londin, or London. They called the territory in which they established themselves East Saxony,1 (East-seaxna-rice, East-seax.) All these acquisitions were made at the expense of Logria and of the race of Logrian-Britons, who had invited the Saxons to come and dwell beside them.
From the moment that the city of London was taken, and the coasts of Logria became Saxon, the kings and chiefs selected to oppose the conquerors were all of the Cambrian race. Such was the famous Arthur. He defeated the Saxons in numerous battles; but, despite the services he rendered to his people, he had enemies among them, as had been the case with Guorteyrn. The title of king obliged him to draw his sword against the Britons almost as often as against the foreigner, and he was mortally wounded in a battle with his own nephew. He was removed to an island formed by several streams, near Afallach, (Insula Avallonia,) now Glastonbury, south of the bay into which the Severn discharges itself. He there died of his wounds, but as it was at the time that the western Saxons invaded this territory, amid the tumult of invasion, no one exactly knew the circumstances of the death of Arthur, or the spot where he was buried. This ignorance surrounded his name with a mysterious celebrity: long after he was no more, his followers still looked for him; the need they felt of the great war chief, who had conquered the Germans, nourished the vain hope of one day seeing him return. This hope was not abandoned; and for many centuries the nation, which had loved Arthur, did not despair of his recovery and return.2
The emigration of the inhabitants of the marshes of the Elbe and the neighbouring islands, gave the desire for a similar emigration to nations situated further east, near the shores of the Baltic sea, and who were then called Anghels, or Angles, (Engla, Anglen.) After having experimented with petty partial incursions upon the north-east coast of Britain, the entire population of the Angles put itself in motion, under the conduct of a military chief, named Ida, and his twelve sons. Their numerous vessels came to anchor between the mouths of the Forth and the Tweed. The better to succeed against the Britons of these districts, they formed an alliance with the Picts, and the confederate troops advanced from east to west, striking such terror into the natives, that the king of the Angles received from them the appellation of the flame-man, (Flamddwyn.) Despite his ferocity and his valour, Ida encountered, at the foot of the mountains in which the Clyde takes its rise, a population that resisted him. “The flame-man has come against us,” says a contemporaneous British poet; “he asks us in a loud voice: ‘Will you give me hostages? are you ready?’ Owen, brandishing his lance, replied: ‘No, we will not give thee hostages; no, we are not ready.’ Urien, chief of the land, then cried: ‘Children of one race, united by one cause, let us, having raised our standard on the mountains, rush into the plain; let us throw ourselves upon the flame-man, and combine in the same slaughter, him, his army, and his auxiliaries.’ ”1
This same Urien, at the head of the northern Britons, descendants of the ancient emigrants from Armorican Gaul, gained several victories over the confederated invaders. The chief of the Germans perished on the banks of the Clyde; but in a decisive battle, in which the combatants on one side were the Picts and Angles, on the other the men of the valley of the Clyde, the men of the banks of the Forth and of Deifr and Brynich. (or Bryneich and Deywr, or Dewyr,) that is to say, of the mountainous country north of the Humber, the British cause was lost. Here perished a great number of chiefs wearing the collar of gold, a token of elevated command among the Britons.2 Aneurin, one of the most celebrated bards, fought in the first ranks, and survived this signal defeat, which he sang in a poem that has come down to us.3
The victors spread themselves over the whole of the eastern country, between the Forth and the Humber. Those of the conquered to whom the foreign yoke was insupportable, took refuge in the south, in the country of the Cambrians, which then, as now, was called Wales. The conquering Germans gave no new names to the northern country; they retained the ancient geographical denominations, and themselves made use of them to distinguish their different colonies, according to their place of settlement. They called themselves, for example, men of the north of the Humber, (Northan-hymbra-menn, latinè, Nord-anhymbri, Northumbri,) men of Deifr, men of Brynich, or, according to the Latin orthography, Northumbrians, Deirians, Bernicians. The territorial designation of the Angles, (East-engla-land, East Englas, latiné, Orientales Angli, East Anglia,) was only given to a small portion of the eastern coast, where men of that nation, before the general emigration, had founded a colony, few in number, but capable of maintaining itself against the hostility of the natives, by the aid of the East-Saxons, north of whom they dwelt.
The ancient population of the Coranians, established for several centuries south of the Humber, and whom so long a sojourn among the Britons had not reconciled with them, readily joined the Anglo-Saxon invaders as they had formerly joined the Romans. In their alliance with the conquerors, their national appellation disappeared from the district they inhabited; but the name of their allies did not take its place; both were lost, and the country between the Humber and the Thames was thenceforward called the country of Merk1 (Myrcan, Myrena-rice,) or Mercia, perhaps from the nature of the soil, chiefly marshy, perhaps from the vicinity of the free Britons of whom this kingdom formed the frontier or march, as the Germans called it.2 It was Angles from the territories of Deira and Bernicia, or from the eastern coast, who, under this name, founded the eighth and last Germanic colony in Britain.3 The limits of the people of Mercia, (Myrena-menn,) a mixture of Coranians and Angles, were not at first at all definite; this people progressively extended its territory towards the west at the expense of the Cambrians, and towards the south at the expense of the Saxons themselves, with whom they did not feel themselves united by community of origin, so closely as the Saxons were among themselves.1
Of these eight colonies, principalities, states, or kingdoms, call them what you will, founded in Britain within the space of a century, by the conquests of the Saxons and Angles, none possessed any territory on the coast of the western sea, except the western Saxons, who, however, did not extend north of the Bristol Channel. The western coasts, almost throughout their extent, from the mouth of the Clyde to the Land’s-End, remained in the hands of the native race, and more peculiarly of the Cambrian-Britons. The irregular form of these coasts, isolated from the great mass of this still free population, the tribes who dwelt towards the south, beyond the Bristol Channel, and towards the north beyond the Solway Firth; but between these two opposite points was a long tract of compact land, though more or less contracted, according to the projection of the coast into the ocean. This mountainous and unfertile territory was the abode of the Cambrians,2 (Gwylt Wallia,) who there offered a poor, but secure asylum to emigrants from every corner of Britain, to all who, as the ancient historians expressed it, preferred suffering with independence, to a beautiful country under foreign servitude.3 Others crossed the ocean to seek in Gaul a country which their ancestors had peopled at the same time with Britain, and where still dwelt men of their race, and speaking their language.4
Many vessels full of fugitive Britons landed in succession on the western point of Armorica, in the districts which, under the Romans, and even before them, had been called territories of the Osismians, of the Curiosolites, and of the Venetes. By the consent of the ancient inhabitants, who recognised in them brothers by descent, the new-comers diffused themselves over all the northern coast, as far as the Rance, and towards the south-east, as far as the lower stream of the Vilaine. On this peninsula they founded a separate state, whose limits frequently varied, but beyond which the cities of Rennes and Nantes remained down to the middle of the ninth century. The increasing population of this western nook of land, the immense number of people of Celtic race and language1 who thus found themselves agglomerated together, preserved it from the irruption of the Roman tongue, which, under forms more or less corrupt, gradually spread throughout Gaul. The name of Brittany was given to these coasts, and superseded the various names of the indigenous populations, while the island which, for so many centuries, had borne this appellation, lost it, and, adopting that of its conquerors, began to be called the land of the Saxons and Angles, or, in one word, England, (Engel-seaxna-land, Engla-land.)
At the time when the men of Britain, flying before the Anglo-Saxons, settled on the point of land called the Horn of Gaul,2 other expatriated Saxons fixed their abode on a more northern point of the coast of Gaul, near the town whose ancient name was changed into that of Bayeux.3 At the same time, also, the Germanic league, whose members, for two centuries, had borne the name of Franks, that is to say, undaunted, descended, in several bands, from the mouths of the Rhine and the Meuse, upon the central lands of Gaul. Two other nations of Teutonic race had already thoroughly invaded and fixed their abode in the provinces of the south, between the Loire and the two seas. The western Goths or Visigoths4 occupied the country west of the Rhone; the Burgundiones1 that to the east. The establishment of these two barbarous nations had not taken place without violence and ravage; they had usurped a portion of the possessions of each native family; but the love of repose, and a certain spirit of justice which distinguished them among all the Germans, had speedily softened their manners; they contracted relationships with the conquered, whom their laws treated with impartiality, and gradually came to be regarded by them as simply friends and neighbours. The Goths for the most part adopted the Roman manners, which they found generally in use among the civilized inhabitants of Gaul; their laws were, in great measure, mere extracts from the imperial code; they prided themselves in a taste for the arts, and affected the polished elegance of Rome.2
The Franks, on the contrary, filled the north of Gaul with terror and devastation; strangers to the manners and arts of the Roman cities and colonies, they ravaged them with indifference and even with a sort of pleasure.3 Being pagans, no religious sympathy tempered their savage humour. Sparing neither sex nor age, say the ancient historians, destroying churches as readily as private houses, they gradually advanced towards the south, invading the whole extent of Gaul; while the Goths and Burgundians, impelled by a similar ambition, but with less barbarous manners—sometimes at peace with each other, more often at war—essayed to make progress in the opposite direction. In the then weak condition of the central provinces, still united, but only in name, to the Roman empire, and utterly disgusted with that empire, which, in the words of an ancient Gaulish poet, made them feel the weight of its shadow,4 there was reason to suppose that the inhabitants of these provinces, incapable of resisting the conquering nations who pressed upon them on three sides, would come to terms with the least ferocious of them; in a word, that the whole of Gaul would submit either to the Goths or to the Burgundians, Christians like itself, to escape the grasp of the Franks. Such would have been its true policy; but those who disposed of its fate decided otherwise.
These were the bishops of the Gaulish cities, to whom the decrees of the Roman emperors assigned high administrative authority,1 and who, by favour of the disorders caused by the invasion of the barbarians, had found means illegally to aggrandize this already exorbitant power. The bishops, who at that time all bore the title of popes or fathers, were the plenipotentiaries of the Gaulish cities, either with the empire, becoming more and more distant, or with the Germans, each day approaching nearer. Their diplomatic negotiations were conducted altogether at their own will and discretion,2 and, whether from habit or fear, no one ever thought of saying them nay; for their power was backed by the sanguinary executive laws of the empire in its decline.
Sons of Rome, and strictly bound by the imperial ordinances to recognise as their patron and common head the bishop of the eternal city,3 to do nothing without his consent, to receive his decrees as laws, and his policy for their rule of conduct, to model their own faith upon his, and thus, by the unity of religion, to contribute to the unity of empire, the bishops of the Gaulish provinces, when the imperial power ceased to have any compulsory action upon them, and when they had become altogether independent of it, did not enter upon a new path. From instinct or from calculation, they still laboured, as we are told by one of their own body, to retain under the authority of Rome, by the tie of religious faith, the countries where that political subjection was broken.4 Their aversion or their good-will towards the emigrant peoples of Germany was not measured by the degree of barbarism and ferocity of those nations, but by their supposed aptitude to receive the Catholic faith, the only faith that Rome had ever professed. Now this aptitude was calculated to be far greater in a people still pagan, than in schismatic Christians, wittingly and willingly separated from the Roman communion, such as the Goths and Burgundians, who professed the faith of Christ, according to the doctrine of Arius. But the Franks were strangers to any Christian belief, and this consideration sufficed to turn the hearts of the Gaulish bishops towards them, and to make them all, as a nearly contemporary author expresses it, desire the domination of the Franks with a desire of love.1
The portion of the Gaulish territory occupied by the Frank tribes extended at this period from the Rhine to the Somme, and the tribe most advanced into the west and south was that of the Merowings or children of Merowig,2 so called from the name of one of their ancient chiefs, renowned for his bravery, and respected by the whole tribe as a common ancestor.3
At the head of the children of Merowig was a young man, named Chlodowig,4 who combined with the warlike ardour of his predecessors a greater degree of reflection and skill. The bishops of the portion of Gaul still subject to the empire, partly as a precaution for the future, partly out of their hatred to the Arian powers, entered, of their own motion, into relations with this formidable neighbour; sending to him frequent messages, replete with flattering expressions. Many of them visited him in his camp, which, in their Roman politeness, they dignified with the name of Aula Regia, or royal court.1 The king of the Franks was at first very insensible to their adulations, which in no degree kept him from pillaging the churches and treasures of the clergy: but a precious vase, taken by the Franks from the cathedral of Reims, placed the barbarian chief in relations of interest, and ere long, of friendship, with a prelate more able or more successful than the rest. Under the auspices of Remigius or Remi, bishop of Reims, events seemed themselves to concur in promoting the grand plan of the high Gaulish clergy. First, by a chance, too fortunate to have been wholly fortuitous, the king, whom they desired to convert to the Roman faith, married the only orthodox princess then existing among the Teutonic families; and the love of the faithful wife, as the historians of the time express it, gradually softened the heart of the infidel husband.2 In a battle with some Germans who sought to follow the Franks into Gaul and to conquer their part also, Chlodowig, whose soldiers were giving way, invoked the god of Chlothilda (such was the name of his wife), and promised to believe in him, if he conquered: he conquered, and kept his word.3
The example of the chief, the presents of Chlothilda and of the bishops, and perhaps the charm of novelty, brought about the conversion of a number of Frank warriors, as many, indeed, according to the historians, as three thousand.4 The baptism took place at Reims; and all the splendour that could still be furnished by the arts of the Romans, which were soon to perish in Gaul in the hands of the barbarians, was displayed in profusion to adorn this triumph of the Catholic faith. The vestibule of the cathedral was decorated with tapestry and garlands; veils of various colours softened the glare of day; the most exquisite perfumes burnt abundantly in vases of gold and silver.5 The bishop of Reims advanced to the baptistry in pontifical robes, leading by the hand the Frankish king who was about to become his spiritual son: “Father,” said the latter, marvelling at so much pomp, “is not this that kingdom of heaven which you promised me?”1
Messengers speedily conveyed to the pope of Rome intelligence of the baptism of the king of the Franks; whereupon letters of congratulation and friendship were addressed from the eternal city to the king who thus bowed his head beneath her yoke: and he, in return, sent rich presents, as tributes of filial submission, to the blessed apostle Peter, the protector of the new Rome. From the time that king Chlodowig was declared son of the Roman church, his conquests spread in Gaul, almost without effusion of blood. All the cities of the north-west, to the Loire and to the territory of the British emigrants, opened their gates to his soldiers. The garrisons of these cities passed over to the service of the German king, and among his skin-clad warriors retained the arms and banners of Rome.2 Ere long, the limits of the territory or kingdom of the Franks were extended towards the southeast, and, at the instigation of those who had converted him, the neophyte entered, sword in hand, the lands conquered by the Burgundians.3
The Burgundians were Arians, that is, they did not believe that the second person of the Trinity was co-substantial with the first; but, despite this difference of doctrine, they in no way persecuted the priests and bishops who, in their cities, professed the creed adopted by the church of Rome. The bishops, little grateful for this toleration, corresponded with the Franks, encouraging them to invasion, and sought to avail themselves of the dread of this invasion to persuade the king of the Burgundians to embrace the Roman faith, which they described to be the only true, evangelical, and orthodox faith. The king, named Gondebald,4 although a barbarian, and their master, opposed them with great gentleness; while they addressed him in a tone of menace and arrogance, calling him madman, apostate, and rebel to the law of God.1 “Nay, not so,” he answered, mildly; “I obey the law of God; but I cannot, like you, believe in three gods. Besides, if your faith be the better one, why do not your brother bishops prove it so, by preventing the king of the Franks from marching upon us to destroy us?”2
The entrance of the Franks was the only answer to this embarrassing question: they signalized their passage by murder and fire; they tore up the vines and fruit-trees, pillaged the convents, carried away the sacred vessels, and broke them up without the slightest scruple. The king of the Burgundians, reduced to extremity, submitted to the conquerors, who imposed a tribute on him and all his cities, made him swear to be for the future their ally and soldier, and returned to the north of the Loire, with an immense booty. The orthodox clergy declared this sanguinary expedition to be a pious, illustrious, and holy enterprise for the true faith.3 “But,” said the aged king, “can faith co-exist with coveting other men’s goods, and thirsting for their blood?”4
The victory of the Franks over the Burgundians again brought all the cities on the banks of the Rhone and Sâone under the sway of the Roman church and of the palace of San Giovanni di Latran, where thus, bit by bit, was gathered together the heritage of the ancient Capitol. Six years afterwards, under similar auspices, began the war against the Visigoths. Chlodowig assembled his warriors in a circle, in a large field, and said to them:—“I like not that these Goths, who are Arians, should occupy the best part of Gaul; let us go against them, with the aid of God, and drive them away; let us subject their territory to our power: we shall do well in this, for the land is very good.”5 The proposition pleased the Franks, who adopted it with acclamations, and joyously proceeded on their march towards the good land of the south. The terror of their approach, say the old historians, resounded far before them;1 the mind of the inhabitants of the south of Gaul was so agitated, that in many places men imagined terrible signs and prognostics, announcing all the horrors of invasion. At Toulouse, it was said, a fountain of blood burst forth in the centre of the town, and flowed for an entire day.2 But amidst the public consternation, one class of men was impatiently calculating the days of the march of the barbarian troops. Quintianus, the orthodox bishop of Rodez, was detected intriguing for the enemy, and he was not the only member of the high clergy guilty of these machinations.3
The Franks passed the Loire; and ten miles from the city of Poitiers, a bloody battle took place, in which the ancient inhabitants of southern Gaul, the Gallo-Roman population of Aquitaine and Arvernia (Arvernia, Alvernia, Alvernh, Auvergne),4 aided the Goths in defence of the country. But their cause did not prevail against the conquering ardour of the Franks, powerfully assisted by the fanaticism of the orthodox Gauls; Alarik, king of the Goths, was killed fighting; and the Arvernians in this defeat lost the principal personages of their nation, whom they entitled senators, in imitation of the Romans. Few cities were taken by assault; the surrender of the majority was the result of treachery. All whose consciences had been troubled by the Arian domination, revenged themselves by inflicting every possible injury upon their ancient rulers. The Goths, unable to retain the country, abandoned Aquitaine, and passed into Spain, or took refuge in the fortresses on the Mediterranean; the victorious bands, in whose ranks were combined, under the orders of the converted king, pertinacious pagans and orthodox fanatics, marched to the foot of the Pyrenees, pillaging the cities, devastating the rural districts, and carrying away the inhabitants into slavery.1 Wherever the victorious chief encamped, the orthodox prelates besieged his tent. Germerius, bishop of Toulouse, who abode twenty days with him, eating at his table, received a present of five hundred coins and gold crosses, and silver chalices and patines, three gilt crowns, and three robes of fine linen, taken from the Arian churches.2 Another bishop, who was unable to come himself, wrote thus to the king of the Franks: “Thou shinest in power and majesty; and when thou fightest, to us is the victory.”3
Such was the domination which, extending from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, at length completely surrounded on all sides the western nook of land in which the Britons had taken refuge. Frankish governors established themselves in the cities of Nantes and Rennes. These cities paid tribute to the king of the Franks; but the Britons refused to pay it, and alone dared the attempt to save their narrow country from the destiny of Gaul. This enterprise was all the more perilous to them, that their Christianity, the fruit of the preaching of missionaries from the churches of the East, differed in some points from the doctrines and practices of the Romish church. These, Christians for several centuries past, and perhaps the most fervent Christians in the world, had come into Gaul, accompanied by priests and monks of greater knowledge than those of the isolated province where they fixed their abode.4 They purified the still very imperfect faith of the ancient inhabitants of this country; they even extended their gratuitous preaching into the surrounding territories: and, as their missionaries sought no gain, not accepting money or even maintenance from any one,5 they were everywhere well received. The citizens of Rennes chose an emigrant Briton as their bishop, and the Bretons instituted bishops in many cities of their new country, where there had been none before. They founded this religious constitution as they had founded their civil constitution, without asking permission or advice from any foreign power.1
The chiefs of the Breton church held no intercourse with the prelates of Frankish Gaul, and did not attend the Gaulish councils convoked by the rescripts of the Frank kings. This conduct soon drew upon them the animosity of the other clergy. The archbishop of Tours, who claimed the spiritual superintendence of the whole extent of country which the Roman emperors had named the third Lyonnese (Lugdunensis tertia), summoned the clergy of Brittany, as inhabiting his ancient diocese, to recognise him as metropolitan, and receive his commands. The Bretons did not consider that the imperial circumscription of the Gaulish territories imposed upon them the slightest obligation to subject to the authority of a foreigner the national church, which they had transplanted from beyond seas; moreover, it was not their custom to attach the archiepiscopal supremacy to the possession of a particular see, but to decree it to the most worthy among their bishops. Their religious hierarchy, vague and fluctuating at the popular will, was not rooted in the soil, or graduated in territorial divisions, like those which the emperors instituted when they converted Christianity into a means of government. Accordingly, the ambitious pretensions of the prelate of Tours seemed wholly futile to the Bretons, who paid no heed whatever to it; the Gaulish bishops excommunicated them. They were equally unmoved at this, feeling no regret at being deprived of the communion with strangers, from whom they had themselves separated.2
In punishment of its political and religious independence, this small nation underwent frequent and formidable invasions on the part of the powerful conquerors of Gaul. The Frank kings, having assembled around them, in high council, the governors of their provinces, whom they called grafs, (grav, græf, geref, gerefa, overseer, prefect) and the Gauls counts (comites), the count of the Breton frontier was questioned as to the religious faith of the Bretons: “They do not believe in the true dogmas,” answered the Frank captain; “they do not walk in the straight path.”1 Thereupon war was voted against them by acclamation; an army, collected in Germany and in the north of Gaul, descended towards the mouth of the Loire; priests and monks quitted their books and threw aside the long robe, to accompany, sword in hand and baldric on shoulder, the soldiers, whose laughter they excited by their awkwardness.2 After the first victory, the conqueror issued from his camp, on the river Ellé or Blavet, manifestos respecting the tonsure of the priests and the lives of the monks of Brittany;3 enjoining them, under pain of corporal punishment, to adhere in future to the rules of the Romish church.4
All the differences of opinion and practice between the orthodox church and the Bretons of Gaul, were common to them with the men of the same race who continued to inhabit the island of Britain. The most important point of this schism was the refusal to believe in the original degradation of our nature, and in the damnation of children dying unbaptized. The Britons thought that, in order to become better, man has no need of a supernatural grace gratuitously to enlighten him, but that, by his own will and reason, he may raise himself to moral well being. This doctrine had been professed, from time immemorial, in the poems of the Celtic bards; a Christian priest, born in Breton, and known by the name of Pelagius,5 introduced it into the churches of the East, and created a great sensation by his opposition to the dogma of the culpability of all men, through the fault of their first father. Denounced to the imperial authority as the enemy of the Catholic doctrines, he was banished the Roman world,6 and sentences of proscription were hurled against his disciples. The inhabitants of the island of Britain, already separated from the empire, escaped these persecutions, and might indulge in peace their belief that no man is born guilty; they were simply visited from time to time by orthodox missionaries, who endeavoured to bring them over, by persuasion, to the doctrines of the Romish church.
In the early period of the Saxon invasion, there came into Britain two Gaulish preachers, Lupus, bishop of Troyes, and Germanus, bishop of Auxerre: these men combated the Pelagians, not with logical arguments, but with citations and texts. “How can it be pretended,” said they, “that man is born without original sin, when it is written: “We are born in sin?”
This sort of proof was not without its effect upon simple minds,1 and Germanus of Auxerre succeeded in raising up in Britain that which the orthodox termed the honour of the Divine grace.2 It must be admitted in praise of this person, that an ardent conviction and a charitable zeal were the only motives of his preaching, and that he had a brother’s love towards those whom he essayed to convert. He gave proof of this by himself marching at the head of his proselytes against the conquering Saxons, whom he drove back with the cry of Hallelujah, repeated thrice by his whole troop:3 unhappily, it was not thus that the missionaries, deputed by the Romish church, treated the British population established in Wales.
At the time when the Anglo-Saxons had completed the conquest of the finest portion of the island of Britain, the dignity of bishop or pope of Rome was held by a personage skilfully zealous for the propagation of the catholic faith and the aggrandizement of the new Roman empire, which was establishing itself on the primacy of the see of St. Peter. This pope, Gregory, successfully laboured to concentrate more and more strictly, around the metropolis of the west, the bonds of the episcopal hierarchy created by the policy of the emperors. The Frank kings, orthodox chiefs of armies still semi-pagan,1 were the faithful allies of pope Gregory; and their power, dreaded from afar, gave support and sanction to his pontifical decrees. When he thought fit to impose upon the bishops of Gaul some new law of subordination towards himself or his chosen vicars, he addressed his ordinance to the glorious personages, Hildebert, Theodorik, or Theodebert,2 charging them to enforce its execution by their royal power, and to punish recusants.3 Preposterous flattery, the epithets of most illustrious, most pious, most Christian, and the donation of certain relics, “which, worn round the neck in battle, will protect the wearer from all danger,” were, on the part of the Roman pontiff, the easy payment of the good offices of the barbarian king.4
A similar alliance with the conquerors of Britain, for the benefit of the orthodox faith and of the pontifical supremacy, was an early object of the zeal and ambition of pope Gregory; he formed the design of converting the Anglo Saxons to the doctrines of catholicism, and of applying their domination, as that of the Franks, to the aggrandizement of his spiritual power, which was unrecognised by the British Christians. These, defeated and dispossessed, gave no uneasiness to the Roman pontiff in his projects; they were deficient neither in faith nor in zeal, but, between them and their pagan enemies, any compact was impossible. Resentment of foreign usurpation, and anxiety to provide for the national defence, absorbed all their thoughts; they had neither leisure nor inclination to negotiate with their conquerors pacific relations, which might subsequently create a title of legitimacy for the Anglo-Saxon conquest.5
Pope Gregory thus found the field open to him; and, to pave the way for his enterprise, he sought in the slave markets of various places youths of Anglo-Saxon race, of seventeen or eighteen years of age.1 These his agents bought and placed in monasteries, imposing upon them the task of making themselves acquainted with the doctrines of the catholic faith, so as to be able to teach them in their native language. It would seem that these missionaries on compulsion did not answer the purpose of their masters, for pope Gregory, soon laying aside his fantastic expedient, resolved to intrust the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Romans of tried faith and solid learning. The chief of this mission was named Augustin; he was, ere his departure, consecrated bishop of England. His companions followed him, full of zeal, as far as the city of Aix in Provence; but here they conceived alarm at their enterprise, and desired to retrace their steps. Augustin returned alone, to seek from Gregory, in the name of the mission, permission to withdraw from this perilous journey, the result of which, he said, was extremely precarious among a people of an unknown tongue.2 But the pope would not consent. “It is too late to retreat,” he said; “you must accomplish your enterprise without listening to the ill-disposed; were it possible, I myself would willingly labour with you in this good work.”3 The missionaries belonged to a convent founded by pope Gregory on his own estate, in the very house where he was born; all had sworn obedience to him as to their spiritual father: they therefore obeyed, and went first to Chalons, where dwelt Theodorik, son of Hildebert, king of half the eastern portion of the country conquered by the Franks.4 They next repaired to Metz, where, over the other half, reigned Theodebert, also son of Hildebert.5
The Romans presented to these two kings letters full of panegyrical expressions, calculated to excite their good will, by flattering their vanity to the highest degree. Pope Gregory knew that the Franks were at war with the Saxons of Germany, their neighbours on the north, and, availing himself of this circumstance, he did not hesitate to describe the Anglo-Saxons beyond seas, whom these monks were on their way to convert, as subjects of the Franks: “I have felt,” he wrote to the two sons of Hildebert, “that you would ardently desire the happy conversion of your subjects to the faith which you yourselves profess, you, their lords and kings; this conviction has induced me to send Augustin, the bearer of these presents, with other servants of God, to labour there under your auspices.”1
The mission had also letters for the grandmother of the two young kings, the widow of Sighebert, father of Hildebert, a woman of lofty ambition and rare ability in intrigue, who, in the name of her two grandsons, governed one half of Gaul. She was of the nation of the Goths, then driven by the Frank invasion beyond the Pyrenees. Before her marriage, her name had been Brune, which in the Germanic language signified brilliant; but the Frank king, who espoused her, desiring, say the historians of the time, to augment and adorn her name, called her Brunehilde, that is to say, brilliant girl,2 (Brunehaut, latinè, Brunechildis.) From an Arian she became a catholic, received the unction of the sacred oil, and thenceforward displayed great zeal for her new belief; the bishops vied with each other in praising the purity of her faith, and, in consideration of her pious works, omitted to cast a single glance at her personal immoralities or her political crimes. “You, whose zeal is so ardent, whose works are so pious, whose excellent soul is strong in the fear of the Almighty God,” wrote pope Gregory to this queen, “we pray you to aid us in a great work. The English nation has manifested to us a desire to receive the faith of Christ, and we would satisfy its desire.”3 The Frank kings and their grandmother were in no degree anxious to verify the truth of this ardent desire of the Anglo-Saxon people, or to reconcile it with the evident repugnance and terror of the missionaries: they welcomed the mission, and defrayed its expenses on its way towards the sea. The chief of the western Franks,4 although at war with his relations of the east, received the Romans as graciously as they, and assisted them with men of the Frank nation to act as interpreters between them and the Saxons, who spoke almost the same language.1
By a fortunate chance, it happened that the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon chiefs, Ethelbert,2 king of Kent, had just married a woman of Frank origin, who professed the Catholic religion. This news raised the courage of the companions of Augustin, and they landed with confidence on the promontory of Thanet, already famous for the disembarkation of the ancient Romans, and of the two brothers who had opened to the Saxons the way into Britain. The Frank interpreters repaired to Ethelbert, and announced to him men who had come from afar to bring him joyful tidings, the offer of an endless happiness in heaven, an eternal kingdom with the true and living God, if he would believe in their words.3 The Saxon king at first gave no positive answer, and ordered that the strangers should remain in the isle of Thanet, until he had deliberated upon what course to adopt with regard to them. We may well suppose that the Christian wife of the pagan king did not remain inactive at this important juncture, and that all the effusions of domestic tenderness were employed to render Ethelbert favourable to the missionaries. He consented to hold a conference with them; but not having wholly overcome his distrust, he could not bring himself to receive them in his palace, or even in his royal city, but visited them in their island, where, further, he required that the interview should take place in the open air, to prevent the effect of any witchcraft which these strangers might employ against him.4 The Romans proceeded to the conference with studied display, in a double rank, preceded by a large silver cross, and a picture representing Christ; they explained the object of their journey, and made their propositions.5
“These are fine words and fine promises,” answered the pagan king; “but as this is all new to me, I cannot at once put faith in it, and abandon for it the belief which I, with my whole nation, profess. However, since you have come so far to communicate to us what you yourselves seem to think good and true, I will not ill treat you; I will furnish you with provisions and lodging, and will leave you free to make known your doctrine, and to convert to it whom you can.”1
The monks repaired to the capital city, which was called the city of the men of Kent, in Saxon, Kentwara-Byrig (Cantware-byrig, Canterbury); they entered it in procession, bearing their cross and their picture, and chanting litanies. They had soon made some proselytes; a church built by the Britons in honour of St. Martin, and deserted since the Saxon conquest, served them for the celebration of mass. They struck the imaginations of men by great austerities; they even performed miracles, and the sight of their prodigies gained the heart of king Ethelbert, who at first had seemed to apprehend sorcery on their part. When the chief of Kent had received baptism, the new religion became the road to royal favour, and numbers accordingly rushed into that path, though king Ethelbert, as the historians tell us, constrained no man.2 As a pledge of his faith, he gave houses and lands to his spiritual fathers; such in all countries was the first payment which the converters of the barbarians demanded. “I supplicate thy grandeur and munificence,” said the priest to the royal neophyte, “to give me some land and all its revenues, not for myself, but for Christ, and to confer these upon me by solemn grant, to the end that thou in return mayst receive numerous possessions in this world, and a still greater number in the world to come.” The king answered: “I confirm to thee in full property without reserve, all this domain, in order that this land be to thee a country, and that in future thou cease to be a stranger among us.”3
Augustin assumed the title of bishop of Kent, (Kent-ware, Cant-wara, latinè, Cantuarii.) The mission extended its labours beyond this territory, and by the influence of example, obtained some success among the eastern Saxons, whose chief, Sighebert, was a relation of Ethelbert. Pope Gregory learned with infinite joy the result of the preaching which had rendered a portion of the conquerors of Britain Christians and Catholics; the latter point, indeed, was the great feature with him, for his attachment to the creed of Nicea and to the doctrines of Saint Augustin rendered him the mortal enemy of all that savoured of schism or heresy; in his purism of orthodoxy, he went so far as to refuse the host to heretics dying in vindication of the faith of Jesus Christ. “The harvest is great,” wrote Augustin to him, “but the husbandmen are few.” Upon this intelligence, a second deputation of missionaries departed from Rome with letters addressed to the bishop of Gaul, and a sort of diplomatic note for Augustin, the grand plenipotentiary of the Roman church in Britain. The note addressed to Melitus and to Laurentius, chiefs of the new mission, was conceived in these terms:
“Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to his most beloved brother, the abbot Melitus.
“We have been in a state of great anxiety since the departure of our congregation, which you have taken with you, because we have heard nothing of the successful progress of your journey.
“When the Almighty God shall bring you to the presence of that most reverend man, our brother, bishop Augustin, say to him that I have long been cogitating upon the matter of the English people, and the result is this; the fanes of the idols which are amongst that people ought by no means to be demolished, but the idols that are in them ought to be destroyed, the temples, meanwhile, sprinkled with holy water, altars constructed, and relics of the saints deposited. If these temples are well constructed, it is necessary that they be changed from the worship of demons to the service of the true God; so that whilst the people do not see their temples destroyed, they may lay aside the error of their hearts, and, recognising the true God, adore Him in those very places to which they have been in the habit of resorting.
“In the same manner, let this be done: as these people have been in the habit of slaying many cattle in the sacrifices to their demons, so for their sakes ought there to be some solemnity, the object of it only being changed. Then upon a dedication, or upon the nativity of some of the holy martyrs, whose relics are in the churches, let it be permitted to make arbours with the branches of trees, around what once were but heathen temples. Then celebrate such solemnities with religious feasts, so that the people will not immolate animals to the devil, but slay them and partake of them, with thanks and praises to God, for that abundance which has been bestowed upon them by Him who is the giver of all things; and thus whilst exterior joys are permitted to them, they may with the greater facility be attached to those joys that are of the spirit. For be it remembered, that it is not possible at once to deprive those whose minds are hardened, of all things. He who tries to reach the highest place, does so gradually, and step by step, and is never elevated by leaps. When our Lord made himself known to the people of Israel in Egypt, He still reserved for his own use the sacrifices which it had been accustomed to tender to the demon, and he even commanded them to immolate animals in His honour; so that as their hearts changed they would lose one portion of the sacrifice; that whilst the animals were immolated, as they had been immolated, yet being offered to God, and not to idols, the sacrifices may no longer be the same.”1
Together with these instructions, Melitus and Laurentius delivered to Augustin, the ornament of the pallium, which, according to the ceremonial the Romish church had borrowed from the Roman empire, was the living and official emblem of the power to command given to bishops. They at the same time brought a plan of an ecclesiastical constitution, prepared beforehand at Rome to be applied to the provinces of England, as the domain of the spiritual conquest became extended over them. According to this project, Augustin was to appoint twelve bishops, and to fix in London, when that city should become Christian, the metropolitan see, upon which the twelve other bishoprics should be dependent. In like manner, as soon as the great northern city, called in Latin Eboracum, and in Saxon Eoforwic, Everwic, (York), should have received Christianity, Augustin was to institute there a bishop, who, in his turn receiving the pallium, should become the metropolitan of twelve others. The latter metropolitan, though dependent upon Augustin during his life, was under the successors of Augustin to be subject only to Rome.1
Regarding these arrangements solely under their material aspect, we may fancy we see the revival under other forms of the partition of provinces conquered or to be conquered, which in anterior ages so often occupied the Roman senate. The see of the first archbishop of the Saxons was not established at London, as the papal instructions had ordered; and either to conciliate the new Christian king of Kent, or in order to watch him more closely, and to be nearer at hand to oppose in him any return of old habits, Augustin fixed his abode in the city of Canterbury, in the very palace of Ethelbert, the king himself retiring to Reculver. Another Roman missionary was fixed as a simple bishop in London, the capital of the eastern Saxons; and Rofeskester, now Rochester, became the seat of a second bishopric. The metropolitan and his two suffragans had the reputation of performing miracles, and the fame of their marvellous works soon spread even into Gaul. Pope Gregory skilfully made use of this intelligence to re-animate in the hearts of the Frank kings the love and fear of Rome;2 but, while fully availing himself of the renown of Augustin, it was not without umbrage that he saw this renown augment, and his subaltern agent viewed by men as another apostle.3 There exists an ambiguous letter, wherein the pope, not venturing to express his whole opinion on this matter, appears to caution the apostle of the Saxons not to forget his rank and his duty, and to recommend him quietly to modify the exercise of his supernatural powers.4
“On learning,” says Gregory, “the great marvels that our God has been pleased to operate by your hands, in the eyes of the nation he has elected, I rejoiced thereat, because external prodigies efficaciously serve to give souls an inclination towards internal grace: but you yourself must take good heed, that amidst these prodigies your spirit be not inflated and become presumptuous; beware least that which outwardly raises you in consideration and honour, should inwardly become unto you a cause of fall, by the allurements of vain glory.”1 These counsels were not without their meaning; the ambitious character of Augustin had already manifested itself in a sufficiently evident manner: unsatisfied with his dignity of metropolitan of the English, he coveted a more flattering and more assured supremacy over nations long since Christian. In one of his despatches to Rome, there was, among other things, this brief and peremptory question: “How am I to deal with the bishops of Gaul and the bishops of the Britons?”2 “As to the bishops of Gaul,” answered Gregory, somewhat alarmed at the question, “I have not given thee, and I do not give thee any authority over them: the prelate of Arles has received the pallium from me; I cannot take his power from him; it is he who is the chief and judge of the Gauls; and as for thee, thou art forbidden to put the reaping-hook of judgment in the corn-field of another.3 As for the bishops of the Briton-race, I confide them all to thee; teach the ignorant, strengthen the weak, and chastise evil doers.”4
The enormous difference which the Roman pontiff thought proper to establish between the Gauls, whom he protected against the pretensions of Augustin, and the Cambrians, whom he abandoned to him, will be understood, when we call to mind that the Cambrians were schismatics. This unfortunate remnant of a great nation, restricted to a mere corner of their ancient country, had lost all, says one of their old poets, but their name, their language, and their God.5 They believed in one God in three persons, a rewarder and avenger, but not punishing, as the Romish church maintained, the sins of the father in his posterity; granting his grace to whomsoever practised justice, and not damning children who die before they have possibly committed a single sin. To these disagreements as to dogma, the result of the Pelagian or semi-Pelagian opinions retained by the Britons, were added other differences relating to points of discipline and arising from local customs, or from the oriental traditions which the British church, a daughter of the churches of the east, followed in preference. The form of the clerical tonsure and that of the monastic habit were not the same in Britain as in Italy and Gaul; they did not in Britain celebrate the festival of Easter precisely at the period fixed by the decrees of the popes. Although very rigid, the rules of the British monasteries were in this way peculiar, that very few of the monks took orders, either of priesthood or clerkship, and that all the rest, simple laymen, laboured with their hands the whole day, exercising some art or trade for their own support and that of the community.1 The Cambrians had bishops; but these bishops were, most of their time, without any fixed see: they lived sometimes in one town, sometimes in another, true overseers; and their archbishop, in the same way, lived now at Kerleon (Caër-Lleon) on the Usk, now at Menew, (Mynyw, latine Menevia) since named Saint David’s; this archbishop, independent of all foreign authority, did not receive the pallium, or solicit it. These were crimes in the eyes of the Roman clergy, who desired that all should bow beneath the supremacy of their church,2 and fully sufficed to warrant pope Gregory, according to his view of the matter, in not recognising any of the bishops of Cambria as a religious authority, and in handing them over to the guardianship and correction of one of his missionaries.
Augustin, by an express message, conveyed to the clergy of the conquered Britons the order to acknowledge him archbishop of the whole island, under pain of incurring the anger of the Romish church, and that of the Anglo-Saxon kings. For the purpose of demonstrating to the Cambrian priests and monks the legitimacy of his pretensions, he invited them to a conference on the banks of the Severn, the boundary of their territory and that of the conquerors. The assembly was held in the open air, under a large oak.1 Here Augustin called upon the Britons to reform their religious practices according to the discipline of Rome, to join the Catholic unity, to give obedience to himself, and to employ themselves, under his direction, in the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons. In aid of his harangue, he produced a counterfeit blind man, a Saxon by birth, and pretended to restore him to sight;2 but neither the eloquence of the Roman nor his miracle could awe the Cambrians, and make them abjure their ancient spirit of independence. Augustin was not discouraged; he appointed a second interview, to which repaired, with a complaisance which proved their good faith, seven bishops of British race and many monks, chiefly from a large monastery called Bangor,3 situated in North Wales, on the banks of the Dee.
On their approach, the Roman did not deign to rise from his seat; and this token of pride at once wounded them. “We will never admit the pretended rights of Roman ambition,” said their spokesman, Dimothus, “any more than those of Saxon tyranny. In the bond of love and charity, we are all subjects and servants to the church of God, yea, to the pope of Rome, and every good Christian, to help them forward, both in deed and in word, to be the children of God; but for the submission of obedience, we owe that only to God, and, after God, to our venerable head, the bishop of Kerleon on Use. Besides, we would ask why those who glorify themselves upon having converted the Saxons, have never reprimanded them for their acts of violence towards us and their spoliation of us?”4
The only answer made by Augustin was a formal summons to the Welsh priests to acknowledge him as archbishop, and to aid him in converting the Germans of the island of Britain. The Welshmen unanimously replied that they would not unite in friendship with the invaders of their country, until these had restored all which they had unjustly wrested from them: “And as for the man,” added they, “who does not rise and pay us respect when he is only our equal, how much greater the contempt he would manifest for us, if we admitted him superior.”1 “Well, then,” exclaimed the missionary, in a threatening tone, “since you will not have peace with your brethren, you shall have to endure war with your foes; since you refuse to join me in teaching the way of life to the Saxons, ere long, by a just judgment of God, you shall have to suffer from the Saxons the bitter pains of death.”2
And, in effect, but a short time had elapsed when the king of an Anglo-Saxon tribe, still pagan, marched from the north country to the very spot where the conference had been held The monks of Bangor, bearing in mind the menace of Augustin, quitted their convent in the utmost terror, and fled to the army which the chief of the Welsh province of Powis assembled. This army was defeated, and in the rout the victorious king perceived a body of men singularly clad, without arms, and all kneeling. He was told that these were the people of the great monastery, and that they were praying for the safety of their countrymen. “If they cry to their God for my enemies,” said the Saxon, “they are fighting against me, though without arms;”3 and he had them all massacred, to the number of two hundred. The monastery of Bangor, whose chief had been the spokesman in the fatal interview with Augustin, was razed to the ground; “and it was thus,” say the ecclesiastical authors, “that the prediction of the holy pontiff was accomplished, and those perfidious men who had slighted his counsels in aid of their eternal salvation, punished with death in this world.”4 It was a national tradition among the Welsh, that the chief of the new Anglo-Saxon church caused this invasion, and pointed out the monastery of Bangor to the pagans of Northumberland. It is impossible to affirm anything positive on this point; but the coincidence of time rendered the imputation so grave as to make the friends of the Romish church desirous of destroying all traces of that coincidence. In almost all the manuscripts of the sole historian of these events, they inserted the statement that Augustin was dead when the defeat of the Britons and the massacre of the monks of Bangor took place.1 Augustin was, indeed, old at this period; but he lived at least a year after the military execution which he had so exactly predicted.
On his death, Laurentius, a Roman, like himself, took the title of archbishop; Melitus and Justus were still bishops, the one of London, the other of Rochester. The first had converted to Christianity Sighebert, a relation of Ethelbert, who, in the novelty of his conversion, manifested infinite zeal, and surrounded his growing clergy with honours and authority. But this state of things was not of long duration: this fervent king was succeeded by princes indifferent or even opposed to the new worship; and when the two sons of Sighebert (familiarly termed Sibert, or Sib) had committed their father to the tomb, they returned to paganism, and abolished all the laws directed against the old national religion. Being, however, of gentle disposition, they at first did not persecute either bishop Melitus or the small number of true believers who continued to listen to him; they even attended the Christian church, to pass the time, or perhaps with a sort of inward doubting.
One day that the Roman was administering the communion of the Eucharist to his faithful, the two young chiefs said to him: “Why dost thou not offer to us, as well as to the others, some of that white bread which thou didst use to give our father Sib?”2 “If,” answered the bishop, “you will wash in the fountain of salvation, wherein your father was washed, you shall, like him, share this wholesome bread.” “We will not enter the fountain; we have no need of it; but still we desire to refresh ourselves with that bread.”3 They several times renewed this singular request; the Roman on each occasion repeated that he could not accede to it; and they, imputing his refusal simply to ill will, became irritated, and said: “Since thou wilt not please us in so easy a matter, thou shalt quit our country.”4
And they drove him and all his companions from London. The exiles went into Kent, to Laurentius and Justus, whom they found also discouraged by the indifference manifested towards them by the successor of Ethelbert. They all resolved to pass into Gaul. Melitus and Justus departed together; but Laurentius, on the point of following them, determined to make one last effort to turn the mind of the king of Kent, still wavering and uncertain, he believed, as to the religion of his ancestors. The last night that he was to pass among the Saxons, he had his bed set up in the church of Saint Peter, built at Canterbury by the old king; and in the morning he issued from it, bruised, wounded, and bleeding. In this state he presented himself before Edbald,1 son of Ethelbert. “See,” he cried, “what the apostle Peter hath done unto me in punishment of my having for a moment thought of quitting his flock.”2 The Saxon king was struck by this spectacle, and trembled lest he himself should incur the hostility of the holy apostle, who so severely chastised his friends. He invited Laurentius to remain, recalled Justus, and promised to employ all his authority in reconverting those who, following his example, had fallen into apostasy. Thanks to the aid of the temporal arm, the faith of Christ arose once more, never again to be extinguished, on both banks of the Thames. Melitus was the successor of Laurentius in the archiepiscopal see; Justus succeeded Melitus; and the king of Kent, Edbald, who had been on the point of driving them all away, was complimented by the sovereign pontiff upon the purity of his belief and the perfection of his Christian works.3
A few years after these events, a sister of Edbald, Ethelberge,4 was married to the pagan chief of the country north of the Humber. The bride left Kent, accompanied by a priest of Roman birth, named Paulinus, who was beforehand consecrated archbishop of York, according to the plan of pope Gregory, and in the hope that the faithful wife would convert the infidel husband. The king of Northumberland,5 named Edwin,1 allowed his wife Ethelberge to practise the Christian religion under the auspices of the man she had brought with her, whose black hair and brown thin face astonished the light-haired inhabitants of the country.2 When the wife of Edwin became a mother, Paulinus gravely announced to the Anglo-Saxon king that he had obtained for her the blessing of child-bearing without pain, on condition that the child should be baptized in the name of Christ.3 In the effusion of his paternal joy, the pagan consented to all his wife desired; but, on his part, he would not hear of any proposition of baptism, though he allowed free speech to those who desired to convert him, argued with them, and sometimes embarrassed them.4
In order to attract him, if possible, towards celestial things by the bait of worldly goods, there came from Rome a letter addressed by pope Boniface “to the glorious Edwin:” “I send you,” wrote the pontiff, “the benediction of your protector, the blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, that is to say, a linen shirt ornamented with gold embroidery, and a mantle of fine wool of Ancona.”5 Ethelberge, in the same way, received as a pledge of the blessing of the apostle Peter, a gilt ivory comb and a silver mirror. These gifts were accepted, but they did not decide king Edwin, whose reflective mind could only be gained over by a strong moral impression.6
The life of the Saxon had been marked by an extraordinary adventure, of which he thought he had kept the secret wholly to himself; but it had probably escaped him amidst the endearments of wedded life. In his youth, before he became king, he had incurred a great peril; surprised by enemies, who sought his life, he had fallen into their hands. In the prison where he languished, without hope of safety, his heated imagination had, in a dream, brought before him an unknown personage, who approached him with a grave air, and said: “What wouldst thou promise to him who would and could save thee?” “Aught that it shall ever be in my power to perform,” answered the Saxon. “Well,” replied the unknown, “if he who can save thee only required of thee to live according to his counsels, wouldst thou follow them?” Edwin swore it, and the apparition, stretching forth his hand, and putting it on his head, said, “When such a sign shall again present itself to thee, recal this moment and our conversation.”1 Edwin escaped his danger by some happy chance, but the memory of his dream remained engraven on his mind.
One day that he was alone in his apartment, the door suddenly opened, and he saw enter a personage, who advanced gravely forward like the man in his dream, and who, without pronouncing a single word, placed his hand upon his head. It was Paulinus, to whom, according to the ecclesiastical historians,2 the Holy Spirit had revealed the infallible means of overcoming the king’s obstinacy. The victory was complete; the Saxon, struck with utter amazement, fell with his face to the ground, whence the Roman, now his master, graciously raised him.3 Edwin promised to be a Christian: but firm in his good sense, he promised for himself alone, saying that the men of the country should themselves decide what to do.4 Paulinus asked him to convoke the great national council, called in the Saxon language, wittena-ghemote, the assembly of the sages, summoned around the German kings on all important occasions, and at which were present the magistrates, the rich landed proprietors, the warriors of high grade, and the priests of the gods.5 King Edwin explained to this assembly the reasons of his change of faith; and addressing all present, one after another, he asked them what they thought of this new doctrine.
To this question, the chief of the pagan high priests, Coifi, thus replied:—“Your majesty sees, and can judge of that religion, which is now expounded to us; whilst I can truly declare to you, that which I most assuredly know, namely, that there is no advantage in the religion to which we hitherto have adhered. There is no one, for instance, who has been more devout in the worship of our gods than myself, and yet, there are many who receive greater benefits from you, who are possessed of more dignified offices, and who are far more prosperous in all their undertakings than myself. If our gods could be of any avail, assuredly they would have assisted him who paid the most court to them. It follows from this, that if, upon a due examination, you shall find that the new doctrines that are preached to you are better and superior to the old, then you are bound, in common with us all, not to delay the adoption of them.”1
A chief of the warriors then arose, and spoke thus:—“The life of man,” said he, “on this earth, in comparison to that space of time which is unknown to us, is like to that which may happen when you with your nobles and attendants are seated at supper, in the winter season, and when a fire is lighted in the midst, and the room is filled with the genial heat, whilst the whirlwind rages, the rain beats, and the snow falls outside, and a sparrow flutters quickly in at one door, and flies as hastily out at the other. During the brief period that it is within the room, the chill of winter does not touch it; but in an instant the serenity it has enjoyed in its flight has disappeared—and as you look upon it, it has flashed from the darkness of winter at one door, into the darkness of winter in which it disappears at the other—such, too, is the brief measure of human existence. We know not what went before, and we are utterly ignorant as to what shall follow. If the new doctrine can make you more certain as to this, then it is one, in my opinion, that ought to be adopted by us.”2
After the other chiefs had spoken, and the Roman had explained his dogmas, the assembly, voting as in sanction of national laws, solemnly renounced the worship of the ancient gods. But when the missionary proposed to destroy the images of those gods, none among the new Christians felt himself firmly enough convinced to brave the perils of such a profanation; none save the high priest, who demanded of the king arms and a full-horse, that he might thus violate the rule of his order, which prohibited priests to assume warlike habits, or to ride on anything but a mare.1 Then, girt with a sword, and brandishing a pike, he galloped to the temple, and in sight of all the people, who thought him mad, he struck the walls and images with his lance. A wooden house was raised wherein king Edwin and a great number of men were baptized.2 Paulinus having thus really achieved the archbishopric of which he bore the title, traversed the countries of Deire3 and Bernicia, and baptized in the waters of the Swale and the Glen those who hastened to obey the decree of the assembly of sages.4
The political influence of the great kingdom of Northamberland drew towards Christianity the population of the East-Angles, or eastern English, dwelling south of the Humber, and north of the eastern Saxons. This people had already heard some discourses of the Roman bishops of the south; but the two religions were still so equally balanced, that the chief of the country, Redwald,5 had two altars in the same temple, one to Christ and the other to the Teutonic gods, whom he invoked alternately.6 Thirty years after the conversion of the people on the banks of the Humber, a woman of that country converted the chief of the kingdom of Mercia, which then extended from the Humber to the Thames. The Anglo-Saxons who latest retained their ancient worship, were those of the southern coasts; they did not renounce it until the end of the seventh century.7
Eight Roman monks were successively archbishops of Canterbury, before that dignity, instituted for the Saxons, was attained by a man of Saxon race, Berhtwald, or Brithwald. The successors of Augustin did not renounce the hope of constraining the clergy of Cambria to yield to their authority. They overwhelmed the Welsh priests with summonings and messages; they even extended their ambitious pretensions over the priests of Erin, as independent as the Britons of all foreign supremacy, and so zealous for the Christian faith, that their country was surnamed the Isle of Saints. But this merit of holiness, without complete subjection to the power of the Romish church, was as nothing in the eyes of the members of that church who had established their spiritual dominion over the portion of Britain conquered by the Anglo-Saxons. They sent messages full of pride and acerbity to the inhabitants of Erin: “We, the deputies of the apostolic see in the western regions, of late foolishly credited the reputation of your island for holiness; but we now fully regard you as no better than the Britons.1 The journey of Columban into Gaul, and that of a certain Dagaman into Britain, have fully convinced us of this, for among other things, this Dagaman passed by the places we inhabit, and not only refused to eat at our table, but even to take his meals in the same house with us.”2
This journey into Gaul, cited in proof of the ill doctrines and perversity of the Christians of Hibernia, had in it circumstances which deserve mention. Columban, or more correctly Colum, an Irishman by birth, and a missionary by inspiration, filled with a desire to seek adventures and perils for the sake of the Christian faith, had put to sea with twelve chosen companions. He passed into Britain, and thence into Gaul; then proceeding to the eastern frontier of that country, by which German paganism was rushing in or threatening to do so, he resolved to establish a place of prayer and preaching.3 After having traversed the vast forests of the Vosges, he selected as a residence the ruins of a Roman fortress, called Luxovium, now Luxeuil, in the centre of which was a spring of mineral waters and magnificent baths, adorned with marble basins and statues. These ruins furnished Columban and his companions with materials for building a house and an oratory, and the monastery founded by them was established according to the rule of the convents of Ireland.1 The reputation for sanctity of these cenobites from beyond sea, soon attracted numerous disciples, and the visits of powerful personages. Theodorik, the Frank king, in whose country they were, came to recommend himself to their prayers.
Columban, with a freedom which no member of the Gallo-Frankish clergy had permitted himself, severely remonstrated with the visitor upon the wicked life he led, instead of espousing a lawful wife, with concubines and mistresses.2 These reproaches displeased the king less than they did the king’s grandmother, that Brunechild whose piety pope Gregory had so lauded, and who, the more absolutely to govern her grandson, dissuaded him from, and gave him a distaste for marriage.3 At the instigation of this woman, as cunning as she was ambitious, the Frank lords and the bishops themselves laboured, by malignant observations, to indispose Theodorik towards the chief of the foreign monks. He was accused of being of but doubtful orthodoxy, of creating a schism in the Gaulish church, of following an unwonted rule, by which no lay visitor was admitted into the interior of the monastery.4 After a scene of violence, in which the king, coming to Luxeuil, penetrated into the refectory, and in which Columban asserted his rule with inflexible courage, the Irishman was ordered to retrace the same road he had come.5 An escort of soldiers, under the order of count Theudoald and bishop Suffronius, conducted him to Besançon, from Besançon to Autun, from Autun to Nevers, and thence by the Loire to Nantes, where he embarked for Ireland.6 But his adventurous destiny and his ardent zeal took him back to Gaul, whence he crossed the Helvetian Alps into Italy, where he died. Such was the man from whose conduct the bishops of Saxon Britain judged that the Christianity of the inhabitants of Hibernia was of a suspicious nature, and that it had need to be purified and reformed by them.7
The same church which expelled the censurer of the Frank kings from Gaul, gave to the Anglo-Saxon kings consecrated crosses for standards, when they went to exterminate the ancient Christians of Britain.1 The latter, in their national poems, attribute much of their disasters to a foreign conspiracy, and to monks whom they call unjust.2 In their conviction of the ill-will of the Romish church towards them, they daily became more confirmed in their determination to reject her dogmas and her empire; they preferred addressing themselves, as they repeatedly did, to the church of Constantinople, for counsel in theological difficulties. The most renowned of their ancient sages, Cattawg, at once bard and Christian priest, curses, in his political effusions, the negligent shepherd who does not guard the flock of God against the wolves of Rome.3
But the ministers and envoys of the pontifical court, thanks to the religious dependence in which they held the powerful Anglo-Saxon kings, gradually, by means of terror, subdued the free spirit of the British churches. In the eighth century, a bishop of North Cambria celebrated the festival of Easter on the day prescribed by the catholic councils; the other bishops arose against this change; and, on the rumour of this dispute, the Anglo-Saxons made an irruption into the southern provinces where the opposition was manifested.4 To obviate foreign war and the desolation of his country, a Welsh chief attempted to sanction, by his civil authority, the alteration of the ancient religious customs; the public mind was so irritated at this, that the chieftain was killed in a revolt. However, the national pride soon declined, and weariness of a struggle constantly renewing, brought a large portion of the Welsh clergy to the centre of catholicism. The religious subjection of the country was thus gradually effected; but it was never so complete as that of England.
5 The kings of the Saxons and of the Angles had for the city of Rome and the see of St. Peter, a veneration which they frequently testified by rich offerings, and even by annual tributes, under the name of Rome-money or Church-money. The successors of the ancient leaders of adventurers Henghist, Horsa, Kerdic, Ælla and Ida, taught by the Roman clergy to assume the peaceful symbols of the royal dignity, and to bear, instead of the hatchets of their ancestors, staves with gilt ornaments, ceased to place the exercises of war in the first rank.1 Their ambition now was to see around them, not like their fathers, troops of warriors, but numerous converts under the rule of Saint Benedict, the most in favour with the pope. They themselves in many cases cut off their long hair to devote themselves to seclusion, and, if the need of an active life detained them amidst public affairs, they reckoned the consecration of a monastery as one of the great days of their reign. This event was celebrated with all the pomp of national solemnities;2 the chiefs, bishops, warriors, sages of the people, were assembled, and the king sat in the midst of them surrounded by his family. When the newly built walls had been sprinkled with holy water, and consecrated in the names of the blessed apostles Peter or Paul, the Saxon king arose and said aloud:—3
“Thanks be given unto God Most High, that I have been enabled to do somewhat in honour of Christ and the holy apostles. All you here present be witnesses and guarantees of the donation, made by me to the monks of this place, of the lands, waters, meres, weirs, and fens hereafter set forth. I will that they have and hold them, in full and royal manner,4 so that no tax be levied upon them, and that the monastery be subject to no power on earth, save the holy see of Rome; for it is here that those among us who cannot go to Rome, shall visit Saint Peter. Let those who succeed me, whether my son, my brothers, or any other person, inviolably maintain this donation, if they would participate in eternal life, if they would be saved from eternal fire: whosoever shall abridge any part of it, may the porter of heaven abridge his share of heaven; whosoever shall add to it, may the porter of heaven add to his share of heaven.”5 The king then took the roll of parchment on which was set forth the deed of donation, and drew a cross upon it; after him, his wife, his sons, his brothers, his sisters, the bishops, the public officers, and all persons of high rank, successively subscribed the same sign, repeating the form: “I confirm it by my mouth and by the cross of Christ.”1
This good understanding between the Anglo-Saxons and the court of Rome, or rather the absolute submission of the former to the latter, which gradually converted its religious primacy into political suzerainty, was not of very long duration. The illusion upon the imagination wore off, the dependence was more and more felt. While some kings bowed their head before the representative of the apostle who opened and shut the doors of heaven,2 there were others who repudiated the infliction of the law of the foreigner, disguised under the name of the Catholic faith.3 In this struggle, the members of the Saxon clergy, the spiritual sons of the Romish church, at first ranged themselves on her side and defended her power;4 but afterwards, themselves drawn into the current of national opinion, they claimed to owe to papacy only the duties of respect which the British Christians had offered to render it in the time of Augustin, and which it had so harshly disdained. The English people then became to the court of Rome, what the Cambrians had been at the time of their schism; by a conduct less religious than politic, it accordingly united itself with their national enemies; it excited foreign ambition against them, as it had excited their own ambition against the indigenous Britons. It promised, in the name of Saint Peter, their country and their goods, with absolution from all sin, to whomsoever would march against them; and to recover the tribute at first paid voluntarily, and then refused by slackened zeal or patriotic economy, it engaged in an enterprise, the aim of which was the subjection of the nation.
The detail of these later events and their consequences will occupy the greater portion of this history, devoted, as its title indicates, to the narrative of the fall of the Anglo-Saxon people. But we have not yet regularly attained this point; the reader’s attention must still be directed to the victorious Germanic race and the conquered Celtic race; he must view the white standard of the Saxons and of the Angles gradually driving the red standard of the Kymri1 back towards the west. The Anglo-Saxon frontiers, continually enlarging in the west, after being extended on the north to the Forth and the Clyde, were again contracted in this direction at the close of the seventh century. The Picts and the Scots, attacked by Egfrith,2 king of Northumberland, skilfully drew him into the gorges of their mountains, defeated him, and after their victory advanced south of the Forth as far as the Tweed, the banks of which they then made the limits of their territory. This limit, which the inhabitants of the south never afterwards altered, marked from that day the new point of separation between the two parts of Britain.3 The tribes of Anglian race who inhabited the plain between the Forth and the Tweed became by this change embodied with the population of Picts and Scots, or Scotch, the name which this mixed population soon took, and from which was formed the modern name of the country.
At the other extremity of the island, the men of Cornwall, isolated as they were, long struggled for independence, aided occasionally by the Britons of Armorica.4 In the end, they became tributaries of the western Saxons; but this was never the case with the people of Wales: “Never,” exclaim their old poets, “no, never shall the Kymri pay tribute; they will fight till death for the possession of the lands, bathed by the Wye.”5 It was, in fact, the banks of that river which stayed the progress of Saxon domination; the last chieftain by whom it was extended was a king of Mercia, named Offa.6 He passed the Severn by the chain of mountains which, as it were the Apennines of southern Briton, had hitherto protected the last asylum of the conquered. Almost fifty miles beyond these mountains, on the west, Offa, instead of these natural boundaries, constructed a long rampart and trench, which extended from south to north, from the Wye to the valleys through which runs the Dee.1 Here was permanently fixed the frontier of the two races of men who, with unequal shares, conjointly inhabited the south of the island of Britain, from the Tweed to Cape Cornwall.
North of the bay into which the Dee discharges itself, the country inclosed between the mountains and the sea had already, for half a century, been subjugated by the English, and depopulated of the ancient Britons. The fugitives from these countries had reached the great asylum of Wales, or rather, the corner of land, bristling with mountains, which is washed by the sea at the bay of Solway. Here they for a long period preserved a sort of savage liberty, distinguished from the English race, in the language of that race, by the name of Cambrians; a name that remained attached to the country which was their asylum.2 Beyond the plains of Galloway, in the deep valleys of the Clyde (Ystrad-Clwyd), small British tribes, who, favoured by the locality, had maintained their freedom among the Angles, maintained it likewise among the Scots and Picts, when these had conquered all the lowlands of Scotland to Annandale and the Tweed. This last remnant of the pure race of Britons had for their capital and fortress the town, built upon a rock, which is now called Dumbarton, (Dun-briton, the town of the Britons.) So far down as the tenth century, we find traces of their independent existence; but after that period, they ceased to be designated by their ancient national name, either because they were all at once annihilated by some war, or because they had insensibly become incorporated with the mass of the population which surrounded them on all sides.
Thus disappeared from the island of Britain, with the exception of the remnant left in the small and sterile province of Wales, the Celtic race of Cambrians, Logrians, and Britons especially so called, partly direct emigrants from the eastern extremity of Europe, and partly colonists who had come into Britain, after an intermediate stay of various duration, on the western coast of Gaul. This poor wreck of a great nation had the glory of defending the possession of their last corner of territory against the efforts of an enemy immensely superior in numbers and wealth; often defeated, they were never subjugated, and, from century to century, they bore deep within their hearts the immovable conviction of a mysterious eternity reserved for their name and their language. From the very outset of their national defeats, this eternity was announced to them by the Welsh bards;1 and each time that, in the progress of years, a new foreign invader traversed the mountains of Cambria, let his victories have been as complete as they might, he still heard this cry from the vanquished: “Do thy worst: thou canst not destroy our name or our language.” Chance, valour, and more particularly the nature of the country, composed of rocks, lakes, and sands, vindicated the daringly sanguine prediction; but in itself, it must be ever regarded as a remarkable proof of energy and imagination in the petty people who unhesitatingly acted upon it as a national article of faith.2
The ancient Britons lived and breathed in poetry: the expression may seem extravagant, but it is not so in reality; for, in their political maxims, preserved to our own times, they place the poet-musician beside the agriculturist and the artist, as one of the three pillars of social existence.3 Their poets had but one theme: the destiny of their country, its misfortunes and its hopes. The nation, a poet in its turn, caught up and adopted their fictions with earnest enthusiasm, giving the wildest construction to their simplest expressions: that which in the bard was merely a patriotic wish, became to the excited imagination of the hearers a national promise; his expectations were for them prophecies; his very silence was a confirmation of their dreamiest speculations. That he sang not the death of Arthur, was a proof that Arthur still lived; and when the harper, without any particular meaning, sounded a melancholy strain, the auditors at once spontaneously applied to the vague melody the name of some spot become mournful to the nation, as the scene of a battle lost, of some triumph of the foreign aggressor.4 These memories of the past, these hopes of the future, embellished, in the eyes of the later Cambrians, their land of rocks and marshes. Though poor,1 they were gay and sociable; they bore misery lightly, as a transient suffering, and awaited, with untiring patience, the grand political revolution which was to give back to them all they had lost, to render them, as one of their bards2 expresses it, the crown of Britain.
Centuries after centuries passed away; yet, notwithstanding the predictions of the poets, the land of the ancient Britons did not come back again to the hands of their descendants. If the foreign oppressor was vanquished, it was not by the nation justly entitled to this retributive victory; his defeat and his subjection in no degree benefited the refugees of Wales. The narrative of the reverses of the Anglo-Saxons, invaded and subjugated in their turn by a people from beyond seas, will occupy the following pages. And here this race, hitherto victorious over all those that had preceded it in Britain, will excite a species of interest to which it had not previously given rise; for its cause will become the good cause, the cause of the suffering and oppressed. If distance of time ever weakens the impression produced in former ages by contemporary calamities, it is when the want of vivid memorials throws the veil of oblivion more or less completely over the sufferings of those who have so long since passed away. But in presence of the old documents wherein these sufferings are described with a minuteness and a naiveté which seem actually to bring before us the men of remote ages, a sentiment of gentle pity awakens in our hearts, and blending with the impartiality of the historian, softens him, without in the least impairing his determination to be honest and just.
[1 ] Trioedd ynys Prydyn, n. i; Myvyrian, Archaiology of Wales, ii. 57.
[2 ] Troedd ynys Pryd. ut sup.
[3 ]Ib. No. 5.
[4 ] Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 31, and 327. These ruins are popularly denominated Cyttiau y Gwyddelad, houses of the Gael. See Edward Llhuyd, Archæologia Britannica.
[1 ] Horæ Britannicæ, ii, 292, 300. Trioedd ynys Prydyn, No. 5.
[1 ] Trioedd ynys Prydyn, No. 6. Belgæ, Jul. Cæsar, de Bell. Gallico.
[2 ]Ib. No. 6, 7.
[3 ]Ib. No. 8.
[1 ] In British, Calyddon, the country of forests.
[2 ] The Vallum Antonini and the Vallum Hadriani, afterwards called the Vallum Severi.
[1 ] Gildas, De exeidio Britanniæ, passim.
[2 ] Zozimus, apud Script. rerum. Gallicarum et Franciarum, i. 586.
[3 ] The bards; in British language, Beirdd.
[4 ] Penteulu is literally the head of the family. (Laws of Hywel Dda; Cambro Briton, ii. 298.)
[1 ] Trioedd ynys Prydyn, No. 2.
[2 ] Gildæ, Hist., cap. xii. ap. Rer. Angli Scrip. i. 4, (Gale.)
[3 ] “Totus ille tractus, ejectis magistratibus romanis.” Zozimus, ut sup. p. 587.
[4 ] Gildæ, Hist., cap. xvii.
[5 ] In Cambrian orthography, Gwrthevyrn; in the Anglo-Saxon writers, Wyrtegern or Wortigern, probably a word bearing the same sound, in their way of pronouncing it.
[1 ] Trioedd ynys Prydyn, No. 9.
[2 ] Chronicon Saxonicum, ed. Gibson, p. 12. The Saxon orthography is Hengist. Hengist signifies a stallion, and hors or hros, a horse. In general, the Saxon g is hard. In future the gh will be substituted, as above, for the g in all proper names of German origin.
[3 ]Sax, saex, seax, sæx, sex, sahs, knife or sword. Handsax, poniard (Gloss. of Wachter.)
[4 ]All, eall, all, wholly; man, mann, mand, man. Frak, frek, frech, vrek, vrang, rude, sharp, fierce. See Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, letter vi.
[5 ] British, Danet.
[1 ] Cum illi pilis et lanceis pugnarent, isti vero securibus gradiisque longis. Henr. Huntindon., Hist., ii. ap. Rer. Anglic. Script., p. 309, ed. Savile.
[2 ] National song of the Britons, Arymes Prydyn Vawr; Cambrian Register for 1796, p. 554, et seq. See Appendix, No. 1.
[3 ] “Et nisi profusior ers munificentia cumularetur, testantur se cuncta insulæ rupto fœdere, depopulaturos.” Gildæ, Hist., cap. xxiii.
[4 ]Arymes Prydyn Vawr.
[1 ] “Et ibi occident Horsa cum filio Guorthigirn, cujus nomen erat Catigirnus.” Nennii, Hist. Briton., cap. xlvi.
[2 ] Guth-evening, wig-cyning, folces cyning, theod-cyning, land cyning. See Lye’s Saxon Glossary.
[3 ] In the orthography of the Saxon chronicle Cant-wara-rice; the Saxon c is hard. Hemic. Huntind., Hist., lib. ii. Bedæ, Hist. Eccles., lib. ii. cap. xv.
[4 ] In order to retain the original pronunciation, we shall invariably substitute k for c in all the German proper names.
[5 ] Saxon Chronicle, ed. Gibson, p. 18—30.
[1 ] Saxon Chronicle, ed. Gibson, p. 18—30.
[2 ] Quem adhuc vere brati Britones expectant venturum (Gul. Nieubrigensis, Hist. proem. p. 13). Hic est Arthurus de quo Britonum nugæ hodieque delirant. (Will. Malmesburiensis de Gest. reg. Angl. lib. i. cap. i.) Credunt quidam de genere Britonum eum futurum vivere, et de servitute ad libertatem eos reducere. (Johannes de Fordun, Scoti chronicon, lib. iii. cap. xxv.) Nennii, Hist. Briton., cap. lxii. et lxiii. Roberts’s Sketch of the Early History of the Cymry, p. 141, et seq.
[1 ] Taliesin; Archaiology of Wales, i. 57.
[2 ] Archaiology of Wales, i. 4.
[3 ] Gododin; ib., p. 4—13.
[1 ] Saxon Chronicle, passim.
[2 ] Mærc, merc, myrc, mark, frontier, according to some authorities, marsh land, according to others. See the Glossaries of Wachter, Ihre, and Lye.
[3 ] People generally reckon only seven; but there were first eight, then seven, then six, and then again eight, the various result of various revolutions.
[1 ] Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 222.
[2 ] Taliesin; Archaiology of Wales, i. 95.
[3 ] Miseram cum libertate potius ibidem eligunt vitam transigere, quam hostium subjici dominio servitute. Johannes de Fordun, Scoti-chronicon, lib. ii. cap. xlii.
[4 ] Gildæ, Hist. cap. xxv.
[1 ] Celtæ, κελτοι, Galatæ, names which the Romans and Picts applied to the Gaulish populations. We are often obliged, from deficiency of terms, to apply the name indifferently to populations of Cambrian and of Gaelic origin. See Amedée Thierry’s Histoire des Gaulois.
[2 ] Cornu Galliæ; the same name with that of the westernmost county of England, Cornwall.
[3 ] See Ducange, Glossarium ad Script. mediæ et infimæ latinitatis, verbo Otlingua Saxonica.
[4 ] West-gothen, latinè Visigothi.
[1 ] See Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, letter vi.
[2 ] Burgundiones, blande, mansuete, innocenterque vivunt, non quasi cum subjectis Gallis, sed vere cum fratribus Christianis. (Paulus Orosius, ap. Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., i. 597.)
[3 ] See Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, letter vi.
[1 ] See the laws of Arcadius and of Theodosius the Younger.
[2 ] Per vos (episcopos) mala fœderum currunt, per vos regni utrius que pacta conditionesque portantur. (Sidon. Apollinar; Epist., apud Script. rer. Gall. et Franc., i. 798.)
[3 ] Decernimus ne quid tam episcopis gallicanis, quam aliarum provinciarum...liceat sine viii venerabilis papæ urbis æternæ auctoritate tentare, sed illis...pro lege sit quidquid sanxit vel sanxerit. (Lex Theodosii et Valentiniani, apud Scriptores, ut sup. sub anno 445.) See Appendix, No. II.
[4 ] Populos Galliarum, quos limes gothicæ sortes incluserit, teneamus, ex fide, elsi non teneamus ex fœdere. (Sidon. Apollinar., Epist., ut sup. sub anno 474.)
[1 ] Cum omnes eos amore desiderabili cuperent regnare. (Gregorii Turonensis Hist. Franc., lib. ii. cap. xxiii.)
[2 ] See as to the signification of this name, the Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, Appendix.
[3 ] Meroviens...a quo Franci et prius Merovingi vocati sunt, propter utilitatem videlicet et prudentiam illius, in tantam venerationem apud Francos est habitus, ut quasi communis pater ab omnibus coleretur. (Roriconis Gest. Franc., apud Scriptores, &c., iii. 4.) Primum regem traduntur habuisse Meroveum, ob cujus potenti [Editor: illegible word] et [Editor: illegible word] triumphos, in ermisso [Editor: illegible word] vocabulo, Merovingi dicti sunt. (Hanulfi, Chronicon [Editor: illegible word] ib., p. 349.) In the Frankish language, Merowings the termination ing indicates descent.
[4 ] See the Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, Appendix.
[1 ] Vita S. Vedasti, apud Scriptores, &c., iii. 372.
[2 ] Fidelis infideli conjuncta viro. (Aimonii, Chronicon, lib. xiv., apud Scriptores, &c., iii. 38.)
[3 ] Greg. Turonensis, Hist., ut sup. Vita St. Remigii, ib., iii. 375.
[4 ] De exercitu vero ejus baptizati sunt amplius tria millia. (Greg. Turonensis, ut sup. p. 178.)
[5 ] Velis depictis adumbrantur plateæ ecclesiæ, cortinis albentibus adornantur, baptisterium componitur, balsama diffunduntur, micant flagrantes odore cerei. (Greg. Turonensis, ut sup. p. 177.)
[1 ] Patrone, est hoc regnum Dei quod mihi promittis? (Vita S. Remigii, ut sup. p. 377.)
[2 ] Pellitæ turmæ. (Sidon. Apollinar., ut sup.) Procopius de Francis, ib. ii. 31.
[3 ] Vita S. Remigii, ut sup. p. 378.
[4 ] In Latin, Gundobaldus; Gond, gand, guth, war, warrior, bald, bold, bold, daring.
[1 ] Collatio episcoporum coram Gundebaldo rege, apud Script. rer. Gallic. See Appendix III.
[2 ] Si vestra fides est vera, quare episcopi vestri non impediunt regem Franconum, &c. (Collatio episcoporum. &c., ut sup.)
[3 ] Pia atque inclyta et Christianæ religionis cultrix Franconum ditio. (Vita S. Dalmatii, apud Scriptores, &c. iii. 420.)
[4 ] Non est fides ubi est appetentia alieni et sitis sanguinis populorum. (Collatio episc. ut supra.)
[5 ] Gesta Reg. Fianc., apud Script., &c., ii. 553.
[1 ] Greg. Turon., Hist., lib. ii. cap. xxiii. ib. ii. 173.
[2 ] Idatu Chron., apud Script., &c., ut supra, ii. 463.
[3 ] Vita S. Quintiani, ib. iii., 408. See Grego. Turon. de Aprunculo, Theodoro, Pioculo, Dionysio, Volusiano et Vero, episcopis.
[4 ]All, eall, all, wholly; ric, rik, rich, reich, strong, brave; and by extension, powerful, rich.
[1 ] Vita S. Eptadii, apud Script., &c., ut sup. iii. 381. More canum binos et binos insimul copulatos. (Vita S. Eusicn, ib. p. 429.)
[2 ] Vita S. Germerii, episcopt Tolosani, ib. iii. 386.
[3 ] Epistola Aviti, Viennensis Episcopi, ib. iv. 50.
[4 ] Dom Lobineau, Hist. de Bretagne, i. 7—13.
[5 ] Cambrian Biography, p. 86, at the word Dewi. Roberts, Sketch of the Early History of the Cymry, p. 129.
[1 ] Dom Lobineau, ut sup.
[2 ] All the Breton bishops refused to attend the council of Tours, in 566. Lohineau, ut sup.
[2 ] Cede armis, frater...ib. p. 53.
[3 ] Diploma Hludovici Pii imp. ib. p. 514.
[4 ]Ib. Lobineau, ut sup. Pieces Justificatives, ii. 26.
[5 ] His name was Morgan.
[6 ] Manichæos, omnesque hæreticos vel schismaticos, sive mathematicos, omnemque sectam catholicis mimicam ab ipso aspectu urbium diversarum exterminan debere præcipimus. (Theodosn et Valentiniani Rescript., sub anno, 425, apud Scriptores, &c., i. 768.) Romano procul orbe fugati. (Chronicon Prosperi Tyrcnis, de Hæreticis arianis, ib. p. 637.)
[1 ] Bedæ, Hist. Eccles., lib. i. cap. xvii. Henrici Huntindon., Hist., lib. ii.
[2 ] Bedæ, ut sup.
[3 ]Ib. cap. xx., Henrici Hunt., ut sup.
[1 ] Ita christiani sunt isti barbari, ut multos priscæ superstitionis ritus observent, humanas hostias aliaque impia sacrificia divinationibus adhibentes. (Procopius, sub anno 539, ap. Scriptores, &c., ii. 38.) See also Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, letter vi.
[2 ] As to the meaning of these names, see Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, Appendix.
[3 ] Epistolæ Gregorii Papæ ad episcopos Galliæ et Childebertum regem. apud Scriptores, &c., iv. 14.
[4 ]Ib., p. 17.
[1 ] Epist. Gregorii ad Candidum presbyterum, ib.
[2 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. 1. cap. xxiii.
[4 ] Oster-Frankono-Rike, Oster-Rike, Oster-Liudi, Osterland. In Latin, Austrifrancia, Austria, Austrasia, Regnum Orientale. See Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, letter x.
[5 ] Epist. Greg., ut sup. passim.
[1 ] Opera Gregorii Papæ, iv. 189.
[2 ] Greg. Turon., ut sup. p. 405.
[3 ] Opera Gregorii, ut sup. Epist. Gregorii, ut supra.
[4 ] See Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, letter x.
[1 ] Naturalis ergo lingua Francorum communicat cum Anglis, eo quod de Germania gentes ambæ germinaverint. (Wille m. Malmesb de Gestis reg. Ang. lib. i.) Bedæ, Hist., lib. ii. (ap. xxiii. xxiv. xxv.
[2 ]Æthel-byrht, Æthel-bricht, Æthel, ethhel, edel, noble, of ancient race; behrt, bright, bright, brilliant.
[3 ] Henrici Hunt., Hist., lib. iii.
[1 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. i. cap. xxv. Henrici Hunt., ut supra.
[2 ] Bedæ, ib. cap. xxvi. Henrici Hunt., ib.
[3 ] Vita S. Marculfi Abbatis, apud Scriptores, &c., iii. 425. Diploma in append. ad Greg. Turon., col. 1328, ed. Ruinart.
[1 ] Bedæ; Hemici Hunt., Hist. iii. (The text here given, fuller thau that supplied by M. Thierry, is adopted from Mr. Maccabe’s Catholic History of England, a work of the most learned research, and of great interest.)
[1 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. i. cap. xxix. Henrici Huntind., Hist., p. 332. Opera Gregorii Papæ, iv. 387. Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 259.
[2 ] Epist. Gregorii Papæ ad Brunichildein, ad Chlotarium, apud Scriptores &c., iv. 30-33.
[3 ] Ut Apostolorum virtutes in signis quæ exhibet imitari videatur. (Epist. Greg. Papæ.)
[4 ] Opera Gregorii Papæ, iv. 379.
[1 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. i. cap. xxxi.
[2 ] Opera Gregorii Papæ, iv. 466.
[4 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. i. cap. xxvii.
[5 ] Taliesin, Archaiology of Wales, i. 95.
[1 ] Monasticon Anglican, i. 190. Lobineau, Hist. de Bretagne, ii. Prevues, p. 45. Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 225.
[2 ] Inter alia menarrabilium scelerum facta... (Bedæ, Hist., lib. i. cap. xxii.) Trioedd ynys Prydyn, Cambro Briton, i. 170. Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 223—232.
[1 ] Probably near Aust or Aust Clive. The tree was for a long period called the Oak of Augustin; in Saxon, Augustines-ac. See Bedæ, Hist., lib. ii. cap. ii.
[3 ] Ban̄chor, the great heart, the great church.
[4 ] British MSS. quoted in vol. ii. of the Horæ Britannicæ, p. 267.
[1 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. ii. cap. ii.
[1 ] Quamvis ipso, jam multo ante tempore, ad cælestia regna sublato. (ib.) The celebrated theologians, Goodwin and Hammond, are both of opinion that these words were interpolated. See Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 271. Augustin’s death, however, is referred by Smith and by Thorn to 605.
[2 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. ii. cap. v.
[1 ] Æd-bald, Ead-bald. Ed, ead, happy; bald, bold, daring.
[2 ] Chronicon Saxonic., ed. Gibson, p. 26.
[3 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. ii. cap. vi. Henrici Huntin., Hist., lib. iii.
[4 ]Æthel-byrg. Ethel, noble; burg, burgh, burh, byrh, berg, security, protector, protectress.
[5 ]Northumbria, Northanhymbra-land, or Nort-humber-land, the country north of the Humber.
[1 ]Ead-win. Ed, happy, fortunate; win, cherished, conquering.
[2 ] Vir largæ staturæ, paululum incurvus, migro capillo, facie macilenta, naso adunco pertenui, venerabilis simul et terribilis aspectu. (Bedæ, Hist., lib. ii. cap. xvi.)
[3 ] Henrici Huntind., lib. iii.
[4 ] Quid ageret discutiebat, vir natura sagacissimus. (ib.)
[6 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. ii. cap. ix.
[1 ]Ib. cap. xii. Henric. Hunt., lib. iii.
[3 ]Ib. cap. xiii.
[4 ] “The prelate encouragingly addressed him: ‘Lo! the hands of the foe that you feared, you have by the goodness of God escaped: lo! the kingdom that you desired, by His bounty you have received; and now, remember the third promise you made—do not delay its accomplishment—receive the faith, attend to the commands of Him, who freeing you from the hands of your temporal foes, has given to you much of temporal glory. Do this, obey His will, attend to His commandments; and then be sure, that released from the eternal torments of the wicked, you shall become a partaker in the joys of His heavenly kingdom.’ ”—Maccabe, Catholic History of England.
[5 ] Elder-menn, Ealdor-men, Seniores.
[1 ] Bedæ, lib. ii. cap. xiii. Henric. Huntin., lib. iii.
[2 ]Ib. See for the Anglo-Saxon text, Appendix IV.
[1 ] Henric. Hunt., lib. iii.
[2 ] Act. pontific. Cantuar. auctore Gervasio Dorobernensi: apud Hist. Anglic., Script., ii. col. 1634.
[3 ] A corruption of the Cambrian Deywr or Deifr.
[4 ] Henric. Huntin., lib. iii.
[5 ] Ræd wald. Ræd, red, word, counsel, counseller; wald, weald, walt, powerful, governing.
[6 ] Henric. Huntin., lib. iii. Bedæ, Hist., lib. ii. cap. xv.
[7 ] Henric. Huntin., lib. iii. Act. Pontif., ut sup. col. 1635.
[1 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. ii. cap. iv.
[3 ] ...Progressi ad Gallias, ubi tunc, vel ob frequentiam hostium externorum, vel ob negligentiam præsulum, religionis virtus pene abolita habebatur, tendunt. (Vita S. Columbani, apud Scriptores, &c., iii. 476.)
[1 ] Vita S. Columbani, apud Scriptores, &c., iii. 476.
[2 ]Ib. p. 478.
[3 ]Ib. Epistola Gregorii Papæ ad Brunichildem, ib. iv. 20—34.
[4 ]Ib. iii. 479.
[5 ]Ib. 480.
[7 ] Fredegarii Chron., apud Scriptores, &c., ii. 425. Lobineau, i. 22.
[1 ] Bedæ, Hist., lib. iii. cap. i. and ii.
[2 ] Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 200.
[3 ]Ib. p. 277.
[4 ] Extract from Caradoc of Llancarvan, a Welsh historian; Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 367.
[5 ] Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 317.
[1 ] Willelm. Malmesb., lib. iii. p. 101.
[2 ] Chron. Saxon., p. 35.
[4 ]Ib. 36.
[5 ]Ib. 37.
[1 ] Chron. Saxon., 35—38.
[2 ]Ib. 38.
[3 ] Eddii Vita S. Wilfridi, apud Rer. Anglic. Script., iii. 61.
[4 ] Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 329—347.
[1 ] The national poems of the Cambrians fantastically designated the two hostile standards, the Red Dragon and the White Dragon.
[2 ]Eg, ecg, sharp, sharpened; by extension, subtle; frith, frid, fred, fried, peace, pacific.
[3 ] Henric. Huntin., lib. iii.
[4 ] Extract from Caradoc of Llancarvan; Horæ Britannicæ, ii. 161.
[5 ] Arymes Prydyn Vawr; Cambrian Register for 1796, p. 554, et seq.
[6 ] Offa, offo, obbo, gentle, clement.
[1 ] In Welsh, Claud offa; in English, Offa’s Dyke.
[2 ] It is now called Cumberland; in old Saxon, Cumnaland.
[1 ] Taliesin, Archaiology of Wales, i. 95.
[2 ] See postea, book xi.
[3 ] Trioedd beirdd ynys Prydyn, sec. xxi. No. i., Archaiology of Wales, iii. 283.
[4 ] See postea, lib. iv. sub an. 1070.
[1 ] Giraldi Cambriensis, Itinerarum Walliæ, passim; Camden, Anglica, Hibernica, &c.
[2 ] Taliesin; Archaiology of Wales, i. 95; Arymes Prydyn, ib. p. 156—159; Afallenan Myrddyn, ib. p. 150.