Chapter 19
Eadmer’s letter
The dispute between Canterbury and Glastonbury over the relics of St
Dunstan.
We have arrived at this point demonstrating Henry Blois to be the author of
several tracts. The letter written to the Glastonbury monks by Eadmer
indicates at what an early stage Henry Blois can be implicated in
disseminating falsities. If we can read between the lines and understand the
motives, the letter corroborates what I have maintained through this
discourse about Henry’s ability to fabricate. Henry Blois is a fabricator…. a
person who has no qualms about bending the truth to suit an end. Henry
Blois is internally, vainly imperious, but ostensibly portrays an exterior of
an educated and outwardly balanced man who eventually fostered a
persona of venerable patron of the church. In his early days before the
Machiavellian usurpation of the crown by his brother, Henry is presented
as humble monk with time for the common man as William of Malmesbury
portrays him in the prologue to DA in the early stages of his career. It
probably only took until 1135 until William fully understood Henry’s true
nature. By this time the nonsense of this dispute over Dunstan’s relics had
probably passed, as its main instigator had moved on to greater ambitions
and more fantastic fabrications.
I hope to show the reader that Eadmer’s ire in his letter to Glastonbury is
aimed at the young Henry Blois. Also that William of Malmesbury’s strange
stance on lambasting Osbern’s work is on account of the pressure brought
to bear by Henry Blois, who had instigated the rumour concerning
Dunstan’s translation from Canterbury. William, in Henry’s employ and
ensconced at Glastonbury, most probably knew that it was the young
enterprising abbot who had put about such rumours, but being a mere
historian could in no way implicate the new abbot and nephew of King
Henry I.
The earliest and only written concocted Glastonbury account of how the
abbey came to possess the body of St Dunstan is written in the interpolated
part of DA. Eadmer does not imply that the events of St Dunstan’s
translation to Glastonbury is written down anywhere. We can grasp fully
the original account of Glastonbury’s pretensions and the details of the
concocted legend through Eadmer’s refutation of the Glastonbury claim. In
fact, Eadmer implies the spreading of the Dunstan rumour is verbal and he
had never heard that anyone who was there at the time has ever said or
written anything concerning these matters which you have put aboutNot a
single word, spoken or written, that any sane man could accept…..Have
you, pray, any writings to prove matters stood thus?
Sir Archibald Campbell Lawrie
1
claims Eadmer died in 1123 on the 13
th
,
January. There is no definitive evidence for this and most commentators
put Eadmer’s death at 1126 at the earliest and more probably afterward as
we shall see. However, no-one to my knowledge has answered sufficiently
why this rumour suddenly appeared which spurred Eadmer’s sarcastic
refutation by correspondence to the Glastonbury monks. This letter to the
Glastonbury monks in occasional indirect references infers that Henry Blois
could be the abbot at the time when the letter was written. So (if I am
correct in this analysis) Eadmer must have lived after 1126 when Henry
joined the abbey.
My proposition is that the person who established the rumour of
Dunstan’s relics at Glastonbury and provided the only written account of
the Glastonbury concoction in DA regarding the rumour is the same man
i.e. Henry Blois. This has not been posited before because it has always been
assumed that an interpolator after the fire at Glastonbury is responsible for
the insertion in DA which actually upholds the rumour rather than any
response or mention of Eadmer.
However, we do know of the existence of another interpolator who
added to DA after Henry inserted his final interpolations which constitute
chapters 1 and 2 of DA. This consolidator may or may not be responsible for
the T version of DA, but what is a certainty is that the amount that the
1
Early Scottish Charters, Prior to 1153. Sir Archibald Campbell Lawrie. Glasgow, 1910, Published by James
Maclehose and Sons, Glasgow, 1905, p 291
consolidator achieves is far less than Scott accounts to his efforts. Scott, the
authority on DA is unaware of the interpolations of Henry Blois and
concludes a much later coalescing of DA. I would say that an intermediary
consolidator after Henry’s death (or even another redactor before the
scribe of T) has expanded upon Henry’s initial interpolation in DA.
Certainly at least one interpolator writes after the fire in 1184.
The legend of the translation of Dunstan would be easier to maintain or
concoct after the fire if there were initial evidence backing up the claim
supposedly written by ‘William of Mamesbury’. One would then only have
to ‘re-find’ the grave site as the later redactor of DA achieves in the post
1184 account of the Dunstan exhumation which constitute chapters 24 and
25 of DA.
There are many reasons for positing Henry’s involvement in propagating
the translation rumour. Let us see if the evidence drawn from not only
William of Malmesbury but from the narrative of Eadmer’s letter implicates
Henry Blois.
Eadmer admired William of Malmesbury and knew him as a friend.
William’s obvious avoidance of this story rather than its inclusion or
rebuttal in his own VD, tells us that he was aware of the story. It should be
clear that William’s refusal to compromise his integrity by going along with
the rumoured Dunstan translation from Canterbury was the main impetus
(alongside the abbey’s proof of antiquity) for writing DA. This is made plain
in the prologue of DA. William refers in this prologue to the ‘original plan’
which was to counter the most consequential of Osbern’s errors; which
stated that Dunstan was the first Abbot at Glastonbury. There is no doubt
that the Glastonbury church stood long before Augustine’s arrival and
William makes this plain in the prologue to VD I: In fact, Glastonbury passed
under the sway of the church long before St Patrick, who died in AD 472,
while Dunstan saw the light of day in AD 925. Incidentally, there is no
indication that William’s VD I or II were interpolated. (Nor is William
advocating any relationship with Glastonbury by the above)
So the ‘original plan’ or intent mentioned in the prologue of DA was not
only to counteract Osbern’s inaccuracy, but also to show that by merit of
age, Glastonbury had greater cause for celebration and respect. Age
generally established primacy, but because Augustine was a Roman envoy,
Canterbury was conferred with that honour. This was obviously an
ongoing dispute over time when Henry arrived in 1126, and involved
nearly every religious house as it defined the ecclesiastical pecking order.
Anyway, William’s curious snipes at Osbern’s work in the two prologues to
VD in conjunction with certain statements in the prologue to DA indicate
that there is some political manoeuvrings going on. I believe the cause of
most of it is in deference to Henry Blois.
Henry Blois arrived at Glastonbury in 1126. He may have arrived back
with his uncle from Normandy after settling differences with the princes of
France. Huntingdon has King Henry’s return date at September 1126, when
he was accompanied back to England by the recently widowed Empress
Matilda.
I envisage a young abbot, around 25 years of age, eager to impress his
uncle by contributing knight’s service and funds to the royal coffers, sorting
out what once was a very rich institution at the time of Doomsday. One
choice of action would be to gain advantage of Glastonbury’s association
with Dunstan, enhancing the visits to Glastonbury by pilgrims and
increasing the alms they brought. Henry has a penchant for crosses and
understands the power they have over Christians. It seems by inference of
the image of the redeemer, he sets one up at Glastonbury specifically
relating to Dunstan as we can gather from Eadmer: If you listen to my
advice, you will remove those bones which you have loaded onto the image of
our Redeemer, before He is Himself angry with you. It is sufficient that He be
honoured for Himself and there is no need to keep up holiness on Him
through dead men's bones or otherwise.
Henry attested in his own libellus that he set about regaining
misappropriated lands through previous bad practises by former abbots.
He also re-gained lands previously belonging to Glastonbury which had
been gifted in reward by his former relatives as past Kings. Henry
capitalises on the known association of Dunstan at Glastonbury by claiming
his relics rest there. In my scenario, Henry puts about a story which adds
credence to such a claim and an explanation of how the circumstances
transpired that such a relic is fortuitously found at Glastonbury.
Author B’s account of the life of Dunstan relates his early saintly life at
Glastonbury and certainly a Dunstan tradition existed at Glastonbury. All
Henry did was capitalise on an asset through tradition. Eadmer in his letter
makes it clear that when he himself visited Glastonbury, no translation
myth existed. In fact Eadmer states that Glastonbury monks were known to
pay their respects to Dunstan at Canterbury only in the recent past.
One of William of Malmesbury’s efforts being half Norman and half
English was to preserve for posterity the deeds of the English saints. Yet
William definitely knew of this rumour and who had started it and for what
reason. William of Malmesbury’s GR states: I have followed the true law of
the historian, and have set down nothing but what I have learnt from
trustworthy report or written source. Moreover, be that as it may, I have this
private satisfaction, by God's help, that I have set in order the unbroken cause
of English history, and am since Bede the only man so to do, or at any rate the
first. If anyone therefore as I already here suggested, has a mind to follow me
in writing on this subject, let him give me the credit for the collection of the
facts and make his own selection from the material.
William was already there at the abbey when Henry Blois arrived,
having been employed by the Monks prior to Henry’s arrival to write the
lives of Indract and Patrick (St Benignus was never written
2
). It appears the
monks had already approved (corrected) these lives prior to Henry’s
arrival. It seems of little advantage except from someone who wishes to
capitalise on Glastonbury’s association with Dunstan to engage another
investigation into Dunstan. Author B, Adelard, Osbern, an old English
author also and Eadmer himself had already re-ploughed Dunstan’s
biographic field with little fresh to add without invention.
My proposition is that Henry wanted William of Malmesbury to paint a
version not from the angle which glorifies Canterbury’s association with
Dunstan (as Osbern and Eadmer had done), but to provide a picture which
implies a greater attachment by Dunstan as a ‘former pupil’ to Glastonbury.
Diplomatically, Henry persuaded William to embark on the biography
hoping that he would be convinced by ‘oral’ tradition at Glastonbury by
implying that previous biographers had underperformed. I suspect that
Henry Blois was intending to plant evidence (concerning Dunstan) in the
chest of papers from which William was to glean the information for DA.
However, Henry did not bank on William’s probity or their close
acquaintance.... or Eadmer’s tenacity and assurance that Dunstan’s bones
never left Canterbury.
2
As we shall cover shortly, this myth was created to establish St Patrick at Glastonbury rather than association
relying on author B’s reference to Patrick.
In VD I in the prologue, William diplomatically states that the reason for
writing (and him earning his next commission): Most holy Fathers, in the
celebration of the love and honour of your most blessed father Dunstan our
pious zeal strives to compete with the whole of England. And it may be
that ours is the greater glory in this contest, seeing that we love as a former
pupil one whom they look up to as a saint and an Archbishop. So it is that we
can join love to our reverence yielding in neither to those of Canterbury,
who boast that they once had him as their primate. Hence it has come about
that, for all our diligence in looking out writings concerning his life, we are
sad that they do not come up to your expectation. For we have found that
the old lives lack polish, and the new reliability. So we have reasonably
enough been to that extent saddened: for rustic writings give no pleasure, and
it is shaming to repeat things that lack of firm basis in truth. It is a
misuse of learning and leisure to retail falsehoods about the doings of
saints: it shows contempt for reputation and condemns one to infamy.
I should be glad to be unaware that this fate has befallen a recent author of a
life of the blessed Dunstan; he is often either mistaken in his views or biased in
his judgement.
My speculation is that while Henry was putting these rumours about,
that he wished to influence William so that William would attest Dunstan’s
translation as part of history. The tensions surrounding Williams
unwillingness to co-operate are evident in the prologue to DA. What is not
so clear is Williams change of attitude to Osbern’s work since completing
GR in 1125. It can only be the result of a recent development and it seems to
be down to the arrival of the new abbot. William had praised Osbern for his
work as a hagiographer and liturgist in GR: I would gladly add more facts….
about this great man (Dunstan) but I am restrained by Osbern, precentor of
Canterbury, who has written his life with Roman elegance, being second to
none in our time as a stylist as well as leading the field without dispute in
music.
3
William’s unwillingness to substantiate what he knew to be untrue, had
to be balanced with his anxiety to win your favour’ and his way out of this
diplomatic mess. William, as confrater at Glastonbury, decided a course of
action to mitigate this embarrassing situation and to distance his work on
3
GR chap 149.3
Dunstan from Eadmer by making almost no use of material from Eadmer’s
life of Dunstan. In this way he did not contradict or diminish his friends
work. William in VD made no specific reference to it for this reason. But,
contrarily, William ostensibly defends Glastonbury against Canterbury by
using the deceased Osbern’s work as he pillories most of Osbern’s
erroneous assertions in an attempt to appear on side with the Glastonbury
monks. William saw this as a way out. He could corroborate Glastonbury’s
historical antiquity by seeming to counteract the false statements of the
Canterbury precentor, without having to fully compromise his integrity by
substantiating a Henry Blois rumour that he knew to be false. This is made
plain in his accusation against Osbern concerning prophecy: But what he
(Dunstan) foretold I do not presume to say, for I find nothing in old books. As
I have said before, whoever claims to tell of the feats of saints, but goes
beyond what has been written in the past, is surely of unsound mind.
4
It was in Osbern’s work that the gross accusation of Glastonbury’s recent
foundation was made which relates back to the primacy issue and pecking
order of Clergy and religious houses. William had misunderstood that he
was expected not only to counter this false accusation (that Dunstan was
the first abbot), but also to authenticate the Dunstan translation rumour
started by Henry Blois. This initially was Henry Blois’ intention in
commissioning VD. But William on the other hand had understood the
‘original plan’ was to write a better version of Dunstan’s life, while at the
same time expounding upon the abbey’s antiquity.
As soon as Henry Blois understood that William was not the person to
embellish the rumour he had started, Henry and the Glastonbury monks
commissioned DA. William went on to finish his first commission
demonstrating to his fellow monks he was vehemently against Osbern’s
original slight of their abbey. However, William’s reasons for writing VD1
are different from Henry’s because Henry could not explicitly ask William
to propagate a fabrication: it was because you had taken offence at such
mistakes (of Osbern) that you appealed to me to display the obedience our
confraternity demands, and to give a new description of the saints doings,
using (as it were) the press of my labours to remove the lees of untruth and
strain out a purified version of the facts. So that I could do this with more
4
VD ii 35.2
assurance you showed me writings, both in Latin and in English, that you
had found in an ancient chest of yours.
Even though William had previous affiliation with Canterbury;
Canterbury could hardly contradict the claim of antiquity as Glastonbury
was in truth more ancient: It was an ancient place as I have said, going back
well beyond his time; but though it owes its first foundation to earlier
benefactors, it is indebted to Dunstan for its new pre-eminence.
5
Just as a quick comment, to substantiate for the reader that the
interpolations in the first 34 chapters of DA were fabricated…. if William
had truly reached the conclusion of an apostolic foundation after his
researches at Glastonbury (as is commonly thought by modern scholars), he
would have stated it here…. as VD II is written after the main body of DA i.e.
the unadulterated material of William’s work which constitutes chapters 35
onwards…. which is largely untouched except for small interpolations.
So, William in effect, would not distress Canterbury as long as he did not
state that Dunstan’s relics were at Glastonbury. However, Henry was the
proponent of the rumour and William came up short, not acquiescing by
recording as history what he knew was not true. It is on these grounds that
the DA was commissioned to address the most important issue of the
abbeys antiquity . The carping nature of William's criticism against Osbern
can only be understood as wishing to appear as angered as the rest of the
institution within which he mixed and ate his bread at Glastonbury.
The accusations against Osbern were several, but above all was his
assertion that Dunstan was Glastonbury's first Abbot. William took Osbern
to task for exaggeration and his use of obviously concocted speech as if
Dunstan had spoken what was quoted. William also set out to confound him
on theological errors: How heinously the chanter of Canterbury went astray
in relating the life of our father. For apart from a very few details in which he
kept on the right track, there are very many others-almost all in fact-where he
confused the order of miracles or strayed from the truth by diminishing or
exaggerating events. In particular following the practice of the rhetoricians,
he often attributed to speakers words which they might indeed have spoken in
those circumstances-but who, I ask you, could have passed them on to our
day with all accuracy? Scarcely, I repeat, scarcely has a slender report of
5
VD ii 10.3
events trickled through to us; far less could I believe that words; which flew
away the moment they were spoken, could have been held on to. There is
nothing of the sort in the old writers following whose account I have on your
instructions roll back the miracles to their proper order and corrected the
details of events. I have added what is lacking, and cut out what is
superfluous. But I'm afraid it will be difficult to gain pardon for this remark
from the ill-disposed even though-to quote the opinion of a great orator
6
-I
should not be afraid to be called arrogant when I'm speaking the truth.
7
If William of Malmesbury really thought that there was any truth in the
rumour that Dunstan's body lay at Glastonbury, he would have said so.
William’s only way out of this compromising situation as Winterbottom and
Thompson suggest, was to propose a third book on Dunstan's posthumous
miracles. But for obvious reasons this never got written: but a few things
that have been preserved in writing will claim a place in the following book.
8
The question is: does the chronology and scenario fit the statements
made in the three prologues of VD 1&2 and DA? Do the set of events
correspond as I have set them out above? Do they coincide as a reaction not
only to Osborne but also take into account William’s reticence to mention
the ‘Elephant in the room’?
It seems fair to assume in 1127-8, it is hoped William can be brought on-
board to express the view of the current newly invented Glastonbury
polemic that Dunstan was translated at the time of the Danish incursion
from Canterbury to Glastonbury. This does not happen for reasons
explained above concerning William’s integrity. While William of
Malmesbury was writing VD 1, it is realised by Henry Blois that William is
not going to be cajoled, therefore, DA is envisaged as a compromise to
overcome William’s moral rectitude in refusing to accept the translation
rumour. Instead of counteracting Osbern’s accusation or expecting William
to substantiate a rumour through a work on St Dunstan a more simple
strategy of proof of antiquity of the abbey is commissioned.
The non-interpolated part of DA not only confutes Osbern’s accusation,
but establishes antiquity prior to Augustine by inclusion of the 601 charter
6
Cicero.
7
VD ii prologue
8
VD II 35. 2
which came at the beginning of Williams original DA before all Henry’s
interpolation. This in essence is the goal of DA, ‘the original plan’.
VD1 refers forward to the DA and both can be seen to have been written
simultaneously. William finishes VD1 quickly and concentrates on the new
task of DA: And so I have made haste to obey your command, and in my
anxiety to win your favour and that of the saint, I have perhaps laid myself
open to the teeth of backbiters…. I have applied my pen to this topic simply to
do you a favour.
9
William continues to finish his second book of the life of Dunstan from the
birth of King Edgar taking up chronologically from where the VDI had left
off. VDII however, was written later than the main body of DA and refers
back to it: I have dealt in another work, as well as God allowed me, with the
antiquity of this most holy monastery at Glastonbury in which I profess my
heavenly service. If anyone is desirous of reading about it, he will be able to
find it elsewhere in my output.
10
This indicates that DA took priority after VDI was set aside while DA was
researched and composed. Yet both books of the VD were finished by the
time William wrote the prologue to DA. By then Henry is Bishop of
Winchester. William in VDII refers to GR as written some years ago: but
anyone who cares to read of such matters may wish to look out the history of
the English Kings, (GR) which I published some years back.
11
So, we may
conclude VDI was started 1127-28, and DA 1128-29. When complete DA was
presented to Henry anytime between 1129 and 1134 before Henry’s brother
became King. It seems that Henry Blois paid for the services of William in
producing DA as the book was referred to him by the monks at
Glastonbury; the implication being he was already bishop of Winchester
and the single monograph copy rested with Henry Blois at Winchester.
With those events explained, I aim to show that Eadmer was alive and
the letter he wrote was written just after the new abbot joined because
Eadmer inferred that it was a newly concocted story. I believe the Eadmer’s
letter refers to the time of Henry’s arrival in 1126 and was written in the
9
VD I prologue,
10
VD II prologue. This is the root cause of the matter of Britain. Because DA was a book written for
Glastonbury and delivered to Henry Blois himself; no-one in Henry’s era got to see the DA (his output) in the
form that he left it. However, others did see it with the first interpolations regarding apostolic foundation as it
was used in the 1144 -1149 campaign to establish a metropolitan for Henry.
11
VD II 15.4
three years before he went to Winchester. One passage hints that William is
referring to Eadmer as Osbern’s defender at Canterbury in what seems to
be an ongoing theological debate which otherwise has no relevance to our
inquiry: Now with the help of God's grace I shall try to clear up something I
promised in a letter prefacing book one. For some people find fault with me
for condemning the biographer of Dunstan because he said that the mother's
womb swelled with the sacred unborn child.
12
Winterbottom and Thompson posit that this might refer to Eadmer.
However, there is far more pertinent information in the letter itself which
implies that Eadmer must be writing his letter to Glastonbury after Henry’s
arrival.
The reason for labouring this point is to show from the outset, even
before composing his pseudo-history which led to the Primary Historia (the
pre-cursor of HRB), that Henry Blois was prone to fabricate tales. I have
included the whole of Eadmer’s letter in appendix 33. The letter is
interesting in that Eadmer turns around the story or rumour which was
supposed to glorify the abbey by the fact that Dunstan’s remains were at
Glastonbury…. into Glastonbury being a den of liars and grave robbers:
There are some among you, recent members of your community, as I am
aware, who claimed that your fathers of old were thieves and robbers.
Eadmer is making clear that by spreading these lies, the Glastonbury
establishment also implicate the former monks and abbot as grave robbers
and liars. Eadmer makes it a general accusation of rumours emanating
from Glastonbury: whose name is unknown to those who put about the
story….What no one is about to do is accuse Henry Blois the grandson of
William the Conqueror and Nephew of Henry I of being responsible for the
untrue rumour… neither William or Eadmer.
The reason for me to implicate Henry is that he is a known fabricator of
legends as we have seen as author of HRB. Again Eadmer makes the point
that the rumour is only a recent development: A hundred and more years
have passed since they left this present life, those men whom these now claim
to have been thieves and robbers. And now only at this late stage is such a
grave reproach brought against them, and most unhappily they are now
newly consigned to eternal punishment….
12
VD ii 35. 1
Eadmer cannot accuse Henry directly but makes out that the modern
youth of Glastonbury have invented this lie: But it is not we who says so;
rather it is their own modern brethren at Glastonbury. Assuredly we know for
certain that those men are not guilty of this sin. What does this matter to the
fellows who accuse their own brethren, nay, their own fathers, with such silly
concocted lies.
By modern brethren read ‘recently joined.Eadmer almost says this must
be a Norman invention as an Englishman would have more respect for the
relics and anyway this sort of fabrication is more suited to the continentals:
Your reverence must understand how, writing this, I am confounded by such
patent stupidity, worthy of everyone's scorn, especially because it is said that
these tales were made up by Englishman. Alas, why did you not look overseas,
where they have more experience, more learning, and know better how to
make up such stories? You could even have paid someone to make up a
plausible lie for you on a matter of such importance.
It is poignant that Eadmer directs his invective to the youth of the Abbey:
So, my lords and my brethren, to whom God has opened the means of
understanding matters of reason, bridal the wanton violence of your foolish
young men who open their mouths only in order to seem to know how to
speak, on whatever the flightiness of their hearts lead them to, thinking that
they are something because others are innocent enough to listen to what
they say.
It seems rather poignant that when Eadmer refers to how the body of
Dunstan was miraculously taken from Canterbury, he is full of sarcasm
suggesting it might have to do with a disgraced abbot of Glastonbury; when
he knows perfectly well there were no monks from Glastonbury who came
to take up the body. I call him former Abbot because as a general synod of the
English church he was deposed of his abbacy by Lanfranc, Archbishop of
Canterbury, and he was placed under such confinement at Canterbury as
fitted his position. The reference is designed to cast a slur on Glastonbury
and the fact that in the past there had been an unscrupulous abbot and his
deeds are recorded. The implication might be understood to be directed at
the present abbot continuing this tradition.
The point of discussing this was to show that many details which were
‘put about’ by Glastonbury and recorded only in Eadmer’s rebuttal letter
are refuted mainly on the evidence of the Glastonbury story not standing up
to scrutiny. Most of these obvious flaws in the Glastonbury concoction are
left out of DA where we know the reference to the Dunstan translation
rumour exists in the interpolated part of DA. DA provides a general
synopsis of the translation episode. It is a fact that, the translation did not
take place. But, it is my opinion that Henry Blois re-iterated his initial
concocted rumour which he had put about as a youth just starting out at
Glastonbury when he himself interpolated William’s work which we now
exists in the interpolated chapter 23 of DA.
We can assume this must be a later addition by Henry, as it was so
easily confuted and would not have been in the first set of interpolations of
DA in 1144. A later redactor has added to Henry’s explanation and
reiteration of the translation rumour for the benefit of the abbey after the
fire in 1184.
As we have touched on already, Henry planted the supposed body of
Arthur between the piramides at Glastonbury to be found in the future…. so
one logically might assume the site of Dunstan’s grave was his doing also.
We can therefore draw the conclusion that the translation of Dunstan
account in DA is Henry’s work also…. and as I shall cover, extrapolated by a
later interpolator adding to DA after the fire. As we have covered, the
inspiration for planting a body to be found in the future comes directly
from Melkin’s prophecy.
However, the idea for the leaden cross (found in Arthur’s grave) stating
that Glastonbury is Avalon and that the body was that of King Arthur’s, was
oddly enough initially inspired by Eadmer’s letter. Eadmer in his
confutation of the translation of Dunstan provides evidence of the earlier
movement of Dunstan’s relics when Eadmer was a boy at Canterbury: With
it was found in inscription on a lead tablet which clearly stated that there lay
the body of St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury.Basically, this object
substantiates a truth for Eadmer just as it substantiated a confirmation of
Arthur’s existence and connection to Glastonbury for every contemporary
after Arthur’s disinterment and for those gullible researchers in the
modern era who believe Avalon is not fictional.
Henry Blois adapted the idea and used it for his biggest deception. As a
ploy, it is the proof positive that convinced the world at Arthur’s
disinterment firstly that the chivalric King Arthur existed in history as
physical bones and Guinevere’s hair were found; but also that because
Arthur was buried at Glastonbury....Glastonbury was certainly the old Isle
Avalon.
Much like the composition of HRB can be traced to various sources (as
clearly explained by Tatlock), we also see Henry’s inspiration from other
sources, as the leaden cross found in Henry Blois’ manufactured grave is in
reality one of the nucleic components of the Matter of Britain in defining
Avalon at Glastonbury. Yet the reader is aware now that the Island of
Avalon in HRB was named after the Burgundian town in the region of Blois
lands just as Arthur’s continental battle scene had been said to have taken
place in the same region of Autun and Langres which of course Henry Blois
knew well and all its topography….and every historian knows that this
battle never took place.
Eadmer makes plain that his proof is established by the lead tablet which
states it was St Dunstan that lay in the grave. Henry uses as inspiration
from that example of proof,and in effect changes history by implying his
alter-ego was buried in Avalon. From thenceforth the world has been
duped. yet the naïve are still fascinated at how it is that there is a
semblance of history which follows where ‘Geoffrey’ said Arthur was last
seen.
If modern scholars were truly correct in their analysis of events they
would realise that what Henry implied in the colophon of Perlesvaus about
Arthur and Guinevere being buried together at Glastonbury and also
confirmed that both of them were buried between the piramides in DA;
thatthis fact wasreiterated as such by Gerald of Wales in his two reports….
they would realise Coggeshal and the Margam Chronicler and Camden’s
version of what was written on Leaden cross was not the original. What
was written on the cross had to have included the name Guinevere because
Henry is responsible for composing Perlesvaus and is surely responsible for
the manufacture of the grave which had her hair included….. and Henry
Blois is the interpolator which indicates to the world where to dig in the
cemetery in DA.
Scholars tend to shoot their own theory in the foot. If as they contrive
their theory, the Perlesvaus and its colophon was written after the
disinterment; the colophon would surely follow the hymn sheet and concur
with the propaganda upheld by those writing after the dig who thought if
more pious if Arthur were not buried with a soiled wife. In realitythey
expunged her name from what was on the cross originally. Obviously since
there was no later interpolater who gives account of the unearthing of the
grave in DA because it was Henry Blois who points to the position of the
grave in DA, Gerald’s account should be the more trusted as it concurs with
what the manufacturer of the grave put in the grave and originally
engraved on the cross. But, scholars have a certain way of constructing
theories backwards and so the only person who does give an eyewitness
account of the disinterment is summarily ignored.
Anyway, we shall get to this further on in the chapter on Gerald!!!