As we have covered, the initial pseudo-history composed by Henry Blois was never made public as it was originally destined for the Empress Matilda and Henry Blois uncle Henry Ist. When Henry’s brother King Stephen ascended the throne this pseudo-history volume (the germs of the HRB) became redundant to the objective for which it was composed. This earliest edition encompassing most of the historical research of the HRB probably with just a smattering of Arthuriana included was the pre-cursor of the volume that I have termed the Primary Historia (found at Bec in 1139).
The Primary Historia was composed whilst Henry Blois was in Normandy in 1138 based upon the work he had put into his initial composition (the Psuedo-history composed while Henry Ist was alive) primarily designed to provide Britain with a noble history from Troy like the Franks already had established with Antenor (as Henry of Huntingdon recounts). Whether Nennius’ evidence about British descent from Troy was interpolation or not into Nennius’ Historia Brittonum, ‘Geoffrey’ merely expanded on this point and confirmed it in HRB. The other point for Henry’s composition of the initial psuedo-history, the precursor to the Primary Historia, was to create a false history of British queens to act as a precedent for the crowning of the Empress Matilda as a future heir of Henry I.
There is no record as to where Henry Blois spent nearly a year in Normandy in 1137-8, but it would be no surprise if some time was spent at the abbey of Bec while acting for his brother in quelling the Angevin incursions. Waleran de Beaumont, King Stephen’s main ally at the time against the Angevin incursions into Normandy was the main benefactor of the Abbey at Bec.
One can assume the initial unpublished pseudo-history edition that Henry Blois had obviously spent a few years putting together underwent a drastic change where Arthuriana was added, since the geographical content which locates Arthur in Wales in the Primary Historia (the first edition of HRB found at Bec), may not have been developed with enough known geography of Wales before Henry Blois visit to wales in the Welsh rebellion in 1136.
Since Henry Blois had decided to not waste all his research on a book which had now become redundant for reasons that his brother Stephen had usurped the throne, the composition of the Primary Historia was composed as an interesting read modelling this new edition on his redundant but already composed psuedo-history intended for his uncle. He deposited this new book at Le Bec Abbey. This fantastically interesting but false history authored under the nom de plume of Galfridus Artur was read by Henry of Huntingdon. There were probably many more embellishments added to the initial pseudo-history which had been initially composed much earlier while King Henry Ist was still alive, and the Empress was still waiting to inherit the title of Queen.
Henry Blois was not going to let all that effort in putting together the psuedo-history be consigned to scrap. Thus we have the Primary Historia deposited at Bec by Henry Blois in March -May 1138 and then handed by Robert of Torigni (who had already read it) to Henry of Huntingdon in January 1139, from which we get the synopsis of that edition now called EAW.
Neither Henry of Huntingdon nor Robert of Torigni could possibly verify any facts about the author of the Primary Historia (the Historia Brittonum as it it was first titled). It was not until 1155 when Henry Blois met Robert of Torigni while passing through Mont St Michel on his way to Clugny that the first biographical details were made public about the elusive so called Geoffrey of Monmouth as Henry Blois attempted to spread a back story biography that Geoffrey had become a Bishop. Obviously further misdirection was accomplished in the signing of the Oxford Charters as we have discussed which put flesh and location to ‘Geoffrey’ and of course as signatory to the treaty of Winchester which Henry Blois had drawn up.
Modern scholars seem to think today’s Vulgate HRB is identical to what I have termed the Primary Historia found at Bec. The synopsis of the Primary Historia found in the Letter to Huntingdon’s friend Warin varies in detail so much that it could not be a synopsis of the same volume now termed the Vulgate version. Of course Scholars trying to rationalise this point think Huntingdon injected a bit of ‘Free Licence’ into his synopsis to Warin. The facts don’t fit as I will cover in due course.
The Primary Historia was a evolving edition of HRB composed before what we now know as the First Variant version which was employed as part evidential proof at Rome when Henry Blois was campaigning for his Metropolitan . The Primary Historia precedes the First Variant and this is a fact not understood previously by Galfridian scholars.
In effect, scholars need to understand that the First Variant is not a variant which followed the Vulgate version but in fact preceded it and was first published in 1144 and again with additions in 1149. One just has to understand why the First Variant version is constructed the way it is and who authored it, to then understand that it obviously preceded the final Vulgate version.
For instance, most scholars today think the Nero text is an abridgement of the Vulgate version because of its abbreviated character by comparison and its early date. The problem for scholarship is recognising that the date of the expanded Vulgate versions used as comparison are dated by scholars from the dedicatees and this cannot be relied upon.
Until this fact is recognised there will be confusion in the analysis of texts against Vulgate versions which will provide erroneous conclusions and traits found in versions pre-existing Vulgate versions will never be reconciled assuming Vulgate as the earlier exemplar. Basically that script known as the First Variant was designed specifically for an ecclesiastical audience at Rome.
However, a separate branch of HRB evolved along the lines of that copy recycled by Alfred of Beverley. Alfred’s version evolved towards a final version of the HRB now known as the Vulgate version. Alfred’s version between 1147 (when it was read around York) and between 1155 had the updated seditious prophecies added and between 1155-7 as more people contested ‘Geoffrey’s’ work and sought who had written the seditious prophecies; the Vulgate then had propagandist material added such as the colophon mentioning the historians and the dedications and the polemic about the book having been a translation of an older book and the ‘pudibindus Brito’ propaganda found in some texts.
These lare additions to the Vulgate are all part of the illusion invented by Henry Blois that ‘Geoffrey’ could not be Norman. This information taken alongside the very nationalistic Merlin referring to ‘our land’, ‘our army’ etc. has really fooled all researchers because the one and only concrete deduction that modern scholars have identified…. is that the prophecies and the HRB were composed by the same author. They conclude… how could ‘Geoffrey’ be Norman? Well…. that is the point of the late additions Julia!!! Crick works on a project entitled `Script and Forgery in England’.
Amazingly Crick even realises:
we may surmise that Geoffrey first published the Historia without any reference to other historians, and that, not until his published work was challenged, did he add in a later edition a renewed statement about his sources.
Let me state for the record, Henry Blois had desires to be the King, since Eustace had died and then his brother Stephen. This attempt to overthrow Henry II is plain to be seen in the prophecy of the Seven kings by John of Cornwall and if Wright and Curley had bothered to understand the prophecies and why they were written they would know that Henry Blois was employing the updated version trying to cause sedition in England while he was in self imposed exile in Clugny.
Logically, how is it possible to have a seventh king without the person who had invented the previous six ‘Leonine Kings’. The following is tautological in that the John of Cornwall prophecies constructed by Henry Blois reiterate the same prophecies foretelling the sedition: These rages will be of his own making (Henry II). Why are the Normans drawn out so slowly? like an old buttress, Anglia will put on its old name. This is how it is, may my race exterminate theirs. 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. i.e. the Normans.
The same seditious prophecies with this simple format of using prophecy to affect future change is found in VM (composed 1155-7) and the updated Vulgate HRB set (1155); so how the hell could the John of Cornwall set (composed 1156-57) have been commissioned by Robert Warelwast who had just died in 1155. It is certainly no coincidence that Robert Warelwast of Exeter (1138-55), dedicatee of JC’s Prophetia Merlini is chosen as dedicatee:
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.
This is the proof for those scholars who still hold that the dedicatees of HRB effectively date the HRB version. WRONG!! The dedicatees are purposeful misdirection!! Just as Robert Warelwast is employed in the JC dedication.
Henry Blois in the Vulgate version is purposefully trying to persuade people that the HRB was written by a real Geoffrey of Monmouth at an earlier date than its real composition in 1155. The First variant seemingly has the absence of the prefaces, no self references nor personal details or manipulative text designed to show the intention of the author. This is not a case of reduction but evidence of a lack of expansion.
Even some expansive detail had to be changed in further abridgements because too many people were trying to find Geoffrey; so ‘Geoffrey’ became blameless by just ‘translating’ another’s work instead of being accused of fabricating the historicity. As pressure mounted to locate ‘Geoffrey’, previous stated positions in earlier versions such as: ‘Geoffrey’ had contemplated composing a History…. were now contradicted and in a later version he now seemingly only ‘translated’ a history. All this will become clear in progression as long as the reader understands that to have a seventh king the previous six must be either dead or de-throned. So the JC is the more modern of all the versions of prophecies.
‘Geoffrey’ becomes un-locatable and pointless to pursue because Henry Blois put out propaganda that ‘Geoffrey’ was dead. Yet, Geoffrey was still writing Prophecies in the VM that related to events which transpire in 1157. Until the First Variant is accepted as meant for an ecclesiastical audience in Rome and preceded the Vulgate version, and a seperate but non- ecclesiastically motivated branch of HRB evolved, confusion amongst scholars will prevail.
The First Variant was composed for a different audience i.e. Papal and ecclesiastical and composed first. This is obviated by the lack of descriptions which do not normally occur in more historical works; lack of rhetorical passages, which were then added to complement the Vulgate as Henry Blois expanded his story-line as a more literary tome. Also, in the FV there is a noticeable lack of emotive episodes later found in the Vulgate which would have detracted from the more historical tone of the First Variant and its antecedent versions. The First Variant was composed as the Primary Historia basic structure had evolved between 1139-44 and then expanded to include the more exiting literary material but toned down to suit a pious audience and lacks expansions now included in the Vulgate version of HRB.
The first time the Primary Historia is referred to was when Henry of Huntingdon accompanied the newly elected Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury on his way to Rome to collect his Pallium after being consecrated on January 8th 1139. William of Malmesbury ‘as far as he can remember’, recalls Henry Blois was appointed Legate on March 1st.
If Theobald left from Bec Abbey in late January with Henry of Huntingdon, it would take him most of February to get to Rome passing through the Aravian hills and the Alps in winter. It is known that Henry Blois was more than ‘piqued’ at being overlooked for the position of archbishop of Caterbury by his Brother as I have covered. Theobald of Bec had previously been the Abbot at Bec, shortly before his election. Theobald’s added reason for stopping over, on his way to Rome along with Huntingdon was to tide over, breaking his journey and to visit fellow brothers.
What Huntingdon saw at Le Bec in January 1139 was not the Leiden manuscript but a first edition Primary Historia which had not had Merlin or his prophecies included in the text. The Merlinian content of the later evolved editions had not yet come to Henry Blois’ mind by way of his muses.256 This point is made plain in the text of that letter to Warin which is EAW (a summary of the Primary Historia). Alas, the huge differences in story-line and glaring omissions (or rather lack of expansions) are ignored by scholars on the grounds that they have rationalised that Henry of Huntingdon omits to relate the prophecies on his own volition. Scholars have unfortunately deduced that the Vulgate text recorded in the 1160’s at Bec was the edition Huntingdon had seen.
As Neil Wright points out in his preamble to the Bern manuscript: The Leiden manuscript was once thought to have been the copy of Geoffrey’s historia which Robert of Torigni showed to the astonished Henry of Huntingdon at Le Bec in 1139. But that is scarecely possible….. indeeed, insofar as it cannot be proved that the Leiden book was that seen by Henry (Huntingdon), its claim to consideration rests solely on its later Le Bec origin; yet in 1164 the Le Bec library possessed one other copy of the historia and the exchange of manuscripts among the Norman Benedictine abbeys during the preceding twenty five years inhibits any general assumptions about the circulation of the text.
What is obvious is that the Primary Historia (i.e the first de gestis Britonum) was the text seen by Huntingdon and then moved into circulation to be lost to posterity or was purposefully retrieved by Henry Blois and replaced by a Vulgate version at Bec later when things heated up and people looked for Geoffrey. Everything about Wright’s analysis of versions of the HRB would become much clearer to him if he realised who the author of HRB was. If he accepted the evidences which obviate the First Variant was composed earlier than the Vulgate and that Alfred’s copy evolved toward the Vulgate, there would be less truth in the adage ‘You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel’. This is clear in the Wace composition but can only be realised if one understands that Henry Blois impersonated Wace to compose the versified version of the HRB known as Roman de Brut as becomes evident when I cover that section on Wace and the Roman de Brut.
Henry of Huntingdon, a canon of Lincoln and chronicler, one of Theobald’s entourage which had arrived at Bec Abbey, receives the Primary Historia edition from Robert of Torigni (a monk at Bec at that time) and reads with astonishment, the book written by a certain Galfridus Artur, (the first rendition of the name of Henry Blois’ phantom persona) who subsequently became known as Geoffrey of Monmouth.
According to researchers like Julia Crick, we (the instructed by experts) are supposed to believe that Galfridus Artur as a Welshman from Monmouth, had a readership in Normandy in 1138. This assumption deduced by logic (based largely on Orderic’s testimony which is an interpolation) is wrong . The misguided a priori which supposes the prophecies of Merlin and perhaps even the Vulgate version of HRB had been in circulation since Henry Ist time is flawed. Henry Blois interpolated Orderic’s work as becomes completely evident as discussed in the section on Orderic’s work. Scholars have not understood that the pertinent passage regarding the Merlin prophecies is so obviously an interpolation. Any edition of HRB was as yet un-noticed by any contemporary in Britain in 1139.
Huntingdon is an archdeacon travelling with Alexander of Lincoln as his patron when they stopped over at Bec in 1139; yet Alexander, the supposed patron of ‘Geoffrey’ also, has (if one follows Crick’s understanding of events) kept the fact quiet from Huntingdon for at least four or five years. Why is Huntingdon ‘amazed’ to see the HRB if the Merlin prophecies (which Crick thinks were attached with the dedication to Alexander to the copy found at Bec), really did contain the dedication, if indeed Alexander had been the patron of Geoffrey.
Huntingdon is amazed at the outrageous historicity of the Primary Historia not that Alexander who is travelling with forgot to mention he had commissioned the prophecies. if the dedication really was in the Primary Histroria, Huntingdon churlishly does not mention his patron Alexander’s contribution to Warin. It is a ridiculous conclusion of modern scholars given the differences in story-line that Huntingdon, supposedly decides not to mention Merlin or the Merlin prophecies or Alexander’s commission of the translation to his friend Warin in EAW. Wright thinks Huntingdon produced a free abbreviation of the HRB differing from Geoffrey’s account.
The differences, as I discuss shortly included events omitted, material added and modifications from HRB which Wright sees as free licence and simple errors which he puts down to Huntingdon’s rushed note taking at Le Bec and because of Huntingdon’s effort to make his synopsis fit his existing account of the foundation of Britain in book one of the HA. This does not answer the differences of Arthur’s end in EAW though or the reduction of his deeds if indeed Huntigdon was indeed following the Vulgate as is thought by modern scholars. Wright checks HA against Alfred’s recycling of HRB but does not grasp the ten year time span between the two accounts and accept the evolution from EAW i.e. Primary Historia, to the more modern Beverley copy. John Slevin thinks Alfred appears to have ignored Huntigdon’s abbreviation of the HRB in EAW by undertaking his own abridgement of the HRB. He did…. but for reasons of the expansion of the Arthurian material which was developed by Henry Blois in the intervening years, Alfred recycled a more modern and expansive and evolved recension of HRB than the Primary Historia.
Julia Crick is surely duped by Henry Blois’ propaganda and misdirection along with interpolations into other works and her own rationalisations from erroneous deductions made by previous misguided generations of medievalist scholars. Crick, like all before her never looks at Henry Blois as the author of HRB and how a supposed cleric holds such lofty views on religion; or why and how he quotes the bible as if he is authoritatively correct in his interpretation and holds lofty and haughty views that a king’s behaviour affects his people; without realising that ‘Geoffrey’ is ‘Ecclesiastical Royalty’. If Crick could get rid of the idea of the Vulgate being used as a template for EAW and accept an evolution in one branch toward First Variant which held specific designs for a targeted audience; She could look on the advancements in the other branch (in Beverley) as containing very similar advancements in story-line and expansions due to contemporeinty of the texts but allow for differences of the FV because of being composed for a target audience.
Huntingdon first published his Historia Anglorum, c.1129. Theobald, who had been abbot of Bec only a few months previously to Alexander’s arrival at Bec was now Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry of Huntingdon was accompanying Bishop Alexander as part of his suite on his way to Rome. Henry of Huntingdon’s patron, Bishop Alexander, who supposedly commissioned the prophecies of Merlin to be translated by ‘Geoffrey’, had not informed Henry of Huntingdon of either the prophesies or the HRB in which Alexander’s name had supposedly appeared as a dedicatee in this volume found at Bec (according to Crick et al).257 By Huntingdon’s own account he was ‘amazed’ to find such an account of insular history because Huntingdon too was a historian himself and the majority of the content he had never come across before; nor been informed by Alexander or any other historian in the previous five years that the HRB had supposedly been in circulation.
Researchers must understand that the edition found at Bec was deposited around the middle of 1138. Robert of Torigni who showed it to Huntingdon had presumably read it but if it was known to have been deposited by Henry Blois as he returned to England, the abbot (Theobald) would surely have known who deposited the book; unless it was left at Bec by Henry Blois without drawing attention to himself. Certainly no-one had ever heard of Galfridus Artur before 1138 and had no idea from where he came. More certainly he did not come from Monmouth as at that date Henry Blois had not evolved Galfridus into Geoffrey of Monmouth. This only happened after 1147 when Alfred’s copy was composed and the Beverley copy had done the rounds in the north. At this time the book was not thought to be a translation but by the content Alfred who knew the author was using a pen name (coincidentally the same as the protagonists) decided to refer to him as the Briton. Only later after Henry Blois had added the signature of ‘Geoffrey’ to the charters at Oxford did he come up with the idea that Geoffrey hailed from Monmouth just like Ralph.
256Julia Crick observed Henry of Huntingdon’s silence on Merlin and the prophecies but she has interpreted the silence as incredulity. However, it does not explain why the ‘persona’ of Merlin is thus expunged from EAW (the synopsis of the edition of HRB found at Bec and to which Crick supposes is the same as the Leiden text). The Primary Historia never had any mention of Merlin or his prophecies included in the edition read by Huntingdon. The reason is simply because Henry Blois had not thought of the prophecies in 1138 and it is doubtful he had incorporated them into the text of HRB with the Alexandrine dedication until after 1148 when bishop Alexander died.
Merlin and his prophecies were a later development and one can tell by the content that the earliest edition of the Merlin prophecies in the Libellus Merlini were only constructed after king Stephen had come to the throne…. as part of their reason for composition was a confirmation that Stephen should be King rather that Matilda as Queen. Crick’s belief that ‘Henry of Huntingdon failed to report the prophecies at all in the letter which he wrote to the Breton Warin’ (EAW) I think is entirely erroneous…. implying it was a conscious decision by Huntingdon. It is evident that the Primary Historia found at Bec significantly differed from the First Variant and Vulgate in story-line, even though we only have Huntingdon’s précis from which to divine the differences in the text. These differences in text are discussed shortly.
257Prof. O.J. Padel, understands this discrepancy: Henry (Huntingdon) and Geoffrey lived within the same diocese in England, and they moved in the same circles; they even addressed the same person, Alexander Bishop of Lincoln (1123–48), in their respective works…. How, then, could Henry have been ignorant that Geoffrey was at work on his History, or (once it was completed) how could he not have heard of it before being shown a copy at Bec? This problem has been raised, though not solved…. The problem will not be solved Oliver until scholars realise the dedications were written into the Vulgate version of HRB after the dedicatee’s deaths. The dedications are a ruse used as a device to back date the apparent time the HRB Vulgate edition was first published to obscure authorship and lend credence to the seditious Merlin prophecies. The Primary Historia found at Bec from which EAW is derived is not the Vulgate version!!!!
Julia Crick in her thesis on dissemination and reception of Geoffrey’s HRB, like all previous Galfridian scholars, assumes the a priori erroneous position that Geoffrey of Monmouth was a real person. This position can only lead to unfounded conclusions in most deductions or elucidations of the text of HRB.
The presumption that Geoffrey of Monmouth was Welsh is of course a fabrication by Henry Blois to avoid detection and of being accused as the author of the Merlin prophecies and especially those seditious prophecies encouraging the Celts to revolt against Henry II. A new perspective needs to be adopted by modern scholars, otherwise we will have the likes of Tolhurst expounding theories that the HRB was composed by a feminist rather than understanding it was composed in its initial form for the acceptance of the Empress Matilda as queen by ostensibly providing a case for primogeniture and the proclivity for queens in British history.
For the acceptance of this new perspective on the work of Geoffrey, I have just shown the reader, that where the GS is concerned the author is most certainly Henry Blois and the rest of this work confirms that standpoint. The authorship of Gesta Stephani is plainly to hide the deception of presenting a glossed polemic of Henry’ Blois’ place in history; an apologia for his actions in the Anarchy and as a memorial for his brother Stephen. The GS miraculously focuses on the same events as covered by Merlin’s sister in VM because they were experienced by the same person who records them as history in GS. The GS was probably written on Henry’s return to England from his self-imposed exile at Clugny after 1158.
I have also shown that the author of the VM and its prophecies have a high incidence of similar attitude and material in common with Henry Blois. Certain episodes parallel to events, where we know from the GS, Henry was either heavily involved in, or at which he was present. Contemporary historians even convey Henry Blois’ wily nature. Evidence of Henry Blois as author is found in the actual text of HRB shown clearly by his knowledge of the topography of Arthur’s continental battle at Autun and Langres in the county of Blois. As if a Welsh cleric from Oxford would have the knowledge to name and distinguish by location the indigenous regional tribes in the region of Blois. Is it akso coincidence that the naming of the fictional island of ‘Avallon’ in HRB comes from a town also in the county of Blois by the same name. There are plus other internal evidences once Henry Blois’ ‘agendas’ are understood. Experts just need to understand one thing Henry is Geoffrey. Then the ‘Gravy Train’ can at least get on the right track!!!
If there was one person who was in a position to carry out such an authorial fraud culminating in what is known as the Matter of Britain by creating the false-persona of Geoffrey of Monmouth; it would be the most powerful man in Britain who ranks ‘the author before everything’. There are two principles which need to be established at the outset so that the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and we can work toward a comprehensive solution to the Matter of Britain.
Firstly, there is no Geoffrey of Monmouth who lived in reality. Secondly the prophecies of Merlin in HRB and their offshoots, such as those found in the evolving variants, VM and John of Cornwall’s rendition; all derive from Henry Blois. Scholars will be on the right path to carry out their analysis of ‘Geoffrey’s’ work if these two truths are not denied. Deny either of the two a priori positions above and the solution to the Matter of Britain becomes a quagmire of contradiction and irrational rationalisation.
The Merlin prophecies initially were constructed for a specific purpose. The Prophecies substantiate the specious historicity found in the HRB firstly. This is done by a method of confirmation which is essentially that same fallacious history made to appear as events foreseen from c.600 A.D.
The Prophecies intent is to astound the audience by predictions of events that seem to occur in time…. many of which are conveniently verifiable as they have come to fruition in the lifetime of those reading the prophecies. The corroboration of prediction having come to pass seemingly verified by the historical account of certain events found in HRB; or even events corroborated by other historical manuscripts. When we are certain of the author of HRB, we know the author of all the Merlin prophecies and vice versa.
It becomes nearly unthinkable to accept that ‘Geoffrey’ was not a living person because his supposed signature exists on charters dated 10 years before he supposedly came to fame. The idea he did not actually exist is modern scholarship’s ‘Kryptonite’; an impossible concept to take in or confirm. This is mainly from an attitude held by scholars in general. Without contradicting previous mentors and revered predecessors of the arcane subject matter one cannot accept the huge debacle which previously called itself ‘scholarship’. In fact in Medieval scholarship, no-one dare contradict; but the rules seem to be that one can reference reverentially the infallibility of former ‘grandees’ that have trodden in the mire before our time!
It is a coincidence that the first charter which ‘Galfrido Artur’ signs, relates to 1129, the same year, Henry Blois becomes Bishop of Winchester. All the Oxford charters have been signed at one time and in one place i.e. in the scriptorium at Oxford and at some time after 1153. From the moment Ralf of Monmouth is witnessed on the charters by Henry Blois sitting in the place where the charters are kept and ‘Geoffrey’ signs next to Ralph on some of them, ‘Geoffrey’ evolves from Galfridus Artur as Hundingdon evidences to Galfridus Monemutensis or Galfrido Arturo Monemutensis as variants witness.
The foundation charter of Oseney Abbey is a copy of the original foundation charter signed in 1129 and of the six or seven subsequent charters with the ‘Galfridian’ name affixed which are found in cartularies,258 all have had the name added to complete the façade of a fake ‘Geoffrey’ persona.
258The English Historical review, vol 34, No 135 (July 1919. Pp.382-385
These were all original charters kept at Oxford and Henry Blois, who we know was at Oxford on several occasions, added the Galfridus signatures to the various charters. The earliest date could have been in 1153 after Wallingford or just after the treaty of Winchester had been signed. This treaty and the addition of Geoffrey’s name as Bishop could have given him the idea of carrying out the same ploy on other charters showing a sequence of progression of the fabricated persona. So the Charters at Oxford could have been signed between 1153-55 when Henry left the country for Clugny. Or at the latest the date could have been in 1158 when he returned from Clugny and the signatures were added to cover his tracks having composed the seditious prophecies. Henry was very nervous about returning to England as seen in Note 1. Henry was nervous of what reaction to expect from King Henry II.
However, the latter date seems more likely as the invention of a real ‘Geoffrey’ only became of the utmost importance when the seditious prophecies had been included in the updated Vulgate version of HRB and after VM had been written and ‘Geoffrey’ had been proclaimed dead.
The differentiated signatures found on the charters were fraudulently applied in one sitting in a room where the charters were kept at Oxford. What exactly Galfridus’ name contributes to the charters by comparison with the other traceable and relevant witnesses adds to the fog in which ‘Geoffrey’ exists. For modern commentators ‘Geoffrey’s’ signatures across a historical period add to the reasoning in deducing that the charters are genuine, but his name is irrelevant to the charters. What single other act did ‘Geoffrey’ actually achieve in the Oxford area?
Given the content of the Primary Historia, it would certainly lead to ridicule if the Trojan history (of Britain) and the Arthurian saga were found to be an invention of the Bishop of Winchester. The tongue in cheek name of Galfridi Arturi was hazarded upon as a pen name in the copy of HRB left at Bec. .
We also see at a later date, Henry even decides to include Archdeacon Walter as a patsy to his smoke and mirrors campaign; a signatory also to some of the Galridian signed charters. What a coincidence!!
Just to be clear, Walter’s signature on the original charters is real. It is from the altered charters where Henry Blois derives his provenance for Geoffrey and indeed where he get his inspiration to include Walter’s name as a later addition to HRB in the campaign to lead to anybody else except himself being accused as author. This name of Walter seen on the charter led to his next obfuscation commonly known as the ‘Gaimar epilogue‘; in which Henry Blois employs Walter as the provider of the book said to be the source material for HRB.
Walter’s inclusion into the text of HRB came to Henry at the same time he was actively signing the charters and saw Ralf’s name alongside that of Walter the Archdeacon of Oxford.
Henry Blois was hearing the chatter about ‘Geoffrey’s’ invention of the history and the accusation that someone had added new prophecies. Part of the misdirection of the later additions in HRB in effect distances ‘Geoffrey’ from accusation by stating the work was a mere translation of librum vetustissimum.
The plan to misdirect also evolved in stages in the late editions. The Primary Historia, First Variant and Alfred’s copy do not include Walter as the scapegoat which in effect answers to the source of HRB and that the HRB was not composed by a modern author but its historicity came from an ancient source. Until the inclusion of the seditious prophecies there was no pressure to find ‘Geofffrey’.
In effect ‘Geoffrey’ was being accused as a fabricator and for adding additional prophecies to the Libellus Merlini. Henry was worried the trail might lead back to him. When he deposited the Primary Historia at Bec there was no malice in the design because no prophecies existed as part of the manuscript.
What we do know is that in January 1139 a manuscript was seen at Bec, a precursor to Crick’s 76&77. The Leiden manuscript from Bec Abbey is a final Vulgate version which superseded the Galfridus Arthur version now lost (which I have termed the Primary Historia) …. most probably discarded as the Vulgate version was circulated by Henry Blois, or purposely switched by Henry Blois for a Vulgate version to avoid the trail back to him being connected with the appearance of the volume at Bec.
If indeed it was Henry who placed a Vulgate version at Bec he would in effect be evidencing the updated prophecies were in the version discovered by Huntingdon. Secondly, by planting a Vulgate at Bec that version at Bec would have stated that it was just a translation of a book and was not Geoffrey’s own invented history. It would also prove that the seditious prophecies were not newly invented by reason of Huntingdon witnessing that edition in 1139 (even though he did not mention them). How the Vulgate arrived at Bec could be how Crick has assumed i.e. by circulation amongst the monasteries.
Crick’s version at Bec purportedly written by Gaufridi Monimutensis with a dedication to Rodbertum comitem Claudiocestrie differs from the name given by Henry of Huntingdon as Galfridi Arturi along with the title of ‘Geoffrey’s’ book referred to by Huntingdon in EAW i.e. de gestis Britonum from which Huntingdon also supposedly omits to mention a dedication. Researchers have to realise that the Geoffrey of Monmouth appellation came subsequently to signing the charters where Henry had originally seen the name of Ralf and decided to have Galfridus hail from Monmouth also.
Appealing to an ancient source whether from Wales or Brittany is intended by Henry Blois as misdirection. It was a common place ruse which provides authority to a work. Henry Blois employs it to dispel the accusation of the invention of History. It is obvious through Tatlock’s work who identified known sources for the composition of HRB that the Historia could not be a translation of an old work. As Neil Wright points out: this fusion of heterogeneous sources which is apparent almost everywhere in the historia completely dispels the fiction that the work is no more than a translation of a single Breton or Welsh book. Why then do you not look further Neil and see what else is fiction!!!
The real problem that Wright and Crick have is their understanding of WHY ‘Geoffrey’ had to advocate this position later in life and why this pretence of association with Walter was desperately needed in case of discovery. They have no concept that Henry Blois’ wished to down play any accusation of malicious intent against Henry II through the updated prophecies. This accusation against Geoffrey became apparent after the updated seditious prophecies were added to editions of the Vulgate Historia and recycled in the VM and the JC version.
Crick and Wright also do not accept why the phony dedicatees were added to editions of HRB to backdate these prophecies…. so as to appear to have been extant in Henry Ist era and in 1139. This is the reasoning behind the interpolation into Orderic’s work. If scholars like Wright are too slow to realise that the Merlin passage in Orderic’s work is an interpolation, then also he will not understand why Henry Blois is advocating that the Historia is a translation in the Vulgate and not in the Variant.
Wright even rationalises the the gradual evolution of the texts in this crossover period between the earlier First Variant toward a Vulgate as the fault of a copyist having two different texts saying: Perhaps he may have tired of his double task or preferred to leave that part of the historia intact, because it deals with a glorious period of British history and with Arthur in particular. Perhaps he was obliged to part for some time with the manuscript of the Variant Version with the result that in order to proceed with his work he was obliged to copy from the manuscript containing the Vulgate text. Rather see these additions and subtractions as Henry irons out the wrinkles in his chronology or as a change in attitude of the people giving speeches depending upon who Geoffrey is targeting or changes in sympathies or plain expansion of story-line. All the above were then run off as the modern recension in one of his many scriptoriums as the Historia evolved.
Wright says; This raises the problem of Geoffrey’s intention in composing the Historia. But until Neil accepts Henry Blois as author he will never realise the book, in its origins, was composed as a viable history for his uncle to show an illustrious heritage from Troy competing with that lineage presented by the French King and that the original psuedo historia showed that previous Queens had ruled in Britain!!!!!! It then evolved toward the Primary historia and then First Variant and then with additions and subtractions and propagandist insertions evolved toward the Final fully expanded Vulgate version which Crick wrongly determines as the first version.
Once this premise is accepted by modern scholars, then the Livre des faits d’Arthur may be seen as also transitional material written by Henry in Latin which then combines with the psuedo Historia meant to bolster the illustrious history of the recently inherited island by his uncle and as a form to witness the comparative illustrious genealogy and ancient history claimed by the Capetian King .
The Livre des faits d’Arthur by assessment of its under-developed Arthuriana was composed also just after or at the Primary Historia as corroborative material or became the substance of the expansion of Arthuriana witnessed in the later Variants and Vulgate editions. The Livre des faits d’Arthur helps highlight my proposition to scholars that the Primary Historia evolved and also indicates that there was never any book that Geoffrey ever translated; thus showing his association with Walter was a lie and more importantly showing that the Good book of Oxford related by Geimar is a construct of Henry Blois’ muses and thereby the Gaimar epilogue a ruse meant to misdirect. Once this tautology is adhered to the real character of Henry Blois emerges.
What most commentators fail to realise is that in 1138 when Henry Blois composed the Primary Historia the model of centralised power embodied by Arthur was all part of the plan to ease King Stephen into a place which had been carved out through Henry Blois forebears and now his own literary skill. He overwrites history and latinizing that history to compete with older historiographers by using what at that time was considered to be the language of truth. Even the Merlin prophecies in the original Libellus Merlini were partially constructed to assert the Fourth king was fated to be on the throne i.e. King Stephen…. and how great it was that the ‘Saxon Worm’ had been defeated. Later, when the prophecies are updated, we see this enmity against the Saxons changed into a hope that the Normans would be defeated. He nearly went mad in his pusuit of power and now he needed to get Henry II off the throne so he could be the ‘adopted son’ of the nation. If this sounds far fetched just read the John of Cornwall prophecies but I will deal with them in progression
Henry Blois has changed the previous set of prophecies in the hope that the new seditious prophecies would unseat Henry II. Scholars will never recognise this fact because they have accepted Henry Blois’ propaganda. Having returned from Clugny, Henry had given up all hope of becoming King. Historians see him as a ‘do good’, sincere and venerable old man doing his Job. Yet, even the contemporary chroniclers recognise him as power mad before that time. Wake up scholars!! If what I say is untrue, how would we get the madness of Merlin as we see in the Vita Merlini without Henry’s dive in circumstances while entering depression and his change of character portrayed as Merlin’s recovery? The Vita Merlini reflects Henry Blois own circumstances at the very time the VM was composed.
Some commentators assume it was ‘Geoffrey’s’ fame and the inclusion of the heroic Arthur which warranted Huntingdon’s reference to Galfridus Arthur in EAW. i.e. they don’t think he signed with the last name of Arthur believing rather he was at that stage known as Galfridus Monemutensis but this could not be the case when we take into account the purposely evolving signature on the charters which attempts to provide evidence for a real living Geoffrey. The assumption is wrong because ‘Geoffrey had no fame (in connection to Arthur) in 1139 and Huntingdon referred to the name Galfridus Artur as the primary Historia was signed. It was the author’s signed name in the Primary Historia.
Some time after the treaty of Winchester where Henry had signed his own name and that of Gaufridus episcopus sancti Asaphi, Henry Blois decides to create a backstory for Geoffrey. Having seen the name Raldolfo de Monmuta on an extant charter, 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. We can never be certain in what year Henry came up with the plan of signing the charters because the pressure to create a trail could have been twofold. Firstly he could have signed the charters at Oxford c.1154-5 to divert the trail for those who were searching for ‘Geoffrey’ for having composed a false historicity. Secondly, it could have happened later in response to distancing himself from the seditious prophecies.
For Henry Blois to set the false trail of the charters at Oxford and to sign the bishop of Asaph’s name on the treaty of Winchester, indicate the sort of pressure Henry Blois was under c.1155-8 after he had released the seditious prophecies and expressly pointed out to the inquiring public that the author was Welsh. It should also not be forgotten that Henry Blois was very nervous about returning to England in 1158 (note1) and was unsure of what Henry II’s reaction to his three year self imposed exile would be or maybe whether his attempt at sedition had been rumbled.
I want to make this clear; there was no Geoffrey of Monmouth before 1154-5. Huntingdon did not mention Walter the archdeacon or any dedication, and Huntingdon did not know of the charters at Oxford or of an existing Galfridus Arthur with any reference to locate him. Crick’s 76 manuscript is entirely different from Huntingdon’s copy of the Primary Historia which he refers to in his letter to Warin (EAW).
Henry Blois presented known history in reverse as prophecy and he has done something similar in the publication of the HRB in presenting it as a book relevant to the lifespan of the dedicatees specifically to afford the manuscript a date in time for its composition effectively backdating it.
Let me be clear about this also. The dedicatees found named in the Vulgate Versions of HRB with updated Merlin prophecies were already dead before their names were added; effectively dating the version to the earlier period when the dedicatees were alive.
No inquiring scholar ever asks why it is only Newburgh and Gerald commenting in the 1190’s who are the only ones sceptical about the Historia and Geoffrey. All the historians like Malmesbury Huntingdon and Caradoc should give comment under normal circumstances if the colophon in HRB existed before 1157 when Huntingdon died or even when William of Malmesbury could have been a contemporary i.e prior to 1143. To most scholars this point would not occur to them because supposedly Geoffrey died in 1154. But how then did the Prophecies in the VM go as far as predictions to 1157 as discussed under the section on the Vita Merlini. One thing is for sure, Caradoc died c.1129 as is shown in the section on Caradoc. He is only included in the colophon about the historians because supposedly he went on to continue the HRB but also because he was supposedly the composer of the Life of Gildas in reality authored by Henry which I show in the section on the De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesia .
Henry Blois has also created Geoffrey as the bishop of Asaph, an author of rank. The bishop of Asaph was probably consigned to death before the Vulgate HRB (as we know it today) was published. This I believe was done for no other reason than to ensure posterity and his readers visualised a real credible person who had the social and moral standing of a bishop. The misdirection is that a bishop would not invent a fallacious history; nor could it be conceivable that a consecrated and attested bishop could be a hoaxer and nor would anyone care if he did exist a Asaph because there was no way of verifying this until it was too late because ‘Geofffrey’ was declared dead
Henry Blois by the invention of the colophon and its seeming effect of back-dating the Vulgate version to a time of ‘Geoffrey’s’ contemporaneity with Caradoc, Malmesbury and Huntingdon, is obviously responding to a pressure exerted by curiosity to find the author of the latterly added seditious prophecies. If Henry could add a bogus signature on various charters and the treaty of Winchester to hoax posterity, then no-one would ever know that the bishopric of Asaph did not exist at that time. Even if the bishopric of Asaph did exist (which it did not), no Anglo Norman would think of going near the place just to search out an author with the Welsh rebellion taking place.
Valerie Flint’s position that the Historia was conceived as a parody of Huntingdon’s and Malmesbury’s histories misses the point that the history was composed for Henry’s uncle and the Empress Matilda. Of course Henry wanted to ‘outdo’ these plodding historians but Mamesbury was dead by 1143. The later Variant and Alfred’s copy surely played upon the ignorance of both of these historians as I discuss later, especially where Stonehenge is concerned in elaborating on an answer to Huntingdon’s bewilderment. I have a sneaking suspicion that Huntingdon suspected Henry Blois of composing the Historia as it Just happened to turn up in Robert of Torigni’s hands at Bec just as Henry Blois left Normandy for England. This was just before Huntingdon himself read it. It is difficult to accuse the King’s brother and grandson of William the Conqueror of being a Liar. Huntingdon died in 1157 so maybe this colophon was written after that time.
One thing is for sure…. Huntingdon hated Henry Blois. When relating about previous bishops of Winchester which had passed away, Henry of Huntingdon in his letter to Walter (not Warin) comments: now there sits in their place Henry, (of Blois), nephew of King Henry, who will be a new kind of monster, composed part pure and part corrupt, I mean part monk and part knight.”
In that part of Henry of Huntingdon’s work which covers the period up to the death of Henry Ist, Huntingdon tells us that in Wales at that time there were only three bishoprics, Bangor, Glamorgan and St David’s. There was no mention of Asaph or ‘Geoffrey’s’ predecessor, the supposed Gilbert. It is suspicious that both Gilbert and ‘Geoffrey’ were both consecrated in Lambeth by Archbishop Theobald, yet there is not one iota of a record of either of their deeds at Asaph.
It is not until Gervaise records c.1188 that ‘Geoffrey’ was bishop of Asaph, that there actually was a bishopric which had obviously been created by Henry at some stage. The creation of the Bishop of Asaph as ‘Geoffrey’s final pinnacle may have been at the time while Theobald was temporarily exiled for refusing to crown Eustace against King Stephen’s wishes. Stephen demanded in April 1152 that Theobald crown Eustace, but the archbishop refused, and went into exile in Flanders. Theobald claimed that Stephen had gained the throne through perjury.
Robert of Torigni’s attestation regarding Geoffrey of Monmouth becoming bishop and of his death was informed by Henry Blois himself on Henry’s visit to Mont St Michel in 1155 or on an earlier trip over to the continent.
William Lloyd who was Dean of Bangor who became Bishop of Asaph from 1680 to 1692. He was aware of Gervaise’s record, but he is suspicious also of Geoffrey’s predecessor Gilbert: I conclude, that there was no bishop there at the time when our Jeffrey writ his history. It is very possible that so ignorant a …… as he was, might not know there ever had been a Bishop of that See. And I dare say he was no prophet, though I believe as Nubrigensis (Newburgh) did, that he made those prophecies himself, which he fathered upon Merlin.
So, there you have testimony from the Bishop of Asaph himself which to any rational mind would beg the question who put the signature on the treaty of Winchester. If the bishop of Asaph can find no record of ‘Geoffrey’s’ deeds c.1680 or even that the bishopric existed at the time ‘Geoffrey’ is said to have been there, then from whom did Robert of Torigni get his news about ‘Geoffrey’ becoming a bishop in a place where no bishopric existed? Someone is laying down a false trail, but will modern scholars take this fact on-board given all the evidence? No they will not!!! The reasoning behind this denial is that everything they might have published to date becomes redundant and then where will reputation be?
It is obvious that Merlin’s prophecies are comprised in part, of events concerning the Anarchy, and some prophecies are constituted retrospectively to concur with an already established bogus history mixed with known history found in the historical text of HRB, partially sourced from British annals.
So, why does anyone give credence to the existence of ‘Geoffrey’ when all is an apparent fraud? For 200 years scholars have been building an empirical argument based on erroneous a priori assumptions, ignoring evidences which don’t fit with contrived theories, throwing together contradictory evidences to construct a theory about ‘Geoffrey’, his HRB and the Merlin prophecies. As a construct of ‘opinion’ the fabricated edifice of modern scholarship all falls apart once Henry Blois is put in context to the matter of Britain. Until Henry Blois is recognised as the author and is responsible for laying the false trail concerning Geoffrey’s persona in other interpolative yet corroborative manuscript additions, Wright, Crick, Curley, Padel, Tolhurst and a host of others will chase their tails.
However, Bishop Lloyd is confused as he believes ‘Geoffrey’ wrote the Vulgate HRB in 1138 and has not considered the dedications being a device which ‘backdated’ the Vulgate HRB. Retrospective dedication gives the appearance that HRB was written while the dedicatees were alive. Bishop Lloyd, much like modern scholars, has not considered the power that the real author of HRB wielded in setting up a bishopric to corroborate ‘Geoffrey’s’ phantom’s existence; also, the fact that Henry has left evidence that Theobald of Bec consecrated ‘Geoffrey’ to that position. Even Bishop Lloyd thinks there was a real person called ‘Geoffrey’.
Bishop Lloyd is amazed at how ‘Geoffrey’ could follow a bogus Gilbert into the position of Bishop of Asaph: Yet I believe he (Geoffrey) could not foresee that there would be a bishop of St Asaph within five years after, much less that he should be Bishop of that see within twelve years after the writing of his History.
Supposedly, Geoffrey became bishop elect of St Asaph and was ordained a priest at Westminster in mid-February 1152 and a week later in Lambeth he was consecrated by Archbishop Theobald, but there is no record of him ever visiting St Asaph. As I have pointed out already Stephen demanded in April 1152 that Theobald crown Eustace, but the archbishop refused, and went into exile in Flanders.
Now, even to most commentators the proximity in date of ordination and departure could not be understood as a coincidence. If one were going to create a false lead for an ordination of a priest why not make it appear as if it happened just before the Archbishop went into Exile. When he came back the paperwork of the ordination would be archived away. Contrarily and more likely Henry Blois chose this date i.e. as the date of ordination because he remembered that he could not lay a false trail if indeed Theobald was out of the country. Knowing Theobald left in April, Henry dates the ordination a couple of weeks beforehand.
Henry would certainly have remembered this date as it was he who had groomed Eustace so that when his father Stephen died, Henry would have control over him. If only our scholars would realise Henry Blois was in pursuit of power until 1158 and then he realised the fight was over.
After this time Henry occupied himself with church affairs as contemporary chroniclers attest but he also assembled King Arthur’s grave at Glastonbury and composed the Perlesvaus and other Grail works until 1170 when he went nearly blind. Many other influences were also down to Henry which concern the Matter of Britain and were carried out during this period such as the propagation of his propaganda. Historians still picture Henry Blois was just a venerated old Churchman who had nothing to do with the proliferation of his propaganda through his family in Champagne.
The accepted reason for there being no record of ‘Geoffrey’ at his bishopric is that the Welsh rebellion prevented his arrival there. I would posit that this is precisely the reason why Henry Blois chose such a venue to lay a false trail of evidence. It would be totally missed by the dower scholars to think that Geoffrey was the most renown ‘recorder’ of his day just like the biblical Asaph.
Henry Blois had presented ‘Geoffrey’s’ persona as being Welsh. Asaph was positioned in the rebellious North of Wales and none reading the Vulgate HRB first published in 1155 were going to care about the author if he was already dead.
Like most contemporaries, they assumed by the persons mentioned in the dedications that the book had been around for some time. However, Gilbert259 some time before 24th March 1152, and Geoffrey of Monmouth260 are both recorded as being consecrated in Lambeth which is suspicious in itself and nothing is known about either person at Asaph.261 In Gilbert’s supposed era at Asaph, it was still called the church of Llanelwy, after the Elwy River; and thus, it is very suspect that Geoffrey was the first ever to be called bishop of St. Asaph. There is absolutely no record of Bishop ‘Geoffrey’ (Gaufridus episcopus sancti Asaphi) after the faked ordination except of course his faked signature on the charters at Oxford and the treaty of Winchester.
259Gerv. Cant. I 126; Cant. Profs. no. 93
260Gerv. Cant. I 142; Cant. Profs. no. 95
261Tongue in cheek, Henry Blois locates ‘Geoffrey’ the ‘recorder’ of British history at Asaph as the fictitious Bishop; Asaph is the same name of a person who was a ‘recorder’ mentioned in the biblical books of Chronicles who was also a seer (2 Chronicles 29;30) just like Merlin.
Whoever followed ‘Geoffrey’ as bishop of Asaph seems spurious also, a certain ‘Richard’ seems to be another invention until another ‘Gilbert’ curiously left his see to become an abbot of Abingdon in 1165. He was removed from that office in 1175. There was no Anglo-Norman presence and no-one with Anglo Norman interests could verify anything about St Asaph. C.1190 Gerald describes St. Asaph as ‘a poor little see with a poor little cathedral,’ so something happened between 1152 and 1190.
It seems an ideal safe place for Henry Blois to create a bishopric for an aspiring writer c.1152-58. It is unlikely if anyone but Robert of Torigni was even informed of ‘Geoffrey’s’ bogus appointment on mainland Britain.
The method of dating used by modern scholars based on the dedications of HRB is futile. All the dedications are backdated by the life span of the specified dedicatee; so that the publication of Vulgate HRB is made to appear as being composed at an earlier date (along with updated prophecies) when the dedicatees were alive. As we can see there are no dedications in First Variant, and none related to have been in the Primary Historia by Huntingdon.
In the Bern MS 568 it has a dedication addressed to Robert of Gloucester. Robert is generally believed to have died in 1147 or even 1146 according to Gervaise. The Bern MS. includes the prophecies of Merlin and the dedication to Book VII in which Geoffrey speaks of Alexander as dead at the time he writes. The HRB can’t be dedicated to a living Robert of Gloucester or Alexander If the prophecy about the Sixth king invading Ireland. In their day the Leonine Kings only went up to four. Alexander died in 1148 the year after Robert.
This should already have alerted the penetrating vision of scholars to the possibility of Henry Blois method of backdating through the dedicatees names in the Vulgate Versions. Especially with the inclusion of updated prophecies from the late ‘Anarchy’ period and into Henry II reign. How possibly could there be prophecies which hope for rebellion by the Celtic tribes unless of course you think Merlin is insightful. But in this case if you are mad enough to believe Merlin possessed the powers of precience; then how come on this occasion was Merlin wrong?
The reason is because When Henry II invaded Gwynedd in 1157 the terms of a peace agreement between him and Owain Gwynedd included the stipulation that Cadwaladr should be given back his lands. Henry Blois’ designs through prophecy of rebellion were dashed. Also Henry’s vision for Conan joining the rebellion was dashed.
Henry II had attempted to obtain control of the Brittany. Henry claimed to be the overlord of Brittany on the basis that the duchy had owed loyalty to Henry I. So when Henry II’s father Geoffrey died in 1158, Conan had attempted to reclaim Nantes but was opposed by Henry II who annexed it for himself. Anyway Henry II and Conan made peace and so the prophecy ‘Merlin’ had composed to incite the Scots, the Welsh, the Bretons and the Cornish came to nought.
Southwark was where Henry Blois had his palace but the reason he chose Lambeth for ‘Geoffrey’ to seemingly become a priest is because Lambeth palace at the time was not occupied by the Archbishop of Canterbury in reality but Henry Blois.
Henry Blois at one stage has control over Archbishop Theobald’s affairs at Canterbury and also was bishop of London for a time;262 so, it was within Henry’s ability to fabricate the election of a bishop that would only sign one document of significance, (the Winchester charter). Rather than some elaborate ordination at Canterbury which would have been witnessed, in reality Henry Blois chose to have Geoffrey ordained as bishop at Lambeth and recorded the fictitious deed just a couple of weeks before Theobald was exiled and witnessed by two totally unknown witnesses which never feature again in any other document where it would have been difficult to deny the ceremony ever took place.
That document could have been drawn up and probably held by Henry at Winchester and deposited in the Canterbury archives for Gervaise to find much later even after 1161 when Theobald died. ‘Geoffrey’s’ ‘profession’ as bishop still exists, but it still does not preclude the most powerful man in Britain carrying out a fraud to prevent himself being found out as the author of a book which has seditious prophecies in it by creating a fake persona.
Henry could be accused of treason by Henry II if his identity as author of HRB was discovered. Not only would he be ridiculed, but any contemporary would soon work out that he had vainly included himself in some of the prophecies of Merlin if he had not subsequently squewed some of the icons in the updated prophecies in the Vulgate version.
However, Henry was not discovered as the author of HRB, and had successfully laid a false trail. Henry then went one stage further in promoting rebellion against Henry II; especially now that the supposed author of HRB was dead when the updates were published. Nearly all the prophecies in the Vita Merlini have a high relevancy to Henry Blois and to contemporary events surrounding him. By the time Henry had covered his tracks, ‘Geoffrey’ could be allowed to speak again and Merlin’s insights were brought up to date also through Merlin’s sister Ganieda. She covered events in the late Anarchy in her incredibly accurate and poignant prophecies.
Henry could not be accused as the author of VM even though prophecies covered events as late as 1157; simply because the book supposedly and ‘logically’, must have been written in the author’s lifetime, even if Merlin’s and Ganieda’s insights were perceived to be a hoax. ‘Geoffrey’ supposedly died in 1154-5. In effect, ‘Geoffrey’ shoots himself in the foot by having Ganieda see such indisputably accurate and correlating events found in her visions with events supposedly transpiring after ‘Geoffrey’s’ death.
Even modern scholars could work out that ‘Geoffrey’ did not die in 1154 by such a deduction; unless of course they believe Merlin is a seer. But then without trying to see how the prophecies related to events mostly relevant to the readers era, one could accept the skimble skamble of the period and think there was no purport whatsoever in ‘Geoffrey’ constructing the prophecies. Not one scholar has tried to see the relevancy of the prophecies to the author’s lifetime or consider the updating and evolving nature and the squwing of Icons in the prophecies over the different versions. This is what scholars should be doing!!! Most people interested in this subject matter, who have any doubts about who composed the Merlin prophecies, can only conclude they were authored by Henry Blois; especially after reading my exposition on the John of Cornwall prophecies which we shall get to later.
Robert of Torigni became the prior of Bec in 1149 and importantly it was he who had originally showed the Primary Historia to Huntingdon at Bec Abbey in 1139263 before he became Prior. Huntingdon says that he did make a copy/excerpt/synopsis from Bec of Galfridus’ Primary Historia. From that, he certainly made a précis of its contents which is now EAW.264
262Henry Blois in effect administered the bishopric of London between 1138 and 1141. Henry Blois in his capacity of sub-dean was in effect the bishop of London as the see became vacant in 1160. In 1158 Theoabald was exiled and Henry probably had control over Lambeth Palace. There was plenty of opportunity to carry out his fraud concerning the consecration of the Bishop of Asaph by inserting a record of such an event in the records.
263the said Henry (Huntingdon) did excerpt at Bec, where I offered him the use of a copy of the whole history of the Britons when he was on his way to Rome.’ Fancy having the ‘whole copy’ and not mentioning Merlin in EAW, especially since Huntingdon was intrigued by Stonehenge and yet ‘Geoffrey’ in the later Vulgate version satisfies Huntigdon’s lack of information by saying Merlin had brought the stones.
264EAW. But this year, when I was on the way to Rome, to my amazement I discovered, at the abbey of Bec, a written account of those very matters. (referring to the Trojan descendant of the Britons which Warin had previously inquired of Huntingdon beforehand).
Most deductions by scholars are that Robert of Torigni was writing after 1152 when he relates that the new Bishop Geoffrey Arthur ‘had translated the history of the Kings of Britain from British into Latin’. The mere suggestion that Robert of Torigni, (a historian also), believes that ‘Geoffrey’ had translated the book from an original (which never existed) indicates two things. Firstly, we should be aware that Walter’s book was never mentioned in the First Variant version in 1144 (First Variant is the successor to the Primary Historia). So, Robert of Torigni must have been told by Henry Blois that it was a translation of a previous work and also informed him of the bishop of Asaph’s death.
The reason we can be sure that c.1147-50 when Alfred’s copy was available up north, Alfred opens his book two of the Historia by verbalising his doubts about the account he has just recycled from Brittanicus in book one. He finds the account of the Briton both original and captivating but with no mention from Alfred that Brittanicus (note not Geoffrey) had translated a previous work. This propaganda is only in the late Vulgate version. So it is likely Robert of Torigni was told about the translation (propaganda) later when we know Henry Blois passed through Mont St Michel i.e. when Henry Blois had first decided to distance himself as originator of the material in HRB just in case he was rumbled. If he was rumbled as the author….that old book had come from Walter and he was by this time dead. Convenient or what!!
The fact that ‘Geoffrey’s’ history was a supposed translation of a British book was not mentioned in EAW or First Variant or as late as 1150 when the Beverley copy was in Alfred’s hands; and any lucid person at the end of this discourse will know there certainly was no ‘book’ or Librum vetustissimum or Good book from Oxford or ancient ex Britannia book or a book ex Britannicus…. now understood as Walter’s book having originated from Brittany.
In this instance regarding the ancient book we can clearly see Henry Blois’ obfuscation. The book is a source that supposedly provides the entire account of HRB even though previously ‘Geoffrey’ had written So often while turning over in my own mind the many themes which might be subject-matter of a book, my thoughts would fall upon the plan of writing a history of the Kings of Britain.
It is totally implausible that having written the above without a mention of Walter that there should then be a book that merely needed translating. Supposedly having thought of writing the book originally evolves when people having read it and are looking for ‘Geoffrey’; it was imperative that a rationalisation was sought in case he was discovered, so that Henry could avoid being the author (if eventually rumbled); so, Henry became merely a translator. Henry squares this contradiction by adding to later variants: At a time when I was giving a good deal of attention to such matters, Walter Achdeacon a man skilled in the art of public speaking and well- informed about the history of foreign countries presented me with a certain very ancient book written in the English language.
Why can the learnèd not recognise the dedications are a ruse?
The stupidity is that the author of the Primary Historia has the same surname as the main protagonist of HRB and this co-incidence has blithely been passed off by scholars as a ‘patronym’ not realising the evolving nature of the Galfredo Monemutensi appellation; when Henry needed to be a translator of the British language and put distance between him as a Norman composing seditious prophecies and seemingly holding anti-Neustrian sentiments. For this reason the Galfredo Monemutensi surname was employed. So in the Vulgate we now have: At Walter’s request I have taken the trouble to translate the book into Latin; yet we know also that Walter had supposedly done the same thing and then back into British. Is it just me or is there something in the water that scholars can’t quite taste???
Wright thinks Arturus is a nickname and this from someone who states: by 1129 Geoffrey was in Oxford. Curley suggests that Geoffrey may have used his father’s name until his own professional identity became more secure. If we try to rationalise anything about Geoffrey without understanding that he is Henry Blois, no matter how hard one squints with penetrating vision the picture will not be seen clearly.
Why can Wright and Curley see all the inconsistencies and question all the contradictions in evidence which even exist in the charters themselves and still believe Geoffrey signed charters yet lied about so many other things. Why does any scholar believe anything about Geoffrey’s persona??? The reason is because they are learnéd but only from knowledge taught to them by mentors who themselves suffer from the same lack of insight.
There are two vital pieces of information passed to Robert, a historian of note and a known acquaintance of Henry Blois, who had read the book before any other known person and neither of those bits of information regarding Geoffrey are true. Knowledge of the Bishop of Asaph by Robert of Torigni surely came by way of Henry Blois directly; not forgetting that Robert of Torigni (originally from Bec) had probably only seen the Primary Historia version (that version he had handed to Huntingdon in January 1139 at Bec).
We can assume that he questioned Henry Blois about what became of Galfridus Arthur, the name of the author of the Primary Historia. Robert also as a contemporary was also misdirected and was told that the author was from Monmouthshire (so it has been observed lately) and he became Bishop of Asaph in Wales and that the book he had seen was merely a translation. This information could logically only have come from Henry Blois because there was no Bishop of Asaph.
The information concerning Walter’s mysterious book could only come from Henry Blois who had recently fled England avoiding Normandy on his way to Clugny in 1155. Any mention of Walter would certainly be dated after Walter’s death in 1151.
It is only in conjunction with Walter that the ‘ancient book’ is posited as the source from which HRB is translated and this is only mentioned in the Vulgate version; and of course implied by Geffrei Gaimar’s epilogue composed by Henry Blois but we will get to that subject matter also.
Alfred of Beverly does not mention the fact that the copy of Galfridus’ book is derived from a translation of Walter’s supposed British book because this evolving Variant edition was published in 1147 and circulated the environs around York. The fact that all the information in HRB supposedly came from a book lent to ‘Geoffrey’ by Walter does not appear in any manuscript before Walter’s death or before the Vulgate version was published (unless of course one believes the dedications). But how can one believe the dedications are truly representative relative to the publishing of an edition of HRB when Merlin’s predictions of events in the later Anarchy period are so accurate that one must believe they are truly inspired prophecy. Even Wright and Crick know that the prophecies are not!! Hence the total fudging of all scholastic analysis of Geoffrey.
Alfred of Beverly did not use the Vulgate version as his source but a transitional copy without the GOM title given to it and a few quirks different from Vulgate HRB which are highlighted by John Slevin.
Like all scholars before him and having been mentored by Crick he too swallows Henry’s ruse of backdating the Vulgate version by stating that Alfred recycled from a Vulgate version.
Henry Blois landed at Mont. St Michel and conveyed the news to Robert of Torigni himself (now abbot of Mont St Michel) in 1155. Robert of Torigni and Henry Blois were probably about the same age, acquainted, with similar interests and must have met previously in Normandy in 1137 and thereafter with Henry’s frequent trips to Rome and passing through Bec when Robert of Torigni had been a monk there.
Henry Blois, after the council held by King Henry II at Winchester in 1155, had fled shortly afterwards from the southwest of England without the King’s permission (as all ports were being watched) and landed at Mont St Michel. Henry Blois slipped out of England without the Kings permission who had also ordered Henry Blois to surrender all his castles. He took all his transportable wealth with him as he suspected Henry II was going to make life very difficult for him.
This is the reason Robert of Torigni is aware of not only the bogus elevation of Galfridus to bishop of Asaph, but also of the bishop’s recent demise. If the grandson of William the conqueror told Robert of Torigni that the author of the book Robert had seen at Bec had become bishop of Asaph, why would Robert not believe him and not record the fact?
Henry may have told him that the bishop of Asaph was dead. It may be that the death of the fictitious bishop was not published abroad until Henry’s return to England. The point being, that Robert of Torigni and Henry knew each other and if Henry had said that ‘Geoffrey’ had been consecrated Bishop of Asaph in 1152, it would be taken on good authority and recorded as such.
Robert of Torigni, is understandably disconcerted by ‘Geoffrey’s’ account, and he is happy to make use of Huntingdon’s précis to escape the evident pitfalls of having to piece together extracts from the chronicles of Eusebius and Jerome with Geoffrey’s rendition of historical events. A copy of Huntingdon’s letter to Warin is in Robert’s possession in which flatteringly, Huntingdon’s name is mentioned as being the discoverer of the Bec edition of HRB (Primary Historia)….referred to in terms of being a most studious searcher after and collector of books both sacred and profane…
Henry Blois also passes on verbally, news of the formerly known Galfridus Arthur (now better known as Geoffrey of Monmouth) and the spurious election of Geoffrey to a non-existent bishopric. Robert of Torigni writes in his prologue:
‘But, for that meseemeth it is unbecoming to make addition of aught extraneous unto the writings of men of so high authority, to wit, Eusebius and Jerome, yet natheless, for the satisfaction of the curious, will I add unto this prologue a letter of Archdeacon Henry,(Huntingdon) wherein he doth briefly enumerate all the Kings of the Britons from Brutus as far as Cadwallo, who was the last of the puissant Kings of the Britons and was father of Cadwallader whom Bede calleth Cedwalla. This epistle, as will be found therein, the said Henry did excerpt at Bec, where I offered him the use of a copy of the whole history of the Britons when he was on his way to Rome.’ It should not be lost on the reader that Historia Brittonum is how Geoffrey himself refers to his own previous book in the VM and so does Huntingdon in the précis letter to Warin rather than the Historia Regum Britanniae of the later Variants and Vulgate editions
Robert of Torigini goes on to explain the scope of his own history from Julius Cæsar to the death of Henry Ist in 1135, while acknowledging his indebtedness to the History of Henry of Huntingdon. Robert of Torigni derives information in other parts of his chronicle from Huntingdon’s history which is not in Warin’s letter. If we consider that Huntingdon died in 1154 and consider that the Merlin prophecies have an intricate relation to Arthur in the Vulgate prophecies, does it not seem strange that Huntingdon does not mention Merlin in later editions of his chronicle regardless of his omission of mentioning him in EAW? Merlin was not featured in the Primary Historia. Merlin only gets introduced into ‘Galfridus’ work for the First Variant Version in 1144, an evolving edition composed for a Roman papal audience initially. This was six or seven years after the composition of the Primary Historia which had been composed while Henry was residing in Normandy.
If, as scholars believe, the Vulgate version of HRB, which Huntingdon had initially seen at Bec had been inclusive of prophetia; why is there no mention of Merlin in Huntingdon’s later redactions of his history; especially, if the Vulgate version of HRB had been so widely read (as is thought by scholars such as Griscom) and distributed so widely in the public domain between 1138-1154.
It is not understood by most commentators that Merlin was a later addition; after the Primary Historia had existed without prophecies or any mention of Merlin. It is possible Merlin and the early set of prophecies existed in the First Variant in 1144 but doubtful. It is more likely they existed alongside the First Variant as a seperate Libellus Merlini. The prophecies which now in the First Variant edition are those prophecies which were later corrected to the updated version of prophecies found in the Vulgate HRB. However they exist without dedication which only existed in the Vulgate version and backdated copies of variants after Alexander had died.
If one considers that the First Variant was designed for a papal audience (presented as a partial proof of the antiquity of Winchester and Glastonbury by dint of the mention of Phaganus and Duvianus), I would not think that Henry Blois had spliced the prophecies into the Historia in 1144. The Prophecies were probably presented separately to begin with as the Libellus Merlini. However, the prophecies were part of the package of convincing evidence of propaganda being presented. We can deduce this because of the prophecies predicting Metropolitan change and the addition of an extra See.
What is definite is that the splice into HRB would have been difficult without the Alexander preamble and he was still alive in 1144. So, I would hazard the conclusion that there were no prophecies in HRB until Alexander had died in 1148. I think it was here that the original Libellus Merlini prophecies (put out by Henry earlier) got updated to a point in a later variant and attached in 1149 for Henry Blois’ second attempt at gaining Metropolitan status. There was an evolving of prophecies and HRB up to the last edition c.1155, which is the common Vulgate rendition we have today, which was copied by Henry Blois with backdated dedications and then proliferated.
We should note the change in story-line concerning Merlin and Stanheng from early versions of HRB by comparison to Vulgate versions. Neither Robert of Torigni nor Henry of Huntingdon makes mention of Merlin which also implies (even though Robert is recounting EAW) that the Historia + Arthuriad were not integrated with the prophecies in the text of HRB until later.
It seems to me that Robert of Torigni, whose quote under the year 1152 in the Bern MS that ‘Geoffrey Arthur,265 who had translated the History of the Kings of the Britons out of the British into Latin, is made Bishop of St. Asaph in North Wales’ has been informed of this fictitious event after 1153 as before that time ‘Geoffrey’ had not needed to persuade us that the HRB was merely a translation.
The most likely candidate to promote such a newly invented falsity could only be Henry Blois. As we have already speculated, Henry Blois probably does not plant the evidence of Geoffrey’s death or promote the composition/continuation of the book of Llandaff or interpolate it until after his return to England in 1158.
265Note ‘Geoffrey Arthur’ is still the mame Robert of Torigni refers to the author because he has only known the author of the Primary Historia version by this name since he was at Bec. Again, an error in deduction exists because scholars misunderstand ‘Geoffrey’ evolving from Artur to Monmouth as a title and that HRB is not to be dated to an era by the evidence supplied concerning the dates of the lifespan of the dedicatees.
Most commentators have assumed that the prophecies of Merlin preceded Henry Ist death because an extract of the Merlin prophecies was found in Orderic Vitalis’ Historia Ecclesiastica and they have deduced that there was a separate Libellus Merlini. This theory seems to be refuted by Tatlock: ‘since there is no evidence or antecedent probability for an earlier version of the prophecies, and since all the evidence in Ordericus points to the use of Nennius, Bede and Geoffrey’s complete HRB, the soundest conclusion is that Ordericus used the prophecies of Merlin merely as found in the HRB and there is no ground for believing in an earlier version’.
However, Tatlock’s deduction concerning Orderic’s use of Vulgate HRB is correct. The one thing he has not considered is that the whole section in Orderic’s work regarding the Merlin prophecies is an interpolation by Henry Blois who composed the Vulgate HRB and the updated prophecies that seem to have been included in Orderic’s work. Because they are updated they could not possibly be a natural part of Orderic’s work who died in 1142.
However, the fact that Abbot Suger had a copy of the first set of prophetia i.e. the Libellus Merlini, is indicative of the existence of prophecies separate from HRB (Suger does not mention HRB) which were later to be included in the second edition of the First Variant c.1149. The only extant exemplar of First Variant had its prophecies up-dated which now form the present versions. For example, the ‘sixth’ in Ireland prediction could not have been known prior to 1151 (when Suger died) and does not exist in Suger’s excerpt from the prophecies. One of the earliest references to Merlin, is to be found in the History of Lewis the Fat, written by his counsellor Abbot Suger of St. Denis. Lewis died in 1137, and Suger in 1151-2, but at what precise period this passage was written can now only be conjecture. The most import thing to note though is that the excerpt that Suger mentions is not updated does not have anti Neustrian content nor the seditious prophecies encouraging the Celts to Rebel so is written while Stephen is alive. Suger was a man of letters and a statesman. Abbot Suger quotes the prophecies of Merlin with an air of approval to applaud their author as ‘that marvellous observer and recorder of the continuous course of events amongst the English.’ This was Henry Blois’ friend who probably received his copy of the prophecies from Henry directly.
However, as is evident and noted by Orderic’s editor Auguste le Prévost, Orderic’s book XII was written in 1136-7. If he had genuinely written the extract refering to Merlin it would mean Orderic saw a Primary Historia (in which were no prophecies) before it was written if we wish to counteract Tatlock’s insistence that Orderic sourced his list of Kings from it in the time span that Tatlock’s logic requires. But then we need to explain the ‘Sixth in Ireland’ in Orderic’s report, which we know can only post date the discussion on the invasion of Ireland held at the council in Winchester in 1155, just before Henry went into self imposed exile.
The entire chapter XLVII in book XII in Orderic’s chronicle is evidently an interpolation by Henry Blois himself after 1155 when he had updated the prophecies and needed a method to show these updates existed earlier than 1155. The signs are evident if one is not to be duped by Henry Blois’ interpolation. Tatlock, however, is only trying to prove that there was no separate Libellus Merlini and that the passage in Orderic came from the Historia. Tatlock believed that Historia and prophetia were at that time always spliced together as do most commentators. This position is largely maintained by scholars today because they have not understood that the prophecies did not exist in Primary Historia and as for the prophecy’s presence in the First Variant version; they did not originally exist in that copy as the updated set we find in the Vulgate HRB when the First Variant was first composed in 1144. They probably existed alongside a seperate Libellus Merlini not yet incorporated into the text
The First Variant originally contained just those prophecies which made up the Libellus Merlini in its second edition c.1149. All First Variant manuscripts seem to come from one exemplar which have had the updated version of the prophecies added which can only mean after 1155 as they also include the ‘sixth in Ireland’ prophecy. If they don’t contain this prophecy the recension of the First Variant has not had its prophecies overwritten.
Scholars can’t say exactly what was in the ‘first’ First Variant version in 1144 because the following version with prophecies in 1149 could, (like the first) have been overwritten or corrected from a more modern variant or from the prophecies in the Vulgate version. Modern scholarship’s assumption is even more flawed in the fact that they consider the Vulgate version a pre-cursor of the First Variant. Not surprisingly Wright says: There is no doubt that the variant Version often preserves Geoffrey’s phraseology. Let me be clear Neil; Geoffrey is Henry Blois and he composed the Variant. Instead of asking silly questions like: Who is this mysterious writer who adorned his product with so many biblical quotations who knew terence, Virgil, Bede and others and who must have had access to some Welsh material as well? That he must have been a man of learning cannot be denied. the facility with which he quotes the scriptures suggests a cleric, blah blah. Well funnily enough Potter and Davis said nearly the same thing about the author of the GS.
When will this sickness of the blind leading the blind end? Cutting through Geoffrey’s persona is the easy part and if scholars have trouble recognising this truth then after Carley’s haughty pronouncements regarding the prophecy of Melkin, just how will they ever recognise the author of the Grail legends. Will they ever realise the truth behind the Melkin prophecy if they don’t even get over the first hurdle to sorting out the quagmire that they themselves have made of the Matter of Britain.
Anyway, Tatlock, does however, point out that the thirteen books of Orderic’s history were not written in the same order that they stand. Orderic also made various insertions himself, but Orderic died in 1142 and Henry Blois (the inventor of the prophecies) could not have known of a ‘sixth’ king posited to invade Ireland i.e. Henry II. Henry Blois would certainly not have guessed Henry II plans to invade Ireland at this date as the Anarchy was still to play out for another 10 years.
In the same Book VII in which we find the Merlin insertion about the ‘sixth’, Orderic supposedly retrospectively writes about Adeliza of Louvain: and the queen was crowned by the ministrations of the priesthood. She adorned the court and Kingdom for fifteen years, but though richly endowed in other respects, to this day she has borne the King no child.
Such a ploy is evidence to the rational thinker of propagandist misdirection in backdating through interpolation!!
Adeliza was married to Henry Ist in 1121. This would indicate this part of the book was written in 1136, if we were to add on the 15 years. Henry Blois has inserted the Merlin passage at an à propos place so that the prophecies give the impression of foretelling events still in the future based on the chronology of Orderic’s history. This is achieved by placing the prophecies in book XII at a chronological contemporaneous period before Henry Ist death and inserting a ridiculously suble sentence implying The king Henry Ist is still alive, which completely exposes that the Merlin prophecies are an insertion into book XII.
If we needed to allow Tatlock’s theory, concerning kings coming from the HRB; Henry Blois wrote the list of kings anyway because he wrote HRB and the interpolation into Orderic’s work. The insertion of the Merlin passage into Orderic was essential for Henry Blois. It is the earliest evidence which substantiates a vaticinatory nature to the Merlin prophecies to the gullible and disproves any accusation that the prophecies had not only been updated but added to. The section covering the Merlin prophecies are added to a section in Orderic’s work which implies Henry Ist is still alive; so I will cover the entire section in detail in a moment.
Tatlock, like most commentators is duped by the seeming veracity of the dedications in Vulgate HRB, which logically indicate the time parameters in which the Vulgate HRB was first published.
No commentators have allowed for fraud on a grand scale and most commentators have excluded this as an option, yet most recognise the actual work of HRB and the prophetical musings of Merlin and Ganieda as a fraud. All have been misled by Henry Blois in a convincing portrayal of a parochial and struggling ‘Geoffrey’.
One obvious ploy was to write a dedication to one’s arch-enemy flattering him, calling Robert of Gloucester ‘another Henry’ (King). Henry Blois was Robert of Gloucester’s enemy throughout the Anarchy, so not one person would suspect Henry’s authorship after lauding praise on Robert of Gloucester seemingly appearing as an obsequious ‘Geoffrey’. Only one First Variant edition is dedicated to Robert, but that addition will certainly have transpired after his death as the dedication is not as expanded as in HRB but exists as a proof that even the dedications evolved.
The point of the dedications in the Vulgate version of HRB was to backdate the work to avoid Henry Blois been discovered as the author. Where the Merlin prophecies are concerned, it gave the aura of accurate prescience; predicting some events which had already recently transpired in the Anarchy.
Funnily enough, it is R.S Loomis’s observation that is ironic: Robert died in 1147 and Alexander in 1148 and thereafter a dedication to either would have no point.266 It is for this exact reason in logic that Henry Blois carried out such a ploy.
266Arthurian literature in the middle ages. R.S. Loomis p.81
Henry Blois had composed an earlier set of prophecies which were passed to his friend Abbot Suger c.1144-5. These could then have been added to the First Variant c 1149. At a later date, these early prophecies must have been substituted for the later version found in the Vulgate edition of prophecies. The John of Cornwall edition of prophecies which we shall discuss at length uses the same fictional dedication method as HRB and was written by Henry Blois also around the same time the VM was written c.1156-7. The JC version goes even further in its seditious content concerning Henry II than the Vulgate HRB prophecies or the VM prophecies.
It is the interpolation into Orderic which has convinced researchers of Merlin’s predictive powers. Much stead has been put in the Merlin passage in Orderic, as to dating the prophecies of Merlin, since Orderic died in 1142. The main thing to hold in mind is that the prophecies of Merlin are in no way prophetic but for the most part are the invention of Henry Blois writing history retrospectively. Henry Blois was certainly not a prophet! The next thing to understand is that the dedications in all their forms have no bearing on the dating of the HRB.
Dedicating the HRB to Waleran, Stephen or Robert is bound to help circulate the book in court or gain credence in clerical circles as a worthy read, but the dedicatees names were primarily used as a gambit to pretend that the Vulgate HRB was in circulation earlier than it actually was. The same argument holds for the colophon concerning the contemporaneity of Caradoc, Malmesbury and Huntingdon. Only a few copies of HRB existed prior to 1155 in which there were no dedications (maybe the un-expanded dedication to Robert found in the Exeter version of First Variant when he was dead), but it must be understood by the reader that the various dedications found in the Vulgate HRB were not included until all dedicatees were dead, (except Waleran whos’s dedication was probably was added once Geoffrey was consigned to death as Waleran lived until 1166).
The most common dedication found in the various manuscripts is to Robert of Gloucester alone. The dedication below to both Stephen and Robert was composed after both of their deaths even though it has the standard retro device to confute the reader: the issue of my book now made public.
Most commentators believe the Vulgate HRB was written in 1136-7 at the only time Stephen and Robert the two dedicatees were not against each other warring during the Anarchy.Most commentaors suppose marginally later before Robert’s conditional oath of allegiance to Stephen was formally renounced in 1138. The dedication adds importance to the HRB in showing that the most noble were accountable for its patronage, production and interest. However, the dedications are a farce and are included to mislead those contemporary people searching the origin of the prophecies or those who believed they had been altered as time progressed or those questioning the historicity of the HRB. The Primary Historia was not complete until the first half of 1138 when it was deposited at Le Bec. We know Huntingdon would have remarked on the dedications if there had been any in the version of HRB that he witnessed.
However the Joint dedication set out below backdates the Vulgate HRB and its updated prophecies back to 1138 and is the point of the misdirection for the gullible:
‘Unto this little work of mine, therefore, do thou, Stephen, King of England, show favour in such sort that with thee for teacher and adviser it may be held to have sprung not from the poor little fountain of Geoffrey of Monmouth, but from thine own sea of knowledge, and to savour of thy salt, so that it may be said to be thine offspring—thine, whose uncle was Henry the illustrious King of England, whom philosophy hath nurtured in the liberal arts, whom thine own inborn prowess of knighthood hath called unto the command of our armies, and whom the island of Britain doth now in these our days hail with heart-felt affection, as if in thee she had been vouchsafed a second Henry. Do thou, also, Robert, Earl of Gloucester, our other pillar of the realm, lend thine assistance that, under the combined direction of ye both, the issue of my book now made public may shine forth in an even fairer light. For thee, unto whom was sire that same most renowned King Henry, hath thy mother, Philosophy, taken unto her bosom and indoctrinated thee in the subtleties of her sciences and afterward directed thee unto the camps of Kings that thou mightest achieve renown in knightly exercises, wherein, valiantly surpassing thy comrades-in-arms, thou hast learnt to stand forth as a terror unto thine enemies and under thy father’s auspices as a protection unto thine own people. Being, therefore, as thou art, the trusty protection of them that are thine own, receive myself, thy prophet-bard, and this my book, issued for thine own delectation, under thy protection, so that lying at mine ease beneath the guardianship of so far-spreading a tree, I may be able to pipe my lays upon the reed of mine own muse in safe security even in the face of the envious and the wicked.’
It is a ruse that these dedications had any truth to them, that ‘Geoffrey’ would refer to Robert as thou thyself art offspring of the illustrious Henry, King of the English in one dedication and again as above, use the same reference to Stephen being a second Henry when the dedication is to both of them.
The whole point of this particular dedication is artifice, to date the work before 1138 and to rationalise to those in search of ‘Geoffrey’ the author; that yes, there was another version i.e. the Primary Historia, but the issue of my book ‘now’ made public explains the different version i.e. the updated Vulgate and prophecies , but still is dated by the dedication even though the version has the updated prophecies included.
Contemporaries would be well aware that the dedication indicates a date before the Anarchy if it is to Stephen and Robert and this date (ante 1138) would add credence to many of the prophecies. Why indeed, before the Primary Historia was even discovered at Bec, would ‘Geoffrey’ need security in the face of the ‘envious and wicked’? This is a ‘Freudian slip’ by Henry in that it is the reason behind the dedication. This dedication is composed post 1155 because people are getting suspicious. Henry Blois needs to distance himself from the updated seditious prophecies fabricated by himself.
In a separate dedication to Robert of Gloucester alone, Henry Blois is reacting to suspicions by others that the whole historicity of HRB is dubious; therefore he reacts by giving his history credence, by establishing a source: Now, whilst, I was thinking upon such matters, Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, a man learned not only in the art of eloquence, but in the histories of foreign lands, offered me a certain most ancient book in the British language. This as we shall cover shortly expands into creating the Gaimar epilogue a simple insertion into Gaimar’s work.
There is no-one more likely to possess such a copy of a Stephen dedicated HRB and who was able to produce it for propagation in any of his scriptoriums than Henry of Blois. Henry could claim it had come from Stephen’s effects after his death.
There is not one shred of evidence which shows that the Vulgate HRB with any dedication is in the public domain before 1155 especially because John Slevin does not recognise the reason Alfred refers to the author as Brittanicus because in 1150 Galfridus had not yet been appointed his provenance of Monmouth.
Alexander of Lincoln died February 1148. Scholars are duped into believing that the dedication to Alexander is real because of the abrupt way in which ‘Geoffrey’ beaks off the HRB purely at Alexander’s request. This is how he wishes his audience to perceive the action. The Alexander dedication is obviously not in the First Variant produced in 1144 as Alexander is still alive but may well have been in a second edition First Variant put out in 1149, still tailored to papal scrutiny as the original First Variant in its ‘churchy’ text and cleaner ideology. For example King Uther’s love for Igerna is compared to that of King David to Bathsheba in the First Variant which is deleted in the later Vulgate as the book became more of a court read rather than being styled toward an ecclesiastical audience. Thus where we have the giant’s brute lust and rape scene in the Vulgate this is not an omission from an earlier copy but rather an addition to a later recension.
In the description of Britain for instance the Variant follows Nennius Bede and Gildas closely, yet as Henry expands the story-line in the later Vulgate, not having to adhere to what is strictly historical (in case the doubters in Rome check his accuracy); in the later Vulgate Henry is no longer bound by constraint in his readership. Basically the rule is that the earlier the Variant the closer to the original source i.e one Variant gives a virtual copy of Bede in the description of Britain.
In 1149 Alexander was dead so this second edition (composed for the second attempt at Metropolitan) may have been the first to have the Libellus Merlini prophecies included as part of the text with an Alexander preamble affixed. This would have been after Alfred’s copy which had a composition dating from 1147 and thus no Alexander dedication in Alfred’s copy.
In reality, Henry Blois is just inserting or splicing his prophecies into the HRB which he had initially concocted to affect the political climate: I had not come so far as this place of my history, when by reason of the much talk that was made about Merlin my contemporaries did on every side press me to make public an edition of his prophecies, and more especially Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln.
There were no contemporaries pressing ‘Geoffrey’ because ‘Geoffrey’ never existed. The only pressing factor was certain people trying to find out who had written this book as no-one could locate Galfridus Arthur, ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’ or the Bishop of Asaph.
These prophecies which existed as a separate body were then updated to the moment of inclusion in the Vulgate HRB but did exist in a separate libellus Merlini prior to 1150. We know no-one was pressing Henry Blois to publish. Instead he introduced into circulation versions of the prophecies up to the point in time of composition of the Vulgate and we can witness this by the ‘exclusion’ of the prophecy about the ‘sixth in Ireland’ in the copy of Merlin’s prophecies he had passed to his friend abbot Suger. The discussion about invading Ireland had not yet transpired at court in Winchester in 1155.
Henry knows his ‘fifth’ in his royal numbering system (Matilda), who he assigns no action under that number, (yet specifies she was not anointed in one prophecy) has been superseded in his numbering system by the sixth. It would be fairly obvious that the numbering system in the early libellus edition of prophecies only went to ‘four’.
This ‘Sixth’ (on its own) could easily be predicted after the treaty of Wallingford in the summer of 1153. As we have discussed, the council which debated the invasion of Ireland did not happen until 1155,267 immediately before Henry left for Clugny. The fact that the reference to the invasion of Ireland occurs in the Chronicle of Clugny xxxviii and attests to the fact that knowledge of this conference was known at Clugny indicates the source of such knowledge is Henry Blois. Also, Peter the Venerable travelled to Clugny with Henry’s transferable wealth and Henry Blois followed soon after the court meeting by way of Mont St. Michel.
It would have been at this court held at Winchester that Henry Blois was ordered to surrender his castles to King Henry II. Henry Blois who had sought power ever since his brother had given the archbishoprick to Theobald understood the power dynamic was shifting against him. Rather than comply and give up his castles, he fled to Cluny and thereby the Irish information is referenced in their chronicle. As Robert of Torigni dates this Irish discussion to Christmas 1155,268 he also would have heard this most probably from Henry Blois who landed at the island where Robert of Torigni was newly established as Abbot.
At this time the fraudulent news was conveyed that Geoffrey Arthur who had ‘translated’ the history of the Kings of Britain from British into Latin, as stated in Robert’s chronicle, was now Bishop of Asaph. Most commentators believe it was general knowledge, but there is no other record of it in Britain except that which was planted by Henry Blois i.e. no contemporary chronicler until Gervaise makes any record of our Bishop of Asaph. Henry’s subtlety must not be underestimated and must be taken into account.
267The Laudabiliter was issued in 1155 whereby the English pope Adrian IV gave King Henry II the right to assume control over Ireland.
268As we covered already the English pope Adrian IV gave King Henry II the right to assume control over Ireland and apply the Gregorian reforms. We have established that Henry Blois knew of this intention to invade and published the prophecy concerning the ‘sixth’ as a vaticinatory Merlin prophecy. Henry thought the invasion was expected imminently. The Normans did eventually invade Ireland, but not until 1 May 1169 long after the Vita Merlini and HRB prophecies were written. It was not until the 18 October 1171, however, (two months after Henry Blois’ death) that Henry II landed an army in Waterford. Initially the topic was discussed at the court in Winchester by Henry II as he was hoping to give Ireland to William his younger brother, making him King. The plans were abandoned when their mother, the Empress Matilda, objected.
Henry Blois had to wait four years from the time he wrote the prophecy concerning the ‘Sixth and the Irish invasion’ until a partial realisation of Merlin’s prediction became fact when a small band of Norman Knight’s arrived in 1161. However, the vaticinatory vision in the VM (which differs in HRB), The sixth shall overthrow the Irish and their walls, and pious and prudent shall renew the people and the cities, was based upon what Henry Blois understood in the Laudabiliter and were going to be the implementations of Gregorian reform within Ireland which were proposed at Winchester at Michaelmas in 1155.
Robert of Torigni took it upon himself to publish an edition of Sigebert’s Chronicon within which he interpolated accounts of the Dukes and bishops of Normandy which were, at the time of publishing, also the Kings of England; those that reigned after Bede’s time up until 1150. Since Robert referred to Galfridus Arthur rather than Geoffrey of Monmouth we might also assume he has not seen a Vulgate version with dedications. Don’t forget he was the one who introduced the Primary Historia to Huntingdon while passing through Bec.
Robert of Torigni of Torigni in his preface says that ‘Sigebert mentions not one King of Britain but Aurelius Ambrosius’ which must be derived from Bede; all the rest are from Geoffrey. Robert of Torigni was happy to make known the letter to Warin from Huntingdon by publishing it in his chronicle as it was Robert who discovered the Primary Historia to Huntingdon in the first place. Robert’s reason for publishing the letter was to make known the high standing to which Huntingdon refers to Robert in the letter: a most studious searcher after and collector of books both sacred and profane. Both Huntingdon and Robert are apparently not incredulous to Geoffrey’s history and include ‘Geoffrey’s’ fabulations in their own Histories. Incredibly, neither Huntingdon or Robert of Torigni ever discuss how the book appeared at Bec in the first place. Obviously deposited secretly in the Library by Henry during his time in Normandy.
It would be sensible to think that if Robert had assumed that (or known that) Henry Blois deposited or gifted the book to Le Bec in 1138 (however Henry may have supposedly acquired it), Robert would then enquire about Galfridus in later life on Mont St Michel when he met Henry Blois on his way to self imposed exile in Clugny. This is how Robert erroneously reports that ‘Geoffrey’ had become bishop of Asaph!!
Henry Blois’ ploy, as we will uncover later while investigating the propagation of Grail literature, is that he journeys to locations, continental and insular to spread different propaganda that only later collides. So, notice of ‘Geoffrey’s’ death, as we have already mentioned, could have been established in England on his return in 1158.
John of Cornwall’s translation of the Merlin prophecies for Robert Waleran, Bishop of Exeter who died in March 1155 was fabricated after that date by Henry Blois and certainly does not establish a primary source for the prophecies from which both ‘Geoffrey’ and John worked.
It was Henry Blois’ intention that posterity should believe that the Merlin prophecies might be Cornish, falsely establishing a Celtic source in antiquity. It was also his intention to show by producing another similar set of prophecies to those found in HRB that would prove to the suspicious; firstly, the Merlin Prophecies had an ancient Briton source. Secondly that a completely independent source would show that the composer of HRB and VM was not the inventor of the Prophecies. So, the name of Henry’s good friend the bishop of Exeter was used retrospectively. It is astounding that two sets of Merlin prophecies both come to light in the same era; both translations coming to light by the patronage of Bishops and both sets having a high incident of correlation to events directly affecting Henry Blois.
Henry Blois managed to interpolate Orderic’s work with the chapter on the Merlin prophecies. He would most likely have retrieved Orderic’s original history as Henry had passed by the abbey of St Evroult, in which was found Orderic’s manuscript…. any time after 1143 when Orderic died.
This is not a silly speculation because there are only three copies reaching the present era which indicates that for some reason its proliferation was stifled at the time ‘Geoffrey’s’ work was propagating through the monastic system which by contrast we presently have 215 copies. Henry is on the way to Rome that year to secure the Pallium for his Nephew William, who Henry has elevated to Archbishop of York. Henry Blois on previous trips to Rome, probably had conversations with Orderic about his history being a fellow monk and interested in history.
Henry Blois is of royal blood and arguably the most powerful man in England and renowned in Normandy. While breaking his journey and tiding over at St Evroult, he hears of Orderic’s death. He asks the abbot to borrow the manuscripts as yet un-duplicated since Orderic’s death. He promises to return them on his return Journey. He obviously does not since the prophecy about the ‘sixth in Ireland’ is included. Therefore, the interpolation into Orderic’s history must ante-date the Winchester council of 1155.
Henry understands most historian’s works endure. Henry thus interpolates one small passage concerning Merlin’s prophecies in the appropriate section of Orderic’s work in book XII. To most observers, given the surrounding material, it appears that the prophecies must date prior to Henry Ist death. Henry Blois, clever as always, leaves out the one prophecy concerning Henry Ist death from an already extant block of prophecies he has composed earlier in the Libellus Merlini. Of course modern scholars then rationalise this omission the wrong way.
They think the Prophecy concerning the death of Henry Ist is too highly specific and if employed makes the rest of the prophecies too obviously fraudulent to an audience that know the details of Henry I burial. But by leaving it out, it appears that the block of prophecies were truly made before the King’s death as this block of prophecies are intended to portray. This manipulation of a set prophecies already composed by Henry i.e. omitting one them in the Orderic interpolation, should alert the antennae of the suspicious.
Some scholars actually think that because this particular prophecy was left out of Orderic’s Merlin passage that it must be a late insertion into HRB. Again, they have the reasoning the wrong way around. The prophecy is left out of the recycled prophecies inserted into Orderic’s work because Henry wishes to show this block of prophecies pre-dated Henry Ist death. This fact in itself proves the point that the whole insertion is a Henry Blois interpolation.
Critically to any researcher, it should indicate that the person interpolating into Orderics work has an agenda. The interpolator is well aware of the ploy of backdating and how it is achieved. There are three examples of this backdating gambit in this tiny interpolation into Orderics work.
Now, it would normally rest on those who consider themselves teachers of students that this same practise is found not only in the dedications of the HRB but also in terms of constructing history backwards by recording events already expired as witnessed in the Merlin prophecies. It is not by coincidence that the phoney Merlin prophecies which look back into past history and which seemingly give the air of having been composed before that history transpired….. confirm the phoney history of the HRB and are now interpolated into Orderic’s chronicle carrying out that same function of backdating. Coincidence, mon cul !!!
The missing prophecy concerning the King’s body parts, is in the Vulgate version of HRB Merlin prophecies. Obviously it is one of Henry Blois early prophecies that he retracted from the Orderic interpolation because it stated the opposite of what he was trying to achieve.
This whole interpolation of the Merlin prophecies with its mis-directional preamble as seen in Oreric’s book has added credence to the prophetic powers of Merlin in that commentators who now believe the interpolation to be a genuine part of Orderic’s work think Merlin is a true visionary. They have considered the prophecy which is not included in Orderic’s work concerning the body parts to have been inserted by a subsequent interpolator in the Vulgate version. What a hapless bunch of dimwits with PhD’s rationalise is up to them, but it is far from sorting out the mess left by Henry. This just presents them with more ‘red lines’ that half will then ignore and the other half will rationalise until they themselves believe their own nonsense.
I know I labour this point (as I do most), but it is most critical in dating the prophecies (see appendix 14). Henry Blois could not be able to predict the ‘Sixth in Ireland’ until after 1155. Not only is the prophecy highly specific, but it obeys Henry Blois’ numbering system found in the Vulgate version of HRB and VM and it could only exist after two events; the death of Stephen on the 25 October 1154 (before which, the libellus numbering only went to four) and the said council in which the invasion of Ireland was discussed in September 1155.
When this evidence is added to the fact that the record of these events is recorded at Clugny where Henry fled after the council at Winchester, it provides a strong case for the ‘Sixth in Ireland prophecy’ only existing post 29th September 1155.269 Because this is one of the prophecies found in Orderic’s work it is obvious that the interpolation must post date the council at Winchester.
We must not be fooled by Henry Blois’ cleverness inserting the Merlin passage in Orderic’s book XII. I will go through the whole Orderic interpolation shortly.
The main accusation against me in pointing out these interpolations by Henry Blois is the frequency he does this to other authors’ manuscripts. This is thought by some critics of this investigation to be too prevalent to be acceptable. My accusation is that I appear as a type of conspiracy ‘fiend’. Stating that Henry Blois is an ‘arch interpolator’ seems to be my recurring answer to every stumbling block found in the ‘Matter of Britain. To my accusers I say look at the evidence and put it in context and if you are still not convinced by the evidence presented in these pages I would think you worthy of a doctorate in Medieval history.
In the case of Orderic it is simply a couple of folio’s inserted into a broader work. Surely this interpolation alone has had its desired affect. The Interpolation makes it impossible for researchers today to solve the conundrum of Merlin’s apparent prescience.
Orderic’s passage on Merlin must accepted as an interpolation and recognised as a backdating gambit. Same again with the small epilogue supposed to have been written by Gaimar etc.etc. So, either one is a fool who does not recognise misdirection, and draws irrational conclusions from unfounded rationalisations or you are like me and call a spade a spade. I can understand why none of the grandee scholars would admit to anything written herein; because if one hole in the dam appears the wall of impenetrable obduracy is broken down and the truth is no longer held back. Once interpolation is recognised and the reasoning behind it, by putting everything in context… the dam breaks.
Anyway, Leo iusticiae is Henry’s vaticinatory name for his uncle King Henry Ist of whom he cleverly speaks in the Orderic insertion in the present tense…. as if still alive. In the interpolation into Orderic, King Henry Ist is cleverly posited as ‘awaiting his divinely ordained but uncertain destiny’. Really!! Which other chroniclers,( assuming the death of a king is a natural event), would string this sentence together? Only an interpolater wishing to establish that King Henry is still alive at the date of writing. Same with the Adeliza of Louvain gambit where: She adorned the court and Kingdom for fifteen years, but to this day she has borne the King no child.
Everyone is expected to do the simple math calculation that if Adeliza was married to Henry Ist in 1121, this would indicate Orderic is writing thos words in 1136 and like sheep the scholars and contemporaries arrive at the conclusion to which Henry Blois has led them.
Henry Blois in reality was at odds with the HRB dedicatees, Waleran and Robert. Robert of Gloucester became a permanent enemy from the time he and others had convinced Stephen to free the occupants at Exeter castle. Robert then went to Normandy and returned as the leader of the Angevin cause. Waleran was different in the fact that he was on Stephen’s side to begin with, but Henry Blois was wildly jealous of the sway the Beaumont twins were having on the king’s ear. Henry blamed Waleran and his twin brother for planting doubt in Stephen’s mind which led to the arrest of Roger Bishop of Salisbury, one of the main causes of the Anarchy. More importantly Henry blames Waleran for his current lack of power in that he was snubbed for the position of Archbishop and caused Henry immense frustration until Henry gives up the fight for power in 1158.
Henry of Blois dislikes Waleran so much that he refers to him as the Dragon of Worcester270 in the prophecies. Waleran was married to Matilda de Blois, daughter of King Stephen. In 1141 Waleran gave up the struggle alongside Stephen because his Norman lands were being taken over by the invading Angevin army. Waleran surrendered to the Empress Matilda and so in Henry’s mind was a traitor.
269Robert of Torigni: At Winchester about the time of Michaelmas in 1155, Henry II holds a council with his nobles to discuss the conquest of Ireland which he seems to have desired to give his younger brother William on terms of homage.
270HRB VII, iv
As I have mentioned, the single manuscript with Stephen and Robert as dedicatees is simply a devise used by Henry Blois to predate the HRB to 1136-8. What supplicant author vying for a patron’s approval, dedicates his work to patrons who are at war with each other? That is the gambit. It is the the conclusion to which we and others searching for ‘Geoffrey’ are led like sheep The evidence for dating of the Vulgate version of HRB is found in the updated version of the prophecies and not through the bogus dedication as Crick,Wright, Curley,Padel et.al. would have us believe.
We can assume (considering references to metropolitan) that the very first version of First Variant which was presented to papal authorities had the prophetia presented alongside it and not spliced. We can speculate that the second recension of the First Variant may have had the prophecies spliced as Henry’s second attempt at gaining metropolitan was after Alexander died. This assumption is made on the basis that the copy which we have today would have entailed too much reworking of the body of the text to have included the Merlin Prophecies as an addition. One could speculate that only subsequently the prophecies were added to the First Variant version and then the prophecies content was updated later. There are so many possible scenarios.
As Wright says: suggestions as to the date of the First Variant have ranged from the view that it was Geoffrey’s source hence written before 1135-8) to the assertion that it was a conflation of the Vulgate text and Wace’s poem (hence post -1155). It is argued here that the First Variant is a reworking of the Vulgate Historia by an unknown author and that it was completed before 1155 since Wace’s Roman de Brut demonstrably draws on both the First Variant and Vulgate texts.
One can see that the expert thinks the First Variant is by an unknown author. If scholars like Wright would wake up and understand the measure of Henry Blois they would understand that He composed the Roman de Brut using the First Variant as a template to begin with and followed by the later Vulgate as the composition of the poem kept up with the modernity of the script in HRB. How in all honesty can the Roman de Rou be by the same author as the Roman de Brut.
When Wright says he hopes other will reassess the way in which Geoffrey combined the First Variant and Vulgate texts with other matter found solely in the Roman de Brut I hope too that he will reassess who the author of all three versions actual is. But, you know I won’t be holding my breath. Enlightenment is a slow process as the God of the Jews found out!!
We can see how the evolved First Variant with its expansions were then followed by a variant which excluded the pious and moral material especially in speeches and stayed with the expansions; both versions more modern than the Primary Historia. The un-pious but modern branch found its way to Beverley. The First Variant was used by Henry as a template for the first half of the Roman de Brut which shows us that Henry started the composition of the work he later publishes under the name of Wace at a date c.1145-49. We know the First Variant ante-dates the Vulgate version because it was used by Henry Blois in 1144 in evidence toward gaining a metropolitan see for Winchester.
Now, if the ‘Sixth in Ireland’ prophecy is included in any version of First Variant or Vulgate version, it certainly post-dates 1155. Since Alexander died in 1148 and the prophecies of Merlin may have been spliced into the First Variant, we can assume this transpired in the 1149 version of First Variant presented to Rome. There are other considerations the reader will only become aware of in dating the First Variant and its Alexandrine splice when I elucidate upon the Antiquites of Glastonbury.
Of course all this becomes clearer when we consider the introduction of Phagan an Deruvian into the First Variant to coincide with the ‘first agenda’ of Henry Blois when interpolating William of Malmesbury’s DA and how this corroborated the two preachers existence. Their mission into Britain certainly would have been noted by Huntigdon in EAW had they been introduced into the Primary Historia. They were in fact only introduced in the first First Variant as becomes evident later on in progression.
There is still nothing to prove that the HRB and Prophetia have been spliced by 1147 when that copy was the most modern because Alfred of Beverley’s work was finished after this date c.1150 and he makes no mention of the Alexandrine splice.271
The 1149 edition of First Variant, however, has the splice. So we can conclude from that: when Alfred’s copy was composed, he is still not recycling the fully expanded Vulgate and it is without the Alexandrine splice and other notable differences between the texts including the the fact that Walter also is not yet employed as the patsy. These recensions are what Wright refers to as codices mixti where the First Variant evolves toward the fully expanded Vulgate version. But it is still denied by Wright that the Variants pre-date the Vulgate. This whole bankruptcy of Chronology is brought about by Crick’s analysis of the Leiden manuscript. Alfred’s copy is composed c.1147. This is confirmed along with the other evidence seen in the section on Alfred of Beverley.
The acid test which would prove my point would be the closeness of the text from which Alfred is recycling put against the First Variant with its obviously ecclesiastical/ pious/moral/scriptural bias removed to test the modernity of both and then see what areas of expansion Henry has developed in the story- line text from 1147-50 to the period 1155 when the finalised Vulgate addition with all its updated prophecy and propaganda taken into account.
This would then give a better idea of which versions have been obviously overwritten by the facts established in this work. Crick has partially carried out this task along with Wright but neither have understood the evolution of HRB. Rather than think of the problem like Wright does in ascribing authorship of the Variant to another individual saying the ‘Phraseology is similar to Geoffrey’ implying another author; even though we can never know what has been overwritten, both Crick and Wright need to start at the beginning and need to accept that the HRB evolved mainly through Henry as author of nearly all the important vagaries found in the versions.
Crick even points out that: this challenges the assumptions about the function of the dedication asking how much post-authorial tampering can be expected? To what extent are the dedications separable from the following text…… I say the main reason for the dedication is backdating and the dedications have nothing to do with the chronology or the order the versions of HRB were composed.
Anyway, Suger, abbot of St Denis was a friend of Henry Blois.272 Henry and Suger were both scholars, historians, and passionate about architecture. Abbot Suger, wrote a panegyric on Louis VI, Le Gros in his Vita Ludovici regis around 1150. In the manuscript he gives an extract from the prophecies beginning at The Lion of Justice… and ending at, Mount Aravias, also found as a clump or similar block in Vulgate HRB. The most important fact which pertains to Suger in this instance is that he did not quote the prophecy which involved the Sixth (i.e. Henry II) in Ireland. How could he? Henry Blois only saw Henry Blois’ invasion of Ireland being a potential to insert as a prophecy update after the council held at Winchester in 1155.
Orderic’s interpolated passage which post-dates these prophecies is the first supposed reference to Merlin apart from Alfred of Beverley’s mention of him. Not that scholars would recognise this fact but Merlin does not appear in the copy of the HRB recycled by Huntingdon in EAW. Abbot Suger must have been presented a copy of the libellus Merlini by Henry Blois. The gullible abbot Suger, refers to Merlin as ‘veracious’ and says that not one word of the prophecy has proved untrue. One would assume he has no idea the prophecies were constructed by his friend.
Henry Blois finished the Primary Historia in 1138 and left a copy of it at Bec while he was in Normandy.273 The Primary Historia at Bec did not contain the prophecies of Merlin. There is no contrary evidence to this position and in fact all the evidence points to confirming this statement. However, scholars believe that the Primary Historia (i.e. that book found at Bec from which EAW is derived) is the same as the Vulgate version of HRB. This position has led them to believe the prophecies existed in the Bec version. The Primary Historia version is plainly a first edition and this can be easily established by story-line variance in the summary of Geoffrey’s history found in Huntingdon’s letter to Warin.
Henry of Huntingdon’s and Warin’s correspondence shows no mention of Merlin in 1139. Tatlock puts this down to Huntingdon’s uneasiness as a Christian, being unable to mention supernatural prophecies; but this does not explain the occurrence of Arthur’s different speech and the ‘Breton hope’ of Arthur’s return found in EAW and other substantial story line differences. Logically, if the Primary Historia had included the prophecies, Alexander, who was patron to Henry of Huntingdon, would surely have been mentioned in the letter to Warin because of Alexander’s influence in having the prophecies translated. There was no dedication to Alexander in the version at Bec because there were no prophecies attached.274 Huntingdon has not informed Warin of the prophecies or mentioned Merlin simply because Alexander has nothing to do with the Primary Historia. In reality he plays no part in the production of the prophecies and is only mentioned in the dedication in reality after his death.
271However, it would be strange that the prophecies which speak of Metropolitans were not used in First variant.
272See Note 4, ‘venerable brother and dearest friend Suger Abbot of St Denis’.
273The GS written by Henry Blois: When the King had learnt more fully that these things were happening in Normandy, He sent envoys across the sea (for he could not go there so quickly himself on account of the heavy burden of pressing affairs). It was Henry Blois as Stephen’s envoy who left for Normandy in lent that year. If the pages of GS which immediately follow were not missing, we might have read an account of the affairs in Normandy.
274Michael Curley p.49, is duped by Henry Blois’ illusion: Given such a milieu, Geoffrey probably would not have concocted the story of Bishop Alexander’s urging him to provide a translation of the prophecies and then gone on to publish a dedicatory epistle containing such a lie. As soon as retrospective dedications for the purpose of backdating is understood as a gambit and a late publication of Vulgate HRB is considered, Curley’s point has no substance.
Alexander’s name as dedicatee in the HRB was simply a device employed to explain the introduction of the prophecies which were not in the preliminary redactions as the HRB evolved. Yet, the introduction of the Merlin prophecies is a boon because in effect they corroborate the phoney historicity of HRB in part. Also the dedication goes along way in portrayal of ‘Geoffrey’ as a struggling author looking for patronage.
The main thing the Alexandrine dedication accomplishes is to answer the question of why these prophecies were not in the first version, where to the casual eye….. they should have been if Merlin truly interacted with Arthur in the earliest recension. But we know he did not! So by reason of ‘Geoffrey’ being pressed’ and answering why Merlin was introduced we have the most perfect rationale from the master propagandist: when by reason of the much talk that was made about Merlin, my contemporaries did on every side press me to make public an edition of his prophecies,
Huntingdon, of course, is ignorant of his patron’s supposed commissioning of the translation of the prophecies. There is not a comment, then or subsequently. Henry of Huntingdon never comments on the dedication to Alexander, yet Huntingdon died in 1154. So it could be argued that the Alexander dedication was not included until the updated prophecies were added to Vulgate HRB the next year. What goes against this possibility is…. why is the splice made in the copy of the First Variant that I have proposed was employed in 1149. Unless the dedication is overwritten or Huntingdon just accepted the propaganda (if he ever saw a dedication in the First Variant). One thing is certain though, the prophecies predicted a new third See, so they were emphatically employed in pursuit of metropolitan.
We can track Henry’s evolving of HRB especially when taken in context to his interpolations in the DA and from the understanding that the DA interpolations unfolds through time and through Henry’s agenda’s. This becomes clear and is seen through the contradictions found even in the interpolations in the Antiquitates at three different stages. Interpolations, which actually contradict the chronology of the founding of the abbey at Glastonbury were added to the DA regarding Henry’s three different ‘agendas’ at three different times.
However, once the start date for the composition of the Roman de Brut is understood alongside its date of publication and the fact that Henry Blois authored the manuscript, we can see in chronological terms the fact that Henry started to versify his ‘Wace’ rendition of HRB commensing with the First Variant as a template for the versification yet, completed the work with a template closely matching the expansions in story-line found in the Vulgate version as the storyline had evolved. The Roman de Brut was completed during the same period while Henry Blois was at Clugny between 1155-58 and in the same era he had composed the VM just after his brother Stephen had died.
So ‘Geoffrey’ finishing a what I have termed a ‘Final’ edition of Vulgate after 1155 with the inclusion of the seditious prophecies i.e. HRB ‘now made public’ was seen to have been variously sponsored by Royal patrons and a bishop and aided by an archdeacon. Only later as the trail got hotter did Henry start to obfuscate the trail which led back to him by interpolating another known author Geffrei Gaimar as will become clear in progression. Basically, Gaimar had already completed the L’Estoire des Engles long before Henry Blois took on the Guise of Geffrei. Henry pretends to have composed the L’Estoire des Bretons as an obfuscation and this obfuscation is cleary seen in what is know known as Gaimar’s epilogue. This epilogue is Blois propaganda!!
Anyway, one would think Alfred of Beverley might have mentioned Alexander c.1150. If his modern copy had a dedication to Robert of Gloucester, this fact is also not mentioned by Alfred of Beverley or Huntingdon. Neither is the name of the Archdeacon Walter mentioned. Huntingdon had no way to track how this wondrous volume came into existence in Normandy. Henry Blois must have secretively deposited it at Bec in the library to be discovered after he returned to England or nonchalantly said it was from some Welsh author called Galfridus Arthur and left it with Robert of Torigni.
I believe the Primary Historia was just discovered after Henry’s visit, otherwise Huntingdon would have connected Henry to it. Huntigdon disliked Henry Blois so much. But before Huntingdon died there were no seditious prophecies and Henry Blois was still the King’s brother and not one to accuse lightly of inventing History. Henry Blois could create any story since there were no references in the book except to a certain Galfridus Artur as author.
Alexander was dead before the updated prophecies and their dedication were added to the Vulgate HRB and so was Huntingdon. It is impossible to say when the prophecies were added to First Variant but establishing that First Variant was produced as evidence in support for Henry’s request for Metropolitan status for Winchester to papal authorities (the reason for its moralistic tone), and knowing the Merlin prophecies were advocating a futuristic metropolitan at Winchester; it is hard to say if they were conjoined or still separated in 1149. If they were conjoined…. the splice concerning the Alexander preamble certainly was not in Alfred of Beverley’s copy c.1147-50. Alexander had died in February 1148 just after the Beverley copy was introduced by one of Henry Blois nephews in the York area.
No-one knew where to find ‘Geoffrey’ to ask about the old book he had translated and by the time Walter is mentioned in the Vulgate edition of HRB post 1155, Walter had been dead four years. Surely an intelligent mind like Huntingdon’s would have mentioned either Merlin or his Patron bishop Alexander in the dedication or even Walter…. if any of their names had existed in the Primary Historia.
Tatlock puts Huntingdon’s uneasiness as a Christian as an excuse for the omission of the mention of Merlin. Tatlock’s view is that the Primary Historia (copy found at Bec) was synonymous with Vulgate HRB, without mentioning the obvious differences in story line detail witnessed in EAW.
There is no evidence to the contrary to oppose my view that the dedications are all late additions and this devise of backdating used by Henry Blois is prevalent in that he does the same by impostering Caradoc’s name and attaching it to the authorship of the Life of Gildas, and attaches his propaganda as an epilogue to Gaimar’s work and implies Wace authored the Roman de Brut, when all Wace had really authored was the dull Roman de Rou. Neither should we consider the evidence provided in the epilogue of L’estoire des Engleis concerning Walter in Geffrei Gaimar’s account as having any bearing on the dating of the Vulgate HRB…. or to the veracity that HRB was a translation of the ‘Good book of Oxford’. I will cover this shortly, but the Gaimar epilogue is a fantastic ploy designed to mislead posterity and is again just a small insert of a couple of folios into Gaimar’s work.
L’estoire des Bretons was never even written, contrary to what we are led to believe in the Gaimar epilogue. Henry attaches his fabricated epilogue to the L’estoire des Engleis which was genuinely written by Gaimar. There will be readers who doubt that one man could get up to so much tampering with manuscripts and that I am a conspiracy theorist gone mad.
Imagine what lies and deceit or the effort to which one might go if the King of England was looking for the man who in essence was trying to rally rebellion and predicting the downfall of the Neustrians and even predicted a ‘seventh king’ who (in Henry’s foresight) would be looked on by those conquering Celts as and ‘adopted son’. Henry was seriously back-peddling and trying to un-doe a propaganda campaign which, (had it worked) would have got him the very thing he had desired….. since his desires had been thwarted by his Brother Stephen, especially now Eustace was dead. Henry had envisioned he would be king had the private rebellion he had insigated gone according to plan and the prophecy’s came to fuition. Scholars will only get the true identity of Henry Blois by understanding the points in this work which obviate Henry’s vanity.
Once Henry understood that his wish was not going to come to reality, he took a constructive and positive course in church affairs in England and he enjoyed leaving to posterity what he had created: a near fairy-tale history of the British Isles. After 1158 and before he died, he promulgated a story that few have been able to fathom. If our experts like Carley stop denying the truth, all in Britain will understand that the prophecy of Melkin really existed and was the template for Henry Blois Grail legends.
The prophecy of Melkin was extant in the era that Henry Blois was at Glastonbury and was a major influence on the way our three genres under investigation inter-relate. Once this fact is uncovered and becomes clear to the reader in progression, the reader will then understand why it is so necessary now to plough through such seemingly inconsequential detail concerning Henry Blois as author of HRB and the GS.
The first set of prophecies I have termed the Libellus Merlini could have been part of the First Variant version of HRB which was employed for the purpose of obtaining metropolitan status for Winchester in 1144 at Rome. We can assume they were employed to that end based on the fact that the metropolitan of Winchester is foreseen (before the sense of the prophecy was twisted). Also, it was prophesied that it would lose its episcopal/metropolitan See (which intonates that it must have historically had one to lose) or maybe this was added while Henry was in Clugny. But, the loss of a metropolitan would more likely have been included to influence Rome.
We know the First Variant version of HRB was designed to lean toward a clerical/ecclesiastical audience. The main body of text infers that Winchester had a monastery and a bishop long before Augustine’s arrival. We must always be clear about the reasoning behind Henry’s pursuit of Metropolitan status for Winchester as he had been denied the post at Canterbury by his brother. He sought to overcome this problem by becoming Legate which nullified his brothers advisers plans of curbing Henry’s power.
In effect, the author of HRB ignores Canterbury, while understanding Henry’s enmity with Canterbury which we will cover later when discussing Eadmer’s letter and Henry’s enmity with Theobald of Bec after he obtained the position of Legate. Theobald through the Beaumont brother’s underhanded persuasion of Henry’s Brother Stephen had implanted negativity and rumour about Henry’s influence in England becoming more powerful than the King Himself.
Commentators on the HRB have been duped by Henry Blois’ fraud. Henry makes pretence to stop halfway through his Vulgate HRB (at a place where the Merlinian insertion has been made at the historical point of Vortigern in contrast to the Primary Historia) to accommodate Alexander’s supposed request. The insertion is based loosely on Nennius’ template of the boy Ambrosius before introducing the prophetia.275
One can divine the original Pseudo-Historia may just have had a smattering of the mention of Arthur based mainly on the Warlord Arthur but definitely not expanded Arthuriana. After Henry Blois’ visit to Wales in 1136 he had the thought of embellishing the persona of Arthur that we find in the synopsis of the Primary Historia. This is indicated by Huntingdon’s portrayal of a relatively ‘unexpanded’ Arthurian epic given the relative space apportioned to it in the synopsis i.e. EAW. The Arthuriad was added to the initial Pseudo Historia (originally intended for Matilda and King Henry Ist) after Henry Blois had been to Wales and was able to develop King Arthur’s character and deeds even further as we see in the First Variant.
Henry uses the same point at a later date to splice in the prophetia which splits Arthuriana from the pseudo-history and Henry cleverly contrives this insert by reason of having been compelled by Alexander.
Henry also pretends in the VM to be looking for more positive recognition276 from Robert de Chesney as patron than he had received from Alexander previously giving the impression of seeking advancement but it is possible that the dedication in the VM was added after 1166 when de Chesney died. It is possible also that ‘Geoffrey’s’ thought process concerning the dedication could have been to show continuity of patronage by the Bishops of Lincoln and Henry rationalising that even if de Chesney did see the dedication, Geoffrey was thought to be dead anyway… so why would de Chesney care if he knew he had nothing to do with VM’s commissioning.
Conversely it could be argued that de Chesney would think it was composed in the hope of finding patronage like ‘Geoffrey’ had done before in Lincoln, and supposing the author had died before it was presented. There are so many scenarios that we can never be sure when the dedication to VM added. The only certain fact is that the body of the VM text was composed by Henry while feeling depressed at the loss of his wealth and power after his brother had died (identified by the nineteen fruitful years). Henry Blois employs Robert de Chesney in VM because it appears that his patronage is continuous in the same bishopric.277
The picture painted which forms the persona of ‘Geoffrey’ is so thoroughly covered and contrived that we must understand Henry’s determination in creating a bogus history which has no attachment to his name as author. We must also consider the pressures which caused him not only to add the contrivance of Walter and his book, providing HRB with a credible provenance for its material. Otherwise, the question being asked was; who, without a source could be responsible for inventing history.
It makes no difference that Robert de Chesney lived until 1166 as the VM was published on the continent278 and ‘Geoffrey’ was already supposedly dead. If Robert de Chesney did see a copy he would assume ‘Geoffrey’ had died before presenting it to him. Perhaps and more likely the dedication in VM was added after 1166 as Henry lived until 1171.
275See Appendix 35.
276VM prologue: Therefore, may you favour my attempt, and see fit to look upon the poet with better auspices than did that other whom you have just succeeded. This may be understood that ‘Geoffrey’ was just hoping for continued patronage from Lincoln to be presented after completion rather than the previously presented polemic of a commission by Alexander. This wording leaves it open to a de chesney discovery of the VM if indeed it did contain the dedication prior to the death of de Chesney
277In the charters that Henry signed at Oxford with a Galfridian signature, one is co-signed with Robert de Chesney which helps the illusion. Curley p. 49
278VM (published while Henry is still on the continent) is where Marie of France, Countess of Champagne in her lais gets her idea of an island, very dim and very fair, known as Avalon, which is not given any such description in HRB.
The dedications are worthless as a method of dating the text as Julia Crick attempts to do. In reality, Henry Blois needed no patron but financed his own distribution of HRB. It is no wonder that the Vulgate HRB proliferated so quickly. Henry could have copies of the most modern recension made by any of the many scriptoriums over which he had control and distribute copies to monasteries as a presentation. This is how the Primary Historia turned up at Le Bec in 1139.
Henry Blois could distribute copies of HRB feigning nonchalance at the content by passing off HRB as an interesting read before the Wace version colonised every court on the continent and insular Britain. It was then that the Arthur provenance was brought under the patronages of Grandees and respectability.The dedications to these Grandees are a ruse and make no difference to the dating of the Vulgate HRB; but rather by their absence in First Variant and no mention of them in EAW’s précis of Primary Historia….add credence to the position that the Vulgate edition came out last and evolved through a series of story-line expansions and polemic addidions.
The most frequent dedication is to Henry Blois’ arch-enemy Robert of Gloucester; the surest way to deflect any suspicion of authorship. Robert died in 1147 so any contemporary would think the Vulgate HRB (with its updated seditious prophecies included) is at least eight years old in 1155. ‘Geoffrey’ could not be located (for obvious reasons) plus he was supposedly dead when his book became widely read and ‘made public’. It was not common knowledge that there was a Bishop of Asaph and no-body cared if there was. Before anybody knew ‘Geoffrey’ was a bishop…. he had been consigned to death.
The question as to why there is no comment from any of the dedicatees or comment about such dedications defies normal referencing by chroniclers; espesially if the book had been in the public domain since 1136 as modern scholars believe. The reason no one really pursued the trail is that the trail was laid retrospectively, and it is impossible to find someone who does not exist.
The version found at Beverley which Alfred employs, arrived there through the family contact of Hugh de Puiset Nephew of Henry Blois. The prophecies and the HRB are not referred to together (i.e spliced) by any chronicler until the copy from which Alfred recycles Galfridus’ work is passed around among the monks there. Because Alfred does not refer to Alexander we may assume the splice was still not part of his recension of the evolving HRB, especially as this copy went north in 1147 and was out of Henry’s control.
Why is it that Huntingdon’s third and last edition of Historia Anglorum in 1154 still makes no mention of Merlin even though it was Huntingdon who discovered the Primary Historia 15 years ago? You would think that a man who was ‘astonished’ to find what could be a bogus history (when he first set eyes on it) would certainly relate that his patron’s endeavours had brought the prophecies of Merlin to be added into this book.
All these little evidences seem to be ignored by the experts, so that a contrived edifice of learnèd opinion may exist in a scholarly and impenetrable vacum with out any context given to the author in historical terms and how our three genres of study in this investigation integrate through common authorship.
If the Historia was so widely read as is thought by scholars at this early date, portrayed by the dedicatees; why is Alfred from the period in 1139 when the Primary Historia is discovered, until the period c.1150-1, the first to mention HRB and Merlin together? Why is it only Alfred, who, (by his account probably had a copy in 1147), was the only writer who comments on HRB, if HRB was circulated so widely?
The simple fact is that it was not in public circulation to the extent rationalised by scholars and their belief being that the dedications are not a ruse and deductions made without knowledge of the real author. Scholar’s assumptions that the Primary Historia version and the Vulgate Version are one and the same volume are based solely on the dating of the Vulgate version by the lifetimes of the dedicatees mentioned in the various dedications. This erroneous premise has led to a widely led belief that the First Variant is a subsequent version of ‘Geoffrey’s’ work and Wight our expert on the First Variant believes ‘Geoffrey’ did not even compose the First Variant.279
279There is no doubt that the Variant Version often preserves Geoffrey’s phraseology. The divergence, however, as seen even in a few passages is both qualitatively and quantitively such as to rule out the hypothesis that we have a recension from the pen of the author. Who, then, is responsible for this recension which heretofore found shelter sub umbra Galfredi. Who is this mysterious writer who adorned his product with so many biblical quotations… that he must be a man of learning cannot be denied. The facility with which he quotes the scriptures suggests a cleric who, fascinated by Geoffrey’s historia and sharing its point of view, decided to re-fashion it in his own way and in the process of doing so, left on the new product the imprint of his own personality. This sounds just like Potter and Davis questioning who might be the author of GS. Potter and Davis just miss the obvious stating: ‘the author was a reformer in the tradition of Henry Blois’.
Again, I come back to the point that Hammer, Wright’s, and Crick’s analysis of the FV is necessary, but the first goal is the ‘who’ and until that is unequivocal, the rest is conjecture. It is my inability to overlook this question which incites my annoyance at others, especially when ‘Geoffrey’s’ footprint was never seen as a real person who walked the earth and it is with this premise one has to un-doe the evidence which gave the appearance of a footprint. Under scrutiny nothing about ‘Geoffrey’ stands up, so one must look to ‘how’. If those two questions ‘how’ and ‘who’ are applied to the three genres of study under investigation in this work, the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ all ties back to Henry Blois. I have not contrived this evidence it just presents itself as long as no a priori positions are preconceived by the investigator.
Alfred wrote the first Latin chronicle to incorporate extracts from HRB into its narrative fabric, but it was not based on the Vulgate version but an evolving edition expanded from the Primary Historia and divergent but nearly contemporary from First Variant. The text of the ‘final’ Vulgate version, contrary to scholastic opinion, was only completed in 1153-1155 but the updated prophecies were most certainly added after 1155.
Prior to this ‘Geoffrey’s’ work is in flux and what may seem to Wright and Hammer a conflation of texts between First Variant and Vulgate by copyists, in certain cases reflects ‘Geoffrey’ refining his story over a period from 1138 and committing to a copyist in a scriptorium a recension with blocks, additions and subtractions of text at that moment the most modern. What appears to modern scholars as the ‘Churchy toned down’ First Variant is not full of omissions and subtractions by comparison to the later composed Vulgate. The only reason they think this is because they don’t recognise the first version at Bec was the Primary Historia not the Vulgate recension thought to be the Lieden manuscript.
What Jacob Hammer refers to as scribe’s ingenuity or scribes jumping from one text to another, ‘tampering’, ‘returning to his original method’, or ‘eclectic method leaving the rest of the Historia intact’, in no way accounts for the HRB’s evolving nature.
Obviously, this understanding only comes with a prerequisite comprehension of ‘backdating’ and the understanding that the book evolved from a ‘pseudo-history’ edition c.1128-1134 originally intended for the Empress Matilda through to the Primary Historia (the model for EAW) c.1138, through to the first First Variant c.1144, through to the Beverley copy c.1147-50, through to the 1149 variant possibly with prophecies attached, to the Final Vulgate in 1155; and thereafter having polemic attached which in effect distanced the whole output from Henry Blois and gave Geoffrey a backstory.
So, once this scenario is understood, Jacob Hammer’s ‘difficulty to explain’ or ‘an attempt of a scribe to exercise his own ingenuity, by handling the text as it suited his fancy’, may just be a case of adding or subtraction of a section or episode unheard of in any recorded edition and may be lifted from something Henry Blois had composed originally for his Uncle’s edition (pseudo History) which never saw the light of day or may indeed be accountable as an expansive or reductive alteration to the text by Henry Himself but unaccountably due to overwriting since his lifetime.
What is essential for scholars like Crick to understand is that in nearly every case the rule is; if the volume mentions a name as a dedicatee or patron…that person is already dead. For example, Hammer’s edition mentions Walter at the very beginning. This does not mean it is not a Variant or as Wright has tried to define the original contents into a ‘First Variant’; what needs to be understood is that interchanging and overriding by Henry or indeed hundreds of scribes subsequently means that we will never know what contents were in the very first ‘pseudo history’ or the secondary Primary Historia (because of the brevity of EAW) or what the contents were exactly of the volume presented at Rome in 1144, which scholars have understood as the First Variant (but are still unaware of why it is structured for an ecclesiastical audience).
We just have to accept why it includes and excludes what it does by reason of evolution and especially to the audience it catered to and the reasoning behind this ‘Churchy’ and more pious edition. The only volume we can be sure about dating is the fully loaded generic Vulgate c.1155; but judging by Crick’s work even that is hard to define. What should also be taken into account in terms of evolution is the branching from a recension targeted to an audience c.1144-49 to a change of reasoning behind the HRB’s production and it being aimed at a different readership. Thus by extenuation of this tautology we can see the Roman de Brut fulfilling this targeting of audience in the vernacular for the mass rather than the limited audience open to its Latinity.
Unless the Roman de Brut is understood to have been composed by Henry Blois i.e. the same author of the First Variant and Vulgate editions, the evolution of the text of HRB and Henry’s work as a whole over time will be obscured to the enquirer. Henry’s readership audience should be considered as changing in terms of the evolution toward Henry as the author of the initial Grail literature. If not, Henry’s construct of Arthuriana built over time as an interlaced self corroborating authorial edifice is lost in the quagmire of ‘Geoffrey’ being real and Wace being such an amazing poet. The connections of the propagation of the Grail through Henry’s family at Champagne are then not seen and nor is the eventual discovery of Arthur at Glastonbury understood as connected to the authorship of Henry’s Arthuriana.
Who would have the effrontery to inform three insular historians in a colophon found in some Vulgate versions, William of Malmesbury d.1143 and Henry of Huntingdon d.1154 and Caradoc of Lancarfan (probably died c. 1129), to be silent as to opinions on the Kings of the Britons, seeing that they have not that fictional ‘ancient book’ by which ‘Geoffrey’s’ authority is established: : I hand over in the matter of writing unto Karadoc of Llancarvan, my contemporary, as do I those of the Saxons unto William of Malmesbury and Henry of Huntingdon, whom I bid be silent as to the Kings of the Britons, seeing that they have not that book.
One could hardly ‘hand over’ the continuation of a work to another if he were not your ‘contemporary’!! Who in their right mind would consider the HRB a translation of another book; where it is so obvious that the prophetia in HRB and VM are partly designed to bolster HRB’s erroneous historicity? The word ‘contemporary’ is purposeful misdirection because Caradoc died ten years c.1129 before the Primary Historia was discovered at Le Bec Abbey. This fact is uncovered in the section further on Caradoc in progression.
Henry Blois, when writing the preamble to the Vulgate even tries to rationalise for his audience his own source book’s inaccuracies against the Gildas and Bede accounts by saying: what is more, these deeds were handed joyfully down in oral tradition, just as if they had been committed to writing by many peoples who had only their memory to rely on i.e. any seeming divergences from the British annals or even the Roman accounts are now explained by the ‘Ancient source book’ having been written by those who had had to source so many events from traditions committed to memory by others previous to them.
The historian’s that ‘Geoffrey’ is supposedly addressing in the Colophon are low born in Henry Blois’ eyes and probably considered by him as plodding chroniclers. One of them would have made comment if they were alive to do so, had the Vulgate version been read so prolifically as is thought by scholars today…. even to a haughty bishop of Asaph if he had existed. This epilogue/colophon, found in a few MSS of HRB, has been understood by commentators as a reaction to criticism regarding the veracity of the HRB, which is absolutely correct but up to now researcher have not considererd the colophon was composed after ‘Geoffrey’s’ death. Some commentators have determined a later date of publication for the MSS which have this inclusion and left it at that, (without credible reasoning) rather than understanding the fact that the colophon in fact dates the Vulgate to a time when Henry Blois needed it to be dated to, because he had added the seditious prophecies.
Again, the use of words is purely a devise which procures contemporaneity with the historians mentioned, just as Henry employs the same device to back-date the seeming publication date of the Vulgate HRB with the dedicatees. The colophon also establishes a relationship between ‘Geoffrey’ and Caradoc. This purposeful misdirection is mainly designed to counteract the question of contemporaneity of the author of the new seditious prophecies in the updated Vulgate HRB prophecies. It is only modern scholars who do not recognise the contrived dis-in-genuineness that Caradoc is ‘Geoffrey’s’ ‘contemporary’. Henry Blois uses this same strategy of backdating by his interpolation into Orderic’s chronicle to show the seditious Merlin prophecies existed while Henry Ist was alive at the time Orderic witnessed them.
Caradoc was already dead c.1130 as I unequivocally show further on while investigating Caradoc’s work. Henry had assumed Caradoc’s name to write the Life of Gildas in 1139-40; being evidenced by one episode found therein on the Modena Archivolt.280 William of Malmesbury died in 1143 without comment about the colophon and never mentioned the life of Gildas. In fact, Henry Blois turns his hand briefly to compose the Life of Gildas; probably while the construction of the Primary Historia was in progress or just after. This transpired before Henry had turned his hand to interpolating a brief section in GR3 and DA which only transpired after William of Malmesbury’s death in 1143. Scholars are duped by Henry’s interpolations into GR3 and DA. William may have known of Caradoc but certainly not of ‘his’ composition of the Life of Gildas.
It would be astounding if Huntingdon made no comment or retort in the period from 1139 until 1154 concerning the addition of the Merlin prophecies, if they had been combined early in that era, or to respond to the haughty remark made in the colophon of ‘Geoffrey’s’ Vulgate version; especially if the work was widely published as is thought by modern scholars and more so as Huntingdon is one of those named in the colophon. It is just inconcievable ‘Geoffrey’ would insult other historians of ‘gravitas’ claiming he had a book that none of them (all historians) had seen. The Colophon was added as polemic after they were dead. Otherwise why were they not asking to see the book and since the Ancient book was a fiction it could hardly be produced if they were indeed alive to demand a copy!!! Of course, we are made to believe that Caradoc continues ‘Geoffrey’s’ work and at the time the colophon was added c.1155 Caradoc had been dead 20 years. Just ridiculous that our experts swallow this rubbish.
If ‘Geoffrey’ was an Oxford canon or Bishop of Asaph…. someone other than Robert of Torigni would have mentioned ‘Geoffrey’s’ position in Britain. Especially, considering the contentious and totally novel content concerning insular British history! Some critic would have wanted to verify the source book i.e. Walter’s ancient book. The simple reason no one comments is because no one can until much later; the Vulgate version is not yet ‘made public’. Newburgh works out that the prophecies have been altered (differing from the initial Libellus Merlini) but may be referring to the VM alterations and additions also.
The illusion created where the author is now dead…. and so are the dedicatees (and especially Walter), is a master-stroke in retrospective publication and a deflection of any scrutiny. We are left with the impression that the Vulgate HRB came into the public domain 15 years before it actually appeared. It is only later that Gerald of Wales and Newburgh comment years afterward. No one at this date was going to uncover Henry Blois because he was from Monmouth, British not Norman and was dead.
The reader may recall that in a previous letter, written in 1135 to another friend called Walter,281 (not Warin), Henry of Huntingdon, when referring to Winchester and its two previous Bishops, writes: In their seat is occupied by Henry, the King’s sons, who promises to exhibit a monstrous spectacle, compounded of purity and corruption, half a monk, half a knight.282
Henry of Huntingdon, who is a serious historian, does not like Henry Blois because he sees Henry as the architect of King Stephen’s usurpation of the crown: He had as his helper Henry, Bishop of Winchester, who earlier had thrown the realm into grievous disorder, delivering the crown of the Kingdom to his brother Stephen…283
280See. chapter 13
281Not to be confused with Archdeacon Walter from Oxford.
282Henry of Huntigdon V, 15
283Henry of Huntigdon IV, 37
We have already covered that William of Malmesbury not only slighted Henry Blois’ father calling him a liar and by inference a coward, but also let the world know just how duplicitous Henry Blois was in HN as the Bishop of Winchester presiding over the council. It is not surprising therefore that both historians are seemingly dismissed with disdain in the colophon.
It made no difference anyway, because both Malmesbury and Huntingdon were dead when the colophon in Vulgate HRB was added. There could be no challenge to Henry’s offhanded disdain for their authority as historians. Caradoc is only mentioned with these two other historians because it is made to appear as if Caradoc acts as a continuator of ‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB from the point where Geoffrey finishes his history.
Henry Blois when composing the Psuedo-historia initially for his uncle, only went to the point in time where Caradoc’s real history starts, using Huntingdon’s work along with Bede, Gildas’, Nennius, and ASC, to glean his insular information along with a host of other continental and ancient sources. Supposedly ‘Geoffrey’ himself provided the materials to Caradoc so that the apparent continuation could be completed by Caradoc when in truth it was already composed before 1129 as I will show in progression. As we will get to later, the main body of Caradoc’s work was already complete and Henry Blois then interpolates this same work.
It is plain that the writer of the HRB and Vita Merlini, as we have previously commented, is versed in the classics. Therefore, anyone undertaking such a venture as the composition of HRB had to be knowledgeable about history. But, to recall all the various sources and make voluminous conflatory connections would require an immense memory bordering on the photographic. We also witness Henry’s ability to construct chronologies with names that mirror possible history.
In reality though, Henry Blois had been working on the Psuedo Historia for his uncle since around 1129 and it was nearing completion c.1135 when all that research he had done suddenly became redundant because it was more propitious to put his Brother on the throne than give the Empress Matilda a history which the barons could have no truck with…. because it showed an illustrious line of British Queens before her time. The Psuedo Historia had been specially crafted into a manuscript designed for two purposes. Firstly to show an illustrious Heritage from Troy for the King to match that of the Capetian King and secondly, if King Henry Ist had lived longer, to present to the Barons evidence of Maud’s right to inherit the throne by way of showing an historical precedence for Queens on the British throne. Henry had done all this previous research but upon his visit to Wales the little known Arthur the Warlord became aggrandized and situated in a Welsh backdrop in the updated recension I have called the Primary Historia deposited at Bec in 1138. As we know, Arthur’s speeches and deeds go through evolutionary expansion from 1139 onward. Until it is understood that the Vulgate did not appear at Bec in 1139 scholars need to stop thinking about omissions and reductions of text but understand rather expansion and change through the evolving of a text.
Henry of Huntingdon in 1128 had not formed a dislike for the newly installed Abbot of Glastonbury because he had not at that point helped his brother Stephen usurp the crown. So, it is worth mentioning again that Huntingdon relates a rather strange anecdotal episode concerning King Henry Ist while in Normandy in 1128. This is a vital point to understand for sceptics like Crick and Wright that clearly don’t see the progression from a Psuedo Historia because it has not been part of their ‘learning’. The extraordinary coincidence of Trojan extraction for the Franks being the topic to which Huntingdon himself is surprised by:
while King Henry abode there he made enquiries concerning the origin and progress of the reign of the Franks; upon which someone present who was not ill informed (uneducated) thus replied:
Most powerful King, the Franks like most European nations sprung from the Trojans. For Antenor and his followers becoming fugitive’s after the fall of Troy, founded the city on the borders of Pannoia called Siccambria. After the death of Antenor, these people set up two of their chiefs as governors whose names were Turgotum and Franctionem, from whom the Franks derive their name. After their deaths, Marcomirus was elected: he was the father of Faramond, the first King of the Franks. King Faramond was the father of Clovis the long-haired, from whence the Frank Kings were called ‘long-haired’. On the death of Clovis he was succeeded by Merové from whom the Frank Kings were called Merovignians. Merové begat Childeric; Childeric, Clovis, who was baptised by St. Remi; Clovis, Clothaire; Clothaire, Chilperic; Chilperic, ClothaireII; ClothaireII begat Dagobert, a King of great renown and much beloved; Dagobert begat Clovis II. Clovis had three sons by his pious Queen Bathilde, viz Clothaire, Childeric, and Theoderic; King Theoderic begat Childebert; Childebert Dagobert II, Dagobert, TheodericII; Theoderic, Clothaire III, the last King of this line. Hilderic the next King, received the tonsure, and was shut up in a monastery. In another line, Osbert was the father of Arnold, daughter of King Clothaire; Arnold begat St Arnulf who was afterwards Bishop of Metz; St Arnulf, Anchises; Anchises, Pepin, the Mayor of the palace, Pepin, Charles Martel, Charles, King Pepin; King Pepin, Charles the Great, the Emperor, a bright star, which eclipsed the last year of all his predecessors and all his posterity; Charles begat Lewis the Emperor; Lewis the Emperor, Charles the Bald, Charles, King Lewis, father of Charles the Simple; Charles the Simple, Lewis II; Lewis, Lothaire; Lothaire,, Lewis, the last King of this line. On the death of Lewis, the Frank nobles chose for their King, Hugh, who was the son of Hugh the Great. Hugh begat pious King Robert. Robert had three sons, Hugh, the beloved Duke; Henry, most clement King; and Robert, Duke of Burgundy. Henry begat King Philip, who ultimately became a monk, and Hugh the great, who in the holy wars joined the other princes of Europe, and rescue Jerusalem from the infidels in the year of our Lord 1095. Philip was the father of Louis, the King at present reigning. If he trod in the footsteps of his warlike ancestors, you, Oh King, would not rest so safely in his dominions. After this King Henry withdrew into Normandy.284
284Henry of Huntingdon. Historia Anglorum VII.38.
There is good reason to suspect that it is Henry Blois reciting the above, showing off his acumen to his uncle. Firstly, this is a genealogy which Henry would have learnt on his father’s side. We should not forget his relationship to King Henry I of England was through his mother. Henry Blois is the King’s nephew, a rising star…. probably in his early to mid-twenties, son of Adela the King’s sister…. of noble origin, grandson of William the conqueror, son of the Count of Troyes. Henry, most clement King; and Robert, Duke of Burgundy were Henry Blois’ great grandfather and great great uncle. This King Henry I of France fathered Theobald III of Blois, Henry Blois’ Grandfather. His son was Stephen count of Blois Henry Blois’ father. Now it makes the last aside mentioned in this genealogy i.e. If he trod in the footsteps of his warlike ancestors, you, Oh King, (King Henry I of England) would not rest so safely in his dominions. I feel sure that that this is Henry Blois speaking; the same as the ‘someone’ mentioned in passing by Huntingdon as having given this amazing recital of historic genealogy.
It is not silly to think that upon hearing this King Henry had a word with his nephew as he needed a history of rank also being the King of England. More importantly King Henry was making his barons swear fealty to Matilda now she was married and the next in line for the throne after the death of William Adeline in the white ship disaster.
These are the germs of the reasoning behind the Psuedo Historia which never saw the light of day. But now we can understand how the Primary Historia came into being as an innocent extension of the research and polemical manuscript composed initially to facilitate his cousins acceptance to rule but more probably to ingratiate himself into Henry Ist favour. Obviously Henry Blois was not going to put his name to such an erroneous history so he signed his name Galfridus Artur and called the book the ‘History of the British’. One thing that is so misunderstood by scholars is the reasoning behind the change from Galfridus Artur to Geoffrey of Monmouth. In the beginning Galfridus Artur was a ridiculous name but Henry didn’t care and certainly did not publish for renown or commission or patronage. As time progressed and the untrue history was discussed Henry did not want to be known as the Lying bishop. More importantly as the seditious prophecy’s emerged after 1155 a definitive person had to be invented and naturally to put his writing in time he needed dedicatees to date the material. To be like every other chronicler/historian, he needed to look like he needed patrons and cleverly inserts intonation of hopes of advancement and recognition in VM to appear to be a hack like all the others. More cleverly than anything in fabricating the false persona of Geoffrey is the evolution over time in rank as a concept in signing the charters at Oxford.
However, at this period c.1128-9 Henry had recently gained repute for putting in order the great monastery at Glastonbury before he became bishop of Winchester. Is Huntingdon the historian miffed or jealous that ‘someone’ of such high breeding, impeccably educated, born to prosper, can recount the names of the Frankish Kings in chronological order with such ease? Huntingdon is supposedly the historian. Huntingdon does not like Henry Blois at this stage out of Jealousy and the fact he is confronted with a far superior intellect. Straight after this event Henry Huntingdon tries to regain his status as Henry Ist historian at large and wrote to king Henry I concerning the succession of kings and emperors of various kingdoms in the world possible as a counter to the event just witnessed in order to show his worth. Huntingdon was of course vastly outshone by ‘Geoffrey’ and he was amazed to see ‘Geoffrey’s’ book at Le Bec in 1139.
My point is that specific un-named ‘someone’ was Henry Blois and the young Abbot of Glastonbury was with his uncle in France as part of Knight’s service from Glastonbury…. as a new and promising knight attending as a favoured Nephew. Now, the important fact here is; what I have called the Pseudo-Historia i.e. that tract which was destined originally for Henry I and Matilda was begun after this recital of the Kings of France ‘event’ in 1128. So Henry Blois research (and it is massive) was carried out in the period 1129-35 and before King Henry Ist died. In 1135 all that effort had became redundant. Maybe his uncle seeing that his Nephew had such talent had asked for the same breakdown of the English Kings to see if there was a precedent for his daughter as future Queen, but this is certainly the reasoning behind the bogus litany of queens in HRB.
It is a coincidence that our Leiden manuscript from Bec is the only one to have a brief history of the Frankish Kings beginning with ‘Antenor et alii profugi’. The reason for this is because Henry Blois has replaced his Primary Historia with this Vulgate edition. ‘Antenor’ is not found with any other HRB manuscript. It also contains, incidentally, Crick’s F-redaction of the Gesta Normannorum Ducum, a chronicle originally created by William of Jumièges to which, Orderic Vitalis and Robert of Torigni extended the volumes to include history up until Henry Ist.
Henry Blois’ brother Stephen is recorded in Normandy in 1128 with King Henry at the time of Henry’s proposed Frankish King recital…. so why not his younger brother with knights from Glastonbury? It certainly sounds like Henry Blois…. because like the HRB, it is wildly inaccurate, it ends with the genology on Henry Blois’ father’s side but has all the right sounding names.
Again, we see Henry’s penchant for eponym’s so widely peppered throughout HRB. Henry Blois, from Royal descent would have studied Blois and Frankish history while a student at Clugny and might have developed delusions concerning Troy and his own genealogy from the Counts of Troyes. Henry’s father was numbered Stephen II, Count of Troyes. Troyes is not far from the towns of Autun, Langres, Avallon, and Clugny, all of them in the region of Burgundy and county of Blois.
As the ‘someone’ in Huntingdon’s account states, there certainly was an existing tradition that the European people were descended from ancient Troy. Therefore, it is not too unreasonable to suggest that Henry growing up at Clugny researched the history of the Franks and was able to relate a chronological sequence, even if it were partly fabricated. Did he not do exactly that for the Kings of Britain in the HRB? It seems as if Huntingdon’s ‘someone’; the one who divulges the account, is in fact Henry Blois. Henry’s thought process for instigating the composition of the Psuedo Historia may have started while he worked at Glastonbury with William of Malmesbury in 1126-9, but we shall get to that soon.
Let us return briefly to look at the letter to Warin related by Robert of Torigni:
’Here beginneth the epistle of Henry the Archdeacon unto Warin as concerning the Kings of the Britons. ‘Thou dost ask of me, Warin the Briton, courteous man as thou art, and witty withal, wherefore, in telling the story of our country, I should have begun with the times of Julius Cæsar and omitted those most flourishing reigns that were betwixt Brute and the days of Julius? Mine answer is that albeit I have many a time and oft made enquiry as to those ages, yet never have I found none that could tell me, nor no book wherein was written aught about them. Even thus in the illimitable succession of years doth the destruction of oblivion over-shadow and extinguish the glory of mortality! Howbeit, in this very year, which is the eleven hundred and thirty-ninth from the Incarnation of our Lord, when I was journeying to Rome with Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, at Bec, where the said Archbishop had formerly been Abbot, to my amazement I found the written record of these events. For there I met with Robert of Torigni, a monk of that place, a most studious searcher after and collector of books both sacred and profane. He, when he had questioned me as to the plan of the History of the Kings of the English issued by me, (HA) and had eagerly heard what I had to say in answer, offered unto me a book to read as concerning those Kings of the Britons who held our island before the English. These extracts therefrom, my best-beloved, I do therefore send unto thee, albeit they be of the briefest, as becometh a mere friendly letter.’
Huntingdon then follows with a précis of the earlier chapters of the Primary Historia in which Huntingdon quotes the two first lines of Brute’s prayer to Diana and the first four of her response. Condensing the whole Primary Historia as he goes towards the end of his letter to Warin and showing no marked interest in Arthur. Huntingdon relates the more romantic episodes in the first part at disproportionate length ( even though un-expanded) concerning Brutus, Leir, Belinus and Brennus, Arthgallo and Elidurus and Androgeus. He especially loves the Lier story and apportions more text than he does to Arthur. As I have said, scholars tend to think concerning EAW’s coverage of Arthur…. it is a total reduction by Huntingdon, naively comparing it with the Vulgate version.
The fact that Henry of Huntingdon saw a copy of what I have termed the Primary Historia, a pre-cursor to both First Variant and the Beverley copy and Vulgate HRB which records differences in story-line by comparison with the subsequent First Variant edition and final Vulgate edition of HRB; herein is the evidence for assuming HRB was an evolving work through Variant editions. The Primary Historia was not widely read, and few copies were made. Any that existed were superseded by the much expanded Vulgate version.
Even though, understanding Huntingdon’s letter was constrained by brevity, Henry of Huntingdon’s précis rearranges material at times indicating that Primary Historia is a different edition from First Variant and Vulgate; and there are significant changes in actions and anecdotes and the spelling of names unaccountable as transcription error.285 Primary Historia was as different as First Variant was from Vulgate.
285Historia Anglorum, Diana Greenway, p.558-583
In the Primary Historia, to prevent Brutus’s landing, the giant natives of Albion wade out into the sea, rather than the conventional landing at Totnes noted in FV and Vulgate HRB. Lucrinus is shot in a battle by his wife Gondolovea herself. The Saxons in Arthur’s time destroy ‘Caerleon on the Severn’ and the beast that eats Morvid is sent from hell, which is not in the Vulgate that we know. King of the Bretons, Budicius brought up Constans and Aurelius Ambrosius in Huntingdon’s rendition which is not a scribal error, nor as Wright implies is down to haste. In the Vulgate HRB, Budicius brings up Utherpendragon and Aurelius Ambrosius, not Constans. Witelinus, archbishop of London becomes Guithelinus in HRB where he is termed Metropolitanus. This in effect witnesses Henry Blois’ enmity with Canterbury and Theobald by implying that before Augustine, London was already a metropolitan. More importantly the development of story-line is evidenced in the evolution of HRB relative to events concerning Henry Blois. Wright and Crick have certainly identified all the differences but never with the vision that Vulgate is the evolved later recension of HRB.
One can witness between the Primary Historia in 1138 to the First Variant in 1144 a difference in story-line. Three archbishops (archflamens and metropolitans) are referred to where the ‘Three’ surely would have been mentioned by Huntingdon, if they had indeed been noted in the original Primary Historia yet absent in EAW. There is also the appearance of Phagan and Deruvian which surely would have been noted by Huntingdon as this was the first time Huntingdon would have come across their names as the proselytisers of Britain but they were only introduced in 1144 in the First Variant as a proof of early foundation for Glastonbury and maybe Winchester. This becomes a crucial point when we look at how the First Variant was employed by Henry Blois at Rome in his pursuit of metropolitan status for Winchester and will become clear in progression when we examine Henry Blois’ corroborative interpolation regarding Phagan and Deruvian in the Antiquitates.
Huntingdon must have loved the Primary Historia:
For there I met with Robert of Torigni, a monk of that place, a most studious searcher after and collector of books both sacred and profane. He, when he had questioned me as to the plan of the History of the Kings of the English issued by me, and had eagerly heard what I had to say in answer, offered unto me a book to read as concerning those Kings of the Britons.
It is plain to see how easy it would be for Henry Blois to pass into the public domain his Primary Historia. One can see that Huntindon and Robert discussed the material both being historians. If Robert knew the provenance of how the book came into his possession authored by a certain Galfridus Arthur (empty of biographical details), he surely would have had inquiries made into this individual on Huntingdon’s return to England. Huntingdon probably did inquire but the problem was that he could not track down a non-existant person. But this point alone obviates the fact that there was no Merlin or Alexandrine dedication and therefore for most rational thinkers, proves that the Vulgate copy was not that seen by Huntingdon otherwise on his return he would have gone straight to Alexander to ask where Geoffrey resided and then demand from ‘Geoffrey’…. “Let’s see this old book then that you have translated from.”
it would not occur to modern scholars to note an important point because they simply want to ignore the fact that the Primary Historia ever existed before admitting what they have deduced heretofore has any bearing on the way the HRB evolved; the point being that as early as 1139 Henry Blois was authoring a false history. Now if you just extenuate this secretive authorship to the easoning behind the production of the FV then we can see the devious nature of Henry Blois having little regard for the truth but rather obtaining what his will desires. But extenuate this certain knowledge of secretive authorship further and we can see the author of Grail literature linking his own interpolations of DA, Life of Gildas, and to a point VM all to center on Glastonbury. Then we can understand how he builds the grave site for his prediction of where the Grave of Arthur and Guinevere might be uncovered which is described by Gerald of Wales
Huntingdon himself describes Stonehenge in his Historia Anglorum, first published c.1129, as one of the four wonders of England, before having read the Primary Historia at Bec. Undoubtedly, Henry Blois had read Huntingdon’s work in the process of constructing his initial Pseudo-Historia for Matilda and King Henry I. But, because Merlin did not feature in the Primary Historia, Huntingdon in EAW does not mention the astounding news that he will encounter in the production of FV and the Beverley copy c.1147-50
To find Uther Pendragon had erected Stonehenge must have been puzzling for Huntingdon. But, note again my proposition that Merlin was not mentioned in Primary Historia. It is only later that Galfridus/ Brittanicus decides that Merlin erected Stonehenge. It seems that, at the introduction of Merlin, (after the Primary Historia at Bec had been found) the most mystifying object on the British landscape was then accounted to Merlin having erected it.
It is no wonder that Henry Blois introduces giants with the abundance of megaliths across the British landscape. In Huntingdon’s summary of the book he read at Bec, we can see what was originally in the Primary Historia: ‘Uter Pendragon, that is, Dragon’s head, a most excellent youth, the son of Aurelius, brought from Ireland the Dance of Giants (giants circle) which is now called Stanhenges’. We can witness Henry’s conflated construction here and his clever introduction of Merlin based on Nennius’ boy Ambrosius who is perhaps purposefully conflated by name from Ambrosius Aurelianus; one of the few people that Gildas identifies by name in his sermon De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae…. and the only hero named from the 5th century upon whom Arthur is also surreptitiously conflated.
At the introduction of Merlin into HRB in the evolving expansion of story-line by Henry’s muses we find that the Saxon’s had, through treachery, slaughtered the British at a meeting of nobles (mirroring the treachery of the Long Knives, a story first appearing in Nennius).King Ambrosius who was now Brother of Uter Pendragon wished to erect a memorial to those slain by the dastardly Saxons. Merlin then suggested transporting the stones from the Giant’s Ring at the top of Mount Killaraus in Ireland back to Britain. Ambrosius agrees that this would be a fitting memorial, and an army was dispatched to Ireland to get the stones. They failed, and only Merlin was able to transport them back to Britain, and erect Stonehenge. Merlin obeyed the King’s orders and put the stones up in a circle round the sepulchre, in exactly the same way as they had been arranged on Mount Killaraus in Ireland. The expansion then tells us that Stonehenge served as a grave for Ambrosius, as well as Constantine, Arthur’s successor.
Imagine Huntingdon’s fascination that his lack of knowledge about Stonehenge was finally revealed him by Geoffrey. Now you see the character of Henry Blois playing with who he considers to be a plodding chronicler.
From the time Henry Blois had originally tried to define the heritage of Arthur in the initial Psuedo Historia destined for Matilda and Henry Ist, the family of King Arthur have the following mirroring of incidence with those of Count Alan Rufus, who was a Breton nobleman, companion of William the Conqueror during the conquest.
Henry Blois had posited the son of Aurelius as having brought the ‘Giants Dance; from Ireland in the Primary Historia. Latterly when introducing Merlin in First Variant as a character and the early prophetia, Henry Blois calls him Ambrosius (surname) as he conflated Merlin on Nennius’ passage (shown in appendix 35); where Ambrosius is named rather than Utherpendragon, as ‘Galfridus’ had previously recorded in the Primary Historia. Also, in Huntingdon’s précis, Pascent, the son of Vortigern, had Aurelius poisoned. The Allobroges of the later recensions are the Senones; Brennius is Brennus “the supreme of men, the glory of the brave, the eternal star of Britain”; Tenuantius is Themantius, and a few other names are differently spelt just as we find in the VM by comparison with the HRB.
Huntingdon is hardly going to trifle in making up these differences. He has read them as they exist…. he was not revising the details of a Vulgate HRB to write his summary of the Primary Historia to Warin. Modern scholars would have us believe that Huntingdon saw a version of the Vulgate HRB as we know it today, because scholars seem unable to accept a Vulgate edition has replaced the Primary Historia discovered at Bec in 1139 even when the glaring discrepancies are itemised between EAW and the Vulgate edition.
It is Galridus Artur, who then becomes ‘Geoffrey’ who then becomes Bishop of Asaph, AKA Henry Blois who makes the changes as part of an evolution of HRB in later editions.
Henry Blois’ invention of Merlin, where he weaves him into HRB at some period after the appearance of the Primary Historia must have transpired after the release of the Libellus Merlini. The Libellus Merlini was introduced into (or to exist alongside) First Variant because of the need to insert the first edition of prophecies which now concern themselves with aspects of metropolitan status in ancient Britain and the predictive reinstatement of two metropolitans. At the same time, other pertinent story-line changes occur such as the invention of the Island of Avalon which is not mentioned in the Primary Historia either.
Why does Huntingdon not include Merlin the prophet’s name?… at least if not the prophecies themselves? The answer is simple. Henry Blois had not conceived of Merlin’s prophecies in 1137-38. The break in the Vulgate HRB where Henry Blois inserts the dedication to Alexander and the prophetia is so obviously not a break in an ongoing work as is portrayed by ‘Geoffrey.’ It is a clumsy insertion which would have required a large edit to the Primary Historia so that Merlin became spliced into the story.
The Primary Historia deposited at Bec in 1138 had no set purpose after King Henry I died. Henry Blois had expanded the Arthuriana from his original ‘Pseudo History’ composed for Henry Blois’ Uncle and his daughter so as not to let all his previous effort go to waste. The First Variant had a purpose. It provided evidence of Winchester’s antiquity and vicariously through Fagan and Deruvian acted as a proof for Glastonbury’s antiquity alongside the first interpolations in DA of an apostolic foundation.
Is it not strange that Arthur and Merlin never meet? I would suggest the reason for this was that editing was not extensive but mainly constituted an insertion. Merlin was introduced after the Primary Historia which clearly understood by EAW. The splice of the Prophetia into the 1149 version of First Variant is again made where originally Henry had added Arthuriana to the original ‘pseudo-history’ composed long before 1138 and most certainly while Matilda was being proposed for a future queen and succesor of King Henry Ist . The Alexander dedication (not in First Variant) shows Henry Blois’ genius ploy of backdating the spliced Vulgate HRB…. so that the prophecies appeared to have been in the book prior to some of the events they pretend to predict.
That ‘Geoffrey’ had been a Bishop in a location few Anglo Normans had any interest in and the fact that ‘Geoffrey’ was already dead when the Vulgate edition is widely published, prevents any sensorial retribution. This is why none appears amongst his contemporaries and only later by commentators such as Giraldus and Newburgh. Nobody knew anything about or could find the author of the seditious prophecies.
If Huntingdon had really read the Vulgate HRB in 1139…. why would he not mention the marvellous prediction of King Stephen as the ‘fourth’ king and the astonishment that the actions of ‘five’ (which was Matilda) were undisclosed.Why would he not recognise that a future ‘Sixth’ King was going to invade Ireland. All of this was highly relevant because he surely would have been able to recognise the first three Kings in the Merlin Prophecies had hr seen a Vulgate version. Huntingdon had written accounts about the first three in his own history. To see that the predictions were true about them would have fascinated him. There were no prophecies in the Primary Historia nor any mention of Merlin!!!! So, Huntingdon did not use a Vulgate edition og HRB.
Huntingdon simply never saw the prophecies in 1139, never saw his patron’s name attached to them. The prophetia was not part of the Primary Historia. Why, if his patron commissioned such a translation on the prophetia, is it ignored as part of Huntingdon’s exposé to Warin? Why, instead, would Huntingdon invent a new story-line with Uther Pendragon filling Merlin’s shoes?
Some scholars have attempted to implicate Huntingdon’s invention of his own variation of story-line by implying he was addressing a fictitious person rather than a real Breton called Warin to justify the epistolary form of the piece. This is scholastic rationalisation. In the brief reference to Arthur’s wounds and how he fell (with no mention of Avalon)286 Huntingdon says in reference to Warin: But the Bretons, your ancestors, refuse to believe that he died. Huntingdon is writing to a friend being as informative as such a brief précis/synopsis allows.
Not mentioning Merlin is a gross oversight…. if indeed Merlin and his prophetia were included in the Primary Historia; especially considering Huntingdon’s relation to Alexander and the fact that the Anarchy was about to take place. All of this had been predicted and was easily understood from the prophecies. Not even Huntingdon would misunderstand that the ‘eagle’ pertained to Matilda of the ‘broken covenant’ and she had just had her third child.
286In Arthurian Literature XV edited by Prof. James P. Carley, Felicity Riddy, we are informed by our Arthurian experts (by Watkin): in 1138 Geoffrey of Monmouth had already said that Arthur was taken to the Isle of Avalon to be healed p.81. This is incorrect as EAW does not mention Avalon. Watkin assumes that what I have termed the Primary Historia (i.e. that book found at Bec), is synonymous with the Vulgate version of HRB.
Huntingdon would be negligent in not mentioning ‘third nesting’ prophecy as it affected everyone in Britain. It is not as if he did not know where mount Aravius was either!!!! He was just about to pass through that range on his way to Rome with Theobald and his suite. All evidence shows Merlin and his prophecies were not in the Bec copy in 1139…. but still scholars assume the book which Robert of Torigini handed Huntingdon was that which we know today as the Vulgate version.
It is because of this precarious assumption, so many subsequent deductions become inaccurate. Don’t forget also that Robert of Torigini says Henry of Huntingdon actually ‘extracted’ from it at Bec; so, it is not as if Huntingdon was working from memory to compose EAW. Wright puts the discrepancies down to Huntingdon being rushed but this is just not viable. The simple fact is that Huntingdon did not see the fully evolved Vulgate HRB with updated prophecies, but a Primary Historia, which, because of its lack of copies, has not survived as an exemplar of HRB.
I believe as the pressure mounted on Henry Blois. He himself replaced the Primary Historia at Bec with the upgraded Vulgate version so that the original copy referenced by others could be shown to possess all the prophetia so that the seditious prophecies could be verified as existing before 1138
In fact it would be a useful exercise to unscramble what seems to me to be three or four sets of prophecies from the first set found in the Libellus Merlini. Between HRB and VM (excluding JC’s version) because it is plain in the following rendition of Merlin prophecy just below , an icon is being used in one prophecy then the same icon differently in another set, changing the sense. What has bemused those even interested in de-scrambling and making sense of the prophetia is that the icons have remained the same and Henry has shuffled the pack. Only certain prophecies make sense at any given time. The squewing process can only be divined when you know at what period and for what reason they were written.
Jenniffer Farrell who is obviously a product of Crick has a podcast on the Merlin prophecies that tells us nothing new but parrots all that is known by Crick. What is fascinating though is after teaching us that the prophecies of Geoffrey ‘depicts the Normans as rightful inheritors of the English throne‘ and Geoffrey ‘not only explained the Norman conquest but Justified it’ goes on to state ‘Whether or not Geoffrey invented these prophecies is beside the point’.
This is my annoyance with Crick still churning out PhD students whose only ability is to regurgitate what everyone knows already never putting anything in context. This is the subject on which she professes to be an expert. This is the state of modern scholarship. Well Jennifer, just ask yourself: who would be more likely to depict the Normans as rightful inheritors. Do you think it is a Welshman or a Norman? Why Jennifer does a supposed Welshman justify the Norman conquest. Do you think it might have something to do with the fact that the Norman conquest was carried out by the Grandfather of author of Merlin’s prophecies ?
Let me state for the record it is not ‘beside the point’ when appearing to inform others to dismiss WHO composed these prophecies as being ‘beside the point’. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT. The blind leading the blind. Farrell’s scholarship follows in the illustrious line of Zero progress in coming to terms with the truth about ‘Geoffrey’ and is obstensibly a case of cherry picking scenarios out of context and not reasoning why at one point Merlin is an advocate of the Normans and then says:
Normans depart and cease to bear weapons through our native realm with your cruel soldiery. There is nothing left with which to feed your greed for you have consumed everything that creative nature has produced in her happy fertility. Christ, aid thy people! Restrain the lions and give to the country quiet peace and the cessation of wars.”
Jennifer, when Henry Blois’ brother is on the throne…. of course the Norman conquest is justified and the Normans were saviours. When Henry II is on the throne and Henry Blois’ only hope of return to England is to rouse the Celts to rebellion by castigating the Normans. Why do you think Merlin predicts this rebellion as a ‘pre-ordained’ outcome as ypu have rightly judged. Who do you think is going to take Henry II’s throne when he is defeated by the Scots, the Bretons, the Cornish and the Welsh. I know you won’t have learnt the answer….. but it is the ‘Seventh King’. He is the leonine King who is going to bring peace ….or so he thinks!!! He is the adopted son of the John of Cornwall prophecies, the last and most modern edition which hoped to effect and outcome through prophecy.
So, Jennifer, if Crick would teach her students to think in context, you amongst a host of others could call yourself scholars. Who invented these prophecies and when, is very much ‘to the point’ AND NOT BESIDE THE POINT. If you really think your reasoning is correct about the prophecy predicting the Welsh rebellion and it being composed in the 1170’s then think again!!! Geoffrey was dead or did you forget that point. Henry Blois composed this prophecy in 1155 and he lived until 1171 but ‘Geoffrey’s’ last foray into prophecy was composed in 1157 (see appendix 27) and it was his sister Ganieda who prophesied about Coleshill. Don’t forget Merlin is really Henry Blois and he had a sister named ‘Agnes’ spelt ‘Agneai’. He came up with the name Ganieda ‘from’ his sisters name Agneai or D’Agneai but in Anagram Ganieda.
Anyway, we should also note that Henry’s importance in determining events is evidenced in a self-written epitaph on the Meusan plates: lest England groan for it, since on him (Henry Blois) it depends for peace or war, agitation or rest.
It is from the Primary Historia that the First Variant evolved to become the Vulgate not vice versa. Huntingdon would not presume to have the artistic licence of a conteur. He is a recognised historian. It was Merlin in a specific episode who brought the Giants Dance to Britain in our version of HRB. This is not confusion on Huntingdon’s part, but reflects an evolving introduction of Merlin into the story line after the copy found at Bec.
‘The answers of Lear’s three daughters in EAW also vary from our HRB. Thus, Goneril is made to say: ‘Beneath the moon that marketh the boundaries betwixt things mutable and things eternal, nought is there that can ever be so much unto me;’ and Regan: ‘My love for thee is more precious than all riches, and all things desirable are as nought in comparison therewithal.’ Cordelia, the only sister named, gives her answer: ‘So much as thou hast, so much art thou worth, and so much do I love thee,’ without any preface to soften the bluntness of her speech. The moral of the tale is thus rendered: ‘accordingly, hence hath been derived the saying, “Things moderately said are ever the more to be appreciated.”
Huntingdon is an accurate chronicler of events and not an inventor of fiction. It is impossible to have the many discrepancies without assuming a different version. At the siege of Lincoln, a Keldricus arrives with a countless English host only to be thwarted by the arrival from Brittany of Hoelus, son of Arthur’s sister and Budicius and the siege of Lincoln was dispersed by agreement. In HRB it is Cheldricus at the siege of Lindocoliam instead of the more obvious Lincoliam and the siege ends in great slaughter, not concord.
Most poignantly of all, Huntingdon provides a speech by Arthur which relates to the ‘Britons hope’ of Arthur’s return, as well as having just reminded Warin about the Breton’s refusal to believe Arthur is dead.
What is important is that Huntingdon follows on to say and they (the Bretons) traditionally await his return.287 This ‘hope’ of the Bretons is the very reason that when Henry Blois first concocts the story of the Chivalric Arthur, no place of burial is given nor suggestion that Arthur arrives on Avalon mortally wounded.288 Nor is it overtly stated in the Primary Historia that he died. This perpetuates an already existent folk belief, which, for no other reason, Huntingdon makes plain is current and traditionally held. Most importantly of all is that it shows the progression and evolution between Primary Historia and the First Variant, in that, Insula Avallonis is then mentioned in First Variant. Ufortunately this point will be lost on the experts because incredibly they still believe the Vulgate version was that found at Bec and the first Variant not only followed that version but alarmingly was composed by someone other than the author of the Vulgate. How clever it was of Wace then to start with the later version as a template for the Roman de Brut and revert to the supposed older text of the Vulgate. What Horseshit!!!!!
It should seem obvious that if the name of Avalon had been present in Primary Historia it also would have been mentioned by Huntingdon…. if not only because it would be the first location to search for Arthur. One could verify and prevent any further rumour of an Arthurian return. Anyhow, this ‘hope’ and Arthur’s legendary status was prevalent among the Celts as is alluded to by William of Malmesbury in his GR1289 and was genuinely part of insular Brythonic/Celtic zeitgeist at the time. But do not be fooled by the interpolations of Malmesbury’s work now referred to as GR3
287Historia Anglorum, Diane Greenway. P. 589 c.9.
288In a later chapter (32) concerning the death of Arthur found in a First Variant version, we see an initial proposition that: although it was not bringing an immediate death, nevertheless boded ill for the near future, which allows for the arrival on Avalon. However, in the version known as Vera Historia de morte Arthuri, Arthur is actually killed by a spear. Now one can’t fake a grave in Avalon if King Arthur isn’t dead. The beauty about the Vera Historia de morte Arthuri is that Arthur is dead…. or is he? This is Henry’s work in an evolved First Variant even locating a possible grave near St Mary’s church.
289William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum, Thompson and Winterbottom. P.27 8.2. This Arthur is the hero of many wild tales among the Britons even in our own day, but assuredly deserves to be the subject of reliable history rather than of false and dreaming fable. Well did Arthur get what he deserves. Thank goodness someone wrote a ‘reliable’ history about him. Thank the heavens for ‘GEOFFREY’
The critical point which shows Huntingdon has read a different version from our Vulgate HRB is highlighted in this next extract from the letter to Warin:
‘When he was about to cross over the Alps, an envoy said unto him, “Modred, your nephew, has put your crown upon his own head with the assistance of Keldricus, King of the English, and has taken your wife unto himself”. Arthur, thereupon, boiling over with wondrous rage, returning into England, conquered Modred in battle, and after pursuing him as far as into Cornwall, with a few men fell upon him in the midst of many, and when he saw that he could not turn back said, “Comrades, let us sell our death dear. I, for my part, will smite off the head of my nephew and my betrayer, after which death will be a delight unto me.” Thus, spake he, and hewing a way for himself with his sword through the press, dragged Modred by the helmet into the midst of his own men and cut through his mailed neck as through a straw. Nonetheless, as he went, and as he did the deed, so many wounds did he receive that he fell, albeit that his kinsmen the Britons deny that he is dead, and do even yet solemnly await his coming again. He was, indeed, the very first man of his time in warlike prowess, bounty and wit.’
It is Henry Blois’ changing circumstances between 1138 and 1158 which ties the evidence together as his agenda alters after the death of his brother. Why, for example, are there three different accounts of Arthur’s demise; one in the version just quoted above originally in the Primary Historia and extracted from EAW; another in HRB and another in VM. It evidences one of Henry Blois’ secondary designs behind writing the version involving Avalon…. and then while at Clugny after 1155 semantically transforming that same Island of Avalon through linguistic contortions and misdirection found in the Vita Merlini, to establish a previously geographically unknown location of Avalon…. to locate it at Glastonbury as Insula Pomorum.
The complimentary fictions (corroborative evidences) which bolster this transformation and translocation of Avalon are by Henry’s hand found in interpolations composed in the first 34 chapters of DA. To avoid digression here, Henry Blois’ supporting evidence which is unfolded in DA, through several clever devices, will be dealt with in progression.
Henry Huntingdon then wraps up his epistle: ‘These, then, my best-beloved Warin the Briton, are in brief that which I did promise you, whereof, if you desire to read the whole at length, make diligent enquiry after the great book of Galfridi Arturi which I found at the Abbey of Le Bec, wherein you may find the aforesaid treated with sufficient fullness and clearness. Fare thee well’!
The enquiry which Warin makes to Huntingdon (previously) is, why did he (Huntingdon) start his history with Caesar rather than with the Trojan Brutus? We know by his reply that Huntingdon had searched but found nothing. The question to Huntingdon was specifically about insular history…. so Warin was aware of Nennius’s account of Brutus.290 Huntingdon since hearing Henry’s recital of his genealogy having descended from the Trojan’s directly had searched for evidences of this fact.
Why recommend to Warin the Briton the copy at Bec, especially when our experts think the name Artur is an appellation founded on ‘Geoffrey’s renown at this early time c.1139. Why if Crick is right and the Lieden manuscript is that from which Huntingdon made a synopsis for Warin, would he not recommend that Warin inquire of Walter, because Walter the Archdeacon is featured in Crick’s Vulgate version; especially since Warin is a Briton. It is obviously not a Vulgate copy from which Huntingdon is making a synopsis to Warin.
For certain, Henry Blois has read Virgil’s Aenid considering Ganieda is really Henry Blois speaking in the VM: Ganieda weeps with her, and without consolation grieves for her lost brother…. so great is the grief that consumes them both. Not otherwise did Sidonian Dido grieve when the ships had weighed anchor and Aeneas was in haste to depart,
“Sidonian Dido here with solemn state, did Juno’s temple build” is found in Virgil’s Aenid. The Franks had Antenor as the ‘Someone so eloquently recites to Henry Ist, so it is not silly to suppose Henry Blois gave the Britons their heritage from Aeneas through Brutus; just so the pedigree of heritage is of matching illustrious antiquity.
Certainly ‘someone’ knew of the Frankish descendants from Troy, so ‘Geoffrey’s’ invention was not a totally new fictitious historical fabrication that was new to Huntingdon or Warin. Henry of Huntingdon as we have discussed, does not like Henry Blois and I think just refers to him as ‘someone’ in the recital incident.
In his letter to Walter (not Warin) in Huntingdon’s pontifications ‘on contempt for the world’, he says about the bishops of Winchester and Henry Blois, as I have previously related:
“now there sits in their place Henry, (of Blois), nephew of King Henry, who will be a new kind of monster, composed part pure and part corrupt, I mean part monk and part knight.”
290Nennius’ material about Brutus would indicate such a history existed prior to ‘Geoffrey’. Nennius starts his history by saying: ‘the Island of Britain derives its name from Brutus a Roman Consul rather than a Trojan’. He also states that ‘We have obtained this information respecting the original inhabitants of Britain from ancient tradition. The Britons were thus called from Brutus: Brutus was the son of Hisicion’. This history by Nennius’ admission was written in the 838 year of our Lords incarnation and in the 24th year of Mervin, King of the’ Britons’. The story of Brutus thus, precedes ‘Geoffrey’s’ account by three hundred years…. if we are to believe no interpolation has taken place in Nennius. Nennius also says ‘the Saxons were received by Vortigern, four hundred and forty-seven years after the passion of Christ’ and other similar material that ‘Geoffrey’ professed to have found in his fictitious book but by coincidence using all the insular annals and many others as source material. There are problems with Nennius as Newell discusses, but my suspicion of interpolation into Nennius is that I believe (and it is clearly attested) that it is Henry Blois as the main promoter of the misunderstanding/ polemic in the HRB that the Nennius MS was written by Gildas. Henry Blois in effect shoots himself in the foot by this same obvious misdirection from HRB in his interpolation into Orderic concerning the Merlin prophecies. Don’t forget the sillyness about Gildas being at Glastonbury at the same time Guinevere was kidnapped in Henry Blois Life of Gildas.
The point is that the reference to Henry Blois written by Henry Huntingdon in a letter to Walter is obviously written soon after Henry’s appointment to Winchester. Huntingdon is relating to a friend the prospect of what might become of Henry Blois. It is an ominous prediction, perceived through a trait or character defect that Huntingdon has observed first hand in the ambitious Henry Blois.
So, why is Henry of Huntingdon referring to Henry Blois as part Knight, if the Anarchy has not started as yet, unless it alludes to his time at ‘Epernon’ where Huntingdon refers to Henry Blois as ‘someone’. It seems fair to suppose that Huntingdon witnessed Henry Blois’ demonstration of ‘educated’ genius in his recital of the History of the Franks from Troy. Huntingdon was there as an eyewitness to make the character prediction, based on what he had witnessed of Henry Blois.
Huntingdon knows Henry Ist is staying at Epernon in Normandy for eight days as safely as if he were in his Kingdom.291 I think Huntingdon’s pique is somewhat of professional jealousy. Huntingdon’s observation as to Henry’s character, it is not so far from the mark.
If it had not been for Henry Blois’ position, (already established in Britain as Bishop of Winchester), it seems unlikely that Stephen would have been crowned within three weeks of Henry Ist death. Henry Blois is not without guile and Huntingdon’s assessment is real. He even states a similar attitude about Henry Blois much later in life as we have seen when relating about Theobald of Bec: He had as his helper Henry, bishop of Winchester, who earlier had thrown the realm into grievous disorder, delivering the crown of the Kingdom to his brother Stephen, but now seeing everything destroyed by robbery, fire and slaughter, he was moved to repentance…292
The only reason I have laboured this point is that, if we consider Henry Blois’ implication in the Trojan-Frankish recital; it is just another piece of the puzzle which fits Henry Blois as an able composer of HRB which features Brutus. William of Malmesbury has not accepted the Brutus story.293
291Historia Anglorum. Diane Greenway. P. 479 chap 38
292Historia Anglorum, Henry of Huntingdon, X, 37, p. 771
293GR. I 68.3
It is doubtful that William of Malmesbury ever saw a copy of the Primary Historia and certainly never saw the First Variant as that was used in conjunction with the first interpolations into Malmesbury’s DA and GR3 as part of the case Henry presents at Rome…. to show that a metropolitan had long existed in southern England prior to Augustine’s arrival.
Concerning the colophon,294 in HRB, Henry Blois (or ‘Geoffrey’) had conceded that he would hand over as continuator, in the matter of writing the Saxon’s history to William of Malmesbury. It was already written!!! This is another misdirectional proposal which also helped to backdate the final Vulgate edition of HRB. But just to confirm that which I postulated above about the relationship between Blois and Huntingdon…. ‘Geoffrey’ is not so kind to Henry of Huntingdon and he is singled out for abuse.
As I have covered, all three were dead when the colophon in Vulgate HRB was added, so no umbrage was felt by Huntingdon, but the return insult to Huntingdon was conveyed into posterity. This would never have been written with dismissive condescension to two very well connected and sincere historians when they were living…. especially, by an unimportant cleric in supposedly residing in Oxford. The point is that even if the bishop of Asaph were real and signed the treaty of Winchester (which he did not in reality) as co-signatory with Henry Blois…. ‘Geoffrey’ is hardly going to dismissively consign to silence with such effrontery, the historian who has Bishop Alexander295 as patron also. If ‘Geoffrey’ really was Welsh he would not be insulting an Anglo Norman historian of repute while Huntingdon was alive.
Essentially the Vulgate colophon is an artful display which retro-dates the HRB’s publication date. It is artful in confirming the source book as if indirectly. Henry Blois would have seen Huntingdon’s references to the bishop of Winchester. This fact should be taken into consideration and understood by the reader, as Henry Blois’ partial catalyst for setting out his own subtle apologia in GS. As we have covered, Henry becomes a much nobler Henry of Winchester for posterity, softening his own character and excusing/rationalising his deeds in the GS.
Both Malmesbury and Huntingdon had left a negative impression for posterity concerning Henry Blois in their writings. For a man of such vanity who knew that future historians would judge Henry Blois what those chroniclers have recorded, this was essentialfor Henry’s vanity to rectify. It is partly the reasoning behind the ‘apologia’ of the GS. One can see from ‘Geoffrey’s’ haughty tone, he cares little for Malmesbury or Huntingdon but it is very doubtful if he would have considered such an effrontery to both is either had been alive.
Huntingdon relates an account of Brutus from the Primary Historia to Warin. The brief passage which Huntingdon relates in his Historia Anglorum about Arthur’s twelve battles comes from the Vatican recension of Nennius, but in Huntingdon’s history there is no mention of the Brutus material or Troy. An odd turn of events, since he had read Henry’s Primary Historia in 1139, but makes no addition into the Historia Anglorum in his final recension mentioning Troy.
294I hand over in the matter of writing unto Karadoc of Llancarvan, my contemporary, as do I those of the Saxons unto William of Malmesbury and Henry of Huntingdon, whom I bid be silent as to the Kings of the Britons, seeing that they have not that book.
295It is indicative of scholarships loss of direction where Michael Curley in his book on Geoffrey states: we puzzle over the eagerness of a sophisticated and worldly Norman administrator such as bishop Alexander of Lincoln to possess a collection of Merlin’s prophecies. Why would not someone like Curley intelligent enough to realise that the Merlin prophecies which validate the false historicity in HRB and both compositions are known to have been composed by ‘Geoffrey’, could not see the Introduction of Alexander is only a splice mechanism; and this had to be after Alexander was dead otherwise it would be found to be a lie. Same with Walter!!!!