1084?-1155 Henry of Huntingdon.

The chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon. Comprising the history of England, from the invasion of Julius Cæsar to the accession of Henry II. Also, The acts of Stephen, king of England and duke of Normandy online

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Online Library1084?-1155 Henry of HuntingdonThe chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon. Comprising the history of England, from the invasion of Julius Cæsar to the accession of Henry II. Also, The acts of Stephen, king of England and duke of Normandy → online text (page 10 of 51)
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heavens, t^Dopests avA oi Ihe coanmon order o£ tibie seasons,
ivars, famines, pcrtakneee, eadh^poakes in varions placai ;
flfl which wfll not indeed happen in our dm, but a^ior our
days all will come to pass. If yon, then, nnd any of these
dungs to happen In your country, let not your mind he any
way disturbed, for these tokens of the end of the worid ju«
sent before in order that we may he «areM iar our oouls,

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looking for the hour of our deatih, and that we may be
found prepared by good works to meet the impending judg-
ment. Thus much, my illustrious son, I have now shortly
spoken, that when the faith of Christ shall have further
increased in your kingdom, our discourse to you may grow
more full, and it will be our pleasure to say the more, in
proportion as the joys of our heart for the entire conversion,
of your people are multiplied.

" I have sent you some presents, which are small indeed^
but which will not be trifling if tliey are accepted by you
accompanied with the benediction of the blessed apostle
Peter, May Almighty God perfect his grace which he has
begun in you, prolonging your life here for the course of
many years, and after a lengthened period receive you inta
the society of the blessed in the heavenly country. May
the divine favour preserve your excellency in safety.

" Given the 10^ day of the Kalends of July, in the 19th
year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Maiuitius Tiberius,
our most pious Emperor, in the 18th year after the consul-
ship of our said Lord ; the fourth indiction."

There had been a church built fonnerly by the Koman
Christians in what was now become the royal city^. This
church Augustine dedicated to the honoiu: of our blessed
Saviour^, and made it the episcopal seat of himself and his
successors. The King also erected to the east of the city
the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, in which the bodies
of the archbishops of Canterbury and the kings of Kent
might be buried. The first abbot of this church was the
priest Peter ^, who, having been sent ambassador to France,
was drowned in a creek of the sea which is called Amfleat*,

* Bede^ book i. 33.

^ Christ Church, still the cathedral of Canterbury. The oldest part of
the present structure was founded in 1085, on the site of the ancient Roman-
British church, restored by St. Augustine.

^ ' Henry of Huntingdon does not, except by naming the first abbot, men-
tion, as Bede does, the monastery which was attached to this church, and
founded at the same time by Ethelbert It was afterwards called St. Au-
gustine's Abbey, and was for many ages one of the most magnificent and
celebrated in the kingdom. After being ruined and long desecrated, the
Bite, with part of the remains, has recenSy been restored to sacred uses, as
a missionary college.

* Ambleteuse^ near Boulogne.

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and being unknown was hiunbly interred by the inhabitants
of the place. But Ahnighty God, to show the merit of such
a man, caused a Ught from heaven to appear over his grave
every night, until the neighbours noticing it imderstood
that he who was there biuied was a holy man, and making
inquiries who and whence he was, they disinterred the
body, and carried it to the city of Boulogne, where they
deposited it in the church with the honour due to so great
ft person.

In the year of grace 605, the second of the reign of the
Emperor Phocas, Pope Gregory the Great exchanged this
life for that which is true^. He was a Boman by nation
and noble by birth, but, surrendering the wealth attached
to his rank, he devoted himself to a monastic life. In
course of time, however, he was withdrawn from his
monastery and sent to Constantinople as his surrogate by
Pope Felix^. While there he conunenced his commenta-
ries on the Book of Job, which he completed after he
became pope. While there he also refuted the Eutychian
heresy in the presence of the emperor^. He composed
also an excellent book called "The Pastoral," and fovir
books of Dialogues, and forty Homilies ; with an explana-
tion of the first and last parts of the prophecy of Ezekiel.
Through all his youth he was tormented with pains in the
bowels, and weakness of the stomach, and was constantly
suffering from a slow fever. Thus much may be said of
bis immortal genius, which could not be restrained by such
severe bodily pain. Other popes busied themselves in
embellishing churches; but Gregory bestowed all wealth
on the poor; so that the words of holy Job may be applied
to him : — " When the ear heard me, then it blessed me ;
and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me : because
I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him
that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was
ready to perish came upon me : and I caused the widow's
heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness and clothed

1 Bede, book u. 1.

* Felix ly. was Bishop of Borne a.d. 526.

^ Bede calls him " Tiberini Oonstantine," but there was no such emperor.
St. Gregory was at Constantinople in the early part of the reign of Jua^

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lajnelf as wi^ a ganwmt, ansk avf jvilace was: as & iiadeau
I ii«g flQ 6ye to t^e b&id, and a foot ta the kme. I wag s
fadber of the pooc, and the eaiose iridefe I knefvr mot I ctti-
gusOj searched out. I haike tlie janfs of tJie widced, and
{^oeked tiie picj frcnn his teeth." AjmE a lattAe after hm
says : — *' If I have disregarded Hie desire of the poor, aad
hfl^e caiBsed the eyes of &e widow to wmt in wn, if I haif«
eaten my morsel selfishly, and Ihe £edlieiless hath oot par-
taken thereof with me, for from my youth pity grew «p
with me, and horn mj mother's womb h oame fc»rth with

Among other fidngs TdikiL this holy pope did^ be eaosofll
masses to be celeioated 0¥er the relics of St. Plster and
St Paol; and ion the service of the moss he added tivee
sentences of t^e fairest perfection : — ^* Dispose our da)jf»
in thy peaee; preserve us firom etevnal damnatRm; and
rank us in the number of thine elect !"^ It is repaeied
also, as Bede tella us, tJiat lius maa of Gt>d, going one da^
into tiie maorket-place, saw there some English yentlis
whose bodies and countenances and hair were ex^eding^
fair. He learned, upon inquky, that th^ wn^e just arri<ved
from Bntian, and also that they were hobtfaens. Upoa
wiiidi he ezdadmel with a si^ : — "^Alas t how sad that Ihe
aothor of darkness has in bis power men of so fair a coimt-
tenanee." Again he iatquired, ** what was t&e name of thoA
nation ? " and was ansvTered that tiiey were called Anglea.
*' It is well," be said, " for they have an angel&c fsiee, and
such as iiwy ou^oit to be coheirs with the angds ia
heaven : " adding, '' Whst is the name of tiie proiiince from
which they are l^rou^?" It was leplied that the nadwes
of that province were called Deki K " Truly," said he^
'^ they are f^eked enrt from wrath, ' Be xr^' and eaEed 1»
tbe mercy of Christ: How is tiie Isiag of tiiat provioce
called?" They toM hitn that has nam^ was Mil&; upon
wkid&, in aUusiioiL to tiae name, he said,. " Aldujaih nuBt
fee sm^ to tbe praise of God m those regiensw." Freaenir

* Job xxix. 11-17 J and xxxi. 16-18. According to tbe Viriga*»i

^ These words still form pact of the Canon of iS» maa used in all th»

dnEPdwf oi thv Boman eomBnuuxni^ oenofuif iff t&e Oflbrtary^ jnit before

Ifae' consMSBrtioB.
' The ancient name of the kingdom of Korihumbria.

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ing iMTttRAlf, therefore,, to the hishop who then governed the
Eoman church^, for he himself was not yet pope, he
eutreaiied that he would commission him to preach the
goie^el in that country; hut not heing able to accomplish
his desire, as soon as he was advanced to the primacy he
carried into execution, by means of others,, the work on
which his heart had long been set

Gregory was interred in the church of St Peter the
Apostle before the sacristy, where this epitaph is inscribed
on his tomb: —

" Sarth ! take tliat body wluch at first yon ffsve^
Till Gh)d again shall raise it from the grare.
The soul mounts upwards to the realms of dftj.
Yanilj tiie pow'rs of tarkaaas fCrife to stay
Bim, eVii whoa» death fant leads to life the imy.
He, best of prelates, to the tomb descends f
But &me his good deeds through the world extends.
The Saxon race he taught the way of peace.
And to the fold of Christ brought fim inervasR
HsbI, Qregeary; Boman, Christian^ sohfior, luiLl
The knnis of thy tduv^ht. ne'ef dttU faik" ^

Meanwhile St. Augustine ordained Justus bishop in
DomlHrevi, a eity of Kent, which the Engl^^ call Bc^cester,
from one of their dfcdefe named Eof. King Bthjelbert founded
tliere a church dedicated to St Andrew the apostle. The
place i& distant from Canterbury 24 miles.

We have ncyw completed our ta^of (lowing how the
kmg and people of Kent were cawnarted to l£e frdtb of
Cbnst; and here the second part begins, in which is shown
how the king and people of Essex, that is, the East^axons,
ceeeived the word of God. They were e'vangelized hy
Mellitar, a £utMixl and hdly man, who was aent to than hf
Augustine ; being at that time governed under "Eihe^ertr
whose rnle» as we have said before, extended over liie vt^ole
Goiuitry aa fBcr as the Humber, by his n^hew Sebert. The
BoiBBioin pycmsg suevessfiil, and the king Sebevt, with his
people, being converted to the froth, King Etheibert lorai^il
in London &e dhurch of St Ftolfer an epineopal see, and,.

* BsMwUsi I. Gcego^ himi^ was madfr Bisl^p al Boma AJk 690,
' Henry of Hnntii^on omits some lines of this epitaph giveft 1^ Badiw

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munificently endowing it, Mellitus was worthily appointed

[a.d. 603.] Meanwhile^ Augustine, with the assistance of
King Ethelred, assembled the bishops or doctors of the
largest and nearest province of the Britons at a place which
is to this day called in the English tongue Augustine's Ac,
that is, " Augustine's oak," on the confines of the Wiccii
and the West-Saxons^. There was a controversy with
the Scots and Picts respecting the celebration of Easter ^
and when they refused their assent to the unanswerable
reasoning of Augustine, it was mutually agreed that the
confirmation of their several opinions should rest on the
healing of a blind man of the English race, who was brought
into the assembly. When, therefore, the priests of the
Britons were unable to cure him, Augustine bending his
knees in prayer before them all, restored sight to the blind
man, that through him he might give light to the whole
nation. Afterwards* the Britons and Scots, for their greater
satisfaction, sought advice as to what they should do fi:om a
certain man who was esteemed to be wise and holy. He

' Bede, book ii 2.

^ The Wiccii, Hniccii, or Jagantei, were a tribe of Britons wbo inhabited
Worcestershire, Warwickshire, and the north of G^loucestershire. On the
north was a kindred tribe, the Ordovices, or noble Yiccii [from Vic, a war-
rior, and Ordf honourable], who originaUj possessed Salop, and part of
Cheshire and North Wales ; and afterwards conquered Worcestershire, &c.,
from the Wiccii proper. — Wkitaker*8 History of Manchester. ReoTj of
Huntington might, therefore, justly describe this country as one of the
largest provinces of the ancient Britons, being divided on the south-east
from the kingdom of the West-Saxons by the river Avon. Aust, a village
which is situated just above the confluence of that river with the Severn,
where the synod is supposed to have been held, answers the Archdeacon^s
description of St Augustine's oak ; being on the confines between the two

^ The ancient British and Irish churches kept the feast of Baster by a
cycle, in which the improvement adopted at Bome in the fifth century had
not been introduced. The controversy was not, as generally supposed, be-
tween the practice of the Boman and the ancient Bastem churches. See note'
to Bede's Bcclesiastical History, p. 104 of the present series.

* This incident is related by Bede to have occurred at a second synod,
held at Banchor, now BangorJscoed, in Flintshire, where there was a cele-
brated British monastery. Henry of Huntingdon, in his imperfect notice of
these occurrences, omita to mention the latter synod, and confoies ibe
two accounts.

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replied, " If he is a servant of God, agree with him." But
they said, "How shall we know this?" To which he an-
swered : " If he is meek and humble of heart, he will
appear to be a servant of God." Upon which they rejoined,
" How shall we know that he is humble?" " If," said he,
" he rises up when you approach him, consider that he
receives you in the spirit of humility ; but if, you being
more in number, he shall yet disdain to stand up to you, do
you disdain to submit to him." When, therefore, they met,
and Augustine, who was seated in a chair after the Boman
fashion, did not rise up to receive them, they departed with
indignation and clamorous reproaches. To whom Augustine
predicted that since they would not accept the peace offered
them by their brethren, they would have war with them as
enemies, and that if they would not preach the way of life
to the English nation, they would undergo by their hands
the penalty of death. All which was by agency of Divine
Providence accomplished just as he foretold.

For afterwards Ethelfrid, the formidable king of the
English, of whom we have spoken^, having assembled a
vast army, made an immense slaughter of the perfidious
nation at the city of the legions which is called by the
EngUsh people Lege-cester, but by the Britons, more cor-
rectly, Kaer-legion'-*. When about to give battle, observing
their priests, who had gathered together to offer prayers to.
God on behalf of the soldiers engaged in the conflict,
standing in a place of some safety, he inquired who they
were, and for what purpose they were thus assembled?
Most of them belonged to the monastery of Bangor, in
which, it is reported, the number of the monks was such,
that when the monastery was divided into seven parts, with
a superintendent for each, none of these divisions con-
tained less than 300 men, who all lived by manual labour.
Many of these having completed a three-days' fast, had
now, among others, joined the army to offer their prayers,
having one named BrocmaU as their champion to pro-
tect them while they were thus engaged from the swords

' King of Northnmbria.

' Chester, tbe Deva of the Bomans, which was garrisoned by the legion
caDed the twentieth Valerian, one of its eight auxiliary cohorts, the Frisian,
being stationed at Manchester. — WkUaker^s History,


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of &e badNuriaas. Whffli Elng EdielMd ivae informed of
thB oecaskn of their coming, he said, ^ If, then, they invoke
tbeir God igamBt vs, truly they fig^t against us, ^aou^
iSmj are unarmed, inasmuch as tibey oppose ns with their
hAatile imprecations." He therefore ecaumanded that the
first atisack should be made on than, and then destroyed
the remainder of the impious army, not without great loss
oi hia own troofts. Of those who came to pray, it is said
tluut about 1^0^ were 6lain« and 50 only escaped by
flight Bro(9Baii and his followers, turning Iheir backs
on the «Damy at the first attack, left those whom he ought
t» hvve protected, unarmed and defenceless, to the swords of
the assa^ants. Thus was fiilfiUed the prediction of Angus-
tine, the holy bishop, though he himself had been translated
long before to the celestial kingdom; that those perfidious
men should suffer the punishment of temporal death also,
beeanse they had despised the offers made them of eternal

Augustine, bdoved c^ God, was, indeed, now dead, and had
been buried n^r the church ai Bt. Peter and St Paul, but
ontsidie the walls, because it was not yet finished nor coor
seerated. But a£ter its consecration by his successor Lauren-
tiiaa, the remains were tranali^Ted with due honoiu: to tiie
north porch of the ^urdi, in which the bodies of all the
archbiBhops to the tiooe of Theodore were interred, after
which tibie poseh could contain no more. The following
e]HtA{dx is inscribed on the tomb of St. Augustine : —

'' Here lies the Lord Augustine, first archbishop of Can-
terbuiy^ who, baring been formerly directed here by the
blessed Gregory, bishop of the city of Rome, and strength-
ened by God with the power of woiidng miracles, brought
King Ethehed and his people from, the worship of idols to
theMth of G^3i8t, and having ended the days of his office
in peace, departed this life the seventh of the kalends of
June, during the i^ign of the same king."

While Augnadne was yet alive he had cons^eoted Lao-

^ See Saxon Clironicle, A.D. 607. The number there stated is 200. *'It
wai originally perhaps in the MSS. lice, the abbreriation for 1200 ; which
M the nioiber of the slainia Bede. The anonks of Bangor ase said to have
snnbered 2100 ; most of irhsm appear to haye been ffisployed in pnyer,
and only 50 escaped by f^i^^^-lnffram^

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renthis as his soecessor in ihe archbishoprie, following the
example of St Feter, who oidained Oemens in like manner,
lest upon his own death the state of the chnrdi, as yet un-
settled, should totter even for a sin^e hour. Laurentius
mdefatigably built up the rdigion whidi had been founded,
not only superintoiding with care the new churdi of the
English nation, but also those of the ancient Britons and
Scots, who were mistaken in the time of keeping Easter.
To them he sent a letter, the beginning of which is as
^[^ows^: —

" To ouw most dear hrotkers the lords, Ushops, and abbots,
through aU Scotland, Ixmrentius, MeUUus, and JmUis, hukops ;
the servants of ^ dervants of Ood,

" When the apostolic see, according to its custom through-
out the world, sent us to these western parts to preach to
heathen nations, it happened that we came into this island
without any previous knowledge of its inhabitants ; but we
held both ihe Britons and Scots in great esteem for sanctity,
believing that they had proceeded according to the custom
of the imiversal church. And when we became acquainted
with the usages of the Britons, we thou^t that those of the
Scots were better. But we found iiotn. Daganus the
bishop, and Columban the abbot, that the Scots no way
differ from the Britons in their customs. For Dagan the
bishc^, when he came to us, refiised not only to eat with
xts, but in the saane house of entertainment in which we

Mdlitus, bibhop of London, going to Bcnne, was |H*esent
at a council held by Pope^ Bom^Eice, in which he made re-
gulations concerning ^e peace and order oi the monks. It
was this Pope Boni&ee, the fcmrth after Pope GregOTy, who
obtuned from the Emperor Phocas the temple called the
Pantheon, that he mi^t dedicate it to All Saints.

King Ethelbert died a.d. 616, and in the fifty-sixth year
of his own reign, and was buried in the church of St. Peter
and St Paul before mentioned^. This great and excellent
man, among other beneits whidi he conferred on his people,
compiled a book of judicial decrees. After the death of

1 Bed^ book li. c 4. > Bade, lM>ok ii. c. 5.

a 2

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Ethelbert, Eadbald, his son, who was a heathen, took his
father*s wife. From his example many relapsed into their
former micleanness ; but the king was pmiished by frequent
:fits of madness. On the death also of the king of the
East-Saxons he left three sons the heirs of his kingdom who
were heathens. Being idolaters, they said to the bishop,
when he was celebrating the mass : " Why do you not offer
to us also that white bread which you used to give to our
father, and still hand to the people ? " To which he an-
swered : "If you consent to be washed in that layer of re-
generation, in which your father was washed, you also may
be partakers of the holy bread of which he partook ; but if
you despise the water of life, you can by no means partake
of the bread of life." Whereupon they replied, " We will
not enter that laver, because we do not know that we have
any need of it, and yet we choose to eat of that bread."
And being often diUgently admonished by him, that it could
by no means be permitted that any one should partake of the
holy eucharist without the holy purification, at last they said
in a rage, " If you will not comply with our wishes in so
small a matter, you shall no longer dwell in our country."
And they banished him and his followers from the kingdom.
Being thus expelled, he came into Kent to consult with his
fellow bishops, Laurentius and Justus, what was to be done
in this juncture. Whereupon it was unanimously agreed
that they should aU return into their own coimtry, where
they might serve God in freedom, than continue to reside
among barbarians who had renounced the faith. Accord-
ingly, MeUitus and Justus departed first, withdrawing into
Gaid with the intention of waiting there the issue of affaurs.
But the kings who had driven from them the preachers of
the truth, did not long continue their heathenish worship
unpunished, for, going forth to battle with the nations of
the Gewissse, they were all slain, together with their army.
However, though the leaders, in their wickedness, were cut
off, the people who had fallen into it could not be reclaimed
and restored to the simplicity of the faith and charity which
is in Christ.

Laurentius being about to follow Mellitus and Justus,
and to quit Britain, ordered his bed to be laid the night

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A.D. 616-619.] Lawrence's vision, and death. 85

before in the church of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul,
which has been often mentioned^. Here, after pouring
forth many tears and supplications to God for the state of
his church, he composed himself to rest. While he was
yet sleeping in the dead of the night, the blessed prince of
the apostles appeared to him and chastising him for a long
time with sharp stripes*, demanded with apostoHcal seve-
rity, " Why he was forsaking the flock which he had com-
mitted to him? or to what shepherds he would intrust
Christ's sheep that were in the midst of wolves? Hast
thou," said he, " forgotten my example, who, for the sake
of those little ones whom Christ commended to me in
token of his love, suffered at the hands of infidels, his
enemies, bonds, stripes, imprisonment, afflictions, and in
the end death itself, the death of the cross, that I might
thereafter share his crown ?" Thus admonished, Laurentius
forthwith related all this to the king, who, struck with alarm,
dissolved his illegitimate marriage, and was baptized. He
likewise sent to recall Mellitus and Justus from Gaul. The
people of Kochester received Justus, but the Londoners
rejected Mellitus, preferring to be imder their idolatrous
high-priests ; for Ejng Eadbald had not so much authority
as his father, so that he was unable to restore the bishop
against the will of his subjects.

[a.d. 619.] Laurentius died in the reign of Eadbald',
and was succeeded by Mellitus, bishop of London, who with
the co-operation of Justus, bishop of Kochester, governed
the English church with much diligence. MeUitus, indeed,
was afflicted with gout, but his mind was sound. He was
noble by birth, but much more noble in mind. For one
mstance of his virtue, when a fire broke out in ihe city of
Canterbury, he ordered himself to be carried to the raging
flames, and by his prayers extinguished the conflagration.
Justus, bishop of Kochester, succeeded to the archbishopric
after the death of Mellitus, who held it five years.

' Bede, book u. c. 6.

' In Saxon Chronicle, Utenlly, "swinged, or icourged him.'' The expression
of King Alfred, in his translation of B^e, is still stronger. But both Bedo
and Alfred )}egin by recording the matter as a vision, or a dream, whence the
transition is easy to a matter of tact, as it is stated by Henry of Huntingdon
and all their copiers.

' Bede, book ii c. 7*

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[▲.D. <^4.} Pope Bomi&ce, Hke snoeessor of Bens-dedit,
sent him the pallhim with 1^ letter icDlowmg^ : —

** Benifitee to his dearly hdowd brother Justm.

^ How devoutly and diligezvlfy your findemity has lahoured
f(x the gospel of Christ, I hare learnt not only from the
contents of your epistle, hut from the suoeess of your work.

Online Library1084?-1155 Henry of HuntingdonThe chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon. Comprising the history of England, from the invasion of Julius Cæsar to the accession of Henry II. Also, The acts of Stephen, king of England and duke of Normandy → online text (page 10 of 51)