Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 21. FROM THE CONVERSION OF THE SAXONS TO THE COMING OF THE DANES

21. FROM THE CONVERSION OF THE SAXONS TO THE COMING OF THE DANES

    After Egfride, who was slain in the Straits of Scotland, next succeeded Alfride his brother, and bastard son to Oswy, and reigned eighteen or nineteen years in Northumberland. This Alfride restored again the foresaid Wilfride to the see of York, whom his brother had before expelled, and put in Cedda. Notwithstanding the same king, within five years after, expulsed the said Wilfride again, and so went he to Rome. But at length by Osricke, his successor, was placed again the archbishop of York, and Cedda was ordained by Theodorus, bishop of Mercia. The which province of Mercia the said Theodorus, archbishop of Canterbury, by the authority of the synod holden at Hatfield, did after divide into five bishoprics; that is, one to Chester, the second to Worcester, the third to Lichfield, the fourth to Cederna in Lindsey, the fifth to Dorchester, which was after translated to Lincoln.

    Near about this time, in the year of our Lord 666, the detestable sect of Mahumet began to take strength and place. Although Polychronicon, differing a little in years, accounteth the beginning of this sect somewhat before, but the most diligent searchers of them which write now refer it to this year. Of this Mahomet came the kingdom of Agarens, (whom he after named Saracens,) to whom he gave sundry laws, patched of many sects and religions together: he taught them to pray ever to the south; and as we keep the Sunday, so they keep the Friday, which they call the day of Venus. He permitted them to have as many wives as they were able to maintain; to have as many concubines as they list; to abstain from the use of wine, except on certain solemn days in the year; to have and worship only one God omnipotent, saying that Moses and the prophets were great men, but Christ was greater, and greatest of all the prophets, as being born of the virgin Mary by the power of God, without man's seed, and at last was taken up to heaven, but was not slain, but another in his likeness for him, with many other wicked blasphemies in his law contained. At length this kingdom of the Saracens began to be conquered of the Turks, and in process of time wholly subdued to them.

    But now to return again to the time of our English Saxons. In this mean season Theodorus was sent from Italy into England, by Vitellianus the pope, to be archbishop of Canterbury, and with him divers other monks of Italy, to set up here in England Latin service, masses, ceremonies, litanies, with such other Romish ware, &c. This Theodorus, being made archbishop and metropolitan of Canterbury, began to play the tyrant, placing and displacing the bishops at his pleasure. As for Cedda and Wilfride, archbishops of York, he thrust them both out, under the pretence that they were not lawfully consecrated, notwithstanding they were sufficiently authorized by their kings, and were placed against their wills. Wherefore Wilfride, as is before touched, went up to Rome, but could have no redress of his cause. Yet to show what modesty this Wilfride used against his enemy, being so violently molested as he was, because the words of his complaint are expressed in William Malmesbury, I thought here to express the same, both for the commendation of the party, and also for the good example of others, in case any such be whom good examples will move to well-doing. This Wilfride therefore, having such injury and violence offered unto him by the hands of Theodore, although he had just cause to do his uttermost, yet, in prosecuting his complaint, how he tempered himself, what words of modesty he used, rather to defend his innocency, than to impugn his adversary, by this his suggestion offered up to the bishop of Rome may appear, whose words in effect were these: How it chanceth that Theodorus, the most holy and reverend archbishop, (myself being alive in the see, which I, though unworthy, did rule and dispose,) hath of his own authority, without the consent of any bishop, (neither having my simple voice agreeing to the same,) ordained three bishops, I had rather pass over in silence than to stir any further therein, be cause of the reverence of that man, and no less thought I it my duty so to do. The which man, for that he hath been directed by this see apostolical, I will not, nor dare not, here accuse, &c. Thus the cause of the said Wilfride, albeit it was sufficiently known in the court of Rome to be well allowed for just and innocent, yet it was not then redressed; in such estimation was this Theodorus then among the Romans. Upon this controversy of these two bishops I may well here infer the words of William Malmesbury, not unworthy in my mind to be noted, which be these in this Latin story: that is, In the which Theodore (saith he) the weak and miserable infirmity of man may be seen, and also lamented; considering, that although a man be never so holy, yet in the same man is something whereby it may be perceived that he hath not utterly put off all his stubborn conditions, &c.

    In the time of this Theodorus, and by the means of him, a provincial synod was holden at Thetford, mentioned in the story of Bede; the principal contents whereof were these

    First, That Easter day should be uniformly kept and observed through the whole realm upon one certain day, videlicet prima, 14. Luna mensis primi.

    Secondly, That no bishop should intermeddle within the diocess of another.

    Thirdly, That monasteries consecrated unto God should be exempt and free from the jurisdiction of the bishops.

    Fourthly, That the monks should not stray from one place, that is, from one monastery to another, without the licence of their abbot; also to keep the same obedience which they promised at their first entering.

    Fifthly, That no clergyman should forsake his own bishop, and be received in any other place, without letters commendatory of his own bishop.

    Sixthly, That foreign bishops and clergymen coming into the realm should be content only with the benefit of such hospitality as should be offered them; neither should intermeddle any further with in the precinct of any bishop without his special permission.

    Seventhly, That synods provincial should be kept within the realm at least once a year.

    Eighthly, That no bishop should prefer himself before another, but must observe the time and order of his consecration.

    Ninthly, That the number of bishops should be augmented as the number of the people increaseth.

    Tenthly, That no marriage should be admitted but that which was lawful;, no incest to be suffered; neither any man to put away his wife for any cause except only for fornication, after the rule of the gospel. And these be the principal chapters of that synod, &c.

    In the next year following was the first general council kept at Constance, whereat this Theodore was also present under Pope Agatho, where marriage was permitted to Greek priests, and forbidden to the Latin. In this council the Latin mass was first openly said by John Portuensis, the pope's legate, before the patriarch and princes at Constantinople, in the temple of St. Sophie.

    After the decease of Alfrid, king of Northumberland, (from whom it was digressed,) succeeded his son Osredus, reigning eleven years; after whom reigned Kenredus two years, and next Osricus after him eleven years.

    In the time and reign of these four kings of Northumberland, King Jua or Juas reigned in Westsat, who, succeeding after Cadwallader, the last king of Britons, began his reign about the year of our Lord 689, and reigned with great valiantness over the West Saxons the term of thirty-seven years. Concerning whose acts and wars maintained against the Kentish Saxons and other kings, because I have not to intermeddle withal, I refer the reader to other chroniclers.

    About the sixth year of the reign of this Jua, or Jue, Polychronicon and other make mention of one Cuthlacus, whom they call St. Cuthlake, a confessor, who about the four and twentieth year of his age, renouncing the pomp of the world, professed himself a monk in the abbey of Repingdon, and the third year after went to Crowland, where he led the life of an anchorite. In the which isle and place of his burying was builded a fair abbey, called afterward, for the great resort and gentle entertainment of strangers, Crowland the courteous. But why this Cuthlake should be. sainted for his doings I see no great cause, as neither do I think the fabulous miracles reported of him to be true; as where the vulgar people are made to believe that he enclosed the devil in a boiling pot, and caused wicked spirits to erect up houses, with such other fables and lying miracles. Among which lying miracles also may be reckoned that which the stories mention in the eleventh year of the reign of Jua, to be done of one Brithwald, or Brithelme, who, being dead a long season, was restored to life again, and told many wonders of strange things that he had seen, causing thereby great alms and deeds of charity to be done of the people; and so he, disposing of his goods given in three parts, went to the abbey of Mailroos, where he continued the rest of his life.

    Moreover, about the sixteenth year of the said Jua, Etheldred, king of Mercia, after he had there reigned thirty years, was made a monk, and after abbot of Bardney.

    And about the eighteenth year of the reign of Jue died the worthy and learned bishop Adelmus, first abbot of Malmesbury, afterwards bishop of Schirborne, of whom William Malmesbury writeth plenteously with great commendation, and that not unworthily, as I suppose; especially for the notable praise of learning and virtue in him above the rest of that time, (next after Bede,) as the great number of books and epistles, with poems, by him set forth will declare. Although concerning the miracles which the said author ascribeth to him: as, first, in causing an infant of nine days old to speak at Rome, to declare Pope Sergius, which was then suspected, the father of the said child; also in hanging his cassock upon the sunbeams; item, in making whole the altar stone of marble brought from Rome; item, in drawing a length one of the timber pieces, which went to the building of the temple in Malmesbury; item, in saving the mariners at Dover, &c: as concerning these and such other miracles, which William Malmesbury to him attributeth, I cannot consent to him therein; but think rather the same to be monkish devices, forged upon their patrons to maintain the dignity of their houses. And as the author was deceived (no doubt) in believing such fables himself, so may he likewise deceive us through the dexterity of his style and fine handling of the matter, but that further experience hath taught the world now-a-days more wisdom in not believing such practices. This Adelmus was bishop of Schirborne, which see after was united to the see of Winton. In which church of Winchester the like miracles also are to be read of Bishop Adelwold and St. Swithin, whom they have canonized likewise for a saint.

    St. John of Beverley, which was then bishop of York, died and was buried at the porch of the minster of Deirwood or Beverley. In the which porch it is recorded in some chronicles, that as the said John upon a time was praying, being in the porch of St. Michael in York, the Holy Ghost, in the similitude of a dove, sat before him upon the altar, in brightness shining above the sun. This brightness being seen of others, first cometh one of his deacons running unto the porch, who, beholding the bishop there standing in his prayers, and all the place replenished with the Holy Ghost, was stricken with the light thereof, having all his face burnt, as it were, with hot burning fire. Notwithstanding, the bishop by and by cured the face of his deacon again, charging them (as the story saith) not to publish what he had seen during his lifetime, &c. Which tale seemeth as true as that we read about the same time done of St. Egwine, in Polychron., abbot of Eusham, and bishop of Worcester, (then called Wicts,) who, upon a time, when he had fettered both his feet in irons fast locked for certain sins done in his youth, and had cast the key thereof into the sea, afterward a fish brought the key again into the ship, as he was sailing homeward from Rome.

    But to leave these monkish fantasies, and return to the right course again of the story. In the time of this foresaid Jua began first the right observing of Easter day to be kept of the Picts and of the Britons. In the observation of which day (as is largely set forth in Bede and Polychronicon) three things are necessary to be observed: first, the full moon of the first month, that is, of the month of March; secondly, the dominical letter; thirdly, the equinoctial day, which equinoctial was wont to be counted in the East church, and especially among the Egyptians, to be about the seventeenth day of March. So that the full moon, either on the equinoctial day, or after the equinoctial day being observed, the next dominical day following that full moon is to be taken for Easter day. Wherein are diligently to be noted two things: first, the fulness of the moon must be perfectly full, so that it be the beginning of the third week of the moon, which is the fourteenth or fifteenth day of the moon; secondly, it is to be noted, that the said perfect fulness of the moon, beginning the third week, must happen either in the very evening of the equinoctial day, or after the equinoctial day; for else if it happen either on the equinoctial day before the evening, or before the equinoctial day, then it belongeth to the last month of the last year, and not to the first month of the first year, and so serveth not to be observed.

    This rite and usage in keeping Easter day being received in the Latin church, began now to take place among the Picts and Britons, through the busy travail of Theodorus Cuthlacus, but namely of Elbert the holy monk, as they term him, and of Colfrid, abbot of Sirwin in Northumberland, which wrote to Narcanus, or Naitonus, the king of Picts, concerning the same; who also, among other things, writeth of the shaven crowns of priests, saying that it was as necessary for the vow of a monk, or the degree of a priest, to have a shaven crown for restraint of their lust, as for any Christian man to bless him against spirits when they come upon him. The copy of which letter, as it is in Beda, I have here annexed, not for any great reason therein contained, but only to delight the reader with some pastime, in seeing the fond ignorance of that monkish age: the copy of the letter thus proceeded.

    "Concerning the shaving of priests, (whereof you writ also unto me,) I exhort you that it be decently observed, according to the Christian faith. We are not ignorant that the apostles were not all shaven after one manner, neither doth the Catholic church at this day agree in one uniform manner of shaving, as they do in faith, hope, and charity. Let us consider the former time of the patriarchs, and we shall find that Job, (an example of patience,) even in the very point of his afflictions, did shave his head; and he proveth, also, that in the time of his prosperity he used to let his hair grow. And Joseph, an excellent doctor and executor of chastity, humility, piety, and other virtues, when he was delivered out of prison and servitude, was shaven; whereby it appeareth that whilst he abode in prison he was unshaven. Behold, both these, being men of God, did use an order in the habit of their body one contrary to the other, whose consciences notwithstanding within did well agree in the like grace of virtues. But, to speak truly and freely, the difference of shaving hurteth not such as have a pure faith in the Lord, and sincere charity towards their neighbour; especially for that there was never any controversy amongst the catholic fathers about the diversity thereof, as there hath been of the difference of the celebration of Easter and of faith. But of all these shavings that we find, either in the church or elsewhere, there is none in mine opinion so much to be followed and embraced as that which he used on his head, to whom the Lord said, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And, contrariwise, there is no shaving so much to be abhorred and detested, as that which he used to whom the same St. Peter said, Thy money be with thee to thy destruction, because thou thinkest to possess the gift of God by thy money; therefore thy part and lot is not in this word. Neither ought we to be shaven on the crown only, because St. Peter was so shaven, but because Peter was so shaven in remembrance of the Lord's passion; therefore we that desire by the same passion to be saved must wear the sign of the same passion with him upon the top of our head, which is the highest part of our body. For as every church that is made a church by the death of the Saviour doth use to bear the sign of the holy cross in the front, that it may the better by the defence of that banner be kept from the invasions of evil spirits, and by the often admonition thereof is taught to crucify the flesh with the concupiscence of the same; in like manner it behoveth such as have the vows of monks, and degrees of the clergy, to bind themselves with a stricter bit of continency for the Lord's sake. And as the Lord bare a crown of thorns on his head in his passion, whereby he took and carried away from us the thorns and pricks of our sins; so must every one of us, by shaving our heads, patiently bear and willingly suffer the mocks and scorns of the world for his sake, that we may receive the crown of eternal life, which God hath promised to all that love him, and shall, by shaving their corporal crowns, bear the adversity and contemn the prosperity of this world. But the shaving which Simon Magus used, what faithful man doth not detest, together with his magical art? The which at the first appearance hath a show of a shaven crown, but if you mark his neck, you shall find it curtailed in such wise, as you will say it is rather meet to be used of the Simonists than of the Christians. And such (of foolish men) be thought worthy of the glory of the eternal crown; whereas indeed, for their ill living, they are worthy not only to be deprived of the same, but also of eternal salvation. I speak not this against them that use this kind of shaving, and live catholicly in faith and good works, but surely I believe there be divers of them be very holy and godly men; amongst the which is Adamnan the abbot and worthy priest of the Columbians; who, when he came ambassador from his country unto King Alfride, desired greatly to see our monastery, where he declared a wonderful wisdom, humility, and religion, both in his manners and words. Amongst other talk, I asked him why he that did believe to come to the crown of life that should never have end, did use, contrary to his belief, a definite image of a crown on his head? And if you seek (quoth I) the fellowship of St. Peter, why do you use the fashion of his crown whom St. Peter did accurse, and not of his rather with whom you desire to live eternally? Adamnan answered, saying, You know right well, brother, though I use Simon's manner of shaving, after the custom of my country, yet do I detest and with all my heart abhor his infidelity. I desire notwithstanding to imitate the footsteps of the holy apostle as far forth as my power will extend. Then said I, I believe it is so; but then it is apparent you imitate those things which the apostle Peter did from the bottom of your heart, if you use the same upon your face that you know he did; for I suppose your wisdom understandeth that it is right decent to differ in the trimming your face or shaving from his whom in your heart you abhor. And, contrariwise, as you desire to imitate the doings of him whom you desire to have a mediator between God and you, so it is meet you imitate the manner of his apparel and shaving. Thus much said I to Adamnan, who seemed then well to like our churches; insomuch that he, returning into Scotland, reformed many of his churches there after our celebration, albeit he could not do so amongst the monks, with whom he had special authority. He endeavoured also to have reformed their manner of shaving, if he had been able. And now, O king, I exhort your Majesty to labour together with your people, over whom the King of kings and Lord of lords hath made you governor, to imitate likewise in all these points the catholic and apostolical churches. So shall it come to pass, that in the end of this your temporal kingdom, the most blessed prince of the apostles shall open you the gates of the heavenly kingdom, together with the other elect of God. The grace of the eternal King preserve you, most dearly beloved son in Christ, long time to reign over us, to the great tranquillity of us all."

    When this letter was read before King Naiton, with other of his learned men, and diligently translated into his proper language, he seemed to rejoice very much at the exhortation thereof, insomuch as, rising up from among his noblemen, he kneeled on the ground, and gave God thanks that he had deserved to receive so worthy a present out of England, and so caused it forthwith by public proclamation to be written out, learned, and observed throughout all the province of the Picts, defacing the errors that had been used there by the space of seven hundred and four years. For all the ministers of the altar and all monks were shaven on the crown, and all the people rejoiced for the new discipline of the most blessed prince of the apostles St. Peter, which they had received.

    By this monkish letter above prefixed, void of all Scripture, of all probation and truth of history, thou mayst note, gentle reader, how this vain tradition of shaven crowns hath come up, and upon how light and trifling occasion; which in very deed was none other but the dreaming fantasies of monks of that time, falsely grounded upon the example of Peter, when by no old monument of any ancient record they can ever prove either Peter or Simon Magus to have been shaven. Moreover, in the said letter also is to be noted, how the Scottish clergy at that season did wear no such priestiy crowns as our English churchmen then did.

    But to cut off this matter of shaving, more worthy to be laughed at than to be storied, let us now again return to the place at which we left King Jue, of whom William Malmesbury and Fabian in his chronicle do record, that when the foresaid Jue had ruled the West Saxons by the term of thirty-seven years, by the importunate persuasion and subtle policy of his wife Ethelburga, he was allured to go to Rome, there to be made a monk. Which Ethelburga, after she had a long time laboured him to leave the world, and could not bring about her purpose, upon a season, when the king and she had rested them in a fair palace richly behanged, and were upon the years (sic). After whose departing the said Ethelburga his wife went unto Barking, seven miles from London, where in the nunnery of Barking, before of Erkenwald founded, she continued and ended the rest of her life, when she had been abbess of the piace a certain time.

Illustration -- A procession

    Next unto the foresaid Osricus followed Celulfus, whom he had adopted, brother to Kenred above specified. This Celulfus, as he was himself learned, so were in his time divers learned men then flourishing in England, among whom was Beda, who unto the same King Celulfus offered his story, entitled The History of the English, not only to be ratified by his authority, but also to be amended by his knowledge and learning.

    In the latter end of his Ecclesiastical History of England, this Beda testifieth of himself: "Thus much (by the help of God) I Beda, the servant of Christ, and priest of the monastery of Peter and Paul at Wire, have compiled and digested concerning the British history." And, proceeding further in this narration, declareth that he, being born in the territory of the said monastery, being of the age of seven years, was committed of his parents and friends to the tuition and education of Benedict, (of whom above relation is made,) and of Celfrid, abbots of the foresaid monastery. In the which place or monastery he continuing from that time forth all his life long, gave himself and all his whole study to the meditating of Holy Scripture. About nineteen years of his age he was made deacon, the thirtieth year of his age he was made priest. From the which time, to the age of nine and fifty years, he occupied himself in interpreting the works of the an cient fathers for his own use, and the necessity of others, and in writing of treatises, which came in all to the number of seven and thirty volumes, which he digested into threescore and eighteen books.

    Some say that he went to Rome, either there to defend his books to be consonant to catholic doctrine; or else, if they should be found faulty, to amend and correct the same, as he should thereto be commanded. Albeit the reporter of this his life dare not certainly affirm that ever he was at Rome; but that he was invited and called thither to come, this epistle of Pope Sergius doth sufficiently prove; declaring, moreover, in what price and estimation Beda was accepted, as well in the court of Rome as in other places besides.

    So notable and famous was the learning of this foresaid Beda, that the church of Rome (as by this letter appeareth) both stood in need of his help, and also required the same, about the discussing of certain causes and controversies appertaining to learning. Moreover, the whole Latin church at that time gave him the mastery in judgment and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. In all his explanations, his chiefest scope and purpose did ever drive to instruct and inform his reader, simply, and without all curiousness of style, in the sincere love of God and of his neighbour. As touching the holiness and integrity of his life, it is not to be doubted. For how could it be that he should attend to any vicious idleness, or had any leisure to the same, who, in reading and digesting so many volumes, consumed all his whole cogitations in writing upon the Scriptures? for so he testifieth of himself in the Third Book of Samuel, saying in these words, "If my treatises and expositions (saith he) bring with them no other utility to the readers thereof, yet to myself they conduce not a little thus, that while all my study and cogitation was set upon them, in the mean while of slippery enticements and vain cogitations of this world I had little mind." Thus in this travail of study he continued till the age of sixty-two years: at length, drawing to his latter end, being sick seven weeks together, besides other occupyings of his mind, and other studies which he did not intermit, he translated also the Gospel of St. John into English. At length, with great comfort of spirit, he departed this life, pronouncing many com fortable sayings to them that stood about him, upon Ascension day, the same year when Nothelinus was instituted archbishop of Canterbury. And thus much concerning the story of Beda.

    This Celulfus, king of Northumberland, aforementioned, after he had reigned eight years, was made a monk in the abbey of Farne, otherwise called Lindefar, or Holy Island; where, by his means, licence was given to the monks of that house to drink wine or ale, which before, by the institution of Aidanus above mentioned, drunk nothing but milk and water. After whom succeeded Egbert his cousin, brother to Egbert (the same time being bishop of York) which brought again thither the pall that his predecessors had given up, since the time that Paulinus had left the see, and fled to Rochester, as is before declared. The said Egbert also erected a noble library in York, whose example I wish other bishops now would follow.

    About the beginning of the reign of this Egbert was Cuthbert, archbishop of Canterbury, who collected a great synod of bishops and prelates, in the year of our Lord 747, in the month of September, near to the place called Clonesho. In the which synod assembled these decrees were enacted.

    1. That bishops should be more diligent in seeing to their office, and in admonishing the people of their faults.

    2. That they should live in a peaceable mind together, notwithstanding they were in place dissevered asunder.

    3. That every bishop once a year should go about all the parishes of his diocess.

    4. That the said bishops every one in his diocess should monish their abbots and monks to live regularly; and that prelates should not oppress their inferiors, but love them.

    5. That they should teach the monasteries which the secular men had invaded, and could not then be taken from them, to live regularly.

    6. That none should be admitted to orders before his life should be examined.

    7. That in monasteries the reading of Holy Scripture should be more frequented.

    8. That priests should be no disposers of secular business.

    9. That they should take no money for baptizing infants.

    10. That they should both learn and teach the Lord's Prayer and Creed in the English tongue.

    11. That all should join together in their ministry after one uniform rite and manner.

    12. That in a modest voice they should sing in the church.

    13. That all holy and festival days should be celebrated at one time together.

    14. That the sabbath day be reverently observed and kept.

    15. That the seven hours canonical every day be observed.

    16. That the rogation days, both the greater and lesser, should not be omitted.

    17. That the feast of St. Gregory, and St. Austin our patron, should not be omitted.

    18. That the fast of the four times should be kept and observed.

    19. That monks and nuns should go regularly apparelled.

    20. That bishops should see their decrees not to be neglected.

    21. That the churchmen should not give themselves unto drunkenness.

    22. That the communion should not be neglected of the churchmen.

    23. Item, that the same also should be observed of laymen, as time required.

    24. That laymen first should be well tried before they entered into monkery.

    25. That alms be not neglected.

    26. That bishops should see these decrees to be notified to the people.

    27. They disputed of the profit of alms.

    28. They disputed of the profit of singing psalms.

    29. That the congregation should be constitute after the ability of their goods.

    30. That monks should not dwell among laymen.

    31. That public prayer should be made for kings and princes.

    These decrees and ordinances, being thus among the bishops concluded, Cuthbert the archbishop sendeth the copy thereof to Boniface, which Boniface, otherwise named Winfride, an Englishman born, was then archbishop of Mentz, and after made a martyr, as the popish stories term him.

    This Boniface being, as is said, archbishop of Mentz in the time of this foresaid synod, wrote a letter to Ethelbald, king of Merceland; which Ethelbald was also present in the same synod, of whom Beth maketh mention in his History, calling him proud Ethelbald, and the greatest of the Saxon kings in his time. First, this Ethelbald, after the departing of Celulfe into his monkery, invaded and spoiled the country of Northumberland. Moreover, he exercised mortal and horrible war a long space with Cudred, otherwise of some named Cuthbert, king of West Saxons. Furthermore, he with other Saxon kings so impugned the Britons, that from that time they never durst provoke the Saxons any more. At length the said Cudred, refusing the intolerable exactions of proud Ethelbald, doth encounter with him in battle; where, notwithstanding the great power that Ethelbald had to him adjoined, of the Mercians, of the East Saxons, of the East Angles, and of the Cantuarites; yet the said Cudred, through God's power, and the means of a certain valiant warrior, called Edelhim, a consul, overthrew the pride of Ethelbald, after a sore and terrible conflict. Which Ethelbald, notwithstanding, repairing his power again the next year after, renewed battle with the foresaid Cudred; in the which battle Ethelbald (after he had reigned one and forty years in Mercia) was slain by one Beornered, who after reigned in that part but a small time. For Offa, nephew to the said Ethelbald, expelled the said Beornered, and succeeded king in that province of Mercia, where he reigned nine and thirty years, of whom more followeth hereafter (the Lord Jesus speeding therein our purpose) to be declared, as place and time shall require. In the mean season, not to forget the letter before mentioned of Boniface, archbishop of Mentz, sent unto this Ethelbald, I thought the same not unworthy to be here inserted (at the least the effect thereof).

    In this epistle is to be seen and noted, first, the corruption and great disorder of life which alway, from time to time, hath been found in these religious houses of nuns, whose professed vow of coacted chastity hath yet never been good to the church, nor profitable to the commonwealth, and least of all to themselves. Of such young and wanton widows St. Paul in his time complaineth, 1 Tim. v., which would take upon them the wilful profession of single life, which they were not able to perform, but, falling into damnable luxury, deserved worthily to be reprehended. How much better had it been for these lascivious nuns not to have refused the safe yoke of Christian matrimony, than to entangle themselves in this their superstitious vow of perpetual maidenhood, which neither was required of them, nor they were able to keep!

    Secondly, no less are they also to be reprehended which maintained these superstitious orders of unprofitable nuns and of other religions. In the number of whom was this foresaid Boniface, otherwise called Winfride, who, although in this epistle he doth justly reprehend the vicious enormities both of secular and of religious persons; yet he himself is not without the same, or rather greater, reprehension, for that he gave the occasion thereof in maintaining such superstitious orders of such lascivious nuns and other religions, and restraining the same from lawful marriage. For so we find of him in stories, that he was a great setter up and upholder of such blind superstition, and of all popery. Who, being admitted by Pope Gregory the Second, archbishop of Magunce, and endued with full authority legantine over the Germans, brought divers countries there under the pope's obedience, held many great councils, ordained bishops, builded monasteries, canonized saints, commanded relics to be worshipped, permitted religious fathers to carry about nuns with them a-preaching. Amongst all other, he founded the great monastery of Fulda, in Germany, of English monks, into the which no women might enter, but only Lieba and Tecla, two English nuns. Item, by the authority of the said Archbishop Boniface, which he received from Pope Zachary, Childericus, king of France, was deposed from the right of his crown, and Pipinus, betrayer of his master, was confirmed, or rather intruded in. From this Boniface proceeded that detestable doctrine which now standeth registered in the pope's decrees. Which in a certain epistle of his is this; that in case the pope were of most filthy living, and forgetful or negligent of himself, and of the whole Christianity, in such sort that he led innumerable souls with him to hell; yet ought there no man to rebuke him in so doing, for he hath (saith he) power to judge all men, and ought of no man to be judged again.

    In the time of this archbishop, Pope Gregory the Second, also Gregory the Third, and Pope Zachary, and before these also Pope Constantine the First, wrought great masteries against the Greek emperors, Philippicus and Leo, and others, for the maintaming of images to be set up in churches. Of whom Philippicus lost both his empire and also his eyes. Leo, for the same cause likewise, was excommunicate of Gregory the Third. This Gregory the Third (so far as I can conjecture) was he that first wrote the four books of dialogues in Greek, falsely bearing the name of Gregory the First, which books afterward Zachary his successor translated out of Greek into Latin. Item, the said Gregory the Third first brought into the mass canon the clause for relics, beginning, Quorum solennitates hodie in conspectu, &c. Item, brought into the said canon the memorial, the offering and sacrifice for the dead; like as Zachary brought in the priest's vesture and ornaments, and as the foresaid Constantine also was the first that gave his feet to be kissed of the emperors. But to turn again into the course of our English story.

    In the time of this Egbert, king of Northumberland, Sigebert, or Sigbert, reigned in West Saxony, a man of so cruel tyranny to his subjects, (turning the laws and customs of His forefathers after his own will and pleasure,) that when he was somewhat sharply advertised by one of his nobles, an earl, called Combranus, to change his manners, and to behave himself more prudently toward his people, he therefore maliciously caused him to be put to cruel death. Whereupon the said King Sigebert, continuing his cruel conditions, by his subjects conspiring against him, was put from his kingly dignity, and brought into such desolation, that, wandering alone in a wood without comfort, was there slain, even by the swineherd of the said earl whom before he had so wrongfully murdered, as partly is above touched. Whereby is to be seen the cruel tyranny of princes never to prosper well, without the just revenge both, of God and man.

    This Sigebert being slain, in His place succeeded Kenulphus, in the year of our Lord 748, who, with the agreement of the West Saxons, was one of the chief doers against Sigebert his master. This Kenulphus kept strongly his lordship against Offa, and against the power of all his enemies, till at length after that he had reigned, as Fabian saith, one and thirty years, he, resorting to a paramour which he kept at Merton, was there beset, and likewise slain, by the train and means of a certain kinsman of the foresaid Sigebert, named Clito or Cliton, in revengement of King Sigebert's death.

    Moreover, in the reign of the foresaid Egbert, king of Northumberland, and in the eighth year of Kenulphus, king of West Saxons, Offa, after he had slain the tyrant Beorureclus, which before had slain Ethelbald, king of Mercia, and uncle to this foresaid Offa, reigned king of that province.

    Of this Offa are told many notable deeds; which because they concern rather political affairs, and do not greatly appertain to the purpose of this ecclesiastical history, I omit here to recite; as his wars and victories against Egbert, king of the Northumbers, as also against Ethelred, king of East Angles. Item, against Egbert, king of Kent, otherwise called Wren, whom (as Fabian saith) he took prisoner, and led bound with him to Mercia. Malmesbury witnesseth otherwise this to be done, not by Offa, but by Kenulphus, as, Christ willing, hereafter shall appear. After these victories, Offa had such displeasure unto the citizens of Canterbury, that he removed the archbishop's see, and lands of Lambrith, archbishop of Canterbury, (by the agreement of Pope Adrian,) unto Litchfield. He also chased the Britons or Welchmen into Wales, and made a famous ditch between Wales and the outer bounds of Mercia, or middle England, which was called Ofditch, and builded there a church, which long time after was called Offkirke. This Offa also married one of his daughters to Brightricus, that was a king of West Saxons. And for that in his time was variance between him and the Frenchmen, insomuch that the passage of merchants was forbidden; therefore he sent Alcuinus, a learned man, unto Charles the Great, then king of France, to commune the means of peace; which Charles had after that the said Alcuinus in great favour and estimation, and afterwards made him abbot of Turonia in France.

    About the latter time of the reign of Offa, king of Mercia, Ethelbert, being then king of East Angles, (a learned and a right godly prince,) came to the court of Offa, provoked by the counsel of his nobles, to sue for the marriage of his daughter, well accompanied like a prince with his men about him. Whereupon the queen, conceiving a false suspicion, and fearing that which was never minded; that Ethelbert with his company, under the pretence and made matter of marriage, was come to work some violence against her husband, and the kingdom of Mercia; so she persuaded with King Offa and certain of her council that night, that the next day following Offa caused him to be trained into his palace alone from his company, by one called Guimbertus; who took him and bound him, and there struck off his head, which forthwith he then presented to the king and queen. And thus the innocent King Ethelbert was wrongfully murdered, about the year of our Lord 793; but not without a just revenge at God's hands. For, as the story recordeth, the foresaid queen, worker of this villany, lived not three months after, and in her death was so tormented, that she was fain to bite and rend her tongue in pieces with her own teeth. Offa understanding at length the innocency of this king, and the heinous cruelty of his fact, gave the tenth part of his goods to holy church; and to the church of Hereford, in the remembrance of this Ethelbert, he bestowed great lands. Moreover, he builded the abbey of St. Albans, with certain other monasteries besides. And so afterward he went up to Rome for his penance, where he gave to the church of St. Peter a penny through every house in his dominion, which was called commonly Rome-shot, or Peter pence, paid to the church of St, Peter; and there at length was transformed from a king to a monk, about the year of our Lord 794, with Kenredus, king of Northumberland, above mentioned, although some stories deny that he was a monk.

    After Offa king of Mercia, when he had reigned nine and thirty years, succeeded his son Egfretus, who reigned but four months. This noble young man died not so much for offences of his own, as for that his father had spilled much blood to confirm him in his kingdom.

    Next to which Egfretus succeeded Kenulphus in the said kingdom of Mercia, which Kenulphus, retaining the hatred of his predecessor against the inhabitants of Canterbury, made war upon them, where he took Egbert their king, otherwise called Wren, whom he bound and led prisoner to Mercia. Notwithstanding, shortly after being mollified with princely clemency in the town of Winchcombe, where he had builded the same time a church, upon the day when he should dedicate the same in the presence of thirteen bishops, and of Cutbert, whom he had placed in the same kingdom of Canterbury before, and ten dukes, and many other great estates, King Kenulphus brought the said Egbert, king of Kent, out of prison into the church, where he enlarged him out of imprisonment, and restored him to his place again. At the sight whereof, not only Cutbert the foresaid king rejoiced, but also all the estates and people being there present made such an exclamation of joy and gladness, that the church (and not only the church, but also the streets) rang withal, At which time such bountifulness of gifts and jewels was then bestowed, that, from the highest estate to the lowest, none departed without something given, according as to every degree was thought meet. Although Fabian referreth this story to King Offa, yet causes there be why I assent rather unto Malmesbury and to Polychronicon, which attribute the same to Kenulphus, the second king of Mercia after Offa.

    A little before, in speaking of certain bishops of Rome, mention was made of Pope Constantine the First, Pope Gregory the Second, Pope Gregory the Third, and of Pope Zachary, which deposed Childerike, and set up Pipinus the French king, &c. Next after this Zachary, in order, followed Pope Stephen the Second, to whom the foresaid Pipinus, to gratify again the see of Rome for this their benefit showed to him, gave and contributed to the said see of Rome the exarchat or princedom of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and many other great possessions of Italy, with all the cities thereto adjoining unto the borders of Venice. And this donation of Pipin, no doubt, if the truth were rightly tried, should be found to be the same which hitherto falsely hath been thought to be the donation of Constantine. For else how could it be that the exarchat of Ravenna could belong all this while to the emperor of Constantinople, if Constantine before had given it and all Italy from the empire of the see of Rome?

    Next to this Stephen the Second succeeded Paul the First, who, following his predecessors, thundered out great excommunication against Constantinus, the emperor of Constantinople, for abrogating and plucking down images set up in temples. Notwithstanding, this Constantine neglecting the pope's vain curses, persevered in his blessed purpose, in destroying idolatry, till the end of his life. Then came to be pope Constantinus the Second, a layman, and brother to Desiderius, the king of Lombardy; for the which cause he was shortly deposed, and thrust into a monastery, having his eyes put out.

    In whose stead succeeded Stephen the Third, who ordained after that no layman should be pope; condemning moreover the Council of Constantinople the seventh for heretical, because in that Council the worshipping of images was reproved and condemned. Contrary to the which Council this pope not only maintained the filthy idolatry of images in Christian temples, but also advanced their veneration, commanding them most ethnically to be incensed, &c. At this time Carolus Magnus, called Charles the Great, a little before mentioned, began to reign, by whom this pope caused Desiderius, the Lombard king, to be deprived.

    Then, in this race of popes, after this Stephen the Third, cometh Adrianus the First, who likewise, following the steps of his fathers the popes, added and attributed to the veneration of images more than all the other had done before, writing a book for the adoration and utility proceeding of them, commanding them to be taken for laymen's calendars; holding moreover a synod at Rome against Felix, and all others that spake against the setting up of such stocks and images. And as Paul the First before him made much of the body of Petronilia, St. Peter's daughter; so this Adrian clothed the body of St. Peter all in silver, and covered the altar of St. Paul with a pall of gold. This Pope Adrian was he whom we declared in the former part of this treatise to ratify and confirm by revelation the order of St. Gregory's mass, above the order of St. Ambrose's mass; for unto this time, which was about the year of our Lord 780, the Liturgy of St. Ambrose was more used in the Italian churches. The story whereof, because it is registered in Durandus, Nauclerus, and Jacobus de Voragine, I thought here to insert the same to this especial purpose, for the reader to understand the time when this usual mass of the papists began first to be universal and uniform, and generally in churches to be received, Thus it followeth in the story by the foresaid authors set forth.

    In times past, (saith he,) when the service which Ambrose made was more frequented and used in churches than was the service which Gregory had appointed, the bishop of Rome, then called Adrian, gathered a council together, in the which it was or dained that Gregory's service should be observed and kept universally. Which determination of the council Charles the emperor did diligently put in execution, while he ran about by divers provinces, and informed all the clergy, partly with threatenings, and partly with punishments, to receive that order. And, as touching the books of Ambrose's service, he burnt them to ashes in all places, and threw into prison many priests that would not consent and agree unto the matter. Blessed Eugenius the bishop, coming unto the council, found that it was dissolved three days before his coming. Notwithstanding, through his wisdom, he so persuaded the lord pope, that he called again all the prelates that had been present at the council, and were now departed by the space of three days. Therefore when the council was gathered again together, in this all the fathers did consent and agree, that both the mass books of Ambrose and Gregory should be laid upon the altar of blessed St. Peter the apostle, and the church doors diligently shut, and most warily sealed up with the signets of many and divers bishops. Again, that they should all the whole night give themselves to prayer, that the Lord might reveal, open, and show unto them by some evident sign or token which of these two services he would have used in the temples. Thus they, doing in all points as they had determined, in the morning opened the church doors, and found both the missals, or mass books, open upon the altar; or rather, (as some say,) they found Gregory's mass book utterly plucked asunder, one piece from another, and scattered over all the church. As touching Ambrose's book, they only found it open upon the altar in the very same place where they before laid it, This miracle Pope Adrian, like a wise expounder of dreams, interpreted thus, that as the leaves were torn and blown abroad all the church over, so should Gregory's book be used throughout the world. Whereupon they thought themselves sufficiently instructed and taught of God, that the service which Gregory had made ought to be set abroad and used throughout the world, and that Ambrose's service should only be observed and kept in his own church of Mediolanum, where he some time was bishop.

    Thus hast thou heard, brother reader, the full and whole narration of this mystical miracle, with the pope's exposition upon the same, which seemeth to be as true as that which Daniel speaketh of, how the idol Bel did eat up all the meat that was set before him all the night, Dan. xiv. Concerning the which miracle, I need not admonish thee to smell out the blind practices of these night crows, to blind the world with forged inventions instead of true stories. Albeit to grant the miracle to be most true and unfallible, yet, as touching the exposition thereof, another man beside the pope percase might interpret this great miracle otherwise, as thus: that God was angry with Gregory's book, and therefore rent it in pieces and scattered it abroad, and the other, as good, lay sound, untouched, and, at the least, so to be preferred. Notwithstanding, whatsoever is to be thought of this miracle, with the exposition thereof, thus the matter fell out, that Gregory's service had only the place, and yet hath to this day in the greatest part of Europe, the service of Ambrose being excluded. And thus much touching the great act of Pope Adrian for the setting up of the mass. By the relation whereof yet this know ledge may come to the reader, at least to understand how that commonly in Christian nations abroad as yet no uniform order of any missal or mass book was received, as hath been hitherto discoursed.

    Now, from the popes, to return again to the emperors, from whence we digressed: like as Pipinus, the father of Charles, (as hath been before sufficiently told,) had given to the see papal all the princedom of Ravenna, with other donations, and revenues, and lands in Italy; so this Carolus, following his father's devotion, did confirm the same, adding moreover thereunto the city and dominion of Venice, Histria, the dukedom Forojuliense, the dukedom Spoletanum, and Beneventanum, and other possessions more, to the patrimony of St. Peter, making him the prince of Rome and of Italy. The pope, again to recompense his so gentle kindness, made him to be entitled Most Christian King, and made him a Roman patrician; moreover, ordained him only to be taken for emperor of Rome. For these, and other causes more, Carolus bare no little affection to the said Adrian above all other popes, as may well appear by a letter of Carolus Magnus sent to King Offa, what time the said Offa (as is above prefixed) sent to him Alcunius for en treaty of peace.

    The cause why this Carolus writeth so favourably of Adrian, partly is touched before; partly also was, for that Caroloman, his elder brother, being dead, his wife, called Bertha, with her two children, came to Adrian to have them confirmed in their father's kingdom; whereunto the pope, to show a pleasure to Carolus, would not agree, but gave the mother, with her two children, and Desiderius, the Lombard king, with his whole kingdom, his wife and children, into the hands of the said Carolus, who led them with him captive into France, and there kept them in servitude during their life.

    Thus Carolus Magnus being proclaimed emperor of Rome, through the preferment of Adrian and Pope Leo the Third, which succeeded next after him, the empire was translated from the Grecians, about the year of our Lord 801, unto the Frenchmen, where it continued about one hundred and two years, till the coming of Conradus and his nephew Otho, which were Germans; and so hath continued after them among the Almans unto this present time. This Charles builded so many monasteries as there be letters in the row of the A B C; he was beneficial chiefly to the churchmen, also merciful to the poor, in his acts valiant and triumphant, skilled in all languages; he held a council at Francford, where was condemned the Council of Nice and Irene for setting up and worshipping images, &c.

    Concerning which council of Nice, and thinges there concluded and enacted, (because no man shall think the detesting of images to be any new thing now begun,) thus I find it recorded in an ancient written history of Roger Hoveden: In the year of our Lord 792, Charles the French king sent a book containing the acts of a certain synod unto Britain, directed unto him from Constantinople. In the which book (lamentable to be told) many things inconvenient, and clean contrary unto the true faith, are there to be found; especially for that, by the common consent of almost all the learned bishops of the East church, not so few as three hundred, it was there agreed that images should be worshipped; which thing the church of God hath always abhorred. Against which book Albinus wrote an epistle substantially grounded out of the authority of Holy Scripture, which epistle, with the book, the said Albinus, in the name and person of our bishops and princes, did present to the French king.

    And thus much by the way of Romish matters: now to return again to the Northumberland kings, where we left at Egbert; which Egbert (as is before declared) succeeded after Celulphus, after he was made monk. And likewise the said Egbert also, following the devotion of his uncle Celulphus, and Kenredus before him, was likewise shorn monk after he had reigned twenty years in Northumberland; leaving his son Osulphus after him to succeed. About which time, and in the same year, when Celulphus deceased in his monastery, which was the year of our Lord 764, divers cities were burnt with sudden fire, as the city of Wenta, the city of London, the city of York, Doncaster, with divers other towns besides. Who the first year of his reign, which was the year of our Lord 757, being innocently slain, next to him followed Mollo, otherwise called Adelwald, who likewise being slain of Alcredus, after be had reigned eleven years, departed. After Alcredus, when he had reigned ten years, was expulsed out of his kingdom by his people. Then was Ethelbert, otherwise named Adelred, the son of the foresaid Mollo, received king of Northumberland; which Ethelbert or Adelred in like sort, after he had reigned five years, was expulsed. After whom succeeded Alfwold, who likewise, when he had reigned eleven years, was unjustly slain. So likewise after him his nephew, and the son of Alcredus, named Osredus, reigned one year, and was slain. Then the foresaid Ethelbert, the son of Mollo, after twelve years' banish ment, reigned again in Northumberland the space of four years, and was slain.

    Thus, as you have heard, after the reign of King Egbert before mentioned, such trouble and perturbation was in the dominion of Northumberland, with slaying, expulsing, and deposing their kings one after another, that after the murdering of this Edelred, above specified, none durst take the government upon him, seeing the great danger there upon ensuing. Insomuch that the foresaid kingdom did lay void and waste the space of three and thirty years together; after the term of which years this kingdom of Northumberland, with the kingdoms also of the other Saxons besides, came altogether into the hands of Egbert, king of West Saxons, and his progeny, and in the eight and twentieth year of the rdgn of the said Egbert; whereof more shall be said (Christ willing) hereafter, Of this troublesome and outrageous time of Northumberland people speaketh also the said learned man Alcuinus, otherwise called Albinus, in the same country born, writing out of France into England, and complaining of the same in divers his letters.

    The same author, Alcuinus, writing unto the foresaid Edelred, king of Northumberland, maketh record of a strange sight which he himself did see the same time in the city of York; it rained blood; whereof his words which he wrote concerning the same unto the said King Edelred be these: What signifieth the rain of blood, which in time of Lent, in the city of York, the chief city of that dominion, and in the church of St. Peter, the chief of the apostles, we ourselves did see to fall from the church top, (the element being clear,) out of the north parts of the temple, &c. This wondrous sight, testified by Malmesburiensis, is thought of Fabian to happen in the second year of the reign of Brightricus, (as with the time doth well agree,) which was the year of our Lord 780, and is thought of some expositors to betoken the coming of the Danes into this land, which entered shortly after about seven years, in the ninth year of the reign of Brightricus, king of the West Saxons. Which Brightricus, in defence thereof, sent forth his stew ard of his household with a small company, which shortly was slain; but by the strength of the said Brightricus, and the other Saxons kings, they were compelled to void the land for that time, which was in the year 790, To this Brightricus King Offa, as is aforesaid, gave his daughter Edelburga to wife, by whom he at length was impoisoned, beside certain other of his nobles, upon whom the said queen before him had practised the same wickedness. Who then after that fled over to Charles the Great into France; where she, being offered for her beauty to marry either to him or his son, because she chose rather his son, married neither the one, nor yet the other; but was thrust into a monastery, where she, then playing the harlot with a monk, was expulsed from thence, and ended her life in penury and misery.

    In the mean time, while this Edelburga was thus working her feats in England, Irene, empress of the Greeks, was as busy also for her part at Constantinople; who first, through the means of Pope Adrian, took up the body of Constantine, emperor of Constantinople, her own husband's father. And when she had burned the same, she caused the ashes to be cast into the sea, because he disannulled images. Afterwards, reigning with her son Constantine the Sixth, son to Leo the Fourth, (whom also we declared before to be excommunicated for taking away images,) being at dissension with him, caused him to be taken and laid in prison; who afterward, through power of friends, being restored to his empire again, at last she caused the same her own son to be cast into prison, and his eyes to be put out so cruelly, that within short space he died. After this the said Irenæus, bishop of Constantinople, held a council at Nicca, where it was decreed, that images should again be restored unto the church; which council after was repealed by another council holden at Francford by Charles the Great. At length she was deposed by Nicephorus, (who reigned after,) and was expulsed the empire, who, after the example of Edelburga above mentioned, (condignly punished for her wickedness,) ended likewise her life in much penury and misery.

    About the time when the foresaid Brightricus was impoisoned by Edelburga his wife died also King Offa, which was about the year of our Lord 795, or (as some say,) 802. After which Offa (as is aforesaid) succeeded Egfert, then Kenulphus, after whom succeeded Kenelmus his son, who in his younger age was wickedly murdered by his sister Quinreda, and Askebertus, about the year of our Lord 819, and in the church of Winchcombe was counted for a holy martyr. After him succeeded his uncle Ceolulphus, whom Bernulphus in the first year of his reign expulsed, and reigned in his place; who likewise in the third year of his reign was overcome and expulsed by Egbert, king of the West Saxons, and afterward slain by the East Angles. And the kingdom of Mercia also ceased, and came into the hands of the West Saxons.

    Hitherto I have brought (as thou seest, good reader) the confused and turbulent reigns of these seven Saxon kings, who after the expulsion of the Britons ruled and reigned asunder in sundry quarters of this land together, unto this present time of Egbert, king of the West Saxons, by whom it so pleased God to begin to reduce and unite all these scattered kingdoms into one monarchical form of dominion. Wherefore, as in the foresaid Egbert beginneth a new alteration of the commonwealth here in this land among the Saxons; so my purpose is (the Lord willing) with the same Egbert to enter a new beginning of my third book, after a brief recapitulation first made of such things as in this second book before are to be collected and noted, especially touching the monasteries builded, the kings who have entered the life and profession monastic; also queens, and queens' daughters, which the same time professed solitary life in monasteries which they or their ancestors had erected.

    And thus hast thou, gentle reader, concerning the seven kingdoms of these Saxons, ruling all together in England, the course and order of their doings briefly described and discoursed unto thee, in such order as the matter, being so intricate, in such confusion and diversity of things incident together, would permit; following especially in this story hitherto the line of the Northumberland kings, as the other stories must follow the line of West Saxon kings. The which seven kingdoms of these said Saxons, after they had untruly expulsed and chased out the Britons from their land, like as they never were in quietness among themselves, reigning thus together till the time of this Egbert; so also after the reign of Egbert, the whole realm. being reduced into one regiment, no less were they impugned and afflicted by the Danes continually from time to time, till the last conquest of William the Norman. Thus it pleased God (ever lightly) to revenge with blood bloody violence, and the unjust dealings of men with just and like retribution. But of this let the Christian reader consider, as God's grace shall work in him. In the mean time, we, as much as in us did lie, satisfying the part of a historician, have thus hitherto set forth and declared concerning these seven foresaid kingdoms, first, the names and lineal descent of the kings severally by themselves, as by the table precedent may appear; then what were, the doings and acts of the same; how first, being pagans, they were converted to the Christian faith; what things in their time happened in the church; how many of them of kings were made monks; how devout they were then to holy church and to the churchmen, and especially to the church of Rome. But the churchmen then were much otherwise in life than afterward they declared themselves to be. Through which devotion of the said kings first came in the Peter pence or Rome-schots in this realm, as by Jue first in his dominion, then by Offa in his lordship, and afterwards by Adelwulph brought in and ratified through the whole realm; where also is to be noted, that by the foresaid kings and queens of the said Saxons the most part of the greatest abbeys and nunneries in this realm were first begun and builded, as partly by the names of some here follow to be seen.

    First, the church or minster of St. Paul in London was founded by Ethelbert, king of Kent, and Sigebert, king of Essex, about the year of our Lord 604.

    The first cross and altar within this realm was first up in the north parts in Hevenfeeld, upon the occasion of Oswald, king of Northumberland, fighting against Cadwalla, where he in the same place set up the sign of the cross, kneeling and praying there for victory.

    The church of Winchester was first begun and founded by Kinegilsus, king of Mercians, having nine miles about it; after finished by his son Kenwalcus, where Wine of Englishmen was first bishop, An. 636.

    The church of Lincoln, first founded by Paulinus, bishop, An. 629.

    The church of Westminster, began first by a certain citizen of London, through the instigation of Ethelbert, king of Kent, which before was an isle ofthorns, An. 614.

    The common schools, first erected at Cambridge by Sigebert, king of East Angles, An. 636.

    The abbey of Knovisburgh, builded by Furceus the hermit, An. 637.

    The monastery of Malmesbury, by one Meldul phus, a Scot, about the year of our Lord 640, afterward enlarged by Agilbert, bishop of Winchester.

    The monastery in Gloucester, first builded by Ofricus, king of Mercia, as Cestrensis saith; but, as William Malmesbury writeth, by Ulferus and Etheldred, brethren to Kineburga, abbess of the same house, An. 679.

Illustration -- A ruined Monastery.

    The monastery of Mailrose, by the flood of Twide, by Aidanus, a Scottish bishop.

    The nunnery of Heorenton, by Hevi, who was the first nun in Northumberland.

    The monastery of Heteseie, by Oswy, king of Northumberland, who also, with his daughter Elfred, gave possessions for twelve monasteries in the parts of Northumberland, An. 656.

    The monastery of St. Martin in Dover, builded by Whitred, king of Kent.

    The abbey of Lestingy, by Ceadda, (whom we call St. Ced,) through the grant of Oswald, son to St. Oswald, king of Northumberland, An. 651.

    The monastery of Whitby, called otherwise Stenhalt, by Hilda, daughter to the nephew of Edwin, king of Northumberland, An. 657.

    Item, another monastery called Hacanos, not far from the same place, builded by the said Hilda the same year.

    The abbey of Abbington, builded by Sissa, king of Southsex, An. 666.

    Item, an abbey in the east side of Lincoln, called Joanno, by St. Botulph, An. 654.

    The monastery in Ely, founded by Etheldred, or Etheldrida, daughter of Anna, king of East Angles, and the wife of Elfride, king of Northumberland, An. 674.

    The monastery of Chertsey, in Sollthery, founded by Erkenwald, bishop of London, An. 674.

thrown down by the Danes, after re-edified by King Edgar.

    Item, the nunnery of Berking, edified by the said Erkenwaldus, bishop of London, about the same time.

    The abbey of Peterborough, called otherwise Modehamsted, founded by King Ethelwald, king of the Mercians, An. 675.

    Bardney abbey, by Ethelredus, king of the Mer cians, An. 700.

    Glastenbury, by Jua, king of the West Saxons, and after repaired and enriched by King Edgar, An. 701.

    Ramsey, in the time of King Edgar, by one Au winus, a nobleman, An. 973. King Edgar builded in his time forty monasteries, who reigned An. 901.

    The nunnery of Winburn, builded by Cuthhurga, sister toingilsus, King Jua's brother, An, 717.

    The monastery of Sealesev, by the Isle of Wight, by Wilfridus, bishop of York, An. 678.

    The monastery of Wincombe, by Kenulphus, king of the Mercians, An. 737.

    St. Albans, builded by Offa, king of the Mer cians, An. 755.

    The abbey of Eusham, by Edwinus, bishop, An. 691.

    Ripon, in the north, by Wilfridus, bishop, An. 709.

    The abbey of Echlinghey, by King Alured, An. 89l.

    The nunnery of Shafteshury, by the same Aluredus, the same year.

    Thus ye see what monasteries, and in what time, began to be founded by the Saxon kings, newly converted to the Christian faith, within the space of two hundred years; who, as they seemed then to have a certain zeal and devotion to God-ward, according to the leading and teaching that then was; so it seemeth again to me, two things to be wished in these foresaid kings: first, that they which began to erect these monasteries and cells of monks and nuns, to live solely and singly by themselves out of the holy state of matrimony, had foreseen what danger and what absurd enomiities might and also did thereof ensue, both publicly to the church of Christ, and privately to their own souls; secondly, that unto this their zeal and devotion had been joined like knowledge and doctrine in Christ's gospel, especially in the article of our free justification by the faith of Jesus Christ; because of the lack whereof, as well the builders and founders thereof, as they that were professed in the same, seem both to have run the wrong way, and to have been deceived. For albeit in them there was a devotion and zeal of mind that thought well in this their doing, which I will not here reprehend; yet the end and cause of their deeds and buildings cannot be excused, being contrary to the rule of Chrisfs gospel; forsomuch as they did these things seeking thereby merits with God, and for remedy of their souls, and remission of their sins, as may appear testified in their own records.

    And this blind ignorance of that age, thus above prenoted, was the cause not only why these kings builded so many monasteries upon zealous superstition, but also why so many of them, forsaking their orderly vocation of princely regiment, gave themselves over to monastical profession, or rather wilful superstition. Concerning the names and number of which kings that were professed monks is sufficiently in the story before declared; the names of whom we showed to be seven or eight, within the space of these two hundred years. Such was then the superstitious devotion of kings and princes in that age; and no less also to be noted in queens' and kings' daughters, with other noble women of the same age and time; the names of whom it were too long here to recite. As Hilda, daughter to the nephew of Edwin, king of Northumberland, abbess of Ely. Erchengoda, with her sister Ermenilda, daughters of Ercombertus, king of Kent, which Erchengoda was professed in St. Bridget's order in France. Item, Edelberga, wife and queen to King Edwin of Northumberland, and daughter of King Anna, which was also in the same house of St. Bridget made a nun. Item, Etheldreda, whom we term St. Eldrid, wife to King Ecfride of Northumberland; who, being married to two husbands, could not be obtained to give her consent to either of them, during the space of twelve years, but would needs live a virgin, and was professed nun at Helings. Werburga was the daughter of Ulferus, king of Mercians, and made nun at Ely. Kinreda, sister of King tlferus, aud Kineswida her sister, were both nuns professed. Serburga, daughter of King Anna, king of Mercians, and wife of Ercombert, king of Kent, was abbess at Ely. Elfrida, daughter of Oswy, kind of Northumberland, was abbess of Whitney. Mildreda, Milburga, and Milguida, all three daughters of Merwaldus, king of West Mercians, entered the profession and vow of nunnish virginity. Kineburga, wife of Aifride, king of Northumberland, and sister to Osricus, king of Mercians, and daughter of King Penda, was professed abbess of the monastery in Gloucester. Elfleda, daughter of Oswy, king, and wife of Peda, son of King Penda, likewise enclosed herself in the same profession and vow of Romish chastity. Likewise Alfritha, wife to King Edgar, and Editha, daughter to the said Edgar, with Wolfrith her mother, &c. All which holy nuns, with divers more, the Romish Catholics have canonized for saints, and put the most part of them in their calendar, only because of the vow of their chastity solemnly professed. Concerning which chastity, whether they kept it or no, little I have to say against them, and less to swear for them. But whether they so kept it or not, if this gift of chas tity which they professed were given them of God, small praiseworthy was it in them to keep it. And if it were not given them, I will not say here of them so much as hath been said of some other, which sufficiently have painted out to the world the de meanour of these holy votaries. But this I will say, that although they kept it never so perfectly, yet it is not that which maketh saints before God, but only the blood of Christ Jesus, and a true faith in him.

{Illustratution: Map of England under the Heptarchy ?20}

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