Chapter 9
The Oxford charters of Gaufridus
Artur
The Vulgate HRB version which has the name ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’
attached is a stroke of genius. The ‘wily’ Henry Blois sees a certain ‘Ralf of
Monmouth’ on some existing charters while in the scriptorium at Oxford
and since he has based his Arthurian epic in Wales, he decides to witness
with him (and Archdeacon Walter) as if they were acquaintances. It does
not seem silly to suggest that it is from seeing the name Raldolfo de
Monmuta on an extant charter that Henry derives his inspiration for his
invented persona’s heritage from Monmouth. Galfridus Artur was the
composer of the Primary Historia as witnessed by Huntingdon, not
Galfridus Monemutensis. To veil his authorship, Henry makes the pretence
of being a Briton.
No-one was ever going to find the author of HRB. Certain critics of
HRB and the prophecies looked for an author and thus the elaborate trail of
corroborative evidence which was planted by Henry Blois. My suggestion
of the sequence of events is that Henry Blois signed the oxford charters in
1153 after Wallingford and only attached his Geoffrey of Monmouth
appellation to the Vulgate and not the First Variant. Henry may have
established the bishop of Asaph before inventing the nom de plume Geoffrey
of Monmouth if (as I have suggested) all the charters were signed at one
time while Henry sat in a room at Oxford in 1153.
It might seem rational to suppose that the Oxford charters coincide
chronologically with Huntingdon’s reference to Galfridi Arthuri, and a real
person exists. This is definitively not the case! What are the chances that a
Welshman from the Welsh Marches has the name of the King on which the
hope of the Briton’s rested and coincidentally is the one who writes a
fabulous history about him? Commentators have thought it is a patronymic
or even a ‘nickname’ based on Galfridus renown.
1
It is a certain fact that
Geoffrey was not renowned when Huntingdon discovered his text. Henry
Blois chose the Galfridus Artur nom de plume long before he scribbled his
signature on a few already completed charters at Oxford in 1153-4. It
would also be a near impossible chance (which confirms for us the
improbable coincidence); if our Galfridus Arthur was capable enough to
construct a book and was the one person with a name of the chivalric
hero…. who just happened to be the star of the book he had been given by
Walter and miraculously he was able to translate. In other words it would
be one almighty coincidence if the figure of Arthur (for whom the Britons
held hope of his return) just happened to be the HRB author’s name anyway
(remembering he could not have been renowned before 1139).
So, if it is a concocted name and a fabricated story…. why are modern
scholars slow not to see it as a pseudonym of a concocted persona designed
to hide the real identity of the author. So, if the real author didn’t exist
….How could the bishop of Asaph? This idiocy is excused by scholars by
informing us it isGeoffrey’s’ prolific fame from which a nick name has
been derived. There was no fame in 1139! Why would Huntingdon be
‘amazed’ at finding the book if his own patron had not mentioned the fame
of Galfridus Artur?
Henry Blois, sat in a scriptorium or some such room at Oxford where
records and scrolls were held and picked random charters from a shelf
which would put Galfridus in Oxford at asset time as a real person and
returned the charters with varied additional signatures.
There are seven charters signed which pertained to the neighbourhood
of Oxford with the Galfridus signature affixed. These are thought by most
scholars to have been signed for the purpose of witnessing the pertinent
transaction; all in a period covering 22 years from 1129 1151.
R.S Loomis like all the other previous Arthurian scholars’ pronounces
on these grounds:’ During these years 1129-51 he wrote the works by which
he is known’. This is conjecture as all the charters were signed at one time
1
Even William of Newburgh writes: This man is called Geoffrey, and his other name is Arthur, because he has
taken up the fables about Arthur from the old, British figments, has added to them himself….However,
‘Geoffrey had no renown in 1138 when the book was finished and left at Bec and in 1139 when Huntingdon
saw the book and subsequently in EAW named the author of Primary Historia as Galfridus Artur.
while Henry was in attendance at a meeting in 1153-4 at Oxford Castle as
we shall cover shortly.
In the first charter, the foundation charter of Osney abbey, Henry inserts
a signature as Galfrido Artur. There are a handful of witnesses both clerks
and knights who witness the charter also, but the charter today is a copy
and the other charters are found in other cartularies…. so we cannot see
where the name is inserted, but Waltero archidiacono is also a signatory. Is
it not a strange fact that we know the First Variant stems from 1144 and
1149
2
where there is no mention of ‘Walter’ or ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’.
We can conclude the inspiration for the ‘Monmouth’ appellation was
derived from Henry having seen Ralph’s provenance on the charters at
Oxford. The inclusion of Walter’s name as the provider of the source book
as put forward by ‘Geoffrey’ in the Vulgate HRB was also inspired in the
Vulgate (which followed First Variant) and followed the signing by Henry
Blois of the extant charters at Oxford. These charters already had their
signatures thereon and Henry was just adding the Galfridus signature.
That Walter was an antiquary may only be attested by Henry (in
Gaimar’s epilogue or HRB) so we cannot definitively say that the reference
to him as the supplier of the book is based on his interest in things
antiquarian and was a genuine fact. It may just be because Walter’s name
was also on the charters that Henry had chosen to lead a false trail by using
his name. The fact that Osney was founded in 1129 has little bearing upon
when the Gaufridus signature was applied. This is simply a case of retro-
interpolation of a signature into an extant charter long after Huntingdon
had witnessed the name (Galfridus Arthur) as attached to the Primary
Historia in 1139.
A second charter at St John’s Oxford, in which Robert D’ Oilly confirms to
the secular cannons of St George’s in the Castle at Oxford, gifts of land at
Wilton has the slightly different assignation of Galfrido Arthur spelt with an
‘h’, but the name Waltero archidiacono is the same as it is a genuine
signature. This is probably from the same period because it has Robert
D’Oilly’s earlier seal on it.
There is also a deed recorded in the Godstow Cartulary, in which Walter
the Archdeacon grants to Godstow an exemption from some arch-diaconal
2
This will be covered in a later chapter on the First Variant version.
payments. The witnesses are Robert Bishop of Exeter and others; but why, if
Bishop Robert has met the great ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’, does he then
commission John of Cornwall to translate the prophecies of Merlin from
British into Latin sometime around 1149-50, (twenty years after the
Godstow deed)…. if indeed ‘Geoffrey’, (a person supposedly standing in the
same room), has already carried out such a feat…. and people like Orderic
have them in Latin supposedly in 1134.
Less than a third of John of Cornwall’s verse prophecies match with the
HRB prophecies of Merlin. We will get to this variance shortly as the John of
Cornwall version of the prophecies also was constructed by Henry Blois
around 1156-7. Again, the fact that the Bishop of Exeter is dead has no
bearing on the JC commission or its prologue. The same device of
backdating a work (by citing a dedicatee) is used as that which is evident in
the HRB.
It is in this second charter in which bishop Robert signs his name, that
we come across for the first time a certain Rad. Monumuta signature. It
would seem reasonable to assume that it is the close association with this
name, along with Galfridus’, which has convinced commentators (amongst
evidences provided by the Book of Llandaff) that Geoffrey’ was genuinely
from Monmouth i.e. he had a friend called Ralph, also from the environs.
The area of Southern Wales after Henry Ist time and especially during
Stephen’s early reign was in constant turmoil from incursions by the Welsh
against Norman fortifications. Henry Blois undoubtedly knew this area and
had witnessed the Roman remains at Caerleon and had located Nennius’
synonymous City of Legions there. At the start of GS, much of the action
takes place in Southern Wales. Matilda’s brother was Duke of Gloucester
who was Henry and Stephen’s arch enemy, along with Miles of Gloucester,
1st Earl of Hereford and his son Roger. Gloucester and Hereford were both
places within a twenty mile radius of Monmouth and Woodchester and
Caerleon.
I think that Henry Blois did know this area, especially if we have
identified his castle at Kidwelly. Henry based his Arthurian escapade in this
area and thus, when he saw Ralph of Monmouth’s name (in the charter) he
decided in his Vulgate HRB edition to name himself as Geoffrey of
Monmouth (Galfridus Monemutensis). He had referred to himself originally
as Galfridus Arturus, the writer of the first edition Historia Brittonum or as I
have named it: Primary Historia. Alfred of Beverley only refers to Galfridus
as Britannicus, yet rather than this meaning the ‘Welshman’ it probably
means not of Saxon (English) or Norman stock but Celtic/Briton. One would
certainly get that impression from the contents of the prophetia and HRB.
But it is only in the Vulgate version that the Monmouth appellation is added
where ‘Geoffrey’ hails from Monmouth and the Vulgate is titled Historia
Regum Britanniae.
Rad. de Monumuta signs his name…. and just after we see Henry has
promoted his bogus persona. He signs as mag. Galf. Arturus. Five different
ways of signing one’s name is probably Henry Blois’ way of giving the
illusory appearance of a gap of time between each signature. Who has this
many permutations to one name: Galfrido Artur, Galfrido Arthur, Galfrido
Artour, Galfrido Arturo; and must have signed the Primary Historia as
Galfridus Arturus. What is his function at Oxford, and why, (when he
supposedly becomes bishop elect or bishop itself), does he require a name
change dropping the ’L’ to Gaufridus. If one were to be cynical, it seems a
pointless exercise being Bishop of Asaph and staying in Oxford.
A coincidence is that the writer of the De mirabilibus urbis Romae, is a
certain Magister Gregorius which, as I will show shortly, was also written
by Henry Blois.
The dating of the deed is not important, but is dated to 1139, because in
the charter which precedes it in the Cartulary, Bishop Alexander states that
the grant which Archdeacon Walter made at the abbey of Godstow was
made in the presence of King Stephen.
Now around the same date, again in the same cartulary is a grant of
land in Shillingford signed by Archdeacon Walter with Radulfo de
Monumuta and above his name is inserted Galfrido Arturo.
In the four charters to date, one man has spelt his name four different
ways. This is a ploy of variation in spelling used in the HRB and the Vita. It
pretends a time span between signing or in the case of HRB and VM, time
has corrupted the spelling.
In 1139, when Stephen and his court are arresting bishops in Oxford in
the presence of Henry Blois, at that time, there is a statement in the same
cartulary by Archdeacon Walter that when the church of St. Giles, Oxford
was founded, he agreed that his Villains (rustici) in Walton should pay their
tithes to the new church. When, in 1139, it became the property of
Godstow, Walter, in the statement renewed his permission; again,
witnessed by Radulfo de Monmuta. Why is ‘Geoffrey’s’ surname, (if it was
his patronymic), spelt five different ways. If it is a nickname and transposed
onto his persona by public renown, why if he is scribbling his own
signature and it is a real nickname, does he find it necessary to have
different forms of it.
Also in the Godstow cartulary is a grant of land in Knolle by a certain
‘Richard Labanc’, but Henry Blois, keeping track of his fraudulent illusion’s
chronological sequence and continuing the pretense that ‘Geoffrey’s’
aspiring ambition is coming to fruition; signs his name as Gaufridus
episcopus sancti Asaphi; again, along with a signature of Walter Oxenefordie
archdiaconus. Walter died in 1151 and in the Bittlesden Cartulary there is a
charter dated ‘the feast of Remigus (12 May) 1151 and it is attested by
Robert Foliot, Archdeacon of Oxford. Robert Foliot had already succeeded
Walter by this date; so ‘Geoffrey’s supposed friend Walter is definitely
dead. So how is it, Henry Blois, (as he signs as ‘Geoffrey’) was now bishop of
Asaph? This is not possible…. if we believed any of these signatures reflect a
living bishop of Asaph.
The answer might be that Henry Blois, after Walter’s death, forgets the
exact date that Walter died and signs as if Galfrido Arthur had attained his
ambition. The problem is that the fictitious ‘Geoffrey’ did not get elected
until the 24
th
February 1152…. so how could he be signing alongside a dead
person if the signature was from real extant ‘Geoffrey’! Modern scholars’
rationalization is that they now believe the charter is a fake. Rather, I would
say it is down to the fact that Henry has added the bishop’s name
inadvertently forgetting the chronological sequence of when Walter died
and when Henry himsel had bogusly ‘elected’ Geoffrey as Bishop of Asaph.
Henry Blois was fraudulently applying the signatures after the fact
because how could a supposed already ordained ‘bishop of Asaph’ apply his
signature alongside a Walter that died in 1151 when he only became bishop
in 1152. The charter concerning land in Knolle is too inconsequential to be a
fake as the scholars have proposed. The answer is not that the original
charter is a fraud or any of the other six charters; but the signature of
‘Geoffrey’ has been added after the fact. Henry Blois has not considered
accurately the date of Walter’s death to coincide with Theobald’s fictitious
ordination. It is Henry Blois’ promotion of ‘Geoffrey’ to ‘Bishop’ which is the
chronological error, not the charter itself. It just helps to support the point
that Henry is inserting Galfridian signatures into extant charters.
Normally with this kind of discrepancy one assumes a fraudulent
charter as most scholars have divined, but a Mr. W. Farrer is at pains to
clear up the conundrum by showing us that ‘Episcopus could be used for
one who was only ‘bishop-elect’. This is not a good solution in this case; as
there is a charter of Bishop Robert de Chesney in the Thame cartulary upon
which Henry Blois bogusly signs as mag. Gaufridus electus sancti Asaphi,
alongside a Rob. Oxonefordie archidiaconus. The point being that, (as in this
charter), if Henry were going to sign as ‘bishop elect’ to imply Geoffrey’s
status, he would have written it as he meant it; just as he had done before.
The other point already mentioned is that the charter deed is of such little
consequence…. it is hardly a prudent fraud for monetary gain and therefore
can not be deemed a forgery itself.
The last, but most important, charter puts Henry Blois at the scene of the
fraud. It would be a strange quirk of fate, given the evidence so far, if the
witness, Galfrido and the bishop of Winchester, signing the same document,
were not one and the same. ‘Geoffrey’s’ name appears in the form Galfrido
de S. Asaph episcopo on the treaty of Winchester.
3
As we know, a temporary truce was reached at Wallingford in July on
the banks of the Thames as described in the GS and highlighted as a
predicted episode in the Merlin prophecies.
4
Eustace, Stephen’s son, was
annoyed that a deal had been struck, as the Treaty of Winchester essentially
removed the crown from his reach. A formal agreement between Stephen
and Henry Fitz Empress as the future Henry II was drawn up at Winchester.
The probability is that, Henry Blois, as one of the negotiators with Theobald,
composed the terms of the document. In the later Treaty of Westminster an
undue proportion of it was concerning William King Stephen’s other son’
inheritance, as Eustace had already (suspiciously) died.
3
See Foedera, conventtiones, Literae, etc. by T. Rymer and R. Sanderson, London, 1704-35, Vol 1,14.Faral, La
Légende, ii, 38; J.Parry and R.A.Caldwell, ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’, Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages,
ed. R.S. Loomis (Oxford, 1959), 74.
4
Two Kings shall encounter in nigh combat over the Lioness at the ford of the staff.
Henry, as we saw earlier had an uncle’s affection for Eustace; evidenced
by paying for the pomp of his knighthood. Eustace had a sudden and
suspicious death on the 17 August 1153, a month after the truce at
Wallingford. The Treaty of Wallingford was initially the agreement. Later at
Winchester Henry would have drawn up a treaty with Eustace’s interests at
heart. After his death the treaty of Westminster was signed in November
1153. Henry Blois, in whose possession the treaty was probably left for good
keeping…. signed on Bishop Geoffrey’s’ behalf for the last time. There was
no Geoffrey!!!
There is no other bishop of that era where no deed or record exists on
any document or in any Cartulary. Our bishop of Asaph is a ghost and more
specifically there is no mention of him in Asaph. This has always been put
down to the impossibility of ‘Geoffrey’ being able to carry out his duties at
Asaph due to the Welsh rebellion. Because of the war, Henry chose the
location of St Asaph as part of his illusion which could not be verified. As
we have already discussed, there was no bishopric at St Asaph at that time.
‘Geoffrey’ was fictitiously consecrated at Westminster because the
bishop of London had just died and Henry was temporary custodian of the
see. If the Bishop of Asaph was a man of such repute, supposedly having
come to the attention of the most powerful people in the country, it is a bit
strange that no-one knows where he is buried. The only person who had the
opportunity to carry out this fraud is Henry Blois. We should not forget
concerning Geoffrey’s authorship of HRB…. Arthur’s continental battle
scene involving Autun and Langres…. and the fact it is in Blois territory….
and next to Clugny along with the town of Avallon.
Henry Blois had already lied on such a large scale re-writing British
history in HRB, so what difference would it make to sign a fake name as a
witness to some documents and create a persona to hide his
authorship….especially if he was ever uncovered as the inventor of the
seditious prophecies. Much of the success of the HRB would depend upon
the ability to propagate copies and we know Henry had charge over several
scriptoriums. There seems little doubt to the authorship of the VM being by
the same person that wrote the prophecies in Vulgate HRB. The content of
the prophecies is so highly relevant to Henry himself. The GS, by its
descriptions puts Henry on location where the relevant prophecies are
detailed.
Our only evidence that the Bishop of Asaph existed in any sort of reality
comes from Gervaise of Canterbury. In his Opera Historica, Gervasii
Cantuariensis relates: Obit Robertus Episcopus Londonensis. Septimo
kalendas Martii sacravit, Theodbaldus Cantuariensis archiepiscopus apud
Lambethe Galfridium electum Sancti Asaph, astantibus et cooperantibus
Willelmo Norwicensi, et Walterio Rofensi.
5
'Robert bishop of London died. On the seventh kalends of March (i.e. 23
March) Theobald archbishop of Canterbury consecrated at Lambeth
Geoffrey as bishop-elect of St Asaph, with the help and attendance of
William of Norwich and Walter of Rouen.'
‘Geoffrey’s’ supposed consecration (as above) was attended and helped
by a certain Willelmo Norwicensi, William from Norwich and a Walterio
Rofensi, Walter from (Rouen) Rochester? Whoever they were is
inconsequential…. as no-one records their names again and…. by late 1154
or 1155 they were probably dead if they ever did exist in reality.
In 1153 the enmity between Theobald of Bec and Henry Blois had
dissipated. They had been the negotiators of the peace settlement at
Wallingford. It is not unreasonable to suggest that Henry after having
concocted a profession and consecration document for the bishop of Asaph
while at Canterbury (at a future date), deposited them amongst records.
Gervaise records 25 years after the event in 1188, amongst a plethora of
other material, the extract provided above. The Bishop of London died and
we know Henry oversaw the see for a time while Stephen was alive.
Geoffrey of Monmouth was supposedly ordained at Westminster on
Saturday 16
th
of February 1152 and consecrated on Sunday the 24
th
of
February a week later. These dates being endorsed on the fake profession.
6
It would not be tentative to suggest that Gilbert, Geoffrey’s predecessor at
Asaph, is also fictitious as nothing is known of him either.
Apart from the two witnesses and supposedly Theobald of Bec…. no one
ever met Geoffrey in person. The witnesses to the oxford charters never
met him either. How could a living bishop sign next to a dead Walter? One
would think if ‘Geoffrey’ were at the signing of the Treaty of Winchester he
5
Gervasii Cantuariensis ,Opera Historica, MCL-XI
6
Michael Richter, Canterbury Professions (Boydell and Brewer, 1970), relevant entry is no. 95
would emerge on documentation somewhere or by comment of his having
been present somewhere. If he were not in Asaph…. where was he?
Apart from Newburgh, only one other contemporary comments on
‘Geoffrey’s’ work. Giraldus Cambrensis was also unconvinced by the
veracity of ‘Geoffrey's’ HRB. He recounts in his Itinerarium Cambriae the
experience of a man called Meilerius possessed by demons and who could
pick out false passages in a book: ‘If the evil spirits oppressed him too much,
the Gospel of St John was placed on his bosom, when, like birds, they
immediately vanished; but when the book was removed, and the History of
the Britons by 'Geoffrey Arthur' was substituted in its place, they instantly
reappeared in greater numbers, and remained a longer time than usual on his
body and on the book’.
By the time Giraldus Cambrensis wrote this, Henry Blois was dead, but
we should not forget Henry Blois was Giraldus’ patron. It would be safe to
assume Henry Blois would have surreptitiously substantiated verbally
various parts of ‘Geoffrey’s’ false history of Arthur. Giraldus may have been
informed of the interpolated propaganda contents of DA before Henry Blois
death. I shall deal with this point later in chapter 27.
It is interesting that Gerald, like Huntingdon, refers to ‘Geoffrey’ as
'Geoffrey Arthur' not Geoffrey of Monmouth and this form of reference to
Geoffrey may well stem from interaction with the bishop of Winchester
himself as this might be how he referred to ‘Geoffrey’.
As the venerable statesman, Henry Blois had become patron to Gerald
and Gerald quoted Merlin prophecies often, but Gerald would never have
suspected Henry Blois as author of HRB or prophecies. Gerald’s hope of
metropolitan for St David’s could well have been encouraged by Henry
Blois after Bernard’s passing.
Scholarship has long been suspicious of Geoffrey’s part authorship of the
book of Llandaff where corroborative evidence is supplied for the HRB. The
same goes for Caradoc of Llancarfan’s so called Gwentian Brut or Brut y
Tywysogion; the same supposed author of the Life of Gildas. Henry Blois, as
I will be show in progression is the author of the Life of Gildas. Henry
impersonates Caradoc after his death, even though he pointedly steers us
away from this possibility by proclaiming through ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’
that Caradoc is ‘Geoffrey’s’ contemporary.
Henry had vast resources and could pay or commission works by Welsh
monks. Geoffrey who might have been suspected of such a propaganda
exercise was thought to be dead. It is certainly Henry Blois who has
interpolated the Book of Llandaff with so much ‘coincidental’ corroborative
detail.
Henry Blois’ mode of infiltrating his propaganda into the public domain
to secret his authorship takes many forms:
1) Sometimes he invents a persona as he did with Geoffrey of Monmouth
and constructs fictitious intimate material as found in HRB and VM
whereby he appears to aspire to rank.
2) Henry Blois may invent an author as he does with Magister Gregorius
the author of De mirabilibus urbis Romae, which involves his interest and
fascination with the bronze horseman which he includes in the HRB and
prophecies, but also shows his fascination with statuary and architecture
and Rome.
3) He sometimes interpolates existing work and inserts his own
propaganda as we see with the book of Llandaff.
4) He may use an existing author’s name who has expired and wholly
composes his propaganda under their name as we witness in Caradoc of
Llancarfan’s life of Gildas.
5) He will take another’s work such as William of Malmesbury’s
Antiquitates and interpolate it. This method was used to best advantage as
that book was specifically dedicated to Henry Blois. Henry probably had the
only original monograph copy. Henry also interpolates a copy of William of
Malmesbury’s GR (version B) with a few details concerning Glastonbury.
The interpolations in DA and GR by Henry Blois act to confirm that William
believed certain things which sometimes he categorically contradicts
elsewhere in his other works. It is only when Henry’s evolving agenda is
elucidated that we can date and confirm the reasoning behind the
interpolations.
6) Henry Blois also is known to have started the rumour concerning
Dunstan’s remains at Glastonbury which we shall cover when investigating
Eadmer’s letter.
7) He invents spurious contemporaneity in antiquity for authors,
feigning eyewitness accounts through a certain Turkill in the De Inventione,
where the ‘holy cross’ was brought from Montacute to Waltham, where
Henry Blois just happens to be Dean.
8) Henry may be the one who would have us believe Nennius’s original
account was written by Gildas, but this is speculative on my part. The
supposition is that he did this as he knew the manuscript was a patchwork
of older works attributed to Nennius but did not know if there were other
copies extant. Nennius, who took it ill that he should be minded to do away
the name of Troy in his own country. But since Gildas, the historian, hath
treated of this contention at sufficient length
7
…. yet we know Gildas did not
mention it; and we know ‘Geoffrey’ has read Nennius.
9) Henry impersonates Gaimar who had already written L’estoire des
Engles. This is very useful to him as he starts with the pretext of having
written a previous volume of a French version of ‘Geoffrey’s’ Historia, the
supposed L estoire des Bretons: Heretofore in the former book, if you
remember it, you have heard how perfectly Constantine held the dominion
after Arthur. This happens to be non-existent and no-one else refers to it….
but he pretends L'Estoire des Engles is a continuation of a previous volume
put out by Gaimar called L estoire des Bretons. The reasoning, I believe,
(apart from the fact that Henry wrote the Roman de Brut) for implicating
that such a volume had been written is that Henry had initially stated that
HRB was a translation of a British book. Later as pressure came to bear in
substantiating that this book existed it became a book ex Britannicus…. now
understood as Walter’s book having originated from Brittany. Henry
provides the only substantiation for Walter’s very ancient book in the
famed ‘Gaimar’s epilogue’, the very basis which the HRB relies on for its
credibility. It is such an easy illusion to carry out after Gaimar’s death and
Henry even has the cheek to state: So that at Winchester, in the cathedral,
there is the true history of the Kings. Henry Blois interpolates Gaimar’s
L’estoire des Engles also while having it copied which will be covered in a
later chapter.
10) Henry also impersonates Wace who wrote Roman de Rou. Henry,
writes a French version of the HRB called Roman de Brut started before
1155 in rhymed vernacular and he uses the First Variant Version at the
beginning of Roman de Brut as the template upon which he versifies. This
7
HRB, Bk I, xvii
dates Roman de Brut’ start of composition by Henry Blois before Vulgate
was finished. Henry adds new detail, writing as Wace in the Roman de Brut,
concerning the ‘round table’ which was not in the HRB. Henry employs his
usual obfuscatory technique because he does not include the Merlin
prophecies and says “I am not willing to translate his book, because I do not
know how to interpret it. I would say nothing that was not exactly as I said.”
We should not forget Alfred of Beverley had said the prophecies were too
long to go into’…. so omits them also. I will cover Henry’s impersonation of
Wace by authoring the Roman de Brut in a later chapter.
Henry sums up the hope of the Britons impersonating Wace and feigns
recalling what Merlin had predicted of Arthur: So the chronicle speaks
sooth, Arthur himself was wounded in his body to the death. He caused him to
be borne to Avalon for the searching of his hurts. He is yet in Avalon,
awaited of the Britons; for as they say and deem he will return from
whence he went and live again. Master Wace, the writer of this book,
cannot add more to this matter of his end than was spoken by Merlin the
prophet. Merlin said of Arthur, if I read rightly, that his end should be hidden
in doubtfulness. The prophet spoke truly. Men have ever doubted, and, as I am
persuaded, will always doubt whether he liveth or is dead. Arthur bade that
he should be carried to Avalon in this hope in the year 642 of the Incarnation.
If one remembers in HRB, Henry had written: The house of Romulus
shall dread the fierceness of his prowess and doubtful shall be his end….
which in itself shows it is Henry Blois inventing the prophecies and
corroborating his own bogus continental Arthurian campaign in HRB.
‘Master Wace the writer of this book (who hopes to interpret rightly)
implants his name so ridiculously in the text it smacks of the epitaph on the
leaden cross pointing out that Glastonbury is Avalon. The gambit seems to
have fooled most scholars.
11) Lastly, and most cleverly of all, Henry Blois propagates Grail
literature through his Nephew’s wives and in other ways which fits his post
1158 agenda in converting Glastonbury to the Island of Avalon. An
Anagram of Henry Blois’ name in the "Elucidation" is prefixed to the
rhymed version of Percival le Gallois under the name of Master Blihis,
which someone has mistaken ‘Monsieur’ for Monsigneur Blois. How this
name is associated with the primary sources of Grail literature is discussed
in progression
All of these methods of propaganda will be discussed later, along with his
most successful work, the propagation of the Perlesvaus and the Joseph of
Arimathea material found in Robert de Boron’s work. Once this is
understood, it unlocks much of the bewilderment in connecting the issues
between Arthurian legend, Glastonburiana and their connection with Grail
literature. Once we find out the culprit who has invented the material that
comprises The Matter of Britain we are then in a better position to assess
from where the source material came and fathom which parts are based in
reality.