Chapter 22
Caradoc of Llancarfan
Since the name Ineswitrin suddenly appears as an afterthought in
Caradoc’s Life of Gildas, it is obviously bound up with substantiating the 601
charter and the business of obtaining metropolitan status and countering
Osbern’s false statement. One would think it un-necessary of William of
Malmesbury to dismiss Caradoc’s work concerning his kidnap of Guinevere
episode, by referring to Arthur’s renown as idle tales of the Britons;
especially, if Caradoc and William really were contemporaneous at
Glastonbury (as the colophon in Vulgate HRB implies).
Is it strange that William of Malmesbury does not mention Caradoc….
if he really had been a contemporary at Glastonbury and was writing a
flatulent recast of his own life of St Cadoc? Caradoc was never at
Glastonbury and was certainly dead when Henry Blois came across his
chronicle and his Life of St Cadoc while in Wales in 1136. Henry Blois based
his own Life of Gildas on Caradoc’s genuine Life of St Cadoc and makes it
appear as if Caradoc has taken up the mantle of continuing ‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB
by writing the Brut y Tywysogion.
This supposed contemporaneity is in fact carried out retro-actively by
back dating HRB (from 1155). So, why is Caradoc singled out so favourably
in the Colophon? The reason is that he is not in reality contemporaneous
and we are being led to believe he is. The subtle point of this is that we must
remember the colophon is being written c.1155-58 and Henry Blois
ostensibly demonstrates that the author of HRB (i.e. himself) could not be
impersonating a dead Caradoc by producing corroborative evidence of
Arthur at Glastonbury found in the Life of Gildas. We are led to believe
Caradoc is supposedly alive in 1143 when William of Malmesbury was still
alive. Also, we should remember Henry has no axe to grind with Caradoc….
he merely impersonates him as author of Life of Gildas. Contrarily, Henry
Blois (as we have covered) has been slighted by both Malmesbury and
Huntingdon in their outputs and so with an air of importance he dismisses
their authority.
Of the lives of Dunstan written prior to William’s own VSD I and VSD II
which include material from author B’s edition of the life of Dunstan,
Adelard’s, Osbern’s and Eadmer’s and in William’s other saint’s lives, and in
GP….. there is no mention of Ineswitrin. An odd occurrence if it really were
the old name for Glastonbury. The name featured no-where else in previous
hagiographic accounts.
So, we can take it as a fact that Ineswitrin was not the old name for
Glastonbury. We can also accept it as a truth that its name was lost in time
like the old language that William so detested. More important and the
very reason for this present investigation is the question of what was
deposited on the island of Ineswitrin in a bygone age. If the bodies in the
cave on Burgh Island are found to be the relics of Jesus and Joseph, it will
rock the foundation and destroy the Catholic Church.
If Caradoc’s brief little volume of the life of Gildas existed while both
William and Caradoc were supposedly contemporary at Glastonbury,
William of Malmesbury would have mentioned Ineswitrin (excepting the
601charter) or referred to Caradoc’s Life of Gildas…. but, William had left
Glastonbury to attempt receiving some form of recompense for his
endeavours c.1134 by presenting his DA to Henry at Winchester. All that
ostensibly exists (regarding what we are supposed to think was William’s
view of Gildas at Glastonbury) is the interpolation in GR3 (version B) and
DA, regarding Gildas’ stay at Glastonbury.
This is a direct indication that the 601 charter and Caradoc’s Life of
Gildas are intricately linked and were utilised in the 1144 gambit for
metropolitan…. where the 601 charter was the main physical evidence of
the proof of antiquity for the abbey at Glastonbury and HRB’s professions of
longevity for Winchester. The 601 charter would only withstand scrutiny as
long as it could be shown that the name Ineswitrin applied to Glastonbury.
The St Patrick charter which has both Ineswitrin (and Avalon mentioned in
the postscript in DA), was employed latterly in 1149 and employs the
further embellishments stated in that charter. The postscript to the St
Patrick Charter mentioning Avalon in DA is part of Henry’s second (post
1158) agenda.
It is through Caradoc’s Life of Gildas that Henry Blois convinces us that
William of Malmesbury’s 601 charter concerning Ineswitrin was the
previous name for Glastonbury and he also re-iterates this same position as
he employs the St Patrick charter in his second attempt at gaining
Metropolitan status in 1149. William, (except in Henry’s interpolations in
DA and through Henry’s authorship of Life of Gildas), does not in any way
infer that Ineswitrin is synonymous with Glastonbury. William of
Malmesbury is merely including the 601 Charter in GR3 along with a few
other up-dates which we shall cover shortly. If Henry Blois had not written
the final paragraph in the Life of Gildas establishing Ineswitrin as the old
name for Glastonbury; the charter would be referring to an estate of five
cassates existing on an island somewhere unknown (which in reality it
It was more important to establish Glastonbury as synonymous with the
Ineswitrin mentioned in the 601 charter for credibility’s sake…. as the
physical evidence of the antiquated charter itself was unchangeable. The
601 charter was to be handed to papal authorities in evidence which was to
help Henry acquire Metropolitan status for Winchester, but by consequence
the whole of south west England (including Glastonbury). It is the charter
itself which comprises a substantial part of Henry Bloiscase in Rome and
the first question would be concerning the 601 charter’s authenticity….
where is Ineswitrin?
If, in any way, the Matter of Britain was accountable to a ‘fortuitous set of
convergent factors (as Lagorio ludicrously proposes) they are these: Firstly,
that Henry Blois was much younger than Theobald and Stephen (his
brothers) and therefore was a Grandee in England for a considerable time
through his family connections after they had died. Secondly his
appointment to Glastonbury and Winchester was only through these family
connections. Thirdly it was his comfort at court and his knowledge of how
history records only Kings and Queens which allowed him to commence the
pseudo-history as a fabricated history (which was in fact the precursor of
the Primary Historia found at Bec which had had the Arthuriana added
onto it).
It was Henry’s intricate knowledge of court affairs and the anarchy
which gave Merlin his insight in the prophecies and to know the intricate
details of his family’s forebears. Who else would take the liberty to invent
such a fraudulent edifice? Lastly, the most fortuitous circumstance was that
Melkin’s prophecy existed at Glastonbury where Henry Blois had started his
authorial career in the composition of the pseudo-history; the Melkin
prophecy acted as a template for his propaganda concerning Joseph…. and
the legend of the Grail spread abroad on the continent under the guise of
Master Blehis.
However, once Henry had used Melkin’s prophecy as inspiration
conjuring up the name of the mythical island where Arthur was last seen, it
became part of a future agenda for Henry to convince us that Avalon was
Glastonbury and this was done in DA…. in Henry’s third redaction of DA
after 1158. It was also achieved (futuristically) by what was maintained in
the colophon to Perlesvaus and would be confirmed when Arthur was
disinterred and the leaden cross found (because it was Henry Blois who had
manufactured the gravesite). By that time, the translocation of Avalon had
already been surreptitiously worked toward. Evidence of this can be seen as
early as 1155-58 in VM. The island of apples would be at Glastonbury and so
was the Isle de Voirrein its connotation connection it to theGlas of
Glastonbury. One can speculate that William’s original DA was a
monograph manuscript which had pages added to it.
Scott is basically correct in that the first 34 chapters of DA are not
William’s work. It would not seem stupid to speculate that folios were
adeptly forged which matched William’s text and style and inserted at the
beginning of the extant account of DA where William commences his proof
of antiquity at 601 AD.
Therefore, the body of William’s work has remained relatively
untouched in the latter half of DA.... This becomes apparent in that Henry’s
probable format (following William’s original) is still held in our current DA
where Henry’s last consolidating additions concerning Joseph are at the
beginning…. inserted into the monograph copy (and subsequent to his own
previous interpolations).
Both Gaimar’s epilogue and Wace’s Roman de Brut were written by
Henry Blois. However, Wace says that Arthur was mortally wounded but
the Briton’s believe him still living in Avalon and destined to return from
there. This development is Henry Blois’ alignment with the ‘Briton Hope
posited in EAW by Huntingdon’s précis of the Primary Historia and a
sentiment which prevailed amongst the population with a Celtic heritage….
and latterly amongst the integrated Saxons who had suffered similar defeat
from the Normans. The ‘Briton Hope’ was later developed by Henry to
include an Island location called Avalon from which Arthur would return.
Realistically the hope of a return was better accepted if the location where
Arthur was taken (when wounded) was unknown. The mystical quality of a
return seems more believable if Arthur was in some kind of otherworld…
where he exists until the return.
We have discussed already the variation in storyline and the unlikely
omission by Huntingdon to mention Avalon in his précis which constitutes
EAW. If it had been originally mentioned as part of the storyline in the
Primary Historia, Huntingdon would have commented on it while
mentioning the hope of the Britons/Bretons with which he concludes EAW.
The Primary Historia, as we have seen, was developed into the First
Variant. We can deduce then the time at which the Island of Avalon became
part of Henry’s inspiration. It was between the discovery at Bec of the
Primary Historia in 1139 and the arrival of the First Variant in 1144. First
Variant HRB, as I have covered, was composed for a specifically
Romanecclesiastical audience to incidentally augment the historical proofs
of Winchester and Glastonbury’s antiquity in the case for Henry Blois’
metropolitan status with pope Lucius.
Henry Blois knew of Caradoc’s Brut y Tywysogion and ends his HRB
where Caradoc starts his.... in the era of Cadwallader and Pope Sergius, who
was Pope from 15 December 687 to his death in 701.
The impersonation of Caradoc of Lancarfan was chosen by Henry Blois
because (contrary to the current understanding of modern scholarship) the
body of Brut y Tywysogion was written by Caradoc prior to the Primary
Historia. Let me make this perfectly clear: Caradoc was dead long before the
Life of Gildas was written c.1140.
The Brut y Tywysogion chronicle commences A.D. 680. It does not give
the events under each year, but under each decade as 690, 700, 710 etc. and
registers a series of occurrences without comment until six or seven years
prior to 1100. This historical section must obviously have been taken from
another source by Caradoc or is his own compendium of events. Just prior
to 1100 in the tract, one can witness Caradoc takes over in his own
narrative in an era from his own experience and memory.
About 1100 AD, the Brut y Tywysogion commences the use of the phrase
"Y vlwydyn rac wyneb," (the ensuing year,) before each year, under which
events are recorded, until the next decade, successively…. and the narrative
is carried on in a uniform style to the year 1120.
Now, the editors of the History and Antiquities of Saint David's,
referring to Nova Legenda Angliae, fol. iv, as their authority, place the death
of Caradog in 1124. This may be explained logically in reality by the death
of Caradoc at that time. (We know ‘Geoffrey’s’ contemporaneity is a sham).
Also, at this period, again, a remarkable alteration is very evident; in
that, the narrative of the events of the twenty years between 1100 and 1120
occupies a space double to that devoted to the history of the period which
elapsed between 1120 and 1164 (Henry died 1171). So it is not unfounded to
assume that this is the period naturally expanded upon by Caradoc in his
own time while writing. But, there is also something else which might
indicate that Caradoc actually died in 1129.
After continuing the history recorded in the Brut y Tywysogion we come
to a point where the manuscript weirdly records itself as having nothing to
record in 1130: Four years after that, that is to say, one thousand one
hundred and thirty was the year of Christ, when there were four successive
years without any story to be found, that could be preserved in memory.
This in itself is already strange in that, a chronicle written by someone
supposedly alive says nothing happened.... quite ridiculous for a chronicler
to make such a statement. if someone is taking over a chronicle at a point
four years after the previous author died and trying to continue the same
format he would have to be aware of what transpired. So, from 1130 to
1134 the world stands still in Wales. Following this we enter into a history
about the struggles of the Welsh with Stephen and under the year 1134: And
the ensuing year, Henry, son of William the Bastard, King of England and
Wales, and of all the island besides, died in Normandy, on the third day of the
month of December. And after him his nephew, Stephen of Blois, took the
crown of the Kingdom by force, and bravely brought all the South of England
under his sway.
Now, if the author who has picked up Caradocs Brut y Tywysogion refers
to Stephen as brave, this is strange from a Welsh point of view. There is
nothing to say that a Welsh speaking continuator continued the journal
from this point onward.
My suggestion is that Caradoc’s death coincided with the period where
there was nothing to report before the next author takes up the
continuation. I am suggesting that Caradoc died c.1129 and Henry Blois
used his name to write the propagandist polemic in the Brut y
Tywysogionand the life of Gildas.
life of Gildas initially was an innocuous
work which put Gildas at Glastonbury with King Arthur, but essentially was
a work designed to add credence to the antiquity of Glastonbury abbey
before the Metropolitan issue arose in Henry being snubbed by his brother
in appointing Theobald of Bec as Archbishop
Many commentators drawn into Henry Blois’ clever devise of backdating
Vulgate HRB, assume Caradoc took up the mantle passed to him by
‘Geoffrey’ after completion of HRB. It is made plain in the colophon that
Caradoc is supposedly ‘contemporary’ with ‘Geoffrey’. Henry imposters
Caradoc’s name.... simply because Caradoc had written Brut y Tywysogion.
If Caradoc had not written Brut y Tywysogion, and Geoffrey had not picked
it up in Wales there would be no point or grounds for impersonating him
when producing the polemic provided in Life of Gildas.
There would be little point in carrying out the charade in the colophon
which portrays Caradoc as a continuator of HRB if ‘Geoffrey’ did not
already know there was a continuation from the date that Caradoc starts his
account. That is the whole point of ‘Geoffrey’ supposedly ‘supplying the
materials’ for the continuation so that it appears so.
Is Caradoc really supposed to have the book which informs him more
perfectly than the other two historians and enables his continuation? The
effect of the use of Caradoc’s name in the Colophon was twofold. Firstly, a
real chronicler with an already composed work was made to appear to
have carried out Geoffrey’s wishes. Secondly this work also added credence
to the other volume (the Life of Gildas) into which Henry Blois impostures
Caradoc’s name who had composed Life Of Cadoc. Both Henry of
Huntingdon, William of Malmesbury and of course Caradoc were dead at
the time this colophon was written. The reason for inclusion of their names
was to put Caradoc on an equal footing being accounted as a comparative
Henry (as ‘Geoffrey’) constructs the HRB to end where Caradoc’s Brut begins. Caradoc may have died as early
as 1126-29 when Henry was at Glastonbury. The fact that he is hailed as contemporary to Geoffrey’ in the
Colophon is irrelevant…. as this could only have been written after 1155 (defined by the updated prophecies in
the Vulgate version).
historian. This in effect contributed more authority to the Life of Gildas
which Henry had himself produced to highlight the prominence of
Glastonbury. By seeming to have granted permission to a named
continuator in the person of Caradoc…. Henry also adds to ‘Geoffrey’s’
supposed authority as a historian.
The fact that ‘Geoffrey’ calls Caradoc his contemporary is purely a device
which implies Caradoc is alive. The obvious intention of this was to back
date the Vulgate version of the HRB from 1155 by twenty years or so.... to
when William of Mamesbury was alive. Henry’s illusion gave the
appearance that, in the interim, the Brut y Tywysogion had been written.
We covered above, at the end of the chronicle called Brut Tysilio
following statement: I, Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, translated this Book
from Welsh into Latin, and in my old age I translated it a second time from
Latin into Welsh…
Henry Blois’ ploy is more evident in trying to provide a personal detail of
contact between himself (Geoffrey) and Caradoc in his ongoing promotion
and is witnessed in the two copies, which are printed in the Myvyrian
Archaiology, vol. ii:
The princes who were afterwards successively over Wales, I committed to
Caradog of Llancarvan; he was, my contemporary, and to him I left
materials for writing that book. From henceforward the Kings of the
English and their successors I committed to William of Malmesbury and
Henry of Huntington, to write about, but they were to leave the Welsh alone;
for they do not possess that Welsh book, which Walter, archdeacon of Oxford,
translated from Latin into Welsh; and he narrated truly and fully from the
history of the aforesaid Welshmen’.
In other words, we are led to believe ‘Geoffrey’ provides the materials to
Caradoc. It is plain common sense that once Henry Blois’ fraud is unveiled
that there is no ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’. No-one but Henry Blois would
make such a statement, (i.e. no later continuator or interpolator), as there is
simply no advantage, except in showing that Caradoc is alive. Therefore,
Henry has not only backdated the HRB, but has us unequivocally believe
that Caradoc is the continuator of HRB as Geoffrey is supposedly supplying
the materials to carry out the composition. We even have the composition!!
Myvyrian Archaiology. vol. ii
We are left with a ridiculous anachronism if scholarship’s views are
adhered to. Especially, if we consider the old book from which ‘Geoffrey’
was supposedly translating is non-existent. If Caradoc really was the
continuator, how is the Brut so different in format from what we know he
actually wrote? Why does the difference in chronology start when others
attest he died at that time? We must assume Caradoc dies c.1129.
‘Geoffrey’ really does not do dates. ‘Geoffrey’ just distributes throughout
his work synchronicities with other contemporaneous events to give the
appearance of truth and the seeming appearance of sound chronology. The
only reason that Walter’s book is ever posited is because ‘people’, after
1155, were starting to wonder who Galfridus Arthur or Geoffrey of
Monmouth was…. and how he was able to give such specific information, of
which other ancient chroniclers were unaware. An authority was invented
in the form of a fictitious book ex Brittanica to prevent accusation to the
author ‘Geoffrey’ of invention.
What was initially aimed at being an informative and interesting
history had caused a stir, but now in 1155 with the malicious prophecies
(which had recently come to light), people were asking questions. The
accusation was that HRB was termed fabulous or pseudo-historical. To
counter this accusation and to avoid the blame of inventing a book of lies
(which essentially HRB is)…. Walter’s book was the source, and any-one
who lacked it and professed to be a historian, was ill-informed without the
book. Now we see why Gaimar’s epilogue becomes an important part of
Henry Blois’ empirical edifice of lies and misdirection. The simple fact is
that Geoffrey brought his epic to a close at Calwallader because there
already was a Welsh history written from that date until 1129 (compiled by
Caradoc). Henry Blois is the continuator who adds the fiction about
‘Geoffrey’s’ details.
Now, if we accept the First Variant was not widely circulated and there
were even fewer copies of the Primary Historia which preceded it.... it
would be hugely advantageous if the author ‘Galfridus’ becomes deceased.
At this time, the much copied and propagated Vulgate (by its newly titled
author Geoffrey of Monmouth) who had become the respectable Bishop of
Asaph retrospectively, is disseminated while Henry Blois is at Clugny. So
that the Historia appeared to have existed in its present Vulgate form (i.e.
with the updated prophecies) since the time it was first discovered…. past
grandee’s such as Robert of Gloucester, King Stephen and bishop Alexander
were shown to have been readers and even patrons of the history.
To secure its place as a genuine history, Robert of Torigni was told in
1155 that it was written by a (now dead) Geoffrey of Monmouth who had
subsequently become a bishop of Asaph (I presume on an encounter with
Robert in Mont St Michel)…. as we must not forget it was Robert who first
alerted Huntingdon to the Primary Historia at Bec when he was a monk
there. Henry Blois might have passed comment: ‘Oh you know that history
written by that author Galfridus Arturus, that you showed Huntingdon back
in 39…. well you know he became bishop of Asaph……’
The one important point to make about this meeting is that at this stage
Henry Blois is concerned with making sure that everyone thought that
‘Geoffrey’ had got his information from another source. By doing this the
author of HRB is not to be blamed for outright fabrication or seditious
material found in the changing prophecies or evolving redactions of
Variant HRB. Hence it was Robert of Torigni who innocently informs us that
the new bishop Geoffrey Arthur had translated the HRB from ‘British’ into
No-one could make a single enquiry to any person referred to in Vulgate
HRB. There was no-one to answer any questions…. and Caradoc, who was
‘Geoffrey’s’ appointed continuator, is known to be dead also. Giraldus
Cambrensis informs us that Caradoc was buried in the north transept of St.
David's Cathedral, near the altar of St. Stephen. He was canonized by
Innocent III c.1161-2 at the insistence of Giraldus wierdly enough; who had
Henry Blois as his patron. Caradoc the saint…. who would disbelieve
Caradoc’s work?!!!
The effect is to give the appearance that in 1155, both Vulgate HRB and
its updated prophecies were extant 20 years ago. Also the Arthurian and
Gildas connection with Glastonbury posited in Life of Gildas by Caradoc
(Geoffrey’s continuator), should not be doubted and nor should ‘Geoffrey’s’
word concerning Walter’s book. Walter, supposedly in his own words, says
he has translated the same. It is a clever illusion which could only be
carried out by one man, when we consider the manufactured history of
personas by Henry.
However, Henry Blois’ stroke of genius is that through the colophon in
HRB, we are made to believe there is going to be a future continuation set
down in writing by Caradoc. Because such a chronological continuation
exists, it follows that scholars are led to believe Caradoc dutifully accepts
‘Geoffrey’s’ invitation….especially, as we are told it is ‘Geoffrey’ who is
supplying the materials. But, as we saw above, it is written in the past tense:
he was, my contemporary and to him I left materials for writing that book.
Time has apparently moved on. Whereas I hand over in the matter of writing
unto Karadoc of Lancarvan, my contemporarywhich once was a future
exercise of continuation of a completed composition (i.e. HRB)…. is now
openly exposed as it transpired in reality. However, we are still made to
believe that Caradoc is the continuator, following on from HRB.
It is quite preposterous that Caradoc’s chronicle could be considered a
continuation from the same book Geoffrey’ supposedly used. The Book of
Hergest has a similar colophon, but Henry’s vague description of ex
Britannicus is now understood as Walter’s book having originated from
Brittany: The Kings that were from that time forward in Wales, I shall
commit to Caradog of Llancarvan, my fellow student, to write about; and the
Kings of the English to William Malmesbury and Henry Huntington. I shall
desire them to be silent about the Kings of the Britons, since they do not
possess this Breton Book, which Walter, archdeacon of Oxford, translated
from Breton into Welsh, which is truly a collection of their histories, in
honour of the said princes.
Now, if the Vulgate version resembled the copy found at Bec, what
happened to Avalon, Merlin, and Archflamens in the Bec copy? What was
the point in producing the First Variant version in a less expanded form
than an already written Vulgate, as is proposed by modern scholars? It is a
madness to think HRB was disseminated in its Vulgate form before 1139.
Why has Alfred of Beverley not mentioned Caradoc, Walter or any of the
‘Amazed’ is Huntingdon at Galfridus Arturs history, but as a historian
(or even as one possessed of common sense), the first thing Huntingdon
would do is to locate Walter’s book, if it were possible….and ask Alexander
for the ‘Original’ of the Merlin prophecies. But, as discussed, the Prophecies
or the mention of Merlin were definitively not part of the Primary Historia
which Huntingdon witnessed at Bec. The ‘good book’ as the source of the
later Vulgate HRB, had not yet been employed. If any of the dedicatees
names had appeared or Walter’s book had been mentioned in the Bec copy
which Huntingdon saw, surely one of them would be mentioned even in a
synopsis. But no!
Not even Merlin warrants a mention by Huntingdon and he is
mentioned many times in Vulgate and is integral to the arrival of
Stonehenge. Yet Huntingdon, the first historian to mention and to name
Stonehenge (before ‘Geoffrey’) gives another account of Stonehenge in his
chronicle without Merlin being mentioned. Are we supposedly to accept the
view point of Modern scholars that EAW omits mention of Merlin because
of a proclivity of Huntingdon’s. He would have related the story found in
Vulgate if it indeed existed in the Primary Historia
This is the genius of backdating and the very reason why c.1170 we hear
the first criticism of ‘Geoffrey’ from Newburgh and later from Gerald 30-40
years after the Vulgate’s publication. It is only in Henry II’s era that the
Vulgate HRB version starts to become popular and propagate. We know that
the chronology of HRB is based upon confusion and conflation, but
Malmesbury and Huntingdon are told to leave well alone for they do not
possess that Welsh book, which Walter, archdeacon of Oxford, translated
from Latin into Welsh; and he narrated truly and fully from the history of the
aforesaid Welshmen’. But, how is it that if it is a Welsh book from which
Geoffrey is supposedly translating (as he avers)…. do we then have the same
book translated back into Welsh by Walter? What would be the point if it
already existed in Welsh? Who is writing this false testimony and for what
We know Caradoc of Llancarfan also wrote the second version of the Life
of Saint Cadog in which Arthur also figures in a subsidiary role and which
Henry employs as a template for his composition of theLife of Gildas.
Caradoc obviously wrote in Latin otherwise Henry Blois would not have
understood his history and decided to end his Primary Historia at that
point; and we know the Brut y Tywysogion has survived from an original
Latin version, which has not itself survived. One could assume that Henry
Blois had a Welsh monk translate them both from Latin into Welsh (with
additions) but it is just not important to our study considering the salad that
already exists.
Archdeacon Walter never had anything to do with or ever possessed
any book from Wales or Brittany, or translated any ancient book proposed
as the source book for HRB. Archdeacon Walter’s sole claim to fame was
that, like Ralf of Monmouth, his name was affixed as a witness on the
charters which already existed at Oxford when Henry Blois attended a
meeting there in (late 1153) or 1154 (13 of January) when Duke Henry met
King Stephen. Shortly before, in late 1153, Gaufridus episcopus sancti Asaphi
had supposedly signed on the Winchester treaty. The name Geoffrey of
Monmouth had not been envisaged before January 1154. The name Ralf of
Monmouth, Geoffrey’s supposed compatriot on the said charters, had not
yet been associated with Gaufridus, but now became the reason for
‘Geoffrey’s provenance from Monmouth. Do not forget Alfred of Beverley
c.1150 does not refer to a Geoffrey of Monmouth (not once) but to
Britannicus. He avoids using the obvious pseudonym of Gaufridus Artur.
Henry had the HRB translated into Welsh and then had the history
attached as if Caradoc had obeyed Geoffrey’s wish. All the Welsh
manuscripts have ‘Geoffrey’ as bishop of Llandaff, so it is not out of
character for Henry to confuse us further. It seems apt that the Peniarth
Brut gives the date of ‘Geoffrey’s’ death as 1154 as he had signed the Treaty
of Winchester just before Christmas in 1153…. along with his puppeteer
Henry Blois as the Bishop of Winchester.
It really makes no difference if ‘Geoffrey’ supposedly died in 1155, but
what this shows is that it was time to kill off Geoffrey of Monmouth soon
after his new appellation was envisaged and evidence of his having actually
lived could be verified by his scribble on the charters. So, at the very same
time his new title of Geoffrey of Monmouth was being added to Vulgate
HRB, along with the other dedicatees, Henry consigns ‘Geoffrey’ to death
and lets Robert of Torigni know of Geoffrey’s elevation to the Bishop of
Asaph when he lands at Mont St Michel.
Once Geoffrey is consigned to
death anyone trying to find him gives up and alleviates pressure on Henry
Blois. Galfridus Arthur, the charter signer who became bishop in waiting
and then a signatory on the treaty of Winchester, alas had died before he
received his title of provenance from Monmouth; and he had died at the
very period his work was finally published in the Vulgate form when the
seditious prophecies were also published.
Robert of Torigni’s quote under the year 1152 in the Bern MS is that:'Geoffrey Arthur, who had translated the
History of the Kings of the Britons out of the British into Latin, is made Bishop of St. Asaph in North Wales’.
Does it not seem odd that Walter does the same thing and then back into Welsh?
As I have maintained throughout, Caradoc is impersonated as the author
of the Life of Gildas. He was however, the author of the second Life of St
Cadoc and it is obvious that Henry Blois has modelled his entirely fictitious
Life of Gildas by basing it on Caradoc’s genuine Life of St Cadoc. The Life of
St Cadoc was originally written by Lifricus, son of Bishop Herwald of
Llandaff and himself Archdeacon of Glamorgan and Master of St. Cadog of
Llancarfan. Lifricus of Llancarfan (probably before 1086) had written his
concoction which overtly pertains to land rights. After the Norman
incursion, Llancarfan suffered greatly and land was being usurped by
Norman overlords. But Lifric concocted a precedent which he maintains
must remain inviolable: according to the agreement which had been
previously made with Maelgon and Arthur….
We can now see the reasons Caradoc was employed as a persona
through whom Henry propagates his web of lies. Firstly, Caradoc is dead.
Secondly, he has already written a saint’s life which includes anecdotes on
Arthur. Thirdly, because Caradoc has already written his part of Brut y
Tywysogion, he is now recommended as the reliable witness to continue the
history of the Kings of Britain by the same person farcically appealing to
him as a continuator who possessed the fictitious source book and to whom
‘Geoffrey’ was supplying the materials.
In Caradoc of Llancarfan’s genuine account of the Life of St. Cadoc we
hear that St. Cadoc:
’In the days of Lent, Saint Cadoc was accustomed to reside in two islands,
Barren and Echni and on Palm Sunday, he came to Nantcarvan, and there
remained, performing Paschal service, feeding daily one hundred clergymen…
It happened that at another time the blessed Cadoc on a certain day sailed
with two of his disciples, namely Barruc and Gwalches from the island of
Echni, which is now called Holme, to another island named Barry. When
therefore he prosperously landed in the harbour, he asked his said disciples
for his Enchiridion, that is his manual book; and they confessed that they,
through forgetfulness, lost it in the aforesaid island. Which on hearing, he
immediately compelled them to go aboard a ship, and sail back to recover
their book, and burning with anger, said, "Go, not to return." Then his
disciples, by the command of their master, without delay quickly went aboard
a boat, and by sailing, got to the said island. Having obtained the aforesaid
volume, they soon in their passage returned to the middle of the sea, and were
seen at a distance by the man of God sitting on the top of a hill in Barry, when
the boat unexpectedly overturned, and they were drowned. The body of
Barruc being cast by the tide on the shore of Barry, was there found, and in
that island buried, which from his name is so called to the present time. But
the body of the other, namely Gwalches, was carried by the sea to the island of
Echni, and was there buried.
All of Caradoc’s Life of Cadoc is in the same vein as many other
hagiographic accounts and as we can see St Cadoc in the account is only
thirty miles distant from Glastonbury just across the Severn. It is in Life of
Cadoc however, where we first meet personalised information concerning
Arthur: three vigorous champions, Arthur with his two knights, to wit, Cai
and Bedwyr, were sitting on the top of the aforesaid hill playing with dice. It
is certainly the account from which Henry Blois gets the names to have
engraved upon the Archivolt at Modena.
The sole purpose of Henry impersonating Caradoc of Llancarfan and
composing the Life of Gildas is to establish pertinent facts relative to
Glastonbury’s antiquity. It establishes that in the time of Gildas there was
already an abbot. Osbern is instantly confuted. St Gildas, because of his
contrived connection to Glastonbury is supposedly buried there and this
helps the coffers at the abbey; especially when confirmation of Gildas at
Glastonbury is intonated in GR (version B ) and then firmly confirmed as
buried there in DA…. as a grave was probably appropriately manufactured.
Henry Blois was clever enough to make it appear as if the author of HRB
was entirely different to the person who bears witness of Arthur at
Glastonbury (and supposedly what William of Malmesbury wrote
concerning Arthur in DA). Again, Henry’s skill at the choice of person upon
which to make the conflation is witnessed where Gildas is connected to St
Cadoc in the Vita Cadoci, but in that tract written by Caradoc there is no
connection between Gildas and Glastonbury.
Henry Blois, posing as a now dead Caradoc, would have us believe about
Gildas that: He crossed the Gallic Sea and remained studying well in the cities
of Gaul for seven years; and at the end of the seventh year he returned, with a
huge mass of volumes, to greater Britain. Having heard of the renown of the
illustrious stranger, great numbers of scholars from all parts flocked to him.
They heard him explaining with the greatest acuteness the science of the
seven rules of discipline.
Undoubtedly, one of these volumes, in Henry’s mind, contained the
history from Brutus, but we are stuck with the fact that Gildas did not
mention Brutus or Arthur in De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae. If the
reader remembers, Taliesin in VM is also returned to Merlin having been
with Gildas. All is totally contrived and really shows that the author of VM is
the same as he who connects Arthur to Gildas at Glastonbury!!
Gildas apparently crossed over to Ireland, but we hear:
St. Gildas was the contemporary of Arthur, the King of the whole of
Britain, whom he loved exceedingly, and whom he always desired to obey’.
However the high spirited Arthur kills one of Gildas’ twenty three
Gildas, historian of the Britons, who was staying in Ireland directing
studies and preaching in the city of Armagh, heard that his brother had been
slain by King Arthur…… meanwhile, the most holy Gildas, the venerable
historian, came to Britain, bringing with him a very beautiful and sweet-
sounding bell, which he vowed to offer as a gift to the Bishop of the Roman
Church. He spent the night as a guest honourably entertained by the
venerable abbot Cadocus, in Nant Carban. (Henry Blois/Caradoc, Life of
We have a different storyline on the bell that we first heard from
Caradoc of Llancarfan as Henry Blois conflates Caradoc’s Life of St Cadoc
with the present piffle.
In the concocted storyline, Gildas wants to give the bell to the pope but
St Cadoc covets it: The latter pointed out the bell to him, and after pointing to
it, handled it; and after handling it wished to buy it at a great price; but its
possessor would not sell it. When King Arthur and the chief bishops and
abbots of all Britain heard of the arrival of Gildas the Wise, large numbers
from among the clergy and people gathered together to reconcile Arthur for
the above-mentioned murder. But Gildas, as he had done when he first heard
the news of his brother's death, was courteous to his enemy, kissed him as he
prayed for forgiveness, and with a most tender heart blessed him as the other
kissed in return. When this was done, King Arthur, in grief and tears,
accepted penance imposed by the bishops who were present, and led an
amended course, as far as he could, until the close of his life.
The main point of this whole preamble is to connect Gildas and Cadoc by
including the bell scenario and an incidental trip to Rome, but now Arthur
is firmly woven into the story thus far in connection with Gildas.
At Rome, Gildas revealed to the pope that the most holy Cadoc, abbot of
the church of Nancarvan, had wished to buy the bell and the pope says he can
have it. It is all really mindless babble which is meant to seemingly coincide
with Caradoc of Llancarfan’s genuine account of St Cadoc.
So that the reader can witness Henry’s ingenuity, I have included the
whole of Henry Blois’ impersonated concoction of the Life of Gildas in
appendix 33.
However, back to Gildas: Being thereby exceedingly distressed, he could
not remain there any longer: he left the island, embarked on board a small
ship, and, in great grief, put in at Glastonia, at the time when King Melvas
was reigning in the summer country. He was received with much welcome by
the abbot of Glastonia, and taught the brethren and the scattered people,
sowing the precious seed of heavenly doctrine. It was there that he wrote
the history of the Kings of Britain. Glastonia, that is, the glassy city, which
took its name from glass, is a city that had its name originally in the British
tongue. It was besieged by the tyrant Arthur with a countless multitude on
account of his wife Gwenhwyfar, whom the aforesaid wicked King had
violated and carried off, and brought there for protection, owing to the
asylum afforded by the invulnerable position due to the fortifications of
thickets of reed, river, and marsh. The rebellious King had searched for the
queen throughout the course of one year, and at last heard that she remained
there. Thereupon he roused the armies of the whole of Cornubia and Dibneria;
war was prepared between the enemies.
When he saw this, the abbot of Glastonia, attended by the clergy and
Gildas the Wise, stepped in between the contending armies, and in a peaceable
manner advised his King, Melvas, to restore the ravished lady. Accordingly,
she who was to be restored, was restored in peace and good will. When these
things were done, the two Kings gave the abbot a gift of many domains; and
they came to visit the temple of St. Mary and to pray, while the abbot
confirmed the beloved brotherhood in return for peace they enjoyed and the
benefits which they conferred, and were more abundantly about to confer.
Then the Kings reconciled, promising reverently to obey the most venerable
abbot of Glastonia, and never violate the most sacred place nor even the
districts adjoining the chief's seat.
When he had obtained permission from the abbot of Glastonia and his
clergy and people, the most devout Gildas desired to live a hermit's life upon
the bank of a river close to Glastonia, and he actually accomplished his object.
He built a church there in the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity, in
which he fasted and prayed assiduously, clad in goat's hair, giving to all an
irreproachable example of a good religious life. Holy men used to visit him
from distant parts of Britain, and when advised, returned and cherished with
delight the encouragements and counsels they had heard from him.
He fell sick at last, and was weighed down with illness. He summoned the
abbot of Glastonia to him, and asked him, with great piety, when the end of
his life had come, to cause his body to be borne to the abbey of Glastonia,
which he loved exceedingly. When the abbot promised to observe his requests,
and was grieved at the requests he had heard, and shed copious tears, St.
Gildas, being now very ill, expired, while many were looking at the angelic
brightness around his fragrant body, and angels were attending upon his
soul. After the mournful words of commemoration were over, the very light
body was removed by the brethren into the abbey; and amid very loud wailing
and with the most befitting funeral rites, he was buried in the middle of the
pavement of St. Mary's church; and his soul rested, rests, and will rest, in
heavenly repose. Amen.
Glastonia was of old called Ynisgutrin, and is still called so by the British
inhabitants. Ynis in the British language is insula in Latin, and gutrin (made
of glass). But after the coming of the English and the expulsion of the Britons,
that is, the Welsh, it received a fresh name, Glastigberi, according to the
formation of the first name, that is English glass, Latin vitrum, and beria a
city; then Glastinberia, that is, the City of Glass.
Caradoc of Nancarban's are the words; Who reads, may he correct; so
wills the author.
In the so called dialogue of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar discussed by Evan
Jones and Mary Williams it cannot be established who in fact say’s what.
The fact that Melwas may be in Devon or Arthur is there in Devon in
disguise, as some believe the poem alludes to…. or Gwenhwyfar has seen
one or the other in Devon; it makes no difference:
I have seen a man of moderate size
At Arthur's long table in Devon
Dealing out wine to his friends
Gwenhwyvar of facetious speech
It is woman's nature to banter:
There it is thou didst me see.
The fact that it has Melvas, Arthur, Guinevere, and Devon in this
dialogue is indicative that it is a Blois invention. More importantly, Melvas
says he is Melwas from Ineswitrin (not Avalon), so, it does not take much
imagination to deduce who the author is and why Devon is mentioned. It is
because of its link to Ineswitrin on the 601 charter. We know that the
kidnap episode is an invention in which Melvas and Arthur are at
Glastonbury; and we know the fabricator of the Life of Gildas which
mentions this story is Henry Blois. The one person who is entirely culpable
of changing the Devonian island of Ineswitrin into a location at Glastonbury
is Henry Blois as we discussed earlier when scrutinising what William had
written about the 601 charter. Therefore, even if the sense has now been
misunderstood, the original dialogue was undoubtedly composed by Henry
and the long table obviously preceded the advent of the round table.
We now have Arthur at Glastonbury and the St. Mary dedication of the
old church extended to the time of Gildas and Arthur. We are deluded into
thinking the ‘virginem adorandam’ of the Melkin prophecy or the Chapel of
‘our lady’ in Perlesvaus (the Isle of Avalon, to a chapel of Our Lady), is
synonymous with the ’Old church’, now referred to as the oratory in an
attempt to mirror the words in the Melkin prophecy. Both coincidentally
appear to refer to the same place i.e. Glastonbury. In the last paragraph of
Life of Gildas (we are led to believe) is the explanation of how Ineswitrin
becomes synonymous Glastonbury. Ineswitrin is the Devonian Island being
misconstrued as Glastonbury by Henry to establish antiquity from the
Charter. The 601 charter refers to an island in Devon named after its
connection with tin (as we covered earlier). This in reality links to Joseph of
Arimathea; to which island Melkin’s geometry locates…. and which Melkin
says Jesus (Abbadare) and Joseph are buried upon. Abbadare is the
mysterious Grail…. and its connection to Joseph is derived from the
prophecy of Melkin.
Through the Monk of Ruys’ account of the Life of Gildas, plausibility is set
up for the confusion of Gildas’ island being connected to Glastonbury.
Neither Caradoc’s account of St. Cadoc, nor the Monk from Ruys’ Life of
Gildas, mention Glastonbury or put either of the saints there. After
concocting the life of Gildas, Henry, always taking liberties with the truth
thinks: why not have Gildas buried at Glastonbury as well? It is not so much
an officine de faux but un homme de mensonges.
Henry was in Wales in 1136. He must have obtained a copy of Caradoc’s
Latin versions of the Vita Cadoci and the ‘Chronicle of the Princes’ or Brut y
Tywysogion. The topography learnt on that trip and the inspiration gleaned
from the Vita Cadoci about Arthur was put to good use while Henry was
acting as vice regent for his brother Stephen in Normandy in the entire year
of 1137 and the first half of 1138. Of course this is how the Primary Historia
was given to Huntingdon by Torigni at Bec the following year.
We witnessed in GS that Stephen chases Baldwin to the Isle of Wight and
afterward, Baldwin is exiled and crosses to Normandy. William of Corbeil
dies on 21
of November 1136 and Henry Blois becomes Archbishop of
Canterbury in waiting. Orderic informs us that in Advent of 1136 Henry
Blois went to Normandy and was content to stay there while he sent envoys
to search out pope Innocent at Pisa.
We know also from Gervaise that Henry: was elected metropolitan. But
since by cannon law a bishop can only be translated from his own see to
another church by the authority of the pope...
Henry gets way laid and
Stephen then joins Henry in Normandy from mid-March until the 28
November 1137.
Stephen departed from his brother in Normandy and
Henry still thought that when he returned to England he would be
Archbishop of Canterbury.
It was while Henry was still in Normandy and after Stephen had
returned to England that the backstabbing Beaumont twins counselled
Stephen to curb Henry’s increasing power. Sometime between December
1137 and the start of the siege of Bedford Henry returned to England.
Waleran of Meulan, the lay patron of Bec was attempting to put his own
Gervaise of Canterbury
Gesta Stepani. Potter and Davis p.46
man in the second most powerful position in England. Waleran and his
twin brother Robert, Earl of Leicester, were Henry's chief rivals for
Stephen's favour. Henry looked on them as unreliable toady flatterers. Both
were disliked by Henry Blois intensely. Probably not by coincidence,
Theobald of Bec travelled to England in 1138 to supervise the monastery of
Bec’s lands in England; a trip which took place shortly before his selection
as the new Archbishop of Canterbury in 1138.
So, just before Christmas in 1136 (after having been in Wales at
Kidwelly) Henry crossed the channel and stayed all of 1137 in Normandy on
his brother’s behalf to quell the Angevin strife in Normandy stirred up by
Baldwin and the Empress. It is in Normandy during this period that the (not
fully developed) Arthurian legend is spliced onto an already constructed
faux-Historia which had originally been written for Henry’s uncle and his
daughter Matilda, (but subsequently the concocted history had become
redundant as his brother had usurped the throne).
We could speculate that Henry stays at Bec abbey in the first half of 1138
where he deposits his Primary Historia under the newly invented nom de
plume of ‘Galfridus Artur’. At this stay at Bec, we might speculate that Henry
Blois relates to Theobald (still abbot of Bec at that time) what plans he has
in store for the English Church once he becomes Archbishop. As I have
mentioned before, it was Henry’s intention to set up a state based on
Gregorian values with himself head of the church. It seems just too
coincidental that Theobald becomes Henry’s replacement and that
Theobald did not have something to do with Henry being snubbed by King
Stephen for that position. The question is: did Theobald scupper Henry’s
plans by relating to Stephen (through Waleran) some confidence or other
which Henry had discussed with Theobald in relation to Henry’s future
plans? If this is the case, it might explain the coincidence that Theobald was
duly rewarded with the Archbishopric.