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" The native roughness of tlieir manners," he says on the
subject of the Saxons, " would insensibly be smoothed,
and the natural attachment of their minds to idolatry

' Quod in tantuni salubriter factum est, ut in illis locis etiam
nunc fides intemerata perduret.

■ It is hoped that no difference of opinion to that expressed
in St. Augustine's Life, is here put forth. In fact the mate-
rials of this work were prepared long before that Life came out,
and hitherto nothing more than the headings of the chapters and
an occasional paragraph have been seen by the writer of St.
German's Life. Collier, p. 124, torn. i. Ed. 8vo.


imperceptibly softened, by their perpetual intercourse
with the Britons, to whom they allowed the free exer-
cise of their religion. And the British Churches in
general appear to have remained undestroyed by the
Saxons, and some of them even applied to their original
uses. In the stipendiary town of Canterbury, no less
than two continued to the Saxon conversion, and one
of these seems to have been regularly used through all
the period of idolatry as the temple of the provincials
at Canterbury, &c. Indulged with this reasonable
liberty, and opposed by no passionate prejudice, the
Britons would successfully propagate the doctrines of
Chi-istianity, &c. A deep impression would silently
have been made on the Saxons, gradually detach them
from their idolatry, and greatly prepare them for Chris-
tianity. And we find them accordingly, some time
before the arrival of Augustine, and when no attempts
had been made to convert them hy the Britons of
Wales, actually prepared for conversion, and very de-
sirous of the Gospel, &c." ^

Tliis subject, which more properly belongs to the
life of St. Augustine, it seemed necessary cursorily
here to introduce, in order to estimate properly the ad-
vantages ^which St. German procured to our Charch,
and which in all probability were not destroj'ed when
St. Austin came to revive religion in England. ^

' Hist. Manch. p. 360, 361, 362. He refers to Greg. Ep.
58, in Bede 678, " Desideranter velle converti," and Lib. i. c.
22. See also Ep. 59.

-= The same view is substantially taken by Alford, ad an. 440,
who observes, that St. Austin was sent as the converter of the
Saxons and Angles onl)', and not in any wise to the Britons.
St. German was the Apostle of the Britons, St. Austin of the
Saxons, but neither were the original founders of Christianity in
this island. Of course Cressy follows Alford.


A general idea of the customs and teaching of German
and his companions, is supposed by our own Seklen to
be shown in the testimony of Giraldus Cambrensis,^
who lived in the twelfth century, and whose words are
as follows :^ " Formerly and long before the ruin of
Britain, during nearly two liimdi-ed years, the natives
had been established and confirmed in the faith through
the instrumentality of Faganus and Damianus, who
were sent into the island by Pope Eleutherius, at the
request of King Lucius. From which time, including
that when German of Auxerre and Lupus of Troyes
(on account of the coiTuptions which had crept in
from the invasions of the Pagans and Saxons, and
especially in order to expel the Pelagian heresy,) were
sent into the island, the natives had nothing heretical,
nothing contrary to sound doctrine, in their belief.
From these same Saints and Bishops they also re-
ceived and kept up to our time the following prac-
tices, as we are told.^ Whenever any bread is served
up, they (that is, the Welsh) first give a corner of it
to the poor. They sit in companies of three at dinner
in honour of the Trinity. Whenever a Monk or a
Priest, or any one bearing a religious habit appears,
they cast down their arms, bend their head, and de-
mand a blessing. No other nation seeks so earnestly
for Episcopal confirmation and the unction of the

' Vid. p. 59. Analccton Anglo-l^ritanicon Joan. Selden.
Frankfort, IG15 — Giraldus Cambronsis, apud Camden. Anglo.
Scrlpta. p. 891. Ed. 1603. Frankfort — Alford ad an. 440.

= Vid. Biog. Uni. His original name was Barry, and his
surname shows he was Welsh. He was of high birth, and trav-
elled a great deal. But his works are spoilt, it is said, by great
vanity and affectation, and not always to be depended upon.
■' Ut fcrtur.


Chrism, both which impart the Grace of the Spirit.
They give tithes of all their possessions, cattle and
sheep, when they marry, when they undertake a
journey, or submit to the discipline of the Church in
the reformation of their lives. This partition of their
property they call the Great Tithes. Two parts they
give to the Church where they are baptized, the third
to the Bishop of their diocese. In preference to all
other journeys, they undertake that to Rome, with
pious minds and reverence for the threshold of the
Apostles. They show due veneration for Churches
and Ecclesiastical persons, and the relics of Saints, and
portable bells, ^ the ornamented Volume of the Gospels,^
and the Cross ; in this indeed they surpass all other na-
tions. Hence their Church enjoys more secure peace
than any other. For not only in cemeteries, but even
elsewhere by means of land-marks and ditches, placed
by the Bishops to preserve order, their cattle are able to
feed without disturbance. In the most ancient and ven-
erable Churches, when the cattle go out in the morn-
ing, and when they return at evening, the Clergy give
them their benediction. If any one has incurred the

' Campanis Bajulis. " Campanae Bajulae quae pree manibus
haberi et deferri possunt." Silvester Giraldus in Topogr. Hi-
bern. c. 33 — " Hoc etiam non praetereundum puto, quod Cam-
panas bajulas, baculosque Sanctorum in superiore parte recur-
ves, auro et argento vel aere contextos, in magna reverentia tarn
Hiberniae et Scotias quam Gwalliae popuius et Clerus habere
solent : ita ut sacramenta super haec longe magis quam super
Evangelia et praestare vereantur et pejerare." — Apud Ducange.

= Libris textis. " Textus ; Liber sen Codex Evangeliorum,
qui inter cimelia Ecclesiastica reponi solet, auro gemmisque ut
plurimum exornatus, aureis etiam interdum characteribus ex-
aratus." — Ducange.


deadly enmity of his sovereign, and seeks for refuge
in the Church, he Avill there find peace for himself and
his kinsfolk. In this privilege indeed, which far ex-
ceeds the indulgence of the canons, which only offer
safety to the body and members, many go great lengths
and make their refuge the occasion of plunder. No-
where else you will see Hermits and Anchorites more
ascetic, more spiritual. Though all the people (the
Welsh) have a natural vehemence of disposition, and
you will find none worse than bad men among them,
yet you will not find better men than their good


More English Traditions.

Thus much can be depended upon, with regard to this
second visit of German to Britain, as coming from the
authority of Constantius, who has all along been taken
as a sure witness. But it has been hinted already that
our Saint's renown in England by no means depends
upon the narrative of this writer alone, (one might
almost say, ot all.) Nothing was more popular among
our ancient countrymen than the Legends of St. Ger-
man. Did an Englishman in the ninth century go
abroad, he was sure to be questioned about St. German,
and he had many things to relate, which Constantius
had passed over, but wliich were in the mouth of every
body in England. " This country," says Hericus of


Auxerre, "which is the first among islands, has a
peculiar devotion towards the blessed German, and its
inhabitants acknowledge themselves to owe many great
blessings to him : they were enlightened, say they, by
his teaching, they were purified from heresy twice by
him, they were honoured by many miracles which he
performed among them." Accordingly, when a pious
monk of the name of Mark came over from England,
and took up his abode in the monastery of St. Medard
and St. Sebastian, at Soissons, in France, he had many
things to tell the foreign enquirer which were not
generally known abroad. And these, he asserted posi-
tively, were contained in the Catholic Histories of
Britain, and might be read by any one therein."^

About the very time when St. Mark (for he was a
Saint) was instructing Hericus, Nennius was writing
his history of Britain in England, that is, in 858, ac-
cording to the Prologue. Nennius then is, after Bede, the
earliest English testimony which we possess concerning
St. German. But as critics are, with reason, afraid of
admitting the facts he relates without great caution,
the reader will be pleased to consider this chapter as
the continuation of a former one, entitled English Tra-

It appears that the arrival of the Saxons, Vorti-
gern's crimes and misfortunes, St. German's presence,
and Merlin's prophecies, are facts all brought together
by this author. Among the earlier events of Vorti-
gern's reign occurred, he says, the arrival of Horsa
and Hengist ; the account reads like romance. " In
the meantime, three skiffs, '^ banished from Germany,
touched the land. In these were Horsa and Hen-

' Heric. de Mirac. 80. = Ciulse.


gist, who were brothers, the sons of Guictgils, the
son of Guitta, the son of Guectha — Vuoden — Frealaf
— Fredulf — Finn — Folcwald — Geta, who was, as they
say, tlie son of God. This is not the God of gods.
Amen, the God of Hosts, but one of their idols whom
they worshipped... Vortigern received them kindly, and
gave them the island which in the Saxon langua"-e is
called Thanet, but in the British tongue Ruohim."
Then came St. German to Britain, where he preached,
and performed many miracles, among which Nennius
selects the following legend, the character of which
must stand by its own merits, and not be supposed to
affect in any way the more genuine miracles of German
before related. " There was a certain wicked king, a
perfect tyrant, of the name of Benli. Him the Saint pro-
posed to visit, and therefore hastened to go and preach
to him. When the man of God had come to the gate of
the town with liis companions, the guard approached and
saluted them, whereupon they sent him to the king.
The king returned a harsh answer, sapng, with an
oath, " Should they remain there till the end of the
year, they never shall enter my town." While they
were waiting for the guard to bring back the answer of
the king, evening came on, and night advanced, and
they knew not where they should go, when one of the
king's servants arrived, and having bowed himself be-
fore the man of God, related to him the words of the
king. He then invited them to his cottage, (which
probably was out of the town) ; they went with him,
and he entertained them kindly. Their host had only
one cow, with her calf. This latter he killed, and
having roasted it, placed it before them. Then St.
German enjoined theni not to break any of the bones,
and the next day the calf was found with its mother.


whole and alive. When German had risen in the
morning, he asked for an interview with the king.
While he was waiting at the gate, a man came running
up to him with the sweat running down from his face.
He bowed himself. St. German said to him, ' Dost
thou believe in the Holy Trinity ?' He answei'ed, ' I
believe,' and was baptized ; and German kissed him,
and said to him, ' Go in j^eace, in this same hour thou
shalt die ; the angels of God await thee in the air, that
thou mayest go with them to the Lord, in whom thou
hast believed.' Then the man returned with joy to
the citadel, where the Prefect arrested him, and bound
him ; after which, he was led before the tyrant and
put to death ; for it was a custom with the cruel tyrant
to have every one killed who, before sunrise, did not
return to his service in the citadel. In the meantime,
German and his companions remained the whole day
before the gate of the city, without obtaining leave to
see the king. The servant who before had entei'tained
them, did not neglect them. St. German said to him,
' Take care that none of your friends remain in the
citadel this night.' The servant then returned to the
citadel, and brought away his children to the number
of nine, and his guests followed him to the same abode
as before. St. German bid them remain fasting,
and having shut the doors, said, ' Watch, and if any
thing should occur, be careful not to look to the citadel,
but pray unceasingly, and cry to the Lord.' After a
short interval, in the night, fire fell from heaven, and
consumed the citadel, with all that were with the
tyrant, and they have never been found, continues Nen-
nius, to this time, nor has the fort ever been rebuilt.
The day after, the man who had so hospitably received
them, believed and was baptized, with all his childi'en ;


and the whole country followed his example. His name
was Catel. And German blessed him and said, ' There
shall not be wanting a king of thy seed ; and thou thy-
self from this day shalt be sole king.' The saying proved
true. The servant was made the king, and all liis chil-
dren became kings, and by their jiosterity the whole
country of the Pouisi is exen now governed."

However Vortigern was becoming daily more intimate
with his Saxon guests. " Then," says Nennius, " Satan
entered into his heart, and he fell in love with the
daughter of Hengist, and he promised half of his king-
dom to have her in marriage." Thus was tlie county of
Kent given away. Soon after, a fresh body of stran-
gers arrived from the German coasts, at Vortigern's
invitation. These were Octha and Ebissa, with forty
skiiFs, who, at the request of the king, sailed towards
the Picts, and laid waste the Orkney Islands, and set-
tled in the country which lies on the confines of the
Picts. Vortigern was hastening the ruin of his coun-
try by his follies and his vices. As a crowning of his
wickedness, he married his own daughter, and had a
son by her. Upon hearing which, St. German came,
with all the British Clergy, to reprove him. A large
Synod was convened, at which the Clergy and laity
attended. The king tlien ordered his daughter to pre-
sent herself to the assembly, and deliver the child to
German, declaring that German himself was the father
of it. She acted as she was instructed. German,
however, received the child with benevolence, and
said, ' Yes, I will be a father to thee, nor will I part
with thee, unless a razor with tongs and comb be given
me, and thou transfer them to thy father according to
the flesh.' The child obeyed, and advanced towards Vor-
tigern, his father and grandfather at the same time, and


he said to him, ' Thou art my father ; shave my head
— the hair of my head.' Vortigern remained silent,
and would not answer the child, but rose up in a great
rage, and fled from the presence of St. German. He
was then condemned, and anathematized by St. German
and all the Council of the Britons. This Council,
we learn, was held at Guarthernia (probably in Wales.)
When Vortemir, the son of Vortigern, saw that his
father had been condemned for incest by German, and
by the British Clergy, and had taken flight, he came
and threw himself at the feet of the Saint, and asked
his pardon. Then, on account of the calumny which
his father and sister had spread against German, he
decreed that ever after the land on which the Bishop
had suffered the ignominy should be his property.
Hence, in memory of St. German, it received the name
of Guartheunia, (or Guarthernia) which, by interpreta-
tion, is " The calumny justly repulsed."^

It would be too long to follow Vortigern into his
retirement at Snowden, where he built a castle, to
consolidate which, he was advised by wizards (the
constant companions of abandoned sovereigns) to
sprinkle the blood of a child which had no father.
Suffice it to say, the famous prophet, the very Mer-
lin was found, who was also called Arabrosius, and
was the son of a Roman Consul. In the mean-
time, Vortemir undertook the cause of the Britons,
which his father had betrayed to the Saxons, and was
victorious in four battles, in the last of which he died.
After his death, Vortigern was taken captive treach-
erously by the Saxons, and obliged to deliver vip to
them Essex and Sussex for his ransom. " However,"

' See Nennius, p. 30, p. 35, and Usher, p. 385.


continues Nennius, " St. German did not desist from
preaching to Vortigern to turn to the Lord. But the king
fled to the region which owes its name to him, Guor-
thigirniaun, where he concealed himself with his
wives. But St. German followed with all the British
clergy ; and there he remained forty days and forty
nights, praying upon the rock, and stantling night and
day. Then Vortigern again ignominiously retired to
the fort of Guorthigirn, which is in the country of the
Demeti, (including Cardiganshii-e, Carmarthenshire,
and Pembrokesliire) near the river Teibi (now called
Teify.) Still St. German followed him, and Avhen
he arrived he remained three days and as many
nights fasting with the whole clergy that accompanied
him. On the fourth niglit, about midnight, the en-
tire fortress, struck by fire from heaven, fell to the
ground ; and Vortigern with all who were with him,
and his wives, disappeared." Such was the end of this
ill-fated monarch, the account of which Nennius pro-
fesses to have found in the Book of St. German, though
there were, he adds, other reports. The names of Vor-
tigern's legitimate sons have ah'cady been given, Vor-
timer, Categirn, Parcent. It is somewhat remarkable
that the offspring of his incestuous marriage became a
Saint, under the name of Saint Faustus. After the
miraculous obedience which he had displayed in the
way above related, he was baptized and educated by
St. German ; and having built a monastery on the banks
of the river Renis, he there devoted himself to the
service of God.

Such are the deeds and transactions which in early
times were connected with the name of German in
this Island. In fact, they constituted the popular
legend of that Saint, and went much farther towards


rendering him familiar to the English, than the more
authentic narratives of Constantius and Bede. Nor is
Nennius the only one who loved to explore the rich
mine of the Legend of St. German ; Henry of Hunt-
ingdon, John Gerbrand of Leyden, Galfridus, Matthajus
Florilegus, and many others, transmitted in their turn the
well known story which was identified with many a na-
tional and local sympathy. Here was to be found the
origin of the names of towns, and churches ; the clue to
famous councils and victories. At the same time the
great political revolution which German, if he did not
witness, yet saw impending upon the nation, and the
never forgotten British associations with which his
name was allied, and which were stored up in the
mountains of Wales, gave a popularity to his name,
which it is somewhat surprising should so completely
have died away.


St. German and the Barhariajis.

Scarcely had German returned from his last expedi-
tion to Britain in the year 447, when he found a new
field open for his exertions. The occasion was a
deputation sent by the Armoi'ican confederacy to en-
treat his assistance against their two united enemies,
the Roman generals and their allies the Barbarian
Alani. That a holy Bishop should be applied to,
may surprize us at first, but will cease to do so
when the nature of the case is explained. However,
in order to understand how Barbarians came to be
the allies of Romans against a Christian and orthodox


peoplo, it will be necessary to go back a few years,
to their first introduction into Gaul. First, let it be
observed, the Alani, against whom the Armoricans
chiefly demanded succour, were a race of Huns, sta-
tioned on the banks of the Loire, near Orleans, to re-
press the rebels, and who acted under the conduct of
their king, Eochar.

The position of the different Barbarians in Gaul at
this time was as follows. The Franks, the " heathen
and perfidious Franks," ^ occupied a part of the north-
ern provinces of the two Belgica3 and the second Ger-
manica, a disti'ict which now might be said to extend
from the banks of the river Somme, in Picardy, towards
those of the Moselle. The Visigoths possessed the
greater part of the western and south-western pro-
vinces, south of the river Loii-e, called at that time
Narbonnensis Prima, Novempopulania and the Second
Aquitania. The Burgundians were settled in the east
of Gaul, in the provinces of Germanica Prima and
Maxima Sequanorum, answering to the modern Alsace,
Franche-comte and Switzerland. These were the three
great divisions of Barbarians. With regard to the two
latter, it is to be remarked that they were Christians,
though Arians. " In every nation," says Salvian,
" there were two kinds of Barbarians, the Pagans and
the Heretics."^ Of the former class were another large
tribe of men, who besides these, had entered into Gaul,
though they had as yet no settled abode, and with
whom the History of St. German is more immediately
connected. These were the Alani mentioned already,
a section of the Huns ; both which races, parent
and offspring, deserved the epithets of " rapacious,

» Salvian, p. 89. Dubos, torn. i. p. 438. Thierry Lettres
sur la France. = p. 86.


drunken, impure."^ The great leader of the Huns,
Attila, entered Gaul a few years later ; the detachment
of them here in question, was introduced somewhat
earlier and in a very different way.

Among the political intrigues which disturbed the
imperial court at Ravenna, many will remember
the famous quarrel of Aetius, the great Roman gene-
ral, and Count Boniface, his worthy rival, who com-
manded in Africa. How this quarrel was connected
with the entry of the Alani into Gaul is now to be
shown. The crisis of their feud took place in a
meeting of the two rivals in the plains of Italy on
the field of battle. Boniface was victorious, but he
died of his wounds.*^ Aetius, deprived by the Empress
Placidia and her son Valentinian of his dignity and
titles, retired into the land of the Huns, who were then
governed by Rugila, the father of Attila. Here he re-
ceived the most cordial welcome. An alliance en-
sued between the savage chieftain and the Roman exile
which subsisted for a long time.^ Li the year 435,
after two years' banishment, the indispensable Aetius
was again restored to the favour of the court. The
highest honoiu' of the age was bestowed uj)on him ; he
was made Patrician. At this juncture he sent to his
associates, the Huns, to obtain troops to defend Gaul
against its many assailants. A large body of these
who went by the name of Alani, were accordingly en-
listed in the Roman armies ; and shortly after Aetius
stationed a great number on the banks of the Loire.
Their very entry into Gaul was prophetic of their
future behaviour. They made a violent attack upon

' Salvian, p. 89.

^ Prosp. ChroQ. 432. Dubos, p. 353, torn. i. Gibbon, torn. iv.

^ Dubos, p. 362.


the Burgundians, the mildest and most equitable of the
Barbarian settlers, and killed twenty thousand of them,
according to Gibbon. Certain it is that a great part
of the Burgundians are represented to have perished in
the massacre, to which Aetius, the Patrician, was not
altogether a stranger. This act was the more savage,
as a treaty had lately been made with the Burgundians.^
The next enemy against whom the Alani were em-
ployed were the Visigoths. Here the reason was more
just. The Visigoths were daily taking advantage of
the disturbed state of the empire. " They were ever
violating treaties," says St. Prosper, " and continued to
obtain possession of the greater number of the large
towns which were situated near their kingdom. Nar-
bonne they were now aiming at eagerly." ^ But Nar-
bonne was rescued by the reinforced troops of Aetius ;
and the Visigoths wei-e repeatedly conquered. ^ The new
allies of the Romans by tliis time rendered the imperial
army a match for the Goths. The Gothic nations were
skilful in the management of the sword and the spear,
but they were deficient in horse. The Scythian tribes

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