The short manuscript known as De Inventione Sanctae Crucis Nostrae was written by an unknown author. The main purport of the tract seems to be to give an account of the establishment of the abbey and church of the Holy Cross at Waltham in Essex. The tract contradicts the Vita Haroldi concerning King Harold’s death and two other accounts of where King Harold was buried.
William of Malmesbury’s account in GR states Harold’s mother asked for the dead King Harold’s body after the battle of Hastings and she was given it without ransom. Harold’s mother buried the body at Waltham where he had built the church in honour of the holy cross. However, the church of ‘holy cross’ to which Malmesbury’s account refers, probably derived its name from the fact that it housed part of the original Calvary cross which Harold is said to have procured. There is no mention in William of Malmesbury’s account of the Holy Cross having arrived from Montacute in connection with Waltham Abbey as portrayed by the De Inventione Sanctae Crucis Nostrae.
Most scholars have assumed De Inventione was written by a canon after Becket’s death and around 1177446 when Henry II re-dedicated the abbey on account of a promise made as an act of penance for the murder of Thomas Becket. The reason for assuming this era for the manuscript’s composition is that, the De Inventione ends with an account of the death of Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1144. Most commentators have assumed this is an account written by one of the canons which were removed at Henry II re-dedication of Waltham Abbey.
I believe De Inventione is another instance of Henry Blois using his personal experiences and knowledge to concoct certain histories for his own personal gain and for those under his control. There will be a very few scholars who will agree with my proposition that De Inventione was written by Henry Blois. So, it is worth looking at the information which we can glean in regard to Waltham and Montacute to see why Henry might have written such a tract.
446Carley is wrong in assuming the account was written just before the discovery of Arthur p.304 Although the Holy cross was supposedly discovered in 1035, the account was not written until after 1177; it first appears then very shortly before the Arthurian excavation. Carley’s deduction is conjecture probably also based on the fact that Arthur’s disinterment had similar facets of a disinterment to those described in De Inventione. De Inventione is a product of Henry Blois and his involvement with the search for the sepulchre of Joseph on an Island as proposed in the Melkin prophecy. Henry Blois thought Joseph’s remains were at Montacute because he had knowledge of the marker clue left behind by Melkin in another work i.e. that statement seen at Glastonbury which was left to posterity that Joseph of Arimathea was buried at Montacute.
What I am proposing concerns the geometry of Melkin’s prophecy and Montacute and what I believe was an attempt by Henry Blois to find the body of Joseph of Arimathea based upon information which only later came to light and was relayed by Father Good but which existed in the muniments of Glastonbury abbey when William of Malmesbury was researching his De Antiquitates: The historical statement has an unknown original source but is obviously connected and derived from knowledge of the Geometry of the Melkin prophecy.
The statement later re-iterated by Father good states: “The monks, never knew for certain the place of this saints burial (Joseph’s) or pointed it out. They said the body was most “carefully hidden” on a hill near Montacute and that when his body would be found, the whole world would wend their way there, on account of the number and wondrous nature of the miracles worked there”. This information was deposited in the English college in Rome by Father Good after the hanging of Richard Whiting. The similarity to the conclusion of the Melkin prophecy is striking also in that the ‘whole world’ would be interested in the outcome of the discovery of the body.
There are several coincidences between this information relayed by Father Good and the Melkin prophecy itself apart from the very fact that Montecute is itself part of the ‘marker’ geometric solution to the Melkin prophecy. The first coincidence is that Joseph’s name is connected with Montacute in conjunction with a paraphrase of the last lines of Melkin’s prophecy.
If we accept the coincidence of Henry Blois being the primordial instigator of Robert De Boron’s Joseph d’ Arimathie,( yet to be discussed) and also being Abbot of Glastonbury where the Melkin material was found; along with the coincidence that Henry Blois was also Dean of Waltham Abbey…. and the fact the ‘Red Book of the Exchequer’ 447says Henry Blois was prior of Montacute; all this must warrant closer scrutiny regarding the absolutely ridiculous legend put forward as fact in De Inventione portraying how the Holy Cross arrived at Waltham having been found at Montacute.
447H. Hall, ed, The Red Book of the Exchequer, vol 2, 752, In a passage ‘ex libro Abbatis de Feversham’, it is stated that Henry was prior of Montacute previous to his appointment as Abbot of Glastonbury. It only becomes pertinent concerning that which Father William Good had to say about Joseph of Arimathea’s remains being ‘carefully hidden’ at Montacute in consideration of Henry’s part in writing the De Inventione Sanctae Crucis Nostrae in Monte Acuto et De ductione ejusdem, apud Waltham.
In the ‘Red Book of the Exchequer’ it lists Henry of Blois as Prior of Montacute. Montacute was a possession of Glastonbury. It may well be that plans for a new religious house were in place at Montacute which were subsequently shelved by King Henry Ist and maybe Henry Blois was prior of Montacute before Glastonbury, but this is conjecture.
There is no certainty of where Henry was in the interim between leaving Clugny as a young man and his arrival at Glastonbury. As we have already covered, he was probably with King Henry Ist and his own brother Stephen in France in 1128. However, it is of little consequence if he were at Montacute before Glastonbury. If the Red book is in error and Henry’s notoriety in Montacute is derived from his own personal dig at Montacute, while abbot of Glastonbury; it makes no difference either.
It is the coincidence of a dig being carried out at Montacute and corroborative evidence concerning a marker point in Melkin’s geometry which then links to Waltham where Henry was Dean; conjoined with the information concerning Joseph’s body which says he was most “carefully hidden” on a hill near Montacute…. which makes this investigation worthwhile.
If, unlike intransigent modern scholars, we can accept that a work of Melkin existed at Glastonbury in Henry Blois’ tenure as abbot of Glastonbury, we can then understand how the short sentence ‘Joseph is carefully hidden’ in Montacute, came to be so significant to Henry Blois and why he instigated a dig at Montacute. It would then follow that he later used as a basis for composing the flatulently ridiculous train of events recorded in De Inventione Sanctae Crucis Nostrae, the legend of the Holy cross’s arrival at Waltham.
What I am proposing is that Joseph’s name was originally linked to Montacute by Melkin in a separate manuscript from the encrypted geometric information relayed in the prophecy of Melkin itself. Quite seperately the name of Joseph linked with Montacute must have been given as an aid to solving the geometry which defines the 104 mile line which leads to Burgh Island or…., as we now know the island originally named Ynswitrin (or White Tin Island)
As a dig was performed at Montacute by Henry Blois and no remains of Joseph were found, the episode was used by Henry Blois to provide a legend for the glorification and increased income to the Dean of Waltham (Henry Blois) having just endured a fruitless search for Joseph of Arimathea at Montacute. This is the hypothesis!
The implication is that the Holy cross was bogusly found at Montacute after an unfruitful dig, instead of Joseph’s grave. When the implication is expanded; the Holy Cross, supposedly unearthed on the whim of a premonition of the local blacksmith at Montacute, might have been buried by Joseph when he came to Britain…. although any connection to the dig by Henry Blois and Joseph are not made in any manuscript.
It seems rational to deduce that the link to the actual dig that took place in search of Joseph’s remains by Henry Blois in reality…. is based on information about Joseph being buried in Montacute. This was obviously passed down through the ages to Father Good by Richard Whiting. This information in its origin (since no-one to date had decoded the geometry) could only have derived from Melkin himself and that is what prompted Henry Blois to search at Montacute…. which then prompts this investigation into the unlikely story provided in De Inventione and its author.
Modern scholars link the dig at Montacute to parallels in Adam of Damerham’s account and that of Giraldus Cambrensis’ concerning the unearthing of Arthur, rather than linking the montacute dig by a certain Henry Blois to Melkin’s description of where Joseph is ‘carefully hidden’. There are only two accounts in ancient literature which posit where the body of Joseph of Arimathea might be.
It is spelled out by Melkin in his enigmatic yet encrypted prophecy which refers the reader to an Island called Insula Avallonis (or the substituted Ineswitrin), the modern day Burgh Island. The other location is that piece of information passed on to posterity by Father William Good after the dissolution of the monasteries, which, remarkably points out the hill of Montacute. It is not by coincidence that Montacute is on the ‘104 mile line’ Melkin has sent us to locate by decryption of his geometric puzzle!!
On the subject of Montacute, this is what Carley has to say:
Montacute, and by extension the Waltham had connections with Glastonbury, which would cause the Glastonbury community to have an active interest in the story. Montacute is, of course, within a few miles of Glastonbury. Both places are characterised by prominent hills and one can be seen from the other. References to a lost charter suggest that as early as the last quarter of the seventh century, Baldred made a grant of 16 hides to Glastonbury at Logworesbeorh i.e. Montacute. William of Malmesbury, too, refers to the ancient name of Logworesbeorh for Montacute and specifically links the place with the personal name of Logwor, occurs on one of the pyramids in the ancient cemetery, the pyramids between which Arthur’s body was later to be found. Henry of Blois, Abbot of Glastonbury (1126-1171), sold the deanery of Waltham in 1144 and tried to buy a gem from the cross for 100 marks. He was himself a Cluniac and may too have at one time been prior of Montacute’s Priory. In the account itself several points stand out. In both cases the excavators must dig to a great depth before they discover anything. At Montacute they finally come across a stone described as ‘Mire Magitudis’. According to Adam of Damerham, the Glastonbury monks also find a ‘Sarcophagum ligneum mirae magnitudis’. Unlike other chroniclers, moreover, Adam adds the strange detail that the site in the cemetery was surrounded by curtains. This brings to mind the tent which covered the dig at Montacute. In sum, then, Glastonbury Abbey would have had a proprietary interest in Montacute doings, at least one 12th century abbot, Henry of Blois, knew the cross well, and it is certainly possible that the community had early access to a version of De Inventione. The parallels between the two texts may even support the supposition that De Inventione was some sort of vague model for the organisation of the excavation at Glastonbury in 1191. Beyond this it is not possible to speculate although it would be tempting to suggest that De Inventione was an even more specific catalyst for the later dig.’448
448James p. Carley. The discovery of the Holy Cross at Waltham
449Franklin, 86. Voss 162-163
Waltham was then restored to Adelicia again, but the story becomes unclear when the canons houses are burnt. An incident took place between Adelicia’s new husband William d’Aubygny and Geoffrey de Mandeville. It was to her patronage, apparently during her second occupation, that our author owed his canonry and prebend. Henry Blois has a habit of flattering his opponents as seen in the dedications in HRB to avoid detection in authorship. He is also adept at inventing relationships between the author he is impersonating or fabricating and personages of standing which establishes contemporaneity. Also, as seen in GS, he inserts negative criticisms of himself so as to deflect suspicion of authorship.
According to our ‘author’, Henry Blois attempted, to carry off the ‘great carbuncle’ from Waltham. Geoffrey de Mandeville was out of favour with Stephen and Bishop Henry after changing his allegiance to the Empress Matilda. Geoffrey de Mandeville eventually died in the siege of Burwell against Stephen’s forces but caused serious problems while rebelling against him.
It just seems more than coincidental that the Holy Cross is conferred with the power of retribution against Geoffrey, when for a rational mind his death had nothing to do with the cross at Waltham. I believe for a short time after 1144, when the cross was supposedly taken down (which apparently caused the death of Geoffrey at the siege of Burwell), Henry concocted this story with the intent of gaining materially from creating the legend. The precise motives and unfulfilled intentions will never be found out.
What I have tried to show is the link between Henry Blois, Tovi’s fictitious find at Montacute, Henry’s deanship at Waltham and how Henry Blois links this to an earlier episode in his life…. when he had searched for the body of Joseph of Arimathea at Montacute. This is probably how, in the end, Carley associates the Montacute dig with Arthur’s disinterment along with Adam’s similarity in description of the two episodes.
I believe the flint cross did exist and Henry had plans to instigate another legendary part of British history based on a crucifix he had procured from abroad…. but somehow his plan or design was thwarted as he lost control of Waltham. It is also a strange fact that since our author’s account of when the cross was taken down, there is no specific mention of the cross up to when the abbey was dissolved in 1540. There is no mention of the ‘Flint Cross’ by description beforehand except that which is derived from this very concoction of the De Inventione. If the Holy Cross was such a fine work….unprecedented work of the compound, the Supreme artist’s hand at work, why is it not described in Vita Haroldi?
However the conflation is obvious in the Vita Haroldi450 quatuor cruces auro atque argento et gemmis fabricates.
450Vita Haroldi, MS. HarL, 3776, Michel, Chroniques Anglo-Normandes, ii. 162,
While composing the legend, Henry substantiates the story using real people gleaned from charter evidence which would substantiate that Tovi held land both at Montacute and at Waltham. Henry chose Tovi as the protagonist as Tovi is known from other sources to have been a man of some standing during the reign of Cnut and active in the early 1040’s. On Tovi’s death, the properties which pertained to his office as ‘staller’ are said to have passed to his son Æthelstan. We hear again in the De inventione that Æthelstan, lost Waltham, which was then gifted by King Edward to Earl Harold who re-founded the church for a Dean and 12 canons and the foundation was confirmed in 1062, by charter of King Edward the Confessor.
Henry’s account is fictionalized history based upon anecdotal history just as he constructed HRB. The basis for the Holy Cross’s provenance would seem to be based on Henry’s search for Joseph. Henry carried out a dig at Montacute because he was aware of the same information which was eventually passed to Father Good much later which says that Joseph is ‘carefully hidden’ there. It was a message from antiquity supplied by Melkin and it pertained to his geometry. Believing Joseph is buried at Montacute is a misinterpretation of ‘carefully hidden’.
Montacute is a reference point on the line Melkin is directing us to construct on a map which indicates Burgh Island….the clue itself is ‘carefully hidden’ until revealed as a confirmation point on the line. Not by coincidence, Montacute is a hill just like Glastonbury tor and Burrow Mump, both of which partially define the original reference line (the Michael line) which we are led to bifurcate at Avebury.451
451In other words, both ends of the line are defined by…. at one end the sperula of Avebury and the other….Insula Avallonis or what was originally Ineswitrin. The length is defined by the 104 miles. However, so that the constructor of the line is confident that he has constructed the line correctly, Montacute was also stressed as a marker point in another part of Melkin’s work obviated by Father Good’s testimony regarding Joseph of Arimathea.
Melkin’s prophecy is a set of instructions, but the reference to Montacute (provided in a separate part of Melkin’s work), is merely an obtuse pointer, which in no way insists Joseph ‘is’ at Montacute; but rather through association with Montacute we should find where he is ‘most carefully hidden’. Melkin’s intention was as a ‘clue’ to unlocking his puzzle i.e. a reference point on the line and indicator if one has constructed the 104 mile line correctly.
Father Good’s association of Montacute with Melkin’s prophecy is evident by his interpretation: They said the body was hidden most carefully, either there (Glastonbury), or on a Hill near Montacute called Hamden Hill, and that when his body should be found, the whole world should wend their way thither on account of the number and wondrous nature of the miracles worked there.
Even though Father Good’s information speaks of Joseph, it would not be a natural association to make under normal circumstances in William Good’s day. By this time, all assumed Joseph was in Avalon and Avalon was at Glastonbury. It is for this reason it would seem that Father Good’s actions in perpetuating this information derives from the fact that it was privileged information which was about to be lost due to the Dissolution of the monastic system. The clue regarding Joseph’s remains and Montacute had been passed down through the generations. Father Good therefore made a point of passing this nugget of information on to posterity as he held this confidence to be important. It is evident that Father Good’s intentions were to perpetuate to posterity what he had probably been told by abbot Whiting before his death.
Carley refuses to accept the solution to Melkin’s prophecy. It would involve a retraction of many positions mistakenly held, but he would answer his own question: Why did the monks come to associate Joseph with Montacute? Why did they not discover his remains in the abbey cemetery?452
452James p. Carley. Discovery of the Holy cross at Waltham.
If we can accept Montacute being on Melkin’s line is not a coincidence, then one ought to conclude that one man composed both the geometry in the prophecy and the clue that Montacute is a marker on the geometric line which the data in the Melkin prophecy constructs. This is because both are relevant and are mentioned in relation to Joseph’s burial place. This unlikely coincidence should act as a confirmation by the fact that no-one knew where Joseph was buried except Melkin. It is with this reasoning that we can assume that this ‘tip off’ to a solution to the puzzle was misunderstood by Henry Blois as meaning that Joseph was buried at Montacute. His interest had been sparked by seeing Melkin’s work in the Glastonbury Library and therefore negates Carley’s insistence that the Melkin Prophecy is a 14th century fake.
Most commentators today assume that the reference in Maihew’s Trophea to Father William Good’s account regarding Joseph of Arimathea has its origins in the earlier fictional account supplied in De Inventione about the unveiling of the Holy Cross at Montacute by Tovi. This stance is simply incorrect and Tovi’s link to the flint cross is pure invention.
It was Melkin’s Montacute clue which was the basis for the De Inventione legend which derived from the dig. No one has seemed to ask the question as to why Harold’s relic of the Holy Cross (supposedly a remnant of the original cross) is conflated with the flint cross found in Montacute. Would not Harold’s relic warrant more legend apportioned to it rather than Tovi’s flint cross? In reality Harold’s relic was probably the cause of the church being named after the Holy Cross and Henry Blois when Dean of Waltham attached his own concocted legend to the name by the story found in De Inventione.
What is the Holy Cross doing secreted underground in some random location in England buried at the top of a hill? One can’t just come up with a cross as Dean of Waltham at a religious house known for its cross (which no longer exists) without making up a legend for the beautiful new cross that has just appeared. This is why De Inventione. was concocted but in reality, it is the result of a fruitless dig for Joseph at Montacute and the fact that Henry had probably newly acquired a beautiful cross from Rome.
Montacute Priory was not founded until 1078 and so this discrepancy is dealt with in the De Inventione by suggesting there was a priest and Sexton at Montacute earlier in the century. Also, another strange fact that indicates De Inventione is concocted is that the fictitious disaffected canon gives no indication of where he composed the De Inventione and certainly betrays no anger at supposedly being ousted from Waltham. When one adds to this smoke the common assumption453 that Glastonbury had a version of De Inventione,…. it might suggest that it was written at Glastonbury or by someone connected.
453Probably because Adam has seen a copy.
Father William Good was a Jesuit priest born at Glastonbury who served mass in the Abbey as a boy before its dissolution. He left to posterity, at the English college in Rome, the information conveyed to him by an elder at the Abbey i.e Richard Whiting before being hanged. This same information Henry Blois had come across 300 years earlier c.1130 when William of Malmesbury searched through the dusty muniments in the scriptorium at Glastonbury as part of his research for De Antiquitates.
Maihew, while he was a student in the English College, after Father Good’s death, copied the following text from the signed manuscript which Father Good had left for posterity. I believe, before the monastery of Glastonbury was disbanded when William Good was still a boy, the secret concerning Montacute which had been passed down from Abbot to Abbot through the ages, finally left Glastonbury with William Good.
The secret was probably passed to Father Good by Abbot Whiting before he was hanged on Glastonbury tor. It was then written down in adulthood by Father Good at Rome…. so the importance of the information would not be lost to posterity. This proves one point. Although it may have been bandied about that Joseph’s grave existed in some place in Glastonbury, it was never unequivocally found. Father Good would not think it important to provide the information in his era and we know the grave could not be there anyway.
There appears to have been an attempt to cover up this following passage from being widely made public, since the copies of Maihew’s Trophea in the British Museum, in the Bodleian library and in the library of Trinity College Dublin are all missing this specific passage.454 The passage quoted here actually comes from Stillingfleet’s private collection that was sold to Archbishop Marsh’s library in 1704 and is now in Dublin Library. Who has tried to prevent this information regarding the resting place of Joseph from reaching the public domain.
Archbishop Usher in his Antiquitates,455 who quotes from Maihew’s Trophea: ’Quod autem ad montem illum Hamdenhil nuncupatum,in quo aliqui S.Josephum ab Arimathea sepultum perhibent spectat habebatur sane olim sacellum in illo monte constructum inter sacra et veranda angliae loca.’….‘As for the mountain called Hamden hill, in which some claim Joseph of Arimathea is buried, clearly from the looks a chapel was once located here, built on that mountain, among the sacred and revered places of England’.
454Two Glastonbury legends. J. Armitage Robinson p.66 (Kesinger Legacy Reprints)
455Antiquitates p.16 of ed. 1678.
The reference there given for it is: Edvard. Maihew Congreat. Anglican. ordanis Benedict. Tabula.2.pag. 1118,1119. Maihew‘s Trophea is divided into three tabulae but the numbering of the pages is continuous throughout; so the tabula 2 contains pp. 883-1888. Why is it that this one vital aid to verification of a correctly constructed Joseph line is missing from three copies?
Montacute is a vital confirmational marker on the line which identifies Burgh Island at its 104-mile extension from Avebury at 13 degrees to the Michael line. The Montacute marker point lets us know we have decoded Melkin’s riddle correctly. Although Hamden Hill is referred to, the reference which Father Good makes is to the St Michael’s Hill of today, which, as the quote reports had a Chapel on it.
It is interesting to note that there remains no trace of the St. Michael church at Montacute nor at Burgh Island, yet these two locations are two points which link to all the chapels comprising the Templar built ‘ St Michael line’ of churches through to the bifurcation point. An attempt has been made to cover-up the clue and testament to Joseph’s whereabouts left by Father William Good by someone in the 17th century. We may speculate that the relevance of St Michael’s on Montacute hill and St Michael’s on Burgh Island close to St Michael’s on Glastonbury tor and Burrow Mump were perhaps too obvious a pointer.
After all, whoever plotted the linear design of Michael churches must have cracked Melkin’s code otherwise we have an amazing coincidence of Michael churches marking the two lines which are in effect the solution to Melkin’s riddle. We could accept a whole line of churches set upon an old Beltane line as a coincidence ‘at a push’; but one has to get real when the two other St. Michael churches are on Melkin’s constructed line and these are the only two places on earth which have references to Joseph of Arimathea’s grave site. Plus the fact the line we are cryptically steered to construct, terminates on the very island about which the original Melkin prophecy had as its subject before Henry Blois changed the name to Insula Avallonis.
Maihew writes: For this man (Father Good) was situated until now in the same monastery (Glastonbury) in a flourishing position, a boy brought up as a priest to devote himself to sacrifice for the mass, after the overturning of the rule of the Catholic Queen Mary; however, while Queen Elizabeth was persecuting the Catholics, he was made a member of the clergy of the Fellowship of Jesus. And when the church of the Anglican college was decorated with pictures, he was the first to assemble in that place an enumeration of the distinguished holy men of England, with him as leader, to ensure that the appearances and deeds of those very men in that place were portrayed with a faithful likeness to the truth.
However, concerning the convent of Glastonbury and Saint Joseph of Arimathea, he leaves behind the following, written in his own hand and signed in that place with his own name:‘at Glastonbury there were bronze plates as a perpetual memorial, chapels, crypts, crosses, arms, the keeping of the feast(of St Joseph) on July 27, as long as the monks enjoyed the protection of Kings by their charters. Now all these things have perished in the ruins. The monks never knew for certain the place of this Saints burial, or pointed it out. They said the body was hidden most carefully, either there (Glastonbury), or on a Hill near Montacute called Hamden Hill, and that when his body should be found, the whole world should wend their way thither on account of the number and wondrous nature of the miracles worked there. Among other things, I remember to have seen, at Glastonbury, a stone cross, thrown down during this Queens reign, a bronze plate, on the which was carved an inscription relating that Joseph of Arimathea came to Britain 30 years after Christ’s Passion, with eleven or twelve companions: that he was allowed by Arviragus the King to dwell at Glastonbury, which was then an island called Avalon, in a simple and solitary life: and that he had brought with him two small silver vessels in which was some of the most holy blood and water which had flowed from the side of the dead Christ. This cross, moreover, had been set up many years before to mark the length of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin, made by Saint Joseph with wattle. The length was measured by a straight line from the centre of the cross to the side of the chancel afterwards built of hewn stone, under which also there was of old, in a subterranean crypt the Chapel of St Joseph. Outside, in the wall of this Chapel of the blessed virgin, there was a stone with the words ‘Jesus, Maria’, carved in very ancient letters. The old arms of the monastery of Glastonbury confirm (the traditions). These arms are a white shield on which is placed vertically the stem of the green cross, and from side to side the arms of a cross in like manner. Drops of blood are scattered over the field of the shield; on both sides of the upper right and under the arms of the cross are set golden ampullae. These were always called St Joseph’s insignia for he was piously believed to have abided there; and even perhaps to have been buried there. There was in that same place (at Glastonbury) a long underground sanctuary where a very famous pilgrimage was established to the stone statue of that saint there; and there were many miracles done there, even while I was a boy, who was born there (in Glastonbury), and I served mass in the sanctuary as an eight-year old, and I saw it destroyed by the impious man, William Goals, under Henry VIII.’
Thus far go the words of that man (Father Good); as I said, he signs his name in his own hand under these things: I copied them down from the manuscript itself when I was a pupil of the same Anglican college in Rome, and always I kept them safe with me, across sea and land, amid the most savage persecutions of heretics. Nevertheless, it points towards that mount named Hamden Hill, on which some claim the tomb of St. Joseph of Arimathea to be, the sanctuary on that mount was kept safe for some time, built among the sacred and revered places of England. In fact I remember when sometimes I myself would traverse that mount, a certain old man who lived not far from that place would receive me through trust in my worthiness, often, during the reign of Elizabeth the heretic, to visit that place, and there, in a particular place he was accustomed to pray on his knees.
Father Good follows the pseudo-historical myth of Avalon which started in HRB along with Arviragus etc. and was then consolidated in DA by Henry Blois. However, no-one before Father Good mentions Joseph of Arimathea at Montacute. Adam of Damerham’s account is based on De Inventione. The De Inventione manuscript probably existed at Glastonbury through connection to Henry Blois the author of that script.
The De inventione Holy Cross dig at Montacute by Henry Blois inspired Henry’s muses and seems to be a template for the later unearthing of Arthur at Glastonbury as Carley unwittingly suggests. Hence, I hope the reader can see why I am labouring the point that a connection with Joseph and Melkin’s prophecy which Father Good makes, must have existed at Glastonbury in the time of Henry Blois.
Montacute was not mentioned in DA in connection with Joseph because it would detract from Henry’s primary goal; which was the conversion of Glastonbury to Avalon. What this indicates to me is that by Henry’s exclusion of the information regarding Joseph at another location i.e. Montacute, is the conformation that the information existed in reality. Although the information concerning Joseph being ‘carefully hidden’ at Montacute was extant at the time that scholars deduce DA’s interpolations took place, Montacute’s connection to Joseph is not mentioned in DA.
The mention of Montacute in DA would contradict Henry’s efforts of transformation of Glastonbury into Avalon and Joseph’s place there; Joseph’s tomb was indicated by Melkin to be in Avalon now that Henry had changed the name of the island on the Melkin Prophecy. Only Melkin who composed the cryptic prophecy of Melkin had Knowledge of Montacute’s connection to Joseph and hinted as a misdirectional clue in another text that He was carefully hidden there. We can now see he was not carefully hidden but the marker point of Montacute on the 104 mile line is but a confimational nodal point on the 104 mile line which extends from Avebury to Burgh Island.
Avalon, as we have covered, has its basis in the prophecy concerning Burgh Island, (the original Ineswitrin). The name Avalon, in connection with an island, is Henry’s invention as we witnessed in HRB (Arthur’s last resting place); the name derived from a town near Clugny. Nowhere does the name Avalon pre-exist Henry Blois at Glastonbury.
The DA that Henry left to posterity as a final version was not fully rewritten until the latter stages of Henry’s life c.1169-71 when he stayed for the most part in his palace at Winchester. The DA was returned to Glastonbury fully interpolated and lastly consolidated by Henry adding the first two chapters. The DA was bequeathed by Henry after his death to Glastonbury along with the other books. Further interpolations were added to DA after Henry’s death by monk-craft.
It is interesting to note concerning Montacute that the statements by Father Good: ‘The monks never knew for certain the place of this Saints burial, or pointed it out’, and ‘even perhaps to have been buried there’, tend to denote that in Father Good’s day it was recognised that previous generations of monks had fabricated the whole legend. It would seem that the subterranean chapel at Glastonbury in Father Good’s time might have been an attempt at establishing a place of worship where Joseph was supposed to be buried even after J. Blome’s search.
In 1367 an anonymous East Anglian chronicler reports that Joseph’s body had been found. We could speculate that this is connected to the appearance of the Turin shroud c.1357 which is possible based on the fact that others have postulated the shroud originated in the tomb on Burgh Island 50 years earlier; when the Templars having solved Melkin’s puzzle entered the tomb and took the shroud.
However, the Glastonbury monks were unable to produce the Grail for all to see…. or conjure up the duo fassula which were known to be buried with Joseph. The legend lacked credibility with pilgrims. Monks were cautious about faking a grave for Joseph in case Joseph’s relics were in reality discovered. As Father Good bears witness, the ‘miracles’ which were prophesied by Melkin and which were supposed to happen at the unveiling of the grave, were already taking place at this underground sanctuary, so Monk craft seems to have tried to convince pilgrims, but not even Glastonbury’s Officine de faux or the wiles of Henry Blois would have the effrontery to fabricate the ‘duo fassula’, the icon of the Grail.456 What was the Grail but Henry’s transformation of the ‘fassula’ into the cup which held Jesus’ blood and that is a tricky thing to pull out of a hat with attendant miracles for pilgrims.
Father Good says: there were many miracles done there in a long underground sanctuary where a very famous pilgrimage was established to the stone statue of that saint. If Joseph had been discovered, there would be no need for the statue. Also, if Joseph had been found, there would be little point in recording the possibility that Joseph is at Montacute by Father Good. We can conclude that the Glastonbury monks knew that Joseph’s grave had never in reality been discovered at Glastonbury and as Wood suggests they held back the fabrication through religious scruples
Although Father Good attests that Glastonbury is Avalon, he is unconvinced that Joseph is actually buried there. The fact that Maihew went to Montacute circa 1620 and witnessed a man on his knees praying indicates that maybe the St Michael chapel was still standing, but it is an odd coincidence that both the St Michael Chapel at Montacute and that which Camden bears witness to on Burgh Island457 have both left no trace behind yet were purposefully built on the two locations as part of the St Michael array of churches and chapels which trace the decryption of Melkin’s geometry by the Templars.
Possibly, subsequent searchers being newly appraised of this hitherto un-published information concerning Joseph’s burial at Montacute, dismantled the chapel on the top of the hill to search beneath for the Grail. We could speculate that some copies of Maihew’s Trophea were meddled with, so as to exclude Father Good’s information being spread abroad.
456Wood, ‘Fraud and its consequences’ p. 282. It would appear, though, that this modesty (in not unearthing Joseph’s bones and the duo fassula) was not a product of the normal forger’s caution, a fear of claiming things so outrageous that the whole fabricated structure becomes endangered. Rather, given Joseph’s role in the crucifixion, and further given the Holy Grail’s heterodox associations, it seems likely that the monks failures here may well have arisen from religious scruples, from a recognition that there were some frauds that could endanger the faith’. Wood has it right and Henry preferred to manufacture the grave of Arthur rather than Joseph.
457Camden’s description of Burgh Island where the River Avon meets the sea at Bigbury: ‘where the Aven’s waters with the sea are mixed; Saint Michael firmly on a rock is fixed’. Speculatively, the nomenclature of Bigbury should not be overlooked either as etymologically if the ‘Bury’ indicated ‘borough’ the name is senseless but in describing a big burial place.
Even if all three copies of Maihew’s Trophea were made from one exemplar apart from Stillingfleet’s private one; why is just this section missing out of the entire volume? An even greater coincidence is that Melkin’s original line (the St Michael line) thus named by all the churches built along its axis, is the primary line which we are led to bifurcate at Avebury; and the line Melkin expressly wishes us to construct, (at the pertinent points on that line once constructed), also had St Michael churches on them (at Montacute and Burgh Island).
It is as if someone had traced over the solution to Melkin’s decoded puzzle on a map and plotted St Michael dedicated buildings along the lines. It is as if the dots on the lines are St Michael chapels, but this is not Melkin’s doing. Melkin used what seemed to be fortuitously placed landmarks which constituted the Beltane line in his era. The fact that the topographical land features of Burgh Island and Montacute on the ‘Joseph line’ are similar to Glastonbury tor, Burrow Mump and St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall (on the Michael line) must be an extraordinary coincidence of nature mixed with Melkin’s choice in creating the puzzle…. or by Heavenly design, if one were to consider who it is that is still undiscovered on Burgh Island.
The chapels which mark both the St Michael line and Joseph line were constructed after Henry Blois’ era. There is an exception and this is why we should be suspicious of the mention of the St. Michael chapel on Glastonbury tor which is (not coincidentally) where St Patrick’s charter was supposedly found.
Rather than embark on a digression here concerning Henry Blois’ construction of St Patrick’s charter458 replicated in DA, where not only does he substantiate his invention of Ineswitrin as being synonymous with Glastonbury (by using the same method of backdating in the words of St Patrick); but he also introduces Phagan and Deruvian…. first mentioned in First Variant HRB.
We should leave this until the section on DA further on. But it is interesting that it is Rudborne459 who attests Phagan and Deruvian were the consecrators of the old Minster at Winchester.460 Henry Blois’ invention and insertion of the St Patrick charter into DA seemingly appears to have St Patrick (and William of Malmesbury) referring to the island of Avalon (which is impossible) and it also establishes Patrick’s burial there where author B cited a rumour (not mentioning Avalon). (Appendix 32).
458See Appendix 32
459Thomas Rudborne c. 1430, an English Benedictine monk of St Swithun’s Priory, Winchester in his Historia Major has Phagan and Deruvian as founders of the old Minster at Winchester. Antonia Grandsen has noted their use at Winchester by Rudborne, but they are not mentioned in the thirteenth century account of the foundation. It is interesting however at both York and Winchester, the tabulae contained information about the foundation of the old cathedral by Phaganus and Deruvianus. Archbishop Usher also cites a Winchester libellus written 1,265 years after the foundation by Phaganus and Duvianus in ad 169. We might think Phagan and Deruvian were connected to Winchester’s founding and Henry Blois used their names in HRB and connected them to Eleutherius and the rest…. isn’t history.
460The Legendary history of Britain J.S.P. Tatlock p. 248 makes the nonchalant observation: The picking out of Winchester as the single English See mentioned here is one of the matters which suggests that Geoffrey had some special favour towards it. Its new bishop Duvianus (Diwanus) has the same name as Lucius’ missionary earlier…
However, there should be no surprise that the tomb on Burgh Island has been discovered previously. If Melkin’s description of the Grail has something to do with the formation of the Shroud of Turin as others have elucidated,461 the tomb must have been opened at some stage prior to the appearance of the shroud.
To carry out the intended aim of the prophecy (which is to show where the grave of Joseph of Arimathea is located), it is necessary to understand the instructional data in the prophecy. This directs us to construct the line (which, not by coincidence, goes through St. Michael’s hill Montacute) as we have shown. The reason Montecute is given as an intended clue is because it verifies a plotting point on the 104-mile line. The puzzle can only be understood by creating a line on a map.462 This line is the 104 nautical mile line which extends from Avebury to Burgh Island as I have said. It is the solution to what appears as random unintelligible words, which, (once understood), mark out a constructed line which extends through the only two stated places that Joseph is said to be buried. One on the Island of Ineswitrin, which we know is Burgh Island, and the other at Montacute which we know is only a conformational marker point.
461M. Goldsworthy. And did those feet. The Turin Shroud.
462Any reader can construct the same two lines on Google earth.
It would be highly unlikely that the two places Joseph is said to be buried just happened by chance to be on a line which purported to unlock his sepulchre’s whereabouts once the intent of the prophecy is decrypted. It is more unlikely the end of the line would end up on an island and that the meaning behind the obtuse latin in Melkin’s prophecy is all coincidental. But don’t forget we are ‘instructed’ by our current expert prof Carley, that the prophecy of Melkin was supposedly meaningless, a composite jumble of words dreamt up by different people at different times and constituted from different material and refers to a fortress in Syria.
The Montacute ‘marker’ could only have been known as a point on the 104-mile line by the constructor of the puzzle or someone who has decoded the prophecy since Melkin. Yet if it was information supplied by Melkin and the reasoning we think Henry Blois went in search of Joseph at Montacute, logically no one before the Templars had decoded the Melkin prophecy. We should conclude the organisation behind the erection of the St Michael churches along both lines might be responsible for opening the tin vault on Burgh island shortly before the Templar’s fatal day.
If I am correct in assuming De inventione is a product of a failed dig in search of Joseph of Arimathea at Montacute and if Henry used the clue for the inspiration for his dig at Montacute…. we can only assume an earlier provenance for the Melkin prophecy than scholars allow.
Why is it that scholarship cannot see the wood for the trees when it comes to Melkin? The prophecy has three main subjects…. the Island, Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus, who is cryptically referred to as Abbadare. We are told the island is coveting pagans and we know it holds two Jews which Melkin might refer to pagans as Jews (the two most famous Jews to boot). We are told the sepulchre of Joseph is on the Island and he has something there with him. Melkin is reticent to tell us what it is, but cryptically informs us that it is the duo fassula, which we must assume has a close connection to Jesus, as his blood is implied to be in one of the Vessels…. or so the way the words are written…. we are led to believe.
We know there is no vessel like cup, but the Melkin prophecy is directly referring to Jesus through the name Abbadare. So, Melkin informs us, if we find an English Meridian (of which there is only one, i.e. that which runs from St Michael’s mount to Avebury), which is termed the Michael Line these days; we are then to bifurcate the ‘English Meridian’ at a point in a sphere according to the instructions.
The point of Melkin’s message to posterity is obviated by instructing us it is a ‘line’…. which, when bifurcated, at that point…. produces another line by the action of bifurcation. We know it is an invitation to uncover a grave site because it is referring to the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea; and the prophecy informs us of the marvelous things which will occur when it is found in the future.
Therefore, we know we are looking for a grave on an island. So, we must logically assume that the other information in the prophecy is relevant to finding the tomb. If we follow the purport of the prophecy and apply the relevant details found in it, (none of which are irrelevant or redundant); we must conclude, since the prophecy indicates we are looking for an island, the seemingly non-sensible words are clues to uncover the said island’s whereabouts.
Therefore, we must find the relevance and meaning behind ‘all’ the supposedly obscure words found in the prophecy. Once we know that the ‘English Meridian’ is known today as the Michael line, any investigator can progress. If we deny this fact, listen to the experts, or are duped by Glastonbury propaganda, there can be no hope of finding a solution or the sepulchre of Joseph.
If we bifurcate that line as instructed within the sphaerula (which can only be Avebury stone circle), there are only three other extraneous and unemployed pieces of information, once the meaning behind the prophecy is decoded. If we use the 104 mile line (the other half of a bifurcation) which we are led to believe must be formed on a map, (logically, because we are looking for a geographical location) and employ the bifurcation point of Avebury stone circle, which is on the Michael line…. and follow the instruction to divide (bifurcate) at an angle of thirteen degrees (sperulatis); we find the line terminates on an Island in Devon 104 miles from Avebury.
Now, if we accept Insula Avallonis as a substituted name for Ineswitrin, (knowing Henry Blois is the inventor of the name Avalon) one would be very dim indeed if one did not recognise the only two places (an island or Montacute) which have been posited as the grave site of Joseph of Arimathea both exist on the line which Melkin has implied should be constructed and which is precisely 104 nautical miles long..
It would be an amazing coincidence if the geometry haphazardly fell on Burgh Island, especially as we have determined that it is the ancient island of Ictis, considering Joseph’s association with the tin trade. It also must be considered in association with Ineswitrin and its nomenclature derived from the description of ‘white tin’ and the fact that it has the same name as that found on the 601 charter donated by the King of Devon.
Researchers need to answer how Burgh Island and Montacute are on a line that is unknown until constructed on a map from an encoded document and who it was that built these St. Michael churches as markers. Burgh Island and Montacute were previously unconnected before the line is drawn and this line is the solution to Melkin’s puzzle and both places connect to tradition concerning Joseph’s burial site.
How randomly coincidental it would be that Father Good invents such a notion concerning Montacute in connection to Joseph’s resting place, especially being a Glastonbury acolyte. It is even more astounding that for Carley, the prophecy is a cohesion of esoteric material from different sources, invented with no specifics in it that have any meaning except those that might be relevant to the old church at Glastonbury, Baybars and a Syrian fortress. In fact, it is ludicrous to suggest that the prophecy of Melkin is in any way connected to a fortress in Syria considering the Valley of Jehosaphat is the metaphoric place where the day of judgement by Jehova takes place…. where the God of Israel will gather all nations for judgment.
What benefit would it bring to our supposed thirteenth century inventor of the prophecy, if his sole aim was to align himself with Grail literature emanating from the continent as Carley and Lagorio insist? Why would our rogue author randomly interject such words as sperula and Abbadare? Saphat has little connotation or meaning without the person of Abbadare or Jesus. Nor do the given numerical measurements of 13 and 104 have relevance unless we prefer to locate the grave with Carley’s insight of ‘thirteen spheres prophesying’ and reckoning that 144,000 saints are buried within the abbey grounds at Glastonbury.
We must conclude the ‘Carefully hidden’ allusion to the marker point of Montacute, constituted a confirmation of the constructed line formed by following instructional data left to posterity in the prophecy. I understand that Carley finds the words of the prophecy unintelligible before Kim Yale decoded it, but once I had seen the solution…. there it is, the lines generated by those unintelligible words are geometrically significant to Joseph’s resting place. The words are also significant by combination with other pertinent parts of the prophecy, not only in constructing the line, but by describing who and what was in the tomb and the outcome of its discovery.
Now, if we can accept all the previous, then we must allow the significance of a search at Montacute by Henry Blois…. understanding that he was aware of the ‘carefully hidden’ clue extant in his day. The reason we may assume that Father Good’s information was originally a key to Melkin’s line is that if Melkin had wanted to establish the location of Avalon (Ineswitrin) plainly, he would have given us the details of its location and not gone to the effort of inventing the puzzle and secreting the geographical location. After all, it is the pointer by which Melkin ‘carefully’ confirms where Joseph is ‘hidden’, but not where he is buried. The prophecy does that once it is unscrambled.
Even though we are told in DA that Joseph ‘ended his life’ at Glastonbury and by implication was buried there and it is obviously not true, we should look firstly at who invented the word Avalon and secondly who went to great efforts to convert Avalon into a location at Glastonbury. This is consciously done by a real intelligent mind and it was not done by a fictitious ‘Geoffrey’. Once we know who fabricated the false evidences, it is easy to work out that if Joseph is really on Burgh Island (or more correctly Ineswitrin) and the location provided in the prophecy is true and correct at the uncovering of the sepulchre on Burgh Island; we can only conclude that it is the same man who substituted his invented name of Avalon on the prophecy of Melkin. In effect to convince others that Joseph would be fictitiously located at Glastonbury also along with Arthur. Now, where this becomes relevant to Robert de Boron ‘foresight’ in connecting Joseph with Glastonbury we will get to later, but be assured Robert is not aligning ‘convergent factors’ when he knows of the Vaus d’Avaron.
Henry Blois started a tradition of fraudulent misrepresentation of Avalon as being identical or correspondent with Glastonbury and hence the outcome is that Joseph’s sepulchre changes locations from a realistic location to an invented location i.e. to where the tomb does not exist. How bizarre it would be if we believed Henry’s propaganda that in Arthur’s time (and the King of Devon’s time), Glastonbury had two previous names for the same place in the same era. We showed earlier that Glastonbury has always had that name or something phonetically similar. Ineswitrin is in Devon and the island of Avalon was never heard of before the arrival of First Variant HRB. Henry Blois’ fantasy name based on a town in the region of Blois is as fictitious as Arthur’s island in HRB just as fictitious as Arthur’s battle at Autun.
The Glastonbury monks chose to ignore the rest of the instructional input such as centum et quatuor, sperulatis, sperulis and tredecim as no commonality with the site at Glastonbury could be found even though these are integral in determining the site at Burgh Island. However, as we have covered, if we accept the monastery existed on Burgh Island where the present-day hotel now stands…. Joseph ‘lies in a bifurcated line next to an angled meridian in a pre-prepared cave with an oratori above where one prays; at the verge.’
Henry is mindful of discovery as it would become too obvious that Grail literature and its association with Joseph is based upon the prophecy of Melkin and his duo fassula. As Henry propagated his French Grail literature in the courts of France and Champagne the same propaganda about Joseph and the Grail was being propagated in England in the Perlesvaus.
Joseph of Arimathea began to be established in lore at Glastonbury only through what was written in DA and his prominence became greater as the connections between French Grail literature were associated with Glastonbury after Henry’s death. The joining of the dots became more connected after Arthur’s disinterment and by the ‘Leaden cross’ confirming to the world that Glastonbury was Avalon and Geoffrey’s story’s of Arthur appeared to be true.
This is not to say that Avalon or Joseph or Arthur arrived at Glastonbury by a ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’, but by intelligent conscious design from the mind of one man and we can trace the seedling of this design back to 1157 in VM’s Insula Pomorum. However, this ‘convergence of factors’ came together after Henry’s death. An accomplishment in rewriting History greater than Cicero’s; and so much more timeless, colourful and enduring; we are all still trying to find answers today.
As we know, the Joseph connection was tentative because it was so recently established at Glastonbury in DA after Henry’s death, but did not get its confirmation from Robert de Boron’s work and from a Glastonbury Perlesvaus until the point of critical mass came at Arthur’s disinterment.
The original Perlesvaus of which we only have portions is undoubtedly from Henry’s mind. What has confused scholars into thinking Joseph was a later development of Glastonbury lore is the complete overshadowing of him by Arthur. Joseph’s legend developed at a much slower pace because of the prominence of the discovery of Arthur at Glastonbury and don’t forget the chivalric Arthur story had been in the public domain since c1139 while Joseph lore was quietly waiting to be exposed after 1171.
The fact that Joseph is said to be on Avalon through the Melkin prophecy and Arthur happened to be also found on that island is anything but coincidence. Especially, when we know Henry is in reality ‘Geoffrey’, the inventor of the chivalric Arthur…. and continental Grail literature links them both with an island supposedly spoken of by Melkin whose work was found at Glastonbury. The ‘Grail’ object is linked with Arthur by Chrétien…. and Joseph is linked with Arthur and the Grail through Robert de Boron; and even to ‘Avaron in the West’. Arthur and Joseph then link to Henry and Melkin at Glastonbury, not through coincidence, but by the design of Master Blihis, Blaise, and Bliho Bleheris and Bledhericus…. all four are linked as being an authority or source for the Grail or recording stories about it.
Henry Blois, a patron of Giraldus Cambrensis463 is part of the reason why Gerald takes such an interest in the disinterment at Glastonbury…. as it is probable that Henry indoctrinated Gerald on Arthuriana before his death. Gerald does not mention Joseph, because his interest is solely in a Welsh Arthur and he was not a Glastonbury acolyte; but he had read DA before the unearthing of Arthur. We should not ignore Gerald’s testimony given his proximity to Henry II.464 We shall look at Gerald’s testimony shortly.
463David Knowles. Saints and Scholars.p.55
464See chapter on Gerald of Wales.
Adam of Damerham, writing about a hundred years after Henry’s death, does not mention Joseph or concern himself with redundantly reiterating anything in DA, but takes his account forward from where DA left off. Adam (not by coincidence) starts his account at the death of Henry Blois. The last chapter of DA is 83 and it relates to Henry Blois. The fact Adam does not reiterate facts about Joseph is entirely different from mentioning Arthur’s disinterment; the events of which had not been recorded in DA.
Because of this fact, it is ridiculous of scholars to stand on the flimsy a priori which presumes bogus Joseph lore was only interpolated into DA after the disinterment of Arthur because Gerald nor Adam mention Joseph in their text; yet both of them comment on Arthur’s unveiling.
How could Henry comment in DA about the unveiling of Arthur? He just left to posterity the location where he had prepared a tomb to excite the world on its discovery and confirm his invention of a Chivalric Arthur by putting a leaden cross within…. and the rest becomes history.
Another hundred years later (after Adam) the Joseph legend is fully established and consolidated by John of Glastonbury. He reiterates much of Henry’s lore found in the DA and from other Glastonbury sources which undoubtedly came from Henry Blois such as Perlesvaus and the suspected work of Melkin about ‘Arthur and the Round table’ we discussed earlier.
John of Glastonbury’s extract is directly from Henry’s interpolations in DA:
No other human hands made the church of Glastonbury, but Christ’s disciples founded and built it by angelic doctrine; an unattractive structure, certainly, but, adorned by God with manifold virtue; the high priest of the heavens himself, the maker and Redeemer of humankind, our Lord Jesus Christ, in his true presence dedicated it to himself and his most holy mother. On account of its antiquity the English called this church, the ‘ealdechirche’, which is ‘the old church’, and it is quite evident that the men of that region hold no oath more sacred or binding than one on the Old Church and they shun nothing through fear of punishment for their crime more than perjury. Glastonbury originally built of wattles, is first and eldest of all churches in England. From it the strength of divine sanctity gave forth its scent from the very outset and breathed upon the whole land; and though it was made of unsightly material, it was nevertheless esteemed greatly in worshipful reverence.
What John says in his Cronica is fairly irrelevant to our investigation in that Henry Blois’ propaganda is established and believed as genuine lore in his era. Especially, since William of Malmesbury has been dead two hundred years and he is supposedly the fount for this material. JG mixes other sources which one can only imagine were extant at the time John wrote and have now disappeared. John innocently included more of Henry’s propaganda in reference to such personages as Arviragus and Phagan and Deruvian from HRB (all fabrications) which has duped scholars into believing a genuine history.
John in his Cronica repeats and embellishes Henry’s ‘pig’ concoction found in DA and repeats Henry’s derivation of the island of apples through avalla (in British), etymologically leading to Avalon being synonymous with Glastonbury. This is clearly part of Henry’s conversion from a geographically location-less Avalon in HRB…. through clever contortion in VM associating Arthur’s last known location which thus identifies Insula Pomorum’s synonymy with Avalon, which, in DA, is so named for the scarcity of apples (we would not want to be seen concurring with VM) rather than in John’s Cronica where the island is named for its abundance.
In the DA we find: This island was at first called Yniswitrin by the Britons but at length was named by the English, who had brought the land under their yoke, Glastinbiry, either a translation into their language of its previous name, or after Glasteing of whom we spoke above. It is also frequently called the isle of Avalon, a name of which this is the origin. It was mentioned above that Glasteing found his sow under an apple tree near the church. Because he discovered on his arrival that apples were very rare in that region he named the island Avallonie in his own language, that is ‘Apple Island’, for avalla in British is the same as poma in Latin. Or it was named after a certain Avalloc who is said to have lived there with his daughters because of the solitude of the spot.
We can also tell Henry’s hand in DA as he confirms Glastonbury is Avalon by providing another derivation of the name Avallon through a certain Avalloc. The advantage of this is that like the VM, where Morgen and her sisters lived (Insula Pomorum)…. in the DA we have Avalloc’s daughters to conflate with them, providing convincing evidence that Glastonbury, Avalon and Insula Pomorum are all the same place.
The devise, as usual, is Henry’s clever conflation; never explicit but rather letting the reader (or posterity) join the dots of Henry’s propagandist trail. While carrying out his contortion in VM, Henry also adds further confusion, mystery and antiquity to his Insula Pomorum by introducing synonymy with the Fortunate Isle or isles, which were in antiquity mentioned by Plutarch, Ptolemy and Pliny.
Henry’s agenda is to bring HRB’s Avalon to Glastonbury in VM: The Island of Apples gets its name ‘The Fortunate Island’ from the fact that it produces all manner of plants spontaneously. It needs no farmers to plough the fields. There is no cultivation of the land at all beyond that which is Nature’s work. It produces crops in abundance and grapes without help; and apple trees spring up from the short grass in its woods. All plants, not merely grass alone, grows spontaneously; and men live a hundred years or more. There nine sisters rule by a pleasing set of laws those who come to them from our country. She who is first of them is more skilled in the healing art, and excels her sisters in the beauty of her person. Morgen is her name, and she has learned what useful properties all the herbs contain, so that she can cure sick bodies………. Thither after the battle of Camlan we took the wounded Arthur, guided by Barinthus to whom the waters and the stars of heaven were well known. With him steering the ship we arrived there with the prince, and Morgen received us with fitting honour, and in her chamber she placed the King on a golden bed…………
‘Geoffrey’ wrote Insula Pomorum quae Fortunata uocatur and the only reason apart from conflation with earlier accounts of the island is that Fortunata is a foretelling of one’s destiny and since all this is originally linked to Melkin’s Island, it may well have been included so that the reader believes Joseph was buried there too. This lends itself to the understanding that great things were predicted to occur there and so is contrived to seem associated with the island where Joseph was buried. John of Glastonbury is really the consolidator of Henry’s propaganda template through information found in DA at Glastonbury which combines the apples connecting them to the old Church and Yniswitrin rather than through an Arthur association with either Avalon or Insula Pomorum:
This Glasteing (a person) pursued his sow through the territory inland of the Angles near the village called ‘Escebtiorne’ all the way to Wells, and from wells by a trackless and watery path which is now called the ‘Sugewey’, that is ‘the sow’s way’. He found her suckling her piglets next to the Old Church on the aforesaid island, beneath a fruit tree; hence it continues down to our own day that the fruit of that tree are called ‘ealdechirchiness-apple’, that is ’apples of the old church’. This Glasteing, then, after he had entered the island, saw that it was rich in all manner of good things and came to live on it with his whole family. And since at the first, he found apples of the most precious sort in those parts, he called it the ‘Island of Avalon’ in his own tongue, that is ‘island of apples’, and he spent his life there and from his family and progeny, who succeeded him that place was originally populated. Finally, the Saxons who conquered it called the land ‘Glastonbury’ in their own tongue, by translation of the former name, that is ‘Ynswytryn’; for in English or Saxon ‘glas’ means ‘glass’ and ‘bury’ means city.
John of Glastonbury has a copy of the fragment known as the prophecy of Melkin on which Henry Blois changed Ineswitrin and inserted Avalon. What else John has in his possession as source material is unsure, but he has surely seen Henry’s original Perlesvaus a copy of which was probably left at Glastonbury along with material resembling that found in vulgate prose Percival. I would hazard to suggest that the Gospel of Nicodemus, an extension or derivative of the earlier acts of Pilate was composed by Henry Blois. The Gospel of Nicodemus seemed to surface around the time that Henry of Blois was composing Grail literature and certainly it is used as part of ‘Robert De Boron’s’ Joseph d’Arimathie and also included by John of Glastonbury to consolidate the Joseph tradition at Glastonbury.
John of Glastonbury starts his treaties of St. Joseph of Arimathea, which he claims are taken from a book which the Emperor Theodosius found in Pontius Pilate’s council chamber in Jerusalem…. which only Henry would have had the audacity to proffer as such a spurious provenance.
Below, he is quoted at length from a translation by David Townsend from Carley’s thesis study of John of Glastonbury’s Cronica: Matters which admit doubt often deceive the reader; in order to dispel doubts regarding the antiquity of the church of Glastonbury, therefore, we have added some undisputed facts gathered from the ancient sayings of historians.
When the Lord had been crucified and everything had been fulfilled, which had been prophesied of him, Joseph of Arimathea, that noble Decurion, came to Pilate, as the gospel story explains, asked for the body of Jesus, wrapped it when he had received it in linen, and placed it in a monument in which no one had yet laid. But the Jews, hearing that Joseph had buried the body of Jesus, sought to arrest him, along with Nicodemus and the others who had defended him before Pilate. When they had all hidden themselves, these two-that is Joseph and Nicodemus, revealed themselves and asked the Jews,’ why are you aggrieved against us because we have buried the body of Jesus? You have not done well against a righteous man, nor have you considered what benefits he bestowed upon us; instead you have crucified him and wounded him with a lance’. When the Jews heard these words, Annas and Ciaphas seized Joseph, shut him up in a cell where there was no window, sealed the door over the key, and posted guards to watch over him. But Nicodemus they sent away free, since Joseph alone had requested Jesus’ body and had been the principal instigator in his burial. Later, when everyone had assembled, all through the Sabbath they considered, along with the priests and Levites how they should kill Joseph. After the assembly had gathered, the chief officials ordered, Annas and Ciaphas to present Joseph; but when they opened the seals on the door they did not find him. Scouts were sent out everywhere, and so Joseph was found in his own city, Arimathea. Hearing this, the chief priests and all the people of the Jews rejoiced and glorified the God of Israel because Joseph had been found whom they had shut up in a cell. They then made a great assembly, at which the chief of the priests said, ’how can we bring Joseph to us and speak with him?’ They took up a piece of parchment and wrote to Joseph, saying,’ peace be with you and yours. We see that we have sinned against God and against you. Deign therefore, to come to your fathers and your sons, for we have marvelled greatly over your assumption. Indeed, we know that we have plotted evil counsel against you, and the Lord has freed you from our evil council. Peace to you, Lord Joseph, honourable among all the people’. And they chose seven men who were friends of Joseph and said to them, ’When you reach Joseph, greet him in peace and give him this letter.’ When the men had reached him, they greeted him peaceably and gave him the letter. Joseph read the letter and said, ’Blessed are you, O Lord my God, who have liberated Israel, that he should not shed my blood. Blessed are you, O my God, who have protected me under your wings.’ And Joseph kissed the men who had come to him and took them into his house. The next day he climbed up on his ass and went with them until they came to Jerusalem; and when all the Jews heard of it, they ran to meet him, saying, ’Peace at your coming in, father.’ Joseph responded to them, saying, ’Peace be with you all.’ And they all kissed him, and Nicodemus received him into his house and made a banquet for him. The next day the Jews all came together, and Annas and Ciaphas said to Joseph, ’Make confession to the God of Israel, and reveal to us all that which you are asked. We quarrelled with you because you buried the body of Jesus and shut you up in a cell on account of the Sabbath; on the following day we sought you but did not find you. Therefore, we were greatly astonished, and fear has held us even up until now, when we have received you. Now that you are present, tell us before God, what happened to you’ .Joseph answered them, saying, ’When you shut me up at evening on the day of preparation, while I stood at my Sabbath prayers, the house in which I was held was taken up in the middle of the night by four angels, and I saw Jesus like a flash of light. I fell for fear onto the ground, but, holding my hand; he lifted me up from the ground and covered me with the scent of roses. As he wiped my face, he kissed me and said to me, “Do not fear, Joseph; look upon me and see who I am.” I looked at him and said, “Rabbi Elijah,” and he said to me, “I am not Elijah, but Jesus, whose body you buried.” Then I said to him, “Show me the monument where I lay you.” And taking my hand, he led me to the place where I buried him and showed me the linen shroud and the face cloth in which I had wrapped his head. Then I recognised that he was Jesus, and I adored him saying,’ “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Then, holding my hand, he led me into my house in Arimathea and said to me, “Peace be with you. Do not go out of your house until the 40th day. I shall go to my disciples.” And when he had said these things, he disappeared.’
After all this, the noble Joseph of Arimathea, animated by an ardent faith, became the disciple of blessed Philip the apostle, and, filled to overflowing with his saving doctrine, was baptised by him, along with his son Josephes. Later he was appointed guardian of the blessed ever virgin Mary by blessed John the apostle, while John himself laboured at preaching to the Ephesians: Joseph was present at the assumption of the same glorious virgin, along with blessed Philip and his other disciples, and he preached incessantly through many lands the things which he had heard and seen of the Lord Jesus Christ and his mother Mary; finally, converting and baptising many, in the 15th year after the blessed virgins assumption he came to Philip the apostle in Gaul, along with his son Josephes, whom the Lord had earlier consecrated Bishop in the city of Sarras. For when the disciples dispersed throughout the various parts of the world after the Lord’s Ascension; as Freculph bears witness in his second book, in the fourth chapter; Philip came to the Kingdom of the Franks to preach, and he converted and baptised many into the faith of Christ. Since then, the holy apostle wished to spread the word of God, he sent twelve of his disciples to Britain to proclaim the good news of the Word of Life; over these he set his dear friend, the aforesaid Joseph, who buried the Lord, along with his son Josephes. More than 600 came with them, as is read in the book, called ‘the holy Grail’ (Sanctum Graal), men as well as women, all of whom vowed that they would abstain from their own spouses until they had come into the land appointed to them. They all made a sham of their oath however, except for 150, whom at the Lord’s command crossed the sea upon Josephes’ shirt on Easter night and landed in the morning. The others repented, and through Josephes’ prayers on their behalf, a ship was sent by the Lord which King Solomon had artfully constructed in his time and which endured all the way to the time of Christ. That same day, they and the Duke of the Persians named Nasciens reached their companions; Joseph had earlier baptised Nasciens in the city of Sarras, along with the King of the city, whose name was Mordrain. The Lord later appeared to Mordrain in a vision and showed him his pierced hands and feet and his side wounded by the lance. Taking great pity upon him, the King said,’ O Lord my God, who has dared to do such a thing to you? ’And the Lord answered,’ the faithless King of North Wales has done these things to me, and he who has bound in prison, my servant Joseph and his companions, who were preaching my name, in his territories, and who has inhumanely denied them necessary sustenance. You then, do not delay but hasten to those parts, girded with your sword, to avenge my servants upon the tyrant and free them from their chains.’
The King, then awoke and rejoiced in the Lord because of the vision revealed to him, made disposition of the house and Kingdom, began his journey with his army and coming to the place by God’s guidance, commanded the aforesaid King to permit God’s servants to depart freely. But the Welsh King, altogether refusing the command, indignantly ordered him to leave his land without delay. When King Mordrain had heard this, he and the aforesaid Duke Nasciens came against him with their army, and Nasciens killed the Welsh King in a battle of just vengeance. Then King Mordrain went to the prison where the wicked King held Joseph and his companions under arrest, led him thence in great joy, and told him the vision which the Lord had revealed to him in order to free them. Then all were filled with great joy and thanked the Lord mightily.
After this Saint Joseph and his son Josephes and their 10 companions travelled through Britain, where King Arviragus then reigned, in the 63rd year from the Lord’s incarnation, and they trustworthily preached the faith of Christ. But the barbarian King and his nation, when they heard doctrines so new and unusual, did not wish to exchange their ancestral traditions for better ways and refused consent to their preaching. Since however they had come from afar, and because of their evident modesty of life, Arviragus gave them for a dwelling an island at the edge of his Kingdom surrounded with forests, thickets and swamps, which was called by the inhabitants Ynswytryn, that is ’the Glass island’. Of this a poet has said, ‘The twelvefold band of men entered Avalon: Joseph, flower of Arimathea, is their chief. Josephes, Joseph’s son, accompanies his father. The right to Glastonbury is held by these and the other ten.’ When the saints then, had lived in that desert for a short time, the Archangel Gabriel admonished them in a vision to build a church in honour of the holy Mother of God, the ever virgin Mary, in that place which heaven would show them. Obeying the divine admonitions, they finished a Chapel, the circuit of whose walls they completed with wattles, in the 31st year after the Lord’s passion, the fifteenth, as was noted, after the assumption of the glorious Virgin, and the same year in fact, in which they had come to St Philip the apostle in Gaul and had been sent by him to Britain. Though it was of unsightly construction, it was adorned with the manifold power of God; and, since it was the first church in the land, the son of God distinguished it by a fuller dignity, dedicating it in his own presence in honour of his mother. And so these 12 saints offered there, devout service to God and the blessed virgin, freeing themselves up for fasting and prayers; and, in their necessities they were revived by the assistance of the Virgin Mother of God. When the holiness of their lives was discovered, two of the Kings, though pagans, Marius, the son of King Arviragus, and Coel, son of Marius, granted them each a hide of land and at the same time confirmed the gift. Thus, to this day, the 12 hides take their names from them. When a few years had passed, these saints were led forth from the workhouse of the body. Arthur was buried among those men and Joseph and positioned on a bifurcated line next to the oratory mentioned before. Consequently, he occupies the same place that was the lair of wild beasts, which formerly was the dwelling place of saints, until it pleased the Blessed Virgin to restore to her oratory as a monument of the faithful.
John of Glastonbury writing c.1400 has consolidated what seemingly was William of Malmesbury’s work. It is comprised from William’s interpolated work by Henry, Henry’s Grail literature and other work put out by Henry. We know Arviragus is a concoction of Henry’s in HRB and since there is no mention of Arviragus in DA it is no doubt to hide his authorship of the interpolations in DA. Yet John of Glastonbury starts his work with Arviragus so we can absolutely be sure (knowing that Arviragus is a Henry invention in HRB) that John is being supplied other lore than that found in DA connecting Arviragus to Glastonbury…. and this must be part of Henry’s output which has since disappeared.
Joseph’s relics had not been found. John says he lies on a bifurcated line next to the Oratory. John of Glastonbury does not speak as if he had invented an overly complicated prophecy and utilised but one piece from it. He speaks like a man who only understood a part of what he had read from a prophecy. This is a vague recycled description for someone who is posited to have gone to the trouble of inventing an otherwise meaningless prophecy; especially when his extract seems to ignore his other efforts mentioning Sperula and random numbers and Abbadare in the rest of the prophecy composition.
If the Melkin prophecy had no validity it is surely being underutilised if designed specifically to bolster Joseph lore at Glastonbury. If the Melkin prophecy was not just another piece of information in the mass of Glastonbury lore that John is consolidating he makes little use of his capital considering the Melkin Prophecy’s sole purpose was to locate Joseph’s burial place and association with Glastonbury. When will modern scholars wake up?
Eusebius of Caesarea c. 325 knows nothing of the Gospel of Nicodemus although he was aware of “Letters of Pilate” referred to by Justin and Tertullian. He was also aware of an anti-Christian text called Acts of Pilate not the same as the present-day text. It seems as if the letters of Pilate or the acts were used as a base for the epic known as the Gospel of Nicodemus.
The Gospel of Nicodemus is unique in that it mentions the soldier who speared Jesus on the cross called Longinus and the names of the two criminals who were crucified beside him. Many others are mentioned also just as Henry was at ease concocting characters in HRB. This to me has the hall mark of Henry Blois, who, as we saw in HRB, has no qualms inventing history or supplying names not previously heard, and apportioning to them pivotal roles in history. The Gospel of Nicodemus also is written by a man who has a good grasp of the issues concerning Pilate’s importunity and who is not afraid to concoct as a truth his own eschatological conclusions on Adam (the first spiritual man) and Hell and other biblical icons found in GS. Our author also has a good grasp of storytelling and is well acquainted with the bible.
He makes bold statements such as: And all these things which were spoken by the Jews in their synagogue did Joseph and Nicodemus forthwith declare unto the governor. And Pilate himself wrote all the things that were done and said concerning Jesus by the Jews.
Henry has a knack of supplying the provenance of the work and then suggesting in the story how it came to be. No-one refers to the Gospel of Nicodemus before Medieval times. It seems to be an accretion of previous works or work. Its object in the main, originally, was to furnish irrefutable testimony to the resurrection but the Nicodemus version has much to say about Joseph’s role after the crucifixion…. and we can conjecture that a version which features Joseph so prominently may be by the hand of Henry. Whether or not Henry wrote it, is not important. But Robert de Boron has without doubt derived his story from Henry Blois or had certainly seen it in a book composed by Henry Blois or heard it at some continental court from Henry. It is not a coincidence that a medieval manuscript appears concerning Joseph of Arimathea i.e. the Gospel of Nicodemus from which Robert draws upon in Joseph d’Arimathie? This glorifies and corroborates episodes in the Gospel of Nicodemus.
Let the reader put themselves in Henry’s shoes. Henry comes across an old tract implying Joseph of Arimathea has a sepulchre on an island. He is at Glastonbury and the island is named as Ynis witrin, so it is in Briton. You find a charter dated 601 on which the same name of Yniswitrin is found. You have no idea where the island is. Firstly, you use the charter to establish Glastonbury’s antiquity. Malmesbury has no idea where this supposed island is either so dismisses the bastardized Latin prophecy because neither he nor Henry could make head or tail of all the meaningless word strings Malmesbury thinks it best just use the charter because one can see it is genuine by its age. Only after Malmesbury dies, it is fortuitous for Henry to have this old charter seem to apply to Glastonbury; so he adds etymological hodge podge to Life of Gildas which he had already written putting his Arthur with Gildas; again for proof of Glastonbury’s antiquity. Henry might as well corroborate/celebrate the recent Life of Gildas story by engaging stone masons while passing through Modena.
Joseph has no provenance in Briton apart from the fables spoken of by the Cornish and rumour of Joseph’s visits as a tin miner.
Augustine’s lot of Catholic Romans probably stamped out any tradition of Joseph in Britain so their monopoly and primacy through Peter would not be diluted by Joseph who arrived in Briton.
Later c.1160-70 Henry has started this whole Joseph, Grail, Arthur, Avalon juggernaut in motion by inventing stories and entertaining his family in Champagne with them. Henry now needs to attach Joseph’s provenance to Glastonbury so that he can consolidate the last interpolations in DA. What better way than to attach Joseph to Briton than by what JG has just informed us above? Where do you think JG found the bulk of his source material; from which mind?
Matthew Paris c.1200-1259 better known as Matthew Westminster who wrote the Flores Historiarum has possibly the first précis of Melkin’s prophecy written in the margin. In Archbishop Usher’s ‘Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates’ he provides us with the variant of Melkin’s prophecy, which cannot be dated as it is not in the main body of text, but it does however plainly show the prophecy’s evolution. There is no geometric numerical data included (i.e. the thirteen sperulatis and the 104 milles) because, as with modern scholarship, the relevance of the numbers were not understood:
‘Joseph ab Arimathea nobilis decurio in insula Avallonia cum xi. Sociis suis somnum cepit perpetuum et jacet in meridiano angulo lineae bifurcate Oratorii Adorandae Virginis. Habit enim secum duo vascula argentea alba cruore et sudore magni prophetae Jesu perimpleta.et per multum tempus ante diem Judicii ejus corpus integrum et illibatum reperietur; et erit apertum toti Orbi terranum. Tunc nec ros nec pluvial habitantibus insulam nobilissimam poterit deficere’.
‘Joseph of Arimathea, the noble decurion, received his everlasting rest with his eleven associates in the Isle of Avalon. He lies in the southern angle of the bifurcated line of the Oratorium of the Adorable Virgin. He has with him the two white vessels of silver which were filled with the blood and the sweat of the great prophet Jesus. And for a long time before the day of judgement, his body will be discovered whole and undisturbed; and will be opened to the whole world. At that time neither dew, nor rain, will lack from that noble island’.
What I have tried to make plain is that from a very early time Melkin’s prophecy existed and no-one understood what it meant or its relevance to Glastonbury.
“Nobilis decurio” is St. Jerome’s translation in the Vulgate of St. Mark’s “honourable counsellor”. Rabanus Maurus 776–856 (the archbishop of Mainz), in ‘The Life of St. Mary Magdalene’ uses the same appellation along with Helinand. Some commentators assume Joseph was a member of a provincial Roman Senate as ‘decurions’ are reported as being in charge of mining districts.
The Glastonbury propaganda machine has never been able to find any resolution or use for Melkin’s tredicim or the word sperula from the prophecy, but the 104 was made to apply to other saints interred at Glastonbury. The linea bifurcata, the oratorii, the cratibus and the adorandam virginem were the only pieces of the prophecy which could actively be used in conjunction with the old church as we witness here in an extract from Dugdale’s Monasticon Anglicanum:“Here St. Joseph, who is considered by the monkish historians as the first abbot, erected, to the honour of the Virgin Mary, of wreathed twigs, the first Christian oratory in England.”
In Dugdale’s Monasticon Anglicanum c.1650 the tradition which Henry started is now no longer a part of his propagandist edifice it is now the truth that everyone accepts: The ancient church of wood or wicker, which legend spoke of as the first temple reared on British soil to the honour of Christ, was preserved as a hallowed relic, even after a greater church of stone was built by Dunstan to the east of it. And though not a fragment of either of those buildings still remains, yet each alike is represented in the peculiar arrangements of that mighty and now fallen minster. The wooden church of the Briton is represented by the famous Lady Chapel, better known as the chapel of Saint Joseph; the stone church of the West-Saxon is represented by the vast Abbey church itself. Nowhere else can we see the works of the conquerors and the works of the conquered thus standing, though but in a figure, side by side. Wherein is proved by all kinds of testimonies, and authorities, that for certain, S. Joseph of Aramathia, “with divers other holy Associates, came into, preached, lived, dyed, and was buryed in Britayne, at the place now called Glastenbury in Summersetshire.”
The Bishop of Winchester was too clever to reveal that he is the link between Glastonburyana and French Grail material being propagated at the court of Champagne. The DA, originally written by William of Malmesbury around 1129-1134, only had Joseph and Avalon interpolated into it sometime in the 1160’s while Henry propagated Grail lore through Master Blihis, which we now know found fruition in Robert, Chrétien and Walter Map.
The commonalities of such incidents as the ‘chapel ride’ episode, found in Perlesvaus and Chrétien, indicate that stories concerning the Grail all originated from one source and probably from Henry as the oral source on the continent. Perlesvaus, the Lais of Marie and Walter Map’s work along with Chrétien de Troyes, and Robert de Boron’s work having icons and personages in common as early as 1170 indicates that just before that era Master Blihis had been busy.
Nitze establishes that John of Glastonbury’s version of the chapel ride account did not come from Perlesvaus yet funnily enough believes what is written in the colophon about there being a Latin original. Since Perlesvaus is obviously written by someone acquainted with Glastonbury it does not take a scholar to work out who the originator is. Ironically, Carley states that what the contents of that Latin original might have contained has caused much speculation among Grail scholars; one particular alluring theory is that this book might also be the source for John’s material about Melkin.465
465Carley. The chronicle of Glastonbury abbey. P xliv