Chapter 15
The Arthurian Annals
The evidence concerning Arthur from the unadulterated British annals of
Gildas and Bede concerns Ambrosius Aurelianus as a British warlord against
the Saxons. In ‘Geoffreys’ HRB the name Ambrosius Aurelianus is
purposefully conflated with either Merlin or Arthur purely on the basis that
this person in Bede and Gildas is carrying out a campaign against the
Saxons which parallels Geoffrey’s fictional account of Arthur.
Many have suspected interpolation in Malmesbury’s GR and most
recognise the first 34 chapters of DA are fraudulently interpolated. No
scholar today recognises that the Matter of Britain stems from one architect.
Most have accepted the mire of confusing evidence which exists around
Arthur and Glastonbury myth as a haphazard coalescing from disparate
sources in history. A state of bemusement exists because the British annals
seem in part to corroborate what all commentators knew was a book of
invention written by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Events and fictitious persons
were corroborated in part by the DA, GR and the life of Gildas and the
conflation and corroboration pervades our three genres. Modern scholars
have not been able to separate fact from fiction.
Firstly, let us find how Henry Blois was able to perpetuate this myth. As
we know, up until his brother Stephen died, he was the most powerful
prelate in Britain with an endless resource of wealth. Winchester and
Glastonbury were both under his control. Winchester hall was part of a
palace in London and Henry ran his own judiciary and Jail. Glastonbury
was the wealthiest institution in the land by quite a margin at the Norman
invasion attested by Doomesday. Winchester was the seventh wealthiest
religious house at the time of Domesday. Winchester could be considered
the capital of the Old Saxon dynasty. Both Glastonbury and Winchester had
some of the oldest records such as Bede, Gildas, and the Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle etc. with many of the lives of the saints, within their libraries.
They also had one other vital key to ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’s’ success which
was scriptoriums with educated monks from around the country.
Tatlock, for the most part, set out how Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudo-
history and fable of Arthur was put together. He recognises fraud and the
invention of a pseudo-history in HRB…. parts of HRB being corroborated
with names like Phagan and Deruvian in DA. Tatlock fails to see the
connection in Henry Blois. He covers, like most other commentators, early
Grail legend and the works of Chrétien de Troyes and Robert de Boron and
fails to investigate how it is that the earliest forms of Grail literature are
known to derive from Master Blehis. Scholarship has failed to recognise
Henry Blois as the denominator because even when they recognise fraud
little attention is given to motive.
‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB is where the chivalric Arthurian persona first appears,
but Henry has fabricated his pseudo-history and Arthurian epic upon a
background of history which sufficiently conflates and parallels events and
personages within the British annals that his account seems to concur with
history.
The portrayal of Arthur in the HRB is entirely of ‘Geoffrey’s’ imagination.
However, there does seem strong evidence of a legendary Arthur which
supports a previous oral tradition to which William of Malmesbury infers
existed. There is previous evidence of Arthur’s name and reputation and
the ‘hope’ of his return before ‘Geoffrey’s’ concoction. If the witness of the
priests of Laon is anything to go by, where a recorded confrontation
between the Cornish and one of Herman of Laon’s traveling party breaks
out, concerning Arthur’s return; it would appear to corroborate such a
zeitgeist.
This ‘hope of the Britons’ is conveyed in the De Miraculis S. Mariae
Laudunensis whereby nine Laon canons travelling in Cornwall in 1113 to
raise money for their church were shown Arthur’s ‘Chair’ and ‘Oven and
were told they were in Arthur’s country. The account relates that the
argument took place in Bodmin. It may be possible that the ‘hope’ of
Arthur’s return was not specific to the Breton region and may well have
been encountered by Henry on the continent. Tatlock says that: It is
important to observe that while Geoffrey’s Historia has nothing avowedly of
the Briton hope, the ambiguous way in which he disposes of Arthur, tacitly
recognizes it. The hope’ was recognized by Bretons according to
Huntingdon and if any mention of Avalon had been in the Primary Historia,
one can be certain Huntingdon would have considered mentioning it; at
least as part explanation which might have elucidated what actually
happened to Arthur.
King Arthur on Avalon was a direct result of Henry’s possession of the
Melkin prophecy which gave him the idea of putting Arthur on a mystical
island. It was a later evolutionary element of HRB and was not mentioned
in the first copy of Primary Historia, found at Bec. It is this ‘hope’ which is
expressed in Huntingdon’s précis of the Primary Historia in his letter to
Warin.
So, the death of Arthur, (if there was a tradition) remains a latent point
and something ‘Geoffrey’ never wishes to contradict by leaving the
possibility open when composing Primary Historia where the word letaliter
‘mortally wounded’ is omitted. So as not to dash this tradition or hope, we
are left unsure of Arthur’s fate in Primary Historia.
There is no mention of Avalon until the First Variant and Vulgate HRB
where Arthur gave up the crown of Britain unto his kinsman Constantine.
The inference is that he died…. but it is not explicitly stated. Again in the
VM, he is delivered to the Fortunate isle to Morgan, where she said that
health ‘could’ be restored to him, if he stayed with her for a long time and
made use of her healing art. We know the VM was written in 1156-7 and
‘Geoffrey’ is still content to leave what happened to Arthur open-ended.
So, if there was this oral tradition concerning the hope of Arthur’s
return, ‘Geoffrey’ was not going to contradict it…. but employ its force in
propagating his book. However, what is not understood by modern scholars
is that ‘Geoffrey’ did eventually consign Arthur to death as Henry Blois
informed the world where to look for a planted grave in DA which only
came into the public domain at his death. This becomes evident when we
cover the DA later.
Rather than going over old ground, it should be understood that the
concept of a chivalric Arthur in Wales is pure invention based upon Henry’s
ability to supply a location where contradictory evidence was minimal.
Caerleon had Roman remains and Henry Blois knew the lay of the land
from his time in Wales in 1136 (as is seen in my discussion on GS). Also as
‘Geoffrey’ makes clear, he thinks the Welsh are the residue of the Britons in
both HRB and the last paragraph of life of Gildas.
Henry Blois knows the two British annals of Gildas and Bede don’t
mention Arthur. His opening sentence in the HRB: Often turning over in my
own mind the many themes that might be subject-matter of a book, my
thoughts would fall upon the plan of writing a history
1
of the Kings of Britain,
and in my musings thereupon, it seemed to me a marvel that, beyond such
mention as Gildas and Bede have made of them in their luminous tractate,
nought could I find as concerning the Kings that had dwelt in Britain before
the Incarnation of Christ, nor nought even as concerning Arthur……
Henry Blois knows there is no ‘chivalric’ Arthur in history and the
Arthuriad is entirely concocted. As I have maintained, the Arthurian epic
was spliced onto an already partially constructed pseudo-history. At the
same point in the text in the First Variant he employs the Nennius scenario
with Vortigern to make the crucial splice to introduce Merlin where initially
he had spliced the Arthuriad onto the pseudo-history.
The splendour at court, the subject matter of Kings, the battle scenes, the
knowledge of the continent, the political intrigue of the prophecies and
their concern for Henry’s family and state affairs are all considered to be
the concerns of a Welsh cannon living at Oxford by modern scholars.
‘Geoffrey’, when referring to the 28 bishops in the Primary Historia,
supposedly omits to mention the three arch bishops (a note surely to have
been mentioned by Huntingdon, if mention of them had originally existed
in the Primary Historia). Henry did not omit them, but until such time it
becomes useful to concoct the third metropolitan, the archflamens were not
a feature. Henry Blois skill in oratory and rhetoric is evident and is
witnessed in his subtle speech at Winchester recorded by Malemesbury. It
is these skills throughout the HRB which he uses to graft such as Aurelius
Ambrosius by association onto Arthur. Next they did betray Aurelius
Ambrosius, unto whom, after vowing the most awful sacraments of
allegiance, they gave poison as he sat at meat with them at a banquet. Next,
they betrayed Arthur, when, casting aside the allegiance they owed him, they
fought against him with his nephew Mordred.
Aurelius Ambrosius is made to be Arthur’s uncle and he even marries
Arthur’s sister. Henry Blois is associating as closely as possible the only
verifiable character in Bede and Gildas who fought against the Saxons, with
his fictitious chivalric Arthur. Henry even goes one stage further.... just
before he introduces the prophecies, he informs us: Merlin, that is also
called Ambrosius
1
It is odd that no scholar remarks how fortuitous it was that Walter’s supposed book was given to him to be
merely translated when just such a book covered the subject ‘Geoffrey’ wished to write about. To believe
Walter’s book ever existed is fatuous. Scholars have been so easily duped by Henrys interpolation into Geffrei
Gaimar’s work with the production of the confusing epilogue.
Anyway, Henry’s most enduring invention was Avallon and this was
confirmed to be located at Glastonbury by his greatest fraud which
involved the planting of some bones in a grave and the construction of a
leaden cross both to be found in the grave at some future date. The bogus
cross fatuously informs the gravediggers what the location was named
(back then) and who was in the grave. So someone knew it was going to be
dug up one day.
The reader should not forget the name Avallon came from the town in
the region of Blois just like Arthur’s continental battle scene at Autun was
chosen from the same region of Blois. Without doubt Henry Blois is the
inventor of Avalon and its only promoter in its translocation to
Glastonbury. Henry Blois had not come up with the name of Avallon in
connection with the place of Arthur’s last known location at the time he
wrote the Primary Historia, otherwise Huntingdon would have mentioned
it…. as it contradicted the fact that Bretons thought Arthur still alive.
Huntingdon, at least would have given the location from where Arthur
might return.
There is no mention of Avallon in the Life of Gildas. In 1144, Henry
Blois’s agenda does not concern Avalon but Ineswitrin. He is trying to assert
that Glastonbury is Ineswitrin so that the 601 charter stands up as a
credible witness to Glastonbury’s antiquity. Tatlock is correct in thinking
there was no previous connection between Arthur and Avalon prior to
‘Geoffrey’. Unfortunately he does not realise the inventor of Avallon is
Henry Blois in the guise of ‘Geoffrey’…. who is the inventor of the chivalric
Arthur persona. It is no coincidence Arthur was disinterred at Avalon and
this just happens to be the place where Henry Blois was abbot for 45 years.
The main thrust of this investigation is the effect that the prophecy of
Melkin had in determining many factors in the construction of both HRB
and Grail stories. The confusion when unpeeling the layers of obfuscation
in the Matter of Britain is contained largely in one seemingly innocuous
act: The changing of the name of Ineswitrin on the original prophecy of
Melkin and substituting it for Henry Blois’ wholly invented Insula Avallonis.
There is no commentator who remarks on the subtlety found in the Life
of Gildas which transposes Ineswitrin to Glastonbury simply because no
motive is found to disbelieve it. Yet modern scholarship is aware that the
life of Gildas is a fraudulent composition. The bogus etymology is
credulously accepted: Glastonia was of old called Ynisgutrin, and is still
called so by the British inhabitants. Ynis in the British language is insula in
Latin, and gutrin (made of glass). But after the coming of the English and the
expulsion of the Britons, that is, the Welsh, it received a fresh name,
Glastigberi, according to the formation of the first name, that is English glass,
Latin vitrum, and beria a city; then Glastinberia, that is, the City of Glass.
Caradoc of Nancarban's are the words; Who reads, may he correct; so wills
the author.
We also know the initial propagator of continental Arthuriana and Grail
stories is Master Blihis. It is not difficult to understand therefore how the
Isle de Voirre appears in continental literature. No-one questioned the
implications of Henry’s bogus etymology in Life of Gildas and its bearing on
providing a known location (at Glastonbury) for the old charter granted by
a Devonian King. Modern scholars accept a fraudulent work without
questioning the reliability or existence of the author. They have maintained
this position based on the specious colophon in Vulgate HRB which states
that Caradoc is contemporary with ‘Geoffrey’. Now I hope the reader not
only sees clearly the extent to which Henry Blois goes to complete his
illusion…. but also how necessary is this late addition of the colophon to the
Vulgate HRB.
Without the 601 charter there was no physical proof upon which to base
Glastonbury’s existence in antiquity prior to Augustine. For this reason
alone, Ineswitrin is changed from a genuine island location in Devon to
appear to be synonymous with a fictitious estate supposed to exist in the
environs of Glastonbury.
Henry Blois was patron to Gerald of Wales until Henry’s death. Henry
most surely persuaded and primed the impressionable Gerald of certain
facts which Henry himself had invented. Gerald certainly understands his
account of King Henry II invasion of Ireland as a prophetic history, a
historia vaticinalis based upon the Sixth in Ireland prophecy.
There is evidence which supports that Gerald had also seen the DA. From
Gerald’s Liber de Principis instructione c.1193 we get Henry Blois’ full
propagandist viewpoint. What is now known as Glastonbury was, in ancient
times, called the Isle of Avalon. It is virtually an island, for it is completely
surrounded by marshlands. In Welsh it is called Ynys Afallach, which means
the Island of Apples and this fruit once grew in great abundance. After the
Battle of Camlann, a noblewoman called Morgan, later the ruler and
patroness of these parts as well as being a close blood-relation of King Arthur,
carried him off to the island, now known as Glastonbury, so that his
wounds could be cared for. Years ago the district had also been called Ynys
Gutrin in Welsh, that is the Island of Glass, and from these words the
invading Saxons later coined the place-name 'Glastingebury'.
We shall get to how Gerald has complicated the issue of the discovery of
Arthur’s body by saying it occurred in the reign Henry II (as opposed to
Richard) and we will also get to the importance of the substitution of the
name of a genuine island of Ineswitrin in the Melkin prophecy for the name
of an invented mythical isle of Avalon when we cover the DA later on and
show the proof of how this can be reliably established.
If Arthur was not dead, as the hope of the Britons suggested, Arthur must
exist somewhere. Hence the invention of Insula Avallonis in an evolving
HRB after the Primary Historia hadbeen discovered at Bec. Knowing how
‘Geoffrey’ has a template or source for nearly every icon, personage and
episode in HRB, the question should be: From where does ‘Geoffrey’ get his
inspiration for the mystical island of Avalon? Where does the name come
from?
No–one (not even Henry) knew where ‘Witrin’ island was located but
Henry Blois had seen mention of Ineswitrin in two documents…. one
pertaining to the prophecy of Melkin and the other in the 601 charter. The
island of Ineswitrin’s actual existence as borne out by the Melkin prophecy
(not the nomenclature of Avallon), is the basis for ‘Geoffrey’s’ inclusion of
the fictitious Insula Avallonis in HRB.
The name served as a fabricated name to define a location where Arthur
may have remained. In a way, the icon of a mythical island and a
previously unheard of name served as an obscure locus from which Arthur
might come in the scenario of the ‘Briton hope’ which pervaded in popular
culture at the time.
Generally, before ‘Geoffrey’ the hope could have been conceived as
Arthur biding his time before his return or even simply that he had not
died. The fact that Arthur is connected to a mythical Island called Avallon is
entirely of ‘Geoffrey’s’ making. Ferdinand Lot’s (my relation on my father’s
side) Avalon, a mysterious island in the western seas which was ruled in
Celtic mythology by the God Avaloc is piffle…. since we know Henry has
derived the name from the French town.
Henry Blois’ inspiration for the island and the name of it are derived
from different sources, but are wholly compliant with the usual way Henry
Blois has constructed the rest of the HRB.
The name of an Island came from the name of the town of Avallon in the
region of Blois in Henry’s era (now in the Yonne department in Burgundy).
The town of Avallon fell under the control of Henry’s brother Theobald.
Aballo appears on the Antonine Itinerary and in the Tabula Peutingeriana.
But by the time Henry wrote HRB the town was already referred to as
Avallon.
The French town is near where Henry Blois sets Arthur’s continental
battle scene.... as it is only 38 miles from Autun. It is also about the same
distance from ‘Karitia’ (La Charité), where King Lear’s daughter lived with
the King of the Franks. Henry Blois was born c.1101 and spent time as an
oblate child at the Benedictine but Cluniac convent of La Charisur Loire
before going to Clugny.
I am sure it is not lost on the reader the implication that the kind hearted
and helpful King of the Franks was based in the region controlled by the
Counts of Blois. We may speculate also that King Lear’s story may be based
upon the real life experience of the disgraced father of Henry Blois arriving
home from the Crusades to find he was disowned by Henry Blois’ older
brother’s and his wife Adela.
The story of Henry’s father’s return is strikingly similar. Henry’s father,
who could only be likened to a King, being brought so low into dishonour is
coincidentally close to King Lear’s predicament. The only difference is that
Henry Blois when impersonating ‘Geoffrey’ has substituted daughters for
sons. As we know, Stephen Etienne, Count of Blois died in battle in Ramelah
after having returned to the east to redeem his honour. His wife Adela had
pressured him to do so to regain the family honour.
However, the concept of the mysterious island was directly inspired by
Melkin’s prophecy.... now the only extant part of Melkin’s work (if other
works ever existed). The fact that the Grail is based on the duo fassulaand
a body is awaiting discovery in the future on the island in Melkin’s
prophecy should awaken the interest of scholars. The Melkin prophecy
cited the Island as Ineswitrin in its original form along with the 601 charter
naming that island. We will understand the consequences and reasons for
Henry Blois changing this name of Ineswitrin to Avalon on the prophecy of
Melkin further on in progression.
The book
2
or books which Melkin composed are no longer extant. It is
the fact that what constitutes Melkin’s prophecy provided the inspiration
2
John Leland in his Assertio Arturii cited Melkin. He gives information from the extract he has seen of
Melkin’s, stating that Melkin ‘celebrated the name of Gawain’ and that he ‘praised Arthur’. Leland cites a few
for ‘Geoffrey’s’ ancient book which he maintains is his source for HRB.
Certainly, no source book from which HRB might have been transliterated
could possibly exist.... as the whole of HRB with its Merlin prophecies is a
medieval composite.
Henry Blois is responsible for the name change of Ineswitin to Insula
Avallonis in the extant copy of the Melkin prophecy. It would be a
remarkable coincidence if Melkin’s prophecy with its highly specific data
(when the prophecy is decrypted) points out geometrically an island in
Devon, was not the same as the Island in Devon donated to Glastonbury.
What we can learn from this is that Henry in no way changed the wording
in the original Melkin prophecy because he knew it was genuine.... and
within its wording was encrypted the actual geographical location of
Ineswitrin. Henry just inserted the name Insula Avallonis instead of
Ineswitrin because (as we shall see), his agenda had changed from wishing
to portray Glastonbury as Ineswitrin in 1144 to portraying Glastonbury as
Avalon post 1156 when he started the composition of VM.
Henry must have transcribed the extract (found in JG’s Cronica with the
substituted Avalon) which constitutes Melkin’s prophecy in a work he had
composed supposedly authored by Melkin.
The prophecy which initially pertained to the Island of Ineswitrin now
pertains to Avallon and it is Henry Blois who is responsible for this change.
This was the Island of which Melkin speaks in his prophecy, where Joseph
of Arimathea was buried. Modern scholars have divined quite wrongly that
the Melkin prophecy was composed c.1400 when JG mentions it…. recycling
information he had obtained from the impostered work of Melkin. Material
on Arthur, as Bale and Pits imply, in a book thought to have been written by
Melkin i.e. the book titled ‘De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’ was obviously
written by Henry Blois. This I believe is where JC found the adulterated
copy of the Melkin prophecy.
We might now understand the reasoning behind the connection between
Joseph of Arimathea and Arthur in Grail literature. Although Henry did not
mention Joseph in HRB, he used the mysterious island posited in the Melkin
anecdotes which he purportedly thought Melkin had written. I would suggest (given the relation of the prophecy
of Melkin to Henry Blois), that it was Henry Blois who wrote the Arthurian anecdotes in a book. We know
‘Geoffrey’ is Henry Blois who invents the chivalric Arthur in HRB. It seems fair to assume also that there is no
mention of Melkin in the DA interpolations by Henry Blois, because he has made a connection to Arthur and
Avalon through the De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’ andAssertio Arturii. This manuscript which Leland
obviously saw is no longer extant but must have been written by Henry Blois.
prophecy as a place (in a concocted episode) which has no basis in history….
to which Arthur was taken after the battle at Camblanus. The inspiration
for the battle location is made to coincide with the Annales Cambriae: the
strife of Camlann in which Arthur and Mordred fell… It is only later as the
primordial author of Grail literature that Henry combines the Island where
Joseph was in reality buried…. to form his motif for Grail literature using
the same duo fassula found in the prophecy as a template for the Grail.
The real island of Ineswitrin was now made to coincided with the
mythical island of Avallonis, the last place Henry describes Arthur was
taken to in HRB. The Grail itself is inspired by Melkin’s duo fassula and its
association with Joseph of Arimathea comes directly from the Prophecy of
Melkin.
Contrary to how most scholars have rationalised the germs of the Matter
of Britain, it was Melkin’s work which inspired Henry Blois to compose
what were the beginnings of the Grail stories. It was certainly not Grail
literature which inspired the invention or myth of Melkin and his prophecy
as is deduced by scholars today. I will show in progression that not only the
Melkin prophecy existed in Henry Blois’ era and that the mythical island in
Melkin’s prophecy was originally called Ineswitrin and is a genuine location
in Devon.
Melkin’s prophecy was obviously seen by Malmesbury. William, who
was cautious, omits reference to a document which to him was
unintelligible. One look at the obtuse Latin prophecy and William like
modern Scholars are at a loss to understand it.
The Melkin prophecy appeared fraudulent as it mentioned Joseph of
Arimathea’s sepulchre on the island of Ineswitrin. If Malmesbury had
mentioned Joseph of Arimathea’s name in conjunction with Ineswitrin, it
would have brought into suspicion the very charter which had the same
name of Ineswitrin on it…. on which the antiquity of Glastonbury rested. I
hope the reader will understand now the reasoning behind the
etymological contortion in Life of Gildas and how necessary it was to
establishing an actual location for Ineswitrin, albeit at Glastonbury.
The charter was 500 years old when Malmesbury discovered it and no-
one had the faintest idea where Ineswitrin was located…. and this would be
ammunition for those who contested the genuineness of the charter i.e.
those who were asserting Dunstan was the first abbot and Glastonbury; the
very reason for commissioning the DA in the first instance.
William of Malmesbury must have seen the Melkin prophecy along with
the 601 charter, but dismissed it as unintelligible. If it had not been seen by
the inventive and inspirational mind of Henry Blois, it would have laid
dormant on a dusty shelf in the scriptorium to be burnt at Glastonbury in
the great fire in 1184. Instead it was included in a book about Arthur and
the round table composed by Henry Blois written under the guise of Melkin.
This is where J.G has sourced his version. Henry Blois has replaced the
name Ineswitrin and substituted the name Insula Avallonis in the text of the
original Melkin prophecy.
The point of this exposé is to consider the ramification of the discovery
of a body on an island two thousand years after its burial. Up to the present
era there is not one discipline in scholarship which covers the material
which enables us to make an informed assessment of where the body of
Joseph of Arimathea is buried.
We, should accept why there would be no early tradition regarding
Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, as logically, the Island in the Melkin
prophecy (before Henry Blois’ era) had no connection with Glastonbury
except that the island of Ineswitrin had been donated to Glastonbury under
the name of Ineswitrin in the 601 Charter. This is the island where Joseph of
Arimathea is buried today. But 500 years after the prophecy was
constructed and left in the archives of Glastonbury, along with a charter
confirming the donation of the Island to that monastic institution; Henry
weaves what he finds as a puzzle into Grail legend and infiltrates its main
icon of a mystical Island into Arthuriana in HRB as Insula Avallonis.
The fact that the 601 charter, the Prophecy of Melkin and possibly other
works by Melkin witnessed by Leland are all found at Glastonbury should
imply a possible connection between the three. We should also consider
that once Melkin’s prophecy is decoded…. the instructional data found
within it direct us to an island in Devon which is Burgh Island (as we shall
cover shortly) and to which Joseph of Arimathea would have association by
way of his livelihood as a tin trader.
Not even Henry Blois knew what happened to the historical Arthur, the
warlord recorded in some ‘saint’s lives’ and Nennius. William of
Malmesbury in his unadulterated GR1 does not know where Arthur is
buried. However, when Henry Blois’ GR3 interpolations were composed
c.1143 no grave was yet manufactured at Glastonbury. Henry Blois
develops the position that King Arthur is on this mythical island (or at least
that was the last place he was posited to be), and links the ‘hope of the
Britonsto Arthur’s return with Melkin’s mysterious island.... where he has
changed the name from Ineswitrin to Avalon. As a consequence of such an
action, the Island, where (in the future) Melkin foretold of the discovery of
the body of Joseph of Arimathea, is now looked upon as a mythical and non-
existent location.
In reality it is not Arthur that is buried on the island in Devon which
used to be known as Ineswitrin in 600AD.... but Joseph of Arimathea. But,
through Henry’s efforts to convert Glastonbury into Avalon as part of his
second agenda (witnessed in DA interpolations), Arthur is latterly
discovered on Avalon (now at Glastonbury) where Henry had fabricated a
grave to be found in the future.
‘Geoffrey’ is responsible for the name of Avallon (derived from the
Burgundian town) and Henry obtains the mythical Island motif from the
prophecy of Melkin. But the existence of Arthur’s island is make believe.
However, the existence of Ineswitrin and what is buried on it is an entirely
different matter. Joseph’s body on Burgh Island is the point of Melkin
having left to posterity his set of directions. It is most probably the
reasoning behind the Devonian King granting the Island to the Old Church
at Glastonbury when the Saxons landed in Dumnonia.
As I have maintained and is perfectly evident, Huntingdons synopsis of
HRB is somewhat different to Vulgate HRB in storyline. It is hardly likely
that he would omit the Island of Avalon as the last place Arthur is seen as
Huntingdon summarises for Warin what is found in the Primary Historia
found at Bec: ‘Companions, let us put a high price on our deaths. I will now
cut off the head of my Nephew and betrayer with my sword. After that death
will be sweet’. Huntingdon’s ending says that Arthur took hold of Mordred’s
helmet and severed Mordreds neck with one stroke of his sword, as if it
were a head of corn. But he received so many wounds in so doing that he also
fell. Straight after, Huntingdon continues on in EAW with no mention of
Avalon: But the Bretons your, your ancestors, refuse to believe that he died.
And they traditionally await his return. For in his day he was certainly
supreme over all men in warfare, liberality and courtesy.
3
The account ends without mention of one of the most significant icons in
Vulgate HRB simply because Avalon was not recorded in the Primary
3
Historia Anglorum, Letter to Warin. Diane Greenway. P.581
Historia. If it had been Huntingdon most certainly would have mentioned it
as he too is quizzical about what transpired with King Arthur.
‘Geoffrey’ made use of Huntingdon’s history in constructing HRB. Since
Huntingdon died in 1154, logically, one would think, given his initial
interest in Galfridus’s early Historia, he would at least have made mention
of Merlin, who, modern scholars believe was mentioned in the Primary
Historia. Huntingdon’s history had been in general circulation in the 16
years since he had first clapped eyes and commented on the Primary
Historia to his friend Warin. So, it is inconceivable that Huntingdon could
have ignored Merlin particularly when both authors (he and ‘Geoffrey’)
shared a patron in Alexander.
4
The fact is, the Primary Historia version was
finished and deposited at Bec in the first half of 1138 by Henry Blois and the
Alexander dedication was added post 1155 at the finalisation of the Vulgate
version. Henry could not base Arthur in Wales without having any idea of
its topography or where ruins existed.
To Huntingdon or Malmesbury, the colophon at the end of Vulgate HRB
could present no offence, as they were both dead at the time of publication.
The whole colophon is a ploy and could never fit (all things considered)
even in the conventional sense in which scholars have understood an early
publication date for Vulgate HRB. ‘Geoffrey’, supposedly still on the career
ladder, before he was to become a fictitious bishop, would (if it were a
genuine instruction in reality) not wish to inflame controversy with two
well established and respected historians one of which supposedly had a
patron in common. Some commentators who believe in an early publication
date of HRB have assumed this instruction to two historians to be silent,
must have appeared as insulting. Henry did not care as he held them both
(in reality) in the same disdain and they certainly had no chance of
countermanding his bogus instruction or reacting to his arrogant dismissal.
William of Malmesbury had not toed the line in writing what the monks
at Glastonbury had been trying to induce him to include into DA; and
Malmesbury had near enough accused Henry’s father in GP of being a liar.
Henry Blois would probably have read Huntingdon’s letter to Walter,
which, as we have covered, leaves no flattering character reference
regarding Henry for posterity. In fact, Henry Blois must have looked on
4
It is obvious Galfridus did not seek patronage from Alexander but in the Vulgate (completed after 1155) and
after Huntingdon’s death.... ‘Geoffrey now has the patronage of the recently dead Bishop Alexander.
Huntingdon as a dullard using parts of ‘Geoffrey’s’ Primary Historia as
credible History when he updated his redaction of his own history.
The point of the late colophon into the Vulgate HRB is to reiterate (before
supposedly living historians) the fact that ‘Geoffrey had a source which
they did not. All this, supposedly before Huntingdon had already used
‘Geoffrey’ as source material in the later redactions of his history.
The other point in producing the colophon, establishes that the colophon
appealed to Malmesbury and Huntingdon while alive (i.e. it establishes that
the book was written pre- 1143 when Malmesbury died). This in effect
retro-dated the publication of the Vulgate HRB. This has the effect for
instance, that Merlin’s prophecy about the ‘Sixth’ invading Ireland became
seemingly and marvellously prophetic. The colophon also made it appear
that Caradoc followed on from Geoffrey’s Historia rather than ‘Geoffrey’
terminated his account where Caradoc started. Additionally the colophon
eradicates suspicion that the Life of Gildas had been written by someone
posing as Caradoc who is dead. Caradoc is alive and well by what the
colophon infers and logically must have been to have taken up ‘Geoffrey’s’
mantle.... or that is what we are led to believe.
This is the point of subtly stating that Caradoc is ‘contemporary’ (my
fellow student) so that those who doubted the words found in the life of
Gildas could not disprove them on the grounds that Caradoc’s name had
been impersonated and argue that Caradoc was already dead when Vulgate
appeared. In truth, all those supposedly contemporaneous people
mentioned in the Vulgate version of HRB, Archdeacon Walter, Alexander,
Robert of Gloucester, Stephen, Caradoc, Huntingdon and Malmesbury and
‘Geoffrey’ himself were all dead when the Vulgate appeared post 1155.
Crick’s solution to the colophon is: we may surmise that Geoffrey first
published the Historia without any reference to other historians, and that, not
until his published work was challenged, did he add in a later edition a
renewed statement about his sources.
This is the perfect rationale for the colophon’s existence. However, Crick
is entirely ignorant of the fact that in essence the Vulgate version (by such
an avowal) is retro-dated. The colophon is a reaction to criticism of
‘Geoffrey’s sources as he covers a huge swathe of history previously
unmentioned by earlier authors. It is ‘Geoffrey’s’ response to how such a
mountain of material was divulged in the pretence of a translation from an
old book. Yet this then had to be substantiated by Gaimar and so it went on.
The colophon acts equally as a propagandist statement regarding the
contemporaneity of Caradoc and his separate authorship of ‘Geoffrey’s’
continuation.... which, Caradoc’s work, once interpolated, further evidences
and corroborated that which had been fabricated in HRB.
These are the finer points upon which the Blois fraud exists and which
modern scholars have naïvely taken at face value. If Crick really considered
the full implications…. does she really believe ‘Geoffrey ‘supplied the
materials’ for Caradoc to obediently continue ‘Geoffreys’ work? Another
boon to backdating, by pretending contemporaneity to Malmesbury (before
1143) also makes prophecy (which was supposedly in the same Vulgate
book at that time….apparently!!!) appear more accurate. Nowhere is this
more conclusive than in the Orderic interpolation! This is the subtlety of the
inserted sentence summing up the section of prophecies in Orderic’s
interpolation…. which is plainly devised to appear as having existed when
King Henry Ist was alive. Henry’s interpolation into Orderic concerning the
Merlin prophecies backdates the prophecies to before 1135.
Henry Blois went further in his propaganda and the insistence of
‘Geoffrey’s’ source being an ancient book long after he returned from
Clugny in the invention of Gaimar’s epilogue which we will get to. We also
have at the end of the chronicle called Brut Tysilio
5
(another variant) the
following statement: I, Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, translated this Book
from Welsh into Latin, and in my old age I translated it a second time from
Latin into Welsh…
We must not forget Henry’s resources and the abundance of Welsh
speaking Latin translators. Maybe Henry’s guile is more evident in trying to
provide a further re-adjustment of the contemporaneity himself (Geoffrey)
and Caradoc in the said colophon enjoy: The princes who were afterwards
successively over Wales, I committed to Caradog of Llancarvan; he was, my
contemporary, and to him I left materials for writing that book. From
henceforward the Kings of the English and their successors I committed to
William of Malmesbury and Henry of Huntington, to write about, but they
were to leave the Welsh alone; for they do not possess that Welsh book,
which Walter, archdeacon of Oxford, translated from Latin into
Welsh; and he narrated truly and fully from the history of the aforesaid
Welshmen’.
‘Geoffrey’ supposedly provides the materials to Caradoc. The one thing
this implies is that not only does ‘Geoffrey’ condone Caradoc’s continuation,
5
Myvyrian Archaiology. vol. ii
but it also appears as though Caradoc’s work supposedly follows
chronologically ‘Geoffrey’s’. No-one but Henry Blois would make such a
statement as to leave the history of the Welsh alone because they lack the
fictitious book which Walter supposedly gave ‘Geoffrey’. Henry’s gambit is a
direct attempt at making the Vulgate HRB and its prophecies appear much
older.
Where the Merlin prophecies are concerned, there was suspicion that a
modern contemporary was back dating past events so as to appear
prophetical. When the historicity of ‘Geoffreys’ work came under suspicion,
Walter’s source book is introduced into the Vulgate version. Hence, Walter
nor his source book are mentioned in the Primary Historia nor the First
Variant as these early editions were not widely published. It is only when
the circulation of the Vulgate became more widely read that Henry reacted
to the suspicion. Henry is scrambling firstly to cover his own authorial
tracks and secondly to substantiate the credibility of both the prophecies
and the historicity of HRB.
Even Crick realises that the HRB and its prophecies might have been
challenged. It is likely that it was known at what early date Caradoc died, so
even this may provide Geoffrey’s text with an earlier provenance. Caradoc
supposedly establishes the Arthurian and Gildas connection with
Glastonbury, so one is led to think his continuation of HRB should not be
doubted. ‘Geoffrey’s’ word concerning Walter should supposedly not be
doubted either…. as Walter in his own words says he has translated the
same book from Latin into Welsh (and back again), which, if this were true,
one would logically assume that if Geoffrey is carrying out the same task….
why is it that Walter is not as famous as ‘Geoffrey’ became. The farce is
cyclical and has had scholars chasing their tails.
Tatlock
6
tries to sort this puzzle out concerning Caradoc: There is no
reason why a canon at a loose end should not be received by the Benedictines
of Glastonbury. Much of Caradoc’s Life of Gildas is based upon the life of St
Cadoc. Tatlock recognizes Gildas has no connection whatever with
Glastonbury and yet believes Caradoc is writing while at Glastonbury as
part of the Officine de faux. Tatlock is also duped by Henry’s clever
contrivance that Caradoc is a contemporary of ‘Geoffrey’s’, based on the
assertion in the Colophon. The naivety in modern medieval scholarship is
6
J.S.P. Tatlock, Caradoc of Llancarfan p.145
incredible given the understanding that Life of Gildas and HRB are both
visibly concocted accounts.
It cannot be established whether Walter may have translated Caradoc’s
Brut into Latin as this whole propaganda exercise concerning Archdeacon
Walter and his relationship with ‘Geoffrey’ is purely to establish and
muddle the source of HRB and is probably only based (like the Ralf
relationship to ‘Geoffrey-Gaufridus Artur’) on the Archdeacon’s name being
present when Henry signed (in one sitting) the improvised signing of the
seven charters at Oxford.
Whether or not Walter was an antiquarian is an unimportant point
considering his name also was not employed until after his death in 1151.
The signing of the ‘Galfridus charters’ at Oxford c.1153 after Wallingford is
importantly relevant to Henry Blois having knowledge that Walter had
recently expired, and thereafter, his name could be employed
retrospectively. We must not be fooled by such personal details about
Walter in that he was well read in history and experienced in ‘oratoria arte’
or that he brought the ‘book’ from Brittany.
‘Geoffrey’ is not translating from a book given to him by Walter, but
Henry Blois ends his Primary Historia at the relevant point because Henry
has already read a copy of Caradoc’s work. It seems highly unlikely Caradoc
had been translated into Latin by Walter as Caradoc’s work (as I cover in
chapter 22) was written in Latin. It can only be Henry who wrote the
passage above implying that ‘Geoffrey’ supplied materials to Caradoc to
continue where ‘Geoffrey’ had left off.
Caradoc supposedly wrote the Latin Life of Gildas which substantiates
the Arthurian episode of the kidnap of Guinevere on the Modena archivolt.
The Life of Gildas substantiates Glastonbury’s antiquity in its contention
with Canterbury. The Caradawc or Caradog from the Gwentian Brut or
more likely the Caradoc, Duke of Cornwall in HRB may be Henry Blois’
reason for the inscription of Carrado on the Modena archivolt (as he is not
mentioned in the Life of Gildas or the Vita Cadoci along with Kai). Perhaps
the mention of Carrado-Caradoc is Henry’s attempt at irony, since the only
version of this kidnap of Guinevere episode is found in Caradoc’s Life of
Gildas.... which he himself had written. It is not surprising therefore, that
this dispute between Melvas and King Arthur is corroborated in the DA
where Henry Blois has interpolated the story and where Gildas is seen as
the mediator.
To understand the reasoning behind the construction of the original
pseudo-history which evolved into the Primary Historia found at Bec and its
evolution to the First Variant and Vulgate HRB, it is necessary to grasp that
initially it was started (the part from Brutus to the point where the
‘Arthuriad’ starts) in Henry Ist time.... while Henry Blois was a young man
at Glastonbury c.1128-9. As we have covered, the History of the Franks also
posited the hereditary descent from Troy and it is highly probable that
Henry Ist, (who was a scholar in his own right), was probably the intended
recipient of the pseudo-history (as it set the stage in previous British
history) i.e. a female monarch precedent which was the contention of a
future Heir since the White ship disaster and the death of William Adelin.
Matilda’s prospective rule, most likely accounts for the inclusion of the
many Queens posited by ‘Geoffrey’. If I am correct in my assumption that
Henry Blois was the ‘someone’ who recounted the Frank’s history to Henry
Ist, as recorded by Huntingdon…. it would surely be in Henry Blois’ interest
initially to provide his uncle with an equally grand rendition of British
history as that of the Franks from Troy.
The crux to how the ‘Geoffrey’s’ work of HRB was constructed is that
when Henry Blois’ uncle died, the gist of the yet unfinished pseudo-historia
was remoulded (adding to it the Arthuriad), but certain features of the
fictitious storyline remained unaltered in Primary Historia; especially
concerning the five British queens which had been included to fulfil a
specific and earlier agenda regarding the Empress Matilda as heir to Henry
Ist. At that time, the prospective book had political ramifications in setting a
precedent for accepting a queen.
As for the motive behind some other preferences, attitudes or allegiances
which Geoffrey shows, we can only be conjectural. My guess is that links
were highlighted with a more prominent connection concerning Brittany
when Stephen came to the throne as the point of the pro-Brittany stance
held in HRB seems unclear in its motivation. Trying to divine the motive
and what accurately transpired is a can of worms….foremost, because
Henry is trying to achieve many things at different times and the reader
will see that these different agendas are reflected in DA. Where HRB is
concerned, firstly, Henry is Norman and trying to hide his authorship in
pretending to be a Welsh ‘Geoffrey’. Secondly, the text is squewed to
conform more with known historical sources when he comes to re-editing
the Primary Historia as the First Variant. The reasoning behind this is so
that the First Variant is to be presented as viable history/proof in his case
for Metropolitan at Rome in 1144 and tailored toward an ecclesiastical
Roman audience. (This is evident as I cover later in discussing the format of
the First Variant). The prophecies which started out with innocuous intent,
merely composed to fascinate the contemporary audience of their ability to
see so many relevant episodes which had transpired in their time….
becomes a political invective against Henry II (once the prophecies are
updated in 1155), predicting that should the Britons/Celtic tribes rebel…. the
Normans would be defeated.
What has confused scholars more is why the First Variant adheres more
historically to the insular, Roman and Continental annals and has a biblical
bent. We know the First Variant has an 1155 updated version of the
prophecies attached, so we are unable to know in what form it was
presented at Rome and what other editorial changes to the prophecies were
added which we find in the Vulgate version which were not in the
presentation copy for the case of Metropolitan.
Henry Blois groomed Eustace expecting to have influence over Eustace
after Stephen’s death until such time as the truce was made at the end of
the Anarchy. After Henry’s brother Stephen died and Henry II came to the
throne, Henry Blois found himself in a difficult position in self imposed
exile. It is here we see the concoction of VM and JC prophecies as Henry
Blois has one last attempt at regaining power by inciting rebellion by
predicting an adopted seventh King. Once back in England in 1158 and
there is no chance of regaining his original power, Henry settles for the
aura of Venerable statesman where age had moderated political ambition
and his writing at Clugny had brought calm.
7
In 1158 Henry set about the third phase of his authorial edifice which he
has left to posterity. This was the updating of the DA with Joseph material
and the invention of a new tale which was to be the pinnacle of his
7
Dom David Knowles, The Monastic Order in England: When Henry II came to the throne the Bishop of
Winchester left the country, not to return until 1158. During the 13 years of life that still remain to him he
appeared in a very different character. Age had moderated ambition and brought calm; under the new King there
was no room or need for military Bishops; the aims and outlook of the papacy had changed and the generation of
Clugny ecclesiastics had almost all passed away. Henry could now fill the role of an elder statesman, the father
of the hierarchy. He supported Beckett quietly, but staunchly, as 20 years before he had supported his nephew,
William of York, in his day of distress, and he, who 20 years before had been the opponent of the Cistercians of
the North, and the object of Bernard’s most violent invective, was now the advocate of the friend of the
Cistercians, Gilbert of Sempringham. He was indeed, universally respected, even revered, and the praise of
Gerald of Wales who knew him only in these mellow years of generous patronage, has secured his reputation
with posterity”.
inventive mind. It was based on a historical truth, but he had no way of
understanding Melkin’s prophecy. He knew it held the key to finding the
island of Ineswitrin on which Joseph was buried. Henry was not a fool and
knew the 601 charter which referred to the same Island was not a fake.
Because Henry came across the prophecy of Melkin, he introduced a
forgotten character from antiquity into British history; one Joseph of
Arimathea.
Because of Henry Blois’ muses, Joseph of Arimathea then became the
focus of Grail literature along with Arthur. This is a brief synopsis of
Henry’s evolving authorial edifice which culminated in Grail literature and
is only mentioned here so that certain previous misunderstandings as to
how the three main bodies of literature link up can be understood by the
common denominator of Henry Blois. I have wished to avert the reader to
the direction of where the evidence we are about to cover is leading us in
our coverage of three genres of Arthuriana, Glastonburiana and Grail
literature.
If one does not understand Henry Blois as the author of HRB, it is
impossible to see through the affiliations he makes, or account for the
anachronistic association of Arthur and Joseph and the Grail heroes…. or
understand ‘Geoffrey’s’ seemingly contradictory views. As a ‘Norman’
Henry sees himself and his heritage through his grandfather as a rightful
inheritor of Britain. The Welsh of his present era he hates and makes it
plain in GS and HRB saying they are nothing more than savages. There is a
lot of rationalisation of this position as his affiliations stretch as part of the
heritage of the emigration of the British (to Brittany) at the Saxon invasion.
This position changes of course as he entices rebellion in the later
prophecies and even predicts Henry II loss of power as the end of Norman
rule. Of the Angli and the Saxones he feels the same and politically posits
the Normans as eradicators of the Saxon invaders and holds the same tone
as that intonated by both Gildas and Bede. The Scots also, he holds in
contempt, coloured by King David’s affiliation with Matilda. He is
contemptuous that his brother has made a deal with King David three times
and each time David has broken his word. We witness this in the
prophecies and GS.
Glastonbury is not mentioned in HRB, but if it had been, suspicion would
fall on Henry as author of HRB. Winchester features heavily and by so
doing provides evidence of an early monastic house at which Constans
stayed. It is all part of what the First Variant brings as reliable history upon
which Henry Blois’ metropolitan is granted in 1144. Winchester is much
vaunted in HRB second only to London. St Amphibalus is posited and
Arthur’s Dragon was sure to turn up if all had gone according to plan.
Arthur’s dragon as a (forged) standard was clearly inspired by the Bayeux
tapestry. Harold’s dragon standard or banner may well have been in
Henry’s possession to be produced or ‘found’ at an opportune moment. No-
one is sure of what became of it after its capture at Hastings. Adam of
Damerham however, does say that Henry endowed a banner to
Glastonbury.
Canterbury is ignored in HRB for previous disputes Glastonbury had had
with it and because of Henry Blois’ enmity with Theobald and the Ass of
Wickedness (William of Corbeil), both treated with distain. Henry does his
utmost to promote Winchester as a metropolitan in real life as well as by
implication in the prophecies and by providing adequate proof in the
storyline of HRB that in terms of primacy it antedated Canterbury.
Henry Blois’ medieval mind is fascinated by Stonehenge. He has no idea
how it came to be there. ‘Geoffrey’ loves to astound by providing bogus
anecdotal history and etymology. His cleverness runs throughout HRB
where we witness his Mons Ambrii which the contemporary reader would
know to be Amesbury. Geoffrey lets his reader deduce the eponym is so
called by its proximity to the Giants Dance brought back from Ireland by
Merlin Ambrosius and instigated by Aurelius Ambrosius. Here we get a
good idea of how ‘Geoffrey’s mind works. He obviously knows the lay of
the land and weaves etymology with known geography.
‘Geoffrey’ is not a parochial Welshman; he is a man of state affairs who
is well travelled throughout insular Britain and he has an exceptional grasp
of historical names of populations on the continent and of course
geographical regions. By comparison with many others in Henry’s own era,
he travelled extensively on the continent and on errands for his brother or
carrying out ecclesiastical duties.
For the description of the Giants Dance for Stonehenge, we only have
Henry Bloisimagination to thank. ‘Geoffrey’stwist on Nennius’s slaughter
of the Britons and the connection with Stonehenge just highlights his art
form. Initially in Huntingdon’s report to Warin there was no miracle: 'Uter
Pendragon, the son of Aurelius, who brought from Ireland the Dance of Giants
which is now called Stanhenges’. Henry Blois in his later Vulgate HRB
providing an answer to people such as Huntingdon who had commented
that ‘none can imagine by what art the stones were raised or for what
purpose’. At the introduction of Merlin into HRB along with the prophecies,
Henry Blois’ resolution as author of HRB as to how the edifice appears on
the landscape is also weaved into the storyline providing a fascinated
audience of the Vulgate Version the solution to how the monument
occurred and the fact that this must be evidential of Giants in history as
found in many old texts.
Coincidentally, these may be the giants that Arthur or Brutus fought.
The fact Henry has Merlin transfer Stonehenge from Ireland shows also
that Henry is aware of Megalithic structures in Ireland. Henry loves to
provide solutions in eponyms or myths to things that puzzle him and his
audience. Stone circles were common and therefore, apart from the fact
that the stones come from Killaraus mons, they also are provided with an
array of bogus detail: For in these stones is a mystery, and a healing virtue
against many ailments. Giants of old did carry them from the furthest ends of
Africa and did set them up in Ireland at what time they did inhabit therein.
And unto this end they did it, that they might make them baths therein when
so ever they ailed of any malady, for they did wash the stones and pour forth
the water into the baths, whereby they that were sick were made whole.
Moreover, they did mix confections of herbs with the water, whereby they that
were wounded had healing, for not a stone is there that lacks in virtue of
leechcraft.
8
Henry Blois has no problem with pure invention, but the state of his
mind is anything but pure.
9
What is most interesting is that between 1138
when Primary Historia was produced and 1144, when the Anarchy was in
full swing and the First Variant was finalised as a presentation copy for
Rome, Henry’s pleasure in his private hours was given over to refining an
already bogus history with more mythical detail as he wove Merlin into
HRB. It is not a certainty that the First Variant changed that much between
1144 and the second attempt at metropolitan in 1149. Until his brother’s
death in 1154, Henry must have been refining the text.
Henry detested Alexander, Robert of Gloucester, Robert de Chesney and
Waleran also, so his dedicatees were more chosen as a guise to hide his
authorship than any other reason. However, the city of Gloucester (for
reasons in context of the initial unpublished pseudo-historia) is given
8
HRB. VIII. xi
9
Macabre scenes are depicted from a bent mind: The Dragon shall bear him aloft, and swingeing his tail shall
beat him upon his naked body. Then shall the Giant, again renewing his strength, pierce his gullet with his
sword, and at last shall the Dragon die poisoned, entangled within the coils of his tail.
prominence
10
in being founded by Claudius (Claudiocestria)….. or its
alternative eponym from Gloius, son of Claudius, where both the dubiously
historical Lucius and Arviragus
11
are conveniently buried. Gloucester
supposedly had a large See and the bishop Eldadus has a brother who is one
of Aurelius’s brave knights who killed Hengist. The Consul Claudiocestrie is
given prominence and is distinguished in battle against the Romans. Henry
must have known Gloucester well as it is en route travelling into southern
Wales. Certainly the writer of HRB and GS has a good knowledge of it.
The writer of GS is also at pains to tell us that the city of Bath gets its
name from ‘a word peculiar to the English language signifying wash place’,
but ‘Geoffrey’ in HRB is also cognisant of this as Bladud built the baths.
Obviously Henry knew Bath well as he was in attendance with his brother
there in GS. The invention of Bladud, who was from Badon.... no-one had
ever heard of before. Kaer Badum is really introduced at Bath to correlate
with Badonicus Mons or Mons Badonis which Geoffrey locates from
mention in Gildas, Bede and Nennius and connects to Arthur’s last battle in
‘Geoffrey’s’ usual conflationary method of association of disparate
anecdotal information.
As regards Exeter and Totnes in Devon, we know Henry Blois has
knowledge of Uffculme from his early days at Glastonbury and he has been
to Plympton as he describes the early morning attack in GS with eyewitness
detail. The siege of Exeter, Henry Blois was definitely involved in... and
probably used Totnes as Brutus’ and Vespasian’s landing as he would have
known that it was the highest navigable point on the Dart. Also one would
probably pass through it on the way to Plympton.
A certain Judhel of Totnes built the castle and was succeeded by his son
and the Cannons of Laon on their journey visited Judhel at Barnstable. We
might speculate that given that their travel record bears witness of the
contretemps about Arthur, there is a chance of this very tradition being an
interpolation…. given that Laon is close to Meuse and Bec and on the route
down to Rome which Henry often frequented.
I am suggesting that in their travelogue Henry might have inserted the
anecdote in regard to having seen that the earlier travellers passed through
10
The prominence given to Gloucester is a direct resultant derived from when the original pseudo-history was
written to please or endear Henry Blois to family members of King Henry I; so his bastard son’s ducal house
(who later became Henry and his brother Stephen’s nemesis) at this period was afforded illustrious provenance
from a faux etymology Claudiocestrie
11
We shall see that both Lucius and Arviragus are both embellished false personas invented by Geoffrey.
Devon; and this might have been done while resting over at Laon. After all,
if he goes to the extent of promoting his rescue of Guinevere into the
engravings on the Modena Archivolt, this would only be a small effort by
comparison. Another interest which is also corroborated in GS is Henry
Bloislove of Castles. Of the many towns mentioned in HRB, nearly all have
early Norman castles.
‘Geoffrey’s’ Saltus Geomagog which is ‘near Totnes’ where the Giant is
thrown over a cliff by Corineus is probably the cliffs at the entrance to
Salcombe…. (Salgoem)’as it is still so named’, says Geoffrey’. Salcombe has
the giant’s name of Magog spliced onto it and is posited as the location of
the wrestling. For Henry to know that there are cliffs there on which to base
his fight scene with the giant and the fact that it is stated to be near
Totnes…. one must assume, Henry has been to those cliffs. My point is that
later the reader will understand that there is reasonable evidence that
Henry Blois has actively searched for the Island of Ineswitrin. He is one of
the few people who knows it is in Devon. It just so happens that these cliffs
overlook Burgh Island. Burgh Island is the Ineswitrin in the 601 charter and
the island to which the geometrical data in the Prophecy of Melkin
locates…. with alarming accuracy.
It is doubtful a Welsh ‘Geoffrey’ would be so well travelled having a
good grasp of the geography from the south west of England and all the way
to Scotland. Henry Blois is well-travelled from Brittany to Flanders, with
highly specific knowledge of the environs of Burgundy and the ports on
both side of the channel. HRB was not written by a parochial Welshman.
Our author’s geography is extremely detailed even down to the Aravian
Mountains on the French side of the Alps.
‘Geoffrey’s’ affiliation and the prominence he assigns to the Cornish or
Cornwall has been puzzling for most commentators because Gildas, Bede,
Nennius pay much attention to the South west nor do the Annales Cambriae.
This affiliation of Arthur with Cornwall might be more based on the
genuine tradition of the Warlord Arthur rather than the totally fictitious
chivalric Arthur from Caerleon. The propensity to things Cornish are based
upon mostly Arthurian detail but the question is why has ‘Geoffrey after
his invention of Arthur’s Welsh base at Caerleon, brought a tradition of
Arthur’s southern heritage to the fore…. unless there is some substance to it
in association with Warlord Arthur. I refer back to the travellers from Leon.
There is no substance at all to King Arthur at Caerleon and the reason for
the Welsh backdrop is based upon a Welsh and Bardic oral tradition, not
specifically about Arthur, but more on memory of old wars of the Britons.
Lifris was from Llancarfon and relates episodes about Arthur in the Vita
Cadoci. There are Roman Archaeological remains at Caerleon and so
prominence was given to this area as a credible setting. It existed within an
area that ‘Geoffrey’ associated with the ancient Britons and Henry had been
there. Given Henry’s interest in architecture and his visits to Rome, he
writes of the ruined Roman buildings that Caerleon: passing fair was the
magnificence of the Kingly palaces thereof with the gilded verges of the roofs
that imitated Rome.
12
In reality ‘Geoffrey’ distinguishes his own present hate
for the Welsh in GS while at the same time situating the grandeur of the
Arthurian court at an obscure Caerleon where there were ancient remains.
There is this hate for the Welsh so evidently expressed in both HRB and GS
which totally negates a real Geoffrey being from Monmouth and certainly
not ‘Brito’.
The conundrum for most commentators on the HRB has been Geoffrey’s
contradictory attitude to the insular races and his lack of damnation of the
Norman overlords in the prophecies. In fact Henry Blois is the Norman
overlord! Henry’s prospective self-‘adoption’ as a returning Briton as
evidenced in the John of Cornwall prophecies is contrasted with his own
current hatred for the residue of the remaining Celtic races. Henry’s
opinion has mostly been coloured by their rebellion in the time of King
Stephen’s rule, but he also holds the same opinion about the Irish. The
Cornish and the Breton’s as Celts are looked upon in a much more favoured
light.
Geoffrey’s knowledge of the sea ports of France is more than a Welsh
cleric living at Oxford could reasonably be acquainted with. Henry Blois
writes from experience, knowing intimately Mont St. Michel, Rennes,
Tréguier and Kidaleta, journeying through the channel island ports on his
many excursions to and fro across the channel. In Henry Blois’ usual lack of
attention to detail regarding distance (to affect an air of a chronicle rather
than first hand experience), he has Arthur travel to the small island of
‘Tumbe Helene’ to avenge Hoel’s niece.... knowing full well that Barfleur is
72 miles away. He must have visited Mont St Michel with his uncle or as a
monk…. but we know he went to Mont St Michel and met Robert de Torigni
in 1155. Henry certainly knew of Barfleur and may indeed be an indication
12
HRB IX, xii
of why he wrote the poem found in Orderic from which he uses the same
expression (fish food) as found in the Merlin prophecies.
13
‘Geoffrey’ mentions a few places in Normandy and includes a Duke of
Normandy as well as the Duke of Poitou. The name of Ruteni comes directly
from Lucan’s Pharsalia and ‘Geoffrey has placed them in Flanders on the
basis that the town of Ruthia was in Flanders and Ruthena was a city near
Paris. The Ruteni and Moriani seem to be from Flanders, but to avoid
detection as author of HRB their provenance is uncertain i.e. not specifically
defined. As it happens, his brother is the Count of Flanders.
However, Gerinus of Chartres, again in Blois lands, is given prominence
over the twelve peers of Gaul. The Allobroges, who are from Burgundy, are
prominent, but again, there is no sign or hint of Blois glory…. where after
the battle: Arthur made grant of Neustria, which is now called Normandy,
unto Bedevere his butler, and the province of Anjou unto Kay his seneschal.
Many other provinces also did he grant unto the noblemen that did him
service in his household.
One can be sure that the Blois region is omitted on purpose without
being specifically named. Funnily enough, every other province is named;
Aquitaine, Brittany, Normandy and Anjou get mentioned along with Maine.
The region of Blois is the only one not glorified by name, but Henry
compensates for this by deciding to place the epic battle in Burgundian
Blois lands instead.
‘Geoffrey’s’ ease linking continental names is an indicator of his
knowledge of continental saints such as St Leodegarius which name he
gives to the Consul of Boulogne. Bladud’s son Leir is one of Geoffrey’s
greatest triumph’s…. but without an eponym to fascinate his audience he
would not feel satisfied; and so it was Leir who builded the city on the river
Soar, that in the British is called Kaerleir, but in the Saxon, Leicester. The
story of King Leir incorporates so many aspects of the human experience
and it is parabolic, dealing with empathy and true love. When the story
finishes and Cordelia and her husband Aganippus defeat the wicked dukes
in Britain and then restores the Kingdom to her father, it appears as if
Henry of Huntingdon in his letter to Warin makes an observation, Hence the
saying: words said in moderation should be all the more valued. We could
speculate that this was an observation made by Galfridus Arthur and not
13
Note 6. If Henry did not write the poem, he certainly had read Orderic.
Huntingdon’s observation to his friend Warin i.e. it was in the script of the
Primary Historia, as it is a precept of Cicero’s work on Oratory.
When King Leir hits hard times, he goes in search of Cordelia for
succour and: Landing at last, his mind filled with these reflections and others
of a like kind, he came to Karitia, where his daughter lived… Henry’s bogus
eponym in his favoured region of Blois is La Charité in a supposedly archaic
Latinised form as Karitia. The town of La Charité-sur Loire began as the first
of the Cluniac priories on an island site in the Loire. The Priory of La
Charité-sur Loire is a Cluniac monastery not far from Clugny, Autun and
Langres, in which Henry started his life as an oblate.
Henry of Blois was rumoured to be Abbot of Bermondsey, a substantial
monastery, before becoming Abbot of Glastonbury.... and Bermondsey was
a dependent priory of the Cluniac monastery of La Charité-sur-Loire. This
may be the reason for ‘Geoffrey’s’ choice of Cordelia’s place of residence
with the King of the Franki, Aganippus. Aganippe is best known as a spring
on Mt Helicon where we find the Muses of classical Greek literature. Given
Henry’s own personal reference in the Meusan plates to Muses, and in the
preamble of HRB, it seems fair to assume Henry is versed in Greek
literature.
In a life of St Folcuinus by Bishop of Therouanne, a lighthouse is
mentioned and Therouanne is only 25 miles from Boulogne. This ‘Turris
ordransor tower Odraus Farus is a structure (a tower on which a fire was
lit to guide ships through the Dover straights) known to ‘Geoffrey in his
travels most likely or from the life of St Folcuinus…. but ‘Geoffrey’
fictionalises that it was built by Caesar: He (Caesar) then threw himself into a
certain tower he had constructed at a place called Odnea.
‘Geoffrey’ loves to distort names such as Charité to Karitia and we can
see the same in Geoffrey’s Odnea from ordrans or ordrensis and ‘Wace’s’
Ordre. The only reason ‘Wace’ made Karitia into Calais was again a case of
Henry Blois distancing himself from a suspicion of authorship of Wace’s
Roman de Brut; Henry Blois impostors Wace, as I shall get to later.
King Arthur fights Frollo on an island outside the city of Paris in front of
onlookers. This again shows topographical acquaintance with the lay of the
land of a certain island which would in Henry’s estimation have been
outside the walls of Paris in Arthur’s day. We could postulate that this
would be a difficult presumption for a Welsh ‘Geoffrey to make without
having eyeballed the topography.
Throughout the HRB ‘Geoffrey’s’ knowledge of regions, cities and towns
is not that of a parochial cleric living in Oxford who originated from the
Welsh Marches. Henry Blois, as a well-educated, well-travelled and
continentally born person has no problem inventing the Basclenses for the
Basques and is not favourable to Poitou which is a reflection of his own bias
(in 1138) and knows regions such as Guasconia. In this instance of Gascony,
Henry Blois loves to Latinize nomenclature giving his readers a sense of the
archaic; but also providing recognisable forms for his contemporary Anglo-
Norman/continental audience.
When it comes to his own region of Blois or Burgundy, avoiding
suspicion of authorship completely, he refers to his own family’s southern
region as the people of the Allobroges. This nomenclature is found in
Fulcher of Chartres Historia Hierosolymitana and the eleventh century
Chartres cartulary. How would a Welsh Geoffrey know this and why is our
author coy about any specific mention of the region known to be that of
Blois? The Senones Galli are of course only slightly differentiated
geographically from the Allobroges….the distinction though is obvious to
the native Henry Blois. Again, the town of Sens is within the Blois region of
lands, yet he knows and differentiates the areas. All these family lands were
held now by his brother Theobald.
‘Geoffrey’s’ Augustodunum is Autun where we find the See of St
Leodegarius who we just mentioned. After having lost a skirmish at the
river Aube, Thorpe translates wrongly that the city of Autun is on Arthur’s
left hand whereas the Latin text has relicta a leava civitate i.e. Langres…. as
Arthur is coming down from the imaginary skirmish on the Aube. It was the
fictional Lucius Hiberius who could not make up his mind what to do on his
way to Autun and therefore marched his army into Langres for the night.
‘King Arthur’ knew that the quickest way to Autun from Langres for an
army was along the Roman road through Dijon. Why Faral says: Il faut
reconnoitre que la Geographie de Geoffrey est assez indècise…is plainly non-
sensible in this instance as ‘Wace’ is even clearer about certain facts,
indicating that Henry has the picture straight in his mind. The problem
most commentators have had is a want to place Siesia in conjunction with a
known name rather than employing another of ‘Geoffrey’s’ attributes by
giving the valley its eponym by who built the road through it.
The First variant has Siesia, Siessia or Soissie Sesie in Wace and sounds
like Ceasar; but as we will discuss later, material in Wace is specifically
squewed to make it seem as if it were not Henry Blois (or Geoffrey) who
wrote the Roman de Brut. Arthur, leaving the city (of Langres) on his left, he
took up a position in a certain valley called Siesia,
14
through the which, Lucius
would have to pass.
15
Henry Blois or ‘Geoffrey’ had chosen for Arthur’s pitched battle a place
on the Roman road of the Via Agrippa. We may speculate that it was known
locally to the Burgundian inhabitants and to Henry Blois, (a frequent
traveller and native), as the ‘Vale of Caesar’. Tatlock gives two other pieces
of relevant information which are more interesting to us since we know it is
Henry Blois writing HRB. There was a monastery near Donzy called
Sessiacum 36 miles from Avallon and about 60miles from Autun. But, even
more likely as to the naming by ‘Geoffrey’, since Henry is attempting to use
ancient allusions, is a castle called La Sessie which the count of Champagne
held of the Roman emperor.
16
The Fact that a Welsh cleric at Oxford knows
that the River Aube flows from the Plateau de Langres seems unlikely. The
fact that a Welsh Geoffrey knows the Allobroges
17
are the people of the
region of Blois i.e. Burgundy.... seems more unlikely, or their distinction
from the Senones.
Henry names the location where Arthur cuts off Lucius Hiberius’ forces
as ‘Ceasar’s Valley’ or the valley of Siesia. The Via Agrippa is a long Roman
road which runs in what is a vast vale and there are hills in the distance on
both sides of the Roman road.
14
MSS of Wace have Soissie, Suison, Soeefie, which is meant to hide Henry Blois’ previous accurate knowledge
of the Roman road which occupies Caesar’s Valley
15
HRB, X,vi
16
Recueil des Histoires des Gaules, X11,322. Henrys brother was Count of Champagne.
17
The Allobroges occur in two periods in HRB and are given exalted status. They and their Duke Seginus
befriend Brennius. Arthur subdues them and of course meets the Romans in their territory. Are we to be duped
into believing a Welsh Cleric knows the Burgundians archaic name and topography of the region? Yet Henry
Blois would be fully aware of the peoples in his familys region. Fulcher of Chartres refers to the Allobroges in
his Historia Hierosolymitana in the eleventh century; a copy of which probably existed at Clugny. How does a
Welsh ’Geoffrey have local knowledge to differentiate the Allobroges by region from the Senones Galli? How
is it that ‘Geoffreyhas read Orosius? As Tatlock points out…. where the Senones Galli really belong is in early
accounts of the capture of Rome by the Celts in fourth century BC; just the place where ‘Geoffrey uses it.
Orosius’ Historia II, 19 tells of the ‘Galli Senones, Duce Brenno’ attacking Rome. Again, we see the source of
Henrys inspiration. The same exploits of Brennus and his Galli Senones are related by Landolfus Sagax which
we know is a source ‘Geoffrey’ follows closely in the First Variant. It is not by accident that ‘Geoffrey
highlights this region in eastern France; but Tatlock unwittingly comments that to his mind there is scarcely
reason why it should have been well known in History’. I know that this exposé seems like an ode against
scholarship, but it beggars belief that the Abbot of Glastonbury is never implicated as author of HRB. Henry has
perfect knowledge of the region of eastern France and was in charge of the place where Arthur’s relics were
discovered. Principally, when Master Blehis is reckoned the source for Arthurian and Grail Literature…. and
more so, when Glastonbury is not even mentioned in HRB and Joseph and the Grail and Arthur are intricately
connected to Glastonbury in the interpolated DA dedicated to Henry Blois, where the location of Arthur’s grave
is stipulated in DA before it was unearthed.
Arthur is envisaged as heading south marching from the North. He has
Langres on his left as Henry (‘Geoffrey’) imagines Arthur’s progress down to
the Via Agrippa. Henry’s local geographical knowledge understands that if
Lucius wanted to get an army from Langres to Autun he would naturally
travel on the Via Agrippa. It may not be by accident that Saussy (a small
village) is only six miles from the Via Agrippa…. mid-way between Langres
and Autun.
Henry Blois portrays a visualised engagement somewhere between
Vaux-sous-Aubingny and Dijon. The Roman road runs straight as an arrow
in a valley plain for 22 miles from Dijon before turning at Vaux-sous-
Aubingny to run perfectly straight for another 14 miles to Langres.
Commentators have thought the supposed Welshman ‘Geoffrey’ had
spuriously identified a non-existent location. The valley of Siesia is nowhere
found in the Roman Annals, but may have been known locally as such in
Henry’s time.
The remarkable point to make about Henry calling the Valley plain, the
valley of Siesia is his purposeful mis-spelling of ‘Caesar’, just as Charité is
intentionally corrupted to Karitia....or his knowledge of the village of
Saussy. Would the courtly Norman and clerical audience for HRB know the
locations referred to from their own geographical knowledge? It is odd to
think the contemporary readership (post 1155) believe in the literal
translation from ‘Geoffrey’s’ ancient (Briton) book from which he is
supposedly transcribing.
There are many coincidences to cover like the ‘round table’ appearing at
what was Winchester Castle during the last years of Henry’s life. While we
are at this juncture it is worth noting that ‘Wace’ knows exactly, in his
mind, where this battle is taking place and becomes more specific about its
topography than the supposed ‘Geoffrey’. Even though most commentators
believe Wace is merely transliterating in a more vibrant French octo-
syllabic couplet than Geoffrey’s HRB Latin prose.... one can tell that it is the
same author. ‘Wace’ knows exactly the topography also and expands in
places where Geoffrey remains vague.
Henry impersonates Wace to widen his audience into the continent by
retelling HRB in colloquial French verse: Now Langres is builded on the
summit of a mount, and the plain lies all about the city. So Lucius and part of
his people lodged within the town, and for the rest they sought shelter in the
valley. Arthur knew well where the emperor would draw, and of his aim and
purpose. He was persuaded that the Roman would not fight till the last man
was with him. He cared neither to tarry in the city, nor to pacify the realm.
Arthur sounded his trumpets, and bade his men to their harness. As speedily
as he might he marched out from camp. He left Langres on the left hand,
and passed beyond it bearing to the right (just as the Roman road bends
today at Vaux-sous-Aubingny). He had in mind to outstrip the emperor, and
seize the road to Autun. All the night through, without halt or stay, Arthur
fared by wood and plain, till he came to the valley of Soissons.
There Arthur armed his host, and made him ready for battle. The highway
from Autun to Langres led through this valley and Arthur would welcome the
Romans immediately they were come. The King put the gear and the camp
followers from the host. He set them on a hill nearby, arrayed in such fashion
as to seem men-at-arms. He deemed that the Romans would be the more
fearful, when they marked this multitude of spears. Arthur took six thousand
six hundred and sixty six men, and ranged them by troops in a strong
company. (Wace)
He is writing for a continental French audience in Wace. Henry re-
names what in HRB was Ceasar’s valley to the valley of Soissons (Soissie,
Saoise) in Wace which is a pun on Soixant or sixty’s. The number appears to
be randomly generated by mystic association most probably with the 666
from Revelation.
18
Henry Blois knows the topography of the region but is vague when he
envisions a spot on the River Aube to camp for Arthur’s troops and around
Langres; he just passes it to the left of Langres in HRB and the valley is just
a place ‘through the which Lucius would have to pass’. So, if Wace is merely
copying a dead Bishop’s work (of Asaph), how is it he knows there is a
highway between Langres and Autun and also that Langres
19
is on a hill
with a plain beneath? How does Wace write: Lucius rose early in the
morning, purposing to set forth from Langres to Autun his host was now a
great way upon the road…. and know that it is 14 miles to the right turn (at
Vaux-sous-Aubingny) and the battle is envisaged about 10 miles after that
18
HRB .X viii. Roman fashion, in the shape of a wedge, so that when the army was in full array each division
contained six thousand six hundred and sixty-six soldiers. More probably, the number is a complete invention
based upon Isidore’s 6,000 for the size of a Legio.
19
‘Geoffrey’ calls Langres Lengrias which was never its name. Henry is affecting an archaic form but he does
refer to Autun as Augustodnum correctly. ‘Geoffrey’s’ knowledge of France and its people and regions in
relation to each other is just too informed to be anything other than interested and first hand. None of this is as
M. Faral believes, ‘mere ignorant archaic colouring’. Continental regions were known by Henry and personages
apportioned fictitiously to them but done to a level of expertise which surpasses the capability of someone from
Wales.
where the bogus army is situated on a hill. How is it both know of the right
turn bend in the Roman road? This is the same mind imagining the same
fictional battle in the same mind’s eye.
The surprising fact that is little mentioned is ‘Geoffrey’s’ and ‘Wace’s’
obvious talent at battle strategy, yet there is an ease with which Henry
describes some of the goriest scenes. The Britons have cavalry on the flanks
which charge which throw Lucius into disorder the same tactic used at
Tinchebrai in 1106, Henry would have heard from his uncle. ‘Waceis even
better at war tactics than ‘Geoffrey’ and we know Henry fought and
witnessed many a pitched battle as is made plain in GS.
The Grim details of death on the battlefield in HRB, coughing blood from
chest wounds, kicking in the throes of dying are not ‘Geoffrey’s’ the cleric
from Oxford’s experience but Henry’s from the battle field. This ability and
interest in military strategy is highlighted in GS; and Henry himself had
obviously experienced sieges
20
and open field battle on many occasions and
understands the subtleties of tactical warfare and ruses
21
. This again
qualifies Henry so much more than a Welsh cleric at Oxford to describe the
many strategic battle scenes and especially in a region governed by Henry’s
family and forebears and in which he travelled in his youth.
Henry’s Roman vassals and his geography are supplied by accounts of
Crusaders, which probably derive from his Father’s tales, mixed with
biblical names. One name stands out as a total invention, Alifatima King of
Spain. This is Henry’s invention, as he conjoined the names of Ali and
Fatima, Mohammed’s cousin and son in law. This information was probably
sourced from his good friend Peter the Venerable who had translated the
Koran. Henry’s knowledge of the Moors in Spain would also have provided
the background for such an invention.
Obviously, there was an historical Arthur or there would be no canvas,
but he can resemble nothing of the picture painted by ‘Geoffrey’ because his
greatness would have been recorded before ‘Geoffrey (as Newburgh
20
Henry Blois was in Wales in 1136 at Kidwelly castle fighting against Gwenllian's forces where her army was
routed. She was captured in battle and beheaded. Her son Morgan (a name featured in Wace) was also slain and
another son, Maelgwyn captured and executed. Geoffrey’ invented a Briton queen called Gwendoloena to lead
the troops in HRB. Should we suppose that Lidelea is Kidwelly (given Geoffrey’s penchant for distorting names)
and was it the castle which belonged to the Bishop of Winchester?
21
Ironically Tatlock says: On the whole in warlike matters Geoffrey is well informed and Intelligent for an
ecclesiastic and a scholar.
complains), rather than been anecdotally mentioned in Annales Cambriae,
Nennius or William of Malmesbury’s GR. Arthur may or may not have been
a King of the Britons or merely a rebellious warlord, but the point is it does
not matter.
The only thing that matters is we know Geoffrey’s account is untrue and
if some unscrupulous Bishop can invent such an account…. why should we
even believe the slim and doubtful record of the persona of Geoffrey of
Monmouth ever having existed. Why is it that commentators are duped
into believing what the author of an obviously fraudulent book has wanted
to portray to secrete his own personality? There was never any flesh on
Geoffrey’s bones, but what little there appears to be…. was put there by
Henry Blois. Once, little regard for the truth is uncovered in the material
composition of HRB…. why is it that researchers have naïvely accepted the
persona of Geoffrey?
Our scholars force the pieces to fit concerning Merlin and Arthur rather
than accepting there was an Arthurian ‘tradition’, but HRB and Arthur’s
exploits recorded in it, are wholly the composition of a fertile yet learned
mind. The whole of the HRB is constructed by Henry Blois. Does it matter
how he constructed it or from which source a certain detail or inspiration
came. As long as scholarship strains at every detail yet swallows the
flimsiest premise upon which the persona of ‘Geoffreyis built…. there will
be no resolution to the authorial edifice which Henry Blois has composed
known as the Matter of Britain.
No-one will ever discover the most important fact which is embedded in
the constructed edifice of Henry’s work which is to be found in the Grail
literature as long as they disassociate the Josephean Grail from the
Arthurian HRB and both of their connections to the Prophecy of Melkin….
and then the prophecy’s association with Avalon and Henry’s association
with Glastonbury.
Henry’s work covers three main genres; the HRB, Glastonburyana and
Grail literature. So, the real importance of a potential present day discovery
that is part of this Matter of Britain will remain undiscovered without
understanding that the HRB was constructed by a man who wished to hide
his identity. One will never understand the Matter of Britain and its
connection to Grail legend without the inclusion of Henry Blois as Master
Blehis. One will never understand the Matter of Britain if one does not
understand that the same person corrupted William of Malmesbury’s works
so that one work corroborated another. Once this chicanery is grasped and
while understanding the methodology of the construction of HRB and the
fraudulence found in the Glastonburyana of DA…. the important
implications of the prophecy of Melkin (upon which Grail literature is
based) will remain hidden. If Henry Blois uses the same methodology
employed in HRB (that of mixing fact and fiction) as he does in his
precursor to Perlesvaus or Grail book (Sanctum Graal), upon which all
subsequent Grail literature is built…. we can be certain Joseph of
Arimathea’s relics and the enigmatic duo fassula will be discovered in the
near future on Burgh Island. This can only happen if scholarship as it
stands today dismisses the ready acceptance of the false premise upon
which Geoffrey of Monmouth’s persona is held to be a reality. It also
assumes scholars will no longer advocate the invention of Melkin and his
prophecy as a 14 century fake since the very purport of that prophecy when
deciphered locates Ineswitrin in Devon.
Unless the evolving agenda of Henry Blois is understood by scholars,
false assumptions based upon false dating will lead to false conclusions. For
example, Tatlock’s credulity is influenced by believing details in Caradoc
and DA are derived from different people:
As for Glastonbury, later to loom so large in Arthur’s tradition, he first
appears there in this life of Gildas. Should anyone wonder why Geoffrey’s
later-written Historia ignores Glastonbury…. this very local legend may
have been unknown to him, or he may have had his reasons for not
wishing to join the chorus of praise for Glastonbury. Best of all, the
Arthur here historically inharmonious with the masterful grandeur of
Geoffrey’s Arthur; and anyone who fancies ignoring necessarily proves
ignorance has a very different conception of Geoffrey’s personality
and purposes from that book.
Just how ‘Right and Wrong’ can one be in a sentence. Although Tatlock
refers to the difference between the ridiculous or rebellious figure of
Arthur in some of the ‘Saints Lives’ legend, he never suspects that the Life of
Gildas and the author of ‘Geoffrey’sArthur are one and the same. He labels
any connection between Arthur and Glastonbury as ‘Monk-craft’. ‘Monk-
craft’ or the officine de faux was of a later date and followed what Henry
had instigated in DA.
It is my own opinion that Culhwch and Olwen was written after the HRB
and has several points in common with the Life of Gildas which Tatlock
22
22
The legendary history of Britain. P 196-199
witnesses. As Tatlock points out, there is a commonality and we cannot be
sure of the influence that Henry Blois might have had on Culhwch and
Olwen
23
considering that his influence spread far and wide.
Henry’s authorial works (the paint of our three genres of study) was not
a hobby or bumbling project for Henry Blois, because when he returned
from Clugny and found his hopes of Celtic rebellion were never going to
come to fruition, he embarked upon his greater venture of promulgating
Grail literature based upon icons found in the Melkin prophecy. Henry is
solely responsible for the embryonic germs of Grail literature and the
linking of ‘his’ Arthur to a discovery on a document he had made at
Glastonbury concerning Joseph of Arimathea i.e. the Melkin prophecy....
and manufacturing Arthur’s grave to be found in the future.
It is sure that there was an Arthur with a different character to
‘Geoffrey’s’ in various ‘Saints Lives’ and this is probably why Henry Blois
chose the medium of a saints life i.e. The Life of Gildas in which to write his
propaganda. Especially since the writer was well known to have written
the Brut y Tywysogion and was Welsh. There seems little evidence to
support a pre-Arthur tradition in Wales prior to Geoffrey as seen in the
older branches of the Mabinogion.
Henry Blois has merely concocted the grandiose myth of Chivalric
Arthur based upon the slim details in Annales Cambriae and Nennius and
saints lives. Whether the mention of Arthur in Nennius or the anecdotal
references in the annals have any substance we will never know, but Henry
has done his best with Aurelius and Ambrosius to fit with the Arthur
Legend. Henry has employed what scant details existed in insular annals to
the fullest.
The early rescue of Guinevere must be Henry’s invention but Henry
could not employ this previously concocted episode in HRB without raising
suspicions about his previous authorship of the Life of Gildas and its
affiliations in storyline with Glastonbury; especially since he had just paid
stoneworkers to represent that episode on the cathedral at Modena. His
contemporaries would have made that connection.
23
Culhwch and Olwen, has the exaggerated claims made for Arthur. Also there is a passing mention of
campaigns that he had conducted in India, Europe, Scandinavia, Corsica and Greece and Africa. O.J. Padel
comments: The difficulty lies in knowing how far this text is independent of Geoffrey’s History. It must follow
that since Arthur’s continental campaign is a fabrication by ‘Geoffrey’…. the poem has either been interpolated
by Henry Blois or it follows in chronology the HRB.
However, the most conclusive proof that Henry Blois is in fact Geoffrey
Monmouth comes from the fact that there is not one mention of
Glastonbury or Joseph of Arimathea who is connected with Arthur in Grail
legend. The fact that Phagan and Deruvian, who, as we will cover, are
wholly an invention of Henry Blois are in HRB and referenced in the first 34
chapters of interpolated DA, indicates HRB and the interpolations in DA
were written by the same man. There is more evidence of Henry Blois’ early
hand at Glastonbury which we shall cover in conjunction with Eadmer’s
letter and latterly with Henry’s Perlesvaus in which he ties Arthur and
Joseph together and contrives the myth involving the Ealdechurche in its
connection with Joseph in DA.
The matter covered here in Part I is meant to show Henry’s direct
involvement with the prophetic work of Merlin as it pertained to his
political position as brother of King Stephen and nephew to Henry Ist and
how he used these prophecies to try to regain political power from Henry II.
Once the reader is satisfied that ‘Geoffrey’ is Henry Blois, a Pandora’s Box
opens up to how the Matter of Britain evolved and why it is that King
Arthur was found at Glastonbury.
The critical point of this exposé is to show that the myth involving Joseph of
Arimathea is in fact a reality and the reason it is assumed a myth is because
Henry Blois has mixed fact with fiction, just as we have witnessed in HRB.
As long as our most renowned scholars behave like the blind leading the
blind, Joseph’s relics will remain on Burgh Island.