Chapter 18
De Inventione, Waltham and
Montacute. The connection
between Father William Good and
The short manuscript known as De Inventione Sanctae Crucis Nostrae was
written by an unknown author. The main purport of the tract seems to be to
give an account of the establishment of the abbey and church of the Holy
Cross at Waltham in Essex. It also contradicts the Vita Haroldi concerning
Harold’s death and two other accounts of where he was buried. William of
Malmesbury’s account in GR states Harold’s mother asked for the dead
King’s body after the battle of Hastings and was given it without ransom.
Harold’s mother buried the body at Waltham where he had built the church
in honour of the holy cross. However, the church of ‘holy cross’ to which
Malmesbury’s account refers, probably derived its name from the fact that
it housed part of the original Calvary cross which Harold is said to have
procured. There is no mention in William’s account of the Holy Cross
coming from Montacute in connection with Waltham.
Most scholars have assumed De Inventione was written by a canon after
Becket’s death and around 1177
when Henry II rededicated the abbey on
Carley is wrong in assuming the account was written just before the discovery of Arthur p.304 Although the
Holy cross was supposedly discovered in 1035, the account was not written until after 1177; it first appears then
very shortly before the Arthurian excavation. Carley’s deduction is conjecture probably also based on the fact
that Arthur’s disinterment had similar facets to those described in De Inventione. De Inventione is a product of
Henry Blois and his involvement with the search for the sepulchre of Joseph on an Island as proposed in the
Melkin prophecy. Henry thought Joseph’s remains were at Montacute because of the marker clue left behind by
Melkin in another work.
account of a promise made as an act of penance for the murder of Thomas
Becket. The reason for assuming this era is that, the De Inventione ends with
an account of the death of Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1144. Most have
assumed this is an account written by one of the canons which were
removed at Henry II rededication of Waltham. I believe De Inventione is
another instance of Henry Blois using his personal experiences and
knowledge to concoct certain histories for his own personal gain and for
those under his control. There will be a very few scholars who will agree
with my theory that De Inventione was written by Henry Blois. So it is worth
looking at the information which we can glean in regard to Waltham and
Montacute to see why Henry might have written such a tract.
What I am proposing concerns the geometry of Melkin’s prophecy and
Montacute and what I believe was an attempt by Henry Blois to find the
body of Joseph of Arimathea based upon information which only later came
to light and was relayed by Father Good: “The monks, never knew for certain
the place of this saints burial (Joseph’s) or pointed it out. They said the body
was most “carefully hidden” on a hill near Montacute and that when his body
would be found, the whole world would wend their way there, on account of
the number and wondrous nature of the miracles worked there”.
There are several coincidences. The first is that Joseph’s name is
connected with Montacute in conjunction with a paraphrase of the last lines
of Melkin’s prophecy. If we accept the coincidence of Henry Blois being the
primordial instigator of Robert De Boron’s Joseph d’ Arimathie, and also
being Abbot of Glastonbury where Melkin material was found; along with
Henry Blois being Dean of Waltham Abbey…. and the fact the ‘Red Book of
the Exchequer’
says he was prior of Montacute…. all this must warrant
closer scrutiny regarding the absolute cock and bull legend of how the Holy
Cross arrived at Waltham having been found at Montacute.
In the ‘Red Book of the Exchequer’ it lists Henry of Blois as Prior of
Montacute. Montacute was a possession of Glastonbury. It may well be that
plans for a new religious house were in place at Montacute which were
H. Hall, ed, The Red Book of the Exchequer, vol 2, 752, In a passage ‘ex libro Abbatis de Feversham, it is
stated that Henry was prior of Montacute previous to his appointment as Abbot of Glastonbury. It only becomes
pertinent concerning that which Father William Good had to say about Joseph of Arimathea’s remains being
‘carefully hidden’ at Montacute in consideration of Henrys part in writing the De Inventione Sanctae Crucis
Nostrae in Monte Acuto et De ductione ejusdem, apud Waltham.
subsequently shelved by King Henry Ist and maybe Henry Blois was prior
of Montacute before Glastonbury, but this is conjecture.
There is no certainty of where Henry was in the interim between
leaving Clugny and his arrival at Glastonbury. As we have already covered,
he was probably with King Henry Ist and his own brother Stephen in
France in 1128. However, it is of little consequence if he were at Montacute
before Glastonbury. If the Red book is in error and Henry’s notoriety in
Montacute is derived from the dig, while abbot of Glastonbury; it makes no
difference either. It is the coincidence of a dig being carried out at
Montacute and corroborative evidence concerning a marker point in
Melkin’s geometry which then links to Waltham where Henry was Dean;
conjoined with the information concerning Joseph’s body which says he
was most “carefully hidden” on a hill near Montacute…. which makes this
investigation worthwhile. If, unlike intransigent modern scholars, we can
accept that a work of Melkin existed at Glastonbury in Henry’s era, we can
then understand how the short sentence ‘Joseph is carefully hidden’ in
Montacute, came to be so significant to Henry Blois and why he instigated a
dig at Montacute which he later used as a basis for De Inventione Sanctae
Crucis Nostrae, the legend of the Holy cross’s arrival at Waltham.
What I am proposing is that Joseph’s name was originally linked to
Montacute by Melkin in a separate manuscript from the prophecy as an aid
to solving the geometry which defines the 104 mile line which leads to
Burgh Island. As a dig was performed at Montacute and no remains of
Joseph were found, the episode was used by Henry Blois to provide a legend
for the glorification and increased income to the Dean of Waltham.
The implication is that the Holy cross was bogusly found instead of
Joseph. When the implication is expanded, the Holy Cross, supposedly
unearthed on the whim of a premonition of the local blacksmith at
Montacute, might have been buried by Joseph when he came to Britain….
although any connection to the dig and Joseph are not made.
Modern scholars link the dig at Montacute to parallels in Adam of
Damerham’s account and that of Giraldus Cambrensis concerning the
unearthing of Arthur, rather than linking the Montacute dig to Melkin’s
description of where Joseph is ‘carefully hidden’. There are only two
accounts which posit where the body of Joseph might be. It is spelled out by
Melkin in his prophecy which refers us to an Island called Insula Avallonis
(or the substituted Ineswitrin), the modern day Burgh Island. The other
location is that passed on to posterity by Father William Good after the
dissolution of the monasteries, which, remarkably points out the hill of
Montacute. It is not by coincidence that Montacute is on the line Melkin has
sent us to locate!!
On the subject of Montacute, this is what Carley has to say: Montacute,
and by extension the Waltham had connections with Glastonbury, which
would cause the Glastonbury community to have an active interest in the
story. Montacute is, of course, within a few miles of Glastonbury. Both places
are characterised by prominent hills and one can be seen from the other.
References to a lost charter suggest that as early as the last quarter of the
seventh century, Baldred made a grant of 16 hides to Glastonbury at
Logworesbeorh i.e. Montacute. William of Malmesbury, too, refers to the
ancient name of Logworesbeorh for Montacute and specifically links the place
with the personal name of Logwor, occurs on one of the pyramids in the
ancient cemetery, the pyramids between which Arthurs body was later to be
found. Henry of Blois, Abbot of Glastonbury (1126-1171), sold the deanery of
Waltham in 1144 and tried to buy a gem from the cross for 100 marks. He
was himself a Cluniac and may too have at one time been prior of Montacutes
Priory. In the account itself several points stand out. In both cases the
excavators must dig to a great depth before they discover anything. At
Montacute they finally come across a stone described as ‘Mire Magitudis.
According to Adam of Damerham, the Glastonbury monks also find a
‘Sarcophagum ligneum mirae magnitudis’. Unlike other chroniclers,
moreover, Adam adds the strange detail that the site in the cemetery was
surrounded by curtains. This brings to mind the tent which covered the dig at
Montacute. In sum, then, Glastonbury Abbey would have had a proprietary
interest in Montacute doings, at least one 12th century abbot, Henry of Blois,
knew the cross well, and it is certainly possible that the community
had early access to a version of De Inventione. The parallels between the
two texts may even support the supposition that De Inventione was some
sort of vague model for the organisation of the excavation at
Glastonbury in 1191. Beyond this it is not possible to speculate although it
would be tempting to suggest that De Inventione was an even more specific
catalyst for the later dig.’
We can see Carley’s position is that the two digs are linked and
remarkably he mentions Henry Blois. Carley would be ignorant that
Montacute is a marker on a line portended by a prophecy which he has
concluded is a fake. He has also chosen to ignore the solution to Melkin’s
instructions and the resultant line it creates. Therefore, any proposition that
Henry Blois’ involvement at Montacute might have been centred on Henry’s
own search for Joseph at Montacute would not be apparent. Carley has
made the connection between Montacute, Glastonbury and Waltham with
Henry Blois. We can safely say that the Holy Cross’s relation to Henry Blois
in Carley’s mind is not based on a clue left at Glastonbury by Melkin.
Carley believes the legend of Joseph followed the emergence of French
Grail stories. His deduction is that the fictitious Melkin and his fabricated
prophecy appears in the fourteenth century. He also believes that Arthur’s
discovery at Glastonbury has nothing to do with Henry Blois and therefore
believes Joseph’s association with Glastonbury is in relation to a continental
source. Yet he is uncertain: these two excavations can ultimately, I think, be
linked with the figure of Joseph of Arimathea. After the stone cross found in
Arthurs tomb identified Glastonbury as ‘insula Avallonia’, it was only a
matter of time before Joseph of Arimathea's name (taken in this context out of
the French Grail romances) came to be associated with Glastonbury and in
13th century additions to William of Malmesbury's De Antiquitates
Glastonie Ecclesie it is first stated that Joseph was the hitherto unknown
apostle of Christ who evangelised Britain and built the wattle church at
Glastonbury. With the Joseph legend came the Grail, which was
transformed into an ecclesiastically respectable relic, two cruets containing
the blood and sweat of Jesus. Ultimately Glastonbury produced writings by a
Merlin like figure, Melkin the Bard, which articulated in a rather cryptic
prophetic form Joseph's role in early Glastonbury history. In Melkin’s
prophecy it is made quite clear that Joseph's place of burial is unknown and
that if the tomb is ever found great miracles will occur.
What makes it difficult to believe that Carley has formed any
recognisable view is that he cannot with any solid foundation say the dig
James p. Carley. The discovery of the Holy Cross at Waltham
has a connection to Joseph from Grail literature or Henry Blois unless he
admits De Inventione is a concoction. But if he did, it would become clearer
that Henry Blois, Dean of Waltham, was in fact searching at Montacute for
Joseph of Arimathea and is the reason behind the concoction. The only way
this could be admitted is by accepting that Joseph, being ‘carefully hidden’
at Montacute is information which directly relates to the solution of the
Melkin puzzle i.e. the association of Joseph with Montacute could only be
derived by someone who knows the solution to Melkin’s puzzle. One must
imagine that this is Melkin himself.
The fact that the person who had this clue, or was aware of this
information was Henry Blois, who was looking for Joseph’s grave and who
concocts a story to benefit Waltham, would not occur to Carley because he
denies the existence of Melkin’s prophecy before the 14
century. Joseph’s
association with a grave site at Montacute existed (in other work by Melkin)
just as the prophecy did at Glastonbury in the era of Henry Blois.
I think the reader will be aware by now that it would hardly make sense
to invent two ‘cruets’. If indeed Carley’s chronology and assessments were
correct…. and if the conclusion that the Joseph legend stemmed from Grail
literature had any basis, why invent duo fassula (never previously
mentioned) instead of ‘un Graal’? Especially when we can trace how the
word Graal is derived from sang real to become san Greal to San Graal….
and this is entirely dependent on the interpretation of the Melkin prophecy
and its mention of Jesus’ blood.
The Montacute dig, which, as Carley reckons, canbe linked with the
figure of Joseph of Arimathea’…. may be linked more probably through
Melkin who predates Henry Blois’ Grail literature; and Henry’s link with the
prophecy is certainly the substance for Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’
Arimathie and Chrétien’s Graal. Carley states that Henry of Blois, Abbot of
Glastonbury, sold the deanery of Waltham in 1144; but who held the
deanship until Richard, the next Dean c.1160, seems uncertain. My point is
that the De Inventione legend dates to any time after the Siege of Burwell
and its point is to invent legend to attract pilgrims rather than letting the
whole unpropitious dig at Montacute remain unfruitful.
There is no rational commentator who thinks the legendary
transference of the Holy Cross from Montacute to Waltham has any basis in
truth. But a dig at Montacute has more to do with Joseph of Arimathea than
the invention of a legend which involved a fictitious buried cross. and the
connection is through Henry Blois. Henry Blois certainly does not wish
anyone to associate his looking for Joseph of Arimathea’s relics…. otherwise
what has been written in DA is immediately suspect to have been authored
by him. It is for this reason a cross was auspiciously found and there was no
mention that he was in search of Joseph at Montacute.
Henry Blois accomplishes again what he had managed to do at
Glastonbury. Henry takes control of a defunct, impoverished and
independent ecclesiastical house and does his best to turn its fortunes
around as quickly as possible. It was an Anglo Saxon house not affiliated to
the Benedictines and had no history except that it was founded and named
by King Harold. Harold’s battle cry was supposedly ‘Holy roodand he was
also said to have possessed a piece of the original cross which one assumes
is the reason for the naming of his foundation at Waltham. The prior
history of Tovi’s involvement with the setting up of the original church is
pure concoction on the part of Henry Blois and was used as a basis for
supplying the reasoning behind why there was no ‘Holy Cross’…. until
miraculously, a flint one was produced in Henry’s day. The Holy Cross
disappears for good and is never heard of once it is taken down.
Again, Henry Blois uses the now familiar devise of backdating and
fabricating a history and legend for the benefit of an institution under his
control. Another reason for the production of De Inventione is also financial
in that it confirms lands as if they belonged to Waltham church since its
foundation. It implies only subsequently it was patronised by Harold and
added thereunto and endowed by a royal patron. It also pretends to house
the relics of King Harold, all of which adds to its wealth and therefore that
of the Dean and canons.
De Inventione, in my opinion was concocted by Henry to aggrandise
Waltham. It commences its tale with an artefact (supposedly from
antiquity) while providing an early provenance for its legendary
foundation. This is precisely what Henry Blois had done for Glastonbury.
The retro method of establishing the legend dissuades any accusation of
fraud by Henry. The concoction of De Inventione’s miraculous story adduces
sanctity to a heretofore once prominent pre-Norman ecclesiastical house
now fallen into disrepair. The account of how the cross was found was
supposed to have originated with a certain Turkill who relates his tale of
events to our fictitious canon and supposed author of De Inventione.
Henry’s invented story told by the supposed Turkill (a similar name
Thurkil mentioned in connection with Cnut in GR lends authenticity),
related that a stone crucifix was discovered at Lutgaresbury (Montacute),
during the reign of Cnut around 1035. The concoction of the legend informs
us that the blacksmith at Montacute was given a vision of the location at
Montacute hill of a hidden cross. In reality, as we know, the explanation as
to why there was an excavation at Montacute is a direct result of Melkin
having provided a clue to the solution of his riddle. It is this misleading
information which leads Henry to think the body of Joseph of Arimathea is
at Montacute and eventuate a genuine dig. of which we get the pseudo-
historical version which comprises De Inventione.
As the tale continues, the smith ignored the vision which occurred to him
again. The third time it happened he experienced a twist of the arm and
could no longer ignore the vision and approached the prior. With a crowd
of locals, who also found his vision credible, they followed him singing
hymns in a procession to the spot…. and this event took place before
anything was even found! They arrived at the envisioned location and dug
a hole uncovering a large cracked stone which they removed. Underneath
was the figure of Christ on the cross carved in black flint, a very beautiful
and skillful work. Don’t forget, Henry had been to Rome collecting artefacts
and these were marvelously carved statues and presumably a black onyx
crucifix with statue was purchased. One wonders if these are Henry’s ‘gifts
to God’ mentioned on the Meusan plates.
Under the right arm of the flint figure was found another smaller
crucifix which was destined to stay at Montacute according to Tovi, but may
just be one of the four crosses spoken of in DA. Under the flint statue’s left
arm was a bell which we hear no more about and this might well have been
destined to tie in with the bell featured in Caradoc’s Life of Gildas which we
shall get to shortly. There was also a book containing the Gospels, which we
are told was still in existence at Waltham at the time the legend was written
down. A tent was temporarily put over the site until the landowner Tovi the
Proud, Lord of Montacute arrived.
The Cross was brought down the hill by the villagers and put into a
wagon to which was hitched twelve white cows and twelve red Oxen.
Amazingly Tovi had to pray in order to divine where would be the most
appropriate place to house the black flint figure of Christ on the cross. Tovi
named one place after another, but coincidentally, of four named
destinations…. both Winchester and Glastonbury are named, but the cart
would not move. The cart would not move until Tovi mentioned the name
of Waltham where supposedly, previously, Tovi had erected a small
building. The people followed the cart and ‘it is saidmany were cured of
their ills during the journey to Waltham. So, ‘sixty sixstayed at Waltham
devoting their time to the service of the Holy Cross and Tovi’s hunting lodge
becomes the basis for the founding of the town of Waltham.
Tovi then attempted to have jewelled ornaments attached to the cross,
but where nails were attempted to be driven, blood gushed from the stone.
Blood was caught in a linen cloth, which, our ‘author’ of this concoction
avers, that he saw more than a century afterward. Tovi, stunned by the
miracle, then dedicates himself to the cross granting lands at Waltham,
Kelvedon, Hitchin, Lambeth, Loughton, and Alverton. By ingenious
manoeuvrings of our canon storyteller, the church at Waltham reverted to
Edward the confessor who gave it to Earl Harold. Harold also venerated the
Cross and confirmed Tovi’s gifts and added many more in gold silver,
Jewels, relics he had found in other lands.
Harold, we are told re-founded the church as a college for twelve secular
canons. The income from the church came from the manors of South
Weald, Palstow, Arsley, Netteswell, Alwarton, Upminster, Woodford,
Loughton, Debden, and Brickendon. The income from West Waltham,
however, went directly to the Dean because he was ‘in authority over the
others’. We then hear of the daily dietary allowance which outdoes even
what Henry had managed for the monks at Glastonbury. After Harold had
supposedly taken such good care of the monks and the church was second
to none in the country, he ordered ostentatious building works to
commence and an expensive altar piece.
When Earl Harold had finished building the new church, he had it
dedicated and he invited Edward the confessor and his queen who was
Harold’s sister and other dignitaries for eight days of feasting. The list of
attendants given by our author is not a correct account. The list of the
persons present at the signing of the Waltham charter by Edward are those
given by our author which took place two years afterward and some of the
bishops identified did not reach that dignity until after Kinsige's death.
Anyway, before the feasting began, Harold buries a large number of
relics of which supposedly Athelard made a list. King Edward then confirms
Harold’s gifts to the church of the Holy Cross in a charter written in gold
(just like the St Patrick charter) and signed with a cross; and a curse was put
on anyone who should take away from the King’s gifts to the church and the
King then goes to Winchester. King Edward then dies and Harold becomes
King. In Turkill the Sacristan’s account (from whom all this information
supposedly comes to our author), he remembers well those days, and he
says the King often visited and brought gifts to the church at Waltham. The
church is unlikely to have been built by Harold because its design is about
50 years ahead of other contemporary designs and later we hear Harold’s
body has to be moved three times because of building works, so it is hard to
accept that it was built and dedicated in Edward’s time.
However,(as the concoction goes) after the battle of Stamford Bridge,
King Harold stops off at Waltham bringing even more relics and gifts before
going on to the battle of Hastings. While praying for success in the next
campaign against the Normans, he prostrated himself in front of the Holy
cross. While lying there he looked up at the cross. The black flint figure
which was previously looking upward, now looked down (permanently). It
was a sign and while Turkill was putting away the King’s gifts, only he saw
the head move downward apart from the King. So, with this bad omen
Osgod and Ailric accompany the King to the battle field to watch him die.
They then go to William the Conqueror to ask for Harold’s body to take it to
Waltham. Duke William comes up with a proposal to found his own
monastery within which he intends to bury Harold. Osgod and Ailric then
offer ten marks and William the Conqueror (Henry’s Grandfather) accedes
to their request but does not take the money. The next problem is that
Harold’s body cannot be recognized due to mutilation. Therefore, his lover
Edith Swanneshals arrives on the scene to identify him from a personal
mark on his body.
Henry Blois is presenting his Grandfather, magnanimous in victory and
in letting the body go to Waltham. The main point is that the body of Harold
is correctly identified by one close to him; therefore, we are led to believe,
there can be no mistake of whose bones lay at Waltham. One other source
says King Harold was buried under a pile of stones on the cliffs in Sussex
and another says he survived to become a hermit and died at Chester. The
point that Henry Blois is making for those pilgrims to Harold’s relics is that
they are definitively at Waltham. This second hand story directly from an
eyewitness should be enough to counteract any previous versions of
Harold’s demise. In fact the ‘canon’ writing our script says the body is still
Henry Blois has little respect for William Rufus as we have witnessed in
his references in the prophecies of Merlin. Our author blames the theft of
church artefacts on William Rufus. This obviously provides a reason
behind why there is no evidence of this great patronage and wealth
apparent in Henry’s day which was bestowed previously by Harold; and
thus the need to concoct this story to attract pilgrims.
The black flint cross must have existed as there would be little point in
Henry Blois’s invention of the whole Legend, but it would seem the church’s
name derives from Harold’s acquired relic of a piece of the real cross on
which Jesus died rather than any previous flint cross. Anyway, William
Rufus carried off the treasures of the college for the building and
decoration of the new churches at Caen. Luckily for the church William
Rufus recompensed the church by giving the canons the town of Waltham
after the death of Walcher Bishop of Durham who had held it from William
William of St. Carileph, the builder of Durham cathedral who succeeded
to the estate of Walcher, taxed the canons of Waltham for the building of
his castle at Durham; and seems to have looked on Waltham not as a
personal grant, but as the property of his see. Logically, if there was any
truth to the story that Waltham was founded by Tovi for the service of the
church, why is William granting to the church what is already theirs even
though charters were frequently re-issued at various times, partly to
confirm the founder in times of political upheaval.
The church seems to have reverted back to royal patronage after
Walcher; both of Henry Ist’ wives Matilda and Adelicia of Louvain having
charge over it. Adelicia was ousted in favour of Stephen's queen, Matilda, by
whom the liberties of the canons were secured by another charter. Her
tenure was short, for she in her turn was dispossessed by the Empress
Matilda about 1140. It is after this time that Henry gets involved. He wrote a
charter as legate confirming Waltham and Epping to the church at
Waltham. Henry says in the charter he has seen the proof
of Waltham and
Epping belonging to Waltham. When he writes this charter he is Dean as
well as being legate…. so, it must have been written before 1143. I doubt
him selling his deanship in 1144 and I believe his connection is through a
Royal concession as brother to the King.
Waltham was then restored to Adelicia again, but the story becomes
unclear when the canons houses are burnt. An incident took place between
Adelicia’s new husband William d’Aubygny and Geoffrey de Mandeville. It
was to her patronage, apparently during her second occupation, that our
author owed his canonry and prebend. Henry Blois has a habit of flattering
his opponents as seen in the dedications in HRB to avoid detection in
authorship. He is also adept at inventing relationships between the author
he is impersonating or fabricating and personages of standing which
establishes contemporaneity. Also, as seen in GS, he inserts negative
criticisms of himself so as to deflect suspicion of authorship.
According to our ‘author’, Henry Blois attempted, to carry off the great
carbuncle from Waltham. Geoffrey de Mandeville was out of favour with
Stephen and Bishop Henry after changing his allegiance to the Empress
Matilda. Geoffrey de Mandeville eventually died in the siege of Burwell
against Stephen’s forces but caused serious problems while rebelling
against him.
It just seems more than coincidental that the Holy Cross is conferred
with the power of retribution against Geoffrey de Mandeville, when for a
rational mind his death had nothing to do with the cross at Waltham. I
believe for a short time after 1144, when the cross was supposedly taken
down (which apparently caused the death of Geoffrey at the siege of
Burwell), Henry concocted this story with the intent of gaining materially
from creating the legend. The precise motives and unfulfilled intentions
will never be found out.
What I have tried to show is the link between Henry Blois, Tovi’s
fictitious find at Montacute, Henry’s deanship at Waltham and how Henry
Blois links this to an earlier episode in his life…. when he searched for the
body of Joseph of Arimathea at Montacute. This is probably how, in the end,
Franklin, 86. Voss 162-163
Carley associates the Montacute dig with Arthur’s disinterment along with
Adam’s similarity in description of the two episodes.
I believe the flint cross did exist and Henry had plans to instigate
another legendary part of British history based on a crucifix he had
procured from abroad…. but somehow his plan or design was thwarted as
he lost control of Waltham. It is also a strange fact that since our author’s
account of when the cross was taken down, there is no specific mention of
the cross up to when the abbey was dissolved in 1540. There is no mention
of the ‘Flint Cross’ by description beforehand except that which is derived
from this very concoction of the De Inventione. If the Holy Cross was such a
fine work….unprecedented work of the compound, the Supreme artist's hand
at work, why is it not described in Vita Haroldi?
However the conflation is obvious in the Vita Haroldi
quatuor cruces auro
atque argento et gemmis fabricates.
While composing the legend, Henry substantiates the story using real
people gleaned from charter evidence which would substantiate that Tovi
held land both at Montacute and at Waltham. Henry chose Tovi as the
protagonist as Tovi is known from other sources to have been a man of
some standing during the reign of Cnut and active in the early 1040’s. On
Tovi’s death, the properties which pertained to his office as ‘staller’ are said
to have passed to his son Æthelstan. We hear again in the De inventione that
Æthelstan, lost Waltham, which was then gifted by King Edward to Earl
Harold who re-founded the church for a Dean and 12 canons and the
foundation was confirmed in 1062, by charter of King Edward the
Henry’s account is fictionalized history based upon anecdotal history
just as he constructed HRB. The basis for the Holy Cross’s provenance
would seem to be based on Henry’s search for Joseph. Henry carried out a
dig at Montacute because he was aware of the same information which was
eventually passed to Father Good much later which says that Joseph is
‘carefully hidden’ there. It was a message from antiquity supplied by Melkin
and it pertained to his geometry. Believing Joseph is buried at Montacute is
a misinterpretation of ‘carefully hidden’.
Vita Haroldi, MS. HarL, 3776, Michel, Chroniques Anglo-Normandes, ii. 162,
Montacute is a reference point on the line Melkin is directing us to
construct on a map which indicates Burgh Island….the clue itself is
‘carefully hidden’ until revealed as a confirmation point on the line. Not by
coincidence, Montacute is a hill just like Glastonbury tor and Burrow
Mump, both of which partially define the original reference line (the
Michael line) which we are led to bifurcate at Avebury.
Melkin’s prophecy is a set of instructions, but the reference to Montacute
(provided in a separate part of Melkin’s work), is merely an obtuse pointer,
which in no way insists Joseph ‘is’ at Montacute; but rather through
association with Montacute we should find where he is ‘most carefully
hidden’. Melkin’s intention was as a ‘clue’ to unlocking his puzzle i.e. a
reference point on the line and indicator if one has constructed the 104 mile
line correctly.
Father Good’s association of Montacute with Melkin’s prophecy is
evident by his interpretation: They said the body was hidden most carefully,
either there (Glastonbury), or on a Hill near Montacute called Hamden Hill,
and that when his body should be found, the whole world should wend their
way thither on account of the number and wondrous nature of the miracles
worked there.
Even though Father Good’s information speaks of Joseph, it would not be
a natural association to make under normal circumstances in William
Good’s day. By this time, all assumed Joseph was in Avalon and Avalon was
at Glastonbury. It is for this reason it would seem that Father Goods
actions in perpetuating this information derives from the fact that it was
privileged information which was about to be lost due to the Dissolution of
the monastic system. The clue regarding Joseph’s remains and Montacute
had been passed down through the generations. Father Good therefore
made a point of passing this nugget of information on to posterity as he
held this confidence to be important. It is evident that Father Good’s
intentions were to perpetuate to posterity what he had probably been told
by abbot Whiting before his death.
In other words both ends of the line are defined by…. at one end the sperula of Avebury and the other….Insula
Avallonis or what was originally Ineswitrin. The length is defined by the 104 miles. However, so that the
constructor of the line is confident that he has constructed the line correctly, Montacute was also stressed as a
marker point in another part of Melkin’s work obviated by Father Good’s testimony regarding Joseph of
Carley refuses to accept the solution to Melkin’s prophecy. It would
involve a retraction of many positions mistakenly held, but he would
answer his own question: Why did the monks come to associate Joseph with
Montacute? Why did they not discover his remains in the abbey cemetery?
If we can accept Montacute being on Melkin’s line is not a coincidence,
then one ought to conclude that one man composed both the geometry in
the prophecy and the clue that Montacute is a marker on the geometric line
which the data in the Melkin prophecy constructs. This is because both are
relevant and are mentioned in relation to Joseph’s burial place. This
unlikely coincidence should act as a confirmation by the fact that no-one
knew where Joseph was buried except Melkin. It is with this reasoning that
we can assume that this ‘tip off to a solution to the puzzle was
misunderstood by Henry Blois as meaning that Joseph was buried at
Montacute. His interest had been sparked by seeing Melkin’s work in the
Glastonbury Library and therefore negates Carley’s insistence that the
Melkin Prophecy is a 14
century fake.
Most commentators today assume that the reference in Maihew’s
Trophea to Father William Good’s account regarding Joseph of Arimathea
has its origins in the earlier fictional account supplied in De Inventione
about the unveiling of the Holy Cross at Montacute by Tovi. This stance is
simply incorrect and Tovi’s link to the flint cross is pure invention.
It was Melkin’s Montacute clue which was the basis for the De
Inventione legend. No one has seemed to ask the question as to why
Harold’s relic of the Holy Cross (supposedly a remnant of the original cross)
is conflated with the flint cross found in Montacute. Would not Harold’s
relic warrant more legend apportioned to it rather than Tovi’s flint cross?
In reality Harold’s relic was probably the cause of the church being named
after the Holy Cross and Henry Blois when Dean of Waltham attached his
own concocted legend to the name by the story found in De Inventione.
What is the Holy Cross doing secreted underground in some random
location in England buried at the top of a hill? One can’t just come up with a
cross as Dean of Waltham at a religious house known for its cross (which no
longer exists) without making up a legend for the beautiful new cross that
has just appeared. This is why De Inventione. was concocted but in reality
James p. Carley. Discovery of the Holy cross at Waltham.
it is the result of a fruitless dig for Joseph at Montacute and the fact that
Henry had probably newly acquired a beautiful cross from Rome.
Montacute Priory was not founded until 1078 and so this discrepancy is
dealt with in the De Inventione by suggesting there was a priest and Sexton
at Montacute earlier in the century. Also another strange fact that indicates
De Inventione is concocted is that the fictitious disaffected canon gives no
indication of where he composed the De Inventione and certainly betrays no
anger at supposedly being ousted from Waltham. When one adds to this
smoke the common assumption
that Glastonbury had a version of De
Inventione,…. it might suggest that it was written at Glastonbury or by
someone connected.
Father William Good was a Jesuit priest born at Glastonbury who served
mass in the Abbey as a boy before its dissolution. He left to posterity, at the
English college in Rome, the information conveyed to him by an elder at
Glastonbury Abbey. This same information Henry Blois had come across
300 years earlier c.1130 when William of Malmesbury searched through the
dusty muniments in the scriptorium at Glastonbury.
Maihew, while he was a student in the English College, after Father
Good's death, copied the following text from the signed manuscript which
Father Good had left for posterity. I believe, before the monastery of
Glastonbury was disbanded when William Good was still a boy, the secret
concerning Montacute which had been passed down from Abbot to Abbot
through the ages, finally left Glastonbury with William Good. It was
probably passed to him by Abbot Whiting before he was hanged on
Glastonbury tor. It was then written down in adulthood by Father Good at
Rome…. so the importance of the information would not be lost to posterity.
This proves one point. Although it may have been bandied about that
Joseph’s grave existed in some place in Glastonbury, it was never
unequivocally found. Father good would not think it important to provide
the information in his era and we know the grave could not be there
There appears to have been an attempt to cover up this following
passage from being widely made public, since the copies of Maihew's
Trophea in the British Museum, in the Bodleian library and in the library of
Probably because Adam of Damerham has seen a copy.
Trinity College Dublin are all missing this specific passage.
The passage
quoted here actually comes from Stillingfleet’s private collection that was
sold to Archbishop Marsh’s library in 1704 and is now in Dublin Library.
Archbishop Usher in his Antiquitates,
who quotes from Maihew’s
Trophea: ’Quod autem ad montem illum Hamdenhil nuncupatum,in quo
aliqui S.Josephum ab Arimathea sepultum perhibent spectat habebatur sane
olim sacellum in illo monte constructum inter sacra et veranda angliae
loca.’….'As for the mountain called Hamden hill, in which some claim
Joseph of Arimathea is buried, clearly from the looks a chapel was once
located here, built on that mountain, among the sacred and revered places
of England'.
The reference there given for it is: Edvard. Maihew Congreat. Anglican.
ordanis Benedict. Tabula.2.pag. 1118,1119. Maihew‘s Trophea is divided
into three tabulae but the numbering of the pages is continuous throughout;
so the tabula 2 contains pp. 883-1888. Why is it that this one vital aid to
verification of a correctly constructed Joseph line is missing from three
copies? Montacute is a vital conformational marker on the line which
identifies Burgh Island at its 104 mile extension from Avebury at 13 degrees
to the Michael line. The Montacute marker point lets us know we have
decoded Melkin’s riddle correctly. Although Hamden Hill is referred to, the
reference which Father Good makes is to the St Michael's Hill of today,
which, as the quote reports had a Chapel on it.
It is interesting to note that there remains no trace of the St. Michael
church at Montacute nor at Burgh Island, yet these two locations are two
points which link to all the chapels comprising the Templar built Michael
line of churches through to the bifurcation point. An attempt has been
made to cover-up the clue and testament to Joseph's whereabouts left by
Father William Good by someone in the 17
century. We may speculate that
the relevance of St Michael’s on Montacute hill and St Michael’s on Burgh
Island close to St Michael’s on Glastonbury tor and Burrow Mump were
perhaps too obvious a pointer. After all, whoever plotted the linear design
of Michael churches must have cracked Melkin’s code otherwise we have
an amazing coincidence of Michael churches marking the two lines which
are in effect the solution to Melkin’s riddle. We could accept a whole line of
Two Glastonbury legends. J. Armitage Robinson p.66 (Kesinger Legacy Reprints)
Antiquitates p.16 of ed. 1678.
churches set upon an old Beltane line as a coincidence ‘at a push’; but one
has to get real when the two other St Michael churches or on Melkin’s line
and these are the only two place on earth which have references to Joseph
of Arimathea’s grave site.
Maihew writes: For this man (Father Good) was situated until now in the
same monastery (Glastonbury) in a flourishing position, a boy brought up as
a priest to devote himself to sacrifice for the mass, after the overturning of the
rule of the Catholic Queen Mary; however, while Queen Elizabeth was
persecuting the Catholics, he was made a member of the clergy of the
Fellowship of Jesus. And when the church of the Anglican college was
decorated with pictures, he was the first to assemble in that place an
enumeration of the distinguished holy men of England, with him as leader, to
ensure that the appearances and deeds of those very men in that place were
portrayed with a faithful likeness to the truth.
However, concerning the convent of Glastonbury and Saint Joseph of
Arimathea, he leaves behind the following, written in his own hand and
signed in that place with his own name:‘at Glastonbury there were bronze
plates as a perpetual memorial, chapels, crypts, crosses, arms, the keeping of
the feast(of St Joseph) on July 27, as long as the monks enjoyed the protection
of Kings by their charters. Now all these things have perished in the ruins.
The monks never knew for certain the place of this Saints burial, or
pointed it out. They said the body was hidden most carefully, either
there (Glastonbury), or on a Hill near Montacute called Hamden Hill,
and that when his body should be found, the whole world should wend their
way thither on account of the number and wondrous nature of the miracles
worked there. Among other things, I remember to have seen, at Glastonbury,
a stone cross, thrown down during this Queens reign, a bronze plate, on the
which was carved an inscription relating that Joseph of Arimathea came to
Britain 30 years after Christ's Passion, with eleven or twelve companions:
that he was allowed by Arviragus the King to dwell at Glastonbury, which
was then an island called Avalon, in a simple and solitary life: and that he had
brought with him two small silver vessels in which was some of the most holy
blood and water which had flowed from the side of the dead Christ. This cross,
moreover, had been set up many years before to mark the length of the Chapel
of the Blessed Virgin, made by Saint Joseph with wattle. The length was
measured by a straight line from the centre of the cross to the side of the
chancel afterwards built of hewn stone, under which also there was of old, in
a subterranean crypt the Chapel of St Joseph. Outside, in the wall of this
Chapel of the blessed virgin, there was a stone with the words ‘Jesus, Maria’,
carved in very ancient letters. The old arms of the monastery of Glastonbury
confirm (the traditions). These arms are a white shield on which is placed
vertically the stem of the green cross, and from side to side the arms of a
cross in like manner. Drops of blood are scattered over the field of the shield;
on both sides of the upper right and under the arms of the cross are set golden
ampullae. These were always called St Joseph's insignia for he was piously
believed to have abided there; and even perhaps to have been buried there.
There was in that same place (at Glastonbury) a long underground sanctuary
where a very famous pilgrimage was established to the stone statue of that
saint there; and there were many miracles done there, even while I was a boy,
who was born there (in Glastonbury), and I served mass in the sanctuary as
an eight-year old, and I saw it destroyed by the impious man, William Goals,
under Henry VIII.
Thus far go the words of that man (Father Good); as I said, he signs his
name in his own hand under these things: I copied them down from the
manuscript itself when I was a pupil of the same Anglican college in Rome,
and always I kept them safe with me, across sea and land, amid the most
savage persecutions of heretics. Nevertheless, it points towards that mount
named Hamden Hill, on which some claim the tomb of St. Joseph of
Arimathea to be, the sanctuary on that mount was kept safe for some time,
built among the sacred and revered places of England. In fact I remember
when sometimes I myself would traverse that mount, a certain old man
who lived not far from that place would receive me through trust in my
worthiness, often, during the reign of Elizabeth the heretic, to visit that
place, and there, in a particular place he was accustomed to pray on his
Father Good follows the pseudo-historical myth of Avalon which
started in HRB along with Arviragus etc. and consolidated in DA by
Henry Blois. However, no-one before Father Good mentions Joseph at
Montacute. Adam of Damerham’s account is based on De Inventione
which manuscript probably existed at Glastonbury through connection
to Henry Blois the author.
The De inventione Holy Cross dig at Montacute by Henry Blois inspired
Henry’s muses and seems to be a template for the later unearthing of
Arthur at Glastonbury. Hence, I hope the reader can see why I am labouring
the point that a connection with Joseph and Melkin’s prophecy which
Father Good makes, must have existed at Glastonbury in the time of Henry
Montacute was not mentioned in DA in connection with Joseph because
it would detract from Henry’s primary goal; which was the conversion of
Glastonbury to Avalon. What this indicates to me is that by Henry’s
exclusion of the information regarding Joseph at another location i.e.
Montacute, is the conformation that the information existed in reality.
Montacute would contradict Henry’s efforts of transformation of
Glastonbury into Avalon and Joseph’s place there; Joseph’s tomb was
indicated by Melkin to be in Avalon now Henry had changed the name of
the island on the Melkin Prophecy.
Avalon, as we have covered, has its basis in the prophecy concerning
Burgh Island, (the original Ineswitrin). The name Avalon, in connection
with an island, is Henry’s invention as we witnessed in HRB (Arthur’s last
resting place); the name derived from a town near Clugny. Nowhere does
the name Avalon pre-exist Henry Blois at Glastonbury. The DA that Henry
left to posterity as a final version was not fully rewritten until the latter
stages of Henry’s life c.1170-71 when he stayed for the most part in his
palace at Winchester. The DA was returned to Glastonbury fully
interpolated and lastly consolidated by Henry adding the first two chapters.
The DA was bequeathed by Henry after his death to Glastonbury along with
the other books. Further interpolations were added to DA after Henry’s
It is interesting to note concerning Montacute that the statements by
Father Good: ‘The monks never knew for certain the place of this Saints
burial, or pointed it out’, and ‘even perhaps to have been buried there’, tend to
denote that in Father Good’s day it was recognised that previous
generations of monks had fabricated the whole legend. It would seem that
the subterranean chapel at Glastonbury in Father Good’s time might have
been an attempt at establishing a place of worship where Joseph was
supposed to be buried even after J. Blome’s search.
In 1367 an anonymous East Anglian chronicler reports that Joseph’s
body had been found. We could speculate that this is connected to the
appearance of the Turin shroud c.1357 which is possible based on the fact
that others have postulated it came from the Templars having solved
Melkin’s puzzle and entered the tomb.
However, as the Glastonbury monks were unable to produce the Grail
for all to see…. or conjure up the duo fassula which were known to be
buried with Joseph…. the legend would lack credibility with pilgrims. As
Father Good bears witness, the ‘miracles which were prophesied by
Melkin and which were supposed to happen at the unveiling of the
grave, were already taking place at this underground sanctuary, but not
even Glastonbury monk craft or the wiles of Henry Blois would have the
effrontery to fabricate ‘duo fassula, the icon of the Grail.
Father Good says: there were many miracles done there in a long
underground sanctuary where a very famous pilgrimage was established
to the stone statue of that saint. If Joseph had been discovered, there
would be no need for the statue. Also if Joseph had been found, there
would be little point in recording the possibility that Joseph is at
Montacute. Although Father Good, attests that Glastonbury is Avalon, he
is unconvinced that Joseph is actually buried there. The fact that Maihew
went to Montacute circa 1620 and witnessed a man on his knees praying
indicates that maybe the chapel was still standing, but it is an odd
coincidence that both the St Michael Chapel at Montacute and that which
Camden bears witness to on Burgh Island
have left no trace. Possibly,
subsequent searchers being newly appraised of this hitherto un-
published information concerning Joseph’s burial at Montacute,
dismantled the chapel to search beneath for the Grail. We could
speculate that some copies of Maihew’s Trophea were meddled with, so
as to exclude Father Good’s information being spread abroad.
Wood, ‘Fraud and its consequences’ p. 282. It would appear, though, that this modesty (in not unearthing
Joseph’s bones and the duo fassula) was not a product of the normal forger’s caution, a fear of claiming things
so outrageous that the whole fabricated structure becomes endangered. Rather, given Joseph’s role in the
crucifixion, and further given the Holy Grail’s heterodox associations, it seems likely that the monks failures
here may well have arisen from religious scruples, from a recognition that there were some frauds that could
endanger the faith’. Wood has it right and Henry preferred to manufacture the grave of Arthur rather than
Camden:‘where the Aven's waters with the sea are mixed; Saint Michael firmly on a rock is fixed’
Even if all three copies were made from one exemplar apart from
Stillingfleet’s private one; why is just this section missing out of the
entire volume? An even greater coincidence is that Melkin’s original line
(the St Michael line) thus named by all the churches built along its axis,
is the primary line which we are led to bifurcate at Avebury; and the line
Melkin expressly wishes us to construct, (at the pertinent points on that
line once constructed), also had St Michael churches on them (at
Montacute and Burgh Island).
It is as if someone had traced over the solution to Melkin’s decoded
puzzle on a map and plotted St Michael dedicated buildings along the
lines. It is as if the dots on the lines are St Michael chapels, but this is not
Melkin’s doing. Melkin used what seemed to be fortuitously placed
landmarks which constituted the Beltane line. The fact that the
topographical land features of Burgh Island and Montacute on the Joseph
line are similar to Glastonbury tor, Burrow Mump and St Michael’s Mount
in Cornwall (on the Michael line) must be an extraordinary coincidence of
nature mixed with Melkin’s choice in creating the puzzle…. or by Heavenly
design, if one were to consider who it is that is still undiscovered on Burgh
The chapels which mark both the St Michael line and Joseph line were
constructed after Henry Blois’ era. There is an exception and this is why we
should be suspicious of the mention of the St. Michael chapel on
Glastonbury tor which is (not coincidentally) where St Patrick’s charter was
supposedly found. Rather than embark on a digression here concerning
Henry Blois’ construction of St Patrick’s charter
replicated in DA, where
not only does he substantiate his invention of Ineswitrin as being
synonymous with Glastonbury (by using the same method of backdating in
the words of St Patrick); but he also introduces Phagan and Deruvian…. first
mentioned in First Variant HRB. We should leave this until the chapter on
DA. But it is interesting that it is Rudborne
who attests Phagan and
Appendix 32
Thomas Rudborne c. 1430, an English Benedictine monk of St Swithun's Priory, Winchester in his Historia
Major has Phagan and Deruvian as founders of the old Minster at Winchester. Antonia Grandsen has noted their
use at Winchester by Rudborne, but they are not mentioned in the thirteenth century account of the foundation. It
is interesting however at both York and Winchester, the tabulae contained information about the foundation of
the old cathedral by Phaganus and Deruvianus. Archbishop Usher also cites a Winchester libellus written 1,265
years after the foundation by Phaganus and Duvianus in ad 169. We might think Phagan and Deruvian were
Deruvian were the consecrators of the old Minster at Winchester.
Henry Blois’ invention and insertion of the St Patrick charter into DA
seemingly appears to have St Patrick (and William of Malmesbury)
referring to the island of Avalon (which is impossible) and it also
establishes Patrick’s burial there where author B cited a rumour (not
mentioning Avalon). (Appendix 32).
However, there should be no surprise that the tomb on Burgh Island has
been discovered previously. If Melkin’s description of the Grail has
something to do with the formation of the Shroud of Turin as others have
the tomb must have been opened at some stage prior to the
appearance of the shroud.
To carry out the intended aim of the prophecy (which is to show
where the grave of Joseph of Arimathea is located), it is necessary to
understand the instructional data in the prophecy. This directs us to
construct the line (which, not by coincidence, goes through St. Michael’s
hill Montacute) as we have shown. The reason Montecute is given as an
intended clue is because it verifies a plotting point on the 104 mile line.
The puzzle can only be understood by creating a line on a map.
line is the 104 nautical mile line which extends from Avebury to Burgh
Island as I have said. It is the solution to what appears as random
unintelligible words, which, (once understood), mark out a constructed
line which extends through the only two stated places that Joseph is said
to be buried. One on the Island of Ineswitrin, which we know is Burgh
Island, and the other at Montacute which we know is only a
confirmational marker point.
It would be highly unlikely that the two places Joseph is said to be
buried just happened by chance to be on a line which purported to
unlock his sepulchre’s whereabouts once the intent of the prophecy is
decrypted. It is more unlikely the end of the line would end up on an
island and that it is all coincidental; because the prophecy was
connected to Winchester’s founding and Henry Blois used their names in HRB and connected them to
Eleutherius and the rest…. isn’t history.
The Legendary history of Britain J.S.P. Tatlock p. 248 makes the nonchalant observation: The picking out of
Winchester as the single English See mentioned here is one of the matters which suggests that Geoffrey had
some special favour towards it. Its new bishop Duvianus (Diwanus) has the same name as Lucius’ missionary
M. Goldsworthy.And did those feet. The Turin Shroud.
Any reader can construct the same two lines on Google earth.
supposedly meaningless and refers to a fortress in Syria according to our
current expert.
The Montacute ‘marker’ could only have been known as a point on
the 104 mile line by the constructor of the puzzle or someone who has
decoded the prophecy since Melkin. Yet if it was information supplied
by Melkin and the reasoning we think Henry Blois went in search of
Joseph at Montacute, no one before the Templars had decoded the
Melkin prophecy. We should conclude the organisation behind the
erection of the St Michael churches along both lines might be responsible
for opening the tin vault. If I am correct in assuming De inventione is a
product of a failed dig in search of Joseph of Arimathea and if Henry used
the clue for the inspiration for his dig at Montacute…. we can only assume
an earlier provenance for the Melkin prophecy than scholars allow.
Why is it that scholarship cannot see the wood for the trees when it
comes to Melkin? The prophecy has three main subjects…. the Island,
Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus, who is cryptically referred to as Abbadare.
We are told the island is coveting pagans and we know it holds two Jews
which Melkin might refer to pagans as Jews (the two most famous Jews to
boot). We are told the sepulchre of Joseph is on the Island and he has
something there with him. Melkin is reticent to tell us what it is, but
cryptically informs us that it is the duo fassula ,which, we must assume has
a close connection to Jesus, as his blood is implied to be in one of the
Vessels…. or so the way the words are written…. we are led to believe.
We know there is no vessel like cup, but the Melkin prophecy is directly
referring to Jesus through the name Abbadare. Melkin informs us, if we find
an English Meridian (of which there is only one which runs from St
Michael’s mount to Avebury), which is the Michael Line; we are to bifurcate
it at a point in a sphere according to the instructions. If one is perceptive,
one attempts to derive meaning, but from what we are told by Carley,
Melkin’s prophecy is a construct made up of various extracts or traditions.
From what I can deduce, random words referring to some incidence
(apparently connected with Rainald) does not generate perfect geometry
which locates the subject of the Prophecy so precisely i.e. an island.
The point of Melkin’s message to posterity is obviated by instructing us it
is a ‘line’…. which, when bifurcated, at that point…. produces another line
by the action of bifurcation. We know it is an invitation to uncover a grave
site because it is referring to the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea; and
the prophecy informs us of the marvellous things which will occur when
it is found in the future. Therefore, we know we are looking for a grave
on an island. So, we must logically assume that the other information in
the prophecy is relevant to finding the tomb. If we follow the purport of
the prophecy and apply the relevant details found in it, (none of which
are irrelevant or redundant); we must conclude, since the prophecy
indicates we are looking for an island, the seemingly non sensible words
are clues to uncover the said island’s whereabouts.
Therefore, we must find the relevance and meaning behind all’ the
supposedly obscure words found in the prophecy. Once we know that
the English Meridian is known today as the Michael line, any
investigator can progress. If we deny this fact, listen to the experts, or
are duped by Glastonbury propaganda, there can be no hope of finding a
solution or the sepulchre of Joseph.
If we bifurcate that line as instructed within the sphaerula (which can
only be Avebury stone circle), there are only three other extraneous and
unemployed pieces of information, once the meaning behind the
prophecy is decoded. If we use the 104 mile line (the other half of a
bifurcation) which we are led to believe must be formed on a map,
(logically, because we are looking for a geographical location) and
employ the bifurcation point of Avebury stone circle, which is on the
Michael line…. and follow the instruction to divide (bifurcate) at an angle
of thirteen degrees (sperulatis); we find the line terminates on an Island
in Devon 104 miles from Avebury.
Now, if we accept Insula Avallonis a substituted name for Ineswitrin,
(knowing Henry is the inventor of the name Avalon) one would be very
dim indeed if one did not recognise the only two places (an island or
Montacute) which have been posited as the grave site of Joseph of
Arimathea both exist on the line which Melkin has implied should be
It would be an amazing coincidence if the geometry haphazardly fell
on Burgh Island, especially as we have determined that it is the ancient
island of Ictis, considering Joseph’s association with the tin trade. It also
must be considered in association with Ineswitrin and its nomenclature
derived from the description of ‘white tin’ and the fact that it has the same
name as that found on the 601 charter.
Researchers need to answer how Burgh Island and Montacute are on
a line that is unknown until constructed on a map from a encoded
document and who it was that built these St Michael churches as
markers. Burgh Island and Montacute were previously unconnected before
the line is drawn and this line is the solution to Melkin’s puzzle and both
places connect to tradition concerning Joseph’s burial site.
How randomly coincidental it would be that Father Good invents such a
notion concerning Montacute in connection to Joseph’s resting place,
especially being a Glastonbury acolyte. It is even more astounding that for
Carley, the prophecy is a cohesion of esoteric material from different
sources, invented with no specifics in it that have any meaning except those
that might be relevant to the church at Glastonbury, Baybars and a Syrian
fortress. In fact it is ludicrous to suggest that the prophecy of Melkin is in
any way connected to a fortress in Syria considering the Valley of
Jehosaphat is the metaphoric place where the day of judgement by Jehova
takes place…. where the God of Israel will gather all nations for judgment.
What benefit would it bring to our supposed thirteenth century inventor
of the prophecy, if his sole aim was to align himself with Grail literature
emanating from France as Carley and Lagorio insist? Why would our rogue
author randomly interject such words as sperula and Abbadare? Saphat has
little connotation or meaning without the person of Abbadare or Jesus. Nor
do the given numerical measurements of 13 and 104 have relevance unless
we prefer to locate the grave with Carley’s insight of ‘thirteen spheres
prophesying’ and reckoning that 144,000 saints are buried within the abbey
grounds at Glastonbury.
We must conclude the ‘Carefully hidden’ allusion to the marker point of
Montacute, constituted a confirmation of the instructional data left to
posterity in the prophecy. I understand that Carley finds the words of the
prophecy unintelligible before Kim Yale decoded it, but once I had seen the
solution…. there it is, the lines generated by those unintelligible words are
geometrically significant to Joseph’s resting place. The words are also
significant by combination with other pertinent parts of the prophecy, not
only in constructing the line, but by describing who and what was in the
tomb and the outcome of its discovery.
Now, if we can accept all the previous, then we must allow the
significance of a search at Montacute by Henry Blois…. understanding that
he was aware of the ‘carefully hidden’ clue extant in his day. The reason we
may assume that Father Good’s information was originally a key to Melkins
line is that if Melkin had wanted to establish the location of Avalon
(Ineswitrin) plainly, he would have given us the details of its location
and not gone to the effort of inventing the puzzle and secreting the
geographical location. After all, it is the pointer by which Melkin
‘carefully’ confirms where Joseph is ‘hidden’, but not where he is buried.
The prophecy does that once it is unscrambled.
Even though we are told in DA that Joseph ended his life’ at
Glastonbury and by implication was buried there and it is obviously not
true, we should look firstly at who invented the word Avalon and
secondly who went to great efforts to convert Avalon into a location at
Glastonbury. This is consciously done by a real intelligent mind and it
was not done by a fictitious ‘Geoffrey. Once we know who fabricated the
false evidences, it is easy to work out that if Joseph is really on Burgh
Island (or more correctly Ineswitrin) and the location provided in the
prophecy is true and correct at the uncovering of the sepulchre on Burgh
Island; we can only conclude that it is the same man who substituted his
invented name of Avalon on the prophecy so that Joseph would be
fictitiously located at Glastonbury also along with Arthur. Now, where
this becomes relevant to Robert de Boron’s ‘foresight’ in connecting
Joseph with Glastonbury we will get to later but be assured Robert is not
aligning ‘convergent factors’ when he knows of the Vaus d’Avaron.
Henry Blois started a tradition of fraudulent misrepresentation of
Avalon as being identical or correspondent with Glastonbury and hence
the outcome is that Joseph’s sepulchre changes locations from a realistic
location to an invented location i.e. to where the tomb does not exist.
How bizarre it would be if we believed Henry’s propaganda that in
Arthur’s time (and the King of Devons time), Glastonbury had two
previous names for the same place in the same era. We showed earlier
that Glastonbury has always had that name or something phonetically
similar. Ineswitrin is in Devon and the island of Avalon was never heard
of before the arrival of First Variant HRB. Henry Blois fantasy name
based on a town in the region of Blois is as fictitious as Arthur’s island in
HRB just as fictitious as Arthur’s battle at Autun.
The Glastonbury monks chose to ignore the rest of the instructional
input such as centum et quatuor, sperulatis, sperulis and tredecim as no
commonality with the site at Glastonbury could be found even though
these are integral in determining the site at Burgh Island. However, as we
have covered, if we accept the monastery existed on Burgh Island where
the present day hotel now stands. Joseph ‘lies in a bifurcated line next to an
angled meridian in a pre-prepared cave with an oratori above where one
prays; at the verge.’
Henry is mindful of discovery as it would become too obvious that Grail
literature and its association with Joseph is based upon the prophecy of
Melkin and his duo fassula. As Henry propagated his French Grail literature
in the courts of France and Champagne the same propaganda about Joseph
and the Grail was being propagated in England in the Perlesvaus.
Joseph began to be established in lore at Glastonbury only through what
was written in DA and his prominence became greater as the connections
between French Grail literature were associated with Glastonbury after
Henry’s death. The joining of the dots became more connected after
Arthur’s disinterment and by the Leaden cross confirming to the world that
Glastonbury was Avalon and Geoffrey’s stories of Arthur appeared to be
This is not to say that Avalon or Joseph or Arthur arrived at Glastonbury
by a ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’, but by intelligent conscious design
from the mind of one man and we can trace the seedling of this design back
to 1157 in VM’s Insula Pomorum. However, this ‘convergence of factors’
came together after Henry’s death. An accomplishment in rewriting History
greater than Cicero’s; and so much more timeless, colourful and enduring;
we are all still trying to find answers today.
As we know, the Joseph connection was tentative because it was so
recently established at Glastonbury in DA after Henry’s death but did not
get its confirmation from Robert de Boron’s work and possibly from a
Glastonbury Perlesvaus until the point of critical mass came at Arthur’s
The original Perlesvaus of which we only have portions is undoubtedly
from Henry’s mind. What has confused scholars into thinking Joseph was a
later development of Glastonbury lore is the complete overshadowing of
him by Arthur. Joseph’s legend developed at a much slower pace because of
the prominence of the discovery of Arthur at Glastonbury and don’t forget
the chivalric Arthur story had been in the public domain since c1139 while
Joseph lore at Glastonbury was quietly waiting to be exposed after 1171.
The fact that Joseph is said to be on Avalon through the Melkin
prophecy and Arthur happened to be also found on that island is
anything but coincidence. Especially, when we know Henry is in reality
‘Geoffrey’, the inventor of the chivalric Arthur…. and continental
literature links them both with an island supposedly spoken of by Melkin
whose work was found at Glastonbury. The ‘Grail’ object is linked with
Arthur by Chrétien…. and Joseph is linked with Arthur and the Grail
through Robert de Boron; and even to ‘Avaron in the West’. They then
link to Henry and Melkin at Glastonbury, not through coincidence, but
by the design of Master Blihis, Blaise, and Bliho Bleheris and
Bledhericus…. all four are linked as being an authority or source for the
Grail or recording stories about it.
Henry Blois, a patron of Giraldus Cambrensis
is part of the reason
why Gerald takes such an interest in the disinterment at Glastonbury….
as it is probable that Henry indoctrinated Gerald on Arthuriana before
his death. Gerald does not mention Joseph, because his interest is solely
in a Welsh Arthur and he was not a Glastonbury acolyte; but he had read
DA before the unearthing of Arthur. We should not ignore his testimony
given his proximity to Henry II.
We shall look at Gerald’s testimony
Adam of Damerham, writing about a hundred years after Henry’s
death, does not mention Joseph or concern himself with redundantly
reiterating anything in DA, but takes his account forward from where
DA left off. Adam (not by coincidence) starts his account at the death of
Henry Blois. The last chapter of DA is 83 and it relates to Henry Blois. The
fact Adam does not reiterate facts about Joseph is entirely different from
mentioning Arthur’s disinterment; the events of which had not been
recorded in DA.
David Knowles. Saints and Scholars.p.55
See chapter on Gerald of Wales.
Because of this fact, it is ridiculous of scholars to stand on the flimsy a
priori which presumes bogus Joseph lore was only interpolated into DA
after the disinterment of Arthur for the reason Gerald nor Adam
mention Joseph in their text; yet both of them comment on Arthur’s
unveiling. How could Henry comment in DA about the unveiling of
Arthur? He just left to posterity the location where he had prepared a
tomb to excite the world on its discovery and confirm his invention of a
Chivalric Arthur by putting a leaden cross within…. and the rest becomes
Another hundred years later (after Adam) the Joseph legend is fully
established and consolidated by John of Glastonbury. He reiterates much of
Henry’s lore in the DA and from other Glastonbury sources which
undoubtedly came from Henry Blois such as Perlesvaus and the suspected
work of Melkin about ‘Arthur and the Round table’ we discussed earlier.
John of Glastonbury’s extract is directly from Henry’s interpolations in
No other human hands made the church of Glastonbury, but Christ's
disciples founded and built it by angelic doctrine; an unattractive structure,
certainly, but, adorned by God with manifold virtue; the high priest of the
heavens himself, the maker and Redeemer of humankind, our Lord Jesus
Christ, in his true presence dedicated it to himself and his most holy mother.
On account of its antiquity the English called this church, the ‘ealdechirche’,
which is ‘the old church’, and it is quite evident that the men of that region
hold no oath more sacred or binding than one on the Old Church and they
shun nothing through fear of punishment for their crime more than perjury.
Glastonbury originally built of wattles, is first and eldest of all churches in
England. From it the strength of divine sanctity gave forth its scent from the
very outset and breathed upon the whole land; and though it was made of
unsightly material, it was nevertheless esteemed greatly in worshipful
What John says in his Cronica is fairly irrelevant to our investigation in
that Henry Blois’ propaganda is established and believed as genuine lore in
his era. Especially, since William of Malmesbury has been dead two
hundred years and he is supposedly the fount for this material. JG mixes
other sources which one can only imagine were extant at the time John
wrote and have now disappeared. John surely but innocently included
more of Henry’s propaganda in reference to such personages as
Arviragus and Phagan and Deruvian from HRB (all fabrications) which
has duped scholars into believing a genuine history.
John in his Cronica repeats and embellishes Henry’s pig concoction
found in DA and repeats Henry’s derivation of the island of apples
through avalla (in British), etymologically leading to Avalon being
synonymous with Glastonbury. This is clearly part of Henry’s conversion
from a geographically location-less Avalon in HRB…. through clever
contortion in VM associating Arthur’s last known location which thus
identifies Insula Pomorum’s synonymy with Avalon, which, in DA, is so
named for the scarcity of apples (Henry would not want to be seen
concurring with VM) rather than in John’s Cronica where the island is
named for its abundance. In the DA we find: This island was at first
called Yniswitrin by the Britons but at length was named by the English,
who had brought the land under their yoke, Glastinbiry, either a
translation into their language of its previous name, or after Glasteing of
whom we spoke above. It is also frequently called the isle of Avalon, a
name of which this is the origin. It was mentioned above that Glasteing
found his sow under an apple tree near the church. Because he discovered
on his arrival that apples were very rare in that region he named the
island Avallonie in his own language, that is ‘Apple Island, for avalla in
British is the same as poma in Latin. Or it was named after a certain
Avalloc who is said to have lived there with his daughters because of the
solitude of the spot.
We can also tell Henry’s hand in DA as he confirms Glastonbury is
Avalon by providing another derivation of the name Avallon through a
certain Avalloc. The advantage of this is that like the VM, where Morgen
and her sisters lived (Insula Pomorum)…. in the DA we have Avalloc’s
daughters to conflate with them, providing convincing evidence that
Glastonbury, Avalon and Insula Pomorum are all the same place.
The devise, as usual, is Henry’s clever conflation; never explicit but
rather letting the reader (or posterity) join the dots of Henry’s
propagandist trail. While carrying out his contortion in VM, Henry also
adds further confusion, mystery and antiquity to his Insula Pomorum by
introducing synonymy with the Fortunate Isle or isles, which were in
antiquity mentioned by Plutarch, Ptolemy and Pliny. Henry’s agenda is
to bring HRB’s Avalon to Glastonbury in VM: The Island of Apples gets its
name 'The Fortunate Island' from the fact that it produces all manner of
plants spontaneously. It needs no farmers to plough the fields. There is no
cultivation of the land at all beyond that which is Nature's work. It
produces crops in abundance and grapes without help; and apple trees spring
up from the short grass in its woods. All plants, not merely grass alone, grows
spontaneously; and men live a hundred years or more. There nine sisters rule
by a pleasing set of laws those who come to them from our country. She who
is first of them is more skilled in the healing art, and excels her sisters in the
beauty of her person. Morgen is her name, and she has learned what useful
properties all the herbs contain, so that she can cure sick bodies………. Thither
after the battle of Camlan we took the wounded Arthur, guided by Barinthus
to whom the waters and the stars of heaven were well known. With him
steering the ship we arrived there with the prince, and Morgen received us
with fitting honour, and in her chamber she placed the King on a golden
‘Geoffrey’ wrote Insula Pomorum quae Fortunata uocatur and the only
reason apart from conflation with earlier accounts of the island is that
Fortunata is a foretelling of one's destiny and since all this is originally
linked to Melkin’s Island, it may well have been included so that the reader
believes Joseph was buried there too. This lends itself to the understanding
that great things were predicted to occur there and so is contrived to seem
associated with the island where Joseph was buried. John of Glastonbury is
really the consolidator of Henry’s propaganda template through
information found in DA at Glastonbury which combines the apples
connecting them to the old Church and Yniswitrin rather than through an
Arthur association with either Avalon or Insula Pomorum:
This Glasteing (a person) pursued his sow through the territory inland of
the Angles near the village called ‘Escebtiorne’ all the way to Wells, and from
wells by a trackless and watery path which is now called the ‘Sugewey’, that is
‘the sow’s way’. He found her suckling her piglets next to the Old Church on
the aforesaid island, beneath a fruit tree; hence it continues down to our own
day that the fruit of that tree are called ‘ealdechirchiness-apple’, that is
’apples of the old church’. This Glasteing, then, after he had entered the island,
saw that it was rich in all manner of good things and came to live on it with
his whole family. And since at the first, he found apples of the most precious
sort in those parts, he called it the ‘Island of Avalon’ in his own tongue,
that is ‘island of apples’, and he spent his life there and from his family and
progeny, who succeeded him that place was originally populated. Finally,
the Saxons who conquered it called the land ‘Glastonbury’ in their own
tongue, by translation of the former name, that is ‘Ynswytryn’; for in
English or Saxon ‘glas’ means ‘glass’ and ‘bury’ means city.
John of Glastonbury has a copy of the fragment known as the
prophecy of Melkin on which Henry Blois changed Ineswitrin and
inserted Avalon. What else John has in his possession as source material
is unsure, but he has surely seen Henry’s original Perlesvaus a copy of
which was probably left at Glastonbury along with material resembling
that found in vulgate prose Percival. I would hazard to suggest that the
Gospel of Nicodemus, an extension or derivative of the earlier acts of
Pilate was composed by Henry Blois. The Gospel of Nicodemus seemed to
surface around the time that Henry of Blois was composing Grail
literature and certainly it is used as part of ‘Robert De Boron’s’ Joseph
d’Arimathie and also included by John of Glastonbury to consolidate the
Joseph tradition at Glastonbury.
John of Glastonbury starts his treaties of St. Joseph of Arimathea,
which he claims are taken from a book which the Emperor Theodosius
found in Pontius Pilate’s council chamber in Jerusalem…. which only
Henry would have had the audacity to proffer as such a spurious
Below, he is quoted at length from a translation by David Townsend
from Carley’s thesis study of John of Glastonbury’s Cronica: Matters
which admit doubt often deceive the reader; in order to dispel doubts
regarding the antiquity of the church of Glastonbury, therefore, we have
added some undisputed facts gathered from the ancient sayings of
When the Lord had been crucified and everything had been fulfilled,
which had been prophesied of him, Joseph of Arimathea, that noble
Decurion, came to Pilate, as the gospel story explains, asked for the body of
Jesus, wrapped it when he had received it in linen, and placed it in a
monument in which no one had yet laid. But the Jews, hearing that Joseph
had buried the body of Jesus, sought to arrest him, along with Nicodemus
and the others who had defended him before Pilate. When they had all
hidden themselves, these two-that is Joseph and Nicodemus, revealed
themselves and asked the Jews,’ why are you aggrieved against us because
we have buried the body of Jesus? You have not done well against a
righteous man, nor have you considered what benefits he bestowed upon
us; instead you have crucified him and wounded him with a lance’. When the
Jews heard these words, Annas and Ciaphas seized Joseph, shut him up in a
cell where there was no window, sealed the door over the key, and posted
guards to watch over him. But Nicodemus they sent away free, since Joseph
alone had requested Jesus’ body and had been the principal instigator in his
burial. Later, when everyone had assembled, all through the Sabbath they
considered, along with the priests and Levites how they should kill Joseph.
After the assembly had gathered, the chief officials ordered, Annas and
Ciaphas to present Joseph; but when they opened the seals on the door they
did not find him. Scouts were sent out everywhere, and so Joseph was found in
his own city, Arimathea. Hearing this, the chief priests and all the people of
the Jews rejoiced and glorified the God of Israel because Joseph had been
found whom they had shut up in a cell. They then made a great assembly, at
which the chief of the priests said, ’how can we bring Joseph to us and speak
with him?’ They took up a piece of parchment and wrote to Joseph, saying,’
peace be with you and yours. We see that we have sinned against God and
against you. Deign therefore, to come to your fathers and your sons, for we
have marvelled greatly over your assumption. Indeed, we know that we have
plotted evil counsel against you, and the Lord has freed you from our evil
council. Peace to you, Lord Joseph, honourable among all the people’. And
they chose seven men who were friends of Joseph and said to them, ’When you
reach Joseph, greet him in peace and give him this letter.’ When the men had
reached him, they greeted him peaceably and gave him the letter. Joseph read
the letter and said, ’Blessed are you, O Lord my God, who have liberated
Israel, that he should not shed my blood. Blessed are you, O my God, who
have protected me under your wings. And Joseph kissed the men who had
come to him and took them into his house. The next day he climbed up on his
ass and went with them until they came to Jerusalem; and when all the Jews
heard of it, they ran to meet him, saying, ’Peace at your coming in, father.’
Joseph responded to them, saying, ’Peace be with you all.’ And they all kissed
him, and Nicodemus received him into his house and made a banquet for him.
The next day the Jews all came together, and Annas and Ciaphas said to
Joseph, ’Make confession to the God of Israel, and reveal to us all that
which you are asked. We quarrelled with you because you buried the body
of Jesus and shut you up in a cell on account of the Sabbath; on the
following day we sought you but did not find you. Therefore, we were
greatly astonished, and fear has held us even up until now, when we have
received you. Now that you are present, tell us before God, what happened
to you’ .Joseph answered them, saying, ’When you shut me up at evening
on the day of preparation, while I stood at my Sabbath prayers, the house
in which I was held was taken up in the middle of the night by four angels,
and I saw Jesus like a flash of light. I fell for fear onto the ground, but,
holding my hand; he lifted me up from the ground and covered me with the
scent of roses. As he wiped my face, he kissed me and said to me, “Do not
fear, Joseph; look upon me and see who I am.” I looked at him and said,
“Rabbi Elijah,” and he said to me, “I am not Elijah, but Jesus, whose body
you buried.Then I said to him, “Show me the monument where I lay you.
And taking my hand, he led me to the place where I buried him and showed
me the linen shroud and the face cloth in which I had wrapped his head.
Then I recognised that he was Jesus, and I adored him saying,’ “Blessed is
he who comes in the name of the Lord.Then, holding my hand, he led me
into my house in Arimathea and said to me, “Peace be with you. Do not go
out of your house until the 40th day. I shall go to my disciples.” And when
he had said these things, he disappeared.’
After all this, the noble Joseph of Arimathea, animated by an ardent
faith, became the disciple of blessed Philip the apostle, and, filled to
overflowing with his saving doctrine, was baptised by him, along with his
son Josephes. Later he was appointed guardian of the blessed ever virgin
Mary by blessed John the apostle, while John himself laboured at preaching
to the Ephesians: Joseph was present at the assumption of the same
glorious virgin, along with blessed Philip and his other disciples, and he
preached incessantly through many lands the things which he had heard
and seen of the Lord Jesus Christ and his mother Mary; finally, converting
and baptising many, in the 15th year after the blessed virgins assumption
he came to Philip the apostle in Gaul, along with his son Josephes, whom
the Lord had earlier consecrated Bishop in the city of Sarras. For when the
disciples dispersed throughout the various parts of the world after the
Lord's Ascension; as Freculph bears witness in his second book, in the
fourth chapter; Philip came to the Kingdom of the Franks to preach, and he
converted and baptised many into the faith of Christ. Since then, the holy
apostle wished to spread the word of God, he sent twelve of his disciples to
Britain to proclaim the good news of the Word of Life; over these he set his
dear friend, the aforesaid Joseph, who buried the Lord, along with his son
Josephes. More than 600 came with them, as is read in the book, called ‘the
holy Grail (Sanctum Graal), men as well as women, all of whom vowed
that they would abstain from their own spouses until they had come into the
land appointed to them. They all made a sham of their oath however, except
for 150, whom at the Lord's command crossed the sea upon Josephes’ shirt on
Easter night and landed in the morning. The others repented, and through
Josephes’ prayers on their behalf, a ship was sent by the Lord which King
Solomon had artfully constructed in his time and which endured all the way
to the time of Christ. That same day, they and the Duke of the Persians named
Nasciens reached their companions; Joseph had earlier baptised Nasciens in
the city of Sarras, along with the King of the city, whose name was Mordrain.
The Lord later appeared to Mordrain in a vision and showed him his pierced
hands and feet and his side wounded by the lance. Taking great pity upon him,
the King said,’ O Lord my God, who has dared to do such a thing to you? ’And
the Lord answered,’ the faithless King of North Wales has done these things to
me, and he who has bound in prison, my servant Joseph and his companions,
who were preaching my name, in his territories, and who has inhumanely
denied them necessary sustenance. You then, do not delay but hasten to those
parts, girded with your sword, to avenge my servants upon the tyrant and
free them from their chains.’
The King, then awoke and rejoiced in the Lord because of the vision
revealed to him, made disposition of the house and Kingdom, began his
journey with his army and coming to the place by God's guidance,
commanded the aforesaid King to permit God’s servants to depart freely. But
the Welsh King, altogether refusing the command, indignantly ordered him to
leave his land without delay. When King Mordrain had heard this, he and the
aforesaid Duke Nasciens came against him with their army, and Nasciens
killed the Welsh King in a battle of just vengeance. Then King Mordrain went
to the prison where the wicked King held Joseph and his companions under
arrest, led him thence in great joy, and told him the vision which the Lord had
revealed to him in order to free them. Then all were filled with great joy
and thanked the Lord mightily.
After this Saint Joseph and his son Josephes and their 10 companions
travelled through Britain, where King Arviragus then reigned, in the 63rd
year from the Lord's incarnation, and they trustworthily preached the faith of
Christ. But the barbarian King and his nation, when they heard doctrines so
new and unusual, did not wish to exchange their ancestral traditions for
better ways and refused consent to their preaching. Since however they had
come from afar, and because of their evident modesty of life, Arviragus gave
them for a dwelling an island at the edge of his Kingdom surrounded with
forests, thickets and swamps, which was called by the inhabitants Ynswytryn,
that is ’the Glass island’. Of this a poet has said, ‘The twelvefold band of men
entered Avalon: Joseph, flower of Arimathea, is their chief. Josephes, Joseph’s
son, accompanies his father. The right to Glastonbury is held by these and the
other ten.’ When the saints then, had lived in that desert for a short time, the
Archangel Gabriel admonished them in a vision to build a church in honour of
the holy Mother of God, the ever virgin Mary, in that place which heaven
would show them. Obeying the divine admonitions, they finished a Chapel, the
circuit of whose walls they completed with wattles, in the 31st year after the
Lord's passion, the fifteenth, as was noted, after the assumption of the
glorious Virgin, and the same year in fact, in which they had come to St Philip
the apostle in Gaul and had been sent by him to Britain. Though it was of
unsightly construction, it was adorned with the manifold power of God; and,
since it was the first church in the land, the son of God distinguished it by a
fuller dignity, dedicating it in his own presence in honour of his mother. And
so these 12 saints offered there, devout service to God and the blessed virgin,
freeing themselves up for fasting and prayers; and, in their necessities they
were revived by the assistance of the Virgin Mother of God. When the holiness
of their lives was discovered, two of the Kings, though pagans, Marius, the son
of King Arviragus, and Coel, son of Marius, granted them each a hide of land
and at the same time confirmed the gift. Thus, to this day, the 12 hides take
their names from them. When a few years had passed, these saints were led
forth from the workhouse of the body. Arthur was buried among those men
and Joseph and positioned on a bifurcated line next to the oratory
mentioned before. Consequently, he occupies the same place that was the lair
of wild beasts, which formerly was the dwelling place of saints, until it
pleased the Blessed Virgin to restore to her oratory as a monument of the
John of Glastonbury writing c.1400 has consolidated what seemingly was
William of Malmesbury’s work. It is comprised from William’s interpolated
work by Henry, Henry’s Grail literature and possibly other work put out by
Henry. We know Arviragus is a concoction of Henry’s in HRB and since
there is no mention of Arviragus in DA it is no doubt to hide his authorship
of the interpolations in DA. Yet John of Glastonbury starts his work with
Arviragus so we can absolutely be sure (knowing that Arviragus is a Henry
invention in HRB) that John is being supplied other lore than that found in
DA connecting Arviragus to Glastonbury…. and this must be part of Henry’s
output which has since disappeared.
Joseph’s relics had not been found. John says he lies on a bifurcated line
next to the Oratory. John of Glastonbury does not speak as if he had
invented an overly complicated prophecy and utilised but one piece from it.
He speaks like a man who only understood a part of what he had read from
a prophecy. This is a vague description for someone who is posited to have
gone to the trouble of inventing an otherwise meaningless prophecy;
especially when his extract seems to ignore his other efforts mentioning
Sperula and random numbers and Abbadare in the rest of the prophecy
If the Melkin prophecy had no validity it is surely being underutilised if
designed specifically to bolster Joseph lore at Glastonbury. If the Melkin
prophecy was not just another piece of information in the mass of
Glastonbury lore that John is consolidating he makes little use of his capital
considering the Melkin Prophecy’s sole purpose was to locate Joseph’s
burial place and association with Glastonbury. When will modern scholars
wake up?
Eusebius of Caesarea c. 325 knows nothing of the Gospel of Nicodemus
although he was aware of "Letters of Pilate" referred to by Justin and
Tertullian. He was also aware of an anti-Christian text called Acts of Pilate
not the same as the present day text. It seems as if the letters of Pilate or the
acts were used as a base for the epic known as the Gospel of Nicodemus.
The Gospel of Nicodemus is unique in that it mentions the soldier who
speared Jesus on the cross called Longinus and the names of the two
criminals who were crucified beside him. Many others are mentioned also
just as Henry was at ease concocting characters in HRB. This to me has the
hall mark of Henry Blois, who, as we saw in HRB, has no qualms inventing
history or supplying names not previously heard, and apportioning to them
pivotal roles in history. The Gospel of Nicodemus also is written by a man
who has a good grasp of the issues concerning Pilate’s importunity and who
is not afraid to concoct as a truth his own eschatological conclusions on
Adam (the first spiritual man) and Hell and other biblical icons found in GS.
Our author also has a good grasp of storytelling and is well acquainted with
the bible.
He makes bold statements such as: And all these things which were
spoken by the Jews in their synagogue did Joseph and Nicodemus forthwith
declare unto the governor. And Pilate himself wrote all the things that were
done and said concerning Jesus by the Jews.
Henry has a knack of supplying the provenance of the work and then
suggesting in the story how it came to be. No-one refers to the Gospel of
Nicodemus before Medieval times. It seems to be an accretion of previous
works or work. Its object in the main, originally, was to furnish irrefutable
testimony to the resurrection but the Nicodemus version has much to say
about Joseph’s role after the crucifixion…. and we can conjecture that a
version which features Joseph so prominently may be by the hand of
Henry. Whether or not Henry wrote it, is not important. But Robert de
Boron has without doubt derived his story from Henry Blois or had
certainly seen it in a book composed by Henry Blois or heard it at some
continental court from Henry. It is not a coincidence that a medieval
manuscript appears concerning Joseph of Arimathea i.e. the Gospel of
Nicodemus from which Robert draws upon in Joseph d’Arimathie? This
glorifies and corroborates episodes in the Gospel of Nicodemus. Meanwhile
Henry Blois is introducing Joseph material into the DA and writing Grail
literature using the inspiration derived from Melkin’s prophecy.
Let the reader put themselves in Henry’s shoes. One obtains this
information from an old tract that Joseph of Arimathea has a sepulchre on
an island. He is at Glastonbury and the island is named as Ynis witrin, so it
is in Briton. You find a charter dated 601 on which the same name of
Yniswitrin is found. You have no idea where the island is. Firstly you use
the charter to establish Glastonbury’s antiquity. Malmesbury has no idea
where this supposed island is either so dismisses the bastardized Latin
prophecy because neither he nor Henry could make head or tail of all the
meaningless word strings; so best just use the charter because one can see it
is genuine. Only after Malmesbury dies it is fortuitous for Henry to have
this old charter apply to Glastonbury; so he adds etymological hodge podge
to Life of Gildas which he had already written putting his Arthur with
Gildas; again for proof of Glastonbury’s antiquity. Henry might as well
corroborate/celebrate the recent Life of Gildas story by engaging stone
masons while passing through Modena.
Joseph has no provenance in Briton apart from the fables spoken of by
the Cornish rumour of Joseph’s visits as a tin merchant. As a trader Joseph
was relatively unknown so his notoriety would have been on his return to
stay in Briton with the awful events just having transpired in Jerusalem
Augustine’s Catholic Romans probably stamped out any tradition of
Joseph so their monopoly and primacy through Peter would not be diluted
by a Joseph; a direct relation of Jesus who arrived in Briton.
Later c.1160-70 Henry has started this whole Joseph, Grail, Arthur,
Avalon juggernaut in motion by inventing stories and entertaining his
family in Champagne with them. Henry now needs to attach Joseph’s
provenance to Glastonbury so that he can consolidate the last interpolations
in DA. What better way than to attach Joseph to Briton than by what JG has
just informed us above? Where do you think JG found the bulk of his source
material; from which mind?
Matthew Paris c. 1200 1259 better known as Matthew Westminster who
wrote the Flores Historiarum has possibly the first précis of Melkin’s
prophecy written in the margin. In Archbishop Usher's ‘Britannicarum
Ecclesiarum Antiquitates’ he provides us with the variant of Melkin’s
prophecy, which cannot be dated as it is not in the main body of text, but it
does however plainly show the prophecy’s evolution. There is no geometric
numerical data included (i.e. the thirteen sperulatis and the 104 milles)
because, as with modern scholarship, the relevance of the numbers were
not understood:
'Joseph ab Arimathea nobilis decurio in insula Avallonia cum xi. Sociis suis
somnum cepit perpetuum et jacet in meridiano angulo lineae bifurcate
Oratorii Adorandae Virginis. Habit enim secum duo vascula argentea alba
cruore et sudore magni prophetae Jesu per multum tempus ante
diem Judicii ejus corpus integrum et illibatum reperietur; et erit apertum toti
Orbi terranum. Tunc nec ros nec pluvial habitantibus insulam nobilissimam
poterit deficere’.
'Joseph of Arimathea, the noble decurion, received his everlasting rest with
his eleven associates in the Isle of Avalon. He lies in the southern angle of the
bifurcated line of the Oratorium of the Adorable Virgin. He has with him
the two white vessels of silver which were filled with the blood and the
sweat of the great prophet Jesus. And for a long time before the day of
judgement, his body will be discovered whole and undisturbed; and will be
opened to the whole world. At that time neither dew, nor rain, will lack
from that noble island’.
What I have tried to make plain is that from a very early time
Melkin’s prophecy existed and no-one understood what it meant or its
relevance to Glastonbury. It is for this reason, once it was commonly
accepted that Glastonbury was Avalon, after the disinterment of Arthur,
the Melkin prophecy, on which Henry had substituted the name Avalon
for Ineswitrin…. became prevalent in its association with the Island of
"Nobilis decurio" is St. Jerome's translation in the Vulgate of St. Mark's
"honourable counsellor". Rabanus Maurus 776856 (the archbishop of
Mainz), in 'The Life of St. Mary Magdalene' uses the same appellation
along with Helinand. Some commentators assume Joseph was a member
of a provincial Roman Senate as ‘decurions’ are reported as being in
charge of mining districts.
The Glastonbury propaganda machine has never been able to find any
resolution or use for Melkin’s tredicim or the word sperula from the
prophecy, but the 104 was made to apply to other saints interred at
Glastonbury. The linea bifurcata, the oratorii, the cratibus and the
adorandam virginem were the only pieces of the prophecy which could
actively be used in conjunction with the old church as we witness here in
an extract from Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum:"Here St. Joseph, who is
considered by the monkish historians as the first abbot, erected, to the honour
of the Virgin Mary, of wreathed twigs, the first Christian oratory in England."
In Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum c.1650 the tradition which
Henry started is now no longer a part of his propagandist edifice it is
now the truth that everyone accepts: The ancient church of wood or
wicker, which legend spoke of as the first temple reared on British soil to
the honour of Christ, was preserved as a hallowed relic, even after a greater
church of stone was built by Dunstan to the east of it. And though not a
fragment of either of those buildings still remains, yet each alike is
represented in the peculiar arrangements of that mighty and now fallen
minster. The wooden church of the Briton is represented by the famous Lady
Chapel, better known as the chapel of Saint Joseph; the stone church of the
West-Saxon is represented by the vast Abbey church itself. Nowhere else can
we see the works of the conquerors and the works of the conquered thus
standing, though but in a figure, side by side. Wherein is proved by all kinds of
testimonies, and authorities, that for certain, S. Joseph of Aramathia, "with
divers other holy Associates, came into, preached, lived, dyed, and was buryed
in Britayne, at the place now called Glastenbury in Summersetshire."
The Bishop of Winchester was too clever to reveal that he is the link
between Glastonburyana and French Grail material being propagated at the
court of Champagne. The DA, originally written by William of Malmesbury
around 1129-1134, only had Joseph and Avalon interpolated into it
sometime in the 1160’s while Henry propagated Grail lore through Master
Blihis, which we now know found fruition in Robert Chrétien and Walter
The commonalities of such incidents as the ‘chapel ride’ episode, found
in Perlesvaus and Chrétien, indicate that stories concerning the Grail all
originated from one source and probably from Henry as the oral source on
the continent. Perlesvaus, the Lais of Marie and Walter Map’s work along
with Chrétien de Troyes, and Robert de Borons work having icons and
personages in common as early as 1170 indicates that just before that era
Master Blihis had been busy.
Nitze establishes that John of Glastonbury’s version of the chapel ride
account did not come from Perlesvaus yet funnily enough believes what is
written in the colophon about there being a Latin original. Since Perlesvaus
is obviously written by someone acquainted with Glastonbury it does not
take a scholar to work out who the originator is. Ironically, Carley states
that what the contents of that Latin original might have contained has
caused much speculation among Grail scholars; one particular alluring
theory is that this book might also be the source for John’s material about
Carley. The chronicle of Glastonbury abbey. P xliv