Chapter 30
The Merlin prophecies by John of
Cornwall
Henry Blois wrote all the material in the Prophecies of Merlin
found in HRB, all the prophetic words of Taliesin, Ganieda and Merlin
found in VM; and the Cornish rendition of John of Cornwall’s Merlini
prophetia cum expositione, known from a unique 14th century manuscript
in the Vatican Library. There are no Merlin prophecies without Henry Blois.
This is not to say that there was no tradition or prophecies from the Welsh
Myrddin before ‘Geoffrey. Certainly the Caledonian Merlin in the VM
appears to be based upon a more north Welsh and southern Scottish
prophetic figure than the Ambrosian Merlin…. but both are concocted. The
Caledonian Merlin supposedly driven mad after the battle of Arfdderydd.
Certainly, Caledonian Merlin has commonalities with Armes Prydain
Fawr and other points of reference are found in examples such as
Afallennau (with its introduction of apples tying in with Glastonbury lore),
Oianau, and the Gwasgargerdd Myrddin. Maybe the Welsh Myrddin did
inspire ‘Geoffrey’, but I believe it was the words of Quintus in Cicero that
wholly brought about the introduction of the first edition of prophecies
which were witnessed by Abbot Suger before 1151; and these were partly
used politically when Stephen was alive.
The first set of prophecies, as we have covered, were mainly brought
into existence to show that Merlin had foreseen Stephen’s reign and
therefore, since it was fated, all and sundry should accept more readily
what has been pre-ordained. Of course, Henry Blois would have read the
Biblical prophets, but there were prophetical poets among the Greeks such
as Orpheus, Linus, Homer, Hesiod and amongst the Latins, Publius Virgilius,
Maro etc. which we know Henry had read; so he was aware of how
prophecy worked as propaganda.
The sense of some prophecies changed subtly from the original Libellus
Merlini first published independently of Gaufridus’ Primary Historia. These
original prophecies which Henry Blois’ friend Suger witnessed were the
basis of those expanded and updated found in Vulgate HRB where the sense
has been squewed.
The one particular prophecy which then established Merlin definitively
as a seer was his prediction of the invasion of Ireland by the sixth’, when
the small band of Norman Knight’s arrived there in 1161 (even though
Henry had thought the invasion was going to take place more immediately
and on a larger scale). There were however, several prophecies which did
not happen which Henry Blois had hoped would transpire when he first
wrote the separate libellus Merlini. These were then included in the HRB
version to maintain consistency in what was originally posited. Some
prophecies concerning building works and engineering projects intended to
be completed by Henry Blois were interrupted by events of the Anarchy
and never got off the ground. Some of these prophecies of intended projects
Suger would have witnessed in his copy of Libellus Merlini. Some of these
were then eventually twisted in both HRB and VM.
It is this subtle twisting between HRB and VM and JC which identifies
Henry as the author. Those Prophecies where he identifies too strongly with
himself or leaves a trace whereby he may be accused as author were
obfuscated further in VM and then again in JC. Also where prophecies were
no longer poignant, of value, or did not come to fruition, these were
scrambled in the 1155 updated Vulgate version…. but, because many saw
the same words employed they assumed the change in sense was down to
translation or misunderstanding.
However, Newburgh writing about 1170 a year before Henry’s death
seems to accept that the prophecies were translated from a Celtic language
by ‘Geoffrey’ but his accusation seems to be that Geoffrey adds to them. He
seemingly has no problem accepting the prophecies existed as a separate
work on their own; and originally came from Merlin. One of the reasons he
thought this is because of the existence of the Libellus Merlini i.e. the first
set of prophecies and it is likely Newburgh had read Henry’s interpolation
into Orderic. Also, the reason Newburgh thinks like this is because of the
existence of HRB’s rebellious prophecies which certainly were not in the
first set and because of new ones found in VM and those of JC’s version.
Many commentators have thought the Bishop of Exeter must have
possessed a version written by Merlin himself and he supposedly asked
John of Cornwall to translate the JC version (supposedly written in Cornish)
into Latin for him. This is not how it transpired because Henry has used the
same gambit of backdating dedications just as we saw in HRB.
Robert de Warelwast, bishop of Exeter died March 28th 1155, the same
year the Vulgate HRB was published with the updated prophetia included.
(This is not to say that a First Variant version did not exist with non-
updated prophecies). Most scholars and commentators assume that the
supposed original Celtic/Brittonic manuscript from which the translation
was made actually existed. It is also assumed around 1138 or thereafter, the
JC edition was in the public domain. This assumption is based upon the
dedication or commission of the translation i.e. prior to Warelwast’s death.
By lending credence to the dedication assumes Warelwast is alive much like
the dedications in HRB imply, but this simply cannot be; because the vital
‘Sixth in Ireland’ prophecy is present in JC. Henry, just as he had done with
HRB uses the same devise to backdate the prophecies with the pretence that
Warelwast is still alive.
It is certainly no coincidence that Robert Warelwast of Exeter (1138-55),
dedicatee of JC’s Prophetia Merlini is chosen as dedicatee as he had just
died. Three other of Henry Blois’ circle cited the prophecies before 1170 as
Henry distributed his updated version. Arnulf, bishop of Lisieux
1
(1141-81),
Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury (1162-70) and Gilbert Foliot,
bishop of London (1163-87), (nephew of Robert Chesney), all in Henry’s
sway (once he became the venerated Bishop post 1158). They were all
intricately related to Henry as history records. Also Étienne de Rouen’s
(d.1169) Draco Normannicus alluded to the dragons of Merlin’s prophecy
and quoted individual prophecies in connection with events including the
death of King Stephen (1154) so had the updated version.
1
Arnulf, bishop of Lisieux, remained neutral in the Becket dispute but wrote a secret letter of advice to Becket in
1165 which relates to King Henry’s campaigns and his belief in Merlins prophecy concerning the Celts
rebellion long after its creation (c.1155-7) by Henry Blois to incite rebellion, had become redundant: King Henry
was even disposed, so they say, to act more mildly in many ways, so that he can quickly return to put down the
audacity of the Welsh before the Scots and the Bretons make an alliance with them and Albion, as prophesied….
As Henry Blois is masquerading as Geoffrey of Monmouth, so too, he is
John of Cornwall; how else could it be? Henry knew of Henry II’s intention
toward Ireland and this could only be known after 1155. Only a fool would
think the prophecies are vaticinatory, so how come John of Cornwall is
writing for a dead person. The implication is that John is being impostered
and we do not have to look too far to realise who it is.
Too many of Merlin’s prophecies in JC are contemporary and come from
‘Geoffrey’. So, it can only be Henry Blois who is the author; unless of course
you believe in Merlin’s ability to prophecy. Warelwast was a good friend of
Henry’s also and Henry had spent time with him after the siege of Exeter as
stated in the GS. The previous Bishop, also named Warelwast, died in 1137
and was the founder of the Augustinian Priory of Plympton; and it was at
Plympton we found Henry Blois as an eyewitness in GS.
Henry Blois knew Devon and Cornwall well and had no problem
injecting a few colloquialisms and locations (known personally) into the
script like Tamar and Brentigia, just to give the prophecies the authentic air
as a direct translation from Cornish. (It should not be forgotten Henry
would certainly know monks of Cornish origin). Brentigia is Henry’s feigned
archaic word for ‘Brent moor’ which, as the prophecy states is by the Tamar
and in reality just behind Plympton which extends toward south Brent on
Southern Dartmoor.
Logically, the present day South Brent is ‘south of Brent’ or Brentigia, as
southern Dartmoor was known in Henry Blois’ day. JC states: qua spectat
Plaustrum, qua Tamarus exit in austrum, per iuga Brentigie… Which
faces Plymouth (aestuarium) from which the Tamar exits to the south
through the ridges of Brent moor.This is a fairly apt description from a
visiting Henry Blois, possibly from twenty years previously; who even
mentions the river Tavy which runs beside Brent Moor.
In the Afallennau, Myrddin prophesy’s that the victory of the Cymry over
the Saxons will take place when Cadwaladr comes from Rhyd Rheon to
meet Kynan. Of course the rousing to rebellion of the Celts (in Henry’s era)
is aimed to mirror Cynan of Armes Prydein fame, but it has been twisted as
if to foretell of Conan and Cadwalader of 1155. As we have seen
Cadwallader and Conan are Henry Blois’ contemporaries both in contention
against Henry II. Rhyd Rheon could now be misconstrued with Red Ruth in
Cornwall especially with the mention of Fawi-mor.
Of course no Cornish Celtic original existed as these are prophecies
entirely invented from the mind of Henry Blois and the reason for changes
in prophecies which seem to have the same subject is purely based upon
Henry’s changing agenda. Only 38 of the 139 prophecies in JC are directly
related to ‘Geoffrey’s’ prophecies. This of course gave the impression to
some commentators, the appearance that the prophecies come from a
larger extant body of Celtic material. This would then lead them to think the
parallel prophecies seemingly originate in material not ascribed to
‘Geoffrey’; who, some like Newburgh suspected of inventing.
As we covered already Adrian IV published the Papal Bull Laudabiliter,
which was issued in 1155 whereby the English pope Adrian IV gave King
Henry II the right to assume control over Ireland and apply the Gregorian
reforms. The pope urged Henry Plantagenet to invade Ireland; the object of
which was to bring its Celtic Christian Church under Roman Catholic rule.
We have established that Henry Blois knew of this intention to invade and
published this prophecy concerning the ‘sixth’ as vaticinatory prophecy
which could only have been after the council held at Winchester. He
thought the invasion was expected imminently as discussed at the council.
JC has this ‘sixth in Ireland’ prophecy along with other HRB prophecies
which we know came from Henry Blois; so it is only logical that JC is either
published at the same time as the updated prophecies in Vulgate HRB or
shortly thereafter using his friends name in the prologue. If we just assume
he used the same principle employed in HRB by dedicating the work to
dead people…. it is not surprising he would use a friend’s name who had
only just expired in March 1155.
One reason for producing the fraudulent JC version of prophecies was to
add credence to the assertion found in Vulgate HRB which insisted that the
Historia was merely a translation of an ancient book; where Geoffrey had
on the request of Alexander halted his translation and merely inserted the
translated prophecies. These new prophecies in the Vulgate HRB were being
scrutinized and Henry needed to allay accusations of new prophecies
appearing by producing an independent copy also from a Brythonic source
which showed that his new set in Vulgate were not recently concocted.
Many of the prophecies corroborated the fabricated history of HRB
originally and were partly used to that end. If Henry could produce a Celtic
source for the prophecies and show they contained even the updated
prophecies before Warlewast’s death, then there could be no accusation of
additions to previous prophecies by those who suspected that additions had
been made.
More specifically, JC verifies for the gullible that the book of Merlin
really did exist. ‘Geoffrey’ had made the point that he had to break off from
writing the Historia at the request of Alexander to translate a book of
British prophecies; and now through coincidental good fortune, we have
independent verification of another translation of Merlin’s prophecies
through JC. We (posterity and contemporaneous sceptics) had all assumed
the pretence that ‘Geoffrey’ was able to translate the prophecies from the
Brittonic tongue of the ancient Britain because Henry Blois had guided us to
believe that Geoffrey was from Wales. Now, through the advent of
prophecies appearing in a Celtic language appears to corroborate
‘Geoffrey’s’ assertion. The logical conclusion is that the book must exist and
must have been in Celtic tradition because it took a Cornishman named
John of Cornwall to translate a similar version of it into Latin.
Henry was not concerned what drivel he included, but the essentials
were that the subject matter reflected the same as found in the Vulgate HRB
rendition and that of the original Libellus Merlini. The reader would
assume, over a span of six hundred years, that the Welsh version had
somewhat differed from the separated Cornish version. The faked
commentary (written by Henry to accompany the JC version as if they were
John’s insights) was either used to point out certain features which
contemporary twelfth century commentators had misunderstood; or it was
used to confuse them by laying a false scent where earlier prophecies were
too closely linked to Henry Blois. Either way, the concept of writing an
appended commentary was genius.
Henry Blois in JC becomes unambiguously British as he is allowed to do
the speaking as John of Cornwall and relating what is supposed to be a
Brittonic prophecy. Henry, writing as JC, at times, pretends to critique and
correct ‘Geoffrey’smaterial, but his real desire, like passages in VM, is to
cause insurrection against Henry II. In the JC version, Henry Blois allows
himself to seemingly express his Celtic polemic in a much more overt way,
but still combining the politics with the same known subject matter of the
Vulgate HRB prophecies which link back to the Libellus Merlini prophecies
which Suger possessed. Some of these seem the same subject matter as in
VM but are subtly changed in purport and then twisted further in JC.
The dedication of the JC version is to: Venerated Robert, Prelate of
Exeter…. I John of Cornwall, having been commanded to set forth the
prophecy of Merlin in our British Tongue, and also esteeming your affection
for me more than my ability, have attempted in my humble style to elucidate it
in a scholarly manner. No matter how I have fashioned my work, I have
achieved nothing without labour. I did however strive to render it, according
to the law of translation, word for word.
There is simply not one word of truth in the prologue. Notice how Henry
Blois affects he is of Celtic background and has an affinity with Brittania or
the ‘Britons’ who were the Celtic occupants before the Saxon invasion.
Geoffrey does the same in HRB using the word ‘our’ as pertaining to be of
British descent. This also helps to explain why the Normans are considered
allies in ridding Britain of the Saxons at certain times in HRB prophecies
when reflecting the early Libellus Merlini sentiment, but never in JC. The
prologue feigns false humility just like the dedication to Robert of
Gloucester and Alexander in Vulgate HRB. The same faked humility is found
also in the faux prologue to Gildas-Nennius. The coincidence is that John of
Cornwall was a student of Thierry of Chartres and it was at Chartres where
a copy of Nennius was found. Henry may also have chosen to impersonate
John having met him there. John says he is leaving out events following
Conani’s lamentable exit up to William I’s time, ‘until he knew how his
work was received’. So how come he is translating word for word?
John of Cornwall’s commentary notes are a devise used by Henry Blois to
seem as if he (as JC) is having trouble with unravelling the meaning; while
at the same time, seeming to give a slightly different translation than that of
Geoffrey. Another motive for the production of JC is to corroborate
narrative found in HRB. The effect is that, the gullible are accepting of the
proposition that Merlin’s words were indeed Celtic and that John is indeed
translating them and of course HRB’s historicity seems more valid by
corroboration. However, Henry Blois only gives sporadic interlinear details
and notes in the commentary, not conclusive elucidation or interpretation.
In fact any number of interpretations are admissible often on grammatical
grounds and on historical grounds; ambiguity being Henry’s mode d’emploi.
I think it pertinent to inform the reader that the attached commentary in
no way narrows the interpretations; as the commentary’s own assessments
are often so far from the mark so as to appear genuine commentary. The
commentary is purely a devise used by Henry Blois and has little value as
an aid in understanding or interpreting the prophecies and deflects from
the underlying reasons for Henry Blois concocting and impersonating JC.
Often the comments in the commentary are inutile and create the aura of a
translator struggling to interpret the manuscript he is transcribing into
Latin. Another artifice is used where corroborative material is supplied
which backs up or could be conflated with HRB.
Throughout the HRB, VM and JC , part of Henry Blois’ artifice is a
studied ambiguity or employs obscurantist constructions; but when the
three works are taken together as a whole, much more can be gleaned
when it is realised they are by the same author. For example, this becomes
clearer as we interpret JC in relation to the man on the white horse, always
associated with Periron, where a different perspective is added.
We should now as briefly as possible see what changes Henry affects
between updated Vulgate HRB prophecies, VM and JC.
In the HRB version we have Dragons: The seed of the White Dragon shall
be rooted out of our little gardens and the remnant of his generation shall be
decimated.
1) JC: the East wind will be rooted out by the south wind and their young
shoots will be decimated from our gardens.
Henry’s intention here is to seem as if the prophecy is genuine, but
‘Geoffrey’ might have mistranslated it (or even embellished Nennius’
version); or it is intended to give the air that through Celtic translations in a
Welsh and Cornish version there has been confusion. Henry’s gambit is to
make the reader accept that from antiquity translation differences have
occurred, but the essence of the Vulgate prophecies are the same.
In HRB we have: For a people in wood and jerkins of iron shall come upon
him and take vengeance upon him for his wickedness. He shall restore their
dwelling-places unto them that did inhabit them before, and the ruin of the
foreigner shall be made manifest.
2) JC: Crossing over in timber, his people in iron coats who shall war in
the field, protected by triple arms, a nation eager to do battle, to slaughter the
Saxons. Later those who used the plough and the rake should not spare their
mother (earth) by tending his own heart as their servile yolk they owe for
their treachery, and I am not ashamed to recall it.
In Vulgate HRB, even though published in 1155 after Stephen was dead;
there was a necessity for Henry Blois to hold to a commonality with those
prophecies already published in the earlier libellus Merlini. In this case of
the early libellus Merlini, Henry Blois is politically charging the prophecy so
that the Normans are seen as the rescuers of the Celts who had been
oppressed by the Saxons. This of course was part of his initial reason for
writing the prophecies to show the Normans in a good light (especially since
his brother was King). It is the Saxons who pay for their treachery (night of
the long knives) just as ‘Geoffrey’ has posited; to till the earth in slavery.
3) JC: To the restoration of our prince how many years will he live? Twice
seven and the same again is the number reckoned. Savage Normandy,
parents of a fruitful seed rejoice, vindictive Heirs, two burning dragons the
first of the two died in contention with a bow, the other got rid of passing
mournfully under the shadow of a name. Four times two and five years
shall he be feared.
HRB: Two dragons shall succeed, whereof the one shall be slain by the
arrow of envy, but he other shall return under the shadow of a name.
William Rufus ruled for thirteen years and was killed by an arrow in the
New Forest on 2
nd
August 1100. ‘The other’ was Duke Robert who was
eradicated by jailing him until his death, dying mournfully in a dungeon in
Cardiff. The shadow of a name, as I have covered already, is the fact that he
is Duke of Normandy and not King of England and neither King of
Jerusalem as he could have been. Henry in JC is really playing the part of
the ancient seer providing a hocus pocus twice seven and the same again; so
that it appears that Merlin is receiving his prophecies in such form. Henry
Blois is saying 2 multiplied by 7=14 and add the same again = 21. It is
certainly not by coincidence that his grandfather, William the conqueror,
reigned 21 years from 1066- 9 September 1087. Nor is it by coincidence that
his Grandfather’s coming is seen by Merlin as the restoration of our prince.
4) The four times two and five years are the years in this skimble
skamble, faux-vaticinatory view by Merlin pretending how the prophecy is
received. Essentially, the meaning is 4 multiplied by 2 + 5 = 13. William
Rufus reigned from 1087-1100 i.e. 13 years. One would have to be a fool to
accept John of Cornwall is translating anything!!! Henry Blois has in fact
introduced the dates at this point. The reader will find out why when we get
to the last sentence at the end of the entire JC prophecy.That sentence then
does not seem to be out of place. We will see it defines the advent of the
Seventh king. In other words, it pre-empts the supposed counting of the
years of Kings Rule. We know there is no seventh King found in HRB or VM.
For the moment, let the reader be aware that even though King Stephen is
dead and Henry II is on the throne, Henry Blois has not given up his
ambitions or the pursuit of regaining power in dislodging Henry II from the
throne.
5) JC: But the Lion of Justice, who truly excels all others, shall add twice
seven over eight.
HRB: The Lion of Justice shall succeed, at whose warning the towers of
Gaul and the dragons of the island shall tremble.
Henry continues to count the years of his own ancestors reigns in this
same pretentious hocus pocus fashion. We know from the HRB prophecies
already covered that the ‘Lion of Justice’ is Henry Ist. The wording shall add
twice seven over eight is just more mumbo jumbo; Henry is merely seeming
to be prophetic as if math were perceived differently while perceived in the
dark art of the Dark Age seer. It is quite ridiculous that any person with a
modicum of common sense should accept this as prophecy.
2 multiplied by 7+8 = 22. With the word ‘add’, Henry Blois means Henry
Ist shall reign 22 years more than the thirteen years of William Rufus.
Henry Ist ruled 1100-1135 i.e. thirty five years. So, here in effect Henry
Bloisis pretending to see by means of the dark art of prophetic foresight….
numbers representing the 13 years of William Rufus and 22 years of King
Henry Ist…. which of course brings us up to his brother’s accession.
6) JC: Trimming the claws of Kites and the teeth of Wolves, he provides
security in the forests and harbours everywhere. Whenever this one roars the
towers which are washed by Sequana shall tremble and the islands of the
dragons in the ocean.
HRB: The ravening of kites shall perish and the teeth of wolves be blunted.
Henry has decided to mix up and interchange certain clauses which
appeared next to other subjects in HRB. The towers of Gaul become those of
the River Seine, (an impossible mistranslation). Sequana was the goddess of
the river Seine, particularly the springs at the source of the Seine, and the
Gaulish tribe in the area were the Sequani. One thing ‘Geoffrey’ seems to
have a good handle on is the tribal or regional people of France as
witnessed in HRB and elucidated by Tatlock. Strangely enough, Merlin
seems to have that same attribute. A Welsh ‘Geoffrey would simply not
know this detailed information as we have already covered. Experts on
‘Geoffrey of Monmouth need to realise ‘Geoffrey’ is also JC.
Again, Henry is trying to appear archaic and seem to be using forms or
names from Merlin’s era. In either case, the ‘towers of Gaul’ or ‘Paris
trembling’ is the allusion to King Philip’s fear of Henry Ist. As we saw in the
VM the wolf sometimes means Henry Blois, but the icon is interchangeable
with the intention of confusing the reader. Here it would seem to mean the
kites are the Barons and the Wolves are the Bishops. King Henry Ist, as we
saw, had stringent rules concerning forests and secured the ports in both
Normandy and England. JC gives in the commentary because of pirates’.
The Seine is a reference by location to the Frankish fear of King Henry’s
power. The Islands of the Dragons are the Celtic islands of Britannia and
Ireland and is probably meant to include Scotland; as some in antiquity
assumed Scotland was a separate Island as we covered while elucidating
the VM. Is it not strange that the writer of VM, who we know to be Henry,
who has gleaned this geographical error from Isidore, is now positing the
same fictional position concerning Scotland…. when the author in reality
knows full well it is part of mainland Britain. ‘John of Cornwall’ in his
feigned commentary also suggests Norwallia, north Wales and Ybernia
Ireland.
7) JC: Then he with crimped hair and multi coloured garments; his
scandalous clothes will not be protection from a crooked mind.
HRB: They that go crisped and curled shall be clad in fleeces of many
colours, and the garment without shall betoken that which is within.
It becomes apparent that the inter-relation of these prophecies are
confused on purpose. John’s commentary occasionally aids in elucidation,
but also posits obviously erroneous deductions. These are made for the
most part so that no affiliation is made between Geoffrey’ and ‘John’ and to
hide their common authorship. The prophecies are interchanged in JC from
the order they appear in Vulgate HRB. This is perhaps so that it appears
they have come from different traditions (i.e. Cornish and Welsh), and their
sense has been mistranslated from different translations. The sense of the
prophecy above is that in Henry Ist reign, a fashion started which Henry
Blois strongly disapproved of and which continued throughout his life.
Henry Blois was making the point that the outside ‘dandyclothing, should
in no way be taken as representative of the filth and corruption which went
on in the mind of the wearer. Mostly aimed at the courtiers.
8) JC: Gold will be squeezed from the narcissus and the shrub and will pour
from the hooves of grazing cattle.
HRB: In his days shall gold be wrung from the lily and the nettle, and
silver shall flow from the hooves of them that low.
As we covered before, Henry definitely has something in mind. It could
be some sort of tax on cattle instigated by Henry Ist. However, it might have
been a tax proposed in Stephen’s time which never came to fruition. If the
prophecy was posited as a future event in the early Libellus Merlini; it
would therefore be included for authenticity’s sake thereafter in HRB.
Henry Blois kindly suggests in his commentary while posing as John of
Cornwall that ‘this kind of metaphor is common in our poems’ i.e. ‘from the
good and the bad’. It just shows that Henry is out to obfuscate and one
person is generating these prophecies as Gold and Silver are not
interchangeable nor specifically Lilly and nettle interchangeable with
Narcissus. This is not a translational error but a deliberate change in the
latter set of prophecies found in JC. ‘John’ admits in the commentary to
having abbreviated the Merlin original in this case so that his narcissus and
thorn represent the idea of good and evil. The commentary references
Geoffrey’s ‘nettle and Lilly’ however, which shows that Henry’s intention is
that JC’s translation should be accepted as authoritative and implies a
position that ‘Geoffrey’ might not have truly represented the intended
sentiment of Merlin. This is part of Henry’s ploy in providing the
commentary. He poses as a first hand translator of Merlin’s words but
states in his introductory letter of his intention to suppress some of the
material of the prophecy especially concerning Conan. Yet the question is
why would he expose or elucidate material he was supposedly supressing?
He is merely pointing to his purpose by his pretence. Why suppress what
Merlin wrote concerning Conan if indeed it related to the Saxon era? His
very mention and sham of reticence concerning Conan shows his
contemporaneous political relevance. The whole is a ploy; both
commentary and the idea of a translation from Brittonic language. John is
careful to mix anti-Saxon sentiment so that it applies to anti-Norman
sentiment with the pretence of suppressing what might be politically
volatile material.
9) JC: Like it or not, a paw will be chopped off; those that bark make a
treaty with the stag.
HRB: The feet of them that bark shall be cut off. The wild deer shall have
peace, but humanity shall suffer the dole.
We have already covered this point while elucidating the passage in HRB
prophecies and the Orderic interpolation concerning Henry Ist hunting
laws and the crippling of hunting dogs. The pact the dog makes with the
stag is merely that it is now constrained and unable to hunt. The content of
the prophecy here is not consequential but relevant to his present audience
and recognisable to the present generation. That Merlin might have seen
through the mists of time to hit on all these events relevant to the present
audience is silly; but this is the bogus ‘hocus pocus’ that Henry affects while
composing the prophecies. The above prophecy like some others adds
nothing new and is included just to corroborate those prophecies found in
the earlier Libellus Merlini which were originally published before Vulgate
HRB version; i.e. Henry includes them here just for consistency’s sake. The
fact that Merlin is foreseeing grave events concerning the Saxons and then
turns his attention to mundane forest laws and comments on fashion and
the money supply really shows that the subjects of the prophecies were
chosen as historic events which were supposed to have the appearance of
predictions…. but recognisable by the contemporaneous audience. It is
amazing Merlin is able to focus on events concerning the era of Henry’s
ancestors and nothing further beyond 1157 in the VM and 1159 in JC.
10) JC: The shape of money shall be divided and this too shall become a
round form.
HRB: The shape of commerce shall be split in two; the half shall become
round.
We covered this earlier also as pertaining to a statute of King Henry’s in
1108. Henry Blois obviously thought this was going to happen in Stephen’s
reign and was certainly minting coin in York of his own. Misguidedly,
Mathew Paris took the reference to apply to monetary reforms by King John
c. 1210. But, there are many more commentators who believe the
prophecies are credible…. and worse, they are anciently from Merlin. John
of Cornwall fortuitously helps us in the commentary suggesting ‘plans to
introduce the half penny’ as if the contemporary audience were not aware
of the acute problem of splitting coins.
11) JC: Afterwards, on top of Aravium the famous bird will seize her nest
and England will weep for her cubs.
HRB: and his Eagle build her nest upon Mount Aravius.
Alani de Insulis seems to have a different reading Morianum montem
which he took as a reference to the Alps. As I have covered earlier, while
elucidating the passage, this is in reference to a mountain boundary
implying Rome and Matilda being Empress of Rome. Rome for Henry was
across the Alps and the Aravis range. This would be a prophecy written by
Henry during the Anarchy like the others in the Libellus Merlini and we can
witness how the prophecies are written by one person and could not
interrelate purely on translational errors. We should not forget either the
coincidence of Wace referring to the St Bernard pass also as a geographical
reference (on the same terms) to Rome. The ‘Third Nesting’ applies to
Matilda and so do the prophecies above concerning Aravium. In this case in
JC the sense is changed; Matilda is seizing her nest and England’s cubs are
in Henry Blois’s mind, himself and his brother. Anyhow, one can witness
the subtle changes which appear, but they all inter-relate. The nest applies
to Matilda and the eagle of HRB now morphs into a ‘famous’ bird; certainly
not translational differences but purposeful obfuscation.
12) JC: Alas, the sea criminal comes in the third year and he that has no
pity will be infamous for his triple cruelty.
HRB: Wolf of the sea.
Henry Blois, feigning that he is non-plussed by the prophecy, pretends as
John of Cornwall to explain that the prophecy applies to prince William
(Clito)…’the third year of his reign was the last of his life’. The sometimes
spurious commentary in effect neutralises any suspicion that JC was
written by ‘Geoffrey’/Henry Blois. Many commentators believe the
prophecy applies to William’s third year based upon ‘John’s fatuous
suggestion; i.e. just because many had sworn fealty to him three years
before the white ship disaster. In the VM and HRB, the relevance to the
Danish invasion found in the libellus Merlini has been squewed and made
(in both) to appear to refer to Robert of Gloucester: The fourth from them
shall be more cruel and more harsh still; a wolf from the sea he will conquer
in fight and shall drive defeated beyond the Severn through the kingdoms of
the barbarians.
The ‘Sea Criminal’ in JC is now definitively Robert of Gloucester (and
Matilda) who invades in 1139, the third year of Stephens reign (which as
we can see in the VM also related to the fourth King as Stephen). Henry
Blois, as we discussed earlier, now decides in this prophecy to include the
triple fault of Malcolm of Scotland which he introduced into a VM prophecy.
Henry Blois was obviously annoyed about Malcolm’s treachery, mentioning
it twice in GS and then showing his annoyance here again. The original ‘sea
wolf’ in HRB was changed to apply to Robert of Gloucester/Matilda in VM in
relation to the ‘fourth’ which is Stephen; and now in JC, it is King Stephen’s
third year on the throne in which the Sea Criminal comes.
Henry Blois has put out four sets of Prophecies. The original set which
comprised the Libellus Merlini, is updated and squewed and added to;
where Icons in previous prophecies are now applied to different people in
more updated versions. Libellus Merlini prophecies included events up to
1139-43 and were constructed to substantiate the pseudo-history as seen in
the Primary Historia and to pretend to foresee various events up to c.1139-
43. The Libellus Merlini version separate from Primary Historia. These
prophecies foresaw some building projects in the future. Obviously the
canal system around Winchester did not transpire and the ‘Holy hole’ did.
As I have covered already; these surfaced around 1144. These were added
without dedication to First Variant but have since been updated with the
more recent set found in the Vulgate HRB i.e. the whole of the First Variant
set of prophecies has been updated to be synonymous with the Vulgate
version…. but this now has the dedication added. The original set which
were in the First Variant HRB were the prophecies which Abbot Suger
witnessed. The Vulgate prophecies were basically the same but some were
up dated, up to 1155 and others introduced. The original prophecies
corroborated historic details in the Primary Historia i.e. the prophecies
seemingly predicted a recap of certain events in ‘Geoffrey’spseudo-history
of Britain, couched in skimble skamble oblique allusions. Because the
prophecies were presented by ‘Geoffrey’ as a seemingly separate extant
body of work from antiquity, the prophecies then added corroborative
credibility to details found in ‘Geoffrey’shistory and appeared to coincide
with information provided in Nennius.
However, the VM prophecies were drawn up to appear to be the same
prophecies but were designed to unseat Henry II in a work which was also
written by ‘Geoffrey’ (which to all intents and purposes, ostensibly proved
they existed before ‘Geoffrey’ died and therefore are prophetic). At the
same time though, Henry Blois thought it propitious to cover more events in
the ‘Anarchy’ through the prophetic talents of Ganieda,
2
which, Merlin had
not covered in Libellus Merlini or in the Vulgate HRB version. The JC edition
or set of prophecies is even later in production and date; and is mainly
designed to substantiate the Brythonic rebellion and to set the scene for
Henry Blois’s takeover of the English throne should the insurrection be
successful. This will become apparent shortly.
13) JC: Six Frenchmen united in the blood of their Mother, sorrowful and
blushing at the throne, so many deaths, so many evils will cry out and
exclaim, Oh Normandy do you know what happened, how recently I have
suffered and spilt my guts, there are only funerals to console the agonies.
HRB: Venedotia shall be red with mother's blood and six brethren shall the
house of Corineus slay.
JC’s commentary, which exists just to give the impression of a curious
Cornish translator, explains that the prophecy applies to Frewinus
Vicecomes. As we have discussed this is who it originally pertained to when
the Libellus Merlini was written by Henry Blois and was pointed out by
Alain de Lisle as pertaining to the six sons of Fremun, who was viscount of
Cornwall under Henry Ist (the house of Corineus). More importantly since it
is Henry Blois writing the commentary we know that this is who he
originally had in mind when the prophecy existed in the Libellus Merlini
Dr Padel thinks the six French born brothers were sons of a certain Toki
and were killed at Treruf also mentioned by JC. It is all part of Henry’s
device to mislead the reader into thinking the prophecies are derived from
a Cornish Brythonic tradition. Dr Padel may well be right about Toki and
the death of Toki’s six sons. This was the Toki, whose renown was for
2
Henry actually felt confident releasing Ganieda’s prophecies because ‘Geoffrey’ was supposedly now dead.
supplying a horse for a desperate king William at the battle of Gerberoi in
1080. The Viscount of Cornwall tends to fit better with the Corineus allusion
and it is definitely the original sense
3
. But, here in JC, Henry is continuing
the practice of squewing prophecies. Frewinus and Toki have little to do
with the ‘throne(as mentioned in the JC prophecy above) and six French
brothers…. as posited in the JC version only. Henry Blois affects being a
Cornishman by calling the brothers French. Given that Henry is the author,
it can only have two referential advantages for him. The reader needs to
understand the concept that this newest squew is intended so that when
Henry Blois’s wish (of Henry II’s demise) came to fruition, it could be
understood to have been fated; it would be accepted more readily as it was
‘predicted’ in the Merlin prophecies. It is a reference to himself and his five
brothers; overtly made plain now in JC, as it introduces the word ‘throne’.
Henry twists and intermingles both subject and object clauses from the
original sense in the Libellus Merlini. In the early Libellus Merlini the Kings
were numbered only to 4 as Stephen was alive. So, in the Libellus version
the original meaning of the prophecy in all likelihood pertained as we have
said to the Viscount of Cornwall. However, when the numbering of 5 and 6
in reference to the Kings was introduced at a later date the sense was
twisted.
14) JC: Oh island soaked with tears, scarcely is there a king who uses the
sword sparingly. Here the possessor is compassed by disloyal horrors. Dark
nights (days) have closed off the head of the Lion. New rebels strive to make
new the stars.
This is one of Henry’s new prophecies injected into JC which form
propaganda against Matilda and Henry II implying that Henry II is king
against what is preordained. It essentially shows disfavour against the
‘rebellion’ of Matilda and portrays that Henry II should not be the rightful
inheritor. I think Henry Blois sees himself as the rightful inheritor and this
3
What is lovely is that Michael Curley makes the comment: the prophecies concerning Vendotia and the house
of Corineus are the last prophecies in the PM based on actual events. Everything that follows is truly visionary. I
cannot understand the naivety of such a position because it is obvious to all that the prophecies are fake; so how
could they be visionary? If certain are corroborating fake historicity and others refer to Henrys ancestors and
the anarchy and the birth of Matilda’s third child etc. would not any rational person consider how prophecies
came to fruition in the future except by a process of backdating. This process is evident anyway in the way a
sixth century seer is made to appear to see future events which are already past in the corroboration process of
HRB’S historicity, which Curley certainly understands!!!
sentiment comes more to the fore as we continue through the JC
prophecies….until at the end it is blatantly obvious.
15) JC: with the eagle of the broken covenant calling out in anger to the
whelp, those who lurk in the forests will come close to the city ramparts and
those who hated the bull will one day fear him.
HRB: This shall the Eagle of the broken covenant gild over, and the Eagle
shall rejoice in her third nesting. The roaring whelps shall keep vigil, and
forsaking the forests shall follow the chase within the walls of cities.
One can see Henry’s method of mixing up the prophecies. But instead of
‘cutting out the tongues of bulls’, I believe Henry is now the bull in JC. The
broken covenant alludes to breaking the oath sworn by Barons to Matilda
and the whelp is obviously Henry II. Henry’s aspirations went as far as
being elected pope. If he got to this position or indeed unseated King Henry
by inciting rebellion this interpretation would make the most sense.
16) JC: No love for a brother or true loyalty existed between allies, no rest
or at least hardly any; and that even precarious.
Henry Blois was shocked that his brother betrayed him so easily over the
election to Archbishop of Canterbury of Theobald of Bec. King Stephen’s
opinion was poisoned by advisers adverse to church power. Mainly it was
the Beaumont brothers who thought Henry the powerful bishop of
Winchester wielded too much power two years into Stephen’s reign.
However, Henry was shocked at one the lack of loyalty and no love from a
brother who had in essence put him on the throne. If he and Stephen had
worked as allies (as per their pact at coronation), there may not have been
the ‘Anarchy’. For those years of cicil war, there was little rest for Stephen
as the prophecy alludes to. This is another biographical detail not in the
HRB or in Libellus Merlini, but is clearly perceived by the peeved slant in
words of Henry Blois in GS. Henry Blois opines in the GS that Stephen had
to deal with various anxieties and tasks of many kinds which continually
dragged him hither and thither all over England. It was like what we read of
the fabled hydra of Hercules; when one head was cut off two or more grew in
its place. That is precisely what we must feel about King Stephen's labours,
because when one was finished others more burdensome kept on taking its
place without end and like another Hercules he always girded himself bravely
and unconquerably to endure each.
17) JC: Thorns will overgrow the willow. Alas, too much power will be
given to the Kites and Wolves, Three times six revolutions and three more
shall this age last.
Henry is injecting more specifics into his vaticinatory skimble skamble.
The thorns are the Angevins overgrowing the Blois reign. The Kites and
Wolves are the opposition to Stephen most probably Barons and clergy. 3
multiplied by 6 + 3 = 21. As the reader will recall from VM, Henry accounts
the years of Stephen as 19 years: Here once there stood nineteen apple trees
bearing apples every year; now they are not standing. So if we were to use
Dec 1135-1154 there are the 19 years of Stephen’s reign. If we start at 1136
because it was only a few days before the end of 1135, this will now bring
us to 19+2 years to make up the 21 revolutions and a date of 1157-8. We can
conclude therefore that JC is probably written just after VM because (as we
will get to shortly)…. the last prophecy foretells of Henry Blois as King in
1159. This in Henry’s mind was dependent upon a successful rebellion by
the Celts. It is plain to see that the ‘agereferred to is plainly the age before
Henry Blois sees himself as returning as the ‘adopted son
18) JC: Oh thou, house of Arthur, subjected to a treacherous people, can
you not see the robbery of cattle on the plain of Reontis.
‘John’ in his commentary says ‘it is not useful for me to define this
treachery’ but says it concerns a raid by the ‘men of Devon’. He does not
want to enlighten us ‘so as not to seem abusive’. Rhyd Reont is mentioned in
a few Welsh poems and is probably included in the prophecies just to
provide the reader with a conflation with a possible ‘Redruth’. Henry’s
gambit throughout is to provide a tenable correlation, now linking Welsh
Arthurian with Cornish Arthurian and Welsh Rhyd Reont with Cornish
Rhyd-ruth. Henry Blois has a specific event in mind which he hopes his
contemporary audience identifies with. This unidentifiable event could
have been that which Henry witnessed while in the southwest after the
siege of Exeter. I will just say here that if it had not been for the GS and
knowing that Henry authored it; many of the Ganieda prophecies in VM
would not have been openly exposed to events in the Anarchy had Henry
himself not given account of the same events in prophecy and to which he
referred to in GS so explicitly. Our scholars still don’t accept GS as Henry’s
apologia.
19) JC: but what can be done against the Victorious for these times to
cease. Why are we in colored yarn like women and in curls. Oh lost nation,
whose abuse of clothing is like the barbaric veneration of the circles; what
accustomed love of the trivial! Your punishment is a plague, a pain caused by
the almighty. Your solemn cubes (rooms of solace) are desolate, your only
government in flames, fasting and disease will be your final fate; you conspire
to strike your allies.
Henry starts the prophecy with the thing foremost in his mind asking
himself what can be done against the Angevins. In the JC commentary,
Henry feigns misunderstanding of orbiculata thinking it has to do with
patterning on clothing. This is not easy to make sense of, yet I think Henry
as the writer is equating with Merlin’s Giant’s dance in HRB or stone circles
and yet he knows that his desolate cubes are churches. Henry writing as JC
feigns quoting his Cornish source ‘guent dehil’ as meaning venti excussio a
wind which shakes off the leaves. I think the gist is: the state of affairs in
Britain is just like the foreboding of the biblical east wind.
20) JC: All at once in a hard thunderbolt, despoiled by his father, it is made
ready for the excellent head of the peaked helmeted one.
This again is tricky in translation, but I think the gist is that after
Stephen’s death Henry sees himself as a future King. But this could just be a
squew on the Hemeted one from earlier prophecies for consistency’s sake
which as we know referred to the pope. Henry had already referred to
himself in the earlier prophecies as the shadow of the ‘Helmeted one’ in
HRB and Libellus Merlini probably indicating the prophecy hailed back to
when he was Legate. Is he now referring to a hope he has of himself in JC;
the prophecy aiding in bringing his wish to fruition. Henry is the white
haired adopted man who becomes king as will become apparent. Henry
Blois when posing as John, also terms this set of prophecies by John ‘the
prophecy of Ambrosius Merlinus concerning the seven Kings’, when he
terminates the JC prophecies. Henry II is the sixth King and Henry Blois sees
himself as the automatic choice of the seventh as he is the last surviving
Grandson of William the Conqueror. I can find no proof from a chronicler
that Henry Blois had a white horse. We can speculate with Henry’s love of
beautiful things that he had a beautiful horse (as this was the main mode of
transport for a Bishop Knight), and one could speculate it was white. If we
assume that the River Parrett is Merlin’s Periron (probably in the Libellus
Merlini originally ‘Periton’ but then changed) then we can now see the
association of the mill being built on it and the association of the river with
the venerable man on the white horse which is found in HRB and JC.
Originally Henry might have alluded to himself in no uncertain terms and
then tried to cover it up. What we do know is that the bishop Henry Blois
built a mill on the Parratt, so we can guess his horse was white.
21) JC: The adopted venerable old man is walking up and down where the
‘Perironis’ springs up.
HRB: An old man, moreover, snowy white, that sits upon a snow-white
horse, shall turn side the river of Pereiron and with a white wand shall
measure out a mill thereon.
Hyreglas of Periron
4
was one of Arthur’s fictitious British nobles and
maybe there is the clue in glas’. Possibly the earlier Libellus Merlini
prophecy originally referred to Henry at Glastonbury because in the earlier
set he was much less guarded. However, as there was much work done in
his time concerning the drainage around Glastonbury, Henry did make a
mill on the Parrett. I think this early prophecy was so highly poignant to
Henry,a definite squewing was carried out subsequently. Many suspect
‘Geoffrey’s’ additions to the book of Llandaff which has Periron near
Monmouth. To allay any further suspicion that this might have refered to
him too closely, when Henry interpolated the book of Llandaff establishing
Geoffrey as flesh and blood and Caradoc as continuator of HRB Henry also
steered suspicious minds away from the Parret to make Periron near
Monmouth. Since Henry had moved it once, he writing as JC locates the
river at Tintagel which matches snugly with the Cornish provenance of the
book he is now translating from Cornish. Is Henry Blois backtracking in
case people associate a mill built by him on the river Parrett? Don’t forget
the white-haired old man diverts the course of the Periron and is
mentioned after the Sixth and the lynx (Henry II) and measures a mill on its
banks. In other words the man on the white horse is important to our
author and important enough to get a mention along with the grandees like
Kings and some hated adversaries who feature in the Merlin prophecies.
The book of Llandaff locates the ‘aper perironnot far from the town of
Monmouth but no-one has located it. Unlike most modern scholars on the
4
HRB X, v. I would not be surprised if it was indicative of HenryRex from Glastonbury just as we have already
come across Blihos Bliheris resembling an anagram of H.Blois but it’s a long shot.
heels of Geoffrey of Monmouth, I believe it was not Geoffrey’ but Henry
Blois who interpolated the book of Llandaff. Henry had back peddled after
writing too specifically about himself in the original prophecies. ‘John’
shows his innovativeness in randomly stating the prophecy refers to the
venerable adopted man’s‘entry into Cornwall, for he then laid siege to the
castle by the Periron, that is Tintagel’. In JC Henry locates Periron at
(Dindaiol), Tintagel which has confused everyone that believes the
commentary is ’John’s genuine attempt at elucidating or interpreting the
prophecies.
Tintagel as a posited location for Periron confirms this is Henry Blois
mixing the salad. He knows that any interested reader will conflate the
castle at Periron to Arthur’s Castle. This highlights the authorship of Henry
Blois, in that it is JC’s commentary which redirects us to this conflation. It is
also pertinent that Henry Blois is author of Perlesvaus where the castle at
Tintagel is mentioned and also in andn Iseult where ‘Breri’ is the source. It
is all part of Henry’s artifice; while appearing to supply the ancient Cornish
rendition of the name of Tintagel; especially when it is ‘Geoffrey’ who has
Tintagel Castle being the site of Arthur's conception.
If John of Cornwall were really writing this manuscript, why is JC trying
to connect this Periron to the castle where Arthur supposedly held his
court? Obviously, it is a direct attempt to substantiate the fictional court at
Tintagel. The logical answer would be that the author of both fictions is one
and the same person. The spelling of Dindaiol was not then and never was
the accepted spelling of Tintagel. Henry is affecting an air of antiquity and
‘Cornishness’ to his manuscript.
Also, if I am correct in my suggestion that the castle in GS named as
Lidelea is synonymous with Kidwelly, we may posit Henry’s use of Kaer
Belli as an alternative name for the Castle in JC’s commentary. Henry’s
gambit is not dependent upon accuracy. His whole edifice is propped up by
conflation and tentative correlation and corroboration. Scholars will flatly
deny my position concerning the invention of chivalric Arthur by Henry
Blois, but while on the subject of Tintagel, it seems pertinent to inform them
that the original Latin text of Tristan and Iseult
5
(which they deny existed)
5
There are some astounding similarities to other parts of Henry’s output (Wace’s Roman de Brut) which makes
me think that Tristan and Iseult was Henry’s first foray into Romance stories. Tristan fights a giant on an Island
in Cornwall and also slays a dragon which just happens to be near a pool…. and Isolde’s hair is emblematic of
may also have been written by Henry Blois: In Parmenie, a domain in
Brittany, there lived a noble lord named Rivalin. Wishing to gain the
experience and learning that can only be obtained by foreign travel, Rivalin
set sail for the mighty castle Tintagel in Cornwall, where he wished to join the
court of King Mark, whose chivalry, polish, and courtly grace were known
well beyond his double realm of Cornwall and England.
However, the point of writing JC’s rendition of the prophecies of Merlin
is that Henry achieves his goal of stirring up insurrection and positing
himself by prophecy as a future replacement for Henry II. The JC rendition
of prophecies also acts as corroborative evidence to the prophecies in HRB.
Henry also likes to give the impression that he is translating from an
ancient Britannic or Celtic tongue. His previous hoary old man on a white
horse he re-works with ‘Canus adoptatus’ or with a Cornish take in the
commentary: michtien luchd mal igasuet. Our Henry Blois is the master of
illusion and obviously knows Cornish monks who may indeed have
translated his new array of prophecies into Cornish from which he has
included a few examples in his commentary. Niveus quoque senex in niveo
equo was Henry Blois’ depiction of himself. The fact that the hoary,
venerable, white bearded old man has now become canus adoptatus’ is
fascinating. This is no trick of translation. JC in his prologue warns us he
might change a few things. The ‘adopted one then becomes king by
implication from the Cornish quoted above which is subtly made plain in
the commentary…. as if it had come from the original Cornish manuscript.
If we take into account that the six kings in Henry’s numbering system
starts with William the Conqueror and goes up to Henry II, it really looks as
if ‘John’ is following Henry Blois (Geoffrey’s) or more correctly Merlin’s
numbering system. Especially, if one follows the reasoning behind the
production of JC…. and Henry Blois posits himself as the seventh. Logically
the only way John of Cornwall can have the same numbering system is if
Merlin really existed and really wrote these prophecies. If so, why in HRB
and VM does the numbering system stop with the sixth King? The simple
Guinevere’s and then both are buried together like Arthur and Guinevere. The Tristan-story Chevrefoil by Marie
de France (Marie of Champagne) follows Tristan and Iseult also. But our surest indicator is that in the
fragmentary remains of Thomas’s Tristan, we have a passage in which the poet refers, as source, to a certain
Breri, who knew “all the feats, and all the tales, of all the kings, and all the counts who had lived in Britain. Now
does this sound like our ‘Geoffrey or What?
reason is that John of Cornwall’s rendition is the latest and counts on the
rebellion of the Celtic tribes defeating Henry II.
The person in self imposed exile (because of the King Henry II) is more
likely to be seen as a ‘returning adopted son’ when the King is defeated if
he was a churchman; and especially, if he was rich enough to create a
power base and knew every baron in the land. Also this man had a right as
the only surviving Grandson of William the Conqueror who would unite the
warring factions of the Celts. This was an easy persuasion to make once
King Henry was out of the way as Gildas had blamed the Britons downfall
on internal battles. Now Henry Blois in his own mind is going to return as
the rightful heir to bring together the warring Celts and unify Britain.
This would of course be facilitated if two sets of prophecies upheld that
a man on a white horse was returning to be the seventh King. If there was
an anecdote which shows Henry Blois had a white horse, I think this would
vindicate my assumption that originally the prophecy defined Henry too
precisely.
22) JC: What is his condition? What is the hope for our offspring? Serving
or perishing, if he loses his fame or fortune the nobles of England will be
weakened.
Henry’s own epitaph on the Meusan Plates is witness to the similarity
with the prophecy above. Henry believes his importance and role that he
foresees for himself in the outcome of English affairs: May the angel take the
giver to Heaven after his gifts, but not just yet, lest England groan for it, since
on him it depends for peace or war, agitation or rest.
JC actually wrote colles Albani translaterales which means ‘hills that
straddle England,’ but JC in his notes shows the meaning as ‘nobles of
England’. Henry had definitely lost his fame. By goading Conan and
Cadwallader to rebel against Henry II along with the Scots through these
prophecies of Merlin, Henry foresees a way back into power as King once
he is ‘adopted’ as the new heir; once Henry II is unseated. In the last
prophecy, he sees this as taking place in 1159. Henry Blois now reverts to
‘hocus pocus’ in the next part of the prophecy which correlate to prophecies
in HRB and VM. Is it a coincidence that JC asks what is his condition,
mentioning a loss of fortune?
23) JC: From the shores of Armonicis (Armorica) the brazen pest will be
formed. The winged one of the third nesting will bridle the boar and bring
back the time of her ancestor.
JC lets us know the ‘ancestor’ is Henry Ist and infers the enea pestis is
‘war’. Previously, the ‘pest’ had become a ‘lynx’(being lesser than a Leo)
through scribal error or purposeful twisting, but it is Henry’s first
introduction of a ‘brazen pest’ just so that it fits with the ‘forged’ from HRB.
However, originally in the Libellus Merlini, the allusion was to Matilda
being bridled (by her husband) ‘quod in Armorico sinu fabricatur’ as
Geoffrey V was Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine i.e. on the inward
parts of Armorica (not the bay). That has now been squewed to allude to
Henry II as the ‘pest’. One mind is generating these prophecies and as we
have established, it is not Merlin; but someone living in the twelfth century.
In this prophecy, Henry is telling of Matilda’s (JC writes Aquila) arrival,
but it is interesting that the boar is now here confirmed as being Stephen,
which, as I posited earlier; Henry saw himself and Stephen as the offspring
of the Boar of Cornwall which is of course the appellation he gives Arthur
when pretending to affect prophecies pertaining back to sixth century
events in HRB. Henry Blois would have us believe that John of Cornwall in
his commentary interprets Armonicis as Armon in North Wales. The
mention of his brother’s capture at Lincoln is all part of the act of feigning
geographical ignorance along with a phony interpretation. However, from
the original rendition of this specific prophecy in the Libellus Merlini which
held continuity into HRB: A bridle-bit shall be set in her jaws that shall be
forged in the Bay of Armorica. This shall the Eagle of the broken covenant gild
over, and the Eagle shall rejoice in her third nesting… we now have a
rendition which refers to Henry II. The way the subjects or icons are
swapped and interchanged and the sense warped or completely changed….
implicates a living Henry Blois as the impostor of John of Cornwall as he
distorts his own original prophecy.
24)JC: She will make all fall, everything for a second time round. What is
left of the year will be turned over, the sceptre of London ruling.
John of Cornwall in the commentary proffers his interpretation that the
prophecy speaks of ‘when England was without a king for a year’. Why does
no-one seem to find it ridiculous that a prophet in the sixth century called
Merlin is focusing on minutae concerning Henry Blois’ brother? It is quite
simple; we know whover wrote the prophecies wrote HRB. Crick
understands that the prophecies corroborate the erroneous history of HRB
and could only come from one author. How is it that in this case John of
Cornwall interprets correctly an obtuse prophecy found nowhere
previously and it just happens to refer to Henry’s brother and his capture
and refer to the time in the Anarchy when Henry trailed around after a
haughty Matilda, while his brother was in prison? (as recorded in HN).
JC goes on to feign ignorance of the interpretation in the commentary,
positing that the ‘third’ nest was Matilda’s attempt on the English crown, the
‘second’, her marriage to Geoffrey of Anjou. As we know from the
elucidation of prophecies in VM, the ‘third nesting’ is Matilda’s third child,
the very cause of Stephen becoming King; and so we can see it is direct
obfuscation on Henry’s, part posing as John of Cornwall, to suggest the
second or third is anything else but the birth (referred to in the early
libellus)…. which in fact (by pregnancy worries) led to the circumstance
which allowed Henry to manipulate his brother onto the throne.
The commentary is just a ruse so that the JC manuscript seems to be
authentically from a different source, other than ‘Geoffrey’… and ‘really
genuinely Celtic’ if one is gullible. The logical assumption for the reader of
JC is that ‘Geoffrey’s’ assertion in HRB in his dedication to Alexander is true;
that he is translating and setting his rustic reed to the writing of these little
books, and have interpreted for thee this unknown language. The fact that
Merlin’s existence is even substantiated by JC’s supposed Celtic tract
supports the erroneous position that Merlin actually existed. Worse is that
Henry Bloispseudo-history featured in a certain most ancient book in the
British language which ‘Geoffrey’ had borrowed from Walter and was
literally translating.
The fact that we are not deluded and Merlin is focusing on the year that
came to an end through the Londoners chasing Matilda from London…..is
mentioned at the end also, which leads back into the second half of the
Anarchy and She will make all fall, everything for a second time round.
25) JC: The first wonder provides the second marvel, the fourth or fifth will
soon rise from fortress Britonum, truly the dart will increase to become a
lance.
How could scholars really believe John of Cornwall to be translating
from an ancient Merlin script. ‘Geoffrey’s’ Merlin did not exist apart from
being formed in HRB in one character and another in VM. So why would
anyone be credulous and naive to believe Merlin’s prophecies focusing on
the ancestors of William the Conqueror (all being numbered or identified),
focusing on events in the Anarchy and in the early set, mundane events in
Henry Ist er? How is it possible not to understand the improbability of this
being a sixth century seer and the likelihood of the author living in the
twelfth century?
The first wonder is Matilda and the second her son eventually taking
over from Stephen the fourth to become the fifth. JC in the interlinear notes
implies ‘fortress Britonum’ is London (Lundonia). The whole point of
including this last prophecy is to appear to mirror another prophecy in the
HRB where ‘Geoffrey(Merlin) has overstated his case: Thenceforward from
the first unto the fourth, from the fourth unto the third, from the third unto
the second the thumb shall be rolled in oil. The sixth shall overthrow the walls
of Hibernia. In actuality when the libellus was written and this prophecy
was pronounced c.1144 only the first ‘four’ were mentioned. It just so
happens they were anointed in the original Libellus Merlini. Obviously in
the updated version the fifth which was Matilda was never anointed, thus
not numbered. Is it not by coincidence that in the updated version of the
Vulgate prophecies…. no fifth is mentioned and then we have the sixth
invading Ireland?
In this HRB prophecy, suspicion might be falling on Henry as to who
might be the promulgator of these prophecies. It is too obvious that all the
first four were anointed (thumb rolled in oil). Matilda never gets mentioned
and we know she was not anointed or referred to as the fifth; just counted
as part of the sequence. The sixth is obviously her son Henry II, the new
king; and the Irish issue is fresh in people’s minds. Nobles, clerics and
certain of the intelligentsia must be thinking, how is it that Merlin has
focused his visions in our era? We could speculate that Henry, imitating the
prophecy in HRB, now makes the same passage more obtuse in JC. He
decides by way of commentary to obfuscate more by positing that Henry Ist
son William is now counted among the kings of England when so obviously
he is not.
Henry is clever in writing a commentary which at once makes one
believe he, as John of Cornwall, (a mere translator), is as much in the dark
as to the interpretation of the prophecies. Yet we know full well John of
Cornwall’s prophecies exist side by side with the fabricated prophecies in
HRB; they (coincidentally) surface in the same era and were supposedly
commissioned by a friend of Henry Blois (just like Suger). If we understand
HRB’s prophecies were written by Henry why would someone parallel
many of those and write new ones which coincidentally seem to pertain to
Henry Blois’ agenda also.
Stephen is definitely not the ‘fifth’, Stephen is the fourth otherwise VM
and updated HRB prophecies would not make sense. JC’s suggestion that the
fourth is William is purely to obfuscate and prove to the gullible that John
himself is not inventing the prophecies. However, if the insurrection had
been successful, the ‘seventh’ would be abundantly clear (based on HRB’s
numbering) and could then be confirmed pointing to Henry Blois as an
adopted Norman. Henry only wanted this to be fully understood and
confirmable (by reference to the JC version) once the rebellion was
successful. He did not want to be in any way culpable for inciting rebellion
by way of prophecy. What one has to understand throughout these
prophecies is the changing agenda and how the prophecies are twisted (but
not through translation).
26) JC: Everyone who is entombed in the woeful machine is eliminated,
death will be envied; nor will the form of money be simple.
Henry Blois in the sporadic interlinear commentary of JC, after letting us
know the ‘fortress is in London, implies the machine is in a ‘towne’ and
those living in the machine envy the dead. Henry, the author of both texts,
commentary and prophecy, follows on with ‘all will keep their money in his
castle’. There is absolutely no way that this money part of the prophecy,
correlating tentatively in HRB could ever be linked to the newly introduced
‘machine’. Henry Blois again is purposely obfuscating and affects the aura
of the mystical Merlin ‘looking through a glass darkly’, having an imperfect
vision of the future reality.
The prophecy is about the Tower of London. Henry Blois pretending to
be Merlin prophesying, affects the position of never having seen a stone
castle, so to seem anciently vaticinatory, he calls it a ‘machine’. The tower is
mentioned in HRB: a tree will rise up above the Tower of London, that
thrusting forth three branches only shall overshadow all the face of the whole
island…
Henry’s fascination with the Tower of London is that it was the first
stone castle built in England and it was built by his Grandfather William the
Conqueror. He also has a fascination with construction of fortifications as
we saw in the GS and comments on Robert of Gloucester’s more recently
built castle at Devises. As the Tower was considered an impregnable
fortress in a strategically important position, it also played a vital role in
securing London when Stephen first came from the continent when it was
in the charge of William de Mandeville. It played an important part in the
Anarchy, Mandeville swapping sides and then back again selling his
allegiance to Matilda after Stephen was captured in 1141. Once Matilda’s
support waned, the following year he resold his loyalty to Stephen.
Mandeville was Constable of the Tower and had control of the city and was
responsible for levying taxes, enforcing the law and maintaining order.
Once freed, Stephen changed this hereditary position to someone more
loyal. The part of the prophecy about envying death is pointed out by JC in
that those consigned as inmates preferred death to being entombed in its
bowels.
27) JC: When all is done you will learn Cornwall, you will learn to labour;
we will be forced again from our grieving cradles as it was with the Saxons.
This prophecy intonates that the Cornish will again be enslaved by the
Normans the commentary giving ‘reproving their greed who take our
freedoms’. The prophecy is directly anti-Norman which puts their invasion
in exactly the same category as that of the Saxons. Whereas, the Libellus
Merlini saw the Normans as saviours (while Stephen reigned)…. they are
now accounted as foreigners now he is dead. This is all part of the effort to
entice the Celts to revolt, but is aimed at the Cornish because the prophecy
is supposed to have been written in Cornish. The next prophecy establishes
that Henry is trying to make his prophecies genuinely appear to have come
from Cornish tradition.
28) JC: Why are we so generous? From now on, who shall be considered
free. Where we can see Plymouth, whereby the Tamar exits to the south
through the high ridges of Brentigie where the Gauls (French/Norman) rule is
everywhere.
Here again, Henry is affecting being Cornish by referring to the Norman
overlords as Gauls. JC in his commentary says the Tamar separates
Cornwall and Devon. Brentigie, however, we are told is a deserted place in
Cornwall and called in our language goen bren and in Anglo Saxon Fawi
Mor’. We know full well that the commentary is part of the device in which
Henry feigns being Cornish and so little credence should be given to Fawi-
mor (obviously Bodmin) being synonymous with Goen Bren or Henry’s
Brentigie. Henry is merely connecting the name he knows for Bodmin moor
with Dartmoor. We know Henry Blois has been to Plympton and he is our
only source for Plaustrum which must be some pretence and invention of
an archaic name for Plymouth. Plaustrum is usually defined as a cart or
Wagon and therefore some commentators have associated Plaustrum with
the astrological constellation of the ‘Plough’. In my mind the astrological
‘Plough’ has little to do with where the Tamar exits or Brentegia. I believe
Henry is trying to imply it is the ancient name for Plymouth which was
Plymentun c. 900.
Henry, in the GS, calls Plympton Plintona. Henry, in the GS, gives a
detailed account (which must be eyewitness) about a large body of archers
arriving at Plympton at dawn and taking Baldwin’s castle there by surprise.
Henry knows this area and by the GS description knows the locale from the
tribulations in settling the unrest in early 1136 when his brother first came
to the throne. South Brent and Brent moor are on the southern part of
Dartmoor and is probably from where Henry derived his name Brentigie
for Dartmoor. The River Tavy is one of the main tributaries running down
from Dartmoor and joining the Tamar at Plymouth. Making a pretence of
being Cornish, Henry Blois says the area is dominated by French people;
and whether Angevin or supporters of Stephen, Henry affects a collective
name of Frenchmen (Gauls), just as a Devonian or Cornish native would
perceive them. Henry attempts to feign empathy with the southern
inhabitants so that the manuscript appears to be not only translated by a
Cornishman but also originated from a Celtic background which has the
vestiges of Brittonic names embedded in the text.
29) JC: If you wish to live on Oh Queen! you will need to plough and sow; At
which cost the cats trap you and your goats stirring the winds of madness
and the rebellion of every one of your citizens since you were woefully
afflicted and enraged by the Thunderer.
HRB:Wherefore the vengeance of the Thunderer shall overtake him, for
that every field shall fail the tiller of the soil.
Again, this is hard to translate…. to make sense, as it is all part of the
salad. The Queen would appear to be in reference to Matilda and JC’s
commentary does not help much in clarifying the issue; but we are told that
Merlin’s word ‘Ventorum’ was awel garu or the wild wind. The ploy is of
course to have the reader believe the document is a direct translation of
Merlin’s. The prophecy was created to mirror words like the Thunderer
(God) found in the previous version and probably has no great purport but
is mere skimble skamble about how Matildas citizens rebelled which we get
from GS and have covered already; but Henry understood she was woefully
afflicted with a dreadful haughtiness which became her downfall, so it
would seem the thunderer may be God’s judgements on her. Obviously the
earlier prophecy that this is attempting to mirror in word only applied to a
confirmation from Henry to Stephen of events happening. i.e. fields were
empty due to the Anarchy and again in GS Henry explains all of Stephen’s
misfortune as God’s judgements on him.
30) JC: Divided are the poor people not esteemed; the popular man of the
people is approved and during that time he does not keep his vows.
It is not coincidence that much of the prophecy in HRB and VM is about
Stephen and Matilda. What is stranger (if JC were truly genuine) is that the
same sentiments found in JC are found in GS. Henry makes plain what he
sees as the fault in his brother in GS. Stephen did not keep his vows. Henry
pretends as JC that Stephen was approved as a popular man of the people.
During the anarchy the peasants’ ‘allegiances’ were divided and were
dependent upon who the nearest baron was and where his allegiance lay.
31) JC: Religion weeps, those who wear the cloth pray in vain. Thou who
makes the heavens revolve, hear us! Thou who wields the thunderbolts, hear
us!
Throughout the Anarchy there was decimation of the churches. Is it not
strange how Merlin is concerned about the changing of Sees, palliums, the
state of religion, legates, archbishoprics, Winchester’s Holy hole and now
priests prayers being heard? One might be tempted to think that the author
of Merlin was a twelfth century cleric. So was ‘Geoffrey’!!!
In the following prophecy, we have the defining prophecy. Do not be
fooled into thinking any of these are real prophecies. Henry Blois included
this in HRB believing the Irish expedition was about to take place. This
could in no way be Celtic by translation and most certainly is not a
prophetic word from antiquity.
32) JC: Under the western sun Ireland (Ybernia) will fall to the Sixth.
One will find that nearly all sensible commentators assume this to be an
insertion in JC because they are taken in by the ruse that JC’s rendition was
derived from a Cornish version of Merlin prophecies. It is astounding that
scholars don’t apply the same skepticism to those prophecies thought to be
generated by Geoffrey. The same statement is found in HRB, VM, JC and the
interpolation into Orderic. One knows now that all these versions (even the
interpolation into Orderic) is post 1155. One would have to be dim to
believe this prophecy was truly a prediction…. given the nature of the rest
of the prophecies and for the most part their focus on events concerning
Henry Blois’ family and the Anarchy.
This prophecy was the one prophecy with which Henry was to establish
Merlin as a seer into the future because at publication of Vulgate HRB in
1155 the event had not transpired. Even more conclusive in adding to the
public delusion (contemporary and in posterity) was the fact that many of
the other prophecies concerning the Anarchy had also been foreseen by
Merlin. This backdating effect, giving the illusion of genuine prophecy, can
only be believed by contemporary readers and posterity, by what was
avowed in the dedications to dedicatees all of whom were already dead and
none ever read what was dedicated to them. In other words, the date is
assumed by belief that the dedicatees were alive at the time the dedication
of HRB was written. The sixth in Ireland prophecy was updated included in
VM around 1156 and also interpolated into Orderic sometime after 1155 as I
have covered. However, I have dated JC to be subsequent to these works;
written around 1157 as the reader will realize shortly. The VM concurs with
JC in the aim that it is intended to incite rebellion; but only JC goes as far as
to proffer Henry Blois’s candidacy for the throne as the seventh King.
33) JC: To the West (Western wind) the descendants of the North reach out.
Henry Blois, is re-iterating what he believes is a certain fact…. having
heard it as a plan which was agreed upon at the council in Winchester in
1155 at Michaelmass and Henry had no reason to understand that the plan
would not be put into action. JC in the commentary spells out the phony
vaticinatory symbolism supposedly derived from Aquilonaris or Aquilonius
both having a connotation of ‘North’, we are told now symbolizes the
Normans; hence Aquilone creati are Normans; a name from antiquity and
the nation of Neustria. This is invention of course by the master of
invention; a hocus pocus of ‘Northmen and certainly not a deduction of
John of Cornwall. The prophecy is a new (corroborative) invention and so is
unsurprisingly not mentioned by Merlin in connection to the Irish
campaign in either HRB, VM or in the interpolation into Orderic . and
does indicate that JC prophecies were the last to be created.
34) JC: and why is it so they are fatally hung in a row at the castle and a
lawful belonging made possible the payment of the fare for the sea passage.
It is difficult to know what Henry has in mind here. JC’S explanation of
Naulum is ‘Precium mais’ and has nothing to do with financing the Ireland
affair. This prophecy may be about some personal detail which has not
been related by chroniclers which relates to the seizing of Henry Blois
castles while he was in self-imposed exile at Clugny. I think one incident is
specified by a chronicler where a castle of Henry’s did not surrender; and
when besieged, the occupants were eventually hanged for resisting the
King. Henry is also thinking that the trip to Ireland has been financed from
the seizure of his castles; his ‘lawful belongings’. Some castles were
destroyed.
Henry Blois knew that such highly specific details would cause worry to
Henry II when he read them especially if the castles ‘lawfully belonged’.
King Henry II had carefully studied Roman history. He had noted the way
Emperor Augustus had successfully managed to gain control over the
Roman Empire and realised, like Augustus, his first task must be to tackle
those that had the power to remove him. This is why Henry Blois had
indeed fled without licence from a Devon or Cornish port to land at Mont. St
Michel without passing through Normady. All his moveable wealth had
gone before him transported to Clugny by Peter the Venerable.
Henry got the gist of what was going to happen to him at the council of
Winchester when he got told by Henry II to hand over his castles. It is
obviously one of these Castles at which occupants loyal to him got hung in a
row to which the prophecy alludes, but I have not found this specific event
written by a chronicler. Henry himself in his apologia of GS does not
express his anger at the loss of all that property; and on his return in 1158
all had been acquired or burnt by King Henry II during his exile.
JC’sseeming innocence at the interpretation is conveyed as he pretends
in his commentary to interpret the castle as that of a ‘fatal castle’ which in
English is called Ashbiri. Henry Blois in a pretence gets his message across
to Henry II, but gives the appearance that the castle referred to is that of
King Alfred’s at Ashbury; foreseen by Merlin. King Alfred won a great
victory against the Danes at the Battle of Ashdown, in AD 871 at Ashberry
camp in Oxfordshire. Henry then goes further in providing erroneous clues
that the castle is synonymous with Kair Belli or Castel uchel coed, the ‘castle
in the wood’. Is this Henry’s castle at Kidwelly?
35) JC: Even more controversial is that piety approves his raising to arms
leaving the walls destitute, turning forests into plains, he will lay bare the
hills and renew the laws and regulations. He who at first had his wings
clipped from around his sides, now has his hair set like a lion’s mane and
having obtained the peoples affection shall fly (high) up to the highlands, for
the holy men are separated from their temples, lest the Dragon kings send out
the watchmen into the pastures.
We are pointed in the right direction by JC’s commentary that this
prophecy pertains to Henry II. Certainly, this did not need establishing nor
pointing out to his contemporary audience. The ‘forest into plainsallusion
is matched to the sixth in Ireland prophecy in HRB and VM…. so we know
what Henry Blois in the JC version is alluding to. What Henry finds
controversial is that ‘piety’ i.e. the popes Laudabiliter
6
approves of the
invasion of Ireland. There are two scenarios here that the prophecy alludes
to. Firstly, the reference is to the young Henry Fitz Empress who in the
beginning had his wings clipped but then went up to Scotland and was
knighted by his Uncle.
There is only one holy man separated from his temple that Henry Blois
is concerned about and that is the bishop of Winchester on the continent at
Clugny. The tone is very anti Henry II. Again, I stress that this is not from a
Cornish angle and specifically not ancient…. but specifically from the hand
of Henry Blois; politically motivated and intended for the public domain.
Secondly, Henry Blois as JC is alluding to Henry II leaving the Britain and
going to Ireland raising to arms leaving the walls destitute i.e open to Henry
to come back. I am fairly sure this was his plan when he left. To keep his
6
The Laudabiliter was issued in 1155 whereby the English pope Adrian IV gave King Henry II the right to
assume control over Ireland.
castles loyal to him until Henry II left for Ireland and then He would come
back and renew the laws and regulations. He who at first had his wings
clipped from around his sides, now has his hair set like a lion’s mane and
having obtained the peoples affection shall fly (high) up to the highlands, for
the holy men are separated from their temples, lest the Dragon kings send out
the watchmen into the pastures. One can take a pick at either option; but
when one considers the next verse:
36) JC: Cities and gems are profitably fitted out by his kindness, and to his
virgins, gifts are distributed happily.
Henry Blois contributed much to architecture in England. It is this
rebuild of Winchester along with costly gifts he sees as an act of kindness as
is made out in the epitaph on the Meusan plate. In regard to gems he gave
one to St Albans and also feigned the find of a gem at Glastonbury which
supposedly had been hidden there and belonged to St David (but more
probably came from Waltham). I believe these and other gems possibly
from Hyde are the gems he refers to. The Virgins allude to the nunnery at
Winchester set up by him that he has specifically donated to. The ‘Gifts’ in
general ring true of his epitaph on the Meusan plates where Henry is ‘giving
gifts’.
37) JC: Out of which he will ask one of them to gladly marry himself.
Being highly speculative, I would say Henry Blois has fallen for a nun
having just alluded to virgins and possible gifts to the nunnery he
established at Winchester. Henry envisages himself returning to England as
an adopted son a churchman and rightful ruler. However, in practical
terms, one must have an Heir or the dreaded cycle of the Anarchy would
repeat itself. So Henry finds the solution by predicting that the adopted son
would ask a nun to marry him and then again what was fated in prediction
had become reality and therefore Henry becomes the rightful ruler of
Britain.
38) JC: This will be brief in his hastening years, for the little ones.
Henry Blois is putting this in the public domain so that when the time
comes and the prophecy has come to fruition and he becomes king, he can
marry and create an heir (in his hastening years); and guess what: the great
prophet Merlin has foreseen it all. Henry Blois has this all mapped out in his
mind but alas as history revealed Henry II was not deposed because he
made a pact with Conan and Cadwallader.
39) JC: Gone are the days of the Lynx. The German worm will be ashamed,
you and your gods are ended and devoured by ours.
Henry Blois associates the lynx with Henry II, so we cannot get clearer
than this. Henry is definitely thinking Henry II will be beated and de
throned by the Celts as predicted in the updated prophecies of HRB,VM and
now JC. Henry is likening or confusing the reader into thinking the
reference is mixed up with prophecies concerning the Saxons as it was in
the originall libellus Merlini where the Saxons’ downfall was predicted. But
for those of his audience who are perceptive reading the JC prophecies the
lynx can only be Henry II and now his days are gone’. Henry wants the
Scots, the Welsh the Cornish, and the Bretons to understand this is what will
happen should they rebel i.e. ‘our’ God’s will rule.
40) JC: These rages will be of his own making. Why are the Normans
drawn out so slowly?
We know in the early Libellus Merlini version (when Henry’s brother
Stephen was alive), the Normans were saviours. Now the lynx’s days are
hoped to be over by our author and in keeping with Merlin’s nationalistic
tendencies, the Normans are drawn out of the land and Merlin even calls
them foreigners now. How else, but to explain this volte face except through
Henry inciting rebellion!!
Henry Blois is still referring to King Henry II. He appeals to the Celts
(Scottish, Cornish, Welsh and Breton) to get rid of the Normans. Speaking as
a native Briton of course in the guise of Merlin he asks…. why it is that it
takes the Celts so long to rid themselves of the Normans. None of the Celts
would be chosen as a future King because none of them would ever agree if
the rebellion did ever succeed. This is why Henry sees himself as the perfect
candidate to take over the throne and bring ‘peace’ to Britain.
41) JC: like an old buttress, Anglia will put on its old name. This is how it is,
may my race exterminate theirs.
Henry Blois speaking in character as Merlin, harks back to the days
when Britain was named of Brutus i.e. Britain…. not named of the Angles
i.e. England. As Merlin, Henry feigns that the Celts are ‘his’ race. He makes it
perfectly clear now of his intention to get rid of Henry II by inciting Conan
and Cadwallader and returning the name of the nation to Briton as it used
to be named from Brutus.
42) JC: May the weather be fine for Conan to sail on the waves; may
Kadwalader be on his side against those who command to the East.
May there also be no contention about Henry Blois’ motives. As we have
covered already, it is Conan IV that Henry Blois sees as the person to fight
alongside the Welsh Kadwallader to re-establish the ‘Crown of Brutus’ as it
plain in updated HRB and VM. (Originally, as we have covered, Conan
would have been Cynan in the Libellus Merlini). Henry Blois sees himself as
the powerbroker who brings Conan from Brittany together with Welsh and
Scotts under one crown.
HRB:Cadwallader shall call unto Conan,and shall receive Albany to his
fellowship. Then shall there be slaughter of the foreigners: then shall the
rivers run blood: then shall gush forth the fountains of Armorica and shall be
crowned with the diadem of Brutus. Cambria shall be filled with gladness and
the oaks of Cornwall shall wax green. The island shall be called by the name
of Brutus and the name given by foreigners shall be done away.
VM: it is the will of the highest Judge that the Britons shall through
weakness lose their noble kingdom for a long time, until Conan shall come in
his chariot from Brittany, and Cadwalader the venerated leader of the Welsh,
who shall join together Scots and Cumbrians (Welsh), Cornishmen and men of
Brittany in a firm league, and shall return to their people their lost crown,
expelling the enemy and renewing the times of Brutus…
The confusion of course is one of conflation and caused purposefully by
Henry Blois. Welsh poetry
7
possibly from the tenth century has Cynan and
Cadwaladr as restorers of British sovereignty and as conquerors of the
Saxons, but the Welsh poetry does not have Cynan hailing from Brittany.
This contortion is left to ‘Merlin’.
Conan had inherited the title Earl of Richmond from his father Alan the
Black and became duke of Brittany when his mother died in 1156. This in
conjunction with the final prophecy of JC helps to date JC to late 1157 or
early 1158. By the end of 1158, Henry II finally received submission, from
Conan of Brittany as Robert of Torigni relates. This was the end of Henry
Blois’ attempt at sedition and he returned to Winchester; yet he had already
7
Armes Prydein, Williams 11, 89, 163, 182.
released the date at which he thought Conan and Cadwalader would have
beaten the Normans/Plantagenets out of Britain.
Henry Blois as the ‘adopted venerable old man’ would have taken rule as
the seventh king. Even though a number of Welsh Myrddin poems put
Cynan and Cadwalader as allies, it is fortuitous for Henry Blois in his devise
of conflation between Cynan and Conan. Certainly Conan comes from
Armorica if he needs fair weather to sail, but Welsh Cynan did not come
from Brittany. In HRB however, Cynan Meiriadog was ancestor to the kings
of Brittany and an ally of Maximian, who was rewarded by him with the
lands of Brittany. It is only when sedition is on Henry Blois’ mind that
contemporary Conan is purposefully conflated with Cynan of old.
43) JC: The face of the knight on a snowy white horse as a taskmaster of so
many together, he officiates the changes to the course of the Perironis, with
his white staff held in the middle, the river flow circulates around as he
measures out the place for the Mill. Oris eques niuei niueo dans lora
iugali totus in officio Perironis gurgite uerso.
With the translation as I have rendered it (probably not well), it sounds
like an engineering feat. However, we are now getting closer to my
suggestion which posits that Henry Blois is the ‘white horseman’ and we
shall get to Perironis shortly. The reader will remember in the translation of
JC, which I have numbered 21 above previously…. that the adopted
venerable old man is walking up and down where the ‘Perironis’ springs up.
Then in the HRB, which for consistency’s sake mirrored what was written
in the Libellus Merlini, we see the parallel to that which Henry had written
originally: An old man, moreover, snowy white, that sits upon a snow-white
horse, shall turn aside the river of Periron and with a white staff shall
measure out a mill thereon.
We are not informed who the horseman is. I linked him tentatively
through the ‘glas’ of Hyreglas of Periron to Glastonbury where I suggested
Henry Blois built a water driven mill; and therefore the mill’s inclusion in
the previous HRB version from the original Libellus version. Now, the
reader will remember, that in John’s commentary, when the adopted
venerable old man or ‘Canus adoptatus’ was mentioned, John tells us in his
commentary that in ‘Britannico i.e. the Cornish Celtic language, michtien
luchd mal igaset was how he derived ‘Canus adoptatus’. One cannot be
derived from the other. So what is Henry up to?
I think the answer lies in the fact that Henry has asked a Cornish monk
to translate his new version of Latin prophecies into Cornish or has asked
how to translate certain sentences or phrases. This is the reason he is able
to refer back to certain clauses in ‘Britannico. Now a certain Leon Flobert
has found that Myghtern loes avel y Gasek which means ‘a king as grey as
his mare’ in today’s Cornish, is what Henry’s michtien luchd mal igaset was
meant to convey in John’s commentary. With this in mind we have a
completely different take on the personality of the horse rider; he is the
King; (and don’t forget the JC set of prophecies is known as the prophecy of
the Seven kings)…. and the present ruler at the time of writing is King
number six, Henry II.
It seems fair to speculate that Henry Blois sees himself as king number
seven. I also believe Perironis was meant to be the river Parrett near
Glastonbury on which Henry built a mill, mentioned in its original sense in
the Libellus Merlini. The name was changed before publication of the
updated prophecies included in Vulgate HRB because the association was
too obvious. Given the manner of the trickery and subtlety used so far, I do
not think that Perironis existed in Monmouth (Book of Llandaff) or in
Dindaiol as suggested randomly by John. However, perhaps the man on the
White horse rode up and down the river Parrett, and the same man built a
mill on it; and the same man was venerable and hopefully going to be
adopted; and at the same time it is implied by what is written in Cornish
(which Henry has purposefully included) that this person is a King.
44) JC: After great disasters and so much repeated suffering, the river
Severn (Sabrinum) will hear the sound like of old with so many warriors
mixing in battle; they will laugh at the river Tavy and the spikes of the twins
tents will be ripped up and transplanted.
The Twins tents refer to Waleran de Beaumont, the Count of Meulan who
was first Earl of Worcester who died 9 April 1166, and Robert de Beaumont
who was the second Earl of Leicester and was Justiciar of England between
and 11551168. He died 5 April 1168. These Twins were the bain of Henry
Blois life. They had affected the decision to make Theobald of Bec
Archbishop of Canterbury and had turned King Stephen against Henry
Blois. Henry Blois hated these twins and like others he disliked, he made
Waleran a dedicatee of HRB. It is hardly surprising he sees their lives being
ripped up and transplanted back to Normandy. The Beaumont twins
through pressures on their Norman lands, defected and took up with Henry
Fitz Empress on his return to England. Maybe these pivotal players in the
Anarchy were the twins whose tents (lands/loyalties) were
transplanted.Southern Wales was in flux between Norman and Welsh
forces and the southern side of the Severn was also likewise with Angevin
supporters. Henry Blois foresees his predicted rebellion of the Welsh and
Cornish coming to fruition.The river Tavy is known by Henry Blois as it
runs down as a tributary to the Tamar into Plymouth and is mentioned
because the Cornish are joined in this supposed rebellion about to take
place and Henry predicts laughter once the battle is fought. Henry knew
this area and knew Dartmoor as Brentigia. He is includes the name Tavy to
give the appearance of translation from the Cornish or Dumnonian
document which has localised names in it (and probably to conflate with
Teiffi).
45) JC: Firstly payment is due to Reont; then elsewhere. Spears, stakes,
swords and arrows shall the foreign enemy receive in their warm ribs. Their
blood will flow and discolour the rivers, the waves in the current will be
joyous and the happy sand banks will testify to it.
We know the name Reont came from Welsh literature and Henry now
applies it to Cornwall. The reason for including this prophecy is that it
provides a generalised assertion that the rebellion will start in Cornwall
and spread. This is supposedly where Henry imagines Conan will land in
his ships. The intention is to bolster confidence in the rebellion.
46) JC: It would have been preferable if the Teuton tyrants (Saxons) had
yielded long ago. Those who were strengthened with horses and held well in
close quarters with their lances, they vanquished those who yielded and left
behind only a few to torment. Oh Shame on us. Out of eighteen thousand who
were there moments before, four remained to turn their backs and flee in
disgrace.
The Prophesy of Britain or Armes Prydein, is an early 10th-century Welsh
prophetic poem from the Book of Taliesin as we have covered previously.
The exact figure of eighteen thousand and the four remaining derive from
the poem. It is not coincidence that Henry Blois had used this source as its
sentiments coincided with his agenda of seeming empathetic with the
Briton demise. In a rousing style, characteristic of Welsh heroic poetry, the
poem describes a future where all of the Brythonic peoples are allied
together, succeeding in driving the Anglo-Saxons from Britain forever.
Henry’s gambit is to use this Brythonic resentment to foreign occupation to
incite rebellion against Henry II; but his aim was to use this prophetic hope
expressed in the poem as a means to carry forward his agenda. Yet, it was
necessary to hide his intentions by making it seem as if he is just paralleling
or reiterating the hope of the poem. More correctly, the poem supposedly
reflects the sentiment of a much older Merlin tradition. The reader of
‘Geoffrey’s’ prophecies is confused by a pretence of referring to the Saxons;
a purposeful conflation. This in no way diminishes but parallels the
contemporary sentiment held against the Norman invaders; but, by naming
Cadwalladr and Conan, Henry brings the prophecy of sedition into
contemporaneity with his era. The Armes Prydein is also significant as one
of the earliest mentions of the prophet Myrddin Wyllt and it is probably
where Henry derived his Merlin. We should also consider Henry being
aware of this literature in the construction of VM where Taliesin is a friend
of Merlin but even accompanies Arthur and Barinthus to Insulam pomorum.
47) JC: This is what Venedotia (north Wales) wishes for, to flourish again
with a glittering leader of the people; one who brings them together. Women
will exchange their fleeces for purple cloth; Men will wear the silver which
was stolen from Urbs Legionum.
I hope now the reader is no longer taken in by the format in which
Henry interweaves segments of his prophecies together from various
versions and injects totally new meaning into some. It should be noted the
new material is usually connected to the new agenda. The mention of Urbs
Legionum or Caerleon, the Arthurian centre of government, whose glory
and importance were entirely fabricated by ‘Geoffrey’, shows that ‘Geoffrey
and John’ have a common author in Henry Blois.
We must remember that even though ‘Geoffrey’ cast a spell on the ninth
city named in Nennius, ‘the City of Legion which is called Cair Lion’; we still
should be aware that Arthur’s royal court there with all kings and leaders
in subjection is historical piffle. So, why is John advocating a location of
Arthurian splendour when we know it is a ‘Geoffrey’ invention? Why is it
mixed in with the verse with the dress code imagery from the Libellus
Merlini which Suger had? The only answer is that ‘Geoffrey’ who wrote the
Arthuriana (who we know by the corroboration of backward looking
spurious history) also wrote the prophecies…. and this must also be the
person inventing the John of Cornwall prophecies. It is not ‘Geoffrey’ but
Henry. However, even if Nennius did name the two places as coinciding
(because the legions wintered in ‘Car Lion’, it was ‘Geoffreywho brought
both to fame. How could John possibly be translating a genuine Cornish
Merlin script? If John was genuinely translating a Cornish tract, how is it
that it correlates with ‘Geoffrey’s’ fantasia.
It does not take too much imagination to work out who might be the
‘glittering leader’ he has in mind, once Conan and Cadwaladr have been
convinced to form an alliance and rout the Norman King Henry II. This
prophecy is in fact a harangue in prophetic form to uplift the Brythonic
people to realize Henry Blois’ will, with the admonishment of a better living
standard (if they would only take up the fight); to flourish again from
foreign suppression.
48) JC: The valleys shall rise up and the oaks too shall be verdant; the
mountains of Arfon will reach the clouds with their peaks.
This is just Mumbo Jumbo prophecy employing biblical motifs of valleys
and mountains with a biblical sounding grandeur and expectation. If
Merlin had existed and Cornish John was really translating Merlin’s words,
why would he miss the fact that the oaks were Cornish as in HRB? As the
reader will remember from VM, Henry was in fact the oak when he had
squewed the prophecy so that his brother would represent the boar of
Brittany: The Boar of Brittany, protected by an aged oak, takes away the
moon, brandishing swords behind her back. The moon of course is Matilda.
The mediaeval Welsh cantref of Arfon however, is in north-west Wales
opposite Anglesey and was the core of the Kingdom of Gwynedd and later
became part of Caernarvonshire.
49) JC: Posterity will raise up the royal diadem of the Britons, the stature of
our wonderful leader will merit deserved praise in the middle of the
wonderful two who have granted him by virtue this benefit.
If the reader is still in doubt that Henry is improvising to make sure his
Celtic audience understands that his future position has been foreseen by
Merlin, we should understand that Henry Blois takes up the crown of the
Britons as a ‘wonderful leader’ raised there by Conan and Cadwaladr as he
ascends the throne as the adopted venerable old man. Is there any further
doubt that JC has been written with a political motive in mind. How is it that
this incitement to rebellion which is in VM and Vulgate HRB prophecies
now has a specified unifier of the people; he is venerable and going to be
adopted and the two leaders appealed to carry out this rebellion (we are
forewarned) have granted this ‘wonderful leader’ the crown ‘granted him
by virtue’. Obviously ‘Geoffrey could not have come up with all this
additional persuasive material for the sake of consistency. This grandiose
future could never have been portrayed as the squewing had already
caused enough confusion and contradiction from the original Libellus
Merlini prophecies. The idea of Henry Blois as future King could only be
conveyed through a new set of prophecies and this is why Henry has
decided to come up with the JC version. To all my critics who think I just
account every manuscript in the twelfth century to have been written by
Henry Blois I would suggest that in this specific example they would give
me the benefit of the doubt. Many of the critics already are scholars who
would doubtless belive this manuscript is genuine Celtic prophetic material.
50) JC: Three hundred and sixty three years will be the finish of these years
when the heavens will be free and the sky brightly coloured. Here endeth the
prophecy of Ambrosius Merlinus concerning the Seven Kings.
Why does John see fit to Latinize Merlin’s name, who, (if he had any
substance), so readily accepts ‘Geoffrey’s’ version of the Nennian boy
prophet into Ambrosius. We know in Gildas' De Excidio Britanniae where
Ambrosius Aurelianus organized a British resistance is where ‘Geoffrey’
does his best to conflate Ambrosius with Arthur. When Geoffrey invents
Merlin he even has the audacity to conflate Merlin with the name
Ambrosius Merlinus. We know Nennius has Badon as the place of King
Arthur’s last battle and Ambrosius Aurelianus fought at Badon. So if Merlin
Ambrosius is a ‘Geoffrey’ invention’; how is it at all possible that John of
Cornwall’ is translating a book which could not have been written….
because logically, the person purported to have written it is an invention.
Henry Blois is the only person who foresees himself as the seventh King.
The whole tract is a clever hoax.
Finally, to put Henry Blois chronology in perspective and to show how I
am not mistaken that he is behind the prediction of himself as the seventh
King…. let us see how he arrives at the figure of three hundred and sixty
three years.
King Offa ruled from 757-796 and was the last of the house of Mercia. It
is the formation of the house of Wessex from which Henry Blois starts his
three hundred and sixty three years until he foresees that he is going to
take the throne of England as the seventh king…. the adopted venerable old
man. Henry sees himself as a continuation of his Grandfather’s line
superseding the house of Wessex. So, from 796 in henry’s mind when the
Britons were over run by the Saxons, the house of Wessex ruled until the
Danes came. From 1016- 1035 Cnut ruled the house of Denmark with Harold
Harefoot taking over…. up until 1040. Harthacanut then ruled from 1040-
1042 before rule returned to the house of Wessex with Edward the
Confessor, followed by Harold II, until the battle of Hastings in 1066.
From then on, commencing with Henry Blois’ Grandfather, the Normans
ruled England and Wales and Henry, prophesying up to his own era of the
composition of the JC prophecies, foresees himself as the Seventh king; the
natural successor of this line of Kings.
8
If we fast forward 363 years (Three
hundred and sixty three years will be the finish of these years) from the end
of Offa’s rule i.e. the start of the house of Wessex, up until when Henry’s
prophecy is supposed to come to fruition, we arrive at the year 1159. It is
for this reason I posited an 1157 date for composing JC. We can see why the
manuscript is called ‘The prophecy of the seven Kings’. Henry Blois while
still at Clugny hoped that by his prediction and the success of the Celtic
rebellion, all and sundry would recognise the natural successor as Henry
Blois, the venerable old man’, the ‘adopted one’; especially as the Briton
Merlin had foreseen it and therefore it was fated. Henry was to be adopted!
As I have already stated: ‘there is no objectivity found in the vain’. Henry
was out of the country at the time of the rebellion and if the rebellion had
succeeded, Henry Blois would have been the blameless choice of Leader to
unite the Celts. Or at least that is how Henry saw the situation and he had
even estimated a timeline for all his dreams to come to fruition.
8
Contrary to the attitude put forward in his pseudo-history created for Matilda which had many fictitious
Queens, and originally posited that the Britons held the Trojan custom of primogeniture, this changed as his
brother became King. Henry’s later attitude was that the hereditary Norman line was Patriarchal since he was not
writing now for a future Queen. This is Tatlocks confusion of ‘Geoffrey’s’ seeming inconsistency
As we know, Henry’s scheming seditious plot never came to fruition.
Conan submitted in 1158 and Henry Blois under intense pressure, returned
to England under the orders of the king. However, Henry Blois had stirred
up the Welsh and Henry II had continual problems with them…. and in
future decisions was always aware of this prophecy and made sure it never
came true. We can see by Theobald of Becs letters in (Note 1) that Henry
Blois is worried about his return to England and we know he has
desperately attempted to avoid his authorship of these prophecies being
unveiled through the back dating of dedications, the HRB colophon, and
even going to the extent of inventing Gaimar’s epilogue. He also has
provided a complete persona for Geoffrey. If Henry had been found as the
author of these prophecies, he would have been put to death and ridiculed.
Modern scholars’ view that both ‘Geoffreyand ‘John’ have two Brittonic
versions of a real Libellus Merlin and their prophecies are derived from a
common exemplar is a ridiculous notion, once Henry Blois is recognised as
the author. Myrddin may well have prophesied, but both of ‘Geoffreys’ and
‘John’s’ versions of prophecies were concocted from the mind of Henry
Blois for political ends. The prophecies in HRB, VM, and JC are not
prophecies and the two Merlin’s as presented by ‘Geoffrey’ are entirely
concocted from the mind of Henry Blois. John’s Cornish glosses are a
philological hoax designed to corroborate ‘Geoffrey’s’ position of a
Brythonic tradition and the prophecies were constructed for political
purposes. They have no validity as prophecies and any notion put forward
that they have any predictive ability in the events of insular Britain beyond
1159 is plainly unfounded.
One accomplishment achieved as a by-product of the composition of JC,
VM and the updated HRB prophecies…. is in bolstering ‘Geoffreys’ status as
an historian. Henry’s whole edifice corroborates his assertion that all
information is derived from an ancient source. When William of
Malmesbury’s DA is also employed we can see how scholars have been
unable to see the wood for the trees because no-one could imagine a
corroborative fraud on this scale. This is the foundation upon which the
edifice of HRB and the Matter of Britain is built. Is it not strange that Gildas,
Bede, nor Nennius had come across this ancient source or material before
‘Geoffrey’?
When Henry returns to England in 1158 all of this material which
created a fictional history for Britain (this monstrous lie of Henry’s) is now
mixed with his real Brythonic source for inspiring his greatest
accomplishment i.e. The Melkin prophecy.
Henry’s Grail material melded with his previous lie. It became known as the
Matter of Britain and most definitely had an architect up to the point where
continuators of Grail material and monk craft, furthering Glastonburyana,
carried on from Henry’s propaganda concerning King Arthur and Joseph of
Arimathea. The one vital fact that has a major bearing on the rest of our
investigation is that instead of fabricating history and passing it off as truth,
where Joseph is concerned, Henry Blois uses the truth contained within the
Prophecy of Melkin and passes it off as a tale.