18. THE ENTERING AND REIGNING OF THE SAXONS IN THE REALM OF ENGLAND.
This was the coming in first of the Angles or Saxons into this realm, being yet unchristened and infidels, which was about the year of our Lord, as William Malmsbury testifieth, four hundred sixty and nine, the captains of whom were Hengist and Horsa. Although the said Hengist and Saxons at their first coming, for all their subtle working and cruel attempt, had no quiet settling in Britain, but were driven out divers times by the valiantness of Aurelius Ambrosius and his brother Uter above mentioned, who reigned after that among the Britons; yet, notwithstanding, they were not so driven out but that they returned again, and at length possessed all, driving the Britons (such as remained) into Cambria, which we call now Wales. Hengist (as some chronicles record) reigned three and forty years, and died in Kent. Galfridus in suo Britannico, saith, that he was taken in war by Aurelius Ambrosius, and beheaded at Coningsburgh, after he had reigned nine and thirty years.
After the death of Hengist, his son Osca reigned four and twenty years, leaving his son Octa, to whose reign, with his son Imenricus, histories do attribute three and fifty years, who also were slain by Uter Pendragon.
The Saxons, after they were settled in the possession of England, distributed the realm among themselves first in seven parts, every part to have his king; that is, the first to be the king of Kent; the second to be king of Sussex and Southerie, holding his palace at Cicester; the third king was of Westsex; the fourth king of Essex; the fifth king was of the East Angles, that is, of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk; the sixth king of Merceland, or Mercia, and in his kingdom were contained the countries of Lincoln, Leicester, Huntingdon, Northampton, Oxford, Derby, Warwick, &c. The seventh king had all the countries beyond Humber, and was called king of Northumberland.
Now followeth the description of the British kings, reigning with the Saxons in like manner.
Although the miserable Britons thus were bereaved of their land by the cruel subtlety of the Saxons; yet were they not so driven out or expelled, but that a certain kingdom remained among them in some part of the land, namely, about Cornwall, and the parts of Cambria, which is divided in two parts; South Wales, called Demetia, and North Wales, called Venedocia. The said Britons moreover, through the valiant acts of their kings, some times reigned also in other countries, displacing the Saxons, and recovering again their own, sometimes more, sometimes less, till the time of Carecius, whenas the Britons, being deposed by Gormundus, (whose help they themselves sent for out of Ireland against Carecius their wicked king,) utterly lost their land and kingdom; being thence driven utterly into Wales and Cornwall, in the year of our Lord 570.
In the reign of Ethelbert, which was then the fifth king of Kent, the faith of Christ was first received of the Saxons, or Englishmen, by the means of Gregory bishop of Rome, in manner and order as here followeth, out of old histories collected and recorded.
First then, to join the order of our history together, the Christian faith, first received of King Lucius, endured in Britain till this time, near upon the season of four hundred years and odd; when by Gurmundus Africanus, (as is said,) fighting with the Saxons against the Britons, it was near extinct in all the land during the space of about forty-four years. So that the first springing of Christ's gospel in this land was in the year of our Lord 180. The coming of the Saxons was in the year 449, or 469.