Appendix 6
The City of the Legions shall fall into thy bosom, O Severn, and shall lose her
citizens for a long time, and these the Bear in the Lamb shall restore to her
when he shall come.
Henry Blois switches back in time so that the Vita Merlini and the
prophecies within it coincide and corroborate the storyline in HRB. The
prophecy supposedly tells of the migration of Britons to Brittany. Caerleon
on Usk is by the Severn and the citizens of old Briton who lived in the City
of the Legions will lose her citizens for a long time. What or who ‘the bear
in the lamb’ refers to is anybody’s guess. Maybe the bogus animal
symbolism refers to Uther and Ambrosius or even Henry himself. We know
he sees himself coming back to England as the adopted son at the time of
writing VM and JC…. as he is doing his best to incite rebellion against Henry
II in this three year period. It is plain to see that Henry Blois, writing as
Merlin, sees the Normans originally as saviours overcoming the Saxons in
the first set of prophecies. The obvious change of position is c.1156; he is
writing in the persona of Merlin and ridding the foreigners from ‘our land’
and these are the Normans…. as he tries to incite the rebellion of the Celts
against King Henry. Henry Blois sets up the Britons emigration to Brittany
in general as being synonymous with the plight of the citizens of the City of
the Legions i.e. the old Britons being forced abroad by the Saxons. The old
Britons will be restored when he (Henry) will come (or at least that was the
plan at the time of writing).
Amongst others he did lay out one upon the river Usk nigh the Severn sea,
that was of many ages called Kaerusk, that was the mother city of Demetia.
But after that the Romans came hither, the old name was done away and it
was called the City of the Legions.
1
Whether or not Nennius Urbs legionum was always synonymous with
Caerleon is debatable. What we do know is that Caerleon’s grandiose
Arthurian history is totally fabricated by ‘Geoffrey’ based on theremnants
of Roman architecture Henry Blois witnessed at Caerleon:
1
HRB III, x
Howbeit, when he made known his desire unto his familiars, he, by their
counsel, made choice of the City of Legions wherein to fulfil his design. For,
situate in a passing pleasant position on the river Usk in Glamorgan, not far
from the Severn sea, and abounding in wealth above all other cities, it was the
place most meet for so high a solemnity.
2
‘Geoffrey’ has read Bede and knows of the martyrdom of Saints Julius
and Aaron. He connects their names to religious houses in Caerleon for
both cannons and nuns in the glorious city of the ‘legantine’
3
primatial See.
It is not by accident that it so happens to imitate the set up at Winchester
with the cathedral and its new minster and its nunnaminster as Tatlock
4
observes.
However, Tatlock is far from realising the reasons: Geoffrey shows much
more concern, especially with Winchester and its Church. First of all he gives
it a distinction which was coveted by other religious houses and which
nothing justifies.
5
Tatlock seems to think that Winchester is overly glorified because: there
was someone at Winchester who was worth pleasing.
6
We should not forget
one of Uther’s two dragons wrought of Gold was: in ecclesia prime sedis
Guintonie, the ‘primatial See of Winchester. We should also understand
with this glorification of Winchester, there is a marked contrast in ignoring
Canterbury in HRB. It does not take much to work out why. What is
astounding is that Tatlock discusses the erection of Winchester into an
archbishopric through Henry’s friend Pope Innocent II and Henry’s
disappointment with not gaining the Archbishopric of Canterbury without
any suspicion of the involvement of Henry Blois as author of HRB or the
prophecies.
It is not without irony that Winchester in the prophecies loses its arch-
episcopal See and the one person trying to re-establish this fictional
standpoint in reality is never suspected as the author of the Merlin
prophecies or HRB. Without the obvious corroboration that each gives to
2
HRB IX, xii
3
It is ridiculous to consider Legates at the time as indicated. By the time Henry finalised the Vulgate HRB,
Henry had been Legate for a 3 year period.
4
The Legendary history of Britain J.S.P. Tatlock p. 70
5
The Legendary history of Britain J.S.P. Tatlock p. 36
6
The Legendary history of Britain J.S.P. Tatlock p. 37
the other HRB to VM and vice versa,there would be little historicity to
establish either but the prophecies add to both
However, Henry does betray himself as the author in HRB; he never
mentions Glastonbury and Arthur himself is given no connection to
Winchester so as to avoid the very suspicion…. which through his
avoidance, highlights Henry Blois involvement as Author. Henry’s pursuit
of metropolitan is always at the heart of his polemic in establishing the pre-
existence and pre-eminence of Winchester before the arrival of Augustine:
Afterward Rome shall bring God back through the medium of a monk and a
holy priest shall sprinkle the buildings with water and shall restore them
again and shall place shepherds in them.
Henry’s polemic is simple: How could Canterbury assume its primacy
when Merlin is predicting the coming of Augustine? Especially when, prior
to the Saxon invasion, ‘Geoffrey’s polemic in HRB makes it abundantly
clear through Constans at Winchester that there was already a Briton
Church. The reader will come to understood how important GR3 and DA
interpolations combine with HRB to add credence to Henry’s case at Rome
as we progress.