Appendix 5
The fifth from him shall rebuild the walls of St David’s and shall bring back to
her the pall lost for many years.
This refers back to the passage in the Prophecies of Merlin where
Menevia shall be robed in the pall of the City of the Legions,
Henry Blois,
writing as Geoffrey of Monmouth associates the metropolitan of Caerleon to
St David’s (completely fictitiously and put forward to create Arthur’s
utopian metropolis presented in HRB). It is upon this premise (from
Rhygyvarch's Life of St David) that bishop Bernard worked to reinstate the
Archbishopric. We know Henry has read
Rhygyvarch's Life of St David and
because of the information supplied in the Life …. Henryattempts to help his
friend Bernard to reinstate the Archbishopric, which once (according to
Rhygyvarch and Asser), existed in Menevia.
‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB makes Caerleon one of the most important cities in
Britain where he creates for it a long and glorious history from its
foundation by King Belinus.King Belinus is fictional, but it becomes a
metropolitan see; the location of an Archbishopric superior to Canterbury
and York, under Saint Dubricius. We are told in the fiction found in HRB
that St David therefore moved the ‘City of the Legions
archbishopric to St
David's Cathedral.
At that time two of the Metropolitan Sees, York, to wit, and the City of the
Legions, were vacant without their shepherds. Wherefore, being minded to
consult the common wish of his peoples, he gave York unto Samson, a man of
high dignity and illustrious by the depth of his piety; and Caerleon unto
Dubricius, whom the providence of God had before singled out as like to be
right serviceable in that same place.
The importance of the See is clear…. because ‘apparently’ Kings were
crowned there, not in Roman Canterbury:
HRB VII, iii
Henry names Padam and Teilo in DA; both names lifted from Rhygyvarchs work to accord with the fictions
presented in DA about St David.
The point being that Augustine had not even arrived in Britain yet.
Nennius ’City of Legions’ is synonymous with Caerleon in Geoffrey.
Dubricius, Archbishop of the City of Legions that he should crown as King
In 1115, when this part of Wales was under Norman control, King Henry
Ist of England appointed Bishop Bernard as Bishop of St David's who
commenced construction of a new Cathedral consecrated in 1131. In 1123,
Pope Calixtus II had granted a compromise of Bishop Bernard’s request and
bestowed a Papal privilege upon St David's, making it a centre of
pilgrimage, the Pope decreeing “Two pilgrimages to St David's is equal to
one to Rome, and three pilgrimages to one to Jerusalem!” This brought
many pilgrims to West Wales. Henry pretends in the prediction found in the
prophecy that the Menevian See is the same as that of Caerleon and it is also
synonymous with the city of Legions of the HRB (as in Nennius)…. but now
had moved its inherited status to St. David’s. Bishop Bernard of St David’s
was a friend of Henry Blois and we saw them together at Winchester
(without the archbishop of Canterbury) both of them seen to be setting up
the new short term monarch Empress Matilda as recounted in GS. However,
‘Geoffrey’s’ rendition of events is fictional:
At that time also died David, that most holy Archbishop of Caerleon, in the
city of Menevia, within his own abbey, which he loved above all the other
monasteries of his diocese, for that it was founded by the blessed Patrick who
had foretold his nativity.
If the reader is still in doubt who is driving this myth one should
consider that it was Henry Blois who miraculously found a ‘gem at
Glastonbury belonging to St. David and know that Patrick’s association with
Glastonbury is fictitious (which I will cover in the chapter on DA). Henry is
using Rhygyvarch's Life of St David and his own fabrications found in HRB
to substantiate his further fictions presented in the interpolated part of DA.
This prophecy in the VM expresses the aspirations cherished by the
Welsh of a re-established metropolitan long before Giraldus Cambrensis
took up the cause from Bernard. It also shows that Henry repeats
Gesta Stephani: Matilda was publicly welcomed into Winchester. She took up residence in the Castle and
Bishop Henry handed over to her the keys to the Treasury and the Royal Crown. He then arranged a large
meeting of the citizens of Winchester in the Market Place so they could salute her as "their Lady ". From here,
the party entered the cathedral with great pomp. Matilda led the procession with Henry of Blois to her right and
the Bishop of St. David’s to her left. Relatives of the Bishops of Salisbury, Ely and Lincoln were also present and
Henry sent for Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury who arrived a few days later.
HRB XI, iii
prophecies made in Vulgate HRB for consistencies sake in VM. His
readership recognises these while he subtly changes the sense of some
previous prophecies in HRB and also introduces us to new ones in VM.
Bernard’s request for metropolitan is aligned with Henry Blois’ at
Winchester. Bernard had been proposing a metropolitan based on
Rhygyvarch's Life of St David and Asser’s testimony, but his friend (Henry)
attempted to bring his hope to fruition by predicting it in a bogus
According to Welsh belief (and now perpetuated by the cult of
Arthur and Caerleon in the HRB), Menevia had been the seat of an
archbishop until the time of Samson, twenty fifth from Dewi or David, who
fled to Dol in Brittany taking the pall with him.
The fifth as a number in
the VM presents a problem in that it was Henry Ist (the third in the HRB
and Vita numbering system) who rebuilt the walls and it cannot be Matilda
(the fifth). Henry Blois is reticent to mention her as the ‘fifth’ in any of the
prophecies whereas all the other numbered monarchs are easily
distinguished. Yet, Matilda is the fifth in the sequence of rulers because
Henry II is the sixth. Henry only refers directly to Matilda twice, firstly as
the eagle in the ‘third nesting and then as her of the ‘broken covenant’.
Since the sixth (Henry II) in the normal numbering sequence had already
assumed the crown at the time of writing of the VM c.1156-7, the
explanation to the fifth from him shall rebuild the walls of St David’s may
well be that the ‘fifth’ in this instance applies to the pope. We vcould
speculate that Henry wrote the prophecy assuming the next pope would be
Anastasius V or more probably believed St David’s would succeed in their
quest after Adrian IV (1154-1159). Either way it was good odds that the next
pope would be an Anastasius or an Adrian the fifth.
We know Henry compared himself to Cicero. Cicero has Quintus say: what nation or what state disregards
the prophecies of soothsayers, or of interpreters of prodigies’. When the first set of prophecies were written
when King Stephen reigned, Henry was engaged in his own pursuit of Metropolitan status. If Bernard were
granted Metropolitan more so would be Winchester be deserving based on the false testimony written in HRB of
Winchester’s early religious house where Constans abided.
Giraldus Cambrensis, De Menevensi Ecclesia Dialogus.
Henry does also refer to Matilda obliquely in other updated prophecies such as when the two armies met at
Wallingford: Two Kings shall encounter in nigh combat over the Lioness at the ford of the staff.
Bernard, however, claimed metropolitan jurisdiction over Wales and
presented his suit unsuccessfully before six successive popes starting way
back in 1120. Henry originally wrote this prophecy when Bernard was
alive as part of the Libellus Merlini which circulated prior to the latest
version found in HRB. However, a pope Alexander III was the next pope; so
Henry’s prediction was wide of the mark. If there had been a pope which
was a fifth and St. David’s had gained metropolitan status, it would have
been a major success in Merlin’s predictive ability.
David Fitz Gerald
followed Bernard at St David’s after his death. His
sister Angharad married William de Barri and she was the mother of
Gerald of Wales. It was Gerald who persisted with this hope of a change in
status and it is clear why Gerald of Wales was such a staunch advocate of
the creation of St David’s as a metropolitan. After Bernard died, David
FitzGerald was consecrated in 1148 by Theobald of Bec, at the same time as
Robert de Chesney. But, Theobald secured a promise from FitzGerald to no
longer seek the elevation to metropolitan of St David's. However, this
continued as a contentious issue driven partly by Henry’s prophecy. Part of
the intent of the prophecies was to manipulate events. It is fascinating that
so many commentators actually relate Merlin prophecies to events after
1157. 1157 is where the VM prophecies end. In Asser’s Life of King Alfred, he
clearly describes his kinsman, Nobis, (also of St David's), as Archbishop.
There seems little doubt that there was three metropolitans and Henry
posing as Geoffrey speaking as Merlin makes it plain that Augustine
usurped London’s status.
In the Annales Cambriae, Elfodd is termed
'archbishop of the land of Gwynedd in his obit, under the year 809.
Rhygyfarch's Life of Saint David states Saint David was anointed as an
archbishop by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, a position confirmed at the Synod
of Llanddewi Brefi by popular acclaim:
Then, blessed and extolled by the mouth of all, he is with the consent of all
the bishops, Kings, princes, nobles, and all grades of the whole Britannic race,
made archbishop, and his monastery too is declared the metropolis of the
whole country, so that whoever ruled it should be accounted archbishop.
David FitzGerald followed Bernard after his death.
The dignity of London shall adorn Dorobernia (Canterbury)
St David's lost its status and fell under the metropolitan jurisdiction of
the Archbishop of Canterbury and Asser’s testimony is the basis for
assuming it was ever a metropolitan. King Henry Ist, intruded Bernard, into
St David’s much to the annoyance of the Welsh. The Brut y Tywysogyon
states that Henry Ist'made him bishop in Menevia in contempt of the clerics of
the Britons’.