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county which, in obedience to the law, we speak of as East,
though its position on the map would rather lead us to call
it North. The conquests of Cenwealh made Mid-Somerset
an Enslish land. And the victories of Centwine and Ine
extended the West-Saxon rule over the Western division,
and made the whole land of the Sumorsastas English.
Whether the memory of the ancient conquerors was
present to the minds of those who last mapped out our


shire is one of those deep questions into which it does not
become us to search; but that the earliest and the latest
divisions of Somerset will be commonly found to answer
to each other within a mile or two is a fact which allows
of no doubt.

Ine then, in partnership with Centwine and Nunna, may-
be set down as the conqueror of West-Somerset. But he
was more than the conqueror of the land ; he was also the
founder of the chief town of the land, of this Taunton
where we are now met. It is only in exceptional cases
that an English town can point with absolute certainty to
a known man as its personal founder. Constantly as our
towns and villages bear the names of particular men, it is
comparatively rare that the names which they bear are
those of perfectly ascertained persons within the historic
age. The name is most commonly the name of a God,
of a hero, or of a person who is probably real but of whom
we know nothing, and, when the name is that of a known
historical person, we have often to infer the foundation from
the name without any further record. We cannot reason-
ably doubt that Roman Regnum changed its name to
English Cissanceaster, in the honour, perhaps at the bid-
ding, of Cissa the son of u3Elle, but I do not know that
there is any distinct record of the fact. Still less is it
easy to trace out the foundations of towns which do not
bear the name of their founder. Ine was not one of those
who call the lands after their own names. He gave to his
foundation, not his own name, but the name of the river
on which he placed it. It is not in Inesborough that we
are met, but in Taunton. Of the fact of the foundation
of Taunton by Ine there is no doubt ; we are left to guess
at its exact date and object, but they are not very hard to
find out. Taunton was founded by Ine at some time


before 722 ;* we can hardly doubt that it was founded as
a new border-fortress for the defence of his conquests : its
almost certain date therefore will be in or soon after the
year 710, the year when those conquests were completed.
Placed on the borders of the last conquest and of the
last conquest but one, and at no great distance from the
frontier of the still independent Britons, the position was
an important one, and one which fully accounts for the
part which Taunton played in the next war or rebellion of
Ine^s time.

Another point to be mentioned is the distinct, and al-
most respectful, way in which the Welsh King Gerent is
spoken of in the English Chronicles. It is not often that
a Welsh prince finds his way by name into our national
history. Our Chroniclers at this time commonly thought it
enough to record a fight with the Welsh, without preserving
the name of any particular Welshman. No British prince
has been mentioned by name since the three Kings who
were overthrown by Ceawlin in 577. But the adversary of
Ine and Nunna is spoken of in a marked way as " Gerent
the King.^^ His personality had clearly, from some cause or
other, made a deeper impression on the minds of English-
men than that of most of his countrymen. This is not won-
derful when we find Saint Ealdhelm corresponding with him
on ecclesiastical matters, exhorting him to the right keeping
of Easter, and addressing him as " the glorious lord of the
western realm.^"'! The importance of Gerent has been
clearly and strongly pointed out by Dr. Guest. J In fact a

* The entry in 722 is * ' Her ^thelburh cwen towserp Tantun thone
Ine ser tymbrade."

f JafF^, Monumenta Moguntina, 24. "Domino gloriosissimo oeciden-

talis regni sceptra gubernanti Geruntio regi simulque

cunctis Dei sacerdotibus per Domnoniam conversantibus Althelmus."
t Archaeological Journal, xvi. (1859) 130.


potentate who reigned from the Lands End to the Parret
reigned over what, in the then divided state of Britain,
was no inconsiderable kingdom. Gerent must have stood
in the first rank of the princes of the island, Welsh and
English; he was probably quite the first among the princes
of his own nation. He could not have held his own against
Wessex, had Wessex always been able to bring its full
force against him. But to Wessex disturbed and divided
by open enemies in Mercia, by unwilling vassals in Kent
and Sussex, and by discontented ^thelings at home, the
King of Damnonia or West- Wales was no contemptible
adversary. The strength of the Damnonia kingdom is
witnessed by the slow steps by which Wessex advanced at
its expense. Even after Ceawlin had cut off West- Wales
from North- Wales, it took the English, as we have seen,
133 years to make their way from the Avon to Blackdown.
The site of Taunton remained Welsh for four generations
after the ruins of Bath, for two generations after the site of
Wells, had become English possessions. And moreover,
besides this great dominion south of the Bristol Channel,
we find hints, to say the least, that the Damnonian King
exercised some kind of supremacy over the smaller princes
of Gwent, Morganwg, and Dyfed. Saint Ealdhelm, in
the letter to which I have already referred, calls on Gerent
to reform certain abuses in the church of Dyfed,* and we
shall find other hints to the same effect as we go on.

In my view then Ine completed the conquest of
Somerset, but he did not carry his arms further west, into
the proper Damnonia, still less into the further parts of

* The offenders are described (Jaff^ 28) as " Ultra Sabrinse fluminis
f return Demetarum sacerdotes."



Cornwall. I have had only one source of difficulty or
hesitation in coming to this conclusion. This is that, in
the usual accounts, the West-Saxon Winfrith, more famous
as Saint Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz and Apostle of
Germany, is always said to have been born at Crediton
in 680 and to have been brought up in a monastery at
Exeter, under an Abbot Wulfhard. If we believe this,
it follows that, not only all Somerset, but at least a great
part of Devonshire must have been English long before
the time when I conceive Ine to have been still fighting
on the Tone and Parret. The state of things implied in the
story would involve a conquest of Exeter by Cenwealh at
the latest. It would need some very strong evidence indeed
to make us believe an account so inconsistent with every
inference to which all our other authorities lead us as to
the course of English conquest in western Britain. We
are asked to believe that Damnonia, which the contem-
porary Ealdhelm looked on as a fearful land, a visit to
which was a wonderful exploit,* was already an English
possession in which Englishmen were quietly born at Cre-
diton and brought up at Exeter. We know that Exeter
was still half Welsh in the days of ^thelstan \\ it is hard

* In the poem of Saint Ealdhelm in Jaff^ Mommienta Moguntina, 38,
' ' Sicut pridem pepigeram,
Quando profectus fueram
Usque diram Domnoniam,
Per carentem Cornubiam
Florulentis cespitibus
Et fcecundis grammibus."
t Will. Malms. Gest. Reg. ii. 134. " lllos [Cornewalenses] quoque
impigre adorsus, ab Excestra, quam ad id temporis aequo cum Anglis
jure inbabitarant, cedere compulit ; terminum provinciae suas citra
Tambram fluvium constituens, sicut Aquilonalibus Britannis amnem
Waiam limitem posuerat. Urbem igitur iUam, quam contammatsa
gentis repurgio defsecaverat, turribus ^univit, muro ex quadratis
lapidibus cinxit.


to believe that any part of it was English in the days of
Centvvine. \A'hat then is the evidence with regard to
the birth and education of Winfrith, otherwise Boniface?
I have not as yet been able to light on any evidence
which fixes his birth at Crediton or in any particular part
of Britain. I can find nothing about it in the Lives and
Letters published by Pertz and Jaffe. But he certainly
went to school at a place which, if there were no reason
to the contrary, I believe we should all take to be Exeter.
He was sent to a monastery at a place which his bio-
grapher VVillibald calls Adescancasfre* There seem to be
several readings in the manuscripts, but all give that name
or something not very far from it.f And Adescancastre we
should certainly take to be Exanceaster or Exeter. The
ad is of course simply the cet or at which so constantly
gets attached to names. It was long ago objected by
Mabillon that no Abbots of Exeter are spoken of any-
where else.J This is no doubt something, but it hardly
amounts to proof. There was a monastery of nuns at
Exeter before the removal thither of the Dumnonian
Bishoprick,! and the sex of monastic houses was so fluctuat-
ing in early times that it is quite possible that there may
have been Abbots there at some time or other. The real
question is whether we ought to look upon the reading of

* Willibald, Jaffe 433. Pertz. ii. 335. He is sent ' ' ad monasterium,
quod priscorum uuncupatur vocabulo Adescancastre," where he is re-
ceived by the ' ' iidelis vir Wolfhardus, qui et abbas illius exstitit

+ Ad escan castre, Adestcancastre, Adescancastre, Adestancastre.

X Jaffe quotes from Mabillon the interpretation of Adescancastre as
Exeter, adding " tametsi monasterium apud Exoniam turn fuisse nullum
prodit monumentum."

II Will. Malms. Gest. Pont. 201. " Lefricus, ejectis sanctimonialibus
a Sancti Petri monasterio, episcopatum et canonicos statuit."



this single passage as so certain, or its authority as so de-
cisive, as to upset all the conclusions to which we are led
by every other line of argument. Our other few notices
of Boniface^s life in England connect him with districts
like Hampshire and Wiltshire, which had long formed
part of the West-Saxon kingdom.* Indeed our own shire
may also claim some share in him. Among the holy men
by whom Winfrith was brought to the notice of Ine was
Beornwald, Abbot of Glastonbury .f This may encourage
us to go a step further. A slight change in the letters of
the name given as Adescancastre, a name, be it remem-
bered, which must have been copied by scribes who were
not likely to know much of English geography, would
change it from Exeter into our own great Roman city.
What if Winfrith, after all, got his first schooling within
the bounds of the conquest of Ceawlin, in the old borough
Acemannesceaster, which by another name men Bath call? J

So far we have dealt with the Welsh wars of Cent-
wine and Ine as they are directly recorded in our own

* "Nhutscelle," said to be Nursling in Hampshire ; (Willibald, Jaffe
435). "Dyssesburg," said to be Tisbiiry in Wiltshire. (Willibald,
Jaff¬Ђ5 439).

t Along with Wynberch (Wineberht) of Nursling and Wintra of
Tisbury, we find ' ' Beorwald, qui divina coenobium gubernatione quod
antiquorum nuncupatur vocabulo Glestingaburg regebat," appears
among the holy men who ' ' sanctum hunc virura accitum adduxerunt ad
regem." All this, we must remember, is done " regnaute Ine West-
saxonum rege. " The names of ' ' Wintra Abbas " and Beorwald Abbas "
appear among the signatures to the doubtful Charter of Ine dated in 704
(Cod. Dipl. i. 57) referred to by Jaffe, but in the Charter just before
(i. 56) is Beorhtwald.
X Chronicles, 972.

' ' On thsere ealdan byrig
Acemannes ceastre
Eac hie egbueud ;
Othre worde
Beornas Bathan nemnath. ' '


Chronicles. But, by the combined help of Welsh and
English writers, I think I can discern a later Welsh war
in which Ine was less lucky. I come back once more to
the entry in 722 about Taunton. That entry says nothing
about Welsh matters, but it tells everything in a discon-
nected, backward, way. We gather, bit by bit, that Ine
had built a fortress, that the rebel Ealdbriht got hold of
it, that -(iEthelburh destroyed the fortress and drove out
the rebel. Now in the same year the one trustworthy
British authority, the Annales Cambrife, places three
battles, one in Cornwall, the other two in the modern
South Wales, in all of which the Britons had the victory.
No name of the Welsh leader is given in the genuine
text, but the interpolator has rather unluckily stuck in the
name of Ivor, whom, it will be remembered, he does not
mention where he appears in the other accounts.* But in
the two Bruts, the latter of which, by the way, leaves out
the Cornish battle, the Welsh leader is Khodri Molwy-
nawc who had just succeeded Ivor in the kingdom. I do
not profess to know the site of the Cornish battle de-
scribed as Hehil or Heilin;t but I conceive that we need
not rigidly confine the name Cornwall^ to the modern
county. Any part of the kingdom of Gerent or Rhodri
might be called Cornwall as opposed to Morganwg or
Glamorgan, where one of the other battles was placed.

* Ann. Camb. 722. " Beli filius Elfin moritur, et bellum Hehil apud
Comuenses ; gueith Gartmailauc, cat Pencon apud dextrales Brittones ;
et Brittones victores fuerueut in istis tribus bellis." The interpolator
reads "Bellum Pentun inter Britones et Saxones; sed Britones victores
in hiis omnibus fuerunt, Iwor existente duce eorum."

t The name is Heilin in the elder Brut. The name of Rhodri does not
seem to be found in all the MSS.

t " Comuenses " in the Annales, " Ygkernyb " in the elder Brut.


The English and Welsh entries, though they record quite
different facts, seem to me to hang very well together.
The West-Saxons lose a battle in a Damnonian war, and
the fortress which had been lately built as a bulwark on
the Damnonian frontier is occupied by an English rebel
in a strife so serious that the fortress is destroyed in order
to dislodge him. This looks very much as if the partisans
of Ealdbriht had made common cause with the Welsh
King who had just come to his crown, and who was naturally
eager for some exploit against the old enemy. The forces
of Ine then were defeated, and his fortress of Taunton was
occupied by a combined body of British enemies and West-
Saxon rebels. More serious losses were probably hindered
by the vigorous action of the Queen, and her prominence
in the war would also seem to imply that Ine was either
disabled by age or sickness, or else that he was engaged
elsewhere against some other division of the enemy. That
the enemy, both foreign and domestic, were at last over-
come is plain from Ine's being able to pursue Ealdbriht to
his South-Saxon shelter. When Taunton was I'ebuilt I
do not know. The place is mentioned in a charter of
-^thelheard in 737* as having been granted by his Queen
Frithgith to the Church of Winchester, but this charter is
marked as spurious. 1 he earliest charter in which Taunton
is mentioned which Mr. Kemble accepts is one of Bishop
Denevvulf in 904, where Taunton appears as already pos-
sessed of a monastery, or at least a church of some kind.j

* Cod. Dipl. V. 45.
+ Cod. Dipl. V. 155. Bishop Denewulf and the Church of Winchester
had granted certain lands to King Eadward the Elder "pro perjjetua
libertate iliius monasterii quae dicitur Tantun, in quo antea niulta
regalium tributorum jura consistebant, quo et illud monasterium
a^qualiter ab omnibus regalibus et commitialibus tributis liberum et
ininune perpetualiter permaneat."


Another question starts itself. The war in Cornwall
could only have been a war between Britons and West-
Saxons. But the war in Cornwall and the war in Mor-
ganwg are spoken of as if they were parts of the same
enterprise, carried on under the same leader. This is one
of the passages which I have already spoken of as leading
to the belief that the Kings of Damnonia exercised some
kind of supremacy over the princes on the opposite coast
of the Bristol Channel. Who then were their English ad-
versaries in those parts ? The Mercian frontier can hardly
have come very near Morganwg so soon as this. It looks as.
if Ine was trying to extend his power over the Britons on
both sides of the Channel, and as if, largely perhaps through
the traitorous union of Ealdbriht with the Welsh, these
schemes were shattered by a triple defeat in both regions.

All this is an example of the way in which secondary
authorities should be used and should not be used. We
should not accept the fables of the later Welsh Chronicles
as true history, especially when we can trace back the way
in w^hich they grew out of the accounts of earlier and more
trustworthy writers of their own nation. But even out of
these later versions we may pick hints now and then, while
we learn to look on the original Welsh Annals as a trust-
worthy, though a very meagre, document. W^e do not ac-
cept tales of British victories which are not to be found in
the earliest British authority, and which are plainly tales of
English victories turned backwards. But we may accept
tales of British victories which are found in the earliest
British authority, and which do not contradict our own
Annals, but fill up gaps in them. The victories of the
Welsh under their legendary Ivor are really their defeats at
the hands of Centwine and Ine. But their victories under


Rhodri in 722 I accept as historical. They fill up a void in
our own Chronicles; they explain a passage where our own
annalists speak with stammering lips; they make us better
understand a state of thing on which English writers
would naturally have no great desire to dwell, and they set
before us more clearly the combination of foes against which
Wessex had to struggle when its newly raised bulwark
was sacrificed by the unsparing vigour of Ine's Queen.

Thus, I think, we get very fairly at the true relations
of Ine towards the Welsh. He was a conqueror who won
from them a considerable district, which completed the for-
mation of our own shire and was secured by the foundation
of one of its chief towns as a border fortress. The later
years of his reign were less successful. He suffered defeats
at the hands of British enemies, and at most he maintained
his new frontier instead of extending it further. But the
general glory of his name was so great that he became a
subject of romance ; his exploits were laid hold of by
the other side, and Ine was turned into a hero of the Bret-
Welsh, much as Charles the Great has been turned into a
hero of the Gal- Welsh. This, I think, is enough ; but
any one who chooses may explain the fancy of the Welsh
for making Ine their own, by the theory that he was
really so far their own that Ine and Mul were sons of a
Welsh mother. He may also go on to beheve that Mul bears
the witness of his mixed origin in his name, that he was
in fact, like Cyrus, the mule-King, the rj/j,iovo

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