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that part of the Lnu-Countries lying North of the Rhine.
The Nations fubdu'd by thefe Conquerors were in time
called Saxons, in like manner as the Inhabitants of Gaul
were named Francois or French, after their Subjection to the
Francs. But however, whether the Saxons were not lbj
rapid in their Conquefts as the Suevi, or the Courfe they
took made it longer before they approach'd the Roman},
'tis certain they were not fo foon known. The firft Ro°
man Hiftorians that mention them, at leaft by the Name of
Saxons, are Eutrepius and Orojhis, who inform us that C.a-
raufws (as I have elfewhere taken notice) was fent to clear
the Seas of the pyratical Francs and Saxons. From that
time they became formidable to the Romans, and obliged
them to keep ftanding Forces to guard both the German
and Britijh Coafts, with a General Officer ftiled the Prce-
fetl, or Count of the Saxon Coajls. Upon the Decline of
the Roman Empire, after the Death of Theodofius, the Sax-
ons taking Advantage of its Weaknefs, made themfelves
Mafters of the whole Country along the Coaft of the Ger-
man Ocean, and even extended their Conquefts as far as the
Ifles of Zealand. Hence the Frifons, Batavians, and the
neighbouring Nations were hardly known by any other
Name but that of the Saxons.

Tho' feveral Authors have writ of the Saxons, we are. .... .

ill in the Dark as to their Original, or how to autinguiin Orig. Brit.
the Nations called by that general Name. And therefore Slur,:
the beginning of their Hiftory remains very confus'd and' it °" ti A '' 3 *
intricate, it being almoft impoffible it fhould be otherwife,
confidering, Authors for the moft part have made no Di-
ftinction of Times or Places. One while, they are con-
fider'd juft as they left their own Country, and then are
confounded with the Francs and Suevi, under the Name of
Cimbri. Another while, they are viewed as beginning
their Conquefts towards the North- weft of the Continent, chron *;-',.
and then they are reprefented as feated North of the Fri-
fons, Batavians, Marfians, and other Nations of thofe
Parts fubject to the Romans. Some have placed them at
once along the Coaft of the German Ocean, and Banks of
the Rhine, and even in the Ifles of Zealand, as if they had
from the very firft inhabited thefe Regions. Others again,
not confidering that all their Conquefts were term'd Saxony^
and finding Saxons in the eaftern Parts of Wejlphalia, have
imagin'd they were a different People from thofe inhabiting
on the Rhine. Juft as if fpeaking of the Francs, I fhould
make different Nations of Thofe that conquered Gaul and
Thofe that fettled in the Narbonnoife. However this be,
it is certain when the Britons fent to defire their Affiftance,
the Saxons were in Poffeffion of JVeflphalia, Saxony, Eajl
and IVeJl-Frixiland, Holland and Zealand.

I could wifh the Origin of the Saxons were as well
known as their Conquefts : it would be a Pleafure to give
here an Abftract of their Hiftory to the Time of their fet-
tling in Great-Britain. But the thing is impoffible, fuch
Obfcurity do we meet with in the Authors that have ftudied
this Subject. Some take up the Saxons at the Tower of
Babel, and leading them from Country to Country, fettfe
them at laft in Saxony, fo called from them. Others derive
them from the Saca or Sajfones of Afia, mentioned by
Pliny. There are who will have them to be originally
from Perfia, becaufe of the Affinity between feveral Saxtn
and Perfian Words ( i ). But they that are willing to fparc
the Pains of fo laborious a Search, are content to begin
their Hiftory from the time of their coming forth from the
Cimbrian Cherfonefus. It is not impoffible, perhaps, to re-
concile moft of the Opinions concerning this Matter, tho'
feemingly very different, if Regard be had to the Times of
their feveral Migrations. But fince, in the main, Con-
jectures only are to be had, it is better to proceed at once
to what is more certain.

The Saxons had for fome time been in poffeffion of the_.
Cimbrian Cherfonefus, when driven thence by the Goths,
(from whom that Peninfula was call'd Gothland or Jut-
land) they came and fettled in Germany, in the Parts now
called Lower-Saxony. Between that Country and the
Cherfonefus, were a People known by the Name of Angles,
inhabiting about Slefwici in Holjlem. Probably the little
Country of Anglen in thofe Parts was fo named from thrm,

M.tbir, Brttitr, Daugktu

that F.iJ?r, Mudtr, Brido, 7tutur, Band, and tlie like, art ftill *ki ifl lh: ftrjim Lang'taj":
, Btnd, ire with us<

•he l'jir.5 S'.nie »: Fi'i-


Book I.

The State of the B r i t i s h-C hurc h.



or tliey from the Country ( t ). However this be, the Angles
joining with the Saxons when they came out of the Cher-
fonefus to make Conquefls in Germany, became in a manner
but one Nation with them. Though, doubtlefs from the
major Part, they were generally call'd Saxons, yet they
had fometimes the compound Name of Anglo-Saxons gi-
ven them. Great Numbers of Goths mix'd likewife with
them to ftiare in their Conqueits. Thefe are call'd Wites{z)
by Bede, and commonly known by the Name of Jutes,
or (which is the fame) Goths. It can hardly be doubted
that thefe three Nations were united before their coming in-
to Britain, when we confider the good Underftanding be-
tween them all the while they were employed in efta-
blifhing thcmfelves in the Ifland, as will be ken in the
Courfe of this Hiftory. It will be found that they a&ed
always in concert ; that their Interefts were never different,
and that the Government fettled by them, is a clear Evi-
dence, they Iook'd upon themfelves as one and the fame
£ tymcify of The true Etymology of the Name Saxon is as difficult
He Nam °f t be difcovered as their Origin. They that derive them
t c sons. f rom j^g Sac/s of Afia, are indeed at no great lofs in this
Point. But the molt common Opinion is, that the Word
Saxon comes from Seax, which in their Language figni-
fies a kind of IFcapon or Sivord. They had two forts, a
long one worn by their Side or at their Back ; and another
fhorter, ferving for a Bayonet or Dagger. They were both
in the Shape of a Cutlace (3).
Earners ar.i Not to dwell too long upon Conjectures, I fliall briefly
Ctraernmnt fpeak of their Manners, Government and Religion. It
^^■"""^'fuffices to obferve, that in their Cuftoms and Manners,
they very much refemble the antient Germans, as defcrib-
ed by Tacitus. They were naturally brave and warlike
both by Land and Sea, witnefs their many Conquefls.
But to their Enemies they were fevere and cruel, efpeci-
ally to their Priibners of War, whom they facrificed to
their Gods.
Their Go- Their Dominions were divided into twelve Govern-
mvmtnt. ments or Provinces, each of which had a Chief or Head
Yafcoan. accountable to the General- AlTembly of the Nation. In

time of War they chofe a General who commanded their
Armies, and was inverted with almoft Sovereign Power :
but at the End of the War, his Authority, like that of the
Roman Diclator, ceafed. The Center of their Empire
was at Brunfuick.

As for their Religion, it was the fame with that of tike Their Re,
other northern Nations, and fome Part of Germany. The£' «•
Britijh Saxons embraced Chriftianity about the End of the
fixth, or Beginning of the feventh Century. But thofe
that remain'd in Germany were not converted 'till the
ninth, by the Care or rather Violence of Charlemain, by
whom they were fubdued. Their principal Gods before
their Converfion were the Sun, Moon, Tuifco, Woden,
Thor, Friga or Frisa, and Seater. To thefe were con-
fecrated the feven Days of the Week, as appears by the
prefent names of thefe Days among the Germans, Flemings,
and Englijh. Tuifco is faid to be the Grandfon of Japhet,
and to have peopled firft the North of Europe. Teutch,
as the Germans call themfelves, is probably derived from
Tuifco. The God Thor, from whence comes the Word
Thunder or D under, was the fame among the Saxons as
Jupiter among the Romans, that is to fay, the Thunderer.
Woden was the God of War, becaufe under his Conduct
the firft Saxons came forth from their Country, and made
large Conquefts. Their chief Families confider'd him as
their Founder, and gloried in being defcended from him.
Probably however there were two of this Name, that are
often confounded ; one more antient, worfhipped as a God,
another not fo old, from whom fprung tire Families of the
Saxon Leaders. There are ftill in England fome Footfteps
of the Name of Woden in Thofe of feveral Places, as
Wanfdike, Wansborough, &c. which are Contractions of
Wodcns-dike and Wodens-borough. Frcca the Wife of Woden
was the Venus of the Saxons. She was worfhipp'd in the
Shape of an Hermaphrodite, as being Goddefs of both Sexes.
Ermenfwol, the fame as Mercury, was another of their
Gods, with others common to them with all the northern
Nations. This is the belt and cleared Account I could
meet with of the Saxons, whom the Britons, by Vortigertfi
Advice, call'd in to their Affiftance.




Ftste of the

TbeConverfion of the BRITONS, to the Calling in of the SAXONS.


F T E R Chriftianity was eftablifh'd in the World,
the Civil and Ecclefiajlical Affars of Kingdoms
were fo interwoven, that there was no know-
ing the one, without being acquainted with the
It is neceffary therefore to add to our Hiftory, a
general Knowledge of the Progrefs of the Chrijlian Religion
in Great-Britain. I intend to do this from time to time,
by fhort Abftracb, (hewing the Situation of the Affairs of
the Church in every Century, and withal their Relation to
thofe of the State. But as I mall not have occafion to fpeak


of the Englijh Church before the Gonverfion of the Anglo-
Saxons, it will not be improper to reprefent firft the State
of the Britifh Church under the Romans.

Before the Birth of our Saviour, the Britons, like the The Sttte of
reft of the World, the Jews only excepted, were grofs '{' Britifh
Idolaters. They not only worfhipped falfe Gods, but, q^ '„ , t
if their own Hiftorians are to be credited, had as many
and as extravagant ones as the Egyptians themfelves. An-
date the Goddefe of Viftory, was one of their principal

(1) This Country [Camden obferves) reaching into the more inland parts of Germany, at fo great a Diftance from the Sea, we muft 1'eelc fome other Place
where to feat our Angles ; and Bede has directed us to look for them between the Saxons and Jutes. " The Angles (fays he) come out of that Country,
" which is called Angulus, and is faid from that time to lie wafte, between the Countries of the Jutes and Saxons" Seeing between Juitland and HoU
fatia {the ancient Seat of the Saxons) there is a fmall Province in the Kingdom of Denmark under the City of Ftmjpltrg call'd at this Day Angel, wh : ch
Lindebergius in his Epiftles terms Little-England. lam pretty well allured, fays Camden, that I have found the ancient Seat of our Forefathers \ and that
from this very Place the Angles came into our Ifland. " Old Anglia, (fays Ethellverd an antient Author) is fituated between the Saxons and Giots, the
" Capital Town whereof is called in Saxon, Slefwick, but by the Danes, Haitbby." In the very fame place, Ptolemy feems to feat the Saxons. So that
the middle-age Poet is probably in the right.

■ — Saxonia protulit Anglos ;
Hoc patet in lingua, niveoque colore

Their Rife to Saxony the Angles enve

Their Language, this, and native Whiteneft Jik-jj,

(z) So it is in the old Edition of Bede ; but in Mr. Whclock's, uifiead of Vitit there is Jutis,
(3) Thjs Etymology gave occafion to thefe Verfes in Engelhuftus,

Qjjippe brevis gladius apud illos Saxa vocatur,
Unde fibi Saxo nomea traxiffe putatur.

The Saxon People did, as rmfi lelieve,

Their Names jtom Saxa, a fhort Sivord, receive

Camden approves of the Conjecture of thofe learned Germans, who imagine that the Saxons are descended from the Saca?, the moft conGde-rable People
of Afia, that they are fo call'd, as if one fhould fay, Sacafones, that is, Sons of the Saca j and that out of Seythia or Sarmatia Ajtatiea, they came by littlr
and little intoEurope along with the Getes, the Suevi and the Daci, this in my Judgment (hysCamden) deferves credit the beft of any other. But his An-
rotator obferves, This Original of the Saxons from the Sacae of Afia may be thought too far fetch'd unlefs there were fome fair hiftorical Account, h»w
rhe Saxons came to be propagated by thofe Saca, and no fuch Account being given, it may feem to be little more than a puffibility. Nor may that other Ori-
ginal from the fhort Swords call'd Sachs, feem altogether vain, when it is confider'd, that the £}uirites had their Name from ^uiris, a port Spear j and the
Scythians from Septal, tojhoct -.uitb a Bow. Tacitus alfo fpealcing of fome of the Northern Germans, fays, " That the common Badges they wear, are round
" Shields and (hurt Swords j" and the rtrmi of $axwy to this Day, as Ptmtenui Mans, are tws fllOU Swwds a-crofi. See Catr.d- I'll, 1. p, CLVJ.



The State of the B r i t i s h-C hurch.

Vol. I.


.- C i
/ •

Ufll r.
Brit. Ecc!.


Orig. Brit.

jrLth-r a

Britons tun
converted by
Jofeph of
Malm, dc

See Collier i

Deities (i). Tliey had alfo Gods, to whom they attri-
buted the fame Powers die Greeks and Romans did to their
Abollo and Z)/<j«ff. But feeing the Druids, who had the
fo'le Management of Religious Affairs, never committed any
of their Myfteries to Writing, it is no wonder we know
nothin°- more concerning their JVorJIiip and Ccrcmmie;,
than what has already been taken notice of in the Intro-

Though it be difficult to know the precife time, yet all
r.Tree the Gofpel was preached in Great-Britain foon after
our Saviour's Death. But thofe who place this Event
in the Reign of Tiberius, don't confider the firft Gentile,
Cornelius, "was not converted 'till the year of our Lord 40.
that is, three Years after the Death of that Emperor. Ba-
rotiius, upon the queftionable Authority of Simeon Metaphra-
/les(2), which he himfelf juftly rejects on feveral other Oc-
cafions, fays, St. Peter firft preached to the Britons. This
Opinion is the more improbable, becaufe it is certain St.
Peter performed the Office of an Apoftle chiefly in the Ea-
1. '. -, n Countries. Others affirm, that Simon Zclotes, one of
the twelve Apoftles, undertook the Converfion of the Bri-
tons. Nieepborus Calli/lus ( 3 ), Dorotheus, in his Synopfis,
and the Greek Kalendar (4) fay, this Apoftle was crucified
and buried in Britain. At the fame time we find in the
Roman Marlyrology, and in thofe of Bede, Adon, and Ufu-
ard, that St. Simon fuffered Martyrdom in Perfia.

The moft current Opinion for fome time was, that Jo-
feph of Arimathea firft preached to the Britons. Tho' this
'Tradition, fupported by the fole Teftimony of William of
Malmsbury, a Writer of the Xllth Century, ftands upon
no better Foundation than thofe above-mentioned, it has
however been deem'd inconteftable. Malmsbury, in proof of
the Antiquity of the Church of Glajfon or Glajfoibury, fays,
after Freeulphus, that upon the Martyrdom of St. Stephen,
the Apoftles were difperfed throughout the whole World.
St. Philip, (continues the Hiftorian) at his coming among
the Francs, fent twelve of his Difciples, with Jofeph of A-
rimathe'a as their Head, to propagate the Gofpel in Great-
Britain, where they arrived in the Year of our Lord 6 1 .
After fome Oppofition from the Inhabitants, a certain
King gave them a little Spot of Ground, furrounded with
Fens and Bufhes to dwell in. Not long after, two other
neighbouring Kings having allowed them twelve Hides of
Land for their Subfifteiice, the Angel Gabriel commanded
them from God, to build a Church in a Place now call'd
Gla/hn, but at that time Infwitrin (5). This Church was
finilhed in the Year 6?, and as the Hiftorian adds, was
dedicated by our Saviour himfelf, as a Mark of Diftinction,
to the Virgin Maty. In proof of this Relation in the
firft: Place, is produced a Manufcript Chronicle in the
Abbey of Glafenbury, in which it appears that the King's
Name, who made the firft Prefent to Jofeph, was Arvira-
gus. To this may be anfwered that indeed Juvenal men-
tions a Britijh King by that Name in the Reign of Do/ni-
i'uin. But this is nothing to the purpofe, unlefs it can be
proved that Arviragus lived in the time of Nero, fince it is
fuppofed the Land the Church flood upon was given to
Jofeph in the Year 61. In the next place is alledged St.
Patrick's Charter, wherein it is faid, that Glajfon Church
was founded by twelve Difciples of St. James and St. Phi-
lip the Apoftles. But befides feveral "Marks of Forgery,
there is no mention in this Charter of Jofeph of Arimathea.
In the third Place is produced a Charter oilna King of the
ft ', /i-Saxons, who lived in the Vlllth Century, which makes
the Church of Glajhn the moft «intient of all the Britijh
Churches. But neither in this Charter, whofe authentick-
nefs is ftill more queftionable, is there any mention of Jo-
feph. To ftrengthen all thefe Proofs, a Charter of Hemy II,
King of England is produced, wherein King Henry a/lures
ur>, that upon Examination he found it well attefted, that
the Church of Glajfenbury was founded by the Difciples of
the Apoftles, and confecrated to the Virgin Alary by J efts
Chrijl himfelf. But this Affertion of King Henry, being
grounded only upon the foregoing Proofs, is not to be re-
garded. Moreover it is certain, that the Francs were un-
known, at the time St. Philip is faid to come into their
Country. Befides, Eufebius and feveral others affirm, that
this Apoftle went and preached in Phrygia, and fuffered
Martyrdom at Hierapolis. Then for the Hydelands given
to the Difciples of the Apoftles, the Word Hyde alone is a
fufficient Refutation of that Story, fince it is a Saxon
Term ; and every one knows the Saxons came not to Bri-
tain 'till the Year 449. I thinic it needlefs to dwell any


longer upon this Subject. Whoever has a Mind to fee the
Reafons more at large againft this Tradition of Jofeph of
Arimathea, will find them in Collier s Ecclefiaftical Hiftory.

Though the exact time of the Converfion of the Britons' 1 '-'Britons
be uncertain, it is very probable the Gofpel was preached ™ f £* v a 'f,~ tr
in the Illand not long after the Death of Chrift. Thcoeloret the '1j,.uo b/
aflures us, the Britons were converted by the Apoftles. chn<1-
Eufebius fpeaking of the Dangers the Apoftles were ex- 0i
pofed to in propagating the Gofpel in the moft remote Coun-
tries, mentions among the reft, the Britijh Ifles. Now
the likelieft time to be affigned for the Converfion of the
Britons, if it was in the Apoftles Days, is that between
the Victory of Claudius and the Defeat of Boadicea. For
at the time of the General Revolt, there were in thelfland
above 80,000 Romans, among whom very probably were
fome Chrijlians ; the Gofpel having now got footing in
many places, particularly at Rome. Upon this Suppofition,
there is no Abfurdity in afferting with feveral modern Au-
thors, that St. Paul firft preach'd the Gofpel in Britain.
It is certain this Apoftle, in the eight Years between his
firft Imprifonment at Rome, and his Return to Jerufalem,
propagated the Chrijlian Religion in feveral Places, efpe-
cially in the Jl'ejlern Countries. He informs us of his De-
figri of going to Spain ; and it is not unlikely but his Defire
of converting the Britons might carry him into their Ifland.
This Opinion may be fupported by the Teftimony of Ve-
nutius Fortunatus in his Poem upon the Life of St. Martin,
where he fpeaks of the Travels of St. Paul (6). But after
all, thefe are only Conjectures, and of no other ufe but to
make it more credible that the Gofpel was planted in Bri-
tain foon after the Death of our Lord.

But fuppofing this Opinion were proved beyond all Tee Comer.
Difpute, it may be prefum'd the Chrijlian Faith had taken^ '" °f K '"£
no deep Root in the Illand ; fince, according to feveral g , ej |, ,.
Authors, Lucius a Britijh King, fent Ambafladors to Pope<: 4.
Elcutherius to defire him to fend over fome Mijfionaries to
inftruiSt him in the Chriftian Religion. Now is it likely
that Lucius (hould fend fo far for what he might have had
in his own Country, had there been at that time any
Churches, or even any confiderable number of Chriflians,
in Britain ? However this be, Lucius having fome Know-
ledge of the Chrijlian Religion, and defiring to be more
fully inftructed, fends Ekvan and Medwin to Elcutherius
the twelfth Bilhop of Rome, to crave the wanted Affift-
ance. Elcutherius very joyfully embraces the Opportunity
of replanting Chriftianity in Great-Britain, where proba-
bly it had been rooted out by the Violence of Perfecutions.
He immediately fets about inftructing Elwan and Medwin
the two Ambalfadors ; and after baptizing and confecrating
them Bi/hops, fends them back to their own Country. By
their Means the Gofpel flouriftied again in Britain, where
it afterwards fpread far and wide. I omit the many things
that are faid of this Lucius, particularly his building great
Numbers of Churches in London, becaufe it is not likely
the Romans would fufter it. Neither fhall I fay any
thing of his Travels, wherein he is faid to convert feveral
Nations, efpecialy the Grifons, in whofe Country he was
martyred, there being no Grounds for thefe Things. It
is poffible however, fome Chriftian named Lucius mi^ht
preach the Gofpel to the Grifons, and fufter Martyrdom at

From the Converfion of Lucius to the Diocleftan Per-
fection, the Eccleftajlical Hiftory of Britain is intirely un-
known. It is very probable however, that during that In-
terval of eight Years, the Chrijlian Religion made great
Progrefs in the Ifland, as appears from Tertullian, Origeti,
Bede, and Gildas. But what puts the thing out of all
difpute, is, the Multitude of Britijh Martyrs that fuffered
during the dreadful Perfecution under Diocleftan and Maxi-
minian his Collegue. Among thefe Martyrs St. A/ban con- St. Alban
verted at Verulam(y) by a Prieft, whom he had harbored thefirft Bri-
in his Houfe, is reckon'd the firft. He was followed by ou&s^n/I!
a great many more, as Hiftory informs us. How well in- Bede, 1. x.
clined foever Conjlantius Chlorus might be to favour the c -7-
Chriftians, he could not, whilft Governor of Britain, dif-
penfe with Edicls of the Emperors, having then the
Title oiCafar only, which gave him no Power to oppofe
their Laws. But as foon as he came to the Empire, he
put a ftop to this violent Perfecution, and gave the Chri-
ftians fome refpite. Conjlantine his Son did yet more, for
under him the Chrijlian Religion flourifh'd throughout the
Roman Empire, particularly in Great-Britain, where fome
pretend he was born.

(1) She had a famous Tern;-!'* at Camehdunuta. Tyr. p. 24.

(2) A Writer of the Xth Century, fo called from writing the Lives of the Saints. He was a Lay-man.

(3) A Greek Hiftorian of theXlVth Century. He wrote an Ecclefiaftical Hiftory, of which there is only extant to the Year 610.

(4) Or Martyrology. '

(5) That is. in the Britijh Language, Thi Tsvm cf Gltfs. Claftm or Gfofi-ttnon means the fame in Englift. Ropin.

(6) Tranfit & Oceanurp, vel qua facit Infula Portum,

Quafquc Bricannus ivibet terras, qualque. ultima T hule. Rjfin.

(7) Caira afterwards from him St, Mar.t. Rafit


Book I.

The State of the British-Church.


frcprcfs of
the Cbri/lian
Kelifft" in
Cone. Vol. I

Sulp. Sever.
Hill. Ec. 1.2.

The Britifh
falfly charg-
ed ivitb.

in Britain.
Orig. Brit.

Bede, 1. 1.
c. i+.

Id. C.2I.

After this happy Change the Chriftians multiplied ex-
ceedingly, and die Ifland abounded with Churches. Some
affirm there were Britijh Bifhops at the Council of Nice in
325. But though this cannot be fufficiently proved, it is
not at all unlikely, fince twenty two Years after there were
for certain three Britijh Bifhops at the Council of Arles{i);
p..- there were alfo lome at the Council of Ariminuni in 359,
but fo poor that their Charges were born by their Bre-
thren (2). Their figning at this Council the Confejjion of
Faith, wherein the Term Confubjlantial was omitted, gave
Occafion to fome to imagine that Arianifm was fpread in
Britain. But a modern Author has made it appear that
the Faith of the Britijh Church was the fame in this Re-

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