Geoffrey Gaimar claims to have written a version of the Brut based upon Geoffrey of Monmouth’s HRB. No copy of Gaimar’s Brut, or, (as it is better known), L’Estoire des Bretons has survived. This is simply because it was never written; the earlier section of the work, which Henry Blois advocates exists while posing as Geffrei Gaimar comprised an Estoire des Troiiens and an Estoire des Bretuns. So, It is by no accident that Wace’s Roman de Brut is found along with all four manuscripts of L’Estoire des Engles; instead of the L’Estoire des Bretons.
I have maintained and shown that Wace’s Roman de Brut was written by Henry Blois to spread his HRB content to a wider audience in the French Vernacular on the continent and to entertain nobles at court. Certainly, analysing the content of Wace’s Roman de Brut, Wace seems to be at times better informed of detail than that which could be ascertained from the words that ‘Geoffrey’ employs in HRB which Wace is supposedly using as his source material. We can deduce then that HRB and Roman de Brut originate from the same mind apart from the fact that Wace would hardly be plagiarising ‘Geoffrey’ contemporaneously.
Wace’s Roman de Brut was combined with a manuscript i.e. together with L’Estoire des Engles and distributed by Henry Blois when Gaimar had already completed the L’Estoire des Engles…. long before Henry Blois took on the Guise of Geffrei. Gaimar’s epilogue is successful in deflecting the obvious connection between the two works. Most commentators today believe Gaimar’s Roman de Breton did not survive as it was outclassed by Wace’s work i.e Roman de Breton and Wace’s Roman de Brut were supposed to be similarly aligned in content and thus, supposedly, the Roman de Breton was relegated to obscurity to be replaced with Wace’s superior work. This view is largely based on the fact that L’Estoire des Engles is not an artful work (at least this is Gallais’ position and all and sundry have accepted his position).
Gaimar wrote L’Estoire des Engles and Henry then interpolated it with a few Arthurian insertions after Gaimar’s death which provides another corroborative source for his Chivalric Arthur. However, the pertinent point of this impersonation of Gaimar was so that the epilogue could state what it does about the source material of HRB and obscure further the trail back to Henry Blois. The point of this is so that Walter is implicated, just as the HRB states, thus Henry’s authorship is hidden; and ‘Geoffrey’ becomes merely a translator not inventor of HRB’s contents.
The creation of ‘Gaimar’s’ epilogue is Henry Blois’ main purpose behind impersonating Gaimar. ‘Gaimar’s’ epilogue provides an erroneous conflationary and misleading provenance for HRB. The epilogue could not carry out its function unless L’Estoire des Bretons was to have been ‘apparently’ written by Gaimar. Without the proposition that Gaimar wrote the L’Estoire des Bretons, how would the ‘good book’ be mentioned? It is for this reason all four copies of Gaimar’s genuine work, interpolated slightly by Henry, have another of Henry’s works attached; Wace’s Roman de Brut, which as I have covered supposedly replaces Gaimar’s. It is entirely wrong to think the L’Estoire des Bretons ever existed.
It was again an extremely clever ploy by Henry Blois. Gaimar’s statements in the epilogue ostensibly are employed by Henry Blois to mislead, which ultimately only corroborate the proposition of the fraudulent source book when put under scrutiny.
This is especially evident when we consider there are no dedications in the First Variant except where Robert’s name is added subsequently to a copy521 and there is certainly no mention of Walter. The proposition, by ‘Geoffrey’, that Walter supplied his source book only becomes relevant to Henry Blois at the advent of the publication of Vulgate and its updated seditious prophecies…. as more people scrutinized the appearance of a supposed translation of a history found in an old book and of course read the seditious Prophecies.
521Once we have established the reasoning behind the construction of First Variant we can date it to 1144-1149. There is absolutely no way Robert of Gloucester would have received a copy of First Variant.
At the time the First Variant was employed in 1144, Robert of Gloucester was still alive and therefore no dedication could be used. However, his name is in one copy of the First Variant as it was probably employed at Rome in 1149 just after his death. It may however be a later correction.
Anyway, Gaimar’s epilogue was concocted and employed to establish certain corroborations of statements made in the Vulgate HRB, thereby adding the credence of what was maintained by ‘Geoffrey’ about the source book and then corroborated by a third party author.
‘Gaimar’s’ epilogue provides independent witness to ‘Geoffrey’s’ statement concerning the mythical book obtained from Walter. The intention was to show that a book from which Vulgate HRB was supposedly translated actually existed as witnessed by ‘Geoffrey’. The old book ex Britanica did not exist. Most scholars realize that the Historia is a composite and could not be a translation of an old book. Some are naïve enough to believe a source book exists because a few puzzling attributes of the Historia are more easily dispensed with by a tentative acknowledgement. Keller has Archdeacon Walter as the inventor of the First Variant to rationalize this position. Crick says that: Wright has since demonstrated conclusively that the First Variant postdates the Vulgate and predates Wace.
This again establishes a false a priori position from which if the conclusion is upheld any further conclusions have to be erroneous. What Wright actually questions:
Was the Variant written by Geoffrey himself or by another author? And was the Variant used by Wace, or does it rather reflect the influence of the Roman de Brut and consequently postdate the text? Clearly, the first two questions can, since conclusive external evidence is lacking, only be addressed after the Variant and Vulgate texts have been compared more carefully than has so far been the case; moreover, the results of such a comparison may also provide additional important evidence useful in conducting a much need reinvestigation of the relationship of the Variant to Wace’s Roman de Brut.522Neil Wright p. xvi
Wright follows on: With these aims in view the vulgate and Variant texts have been compared systematically and the results set out…
One can’t demonstrate ‘conclusively’ that the First Variant postdates the Vulgate and predates Wace simply because this statement is incorrect. The First Variant pre-dates the Vulgate and the First Variant predates Wace and the latter half of Wace and the Vulgate version are contemporary (give or take).
This entire mess of chronology simply exists because no-one has taken in hand the task of connecting the three genres of work presently under investigation in this study and treated them as a whole body of evidence and asked why or how the contradictions exist.
Anyway, logically, Walter could hardly give any book to the invented persona of Geoffrey of Monmouth and far less when he is dead at the advent of the Vulgate edition. The stupidity is that scholars think the Vulgate appeared in 1139. Ingeniously, Gaimar’s witness fraudulently establishes Robert of Gloucester as having had this historical narrative adapted and translated in accordance with the books belonging to the Welsh.
Henry Blois might have known Walter, but we should not forget that Henry signed six or seven charters as Galfridus Artur and the bishop of Asaph while in the scriptorium at Oxford in c.1153-58 (or later), after Walter had died. Walter’s name was upon the charters, but in all probability Walter and Henry had previously met as Stephen visited Oxford castle at various times as a base in the changing fortunes of the Anarchy.
Henry Blois only employed Walter as a ‘decoy’ for providing the source of his history after Walter’s death and only in the Vulgate version. Logically, he must have known Walter had died and it was safe to use his name. People were looking for Geoffrey of Monmouth and starting to ask where this man existed and how he got hold of the information put forward as historically accurate…. and where was this mysterious source book and why had the prophecies seen by some previously now changed and new prophecies added.
This was especially relevant also to Henry distancing himself from composition and authorship of the prophecies which incited rebellion against Henry II. The reason the modern reader knows nothing of this (and it is not recorded) is that…. by the time any of these fictions (like the contemporaneity of Caradoc mentioned in the colophon), Walter and his mysterious book…. and the erroneous dedicatees and phony patrons came to be inquired of by sceptics; they could not be asked…… because they were dead except for Waleran who died 1166 and may have been added after that date. Since ‘Geoffrey’ died in 1154-5 what difference would it make anyway if he had supposedly made Waleran a dedicatee between 1155-66?
Henry’s ploy of backdating made it appear as if the Vulgate HRB had been published at least 15 years earlier in 1138-9. Quite simply any avenue of enquiry could not be made because all supposed witnesses were now dead.
We know the First Variant gradually circulated with no dedication or mention of Alexander or Walter. It was only after Walter’s death in 1151 and the Vulgate now made public, that Henry would have needed to have found a solution to the growing question of how ‘Geoffrey’ had an account of history at variance to Roman annals and how his history varied from Gildas’s diatribe and Bede’s history.
As I have maintained, with the gradual proliferation of the evolving Variant with such as Alfred of Beverley commenting on HRB, it seems fair to posit that in 1153, while at Wallingford, and at the time the Treaty of Winchester was agreed…. that Henry visited Oxford to scribble Gaufridus’ signature on charters found in the scriptorium picked at random. He also came up with the idea of a Geoffrey from ‘Monmouth’ based on Ralph of Monmouth as we covered earlier. Henry also at this same time portrayed the progression of an aspiring man dutifully flattering patrons and exasperated at his lack of promotion waiting to become a bishop.
The only real problem with this scenario is that if ‘Geoffrey’ really were complaining to Robert de Chesney in VM for further reward than that which had been given earlier by Alexander, (and VM was supposedly written in 1155), ‘Geoffrey’ is already a bishop and dead. So, ‘Geoffrey’ would hardly be seeking a better reward as is posited in the prologue of VM.
Logically, he must have started the poem of the life of Merlin at least a year previously to accomplish the task before 1155. Yet as I have shown in my analysis of the VM, Henry Blois definitely composed this at Clugny after he went into self imposed exile in october 1155.
We know by use of the Variant in Wace’s versified version that Henry had started the vernacular version of the Roman de Brut before 1155 and completed it once Vulgate was a finished composition. Henry was not idle while in voluntary exile at Clugny between 1155-58 and was sheltered in his forest just like the Merlin he is writing about; after his nineteen years of frenetic turmoil having lost so much, he virtually opines as Merlin in the text of VM bemoaning his loss of fortune.
Henry signs ‘Geoffrey’s’ name on the treaty of Winchester as the bishop of Asaph to complete the trail of charter signatures left to posterity. At what date this was done we cannot say as the treaty was probably in Henry’s keeping at Winchester and the signature may have been added long afterward. What is sure is that no ‘Geoffrey’ witnessed the signing of the treaty and no other Bishop ever met Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Hammer’s First Variant gives the name Galfridus Arturus Monemutensis only in the Colophon. This runs contrary to my theory that the Monmouth appellation is late. This would however most likely be a later correction or insertion. It seems to me that Ralph of Monmouth’s name inspired Henry to change from Gaufridus Arthur to Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1153 when Duke Henry, King Stephen and Henry Blois met at Oxford castle.
The late interpolation into Gaimar’s work is determined by the fact that the book of Oxford is mentioned. The mention of Walter is definitely a part of Henry’s device that could only be employed after 1151 when Walter had died. A clear motive is seen in Henry Blois’ impostor of Gaimar. Pressure mounted on Henry Blois and he tried to distance himself from authorship of HRB yet maintain its credibility. It must certainly have been known that his name was linked to the Historia as he had presented it as evidence in Rome and doubtless could be connected to its proliferation and copying.
L’Estoire des Engles or the ‘History of the English people’, was written by Gaimar originally. Essentially, until Henry Blois got his hands on it…. it was the ASC in poetic form which also could be said to have more insight toward the northern regions i.e. written by someone in the North of England.
L’Estoire des Engles was certainly (but only slightly) interpolated with Arthurian lore by Henry Blois. The fact that Belinus is mentioned…. we know that Gaimar has been interpolated by someone concerned with corroborating part of ‘Geoffrey’s’ bogus history. On this point, modern scholars have suggested that both Gaimar and Geoffrey were working from the same sources. This position is only tenable if we believe the veracity of what is stated in the epilogue in that Gaimar actually composed L’estoire des Breton. He did not!!!
This is what we are supposed to believe when some interpolations into Gaimar’s original L’Estoire des Engles refer to Arthuriana. The reason Henry has lighted upon Gaimar’s work for a front, to implant his propaganda, is that Gaimar has (to an extent) versified the ASC for Lady Constance…. and therefore, could be accountable as having produced a poetical rendition of Walter’s book. This is the implication we are led to believe by the reference to L’estoire des Bretons.
Let there be no mistaking…. before any reference to Walter was made in the Vulgate HRB, Walter was already dead. So, the Primary Historia that spawned EAW and in the First Variant, there is no Walter mentioned because both these were composed while Walter was alive. Walter’s book was called upon as a dramatic prop, employed to give the air of authenticity to ‘Geoffrey’s’ source material, but more importantly to distance the author of HRB from the accusation of having fabricated it from his own imagination.
Originally Gaimar wrote his adaptation of ASC as a chronicle in octosyllabic rhymed couplets and he opens with a brief mention of King Arthur whose actions affect the plot of the interpolated tale of Havelok the Dane. Basically, the first 3,500 lines are translations out of a variant text of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and subsequent portions are a mix of more of Henry’s fantastic invention and Gaimar’s genuine work. Henry’s guile is unsurpassed here (and we know what is on his mind) as the opening lines declare: Heretofore in the former book, if you remember it, you have heard how perfectly Constantine held the dominion after Arthur…
Why would we not remember it if, as the epilogue makes out, Gaimar is writing a continuous history from Troy to William Rufus. What Henry Blois has cleverly done in the epilogue is infer firstly that Gaimar wrote L’estoire des Bretons and that the Trojan epic and the Arthuriana were in other works used by Gaimar. But, by mentioning the ‘good book of Oxford’ he shoots himself in the foot and provides a proof positive for those who are not gullible, because we (the not gullible) know that Gaimar’s testimony must have been composed be after Walter died.
Walter does not feature in the earlier First Variant. The whole farce is initially concocted in the Vulgate…. therefore, we can definitively say Gaimar’s epilogue was composed not only after Walter’s death but subsequent also to his name’s inclusion in the Vulgate.
L’estorie de Wincestre was the copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which supposedly Gaimar used and refers to in the text. It is not wildly speculative to assume that Henry had placed that book chained in Winchester and interpolated it with Arthurian lore and this is the reason we are led to believe that ‘Gaimar’ lends credence to it as an independent source.
In effect, creating the aura that what the ‘Winchester book’ contained was genuine. Also, one can speculate that the ploy was also meant to show that this book was at Winchester before Henry became bishop.
What needs to be understood is Henry’s vast wealth and influence over many disparate scriptoriums. This enabled him to have interpolated copies run off by various monks in differing locations where no cause for suspicion was involved in a wealthy bishop requesting a copy be made of a certain manuscript insert of folio. No one scriptorium aware of what others under Henry’s instruction were up to. These did his bidding and became the main way he was able to propagate HRB through the monastic system and disseminate through his contacts at court.523
523Crick says: I aim instead to apply the information from my enquiries to the question of how the work was transmitted. What staggers me is why since Tatlock has adequately shown that HRB is a composite i.e. a falsity; has no-one asked ‘who’ is doing the transmission or propagation throughout the Monastic system and courts. How could ‘Geoffrey’ have so many patrons? Why do the prophecies corroborate the false historicity of HRB? How is it that Orderic’s recycling of the sixth King in the leonine chain of numbered Kings is potentially seen to be invading Ireland before 1142. How is Merlin witnessed to be prophetic with real prescience without ‘backdating’ and how far is this mode d’emploi utilised in the text the prophecies corroborate i.e. HRB?
As long as we know Gaimar’s testimony in the epilogue is a fake, there is nothing to say that the name Geoffrey of Monmouth even existed before 1153 or the Vulgate (unless in a corrected copy).
In 1153 Gervaise was 12 years old, so his testimony regarding the Bishop of Asaph is hardly reliable and Henry Blois might have planted evidence of Geoffrey’s consecration by Theobald while Theobald was out of the country, temporarily banished by Stephen. The most powerful prelate in the land could plant any evidence he wanted anywhere in the church records system.
Henry Blois, posing as Gaimar, makes out that the L’Estoire des Bretons and L’estoire des Engles were commissioned by Constance, wife of Ralph Fitz-Gilbert, a Lincolnshire landowner using a manuscript obtained from Robert of Gloucester. Scholars have assumed therefore, it was written 1134-36 as Henry Ist does not appear (by what is stated) to be alive. One of the points of constructing the Gaimar epilogue pantomime is to pre-date the publishing of the Vulgate before its discovery at Bec, where obviously, Henry Blois had been in early 1138.
Gaimar is the original writer of L’estoire des Engles and probably did have a connection to Ralph Fitz-Gilbert who also had a wife called Constance. Henry’s gambit is always to stay aligned with what might seem the truth. He relies totally on obfuscation.
As pressure to find who had invented this work of HRB increased, Henry saw a need to portray that Gaimar also wrote about Brutus and Arthur prior to Huntingdon’s discovery. One can be sure that people suspected Henry as author of HRB. Especially, since the prophetia foretold of one bishop’s wish….which was destined to come true regarding a metropolitan; even though a sixth century prophet had foretold it to a time when the audience could read an verify his words.
The various individuals who are posited to have played a part in making the books available to Gaimar is purely a devise employed by Henry Blois to achieve his various goals by employing the mis-directional epilogue. No fewer than nine contemporaries are named to set the scene: Constance, wife of Ralf Fitz-Gilbert; Walter Espec of Helmsley; Robert, Earl of Gloucester; Ralf Fitz-Gilbert of Lincolnshire; Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford; King Henry Ist; Queen Adeliza of Louvain; David; and Nicholas de Trailly. The four written sources Gaimar refers to are Walter Espec’s book, the ‘Good book of Oxford’, the Winchester history, and an English book from Washingborough; all mentioned for a specific reason polemically.
Walter Espec who lent Lady Constance some of the books which supposedly Gaimar used, was the founder of the Abbeys of Kirkham, Rievaulx, and Wardon, and is well known for his gallant conduct at the Battle of the Standard in 1138. He was as an old man, High Sheriff of Yorkshire who died and was buried at Rievaulx Abbey in 1153 or 1155…. leaving no issue, as his son was killed by a fall from his horse.
Walter Espec’s three sisters inherited his estates, of whom the second, Albreda, married Nicolas de Trailli, and had four sons by him, Geoffrey, William, Nicholas, and Gilbert. The Nicolas de Trailli appealed to by the poet is Albreda’s husband a canon of York at the time Henry’s Nephew was re-instated as Bishop. We should not forget that in all probability Henry’s evolving Variant arrived in York by way of Henry’s nephew and this is how Alfred of Beverley obtained a copy and Henry is trying to obfuscate the trail of his HRB to the area of York and Beverley.
So, it is not by coincidence that Henry weaves his twisted propaganda around landowners in the north who he knows are dead using his usual retro-scenarios; as Gaimar probably mentions them in his non interpolated original text as he was also from that area. In effect Henry reconstitutes Gaimar’s work and adds a convoluted epilogue.
It is not coincidence that Walter Espec had just died. It is not coincidence that Henry Blois uses Walter Espec’s name in connection with Ralph and Lady Constance who had probably been the real patron of Gaimar. It is also worth noting Henry Blois had previously met Walter Espec when Henry Blois signed a charter with King Henry Ist granting permission to build Rievaulx abbey.
Nicolas de Trailli is appealed to by Gaimar to substantiate his claims about whether he is speaking the truth…. and in an unusual manner. The truth is that Gaimar was commissioned by Lady Constance. Why we should need to appeal to Nicolas de Trailli if it were really Gaimar writing is not clear, but as a polemic authored by Henry it becomes evident. One would think that Henry would hardly appeal to someone alive to substantiate his cock and bull story. Henry, in fact, invents how Gaimar came upon his sources (a most unusual declaration), so we can take it that Nicholas de Trailli was dead already.
The only real scenario which fits is that Gaimar did write a rendition of ASC in poetic octosyllabic. Henry then interpolated Gaimar’s own work with Arthuriana and added an epilogue. He constructed it as part of his devise to add credence to ‘Geoffrey’ having translated from Walter’s book and also to backdate Gaimar’s work by affixing dates of known personages of the generation before. The inter-dispersed interpolations into Gaimar’s work also had the added benefit of substantiating completely fictional people; unheard of, before ‘Geoffrey’ invented them in HRB, such as Belinus.
Let us look at how Henry Blois wraps up Gaimar’s original story by tacking on his disinformation in the epilogue: Let him who does not believe it go to Winchester, there he will hear if this can be true. Here will I end about the King (William Rufus). We can then witness what Henry establishes:
This history caused to be translated by the gentle lady Constance commissioned Gaimar on it, March and April, and all the twelve months, before he had translated about the Kings.
Here, Henry is splicing into Gaimar’s original work which may have mentioned March and April and combines this obfuscation with the fact that he had written the L’estoire des Bretons beforehand…. which as we will see was never written.524
524The usual rate for versifying was 3,000 to 5000 lines a year. Gaimar supposedly wrote 6,000 lines in the Fourteen months. As we shall cover shortly, if Wace had genuinely finished his Roman de Brut in 1155 as stated it would mean he had started it in around 1152-3 before Geoffrey was supposedly dead. Strangely in reality this is true in part as Henry Blois commenced composing Roman de Brut using the First Variant version. As he expanded Arturiana from Alfred of Beverley’s era c1147, Wace/Henry Blois uses this latterly expanded form in the Roman de Brut as found in Vulgate HRB. After 1155, when the Vulgate was complete, ‘Wace’ finishes off the last half of his versified HRB mirroring the Arthuriana contents with the Vulgate version. As we shall cover later, the Roman de Brut was probably published c.1158-60 and again Henry is back dating. But the sad scholastic conclusion is again backward; because of their belief that the Bec copy was the Vulgate version and so Variant is assumed the later version. This would mean the supposed Wace starts his book with the unexpanded first Variant (a supposed later version) and then reverts back to the expanded earlier version thought to be Vulgate. Total Nonsense!!!!! Just look at the discrepancies in EAW by comparison with Vulgate.
He procured many copies, English books and books on grammar, both in French and in Latin, before he could come to the conclusion. If his lady had not helped him, he would never have completed it. She sent to Helmsley for Walter Espec’s book. Robert earl of Gloucester had this historical narrative translated in accordance with the books belonging to the Welsh which they had on the subject of the Kings of Britain. Walter Espec requested this historical narrative, Earl Robert sent it to him, and then Walter Espec lent it to Ralf Fitz-Gilbert; Lady Constance borrowed it from her husband whom she loved dearly. Geoffrey Gaimar made a written copy of this book, and added to it the supplementary material which the Welsh had omitted, for he had previously obtained, be it rightfully or wrongfully, the good book of Oxford which belonged to Archdeacon Walter, and with this he made considerable improvements to his book; and this historical narrative was improved by the Winchester History, and a certain book of Washingborough, in which he found a written account of the Kings and of all the emperors who had dominion over Rome and tribute from England, and of the Kings who had held these lands of their lives and deeds, what happened to them and what deeds they performed, how each one governed the land, which ones loved peace and which ones’ war. Anyone willing to look into this book will be able to find there all this and more, and let anyone who does not believe what I say ask Nicholas de Trailly.
One can only feel sorry for scholars who are so naïve that they are taken in by what is so obviously designed to mislead and substantiate what is not true.
One does not need an explanation to understand why ‘Gaimar’ mentions the book of Robert of Gloucester rather than mentioning by whom the book was authored. The author Geoffrey of Monmouth is kept well out of the picture and it is to the dedicatee that Walter Espec makes his request. Modern scholars studying ‘Geoffrey’ do not understand that Henry Blois is adeptly corroborating what ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’ had written.
What Henry hopes to convey is that ‘Geoffrey’ had written a book for Robert of Gloucester, but it was Gaimar who added to it that which the Welsh had left out and to confuse us further…. it is Gaimar by his own admission that also possessed Walter’s book. The main purpose is to prove independently that a book from Oxford existed and probably to have us confuse the provenance of that book between the Archdeacon Walter and Walter Espec.
The Gaimar epilogue is meant to confuse and has the desired effect. It obscures rather than elucidates any useful meaning, but the ‘seed’ of doubt is again planted. To an unperceptive reader, the book ‘Geoffrey’ translated from, is forever more thought to have existed in reality, adding credence to ‘Geoffrey’s’ claim. It is not by accident that Gaimar’s supposed work L’Estoire des Bretons is substituted by Wace’s, but our modern scholars are again duped.
At Winchester, there obviously existed a book into which Henry Blois had interpolated substantially. Henry is by means of the epilogue, (for the benefit of the gullible), showing that in that book was new material which was supposedly put in Gaimar’s L’estoire de Bretons, which of course does not exist. Don’t forget, L’estoire de Bretons is thought to have the same contents as HRB. The existence of the Winchester book, which was probably a vastly interpolated rendition of ASC, also needed to be substantiated as having been chained in Winchester of old.
Hence, by total confusion ‘Gaimar’ who is purposely ante-dated by Henry Blois to c.1136,525 is made to appear as if he is the instigator of the Vulgate book which has drawn so much attention which Henry needed to deflect or risk being exposed. Therefore, supposedly ‘Gaimar’ let it be known that the book of Oxford had material that Robert of Gloucester’s book did not contain. Therefore, any inquirer as to how the Primary Historia or First Variant evolved into the Vulgate, without the accusation of fabrication, is now appraised that ‘Gaimar’ made these additions.
525Henry Blois makes it appear Gaimar is writing just after the death of King Henry I as La raine de Luvain Adeliza remarried William d’Aubigy in September 1139. The intent is to ante-date Gaimar’s work to this period.
We know Archdeacon Walter in the Primary Historia and also in the First Variant does not feature. Walter, as a known dead person, only becomes necessary as a patsy later when questions are being asked. Herein is the reason for the production of Gaimar’s charade by Henry Blois. The real intent of the production of Gaimar’s work and the mention of Walter Espec and Robert duke of Gloucester is to ostensibly provide evidence that both ‘Geoffrey’ and Gaimar had accomplished their works before the Anarchy. The way this was done was to show that Gaimar’s use of Geoffrey’s Historia would have been in L’Estoire des Breton. In other words Henry had already written the Roman de Brut and to save duplicating another version called L’Estoire des Breton by Gaimar as is poited in the epilogue…..‘Wace’s’ Roman de Brut was merely substituted as a supposedly similar script. Hence, Wace’s work is found alongside in all four MSS of Gaimar’s real work ,although interpolated. What we are supposed to think is that….. it was Robert of Gloucester who deposited his dedicated copy at Bec in 1137 when he left England. Huntingdon does not mention his name in EAW and nor do the First Variant’s except for the Exeter MSS; and as we have mentioned, this is either a late insert by Henry or a later correction or since it is a cut down version of the dedication; it may well be the first to have a dedication. But it still would date after 1147. There were definitively no dedications before 1147….even in Alfred’s copy. However, this is the very point Henry Blois is trying to make by saying in the most contrived fashion that Gaimar’s project took 14 months to compose and we are led to believe have been written c.1136.
The Washingborough book is somehow meant to mislead us into thinking that Geoffrey’s Vulgate, which has Alexander’s dedication in it, was in existence while Alexander was Bishop of Lincoln. Washingborough is less than two miles from Lincoln. It may be Henry’s intention that the book of the Merlin’s prophecies is implied as having come from Washingborough as Alexander supposedly possessed it and chose (pressed) ‘Geoffrey’ to translate it. As we know Alexander had no connection to Geoffrey because Geoffrey is not a real person but Henry Blois loathed Alexander.
The fact that Ralph Fitz-Gilbert was benefactor of Kirkstead abbey, to whom Earl Conan made a grant of land in Washingborough between 1156-58, (the precise time which I assume Gaimar’s original work was rehashed by Henry)…. may have some bearing on what was intended. Conan as we know at this time was at odds with Henry II and Henry Blois is specifically trying to incite rebellion through Conan and Cadwallader in the prophecies.
However, …from an English book of Washingborough, wherein he found written of the Kings, and of all the emperors who were lords of Rome and had tribute of England… hardly sounds as if it is the book of prophecies supposedly translated for the Bishop of Lincoln, but more along the lines of ‘Geoffrey’s’ pseudo-historia or Variant version. Anyway, the passage about the various books in Gaimar’s epilogue is intended to be unclear and cause obfuscation.
Geffrei Gaimar cel livere escrit in line 6453 and then in 6460, Si en emendant son livere bien, just adds to the purposeful obfuscation; so, it becomes unclear who is translating or adding to, or redacting, or who composed which book.
It would seem the real problem was that First Variant version (except those versions corrected subsequently), had no dedications in them and people were suspecting fraud when the Vulgate appeared. One can be sure this was a concern, as some of the prophecies in the Vulgate were seditious toward the new King. Why would Gaimar c.1136 have us refer to Nicholas de Trailli when we could just ask Archdeacon Walter if a ‘good book’ ever existed…. or reference the ‘good book of Oxford’?
One would have to be extremely slow, to accept without question Gaimar’s epilogue, considering that which we have discussed previously concerning Archdeacon Walter’s late appearance in the Vulgate Version. One should ask why Gaimar appeals to Nicholas de Trailli. The probable answer is that the author (Henry Blois), obtained his copy of Gaimar from Nicholas de Trailli or Walter Espec.
Gaimar’s epilogue was composed as a reaction to the fact that the Vulgate HRB was published (now made public), so it cannot be early as scholars presume…. as we know the Vulgate (with its prophecies) was published in 1155.
In reality, Walter would have been inundated with enquiries about the ‘good book of Oxford’ (ex-Brittania, ex-Brittany, ex-Briton or however one wishes to be misled), if Walter’s name had existed in the First Variant.
The fact that Lady Constance borrowed the book from her husband whom ‘she loved dearly’…. is inconsequential personal piffle meant to deflect from the lie being propagated. The anecdotal comment is supposed to induce us to believe some personal observation was made by Gaimar about Lady Constance to indicate the epilogue was written by Gaimar himself. Whether we are supposed to believe that the ‘He’ in…. he had previously obtained, be it rightfully or wrongfully, the good book of Oxford…. referred to Walter Espec, Ralph Fitz Gilbert or even Gaimar is a moot point, for Gaimar’s ambiguous reference is employed just to show an independent knew of the book also.
The point is, the ‘good book of Oxford’ becomes real by being referred to by another writer…. or at least that is what we are being led to believe. Henry even throws in a little subterfuge as to whether the book was obtained rightly or wrongly. This supposedly adds narrative credibility to his concoction.
The epilogue continues: Now, says Gaimar, if he had a patron, he would go on to tell of King Henry, for if he is willing to talk about the King even briefly and write an adaptation of part of his life, he will be able to recount thousands of things that David never had copied down, nor did the Queen from Louvain ever hold in her hand any book recording this sort of material. She did have a large book made however and the first verse of which she had embellished with musical notation. David is a good narrative poet, and he composed good verse and constructed his song well. Lady Constance owns a written copy of it, and she often reads it in her chamber; and for the copy she gave a mark of silver burnt and weighed. The material of which this book was composed has achieved some circulation and reached several places. But as for the festivities that the King held, – and still today Henry, that Christian man of blessed memory, ranks as the best King that ever was, but as for the drinking and bouts of boasting, the courting and the love affairs in which he carried on, David’s book has hardly anything to say.
‘Gaimar’s’ statement of intent to write about Henry Ist followed by the immediate retraction of the intent is purely to show Henry Blois knows of the book that David wrote. This in effect sets us in the era in which the epilogue is supposed to have been written. People knew of David’s book in Latin, so the point for Henry Blois to make was that Gaimar also, ‘long ago’ i.e. in that period, had that same book of Oxford that ‘Geoffrey’ claims to have had. The purpose of the seemingly irrelevant anecdote is all about backdating.
The remarkable thing about Henry Blois is that he slips into character so easily. We see this in the grovelling show of flattery to Robert of Gloucester and Alexander, both of whom in reality he disliked, but Henry never loses sight of the fact that writers needed a patron. Henry makes a pantomime of farce, pretending to be an equal of David seeming to be concerned with the petty things poets of his ilk should be concerned about.
I would hazard to guess that there was such a book written by David (probably the brother of Bishop Alexander of Lincoln) and Henry Blois knew of it and he makes a show of intimacy with Lady Constance, wife of Ralf Fitz Gilbert, a Lincolnshire landholder and affirms her bookishness by giving the ridiculous anecdote of how much she paid for a copy. Who would not believe this is Gaimar writing. All this is dressed up to convince us that the author of the epilogue is in reality the person called Gaimar mixing in circles in Lincolnshire which Henry will have gleaned from the original preamble of Gaimar’s work.
Henry Blois, the author of the epilogue, pretends to be concerned with what David wrote and ostensibly says that David should not have left out the bits which truly would have been more interesting regarding what he had written about Henry Ist. The whole is a ploy to convince contemporaries and us in posterity that the epilogue was written by Gaimar.
Finally, the last part of the epilogue is as follows: Now, says Gaimar, he passes it over. But if he would take more trouble He could compose verses about the fairest deeds (of Henry Ist ), namely the love affairs and the courting, the hunting sports and the drinking, the festivities and the pomp and ceremony, largesses and riches, the entourage of noble and valiant barons that the King maintained, and the generous presents which he distributed. This is indeed the sort of material that should be celebrated in poetry, with nothing omitted and nothing passed over. I call on David, then, to continue his narrative if he so wishes, and not leave it as it is, for if he was willing to compose a sequel, he could greatly improve his book. And if he is unwilling to turn his mind to this, I will go and fetch him myself and have him imprisoned; he will never again get out of my custody until he has completed the song. Now we are at peace / reconciled, and let us be glad. Gaimar’s narrative goes [all the way] from Troy as far as here; he began it at the point where Jason left in pursuit of the [Golden] Fleece, and has now, at this present moment, brought it to a close. God’s blessing on us all! Amen.
The quite preposterous proposal that Gaimar is going to fetch David and have him imprisoned is purely a device to ostensibly provide contemporaneity with David. David obviously wrote for Adeliza who is the Queen (from Louvain) and the author David is also now dead. That such a book existed is provided by a description of its first verse. That Adeliza is mentioned is to show that Gaimar’s work was on a par with David’s and thus ostensibly back-dated contemporaneously. We know from Hildebert of Le Man’s comments that Adeliza was only concerned with serious studies and histories.
Henry Blois’ guile should not be overlooked. The opening lines of Gaimar are a prime example. Henry Blois refers to the book which in reality he has not written as the livere bien devant and purposefully misleads us…. because the statement that Iwain was made King of Murray and Lothian does not tally with Geoffrey’s account in First Variant version or Vulgate. The point is to convince us that a similar book to Geoffrey’s with different content existed. In the last line of the epilogue he says Gaimar’s narrative goes from Troy as far as here (as far back as Jason which is prior to Geoffrey’s Brutus).
Now, we know Henry’s devises are based largely on obfuscation and confusion. So, here he has established that Gaimar is not the same author as Geoffrey (in case any should suspect fraud) because the accounts contradict each other. The reader should keep in mind that the inventor of the whole Brutus history (because we are not referring here to Nennius’ brief mention) is Henry Blois. So, Gaimar in reality, could not have written any book to do with a history from Troy without ‘Geoffrey’s’ Historia. It is from this knowledge we can conclude that the sham of an early publication by Gaimar, (especially concerning the epilogue), is as equally untenable as ‘Geoffrey’s’ fabricated persona…. and ‘Geoffrey’s’ insistence that he used an old book from which he has translated. Gaimar’s epilogue is a contrived fake which is tacked on to Gaimar’s work by the artful author called Henry Blois. No wonder he equates himself with Cicero!!
Modern scholars will find this hard to accept, because it is still believed that ‘Geoffrey’ lived in reality and Walter had the ‘exceeding ancient book in the British tongue’ mentioned by him…. which Gaimar now seems to corroborate. Most modern scholars have understood that ‘Geoffrey’ has concocted as a compilation the whole HRB and they can even see that the prophecies are spliced into it, but none have evaluated that Huntingdon’s EAW storyline is not the same as the Vulgate HRB. Even with its very numerous and considerable variations, it is still considered that the Bec Primary Historia is the same as the Vulgate edition of HRB.
One wonders how it is that scholarship has been so easily duped regarding the ‘good book of Oxford’…. but where is ‘Geoffrey’ going to get a ‘book on the exile of the Britons’ that neither Huntingdon nor Malmesbury has ever seen: Many of them betook them in a mighty fleet unto Armorican Britain, so that the whole church of the two provinces, Loegria, to wit, and Northumbria, was left desolate of all the convents of religious therein. But of this will I tell the story elsewhere, when I come to translate the Book of their Exile.526
526HRB XI, x
Gaimar gives the name of one of his sources as the History of Winchester. He tells us that it is a volume of history, compiled on Aelfred’s orders from information furnished by monks and canons in various parts of England, and was chained up like a church Bible in Winchester Cathedral. In reality there probably was a book as described full of Henry’s propaganda…. but if Gaimar has a copy, why is he telling us to go to Winchester to verify his history?
This cannot be the volume known as the Annales Wintonie, now in the British Museum which is of later date. But we may speculate that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which Gaimar is referring us to, is an interpolated copy of ASC and which obviously did not tally with any extant copy which we now possess.
We can see Henry Blois has scarfed in the interpolations into Gaimar’s text and it becomes obvious that Gaimar is being used in the same way that Henry Blois had used William of Malmesbury’s DA and GR. Whereas, Henry, while interpolating DA, is fabricating material as a proof of antiquity for Glastonbury and to substantiate his ‘first and second agendas’; by contrast in Gaimar’s work, he makes small inconsequential changes in the main text that Gaimar has written. He interpolates small inserted passages which corroborate some of his Arthurian lore found in HRB.
The real accomplishment, is the epilogue concerning Walter and his ‘good book’. Henry Blois did at first write a different epilogue based upon lines Gaimar had written which we shall also cover here. There are several parts in Gaimar’s text which mirror the fabricated HRB, but just to highlight the method employed…. we will look at some of the more blatant Arthuriana. The highlighted black print is indicating what was originally in Gaimar’s work and one can see the passages flow if one takes out the insert. L’estoire des Engles starts with an improvisation which gets right to the point of the introduction…. which is to provide another source which backs up the phony Arthurian history created in HRB.
Heretofore in the former book,
If you remember it,
You have heard how perfectly
Constantine held the dominion after Arthur;
And how Iwain was made King
Of Murray and of Lothian.527
But afterwards he fared right ill.
All their best kindred died,
And the Saxons spread themselves,
Who had come with Cerdic,
From the Humber as far as Caithness.
Modred the King had given it to them.
527Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles, 5. Wace does not say that Muref and Loeneis were given to Iwain, but Scotland (Brut, ii. 226). Geoffrey of Monmouth (ix. 9) says that Mureif was given to Urien, Iwain’s father.
So they seized, and wholly occupied
The land which once Hengist held.
This they claimed as their heritage,
For Hengist was of their lineage.
Behold the occasion,
By which the Britons came into great trouble,
So did the Scots and Picts,
The Welsh and the Cymri.
Such war the outlandish folk made,
Britain came to great grief.
The English every day increased.
For they often came from over sea.
Those from Saxony and Almain
Joined their company
For the sake of Dan Hengist, their ancestor,
The others made them lords.
Every-day as they conquered
From the English, they explored the land.
The land which they went on conquering,
They called it England,
Behold a cause
By which Britain lost its name.
And the nephews of Arthur reigned,
Who warred against the English.
But the Danes hated them much.
Because of their kindred, who had died
In the battles which Arthur fought
Against Modret, whom, he afterwards slew.
If that is true that Gildas said
In the Geste, he found written
That there were two Kings formerly in Britain
When Constantine was chief.
This Constantine was the nephew of Arthur,
Who had the sword Caliburc.528
One of the Kings had for his name Adelbrit.
He was a rich man, also he was a Dane.
The other had for his name Edelsie.
His were Lincoln and Lindsey.
From the Humber to Rutland
The land was under his command.
Alvive529 was her name: She reared me.
Well she cared for me while she lived,
She brought me up. So said my mother,
I was the daughter of Grim, a companion of hers.
But it happened in your land,
That King Arthur came to conquer it,
For his tribute, which they withheld from him,
With many men he came to the land,
To King Gunter he seemed an enemy,
Near the sea he gave him battle,
Slain was King Gunter,
And many knights on both sides.
The land gave what Arthur would.
But the queen, because of the war,
Could not remain in the land,
So she fled with the right heir.
You are he, as I believe
Dan Haveloc, the King’s son.
Who then was a powerful King530
Over the other folk in this land.
On account of his lord, who was dead,
By the power of Arthur the strong;
Whom he had by treason sent for,
And had given him this country.
Because he was treacherous and cruel,
Many took counsel together,
That they should never hold with him,
Nor take land of him,
Until they knew of the right heir,
The truth about his life or death.
This King who then was in the country,
Was the brother of King Aschis
Who met his death for Arthur
Where Modred did him such wrong,
His name was Odulf the King;
Much was he hated by his Danes.
528Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles, 30
529Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles, 405
530Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles, 510
Afterwards Eadgar, his brother, reigned.
He held the land as an emperor.
In his time he bettered the land.
He had peace everywhere, there was no war.
He alone ruled over all the Kings,
And over the Scotch and the Welsh.
Never since Arthur departed
Had any King such power.
The King much loved Holy Church.
Of wrong and of right, he knew the manner.531
531Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles 3573
One can see these are simple insertions to the text which serve no other purpose than to propagandise the Arthuriana maintained in HRB and to appear as if Gildas bears witness to Arthur. We know the only place this takes place is in Henry’s impersonation of Caradoc of Llancarfans’s concocted Life of Gildas.
There is an earlier Gaimar epilogue in manuscripts D&L which also show Henry’s hand and it is mainly identified with his agenda in pursuit of Metropolitan status and backing up the authenticity of fabrications found in HRB:
The tenth is Cornwall.532
The men are valiant in battle.
Corineus settled it;
He who drove out the giants.
Henry’s concern in the later epilogue is purely defensive. The later epilogue is constructed ostensibly so that Gaimar appears to know of the ‘good book of Oxford’. Thereby, ‘Geoffrey’ was not found to be bearing false witness by insisting he had merely translated an old book; rather than what many suspected had been fabricated.
But I will speak of the Welsh.533
I will tell of the people there.
In Wales there are many cities,
Which were highly renowned,
As Caerwent and Caerleon,
And the city of Snowdon.
And there are five bishoprics,
And a master archbishopric.
Of these there are none left
But three, of which, I will tell you the sees.
One is at St. David’s,
Which before was at Caerleon.
This was once the archbishopric,
Now it is a poor bishopric.
The other is settled at Bangor.
Glamorgan is the third.
532Gaimar’s Early epilogue ,123
533Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles, 201
They are not in any city,
In consequence of war they are deserted.
But still we know well
That the bishop has the pallium
Of St. David, as he claimed it.
We know well he went to Rome.
Now there is no city left,
For all the country is destroyed,
First by the Saxons,
Then by the war of the Britons;
On the other side, since the French
Have defeated the English
And conquered the land
By fire, by famine, and by war,
They have passed the water of Severn,
And waged war on the Welsh,
And spied out the land.
They conquered much of the land,
And set very grievous laws on it;
For they drove out the Welsh,
They settled in the land;
They built many castles there,
Which are right good and fair.
But natheless often times
Well have the Welsh avenged themselves.
Many of our French have they slain,
Some of our castles they have taken;
Openly they go about saying,
Fiercely they threaten us,
That in the end they will have all;
By means of Arthur they will win it back;
And this land all together
They will take from the Latin folk,
They will give back its name to the land,
They will call it Britain again.
Now we will hold our peace about the Welsh,
And speak of the roads
Which were made in this country.
King Belinus had them made.
The first goes from the east
Until it comes to the west.
It crosses the country.
Ikenild the road is called.
The second, according to the Saxons,
Ermingestreet still we call it.
This road is well known.
From the north it goes straight to the south.
The third is far famed.
Watlingstreet it is called.
At Dover this road begins.
Right at Chester it ends.
It takes the length of the land.
The fourth is very wearisome.
This road is called Foss.
It goes through many cities.
It begins at Totness,
And goes as far as Caithness.
Seven hundred leagues is it reckoned.
This road is far famed.
Belinus who had them made
Placed them in great freedom.
Whoever was outlawed
Should have his peace on these roads.
We have described to you the counties
Of the land, and the bishoprics,
And the names of the four roads
Now thus will we leave it.
Here ends the history of the English.
Realistically, St David’s was never a metropolitan534 and it was mainly Henry Blois’ friendship with Bernard which prompted the third archflamen to be included in the First Variant as Bernard had the same aim as Henry. It was entirely an invention that a metropolitan once existed at Caerleon and this was introduced into Arthurian lore to show that in King Arthur’s era metropolitans which had once stood, no longer existed. Hence, Henry’s ploy was that both Winchester and St David’s should be reinstated. St David’s on merit that it had been an Archbishopric previously, Winchester because it had a monastery (as attested in HRB) long before Augustine’s Canterbury was given the honour of primacy. Giraldus also took up the mantle later after Bernard died.
534We should disregard Rhygyfarch’s Life of St David as his allusion is not to metropolitan specifically, ’Saint David, archbishop of all Britannia’.
This aside, we know that Belinus did not exist historically. He is a fictional character re-invented here in Gaimar by Henry Blois. As Tatlock suggests, his name is based upon a vassal of Henry Blois’ brother Count Theobald of Blois. There was also a fictional King Belinus in Nennius at the time of Caesar (not mentioned in Roman annals) and so he too might be ‘Geoffrey’s’ inspirational source and again indicates there are ‘doubts concerning the British History attributed to Nennius’ (Newell) regarding suspected interpolations.
Brennius the Gaulish invader of Rome, however, is based on historical fact and appears in Bede. Henry Blois as usual mixes fact with fiction, so their conquest on Rome seemingly has a basis in history. Henry Blois envisages Belinus as a great builder. After founding Caerleon, he has Belinus as the builder of the Tower of London in the fourth century BC. The Tower535 was instigated by Henry Blois’ Grandfather and Henry knows full well who built it…. so, it is no wonder the same Belinus builds the roads in Britain.
The point is that Belinus is ‘Geoffrey’s’ invention. We know that the person who envisages the great engineer Belinus in Gaimar’s earlier epilogue is one and the same with the writer of HRB. Henry only later changes the epilogue to suit the purpose at that time…. just as he added the last paragraph to Caradoc when it suited his purpose.
The Early epilogue corroborates his historicity in First Variant and acts as corroborative evidence on the Metropolitan issues. The latter epilogue acts as a confusion of sources, material and authors, as to how the Vulgate HRB might be found credible in its assertion that it is a translation from an old book. The investigator into what has transpired here should inquire how Wace’s Roman de Brut is mirrored in a work supposedly to have been written by Gaimar and put forward as the unwritten L’estoire des Bretons…. which just happens to also use the same source as ‘Geoffrey’ in his translation…. which supposedly constitutes Vulgate HRB. Modern scholarship’s understanding that Wace’s Roman de Brut replaces the unwritten L’estoire des Bretons on literary merit and accompanies all the copies of Gaimar (because of this fact) is naïve. It is Henry who put the two together and distributed the manuscripts.
Henry loves to provide answers giving eponyms or how things came into existence to amaze his readers. As I have maintained, Henry Blois spent time in 1136, just after his brother was installed on the throne, putting down rebellion in South Wales. This is where he gets his knowledge to compose concerning the topography and archaeology of Wales and what would have been in GS (if the pages were not missing from the manuscript); but his personal observations about castles in GS always stands out, as he himself is a builder. It is no surprise then we find in Gaimar’s first epilogue the observations found in GS: They built many castles there, which are right good and fair.
Again, the hope of the Britons is expressed in the earlier epilogue:
Openly they go about saying,536
Fiercely they threaten us,
That in the end they will have all;
By means of Arthur they will win it back;
And this land all together
They will take from the Latin folk,
They will give back its name to the land,
They will call it Britain again.
535In the prophecies Henry even refers to the three predecessors of Stephen: Thereafter shall a tree rise up above the Tower of London, that thrusting forth three branches only shall overshadow all the face of the whole island with the spreading breadth of the leaves thereof. Henry knew the tower was built by William the Conqueror. We know from William of Mamesbury’s GR where he tells of Edward the Confessor’s prophetic vision in which a tree is split and symbolises the English royal house. Not by coincidence…. so too does ‘Geoffrey’ have Merlin see the Norman royal house as a spreading tree growing from the tower of London symbolising his Grandfather’s sons Robert Curhose, Henry I and William II.
536Gaimar’s earlier epilogue written by Henry.
One part of ‘Geoffrey’s’ pseudo-history which has baffled scholars is why there is the flattering imperialism in Vulgate HRB which appears to be toned down in the First Variant. For all ‘Geoffrey’s’ mad claim to imperialism there is but one witness. It seems safe to speculate that Haveloc the Dane was composed by Gaimar where Henry Blois just inserts small interpolations; so that the claims of conquering Denmark in HRB are conveniently substantiated by an independent source or at least we are supposed to think this.
Again, we can see where the Blois Arthuriana is inserted into existing text:
I will relate you the adventure.537
Haveloc was this King named.
And Cuaran is he called.
Therefore, I mean to tell you of him,
And recall his adventures,
Of which the Bretons made a lay.
They called it from his name
Both Haveloc and Cuaran,
Of his father I will tell first.
Gunter was his name, he was a Dane.
He held the land, he was King.
At the time that Arthur reigned,
He crossed the sea towards Denmark.
He would make the land submit to him,
And have tribute of the King.
With King Gunter he fought.
And with the Danes, and conquered.
The King himself was killed.
And many others of the country.
Hodulf slew him by treason,
Who always had a felon heart.
When Arthur had ended his war
Hodulf gave him all the land,
And the homage of his barons.
When he departed with his Britons;
Some by constraint, some by fear,
Most of them served Hodulf.
Some there were who sought his ruin
By the advice of Sigar the Stallere,
Who was a good and rich man,
And well knew how to war.
He had the horn to keep
Which no one could sound
Unless he were right heir of the lineage,
Which was over the Danes by inheritance.
Before King Arthur came.
Or had fought with the Danes,
Gunter had his castle
On the sea shore, strong and fair.
537Gaimar, Haveloc the Dane ,16
Again, this last Arthurian reference is inserted purely to back up what is written in HRB:
Your father was King Gunter,538
Who was lord over the Danes;
Hodulf slew him by treason,
Whoever had a felon heart.
King Arthur enfeoffed Hodulf,
And gave him Denmark.
Grim, our father, fled,
To save you he left his land.
Thy mother died at sea;
For our ship was attacked
By outlaws, who seized us.
Lastly, to show there is no end to the devices which Henry employs, this next section is also found in L’estoire des Engles:
Then was Cirencester besieged.539
But by the negligence of the Britons
It was set on fire by sparrows,
Which carried fire and sulphur into the town.
And set light to many houses.
And the besiegers who were outside
Made an assault with great courage.
Then was this city conquered,
And Gloucester was taken.
As far as the Severn they conquered all.
They killed all the best Britons.
And from the sea, to which they came,
As far as the Severn, they took to themselves
All the country and the Kingdom,
And they drove out the Britons.
538Gaimar, Haveloc the Dane, 597
539Gaimar, L’estoire des Engles ,858
As we have discussed already the burning of the castle at Cirencester and the sparrows is fabricated entirely by Henry after having seen the fort burn in 1142 with his brother. Yet, he mentions this in the VM: This wolf will lay siege to Cirencester and by means of sparrows raze its walls and houses to the ground. He will then set off for France with a fleet, but will die by a King’s spear.
The reader may remember the discussion of how Robert of Gloucester died which no chronicler relates, yet Henry Blois has an inkling stating through Merlin in one version by the weapon of a king and above by the spear of a King. At Cirencester in 1141 the Empress and Robert, Earl of Gloucester built a ‘motte and bailey’ castle.
Henry also delights through Wace by giving the Sparewencestre etymological rubbish. There is no stopping his muses of invention, but here we have three tracts, Wace, Gaimar and VM…. all written by Henry Blois with this story from personal experience.
Henry has his ‘book at Winchester’ and in his interpolation into Gaimar, he concocts a story of how this marvellous book which contained cross reference material to Geoffrey’s HRB came to be found chained up at Winchester so that his faux history could be ‘authenticated’:
The sixth Oswald, the seventh Oswiu. 2315
But the land did not go thus.
So that no man, except by war,
Knew how went the land.
Nor at that time did anyone know
Who belonged to each King.
But monks and canons of abbeys,
Who wrote the lives of Kings.
Each applied to his companion
to show the true account
Of the Kings; how long each reigned,
How he was called; how he died;
Who was killed, and who deceased.
Who are preserved, and who decayed.
And of the bishops also
The clerks kept record.
Chronicles, it is called, a big book.
The English went about collecting it.
Now it is thus authenticated;
So that at Winchester, in the cathedral,
There is the true history of the Kings,
And their lives and their memorials.
King Alfred had it in his possession,
And had it bound with a chain.
Who wished to read, might well see it,
But not remove it from its place.
The eighth King- was named Ceawlin.
He had the West Saxons with him.
He was King of one part.540
This book of Chronicles, supposedly written by clerics from around Britain in Alfred’s time, would have made a brilliant read. It was obviously put together on the basis of ASC by Henry Blois and hereby given credence being extant in antiquity by Gaimar. Unfortunately, it is no longer extant, but must have been vastly corroborative to the pseudo-history and Arthuriana found in HRB.
We would be foolish to believe in Walter’s knowledge of an old book which was given to Geoffrey. ‘Geoffrey’s’ work was received and propagated in Wales and much of the phony corroborative evidence for Henry Blois’ concoction of HRB, (like Geoffrey’s date of death etc.) is established by interpolations in the Book of Llandaff after Geoffrey’s supposed death.
Ironically, it is suggested by modern scholars that Caradoc is suspected of helping substantiate parts of Geoffrey’s HRB in the Book of Llandaff, because they think he was a contemporary because they are duped by the colophon in HRB. Henry Blois obviously had Welsh monks known to him in monastic houses. ‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB would have to be the source of Chivalric Arthuriana in Wales rather than any Welsh warlord Arthurian tradition. Henry puts the final icing on the cake regarding ‘Geoffrey’s’ and Walter’s relationship, so that every investigator to date has believed Henry’s ruse.
In the Welsh history known as Tysilio’s Chronicle, (identified ridiculously by Flinders Petrie as the source used by Geoffrey of Monmouth), Henry Blois has a script written in Welsh which pretends to be written by Saint Tysilio, a Welsh bishop who died 640. At the end of Tysilio’s Chronicle Walter Archdeacon of Oxford supposedly writes: I, Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, translated this book from the Welsh into Latin, and in my old age have again translated it from the Latin into Welsh.
The very concept is ludicrous…. of a man translating from Welsh into Latin and then carrying out the same exercise in reverse. There would be no point. As a fabrication, what Henry is establishing here is that Walter’s book was first written in Welsh, (which of course we are led to believe or understand to be the ancient Briton language)…. and therefore, could be the book from which ‘Geoffrey’ is supposedly translating. Through this ruse we are made to believe that ‘Geoffrey’ did have an ancient book to translate from, since anecdotal HRB material is found in the chronicle. Regardless of the futile act that Walter is supposedly carrying out in old age, his name is now connected to the Vulgate Version of HRB and corroborated from an exterior source; just as Henry portrays through Gaimar’s epilogue. The illusion has remained for nearly 900 years.