Chapter 26
De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesia
Our authority on the DA is John Scott.
1
He too assumes any mention of
Arthur in DA is accounted as being written after Arthur’s disinterment.
Most commentators assume the DA’s interpolations were inserted by
several monks over a period c.1184 -91 to around 1230-47 from which date
the oldest extant copy of DA dates. As modern scholars have had no
understanding of the scale of the fraud carried out by Henry Blois or the
reasons for doing so, there has been a lack of direction in attempting to
explain the connections between HRB’s King Arthur, Robert’s Joseph of
Arimathea and of course the Grail; and their affiliation with ‘Geoffrey’s’ and
Melkin’s Avalon at Glastonbury.
The DA plays an important role in substantiating parts of ‘Geoffrey’s’
pseudo-history and vice versa where such people as Phagan and Deruvian
are concerned and JG’s mention of HRB’s Arviragus to the twelve hides in
DA. As we have touched on already, there can be no understanding of the
stages of transition through which the DA passed after having been
completed by William of Malmesbury without understanding that at least
two redactions were put together for Henry’s first agenda in a case for
Metropolitan.
The post 1158 agenda which included the conversion of Glastonbury
into Avalon and the introduction of Joseph as founder were added toward
the end of Henry Blois life and probably were never read or seen in DA
until after his death. What Scott refers to as a consolidating author is
responsible for some later additions concerning the dispute with Wells.
William of Malmesbury wrote a book on the history of Glastonbury
abbey which mainly exists unadulterated in the latter half of the present
arrangement of DA from chapter 34 onwards. We can assume that the
1
John Scott. The Early history of Glastonbury. Boydell press
format of title heading followed by elucidation as is marked out nowadays
by chapters is how William first arranged his History and Henry Blois
imitated the format in his final redaction of DA. As I have stated, the
original may well have been a monograph and singular copy and dedicated
in the preface to Henry Blois. I shall use Scott’s translation to elucidate how
the book of the DA formed and offer some speculations to early chronology.
What I believe has transpired is in 1144 Henry made several
additions to DA building a credible case for a bogus apostolic foundation.
This fraudulent propaganda exercise was initially built upon and expanded
from a tentative comment originating with author B and developed by way
of the GR3 version B interpolations. Even though metropolitan was granted
to Henry Blois at the first request in 1144 there was not enough substance
to the disciplic proposition when it came under scrutiny by a hostile pope in
1149. Even though the Eleutherius envoys were most probably named in
the first attempt (as their names were fortuitously corroborated in the First
Variant and the book’s composition was directed to an ecclesiastical
audience). more compelling evidence was needed for the 1149 attempt.
Hence, the charter of St Patrick was produced which necessitated
certain points in DA to be rationalised with the previous apostolic polemic
and so we have such rationalisations as the ‘renovation’ of the Old church.
The Charter of St Patrick was added into DA or most probably appended as
a faked ancient document (posing as a copy of an original which avoids the
question of papal seals). The fabrication was for the second attempt at
metropolitan probably put forward in evidence as having been found by
William at Glastonbury.
References to King Arthur probably appeared in DA before 1158 but this
is not important to Henry’s main thrust toward gaining Metropolitan. Since
this ran along-side corroborative evidence in the First Variant there is an
equal chance that the Arthur and Melvas story was included at that time
originating from the Life Of Gildas which was definitely put forward as
evidential support for the antiquity of Glastonbury in Henry Blois’ request
for Metropolitan status.
It is certain that Joseph’s name was not part of DA lore when the DA was
employed as a witness by Henry Blois in pursuit of metropolitan status. If
Arthur’s name had appeared in the early rendition of DA it would have
aligned HRB’s main character with Life Of Gildas. This might have brought
suspicion on the ‘Bishop of fabrication’ since DA was dedicated to him
alone. But who would know what Malmesbury had written if he was dead
and there was only one copy of DA.
The basic content of the first 34 chapters of DA, researchers have
deduced for the most part are interpolations, derived from various hands at
later dates. In reality they are a consequence of Henry’s agendas. They are
actually constituent parts of the edifice of the Matter of Britain which Henry
Blois has left to posterity. If, as scholars seem to think, the DA was
interpolated over time it would be rational that those interpolations would
also be dispersed through the latter part of DA which has largely remained
unadulterated. It is rather an indication that the first 34 chapters have been
inserted as interpolated folio’s.
Primarily William felt it necessary to write DA as he was unwilling to
concede to the monks own propaganda claim (started I believe by Henry
Blois
2
) concerning Dunstan’s burial at Glastonbury. As Scott relates,
3
William’s shortfall in compliance to write into history the rumours
concerning Dunstan’s relics in VD is probably the catalyst for the
commencement of the DA.
William seems to have become more than hagiographer employed
by the monks and seems to be part of the fraternity while he carries out
work on DA. In reference to Osbern’s accusation that Dunstan was the first
abbot at Glastonbury, William sets out his own integrity and puts Osbern’s
views to shame: It is a misuse of learning and leisure to retail falsehoods
about the doings of saints: it shows contempt for reputation and condemns
one to infamy. I should be glad to be unaware that this fate has befallen a
recent author of a life of Dunstan.
4
In 1133-34, when Henry had received DA, few others had perused it
until it was employed after William’s death at Rome as part of the case put
forward for granting metropolitan to Henry. The consolidated (Henry
version) of DA then arrived at Glastonbury after his own death with all
Henry’s further input and rationalisations of certain contradictions
evidenced in his changing agendas. Tatlock neatly hits the nail on the head,
but he, like other commentators, has not suspected Henry’s personal
2
See chapter on Eadmer’s letter to the Monks at Glastonbury.
3
Early history of Glastonbury, p.4-5
4
William of Malmesbury, Saints lives. Winterbottom and Lapidge. Prologue to VSD vol1
interpolative input: Indeed since William dedicated his work to Henry of
Blois, nephew of Henry Ist and abbot there since 1126, it would be a plausible
guess (no more) that the propagandist activities of both William and Caradoc
were inspired in the abbacy of that able prelate.
5
The text of DA begins with the Prologue:
William of Malmesbury's preface to his history of the church of
Glastonbury.
To his Lord, Henry, Bishop of Winchester, who deserves to be cherished
and honoured in the deep embrace of Christ, William as son of your church,
sends whatever joy you might wish for. If there be any one thing which may
sustain a man in this life and persuade him to endure tranquilly reverses and
disturbances of the world, it is I think, above all, contemplation of the Holy
Scriptures. Even the writings of the pagans can claim to be useful in so far as
the brilliance of their language inspires the reader's talents and refines his
speech. But truly the harvest of those books inspired by heaven is far richer,
for on one hand they pour sustenance of deceitful sweetness into the soul, and
on the other hand they secured reward of eternal bliss. Moreover there are
many, nay to my mind innumerable, truths in the Holy Scriptures, both
precepts and examples, by which divine Grace instructs the minds of mortals
in right living. Precepts teach us how we ought to live, examples demonstrate
how easy it is, with God's help, to carry out his commands. Yet nature has so
fashioned the minds of some men that, although they know that both are
necessary, they are incited more by hearing examples than exhortations.
Similarly they respect the deeds of foreigners out of reverence for their
sanctity but are seized by a keener joy if the life of any Saint who was their
countryman is set forth, in which, as it were, they may perceive as in a mirror
of living image of religion. For the affinity adds to the pleasure of the report
and no one despairs of being able to do himself, through the grace of God,
what he hears has been done by another from his part of the world.
Wherefore, I have employed my pen on that work, which I judged to be of
no small value, in which I laboured to commit to eternal memory the life of
5
Caradoc of Llancarfan. J.S.P. Tatlock, Speculum, vol XIII P.145
the blessed St Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury and later Archbishop of
Canterbury, and have now completed, with scrupulous regard for the
truth, the two books about him for which the brethren at Glastonbury,
your sons and my masters and companions, had asked. However, lest I seem
to have lacked zeal in the performance of my duty, I will begin this book
by going back to the origins of your church and will unfold its progress since
the earliest beginnings. Nor ought this be considered very different from
the original plan, since the honour of the church redounds to Dunstan and
praise of him to the church. For, she fostered Dunstan at her maternal breast
until manhood; and he added greatly to his mother's splendour. Therefore a
small hope has begun to grow in my heart that this holy work may cause the
dignity of the nurse to be highlighted by the example of her nursling. Some
time ago I allowed those small books, the life of the blessed Patrick, and
miracles of the venerable Benignus and the passion of the martyr Indract,
which I had fashioned with like care, to be examined by the monks so that if
anything unreasonable had been said it could be properly corrected. After
assessing my writings at length and deliberating favourably they left me free
of any blemish of blame because nothing in them gave offence to religious
eyes or lacked graciousness. So venerable master and deservedly beloved
father, I offer this little work whatever its worth, for your careful perusal. The
motive for my action is clear: that your Excellency should know the number
and identity of the men who founded and exalted the church which, under God
and his saints, now relies chiefly on your protection. Now however, that you
had imitated (I almost said surpassed) the deeds of those ancient heroes
before you heard their names. As for detractors, if perchance anyone
should be so bold, I shall oppose them vigourously for in what way can
earlier guardians be preferred to you? In extending the patrimony? But
you both recover holdings earlier lost and by your able skills amass new ones.
In constructing buildings? But an admiring guide will reveal more effectively
than my words of praise the extent to which you surpass all your
predecessors in this regard. In protecting the peace of the inhabitants? But
you drive out all plunderers before the shield of your name, you banish clouds
of dejection by the splendour of your countenance and you expose the
chicanery of litigants by the good sense of your words. In the piety of your
monks? But, as always, with God's beneficence religion so flourishes in
your time that miserable envy is ashamed to fabricate any falsehood
about it. The monks openly offer their love to your heart because you do not
terrify them with a sneer but receive them joyfully when they come, treat
them kindly and like a father, wish them well when they leave. These words
which the poet used, not unjustly, of certain powerful men certainly do not
apply to you: ‘He compels all the inferior serpents to keep their distance and
lords it over the empty desert’. In short, any eloquence falls short of your
worth and your praise is valued more highly than anything else. Since this is
so, accept I beg you, this tribute of my devotion and pledge of my zeal and do
not deprive me of the fruit of my labour. So attend, if it please your heart,
and give heed while I try to rescue from suspicion the antiquity of your
church, arranged according to the succession of its prelates, in so far as I
have been able to scrape them together from the heap of your muniments.
In the prologue of DA and from VSD it is clear the monks expected
William to write their propaganda into history. They were not satisfied with
William’s work in their commission of VSD because William was not going
to re-iterate the rumour started by Henry Blois about Dunstan’s translation
to Glastonbury. The monks after DA was complete have referred William to
Henry Blois who is now at Winchester. When the prologue of DA is written,
the two books of VSD are already complete. But, William has not pandered
to the rumour of Dunstan’s relics at Glastonbury and incorporated it in VSD.
This is the cause of his uneasiness witnessed above and the reasoning for
writing DA. He has delivered an account of Dunstan’s life with scrupulous
regard for the truth.
As above, William’s DA was dedicated in the preface to Henry as bishop
of Winchester, who is not addressed as papal legate. If we allow the
dedication or prologue as being written totally by William (and there is no
reason not to); it was probably written between 1133-4. The main body of
William’s original work of De antiquitates was probably started c.1129 and
finished c.1133.
We can learn a lot from the prologue about the relationship of Henry to
William and the monks. William’s assessment of Henry’s talents in DA is
free of the later suspicions he harboured of the Bishop’s guile…. portrayed
by William in HN. As we have covered, William was older and respectful of
young Henry Blois’ social standing and it is highly likely that William’s
works and relationship to Henry Blois may well have been the catalyst for
Henry starting the pseudo-history for Matilda, which eventually evolved
into the Primary Historia and ultimately Vulgate HRB.
William would have been aware of the part played by Henry in the
usurpation of the throne by his brother after this flattering prologue was
written. Therefore laudatory comments on Henry’s successes in DA,
regaining lost holdings and amassing new ones and the construction of
buildings at Glastonbury (we should assume), refer to a time before Henry’s
brother became King. At this time, Henry used his family connection with
his uncle King Henry Ist to regain properties lost by previous Abbots
mismanagement or greed.
The confirmation of a pre-Stephen era for the completion of DA is
highlighted in the last paragraph of DA where Theobald is mentioned as a
relative of Henry’s rather than King Stephen. William was blatantly
obsequious in the dedicatory prologue, so DA must have been written
before ill will or suspicion fell on Henry, especially since the preface itself
was written sometime after the main text of DA…. when VSD II was already
completed.
William’s mission and directive in writing the DA: ‘while I try to rescue
from suspicion the antiquity of your church’ is also more relevant to Henry’s
agenda at that time before Henry Ist died. As we have covered the ‘youth’ or
young members at Glastonbury were the target of Eadmer’s letter. So, it is
relevant that at this early stage that William refers to those who were
already opposed to Henry: As for detractors, if perchance anyone should be
so bold, I shall oppose them vigourously for in what way can earlier
guardians be preferred to you?
What exactly transpired can be grasped from William’s words. William
had laboured to commit to eternal memory the life of St Dunstan, and it is
‘now completed’ at the time of writing the prologue. The two books about
Dunstan, for which the monks at Glastonbury had asked, we are told were
completed with scrupulous regard for the truth.
This in fact was the problem. William did not give the monks back the
story they had wanted him to tell à propos Dunstan’s relics translation to
Glastonbury. Hence, we have William’s apology in that…. should he have
appeared to his hosts to have ‘lacked zeal in the performance of his duty’, he
composed DA to make up for any shortfall which the monks felt he had
lacked by not reiterating a bogus legend…. only recently started and for
which there was no foundation.
But, then he says: Nor ought this be considered very different from the
original plan…In other words, in William’s mind the initial plan to counter
Osbern’s claim was to show that Dunstan was not the first Abbot; and he
had done this (which amounted to the same thing in his mind) by showing
the antiquity of the church at Glastonbury by writing DA. But, the wording
is couched in such a way that we can understand that it was Henry who
was the one annoyed at William’s adherence to the truth regarding
Dunstan. Also the sequence of events shows that William stated VSD I and
the monks could see that William was not playing ball so he was
commissioned soley to provide a proof of antiquity by writing the body of
DA and then continues to finish his original commission by finalising VSD
in book II.
William seems to complain at this unfair treatment by saying that ‘some
time ago’ (i.e. before Henry arrived and stirred things up) he had written
small books, the life of Patrick, and miracles of Benignus and the passion of
Indract, which he had ‘fashioned with like care’ (as that of Dunstan). The
monks had examined them so that if anything unreasonable had been said
it could be properly corrected; and after assessing his writings deliberating
favourably they left me free of any blemish of blame because nothing in them
gave offence to religious eyes or lacked graciousness’.
It is clear that this is an admonishment against the unfair treatment he
received when he had produced of the life of Dunstan VSD 1. The subtle
complaint is slightly aimed at Henry Blois (peevishly), in that it infers
before his arrival at Glastonbury the monks had not complained. The
undercurrent of what is being said is that since Henry Blois had started the
rumour,
6
William should be free of blemish. Also, because he wrote the
truth, it should not give offence, just as it had not in the previous works.
Why would William bring up the subject of detractors against Henry if
there were none? Of course this was not Osbern as that incorrect accusation
was an old insult but the detractor being referred to is Eadmer in his
confutation to Henry’s rumour. Everyone would know who put this rumour
about and for what reason but neither Eadmer or William could say as
6
Not forgetting the subtle jibe: religion so flourishes in your time that miserable envy is ashamed to fabricate
any falsehood about it.
much as this would implicate the Grandson of William the Conqueror as a
liar. No-one with Saxon blood coursing through their veins would be silly
enough to do that.
The reference to detractors is definitely against Henry personally: Now
however, that you had imitated (I almost said surpassed) the deeds of those
ancient heroes before you heard their names. As for detractors, if perchance
anyone should be so bold, I shall oppose them. The detractors are the
Canterbury acolytes who have taken umbrage at Glastonbury’s
presumption at such an untruthful and recently established claim
regarding Dunstan’s relics. I think we may gather from William and from
Eadmer’s words that Henry Blois had been bullish in his endeavour to
revive the abbey’s prospects and may have tested credibility by inventing
the story about Dunstan’s relics finding their way to Glastonbury.
After all, the most famous father of Glastonbury was Dunstan and for the
enterprising Henry it would be difficult to capitalize on this asset in terms
of alms without possessing the relics. Anyway, William, after all his efforts
on the abbey’s behalf rummaging through dusty vellum scrolls so far as I
have been able to scrape them together from the heap of your muniments is
wanting to get paid. William, after writing DA over a period of 3-4 years
while completing VSD II at the same time and living as one of the
brotherhood at Glastonbury, now seeks a recompense in just wherewithal
for his efforts: Since this is so, accept I beg you, this tribute of my devotion
and pledge of my zeal and do not deprive me of the fruit of my labour’.
Judging by the scarcity of MSS, my assumption is that DA was presented
to Henry as the only copy and it is with him it remained. There are certain
pointers in the texts of DA, VSD and GR1 which allow us to get a clearer
picture of what was written by William and when. When GR1 was
completed c.1126, GP was near completion and William firstly set about the
‘lives’ (mentioned above) and then moved on to compose VSD I after Henry
arrived at Glastonbury. DA was foreseen as a necessary endeavour, because
William was not going to compromise his integrity regarding the evidence
of Dunstan’s burial at Glastonbury but William thinks the purposeof VSD in
its ‘original plan’ was to counter Osbern’s old accusation which he thinks he
was doing but then got persuaded to add the new rumour which he was not
willing to do.
A general proof therefore of antiquity for the abbey was envisaged in the
composition of DA. VSD I refers back to DA in the text and was written
simultaneously with the compiling of DA. This was while William was
housed in the abbey community. VSD II was completed after the textual
body of DA (not the prologue) and also DA refers back to VSD I in its text. In
VSD II, William says: I have dealt in another work as well as God allowed me,
with the antiquity of this most holy monastery of Glastonbury in which I
profess my heavenly service. If anyone is desirous of reading about it he will
find it elsewhere in my output. This may not (as some have suggested) mean
the references to Glastonbury in GR3.
7
It rather specifically refers to DA. If
one takes the ‘elsewhere’ as differentiating from another work’ i.e. VD II,
then it can only refer to DA (since we know version B of GR which has the
Glastonbury additions is a later Henry Blois concoction).
However, the two books of VSD were written before the ‘prologue’ to DA
as we have seen as above: I have laboured to commit to eternal memory the
life of the blessed Dunstan, abbot of Glastonbury and later archbishop of
Canterbury, and have now completed with scrupulous regard for the truth
two books about him which your sons and my masters and companions had
asked for.
Before we can understand how the DA was composed (minus the later
interpolations after Henry’s death), we must accept that the DA ended up at
Winchester with Henry as a single monographed presentation manuscript.
If the manuscript was never seen at Glastonbury until after Henry’s death
then chances are that anyone who perused it before going to Winchester
was dead when it reappeared vastly altered. The only others in 1144-49
would have been Vatican officials advising the pope or maybe just the pope
while Henry made his case where the pope on both occasions died shortly
after.
It is also necessary to understand that DA was spurred on by the monks
at Glastonbury about the time Henry moved to Winchester. The fact that
William saw his commission of DA coming from the monks (rather than
Henry himself) is made clear in the last section of DA
8
by referring to the
monks as the collective ‘you’: On Henry Blois Abbot of Glastonbury.
7
We have covered in the chapter on GR that most of the updated material on Glastonbury in version B of GR3
are interpolations connected to Henry’s case for apostolic foundation.
8
John Scott’s chapter 83
After Seffrid was made Bishop of Chichester he was succeeded at
Glastonbury in the year 1126 by Henry, brother of Theobald, count of Blois
and nephew of the King Henry by his sister Adela, who was also made bishop
of Winchester not much later. This man of illustrious birth is also
distinguished in his knowledge of letters, kind and friendly in his address and
noble in kindness of heart, a man whose origins and achievement have been
advantage to you, as you know, and have brought you great favour in the
eyes of men. It would neither weary me to say more of him nor weary you to
hear more, but it would be advisable to spare his admirable modesty, for he
has this characteristic, that he blushes to be praised although he does
praiseworthy things.
From this closing paragraph which ended William’s original
unadulterated DA, we learn that William was addressing the monks initially
and wrote DA to satisfy them. After DA’s completion, the dedicatory
prologue of DA was written targeting Henry as the receiver of William’s
endeavour. The understanding that Henry Blois himself received the only
presentation copy is the crux of how he was able to achieve the success of
his literary edifice of the Matter of Britain without detection.
The only other witnesses to have viewed the interpolated redactions
were the papal authorities between 1144 and 1149. Thereafter, DA had even
more insertions added post 1158 and before Henry’s death, which are the
content of chapters 1&2 and no doubt consolidation of the various agendas
into one seemingly cohesive account. Parts of the foundation lore appears
to contradict muddled consolidations made by Henry but are accepted;
supposedly as accounts corrupted by the vagaries of time.
What should be noted is that what followed the prologue in the original
is chapter 35 (the 601 charter), which in no way deviates from William’s
said endeavour, as it starts with the physical evidence at the earliest point
in historical antiquity and thereby names the earliest said abbot of which
he can find record confounding Osbern’s accusation at the start of his
endeavourto prove Glastonbury’s antiquity.
I shall proceed to comment on the first 34 chapters of DA which have
been interpolated by Henry Blois.
Chapter 1. About how the twelve disciples of St Philip and St James the
apostles, first founded the church of Glastonbury.
'After the glory of the Lord's resurrection, the triumph of His ascension
and the mission of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, who fortified the disciples'
hearts which still trembled with dread of temporal punishment, and giving
them the knowledge of all languages, all who believed were together,
including the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, as Luke the evangelist
narrates; and the word of God was disseminated and the number of believers
increased daily, and they were all of one heart and one soul. Because of this
the priests of the Jews together with the Pharisees and scribes stirred up
persecution against the Church, killing Stephen the first martyr and driving
far away all the rest. So while the tempest of persecution raged, the believers
were dispersed and went forth into various Kingdoms of the earth assigned to
them by the Lord, offering the word of salvation to the Gentiles. St Philip, as
Freculfus declares in the fourth chapter of his second book, came to the land
of the Franks, where he converted by preaching and turned many to the faith
and baptized them. Desiring that the word of Christ should be further spread,
he sent twelve of his disciples to Britain to proclaim the word of life and
preach the faith of Jesus Christ. Over them, it is said, he appointed, his dear
friend, Joseph of Arimathea who had buried the Lord. They arrived in Britain
in 63 AD,
9
the fifteenth year after the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, and
preached the faith of Christ with all confidence.
The pagan King hearing this new and unfamiliar preaching refused to
absolutely agree with it and would not alter the teachings of their forefathers.
Yet because they had come from far away and because the sobriety of their
life demanded it of him, he gave them an island on the borders of his country,
surrounded by woods and thickets and marshes, called by its inhabitants
Yniswitrin. Later two other Kings in succession, though pagans, granted to
each of them a portion of land. From these saints it is believed the Twelve
9
We can possibly assume that Henry Blois thinks the Crucifixion took place in 23 AD and aligns the date with
the 40 years of captivity as suggested in the Gospel of Nicodemus. This seems most likely given the information
JG supplies in his cronica which came from the gospel of Nicodemus wrapped up in other material which we
covered earlier ….that must have come from a tract written by Henry probably under the name of Melkin. Or
maybe he is aligning his date with other events known to him concerning James and Philip’s movements.
Possibly, since it is mentioned twice: the 15th after the assumption of the glorious Virgin. However, the 63 AD
is entirely spurious as Joseph would have arrived c. 35-37 AD to bring his son to be laid to rest in the disused but
secreted ‘Ictis’ tin vault on Burgh Island. The only reason Joseph arrived here is from his connection to Ictis /
Ineswitrin.
Hides derive their name to the present day. After living in the wilderness a
short time the saints were incited by a vision vouchsafed by the archangel
Gabriel to build a church in honour of the Blessed Virgin in a place that was
pointed out to them from heaven. They were not slow to obey this divine
command and in the 31st year after the passion of the Lord, the 15th after the
assumption of the glorious Virgin, they completed a Chapel as they had
been instructed, making the lower part of all its walls of twisted
wattle, a rude construction, but one adorned by God with many miracles.
Since it was the first in that territory, the Son of God honoured it by
dedicating it to His Mother and the twelve saints offered faithful obedience to
god and the blessed virgin in that place. They devoted themselves to vigils and
fasting and prayers and were supplied with all necessities by the Virgin’s aid
and by a vision of her. This transpired we learn both from the Charter of St
Patrick and from the writings of the seniors. One of these, the historian of
the Britons, as we have seen at St Edmund's and again at St Augustine's the
Apostle of the English, begins as follows:
'There is on the western border of Britain a certain royal island called by
its ancient name Glastonia, spacious and undulating surrounded by slow
rivers whose waters are well stocked with fish, fit to serve human needs and
consecrated to sacred offices. Here the first neophytes of the Catholic law
among the English found by God's guidance an ancient church, built, as it is
said, by no human skill, but prepared by God himself for the salvation of
men, which afterwards the Maker of the heavens has proved by many
miracles and sacred mysteries that He had consecrated it to Himself and to
Mary the Holy Mother of God. There is more of this anon, but let us return
to what we had begun.
After the lapse of many years, those saints who had been living as we
described in that wilderness were led out of the prison of their flesh and the
place itself, which had earlier been the habitation of saints became as a lair
for wild beasts, until it pleased the Blessed Virgin that her oratory should
come again to the remembrance of the faithful.
Let me make entirely clear that this chapter was not written by William
of Malmesbury or a later redactor other than Henry Blois. He uses an
extract from author B as an authority and another author who supposedly
wrote on the history of the Britons. He also calls as a witness of authority
the St Patrick charter. It does not take much to work out what is going on.
Except, where modern scholars rationalize to reverse engineer the puzzle
with the assumption that…. because the St Patrick charter mentions Avalon,
it must have been written after the discovery of Arthur’s Grave.
Therefore, (so they believe), so too must this chapter have been
constructed after that event. This chapter was written by Henry Blois, the
man who had changed the name on Melkin’s prophecy to Avalon (so that
Joseph would find a home) and also in this chapter is still bent on re-
affirming that the Blessed Virgin’s Oratory was built of Wattle; all the words
complying with the Melkin prophecy. Henry is also re-establishing that the
apostolic foundation created as lore in his first attempt at metropolitan,
now aligns with his later Phagan and Deruvian foundation from his
concocted St Patrick’s charter.
The obfuscation is that the author of the ‘history of the Britons’
10
is
Galfridus, but does not give an account of Glastonbury (as is implied above),
but we know that the introduction of the preachers/proselytizers names
into the First Variant acts as corroborative evidence of their names which
appear in the St Patrick Charter.
The following section below continues on from the above in the M
manuscript version of DA. The M manuscript is derived from the older T
manuscript from which Scott has made his translation. Scott says that in the
T manuscript it appears at the foot of the page in a late 13 century hand.
Now, the book of the deeds of King Arthur which relates to Joseph of
Arimathea and which has in a ‘later part of the book’ about a search for the
Holy Grail may just be the book written by Henry Blois to which Chrétien de
Troyes refers. However, we have seen in HRB the very same ploy of a
mysterious book involved, but we will discuss this book under the section
on the Grail.
What I intend to show shortly is that Robert de Boron (who relates a
story concocted by Henry Blois) introduces Joseph and the Grail in the Vaus
d’Avaron in the West and also in his Perceval and Merlin texts covers
subjects which directly relate to Henry’s output in such aconsolidatory
nature that Robert cannot be accounted the inspiration for the trilogy but I
will get to this later.
10
Alfred of Beverley and Henry of Huntingdon in his letter to Warin both refer to the early book as Historia
Britonum’ before it became the Vulgate Historia Regnum Britanniae.
For the moment, given Henry Blois involvement, it is not out of the
question that this section below might have been one of his own additions
which was initially expunged because of its obvious dubious nature…. to be
re-introduced from an older exemplar back into the T manuscript:
(The book of the deeds of the famous King Arthur bears witness that the
highborn decurion Joseph of Arimathea, together with his son Joseph and very
many others, came into greater Britain, now called England and ended his life
there. Also recorded is the search of a certain famous knight, named Lancelot
of the lake with the help of his comrades of the round table,
11
after a certain
hermit had set forth to Walwan the mystery of a particular fountain, the
water from which continually changed its taste and colour, a miracle it is
written, that would not cease until the coming of a great lion whose neck was
feted with thick chains. Again in a later part of the book, about the search for
a vessel that is called the holy Grail, almost the same thing is recorded where
a white Knight explains to Galahad, son of Lancelot, the mystery of a certain
miraculous shield which he entrusts to him to bear because no one else could
carry it, even for a day except at great cost.)
Much of the bracketed section above is reiterated in Chapter 20 of John
of Glastonbury. We would be very short sighted if we thought a book of the
deeds of King Arthur which bears witness to Joseph of Arimathea was not
written by Henry Blois. Lord Frome’s copy of HRB even links Joseph with
Arthur. But, the round table and Lancelot are found in Perlesvaus which
Nitze maintains was written at Glastonbury. Whether the above section was
in DA as Henry left it at his death makes no difference. We know all the
material originated through him anyway. JG must have had another source
to have mirrored this material. You would have to be pretty silly not to get
that roman de Brut which introduces the round table was not written by
Wace but by Henry; especially the table turning up at Winchester.
11
It should not be forgotten that Leland saw Melkin’s prophecy in a work supposedly written by Melkin. We
should also consider, rather than upholding the scholastic view, that the ‘round table’ was a Wace invention and
also remember Melkin is said to have written De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda. It is from this work, I believe,
John of Glastonbury procured not only the copy of the Melkin prophecy but also much other insight which
scholars claim came from continental Grail literature. It should rather be recognised that the round table is a
Blois invention (hence its appearance at Winchester), and the mention of the round table was in literature at
Glastonbury put out as part of Henry’s authorial Arthurian edifice. Scholars need to recognise Arthur was
connected to Glastonbury by Henry’s propaganda deposited in DA long before Arthur’s disinterment. Carta
Henrici Regis Secundi Filii Matildis Imperatricis De Libertatibus Concessis Ecclesie Glaston. Volume 1, P 186.
The Great Chartulary of Glastonbury.Dom Aelred Watkin…… Baldredo, Ina, inclito Arthuro, Cuddredo et
multis aliis regibus Christianis….
Wace’s roman de Brut starts with First Variant and ends with Vulgate
both authored by Henry Blois.
12
The Round Table’s concept is derived from
witnessing Stephen’s squabbling barons at court and extrapolated into a
utopian ideal at King Arthur’s court in the versified Wace version of HRB. It
is fairly obvious that Melkin’s prophecy existed because it too was found in
the same source as JG’s work above. There is no one else who is going to
author a book called De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda, and accredit it to
Melkin found at Glastonbury, except Henry Blois.
Now to all you scholars like Carley and Shoaf who are in denial about
the existence of Melkin’s prophecy in the era of Henry Blois take note: The
round table and Arthur were invented by Henry Blois, so the book above
was written by him in which JG has sourced his information. So, since the
Melkin prophecy is the template for firstly Henry’s mystical island of
Avalon in HRB, secondly the Grail derived from the duo fassula into Grail
legend and thirdly, Joseph lore transpiring at Glastonbury; you would have
to be very sedentary to stillhold as fact that Melkin’s prophecy was a
fourteenth century composite regardless of the spectacular geometry that is
displayed in locating Ineswitrin in Devon and even to deny the advent of
Grail literature being dependant upon Henry as the architect given that
Master Blihis as (Monseigneur Blois) is Blihos-Bliheris, whomno man at
Arthur's court knew and neither do modern scholars recognise him either,
even though H.Blois is the anagram of Blihos and Bleheris as we shall get to
was reported to have told Richard I of the Grail; regardless of the other
12
We can see that Hammer grapples with this problem: This surely cannot be mere accident. The simplest way of
accounting for this is to assume that the scribe of C had before him two manuscripts, one of which contained the
vulgate text and the other the Variant Version and that in a moment of inadvertence he copied phrases occurring
in both texts. Another possibility, however, must not be excluded: the scribe may have copied from a manuscript
that already had the above arrangement.Hammer like every other scholar cannot conceive of an evolving
Historia and continues: that the larger part of Book XI in C is a conflation of two recensions, the variant and the
vulgate, and goes on to say:With the help of these two texts, which he used freely, he prepared a third, his own
eclectic text. Unless scholars realise the HRB’s evolution they will not grasp Wace’s Roman de Brut was
authored by Henry through this same evolutionary process; and by extension, nor will they understand it was
Henry Blois who introduced us to the Round Table but more importantly, (which is essential to the
understanding of the solutions put forward in this book), they will never understand that Henry Blois was the
author of ‘De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’ supposedly written by Melkin from which JG copied the Melkin
prophecy which had had the island’s name of Ineswitrin substituted to Avalon.
blatant tongue in cheek pseudonyms regarding Henry’s Grail output such
as, Bliocadran, Bréri, Bledhericus Blaise etc;especially where Blihos Bleheris
is Robert de Boron’s greatest teller of tales at court and where Blaise is
given the honour of having recorded three of Robert’s Histoires.
Moving on, the first observation to make about the portion of Chapter 1
in DA not in any way disputed as part of the original T manuscript is that
Henry Blois establishes the Glastonbury Church was the first in that
territory’ which is consistent with his case toward convincing us of the early
establishment of Christianity in Western England.
To allow for the Phagan and Deruvian foundation which seemingly is
more historically credible through Bede’s mention of Eleutherius and HRB’s
establishment of the preacher’s names in connection with Eleutherius;
Henry leaves us in no doubt that both of his foundation myths link
chronologically from the first apostolic foundation to the second papal
envoys.
The church had ‘earlier been the habitation of saints’ and after the lapse
of many years’ the oratory came again to the remembrance of the faithful.
This is Henry rationalizing and aligning his own foundation legends. This is
not a consolidating author trying to excuse the two independent
contradictory legends which Henry had invented. Henry explains to us
(melding his two myths in time) that Philip’s dear friend, Joseph of
Arimathea who had buried the Lord,arrived in Britain in 63 AD and
founded a church at Glastonbury. This in itself is stretching credibility given
that Joseph was Jesus’ uncle or more likely his father and Freculphus
association through Philip is mistaken; the whole concoction being actively
brought to focus at Glastonbury which in reality has no connection to
Joseph except having received the Island on which Joseph is presently
buried as a donation in the year 601 AD.
Obviously, if Christianity did not exist in Britain it presents a problem
for the second myth concerning King Lucius. So, in the interim time
(conveniently pointed out to us) to the time of King Lucius’ cleansing in 166
AD, the church was rediscovered and renovated. Fortunately for posterity,
this is corroborated in the (wholly fabricated) St Patrick charter, whereby
Patrick tells us 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!!!
In case there is any doubt of the existence of a previous church, we are
induced to accept this façade again in the charter of St Patrick where
Phagan and Deruvian carefully examining the place, they came across a
figure of our Redeemer and other manifest signs by means of which they
clearly knew that Christians had inhabited the spot earlier. Later they
inferred from a heavenly oracle that the lord had especially chosen that
place before all others in Britain to invoke the name of his glorious
mother.
What the reader will understand as we get to how Robert de Boron’s
Blaise so adequately informs us how it came about that this episode
concerning Joseph in British history has been transmitted through History;
we find the same process of combining a number of things into a single
more effective or coherent whole as the same Architect is at work
consolidating his propaganda in DA by way of the St Patrick’s charter and
chapter 1&2 of DA.
Chapter 2. How St Phagan and St Deruvian converted the Britons to the
faith, and came to the Isle of Avalon.
Annals of good authority record that Lucius the King of the Britons sent a
plea to Pope Eleutherius the thirteenth
13
in succession from St. Peter, to
entreaty that he would illuminate the darkness of Britain with the light of
Christian teaching. This King of great soul undertook a truly praiseworthy
task in voluntarily seeking out faith of which he had scarcely heard, at the
very time when most other Kings and peoples were persecuting it when it was
revealed to them. To comprehend this matter further from another source
Æthelberht, King of Kent many years after Lucius, can claim praise for a
similar good deed because he did not reject the preachers sent to him from
Rome or drive them away, but received them with generous hospitality and
his speech and demeanor were added thereunto. For even though he refused
to pledge hastily his acquiescence to their words, it seemed to him absurd to
harm them since they had come from afar to instruct him of those things
13
Pope Eleutherius was indeed the thirteenth pope 174-189 AD
which they considered so important. Both of these men then, one of whom
wisely invited Christianity and the other who willingly received it are worthy
of full remembrance.
There came into Britain then, these two very holy men, the preachers
Phagan and Deruvian, as the charter of St Patrick and the deeds of the
Britons attest. They proclaimed the word of life and they cleansed the King
and his people at the sacred font in A.D. 166. They then travelled through the
realm of Britain preaching and baptizing until, penetrating like Moses the
lawgiver into the heart of the wilderness, they came to the island of Avalon
where, with God’s guidance, they found an old church built as is said by the
hands of the disciples of Christ and prepared by God for the salvation of men,
which afterwards the Maker of the heavens, showed by many miracles and
sacred mysteries that He had consecrated it to Himself and to Mary the Holy
Mother of God. This was 103 years after the coming of the disciples into
Britain of St Philip. So when St Phagan and St Deruvian discovered that
Oratory they were filled with joy and giving praise to god prolonged their
stay and remained here nine years. Carefully examining the place, they came
across a figure of our Redeemer and other manifest signs by means of which
they clearly knew that Christians had inhabited the spot earlier. Later they
inferred from a heavenly oracle that the lord had especially chosen that place
before all others in Britain to invoke the name of his glorious mother.
'They found in ancient writings the whole story, how when the Apostles
were dispersed throughout the world, St Philip the Apostle came with a crowd
of disciples to France and sent twelve of their number to preach in Britain.
And these by the guidance of an angelic vision built that chapel which
afterwards the Son of God dedicated in honour of His Mother; and to these
twelve disciples, three Kings, though pagans, granted for their sustenance
twelve portions of land.' Moreover they found their deeds written down.
Accordingly St Phagan and St Deruvian chose twelve of their companions
and settled them on the island. They dwelt as anchorites in the very spots
where the first twelve had dwelt. 'Yet often they assembled at the Old Church
for the devout performance of divine worship. And just as three pagan Kings
had granted the island with its appendages to the first twelve disciples of
Christ in days gone by, so Phagan and Deruvian sought from K. Lucius that
the same should be confirmed to those their twelve companions and to others
who should come after them in the future.
And in this way many others in succession, always keeping to the number
twelve, dwelt in the island throughout all the years, until the coming of St
Patrick the Apostle of the Irish. To this church also, which they had thus
found, the holy neophytes added another oratory built of stone, which they
dedicated to Christ and the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. By their work
therefore was restored the Old Church of St Mary at Glastonbury as
trustworthy history has continued to repeat throughout the
succeeding ages. There is also that written evidence worthy of belief to be
found at St Edmund's, to this effect: The church of Glastonbury did none other
men's hands make, but the actual disciples of Christ built it; namely those
sent, by the Apostle St Philip. Nor is this irreconcilable with truth as was set
down before, because if the Apostle Philip preached to the Gauls, as Freculfus
says in the fourth chapter of his second book, it can be believed that he cast
the seeds of the Word across the sea as well.'
The last sentence is clearly arguing to convince us of tentative
postulations. The first sentence should be enough to convince us of the
author: Annals of good authority record that Lucius the King of the Britons
sent a plea to Pope Eleutherius. In reality Pope Eleutherius never sent
anybody to the King of the Britons. But, even though Bede misunderstands
the Liber Pontificalis, there is only one history where Lucius: despatched his
letters unto Pope Eleutherius beseeching that from him he might receive
Christianity. So, Henry is most emphatically referring us to his own work of
HRB rather than what we are led to believe is Bede’s where Phagan and
Deruvian do not appear.
The title of chapter 2 alone should convince us that two of the vital
pieces of Henry Bloisliterary edifice are spliced together before his death.
The title leaves no doubt: How St Phagan and St Deruvian converted the
Britons to the faith, and came to the Isle of Avalon. The chapter headings are
in the T manuscript and it should be understood that it is Henry who has
converted Glastonbury into Avalon. Henry Blois is the same person who
introduced us to Phagan and Deruvian in First Variant HRB and introduced
them into Glastonbury lore in the St Patrick charter and is obviously the
same man who now connects them to Avalon as being synonymous with
Glastonbury.
What I have termed Glastonburyana did not evolve haphazardly as
modern scholarship has decreed, following a proliferation of continental
Arthurian and Grail material, but it was laid out in DA by the man to whom
the DA was dedicated, the man who wrote HRB, invented the mythical
Island of Avalon; and instigated continental Grail stories as Monseigneur
Blehis (or H. Blois) or Blihos-Bleheris.
The title of each chapter in DA follows the format which William had set
out in his original; creating a title for each subject as he covered it. The title
headings are not the work of a consolidator but defined in Henry Blois’ last
consolidation of DA before he died. Scott seems to think there has been a
clever consolidating editor who consolidates Glastonbury lore before 1247.
Lagorio and Carley have assumed many monk’s evolved these myths in the
era after Arthur’s tomb was unveiled; over a period of about 60 years to
1247 AD…. to a point in time where the T manuscript is dateable.
To be fair, if Henry Blois is not understood to be accountable for the
authorship of HRB and there was no suspicion that he is connected to the
invention of Caradoc’s Life of Gildas (or the invention of the Grail being
derived from the prophecy of Melkin); one could see how our experts arrive
at such a conclusion. One can also understand that to make the pieces of
this puzzle fit, the Melkin prophecy had to follow the Grail (in their minds)
and therefore since Chrétien ‘invented’ the Grail…. the persona of Melkin
must be an invention also.
This is acceptable to a point but scholars are supposed to be diviners of
the truth as it is understood in the era in which they live. These specialists
in a particular branch of study are supposed to be our guardians of the
bastions of truth, a stronghold of learning wherefrom descisions of great
purport are exercised; the outcome of which affect us all regarding history
religion and politics. I have never met an honest lawyer as their job is to
twist the truth through semantics or alter reality; but even they can get
disbarred. Our medieval scholars uphold a lie citing each other with
hallowed honour while suckling others at the trough.
Anyhow, Henry Blois presses his polemical point based on HRB’s bogus
historicity of King Lucius and Bede’s mistaken identification of Britain as
the place where Eleutherius sent envoys to Lucius, so that we are reminded
that Phagan and Deruvian pre-date any Augustinian conversion of the
English. To comprehend this matter further from another source Æthelberht,
King of Kent many years after Lucius, can claim praise for a similar good
deed because he did not reject the preachers….
The sole reason for mentioning Æthelberht c.590 616 AD was to
undermine the primacy of Canterbury and to show Christianity existed
prior to the Augustinian conversion of Æthelberht. Æthelberht married
Bertha, the Christian daughter of Charibert, King of the Franks. Probably it
was Bertha’s marriage which influenced the decision by Pope Gregory I to
send Augustine as a missionary to Britain. Augustine landed on the Isle of
Thanet in Kent in 597AD. Æthelberht was converted to Christianity, and he
provided the new mission with land in Canterbury on which Canterbury
Cathedral now stands. Herein is the very reason the scribe of all this
quagmire of falsity has set out in chapters 1&2 a consolidation of the
inventions he has composed in pursuit of metropolitan to be free of
Canterbury’s primacy.
Henry uses his own work of the faked ancient charter of St Patrick and
his own HRB (the deeds of the Britons) to substantiate his own synopsis of
the consolidation of his first agenda and the arrival of Phagan and
Deruvian: There came into Britain then, these two very holy men, the
preachers Phagan and Deruvian, as the charter of St Patrick and the deeds of
the Britons attest.
There is no previous mention of the name Ineswitrin other than that
found on the 601 charter and which would have existed on the prophecy of
Melkin. Any allusions to Ineswitrin in DA are founded on Henry’s
concoction under Caradoc’s name, except for the 601 charter. The name of
the island is aligned to Henry’s concocted St Patrick Charter supposedly
written by St Patrick himself, where Patrick fictitiously has words put in his
mouth about his arrival at Glastonbury: I came to the island of Ineswitrin.
In effect, Henry Blois has three corroborative pieces of evidence which
indicate that Ineswitrin now applies to Glastonbury; the St Patrick Charter,
Caradoc’s life of Gildas; and the 601 charter itself, found at Glastonbury. The
illusion is more tenable if one ignores the fact that the grant of the Island of
Ineswitrin had the Devonian King as signatory and logically must be
somewhere in the old Dumnonia (in Devon).
Concerning Avalon, I have maintained that it was not part of Henry’s
first agenda to persuade us that Avalon was indeed the same location as
Glastonbury. The first agenda is clearly seen where Ineswitrin is used
instead of Avalon in the St Patrick charter, and where the etymology of
Ineswitrin in Life of Gildas substantiates Henry’s claim that the name
applies to Glastonbury. The reasoning behind Henry’s persuasive
etymology, as I have explained previously, added credibility to the 601
charter, so that the donation of the estate applied to a known location i.e. an
estate which was supposedly part of Glastonbury Island.
Yet, as Henry melds his later (post 1158) lore into DA, Avalon is
mentioned in the second chapter as a consolidation because Henry knew he
had achieved his transformation before his death even if we had to wait for
the Leaden cross to confirm it for us. Also Avalon is in the postscript to the
St Patrick charter in chapter 9 as if William of Malmesbury were the author,
where St Patrick is posited as the first Abbot on the Island of Avalon… (in
direct contradiction of Osbern’s assertion). But, in essence, as an indicator
that the fraudulent St Patrick charter did exist as a document and was
composed in a time before Henry’s post 1158 second agenda concerning
Avalon takes shape, there is no mention of Avalon actually on the St Patrick
charter.
It is not a random consolidating monk c.1230 who conveniently
mentions Avalon here in chapter two in connection with the Patrick charter
or in the postscript of the Patrick charter as seen in chapter 9. Most
emphatically this is Henry Blois synthesizing his agendas in chapters 1&2. It
should not be forgotten either that posing as ‘Geoffrey’, Henry is also
bringing Insula Avallonis from HRB to synonymy with Glastonbury by
implying it is Insula Pomorum in VM in this same era, locating Avalon
geographically in the only county in England renowned for its production
of Apples.
It is more sensible to accept my analysis when Avalon was understood as
being synonymous with Glastonbury because the Perlesvaus refers to the
church at Glastonbury and the colophon refers to Avalon in Perlesvaus also;
and Robert de Boron referring to Avalon (all before 1190). We know
through the analysis in this work that all that material has emanated from
Henry’s muses while alive!! It must be a fact then Avalon surely was
referred to in DA before Henry’s death as is evident in the mass of
information we have waded through up to now and he could only be the
inventor of Avalon.
If you choose to see it in reverse, then ‘Geoffrey’ must have been a real
and genuine prophet seeing into the future locating his island where Arthur
was taken in VM (which is obviously commensurate with Avalon through
Burmaltus); which only turns out to be Glastonbury for Lagorio et al when
the Leaden cross is discovered in 1190-91. Thereafter according to Lagorio,
the monks beaver away interpolating Williams work. I wonder how
‘Geoffrey’ could know that supposedly Henry de Sully would ‘fortuitously’
confirm his assumption for him nearly forty years later. I wonder also how
the continental Grail composers and continuators all got together and
agreed amongst themselves that they would locate Avalon at Glastonbury
also which turns out to be Isle de Voirre; especially when the ‘church
covered in lead’ is mentioned in Perlesvaus before 1190, but even this is
denied by Lagorio and Carley because of erroneous chronology. How else
does the writer of Perlesvaus know Arthur and Guinevere are buried at
Glastonbury just as Gerald knew also and bore witness. The only way for
scholars to make their assumptions fit is to ignore Gerald and his first hand
evidence.
If Glastonbury had an ‘old’ church in 601AD, then it must have stood
prior to Augustine’s arrival. There was a Celtic church of the Britons not
born of the Roman mission of Augustine evident more than anywhere else
in Britain…. in Cornwall. However, what is interesting is that there was no
extant explanation or documentation of Ineswitrin in the Glastonbury
records and no-one knew c.1128-34 where Ineswitrin was when William
came across the 601 charter and the Melkin prophecy in Glastonbury’s
muniments.
The same status still applies in 1144 when Henry was requesting
metropolitan for himself; hence the need for Henry to invent ‘Caradoc’s
etymology to substantiate that the donation by the King of Dumnonia which
was on an archaic document which mentions Ineswitrin clearly relates to a
known location i.e. Glastonbury. As we know, William started his original
DA with what is now chapter 35 which is a transcript of the 601 charter.
Therefore we can see Henry’s mind at work paralleling the etymological
farce he had created in the last paragraph of Life of Gildas in achieving the
aim in establishing Ineswitrin as an estate on Glastonbury (island) and how
such a situation transpired: although that estate (Ineswitrin) and many
others were granted to Glastonbury in the time of the Britons, as is plain from
the preceding, yet when the English drove out the Britons they, being pagans,
seized the lands that had been granted to churches before finally restoring the
stolen lands.
Henry Blois is certainly no slouch at corroborative synthesis as we have
seen throughout this exposé.
It was not until after VM was written at Clugny, that the first flowering of
Henry’s design concerning Avalon being situated at Glastonbury became
apparent. In VM, as we covered, Henry’s first step toward the undoing of a
first agenda (creating synonymy with Ineswitrin) to an understanding of
Avalon at Glastonbury…. contrives Insula Pomorum to become equitable
through a conflation with ‘avalla’. Hence, we can now recognise a reverse
etymological farce taking shape as his Avalon of HRB becomes Glastonbury
in the apple region of Somerset…. confirmed by it being the same Island to
which Barinthus took Arthur.
Ultimately, what was disclosed on the ‘Leaden Cross’ which Henry
fabricated for the grave of Arthur confirms Avalon at Glastonbury by the
fact that it was found there after being informed that Arthur was buried
there. So, those who were unclear as to where the Insula Avallonis of HRB
existed; at the disinterment, it indisputably became the same Island of
Glastonbury through Arthur having been taken to Insula Pomorum in VM
and the Leaden Cross stating ‘Here lies Arthur in Avalon’
This did not happen as a consequence of Grail literature filtering back to
Glastonbury, but was considered by ‘Geoffrey’ when Henry published the
VM c.1155-58 as part of the conversion process. The contrivance conflated
the mythical isle named in the Melkin prophecy to the name of the
Burgundian town Avallon found in HRB. The inspiration for creating a
bogus grave to be found in the future has its seed also in the Melkin
prophecy. Due to Henry’s propaganda, Joseph’s real sepulchre on Burgh
Island has been transposed into a fictitious grave at Glastonbury and
through the Leaden cross King Arthur was confirmed to be buried on
Avalon.
14
The St Patrick’s charter was part of the pre-1158 interpolations and
therefore there was no Joseph material in DA before 1158 and St Patrick’s
14
We should not forget either that the inspiration for the leaden cross came from Eadmer’s testimony
establishing Dunstan’s existence at Canterbury by the leaden tablet found in his grave.
charter only mentioned Ineswitrin. There was no narrative in DA which
connects Joseph to the Patrick charter, until there is the chronological link
made with the apostolic foundation and Joseph’s foundation within DA in
Henry’s later consolidating chapters 1 & 2 and the additional postscript to
the St Patrick Charter only completed after 1158.
Yet a clear evidence of Henry’s prior attempt to gain metropolitan is
evident where he melds the bogus Apostolic myth with a later Joseph
myth…. having been sent by Philip and James with the concocted legend of
Phagan and Deruvian in the St Patrick Charter. This supposedly took place
103 years later when Phagan and Deruvian arrived.
Chapter 1 & 2 of DA act as a consolidation and synthesis of these two (or
three) foundation legends which reflect Henry’s changing agendas; firstly
apostolic in 1144, secondly Phagan and Deruvian in 1149, thirdly, (in terms
of insertion into DA), Josephean post 1158).
Now, what surprises me most is that Medievalist researchers in the past
might have given credence to any of the lore put forward in chapter 1 & 2
above, as there is not one word of William’s present in the text. It is a
madness to think that William wrote any of this and yet it is those very
same entrenched scholars who think I am mad. I agree this whole expois
poorly delivered but I have had to garner evidence from differing
perspectives to build an overview of what transpired in three different
areas of study where invariably my views contradict commonly accepted a
prioris as truths; which in isolation, may seem tenable but no longer hold
true when put in context. Our three genres blantantly have a common
denominator in Henry Blois.
As we covered above, VSD was written contemporaneously with DA. So,
how is it that there is no mention of Ineswitrin (excepting that mentioned in
the 601 charter) in William’s other works which have not obviously been
interpolated. Also there is no mention of the St. Patrick’s charter, Lucius,
Phagan and Deruvian, St Joseph of Arimathea or any early establishment by
apostle or disciple of the church (by James or St. Philip) or Arviragus’ twelve
hides.
There is certainly no mention of Dunstan in the island of Avalon or
Ineswitrin, but both author B and William refer to Glastonbury as the name
for the island. William certainly did not know where Avalon was even if he
had come across the name in HRB (which is impossible) and had only seen
Ineswitrin as the name on the charter and in the Melkin prophecy. William
would instantly have dismissed the Melkin prophecy having no
understanding of its composition or Latin and could only possibly have
seen the Primary historia in which Avalon is not mentioned.
We should rather be more accurately guided to find William’s real
position concerning the several items mentioned above by looking at
William’s VSD I & II as they were written contemporaneously with DA.
William’s position would not have shifted so drastically since writing GR1….
especially concerning the later Glastonbury interpolations we covered in
version B of GR3.
We can conclude; the only way the Glastonburyana in GR and DA (with
information covering Henry’s first agenda) could corroborate or tally is
through one interpolator and the interpolator was alive at the time to make
GR3 version B interpolations corroborate with DA interpolations but
couldn’t predict by whom or when Arthur was going to be unveiled. The
additions into DA not found in GR which include Joseph and Avalon are also
Henry’s work but accord with a second and later agenda post 1158. But this
does not deny the fact that there are definite later additions into DA and
GR3 C version after Henry’s death.
Scott suggests regarding DA: it is possible that William’s manuscript was
annotated at different times by various monks but at some time a substantial
rearrangement of the work must have been undertaken to synthesize these
additions into a coherent whole.
15
This contrasts exactly my point about a single minded consolidator who
actually understood the ‘coherent whole’ to make The Matter of Britain
coalesce rather than depending on random fortuitous convergence of
factors. There was no major rearrangement by various monks at different
times and the synthesis was done by the single interested party who we
now know invented the polemically motivated propaganda in the first place
and understood the reasons for its contradictions. He smoothed them over
perfectly and melded them into the ‘coherent whole’ as we saw in chapter
1&2 above. But this again does not deny the fact that interpolations
15
John Scott, The early history of Glastonbury. P.34
occurred after Henry’s death, but does not necessitate a consolidating editor
or redactor on the scale Scott believes.
In general, DA existed in the format and order we have it today at the
time Henry Blois died. No consolidating editor is going to write chapters 1 &
2 except Henry Blois. If this was composed over time by different monks all
deriving their lore from continental Grail literature then ‘Geoffrey’ saw into
the future.
The interpolated part of DA was composed by the man to whom the two
agendas were an integral part of his life. The first pertained to the
metropolitan the second to perpetuating his alter ego of Arthur at
Glastonbury and bringing his continental Grail legend at his Nephew’s and
Marie of France’s court….. to coincide with Joseph from the Insula
Avallonisfound in Melkin’s prophecy.The icon of the Grail was derived in
the first place from the prophecy and expressed as an idea by Henry’s
muses as a vessel containing Holy Blood but it was also the essence of the
Melkin prophecy describing a sepulchre being found in the future on an
island that Henry’s muses came upon the manufacturing of Arthur’s grave
for posterity in Avalon.
The propaganda can be understood to parallel Henry’s metropolitan
agenda, as long as it is comprehended that Henry is author of HRB and the
Merlin prophecies, Life of Gildas, the first 34 (and part of 35) chapters of DA,
and the source of Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’Arimathie.
Most importantly, with the acceptance of the fact that Henry Blois was
the elusive Master Blehis, we take into account that the Perlesvaus written
by a certain Master Blihis (Monseigneur Blois) concerning Gawain who
overcame Blihos-Bliheris, whom (incidentally) no man at Arthur's court
knew. Monsiegneur Blois and the coincidence of similar sounding
Bliobleheris, Bliocadran, Blihos-Bliheris, Bréri, Bledhericus does not happen
by chance. Especially where Blihos Bleheris is Robert de Boron’s greatest
teller of tales at court and where Blaise is given the honour of having
recorded three of Robert’s Histoires. As I pointed out in the preface to this
work without putting things in context in the era they transpired and
connecting the three genres of Glastonburyana, Grail Literature, and
Geoffrey’s Arthuriana, the dots will not connect and there will be no
comprehensive picture formed of the Matter of Britain.
Is it beyond coincidence that the Master Blihis, who knew the Grail
mystery, and gave solemn counselling about its revelation; the Blihos-
Bliheris, who knew the Grail, and many other tales; the Bréri, who knew all
the legendary tales concerning the princes of Britain; and the famous story-
teller Bledhericus, of whom Gerald of Wales speaks, are separate
personalities…. especially when Blihos is the anagram of H. Blois. The very
PhD which qualifies one as an expert is that which prevents one seeing the
wood for the trees.
We should look at one more of Scott’s assumptions regarding DA which
becomes an incorrect a priori once Henry Blois is understood to have
authored HRB and much of the first 35 chapters of DA: Finally we can be
sure that all references to King Arthur must have been written after the
purported discovery of his remains buried between the two pyramids in 1190-
1, as must those chapters that seek to identify Avalon with
Glastonbury because such an identification only became necessary and
meaningful, after, and as further evidence for, the claim that Arthur had been
buried at Glastonbury.
This hugely incorrect assumption is obviously based upon theories put
out by Lagorio and which Carley and Arthurian scholars regurgitate
today…. making flawed many subsequent assertions based on this premise.
Arthur’s tomb location between the piramides was definitively written into
DA before 1171. No-one else knew where the bones were except the man
who put them there and manufactured the bogus grave site with the leaden
cross. It is the same person who told us that Arthur and Guinevere were
buried at Glastonbury in the Perlesvaus colophon. It is only a fool who
would believe that a Welsh bard informed Henry II of the location, because
we are not stupid enough to think that the manufactured site was real.
Scott, however, does perceive a contradiction to the assumptions in the
excerpt above: …stimulated by the association with Arthur that had already
been adumbrated by Caradoc; but once concocted Arthur’s links with
Glastonbury became an important element in the local legends. Curiously,
an account of the discovery of his remains is not to be found in DA,
although other facets of the legend are incorporated….
16
16
John Scott, The early history of Glastonbury. P.29
The salient fact is that Scott’s observation points to the fact that there is
little change to DA from how Henry left it. Obviously there would be no
description of the events surrounding the disinterment. That there is no
account of the unearthing adds weight to the position I have maintained in
that; the consolidating author of DA after Henry’s death had a minor role
and did not synthesise the most part of the material in the first 35 chapters
as claimed by Scott. No account of the events surrounding the disinterment
is given, but the location of where Henry planted the body is nonchalantly
provided couched in the form of a casual ‘aside’, as if it were common
knowledge.
Our consolidating author is only adding historical notes, not adding large
interpolations which bolster the legend as that has already been
accomplished by Henry Blois. Scott is one of the few scholars who does
perceive that Avalon was not Glastonbury and is not duped by the
propaganda which insinuates that the two are identical locations with
differing names in time. He also (as above) knows that someone is
responsible for the ‘synthesis’, but like all other commentators primed by
Lagorio thinks the jigsaw puzzle miraculously fell into place on its own; and
there is no suspicion upon our ‘Cicero’.
This has ramifications for scholar’s assumptions concerning the
colophon in the Perlesvaus:
L'auteur du Haut Livre du Graal affirme même que son texte est copd'un
manuscrit latin qui a été trouvé en l’Isle d’Avalon en une sainte meson de
religion qui siét au chief des Mares Aventurex, la oli rois Artuz e la roïne
gisent.
The author of the Perlesvaus or the High book of the Grail claims his
text
17
is copied from a Latin manuscript which was found in the Isle of
17
In Henry’s postulation that ‘Geoffrey had sourced his material from a mysterious book, we should be wary of
the same ploy being used by Henry Blois a second time. It is a gambit by which Henry lends credence to the
source of the Grail legend, seemingly having been derived from an ancient ‘Book of the Grail’. I do not deny the
existence of a Grail book in that Chrétien says he has obtained one from Philip of Flanders (Henry’s cousin), but
my conclusion is that it was written by Henry Blois. Certainly no book could have come from a realistic Avalon.
The Intention is to connect the duo fassula’ and Joseph named in the Prophecy of Melkin, also written in Latin
and found at Glastonbury with the book of the Grail which supposedly came from a religious house where
Arthur and Guinevere were buried. The idea is that we are to believe that the Grail book has its origins in the
ecclesiastical system.
Avalon in a house of holy religion which stands at the height of
moors of adventure where King Arthur and Queen Guinevere lie.
At a stretch we could make more sense of this by assuming that because
Avalon is an Island the reference is to the ever-changing tides/water levels
(Mares Aventurex) which surrounded the Somerset levels in Dunstan’s era
as described by author B. (" from feminine of adventurus, future participle
of advenire "to come to, reach, arrive at,"). A more likely translation: in a
house of holy religion which sits atop reaching tides; an allusion to the flood
planes around Glastonbury.
We know this has to be Glastonbury and there is only one person
converting his fabled Avalon into a realistic location since 1155-7. The
assumption made by scholarship regarding this text is that it post-dates the
disinterment of Arthur because of the flaw in Carley and Logorio’s
assessment of Glastonbury’s association with Joseph and Grail literature
derived from the continent. This assumption precludes Henry Blois from
being the interpolator even though he had stipulated in DA that
Guinevere and Arthur were buried between the piramides at
Glastonbury and makes the same statement in the colophon to
Perlesvaus both before 1189-91
This is why it is vital to understand that the location of the grave was
provided in DA before Henry’s death. The fact that both Guinevere and
Arthur were both posited in DA as being buried at Glastonbury together,
also tallies with Gerald’s account only one or two years after the event.
It thus becomes feasible that Master Blihis wrote the Perlesvaus and
Henry Blois is one and the same who stated in the colophon of
Perlesvaus where both Arthur (and his Guinevere ) would be found and
in DA.
As a result of Henry’s interpolations and his planned fraudulent
interment of the Leaden cross and bones which supposedly pertained to
Arthur, Arthur was able to be discovered; not as Scott’s understanding
that it only became necessary and meaningful, after the unearthing that
Arthur’s name was found in DA at Avalon.
This following passage, obviously written by Henry, is thought by all
commentators to be a later interpolation post 1190-1: I pass over Arthur,
famous King of the Britons, buried with his wife in the monks Cemetery
between two pyramids…. The idea behind the interment was inspired by
the Melkin Prophecy foretelling likewise of a body to be uncovered in the
future, but the reality of the interment of Joseph of Arimathea on Ineswitrin
will remain clouded in mystery until academia
18
changes its position and a
more capable younger generation comes out of the woods.
Annals of good authority record that Lucius the King of the Britons sent to
Pope Eleutherius asking for Christian teachers…. which starts chapter 2 (as
we know) is based on Bede’s mistake, but what few commentators have
remarked upon is the creation of a King Lucius in HRB who is inserted into
British history by Henry Blois purely to substantiate his myth regarding
Phagan and Deruvian and how the introduction of two preachers into the
First Variant help in establishing his case for metropolitan.
We can see at the end of chapter 2 there is nothing which can be
attributed to William based upon positions held in GR1, VD or VP or GP.
Scott gives a good idea of what he thinks William’s original text contains. I
agree for the most part where Scott breaks down the first 36 chapters of DA.
Scott’s assessment
19
of what can be accounted to William having written
reduces 19 pages to just four and a half pages, but Scott still believes in
genuineness of comparable material in the version B interpolations of GR3
and he admits more to Malmesbury’s pen than is necessary. Much of that
was written by Henry also. However, there are references to the 1184 fire in
DA which were obviously written after Henry’s death. This would convince
any commentator that interpolations occurred after 1184.
Carley accuses John of Glastonbury of elaborating greatly the material
in DA saying John ‘discovers’ many, and dubious sources to fill out
William’s account. One can see how Carley arrives at this assumption. Most
of the elaborations would be derived from other material put out by Henry
i.e. a more complete Perlesvaus or ‘Book of the Grail’ (no longer extant),
which, obviously complimented continental Grail literature since it too (in
its initial stages) was authored by Henry.
John skilfully consolidates into lore in his Cronica Henry’s DA
propaganda, along with other parts of Henry’s output no longer extant.
18
In his book ‘And Did Those Feet’ Goldsworthy had thought of King Arthur as an historical figure. Efforts
were made by Goldsworthy to obtain permission from the hoteliers on Burgh Island to show them where he
thought a tunnel entrance existed to the sepulchre, but the Devon Archaeological Society and the owners of the
Island took advice from experts who advised that Arthur could not be on the island on account of ‘Geoffrey
having invented his persona.
19
John Scott. The early history of Glastonbury, Boydell press.
However, the main features of the foundation legend that Henry had
concocted i.e. the building of the church by the disciples of Christ
20
and its
consecration by them is referred to only 13 years after Henry Blois death in
1184 in a charter that Henry II attested between the 2
nd
and 16
th
of
December just after the fire. It should be understood why there is no
mention of Joseph as at this stage. There was no ‘tradition’ actually at the
abbey, as the DA was still a seedling planted only 13 years ago when
Henry’s copy of DA came to light. It is more likely the monks were
conservative with the use of DA and chose to use GR3 version B to show
dignitaries as Joseph might be a bit hard to swallow until time had passed.
Hence the referral to the apostles in the charter without Joseph. My guess
would be that If the King was not informed verbally then the monks might
have shown him GR3 instead of DA.
Although the legend of Joseph did ‘evolve’ the seeds for this legend were
planted by Henry Blois in his life time in DA but until Arthur had been
discovered and Roberts work was all the rage Joseph matured with time.
We must never lose sight of the fact that although Joseph is a concocted
legend at Glastonbury it is based on the truth which was embedded in the
Prophecy of Melkin which after we have covered Grail literature the reader
will understand more clearly.
To make such an outrageous claim of housing the relics of Joseph with
no long standing heritage would seem foolish for the Glastonbury
propagandists, but no-one could counter the antiquity of the old church or
how far back into antiquity it was founded and the Apostolic foundation
had supposedly been recorded by William of Malmesbury a reliable
historian in GR3.
Henry II financed the rebuilding of the abbey after the fire using (as
Adam of Damerham relates) the stone from Henry Blois’ palace. Henry II
was a concerned benefactor to Glastonbury until his death in 1189 but his
son Richard Ist was more concerned with employing his coffers for war.
One theory is that the funding for restoration dried up at King Henry’s
death, hence the disinterment of Arthur by an ingenious Henry de Sully
soon afterward.
20
Mater Sanctorum dicta est, ab aliis Tumulus Sanctorum, Quam ab ipsis discipulis Domini edificatum et ab ipso
Domino dedicatum primo fuisse venerabilis habet antiquorum auctoritas. Great Cartulary of Glastonbury p.186
Another theory might be that while King Henry was alive, with the
proliferation of Henry Blois’ Arthuriana in the courts of insular Britain and
on the continent, the time came to capitalize on the fame of Arthur or even
see if the rumours were true. However, it is my belief that King Henry II
was advised by Henry Blois where the body was located and was told that
he had been informed by an ancient bard (obviously with Melkin in mind).
Don’t forget, since the name change Joseph was now buried in Avalon.
Henry Blois may even have instructed King Henry to only reveal this on
his own death bed or asked him to make sure Arthur is housed in the
Church. Hence we have Giraldus’ connection to King Henry’s involvement
and the disinterment soon after King Henry’s death. This is of course
speculation, but goes some way to explain the many extraneous
chronological discrepancies which will be covered in the chapter on Gerald
and his relationship with Henry II.
Though Carley believes John is ‘discovering material, much of it must
have actually existed in John’s time and originated through Henry Blois.
John is not a gross fabricator but draws from other works. The information
existed at Glastonbury so JG mentions Arviragus in connection with the DA
tradition.
It is obviously Henry who has implied in another work that it was
Arviragus who gave the disciples for a dwelling an island to flesh out the
foundation story and tie it into the twelve hides around Glastonbury: After
this Saint Joseph and his son Josephes and their 10 companions travelled
through Britain, where King Arviragus then reigned, in the 63rd year from the
Lord's incarnation, and they trustworthily preached the faith of Christ. But
the barbarian King and his nation, when they heard doctrines so new and
unusual, did not wish to exchange their ancestral traditions for better ways
and refused consent to their preaching. Since however they had come from
afar, and because of their evident modesty of life, Arviragus gave them for a
dwelling an island at the edge of his Kingdom surrounded with forests,
thickets and swamps, which was called by the inhabitants Ynswytryn, that is
’the Glass island’. Of this a poet has said, ‘The twelvefold band of men entered
Avalon: Joseph, flower of Arimathea, is their chief. Josephes, Joseph’s son,
accompanies his father. The right to Glastonbury is held by these and the
other ten.When the saints then, had lived in that desert for a short time, the
Archangel Gabriel admonished them in a vision to build a church in honour of
the holy Mother of God, the ever virgin Mary, in that place which heaven
would show them. Obeying the divine admonitions, they finished a Chapel, the
circuit of whose walls they completed with wattles, in the 31st year after the
Lord's passion, the fifteenth, as was noted, after the assumption of the
glorious Virgin, and the same year in fact, in which they had come to St Philip
the apostle in Gaul and had been sent by him to Britain.
As we know, Henry Blois, writing as ‘Geoffrey, enlarged upon some
casual mention of a British King supplied by Juvenal.
21
Henry Blois invents
a whole persona who is mentioned sixteen times in HRB. Henry Blois
donated the lives of the Caesars to Glastonbury and certainly knew
Arviragus played no part in the Roman annals. Arviragus is found in no
other writing. Henry employs Arviragus to give context in HRB to the
pseudo-history which highlights the bogus viewpoint of relationship
between the supposed illustrious Britons and how they were regarded in
high esteem by the Romans. Arviragus seeks refuge (coincidentally) at
Winchester, but Claudius follows him there with his army.
As the narrative in HRB goes, the Britons break the siege and attack the
Romans, but Claudius halts the attack and offers a treaty. Claudius proffers
a pact with Arviragus because of the standoff at Winchester and Claudius
gives his daughter Genuissa in marriage to Arviragus. Arviragus becomes
powerful which causes him to halt his tribute to Rome, forcing Claudius to
send Vespasian with an army to Britain. Vespasian marches to Exeter and
besieges the city. Arviragus meets him in battle there. Again, the fight is
stalemated and Queen Genuissa supposedly mediates peace. Vespasian
returns to Rome and Arviragus rules. Arviragus and his queen build the city
of Gloucester and therein, (after Arviragus’s death), is the Dukedom of
Gloucester formed. Arviragus is succeeded by his son Marius…. another
invention of ‘Geoffrey’s’. This episode supplies historical context bridging
together ‘Geoffrey’s’ concocted pseudo-history leading up to and setting up
an erroneous power relationship between Rome and the Britons before the
ensuing Arthurian legend.
21
HRB IV, xvi 'Some King shalt thou lead captive, or from the draught-tree of his British chariot, headlong shall
fall Arviragus’.
Originally in Juvenal, Satire IV, .126-127, a satirical poem by Juvenal, in which a giant turbot presented to the
Roman emperor Domitian (AD 81 96) is said to be an omen that "you will capture some King, or Arviragus
will fall from his British chariot-pole".
If any major role had been played by Arviragus, a Roman chronicler
such as Tacitus (if the early date for Arviragus is believed) or later
chronicler would have remarked upon him. The British submission to Rome
is seemingly presented as an accord or free gesture of magnanimity on
behalf of ‘Geoffrey’s’ Arviragus…. which obviously runs contrary to realistic
history. ‘Geoffrey’s supposed entente is laying the foundation for his pre-
Saxon Britons where they are not perceived as conquered.
To carry this fake history chronologically by ‘Geoffrey’…. to appear as
historicity portraying a defiant Britain, no one personage (except
Ambrosius) can be attached to a historical event. So, Henry uses a persona
in the guise of Arviragus (mentioned historically but only anecdotally by
Juvenal) to lead in to his Arthuriana. As we have become accustomed by
now, it is part of Henry’s conflationary ploy.
Arviragus whose real historical contribution is slight (if at all) is
employed by Henry Blois to rewrite history in the form of an embellished
and fabricated persona in exactly the same way the chivalric Arthur is
invented. It would have been a Henry Blois device to bring his invention of
Arviragus from HRB into Glastonbury lore in his ‘Grail book’ which is from
where John of Glastonbury may have sourced his elaborations. Is it not
(again) a raging coincidence that both Arviragus and Arthur are known to
be Galfridian inventions and yet both feature in Glastonbury lore just like
Phagan and Deruvian?
So, we cannot, as Carley supposes, hold John of Glastonbury as the
inventor of such stories. Even though Henry has not interpolated the name
of Arviragus in DA, it seems fair to assume HRB’s Arviragus is found
connected to Glastonbury through Henry and his output.
It would seem a huge coincidence given that Arviragus is an invention of
Henry’s that John found the source for Arviragus giving Joseph and his
band a dwelling in Avalon, if it had not come from the man who invented
the name Avallon, put Joseph squarely within its lore and invented the
persona of Arviragus. John is merely the person who coalesces from
different sources and one of these I am positing is a missing book which
connected HRB’s Arviragus with Glastonbury lore and we should not look
further than Master Blihis our Cicero who is responsible for all things
concerning the Matière de Bretagne.
One of the things which has made the DA most impenetrable in
determining who wrote what and for what purpose, is made much clearer,
by understanding that Henry had an earlier and later agenda. The apostolic
agenda through Philip which had been posited by Henry at his first
presentation at Rome in 1144…. later becomes connected by clever
consolidation to a foundation by Joseph.
However, leaving untouched much of William’s work evidenced in the
latter half of DA, Henry interpolates the DA at the beginning. But problems
arise in working out when items of his later agenda are so easily and
seamlessly woven into the former. This to me is clear evidence of one
person who understands why the contradictions exist trying to coalesce and
synthesize into one chronological legend that which was disjointed because
of the overlaying of earlier agendas.
Because we do not have evidence of the prophecy of Melkin before John
of Glastonbury it in no way negates that the prophecy existed and was the
basis for the mythical Island in HRB and the later Joseph legend at
Glastonbury in DA. The Melkin prophecy was the inspiration for the Grail
and was the inspiration for the storyline propagated through ‘Robert de
Boron’…. but more importantly than all those, it was the template for the
manufacture of Arthur’s gravesite. Henry Blois is responsible for all this by
his possession of the document but his substitution of the name Ineswitrin
on a bone fide ancient document is the only reason Joseph ever came into
contact with Avallon. Until scholars get their heads around this Joseph
remains on Burgh Island.
The assumption of early thirteenth century interpolation and
consolidation of DA is largely based on two premises. The first is that Gerald
does not mention Joseph but mentions Avalon. For this reason scholars
have assumed Joseph lore followed insertions about Avalon which were
thought to follow Arthur’s disinterment. Secondly, modern scholars have
also assumed St Patrick’s charter was produced later than the disinterment
because of its reference to Patrick being ‘first abbot of Avalon’. This
presumption is entirely incorrect. The reference to Avalon in chapter 9 of
DA in the postscript pertains to the monastery not the Church and would
not have appeared on the faked St Patrick charter produced by Henry Blois
(written in gold)…. if indeed it was presented at Rome at all. In other words
Henry has employed his own propaganda of the concocted St Patrick
charter and included its contents with a postscript written by himself in DA.
The suggestion is that the concocted document existed.
Avallon, (which is Henry’s Burgundian town eponym) and Joseph from
the Melkin prophecy at Glastonbury, have Henry as common denominator.
It was Henry who clearly posited Ineswitrin as the Isle of Glass through
Caradoc, purely for the motive to establish the credibility of the 601 charter
by which his case for antiquity was proved to papal authorities. The chance
that Robert recounts an Isle de Voirre without any contact from Henry
would involve an alarmingly fortuitous convergence of factors…. since
Caradoc also intonates the ‘Glass’ association with Glastonbury prior to
Robert de Boron.
There was absolutely no precedence in Glastonbury lore concerning
Joseph prior to William of Malmesbury unearthing the prophecy; probably
alongside, in the same place at the same time he uncovered the 601 charter.
If we can accept Ineswitrin as the original name on the Prophecy of Melkin
(and it is difficult not to given ‘White tin island’ being synonymous with
Ictis and Joseph’s known trade); then the mystical island scenario on which
Avalon is based and where Arthur is last seen, would make the connection
to the prophecy too obvious to use without Henry’s authorship being
discovered.
William had probably handed over the original Melkin prophecy to
Henry Blois along with the 601 charter. That both pertained to Ineswitrin
and were found at Glastonbury may well have been the catalyst for Henry’s
storyline invention of Avalon which was not mentioned in the Primary
Historia since this was newly discovered and Henry had been in Wales in
1136. This is only a year after Mamesbury presents his copy of DA to Henry
and then in 1137 he in Normandy composing the Arthuriad.
Why the Melkin prophecy is not in DA is because of subtlety and
traceability just as Glastonbury is not mentioned in HRB and Arviragus in
DA. Henry’s authorial edifice is an illusion, just as Caradoc’s Iniswitrin is
later substantiated in DA as being relevant as an earlier name for
Glastonbury and is corroborated in the St Patrick charter. If more of
Melkin’s work existed, it may well have been destroyed in the fire in 1184.
But the work composed in his name about Arthur’s round table was surely
from H. Blois.
It seems obvious, if we can accept the provenance of a Glastonbury
Perlesvaus, that Henry Blois wrote the original of the Grail book/Sanctum
Graal/Vulgate Estoire. He expected posterity to learn of the coincidence of
the French Grail literature and its connection to Joseph, to be
commensurate with Melkin’s ‘duo fassula’ on Avalon where Joseph was
buried. One can only suppose that John of Glastonbury must have found the
Melkin prophecy in a work along with other material (including the
mention of Arviragus and his connection to the twelve hides) which must
have been contrived by Henry.
If the fire of 1184 had not happened and several parts to the puzzle had
not been destroyed, what should have naturally coincided earlier i.e. the
understanding that the Grail and ‘duo fassula’ were commensurate…. had to
wait until John of Glastonbury included the Blois version of the Melkin
prophecy in the Cronica…. which had substituted Avalon instead of
Ineswitrin. The prophecy survived in the form where Henry Blois had
substituted Ineswitrin by the Burgundian eponym Avallon. Herein is the
answer to why the instructions within the prophecy are not a fabrication….
and actually reveal Burgh Island. Avalon is not some ‘Celtic Otherworld’ as
most modern commentators maintain and there was certainly no Island of
Avalon before Henry Blois’ invention in the First Variant.
Arviragus is not in DA yet the boundaries of twelve hides are in chapter
72 & 73 of DA and form part of William’s original work. John of Glastonbury
is a consolidator of other works concerning Glastonburyana and we know a
large part of this propaganda derives from Henry Blois. It appears as if it is
John who puts together the hides and Arviragus, but, I would suggest, given
John of Glastonbury’s disposition not to invent fable, much of John’s
information is derived from Henry’s lost work. What we can surmise then is
that Henry, elsewhere, in other output, had connected William’s ‘twelve
hides’ to a fictitious Arviragus from his own HRB.
Anyway, Gerald is only concerned with ‘Geoffrey’sArthur as he appears
in HRB, because his power centre was in Wales and stood as an icon for
Welsh nationalism. So, the fact that Gerald does not mention Joseph (even
having read the DA) is irrelevant and should not be assumed by scholars as
a priori basis for a late appearance of Joseph. The deduction being that
mention of Joseph in DA is a late invention following an inspiration from
French Grail literature.
Again. if this were the case, how is it that Caradoc’s mention of Isle de
Voirre (which can only apply to Glastonbury) pre-empts Robert de Boron’s
Isle de Voirre…. when we know Life of Gildas was written c.1140. That would
be the opposite of what Lagorio concludes; Glastonbury propaganda
affecting continental literature.
Gerald of Wales neither mentions the St Patrick charter nor Ineswitrin,
yet this is obviously Henry Blois’ invention which is also in DA. Gerald
having read DA is not concerned with Glastonburyana but Arthuriana and
Avalon. So, Lagorio’s assumptions about the ‘evolving’ of the legend
concerning Joseph is flawed; as Joseph was assuredly written into DA
before Henry Blois’ death.
22
Another reason scholars assume Joseph material derives from a later
interpolator and was not in DA at the time of the unearthing of Arthur is
because Adam of Damerham makes no mention of Joseph either. Adam
starts, (as we have noted), where DA finishes i.e. with the abbacy of Henry
Blois. For pages Adam leaves us in no doubt of the glorious reputation of
Henry Blois held by monks at Glastonbury. Adam even mentions that Henry
Blois had generously ordained that 30 Salmon should be eaten at the
festivals of Easter and Pentecost ‘so that his own name might be
remembered’. I only mention this to show Henry’s vanity in perpetuating his
legacy into the future.
Adam is purely ‘following on and therefore is not repeating or
reiterating anything found in DA. Adam wrote a hundred years after Henry
died. Adam says Henry died in 1177 so his accuracy is not great. He also
mentions that certain saints were unearthed from the site of the Old church
after the fire i.e. St Patrick, Dunstan, Indract and Gildas. Probably the only
genuine relics were those of Indract. But that aside, Joseph is not mentioned
22
Carley. The Chronicle of Glastonbury abbey. P li. The first official recognition of Joseph at Glastonbury is
not recorded until John wrote his Cronica in the early 1340’s; what status the legend enjoyed before then, and
when it was actually incorporated in DA is not clear.
It is not clear because Carley refuses to believe Henry Blois could have interpolated DA or been responsible for
Joseph lore at Glastonbury. This is largely based on the fact that Gerald does not mention Joseph’s name. Why
should Gerald when commenting on Arthur’s disinterment? He does not mention St Patrick either!! So Carley
has concluded the St Patrick charter is by a later interpolator also. Let me therefore make it clear. Joseph and the
St Patrick charter were included in DA before Henry Blois’ death…. just as the Grail was taken to Avalon in
Robert’s work c.1165-1175, long before Arthur was unearthed.
as he was not unearthed. The point about unearthing Joseph was that no-
one could attempt a bogus find as one would have to replicate and produce
what one imagined constituted the Grail or duo fassula.
Logically, it seems likely that if Henry had searched for Joseph at
Montacute as well as Glastonbury, it may well be the cause of why Arthur is
buried where he is. Henry thought the piramides might mark where Joseph
was buried since Henry himself did not know where Ineswitrin was. Both
the 601 charter and Prophecy were uncovered at Glastonbury. But if Henry
did believe the prophecy of Melkin about a burial site for Joseph (since it
was him who had provided the bogus etymology in Caradoc and changed
the name on the prophecy), it clearly shows he had no idea where the
remains of Joseph might be.
It seems probable that in Adam’s era there was suspicion as to how
Joseph suddenly arrived to complement Glastonbury and provide it with
apostolic ancestry. Anyway, Adam was relating as a continuator from
William’s research, not reiterating the history already established in DA
which was too recent to have formed what might be termed a ‘tradition’.
Adam is covering what had happened since DA and therefore Lagorio and
Carley’s assumptions, on the basis that both Gerald and Adam don’t
mention Joseph and that Joseph material could not have been in DA at the
time of Henry’s death or even at Arthur’s unveiling no longer stands as a
scholastic decree.
Therefore, this leaves open the entire framework I am positing i.e. that
Joseph material is based upon Melkin’s prophecy and the Melkin prophecy
was the catalyst for the mysterious island in HRB and the Grail is based
upon the duo fassula…. and the discovery of a body on Avalon in the future
is based upon Joseph’s sepulcher being found as predicted by Melkin. Most
important of all is that the Grail quest is a simulation of Henry’s personal
search for the relics of Joseph and the enigmatic duo fassula. Let us hope
common sense prevails..
However, before this can happen the experts need to understand the
geometry leading to Ineswitrin and they should not discount it as anything
other than an encoded document pinpointing the grave of Joseph on Burgh
Island. Henry’s knowledge of the Melkin prophecy has in effect defined the
Island of Avallon as the last place Arthur was seen. Ineswitrin has become
fictionally interpreted in HRB as Avallon, named by Henry Blois. That we
should be confident that there has been a substitution of name on the
Melkin prophecy is fairly self-evident. 1) The data would not point to an
Island in Devon coincidentally. 2) There would not be five cassates on the
Island which are still evident today. 3) The island’s connection to Ictis and
Joseph’s name to the tin trade are a coincidence too far to be anything other
than fact. 4) The islands etymological name is evident in that it was ‘White
tin Islandor Ineswitrin. 5) Henry would never have gone to the trouble of
the etymological addition to Caradoc’s life of Gildas if the 601 charter, which
had the name of Ineswitrin inscribed on it, did not exist.
Because the 60 charter existed in reality, it referred to an island in
Dumnonia evidenced by its donation from its King. It is Melkin’s prophecy,
which by its geometrical directions, points out the Island in Devon. Hence,
Melkin’s prophecy in reality is locating Ineswitrin as the island upon which
Joseph’s relics are to be found and it is synonymous with that named in the
601 charter. Hence, it is not Insula Avallonis as stated on the prophecy…. as
we know that this name also is the invented name plucked from a town in
Burgundy by Henry Blois the writer of HRB.
23
Thus we can be sure the same
person has substituted the name.
Any theory to the contrary which avers that both Melkin and his
prophecy are a fake is a theory and in no way verifiable. As I have
maintained from the beginning, my reason for writing this is not to put
forward a theory but to show how it is that certain events have transpired
which have resulted in the relics of Joseph and Jesus remaining on Burgh
Island. It is easily verifiable.
Henry invented the chivalric Arthur. So Arthur’s grave could not exist on
the invented Island of Avalon. But this does not follow for Joseph of
Arimathea on Burgh Island. The stupidity is that…. it is our experts who
supposedly are better informed than ourselves who have decreed that a
search is fruitless and no bodies are to be found on Burgh Island.
Julia Crick ‘knows’ Geoffrey’s chivalric Arthur is a twelfth century
invention. Therefore, Arthur could not be buried on Avalon. She is not
qualified to pronounce on Joseph being buried on Ineswitrin. Carley denies
the existence of Melkin and has no idea of the meaning of Melkin’s
23
The fact that Henrys other greatest fiction of Arthur’s continental battle scene derives from the same area in
the Blois region witnesses Henrys source of inspiration is personal.
prophecy. He dismisses the geometry which we have covered in this work.
To him it has no relevance. How could it, because he was taught to accept
by his mentor Lagorio that Glastonburyana (and Joseph) just happened as a
‘fortuitous convergence of factors’ and because he has adduced there is no
mention of the prophecy or of Melkin himself before John’s Cronica.
It is worth pointing out though, that there was a devastating fire which
must have burnt some volumes and evidence which would have led us to
an earlier interconnection between Glastonburyana and continental Grail
literature…. if it were still extant. Carley’s expert opinion is unbending
largely because several of his works on Glastonburyana have posited
conclusions which are based on false assumptions.
Chapter 3. How a certain monk of St Denis spoke of Glastonbury.
Let us digress a little in order to further establish the antiquity of this
church. When a certain monk of Glastonbury named Godfrey, from whose
letter we have taken both this chapter and the next, was staying at St
Denis in the district of Paris in the time of Henry Blois, Abbot of Glastonbury,
one of the older monks asked him “where do your people come from? Where
do you live?” He replied,” I am a Norman monk, father from the monastery in
Britain that is called Glastonbury”. “Is that ancient church of the perpetual
Virgin and compassionate mother still standing” he asked. “It is”, the monk
said. At this the elder who was gently stroking Godfrey's head, remained
wrapt in silence for a long time and at length spoke thus: “this church of the
most glorious martyr Denis and that which you claim as yours share the
same honour and privilege, the one in France, the other in Britain; they both
arose at the same time and each was consecrated by the highest and greatest
priest. Yet in one degree yours is superior for it is called a second Rome”.
While he was hanging on that man’s words, the guest master separated them
from each other, despite their reluctance, and they never saw each other
again. But, no more of this.
It seems to me that this is a ploy by Henry Blois and this was written in
DA before his death. To me it is doubtful that this was written by the writer
of T. The reader must not forget two things. Firstly, we are dealing with the
master of retro authorship. If my assumption that DA was in Henry’s
possession until his death, he could well have written this for posterity.
What is almost certain is that, if it was written by our consolidating author
of T, the propaganda about Glastonbury as a second Rome originates from
Henry Blois.
24
A good reason for suspecting this is that his name is involved.
The propaganda in essence places Glastonbury monastery above his good
friend Abbot Suger’s ecclesiastical house by the respect shown by the monk
of that establishment for Glastonbury. There may be a grain of truth to the
account, but in essence it is an account of a conversation which at best can
be accounted as hearsay.
But, this is not the first time Henry Blois uses seemingly inconsequential
anecdotes which establish or add credibility to one of his propagandist
positions. The propagandist position is that, like St Denis where all the
French Kings were buried, so is Glastonbury where King Arthur is buried.
This is how ‘lore’ is established. Even though the letter, which no doubt
existed, (but was fabricated by Henry), portrays the essence of a dialogue
between two priests…. the bogus letter to which the piece in DA refers,
makes sure we understand that at a contemporary time (when Saint Denis,
Bishop of Paris c.250 AD, established the abbey of St Denis), Glastonbury
was standing as it is second to Rome.
What also raises my suspicions about Henry’s involvement in
reproducing this letter as relating to a monk of Glastonbury named
Godfrey, is that he is staying at St Denis in the time of Henry Blois…. and so
in effect back dates the perception we are meant to believe…. that if
William of Malmesbury wrote this, it must have been a commonly held
perception about the antiquity of Glastonbury especially in terms of
primacy…. being accounted second unto Rome.
Henry’s aim from the time he returned from Clugny in 1158 was to
establish Glastonbury as the second greatest Christian ecclesiastical
establishment after Rome; established by Jesus’ uncle and King Arthur’s
Avalon.
Before the burgeoning Cistercians, Clugny had once held a similar
honour in France. My suspicion is that the story is made up of
inconsequential and intimate detail dressed up to seem matter of fact…. as a
conversation portrayed in a letter. My worst suspicion is upon the final
sentence in that it pretends upon William of Malmesbury’s style; to be
24
It is not by accident that Henry Blois’ friend Bernard refers to Henry as a rival pope in his letter to pope Lucius
II where he alludes to ‘vitis illa Wincestrie, immo ut vulgo canitur, vitis secunde Rome’
dismissive of tale and hearsay, but as always (again) the seed of propaganda
is planted and irreversible.
Chapter 4. How a great number of people first began to live at
Glastonbury.
Having described the foundation, dedication and later rediscovery of this
oratory it remains for me to describe how this island came to be inhabited by
a large number of people. We read in the ‘deeds of the ancient Britons’ that 12
brothers from the northern parts of Britain came into the West where they
held several territories, namely Gwynedd, Dyfed, Gower, and Kidwelly,
which their ancestor Cuneda had possessed. The names of the brothers are
noted below: Ludnerth, Morgen, Catgur, Cathmor, Merguid, Morvined,
Morehel, Morcant, Boten, Morgent, Mortineil, and Glasteing. It was this
Glasteing who, following his sow through the Kingdom of the inland Angles
from near the town called Escebtiorne up to Wells and from Wells along an
inaccessible and watery track called Sugewege, that is ‘the Sow’s way’, found
her suckling her piglets under an apple tree near the church of which we have
been speaking. From this it has been passed down to us that the apples from
the tree are known as ‘Ealde Cyrcenas epple’, that is ‘old church apples’.
Similarly the sow was called ‘Ealde Cyrce suge’. While all the other sows have
4 feet, this one had eight, remarkable though that may sound. As soon as
Glasteing reached that island he saw that it abounded with many good things
and so came to live on it with all his family and spent the rest of his life there.
That place is said to have been first populated by his offspring and the
households that succeeded him. These things have been taken from the
ancient books of the Britons.
Scott highlights the point that: ‘the reference to Henry Blois in the past,
establishes that this chapter and the previous was not William’s work since
Henry did not die until 1171’. This is certainly not authored by a
consolidating or last interpolating editor and the author of the letter above
(from which this is derived: from whose letter we have taken both this
chapter and the next,) uses the same conflationary format as witnessed
elsewhere concerning not only himself but again with how Glastonbury got
its name.
Henry feels he has licence to invent anything as we have seen before
mainly in HRB where there are no end of myths but especially where
Newburgh is relating a story of Henry Blois having found a greyhound in a
rockand keeping it as a pet. Just as unlikely is a pig with 8 legs.
The sole person, whose aim it is to convince us that…. firstly, Ineswitrin
is the old name for Glastonbury and latterly that Insula Avallonis is
synonymous with Glastonbury, is Henry Blois. Here, I believe is how Henry
connects his own French propaganda which posits an alternative Isle de
Voirre and connects its namesake Glas through an episode found randomly
in the vita tertia of St Patrick. I believe this is Henry’s etymological
contortion through an apple eating pig owned by Glasteing…. so
Glastonbury becomes identified as, Insula Pomorum, Isle de Voirre, and
Avalon, all names fabricated by Henry Blois (except for Ineswitrin which
should never have been associated with the location of Glastonbury).
We should also remember that Henry’s first agenda had to convert Ines
Gutrin
25
(as it pertained to Glastonbury) as if it were synonymous with the
Ineswitrin on the 601 charter which he was using as an evidential part of
his case. This of course he had done neatly by impersonating Caradoc.
26
Henry has employed the identification of Glasteing as a swineherd from
Glas. The Vita tertia of St Patrick contains an episode where St Patrick
encounters a large grave in which Glas is raised from the dead saying: Ego
sum Glas filius Cais, qui fuit porcarius Lugir regis Hirote. The sole purpose
for which Henry employs this pig story in DA is to connect the apple island
of VM through an apple eating pig to Glastonbury. This is so that the island
in VM where Arthur is taken by Barinthus is now no other than
Glastonbury. It is not by coincidence that this is where miraculously, thanks
to Henry Blois having planted a bogus grave and identified its spot (in DA),
Arthur will be found. Henry’s alter ego, the chivalric Arthur, will be the
food of story tellers and Henry Blois’ entire pseudo-history will become part
of British history.
25
Aelred Watkin would have us believe regarding Iniswitrin, Inis Gutrin, Isle of Glass, Avalon, Avallo etc: At
first sight these epithets may seem disparate, but there is one factor that is common to them all, namely a
reference in some form or another to a Celtic underworld or beyond world, a magical abode of healing and of
peace. Watkin is certainly right about the common factor but it has nothing to do with a Celtic underworld.
26
The final paragraph in which we are assured are the genuine words of Caradoc in the Life of Gildas, we get the
etymological convolution which is employed solely to make the Ineswitrin on the 601 charter credibly appear to
pertain to the location of Glastonbury:Glastonia was of old called Ynisgutrin, and is still called so by the British
inhabitants. Ynis in the British language is insula in Latin, and gutrin (made of glass). But after the coming of
the English and the expulsion of the Britons, that is, the Welsh, it received a fresh name, Glastigberi, according
to the formation of the first name, that is English glass, Latin vitrum, and beria a city; then Glastinberia, that is,
the City of Glass.
As we saw in chapter 3 of DA, the information in Godfrey’s letter from
whose letter we have taken both this chapter and the next, (meaning the
above chapter 4) covers a number of passages, rebuilt to cause conflation
from Nennius’ Historia Brittonum and some other source (not in Nennius)
which provided the court pedigrees of Hywel the Good’ shown by A. Wade
Evans: udnerth map Morgen, map catgur, map Catmor, map Merguid, map
Moriutned, map Morhen, map Morcant, map Botan, map Morgen, map
Mormayl, map Glast, unde sunt Glastenic qui venerunt que vocatur Loytcoyt.
Considering the content of this supposed letter (if one existed), I can only
conclude contrary to Scott that this has Henry’s stamp on it. It might well be
written into DA by Henry himself as it exists, or the information supplied
was in the form of a letter composed by Henry Blois which our
consolidating author of DA has transferred into DA from what was a
separate letter. Since this is written by the master of illusion and retro
dating…. and William himself is supposed to be the composer of DA ‘as a
whole’, I would suggest Henry Blois is referring to himself as if being
referred to by William. It does not imply that Henry is dead as Scott
assumes, but merely implies that Godfrey was writing this letter in the time
of Henry Blois. This goes some way to establishing my proposition that
Henry made sure the final redaction of DA was not exposed to the public
domain until after his death…. and DA was part of the 40 or so books
donated to Glastonbury after his death.
It is unfortunate in GS at the point where we could discover exactly what
the author knew about Wales that the pertinent folios are missing. As I have
covered, my proposition is that ‘Geoffrey’ obtained his knowledge of Wales
as Henry Blois who was there (clearly as an eye witness in GS) to the
suppression of the Welsh rebellion in 1136. It is not by coincidence that the
brothers from the north come into the West where they held several
territories, namely Gwynedd, Dyfed, Gower, and Kidwelly. This is exactly
where Henry had spent time. It is also clear from GS that Kidwelly castle
belongs to himself. This we might assume is through having retaken it and
repelled a siege from within as we discussed earlier. The fact that the book
or books of the ancient Britons is referred to twice as the source for the
eight legged pig is indicative of the inventor of this story…. the inspired
author of so much other dubious lore found in HRB (also about the ancient
Britons).
Chapter 5. On the various names of that island.
This island was at first called Ineswitrin by the Britons but at length was
named by the English, who had brought the land under their yoke,
Glastinbiry, either a translation into the language of its previous name,
or after the Glasteing of whom we spoke above. It is also frequently called
the island of Avalon, the name of which this is the origin. It was mentioned
above that Glasteing found his sow under