Chapter 21
Geffrei Gaimar and the L’estoire
des Engles
Geoffrey Gaimar claims to have written a version of the Brut based upon
Geoffrey of Monmouth's HRB. No copy of Gaimar's Brut, or, (as it is better
known), L'Estoire des Bretons has survived. This is simply because it was
never written. It is by no accident that Wace’s Roman de Brut is found along
with all four manuscripts of L'Estoire des Engles. I have maintained that
Wace’s Roman de Brut was written by Henry Blois to spread his HRB to a
wider audience in the French Vernacular on the continent and to entertain
nobles at court.
Wace’s Roman de Brut was combined with a manuscript i.e. together
with L'Estoire des Engles and distributed by Henry Blois when Gaimar had
already completed the L'Estoire des Engles. Gaimar’s epilogue does its job in
deflecting the obvious connection between the two works. Most
commentators believe Gaimar’s Roman de Breton did not survive as it was
outclassed by Wace’s work and thus it was relegated to obscurity to be
replaced with a superior work. This view is largely based on the fact that
L’Estoire des Engles is not an artful work (at least this is Gallais’ position and
all and sundry have accepted it).
Gaimar wrote L’Estoire des Engles and Henry Blois then interpolated it
with a few Arthurian insertions after Gaimar’s death. However, the point of
this was so that the epilogue could state what it does about the source
material of HRB. The point of this is so that Walter is implicated….just as the
HRB states and Henry’s authorship is hidden; and ‘Geoffrey’ becomes
merely a translator not inventor of HRB’s contents.
The creation of ‘Gaimars’ epilogue is Henry Blois’ main purpose behind
impersonating Gaimar. ‘Gaimar’s’ epilogue provides an erroneous
conflationary and misleading provenance for HRB. The epilogue could not
carry out its function unless L’Estoire des Bretons was supposedly to have
been ‘apparently’ written by Gaimar. Without the proposition that Gaimar
wrote the L’Estoire des Bretons, how would the ‘good book’ be mentioned?
It is for this reason all four copies of Gaimar’s genuine work, interpolated
slightly by Henry, have another of Henry’s works attached; Wace’s Roman
de Brut. It is entirely wrong to think the L’Estoire des Bretons ever existed.
It was again an extremely clever ploy by Henry Blois. Gaimar’s
statements in the epilogue ostensibly are employed by Henry Blois to
mislead, which ultimately only corroborate the proposition of the
fraudulent source book when put under scrutiny. This is especially evident
when we consider there are no dedications in the First Variant except
where Robert’s name is added subsequently to a copy
1
and there is certainly
no mention of Archdeacon Walter. The proposition, by ‘Geoffrey’, that
Walter supplied his source book only becomes relevant to Henry Blois at
the advent of the publication of Vulgate and its seditious prophecies. as
more people scrutinized the appearance of a supposed translation of a
history found in an old book and of course read the Merlin Prophecies.
At the time the First Variant was employed in 1144, Robert of Gloucester
was still alive and therefore no dedication could be used. However his
name is in one copy of the First Variant as it was probably employed at
Rome in 1149 just after his death. It may however be a later correction.
Anyway, Gaimar’s epilogue was concocted and employed to establish
certain corroborations of Vulgate HRB’s historicity, thereby adding
credence of what was maintained in HRB by a third party author.
‘Gaimar’s epilogue provides independent witness to ‘Geoffrey’s’
statement concerning the mythical book obtained from Walter. The
intention was to show that a book from which Vulgate HRB was supposedly
translated actually existed as witnessed by ‘Geoffrey. The old book ex
Britanica did not exist. Most scholars realize that the Historia is a composite
and could not be a translation of an old book. Some Scholars are still naive
enough to believe a source book exists because a few puzzling attributes of
the Historia are more easily dispensed with by a tentative
1
Once we have established the reasoning behind the construction of First Variant we can date it to 1144-1149.
There is absolutely no way Robert of Gloucester would have received a copy of First Variant.
acknowledgement. Keller has Walter as the inventor of the First Variant to
rationalize this position.
Logically, Walter could hardly give any book to the invented persona of
Geoffrey of Monmouth and far less when he is dead at the advent of the
Vulgate edition. Ingeniously, Gaimar’s witness fraudulently establishes
Robert of Gloucester as having had this historical narrative adapted and
translated in accordance with the books belonging to the Welsh.
Henry Blois might have known Walter, but we should not forget that
Henry signed six or seven charters as Galfridus Artur and the bishop of
Asaph while in the scriptorium at Oxford in c.1153, two years after Walter
had died. Archdeacon Walter’s name was upon some of the charters, but in
all probability Walter and Henry had previously met as Stephen visited
Oxford castle at various times when used as a base in the changing fortunes
of the Anarchy.
Henry Blois only employed Walter as a ‘decoy’ for providing the source
of his history after Walter’s death and only in the Vulgate version. Logically,
he must have known Walter had died and it was safe to use his name. The
reason Henry Blois went to such an elaborate extent in laying a false trail is
that people were looking for Geoffrey of Monmouth and starting to ask
where this man existed and how he got hold of the information for the
extensive historical account found in HRB and where this mysterious
source book came from and why had the Merlin prophecies seen by some
previously in the Libellus Merlini version now changed.
This was especially relevant also to Henry Blois distancing himself from
composition and authorship of the prophecies which incited rebellion
against Henry II. By the time any of these fictions like the contemporaneity
of Caradoc mentioned in the colophon of Vulgate or Walter and his
mysterious book or the erroneous dedicatees and phony patrons came to be
inquired of by sceptics; they could not respond because they were dead. The
exceptionis Waleran who died 1166 and may have been added as a
dedicatee after that date. SinceGeoffrey died in 1154-5 what difference
would it make anyway if he had supposedly made Waleran a dedicatee
between 1155-66?
Henry’s ploy of backdating made it appear as if the Vulgate HRB had
been published at least 15 years earlier in 1138-9. Quite simply any avenue
of enquiry could not be made because all supposed witnesses were now
dead.
We know the First Variant gradually circulated with no dedication or
mention of Alexander or Walter. It was only after Walter’s death in 1151
that Henry would have needed to have found a solution to the growing
question of how ‘Geoffrey’ had an account of history at variance to Roman
annals and how his history varied from Gildas’s diatribe and Bede’s history.
As I have maintained, with the gradual proliferation of the First Variant
with such as Alfred of Beverley commenting on and re-cycling HRB, it
seems fair to posit that in 1153, while at Wallingford, and at the time the
Treaty of Winchester was agreed…. that Henry visited Oxford to scribble
Gaufridus’ signature on the six charters found in the scriptorium picked at
random. He also came up with the idea of a Geoffrey from ‘Monmouth’
based on the name of Ralph of Monmouth found also on some of these
charters as we covered earlier.
Henry also at this same time portrayed the progression of an aspiring
man dutifully flattering patrons and exasperated at his lack of promotion
waiting to become a bishop. The only real problem with this scenario is that
if ‘Geoffreyreally was complaining to Robert de Chesney in VM for further
reward than that which had been given earlier by Alexander, (and VM was
supposedly written in 1155), Geoffrey is already a bishop and dead. So,
Geoffrey would hardly be seeking a better reward as is posited in the
prologue of VM. Logically, he must have started the poem at least a year
previously to accomplish the task before 1155. We know by use of the
Variant in Wace’s versified version that Henry had started the vernacular
version of the Roman de Brut before 1155 and completed it once Vulgate
was a finished composition. Henry was not idle while in voluntary exile at
Clugny
Henry signs ‘Geoffrey’s’ name on the treaty of Winchester as the bishop
of Asaph to complete the trail of charter signatures of a bogus persona left
to posterity. At what date this was done we cannot say as the treaty was
probably in Henry’s keeping at Winchester and the signature may have
been added long afterward. What is sure is that no ‘Geoffrey’ witnessed the
signing of the treaty and no other Bishop ever met Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Hammer’s First Variant gives the name Galfridus Arturus Monemutensis
only in the Colophon. This runs contrary to my theory that the Monmouth
appellation is late. This would however most likely be a later correction or
insertion if my theory is correct that Henry Blois signed the six charters in
1153.
It seems to me that Ralph of Monmouth’s name inspired Henry to
change from Gaufridus Arthur to Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1153 when Duke
Henry, King Stephen and Henry Blois met at Oxford castle.
The late interpolation into Gaimar’s work is determined by the fact that
the book of Oxford is mentioned. The mention of Walter is definitely a part
of Henry’s device that could only be employed after 1151 when Walter had
died. A clear motive is seen in Henry Blois’ impostor of Gaimar. Pressure
mounted on Henry Blois and he tried to distance himself from authorship of
HRB yet maintain its credibility. It must certainly have been known that his
name was linked to the Historia as he had presented it as evidence in Rome
and doubtless could be connected to its proliferation and copying.
L'Estoire des Engles or the ‘History of the English people’ was written by
Gaimar originally and it is upon this manuscript Henry weaves his web just
as he does with Wace’s work. Essentially, until Henry Blois got his hands on
L'Estoire des Engles…. it was the ASC in poetic form which also could be said
to have more insight toward the northern regions i.e. written by someone in
the North of England.
L'Estoire des Engles was certainly (but only slightly) interpolated with
Arthurian lore by Henry Blois. The fact that Belinus is mentioned…. we
know that Gaimar has been interpolated by someone concerned with
corroborating part of ‘Geoffrey’s’ bogus history. On this point, modern
scholars have suggested that both Gaimar and Geoffrey were working from
the same sources. This position is only tenable if we believe the veracity of
what is stated in the epilogue in that Gaimar actually composed L’estoire
des Breton. He did not!!! It is vital that scholars studying Geoffrey’s work
understand who composed the work in reality; otherwise ridiculous and
contrived rationalisations are dreamt up and these are then expanded upon
with even more ingenious nonsense until we actually believe the ‘good
book’ existed
This is what we are supposed to believe when some interpolations into
Gaimar’s original L'Estoire des Engles refer to Arthuriana. The reason Henry
has lighted upon Gaimar’s work for a front, to implant his propaganda, is
that Gaimar has (to an extent) versified the ASC for Lady Constance…. and
therefore could be accountable as having produced a poetical rendition of
Walter’s book. This is the implication we are led to believe by the reference
to L’estoire des Bretons.
Let there be no mistaking…. before any reference to Walter was made in
the Vulgate HRB, Walter was already dead. So, the Primary Historia that
spawned EAW and in the First Variant, there is no Walter mentioned as
both these were composed while Walter was alive. Walter’s book was called
upon as a dramatic prop, employed to give the air of authenticity to
‘Geoffrey’ssource material, but more importantly to distance the author of
HRB from the accusation of having fabricated it from his own imagination.
Originally Gaimar wrote his adaptation of ASC as a chronicle in
octosyllabic rhymed couplets and he opens with a brief mention of King
Arthur whose actions affect the plot of the interpolated tale of Havelok the
Dane. Basically, the first 3,500 lines are translations out of a variant text of
the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and subsequent portions are a mix of more of
Henry’s fantastic invention and Gaimar’s genuine work. Henry’s guile is
unsurpassed here (and we know what is on his mind) as the opening lines
declare:Heretofore in the former book, if you remember it, you have heard
how perfectly Constantine held the dominion after Arthur…
Why would we not remember it if, as the epilogue makes out, Gaimar is
writing a continuous history from Troy to William Rufus. What Henry Blois
has cleverly done in the epilogue is infer firstly that Gaimar wrote L’estoire
des Bretons and that the Trojan epic and the Arthuriana were in other
works used by Gaimar. But by mentioning the ‘good book of Oxford’ he
shoots himself in the foot and provides a proof positive for those that are
not gullible that the good book never existed, because we know that
Gaimar’s testimony must be after Walter died.
Walter does not feature in the earlier First Variant. The whole farce is
initially concocted in the Vulgate. therefore, we can definitively say
Gaimar’s epilogue was composed not only after Walter’s death but
subsequent also to his name’s inclusion in the Vulgate.
L’estorie de Wincestre was the copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which
supposedly Gaimar used and refers to in the text. It is not wildly speculative
to assume that Henry had placed that book chained in Winchester and
interpolated it with Arthurian lore and this is the reason we are led to
believe that ‘Gaimar’ lends credence to it as an independent source. In
effect, creating the aura that what the ‘Winchester book’ contained was
genuine. Also, one can speculate that the ploy was also meant to show that
this book was at Winchester before Henry became bishop.
What needs to be understood is Henry’s vast wealth and influence over
many disparate scriptoriums. This enabled him to have interpolated copies
run off by various monks in differing locations where no cause for
suspicion was involved in a wealthy bishop requesting a copy be made of a
certain manuscript. No one scriptorium aware of what others under
Henry’s instruction were up to. These did his bidding and became the main
way he was able to propagate HRB through the monastic system and
disseminate through his contacts at court.
As long as we know Gaimar’s testimony in the epilogue is a fake, there is
nothing to say that the name Geoffrey of Monmouth even existed before
1153 or the Vulgate (unless in a corrected copy). In 1153 Gervaise was 12
years old, so his testimony regarding the Bishop of Asaph is hardly reliable
and Henry Blois might have planted evidence of Geoffrey’s consecration by
Theobald while Theobald was out of the country, temporarily banished by
Stephen. The most powerful prelate in the land could plant any evidence he
wanted anywhere in the church records system.
Henry Blois, posing as Gaimar, makes out that the L'Estoire des Bretons
and L’estoire des Engles were commissioned by Constance, wife of Ralph
Fitz-Gilbert, a Lincolnshire landowner using a manuscript obtained from
Robert of Gloucester. Scholars have assumed therefore, it was written 1134-
36 as Henry Ist does not appear (by what is stated) to be alive. One of the
points of constructing the Gaimar epilogue pantomime is to pre-date the
publishing of the Vulgate before its discovery at Bec, where obviously,
Henry Blois had been in early 1138.
Gaimar is the original writer of L’estoire des Engles and probably did
have a connection to Ralph Fitz-Gilbert who also had a wife called
Constance. Henry’s gambit is always to stay aligned with what might seem
the truth. He relies totally on obfuscation.
As pressure to find who had invented this work of HRB increased,
Henry saw a need to portray that Gaimar also wrote about Brutus and
Arthur prior to Huntingdon’s discovery. One can be sure that people
suspected Henry as author of HRB. Especially, since the prophetia foretold
of one bishop’s wish….which was destined to come true regarding a
metropolitan; even though a sixth century prophet had foretold it to a time
when the audience could read an verify his words.
The various individuals who are posited to have played a part in making
the books available to Gaimar is purely a devise employed by Henry Blois to
achieve his goals by employing the mis-directional epilogue. No fewer than
nine contemporaries are named to set the scene: Constance, wife of Ralf
Fitz-Gilbert; Walter Espec of Helmsley; Robert, Earl of Gloucester; Ralf Fitz-
Gilbert of Lincolnshire; Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford; King Henry Ist;
Queen Adeliza of Louvain; David; and Nicholas de Trailly. The four written
sources Gaimar refers to are Walter Espec's book, the ‘Good book of
Oxford’, the Winchester history, and an English book from
Washingborough; all mentioned for a specific reason polemically.
Walter Espec who lent Lady Constance some of the books which
supposedly Gaimar used, was the founder of the Abbeys of Kirkham,
Rievaulx, and Wardon, and is well known for his gallant conduct at the
Battle of the Standard in 1138. He was as an old man, High Sheriff of
Yorkshirewho died and was buried at Rievaulx Abbey in 1153 or 1155….
leaving no issue, as his son was killed by a fall from his horse. Walter
Espec’s three sisters inherited his estates, of whom the second, Albreda,
married Nicolas de Trailli, and had four sons by him, Geoffrey, William,
Nicholas, and Gilbert. The Nicolas de Trailli appealed to by the poet is
Albreda's husband a canon of York while Henry Blois’s Nephew was re-
instated as Bishop as I have covered already. We should not forget that in
all probability Henry’s evolving First Variant to Variant version arrived in
York by way of Henry’s nephew and this is how Alfred of Beverley obtained
a copy. So, it is not by coincidence that Henry weaves his twisted
propaganda around landowners in the north who he knows are dead using
his usual retro-scenarios; as Gaimar probably mentions them in his non
interpolated original text as he was also from that area.
It is not coincidence that Walter Espec had just died. It is not coincidence
that Henry Blois uses Walter Espec’s name in connection with Ralph and
Lady Constance who had probably been the real patron of Gaimar. It is also
worth noting Henry Blois had previously met Walter Espec when Henry
Blois signed a charter with King Henry Ist granting permission to build
Rievaulx abbey.
Nicolas de Trailli is appealed to by Gaimar to substantiate his claims
about whether he is speaking the truth…. and in an unusual manner. The
truth is that Gaimar was commissioned by Lady Constance. Why we should
need to appeal to Nicolas de Trailli if it were really Gaimar writing is not
clear, but as a polemic authored by Henry the reason becomes evident. One
would think that Henry would hardly appeal to someone alive to
substantiate his cock and bull story. Henry, in fact, invents how Gaimar
came upon his sources (a most unusual declaration), so we can take it that
Nicholas de Trailli was dead already.
The only real scenario which fits is that Gaimar did write a rendition of
ASC in poetic octosyllabic. Henry then interpolated Gaimar’s own work with
a small amount of corroborative Arthuriana and then added an epilogue.
He constructed it as part of his devise to add credence to ‘Geoffrey’ having
translated from Walter’s book and also to backdate Gaimar’s work (with
interpolations) by affixing dates of known personages of the generation
before. The inter-dispersed interpolations also had the added benefit of
substantiating completely fictional people unheard of before ‘Geoffrey’
invented them in HRB, such as Belinus.
Let us look at how Henry Blois wraps up Gaimar’s original story by
tacking on his disinformation in the epilogue:
Let him who does not believe it go to Winchester, there he will hear if this
can be true. Here will I end about the King (William Rufus). We can then
witness what Henry establishes:
This history caused to be translated by the gentle lady Constance
commissioned Gaimar on it, March and April, and all the twelve months,
before he had translated about the Kings.
Here, Henry is splicing into Gaimar’s original work which may have
mentioned March and April and combines this obfuscation with the fact
that he had written the L’estoire des Bretons beforehand…. which as we will
see was never written.
2
2
The usual rate for versifying was 3,000 to 5000 lines a year. Gaimar supposedly wrote 6,000 lines in the
Fourteen months. As we shall cover shortly, if Wace had genuinely finished his Roman de Brut in 1155 as stated
it would mean he had started it in around 1152-3 before Geoffrey was supposedly dead. Strangely in reality this
is true in part as Henry Blois commenced composing Roman de Brut using the First Variant version. As he
expanded Arturiana from Alfred of Beverley’s era c1147, Wace/Henry Blois uses this latterly expanded form in
the Roman de Brutas found in Vulgate HRB. After 1155, when the Vulgate was complete, ‘Wace’ finishes off
the last half of his versified HRB mirroring the expanded Arthuriana contents found in the Vulgate version. As
we shall cover the Roman de Brut was probably published c.1158-60 and again Henry is back dating. But the
He procured many copies, English books and books on grammar, both in
French and in Latin, before he could come to the conclusion. If his lady had
not helped him, he would never have completed it. She sent to Helmsley for
Walter Espec's book. Robert earl of Gloucester had this historical narrative
translated in accordance with the books belonging to the Welsh which they
had on the subject of the Kings of Britain. Walter Espec requested this
historical narrative, Earl Robert sent it to him, and then Walter Espec lent it
to Ralf Fitz-Gilbert; Lady Constance borrowed it from her husband whom she
loved dearly. Geoffrey Gaimar made a written copy of this book, and added to
it the supplementary material which the Welsh had omitted, for he had
previously obtained, be it rightfully or wrongfully, the good book of Oxford
which belonged to Archdeacon Walter, and with this he made considerable
improvements to his book; and this historical narrative was improved by
the Winchester History, and a certain book of Washingborough, in which he
found a written account of the Kings and of all the emperors who had
dominion over Rome and tribute from England, and of the Kings who had held
these lands of their lives and deeds, what happened to them and what deeds
they performed, how each one governed the land, which ones loved peace and
which ones’ war. Anyone willing to look into this book will be able to find
there all this and more, and let anyone who does not believe what I say ask
Nicholas de Trailly.
One can only feel sorry for scholars who are so naïve that they are taken
in by what is so obviously designed to mislead and substantiate what is not
true.
One does not need an explanation to understand why ‘Gaimar’ mentions
the book of Robert of Gloucester rather than mentioning by whom the book
was authored. The author Geoffrey of Monmouth is kept well out of the
picture and it is to the dedicatee that Walter Espec makes his request.
Modern scholars studying ‘Geoffrey’ do not understand that Henry Blois is
adeptly corroborating what ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’ had written.
So, in this ingenious explanation as to how we have a copy of Wace
connected to L'Estoire des Engleis; now we are led to understand by what
scholastic conclusion is again backward; because of their belief that the Bec copy was the Vulgate version and so
Variant is assumed the later version. This would mean the supposed Wace starts his book with the unexpanded
first Variant (a supposed later version) and then reverts back to the expanded earlier version thought to be
Vulgate. Total Nonsense!!!!! Just look at the discrepancies in EAW by comparison with Vulgate.
Gaimar states above …. is that the version of Wace i.e Gaimar’s L'Estoire des
Bretons was originally a Welsh book that Robert of Gloucester had
commissioned a translation from which supposedly Wace and Geoffrey’s
work derived from. Incredibly Geoffrey Gaimar made a written copy of this
book, and added to it the supplementary material which the Welsh had
omitted, for he had previously obtained, the good book of Oxford which
belonged to Archdeacon Walter, and with this he made considerable
improvements to his book; and this historical narrative was improved by
the Winchester History. What an amazing song and dance routine for
contemporaries in search of Geoffrey and our modern scholars to swallow.
‘Geoffrey’ got his information from the Welsh book!!!!! So how is it that the
most lucid of scholars i.e. Tatlock who knows and identifies Geoffreys work
as a composite with a definable provenance constituting episodes and
speeches and HRB’s historicity ….does not see that what Gaimar writes
could in no way be true.
What Henry hopes to convey is that ‘Geoffrey’s source for HRB
originated from Robert of Gloucester, but it was Gaimar who added to it
that which the Welsh had left out and to confuse us further…. it is Gaimar
by his own admission that also possessed Walter’s book which Geoffrey
attests to…so now it must be real !!!. The main purpose is to prove
independently that a book from Oxford existed and probably to have us
confuse the provenance of that book between the Archdeacon Walter and
Walter Espec.
The Gaimar epilogue is meant to confuse and has the desired effect. It
obscures rather than elucidates any useful meaning, but the ‘seed’ of doubt
is again planted. To an unperceptive reader, the book ‘Geoffrey’ translated
from, is forever more thought to have existed in reality, adding credence to
‘Geoffrey’s claim. It is not by accident that Gaimar’s supposed work
L’Estoire des Bretons is substituted by Wace’s, and he like Geoffrey made
considerable improvements to his book.
At Winchester, there obviously existed a book into which Henry Blois
had interpolated substantially. Henry is by means of the epilogue, (for the
benefit of the gullible), showing that in that book was new material which
was supposedly put in Gaimar’s L’estoire de Bretons, which of course does
not exist and is Wace’s version of HRB versified. Don’t forget, L’estoire de
Bretons is thought to have the same contents as HRB. The existence of the
Winchester book, which was probably a vastly interpolated rendition of
ASC, also needed to be substantiated as having been chained in Winchester
of old. Hence, by total confusion ‘Gaimar’ who is purposely ante-dated by
Henry Blois to c.1136,
3
is made to appear as if he is useing the Vulgate book
which has drawn so much attention which Henry needed to deflect or risk
being exposed. Therefore, supposedly Gaimar’ let it be known that the book
of Oxford had material that Robert of Gloucester’s book did not contain.
Therefore, any inquirer as to how the Primary Historia or First Variant
evolved into the Vulgate, without the accusation of fabrication, is now
appraised that ‘Gaimar’ made these additions by way of stating he made
improvements to his bookwhich in essence we are to believe is Wace’s
version.
The Washingborough book is somehow meant to mislead us into
thinking that Geoffrey’s Vulgate, which has Alexanders dedication in it, was
in existence while Alexander was Bishop of Lincoln. Washingborough is
less than two miles from Lincoln. It may be Henry’s intention that the book
of the Merlin’s prophecies is implied as having come from Washingborough
as Alexander supposedly possessed it and chose (pressed) ‘Geoffrey’ to
translate it.
The fact that Ralph Fitz-Gilbert was benefactor of Kirkstead abbey, to
whom Earl Conan made a grant of land in Washingborough between 1156-
58, (the precise time which I assume Gaimar’s original work was rehashed
by Henry)…. may have some bearing on what was intended. Conan as we
know at this time was at odds with Henry II and Henry Blois is specifically
3
Henry Blois makes it appear Gaimar is writing just after the death of King Henry I as La raine de Luvain
Adeliza remarried William d’Aubigy in September 1139. The intent is to ante-date Gaimar’s work to this period.
We know Archdeacon Walter in the Primary Historia and also in the First Variant does not feature. Walter only
becomes necessary later when questions are being asked and herein is the reason for the production of Gaimar’s
charade by Henry Blois. The real intent of the production of Gaimar’s work and the mention of Walter Espec
and Robert duke of Gloucester is to ostensibly provide evidence that both ‘Geoffrey’ and Gaimar had
accomplished their works before the Anarchy. The way this was done was to show that Gaimar’s use of
Geoffrey’s Historia would have been in L’Estoire des Breton. In other words in reality, Henry had already
writtenthe Roman de Brut and to save duplicatingWace’s’ Roman de Brut again in another version
calledL’Estoire des Breton by Gaimar….Roman de Brut was merely substituted. Hence, Wace’s work is found
alongside in all four MSS of Gaimar. What we are supposed to think is that it was Robert of Gloucester who
deposited his dedicated copy at Bec in 1137 when he left England. Huntingdon does not mention his name in
EAW and nor do the First Variant’s except for the Exeter MSS; and as we have mentioned this is either a late
insert by Henry or a later correction or since it is a cut down version of the dedication; it may well be the first to
have a dedication. But it still would date after 1147. There were definitively no dedications before 1147….even
in Alfred’s copy. However, this is the very point Henry Blois is trying to make by saying in the most contrived
fashion that Gaimar’s project took 14 months to compose and we are led to believe Gaimar wrote c.1136.
trying to incite rebellion through Conan and Cadwallader in the prophecies.
However, …from an English book of Washingborough, wherein he found
written of the Kings, and of all the emperors who were lords of Rome and had
tribute of England hardly sounds as if it is the book of prophecies
supposedly translated for the Bishop of Lincoln, but more along the lines of
‘Geoffrey’spseudo-historia. Anyway, the passage about the various books in
Gaimar’s epilogue is intended to be unclear and cause obfuscation. Geffrei
Gaimar cel livere escrit in line 6453 and then in 6460, Si en emendant son
livere bien, just adds to the purposeful obfuscation; so it becomes unclear
who is translating or adding to, or redacting, or who composed which book.
It would seem the real problem was that First Variant version (except
those versions corrected subsequently), had no dedications in them and
people were suspecting fraud when the Vulgate appeared. One can be sure
this was a concern, as some of the prophecies in the Vulgate were seditious
toward the new King. Why would Gaimar c.1136 have us refer to Nicholas
de Trailli when we could just ask Archdeacon Walter if a ‘good book’ ever
existed…. or reference the ‘good book of Oxford’?
One would have to be extremely dim witted, to accept without question
Gaimar’s epilogue, considering that which we have discussed previously
concerning Archdeacon Walter’s late appearance in the Vulgate Version.
One should ask why Gaimar appeals to Nicholas de Trailli. The probable
answer is that the author (Henry Blois), obtained his copy of Gaimar from
Nicholas de Trailli.
Gaimar’s epilogue was composed as a reaction to the fact that the
Vulgate HRB was published, so it cannot be early as scholars presume…. as
we know the Vulgate (with its prophecies) was published in 1155. In reality,
Walter would have been inundated with enquiries about the ‘good book of
Oxford’ (ex-Brittania, ex-Brittany, ex-Briton or however one wishes to be
misled), if Walter’s name had existed in the First Variant.
The fact that Lady Constance borrowed the book from her husband
whom ‘she loved dearly’…. is inconsequential personal piffle meant to
deflect from the lie being propagated. The anecdotal comment is supposed
to induce us to believe some personal observation was made by Gaimar
about Lady Constance to indicate the epilogue was written by Gaimar
himself. Whether we are supposed to believe that the ‘He’ in…. he had
previously obtained, be it rightfully or wrongfully, the good book of Oxford….
referred to Walter Espec, Ralph Fitz Gilbert or even Gaimar is a moot point,
for Gaimar’s ambiguous reference is employed just to show an independent
knew of the book also. The point is, the good book of Oxfordbecomes real
by being referred to by another writer…. or at least that is what we are
being led to believe. Henry even throws in a little subterfuge as to whether
the book was obtained rightly or wrongly. This supposedly adds narrative
credibility to his concoction.
The epilogue continues: Now, says Gaimar, if he had a patron, he would
go on to tell of King Henry, for if he is willing to talk about the King even
briefly and write an adaptation of part of his life, he will be able to recount
thousands of things that David never had copied down, nor did the Queen
from Louvain ever hold in her hand any book recording this sort of material.
She did have a large book made however and the first verse of which she had
embellished with musical notation. David is a good narrative poet, and he
composed good verse and constructed his song well. Lady Constance owns a
written copy of it, and she often reads it in her chamber; and for the copy she
gave a mark of silver burnt and weighed. The material of which this book was
composed has achieved some circulation and reached several places. But
as for the festivities that the King held, - and still today Henry, that
Christian man of blessed memory, ranks as the best King that ever was, but as
for the drinking and bouts of boasting, the courting and the love affairs in
which he carried on, David's book has hardly anything to say.
‘Gaimar’s’ statement of intent to write about Henry Ist followed by the
immediate retraction of the intent is purely to show Henry Blois knows of
the book that David wrote. This in effect sets us in the era in which the
epilogue is supposed to have been written. People knew of David’s book in
Latin, so the point for Henry Blois to make was that Gaimar also, ‘long ago’
i.e. in that period, had that same book of Oxford that ‘Geoffrey’ claims to
have had. The purpose of the seemingly irrelevant anecdote is all about
backdating.
The remarkable thing about Henry Blois is that he slips into character so
easily. We see this in the grovelling show of flattery to Robert of Gloucester
and Alexander, both whom in reality he disliked, but Henry never loses
sight of the fact that writers needed a patron. Henry makes a pantomime of
farce, pretending to be an equal of David (whoever David is) seeming to be
concerned with the petty things poets of his ilk should be concerned about
i.e. how much payment is received and if he had a patron etc.
I would hazard to guess that there was such a book written by a certain
David and Henry Blois knew of it and he makes a show of intimacy with
Lady Constance and affirms her bookishness by giving the ridiculous
anecdote of how much she paid for a copy. Who would not believe this is
Gaimar writing? All this is dressed up to convince us that the author of the
epilogue is in reality the person called Gaimar. Henry Blois, the author of
the epilogue, pretends to be concerned with what David wrote and
ostensibly says that David should not have left out the bits which truly
would have been more interesting regarding what he had written about
Henry Ist. The whole is a ploy to convince contemporaries and us in
posterity that the epilogue was written by Gaimar.
Finally, the last part of the epilogue is as follows: Now, says Gaimar, he
passes it over. But if he would take more trouble He could compose verses
about the fairest deeds (of Henry Ist ), namely the love affairs and the
courting, the hunting sports and the drinking, the festivities and the pomp and
ceremony, largesses and riches, the entourage of noble and valiant barons
that the King maintained, and the generous presents which he distributed.
This is indeed the sort of material that should be celebrated in poetry, with
nothing omitted and nothing passed over. I call on David, then, to continue his
narrative if he so wishes, and not leave it as it is, for if he was willing to
compose a sequel, he could greatly improve his book. And if he is unwilling to
turn his mind to this, I will go and fetch him myself and have him imprisoned;
he will never again get out of my custody until he has completed the song.
Now we are at peace / reconciled, and let us be glad. Gaimar's narrative
goes [all the way] from Troy as far as here; he began it at the point where
Jason left in pursuit of the [Golden] Fleece, and has now, at this present
moment, brought it to a close. God's blessing on us all! Amen.
The quite preposterous proposal that Gaimar is going to fetch David and
have him imprisoned is purely a device to ostensibly provide
contemporaneity with David. David obviously wrote for Adeliza who is the
Queen (from Louvain) and the author David is also now dead. That such a
book existed is provided by a description of its first verse. That Adeliza is
mentioned is to show that Gaimar’s work was on a par with David’s and
thus ostensibly back-dated contemporaneously. We know from Hildebert of
Le Man’s comments that Adeliza was only concerned with serious studies
and histories.
Henry Blois’ guile should not be overlooked. The opening lines of
Gaimar are a prime example. Henry Blois refers to the book which in reality
he has not written as the livere bien devant and purposefully misleads us….
because the statement that Iwain was made King of Murray and Lothian
does not tally with Geoffrey’s account in First Variant version or Vulgate.
The point is to convince us that a similar book to Geoffrey’s with different
content existed. In the last line of the epilogue he says Gaimar's narrative
goes from Troy as far as here.
Now, we know Henry’s devises are based largely on obfuscation and
confusion. So, here he has established that Gaimar is not the same author as
Geoffrey (in case any should suspect fraud) because the accounts contradict
each other. The reader should keep in mind that the inventor of the whole
Brutus history (because we are not referring here to Nennius brief
mention) is Henry Blois. So, Gaimar in reality could not have written any
book to do with a history from Troy without ‘Geoffrey’s’ Historia. It is from
this knowledge we can conclude that the sham of an early publication by
Gaimar, (especially concerning the epilogue), is as equally untenable as
‘Geoffrey’sfabricated persona…. and ‘Geoffrey’s’ insistence that he used an
old book from which he has translated. Gaimar’s epilogue is a contrived
fake which is tacked on to Gaimar’s work by the artful author called Henry
Blois. No wonder he equates himself with Cicero!!
Modern scholars will find this hard to accept, because it is still believed
that ‘Geoffrey’ lived in reality and Walter had the 'exceeding ancient book in
the British tongue' mentioned by him…. which Gaimar now seems to
corroborate. Most modern scholars have understood that ‘Geoffrey’ has
concocted as a compilation the whole HRB and they can even see that the
prophecies are spliced into it, but none have evaluated that Huntingdon’s
EAW storyline is not the same as the Vulgate HRB. Even with its very
numerous and considerable variations, it is still considered that the Bec
Primary Historia is the same as the Vulgate edition of HRB.
One wonders how it is that scholarship has been so easily duped
regarding the ‘good book of Oxford’…. but where is ‘Geoffreygoing to get a
‘book on the exile of the Britons’ that neither Huntingdon nor Malmesbury
has ever seen: Many of them betook them in a mighty fleet unto Armorican
Britain, so that the whole church of the two provinces, Loegria
4
, to wit, and
Northumbria, was left desolate of all the convents of religious therein. But of
this will I tell the story elsewhere, when I come to translate the Book of their
Exile.
5
Gaimar gives the name of one of his sources as the History of
Winchester. He tells us that it is a volume of history, compiled on Aelfred's
orders from information furnished by monks and canons in various parts
of England, and was chained up like a church Bible in Winchester
Cathedral. In reality there probably was a book as described full of Henry’s
propaganda…. but if Gaimar has a copy, why is he telling us to go to
Winchester to verify his history?
This cannot be the volume known as the Annales Wintonie, now in the
British Museum which is of later date. But we may speculate that the Anglo-
Saxon Chronicle, which Gaimar is referring us to, is an interpolated copy of
ASC and which obviously did not tally with any extant copy which we now
possess.
We can see Henry Blois has scarfed in the interpolations into Gaimar’s
text and it becomes obvious that Gaimar is being used in the same way that
Henry Blois had used William of Malmesbury’s DA and GR. Whereas,
Henry, while interpolating DA, is fabricating material as a proof of antiquity
for Glastonbury and to substantiate his first and second agendas; in
Gaimar’s work, he makes small inconsequential changes in the main text
that Gaimar has written. He interpolates small inserted passages which
corroborate some of his Arthurian lore found in HRB.
The real accomplishment however, is the epilogue concerning Walter
and his ‘good book’. Henry Blois did at first write a different epilogue based
upon lines Gaimar had written which we shall also cover here. There are
several parts in Gaimar’s text which mirror the fabricated HRB, but just to
highlight the method employed…. we will look at some of the more blatant
Arthuriana. The highlighted black print is indicating what was originally in
Gaimar’s work and one can see the passages flow if one takes out the insert.
L’estoire des Engles starts with an improvisation which gets right to the
4
Geoffrey obviously formed Arthur’s territory of Loegriain the Latinized version from Logres as it was othwise
known from the French L’ogresby extension land of the Giants
5
HRB XI,x
point of the introduction…. which is to provide another source which backs
up the phony Arthurian history created in HRB.
Heretofore in the former book,
If you remember it,
You have heard how perfectly
Constantine held the dominion after Arthur;
And how Iwain was made King
Of Murray and of Lothian.
6
But afterwards he fared right ill.
All their best kindred died,
And the Saxons spread themselves,
Who had come with Cerdic,
From the Humber as far as Caithness.
Modred the King had given it to them.
So they seized, and wholly occupied
The land which once Hengist held.
This they claimed as their heritage,
For Hengist was of their lineage.
Behold the occasion,
By which the Britons came into great trouble,
So did the Scots and Picts,
The Welsh and the Cymri.
Such war the outlandish folk made,
Britain came to great grief.
The English every day increased.
For they often came from over sea.
Those from Saxony and Almain
Joined their company
For the sake of Dan Hengist, their ancestor,
The others made them lords.
Every-day as they conquered
From the English, they explored the land.
The land which they went on conquering,
6
Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles, 5. Wace does not say that Muref and Loeneis were given to Iwain, but
Scotland (Brut, ii. 226). Geoffrey of Monmouth (ix. 9) says that Mureif was given to Urien, Iwain's father.
They called it England,
Behold a cause
By which Britain lost its name.
And the nephews of Arthur reigned,
Who warred against the English.
But the Danes hated them much.
Because of their kindred, who had died
In the battles which Arthur fought
Against Modret, whom, he afterwards slew.
If that is true that Gildas said
In the Geste, he found written
That there were two Kings formerly in Britain
When Constantine was chief.
This Constantine was the nephew of Arthur,
Who had the sword Caliburc.
7
One of the Kings had for his name Adelbrit.
He was a rich man, also he was a Dane.
The other had for his name Edelsie.
His were Lincoln and Lindsey.
From the Humber to Rutland
The land was under his command.
Alvive
8
was her name: She reared me.
Well she cared for me while she lived,
She brought me up. So said my mother,
I was the daughter of Grim, a companion of hers.
But it happened in your land,
That King Arthur came to conquer it,
For his tribute, which they withheld from him,
With many men he came to the land,
To King Gunter he seemed an enemy,
Near the sea he gave him battle,
Slain was King Gunter,
And many knights on both sides.
7
Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles, 30
8
Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles, 405
The land gave what Arthur would.
But the queen, because of the war,
Could not remain in the land,
So she fled with the right heir.
You are he, as I believe
Dan Haveloc, the King's son.
Who then was a powerful King
9
Over the other folk in this land.
On account of his lord, who was dead,
By the power of Arthur the strong;
Whom he had by treason sent for,
And had given him this country.
Because he was treacherous and cruel,
Many took counsel together,
That they should never hold with him,
Nor take land of him,
Until they knew of the right heir,
The truth about his life or death.
This King who then was in the country,
Was the brother of King Aschis
Who met his death for Arthur
Where Modred did him such wrong,
His name was Odulf the King;
Much was he hated by his Danes.
Afterwards Eadgar, his brother, reigned.
He held the land as an emperor.
In his time he bettered the land.
He had peace everywhere, there was no war.
He alone ruled over all the Kings,
And over the Scotch and the Welsh.
Never since Arthur departed
Had any King such power.
9
Gaimar, Lestoire des Engles, 510
The King much loved Holy Church.
Of wrong and of right, he knew the manner.
10
One can see these are simple insertions to the text which serve no other
purpose than to propagandise the Arthuriana maintained in HRB and to
appear as if Gildas bears witness to Arthur. We know the only place this
takes place is in Henry’s impersonation of Caradoc of Llancarfan’s
concocted Life of Gildas.
There is an earlier Gaimar epilogue in manuscripts D&L which also show
Henry’s hand and it is mainly identified with his agenda in pursuit of
Metropolitan status and backing up the authenticity of fabrications found in
HRB:
The tenth is Cornwall.
11
The men are valiant in battle.
Corineus settled it;
He who drove out the giants.
Henry’s concern in the later epilogue is purely defensive. The later
epilogue is constructed ostensibly so that Gaimar appears to know of the
‘good book of Oxford’. Thereby, ‘Geoffrey’ was not found to be bearing false
witnessby insisting he had merely translated an old book; rather than what
many suspected had been fabricated.
But I will speak of the Welsh.
12
I will tell of the people there.
In Wales there are many cities,
Which were highly renowned,
As Caerwent and Caerleon,
And the city of Snowdon.
And there are five bishoprics,
And a master archbishopric.
Of these there are none left
But three, of which, I will tell you the sees.
One is at St. David's,
Which before was at Caerleon.
10
Gaimar, Lestoire des Engles 3573
11
Gaimar’s early epilogue ,123
12
Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles, 201
This was once the archbishopric,
Now it is a poor bishopric.
The other is settled at Bangor.
Glamorgan is the third.
They are not in any city,
In consequence of war they are deserted.
But still we know well
That the bishop has the pallium
Of St. David, as he claimed it.
We know well he went to Rome.
Now there is no city left,
For all the country is destroyed,
First by the Saxons,
Then by the war of the Britons;
On the other side, since the French
Have defeated the English
And conquered the land
By fire, by famine, and by war,
They have passed the water of Severn,
And waged war on the Welsh,
And spied out the land.
They conquered much of the land,
And set very grievous laws on it;
For they drove out the Welsh,
They settled in the land;
They built many castles there,
Which are right good and fair.
But natheless often times
Well have the Welsh avenged themselves.
Many of our French have they slain,
Some of our castles they have taken;
Openly they go about saying,
Fiercely they threaten us,
That in the end they will have all;
By means of Arthur they will win it back;
And this land all together
They will take from the Latin folk,
They will give back its name to the land,
They will call it Britain again.
Now we will hold our peace about the Welsh,
And speak of the roads
Which were made in this country.
King Belinus had them made.
The first goes from the east
Until it comes to the west.
It crosses the country.
Ikenild the road is called.
The second, according to the Saxons,
Ermingestreet still we call it.
This road is well known.
From the north it goes straight to the south.
The third is far famed.
Watlingstreet it is called.
At Dover this road begins.
Right at Chester it ends.
It takes the length of the land.
The fourth is very wearisome.
This road is called Foss.
It goes through many cities.
It begins at Totness,
And goes as far as Caithness.
Seven hundred leagues is it reckoned.
This road is far famed.
Belinus who had them made
Placed them in great freedom.
Whoever was outlawed
Should have his peace on these roads.
We have described to you the counties
Of the land, and the bishoprics,
And the names of the four roads
Now thus will we leave it.
Here ends the history of the English.
Realistically, St David’s was never a metropolitan
13
and it was mainly
Henry Blois’ friendship with Bernard which prompted the third archflamen
to be included in the First Variant as Bernard had the same aim as Henry. It
was entirely an invention that a metropolitan once existed at Caerleon and
this was introduced into Arthurian lore to show that in King Arthur’s era
metropolitans which had once stood, no longer existed. Hence, Henry’s ploy
was that both Winchester and St David’s should be reinstated. St David’s on
merit that it had been an Archbishopric previously, Winchester because it
had a monastery (as attested in HRB) long before Augustine’s Canterbury
was given the honour of primacy. Giraldus also took up the mantle later
after Bernard died.
This aside, we know that Belinus did not exist historically. He is a
fictional character re-invented here in Gaimar by Henry Blois. As Tatlock
suggests, his name is based upon a vassal of Henry Blois brother Count
Theobald of Blois. There was also a fictional King Belinus in Nennius at the
time of Caesar (not mentioned in Roman annals) and so he too might be
‘Geoffrey’sinspirational source.
Brennius the Gaulish invader of Rome however, is based on historical
fact and appears in Bede. Henry Blois as usual mixes fact with fiction, so
their conquest on Rome seemingly has a basis in history. Henry Blois
envisages Belinus as a great builder. After founding Caerleon, he has
Belinus as the builder of the Tower of London in the fourth century BC. The
Tower
14
was instigated by Henry Blois’ Grandfather and Henry knows full
well who built it…. so, it is no wonder the same Belinus builds the roads in
Britain.
The point is that Belinus is ‘Geoffrey’s’ invention. We know that the
person who envisages the great engineer Belinus in Gaimar’s earlier
epilogue is one and the same with the writer of HRB. Henry only later
changes the epilogue to suit the purpose at that time…. just as he added the
last paragraph to Caradoc when it suited his purpose. The Early epilogue
13
We should disregard Rhygyfarchs Life of St David as his allusion is not to metropolitan specifically, ’Saint
David, archbishop of all Britannia’.
14
In the prophecies Henry even refers to the three predecessors of Stephen: Thereafter shall a tree rise up above
the Tower of London, that thrusting forth three branches only shall overshadow all the face of the whole island
with the spreading breadth of the leaves thereof. Henry knew the tower was built by William the Conqueror.We
know from William of Mamesbury’s GR where he tells of Edward the Confessor’s prophetic vision in which a
tree is split and symbolises the English royal house. Not by coincidence…. so too does ‘Geoffrey’ have Merlin
see the Norman royal house as a spreading tree growing from the tower of London symbolising his Grandfather.
corroborates his historicity in First Variant and acts as corroborative
evidence on the Metropolitan issues. The latter epilogue acts as a confusion
of sources, material and authors as to how the Vulgate HRB might be found
credible in its assertion that it is a translation from an old book. The
investigator into what has transpired here should inquire how Wace’s
Roman de Brut is mirrored in a work supposedly to have been written by
Gaimar and put forward as the unwritten L’estoire des Bretons…. which just
happens to also use the same source as ‘Geoffrey’ in his translation…. which
supposedly constitutes Vulgate HRB. Modern scholarship’s understanding
that Wace’s Roman de Brut replaces the unwritten L’estoire des Bretons on
literary merit and accompanies all the copies of Gaimar (because of this
fact) is naïve. It is Henry who put the two together and distributed the
manuscripts.
Henry loves to provide answers giving eponyms or how things came into
existence to amaze his readers. As I have maintained, Henry Blois spent
time in 1136, just after his brother was installed on the throne, putting
down rebellion in South Wales. This is where he gets his knowledge to write
concerning the topography and archaeology of Wales and what would have
been in GS (if the pages were not missing from the manuscript); but his
personal observations about castles in GS always stands out, as he himself is
a builder. It is no surprise then we find in Gaimar’s first epilogue the
observations found in GS: They built many castles there, which are right
good and fair.
Again the hope of the Britons is expressed in the earlier epilogue:
Openly they go about saying,
15
Fiercely they threaten us,
That in the end they will have all;
By means of Arthur they will win it back;
And this land all together
They will take from the Latin folk,
They will give back its name to the land,
They will call it Britain again.
One part of ‘Geoffrey’s’ pseudo-history which has baffled scholars is why
there is the flattering imperialism in Vulgate HRB which appears to be
15
Gaimar’s earlier epilogue written by Henry.
toned down in the First Variant. For all ‘Geoffrey’s’ mad claim to
imperialism there is but one witness. It seems safe to speculate that Haveloc
the Dane was composed by Gaimar and Henry Blois just inserts small
interpolations so that the claims of conquering Denmark in HRB are
conveniently substantiated by an independent source or at least we are
supposed to think this.
Again, we can see where the Blois Arthuriana is inserted into existing
text:
I will relate you the adventure.
16
Haveloc was this King named.
And Cuaran is he called.
Therefore, I mean to tell you of him,
And recall his adventures,
Of which the Bretons made a lay.
They called it from his name
Both Haveloc and Cuaran,
Of his father I will tell first.
Gunter was his name, he was a Dane.
He held the land, he was King.
At the time that Arthur reigned,
He crossed the sea towards Denmark.
He would make the land submit to him,
And have tribute of the King.
With King Gunter he fought.
And with the Danes, and conquered.
The King himself was killed.
And many others of the country.
Hodulf slew him by treason,
Who always had a felon heart.
When Arthur had ended his war
Hodulf gave him all the land,
And the homage of his barons.
When he departed with his Britons;
Some by constraint, some by fear,
16
Gaimar, Haveloc the Dane ,16
Most of them served Hodulf.
Some there were who sought his ruin
By the advice of Sigar the Stallere,
Who was a good and rich man,
And well knew how to war.
He had the horn to keep
Which no one could sound
Unless he were right heir of the lineage,
Which was over the Danes by inheritance.
Before King Arthur came.
Or had fought with the Danes,
Gunter had his castle
On the sea shore, strong and fair.
Again, this last Arthurian reference is inserted purely to back up what is
written in HRB:
Your father was King Gunter,
17
Who was lord over the Danes;
Hodulf slew him by treason,
Whoever had a felon heart.
King Arthur enfeoffed Hodulf,
And gave him Denmark.
Grim, our father, fled,
To save you he left his land.
Thy mother died at sea;
For our ship was attacked
By outlaws, who seized us.
Lastly, to show there is no end to the devices which Henry employs, this
next section is also found in L’estoire des Engles:
Then was Cirencester besieged.
18
But by the negligence of the Britons
It was set on fire by sparrows,
Which carried fire and sulphur into the town.
17
Gaimar, Haveloc the Dane, 597
18
Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles ,858
And set light to many houses.
And the besiegers who were outside
Made an assault with great courage.
Then was this city conquered,
And Gloucester was taken.
As far as the Severn they conquered all.
They killed all the best Britons.
And from the sea, to which they came,
As far as the Severn, they took to themselves
All the country and the Kingdom,
And they drove out the Britons.
As we have discussed already the burning of the castle at Cirencester
and the sparrows is fabricated entirely by Henry after having seen the fort
burn in 1142 with his brother. Yet he mentions this in the VM: This wolf will
lay siege to Cirencester and by means of sparrows raze its walls and houses
to the ground. He will then set off for France with a fleet, but will die by a
King's spear.
Henry also delights through Wace by giving the Sparewencestre
etymological rubbish. There is no stopping his muses of invention, but here
we have three tracts, Wace, Gaimar and VM…. all written by Henry Blois
with this story from personal experience.
Henry has his ‘book at Winchester’ and in his interpolation into Gaimar,
he concocts a story of how this marvellous book which contained cross
reference material to Geoffrey’s HRB came to be found chained up at
Winchester so that his faux history could be ‘authenticated’:
The sixth Oswald, the seventh Oswiu.
But the land did not go thus.
So that no man, except by war,
Knew how went the land.
Nor at that time did anyone know
Who belonged to each King.
But monks and canons of abbeys,
Who wrote the lives of Kings.
Each applied to his companion
to show the true account
Of the Kings; how long each reigned,
How he was called; how he died;
Who was killed, and who deceased.
Who are preserved, and who decayed.
And of the bishops also
The clerks kept record.
Chronicles, it is called, a big book.
The English went about collecting it.
Now it is thus authenticated;
So that at Winchester, in the cathedral,
There is the true history of the Kings,
And their lives and their memorials.
King Alfred had it in his possession,
And had it bound with a chain.
Who wished to read, might well see it,
But not remove it from its place.
The eighth King- was named Ceawlin.
He had the West Saxons with him.
He was King of one part.
19
This book of Chronicles, supposedly written by clerics from around
Britain in Alfred’s time, would have made a brilliant read. It was obviously
put together on the basis of ASC by Henry Blois and hereby given credence
in antiquity by Gaimar. Unfortunately, it is no longer extant, but must have
been vastly corroborative to the pseudo-history and Arthuriana found in
HRB.
We would be foolish to believe in Walter’s knowledge of an old book
which was given to Geoffrey. Geoffrey’s’ work was received and
propagated in Wales and much of the phony corroborative evidence for
Henry Blois’ concoction of HRB, (like Geoffrey’s date of death etc.) is
established by interpolations in the Book of Llandaff after Geoffrey’s
supposed death.
Ironically, it is suggested by modern scholars that Caradoc is suspected
of helping substantiate parts of Geoffrey’s HRB in the Book of Llandaff,
because they think he was a contemporary being duped by the colophon in
19
Gaimar 2315
HRB. Henry Blois obviously had Welsh monks known to him in monastic
houses. ‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB would have to be the source of chivalric
Arthuriana in Wales rather than any Welsh warlord Arthurian tradition.
Henry puts the final icing on the cake regarding ‘Geoffrey’s’ and Walter’s
relationship, so that every investigator to date has believed Henry’s ruse.
In the Welsh history known as Tysilio's Chronicle, (identified
ridiculously by Flinders Petrie as the source used by Geoffrey of
Monmouth), Henry Blois has a script written in Welsh which pretends to be
written by Saint Tysilio, a Welsh bishop who died 640. At the end of the
chronicle Walter Archdeacon of Oxford supposedly writes: I, Walter,
Archdeacon of Oxford, translated this book from the Welsh into Latin, and in
my old age have again translated it from the Latin into Welsh.
The very concept is ludicrous…. of a man translating from Welsh into Latin
and then carrying out the same exercise in reverse. There would be no
point. As a fabrication, what Henry is establishing here is that Walter’s book
was first written in Welsh, (which of course we are led to believe or
understand to be the ancient Briton language)…. and therefore, could be the
book from which ‘Geoffrey’ is supposedly translating. Through this ruse we
are made to believe that ‘Geoffrey’ did have an ancient book to translate
from, since anecdotal HRB material is found in the chronicle. Regardless of
the futile act that Walter is supposedly carrying out in old age, his name is
now connected to the Vulgate Version of HRB and corroborated from an
exterior source; just as Henry portrays through Gaimar’s epilogue. The
illusion has remained for nearly 900 years.