Chapter 25
The Gesta Regum Anglorum by
William of Malmesbury
The current authority on the Gesta Regum are the two volumes by Mynors,
Thompson and Winterbottom. Much of the information used here is
derived from their analysis. There is however a difference between their
conclusions and mine concerning the B & C versions of GR. It seems fairly
obvious that the interpolations pertaining to Glastonbury for the most part
in GR3 have been added as part of Henry Blois attempt to gain
metropolitan status for Western England as we have covered. However,
there are obviously parts of versions B & C of GR3 which are not
interpolations and are from William’s pen.
The GR is transmitted in four main versions; the T, A, C and the last
version B. The strange fact, as we will cover shortly, is that the C version has
been interpolated last, but in general is a more recent update on A. In one
of the cases where chapter 35 is concerned, parts of a genuine charter has
been re-modelled for reasons that become clear as long as we are not
blinkered. T is our most basic copy which we shall call Gesta Regum 1 which
gets updated to a version A which we shall call GR2. But GR3 has genuine
updated material by William from the T and A versions as Thompson and
Winterbottom have called them.
For instance the expanded version of the burial of Edmond Ironside
found in the C version and reflects new insight gained while William of
Malmesbury was researching DA. A purely stemmatic analysis would make
versions C and B twin offspring of GR3.
Thompson and Winterbottom GR, 144.3
Thompson and Winterbottom GR. Vol ii, xxix
GR3 is as Thompson and Winterbottom assume, William’s last redaction.
The twist is that there are additions and alterations to the C version which
are made after William’s death by the Glastonbury establishment in the
time of contention with Bishop Savaric. These are nothing to do with Henry
Blois alterations. However, the B version also has other corrections and
alterations and these are what concern us here. These are the Glastonbury
interpolations made by Henry Blois in pursuit of his metropolitan. It is
these which are cleverly used in conjunction with the DA.
I realize that most people reading this will see me attempting to analyse
a script that I am again stating was interpolated by Henry Blois. Let me just
say for the record that by deduction from Malmesbury’s other work we can
see that interpolations were made. We just need to look at the content of
those additions now Henry Blois is posited as a serial interpolator. If Henry
can interpolate DA and author the apologia of GS, he would certainly find it
easy to insert a small amount of corroborative Arthurian evidence in GR3.
This is the man who concocted HRB and invented prophecies as is plain by
what we have already divulged. By comparison Henry Blois has only added
but a spec to GR3 so please accept that this expose is equally valid in
unscrambling the mess that Henry has left to posterity.
The GR acts as a bridge for greater and subsequently more expansive
fabrications in DA. The reason for this is GR3 Glastonbury version was
interpolated first and then left unadulterated. From the four versions there
are various stemma derived from each version which are elucidated by
Thompson and Winterbottom. The T version appears to be the earliest and
the various stemmas originate in France or Flanders. The original is
thought to be the presentation copy to the Empress Matilda; a letter to
whom prefaces the Tt version. The original A version would appear to be a
later redaction of William of Malmesbury’s working copy of T with
references back and with later additions. Thompson and Winterbottom,
have concluded that the C version was a manuscript presented by William
of Malmesbury to Glastonbury and is a result of discriminating corrections
made by William during his researches at Glastonbury while writing his
accounts of the saints there and while writing the DA.
My supposition is that the Glastonbury interpolations in the B redaction
of William’s work are carried out by Henry Blois; which compliment his
goal of metropolitan status for Western England. The original B version was
the product of his efforts to supply a proof of antiquity for papal approval.
Henry Blois carried out at least two recorded attempts to obtain
metropolitan status, one in 1144 and the second in 1149. Henry’s alterations
to William’s work spread his polemic through the Glastonbury institution
and to similar minded monks bent on the aggrandisement of the abbey
after his death. Henry’s alterations were made in DA and GR for a specific
purpose after William of Malmesbury had died. Over time, when B & C
versions were copied in continental and insular monastic scriptoriums,
sometimes these interpolations were corrected against T or A stemma or
against manuscripts already corrected or interpolated. This is what has led
to the eventual corruption of William’s words found in T and his expanded
and corrected version of A.
There are many hypothesis put forward by Thompson and
Winterbottom but none take into account fraudulent Glastonbury changes
made by Henry Blois in the text just after William died. We can assign only
some of the material pertaining to Glastonbury found in C & B versions to
William. Some are Henry’s Blois’ additions and some are later Glastonbury
additions concerning Bishop Savaric’s intervention at the abbey after Henry
had died. GR3 interpolations in parts corroborate material found in the first
35 chapters of DA (and a few subsequent places) and most of that is
material interpolated by Henry Blois, except where the contention with
Wells is concerned.
Opinions held in A are probably William’s generally held beliefs and
several passages of the Glastonburyana found in C & B were added later
after William died just as in DA. It is for this reason that it is unlikely, as
most scholars have assumed that the C version in totality is an
unadulterated reflection of William’s new understanding after having
carried out his researches at Glastonbury.
The GR composition was started by William before Henry’s arrival at
Glastonbury and the T version was published c.1126. If we assume that the
monks had employed William to give an account of the saints (specifically
Dunstan) at Glastonbury shortly afterward and then extended William’s
mandate to write DA….. it seems certain that William was still at
Glastonbury when Henry had moved to Winchester. This is intonated by the
dedication in the prologue of DA.
It was the monks who commissioned the lives of the Glastonbury saints,
but VSD especially was commissioned to counteract the false accusation put
out by Osbern that Dunstan was the first abbot at Glastonbury. Shortly after
Henry arrived at Glastonbury, Henry’s shake up of the abbey with a mind to
increase revenues involved putting out a rumour that Dunstan’s bones
resided at Glastonbury. We have covered this in connection to Eadmer’s
letter along with the accusation against the ‘youth’ of Glastonbury for
starting this rumour about Dunstan’s relics at the abbey.
Henry Blois and William of Malmesbury would have had contact and a
lot of interests in common. As I posited earlier, it may just have been that
relationship which sparked Henry to write the pseudo-history that was the
precursor to Primary Historia, as he became aware of the swathes of blank
canvas in insular history. It may even be that he wished to belittle the dour
attempts of Huntingdon and Malmesbury’s histories by creating a far more
interesting and entertaining read.
Henry Blois boldly corrects both William and Huntingdon’s facts when
he writes as ‘Geoffrey’. For example, Huntingdon in his chronicle writes
that there are four main highways which bisect Britain and Henry Blois
purposely ‘out does’ him by naming the British ruler…. Henry’s own
fictional Belinus previously unheard of in British History (who I mentioned
previously), who ordered the construction of the highways in HRB. This is
how we divine Gaimar’s work has been tampered with. The same goes for
William where he cautiously records an inscription as being relevant to a
Roman victory. Henry Blois as ‘Geoffrey’ sets him straight that the
inscription and its erection was due to a triumphant British King. Does
‘Geoffrey’ really with all his authority sound like a meek cannon at oxford
because surely when he started writing, there was no mention of a book
from which all this information was supposedly derived. The idea of a
source book came later as sceptics started to question the authority with
which ‘Geoffrey’ wrote.
If Winterbottom and Thompson could accept B & C versions have been
interpolated by Henry Blois immediately after William’s death and
subsequently by Glastonbury monks long after William’s and Henry’s
deaths, many of their hypotheses will become less entangled.
The sense and propagandist intent of the interpolations in GR3
corroborate with Henry’s ‘early agenda’ for metropolitan. It is by this
method we should determine which parts of GR have been interpolated at
which period and for what purpose. In the past scholars have assumed
relationships between GR3 and parallel material found in DA is evidence of
authenticity, but this is not a notion which works when both manuscripts
have been interpolated at such an early date after William’s death…. and by
the same person in both manuscripts. We need to figure out which are
genuine updates which constituted William’s redaction of GR3 after his
research at Glastonbury and differentiate those interpolations which have
been spliced on top of the later redacted material. The confusion has arisen
because some chapters found in the B & C versions are also similarly found
in DA. This has cemented the belief that both interpolated portions, because
they are found in both books, originate from William. This belief is only
tenable if no fraud is suspected. Scholars believe this to be the case
unequivocally with GR. Thus convoluted reasoning is employed to marry
the two scripts.
It seems safe to posit that the DA would not have had wide interest
except to those at Glastonbury. It was conceived originally to provide proof
of antiquity for the abbey and to counter Osbern’s inaccurate statement
that Dunstan was the first Abbot at Glastonbury. We will cover the obvious
tension between monks and William shortly, evident in the prologue to DA.
We will see that in all probability the DA was presented to Henry Blois at
Winchester. It is fair to speculate that Henry Blois once having received the
DA manuscript had indicated to William that he would have copies of DA
written up. But it is likely he did not. Therefore Henry Blois was at liberty to
insert whatever he liked into DA after William’s death. This opportunity
was ultimately put to good use when William died.
So, Henry’s first written concoction in the pursuit of a proof of pre-
Augustine antiquity for the abbey was when Henry himself composed the
Life of Gildas impersonating Caradoc. His first oral fabrication when he
arrived in 1126 at Glastonbury as abbot however, was spreading the
rumour that Dunstan’s bones resided at Glastonbury. This we have covered
under the section on Eadmer’s letter. The Life of Gildas was seemingly an
innocuous tract in the same format as some of the other Celtic saint’s lives.
A few manuscripts had previously and cursorily mentioned the more
rebellious persona of Arthur. It was upon these very brief appearances as a
named warlord in saint’s lives, a small passage in Nennius and AC from
which Henry built the persona of the ‘chivalric’ King Arthur with Norman
values. There existed an oral tradition concerning ‘warlord’ Arthur to
which William refers in the T version of GR1.
We will just take a deviation here to put GR in context. The last
paragraph in the Life of Gildas is an addition to the life and was added after
the initial composition of the Life of Gildas. We can deduce why the
etymology of Ineswitrin was introduced into the Life of Gildas. Firstly, if no-
one knew where Ineswitrin was, it renders the 601 charter suspect. The 601
charter was the most substantial proof of antiquity for Glastonbury. In
William’s original unadulterated DA, the book commenced with a copy of
the charter which has now become chapter 35 of DA. Until it was
established that Ineswitrin was synonymous with Glastonbury (so it
appeared an estate was being donated), the 601 charter did not act as
adefinitive proof which was required to establish antiquity.
In other words, without knowing the location which is being donated, it
dilutes the credibility of the charter. There were two reasons to establish
antiquity. The earlier reason was to counter Osbern’s assertion. The second
reason was to show that an abbey and Church existed at Glastonbury which
was pre- Augustinian and thereby supplying adequate reason to grant a
metropolitan to Henry Blois. The problem was that no one had previously
heard of Ineswitrin before at Glastonbury. The 601 charter had lain
dormant in a chest. That is until William of Malmesbury, through his
researches, while compiling DA, uncovered it.
Hence, it was easy for
I would suggest the 601 charter and the prophecy of Melkin were found in the same chest of documents at
Glastonbury by William. To William, the prophecy would have made no sense at all, since the only recognisable
names were Joseph of Arimathea and the prophet Jesus and where Ineswitrin was located did not concern
William. It was the fact that a charter donating an island to the Old church at Glastonbury (even though it
referred to the same Island as the prophecy; Ineswitrin)…. the charter had a date of 601 on it which was the
essential proof, which he needed to demonstrate the antiquity of Glastonbury. So William before Henry became
Bishop stated his proof of Antiquity by beginning his DA with the 601 charter.
Henry Blois based the HRB’s Avalon on the island of Ineswitrin in Melkin prophecy. Henry Blois was hardly
going to include the name of Ineswitrin in HRB, especially if William, as the finder of the documents, could
recognise who the author of HRB might be. However, because HRB’s mystical Isle of Avalon (Ineswitrin), is
where Joseph relics are buried, it is ridiculous for Lagorio to argue: If the abbey had possessed a genuine
account of Joseph of Arimathea, the monks would have hardly waited until the twelfth century to establish their
claim, nor would they have it publicized in secular Grail romances. Monastic audacity and inventiveness would
seem to be the operative factor with Joseph, as it was with Arthur. At least she recognises in this instance that
there was a Joseph tradition in the twelfth century! This is precisely the point; the reference to Joseph of
Arimathea did not refer to Glastonbury but Ineswitrin…. and monastic inventiveness was not the operative
factor, but it was Henry Blois. Lagorio goes on to say with expert aplomb that: In Josephs case, however, the
claim was not exploited beyond the interpolation (in DA), as there is no Joseph legend in the abbey’s documents
Henry Blois to insert the last paragraph into a tract that Henry himself had
composed only recently. The etymological trickery provided in the last
paragraph of Life of Gildas would have far reaching ramifications. We may
speculate that before the exact location of Ineswitrin became an issue and
the name needed to be established as synonymous with Glastonbury (in Life
of Gildas), Henry had already commissioned the engravings on the archivolt
at Modena…. invented as an Arthurian event in Life of Gildas.
It is probable that the last paragraph of the Life of Gildas was added only
when the 601 charter was used as evidence at Rome in pursuit of
metropolitan status c.1144, (when Looe Island was appropriated); the
original Life of Gildas script (before the addition) ostensibly proving
antiquity to Gildas’ era. Certainly William of Malmesbury was ignorant of
the fact that Ineswitrin was posited as being synonymous with Glastonbury
while he was alive (regardless of what has since been interpolated in DA).
The Archivolt engravings coincided and corroborated Henry’s recently
written legend concerning Arthur in the Life of Gildas i.e. it seemingly
sprouted on the building from another independent source apart from
Caradoc. The short tract of Life of Gildas would be easy to compose for
someone of Henry’s literary ability. The fact that William of Malmesbury
supposedly corroborates in DA that Gildas once resided at Glastonbury is
due to Henry’s interpolation concerning his pursuit of metropolitan status
in 1144. The Life of Gildas was probably accomplished c.1139 just after the
Primary Historia was completed in early 1138. As we have covered, while
or in the vernacular literature such as chronicles or saints’ lives, until the end of the fourteenth century. She had
just previously explained that ‘eminent critics’ held that Robert de Boron had based his text on a Latin text at
Glastonbury and Nitze and others see a Glastonbury origin for the Perlesvaus. So, how can she aver the opposite
if the latest possible date for Joseph de Arimathie is 1180 (but we know it is c.1165)…. and still hold that there is
no Joseph legend except for that in William’s DA until the end of the thirteenth century. Lagorio continues on
with even more contradictory statements trying to rationalise how all these coincidences occurred concerning
Joseph at Glastonbury: yet they (the monks) were obviously reluctant to propagandize him, owing to his sudden
appearance on the abbey scene after centuries of alternate legends. The only reason Joseph appeared suddenly
was the fact that Henry Blois had died and Joseph’s name appeared in DA as the founder of Glastonbury; and
Robert de Boron’s romances (originally written by Henry Blois) confirmed Joseph was in the west at Avalon….
and the writer of both had converted Glastonbury into Avalon. It was only after Henrys death that all these
elements coincided in the discovery of Arthur’s body. Finally, the Leaden cross bore out that Glastonbury was
Avalon, but amazingly, all these coincidences seemed to Lagorio to be a fortuitous convergence of factors. All
this was arranged by Henry Blois. Lagorio, like Carley, thinks the Melkin prophecy is a product of Glastonbury
and the prophecy’s only significance is that it was included in John’s Cronica. Both of them have no conception
of the fact that the entire Matter of Britain edifice is built on the truth behind the prophecy of Melkin.
Henry Blois was on the continent in Normandy in 1137-8 (after having
spent time in Wales in 1136), he spliced the Arthur content onto an already
existing history of the Britons or what I have termed pseudo historia which
initially had been destined for his uncle and Empress Matilda. The Primary
historia at Bec having had the Arthuriana spliced in or enlarged upon from
the pseudo-historia.
The Life of Gildas must have been written before 1140 if the historians
are correct about the completion date of Modena. It was certainly written
before Henry’s journey to Rome through Modena on his way to plea for
Metropolitan status in 1144. It is possible the Modena archivolt may have
been commissioned as Henry passed through Modena when he became
legate in 1139.
The idea of an Archivolt remaining unadorned and seeking a benefactor
for the engraving is the most likely scenario to explain the depiction of the
kidnap of Guinevere. It is important to understand the reasoning behind
the Ineswitrin etymology as a later insertion into Life of Gildas. It
establishes through the evident etymological contrivance that the 601
charter was part of William’s genuine additions to GR3 and the charter
really existed rather than it being one of the interpolations in version B.
There is no other logical reason for adding the last paragraph to the Life
of Gildas. The etymological contortion resolves the problem that if the
charter is to add weight as a proof of antiquity under scrutiny…. it is best if
Ineswitrin is a known location i.e. we are led to believe the Island in Devon
actually now refers to an estate on the Island of Glastonbury.
If the 601 charter were merely a concoction and inserted like the other
interpolations into GR3 in Henry’s attempt for metropolitan in 1144; what
would be the point of concocting the name Ineswitrin and inserting an
etymological explanation in the last part of Life of Gildas. It is because the
601 charter existed that the last paragraph in Life of Gildas was added.
Henry had this charter in hand at Rome in 1144.
No-where previously, in any manuscript, had the name Ineswitrin been
known or seen. We should be aware that the prophecy of Melkin and the
601 charter both refer to Burgh Island in Devon obviated by the geometry
we covered earlier. The reason for substituting the name of Ineswitrin on
the prophecy of Melkin for Insula Avallonis becomes evident when we
discuss Henry Blois’ second agenda and the introduction of Joseph of
Arimathea to Glastonbury in its new guise as Avalon; as this is the essence
of Lagorio’s uncertainty as to how Joseph lore all coalesced into place at
Melkin’s prophecy itself provided the basis and inspiration for Henry’s
mystical island in HRB
and the 601 charter itself was included in William’s
genuine additions found in GR3. The Glastonbury interpolations in GR3
(version B) by Henry are concerned with acquiring metropolitan status in
1144. These interpolations ostensibly take us further back in time from
Gildas to Eleutherius, but the mention of Freculphus’s referral to St Philip
leads us more readily to accept the assertion of the disciples of Christ being
the founders of Glastonbury.
William never posited such an un-historically attested and tantalizing
possibility concerning St Philip. If William was not willing to concede to the
existence of Dunstan’s relics at Glastonbury in his VSD, because he knew
the rumour to be false, he was hardly going to use Freculphus for an
authority for a tentative proselytization of Britain or posit the original
founders of the ‘old church’ were the disciples of Christ. Freculphus had
confused the Galatians with the Gaul’s anyway.
Henry’s mystical Island where ‘Geoffrey’ had brought Arthur for his
healing in the storyline of HRB was based (inspirationally) on the real
location of Ineswitrin drawn directly from the prophecy of Melkin. The
name Ineswitrin was originally the subject island named in Melkin’s
prophecy. This had to be changed for the sake of consistency c.1155 to
accommodate Henry’s second agenda changing from his first agenda which
concerned petitioning for metropolitan. The reason we can substantiate this
as a fact is because the data in the prophecy leads to the tin island of Ictis.
As we have covered this was latterly known as ‘White tin Island in the
Brythonic/ Dumnonian or ancient Briton tongue. It is the same island which
is named in the 601 charter and it was donated to Glastonbury by a named
Devonian King. The King’s signature was illegible as Malmesbury
Avalon, as we know, was not mentioned by Huntingdon in his précis of the 1139 version of HRB. The first we
hear of Avalon is in the First Variant HRB and Alfred’s of Beverley’s recycling of ‘Geoffreys’ work c1147-50.
It must be understood that HRB’s dedications were written retrospectively and the First Variant and variant
versions precedes the Vulgate Historia. When Henry wrote the Primary Historia he had not developed the idea
that Arthur would be taken to a mystical island. As we have covered, Huntingdon gives a completely different
rendition of the battle with Mordred and if Arthur’s return was expected as Huntingdon alludes to; then the site
of Arthur’s last known location, (if indeed Avalon had been recorded in the Primary Historia), would definitely
have been recorded in EAW.
maintained, but as a document of proof the 601 charter would surely
withstand scrutiny; its age would be evident when presented at Rome to the
Henry has two agenda’s which both concern the interpolations into DA.
His first agenda is concerned with convincing papal authorities of both
Winchester and Glastonbury’s pre-Augustinian antiquity; Winchester,
through ‘Geoffrey’s work and Glastonbury through the interpolations into
William’s GR3 and DA. Both locations are shown to exist before Augustine’s
arrival and are witnessed by Henry’s polemic; with the intended outcome of
gaining metropolitan status for Henry.
I am just trying to put things in perspective for continuity’s sake, so
forgive the deviation for a moment from the present study of the
interpolations into the B&C versions of GR3, to introduce another major
factor of Henry Blois’ second agenda. Joseph of Arimathea in DA is never
mentioned until Henry’s second agenda comes to the fore after 1158 i.e.
Joseph lore in chapters 1&2 of DA is a subsequent addition, long after DA
has been presented at Rome.
Melkin’s prophecy is never mentioned in DA simply because Henry
would be uncovered as the author of HRB and the instigator of Grail legend
and suspected of interpolating DA. However, we know Henry Blois supplied
much of JG’s material as we covered already, (possibly posited in
Henry’s/Melkin’s De Regis Arthurii rotunda).
Henry Blois had also invented the prophecies of Merlin and if the
prophet Melkin were inserted into DA, suspicion would also fall on Henry.
The duo fassula in the prophecy of Melkin was the basis of Henry’s
inspiration for the Grail. The Grail was linked to Joseph (in reality) and
therefore back to Glastonbury through the change of name on the prophecy
and through Henry’s convincing efforts…. which eventually end with
Avallon commensurate with Glastonbury. To hide his authorship of the
many attributes of the Matter of Britain, Melkin’s prophecy was not
included in DA.
As witnessed in the composition of HRB, Henry’s expertise in passing off
HRB’s historicity is based upon tentative connections in a murky conflated
history. Whatever ‘Geoffreyposits is never far removed from credulity, but
he leaves his readers to deduce. He expects his audience and posterity to
connect the dots. As witnessed in HRB and the Grail stories, Henry cares not
for anachronisms concerning his characters. Henry depends upon the
reader’s credulity allowing for the vagaries of time…. thus his apparent
disregard for accuracy.
Chapters 1 and 2 which mention Joseph of Arimathea are in the earliest
known manuscript of DA as part of the text which can be definitively dated
to 1247. Scholars who misunderstand the role played by Henry, should not
eliminate Henry Blois as the person who is responsible for creating Avalon;
especially as Giraldus knew Glastonbury as Avalon c.1191-93, only 20 years
after Henry’s death. It seems a little presumptuous and nonsensical as a
priori that Joseph at Glastonbury was derived from continental influence
through a ‘fortuitous’ set of circumstances. Let me be clear, Joseph’s
connection to Glastonbury is only from the fact that the Island upon which
he is buried was donated to Glastonbury.
The Melkin prophecy concerning Joseph’s burial site was discovered
along with the 601 charter by William. On only two documents is the name
Ineswitrin found. Firstly, on the 601 charter. We know this is genuine as
William starts DA with it at chapter 35 and it was used in evidence as proof
of Glastonbury’s antiquity. Secondly Ineswitrin was the name originally on
the prophecy of Melkin which Henry Blois substituted later for Avallon. We
know this by the Geometry. We can deduce if the 601 Charter is genuine
then the Melkin prophecy which originally had the Ineswitrin name on it is
genuine also. This can only be true otherwise the geometry would not work
as it does for Burgh Island in Devon and most emphatically not in
The fact that the purport of the content of Melkin’s prophecy was not
understood could be one of the contributory factors that it was not
mentioned in the Glastonbury cartulary or in DA. The prophecy (with
substituted name) was most probably included in a book supposedly
written by Melkin (De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda) from which JG
transposed it into the Cronica. In reality the book (said to be authored by
Melkin) was actually composed by Henry Blois the inventor of chivalric
Arthur and the Round Table. The Melkin prophecy has remained
meaningless up until the present era. Henry knew the prophecy was real
and Henry tried to locate Ineswitrin. He did not achieve his goal. But,
without the prophecy we would not have the Grail stories as will become
apparent in progression.
In reality, Joseph came to Britain. If Lagorio had understood this maybe
the present set of aging scholars would have unpeeled the layers a different
way without setting erroneous a prioris which we all now have to
manoeuvre around, getting further not nearer a solution. However, it was
the Joseph in history which potentially challenged the Roman monopoly on
Christianity in early British history. Any notion of Joseph’s link to Britain
was expunged during the Roman occupation or possibly it may have been
purposefully secreted by the early Britons.
As long as established assumptions are reconsidered in the light of
Henry Blois’ interpolative interference, we will see as we progress that
fictionally, King Arthur’s Avalon is based upon the reality of Joseph of
Arimathea’s Ineswitrin. Before any fraud from Henry Blois transpired, we
must not forget what is recorded in Bede, who, attests to the quarrel
between St Augustine and the Britons, who preferred their own traditions
before all the churches in the world’.
Also Gildas says the first dawn of
evangelical light appeared in this island about the 8
year of Nero c.60 A.D.
and a quick look through Butler’s lives of the saints see many early ones in
the old Dumnonia.
The church at Glastonbury was already ‘Old’ which William stresses.
There certainly was Christianity in Briton prior to Augustine’s arrival
Christianity’s early arrival in the South of England….evidenced in the
Cornish saints names marking most towns and villages. There is one
indisputable way to discover if Joseph of Arimathea brought Christianity to
Britain. Unfortunately our experts believe there is no truth in the rumour,
and the Devon Archaeological Society do not have the expertise to assess
the viability of such a claim on Burgh Island; especially when the one
scholar on Ictis (and Joseph’s obvious connection to it) can’t even recognise
Bede's Eccl. Hist. Bk. ii. Ch2 see chapter 36
Nero was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68 AD
Tertullian (AD 155222) wrote in Adversus Judaeos that Britain had already received and accepted the Gospel
in his lifetime, writing, all the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the
Britonsinaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ. Henry would have not highlighted the connection
of Joseph of Arimathea to Britain had he not had the Melkin prophecy in his possession. He more likely would
have attached his propaganda to Aristobulus.
he has an account from Strabo elucidating why the tin ingots were found at
the entrance to the River Erm.
Once our experts understand who propagated the Joseph material both
continentally and at Glastonbury, such assumptions on which they base
their analysis of events concerning the Matter of Britain as a whole and
concerning Arthur and Joseph at Glastonbury, will have to be re-assessed.
Valerie Lagorio is the main instigator in leading modern scholars like
Carley astray. But, she, by academic default had learnt misguided
deductions from previous generations: With this record of prosperity,
Glastonbury had little need to enhance its Glory with Arthur’s counterpart,
Joseph of Arimathea. Yet around 1250
the monks quietly incorporated Joseph
into their founding legend, possibly succumbing to the fortuitous
convergence of factors supporting such a claim: the impact of traditional
belief in Britain’s conversion to Christianity by an apostle; Joseph’s legendary
status as an apostle and missionary; extant legends of the abbeys origins; and
the Arthurian Grail cycle, which proclaimed Joseph as the apostle of Britain.
We have Giraldus’ testimony that Arthur’s resting place was known
….King Henry, for the King had said many times, as he had heard from the
historical tales of the Britons and from their bards, that Arthur was buried
between two pyramids that were erected in the holy burial-ground’…
It is emphatically stated in DA
where Arthur is buried by the man who
manufactured Arthur’s grave and composed the engraving on the Leaden
cross. We must not forget how we account for the reference to King Arthur
in a charter written by Henry II granting concessions to Glastonbury,
documented in the Great Chartulary of Glastonbury, where it refers to the
many Kings connected to Glastonbury including the renowned King Arthur
c.1184. So what gave the King, while still alive in 1189 (before the given date
of the disinterment), the idea that Arthur was buried at Glastonbury? It
could only beDA or GR3 Glastonbury version written by the person who
wrote where Arthur was specificallylocated in DA. The same person who
saw that king the day before he died and probably said to the King where
Arthur was buried.
Joseph was mentioned in chapter 1&2 of DA and those chapters were written by Henry Blois. The postulation
that in 1250 the monks quietly introduced Joseph into Glastonbury lore succumbing to the fortuitous
convergence of factors is quite ridiculous.
Valerie. M. Lagorio. The evolving legend of St Joseph of Glastonbury.
DA chap 31
If one had spent an entire life creating history it would be a real shame
if it went unsubstantiated, because how could one be seen comparable with
Cicero if Arthur’s last act never came to final fruition. However, when GR3
interpolations were composed, no grave for Arthur was yet manufactured
at Glastonbury.
Once Henry’s ‘Book of the Grail’ or forerunner to Perlesvaus,
missing link which is now lost and to which Grail legend refers (and which
some attest was written by Master Blihis),
is understood as part of the
same propaganda as Robert’s’ Joseph d’Arimathie. only then will the
Matter of Britain be understood.
We must also take into account that
certain evidence which would have led to a more accessible investigation of
the truth underlying the myth of Glastonbury was destroyed in the fire of
1184. Why wouldAdam of Damerham repeat what was written in De Regis
Arthurii mensa rotunda which obviously existed and from which JG
obtained much of his information. Adam does not repeat what was in DA
either. Instead Adam starts his account where DA ends in the chronology
….with Henry Blois. The scholastic a priori which relies on the assumption
that since Adam does not mention Joseph and assumes Joseph’s name was
not in DA (before Arthur’s disinterment) is a totally unfounded premise
which if taken as a fact corruptsany future theory on a ‘timeline’ of what
transpired and how concerning the advent of Glastonbury lore.
But no expert opinion can deny the inspiration or truth behind the
Joseph legend, because the accuracy of the Melkin prophecy, in encrypted
William A Nitze, Glastonbury and the Holy Grail p.250. “I therefore venture to uphold Baist’s suggestion
that the Perlesvaus originated in Glastonbury”.
Master Blihis is one of many variations of a misinterpretation of Monsieur instead of Monseigneur Blois and
his name was referred to at the court of Champagne where Henry Blois spread his stories of the Grail to Chrétien
de Troyes and Robert de Boron.
Lagorio attempts to rationalise how the events at Glastonbury relate to continental romances. Most ironically
of all is that the interpolator of DA used a legend preserved among the Celts. Lagorio says: An eminent group of
critics, including Alfred Nutt and Jean Marx, hold that Robert de Boron based his story on a Latin text at
Glastonbury, while William Nitze and others see a Glastonbury origin for the Perlesvaus. Such scholarly support
might seem to indicate that the interpolator of De Antiquitate and the romancers used a legend preserved
amongst the Celts and brought back to Glastonbury during the later twelfth century. Yet all arguments for the
authenticity of Glastonbury’s claim are negated by the lack of supportive evidence in the abbey records or
It certainly is a legend preserved by the Celts about an Island called Ineswitrin in the Prophecy of Melkin.
Ironically the main contenders for negating the ‘supportive evidence’ are Lagorio and Carley in denying the
existence of Melkin. There are none so blind as those who will not see; and modern medievalist scholars who
concern themselves with the Matter of Britain are the ultimate case study of the blind leading the blind.
form, attests the genuine island’s location, long before scholarship had
understood the prophecy’s purpose.
We have seen how Henry Blois impersonated Wace, but Henry Blois is
the only person who knows he has based his Avalon in the HRB on the icon
of Ineswitrin of the Melkin prophecy: I know not if you have heard tell the
marvellous gestes and errant deeds related so often of King Arthur. They have
been noised about this mighty realm for so great a space that the truth has
turned to fable and an idle song. Such rhymes are neither sheer bare lies, nor
gospel truths. They should not be considered either an idiot’s tale, or given by
inspiration. The minstrel has sung his ballad, the storyteller told over his
story so frequently; little by little he has decked and painted, till by reason of
his embellishment the truth stands hid in the trappings of a tale. Thus to make
a delectable tune to your ear, history goes masking as fable.
The irony is that the main propagator of the pseudo-history concerning a
chivalric Arthur is Henry Blois himself. Obviously just after writing the
piece above as Wace c.1158-60, Henry comes up with the idea of
manufacturing Arthur’s grave so that on King Arthur’s disinterment with
Guinevere his chivalric persona is recognised as a historical person buried
in Avalon. Henry knew the grave of Arthur and Guinevere would be
unearthed and had the foresight not only to tell us where the grave was
located in DA and who we as posterity were going to find in it i.e. Guinevere
and Arthur; but he also confirmed it in the colophon of Perlesvaus. Henry
Blois is the architect of locating Avalon at Glastonbury not Henry de Sully.
William of Malmesbury in GR1 had affirmed the place of Arthur’s
sepulchre was unknown and continued to believe the same until his death
in 1143. Someone in the interim (before Giraldus) has converted
Glastonbury into Avalon and William (who had been residing there while
carrying on his researches) had no idea that Avalon even existed. William
was only cognisant of a Devonian Ineswitrin and was not aware that Henry
Blois had written the Life of Gildas in which Henry makes Ineswitrin
synonymous with Glastonbury. William dismissed the prophecy of Melkin
because it was unintelligible just as Carley has done. At least William of
Malmesbury had the integrity to not pontificate upon a document he did
not understand.
Ineswitrin is not mentioned anywhere by William except in connection
to the 601 charter and we can assume he did not think the charter relates to
the location of Glastonbury. The bogus explanation which seemingly comes
from William in DA which implies that Ineswitrin was synonymous with
Glastonbury before the Saxons is of course Henry’s work. Radford says ‘the
old church itself would probably not have existed in a vacuum and must be
considered in the context of the whole island settlement’. So, it hardly makes
sense that the ‘Estate’ of Ineswitrin is given to the old Church when ‘ynis
means island and the old church existed on it already!!!
Likewise he states that the oldest remains with those found in the ancient
cemetery. Post holes were found belonging to at least four oratories of the
wattle type… The best preserved was a small building 13 feet wide over 17 the
long’. No one denies that there may well have been buildings of Wattle at
Glastonbury, but it is William’s overstated excess on the old Church’s
construction which demands our attention as to why the interpolation is
focusing on this aspect with in-proportionate frequency (especially if there
were other buildings of this construction method).
Anyway, author B says the old church was in wood…. why (but for
compliance with cratibus from the prophecy) would Henry Blois focus on
this point in what is an obvious interpolation in GR3 version B.
William’s un-interpolated work would not mention any part of the Life of
Gildas as DA was completed before 1134. It is Henry’s interpolation in DA
which places Gildas at Glastonbury and mentions Melvas. Ineswitrin was
merely an unknown island location dedicated to Glastonbury. William’s
reason for the inclusion of the 601 charter in GR3 is merely as an updated
piece of information not known when GR1 was published in 1126, but it
does prove the ‘old church’ was in fact old in 601AD…. and he makes that
point, which is in essence what he has been tasked to do in writing the De
The burial of a body to be unearthed in the future; the discovery of the
Grail (in the guise of the duo fassula and its connection to Jesus); and the
fact that these were on an island; all find their parallel in Melkin’s
prophecy. Should we really be led to believe by Carley that these
coincidences are a result of the Melkin prophecy being constructed to
parallel these ‘earlier’ motifs? Or, we could ignore the expert who ignores
the geographical data and evident geometry. He chooses to stay ignorant
that the data mentioned in the prophecy (once decrypted), coincidentally
forms a line which locates an island in Devon…. which by any assessment
could possibly be the island of Ineswitrin donated to Glastonbury.
The directional data in the prophecy of Melkin was not known by the
supposed fraudulent constructor of the prophecy, so it would be a huge
coincidence if this too turned out to be relevant to an island donated to
Glastonbury by a King of Devon…. and the said island connected to Joseph’s
tieras tin Merchant…. just as Cornish (read Dumnonian) legend attests;
especially when we can identify this island with Diodorus’ tidal island of
If Melkin’s prophecy did not exist in Henry Blois’ lifetime and the monks
around 1250 ‘quietly incorporated Joseph into their founding legend, as
Lagorio posits…. it truly would be a ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’.
For modern scholarship to deny all mention of Arthur (and by extension
Joseph) as only existing in DA as the product of later interpolation (i.e. after
the 1191 disinterment) is plain ludicrous. It makes Henry II charter
concerning Glastonbury which mentions Arthur a fake. It would mean that
Gerald’s statement: Indeed, there had been some evidence from the records
that the body might be found there,
a pointless statement, if indeed it is not
referencing DA. To what gain would the statement be made by Gerald? It
seems mad for scholars to deduce that Gerald has not seen and read DA.
Giraldus quotes from a passage in DA: In British it is called Inis Avallon, that
is, insula pomifera (Latin: "The Island of Apples). This is because the apple,
which is called aval in the British tongue….. This is not derived from VM or
Life of Gildas.
Strangely though, Giraldus gives Fagan and Damian as names of
Eleutherius’ preachers but does not mention the missionary’s connection to
Glastonbury. But this can be rationalized by Gerald’s concentration and
interest in the Welsh Arthur rather than general affairs pertaining to the
foundation of Glastonbury. The fact that Giraldus does not mention Joseph
has no bearing on whether chapters 1 & 2 existed as part of DA in 1191.
Gerald’s concern was not for Glastonbury or the recently highlighted
biblical Joseph of Arimathea mentioned in DA, but for Arthur and Avalon.
Giraldus Cambrensis. Liber de Principis Instructione
Gerald’s interest is in the Arthur mentioned in HRB and the Arthur who had
a splendid court in Wales who spoke of Dubricius and St David.
My assertion that Arthur’s burial location was stated in DA before 1191 is
more understandable if one can accept that Henry (the instigator of the
entire edifice of the Matter of Britain) has already planted a bogus set of
bones (some of them animal) and a lock of blonde hair and has seemingly,
as if stating common knowledge, interpolated into DA:…Arthur, famous
King of the Britons, buried with his wife in the monks’ cemetery between the
two pyramids. If this were written after the disinterment…. why has the
interpolator not covered the events of the disinterment as well?
We should assume that no-one saw DA at Glastonbury until Henry’s
death. For the monks at Glastonbury it was probably not a shock when
Henry de Sully decided to unearth Arthur. They had had twenty years to
accept the fact. What would be shocking though is that so much in DA was
‘apparently’ true and therefore, they must also have assumed the St Patrick
Charter, which attested that Avalon was synonymous with Glastonbury,
must in fact be true also; before the proof positif was unveiled by what was
declared on the leaden cross. Henry was abbot for 45 years and the
generation which was there when William of Malmesbury was resident had
probably all expired or moved on.
As I have already mentioned, most modern commentators also make the
mistaken assumption that Joseph’s name could not have been in DA
because Adam of Damerham makes no mention of him. Adam is just a
continuator of DA not a critic nor extrapolator nor exponent of DA. He takes
up his pen where William of Malmesbury supposedly finishes DA. This
ironically enough is at chapter 83 regarding Henry Blois.
Adam merely
takes up a continuation of the history after Henry’s abbacy through the
contentions with Wells etc.
The first scholar to realise the significance of the Glastonbury
interpolations into GR3 was Newell and he along with Robinson tried to
assess the authenticity of the work but neither suspected the motive behind
the interpolations was Henry Blois’ ambition to gain metropolitan status. It
This remarkable man, besides his splendid birth, is also distinguished for his literary skill and for the
friendliness of his address….. This was written before William witnessed Henry Blois’ slippery antics changing
sides to Matilda and then professing otherwise. If scholars like Carley and Crick cannot recognise Henry Blois
literary skill in HRB as ‘Geoffrey, or in Perlesvaus or Grail legends as Blihos Bleheris (H.Blois anagram) at
least Henry himself does, as attested on the Meusan plates.
is the Glastonbury material in GR3 which concerns us most as it serves as a
bridge to more embellished assertions made in DA later. Most scholars
believe GR3 is entirely Malmesbury’s work.
This obviously is the intention of Henry Blois, but for the most part, the
interpolations discussed below are in fact just a reflection of Henry Blois’
first agenda which sets up bogus evidence of antiquity in his quest for
metropolitan status. The idea of interpolating GR written c.1125-6 (before
Henry’s arrival at Glastonbury), leads papal authorities to believe the
generally held perceptions in GR3 concerning Glastonbury are
Malmesbury’s updated version, but who unfortunately has just died.
‘Supposedly’ some of these same views had been reiterated by a more
informed William in DA earlier after his in depth research c.1134. Fo the
most part both DA and GR3 would have concurred in 1144 about
Glastonbury material with no other extraneous lore having yet been prévu
for DA.
However, there is a Glastonbury interpolator who interpolates GR after
Henry. He is responsible for the C version Glastonbury interpolations, some
parts of the B version, and several subsequent additions after Henry’s death
into DA. The Glastonbury interpolator after Henry is specifically interested
in a polemic devised to deter Savaric, Bishop of Wells interfering in the
affairs at Glastonbury. This was an issue which was mainly inherited as the
product of the relationship between Robert Lewes and Henry Blois and
both of their affections for Glastonbury. Robert of Lewes who had been
Henry’s right hand man at Glastonbury and fulfilled certain duties when
Henry moved to Winchester, also became (through Henry’s instigation)
Bishop of Bath; both of them Cluniac’s. Both allowed the independent
sanctity of Glastonbury and Henry Blois was still the abbot until Robert
died. It was when Henry died that the interference from the diocese of
Wells started.
The B version of GR3 is mainly concerned with presenting a history of
antiquity for Glastonbury for papal approval. But herein is the confusion of
the B and C stemma where they have been corrected by more recent
copyists against GR2 & 1 in the thirteenth century. If GR3 had not been
interpolated in versions C & B, much in DA would have been discounted as
mere interpolative propaganda. Due to the fact that some of the material is
mirrored in the two works, (some which is interpolated propaganda) has
led scholars comparing the texts to think…. because they parallel each other
in certain instances…. they both must be William’s genuine material.
Misguidedly, scholars have used GR3 as a basis for their understanding
of what is authentic in DA and vice versa…. in conjunction with the
assumption that GR3 is a genuine redaction from William’s new appraisal
of facts after his research at Glastonbury. The conclusion which followed
this presumption is that GR3 (B version) is not interpolated. This method
can only be reliably employed with T & A versions as I have said. Henry’s
interpolative work concerning Glastonbury in GR3 leads the gullible to
accept much which is written in DA as having been plausibly written by
William. The current consensus is that the existence of Glastonbury
material in GR3 is a result of William’s researches. This understanding, to a
point, is true and governs why the later interpolations are infused amongst
genuine updated material in GR3. Hence, we have the appearance of the
Glastonbury additions of versions C & B in GR3 being accepted as authentic
as the consequence of William’s later redaction.
Those that have a suspicion that all is not right, posit that the
Glastonbury material is a consequence of a presentation copy by William to
the monks. This is only a rationalisation and in reality, William is
intransigent about the inclusion of doubtful material in his work so would
not have embellished specially to ingratiate himself with a one off copy
containing specific Glastonburyalia. If the opinion is that a Glastonbury
copy was used to interpolate then I would definitely concur, but the first
person to interpolate GR was Henry Blois.
To complicate things further, Thompson and Winterbottom believe all of
C was written prior to William’s version of B or GR3 and this again to a
certain extent is true. However certain interpolations in C were in response
to Bishop Savaric’s interventions toward Glastonbury. This has led scholars
to suggest that contention between Wells and Glastonbury existed prior to
Henry Blois’ time because they have assumed William of Malmesbury is the
sole author of B & C. There may be cause to believe contention existed
before and possibly during Henry’s abbacy, but it is doubtful that such
highly specific curses toward a Bishop intonated in Ines and Edgar’s
charters would lead two Kings to be so poignantly directed against
interference from Wells or any other bishop. Both charters smack of
warning shots from Glastonbury against the bishop of Bath and Wells and
both were interpolated by someone after Henry’s death becoming the
second member of what my uncle referred to as the Officine de faux.
This, however, does not exclude the likelihood of a subsequent
consolidating redactor of DA before our present T version. As I have made
clear, Scott’s conclusion that a consolidating author is responsible for
coalescing much of the work in DA’s first 34 chapters is misguided, because
it does not recognise Henry Blois as the main interpolator. It is not
impossible that soon after William died, Henry borrowed from and never
returned the latest copy of William’s GR which had been deposited at
Malmesbury monastery. Henry had installed his own candidate as Abbot of
Malmesbury. It may be that Henry had his own copy and Glastonbury
interpolators of C or our consolidating author of DA had another.
Leland’s comment about the lack of knowledge about William at
Malmesbury in Lelands own era might indicate that if William had left his
work at Malmesbury, it did not remain there. We can speculate that Henry
Blois could have obtained William’s works from Malmesbury as we can see
John of Worchester relates that in 1140-41 Henry installed his ‘man’ as
abbot there: Peter the monk, who was of great learning and knowledge was
made abbot of Malmesbury by the bishop of Winchester, legate of the Holy
Roman see. He had been a monk at Clugny, and for some time had been prior
of La Charité (Karitia). Thence he became abbot of the monastery of the holy
pope Urban in the diocese of Chálon-sur-Mer. When troubles arose and
threatened him, he was forced to leave that house, and at the prompting of the
bishop of Winchester, he came to England, and took over the rule of
Malmesbury in this year.
Just so there is no doubt in the reader’s mind about whether Bishop
Henry could lie and fabricate so readily, I will just take another brief
diversion before getting back to the analysis of GR.
Gerald of Wales
does say that as well as ‘Art’, Henry was a collector of
animals and actually had a menagerie at Wolvesey. But, it is to William of
Newburgh’s reference to Henry having pet Greyhounds we should look.
Below is an example as it shows Henry’s ability to fancifully enforce a story
from an object which was obviously a fossil of some description: When a
John of Worchester
As we know, Henry Blois was a patron of Giraldus.
huge rock was being split by iron implements in a quarry, two dogs became
visible, filling a receptacle in the rock which was big enough for them, but
which contained no air holes. They seemed to be a breed of dog called
greyhounds, but they were ferocious in appearance, smelly and hairless. It is
reported that one of them soon died, but the other, said to have had an
astounding appetite, was kept as a pet for very many days by Henry bishop of
And Newburgh thought ‘Geoffrey’ was the liar!!!
A living Greyhound cannot come from a rock fossil; nor can any live
animal come from a split rock with no air holes. We might speculate why in
Roman de Brut and HRB the dragons came from similar stones as it deviates
from Nennius’ tents. As many commentators have remarked there is
virtually no instance in the story line or plot of HRB which cannot be traced
to some source. We have also witnessed this…. as Melkin’s prophecy can
also be deemed source material for the invention of the icon of the Grail
based on Henry’s perception of the duo fassula and also the invention of the
mystical island of Avalon. So, it also seems likely that Henry has spliced the
allusion from Nennius’ of two un-encapsulated serpents to become in Wace:
At the bottom shall be found two hollow stones, and two dragons sleeping in
the stones… and in HRB: two hollow stones and therein two dragons
asleepWhat should be termed Freudian conflation but the trouble has
been that scholarship has never thought of Henry Blois as the composer of
HRB or of Roman de Brut.
Two agendas of Henry’s are clearly understood. The first features in GR3
and DA, the second only in DA. The earlier agenda was directed at obtaining
metropolitan. Both GR3 and a copy of DA (probably not mentioning Avalon
and certainly without Joseph’s inclusion) were used as evidential support in
this endeavour while making a first presentation case to the pope in 1144.
This possibly evolved to the inclusion of Phagan and Deruvian and the St
Patrick’s charter in a possible second attempt at metropolitan status in
Henry’s later agenda involved Avalon and the introduction of Joseph
lore at Glastonbury while at the same time propagating Grail stories
inclusive of King Arthur and Joseph. The same man and mind, from which
the inventive composition of HRB was created, was the initial instigator of
William of Newburgh, 119
the Grail legends. Both HRB and Grail stories subtly tying back to two
common denominators; Henry Blois and the prophecy of Melkin.
Henry’s second agenda was also concerned with convincing us that
Glastonbury was Avalon and that Joseph was the original founder of the Old
Church which connected to the death of King Arthur in the tract Vera
Historia de morte Arthuri where Arthur’s grave is near to the St Mary
Church and also connects through Avalon where Arthur was taken to heal
his wounds in HRB. This did not start to evolve until after 1158 on Henry’s
return from Clugny (not forgetting VM at this stage was getting us used to
the idea that Insula pomorum in Somerset was also Arthur’s last known
Therefore parts of DA were overwritten in what was an already twice
completed and interpolated DA which had served its purpose in convincing
papal authorities to grant Henry his wish. So, in all probability, there were
two DA versions which had been completed and employed in pursuit of
metropolitan status…. once in 1144 and the other in 1149. Afterward, when
there was no further point in pursuing metropolitan status and at a time
after 1158 when Henry returned to England, Henry then set about
rearranging an already interpolated DA for a third time.
The aim was to incorporate material to support his secondary agenda of
Joseph and Arthur ‘at’ Avalon. This will become evident as we progress
through the GR3 Glastonbury material incorporated into Version B and then
when we examine the DA in the next chapter. Eventually, GR version B was
handed on to Glastonbury at Henry’s death, but during Henry Blois’ life, the
B version may have been copied and propagated by Henry employing
scribes at scriptoriums in Clugny, Winchester or Glastonbury.
We cannot be exactly sure of what William’s reconsidered opinions are
concerning Glastonbury legend except by working out what is
unadulterated in DA. Nor can we know exactly what has been spliced in by
Henry Blois to meet his personal agendas except by looking at the latter half
of DA and seeing what William has stated in VSD as that manuscript surely
reveals his unadulterated work and positions held at the time of
composition of DA.
The original GR3 though, was William’s latest model and Henry has
spliced into that…. elements which were meant to convince the papal
authorities of an early pre Augustinian Briton church at Glastonbury. The
surest method is to assume in most cases that because Glastonbury material
not in GR1 is in version B, it should be suspect. Yet, some portions are
definitively the product of William’s later and final recension.
The best way of unpeeling the layers of this puzzle is to use the
interpolations found in only B and C versions described by Thompson and
Winterbottom in their appendix
which are not found in T & A versions. T
& A are indisputably William’s unadulterated work. I have used Thompson
and Winterbottom’s translation and chapter headings of GR to demonstrate
that some of the material is the consequence of William’s researches and
up-dates. The rest are Henry Blois’ interpolations. What is found in GR3 is
highlighted in black to avoid confusion from other quotes.
Chapter 19 of GR3 B version:
Now, as we have reached the reign of Cenwealh, and the proper
place to mention the monastery of Glastonbury, let me then from its
birth tell thereof, the rise and progress of that house, so far as I can
gather it from the formless mass of the documents. We are told by
trustworthy annals that Lucius King of the British sent to Eleutherius,
thirteenth successor of St. Peter, to beg that he would lighten the
darkness of Britain with the rays of Christian preaching. O brave King,
and worthy of all praise his undertaking! That faith which in those
days nearly all Kings and people persecuted when it was presented to
them, he went out of his way to ask for when he had scarce heard of it.
So, preachers sent by Eleutherius came to Britain, where their work
shall endure for ever, although many years’ oblivion has devoured
their names.
At first, this seems entirely innocuous. Except Bede does not connect
Eleutherius with Glastonbury and the connection is not in T or A version;
yet William was entirely acquainted with Bede when he wrote both of those
versions. Henry has chosen an appropriate place in the text to insert his
propaganda. Starting off by saying: let me then from its birth tell thereof, the
rise and progress of that house, and then arbitrarily attaching Eleutherius’
preachers to Glastonbury must be cause for suspicion. One might assume
William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum, vol I. Appendix P. 803-833
the fabricator of the St Patrick charter would make such an assumption.
When we get to Lucius, it is virtually impossible to know if William wrote
this or Henry did. I doubt it was introduced by William, but we should
remember William is a fan of Bede and it is Bede who introduces the story
in connection with Britain that Henry of Huntingdon even recycles from
Bede. But, if one is not naïve of Henry Blois inventions; why state
thatoblivion has devoured their names here (c.1144) and then….. hey presto,
we are told their names in DA and HRB; both manuscripts entered in
evidence also in the case for Metropolitan.
One must then ask: why should it be in the supposedly updated content
of GR3? It would not have been found by research specifically carried out at
Glastonbury. Without the passage acting as an ‘intro’ we would not accept
the natural progression to hear of Phagan and Deruvian later on in DA. It is
the presumed attachment of Eleutherius’s preachers to Glastonbury which
raises suspicions because such a lot is made of this connection later in DA
and in St Patrick’s charter. The evidence for interpolation supports Henry’s
output as author of HRB where Phagan and Deruvian’s names are
introduced for the first time. Yet a remarkable coincidence, as we have
already noted, is Huntingdon’s omission of the illustrious pair when
mentioning Eleutherius in connection to King Lucius, not only in his
redacted history but in the letter to Warin.
When presenting evidence to the pope in 1144 one can surmise that
Fagan and Duvianus were also pointed out as they feature in the First
Variant which evolved from the Primary Historia…. where they should have
been mentioned if only they had been included, but Henry’s muses at that
point had not contemplated their roles. We should note Alfred of Beverley
was aware of their names. It seems certain that the St Patrick charter is
aimed at a second attempt at metropolitan. It is necessary to understand
that the St Patrick’s charter was also employed in DA as a device which was
produced for the visit to the pope.
Conveniently the preacher’s names are known in the St Patrick charter
and in the First Variant, but for Huntingdon not to have mentioned such an
influential pair in British history in EAW means they were not included in
Primary Historia at Bec. Logically why would they be? Their sole raison
d’etre was to attach Bede’s Eleutherius to the antiquity of Glastonbury and
this is done through the missionaries and Lucius’ request. The pursuit of
metropolitan status was not an issue for Henry Blois when the Primary
Historia was being composed while Henry was in Normandy in 1137.
As I have stated, until the Primary Historia’s publication in 1138, Henry
assumed he was going to be Archbishop of Canterbury. In fact, when Henry
Blois left England to help quell the disruptions in Normandy, he was in
effect Archbishop of Canterbury. It was, as we covered, while Henry was
abroad, his brother Stephen elected the abbot of Bec to Henry of Blois’
treasured post. We know Henry was at Bedford when Stephen lays siege to
Miles of Beauchamp at Christmas-time in 1138. In January 1139 Theobald is
back at Bec accompanied by Huntingdon on his way to Rome.
Henry Blois on several occasions
makes pretence of being ignorant of
facts to deflect suspicion of authorship. The very fact that many years
oblivion has devoured their names makes one suspicious we are being led to
believe that a charter had only been located recently. But to play out the
pantomime…. the now dead but reliable historian, William of Malmesbury,
had alluded to these missionaries. What we and the papal authorities are
led to believe is that before Henry’s arrival at Glastonbury this reliable
chronicler had made reference to the preachers which are mentioned by
name also in the First Variant.
The persuasive trustworthy annals to which William (or rather Henry)
refers…. and specifically the mention of the Lucius myth, are from the 6th-
century version of the Liber Pontificalis, Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis
Anglorum and the ASC. However, it is my suspicion that the adopted son of
Hadrian was the intrigue of which Henry and his accomplices were up to
while at Rome which we came across earlier. His attempt at intrigue
was to
portray the adopted Lucius son of Hadrian as the same Lucius referred to
mistakenly by Bede.
The main point is that where Henry states many years’ oblivion has
devoured their names; it could be just a ploy of Henry’s to appear as if it is
William writing GR much earlier i.e. by having us believe oblivion has
He does this posing as Wace in pretence not to understand the Merlin prophecies.
John of Salisbury referring to Henry Blois states:…After being publicly received back into favour, he began to
intrigue with Guy of Summa, bishop of Ostia, Gregory of St Angelo and other friends (as they afterward
confessed) to secure a pallium for himself and become archbishop of western England.
devoured their names and thus explaining the uncovering of the Patrick
charter as it was presented later in DA.
If my supposition is correct in that an early copy of DA was presented to
the papal authorities in consideration of their granting metropolitan status,
and an early edition of a St Patrick charter was evident also in DA, Henry
might have excused William’s earlier lack of their names to the papal
authorities as a proof of what William had only recently discovered i.e. the
Patrick charter, a ‘copy’ of which is subsequently in DA. Do not forget the
subtleties concerning the ‘good book’ and Walter…. found in Gaimar’s
epilogue, before discounting to what extent Henry is willing to go to get
what he wants and avoid discovery.
It is not by coincidence that the First Variant with its biblical allusions,
just happens to have the preacher’s names as the envoys of Eleutherius
also. It is Henry Blois’ Phagan and Deruvian from HRB which were
honoured in DA which brings suspicion upon the connection between
Glastonbury and the preachers.
In fact, once it is understood that Phagan and Deruvian are connected to
a Lucius who never existed in Britain…. it highlights and lends credence to
the fact that these are interpolations in GR3 by the man who invented the St
Patrick charter and concocted HRB. At no time previous to the St Patrick
charter or First Variant of HRB was there any mention of their names or
connection to Glastonbury. So, where William appears to write ‘their work
shall endure for ever’ it seems a bit obtuse…. since not only oblivion had
devoured their names but their deeds. And since William was never aware
of their deeds because we know the St Patrick charter is concocted and we
know their names did not feature in the Primary Historia; or any of the
saints lives or in William’s GP; logically, we can see they were employed as
part of Henry’s fraud. Therefore, why would ‘their work shall endure for
ever’ be a statement that William would make.
The only contrary evidence to what I have indicated above is that the
two founders of the old minster at Winchester (Phagan and Deruvian) as
Thomas Rudborne later tells us, were accorded that fame in the Winchester
However, these may be Williams original words as he was respectful of Bede and also aware of ASC’s
mention of Eleutherius (which one assumes is derived from Bede). This may on the other hand be where Henry
puts these words to compensate for William making no mention before of Eleutherius in other writings, but at
least conceding here that preachers came.
annals. If they really were the founders of the Old minster it is surely not by
coincidence that they suddenly came to popular consciousness in the First
Variant and DA as Eleutherius’ preachers.
Again, it is not coincidence that
two previously, un-famous and ‘never heard of before founders of
Winchester (their names obscured in the reams of annals found at
Winchester) should also just happen to be the preachers who were
honoured being part of the foundation lore at Glastonbury in DA in what is
obviously a bogus St Patrick’s charter. I can not seea provenance for their
names and believe Rudborne probably has the solution.Working on the
principle that nearly all inventionsin HRB have a birth or derivation for
Henry’s Muses, I would not be surprised if they were the founders of
Now, the obvious advantage of this is that Winchester must (also appear
to) be as old as Phagan and Deruvian if a charter of St Patrick
shows they
were the founders of the Glastonbury Old Church also. As the reader will
remember in HRB, Lucius despatched his letters unto Pope Eleutherius
beseeching that from him he might receive Christianity. For the miracles that
were wrought by the young recruits of Christ's army in divers lands had lifted
all clouds from his mind, and panting with love of the true faith, his pious
petition was allowed to take effect, forasmuch as the blessed Pontiff, finding
that his devotion was such, sent unto him two most religious doctors,
Faganus and Duvianus…
There are two scenarios on the appearance of Wellias in the St Patrick
charter. One may be that his name was interpolated by our consolidating
author of DA to demonstrate Wells’ subordination to the importance of
Glastonbury as modern scholars seem to suggest. His name might however,
We should remember that based upon how the pseudo-history is compiled, it is highly unlikely that these two
werenames picked out at random. Rather, Henry employed their names because they were in the book which
Gaimar says exists chained up at Winchester. This may indeed be where Rudborne’s information originates.
Dom Watkin, regards the Charter of St Patrick as a 13
century fake based on the fact that Wellias is named.
Without Henry Blois to connect the preachers to HRB, there is little benefit to be found in the invention of the St
Patrick charter or its mention of Ineswitrin. Dom Watkin of course does not allow that a consolidating author of
DA may have interpolated Henry Blois’ interpolations in the era of the contention with Savaric.
HRB IV, xix
be a ploy of Henry’s. We Know he loves to employ eponyms which would
then lead the reader to more fully accept the St Patrick charter’s credibility,
as Wells is so close geographically i.e. we are led to believe that Patrick’s
friend Wellias went off and founded Wells. I doubt that a consolidating
author or other than Henry Blois would have the effrontery to put forward
such a suggestion as it is painfully obvious the town of Wells is named after
its ability to reach the Water table rather than gaining its name from a
certain Wellias. Moreover,St Patrick probably never set foot in Glastonbury.
The name Wells comes from three wells, today dedicated to St Andrew one
in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop’s palace and
cathedral. As I cover later, it is commonly supposed by commentators that
the inclusion of Wellias name in the St Patrick charter infers that the
Patrick charter itself dates from Glastonbury’s contention with Savaric. It is
far more likely that Wellias is Henry’s invention so that Patrick is given
proximity to Glastonbury through Wells being named after Wellias.
The Patrick charter would provide evidence for Glastonbury’s antiquity
and a Phagan and Deruvian
foundation when Henry was grasping for
metropolitan status. It is one of the main reasons their names appear in the
First Variant along with the more ecclesiastical tone by comparison with
the Vulgate HRB version.
The chain of misrepresentation starts with a misreading of the Liber
Pontificalis by Bede who thought ‘Britio’ in Turkey referred to
Versions of the Lucius story based on Bede’s mistake, thus
One observation should be noted about Huntingdon’s précis to Warin of the Primary Historia. One would
imagine if Huntingdon had seen the names Phagan and Deruvian (as they are in the First Variant not Primary
Historia) he would have commented. This is not to say that Eleutherius and Lucius were not part of the storyline
of Primary Historia because they were mentioned in Bede. In his main text at the beginning of book viii after
saying ‘Lucius was the first of the British to become a Christian’, Huntingdon by coincidence asks himself who
the bishops of that time were. If he had heard in 1139 about Phagan and Deruvian he would have been interested
in the names of the two people who are accounted as responsible for Christianising Britain. We know Bede did
not mention them and as Rudbourne suggests their names far more likely derive from a Winchester
foundation/source. This would probably have been the most important fact to relate to Huntingdon’s friend
Warin… if their names had indeed existed in the Primary Historia.
Adolf von Harnack first proposed in 1904 that the Lucius story derives from a scribal error substituting
Britanio, referring to Britannia, for Britio, referring to Birtha or Britium in what is nowadays Turkey which was
in the old Mesopotamia. In 179 Birtha was ruled by the Christian-friendly Roman client King of Osroene whose
appeared in his Historia Brittonum, and HRB and ASC and the Book of
Llandaff and Huntingdon’s Historia Anglorum. It is upon Bede’s mistake
that Henry introduced his Phagan and Deruvian.
After having set out to reduce somewhat the muddle around the Lucius
myth, we no sooner encounter another…. following on in the same
interpolation in the same chapter 19 of GR3:
The ancient church of St Mary at Glastonbury was their handiwork,
as the faithful tradition of succeeding century’s recounts. There is too
that trustworthy record found in several sources, which declares that
no other hands made the church of Glastonbury, but it was Christ's
disciples themselves that built it.
If GR3 is a genuine reflection of William’s revised knowledge after his
research at Glastonbury, supposedly written C.1140 (as most commentators
agree), and the DA supposedly came out before 1134…..
why would
scholars insist that the St Patrick charter is a late invention…. as the
reference above is to the two missionaries? This is obvious that their
handiwork follows in direct reference to the preachers: (So, preachers sent
by Eleutherius came to Britain, where their work shall endure for ever,
although many years’ oblivion has devoured their names.).
We can probably account this sentence to the second attempt by Henry
Blois to gain metropolitan status in 1149. The two visits to Rome take into
account the previous attempt where an apostolic foundation seems to have
been posited to pope Lucius II. Henry in his interpolation into GR3 leaves
open to speculation who the builders of ‘old church’ were. He is not really
full title was Lucius Aelius Megas Abgar IX. Henry Blois expands the same mistake originating in Bede and then
in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle introducing Lucius into HRB. Henry employs Lucius as historical padding to take
account of a historical period for which Henry wished to write his own historicity. The introduction of Lucius
corresponded with Henry’s fabricated storyline of a mutual accord between the Britons and Romans. When
speaking of the conversion of the Britons Logorio tells us: The widely accepted view was that in 167 AD, at the
request of King Lucius of Britain, pope Eleutherius sent Phagan and Deruvian to convert Lucius and all his
people. The first place we hear of Phagan and deruvian is in HRB. Are we to understand that Lagorio accepted
‘Geoffreys’ testimony?
DA chap 83. When William came to the end of DA, Henry’s claim to fame is as brother to count Theobald not
King Stephen. Note also the references in this chapter 83 are still written as if addressing the monks themselves.
But, we know from the prologue of DA that it was written after the completion of the main text of DA and after
William had been deferred payment by the monks. William was referred to Henry Blois who was residing at
Winchester. William then addresses Henry as bishop of Winchester. Williams prologue in DA is a flattering
address designed part as apologia for any shortfall felt by the Glastonbury monks for Williams refusal to
include rumour. Also, to see if he can gain some recompense and not be ‘deprived of the fruit of his labour’ by
seeking to offer to Henry his little work… ‘whatever its worth.
bothered as long as metropolitan status is granted. The question is; why
would he need to invent the St Patrick Charter if an apostolic foundation
had been accepted already?
One scenario to explain the later invention of the St Patrick’s charter
could be that apart from a suggestion that the Old church’ was built by the
Disciples of Christ, Henry concocted something a little more convincing that
definitively took the ‘possible’ foundation from the disciples to something
more concrete. The story of Eleutherius and Lucius, even though not in
reality historical, yet the product of a misidentification on Bede’s part was
accepted as historical because the venerable Bede had accounted it
historically correct. In effect then, through Bede, the preachers were
validated by ‘Geoffrey’s’ corroboration of their connection to Eleutherius;
and the possibility of an apostolic foundation having existed before them….
and the fact that Fagan and Deruvian found an already existing church (as
stated in the St Patrick charter). This confusing reconciliation gave credence
to both positions, either apostolic foundation, or that accomplished by the
preachers. We are led to believe by the discovery of the St Patrick charter
how the sequence of the suggested foundation history has come down to
posterity i.e. by the very concocted document of the St Patrick charter.
Henry posits both of his bogus foundation histories when reconciling his
propaganda and leaves the confusion as deriving from antiquity. Henry
leaves the foundation as ambiguous saying: The ancient church of St Mary at
Glastonbury was their handiwork (referring to the un-named missionaries).
In the charter of St Patrick it avers that the Disciples built it: the brothers
showed me writings of St Phagan and St Deruvian, wherein it was contained
that twelve disciples of St Philip and St James had built that Old Church in
honour of our Patroness. Later, to incorporate the ‘additional’ evidence
Henry adds: So it was by the work of these men that the old church of St Mary
at Glastonbury was restored, as trustworthy history has continued to repeat
throughout the succeeding ages.
It is quite ridiculous to think the St Patrick’s charter is not Henry’s work,
but that of a later interpolator; especially considering it is ‘Geoffrey’ who
adds Phagan and Deruvian’s names to the First Variant where they had not
previously existed in the Primary Historia. More pertinent is the fact that
the three archflamens’ are also missing in EAW also. As we have discussed,
at the writing of the Primary Historia in 1137-8, metropolitan status was not
an issue for Henry, so there was little point in mentioning any
Archbishopric. The names of Phagan and Deruvian (originating from
Winchester annals) are inserted by the bishop of Winchester into
‘Geoffrey’s’ First Variant version and William’s DA…. specifically for the
attempt at metropolitan i.e. in 1144-1149. Coincidentally, the insert of
Henry’s chapter 19 of GR3 comes just after William relates that
Winchester’s old Minster was founded by Cenwealh!
‘The faithful tradition of succeeding centuries’ can only be that evidence
concocted in DA and based on the preachers names in HRB. Therefore,
Henry is cross-referencing his own interpolated work. The persuasive
words of ‘trustworthy record found in several sources’ is already not an
accurate depiction from author B’s Life of St Dunstan account, which never
mentioned the Disciples of Christ. In fact the inference is so clever that
Henry wishes us to believe that the ‘first neophytes of the catholic law’ in
author B’s work refer to Phagan and Deruvian. But author B’s Vita Dunstani
does not have them specifically in mind when he writes: For it was in this
island (Glastonbury) that, by God’s guidance the first novices of the Catholic
law discovered an ancient church, not built by or dedicated in the memory of
The discrepancy of the disciple legend may be based upon two different
renderings of author B’s work: nullis hominum recordationibus fabricatum
uel dicatam- not built by or dedicated in the memory of man. Another version
(derived from Eng
) of author B’s passage: nulla hominum arte (ut ferunt)
constructam, immo humanae saluti caelitus paratam- built by no human skill
though prepared by heaven for the salvation of mankind.
The discrepancy is that the church in the first instance is not built in the
‘memory of man' as author B most probably genuinely stated…. and in the
second, a supernatural foundation; or the possibility of an apostolic builder
is allowed. If one was pedantic, this would then contradict the assertion it
was built by disciples…. as disciples have human skill. This would coincide
with the fabricated assertion found in DA concerning St David that the old
church was consecrated by Christ himself and this particular story is only
concocted by Henry to nullify statements found in the life of St David by
The early lives of Dunstan, Winterbottom and Lapidge. P.13
William of Malmesbury. Saints lives. Winterbottom and Thompson. xviii
Rhygyfarch, where it ascribes the foundation of Glastonbury to St David.
But the link with St David will be discussed further in the chapter on DA.
We know William of Malmesbury used author B’s Vita S.Dunstani as a
reference when writing his own VSD at Glastonbury. William does not
include this particular passage of B’s in his own VSD. It seems fair to assume
that if William set out in DA to show genuine antiquity for the ‘old church’
he would not have to rely on the 601 charter as definitive evidence of a pre-
existing church as his strongest case of a foundation before Augustine.
William would have cited the ‘trustworthy records’; especially if they were
in ‘several sources’ as we are led to believe he has written above in GR3.
William is writing VSD at the same time as DA. One must assume, if an
apostolic foundation were really known or even posited by William then it
would have at least been anecdotally commented upon when the old
church is mentioned at the arrival of Dunstan’s mother
in VSD I or when
he refers back to the wooden church (incidentally and not surprisingly,
with no emphasis on wattle construction): Dunstan was now assured of the
King’s generosity and friendship and he proceeded to raise to new heights the
monastery that God had seen fit to entrust to him. At Glastonbury, as I
mentioned before, there is, next to the wooden church, a stone one, whose
founder is said by an old and reliable tradition to be of King Ine.
The point is; if VSD and DA were written simultaneously…. why is there
no disciple foundation mentioned in VSD II which was written just after the
main text of DA? Why therefore, if we know DA is vastly interpolated, do
scholars still insist that the painfully obvious ‘Glastonbury’ interpolations in
GR3 (version B) are the resultant consequence of a ‘new revelation’ to
William during his researches at the abbey? Why would Newell be so
gullible as to insist it is a conjecture of William’s and conclude: It was
William, therefore, who invented the association between Philip and
Glastonbury. If there were genuine evidence of apostolic foundation, one
can be sure it would be cited elsewhere. Newell does not understand why
Philip is mentioned and Freculphus is cited because like other
commentators he assumes no fraud in GR3.
William of Malmesbury. Saints Lives, VSD, vol I, 1,2
William of Malmesbury. Saints Lives, VSD, vol I, 16
Henry (posing as ‘Geoffrey’) has used as his inspiration for Avalon, the
Island mentioned in the prophecy of Melkin to which the directional data
refers. The prophecy’s sole purpose is to indicate the location of Joseph’s of
Arimathea’s body. Newell does not know this. But it is interesting to
speculate that he possibly finds another reason apart from Freculphus’s
reference, why Henry Blois (posing as ‘William’) has lighted upon
The best that can be achieved by our Glastonbury interpolator of
GR3 is to steer the gullible to accept his propaganda by way of citing
Freculphus as the closest tentative and persuasive argument.
Understated assertions in William’s GR tend to corroborate the more
unrealistic and over-embellished propaganda found in DA. The
commonalities of the Glastonbury GR3 interpolations and their
counterparts in DA, seems to have added to the credence and authenticity
of both accounts even with the blatant contradictions. Ultimately, a disciple
foundation in GR3 naturally leans toward the acceptance of Joseph lore in
DA. It becomes less of a giant leap when Henry engages upon his second
agenda. Unless one sees the DA as a book which evolved, (useful to Henry’s
purpose at different times), one will never understand that the content was
interpolated according to the changing motives.
The first two chapters in DA concerning Joseph was very much a part of
the propaganda already included in DA when Henry Blois died. This is a
fact denied by the modern scholastic community simply because it does not
fit with their re-construction of events. There is no definitive evidence to
Newell. William of Malmesbury. On the antiquity of Glastonbury p.469: What authority had the author for
connecting Joseph with Philip? The only testimony yet discovered is a Georgian document, assigned to the
eighth century, which undertakes to describe the erection of a church at Lydda, to Mary, mother of God. The
Georgian book, which professes to emanate from Joseph himself, recites his captivity by the Jews, release by the
risen Saviour, and collection of the sacred blood (received in the grave-clothes of Christ). At Arimathea the
Redeemer appears to Joseph, breathes on the company present (which includes Seleucus and Nicodemus) the
Holy Ghost, and commands Joseph to resort to Lydda, where he will meet Philip. Joseph obeys, and reaches
Lydda, whither also proceeds Philip, who preaches with success, baptizing five thousand persons. The new
converts wish Philip to remain, and he declares that they will be safe under the guidance of others, and pursues
his way. A site is chosen for the new church, and Peter summoned from Jerusalem in order to preside over its
construction. Hence- forward, Joseph plays a secondary part, and does not again come into contact with Philip.'
It will be observed that in this account Philip commends his disciples to the care of Joseph, as in DA; a story
resembling the Georgian document would be sufficient to account for the latter. (Newell)
If I am correct about Henry Blois as the instigator of the reference to Freculphus that Henry obtained this from
the abbey library; we must assume that Freculphus had misinterpreted Gallatia for Gaul where Philip actually
was located. Henry Blois must however have come across this Georgian book to make the connection between
St Philip and Joseph. Lagorio seems to think the abbey looked to the Apocrypha as if like bees working in
concert…. the monks over several generations contrived the DA interpolations to fit with the Romances.
suggest that the first two chapters of DA did not exist as part of the last
additions written into DA before Henry’s death. Like a defective gene, the
assumption that the mention of Joseph was a late addition by a
consolidating author has been passed down through succeeding
generations of scholars.
Henry Blois is well acquainted with the contents of the prophecy of
Melkin which, even when misinterpreted, clearly suggested that on
Ineswitrin Joseph is buried to be found someday in the future. If Henry had
not had a copy, there would be no mystical island called Avalon in the First
Variant. There would be no Graal in Chrétien’s work, and there would be no
Joseph and a mysterious vessel in the Vaus d’Avaron
in Robert de Boron’s
work. Most of all, there would never have been the idea to plant a fake
gravesite to be found in the future in Avalon with the location pointed out
in DA.
However, like the ‘experts in the modern era, Henry Blois did not
understand the instructional data of Melkin’s prophecy. But only the inept
could not understand the unearthing of a cross at Montacute and not
connect it to the clue left by Melkin concerning Joseph’s burial site
mentioned by Father Good. Especially, regarding a point on the 104 mile
line we are instructed to find in the directional data of the Melkin prophecy.
Therefore, it is hardly surprising that Henry Blois had already searched
for Joseph at Montacute (knowing that it was himself who had changed
Ineswitrin for Avalon on the prophecy), aware that Joseph’s remains were
on Ineswitrin but uncertain of the island’s location. Henry could not
interpret the obtuse Latin prophecy, but Henry understood the intent of the
prophecy was to cryptically provide the islands location, by means of
direction. Even Henry, unable to deciper the solution, would know that the
bifurcated line mentioned would indicate that the prophecy would
probably have a geometrical solution. Henry just thought he would
appropriate the only island in ancient Dumnonia with a Joseph legend i.e.
Looe island.
Lagorio’s perception is interesting: Joseph’s premier in the Grail romances occurred in Robert de Boron’s
Joseph d’Arimathie, a late twelfth century work telling how Joseph and the Grail company travelled from
Jerusalem westward with the ultimate destination in the Vaus d’Avaron, possibly a variation of Avalon. Do you
Carley, who has witnessed the solution to Melkin’s prophecy
unwilling to admit that all the pieces of his and Lagorio’s jigsaw assessment
of the three genres under discussion in this volume do not fit together.
Joseph lore in DA being dismissed as late interpolation has led to some
serious scholastic contradictions in chronology.
Instead of finding the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (as it was set out in
the prophecy), Henry decided to concoct the biggest fraud in history by
staging the bogus remains of his chivalric King Arthur in a tomb and
placing with it an identifying Leaden cross. The location of the burial site
was pointed out in DA and Henry knew the relics would eventually be
searched for by posterity. Disinterment and the re-interment of famous
people and saints was a common practice and the collection of random
saints’ relics were known to have been sourced by Henry and taken to
Glastonbury. The fame of Henry’s renowned chivalric King Arthur would
live forever in the memory of the British Isles. However, none of these
events disprove the existence of the prophecy of Melkin; they highlight its
existence. Now, if our ‘experts’ would have us understand that these ‘set of
circumstances’ just happened at Glastonbury ‘fortuitously’ by the
coincidental actions of so many different monks over generations (a bit like
throwing a jigsaw in the air and expecting all the pieces falling into place)
they should not be posing as scholars.
Our current expert on Geoffrey of Monmouth, Julia Crick understands
‘Geoffrey’ invented the chivalric persona of Arthur but has no idea
‘Geoffrey’ is Henry Blois even after researches entitled ‘Script and Forgery
in England’
. She may however, like some perceptive commentators,
realise that Avalon is a fabrication. If Avalon were really Glastonbury, why
According to Goldsworthy, And did those feet….a copy of the geometry was seen by Carley and ignored.
Crick acts upon the appeal of A. G. van Hamel: What is wanted most at present is a minute study of all the
Latin texts that are still buried in British and continental libraries.Crick achieves this in Dissemination and
Reception but without knowing the author of HRB, she is in no way equipped to categorize the HRB’s evolution
from Primary Historia, through an altered First Variant aimed at Papal audience where changes were made
ingratiating the text toward papal approval; and then followed by the later expanded Vulgate version. This is not
to say that a Primary Historia was a reduced first Variant. Episodes recorded in EAW from Primary
Historiamay have been redacted in First Variant to be re-established again in Vulgate considering the mindset of
Henry Blois when the origins of HRB was composed. Scholar’s like Griscom have tried to put into historical
context HRB but only to support theories regarding the dating of texts through dedicatees. As we know this is a
fruitless exercise.
is it that William of Malmesbury does not mention it anywhere except in
the interpolated section of DA? If Avalon was not synonymous with
Glastonbury and had never been heard of by William of Malmesbury, and
both ‘Chivalric Arthur’ and Avalon were fabrications; would not such an
‘expert’ be able to deduce the same man might be responsible for both
inventions…. cognisant of the fact that ‘Geoffrey’s’ Arthur is fictionally
placed in Autun, (a stones throw from a town called Avallon) in the region
of Blois…. and all this transpired while Henry Blois was abbot of
Our scholars would have us believe that Chrétien writes about Un Graal
(which is based on the vessel’ of the duo fassula in the prophecy of Melkin)
and Robert de Boron writes about the Grail and Joseph of Arimathea and
the sending it to the Vaus d’Avaron, completely independently of
Glastonbury or Henry Blois’ influence…. while Avalon, by a fortuitous set of
circumstances, suddenly becomes synonymous with Glastonbury at the find
of one object (the leaden cross).
More miraculously, Avalon just happens to be accepted as Glastonbury
by Gerald of Wales in 1193, even though he refers to records which indicate
where the body was located. As I will cover shortly, Gerald has read DA and
in that book the name Avalon already exists. In the interim 20 year period
between Henry Blois’s death and the unveiling of Arthur’s tomb, are we to
believe there was no cognisance of Avalons synonymy with Glastonbury?
Scholars would have us believe Henry de Sully (the abbot in 1191) decided
to carry out a fraud at Glastonbury positing for the first time that
Glastonbury’s previous name was Avalon. And hey presto in the same
period Robert completely remote from Glastonbury has Joseph and Avalon
and the Grail (derived from the duo fassula).
One thing all the experts leave well alone is the question of
Glastonbury’s transformation into Avalon and who was behind it. It would
be unbelievable for all and sundry to suddenly accept Glastonbury as
Avalon just because the leaden cross implicates Glastonbury as such. Even
in the twelfth century healthy scepticism existed and Henry de Sully would
hardly get away with pulling a stunt, which, to all intents and purposes, just
mimics an island mentioned twice in HRB.
Do you really think they just had a hole dug and pulled out bones and
everyone was ok with the pantomime? Arthur’s grave had matured ten
years at least and we will get to Gerald’s eyewitness testimony shortly
which modern scholars have haughtily ignored because it does not fit with
how they have instructed us that events transpired. Avalon’s conversion to
Glastonbury could never happen without Henry’s groundwork; not
forgetting Insula Pomorum is part of this groundwork toward
transformation as early as 1155-7 in VM.
Previously, scholars have rationalised that Avalon transformed into
Glastonbury at the time the leaden cross was unearthed and therefore the
Charter of St Patrick followed subsequently. The postscript to the Patrick
charter in DA (which antedated the disinterment) substantiated further the
position that Avalon was the old name for Glastonbury. When the leaden
cross was found, there was a ready acceptance of Avalon as the previous
name for Glastonbury. None have suspected the instigator of the St Patrick
charter, and the person who interpolated the location of Arthur’s grave site
into DA is the same person who invented the name Avalon and the chivalric
Arthur and who pre-ordained the location to Glastonbury before Arthur’s
disinterment. The same person had the leaden cross fabricated. Henry de
Sully unearthing the relics was just doing what Henry Blois knew would
eventually be done and what Henry Blois himself had done with saints
relics in the past.
The reader may also remember Henry Blois was the instigator of the
rumour regarding Dunstan whereby that rumour had been countered by
Eadmer’s letter in which it was stated that Eadmer as a boy at Canterbury
remembers Dunstan’s reinterment: With it was found in inscription on a
lead tablet which clearly stated that there lay the body of St Dunstan,
Archbishop of Canterbury. It was from this incontestable proof from
antiquity that Henry got the idea for his Leaden cross to mimic a similar
proof of Arthur in Avalon.
The abbot of Glastonbury, (aka Geoffrey of Monmouth) is the inventor of
both Avalon and the persona of the Chivalric Arthur…. who fabricated the
cross which bears testimony to both his inventions at a location at which he
was abbot. Also preachers named by ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’ also come to
Avalon in what the scholars know to be a concocted charter in a book
dedicated to Henry Blois. These are not fortuitous circumstances!! This is
conscious design by the architect of the Matter of Britain.
For scholars like Lagorio, the answer to many of these random
coincidences is to force all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to fit face side-
down. That way, no-one can see the picture, it has no context! Adherents to
Lagorio’s theory are happy to accept that Joseph lore appeared at
Glastonbury by a ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’. Modern scholars have
no understanding of the meaning behind Melkin’s prophecy and even less
idea than those who lived in the fourteenth century (who at least
understood it was a set of geometric instructions), which, when deciphered,
led to a sepulchre.
Our ‘experts’ decree is clouded in ignorance and yet they pronounce the
prophecy is a fake and even worse, they maintain the man who composed
the cipher for the prophecy never lived, while insisting the prophecy is a
construct of various sources. If all that were true, one must ask why bother
to invent solutions like Baybars (in Arabic al-Malik al-Zahir Rukn al-Din
Baybars al-Bunduqdari), Sultan of Egypt and Syria. What are we looking for
here an island in Dumnonia or something to baffle the senses?
The modern conclusion is that a person who did not exist could not leave
an accurate set of instructions…. which when portrayed on a map lead us to
an Island in Devon. Our scholars would have us believe that it must be
coincidence that Joseph was a tin merchant and the Devonian Island
donated to Glastonbury in the 601 charter (which fits Diodorous
description of Ictis) is not Ineswitrin. None of these experts consider the
traditions of the Cornish regarding Joseph and how the panoply of early
saint’s names, defines most towns and villages in Cornwall. These were
from the earliest Christian followers in the first century. Should we not
consider why there is such a large number of early Saints particularly in
Henry as we know carries out all his authorship with subtlety to avoid
discovery. If Melkin’s prophecy or Melkin’s name had been included in DA
with the original name of the island on the prophecy i.e. Ineswitrin, it
would lead every investigator back to Henry Blois as Abbot of Glastonbury
and how it was a dead Caradoc wrote the life of Gildas in which Ineswitrin
is transformed into Glastonbury; and how this book was produced 10 years
after Caradoc’s death and to which Malmesbury never referred in his
unadulterated writings. This essentially is why there is a record of the
prophecy under the name Insula Avallonis (in a no longer extant volume),
which JG must have seen, and why the name of the Island was changed on
the prophecy.
The same prophecy about Avalon could only be associated with
‘Geoffrey’ as no-one had heard of Avalon before he had it in the storyline as
the mystical isle in HRB. But if Life of Gildas where Glastonbury is
transformed into Ineswitrin and where Arthur is connected to Glastonbury
and the scene is then portrayed on the Modena Archivolt were to then be
connected to a Melkin prophecy (which had the original Ineswitrin name
on it) then c.1140 Henry Blois was recognisable as the common
denominator. But because the prophecy had a change of name and was in a
tract written supposedly by Melkin (De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda) and
much later only JG divulges its contents, Henry Blois is today not even
connected to the Prophecy or suspected as the promulgator of Joseph lore at
The Melkin Prophecy is after all where Henry Blois got the inspiration
for the actual island itself called Avalon in HRB…. named as we have
covered, from the Burgundian town. Melkin and Joseph have been
discounted as later Glastonbury inventions, because our scholar’s
understanding of events is that DA was interpolated over time and
institutionally at Glastonbury. Also their understanding is that DA’s
interpolation took place at a time after Arthur’s disinterment; even though
the location of Arthur’s grave is specifically mentioned in DA by Gerald’s
On what basis is this huge presumption made? It is made purely on the
spurious deduction that it was Henry de Sully who instigated the fraudulent
unearthing. It is the forcing of pieces of a jigsaw with no apparent picture
visible, nothing more. But, by adopting this viewpoint, it obviously obscures
Henry Blois as a possible interpolator, even though these experts know the
entire Grail edifice innately connected to Glastonbury was propagated by
someone named Master Blehis. One would have to have actively learnt to
ignore evidence from mentors such as Crick and Carley to not see what is
Not only have they ignored Gerald of Wales’s written testimony given
twenty years after Henry Blois death as an eyewitness to the disinterment
of Arthur (written only one or two years after the event), but they have
shunned every coincidence which connects our three genres of Geoffrey of
Monmouth, Glastonburyana, and Grail legend. It takes more effort to deny
the fact that Henry Blois is the common denominator than to accept it.
Henry Blois’ portrayal of royal court extravagance in HRB is so close to
the real life experiences of Henry Blois and of his uncle’s court, so how does
a Welsh cleric from the Marches have such insight into affairs of state? How
is it that Merlin foresees two new metropolitan sees and so many episodes
of the Anarchy? How is it that much of the corroborative evidence is found
in a book (DA) dedicated to the person who is obviously the perpetrator of
this fraud? How is it that the person attested to have propagated Grail
legend has a name like Monseigneur Blois, Master Blehis, Maistre Blohis,
Blihos Bliheris or Blaise. Giraldus Cambrensis Bledhericus is the ‘famosus
ille fabulator’ who had lived "shortly before our time"; and we have already
caught Henry as ‘Hericus’ as the hedgehog at Winchester in the Merlin
The four corner pieces of the puzzle; Arthur, Joseph of Arimathea, the
Grail, and the mystical Island have all been turned upside down and the
pieces fit together but the connecting pieces don’t make a picture which
anyone can see. A blank picture is what our experts have presented to us.
Carley’s denial of the solution to Melkin’s prophecy can only be termed
However, to concede to those scholars unaware of the solution to
Melkin’s prophecy, we can understand that their assumption that Melkin is
a fabrication is largely based upon the fact that there is no mention of
Melkin in DA and that the prophecy had not been deciphered before 2010.
But, as I have commented already, if a fourteenth century forger came up
with directions by coincidence, which actually, (when understood as a
cipher), pointed to an island firstly and then this island was found to be in
Devon…. this in itself would be alarming; and really would be a case of
throwing pieces in the air and watching them neatly form on the map.
Commentators have not suspected that one mind is behind the
developing myth even when Arthur and Joseph and Avalon are linked in
the earliest continental romances and Giraldus bears testimony that the
raconteur of renown lived shortly before our time’. Henry Blois was patron
to Gerald and we know Henry Blois goes to extraordinary lengths in
detailed interpolation to secret the fact that he is the propagator of the
Matter of Britain. It would not be surprising that both Henry II and Giraldus
had both been primed as to Arthur’s whereabouts. One must not forget, in
the minds of those living c.1190 it was William of Malmesbury, the reliable
historian, who lets us know where Arthur is buried. Do you really think a
thirteenth century interpolator after the fact would just let us know where
Arthur was buried without aggrandising the whole affair in DA if that is
how it transpired? The real point to make is in both references the present
tense is used i.e. In DA Arthur and Guinevere are between the piramides
and the same in the colophon of Perlesvaus Arthur and Guinevere are
buried in Avalon before they are found there in the future.
Scholars dating estimation of Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’ Arimathie
c.1160-80 is guesswork but at least this incorporates the period Gerald says
Bledhericus who is the ‘famosus ille fabulator’ who lived "shortly before our
time". The oldest manuscript of Joseph d Arimathie just by coincidence
comes from Modena where we know Henry passed through.
If we can witness one mind behind most of the pertinent interpolations
in DA and GR which connects Glastonbury lore to the romances and the
Grail, why must it be assumed that Joseph was only inserted into DA after
Arthur’s disinterment? As long as no-one suspected Henry Blois as the
fraudulent author of the chivalric Arthur in HRB, this assumption has
remained tenable. It no longer holds when it is understood that the advent
of both Arthur and Joseph into DA are by the same man who was the
original propagator of the romance literature and was the author of the
Historia. When this is accepted, the Joseph legend will be seen to have
derived from Melkin and from a verifiable prophecy which in essence can
be substantiated and historically proved once the tomb is uncovered. But
with modern scholarship ill equipped to recognise the connections made in
this study of the three genres of work, Ictis will be in Plymouth, Joseph will
just be a legend and the most important artefact worldwide will remain
under Burgh Island.
So, if we were to sum up on the present state of scholarship of our three
genres; we would have to say there is no current authority who
understands the provenance of the Grail romances. Most scholars have died
disputing and chasing the answer much like the elusive Grail quest itself.
Carley, our expert on Glastonburyana, by his own admission can’t make
any kind of sense from the prophecy of Melkin and is not qualified to
dismiss its contents as a fabrication simply because he has chosen to ignore
evidence. Since Carley regurgitates Logario’s views, we can expect no new
revelation from him without crumbling the very edifice of erroneous
pronouncements he and his mentor have made regarding Joseph of
When it comes to our expert on the History of the Kings of Britain by
Geoffrey of Monmouth, Julia Crick is our expert. If she does not know who
wrote the book, it hardly seems the correct starting point by informing
others how it was disseminated. In fact Julia informs us that Geoffrey’s
literary output too has been seen as a bid for patronage. Henry Blois was
probably the richest man in Britain, in no need of a patron and all her
recycled ramblings of previous scholar’s assessments of the dedicatees are
redundant because not one dedicatee was ever a patron of Geoffrey
simply because ‘Geoffrey’ is Henry Blois. Certainly, none of our current
experts are ‘qualified’ to make assertions concerning the Island of Avalon as
none knows of the provenance of its name; nor do they understand how it
is in reality Burgh Island in Devon derived by decoding the Melkin
prophecy and having understood that its original subject of the Island of
Ineswitrin has been transposed so that JG’s rendition of the Melkin
prophecy speaks of the Island of Avalon (a Geoffrey invention).
Once we (the non-experts, using only common sense) understand that
the prophecy of Melkin was in Henry Blois possession, we can then
comprehend why Henry in his interpolations in William of Malmesbury’s
work, comments too frequently on the construction of the Old church.
In effect this prepares his audience to more readily accept that the words
cratibus and oratori from Melkin’s prophecy are references to the Old
church at Glastonbury. As we have covered, the reference applies to the
naturally formed slate cavity/cave where Joseph is buried and the other to a
religious house which once existed where the current hotel is on Burgh
Island. If one witnessed inside the tomb one would understand why Melkin
refers to it obliquely as a crater. It is formed from the geological upheaval of
slate deposits which creates a naturally arched cave in which, (at the
present day), the ceiling has partially collapsed and the tunnel to the cave
has been bricked up. If the reader accounts this as hubris on my part, it is
not!!! The cave was entered by the Templars c.1340 and the shroud, now
known as the Shroud of Turin was removed. In 1453 a Margaret de Charney
supposedly the Templar’s granddaughter, deeded the shroud to the House
of Savoy and in 1578 the shroud was transferred to Turin.
There is a well-known local legend that on Burgh Island there was a
monastery at one time in antiquity and it is to this that the word ‘Oratori’ in
the Melkin Prophecy relates. In whatever book Henry Blois reproduced the
he wants his audience to understand that the words in the
prophecy apply to the old church at Glastonbury as far as any intelligible
material in the prophecy can be made to appear coincidental (hence the
direct reference to the church covered in lead mentioned in Perlesvaus).
The wattle construction of the oratory is not mentioned elsewhere in
William of Malmesbury’s work except in what we know to be Henry Blois
interpolations of GR3 and DA. Therefore, we should look to the reasoning of
why such a normally inconsequential detail is highlighted and a wooden
church becomes necessarily wattle in construction. The obvious reason
would be that our propagandist is steering his audience to accept the
‘oratory’ in the prophecy as the current wooden church. The only reason he
would be doing this is because the prophecy exists.
The point is…. if Henry Blois is employing certain words in
Malmesbury’s works, so that they seem to correlate to the ‘Old Churchand
we know the prophecy does not apply to anywhere else but Burgh Island….
we must conclude that the person wishing to convince us of this has a
reason for doing so. It is a purposeful attempt to mirror with what is
stipulated in the prophecy so as to conflate Glastonbury with the original
island location in the prophecy.
It is quite foolish that scholars find it unremarkable and natural to
mention what a building used to be made of on several occasions, especially
when William himself (not the interpolations) says it is made of wood.
if Henry is keen to seek a harmonisation of criteria in the prophecy with
what features exist at Glastonbury and this harmonisation is found in
William’s GR3; the Melkin prophecy is unlikely to be a fourteenth century
It has to be Henry who reproduced the prophecy as it has his invented name of Insula Avallonis substituted for
The exact same procedure was used when it was imperative that Ineswitrin appeared synonymous with
Glastonbury in the Life of Gildas.
William of Malmesbury. Saints Lives, VSD, vol I, 16. At Glastonbury, as I mentioned before, there is, next to
the wooden church, a stone one, whose founder is said by an old and reliable tradition to be of King Ine.
concoction; especially, if the church had burnt down and these were
subsequent interpolations. This would be the case, unless it is a ‘fortuitous
convergence of factors’ and a huge coincidence that the data in the
prophecy just so happens to indicate an island in Devon which had a name
in Brythonic which meant the ‘island of White tin’ (attested to by Diodorus
as Ictis by its location and description) and as William of Malmesbury
relates was donated to Glastonbury in 601AD.
It is Henry Blois who is transforming William’s work in GR3 to correlate
with a word found in the prophecy concerning ‘Wattle’. Cratibus
praeparatis: ‘prepared wattle’ is not clear; but is more relevant to a