There are several tracts composed by Henry Blois which fall under our investigation before the time Henry left England and went into self-imposed exile to the monastery at Clugny in 1155. There are additional later interpolations to certain manuscripts i.e. the DA, depending upon the ‘agenda’ of Henry Blois at the time. Certain other manuscripts entirely composed from scratch by Henry Blois such as Wace’s Roman de Brut and the life of Gildas were published to meet the varying agendas of his purposes. All the manuscripts are very different and serve different propaganda at different times. The impersonation which concerns us for the moment includes the books supposedly written by Geoffrey of Monmouth. These, as we have covered already, are Henry’s Primary Historia deposited at Bec Abbey which is followed by the First Variant version of HRB with an early set of Merlin prophecies resulting in the eventual production of the Vulgate HRB with fully updated prophecies c.1155.
Henry writing as Gaufridus Artur entitled his work De Gestis Britonum and he refers to it by this title rather than by what it is termed in the Vulgate version. Presently modern scholars assume little difference between those editions. Scholars who have commented on ‘Geoffrey’s’ work do not understand the evolving progression of the Historia in its three forms (or four if one includes the initial pseudo-history) and why the First Variant is less anti-Roman and contains more biblical479 references than the Vulgate version. Nor can they account for the modification of several speeches made by Geoffrey’s characters. Scholarship has not understood the progression and warping of the prophecies from an original libellus through to the inclusion of prophecies which spoke of events in the Anarchy which date to around 1149 and the further squewing of those prophecies and the addition of new ones up until 1155 which have seditious intent composed by Henry Blois to unseat Henry II.
Another impersonation by Henry Blois is evident in Caradoc of Llancarfan’s life of Gildas where Arthur is brought into association with Glastonbury and so is Gildas. The two other tracts which concern us are by William of Malmesbury. There are small scale Glastonbury interpolations into William of Malmesbury’s Gesta Regum which I will show complement the interpolations in DA.
The most influential interpolations that essentially in one volume prop up or corroborate other works of Henry Blois are found in the first 34 chapters of DA. The interpolations into DA constitute two phases of interpolation at different times and for different purposes…. both by Henry Blois.
Henry Blois’ ‘first agenda’ is simply in pursuit of metropolitan status for himself. Henry combines interpolations in DA with his other interpolations of William’s work which concern Glastonbury found in GR3 and were composed pre-1155. A second set of interpolations are seen in DA and involves the glorification of Henry’s own invention in HRB in the persona of the chivalric Arthur and establishes Joseph lore at Glastonbury which corroborates some of his other output in the form of Grail Literature.
Henry’s ‘second agenda’ mainly establishes Avalon at Glastonbury and also concerns Joseph of Arimathea. The introduction of Joseph into Grail lore and his presence in Glastonbury lore was a consequence of Henry’s knowledge of two factors. Firstly, Henry knew Cornish tradition concerning Joseph of Arimathea.480 Secondly, Henry had seen the prophecy of Melkin which made mention of the future discovery of Joseph of Arimathea on Ineswitrin.
479Neil Wright has the scholar’s backward premise when referring to Geoffrey’s First Variant: his fondness for biblical allusion lends the First Variant in many passages (especially speeches) a tone rather more moral than that of Geoffrey’s original. In sum, the first variant does not abbreviate its source slavishly, but often recasts the historia freely in a manner quite different from that of Geoffrey himself. The old adage remains that ‘if one starts with a faulty premise, the conclusion is going to be even more inaccurate’. Does Neil not think Geoffrey wrote the first Variant? This false premise (Hammer’s) exists solely because scholars have never put ‘Geoffrey’ in context. Neither Wright nor Crick will change their stance or ever accept Henry Blois as ‘Geoffrey’ even when Wright commences his analysis of the Variant with: there has thus far been no consensus of opinion on such fundamental issues as exactly how the texts of this Variant relates to that of the vulgate, when and with what motives the Variant was composed, and who was responsible for it. I have supplied motive, the person who wrote it, and how it relates to Vulgate.
480Looe Island was appropriated by Glastonbury in Henry Blois’ tenure before 1144 when it appeared in a list of the abbey’s possessions, found in a confirmation of pope Lucius II. Looe island had a Joseph tradition.
.Henry knew that Ineswitrin was in the old Dumnonia as the 601 charter plainly reveals. This was deduced on the fact that a Dumnonian King had donated an island with the same name in the 601 charter to the Old church at Glastonbury. Glastonbury was never part of Dumnonia. Henry believed what the prophecy foretold was true but could not unlock its meaning. He had gone looking for the body of Joseph of Arimathea thinking it really was at Montacute (guided by the same ‘carefully hidden’ information which much later Father good confirmed) as I have already covered.
Henry had also thought initially that the body of Joseph of Arimathea might be on Looe Island and thought that Looe island (in Dumnonia) might be the Ineswitrin mentioned in the Melkin prophecy. Looe Island had an extant Joseph tradition in Henry’s era and it was in the old Dumnonia when Devon and Cornwall were one province. We must remember Henry Blois knew he was looking for an island because it was him who substituted the original name of Ineswitrin on the prophecy of Melkin for his own invention of Avalon i.e. Insula Avallonis.
Henry had in effect demeaned himself with his previous petitions to Rome and its popes in an attempt to gain metropolitan status. Henry had plans for his future when he had made sure his brother would be King. Henry Blois had an agreement with Stephen and had once thought of setting up a Gregorian state with his brother as King and him as head of the Church.
Ever since, Henry Blois had been thwarted by his brother in the fact that he not been given the bishopric of Canterbury and then subsequently loosing his ‘Legation’; Henryhad been struggling to establish his own power-base by instigating a Metropolitan at Winchester which would cover the south west of England.
Henry understood that if the body of Joseph of Arimathea was found, Rome would no longer have the self-professed primacy and authority over the church in Britain. This factor should be considered when (as I covered earlier), Henry Blois is the first person to define that the ‘New Jerusalem’ is in Britain as we saw as a concept first iterated by Henry Blois in the colophon to a VM edition.
This, again, is partly intonated in the Prophecy of Melkin.481 It must have been Henry who made the addition to his VM, (a copy of which is no longer extant) but from which John of Glastonbury copied (at Glastonbury) when quoting a verse from VM482 which likened Glastonbury to the ‘New Jerusalem’ through the implication that Glastonbury Tor is the holy hill. ‘This was the New Jerusalem, the faith’s refinement, a holy hill, celebrated as the ladder of Heaven. He scarcely pays the penalty of hell who lies buried here’.
481Per multum tempus ante diem Judioialem in iosaphat erunt aperta haec, & viventibus declarata.
482Leland saw the copy that John of Glastonbury probably quotes from: Vita Merlini Sylvestris carmine scriptore Galfredo Monemutensi. Carley says about the extra three lines: My suspicion is that they were added to Glastonbury’s copy of the VM in the mid-twelfth century, at approximately the same period as the interpolations about Avalon were made in DA.
…..My point is that Henry did believe the Melkin prophecy and the fact that the ‘Uncle’ of Jesus brought an object to Britain and the fact that Joseph’s sepulchre was on an island. Once he had invented his island of Avalon in HRB, inspired indirectly by the Melkin prophecy from the ‘Ines’ or Island of ‘Witrin’ written on the original copy of the Melkin Prophecy; Henry then converted both Ineswitrin and his name for Arthur’s island i.e. Avalon to be commensurate with Glastonbury. This was accomplished through his literary propaganda.
Henry’s ‘second agenda’ (mainly carried out on his return to England in 1158) entailed introducing Joseph to Glastonbury lore; just as he propagated Joseph material into continental Grail literature. Also, he orally implanted story-line elements at the court of Champagne. These elements were then confirmed and partially corroborated through his interpolations in DA.
As I have covered already, Henry decided he would provide a noble pre-history for the Britons which ran contrary to what he knew from Roman annals. He set out to expand and romanticize the briefly mentioned Celtic Briton hero of Arthur found in a few editions of saints lives, the echo of which remained in popular culture in the form of an oral tradition of the ‘hope of the Britons’.
Henry used as a template for the Life of Gildas the genuine life of St Cadoc, one of the few saint’s lives mentioning Arthurus. Henry also knew of the French rumours of a descendant heritage from Troy (after all, Henry’s father was the Count of Troyes). Henry also had read Nennius’ slim mention of Arthur and the brief reference in AC; and it is upon this flimsy foundation that the ‘chivalric’ Arthur of HRB was constructed along with the bogus inter-relation of Ambrosius from the insular annals of Bede and Gildas.
One would have to be dim not to understand that if ‘Geoffrey’ was in mid flow in the composition of his historia (in reality), when Alexander pressed him to translate the prophecies of Merlin, (and we know the composition of the prophecies are entirely a medieval construct)…. how is it that the prophecies so neatly align with and corroborate ‘Geoffrey’s’ history.
Geoffrey sets us up in the Vulgate version by saying:
I had not come so far as this place of my history, when by reason of the much talk that was made about Merlin, my contemporaries did on every side press me to make public an edition of his prophecies, and more especially Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, a man of the highest piety and wisdom. Nor was there none other, whether he were cleric or layman, that did retain so many knights or nobles in his household, whom his gentle holiness of life and bountiful kindliness did allure into his service. Wherefore, for that he it was whom I did most earnestly desire to please above all other, I did translate the prophecies and did send them unto him along with a letter unto this effect.
Henry detested Alexander. Simply by backdating the ‘translation’ of the prophecies to appear to have been written under Alexander’s commission, Henry Blois averts suspicion that some prophecies were more modern and were current in Alexander’s lifetime. The flattery is entirely a ploy. Henry hated and mistrusted Alexander…. so how could any one suspect him of authorship, especially when the commission is so adeptly retro-dated by years. Alexander died in 1148 and some of the updated prophecies in HRB go up to 1155. Certainly, Merlin’s prophetic vision of a ‘sixth King’ invading Ireland was added post 1155 as discussed in the chapter covering the interpolation into Orderic’s work.
Similar ploys are utilised in the ‘Historian colophon’ establishing contemporaneity with Caradoc. They are found also in the GS where Henry Blois implicates himself in attempting to bribe the keeper of Henry Ist treasure483 at Winchester…. to avoid suspicion of authorship of that manuscript which puts a gloss on the otherwise (at times) devious actions of Henry Blois. We can see the same obfuscatory device being used above where….. the last person who would be suspected of earnestly desiring to please Alexander would be Henry Blois. Again, found in another edition of HRB, who would ever be suspected of writing:
The affection I bear unto thy nobility, Alexander, Prelate of Lincoln, hath compelled me to translate the Prophecies of Merlin out of the British into Latin before I had made an end of the History I had begun as concerning the acts of the British Kings; for my purpose was to have finished that first, and afterward to have published this present work, for fear lest, both labours hanging on my hands at once, my wit should scarce be sufficient for either.
483William de Pont de l’Arche.
, frombecause,s.. It is pertinant that the above implies it is Geoffrey composing the History rather than translating it.
Henry Blois was certainly responding to general inquiry about why there was no Merlin or prophecies mentioned in the Primary historia covered by Huntingdon in EAW and how it was they were now spliced into Vulgate edition of HRB with very up to date Merlin prophecies especially because some of the newly added prophecies were seditious in content.
It need not be explained that it would be truly fortuitous that Alexander’s commission transpired at the very point in the text at which we chronologically reach Vortigern. As I have maintained, Geoffrey had constructed his initial pseudo-Historia to that point and adjoined (or more probably expanded) the Arthuriad after having been to Wales in 1136 and while taking care of troubles in Normandy in 1137.
The resultant subsequent Primary Historia was deposited at Bec in 1138 and handed to Huntingdon in January 1139. Merlin or his prophecies did not exist in the copy seen by Huntingdon. We know that Henry Blois had by then returned back to England and was at the siege of Bedford in 1138. We can deduce this from the eyewitness detailed descriptions Henry as author of GS had given when composing the GS.
Merlin and the prophecies existed as a separate libellus. The First Variant version (not dedicated) which dates from 1144 probably existed with the first set of prophecies which did not include the prophecies connected to the later part of the Anarchy and certainly not the ‘sixth in Ireland’ or the seditious prophecies rallying the Celts to overthrow Henry II and certainly not the dedication to Alexander as he was not dead yet.
What we can conclude from this is that the exemplar from which all subsequent copies of the First Variant derive which have had the latest set of prophecies added, logically must post date 1155 because of their recent material addition of the prophecies.
There is no doubt that the Exeter copy has had later additions at the beginning (1-3) and with the dedication to Alexander (109-110) which could not have been in any manuscript until after Alexander had died in 1148. The Cardiff manuscript has the full prologue dedication to Gloucester…. so is most likely a correction. Because Alexander is not mentioned in the Exeter, Trinity College, Harley or Panton First Variant manuscripts….they were written before Alexander died. However, Henry could have made any adjustment or added the updated prophecies to the First Variant at any stage post 1155.
In Huntingdon’s précis of the Primary Historia there is no mention of Archflamens…. only the twenty-eight bishops; and certainly no mention of Phagan and Deruvian. The reason for this is because as far as Henry Blois knows, when he is writing the Primary Historia in 1137 and at the time, he deposits the book at Bec in 1138…. he is going to be Archbishop of Canterbury.
Therefore, we can deduce the subsequent mention of Archbishops (archflamens) is bound up with his polemic of a third archbishopric. We can also deduce that if Phagan and Deruvian had been mentioned in the Primary Historia Huntingdon would definitely have related to his friend Warin who was responsible for proselytising Britain.
Huntingdon, in the entourage of the newly appointed Archbishop Theobald, on a trip to pick up the pallium from Rome, was the first who commented on the content of the Primary Historia which had been deposited at Bec just six months before by Henry; either secretively or donating it as having been written by one Galfridus Arthur.
We can assume Robert of Torigni had already read it and commended its contents to Huntingdon. We do not know how Henry delivered his Primary Historia to Bec. It could have been secretively deposited by Henry Blois while staying there or passing through on his way back to Britain in 1138.
I have an unfounded speculation that Henry had left it there not thinking that anything would transpire out of the Normal or was able to forsee how his invention of the Chivalric Arthur would develop or that people would be searching for ‘Geoffrey’ after the seditious prophecies had been added to the HRB after 1155. Nor could Henry in 1138 have imagined the return of Theodore to Bec in January 1139 as Archbishop along with Huntingdon who then became very keen to know where Galfridus had got his information. Things got complicated.
What is certain is that Huntingdon dislikes and mistrusts Henry Blois, but even if he did know that Henry was the one who delivered Galfridus’ work to the Bec abbey and had later suspicions regarding Henry Blois as the author, a mere cleric/historian would not accuse the brother of the King or the grandchild of William the Conqueror. Since Huntingdon died in 1157 and the seditious prophecies surfaced 1155-56, the connection may never have been made. By that time, Henry Blois was at Clugny and ‘Geoffrey’ was dead.
What is for sure, the seditious prophecies were in the public domain (now made public) and Henry II wanted to see a copy and find out who had written them. So, any scholar thinking that I have implied that scripts have been altered by Henry Blois should really understand that Henry Blois was in a precarious position and needed to be sure that his entire backdating scenario was watertight.
This pressure to find the author of the prophecies and HRB prompted Henry to write Gaimar’s epilogue which, in essence proved that there was a basis for establishing or confirming that ‘Geoffrey’ did not invent the contents of HRB and there really was a book ex-Btittanica from which he had copied the contents of HRB. Similarly, the same was done for establishing the veracity of the Merlin prophecies’ antiquity by the production of another Celtic source of the prophecies in John of Cornwall’s edition. I cover the John of Cornwall prophecies in progression.
The banality of providing the author of the Primary Historia with a surname of the main protagonist of HRB i.e. Arthur, is indicative that Henry Blois never expected he would employ the tract in a fraud of such huge scale later on in his later life. Nor did he consider he would have to spend time covering his own tracks as the author by inventing such a detailed proof of a persona in ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’. Hence, Henry’s later attempt to put flesh on Gaufridus’ bones as ‘Geoffrey’ becoming the more respectable and credible author, the bishop of Asaph who supposedly signs the Treaty of Winchester alongside Henry Blois. One late rubric may be another form in distancing himself from the authorship, being similarly named as the protagonist by Translacio Gaufridi Arciri Monemutensis de gestis britonum.
Both Phagan and Deruvian and the three archflamens only become useful to the polemic of the story-line when the First Variant version was presented at Rome by Henry Blois putting forward a case for metropolitan. The additional archflamen corroborated the prophecy made by Merlin about the metropolitans and established there were three in ancient Britain to establish a precedent for Henry’s wishes. Also, the mention of Phagan and Deruvian in HRB negated the self professed primacy of Canterbury in Britain while being confirmed in Henry’s ‘first agenda’ interpolations found in the DA. The output of this polemic could only be established in DA once Malmesbury was dead post 1143.
The First Variant showed that there had been three metropolitans at an earlier date. Phagan and Deruvian were obviously put forward in the Charter of St Patrick (Henry’s later interpolations in DA C.1149) as their existence had been corroborated elsewhere in DA in the first interpolations. Only when Henry is in pursuit of metropolitan status does he contrive St. Patrick’s charter in DA along with Phagan and Deruvian; and then insert their names into First Variant HRB with the precedent of an ancient and third metropolitan in Caerleon/Menevia.484 So, no third metropolitan is an issue at the time of composition of the Primary Historia because Henry Blois was Archbishop of Canterbury in waiting and therefore: archflamens do not appear as a topic (just 28 bishops485) in Huntingdon’s letter to Warin.
484This becomes clearer in a later chapter in our investigation into the life of St David by Rhygyfarch where Henry Blois ascribes the foundation of Glastonbury to St David also.
485Presumably, ‘Geoffrey’ derives his 28 bishoprics from Gildas’ twenty-eight cities.
””We will never know the exact chronology of when St Patrick’s charter was written because in the GR3 (Glastonbury interpolations) Henry sets out an apostolic foundation at Glastonbury as grounds for metropolitan status in the early successful petition to the pope in 1144, but by my reckoning, discussed when investigating the St Patrick charter, the charter seems to have been produced in 1149 for the trip to Rome to plead for metropolitan status to the English pope.
The several attempts at gaining Metropolitan status are the reason for contradictory Glastonbury foundation material in DA which was later rationalised in Henry’s final consolidation so that they adhered to the storyline of the initial interpolations presented in DA at Rome in 1144. The Apostolic foundation followed by the Phagan and Deruvian foundation was again later contradicted as Henry introduced Joseph into lore post 1158 and thus, we have three separate foundation possibilities for Glastonbury all tying together in the final consolidation of the copy of DA today.
It is therefore probable that Henry presented (the first time) his case to pope Lucius with his initial gambit of an apostolic foundation at Glastonbury interpolated into the text of the DA. It is surely the reason for the GR3 (version B) Glastonbury interpolations as that book also was used as a proof but differed in Glastonbury detail from GR1 composed before Malmesbury had been in the employ of the Glastonbury establishment. Phagan and Deruvian’s names as envoys and citing the three archbishops which are included in the First Variant (not in Primary Historia) is a direct result of Henry Blois’ ‘agenda’ in attempting to gain metropolitan.
First Variant HRB was presented and was combined with corroborating evidence in DA. The First Variant probably contained a Merlin prophecy foretelling of the reinstatement of the third metropolitan also. There is a possibility that the initial form of the First Variant was presented to papal authorities without Merlin or prophecies included but these were then added to that evolving exemplar after 1144. Whether or not Merlin was a part of the (first) First Variant can only be conjectured. Certainly, at some stage after 1139 Merlin and his prophecies were added to Primary Historia to become part of the evolving First Variant.
It was probably after the metropolitan was denied by Pope Eugenius that the Patrick charter was concocted. The only reason I posit this is that the GR3 apostolic foundation seems to illogically contradict the grounds for Lucius’ need to send missionaries. But, as it stands, Phagan and Deruvian are the ‘restorers’ of an existing Church and part of Henry’s original interpolation meant to convince the pope of Glastonbury’s early establishment which would confirm its Primacy over Canterbury.
I will cover this in detail under the chapter on DA, because another fact would indicate the St Patrick charter was not put forward to the pope as evidence. Firstly, the ridiculous indulgences found therein and secondly the fact that the pope could check records whether a grant was given. At least we know the charter of St Patrick was originally a Blois invention by the use of his names Phagan and Deruvian, also an inserted invention in the HRB, historically unknown before Henry Blois and the charter actually existed (in gold lettering).
Most commentators have thought Wellias’s name in the St Patrick charter relevant to the dispute of the Bishop of Wells’ authority over Glastonbury, thus erroneously dating the St Patrick charter after Henry Blois death. Even that proposition is uncertain…. as Wellias provides substance to the supposed antiquity of the charter in that it supposedly supplies the eponym of a town nearby to Glastonbury. One thing we know about Henry in his impersonation of Geoffrey…. is his love of providing eponyms in HRB.
However, it is entirely possible that the St Patrick charter was only produced at Glastonbury and was never used as evidence, but this is slightly illogical as the charter was said to have been ‘copied’ in gold lettering so it would seem as if the text in DA was proof it existed (as a copy); but whatever scenario about its physical appearance in gold lettering or not and for whom it was concocted as an evidence; it was certainly originally a composition of Henry’s and not of later invention as scholars would have us believe on flimsy evidence.
Scott’s assessment that the keeping of two copies indicates a date of composition after the fire does not hold as definitive. Scott assumes the reasoning behind stating a copy was made, explains how the St Patrick charter had turned up at Glastonbury abbey. Presumably (in reality), we are supposed to believe the copy was found after William searched the chest of old charters. Logically, the St Patrick charter could not be posited as having come from the St Michael chapel on the tor from such an ancient date and therefore the need for a copy and its survival, because it was written in Gold.
One certainty is that it is Henry Blois who includes the St Patrick Charter in DA…. just as it is Henry that coalesces its postscript concerning Avalon when he does his final consolidation in DA…. after his introduction of Joseph lore at Glastonbury and his final consolidation of the various propagandist agendas which are witnessed in chapters 1&2 of DA.
Henry had heard much about Arthur and read a vague tradition concerning him in saints’ lives and in Nennius while researching his initial pseudo-history for presentation to either Matilda or her Father Henry I.
Originally, for the recently conquered populace in Britain, Arthur was someone who was a warlord who Henry Blois transposes from Gildas and Bede’s486 account of Ambrosius Aurelianus to a King of Briton. Even though many readers of ‘Geoffrey’ were descendant of the Saxons and Normans, Henry is careful to relate that his Arthur was against the Romans.
486Bede reiterates Gildas’ account of Ambrosius Aurelianus in his Ecclesiastical History, but in his Chronica Majora he dates Ambrosius’ victory to the reign of the Emperor Zeno (474–491).
‘. sectionasThis change from the First Variant (where there is little anti-Roman sentiment witnessed in the speeches) is opened up to vitriolic national pride in several speeches in the later Vulgate edition of HRB.
It is not coincidental that this change of attitude is reflected to incorporate the Gauls as party to Arthur’s efforts against the Romans and could be a reflection of why Henry (when impersonating Wace by writing the Roman de Brut), finishes what he had already started (a French vernacular versified version) by completing the second half of his Anglo-Norman dialect edition of the Roman de Brut referencing the updated and more recent Vulgate version of speeches including anti Roman sentiment etc not in the First Variant (from which Henry Blois had used as a template to versify the first half of the Roman de Brut). This story-line would have been more inclusive toward the continental/Gallic audience to which the work was aimed also.
Henry’s original pseudo-history (destined for Matilda) would probably have had a more positive gloss about the Saxons as the Empress Matilda’s mother was one; and obviously references such as the German worm found in the Merlin prophecies were not even thought of at that early period in the evolutionary development of the work of the HRB.
The original pseudo-history evolved into the Primary Historia. With the introduction of the first set of prophecies into the HRB once Stephen had become King and the delicacies of not appearing to offend the Saxon sensibilities were no longer a concern, the Saxons were now portrayed with such scathing distain to deflect from the reality that the Normans were now the overlords of the Britons. Henry presents the Normans as the saviours of Britain in the early prophecies when King Stephen was still alive. However, after King Stephen’s death, in the recently updated set of prophecies in 1155 when he incites a rebellion against Henry II by a prophetical harangue to the Celts, it is predicted the Normans will be replaced by the original inhabitants i.e. the Celts with their ‘adopted son’ (Henry Blois) in charge as is made plain in the John of Cornwall Merlin prophecies. This becomes painfully obvious in the JC version, which I shall cover in the section on the John of Cornwall prophecies.
Henry aggrandises Arthur’s status and embellishes his acts and purposely conflates his persona with Gildas’ and Bede’s Ambrosius. This could only be achieved by someone who knew that there was little more information to be collated about Arthur than that found in Malmesbury’s GR1, Annales Cambriae and Nennius’ dubious Historia Brittonum, who had the education, craft, wit, artistic temperament and opportunity to carry out an endeavour which innocently started as a romanticized history of Britain destined for the future Queen. Eventually the HRB turned into a fraud that Henry had to distance himself from, especially, by assuming the authorial pseudonym of Galfridus Artur who evolved to ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth and then into the Bishop of Asaph who had to be known as dead once he had added the seditious prophecies to the work.
The creation of the persona of ‘Geoffrey’ and the background details to cover Henry’s tracks was due to Henry having written the updated prophecies c.1155 in the edition (now made public) with all the several devises that distance the work from Henry Blois. Certainly ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’ is a subsequent appellation invented after Galfridus Artur. It seems a remarkable coincidence that ‘Geoffrey’ dies the same year that the most recent prophecies are proliferated which incite rebellion. No-one prior to 1155 mentions Geoffrey of Monmouth by that name. As we covered, the act of ‘Geoffrey’ signing all those charters in Oxford in 1153 transpired after Wallingford.
Alfred of Beverley writing in 1148-51 calls ‘Geoffrey’ ‘Brittanicus’, probably because of the ‘Brito’ reference and the fact that Henry appears to be taking the partisan view of a pro-Briton by recording such an illustrious history for the Britons. ‘Geoffrey’s’ supposed elevation to Bishop in 1152 and his death in 1155 were brought about and deemed timely, because the final Vulgate version was born with newly reworked prophecies along with the incendiary calls for insurrection by the Celts against Henry II. Also, Ganieda’s prophecies in VM were just too incredible reflecting recent events in the Anarchy. I feel sure Geoffrey was being held to account, but no-one could locate him.
Hence, when the finalised and updated version of the prophetia i.e. inclusive of the ‘sixth in Ireland’ and the seditious prophecies were spliced into the present Vulgate Historia (which was in essence an evolved re-crafted Primary Historia and First Variant); the ‘bona fide’ and respectable, but untraceable Bishop of Asaph as author had already expired.
In other words, post 1149 (Henry’s last attempt at metropolitan) the First Variant became less ‘highbrow’ and ‘churchy’ and more of a history novel in the form of the Vulgate in which the fiction came to be a history which was pro-British. This is the copy Alfred would have read. The final Vulgate version in 1155 along with the last version of updated prophecies appeared with all the devises which hid Henry’s authorship. Both these came into the public domain after he had created an already expired ‘Geoffrey’; who was in fact still composing as ‘Geoffrey’ until 1156-7 over in Clugny, while still composing the VM.
Henry disregarded the necessity to chime with previous histories and his attempt to parallel known chronologies and events in annals as he had tried to maintain while composing the First Variant. Now the Metropolitan status as an agenda was no longer relevant, he re-worked the religious tone and quotes and the speeches were re-crafted to a more fictional history where no consideration was taken to avoid offence to Roman sensitivity (as the FV had originally been used as evidential support of his claim for Metropolitan status).
Furthermore, what innocently started as an innocuous endeavour as a pseudo-history c.1128-29, was first edited and tempered toward evidence in gaining metropolitan…. was then latterly used by a disempowered Henry Blois between the years of 1155-1158 as an attempt (through the Merlin Prophecies) to de-throne Henry II without any trace of such a design or culpability sticking to him.
Henry was in an opportune position to make it appear as if the HRB was written by Gaufridus Artur (who had then become known as Geoffrey of Monmouth) who had subsequently become bishop of Asaph and was a party to the signing of the Winchester treaty. It was believed by most due to the backdating process of citing dead dedicatees… that the prophecies must have been translated by ‘Geoffrey’ as they were dedicated to Alexander before 1148, but both Alexander and the Bishop of Asaph were now dead at the appearance of the updated prophecies.
The dedications in the HRB proved ostensibly that the book had been written long before 1148. But, there were no dedications in the First Variant simply because the dedicatees were still alive, but importantly, Henry at this stage had only produced a few copies. It was only at the inclusion of the malicious prophecies that Henry Blois really started to cover his tracks. The reality was in 1155 that the author was now already dead and Henry Blois was abroad. Henry was Norman anyway and ‘Geoffrey’ had become ‘Brito’ and hailed from Monmouthshire. With such a pro-British history which chimed with pro-British prophecies of the later version, certainly Henry had put enough distance between him and any accusation of authorship. In any case it seems that Henry was still trying to obfuscate his tracks because Theobald of Bec only died in 1161 and the Bishop of Asaph had supposedly been consecrated by him, but I covered this point earlier.
Henry’s cleverness at back dating was the main reason no suspicion ever fell upon him and he was never detected during his lifetime; because he made a very believable persona for Geoffrey.Especially that he appeared to have some competative streak with the two other historians. He had also substantiated in several ways the credibility of some of the History in HRB by corroborating it in other tracts and making out in the Gaimar epilogue that there really had been a source book for the HRB from which ‘Geoffrey’ had merely translated as opposed to having fabricated a history.
However, when we look at the Blois-Glastonbury interpolations in version B of GR3 we can see they pertain to a period straight after William’s death and coincide with the earliest corroborative interpolations in DA which posit an apostolic foundation which I have termed Henry’s ‘first agenda’.
The cause of much of the confusion in the Glastonbury quagmire of erroneous lore is that in two of the charters in the C version of GR3 there is even later interpolation after Henry’s death which adds even further leaf to the salad of confusion…. and this is why modern scholarship has apportioned all interpolations in DA after the fire, never considering the author of Arthuriana and the interpolated first 34 chapters in DA were composed by the same man.
To put things in historical perspective; there were no less than eight popes from the time Henry Blois was made Bishop of Winchester.
1)15 December 1124– 13 February 1130: Honorius II
2) 14 February 1130– 24 September 1143: Innocent II (Anacletus487)
3) 26 September 1143– 8 March 1144: Celestine II
4) 12 March 1144– 15 February 1145: Lucius II
5) 15 February 1145– 8 July 1153: Eugene III
6) 8 July 1153– 3 December 1154: Anastasius IV
7) 4 December 1154– 1 September 1159: Adrian IV
8) 7 September 1159– 30 August 1181: Alexander III
Henry Blois held the post of Legate from 1139-43 granted by Innocent II. Before the news arrived in England of Innocent’s death, Henry was holding a legatine council in London in November but then set out immediately for Rome in the hope of renewing the legation. Archbishop Theobald had already set out for Rome having had enough of his suffragan bishop as legate and tried to obtain the Legation for himself. Pope Celestine had been educated amongst the inhabitants of Anjou and designed to strengthen their hands by the abasement of King Stephen; on which ground he was excited to a dislike of Henry Bishop of Winchester.488
Henry was not given the legation and stayed at Clugny for a while probably annoyed at events and those of the Cistercians that conspired against him. However, Celestine lived just a short while and Lucius II was more amenable to Henry Blois. Henry of course wanted the legation but realised that it was only for the life of the pope and to be more secure in his powerbase, attempted to elevate Winchester into a metropolitan See over Salisbury, Exeter, Wells, and Chichester, Hereford and Worcester and also creating a new bishopric for Hyde abbey.
Now, to convince pope Lucius of Henry’s worthiness to be granted metropolitan status, certain proofs would be necessary to grant such a powerful position and this is the main cause of Henry’s interpolative endeavour into William of Malmesbury’s GR and DA and constitutes what I have termed his ‘first agenda’. I shall cover why and when certain interpolations were added to William’s work in the next sections on the ‘De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesia’ and the Gesta Regum Anglorum.
GR3 (with interpolations) and DA (with apostolic foundation interpolations) were produced in a case put forward as a proof of antiquity. Further evidential support probably backed up by much which was written about Winchester and its early monastic roots (in HRB) and the fact there were three Archflamens etc. found in First Variant were duly provided as evidence of the worthiness to be granted metroplitan.
Pope Lucius, as well as finally granting Henry his metropolitan status over the western part of England, also conferred papal privileges at the same time on Glastonbury itself, obviously convinced of its great antiquity by the written evidences put forward by Henry of Western Britain’s right to primacy.489 So as John of Hexham relates: Bishop Henry found favour in his sight, and refuted the criminal charges of those whom the empress had sent against him, but nevertheless, he did not continue to hold the title and office of legate.490
487In 1130, just after Henry Blois was elevated to the Bishopric of Winchester, Peter the venerable, Henry’s mentor and confidant was the most prominent to acknowledge Gregorio Papareschi (Innocent II) against Anacletus otherwise known as Cardinal Pietro Pierleone, thus averting a long-term schism in the Roman Church.
488John of Hexham 22
489Monasticum Anglicanum I, 37
490John of Hexham 22-23
Lucius II however, denied the legation to Theobald also, because of the endless enmity that existed between Henry Blois and Theobald. As I covered earlier, the enmity was initially caused by Henry’s brother Stephen having given the Archbishopric of Canterbury to Theobald of Bec in late 1138, after Henry had stood in as Archbishop in waiting since 1136, since William of Corbeil had died. The blame for the underhanded volte face by his brother in denying Henry the Archbishopric and the pique it caused Henry could not be suppressed, as we witnessed at times in GS (authored by Henry Blois).
The cause was the Beaumont twins, whispering in the ear of Stephen, guarding him against giving Henry too much power. Henry felt, after having installed his brother as King, that he deserved the highest position in the church as they had initially agreed.
Now, we must just deviate slightly, because, as I have maintained, Henry Blois wrote the Life of Gildas. We know that Henry is the one who commissioned the ‘Kidnap of Guinevere’ engraving on the Modena Archivolt…. and the Cathedral itself was finished by 1140 (according to the experts). William’s unadulterated DA had not proven such a success in providing adequate proof of Antiquity for Glastonbury except for the evidence provided by the 601 charter. So, an earlier date of antiquity could be more easily believed if a datable Gildas was known to be at Glastonbury and preceded Augustine’s arrival as is confirmed in the Life of Gildas.
The Life of Gildas also provided the added benefit of building more of an authenticated credible historicity for the chivalric King Arthur by the testimony of another author validating the existence of chivalric Arthur with wife. These illusions were easily fabricated by using the name of a now dead Caradoc. ‘Caradoc’s Life of Gildas was written before 1144491 and because Henry’s interpolation into GR3 casually mentions Gildas at Glastonbury as if such a detail were inconsequential, we can determine William of Malmesbury is obviously dead and his GR work is now being interpolated with information which corroborates an archaic provenance into the dark ages.
491According to the date of completion for Modena, one must assume Life of Gildas written 1139-40
We know the GR3 interpolations were realised to coincide with the early apostolic foundation interpolations in DA in 1144 (not a Joseph foundation). Gildas’ presence at Glastonbury was then expanded upon in DA, but let it be understood that Gildas was never at Glastonbury writing his De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae. Gildas had already emigrated to Brittany where he founded a monastery known as St Gildas de Rhuys. The 9th century Rhuys Life of Gildas is generally accepted as being an accurate account of Gildas’ life and Caradoc’s version should be looked upon as having no validity at all…. but is an invention of Henry’s based loosely along the lines of the Life of St Cadoc.
The point of mentioning this is that if the date for the completion of the archivolt is correct c.1140 Henry must have conjured up his Melvas and Arthur concoction in the Life of Gildas where Gildas intervenes in the fictional episode at Glastonbury, prior to when Henry Blois had the opportunity to interpolate William’s work which transpired only after William of Malmesbury’s death in 1143.
So, we can deduce that the fabricated Life of Gildas was concocted in response to the Canterbury taunts about the abbey of Glastonbury lacking antiquity and is somewhat a response to providing proof of Antiquity after the debacle of Glastonbury as an institution having received Eadmer’s letter in response to another of Henry’s false propaganda claims that Dunstan was buried at Glastonbury.
The Life of Gildas originally was composed then as a rebuttal to ostensibly prove an ecclesiastical establishment at Glastonbury (with an abbot) in antiquity…. but opportunely Henry added material that bolstered the historical persona of the chivalric Arthur and confirmed his existence in what the his own recently discovered Primary Historia had revealed in 1139.
Logically, the Life of Gildas must pre-date the 1144 interpolations of William’s work if the dates for the archivolt completion of 1140 are correct. Also, one telling sign that the Life of Gildas was fabricated as one of the first of Henry’s forays into the dark art of forgery is the fact that the etymology of Ineswitrin can be easily recognised as an addition to the main Life of Gildas manuscript.
The last paragraph which contains the bogus etymology is a later insertion, tagged on to a previously written Life of Gildas. The last paragraph only has one use…. and that is to substantiate the 601 charter. In effect, through the etymology, Ineswitrin becomes an ‘estate’ on the island of Glastonbury but the charter in reality refers to the donating of a Devonian Island which now appears to relate to the locality of Glastonbury.
The same polemic portraying Ineswitrin being commensurate with Glastonbury is obviously re-introduced later by Henry at the concoction of the charter of St Patrick; confirming his etymological farce found in the Life of Gildas just for the appearance of corroborative continuity.
In other words, in 1144, the 601 charter was hugely important in establishing the antiquity of Glastonbury, but only if it were understood that Ineswitrin was the old name for Glastonbury. However, Ineswitrin could never be at Glastonbury; it was in Devon! (proved by the fact that the King of Devon was donating the Island and the fact that the encryted geometry emphatically points to Burgh Island.
Initially the reasoning behind the composition of the Life of Gildas had nothing to do with a pursuit of metropolitan. At this early stage William of Malmesbury would have uncovered the 601 charter around 1130-4 and only later was the etymological corroboration employed in Life of Gildas to substantiate the relevance of the 601 charter. The object being to create the misunderstanding that Glastonbury was an identical location with Ineswitrin i.e. an ‘estate’ at Glastonbury.
So, it appears that Life of Gildas was employed before William’s death and after William’s researches at Glastonbury were concluded. In my opinion Life of Gildas was written after William had moved away from Glastonbury between 1135-9.
However, after William’s death, Henry had the time to interpolate William’s most recent version of GR. This is the version which contains the Glastonbury interpolations in version B of GR3 which modern scholars naively believe are William’s words which I will cover later in the section on GR. Henry also concocted an amazing array of evidence in DA showing the pre-existence of a church in Western England prior to St Augustine’s arrival. The arrival of Augustine in 597 AD is what Canterbury’s primacy was founded upon.
Since Pope Lucius II only held the post of pope just over a year from 1144-1145, it shows that there was ample time to concoct evidence in William’s GR3 and DA before a presentation in Rome. It required only a few insertions into GR and in all probability…. Henry had the only copy of DA to exist after William had presented it to him.
Bishop Henry…set out for Rome, the year of his departure I cannot definitely place. But he obtained from the pope that the bishopric of Winchester should be created an archbishopric, the abbey of Hyde a bishopric and the bishop of Chichester should be subject to him. He did this on account of the incessant strife which continued between the bishop and the archbishop of Canterbury. For the legate wished to be considered greater than the archbishop and the archbishop greater than the legate.492
The continual struggle between Theobald and Henry went on for years each time the pope changed:
before the completion of this year the archbishop of Canterbury having had ordinary jurisdiction over the bishop of Winchester and he exercising the power of his legation from Rome over the archbishop, these two persons clashed against each other; and the peace of the churches being disturbed, they repaired to the Roman pontiff, bringing a question grateful to the Roman ear, in proportion to its weight. One of them indeed gained the cause; but neither returned without exhausted purse.493
Ralph de Diceto relates that pope Lucius sent a pall to Henry bishop of Winchester to whom he had proposed to assign seven bishops.494 Roger of Wendover puts the year at 1143, so this fits the time-line to re-arrange William of Malmesbury’s work in DA and GR to provide a convincing case for metropolitan in 1144: To this Henry, pope Lucius sent the pall, wishing to erect a new archbishopric at Winchester, and to place under him seven bishops.495
492Annales Monastici, II, 53
493William of Newburgh. 415
494Radulti de Diceto 255
495Roger of Wendover
When pope Lucius died on February 25th1145, the next pope Eugenius III, a Cistercian and friend of Bernard of Clairvaux was against Henry’s struggle for metropolitan. Metropolitan status had been instituted officially but the investiture had not transpired before pope Lucius’s death and it was certainly no investiture was going to happen under Eugenius III. Henry’s Metropolitan was in effect revoked.
When Eugenius summoned all the bishops to a council in Rheims in March 1148 King Stephen had the pope’s envoys delivering the summons expelled from England. It was also Pope Eugene III who presided over Canterbury’s claim to primacy over the Welsh in Theobald’s term of office. Eugene III decided in 1148 in Canterbury’s favour against Henry’s friend Bernard who was after the same metropolitan status.
Bernard died in 1148 and this is why both Sees are mentioned in the Merlin prophecies updated version because they had existed in the version of the prophecies which was present with the First Variant.
King Stephen went to Canterbury and tried to prevent archbishop Theobald attending the council at Rheims. Gervaise rightly attributes this intervention to Henry Blois. Henry obviously got his way for a time, as Theobald was banished and a rapprochement took place between Henry and his brother Stephen.
Theobald slipped out of England at night and crossed the channel to attend the council even though Stephen had the ports watched. Those that did not attend the council were suspended from office by Eugene III. Even though the other insular ecclesiastics were reinstated by Theobald the archbishop when he returned to England…. Henry Blois was singled out and could only be absolved by the pope. He therefore had to make another trip to Rome.
Henry Blois’ other brother of note, Count Theobald of Blois, was on friendly terms with the Cistercians and he negotiated that Henry would be able within a six-month period to seek absolution from the pope for his meddling.
So, Henry arrived in front of the pope in 1149 and received absolution, but his plans to revive the already granted metropolitan were refused. Henry requested that he be freed from the jurisdiction of Canterbury obviously showing the evidence of proofs of primacy in support of his metropolitan with which he had convinced pope Lucius.
On this second attempt at securing metropolitan status in 1149, Henry may have thought it prudent to add more flesh to the claim by adding St. Patrick’s charter to the DA. This is the most probable reason the charter seems to follow subsequently a previous apostolic polemic found posited in GR3 and fully embellished in DA i.e. this was the reason the names of Phagan and Deruvian were employed in the second attempt.
The St Patrick charter would of course coincide with author B’s tentative testimony of Patrick at Glastonbury. Henry would of course have Caradoc’s Life of Gildas testimony with the Ineswitrin etymology which substantiates the 601 charter. There would also be corroboration of Phagan and Deruvian from the First Variant HRB. If one adds this to both interpolated works of William of Malmesbury’s GR3and DA, it must have made a compelling case.
However, Eugene III was not going to dilute Canterbury’s primacy or authority and Henry Blois was refused. Because of the personal envy between Henry and Theobald, Henry then asked for personal exemption from Theobald’s jurisdiction, but this was also refused; and it was obvious Eugene III was out to curb Henry’s power and ambitions spurred on by Bernard of Clairvaux.
John of Salisbury writes on Henry’s trip to Rome in 1149: After being publicly received back into favour, he began to intrigue with Guy of Summa, bishop of Ostia,496 Gregory of St Angelo497 and other friends (as they afterward confessed) to secure a pallium for himself and become archbishop of western England.
As I covered, Archbishop Theobald had disobeyed King Stephen’s orders and attended the council of Rheims. Theobald was ordered to leave the country upon his return; and this was all manipulated by Henry Blois because he had not obtained his metropolitan and as John of Salisbury records for this period; Henry was believed to be instigating his brother the King against the church.498
496On September 23, 1149 Eugenius III consecrated Guido de Summa Bishop of Ostia. He died in 1151.
497It would be interesting to know the relationship between Guy of Summa, bishop of Ostia and Gregory of St Angelo and Henry Blois; and especially, of what their ‘intrigue’ consisted. How were they originally to help Henry? Is it that Gregory of St Angelo was so named after the Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant’ Angelo in Rome? Hadrian’s ashes were placed here in 138 AD along with his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in 138 AD. Now, it would not surprise me that Gregory of St Angelo’s involvement had to do with the planting of evidence in the mausoleum which had something to do with an apostolic foundation in Britain or at least Lucius being made to appear as the King Lucius in Bede. (A King Lucius biography in Britain is entirely concocted in HRB as we shall cover and has no historic truth). Gregory of St Angelo having anything to do with Henry Blois’ substantiation of King Lucius is of course speculation. Let us not forget that not only was Henry Blois set on being metropolitan bishop of Western England, he also would have had one eye on the position of pope and this may have been the intrigue.
Archbishop Theobald, through much wrangling and possible threats from the pope concerning the succession of King Stephen’s son Eustace, was then allowed to return to England. However, Theobald was also granted the legation by Eugene III. It was during these turbulent times that the DA took on its first interpolations to comply with what I have called Henry’s ‘first agenda’.
To think the First Variant was not presented as a proof to papal authorities would be silly given that Henry had already written the Primary Historia and with a few changes…. it could act as historical evidence in his case for metropolitan. Glastonbury was not mentioned in HRB and Caradoc (the supposed author of Life of Gildas) was a known historian, and William of Malmesbury’s work was well respected. Who would suspect Henry’s authorial interpolative input of these manuscripts?
In many places, Henry refers to Winchester in HRB so that its antiquity is established. It was even founded at the same time as Canterbury should that be an objection in the contention over primacy: After him, reigned his son Hudibras nine-and-thirty years, who, after the civil dissensions, did restore concord among the people and founded Kaerlem, that is, Canterbury. He also founded Kaerguen, which is Winchester.499
That Winchester had an ancient church was attested to by Henry’s bogus History: Constans, the eldest born, he made over to the church of Amphibalus in Winchester.500 If popes Lucius II or Eugenius III had any doubts about whether the metropolitan should be granted, the most famous of British prophets had predicted such an occurrence: Hither, thou Cambria, and bringing Cornwall with thee at thy side, say unto Winchester: ‘The earth shall swallow thee: transfer the See of the shepherd thither….501Examples of Henry’s polemic are many in both the Merlin prophetia and the narrative of HRB, but one should not forget he actually could show a very archaic 601 charter which proved the pre-existence of a religious institution at Glastonbury prior to Augustine.
499HRB. II, ix
500HRB. V, viii
501HRB. VII, iv
After all Henry Blois’ attempts to establish his own Metropolitan had been thwarted, to re-establish his power in Britain after his return from Clugny in 1158, Henry hatched the plan to create a history that would challenge the primacy of Rome itself.
One of the main tasks of this investigation is to answer the question posed by modern scholars; how did Henry Blois light upon the name of Joseph of Arimathea?
Joseph of Arimathea lore at Glastonbury did not materialise as the present scholastic community assumes. Joseph lore at Glastonbury originated from the mention of his name in the prophecy of Melkin. But, if the stupidity persists in denying the existence of the validity of the Melkin prophecy, the blind will continue to lead the blind. In Melkin’s prophecy is the twist of fate that until now has prevented anyone finding Ineswitrin, yet (through Henry Blois’ authorial inventions) has perpetuated the original reason for Joseph’s connection with the British Isles.
Ineswitrin was not a known or identifiable location until Henry associated it with Glastonbury. So, Henry posing as Caradoc in his Life of Gildas had stated it is the ancient name for Glastonbury. However, Henry changed the truth of what the Melkin prophecy originally stated, purely in association with his second agenda, which concerns Avalon.
So, what was in essence a real Island in Devon with the remains of Joseph buried within it, became a fictionally named Insulla Avallonis which was now commensurate with Arthur’s last known location which became Glastonbury after King Arthur’s bogus disinterment.
The initial objective of composing the misleading etymology in the Life of Gildas was to add credence to the 601 charter in that it appeared to apply to Glastonbury and hence proved its Antiquity. However, what can also be seen is Henry’s cleverness in his interpolation of William502 where he provides a proof and reasoning behind the etymological swap by having us believe that when the Saxons came they initially grabbed land that they were later to give back; and hence (we are led to understand) the reasoning that the five cassates were in fact Glastonbury’s originally.
502DA. Chap 35… although that estate (Ineswitrin) and many others were granted to Glastonbury in the time of the Britons, as is plain from the preceding, yet when the English drove out the Britons, they being pagans, seized the lands that had been granted to the churches before finally restoring the stolen lands….
This in effect nullifies any enquiry into why no-one refers to Glastonbury by the name of Ineswitrin in any previous manuscript. In effect, Henry had trans-located Ineswitrin in Devon to be understood as synonymous with Glastonbury. As we covered earlier, not even Grimmer is duped by Henry Blois’ translocation of the Devonian island to Glastonbury.
Henry’s initial propaganda which converts Glastonbury as being synonymous with Ineswitrin became a problem of consistency later for Henry, especially when he set about his ‘second agenda’; the establishing of Avalon to be synonymous with Glastonbury. Logically, if Avalon were the previous name of Glastonbury at the time of King Arthur, and St Patrick, how had it become Ineswitrin in the 601 era soon after it was supposedly called Avallon?
Let there be no further misunderstanding; Henry Blois is the instigator behind locating a fictionally named Avalon at Glastonbury. It is his change of agendas which has caused such confusion, his coalescing and consolidating of evidences in DA which tie together contradictions. This is not the work of a later consolidating editor. If Gildas was at Glastonbury in the bogus Life of Gildas and Ineswitrin was established as Glastonbury in that manuscript of Henry Blois’ composition (supposedly by Caradoc for Henry’s first agenda purposes) and the St Patrick charter as well put forward as corroborating this fact; the St Patrick charter then converts Ineswitrin back to Avalon to fulfil Henry Blois’ second agenda i.e. the St Patrick charter corroborates Henry’s previous insinuation by seamlessly making all three names appear to be in one location.
This appears more unclear than it really is. Henry’s second agenda was to have HRB’s chivalric Arthur found at Avalon which would be made clear (confirmed for posterity) by the discovery of the written message on the leaden cross at the unearthing of the manufactured grave of King Arthur and Guinevere.
However, as we have established, Henry had based his idea of a locationless Avalon Island in HRB from the Island mentioned in the prophecy of Melkin. Only through propaganda and the manufacturing of the grave at Glastonbury complete the location of Avalon at Glastonbury.
The real problem arrives when Henry starts to integrate Joseph into Glastonbury lore in the first two chapters of DA, which were added last and after he had disseminated his Grail lore. It is this coalescing of different agendas in Henry’s lifetime which has confounded modern scholars in the assessment of interpolations in DA…. which they assume is dependent upon the emergence of Grail stories from the continent after Henry had died.
The prophecy of Melkin is the key, but Henry did not want to be found holding it or associated with it, as much of his inspiration came from it. If the link was discovered, it would lead back to him. However, since the Melkin prophecy itself was the root cause of inspiration to Henry’s muses in the evolving construction of the ‘Matter of Britain’ and Henry understood the prophecy was not a fake; he was not going to destroy it. Henry placed the Melkin prophecy in some literature which has not come down to posterity. This is how it came to be recorded by John of Glastonbury.
The one auspicious change in fortune is that it has now got Henry’s handprint on it with the change of name to his fictional Avalon. The invented name of Avalon had first appeared in his concoction of the First Variant HRB.
After the introduction of a Joseph foundation at Glastonbury in Henry’s second agenda, it was necessary to change the name on the prophecy from Ineswitrin to comply with Henry’s completely concocted name of Avalon, which as we know, was based on a town name in Burgundy. Hence, this is why we have a completely fictitious name on an absolutely accurate geometrical set of directions to Joseph’s tomb. The reasons why Henry did not include the Melkin prophecy in the DA are many but all have to do with the traceability to him and I will deal with this under the section on DA.
It is safe to assume that the ‘Matter of Britain’ and specifically Joseph lore at Glastonbury did not happen as a fortuitous set of circumstances as certain scholars attest. Also, on Giraldus’s testimony it becomes evident the tomb of Arthur was planted by Henry Blois long before its discovery. The reader should be aware that St. Patrick’s charter predates any mention of Joseph as his name is not in the charter. Certainly, the charter pre-dates the inclusion of Joseph into DA…. (It is not at all certain that the St Patrick charter was part of Henry’s evidence provided to papal authorities, however it seems likely).
We can posit therefore, Joseph would not have been in Henry’s earlier redaction of William’s DA which was presented to the pope. However, since a passage in chap 21 of GR3 exists which is the same in chap 31 of DA where Arthur’s burial place is posited; it seems unlikely that Henry, while pursuing metropolitan status at Rome, had decided at that era, to plant a set of bones in a grave at Glastonbury.
By the casual addition to the similar passage which states where Arthur is located in DA… it evidences that the planting of Arthur’s grave to be discovered in Avalon is all part of Henry’s second agenda. Yet, the initial interpolations had been composed anyway in GR3 and DA by Henry for the earlier agenda. Confirmation of this reverse in chronology is evidenced in that…. the two first chapters in DA which essentially consolidate all previous contradictions were inserted last and introduce Joseph into Glastonbury Lore.
It is plain from the St Patrick’s charter and Alfred of Beverley’s mention of Avalon that before 1150, Henry had come up with the name Avalon and we know it was in the First Variant which preceded Vulgate.503 As we have discussed Huntingdon would have mentioned Avalon if it had been in the Primary Historia and is a definitive indicator of the two agendas of Henry separated over time.
.503The First Variant is in fact a misnomer in that it is not a variant on what is presumed to be the Vulgate which scholarship assumes preceded it. The First Variant evolved from the Bec Primary Historia set to target and appeal to an ecclesiastical audience i.e. the pope at Rome.
However, the Primary Historia was not the finished product of what is now commonly understood as the Vulgate HRB. The Vulgate edition stems from c.1155 (certainly the updated prophecies found within it cannot be earlier) and we can understand through what Alfred of Beverley relates; that up until that date the Historia was in a state of transition. As I have said, the pseudo-history, (the pre-cursor to the Primary Historia) was started as a potential presentation copy to the future queen Matilda.
William’s GR was similarly destined to her. The difference between GR and pseudo Historia was one volume was interesting and a highly entertaining novel and portrayed a bogus precedent of past queens in Insular history…. the other was a serious conscientious account of History.
One indicator for the commencement of the pseudo-history is the inclusion of the traitor Anacletus. Antigonus and his comrade Anacletus found in book one of HRB helps us to find a date not before 1130.504 The fact that Anacletus died in 1138 has little to do with the pseudo-history’s development into the Primary Historia; as we know in 1138 Henry was splicing his Welsh Arthuriad into an already completed pseudo-history which had been put on hold since Henry Ist death; mainly because it had become redundant (in its original purpose) now Stephen was King.
504Anacletus II an Antipope who ruled from 1130 and died January 25, 1138. He became the Antipope in a schism against the contested, hasty election of Pope Innocent II. One can be sure that if Henry’s pursuit of Metropolitan was possible to be obtained, he would have gone to Anacletus as he had also been at the abbey of Cluny. It was not until William of Malmesbury had died in 1143 that the evidence provided in DA and GR could be concocted. In 1130, Pope Honorius II lay dying and the cardinals decided that they would entrust the election to a commission of eight men, led by papal chancellor Haimeric, who had his candidate hastily elected as Pope Innocent II. He was consecrated on February 14, the day after Honorius’ death. On the same day, the other cardinals announced that Innocent had not been canonically elected and chose Anacletus.
William’s GR completion and his relation to Henry Blois at Glastonbury were probably the germ and stimulus for Henry’s planning and undertaking the similar endeavour of the pseudo-history. This then evolved into the Primary Historia. Henry had written part of the book i.e. the pseudo-history before going to Normandy in 1137-8. It was in 1137-8 Henry concocted or expanded the Arthurian epic and spliced this onto a Brutus history up to Vortigern. He ended his history to where the recently died Caradoc had started his chronological history. As I have stated before, first hand knowledge of the Welsh topography and geography displayed in HRB was derived from Henry Blois’ visit to Wales in 1136….. where no doubt being a keen architect, Henry Blois was struck by Caerleon the remains of its amphitheatre, fortress and Roman baths. Henry imagined the place as King Arthur’s court and even Giraldus was impressed with the ruins:
Caerleon, an ancient and authentic city, excellently and well built in ancient times by the Romans. Many vestiges of its former splendour may yet be seen, mighty and huge palaces with gilded roofs in imitation of the magnificence of Rome; a town sprawling in size with wonderful bath buildings, the remains of theatres and temples surrounded by fine walls, some of which are still standing.
As we have discussed previously, Henry had thought he was going to be metropolitan archbishop of Canterbury after William of Corbeil had died. Orderic Vitalis relates: Henry was elected as metropolitan. But since by canon law a bishop can only be translated from his own see to another church by the authority of the pope….
So, in order to get consent in 1137 for his translation from Winchester to Canterbury from pope Innocent, Henry set off to meet the pope at Pisa, but luckily for us, he was side-tracked into acting as vice-regent or envoy in Normandy for his brother King Stephen, sorting out the rebellious Baldwin who was being supported by Matilda causing mayhem to supporters of Stephen. If it had not been for this twist of fate, I doubt we would have had a Primary Historia deposited at Bec.
Anyway, because of this twist of fate and the Beaumont’s jealousy of Henry, Theobald was elected and the rest is history. We could speculate that the reason Stephen passed over Henry’s election as Archbishop is because of what transpired in Normandy. It is a possibility that Henry might have done some deal while in Normandy with Matilda. This is hinted at in various chronicles and Henry spends his time in GS, subtly dissuading us from this point of view.
We know Henry was at Bedford anyway, so, what I am suggesting is that because Henry was delayed seeing the pope, he got wind in the first half of 1138 that events were happening behind his back and returned to England to be present at the siege.505 Just before his return to England Henry must have deposited the Primary Historia at Bec and coincidentally (or not), it was Theobald of Bec that was given his position as Archbishop. Henry could not believe his brother could have been so ungrateful and deceitful, especially as he thought they were working as siblings in trust and had an agreement. Without Henry’s efforts, the crown would never have lighted upon Stephen’s head.
505Bedford castle was controlled by Simon de Beauchamp, the son of Hugh de Beauchamp. Simon died in 1137, and King Stephen agreed that Simon’s daughter should marry Hugh the Pauper. The castle would be passed to Hugh, in exchange for Stephen giving Miles certain compensation and additional honours. Miles and Payn de Beauchamp, the children of Simon’s brother, Robert de Beauchamp, refused to hand the castle over to Hugh saying that the castle was rightfully Miles’. Even though Miles de Beauchamp declared himself in support of Stephen, in the contention with Matilda, the King decided to take Bedford Castle before marching north to deal with the invasion of David from Scotland. Stephen besieged the castle, but Miles was prepared for a long siege. Stephen could not enter the castle so left a force to starve it into submission whilst he went north to tackle David’s Scottish invasion. Henry intervened to produce a negotiated settlement. Henry reached an agreement whereby after five weeks, the castle finally surrendered. The occupants were allowed to leave, but the castle was handed over to Stephen. Miles and Henry had made an agreement, but in 1141 Miles retook the castle and because of this Henry as author of GS has little favourable to say of Miles.
If Henry could show that ‘Western England’s’ first church was founded by Eleutherius’s preachers in 166 AD, and this had been researched by a credible historian, the value of Henry’s first agenda of a Phagan and Deruvian foundation and their names as an addition to the First Variant is openly exposed; especially when Phagan and Deruvian had not been mentioned in Primary Historia in Huntingdon’s synopsis.
For clarity’s sake, it is worth noting that what I have termed Henry’s ‘first agenda’ can be classified into two portions. It involves Henry’s obsession with obtaining metropolitan status for western England. The lines are slightly blurred in that the invention concerning Gildas and the abbot at Glastonbury at the kidnap of Guinevere in the Life of Gildas had nothing to do with his metropolitan agenda. The reason for Henry’s composition and impersonation of Caradoc of Llancarfan may have been incidentally to substantiate Arthurian lore but mainly to counter Osbern’s claim that Dunstan was the first Abbot; the text of Life of Gildas obviously countering that fact by advocating there was an abbot there in the era which Gildas lived which was of known date.
Caradoc’s/Henry’s concocted account makes plain through its polemic that there was an abbot in Gildas’ era and that abbot received extra lands….. an agenda which was close to Henry’s own efforts at the time of composition of the manuscript. The other two parts to what I have termed Henry’s ‘first agenda’, specifically constitute the interpolations in GR3 and DA concerning an apostolic or disciplic foundation at Glastonbury. This took place in 1144 after William of Malmesbury’s death. However, there is a second part of Henry’s ‘first agenda’ which took place in 1149 and most likely specifically includes the fabrication or addition to DA of the St Patrick charter.
What I have termed Henry’s ‘second agenda’ transpires post 1155 and apart from Henry’s efforts to cause rebellion against Henry II as seen in the prophecies, the secondary agenda concerns itself mainly in the transposition, translocation, or conversion506 of Henry Blois’ invention at that time of a non-locational Avalon mentioned in HRB to locating it at Glastonbury through further propaganda (in the VM’s Insula Pomorum) and by manufacturing a grave with an explicit leaden cross stating that the place it was going to be found at in the future was previously named Glastonbury.
The ultimate fulfilment of this illusion is of course Arthur’s disinterment and the very reason for planting the leaden cross next to Arthur’s supposed bones and then pointing out the location between the piramides in DA. Also, the ‘second agenda’ includes the propagation of Joseph lore at Glastonbury and Joseph’s role in the ‘Matter of Britain’ propagated through DA and corroborated in Henry’s output of Grail literature on the continent, which was retold through Robert de Boron and Chrétien de Troyes directly from ‘Master Blihis’ who they had witnessed at the court of Champagne.
506Henry is trans-locating Ineswitrin to be synonymous with Glastonbury and yet the name Avalon (which is fictitious), is itself based on Ineswitrin the mystical island from the Melkin Prophecy; and Henry Blois is more concerned in his second agenda with converting the fictional Avalon in HRB to appear as synonymous with Glastonbury.
It could be that Henry in a very clever sleight of hand attempts to show that the GR was already finished before 1126 (which it was but not with Glastonbury additions i.e. the GR3 edition) and before his own arrival at Glastonbury…. so, he has William advocating an apostolic foundation and yet saying in GR3 he has no idea of the later missionary’s names. As we covered, this is an indication of a later introduction of their names in First Variant.
Yet Henry’s polemical intention would be to create the appearance that through William’s having searched out all the old charters while researching and compiling the DA, he is now in a position to state the names of the missionaries having found the St Patrick charter as appears to be the case in DA because they are named on it. Maybe the First Variant version of HRB which includes their names was only used in Henry’s application case for Metropolitan subsequently at Rome in 1149 in conjunction with the St Patrick charter and DA. (I shall cover this later).
I have been criticized already by modern scholars who think what I claim is Henry’s output would be too much to accept; i.e. the amount of interpolations I am claiming were made by Henry seems impossible. Don’t forget that most of the tracts I claim were interpolated could have just had a few folio’s rewritten and inserted and Henry Blois’ active mind did not waste the 75 years he was alive. To compare oneself with Cicero one would have to have a voluminous output i.e. the HRB, the Roman de Brut, Grail literature not to mention the possibility that the four works of Robert de Boron were probably from Henry’s hand which I shall cover later on.
The B version of GR3 is undoubtedly interpolated by Henry Blois and may only have been used in the first metropolitan case put forward which attempted to posit an apostolic foundation of Glastonbury. The insertion in GR3 tells us that the names of the missionaries sent by pope Eleutherius to King Lucius are lost in the mists of antiquity. But in the DA their names are given as Phagan and Deruvian, on the authority of the Charter of the St Patrick and the First Variant.
There is another indication that the GR3 interpolations were made before the invention of the St Patrick charter which applied to the later metropolitan attempt in 1149. The two sets of interpolations in DA and GR run together and for the most part concur; the GR obviously understated without the later invention of St Patrick’s charter says: ‘and there he (Patrick) became monk and abbot, and after some years paid the debt of nature’ confirming the tentative proposition made by Author B.
Once GR3 was interpolated to coincide with the first disciplic or apostolic foundation fraud, it was not updated thereafter507 in stark contrast to the DA which was updated on two further occasions while Henry was alive. We must consider that the consolidation of DA was carried out later and the possibility that the St Patrick charter (copy) may have been presented as a separate faked document in Rome and then only later to have been included in the textual content of DA by Henry.
Essentially, there is a contradiction between the Eleutherius missionaries coming to an already apostolically established church. It is difficult to see if one preceded the other or they were used together. It seems to me, one is a reflection of the 1144 attempt and the other which included the addition of the St Patrick charter pertains to Henry’s 1149 attempt with pope Eugenius. William of Malmesbury does not elsewhere in his historical works refer to the mission sent by Eleutherius at the request of King Lucius.
Henry sourced their names (as they may originally have been the founders of Winchester) and attached a date to their bogus deeds i.e. A.D. 167 in DA at Glastonbury. Phagan and Deruvian’s names were attached to the story-line of the request of King Lucius which came from Bede’s mistake in a misinterpretation of the Liber Pontificalis, which I will get to later.
Essentially, Henry’s attempts to reinstate his legation had failed and he was annoyed at being subordinate to archbishop Theobald. A legation only survived the life of a pope before it was consigned to another or reappointed. Henry and Theobald sought to be Legate to counter each other’s power. Henry’s best strategy, since the popes at this period seemed to die in quick succession, was to obtain a metropolitan which was permanent and did not involve further supplication upon the death of each pope.
Henry, also, being a Cluniac had the Cistercians against him. But, pope Lucius liked Henry Blois and Bernard of Clairvaux’s ‘Whore of Winchester’ letter did not stop Henry Blois being granted the Metropolitan: Bishop Henry…set out for Rome, the year of his departure I cannot definitely place. But he obtained from the pope that the bishopric of Winchester should be created an archbishopric, the abbey of Hyde a bishopric and that the bishop of Chichester should be subject to him. He did this on account of the incessant strife which continued between the bishop and the arch bishop of Canterbury; for the legate wished to be considered greater that the Archbishop and the Archbishop greater than the legate.508
507Version C of GR has later interpolations made after Henry’s death.
508Annales Monastici, ii, 53. However, the writer has confused Innocent II with pope Lucius.
Through St Patrick’s charter and by their introduction into First Variant, Phagan and Deruvian became the founders of Glastonbury as recounted in DA. It is not by accident that Phagan and Deruvian are named in HRB…. nor is it by accident that the names of the preachers of Eleutherius are feigned to have been lost in time in GR3.509 Does it not seem odd that our interpolator even has to mention that their names are lost and then produce them in DA? Therein is the adage ‘by hiding the truth is the hidden truth revealed’.
Yet, only the gullible would believe that, William who composed his VD II after DA…. (this new information supposedly found out while researching DA), reveals nothing of the illustrious foundation of Glastonbury in that composition. VD II was completed after the main content of DA was already finished. It should be made clear to the reader that William was never aware that he was in the future to be the witness of an apostolic foundation or that there were named missionaries from Rome or even that he has found a charter of St Patrick.
It is ludicrous to think so and once scholarship understands Henry Blois’ device of writing history retrospectively, a greater insight will be achieved concerning GR3 and DA, HRB and the prophecies of Merlin.
There is no concern for the old church’s ‘rude’ construction of wattle, or its apostolic foundation found in VD II. The only reference is not to apostolic or the Phagan and Deruvian foundation, but merely that the first foundation transpired before Dunstan which is the main thrust of the argument against Osbern’s accusation: It was an ancient place as I have said, going back well beyond his time; but though it owes its first foundation to earlier benefactors, it is indebted to Dunstan for its new pre-eminence.510
509The common opinion is that it was written by William and then a later interpolator supplied the names. Not so, as we shall cover later.
510William of Malmesbury, Life of Dunstan book ii 10.4
Henry keeps his threads of evidence and propaganda separated so they do not lead back to him. This has caused much confusion in the scholastic community. Henry makes no mention of Joseph until his post 1158 ‘second agenda’. Joseph is grafted as part of Grail lore on the continent and into Glastonbury lore. Melkin is never associated with Joseph by Henry in his propaganda but Melvas is associated with Arthur and Arthur with Avalon and Avalon with Joseph and Joseph (in reality) with the prophecy of Melkin…. without the connection of Ineswitrin to Joseph (originally in the prophecy).
So, the veil of confusion blurs the association of the 601 charter of Ineswitrin with the genuine Island in Devon on which Joseph’s relics reside…. by Henry’s ingenious etymological farce found in Caradoc’s Life of Gildas which transposes Ineswitrin to Glastonbury
No commentator has suspected Henry Blois as the prolific interpolator of DA. Most scholars assume the DA interpolations were concocted after the Glastonbury fire, but none explain the various contradictory foundation myths. The clever construction of the Patrick charter is clearly evidenced in the backdating through Patrick which leads back to Phagan and Deruvian who appear and are apparently corroborated in the First Variant. What is evident in VM, written between 1155 and 1158 is that Henry had given up continuing his quest for metropolitan status; as neither Merlin, Ganieda nor Taliesin in their predictions in VM mention the word metropolitan, yet it appears 11 times in First Variant and Vulgate.
Once Henry had given up the idea of obtaining a metropolitan, his attitude to Rome was subsequently unveiled in the Vulgate version of HRB. Anti-Roman sentiment which was not present in the First Variant is now displayed as part of the invective in speeches. We have Hoel’s speech as an example. This, for obvious reasons is not in the Variant version but it would seem that with Henry’s dealings with the Roman Church he no longer courted favour with the papacy and included such insults against Rome as:
For if, in accordance with thine argument, thou art minded to go to Rome, I doubt not that the victory shall be ours, seeing that what we do justly demand of our enemies they did first begin to demand of us. Wherefore, since the Romans do desire to take from us that which is our own, beyond all doubt we shall take their own from them, so only we be allowed to meet them in the field. Behold, this is the battle most to be desired by all Britons. Behold the prophecies of the Sibyl that are witnessed by tokens true, that for the third time shall one of British race be born that shall obtain the empire of Rome.511
We also witness another example in Auguselus’s speech: ….that we have done to me seems as nought so long as the Romans and the Germans remain unharmed, and we revenge not like men the slaughter they have formerly inflicted upon our fellow-countrymen.512 One of the most interesting concoctions which Henry cleverly devises is found in the next piece below which will be well covered in the following chapters.
Henry Blois accords with the same story line as that found in DA. Supposedly, the Christianity of the Britons flourished because of the mission of Pope Eleutherius…. mistakenly posited by Bede. The original foundation myth of Glastonbury is fabricated on this with Phagan and Deruvian added for good measure along with the Disciplic foundation. Latterly, this became a Josephian foundation. Henry’s ‘second agenda’ is cleverly built upon his first agenda of the apostolic/disciplic foundation for Glastonbury. Henry’s gambit is to show the Britons were not subject to Rome or Augustine (read Canterbury):
Meanwhile Augustine was sent by the blessed Pope Gregory into Britain to preach the Word of God unto the English, who, blinded by heathen superstition, had wholly done away with Christianity in that part of the island which they held. Howbeit, in the part belonging to the Britons the Christianity still flourished which had been held there from the days of Pope Eleutherius and had never failed amongst them. But after Augustine came, he found in their province seven bishoprics513 and an archbishopric provided with most godly prelates besides a number of abbacies wherein the Lord’s flock held right order. Amongst others there was in the city of Bangor a certain most noble church wherein was said to be such a number of monks that when the monastery was divided into seven portions with a prior set over each, not one of them had less than three hundred monks, who did all live by the labour of their own hands. Their abbot was called Dinoot, and was in marvellous wise learned in the liberal arts. He, when Augustine did demand subjection from the British bishops, in order that they might undertake in common the task of preaching the Gospel unto the English people, made answer with divers arguments, that they owed no subjection unto him as of right, nor were they minded to bestow their preaching upon their enemies, seeing that they had an archbishop of their own, and that the nations of the Saxons did persist in withholding their own.514
511HRB IX, xvii
512HRB. IX, xviii
513It just so happens, Henry attempted to raise Winchester into a metropolitan See over Salisbury, Exeter, Wells, and Chichester, Hereford and Worcester and also creating a new bishopric for Hyde abbey. Not by coincidence, Ralph de Diceto relates that pope Lucius sent a pall to Henry bishop of Winchester to whom he had proposed to assign seven bishops. Fancy that!! The same precise See Henry Blois is working toward with frequent trips to Rome already existed before St Augustine arrived. When will Julia Crick our authority on ‘Geoffrey’, open her eyes and see Henry Blois as the author of HRB instead of leading another generation of scholars into the quagmire of ‘Geoffrey’s’ false trail.
514HRB XI, xii
I will cover in progression that ‘Wace’s’ Roman de Brut was started in translation from HRB’s Latin prose to Anglo-Norman vernacular verse by Henry Blois using the template of First Variant. So, neither ‘Wace’s’ version nor First variant version mentions the altars of Jove and Mercury when Brutus consults the oracle of Diana. This is simply because the First Variant is aimed at the Roman Christian audience of the Vatican. Also, in the First Variant, there is a general toning down of sexuality. For example Membricus’s homosexuality is not mentioned and other religious details which would offend papal authorities such as souls being sent to ‘ad tartara’ are also omitted.
Henry Blois tailored the First Variant copy using more Biblical allusions515 and phraseology, omitting offensive material on homosexuality and rape and even gory details, and generally presenting a copy which had less anti-Roman sentiment than the succeeding Vulgate version.516 Instances of these attempts to tone down unpalatable details can be witnessed in the conversation between Bedwer, Arthur’s butler and Helen’s nurse and also in the omission of the fantastic story of Brian cutting off a slice of his thigh, roasting it and serving it to King Cadwallo in place of venison. These were additional fictional parts of the storyline to fascinate and were embellishments in the yet unfinished Vulgate version, not omissions!
515To give a few examples of the variant version’s fondness for biblical phraseology: King Dumwallo fought so bravely that “terra . . . siluit in conspectu eius.” In speaking of Belinus, “nec cessavit gladius eius a mane usque ad vesperam Romanos caedere.” King Morwinus meets the invading enemy “cum manu valida.” To the envoys of Cassibelaunus who plead with Androgeus to arrange peace for him with Caesar, Androgeus replies that he does not intend to repay him with “malum pro malo” and pleading Cassibelaunus’ cause with Caesar he implores him not to punish Cassibelaunus “iuxta sua scelera.” King Uther’s love for Igerna is compared to that of King David for Bathsheba and the army of Aurelius Ambrosius was so great “ut arenae maris comparari posset.” All these biblical allusions are absent in the vulgate text.
516It is not silly to speculate that the later Vulgate version, which has such blatant anti-Roman speeches in it, are a reflection of the era when Stephen had attempted to have his son Eustace crowned King and was denied by Rome. Henry himself as a Cluniac had little allegiance to Rome and the Vulgate version of HRB may reflect an attitude of British independence from Rome. In this case since Winchester was long established as a monastic house in antiquity by what was written in HRB, if Rome’s authority were excluded, Henry would have precedence over Canterbury.
))The alterations of many of the speeches and sections regarding personages in history is primarily due to the fact that Henry Blois in 1144 is attempting to concord or parallel as closely as possible to known facts in annals Roman and Insular. At the same time, he is also trying to skew history so that the fictitious semblance of his history is maintained so that his propaganda about the Britons is tenable.
Such variances involve the transference of power from the Britons and so Gormandus’ invasion of Logria by 160,000 Africans is invented to bridge from known history to Henry’s fanciful portrayal of it. However, no Welsh cleric in Oxford would have read one of the earliest chansons de geste, Gormont et Isembart dating to c.1068. These Chansons were for Norman consumption and not for the Welsh. Where would a cleric at Oxford having come from Monmouth (with Ralf) have read this material and then decided on Gormond to bridge his history because there is nothing about Logria in Gormont et Isembart.
All the evidence in this work points out that Henry Blois is Geoffrey but will Crick, Carley, Wright,Reeve, Archibald, Shoaf and hundreds of other supposed scholars get off the gravy train and start at the beginning by recognising ‘who’ composed the HRB rather than chasing their tails and lauding each other trying to pin down a fictional Geoffrey.
‘Geoffrey’ in the First Variant version, appears to curtail some of the speeches that have anti-Roman rhetoric found in Vulgate HRB such as we saw in Hoel’s speech. There is no curtailing but the speeches were composed at an earlier time and later edited in the Vulgate version. In the Variant version some of the speeches are thought to be slightly abbreviated or paraphrased, for example, the short speech of Membricius, or the plea of Conwenna; but these are examples of less embellishment (not yet fully expanded), not a case of a cut down First Variant….. as is assumed by modern scholars. Other speeches are omitted like that of Maurice, son of Caradoc, duke of Cornwall, to Maximianus, inviting him to come to Britain because Henry has not completely developed this historical transition as yet.
Anything that blatantly runs contrary to Roman annals or might offend Roman sentiment is omitted rather than polemically expanded as in the later Vulgate version. In the Vulgate text Maurice, upon arriving at Rome, delivers an address to Maximianus in which he points out all the reasons why Maximianus should accept the crown of Britain. In the Variant it is vastly unexpanded (rather than reduced). The lack of manuscript evidence for the First Variant indicates it was the precursor of the massively copied Vulgate.
In the Vulgate Historia, ‘Geoffrey’ implies that about 250 years have transpired between the death of Cadwallader and the exile of the Britons to Armorica which marks the end of British dominion. Henry makes out that definitive Anglo-Saxon rule is in Athelstan’s reign from 924-39 which is at variance with the gist that British dominion ended around the seventh century.
For obvious reasons Henry Blois in the First Variant has to keep Cadwallader at the Arthurian end of the Historia but he changes chronology between the end of British rule and beginning of the Saxon by having the tenth century Athelstan as a contemporary of Cadwallader. This whole re-think is from a Primary Historia framework which allows all sorts of anachronisms to a First Variant which was going to be scrutinised by Papal authorities as Henry Blois tries to bring the Bedan chronology of Anglo-Saxon dominion to synchronise with his case for the Early Christian church in Britain. It is plainly the reasoning behind such changes.
However, as we shall discuss in the section on Henry Blois’ impersonation of Wace, we can see why Wace attempts to reconcile ‘Geoffrey’s’ Vulgate HRB with the First Variant by providing Aethelstan with the correct Genealogy. Also, we can see traces of chronology edition in ‘Wace’s’ supposed work attempting to reconcile Henry’s first story-line of Stonehenge with Uther Pendragon found in the Primary Historia related by Huntingdon in EAW.
What may have been Henry’s initial story-line needs adjusting for purpose…. that of convincing the pope to award Henry the metropolitan. It is for this reason also that the speech of Caradoc to King Octavius, advising him to appoint Maximianus his successor is omitted on these grounds.
The speech of archbishop Guithelinus metropolitan of London to his countrymen is omitted as the similarity to Henry Blois is too obvious. Guithelinus formed from Guitolinus in Nennius is the statesman and ‘Warrior Ecclesiastic’ like Henry himself and coincidentally a man of great eloquence. Other addresses in First Variant such as that of Gorlois, duke of Cornwall and the speech of Auguselus, King of Albania are so different (unexpanded) both in form and content that they hardly resemble their counterparts in the fully developed Vulgate text.
Since the aim of Henry Blois is to convince papal authorities of Western England’s long tradition of Christianity, he follows more closely the historical annals of Bede and introduces pertinent extracts based on Landolfus Sagax which help to substantiate his case and also follows Roman Annals more closely. The only problem with trying to align with known history in the story-line of the First Variant is that it throws up some contradictions which are then ignored in Vulgate HRB as Henry no longer becomes a slave to corroboration, liberalising the storyline from historical sources.
Modern scholars are still bemused as to why the First Variant version follows closely known sources by comparison to the Vulgate version. Henry Blois is merely falling in with the annals so that the First Variant’s historicity seems to parallel the histories and chronicles, so as make the manuscript less like a concoction of inaccurate history, but a true historical account. In the Vulgate text the opening lines of the fourth book read as follows: Interea contigit, ut in Romanis reperitur historiis, Iulium Caesarem, subiugata Gallia, ad litus Rutenorum venisse.
The text of the Variant Version reads: Interea contigit, ut in Romanis reperitur historiis, Iulium Caesarem, subiugata Gallia, in Britanniam transisse; sic enim scriptum est anno ab Urbe Condita sescentesimo nonagesimo tertio, ante vero Incarnationem Domini sexagesimo anno. Iulius Caesar, primus Romanorum, Britones bello pulsavit, in navibus onerariis et actuariis circiter octoginta advectus.
The Variant Version adds the date of Caesar’s invasion of Britain and the number of his ships. The source is obviously Bede, Eccl. Hist. 1.2.
Henry is just reiterating known events to establish his historicity for HRB. The idea of a source book had not yet revealed itself to Henry Blois’ muses as the providential source of the HRB. Archdeacon Walter dies in 1151. We know therefore, that if any Variant has a dedication to Robert Duke of Gloucester it must post date 1147. If any copy of HRB mentions Walter it must postdate 1151 or have corrections if written beforehand. Hammer’s version517 has the dedication at the beginning and so must have had it added or been distributed later than 1151.
517Hammer’s view is that the Variant version was written by some other than ‘Geoffrey’: who, then, is responsible for this recension which heretofore found shelter sub umbra Galfredi? Who is this mysterious writer who adorned his product with so many biblical quotations who knew Terence, Vergil, Bede and others and who must have had access to some Welsh material as well? That he must have been a man of learning cannot be denied. The facility with which he quotes the Scriptures suggests a cleric who, fascinated by Geoffrey’s Historia and sharing its point of view, decided to refashion it in his own way and in the process of doing so, left on the new product the imprint of his own personality. A silly theory to say the least!!!!
However, there is no Alexander dedication affixed to the updated set of prophecies now in the Cistercian fourteenth century copies. As we have said, the most likely reasoning is that there was a basic early set of prophecies in the First Variant (not dedicated), which, as a block, was updated at a later date. As we have covered, to have the ‘Sixth’ (which is Henry II), in Ireland can only occur after the council which Henry attended in 1155 at Michaelmas.
The tendency of the Variant to go back to older sources is purely so that Henry’s dubious Arthuriana splice and concocted history seems more plausible to those considering the merits of awarding the metropolitan status for Southern England based on this fabrication of history. This is clearly witnessed in the description of Britain; the composition of which ‘Geoffrey’ used passages from Bede, Gildas and Nennius which he had skilfully woven together with elegance and style.
A comparison, however, between the description of Britain in the Vulgate text with that of the First Variant version shows that, except for a few phrases in the Vulgate text, the First Variant version is an almost literal transcript of passages from Bede.
Of the MSS of the First Variant…. they can all be put down to redactions stemming from Henry’s changing ‘agenda’s’. Of the pure and conflated First Variants when compared to the Vulgate; virtually the only part remaining constant are the prophecies. This backs up my summation which harks back to the late insertion of the updated prophecies in the exemplar of the First Variant to the time the updated prophecies were spliced into the Vulgate.
This throws up further complications (concerning the Durham cathedral chapter Library MS C.iv.27), (which will be discussed in the chapter on Wace), as the versified Merlin prophecies which accompany Wace (even though he says he has not bothered to translate them) can be seen to be a versified form emanating from Henry Blois of what was the separate libellus Merlini before it was updated. The allusions to Henry and his ‘agendas’ are many regarding Metropolitan but there is no mention of the ‘Sixth in Ireland’ in the versified Durham set.
The First Variant has no dedications, (except one which is probably a later correction) and no reference to Walter. Passages from Orosius and Landolfus Sagax dealing with the Roman period are nearly verbatim as papal authorities could have verified (or would have known) synchronicity or historicity if not followed. The Variant in many cases employs reported discourse rather than the more dramatic direct speech more commonly employed in the Vulgate HRB. This again, would provide more the air of a history in the First Variant than a good read as witnessed in the later Vulgate version. It also lends to the proposition that the Vulgate HRB was created more as an interesting historic novel for entertainment rather than the more formal First Variant which tried to pass itself off as historically accurate.
It would be silly, given the fact that Henry employed the First Variant version specifically for his case of metropolitan (and given that we know the Vulgate was not fully completed until 1155), to assume that the First and hybrid Variants are anything other than a less developed and less expanded earlier version of the Vulgate.
Hammer’s notion that the variants were not written by Henry (Geoffrey) is as blind as not understanding that the French vernacular version was started (by Henry before he later posed as Wace when he made public his work), being based upon the First Variant story-line as a template, because the versified version was a work in progress prior to the Vulgate version being made public and therefore, logically, Henry finished off the Roman de Brut with the later Vulgate version.
It was 1156-7 when Henry completed Wace’s Roman de Brut. Henry had already completed the Vulgate, as the Roman de Brut parallels it as its source material in its second half. The First Variant is not an inferior recension of the Vulgate. It was composed for a different audience (in 1144) under different circumstances and earlier in evolution of the text to the Beverley copy or the 1155 finalised Vulgate version. It is illogical to think that ‘Geoffrey’ would remove his artistry rather than build upon it as the Historia evolved but one needs to understand the different editions were evolved for different purposes.
It is also silly to think that someone would start the versified version using a text that (scholars believe was not by the same author and is purported to have been published later) and then continue the work of versifying the HRB following the Vulgate text as a template to complete the later half of the Roman de Brut. This erroneous deduction made by scholars stems from an incorrect a priori which assumes the 1139 version found at Bec was the Vulgate text, when it is plainly not….. and can be witnessed as a wholly different version i.e. the Primary historia as is seen by the glaring differences found in the synopsis of HRB composed by Huntingdon in EAW.
The Vulgate is a reflection of a portrayal of the Primary Historia mixed with some First Variant evolutions and editions, fully developed with no constraint in its language or attitude in the storyline with the final updated prophecies included.
As we covered already, Adrian IV published the Papal Bull Laudabiliter, which was issued in 1155 whereby the English pope Adrian IV gave King Henry II the right to assume control over Ireland and apply the Gregorian reforms, and therefore…. since we know Henry Blois was at the meeting at Winchester, we can date the version of Merlin prophecies in the Vulgate to follow that date. Henry had refined,evolved and edited from Primary Historia through First Variant to Vulgate. this is also witnessed through the reasoning behind First Variant i.e. datable to 1144 to 1149 and also through the 1149 (Alfred’s copy? ex-dedicatees) through to 1155, when the updated prophecies were added. The updated version of the prophecies (as we have covered) also included the prophecies which incite rebellion against Henry II.
As long as we know to disregard Gaimar’s testimony, which is another of Henry’s ploys…. one can confidently say that Walter never gave a fictitious ‘Geoffrey’ any old book in the British language or obtained it from Brittany. Walter was dead when the Gaimar epilogue was composed by Henry Blois. The urgency of distancing himself from possible discovery as the author of the Vulgate HRB became more accute because King Henry II was intent on finding out who had composed the seditious prophecies encouraging the Celts to revolt which were not in the previous set of Merlin prophecies.
Henry, it seems, was under pressure as the seditious prophecies were published. Henry devised a plan to make it appear that ‘Geoffrey’ had worked with others of reputation like Walter, Robert of Gloucester and Alexander. The last thing Henry Blois wants is a witness who is alive.
Therefore, Walter is not mentioned at the start of Chapter eleven or 177 in the First Variant because Henry has not conceived of Walter as a corroborative and collaborative witness, from whom the source book was obtained. Archdeacon Walter’s name was on the signed charters along with Ralf from Monmouth which inspired Henry to rename Galfridus Arthur as Geoffrey of Monmouth. Once Henry had seen the name of Ralf from Monmouth, this was the template for Henry to metamorphose to Geoffrey of Monmouth and sign alongside and pretend to be part of the Oxford clerical set and thus also was Walter’s name employed.
No blame can be foisted upon the dead bishop of Asaph for having merely translated an old book or an archdeacon for supplying it. Unfortunately, no-one has ever been able to verify what HRB pretends…. because by the time the First Variant has evolved to Vulgate HRB, there is no-one alive to whom a sceptic might enquire.518 After 1155 when ‘Geoffrey had been consigned to death, those that did make enquiries assumed ‘Geoffrey’ had resided in Asaph.
Walter’s role is fabricated in the Vulgate: Geoffrey of Monmouth will not stay silent even about this, most noble earl, but according as he has found it in the British book mentioned before, and has heard from Walter of Oxford, a man familiar with many histories, he will tell in his own mean style of the battles which that renowned King upon his return to Britain after this victory did fight with his nephew.519
518The only exceptions to this rule of employing the names of the dead are Robert de Chesney as dedicatee of VM and the Count of Meulan in HRB. However, since Henry outlived de Chesney (D.1166), the prologue in which the dedication is found could well have been added after his death. This same rule applies to the HRB dedicated to Waleran de Meulan who died in 1166. To my mind, because these two died at the date they did….. it indicates that Henry is still trying to cover his tracks to that date ten years after Vulgate and VM were published.
519HRB, XI, i.
We know the First Variant was employed earlier than 1151 and thus we can deduce that because Walter’s name is absent from the First Variant text; he is alive when that version of HRB became public. His fame as provider of the book is not yet bestowed upon him either. Henry only uses Walter as his stooge after he is dead.
I should remind the reader that no-one ever met ‘Geoffrey’ and his work was not widely read until post 1155, except for the one copy provided by Henry’s nephew (which found its way to Beverley) and since this existed c.1147 certainly ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’ as a name had not yet been concocted. Thus, Alfred employs his own name Britannicus instead of what he believes is an an obvious psudonym of the author pretending to be called Galfridus Artur. Alfred thinks he understands one thing for certain about the copy of HRB in front of him….It must have been composed by a native of Britain.
Admittedly Henry’s friend Abbot Suger had been gifted an early set of Merlin prophecies by Henry Blois and Alfred had his copy in the north through William of York travelling up there from a period where he soujourned with Henry Blois at Winchester. William of York was Henry’s nephew, but to think any version was widely distributed before 1155 is inaccurate. Alfred merely names the author as ‘Britannicus’ because he knows Galfridus Artur is a pseudonym and the author is obviously pro-the Britons.
The modern concept of the proliferation of ‘Geoffrey’s’ work is simply misunderstood and is based entirely on the date parameters of when the dedicatees lived and the assumption that a Vulgate version appeared in 1139 at Bec. Modern scholars also need to accept that Merlin is not a prophet. To maintain such a position is foolish given that most of the content of the prophecies revolves around looking backward to events close to Henry Blois and his family and the anarchy.
It is a madness to think that the chief aim of the First Variant is to abbreviate HRB. It appears less expanded because it is earlier and the frequent reminiscences of the Bible and classical texts, independent of the Vulgate…. indicate that it was tailored to an ecclesiastical audience, written with a more moralising tone. It is simply not feasible that the First Variant was written by someone other than ‘Geoffrey’.
Considering that the Vulgate version was in progress of being written before 1155 we might conclude it evolved through the copy that Alfred of Beverley possessed and as such had material that Alfred relates which is exclusive to Vulgate and also to First Variant. In other words, Alfred’s copy was neither. The original First variant (1143-44) was written 10 years before the final Vulgate Version and may explain some differences in style, but essentially, they were composed for two different audiences.
Hammer considered the Variant to be a reworking of the Vulgate for which Geoffrey of Monmouth was not responsible; but as soon as the motives for the Variant are established, there is no doubt as to who composed and was responsible for it. If the frequency of incompatibility which exist in Huntingdon’s synopsis were expanded from the short précis that constitutes the letter to Warin…. it could not be thought possible that a Vulgate version was the same as that found at Bec.
Huntingdon’s précis never mentions Avalon…. and Alfred, in his reworking of the passage concerning Caliburnus (where it is forged in the island of Avallon in HRB) omits mention of Avallon. It shows Henry has not yet evolved his plan for Avalon c.1147.
Caldwell said that the Variant looks like an early draft put together from original sources. He misunderstands the Variant was an evolving work toward Vulgate HRB, but had been employed at one time for a specific purpose. Caldwell argued that the absence from the Vulgate of some material found in the Variant and the inclusion in the Variant alone of some passages drawn directly from prior sources i.e. Bede and Landolfus Sagax could be explained if the Vulgate were regarded as a reworking of the Variant. In other words, the Vulgate was a deliberate revision. He was right, but he did not understand why historical personages are changed and chronological episodes re-aligned or the difference in moral tone; British anti-roman sentiment in speech was redacted and battle scenes seemingly in Vulgate appeared to be removed, and that Roman de Brut, Variant and Vulgate had a single author.
The difficulty of our experts have is that they do not understand that the Vulgate version was not published in 1138, but the book found at Bec was a first edition ‘Primary Historia’. It is silly to think that the Variant represented a version of the Historia composed by an unknown author after Geoffrey compiled the Vulgate as some scholars could only suggest by ignoring the glaring differences in storyline of EAW.
Pierre Gallais, another commentator duped by Henry’s fraud, thought Caldwell’s claim that the Variant version preceded the Roman de Brut, saw Caldwell’s position as a serious challenge to Wace’s originality…. since it threatened to reduce the status of the poet to that of a compilateur or copyist. A quick read of the Roman de Rou should convince any analytical researcher that the real Wace was a Rubbish poet and had a clunky style. The real Wace could never have composed the Roman de Brut.
Pierre Gallais also reckoned the Variant’s style signalled it could not have been written by Geoffrey himself…. but, trying to fit the jigsaw together, he rejected the proposition that an unknown author could produce such a version prior to the appearance of the Vulgate text. So, Gallais thought the Variant must have been composed after 1138 when he though Vulgate appeared; which led him to believe that the author of the First Variant drew on Wace’s roman de brut and therefore must be the latter composition.
As Wright520 states: The diverse nature of these various hypotheses serves to underline the great difficulties with which questions about the date, authorship and purpose of the First Variant version present us. The situation will never change until scholars such a Neil Wright free themselves of several a priori positions which (if maintained) obscure the right conclusions to the three genres of study under investigation!!!
520Neil Wright after pages recycling and discussing the self-contradictory arguments of Calwell and Gallais concludes: the combined weight of the preceding arguments must tip the scales conclusively against Gallais and in favour of Caldwell’s assertion that the variant version of the historia was Wace’s source. Hence the variant was in existence in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s lifetime, since he died probably in 1155, the year of the completion of the Roman de Brut. What I have never understood about researchers into Geoffrey’s work is how one could accept that firstly Geoffrey was real when nearly everything he states or is circumstantial in a personal context falls apart under scrutiny; yet all and sundry accept there is little truth in his historical fact in HRB. Secondly, how is it that commentators think Wace, or the supposed author of the variant and Geoffrey, all seem to interchange each others’ work at will all before 1155 when Geoffrey supposedly died. There are no ‘scales to tip’ because Henry started the Roman de Brut c.1149-50 with a cross over between Primary Historia and Variant versions as his source and finished it with the expansions found common to Vulgate; all versions common to one man as is evident in this analysis if one can accept stylistic changes are due to the time periods between versions.
It is silly to think that a revision of the Historia by an author other than Geoffrey would have been made so soon after the publication of the Vulgate text. Especially, if we consider modern scholarship’s view that the Vulgate was the same edition as the Primary Historia and was first seen in 1139. Why would one think another author would replicate the Vulgate with minor differences giving a much reduced First Variant version…. even if we genuinely believed ‘Geoffrey’ had existed as a real person?
Another confused commentator, Hans Erich Keller, thought that the Variant was not written by Geoffrey but ante-dated the Vulgate. Keller thought that Gaimar referred to the Vulgate as le livier that Walter Espec had procured and to the Variant version as the ‘good book of Oxford’ by Walter the Archdeacon. Therefore, Keller’s logic concluded that the source of the HRB was not as Geoffrey alleged i.e. an ancient Briton or Breton book in the possession of Walter Archdeacon of Oxford, but it was the Variant itself and composed before 1138. To complete the jigsaw of ignorance; Keller reckoned the Variant must have been written by Archdeacon Walter himself. Until it is understood that Henry Blois interpolated Gaimar, no correct conclusion will be found. The Gaimar epilogue is purposeful misdirection.
Wright hits the nail on the head: a comprehensive approach must be directed to answering three questions. Was the variant version composed before or after the vulgate? Was the variant written by Geoffrey 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 that text?
The Variant was written beforehand. All HRB texts including that of Wace and Vulgate were authored by Henry Blois before his death. No further textual analysis by Crick or Wright will contradict this position.
Let it be established once and for all, Walter never had a book and never had any association with the composition of the Historia and his name was never seen in the Vulgate until after his death. Henry Blois is the author of HRB and the prophecies of Merlin.
As we shall see in the next section, Gaimar’s epilogue, upon which Keller attaches his reasonings, is most certainly written by Henry Blois, along with several other small interpolations into Gaimar’s work. After stating that Wace’s work was composed by Geoffrey (which is lengthy labour), I will surely be accused for citing Gaimar’s epilogue as a Blois interpolation also; but, by comparison to several years work in versifying the Historia, Gaimar’s epilogue and associated minor interpolations could be made in less than a day
Leckie also thought the First Variant was a later recension compiled by an unknown redactor. Yet he recognised that the Roman de Brut could not have arisen independently. He thought it must represent an attempt to modify the Variant. One of the reasons Henry Blois created Wace’s Roman de Brut in the first place, apart from opening up his sensational book to a wider audience, was so that ‘Geoffrey’ remained ostensibly Welsh. The fact that ‘Wace’ found the Merlin prophecies incomprehensible may portend that Henry Blois completed Roman de Brut when there was no efficacy or further use of the prophetia. Therefore, I believe Henry released the Roman de Brut c.1158 when he returned to England after having met Wace at Caen.
The conclusion is that the Wace’s Roman de Brut was started before the fully evolved Vulgate HRB and hence it follows the Vulgate version more closely at the end. We might propose that Henry found it too difficult to include the prophetia without exposing himself by translating them i.e. by versifying the prose. Much of the skimble skamble and obfuscatory content would be too difficult to portray in verse without exposing his obvious understanding of their content.
There are many other alternative scenarios as to why Henry makes a point of omitting the prophecies when he impersonates Wace. However, we will see that Roman de Brut was written later than is normally thought and therefore the prophecies have no further use as Henry completes the vernacular edition of Roman de Brut in 1158 before leaving the continent. Certainly, Marie of France at the court of Champagne has heard of Avalon and the round table c.1165-70 confuting nearly every theory about the appearance of Glastonbury’s association to Insula Avallonis which is plainly pointed out by the emergence of Insula Pomorum in VM supposedly composed in 1155.
However, to grasp the finer points on the reasoning behind why the prophetia were left out in Wace…. I will discuss later, but it is necessary to understand that both Wace and Gaimar (both poets who published their own work) were impersonated by Henry Blois. Neither of them in anyway as artful as Henry Blois.
Another astonishing thing is that no commentator has ever remarked at how sluggish the Roman de Rou comes across. One would think that with all Gallais’ praise for Wace, he might have noticed that the author of Roman de Brut could never be the same mind; even though Wace is supposedly using a contemporary as a source. How is it possible that after spending years putting the Historia together a comparative dullard is allowed with supposed complete knowledge and co-operation from ‘Geoffrey’, to versify the best literature since Cicero; especially if we take into account the scarcity of references to Geoffrey’s work before 1150.