Our authority on the DA is John Scott.659 He too assumes any mention of Arthur in DA is accounted as being written after Arthur’s disinterment. Most commentators assume the DA’s interpolations were inserted by several monks over a period c.1184 -91 to around 1230-47 from which date the oldest extant copy of DA dates. As modern scholars have had no understanding of the scale of the fraud carried out by Henry Blois or the reasons for the interpolations in DA. There has been a lack of direction in attempting to explain the connections between HRB’s King Arthur, Robert’s Joseph of Arimathea and of course the Grail; and their affiliation with ‘Geoffrey’s’ and Melkin’s Avalon at Glastonbury.
659John Scott. The Early history of Glastonbury. Boydell press
The DA plays an important role in substantiating parts of ‘Geoffrey’s’ pseudo-history and vice versa where such people as Phagan and Deruvian are concerned and JG’s mention of HRB’s Arviragus to the twelve hides in DA. Also, the DA corroborates the Joseph myth at Glastonbury and chimes with Robert de Boron’s Vaus d’Avaron.
As we have touched on already, there can be no understanding of the stages of transition through which the DA passed after having been completed by William of Malmesbury without understanding that at least two redactions were put together for Henry’s first agenda in supporting evidence for Metropolitan status for the south of England.
The post 1158 or ‘second agenda’ of Henry Blois, which included the conversion of Glastonbury into Avalon and the introduction of Joseph of Arimathea as founder were added toward the end of Henry Blois’ life and probably were never read or seen in DA until after his death. What Scott refers to as a consolidating author for the final redaction of DA is only responsible for some later additions concerning Glastonbury Abbey’s dispute with the Bishop of Wells.
William of Malmesbury wrote a book on the history of Glastonbury abbey which mainly exists unadulterated in the latter half of the present arrangement of DA from chapter 34 onwards. We can assume that the format of title heading followed by elucidation as is marked out nowadays by chapters is how William first arranged his History and Henry Blois imitated the format. As I have stated, the original may well have been a monograph and singular copy and dedicated in the preface to Henry Blois. I shall use Scott’s translation to elucidate how the book of the DA formed and offer some speculations to early chronology.
What I believe has transpired is in 1144 Henry made several additions to DA building a credible case for a bogus apostolic foundation. This fraudulent propaganda exercise was initially built upon and expanded from a tentative comment originating with author B and developed by way of the GR3 version B interpolations. Even though metropolitan was granted to Henry Blois at the first request in 1144 there was not enough substance to the disciplic proposition when it came under scrutiny by a hostile pope in 1149. Even though the Eleutherius envoys were most probably named in the first attempt (as their names were fortuitously corroborated in the First Variant when the First Variant HRB composition was directed to an ecclesiastical audience)…. more compelling evidence was needed for the 1149 attempt.
Hence, the charter of St Patrick was produced which necessitated certain points in DA to be rationalised with the previous apostolic polemic and so we have such rationalisations as the ‘renovation’ of the Old church. The Charter of St Patrick was added into DA or most probably appended as a faked ancient document (posing as a copy of an original which avoids the question of papal seals). The fabrication of the St Patrick charter was specifically for the second attempt at metropolitan, most certainly introduced to a different papal audience than in 1144 and proffered to have been found by William of Malmesbury at Glastonbury.
References to King Arthur probably appeared in DA before 1158 but this is not important to Henry’s main thrust toward gaining Metropolitan. Since this ran along-side corroborative evidence in the First Variant HRB there is an equal chance that the Arthur and Melvas story was included at that time originating from the Life Of Gildas, which was definitely put forward as evidential support for the antiquity of Glastonbury in Henry Blois’ first request for Metropolitan status.
It is certain that Joseph’s name was not part of DA lore when the DA was employed as a witness by Henry Blois in pursuit of metropolitan status in either 1144 or 1149. If Arthur’s name had appeared in the early rendition of DA it would have aligned HRB’s main character with Life Of Gildas and DA. This might have brought suspicion on the ‘Bishop of fabrication’ since DA was dedicated to him alone. DA is vital in tying together corroborative evidences which form part of the matter of Britain : but who would know what Malmesbury had written in DA if he were dead and there was only one copy.
The basic content of the first 34 chapters of DA, researchers have deduced for the most part are interpolations, derived from various hands at later dates. In reality, they are a consequence of Henry’s agendas and his interpolations. They are actually constituent parts of the edifice of the Matter of Britain which Henry Blois has left to posterity. If, as scholars seem to think, the DA was interpolated over time it would be rational that those interpolations would also be dispersed through the latter part of DA which has largely remained unadulterated. It is rather an indication that the first 34 chapters have been inserted as interpolated folio’s.
Primarily, William felt it necessary to write DA as he was unwilling to concede to the monks own propaganda claim (started, I believe, by Henry Blois660) concerning Dunstan’s burial at Glastonbury. As Scott relates,661 William’s shortfall in compliance to write into history the rumours concerning Dunstan’s relics in VD is probably the catalyst for the commencement of the DA.
William seems to have become more than hagiographer employed by the monks and seems to be part of the fraternity while he carries out work on DA. In reference to Osbern’s accusation that Dunstan was the first abbot at Glastonbury, William sets out his own integrity and puts Osbern’s views to shame: It is a misuse of learning and leisure to retail falsehoods about the doings of saints: it shows contempt for reputation and condemns one to infamy. I should be glad to be unaware that this fate has befallen a recent author of a life of Dunstan.662
660See chapter on Eadmer’s letter to the Monks at Glastonbury.
661Early history of Glastonbury, p.4-5
662William of Malmesbury, Saints lives. Winterbotton and Lapidge. Prologue to VSD vol1
In 1133-34, when Henry Blois had received DA from William of Malmesbury, few others had perused it until it was employed after William’s death at Rome as part of the case put forward for granting metropolitan to Henry. The consolidated (Henry version) of DA then arrived at Glastonbury after his own death with all Henry’s further input and rationalisations of certain contradictions evidenced in his changing agendas. Tatlock neatly hits the nail on the head, but he, like other commentators, has not suspected Henry’s personal interpolative input: Indeed since William dedicated his work to Henry of Blois, nephew of Henry Ist and abbot there since 1126, it would be a plausible guess (no more) that the propagandist activities of both William and Caradoc were inspired in the abbacy of that able prelate.663
663Caradoc of Llancarfan. J.S.P. Tatlock, Speculum, vol XIII P.145
-, name Tatlock was certainly the most able scholar of the 20th century but like previous scholars has only the ability to guess (no more) as to what effect Henry Blois might have had on the compositions of Caradoc and William. I am absolutely sure that if he had he considered or tried to prove that ‘Geoffrey’in reality did not exist and had Tatlock been open minded enough to consider how Grail literature connected to Glastonbury through names that all began with the BL prefix, he too might have considered that ‘Blihos-Bliheris, whom no man at court’ might just be the same H. Blois. (anagram) and a prank might be perceived to have been carried out by the abbot of Glastonbury on the rest of the world.
In fact the composition of the toungue in cheek name is derived from an anagram of H. Blois which becomes the Blihos of Bleheris with the prefix again of BL followed by Heris: The name of Heris even today dates back to 1066 to the Norman invasion, where new names and words were first introduced into Britain. The Norman appelation which latterly became a family name in its origins described a person who was the son of the ruler of the land. Initially, le Herisse is of Old French derivation. Hence, No-one at court knew who was the author of the Grail sources as our scholars today are still scratching their heads about Blaise and Master Blehis and Bledhericus.
The text of DA begins with the Prologue:
William of Malmesbury’s preface to his history of the church of Glastonbury.
To his Lord, Henry, Bishop of Winchester, who deserves to be cherished and honoured in the deep embrace of Christ, William as son of your church, sends whatever joy you might wish for. If there be any one thing which may sustain a man in this life and persuade him to endure tranquilly reverses and disturbances of the world, it is I think, above all, contemplation of the Holy Scriptures. Even the writings of the pagans can claim to be useful in so far as the brilliance of their language inspires the reader’s talents and refines his speech. But truly the harvest of those books inspired by heaven is far richer, for on one hand they pour sustenance of deceitful sweetness into the soul, and on the other hand they secured reward of eternal bliss. Moreover, there are many, nay to my mind innumerable, truths in the Holy Scriptures, both precepts and examples, by which divine Grace instructs the minds of mortals in right living. Precepts teach us how we ought to live, examples demonstrate how easy it is, with God’s help, to carry out his commands. Yet nature has so fashioned the minds of some men that, although they know that both are necessary, they are incited more by hearing examples than exhortations. Similarly, they respect the deeds of foreigners out of reverence for their sanctity but are seized by a keener joy if the life of any Saint who was their countryman is set forth, in which, as it were, they may perceive as in a mirror of living image of religion. For the affinity adds to the pleasure of the report and no one despairs of being able to do himself, through the grace of God, what he hears has been done by another from his part of the world.
Wherefore, I have employed my pen on that work, which I judged to be of no small value, in which I laboured to commit to eternal memory the life of the blessed St Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury and later Archbishop of Canterbury, and have now completed, with scrupulous regard for the truth, the two books about him for which the brethren at Glastonbury, your sons and my masters and companions, had asked. However, lest I seem to have lacked zeal in the performance of my duty, I will begin this book by going back to the origins of your church and will unfold its progress since the earliest beginnings. Nor ought this be considered very different from the original plan, since the honour of the church redounds to Dunstan and praise of him to the church. For, she fostered Dunstan at her maternal breast until manhood; and he added greatly to his mother’s splendour. Therefore, a small hope has begun to grow in my heart that this holy work may cause the dignity of the nurse to be highlighted by the example of her nursling. Some time ago I allowed those small books, the life of the blessed Patrick, and miracles of the venerable Benignus and the passion of the martyr Indract, which I had fashioned with like care, to be examined by the monks so that if anything unreasonable had been said it could be properly corrected. After assessing my writings at length and deliberating favourably they left me free of any blemish of blame because nothing in them gave offence to religious eyes or lacked graciousness. So venerable master and deservedly beloved father, I offer this little work whatever its worth, for your careful perusal. The motive for my action is clear: that your Excellency should know the number and identity of the men who founded and exalted the church which, under God and his saints, now relies chiefly on your protection. Now however, that you had imitated (I almost said surpassed) the deeds of those ancient heroes before you heard their names. As for detractors, if perchance anyone should be so bold, I shall oppose them vigourously for in what way can earlier guardians be preferred to you? In extending the patrimony? But you both recover holdings earlier lost and by your able skills amass new ones. In constructing buildings? But an admiring guide will reveal more effectively than my words of praise the extent to which you surpass all your predecessors in this regard. In protecting the peace of the inhabitants? But you drive out all plunderers before the shield of your name, you banish clouds of dejection by the splendour of your countenance and you expose the chicanery of litigants by the good sense of your words. In the piety of your monks? But, as always, with God’s beneficence religion so flourishes in your time that miserable envy is ashamed to fabricate any falsehood about it. The monks openly offer their love to your heart because you do not terrify them with a sneer but receive them joyfully when they come, treat them kindly and like a father, wish them well when they leave. These words which the poet used, not unjustly, of certain powerful men certainly do not apply to you: ‘He compels all the inferior serpents to keep their distance and lords it over the empty desert’. In short, any eloquence falls short of your worth and your praise is valued more highly than anything else. Since this is so, accept I beg you, this tribute of my devotion and pledge of my zeal and do not deprive me of the fruit of my labour. So attend, if it please your heart, and give heed while I try to rescue from suspicion the antiquity of your church, arranged according to the succession of its prelates, in so far as I have been able to scrape them together from the heap of your muniments.
In the prologue of DA and from William’s VD it is clear the monks expected William to write their propaganda into history. They were not satisfied with William’s work. They have then referred William to Henry Blois who is now at Winchester. When the prologue of DA is written, the two books of VD are already complete. But, William has not pandered to the rumour of Dunstan’s relics at Glastonbury and incorporated it in VD. He has delivered an account of Dunstan’s life with scrupulous regard for the truth.
As above, William’s DA was dedicated in the preface to Henry as bishop of Winchester, who is not addressed as papal legate. If we allow the dedication or prologue as being written totally by William (and there is no reason not to); it was probably written between 1133-4. The main body of William’s original work of De antiquitates was probably started c.1129 and finished c.1133.
We can learn a lot from the prologue about the relationship of Henry to William and the monks at this period as opposed to William’s sentiments toward Henry Blois as he composed HN. William’s assessment of Henry’s talents in DA is free of the later suspicions he harboured of the Bishop’s guile…. portrayed by William in HN. As we have covered, William was older and respectful of young Henry Blois’ social standing and it is highly likely that William’s works and relationship to Henry Blois may well have been the catalyst for Henry starting the pseudo-history for Matilda, which eventually evolved into the Primary Historia and ultimately Vulgate HRB.
William would have been aware of the part played by Henry in the usurpation of the throne by his brother. Therefore, laudatory comments on Henry’s successes in DA, regaining lost holdings and amassing new ones and the construction of buildings at Glastonbury (we should assume), refer to a time before Henry’s brother became King. At this time, Henry used his family connection with his uncle King Henry Ist to regain properties.
The confirmation of a pre-Stephen era for the completion of DA is highlighted in the last paragraph of DA where Henry Blois’ brother Theobald is mentioned as a relative of Henry’s rather than King Stephen. William was blatantly obsequious in the dedicatory prologue, so DA must have been written before ill will or suspicion fell on Henry, especially since the preface itself was written sometime after the main text of DA…. when VD II was already completed.
William’s mission and directive in writing the DA: ‘while I try to rescue from suspicion the antiquity of your church’ is also more relevant to Henry’s agenda at that time before Henry Ist died. As we have covered the ‘youth’ or young members at Glastonbury were the target of Eadmer’s letter. So, it is relevant that at this early stage that William refers to those who were already opposed to Henry: As for detractors, if perchance anyone should be so bold, I shall oppose them vigourously for in what way can earlier guardians be preferred to you?
What exactly transpired can be grasped from William’s words. William had laboured to commit to eternal memory the life of St Dunstan, and it is ‘now completed’ at the time of writing the prologue. The two books about Dunstan, for which the monks at Glastonbury had asked, we are told were completed with scrupulous regard for the truth.
This in fact was the problem. William did not give the monks back the story they had wanted him to tell à propos Dunstan’s relics. Hence, we have William’s apology in that…. should he have appeared to his hosts to have ‘lacked zeal in the performance of his duty’, he composed DA to make up for any shortfall which the monks felt he had lacked by not reiterating a bogus legend…. only recently started and for which there was no foundation.
But, then he says: Nor ought this be considered very different from the original plan…In other words, in William’s mind the initial plan to counter Osbern’s claim was to show that Dunstan was not the first Abbot; and he had done this (which amounted to the same thing in his mind) by showing the antiquity of the church at Glastonbury by writing DA. But, the wording is couched in such a way that we can understand that it was Henry who was the one annoyed at William’s adherence to the truth regarding Dunstan. So, if Henry Blois was not going to get the propaganda required through VD I, then Henry and the monks thought it best to commission the DA.
William seems to complain at this unfair treatment by saying that ‘some time ago’ (i.e. before Henry arrived and stirred things up) he had written small books, the life of Patrick, and miracles of Benignus and the passion of Indract, which he had ‘fashioned with like care’ (as that of Dunstan). The monks had examined them so that if anything unreasonable had been said it could be properly corrected; and after assessing his writings ‘deliberating favourably they left me free of any blemish of blame because nothing in them gave offence to religious eyes or lacked graciousness’.
It is clear that this is an admonishment against the unfair treatment he received when he had produced of the life of Dunstan in VD 1. The subtle complaint is slightly aimed at Henry Blois (peevishly), in that it infers…… before his arrival at Glastonbury the monks had not complained. The undercurrent of what is being said is that since Henry Blois had started the rumour,664 William should be free of blemish. Also, because he wrote the truth, it should not give offence, just as it had not in the previous works. Why would William bring up the subject of detractors against Henry if there were none?
The reference to detractors is definitely against Henry personally: Now however, that you had imitated (I almost said surpassed) the deeds of those ancient heroes before you heard their names. As for detractors, if perchance anyone should be so bold, I shall oppose them. The detractors are the Canterbury acolytes who have taken umbrage at Glastonbury’s presumption at such an untruthful and recently established claim regarding Dunstan’s relics having been transported to Glastonbury. I think we may gather from William and from Eadmer’s words that Henry Blois had been bullish in his endeavour to revive the abbey’s prospects and may have tested credibility by inventing the story about Dunstan’s relics finding their way to Glastonbury.
After all, the most famous father of Glastonbury was Dunstan and for the enterprising Henry it would be difficult to capitalize on this asset in terms of alms without possessing the relics. Anyway, William, after all his efforts on the abbey’s behalf rummaging through dusty vellum scrolls so far as I have been able to scrape them together from the heap of your muniments is wanting to get paid. William, after writing DA over a period of 3-4 years while completing VD II at the same time and living as one of the brotherhood at Glastonbury, now seeks a recompense in just wherewithal for his efforts: ‘Since this is so, accept I beg you, this tribute of my devotion and pledge of my zeal and do not deprive me of the fruit of my labour’.
Judging by the scarcity of MSS, my assumption is that DA was presented to Henry as the only copy and it is with him it remained. There are certain pointers in the texts of DA, VD and GR1 which allow us to get a clearer picture of what was actually written by William and when. When GR1 was completed c.1126, GP was near completion and William firstly set about the ‘lives’ (mentioned above) and then moved on to compose VD I after Henry arrived at Glastonbury. DA was foreseen as a necessary endeavour, because William was not going to compromise his integrity regarding the evidence of Dunstan’s burial at Glastonbury.
A general proof therefore of antiquity for the abbey was envisaged in the composition of DA. VD I refers back to DA in the text and was written simultaneously with the compiling of DA. This was while William was housed in the abbey community. VD II was completed after the textual body of DA (not the prologue) and also DA refers back to VD I in its text. In VD II, William says: I have dealt in another work as well as God allowed me, with the antiquity of this most holy monastery of Glastonbury in which I profess my heavenly service. If anyone is desirous of reading about it he will find it elsewhere in my output. This may not (as some have suggested) mean the references to Glastonbury in GR3.665 It rather specifically refers to DA. If one takes the ‘elsewhere’ as differentiating from ‘another work’ i.e. VD II, then it can only refer to DA (since we know version B of GR which has the Glastonbury additions is a later Henry Blois concoction).
664Not forgetting the subtle jibe: religion so flourishes in your time that miserable envy is ashamed to fabricate any falsehood about it.
665We have covered in the chapter on GR that most of the updated material on Glastonbury in version B of GR3 are interpolations connected to Henry’s case for apostolic foundation.
However, the two books of VD were written before the ‘prologue’ to DA as we have seen as above: I have laboured to commit to eternal memory the life of the blessed Dunstan, abbot of Glastonbury and later archbishop of Canterbury, and have now completed with scrupulous regard for the truth two books about him which your sons and my masters and companions had asked for.
Before we can understand how the DA was composed (minus the later interpolations after Henry’s death), we must accept that the DA ended up at Winchester with Henry as a single monographed presentation manuscript. If the manuscript was never seen at Glastonbury until after Henry’s death, then chances are that anyone who perused it before the manuscript went to Winchester was dead when it reappeared after Henry Blois’ death.It was vastly altered. The only others to have seen the manuscripts contents in 1144-49 would have been church officials advising the pope or maybe just the pope while Henry made his case….. and the pope on both occasions died shortly after.
It is also necessary to understand that DA was spurred on by the monks at Glastonbury about the time Henry moved to Winchester. The fact that William saw his commission of DA coming from the monks (rather than Henry himself) is made clear in the last section of DA666 by referring to the monks as the collective ‘you’:
On Henry Blois Abbot of Glastonbury.
After Seffrid was made Bishop of Chichester he was succeeded at Glastonbury in the year 1126 by Henry, brother of Theobald, count of Blois and nephew of the King Henry by his sister Adela, who was also made bishop of Winchester not much later. This man of illustrious birth is also distinguished in his knowledge of letters, kind and friendly in his address and noble in kindness of heart, a man whose origins and achievement have been advantage to you, as you know, and have brought you great favour in the eyes of men. It would neither weary me to say more of him nor weary you to hear more, but it would be advisable to spare his admirable modesty, for he has this characteristic, that he blushes to be praised although he does praiseworthy things.
666John Scott’s chapter 83
From this closing paragraph which ended William’s original unadulterated DA, we learn that William was addressing the monks initially and wrote DA to satisfy them. After DA’s completion, the dedicatory prologue of DA was written targeting Henry Blois as the receiver of William’s endeavour. The understanding that Henry Blois himself received the only presentation copy is the crux of how he was able to achieve the success of his literary edifice of the Matter of Britain without detection.
The only other witnesses to have viewed the interpolated redactions were the papal authorities between 1144 and 1149. Thereafter, DA had even more insertions added post 1158 and before Henry’s death, which are the content of chapters 1&2 and no doubt consolidation of the various agendas into one seemingly cohesive account. Parts of the foundation lore appears to contradict muddled consolidations made by Henry but are accepted; supposedly as accounts corrupted by the vagaries of time.
What should be noted is that what followed the prologue in the original is the present chapter 35 (the 601 charter), which in no way deviates from William’s said endeavour, as it starts at the earliest point and thereby names the earliest said abbot of which he can find record.
I shall endeavour to proceed to comment on the first 34 chapters of DA which have been interpolated by Henry Blois.
Chapter 1. of DA
About how the twelve disciples of St Philip and St James the apostles, first founded the church of Glastonbury.
‘After the glory of the Lord’s resurrection, the triumph of His ascension and the mission of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, who fortified the disciples’ hearts which still trembled with dread of temporal punishment, and giving them the knowledge of all languages, all who believed were together, including the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, as Luke the evangelist narrates; and the word of God was disseminated and the number of believers increased daily, and they were all of one heart and one soul. Because of this the priests of the Jews together with the Pharisees and scribes stirred up persecution against the Church, killing Stephen the first martyr and driving far away all the rest. So while the tempest of persecution raged, the believers were dispersed and went forth into various Kingdoms of the earth assigned to them by the Lord, offering the word of salvation to the Gentiles. St Philip, as Freculfus declares in the fourth chapter of his second book, came to the land of the Franks, where he converted by preaching and turned many to the faith and baptized them. Desiring that the word of Christ should be further spread, he sent twelve of his disciples to Britain to proclaim the word of life and preach the faith of Jesus Christ. Over them, it is said, he appointed, his dear friend, Joseph of Arimathea who had buried the Lord. They arrived in Britain in 63 AD,667 the fifteenth year after the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, and preached the faith of Christ with all confidence.
The pagan King hearing this new and unfamiliar preaching refused to absolutely agree with it and would not alter the teachings of their forefathers. Yet because they had come from far away and because the sobriety of their life demanded it of him, he gave them an island on the borders of his country, surrounded by woods and thickets and marshes, called by its inhabitants Yniswitrin. Later two other Kings in succession, though pagans, granted to each of them a portion of land. From these saints it is believed the Twelve Hides derive their name to the present day. After living in the wilderness a short time the saints were incited by a vision vouchsafed by the archangel Gabriel to build a church in honour of the Blessed Virgin in a place that was pointed out to them from heaven. They were not slow to obey this divine command and in the 31st year after the passion of the Lord, the 15th after the assumption of the glorious Virgin, they completed a Chapel as they had been instructed, making the lower part of all its walls of twisted wattle, a rude construction, but one adorned by God with many miracles.
667We can possibly assume that Henry Blois thinks the Crucifixion took place in 23 AD and aligns the date with the 40 years of captivity as suggested in the Gospel of Nicodemus. This seems most likely given the information JG supplies in his cronica which came from the gospel of Nicodemus wrapped up in other material which we covered earlier and must have come from a tract written by Henry probably under the name of Melkin. Or maybe he is aligning his date with other events known to him concerning James and Philip’s movements. Possibly, since it is mentioned twice: the 15th after the assumption of the glorious Virgin. However, the 63 AD is entirely spurious as Joseph would have arrived c. 35-37 AD to bring his son to be laid to rest in the disused but secreted ‘Ictis’ tin vault on Burgh Island. The only reason Joseph arrived in Britain is from his connection to Ictis / Ineswitrin.
Since it was the first in that territory, the Son of God honoured it by dedicating it to His Mother and the twelve saints offered faithful obedience to god and the blessed virgin in that place. They devoted themselves to vigils and fasting and prayers and were supplied with all necessities by the Virgin’s aid and by a vision of her. This transpired we learn both from the Charter of St Patrick and from the writings of the seniors. One of these, the historian of the Britons, as we have seen at St Edmund’s and again at St Augustine’s the Apostle of the English, begins as follows:
‘There is on the western border of Britain a certain royal island called by its ancient name Glastonia, spacious and undulating surrounded by slow rivers whose waters are well stocked with fish, fit to serve human needs and consecrated to sacred offices. Here the first neophytes of the Catholic law among the English found by God’s guidance an ancient church, built, as it is said, by no human skill, but prepared by God himself for the salvation of men, which afterwards the Maker of the heavens has proved by many miracles and sacred mysteries that He had consecrated it to Himself and to Mary the Holy Mother of God. There is more of this anon, but let us return to what we had begun.
After the lapse of many years, those saints who had been living as we described in that wilderness were led out of the prison of their flesh and the place itself, which had earlier been the habitation of saints became as a lair for wild beasts, until it pleased the Blessed Virgin that her oratory should come again to the remembrance of the faithful.
Let me make entirely clear that this chapter was not written by William of Malmesbury or a later redactor other than Henry Blois. He uses an extract from author B as an authority and another author who supposedly wrote on the history of the Britons. He also calls as a witness of authority the St Patrick charter. It does not take much to work out what is going on. Except, where modern scholars rationalize to reverse engineer the puzzle with the assumption that…. because the St Patrick charter mentions Avalon, it must have been written after the discovery of Arthur’s Grave. Modern scholar’s red lines cripple any sound chronology.
Therefore, (so they believe), so too must this chapter have been constructed after that event. This chapter was written by Henry Blois, the man who had changed the name on Melkin’s prophecy to Avalon (so that Joseph would find a home) and also in this chapter is still bent on re-affirming that the Blessed Virgin’s Oratory was built of Wattle; all the words complying with the Melkin prophecy. Henry is also re-establishing that the apostolic foundation created as lore in his first attempt at metropolitan, now aligns with his later Phagan and Deruvian foundation from his concocted St Patrick’s charter.
The obfuscation is that the author of the ‘history of the Britons’668 is Galfridus, but does not give an account of Glastonbury (as is implied above), but we know that the introduction of the preachers/proselytizers names into the First Variant acts as corroborative evidence of their names which appear in the St Patrick Charter.
668Alfred of Beverley’s and Henry of Huntingdon in his letter to Warin both refer to the early book as Historia Britonum’ before it became the Vulgate Historia Regnum Britanniae.
The following section below continues on from the above in the M manuscript version of DA. The M manuscript is derived from the older T manuscript from which Scott has made his translation. Scott says that in the T manuscript it appears at the foot of the page in a late 13 century hand.
Now, the book of the deeds of King Arthur which relates to Joseph of Arimathea and which has in a ‘later part of the book’ about a search for the Holy Grail may just be the book written by Henry Blois to which Chrétien de Troyes refers. However, we have seen in HRB the very same ploy of a mysterious book involved, but we will discuss this book under the section on the Grail.
What I intend to show shortly is that Robert de Boron (who relates a story concocted by Henry Blois) introduces Joseph and the Grail in the Vaus d’Avaron in the West and also in his Perceval and Merlin texts covers subjects which directly relate to Henry’s output.
For the moment, given Henry Blois’ involvement, it is not out of the question that this section below might have been one of his own additions which was initially expunged because of its obvious dubious nature…. to be re-introduced from an older exemplar back into the T manuscript:
(The book of the deeds of the famous King Arthur bears witness that the highborn decurion Joseph of Arimathea, together with his son Joseph and very many others, came into greater Britain, now called England and ended his life there. Also recorded is the search of a certain famous knight, named Lancelot of the lake with the help of his comrades of the round table,669 after a certain hermit had set forth to Walwan the mystery of a particular fountain, the water from which continually changed its taste and colour, a miracle it is written, that would not cease until the coming of a great lion whose neck was feted with thick chains. Again in a later part of the book, about the search for a vessel that is called the holy Grail, almost the same thing is recorded where a white Knight explains to Galahad, son of Lancelot, the mystery of a certain miraculous shield which he entrusts to him to bear because no one else could carry it, even for a day except at great cost.)
Much of the bracketed section above is reiterated in Chapter 20 of John of Glastonbury. We would be very short sighted if we thought a book of the deeds of King Arthur which bears witness to Joseph of Arimathea was not written by Henry Blois. Lord Frome’s copy of HRB even links Joseph with Arthur. But, the round table and Lancelot are found in Perlesvaus which Nitze maintains was written at Glastonbury. Whether it was in DA as Henry left it at his death makes no difference. We know all the material originated through him anyway. JG must have had another source to have mirrored this material. You would have to be pretty silly not to get that roman de Brut which introduces the round table was not written by Wace but by Henry; especially the table,in reality, turning up at Winchester.
669It should not be forgotten that Leland saw Melkin’s prophecy in a work supposedly written by Melkin. We should also consider, rather than upholding the scholastic view, that the ‘round table’ was a Wace invention and also remember Melkin is said to have written De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda. It is from this work, I believe, John of Glastonbury procured not only the copy of the Melkin prophecy but also much other insight which scholars claim came from continental Grail literature. It should rather be recognised that the round table is a Blois invention (hence its appearance at Winchester), and the mention of the round table was in literature at Glastonbury put out as part of Henry’s authorial Arthurian edifice. Scholars need to recognise Arthur was connected to Glastonbury by Henry’s propaganda deposited in DA long before Arthur’s disinterment. Carta Henrici Regis Secundi Filii Matildis Imperatricis De Libertatibus Concessis Ecclesie Glaston. Volume 1, P 186. The Great Chartulary of Glastonbury. Dom Aelred Watkin…… Baldredo, Ina, inclito Arthuro, Cuddredo et multis aliis regibus Christianis….
Wace’s roman de Brut commences employing as its template the First Variant and ends with Vulgate both authored by Henry Blois.670 The Round Table’s concept is derived from witnessing Stephen’s squabbling barons at court and extrapolated into a utopian ideal at King Arthur’s court. It is fairly obvious that Melkin’s prophecy existed because it too was found in the same source as JG’s work above.
670We can see that Hammer grapples with this problem: This surely cannot be mere accident. The simplest way of accounting for this is to assume that the scribe of C had before him two manuscripts, one of which contained the vulgate text and the other the Variant Version and that in a moment of inadvertence he copied phrases occurring in both texts. Another possibility, however, must not be excluded: the scribe may have copied from a manuscript that already had the above arrangement. Hammer like every other scholar cannot conceive of an evolving Historia and continues: that the larger part of Book XI in C is a conflation of two recensions, the variant and the vulgate, and goes on to say: With the help of these two texts, which he used freely, he prepared a third, his own eclectic text. Unless scholars realise the HRB’s evolution, they will not grasp Wace’s Roman de Brut was authored by Henry through this same evolutionary process; and by extension, nor will they understand it was Henry Blois who introduced us to the Round Table. More importantly, (which is essential to the understanding of the solutions put forward in this book), they will never understand that Henry Blois was the author of ‘De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’ supposedly written by Melkin from which JG copied the Melkin prophecy which had had the island’s name of Ineswitrin substituted to Avalon.
There is no one else who is going to author a book called De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda, and accredit it to Melkin found at Glastonbury, except Henry Blois. Now to all you scholars like Carley and Shoaf who are in denial about the existence of Melkin’s prophecy in the era of Henry Blois take note: The round table and Arthur were invented by Henry Blois, and the book above was also written by him from which JG has sourced his information. So, since the Melkin prophecy is the template for firstly….. Henry’s mystical island of Avalon in HRB, secondly…… the Grail derived from the duo fassula into Grail legend, thirdly…… Joseph lore transpiring at Glastonbury; you would have to be very dim-witted to deny that Melkin’s prophecy was genuine and not a fourteenth century composite regardless of the spectacular geometry that is displayed in locating Ineswitrin in Devon.
The first observation to make about the portion of Chapter 1 in no way disputed as part of the original T manuscript, is that Henry Blois establishes the Glastonbury Church ‘was the first in that territory’ which is consistent with his case toward convincing us of the early establishment of Christianity in Western England.
To allow for the Phagan and Deruvian foundation which seemingly is more historically credible through Bede’s mention of Eleutherius and HRB’s establishment of the preacher’s names in connection with Eleutherius; Henry leaves us in no doubt that both of his foundation myths link chronologically from the first apostolic foundation to the second papal envoys.
The church had ‘earlier been the habitation of saints’ and ‘after the lapse of many years’ the oratory came again to the remembrance of the faithful. This is Henry rationalizing and aligning his own foundation legends from two attempts at Metropolitan status both falling under what I have termed Henry’s ‘first agenda’. This is not a consolidating author trying to excuse the two independent contradictory legends which Henry had invented. Henry explains to us (melding his two myths in time) that Philip’s dear friend, Joseph of Arimathea who had buried the Lord, arrived in Britain in 63 AD and founded a church at Glastonbury. This in itself is stretching credibility given that Joseph was Jesus’ uncle/father.
Obviously, if Christianity did not exist in Britain it presents a problem for the second myth concerning King Lucius. So, in the interim time (conveniently pointed out to us) to the time of King Lucius’ cleansing in 166 AD, the church was rediscovered and renovated. Fortunately for posterity, this is corroborated in the (wholly fabricated) St Patrick charter, whereby Patrick tells us the brothers showed me writings of St Phagan and St Deruvian, wherein it was contained that twelve disciples of St Philip and St James had built that Old Church in honour of our Patroness!!!
In case there is any doubt of the existence of a previous church, we are induced to accept this façade again in the charter of St Patrick where Phagan and Deruvian carefully examining the place, they came across a figure of our Redeemer and other manifest signs by means of which they clearly knew that Christians had inhabited the spot earlier. Later they inferred from a heavenly oracle that the lord had especially chosen that place before all others in Britain to invoke the name of his glorious mother.
Chapter 2. of DA
How St Phagan and St Deruvian converted the Britons to the faith, and came to the Isle of Avalon.
Annals of good authority record that Lucius the King of the Britons sent a plea to Pope Eleutherius the thirteenth671 in succession from St. Peter, to entreaty that he would illuminate the darkness of Britain with the light of Christian teaching.This King of great soul undertook a truly praiseworthy task in voluntarily seeking out faith of which he had scarcely heard, at the very time when most other Kings and peoples were persecuting it when it was revealed to them. To comprehend this matter further from another source Æthelberht, King of Kent many years after Lucius, can claim praise for a similar good deed because he did not reject the preachers sent to him from Rome or drive them away, but received them with generous hospitality and his speech and demeanor were added thereunto. For even though he refused to pledge hastily his acquiescence to their words, it seemed to him absurd to harm them since they had come from afar to instruct him of those things which they considered so important. Both of these men then, one of whom wisely invited Christianity and the other who willingly received it are worthy of full remembrance.
671Pope Eleutherius was indeed the thirteenth pope 174-189 AD
There came into Britain then, these two very holy men, the preachers Phagan and Deruvian, as the charter of St Patrick and the deeds of the Britons attest. They proclaimed the word of life and they cleansed the King and his people at the sacred font in A.D. 166. They then travelled through the realm of Britain preaching and baptizing until, penetrating like Moses the lawgiver into the heart of the wilderness, they came to the island of Avalon where, with God’s guidance, they found an old church built as is said by the hands of the disciples of Christ and prepared by God for the salvation of men, which afterwards the Maker of the heavens, showed by many miracles and sacred mysteries that He had consecrated it to Himself and to Mary the Holy Mother of God. This was 103 years after the coming of the disciples into Britain of St Philip. So when St Phagan and St Deruvian discovered that Oratory they were filled with joy and giving praise to god prolonged their stay and remained here nine years. Carefully examining the place, they came across a figure of our Redeemer and other manifest signs by means of which they clearly knew that Christians had inhabited the spot earlier. Later they inferred from a heavenly oracle that the lord had especially chosen that place before all others in Britain to invoke the name of his glorious mother.
‘They found in ancient writings the whole story, how when the Apostles were dispersed throughout the world, St Philip the Apostle came with a crowd of disciples to France and sent twelve of their number to preach in Britain. And these by the guidance of an angelic vision built that chapel which afterwards the Son of God dedicated in honour of His Mother; and to these twelve disciples, three Kings, though pagans, granted for their sustenance twelve portions of land.’ Moreover, they found their deeds written down.
Accordingly, St Phagan and St Deruvian chose twelve of their companions and settled them on the island. They dwelt as anchorites in the very spots where the first twelve had dwelt. ‘Yet often they assembled at the Old Church for the devout performance of divine worship. And just as three pagan Kings had granted the island with its appendages to the first twelve disciples of Christ in days gone by, so Phagan and Deruvian sought from K. Lucius that the same should be confirmed to those their twelve companions and to others who should come after them in the future.
And in this way many others in succession, always keeping to the number twelve, dwelt in the island throughout all the years, until the coming of St Patrick the Apostle of the Irish. To this church also, which they had thus found, the holy neophytes added another oratory built of stone, which they dedicated to Christ and the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. By their work therefore was restored the Old Church of St Mary at Glastonbury as trustworthy history has continued to repeat throughout the succeeding ages. There is also that written evidence worthy of belief to be found at St Edmund’s, to this effect: The church of Glastonbury did none other men’s hands make, but the actual disciples of Christ built it; namely those sent, by the Apostle St Philip. Nor is this irreconcilable with truth as was set down before, because if the Apostle Philip preached to the Gauls, as Freculfus says in the fourth chapter of his second book, it can be believed that he cast the seeds of the Word across the sea as well.’
The last sentence is clearly arguing to convince us of tentative postulations. The first sentence should be enough to convince us of the author: Annals of good authority record that Lucius the King of the Britons sent a plea to Pope Eleutherius. In reality Pope Eleutherius never sent anybody to the King of the Britons. But, even though Bede misunderstands the Liber Pontificalis, there is only one history where Lucius: despatched his letters unto Pope Eleutherius beseeching that from him he might receive Christianity. So, Henry is most emphatically referring us to his own work of HRB, rather than what we are led to believe is Bede’s, where Phagan and Deruvian do not appear.
The title of chapter 2 alone should convince us that two of the vital pieces of Henry Blois’ literary edifice are spliced together before his death. The title leaves no doubt: How St Phagan and St Deruvian converted the Britons to the faith and came to the Isle of Avalon. The chapter headings are in the T manuscript and it should be understood that it is Henry who has converted Glastonbury into Avalon. Henry Blois is the same person who introduced us to Phagan and Deruvian in First Variant HRB and introduced them into Glastonbury lore in the St Patrick charter and is obviously the same man who now connects them to Avalon as being synonymous with Glastonbury.
What I have termed Glastonburyana did not evolve haphazardly as modern scholarship has decreed, following a proliferation of continental Arthurian and Grail material, but it was laid out in DA by the man to whom the DA was dedicated, the man who wrote HRB, invented the mythical Island of Avalon; and instigated continental Grail stories as Monseigneur Blehis (or H Blois) or Blihos-Bleheris.
The title of each chapter in DA follows the format which William had set out in his original; creating a title for each subject as he covered it. The title headings are not the work of a consolidator. Scott seems to think there has been a clever consolidating editor who consolidates Glastonbury lore before 1247. Lagorio and Carley have assumed many monk’s evolved these myths in the era after Arthur’s tomb was unveiled; over a period of about 60 years to 1247 AD…. to a point in time where the T manuscript is dateable.
To be fair, if Henry Blois is not understood to be accountable for the authorship of HRB and there was no suspicion that he is connected to the invention of Caradoc’s Life of Gildas (or the invention of the Grail being derived from the prophecy of Melkin); one could see how our experts arrive at such a conclusion. One can also understand that to make the pieces of this puzzle fit, the Melkin prophecy had to follow the Grail (in their minds) and therefore since Chrétien ‘invented’ the Grail the persona of Melkin must be an invention also. But this is a ‘ballonious’ theory and the sooner it stops being taught to the next generation of university students the sooner they will stop regurgitating dogma which has been propped up over a period of two hundred years; but under scrutiny the foundations on which the theories are built are seen to be unstable
Anyhow, Henry presses his polemical point based on HRB’s bogus historicity of King Lucius and Bede’s mistaken identification of Britain as the place where Eleutherius sent envoys to Lucius, so that we are reminded that Phagan and Deruvian pre-date any Augustinian conversion of the English. To comprehend this matter further from another source Æthelberht, King of Kent many years after Lucius, can claim praise for a similar good deed because he did not reject the preachers….
The sole reason for mentioning Æthelberht c.590 – 616 AD was to undermine the primacy of Canterbury and to show Christianity existed prior to the Augustinian conversion of Æthelberht. Æthelberht married Bertha, the Christian daughter of Charibert, King of the Franks. Probably it was Bertha’s marriage which influenced the decision by Pope Gregory I to send Augustine as a missionary to Britain. Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet in Kent in 597AD. Æthelberht was converted to Christianity, and he provided the new mission with land in Canterbury on which Canterbury Cathedral now stands.
Herein is the very reason the scribe of all this quagmire of falsity has set out in chapters 1&2 a consolidation of the inventions he has composed in pursuit of metropolitan to be free of Canterbury’s primacy.
Henry uses his own work of the faked ancient charter of St Patrick and his own HRB (the deeds of the Britons) to substantiate his own synopsis of the consolidation of his first agenda and the arrival of Phagan and Deruvian: There came into Britain then, these two very holy men, the preachers Phagan and Deruvian, as the charter of St Patrick and the deeds of the Britons attest.
There is no previous mention of the name Ineswitrin other than that found on the 601 charter and which would have existed on the prophecy of Melkin. Any allusions to Ineswitrin in DA are founded on Henry’s concoction under Caradoc’s name, except for the 601 charter. The name of the island is aligned to Henry’s concocted St Patrick Charter supposedly written by St Patrick himself, where Patrick fictitiously has words put in his mouth about his arrival at Glastonbury: I came to the island of Ineswitrin.
In effect, Henry Blois has three corroborative pieces of evidence which indicate that Ineswitrin now applies to Glastonbury; the St Patrick Charter, Caradoc’s life of Gildas; and the 601 charter itself, found at Glastonbury. The illusion is more tenable if one ignores the fact that the grant of the Island of Ineswitrin had the Devonian King as signatory and logically must be somewhere in the old Dumnonia (in Devon).
Concerning Avalon, I have maintained that it was not part of Henry’s ‘first agenda’ to persuade us that Avalon was indeed the same location as Glastonbury. The ‘first agenda’ is clearly seen where Ineswitrin is used instead of Avalon in the St Patrick charter, and where the etymology of Ineswitrin in Life of Gildas substantiates Henry’s claim that the name applies to Glastonbury. The reasoning behind Henry’s persuasive etymology, as I have explained previously, added credibility to the 601 charter, so that the donation applied to a known location i.e. an estate which was supposedly part of Glastonbury Island.
Yet, as Henry melds his later (post 1158) lore into DA, Avalon is mentioned in the second chapter as a consolidation because Henry knew he had achieved his transformation before his death even if we had to wait for the ‘Leaden cross’ to confirm it for us. Also, Avalon is in the postscript to the St Patrick charter in chapter 9 as if William of Malmesbury were the author, where St Patrick is posited as the first Abbot on the Island of Avalon… (in direct contradiction of Osbern’s assertion). But, in essence, as an indicator that the fraudulent St Patrick charter did exist as a document for the ‘first agenda’ in 1149 and was composed in the time before Henry’s post 1158 ‘second agenda’ concerning Avalon takes shape; there is no mention of Avalon actually on the text of the St Patrick charter itself. The postscript is part of his consolidation of DA incorporating ‘second agenda’ polemic.
It is not a random consolidating monk c.1230 who conveniently mentions Avalon here in chapter two in connection with the Patrick charter or in the postscript of the Patrick charter as seen in chapter 9. Most emphatically this is Henry Blois synthesizing his ‘agendas’ in chapters 1&2. It should not be forgotten either that posing as ‘Geoffrey’, Henry is also bringing Insula Avallonis from HRB to synonymy with Glastonbury by implying it is Insula Pomorum in VM in this same era, locating Avalon geographically in the only county in England renowned for its production of Apples.
It is more sensible to accept my analysis when Avalon was understood as being synonymous with Glastonbury, not only because the Perlesvaus refers to the church at Glastonbury and the colophon refers to Avalon in Perlesvaus also; but also Robert de Boron refers to Avalon in the west meaning Glastonbury (both before 1190). We know through the analysis in this work that all that material has emanated from Henry’s muses while alive!! It must be a fact then that Avalon surely was referred to in DA before Henry’s death because it is evident in the mass of information we have waded through up to now. Henry Blois could only be the inventor of Avalon.
If you choose to see it in reverse, then ‘Geoffrey’ must have been a real and genuine prophet seeing into the future locating his island where Arthur was taken in VM (which is obviously commensurate with Avalon through Barinthus); which apparently is only possible that Glastonbury could be commensurate with Avalon for Lagorio et al when the ‘Leaden cross’ is discovered in 1190-91. Thereafter, according to Lagorio, the monks beaver away interpolating Williams work.
The last known location of ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’s’ concocted persona of a chivalric King Arthur in the Vulgate HRB was the Island of Avalon where he was taken grievously wounded. This has been accepted as Insula Pomorum, put forward as an alternative description to Avalon by logical extension in the later composed VM. Insula Pomorum’ synonymy with the island of Avalon as presented in HRB is confirmed in VM because the wounded Arthur is also taken to a mythical island by Barinthus. As Watkin realises, this establishes Glastonbury as commensurate with Avalon as early as 1155
I wonder how ‘Geoffrey’ could know that supposedly Henry de Sully would ‘fortuitously’ confirm his assumption for him nearly forty years later. I wonder also how all these continental Grail composers and continuators all got together and agreed amongst themselves that they would locate Avalon at Glastonbury also; especially when the ‘church covered in lead’ is mentioned in Perlesvaus long before 1190, but even this is denied by Lagorio and Carley because of erroneous chronology. How else does the writer of Perlesvaus know Arthur and Guinevere ‘are’ buried at Glastonbury; just as Gerald knew also and bore witness. The only way for scholars to make their assumptions fit is to ignore Gerald and his first hand evidence.
If Glastonbury had an ‘old’ church in 601AD, then it must have stood prior to Augustine’s arrival. There was a Celtic church of the Britons not born of the Roman mission of Augustine evident more than anywhere else in Britain…. in Cornwall. However, what is interesting is that there was no extant explanation or documentation of Ineswitrin in the Glastonbury records and no-one knew c.1130-34 where Ineswitrin was when William came across the 601 charter and the Melkin prophecy in Glastonbury’s muniments.
As we know, William started his original DA with what is now chapter 35 which is a transcript of the 601 charter. Therefore we can see Henry’s mind at work paralleling the etymological farce he had created in the last paragraph of Life of Gildas in achieving the aim in establishing Ineswitrin as an ‘estate’ on Glastonbury (island) and how such a situation transpired: 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 churches before finally restoring the stolen lands.
Henry Blois is certainly no slouch at corroborative synthesis as we have seen throughout this exposé.
It was not until after VM was written at Clugny, that the first flowering of Henry’s design concerning Avalon became apparent. In VM, as we covered, Henry’s first step toward the undoing of a ‘first agenda’ (creating synonymy with Ineswitrin) to an understanding of Avalon at Glastonbury…. contrives Insula Pomorum to become equitable through a conflation with ‘avalla’. Hence, we can now recognise a reverse etymological farce taking shape as his Avalon of HRB becomes Glastonbury in the apple region of Somerset…. confirmed by it being the same Island to which Barinthus took Arthur.
Ultimately, what was disclosed on the ‘Leaden Cross’ which Henry fabricated for the grave of Arthur, confirms Avalon at Glastonbury by the fact that the cross turned up there after being informed that Arthur was buried in that same place. So, those who were unclear as to where the Insula Avallonis of HRB existed; at the disinterment, it indisputably became the same Island of Glastonbury through Arthur having been taken to Insula Pomorum in VM and the ‘Leaden Cross’ stating ‘Here lies Arthur in Avalon’. Luckily, the cross made clear that where the uncovered grave existed was Avalon so that when the time for unearthing of the grave arrived……everyone would have it spelled out to them. Luckily for Carly, Lagorio and Scott and umpteen other ‘numpties’, they can from this point in time onwards agree that Glastonbury as a location was previously known as Avalon….exactly as Henry Blois had planned.
This did not happen as a consequence of Grail literature filtering back to Glastonbury, but was considered by ‘Geoffrey’ when Henry published the VM c.1155-58 as part of the conversion process. The contrivance conflated the mythical isle named in the Melkin prophecy to an island with the name of the Burgundian town of Avallon as witnessed in HRB. The inspiration for creating a bogus grave to be found in the future has its seed also in the Melkin prophecy. Due to Henry’s propaganda, Joseph’s real sepulchre on Burgh Island has been transposed into a fictitious grave at Glastonbury and through the ‘Leaden cross’ King Arthur was confirmed to be buried on Avalon.672
672We should not forget either that the inspiration for the leaden cross came from Eadmer’s testimony establishing Dunstan’s existence at Canterbury by the leaden tablet found in his grave.
The St Patrick’s charter was part of the pre-1158 interpolations and therefore, there was no Joseph material in DA before 1158 and St Patrick’s charter only mentioned Ineswitrin. There was no narrative in DA which connects Joseph to the Patrick charter, until there is the chronological link made with the apostolic foundation and Joseph’s foundation within DA in Henry’s later consolidating chapters 1 & 2 and the additional postscript to the St Patrick Charter only completed after 1158.
Yet a clear evidence of Henry’s prior attempt to gain metropolitan is evident where he melds the bogus Apostolic myth with a later Joseph myth…. having been sent by Philip and James with the concocted legend of Phagan and Deruvian in the St Patrick Charter. This supposedly took place 103 years later when Phagan and Deruvian arrived.
Chapter 1 & 2 of DA act as a consolidation and synthesis of these two (or three) foundation legends which reflect Henry’s changing agendas; firstly, apostolic in 1144, secondly Phagan and Deruvian in 1149, thirdly, (in terms of insertion into DA), Josephean post 1158).
Now, what surprises me most is the scholastic community in the past might have given credence to any of the lore put forward in chapter 1 & 2 above, as there is not one word of William’s present in the text. It is a madness to think that William wrote any of this and yet it is those very same entrenched scholars who think I am mad.
As we covered above, VD was written contemporaneously with DA. So, how is it that there is no mention of Ineswitrin (excepting that mentioned in the 601 charter) in William’s other works which have not obviously been interpolated. Also, there is no mention of the St. Patrick’s charter, Lucius, Phagan and Deruvian, St Joseph of Arimathea or any early establishment by apostle or disciple of the church (by James or St. Philip) or Arviragus’ twelve hides.
There is certainly no mention of Dunstan in the island of Avalon or Ineswitrin, but both author B and William refer to Glastonbury as the name for the island. William certainly did not know where Avalon was even if he had come across the name in HRB (which is impossible as he died in 1143 before the advent of the name Avalon in FV) and had only seen Ineswitrin as the name on the 601 charter and in the Melkin prophecy. William would instantly have dismissed the Melkin prophecy having no understanding of its composition or Latin.
We should rather be more accurately guided to find William’s real position concerning the several items mentioned above by looking at William’s VD I & II as they were written contemporaneously with DA. William’s position would not have shifted so drastically since writing GR1…. especially concerning the later Glastonbury interpolations we covered in version B of GR3.
We can conclude; the only way the Glastonburyana in GR and DA (with information covering Henry’s first agenda) could corroborate or tally…… is through one interpolator and the interpolator was alive at the time to make GR3 version B interpolations corroborate with DA interpolations….. but couldn’t predict by whom or when Arthur was going to be unveiled. The additions into DA not found in GR which include Joseph and Avalon are also Henry’s work but accord with his second and later agenda post 1158. But this does not deny the fact that there are definite later additions into DA and GR3 C version after Henry’s death.
Scott suggests regarding DA: it is possible that William’s manuscript was annotated at different times by various monks but at some time a substantial rearrangement of the work must have been undertaken to synthesize these additions into a coherent whole.673
673John Scott, The early history of Glastonbury. P.34
‘This contrasts exactly my point about a single minded consolidator who actually understood the ‘coherent whole’ to make The Matter of Britain coalesce rather than depending on random fortuitous convergence of factors. There was no major rearrangement by various monks at different times and the synthesis was done by the single interested party, who we now know invented the polemically motivated propaganda in the first place; only he understood the reasons for its contradictions. He smoothed them over perfectly and melded them into the ‘coherent whole’ as we saw in chapter 1&2 above. It again, does not deny the fact that interpolations occurred after Henry’s death, but does not necessitate a consolidating editor or redactor on the scale Scott believes.
In general, DA existed in the format and order we have it today at the time Henry Blois died. No consolidating editor is going to write chapters 1 & 2 except Henry Blois. If this was composed over time by different monks all deriving their lore from continental Grail literature, then ‘Geoffrey’ saw into the future.
The interpolated part of DA was composed by the man to whom the two ‘agendas’ were an integral part of his life. The first pertained to the metropolitan the second to perpetuating his alter ego of Arthur at Glastonbury and promulgating his continental Grail legend at his Nephew’s and Marie of France’s court. This material married up with Joseph of Arimathea whose sepulchre was supposedly on Insula Avallonis as seen on the altered Melkin’s prophecy; from which the icon of the Grail was derived in the first place and acted as an idea/template to Henry’s muses and thus led to the manufacturing of Arthur’s grave for posterity….. as well as the Grail and Joseph being associated with Glastonbury.
The propaganda can be understood to parallel Henry’s metropolitan agenda, as long as it is comprehended that Henry is author of HRB and the Merlin prophecies, Life of Gildas, the first 34 (and part of 35) chapters of DA, and the source of Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’Arimathie.
Most importantly, with the acceptance of the fact that Henry Blois was the elusive Master Blehis, we take into account that the Perlesvaus written by a certain Master Blihis (Monseigneur Blois) concerning ‘Gawain who overcame Blihos-Bliheris, whom (incidentally) no man at Arthur’s court knew’. Monsiegneur Blois and the coincidence of similar sounding Bliobleheris, Bliocadran, Blihos-Bliheris, Bréri, Bledhericus, Blaise…. does not happen by chance. Especially where Blihos Bleheris is Robert de Boron’s greatest teller of tales at court and where Blaise is given the honour of having recorded three of Robert de Boron’s Histoires. BleoBleheris was even numbered at King Arthur’s round table. The understated Jesse Weston even gives her opinion that the names of the source are ‘one and the same’.
Jesse even gets brave enough to state that ‘the majority of the vernacular Arthurian tales and the Elucidation and the Perceval are the remnants of a once popular story group concerned with Gawain and his kin’…… and says following that: ‘I submit there is good ground for believing that this group of tales was of insular origin and was popularly ascribed to famosus ille fabulator Bledhericus’. The only problem with this Jesse is…. if as Gerald says the famosus ille fabulator Bledhericus who had lived “shortly before our time”….. the chronology of Giraldus Cambrensis’ Bledhericus is just 18 years before the unearthing of King Arthur and if we think that Gerald flourished 1190 and we know Henry Blois was patron to Gerald…….. I wonder how Jesse squares the scholastic conundrum i.e. that Glastonbury lore followed Grail and Arthurian poems…… when in Perlesvaus, (also of insular origin) has the Grail chapel at Glastonbury with a lead roof, just as it was in Henry’s day before it burnt down. So, how can Glastonbury lore follow continental Grail literature if firstly the source was insular and secondly the source of all is Gerald’s Bledhericus or any other BL prefixed appelation; especially, if they knew also that Avalon was at Glastonbury because the author of Perlesvaus knew that Guinevere and Arthur were buried there long before they were dug up. I wonder how he knew?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is fairly obvious the manufacturer of the grave is our Master Blihis and Gerald not only has been unknowingly primed by Henry in Arthurian lore but is writing just ‘shortly after Henry Blois’ time’.
As I pointed out in the preface to this work without putting things in context in the era they transpired and connecting the three genres of Glastonburyana, Grail Literature, and Geoffrey’s Arthuriana, the dots will not connect and there will be no comprehensive picture formed of the Matter of Britain.
Is it beyond coincidence that the Master Blihis, who knew the Grail mystery, and gave solemn counselling about its revelation; the Blihos-Bliheris, who knew the Grail, and many other tales; the Bréri, who knew all the legendary tales concerning the princes of Britain; and the famous story-teller Bledhericus, of whom Gerald of Wales speaks, are separate personalities…. especially when Blihos is the anagram of H. Blois. The very PhD which qualifies one as an expert is that which prevents one seeing the wood for the trees. If the person bestowing honour on the students dissertation concerning any of our three genres of study is bent on hearing the regurgitation of their own erroneous position; we can see how the quagmire gets deeper year by year.
We should look at one more of Scott’s assumptions regarding DA which becomes an incorrect a priori once Henry Blois is understood to have authored HRB and much of the first 34 chapters of DA:
Finally we can be sure that all references to King Arthur must have been written after the purported discovery of his remains buried between the two pyramids in 1190-1, as must those chapters that seek to identify Avalon with Glastonbury because such an identification only became necessary and meaningful, after, and as further evidence for, the claim that Arthur had been buried at Glastonbury.
This hugely incorrect assumption is obviously based upon theories put out by Lagorio and which Carley and Arthurian scholars regurgitate today…. making flawed many subsequent assertions based on this premise. Arthur’s tomb location between the piramides was definitively written into DA before 1171. No-one else knew where the bones were except the man who put them there and manufactured the bogus grave site with the ‘leaden cross’. It is the same person who told us that Arthur and Guinevere were buried at Glastonbury in the Perlesvaus colophon. It is only a fool who would believe that a Welsh bard informed Henry II of the location, because we are not stupid enough to think that the manufactured site was thatof a real and genuine chivalric Arthur.
Scott, however, does perceive a contradiction to the assumptions in the excerpt above: …stimulated by the association with Arthur that had already been adumbrated by Caradoc; but once concocted Arthur’s links with Glastonbury became an important element in the local legends. Curiously, an account of the discovery of his remains is not to be found in DA, although other facets of the legend are incorporated….674
The salient fact is that Scott’s observation points to the fact that there is little change to DA from how Henry left it. Obviously, there would be no description of the events surrounding the disinterment. That there is no account of the unearthing adds weight to the position I have maintained in that; the consolidating author of DA after Henry’s death had a minor role and did not synthesise the most part of the material in the first 35 chapters as claimed by Scott. No account of the events surrounding the disinterment is given in DA, but the location of where Henry planted the body is nonchalantly provided couched in the form of a casual ‘aside’, as if it were common knowledge.
Our consolidating author is only adding historical notes, not adding large interpolations which bolster the legend as that has already been accomplished by Henry Blois. Scott is one of the few scholars who does perceive that Avalon was not Glastonbury and is not duped by the propaganda which insinuates that the two are identical locations with differing names in time. He also (as above) knows that someone is responsible for the ‘synthesis’, but like all other commentators primed by Lagorio thinks the jigsaw puzzle miraculously fell into place on its own; and there is no suspicion upon our ‘Cicero’.
This has ramifications for scholar’s assumptions concerning the colophon in the Perlesvaus:
L’auteur du Haut Livre du Graal affirme même que son texte est copié d’un manuscrit latin qui a été trouvé en l’Isle d’Avalon en une sainte meson de religion qui siét au chief des Mares Aventurex, la oli rois Artuz e la roïne gisent.
The author of the Perlesvaus or the High book of the Grail claims his text675 is copied from a Latin manuscript which was found in the Isle of Avalon in a house of holy religion which stands at the height of moors of adventure where King Arthur and Queen Guinevere lie.
674John Scott, The early history of Glastonbury. P.29
675In Henry’s postulation that ‘Geoffrey’ had sourced his material from a mysterious book, we should be wary of the same ploy being used by Henry Blois a second time. It is a gambit by which Henry lends credence to the source of the Grail legend, seemingly having been derived from an ancient ‘Book of the Grail’. I do not deny the existence of a Grail book in that Chrétien says he has obtained one from Philip of Flanders (Henry’s cousin), but my conclusion is that it was written by Henry Blois. Certainly, no book could have come from a realistic Avalon. The Intention is to connect the ‘duo fassula’ and Joseph named in the Prophecy of Melkin, also written in Latin and found at Glastonbury with the ‘book of the Grai’l which supposedly came from a religious house where Arthur and Guinevere were buried. The idea is that we are to believe that the Grail book has its origins in the ecclesiastical system.
At a stretch we could make more sense of this by assuming that because Avalon is an Island the reference is to the ever-changing tides/water levels (Mares Aventurex) which surrounded the Somerset levels in Dunstan’s era as described by author B. (“from feminine of adventurus, future participle of advenire “to come to, reach, arrive at,”). A more likely translation: in a house of holy religion which sits atop reaching tides; an allusion to the flood planes around Glastonbury.
We know this has to be Glastonbury and there is only one person converting his fabled Avalon into a realistic location since 1155-7 wich first comes to light in VM. The assumption made by scholarship regarding this text is that it post-dates the disinterment of Arthur because of the flaw in Carley and Logorio’s assessment of Glastonbury’s association with Joseph and Grail literature having been derived from the continent. This assumption precludes Henry Blois from being the interpolator of DA even though he had stipulated in DA that Guinevere and Arthur were buried between the piramides at Glastonbury and makes the same statement in the colophon to Perlesvaus both before 1189-91 which scholars see as impossible. In reality both bits of information were in the public domain in 1171, 20 years earlier than scholars today can concede but even Jesse inadvertently brings to light.
This is why it is vital to understand that the location of the grave was provided in DA before Henry’s death. The fact that both Guinevere and Arthur were both posited in DA as being buried at Glastonbury together, also tallies with Gerald’s account only one or two years after the event.
It thus becomes feasible that Master Blihis wrote the Perlesvaus and Henry Blois is one and the same who stated in the colophon of Perlesvaus where both Arthur (and his Guinevere) would be found and in DA also.
Being ‘allowed’ to contradict the dogma thus allows us now to place the chronology of the proliferation of Grail literature earlier than the scholastic cabal had determined. Whereas a constraint was placed on exegetes of Grail material in the early part of the 20th century and caused the proliferation of rationalisations which in effect tried to overcome an impossible conumdrum we are now able to exit the swamp.
As a result of Henry’s interpolations and his planned fraudulent interment of the ‘Leaden cross’ and bones which supposedly pertained to Arthur, King Arthur was able to be discovered in Avalon; not as Scott’s understanding i.e. that it only became necessary and meaningful, after the unearthing that Arthur’s name was found in DA at Avalon.
This following passage, obviously written by Henry Blois, is thought by all commentators to be a later interpolation into DA post 1190-1: I pass over Arthur, famous King of the Britons, buried with his wife in the monks Cemetery between two pyramids….
The idea behind the interment was inspired by the Melkin Prophecy foretelling likewise of a body to be uncovered in the future, but the reality of the interment of Joseph of Arimathea on Ineswitrin will remain clouded in mystery until academia676 changes its position and a more capable younger generation comes out of the woods.
Basically what I have pointed out in this work is the way that scholastic opinion seems slavish in its opinions as we see here in Nitze’s work on the chronology of Grail literature: Referring to this passage in DA Praetermitto de Arturo, inclito rege Britonum, in cimiterio monachorum inter duas piramides cum sua conjuge tumulato, de multis etiam Britonum principibus. Nitze writes: To be sure, Newell assigns the last sentence of this passage to the “recast” and not to the De Antiquitate proper. But since the “recast” was made before the year 1200 and probably in the very year of Arthur’s supposed disinterment (Newell, p. 510), this fact need not disturb us here. Both the Chronica Majoral and Giraldus Cambrensis give 1191 as the date of the disinterment. The subsequent deductions from this assessment are that Perlesvaus is later than this date and so were the DA interpolations and therefore never could Henry Blois be connected to either!!
676In his book ‘And Did Those Feet’, Goldsworthy had thought of King Arthur as an historical figure. Efforts were made by Goldsworthy to obtain permission from the hoteliers on Burgh Island to show them where he knew a tunnel entrance existed to the sepulchre, but the Devon Archaeological Society and the owners of the Island took advice from ‘experts’ who advised that King Arthur could not be on the island on account of ‘Geoffrey’ having invented his persona.
Anyway, getting back to the subject in hand i.e. the DA; Annals of good authority record that Lucius the King of the Britons sent to Pope Eleutherius asking for Christian teachers…. which starts chapter 2 of DA (as we know) is based on Bede’s mistake, but what few commentators have remarked upon is the creation of a King Lucius in HRB, who is inserted into British history by Henry Blois purely to substantiate his myth regarding Phagan and Deruvian…. and how the introduction of two preachers into the First Variant help in establishing his case for metropolitan status when he presents his persuasive case in Rome.
We can see at the end of chapter 2 there is nothing which can be attributed to William of Malmesbury based upon his positions held in GR1, VD or VP or GP. Scott gives a good idea of what he thinks William’s original text contains. I agree for the most part where Scott breaks down the first 36 chapters of DA.
Scott’s assessment677 of what can be accounted to William’s original words, reduces 19 pages to just four and a half pages, but Scott still believes in the genuineness of comparable material between the version B interpolations of GR3; he admits more to Malmesbury’s pen than is necessary or is truly written by William when the evidence in GR version B is scrutinised. Much of those interpolations were written by Henry in GR3 and DA to corroborate an apostolic foundation with the appearance of William of Malmesbury having upheld those views.
677John Scott. The early history of Glastonbury, Boydell press.
However, there are references to the 1184 fire in DA which were obviously written after Henry’s death. This would convince any commentator that interpolations occurred after 1184 and basically is the basis for Scott’s assessment of a late consolidator yet it does not cover the deduction that if all the interpolations had been late, surely the late interpolator would have given a glowing and detailed account of King Arthur and Guinevere’s disinterment.
Carley accuses John of Glastonbury of elaborating greatly the material in DA saying John ‘discovers’ many, and dubious sources to fill out William of Malmesbury’s account. One can see how Carley arrives at this assumption. But, most of the elaborations would be derived from other material put out by Henry i.e. a more complete Perlesvaus or ‘Book of the Grail’ (no longer extant), which, obviously complimented continental Grail literature since it too (in its initial stages) was authored by Henry.
Conversely and in reality, the truth is that John has gleaned it all from the now missing De Regis Arthurii rotunda; which logically can only have been composed by Henry Blois because he invented the chivalric King Arthur and impersonated Wace who supposedly is accredited as being the first to mention the round table.
So, now it is painfully obvious why Wace infers that he got the ‘round table’ from another authority i.e. De Regis Arthurii rotunda. This is Henry’s Modus operandi as seen in Gaimar’s epilogue corroborating the previous position of a source book for HRB.
If the reader, unlike our experts, has not been opposed to the evidence which clearly indicates the same mind has composed the Roman de Brut and HRB; one can then understand the link more clearly that the De Regis Arthurii rotunda posited as having been written by Melkin now substantiates my theory that the prophecy of Melkin could not be a fake. i.e. Henry Blois knew about Melkin; he even goes to Montacute in search of Joseph’s grave, used Melkin’s prophecy as a template for various aspects of his propaganda and then impersonates Melkin as the author of a book titled King Arthur and the round table.
Logically, if one accepts that Henry’s round table from Henry’s Roman de Brut is brought into conjunction with Henry’s Chicalric King Arthur, then it stands to reason that if Henry’s book De Regis Arthurii rotunda which posits Melkin as its author must indeed indicate separately that Henry Blois has heard of Melkin. But, this is only one avenue that connects Henry Blois to the Melkin Prophecy at Glastonbury where Henry is Abbot.
The surely more substantive evidence is in the icons of Grail literature which are derived from the Melkin Prophecy. But then to get to that reasoning we have to understand that Henry Blois composed the origins of Grail literature and this is surely seen through the known sources of Grail Literature all having similar names to H.Blois and secondly the known promulgators of Grail literature having connections to Henry Blois’ family on the continent. It is plain to see why the Quagmire exists…. and until modern scholars can free themselves from 200 years of erroneous deductions, students of our three subjects will be tied from future scholastic endeavours furthering knowledge by their mentors constrains.
My accusation from those interested in this work is that I keep introducing works that only I have attributed to Henry Blois, where no scholar has done so before me. This is why I have tried to show first that Henry Blois is ‘Geoffrey’ and provide evidence from the prophecies of Merlin that they could only have been written by Henry Blois. Once this is understood our present task of elucidating the DA is made easier when the reader understands the apparent contradictions in the interpolations into DA and the reasoning behind the contradictions to the apostolic foundation of Glastonbury exist i.e. purely as a reaction to Henry Blois’ ‘agendas’.
John of Glastonbury skilfully consolidates into lore in his Cronica Henry’s DA propaganda, along with other parts of Henry’s output which is no longer extant. By the reasoning above, It can be safe to conclude that the prophecy of Melkin was in the book supposedly written by Melkin and this is how we can be sure the title island that John of Glastonbury relates is attached to the Melkin prophecy has in fact been changed from Ineswitrin based purely on the logic as I have clearly shown that Henry is Geoffrey and it is Geoffrey who has clearly invented the Island of Avallon. This by its very logic shows that the Melkin prophecy can only be referring to Ineswitrin as the geometry clearly indicates.
This is my annoyance with professor Carley who is in denial that the geometry established in the Melkin prophecy even applies to the Island in Devon that was clearly donated to Glastonbury; and hence why the prophecy of Melkin came into Henry Blois’ possession and why Henry Blois conducted a search at Montacute for Joseph and procured an otherwise useless island for Glastonbury i.e. Looe Island which he was so intent on making sure that it remained in Glastonbury’s possession. Henry Blois first established his claim to Looe Island for Glastonbury when he thought Matilda was going to be Queen in the time his brother Stephen was in Prison following the rout of Winchester on 14 September 1141. Afterwards Henry Blois, as I have covered, safeguarded by charter the procurement of Looe island in 1144. Henry was looking for Ineswitrin in Dumnonia.
Because Henry Blois actually had in his possession the document known as the Melkin prophecy and this prophecy had written on it originally Ineswitrin, he had surely made the connection to the 601 charter, which by what it states, must refer to an island in Dumnonia; this reasoning simply based on the king of Dumnonia as the donator.
Now, if this line of thought is followed, we can now understand that Henry Blois genuinely believed that Looe island was where Joseph of Arimathea was buried. He was wrong as the Geometry cleary leads to Burgh Island and the chance of the decryption of a genuine cryptogram and its resultant geometry terminating and pin pointing an island in the same Dumnonia is simply an impossible chance if indeed as Carley believes….. the prophecy is a composit. The Geometry has to be by design. Unless of course you are a modern scholar who has consciously chosen to ignore the evidence which is plainly seen; (or conversely that scholar is honoured above his intellectual merit).
But I hope now that the reader can understand how it is that ‘Geoffrey’s’ Saltus Geomagog from the First Variant is expanded upon in the Vulgate version which is said to be ‘near Totnes’, where the Giant is thrown over a cliff by Corineus. This is probably the cliffs at the entrance to Salcombe on the south coast of Devon (Salgoem) ’as it is still so named’ says ‘Geoffrey’. Again, we see clear evidence that Henry Blois has been on these cliffs on Bolberry down just above Burgh Island close to Salcombe as indicated in the Vulgate version where the story line is set. My proposition to the reader is that the only reason ‘Geoffrey’ has been to Bolberry down which overlooks Burgh Island which is very close to Salgoem…. ‘near Totnes is because Henry Blois was searching for the island of Ineswitrin which he knew was in the old Dumnonia.
If it was the Melkin prophecy which influenced Henry Blois who was searching on the cliffs for the elusive island somewhere in Dumnonia and from that experience invents the story in the Vulgate version, it is hugely annoying to a rational thinker (and not the madman I am accused of being) that an ignoramus pronounces that the Melkin prophecy is a fraud and I am accused of making this entire theory by my own invention; and the sum of what that theory concludes i.e. that Joseph of Arimathea’s remains are on Burgh Island is considered ‘drivel’….. and I am instructed that I should rather defer to Carley’s expertise, the one person who denies that Melkin even existed and pronounces his hair-brained horseshit about Syria.
So, I will appeal to the readers logic rather than Carley’s because if the Melkin prophecy solution pin points Ineswitrin by its geometry, then it cannot be a fake and if it is not a fake ‘in logic’, it must have been devised by Henry Blois…. because it is beyond chance that the solution in reality identifies by geometry an island and that island just happens to be in Dumnonia. But, Henry Blois just replaced the name on the prophecy, he did not compose it.
But it becomes a ridiculous proposition that Henry himself composed the Melkin prophecy because we have identified through the etymology of the last paragraph of the life of Gildas that Henry Blois, not understanding where Ineswirin actual is geographically, posits the island of Ineswitrin as an estate on Glastonbury island.
We can be certain Henry is indeed looking for the island; firstly, on the hill in Motacute based on evidence related to what Father Good said about Joseph of Arimathea’s remains being ‘carefully hidden’ in that place. Secondly, we can be sure that he has been to the cliffs above Burgh Island because how would ‘Geoffrey’ know of the cliffs near Salcombe. The only reason Henry Blois had been there is because he had suspected that Burgh Island was Ineswitrin just as he had suspected Looe island as a possibility….. also based on his own reasoning and knowledge that the old Dumnonia was made up of the two counties of Devon and Cornwall. We already have covered that Henry Blois was in Devon by his eyewitness description of the battle at Plympton castle in 1136 described by the author of GS; and based on the fact that as ‘Geoffrey’ lands Btutus in Totnes on the Dart and mentions this in the First Variant.
‘Geoffrey’s’ Saltus Geomagog which is said to be ‘near Totnes’ in HRB, where the Giant is thrown over a cliff by Corineus is probably the cliffs at the entrance to Salcombe on the south coast of Devon (Salgoem) ’as it is still so named’says ‘Geoffrey’. We can conclude that Henry Blois traveled to the cliffs near Salcombe by having to use the only bridge on the Dart which crosses it at its highest navigable point. This again, is another example of the experiences of Henry Blois becoming those of ‘Geoffrey’ using his own personal experiences to construct the story-line of HRB; just as we saw the core of the King Lear story being based on Henry Blois’ own father and again in the John of Cornwall prophecies of Merlin…… Henry’s reference to an archaic Brentegia being synonymous with Brent moor which he has to pass to get to Pympton.
To get to any of these deductions I have made about Henry Blois’ association with ‘Geoffrey’, the Gaimar Epilogue, the Roman de Brut, the Grail legends, it is necessary to open up to the truth that Henry Blois only compares himself to Cicero because of his vast authorial output relevant to Cicero’s and the effect Cicero had on the world since he lived.
By making these necessary deviations from the dogma being peddled by modern scholars, we then can have confidence that the prophecy of Melkin is a genuine document, based on all the evidence to this point, because this is where and to what end I am making this study and trying to unfold this very complicated set of events, working toward the ultimate conclusion. What I made plain in the preface to this work is the ramifications of finding the tomb are immense, especially if what the Melkin prophecy maintains i.e. the duo fassula accompanies the remains of Joseph of Arimathea.
However, for the moment we must continue on with the analysis of the DA. The main features of the foundation legend for Glastonbury that Henry had concocted i.e. the building of the church by the disciples of Christ678 and its consecration by them is referred to only 13 years after Henry Blois death in 1184 in a charter that Henry II attested between the 2nd and 16th of December just after the fire. It should be understood why there is no mention of Joseph of Arimathea as at this stage even though his name was in chapter 1&2 of DA.
678Mater Sanctorum dicta est, ab aliis Tumulus Sanctorum, Quam ab ipsis discipulis Domini edificatum et ab ipso Domino dedicatum primo fuisse venerabilis habet antiquorum auctoritas. Great Cartulary of Glastonbury p.186
There was no ‘tradition’ actually at the abbey, as the DA was still a seedling planted only 13 years ago when Henry’s copy of DA came to light.
It is more likely the monks were conservative with the use of DA and chose to use GR3 version B to show dignitaries as Joseph might be a bit hard to swallow until time had passed. Hence the referral to the apostles in the charter mentioned, yet not expressly mentioning the name of Joseph. My guess would be that if King Henry II was not informed verbally while Henry was alive albeit on his death-bed….. then as an alternative scenario, the monks might have only shown King Henry II GR3 instead of DA, but in any case, Henry Blois’ disciplic foundation had taken root.
Although the legend of Joseph did ‘evolve’, the seeds for this legend were planted by Henry Blois in his life time in DA; but until Arthur had been discovered and Robert de Boron’s work was all the rage, Joseph matured with time with two corroborations of his existence at Glastonbury i.e. one coming from Grail literature and the other from interpolations in DA. We must never lose sight of the fact that although Joseph is a concocted legend at Glastonbury it is based on the truth which was embedded in the Prophecy of Melkin which after we have covered the section on Grail literature, the reader will I hope understand more clearly.
To make such an outrageous claim of housing the relics of Joseph with no long- standing heritage would seem foolish for the Glastonbury propagandists, but no-one could counter the antiquity of the old church or how far back into antiquity the old Church was founded; and the Apostolic foundation had supposedly been recorded by William of Malmesbury a reliable historian in GR3.
It must be getting plainer to the reader that incrementally Henry Blois puts out stepping stones, each one put just a bit further from the last, but in itself just one step away from the last place, until what seemed and impossible step of credulity to bridge, is made a safe traverse from no known history in 1126 to a fully believed Glastonbury lore.
King Henry II financed the rebuilding of the abbey after the fire using (as Adam of Damerham relates) the stones from Henry Blois’ palace. Henry II was a concerned benefactor to Glastonbury until his death in 1189, but his son Richard Ist was more concerned with employing his coffers for war. One theory of modern scholars is that the funding for restoration at the Abbey dried up upon King Henry’s death; hence the reasoning for the disinterment of King Arthur by an ingenious Henry de Sully soon afterward.
Another theory might be that while King Henry II was alive, with the proliferation of Henry Blois’ Arthuriana in the courts of insular Britain and on the continent, the time came to capitalize on the fame of Arthur or even see if the rumours were true. This proposition obviously cannot be made by modern scholars because of their belief that the Perlesvaus which states King Arthur and Guinevere ‘are’ (presently) buried in Avalon is of a late date in terms of composition.
The only reason they have concluded that is because of Lagorio’s, Carley’s and Scott’s misconception that ‘King Arthur in Avalon’ in DA can only be a reality after the disinterment when the ‘Leaden cross’ confirms this position. Taking this route down the rabbit hole logically denies the fact that what is written in DA about the position of Arthur’s grave being included in DA, could possibly be the reasoning behind Henry De Sully knowing where to find the manufactured grave and which was in reality pointed out by Henry Blois in DA. This then leads to another misconception that Henry De Sully must be responsible for the fraud.
This is obviously a ‘silly scholars’ theory because what would give the idea to Henry de Sully to include Guinevere’s lock of hair in the grave unless the Perlesvaus had openly stated that she was in the grave also in Avalon. If we choose not to ignore the eyewitness account of Gerald of Wales, unlike modern scholars who dismiss his evidence, it would then mean that the King Henry II and Henry de Sully were in cahoots and fabricated the ‘Leaden cross’ just to establish at Glastonbury what a cleric at Oxford had only intonated by associating through Burmaltus’ transport of King Arthur to Insula Pommorum, so that it was now synonymous with Glastonbury; and thus, rather than the inventor of the Isle of Avalon being culpable of manufacturing the grave, logically Henry de Sully and the King are now responsible for converting Glastonbury into Avalon.
This is obviously not the case and could not be the case for many more reasons which I will cover in progression when covering Gerald’s witness to Arthur’s disinterment. But the experts by neccesity have to ignore Gerald to make their own chronology of events stand up. Just another case of cherry picking and ignoring evidence which does not tie into their erroneous theory.
However, it is my belief that King Henry II was advised by Henry Blois that King Arthur lay in the graveyard and the only way Henry Blois could disconnect himself from this information is by saying that he was told that he had been informed by an ancient bard (obviously with the Perlesvaus in mind). It is possible Henry Blois gave the Perlesvaus to the king at this meeting. However, we shall cover Gerald of Wales’ insistence that King Henry II was the informant on which the basis of the dig took place.
Henry Blois may even have instructed King Henry to only reveal this on his own death bed or asked him to make sure Arthur is housed in the Church. Hence we have Giraldus’ connection to King Henry’s involvement in the disinterment soon after King Henry’s death. This is of course speculation, but goes some way to explain the many extraneous chronological discrepancies which will be covered in the section on Gerald and his relationship with Henry II.
Though Carley believes John of Glastonbury is ‘discovering’ material, much of it must have actually existed in John’s time and originated through Henry Blois. John is not a gross fabricator but draws from other works. The information existed at Glastonbury, so JG mentions Arviragus in connection with the DA tradition. We know Arviragus was a Henry Blois invention in HRB.
It is obviously Henry who has implied in another work that it was Arviragus who gave the disciples for a dwelling an island to flesh out the foundation story and tie it into the twelve hides around Glastonbury:
After this Saint Joseph and his son Josephes and their 10 companions travelled through Britain, where King Arviragus then reigned, in the 63rd year from the Lord’s incarnation, and they trustworthily preached the faith of Christ. But the barbarian King and his nation, when they heard doctrines so new and unusual, did not wish to exchange their ancestral traditions for better ways and refused consent to their preaching. Since however they had come from afar, and because of their evident modesty of life, Arviragus gave them for a dwelling an island at the edge of his Kingdom surrounded with forests, thickets and swamps, which was called by the inhabitants Ynswytryn, that is ’the Glass island’. Of this a poet has said, ‘The twelvefold band of men entered Avalon: Joseph, flower of Arimathea, is their chief. Josephes, Joseph’s son, accompanies his father. The right to Glastonbury is held by these and the other ten.’ When the saints then, had lived in that desert for a short time, the Archangel Gabriel admonished them in a vision to build a church in honour of the holy Mother of God, the ever virgin Mary, in that place which heaven would show them. Obeying the divine admonitions, they finished a Chapel, the circuit of whose walls they completed with wattles, in the 31st year after the Lord’s passion, the fifteenth, as was noted, after the assumption of the glorious Virgin, and the same year in fact, in which they had come to St Philip the apostle in Gaul and had been sent by him to Britain.
As we know, Henry Blois, writing as ‘Geoffrey,’ enlarged upon some casual mention of a British King supplied by Juvenal.679 Henry Blois invents the whole persona of Arviragus who is mentioned sixteen times in HRB. Henry Blois donated the ‘lives of the Caesars’ to Glastonbury and certainly knew Arviragus played no part in the Roman annals. Arviragus is found in no other writing. Henry employs Arviragus to give context in HRB to the pseudo-history which highlights the bogus viewpoint of a relationship between the supposed illustrious Britons and how they were regarded in high esteem by the Romans. Arviragus seeks refuge (coincidentally) at Winchester, but Claudius follows him there with his army.
679HRB IV, xvi ‘Some King shalt thou lead captive, or from the draught-tree of his British chariot, headlong shall fall Arviragus’.
Originally in Juvenal, Satire IV, .126-127, a satirical poem by Juvenal, in which a giant turbot presented to the Roman emperor Domitian (AD 81 – 96) is said to be an omen that “you will capture some King, or Arviragus will fall from his British chariot-pole”.
As the narrative in HRB goes, the Britons break the siege and attack the Romans, but Claudius halts the attack and offers a treaty. Claudius proffers a pact with Arviragus because of the standoff at Winchester and Claudius gives his daughter Genuissa in marriage to Arviragus. Arviragus becomes powerful, which causes him to halt his tribute to Rome, forcing Claudius to send Vespasian with an army to Britain.
Vespasian marches to Exeter and besieges the city. Arviragus meets him in battle there. Again, the fight is stalemated and Queen Genuissa supposedly mediates peace. Vespasian returns to Rome and Arviragus rules. Arviragus and his queen build the city of Gloucester and therein, (after Arviragus’s death), is the Dukedom of Gloucester formed. Arviragus is succeeded by his son Marius…. another invention of ‘Geoffrey’s’.
This episode supplies historical context in the HRB bridging together ‘Geoffrey’s’ concocted false-history leading up to and setting up an erroneous power relationship between Rome and the Britons before the ensuing Arthurian legend. None of the history or Arviragus is true and now we know…… if ‘Geoffrey’ invented Arviragus, how it is that he turns up in John of Glastonbury’s account i.e. through the book obviously authored by Henry Blois and purported to have been written by Melkin, the De Regis Arthurii rotunda.
If any major role had been played by Arviragus, a Roman chronicler such as Tacitus (if the early date for Arviragus is believed) or later chronicler would have remarked upon him. The British submission to Rome is seemingly presented as an accord or free gesture of magnanimity on behalf of ‘Geoffrey’s’ Arviragus…. which obviously runs contrary to realistic history. ‘Geoffrey’s’ supposed entente is laying the foundation for his pre-Saxon Britons where they are not perceived as conquered.
To carry this fake history chronologically by ‘Geoffrey’…. to appear as historicity portraying a defiant Britain, no one personage (except Ambrosius) can be attached to a historical event. So, Henry uses a persona in the guise of Arviragus (mentioned historically but only anecdotally by Juvenal) to lead in to his Arthuriana. As we have become accustomed by now, it is part of Henry’s conflationary ploy. Obviously, the appeal to ‘a poet’ as the basis for the provenance of fixing Joseph and Arviragus together through the Twelve hides could only derive from Henry, being the inventor of Joseph at Glastonbury and Arviragus.
Arviragus whose real historical contribution is slight (if at all) is employed by Henry Blois to rewrite history in the form of an embellished and fabricated persona in exactly the same way the chivalric Arthur is invented. It would have been a Henry Blois device to bring his invention of Arviragus from HRB into Glastonbury lore in his ‘Grail book’ or De Regis Arthurii rotunda which is from where John of Glastonbury has sourced his elaborations.
Is it not (again) a raging coincidence that both Arviragus and Arthur are known to be Galfridian inventions….. both feature in Glastonbury lore, just like Phagan and Deruvian? I stress again that no scholar will be able to sort this mess out without admitting and fully understanding that ‘Geoffrey’ is Henry Blois. From that simple understanding everything else unfolds logically and the easiest way to uncover Henry Blois is through the prophecies of Merlin, especially the section on the John of Cornwall version which we shall get to in progression.
So, we cannot, as Carley supposes, hold John of Glastonbury as the inventor of such stories. Even though Henry has not interpolated the name of Arviragus into the DA, it seems fair to assume HRB’s Arviragus is found connected to Glastonbury through Henry and his output.
It would seem a huge coincidence given that Arviragus is an invention of Henry’s and that John of Glastonbury found the source for Arviragus giving Joseph of Arimathea and his band a dwelling in Avalon, if it had not come from the man who invented the name Avallon and who had put Joseph squarely within Glastonbury lore and invented the persona of Arviragus.
John of Glastonbury is merely the person who coalesces from different sources and one of these I am positing is a missing book titled De Regis Arthurii rotunda, (impossible to have been composed by Melkin) which connected HRB’s Arviragus with Glastonbury lore.
One of the things which has made the DA most impenetrable in determining who wrote what and for what purpose, is made much clearer, by understanding that Henry had an earlier and later agenda. The apostolic agenda through Philip which had been posited by Henry at his first presentation at Rome in 1144…. later becomes connected by clever consolidation to a foundation by Joseph.
However, leaving untouched much of William’s work evidenced in the latter half of DA, Henry interpolates the DA at the beginning. But problems arise in working out when items of his later agenda are so easily and seamlessly woven into the former. This to me is clear evidence of one person who understands why the contradictions exist trying to coalesce and synthesize into one chronological legend that which was disjointed because of the overlaying of earlier agendas. This in some way backs up the idea that the two attempts in 1144 and 1149 left behind some other copy of DA in which there was no Joseph material and he is consolidating what might have appeared in those editions to match as seamlessly as possible his ‘second agenda’ Joseph material.
Because we do not have evidence of the prophecy of Melkin before John of Glastonbury we have seen this fact in no way negates that the prophecy existed because it was the basis for the mythical Island in HRB and the later Joseph legend at Glastonbury in DA and his anachronism appearing to be included with Arthur through the common authorship of Henry Blois.
The Melkin prophecy was the inspiration for the Grail and was the inspiration for the storyline propagated through ‘Robert de Boron’…. but more importantly than all those, it was the template for the manufacture of Arthur’s gravesite. Henry Blois is responsible for all this by his possession of the prophecy of Melkin but his substitution of the name Ineswitrin on a bone fide ancient document is the only reason Joseph ever came into contact with Avallon. Until scholars get their heads around this certain and verifiable fact Joseph remains on Burgh Island.
The assumption by scholars that it is a case of early thirteenth century interpolation and consolidation in DA is largely based on two premises. The first is that Gerald of Wales does not mention Joseph but mentions Avalon. For this reason, scholars have assumed Joseph lore followed insertions into DA about Avalon, which were thought to follow Arthur’s disinterment. Secondly, modern scholars have also assumed St Patrick’s charter was produced later than the disinterment of King Arthur because of its reference to Patrick being ‘first abbot of Avalon’.
This presumption is entirely incorrect as it does not give credence to the fact that the inventor of the name Avalon is the Abbot of Glastonbury. The reference to Avalon in chapter 9 of DA in the postscript pertains to the monastery not the Church and would not have appeared on the faked St Patrick charter produced by Henry Blois (written in gold)…. if indeed it was presented at Rome at all.
In other words, Henry has employed his own propaganda of the concocted St Patrick charter which I believe was used in the case for the second Metropolitan attempt and then subsequently included the charter’s contents along with a ‘postscript’ written by himself into DA. This transpired when he finally consolidated the DA. The conclusion is that the concocted St Patrick charter existed and was employed by Henry i.e. he has not just inserted the narrative of the charter in DA, he has then added the postscript in the final consolidation; and hence, we have witness of Avalon in the postscript as a consolidation of his ‘second agenda’.
Avallon, (which is Henry’s Burgundian town eponym) and Joseph inspired by the Melkin prophecy at Glastonbury, have Henry Blois as common denominator. It was Henry who clearly posited Ineswitrin as the Isle of Glass through Caradoc, purely for the motive to establish the credibility of the 601 charter by which his case for antiquity was proved to papal authorities. The chance that Robert de Boron recounts an Isle de Voirre without any contact from Henry would involve an alarmingly fortuitous convergence of factors…. since Caradoc also intonates the ‘Glass’ association with Glastonbury prior to Robert de Boron.
There was absolutely no precedence in Glastonbury lore concerning Joseph prior to William of Malmesbury unearthing the prophecy; probably alongside, in the same place at the same time he uncovered the 601 charter. If we can accept Ineswitrin as the original name on the Prophecy of Melkin (and it is difficult not to given ‘White tin island’ being synonymous with Ictis and Joseph’s known trade); then the mystical island scenario on which Avalon is based and where Arthur is last seen, would make the connection from ‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB to the prophecy too obvious to use without Henry’s authorship being discovered.
William of Malmesbury had probably handed over the original Melkin prophecy to Henry Blois along with the 601 charter. That both pertained to Ineswitrin and were found at Glastonbury may well have been the catalyst for Henry’s storyline invention of Avalon in the First Variant, which was not mentioned in the Primary Historia; since this was newly discovered and Henry had been in Wales in 1136. This is only a year after Mamesbury presents his copy of DA to Henry and then in 1137 he in Normandy composing the Arthuriad.
Why the Melkin prophecy is not in DA is because of subtlety and traceability just as Glastonbury is not mentioned in HRB or Arviragus in DA. Henry’s authorial edifice is an illusion, just as Caradoc’s Iniswitrin is later substantiated in DA as being relevant as an earlier name for Glastonbury and is corroborated in the St Patrick charter. If more of Melkin’s work existed, it may well have been destroyed in the fire in 1184. But the work composed in his name about Arthur’s round table was surely from H. Blois. Only a fool would discount the genuineness of the original Melkin prophecy but there are plenty of them about!!
It seems obvious, if we can accept the provenance of a Glastonbury Perlesvaus, or at least it was composed by someone connected with Glastonbury and Grail literature… that Henry Blois wrote the original of the Grail book/Sanctum Graal/Vulgate Estoire. He expected posterity to learn of the coincidence/collidance of the French Grail literature and its connection to Joseph, to be commensurate with Melkin’s ‘duo fassula’ on Avalon where Joseph was buried. One can only suppose that John of Glastonbury must have found the Melkin prophecy in a work along with other material (including the mention of Arviragus and his connection to the twelve hides) which must have been contrived by Henry once he had centered his Avalon at Glastonbury and his second agenda started to take shape.
If the fire of 1184 had not happened and several parts to the puzzle had not been destroyed, what should have naturally coincided earlier i.e. the understanding that the Grail and ‘duo fassula’ were commensurate…. had to wait until John of Glastonbury included the Blois version of the Melkin prophecy in the Cronica…. which had substituted Avalon instead of Ineswitrin. The prophecy survived since the six hundreds in the form Henry Blois found it but then substituted Ineswitrin by the Burgundian eponym Avallon found in the first Variant.
Herein is the answer to why the instructions within the prophecy are not a fabrication…. and actually reveal Burgh Island. Avalon is not some ‘Celtic Otherworld’ as most modern commentators maintain and there was certainly no Island of Avalon before Henry Blois’ invention in the First Variant.
Arviragus is not in DA yet the boundaries of twelve hides are in chapter 72 & 73 of DA and form part of William’s original work. It is Henry Blois in another work who has joined William of Malmesbury’s twelve hides and HRB’s fictional Arviragus. John of Glastonbury is a consolidator of other works concerning Glastonburyana and we know a large part of this propaganda derives from Henry Blois. It appears as if it is John who puts together the hides and Arviragus; but given John of Glastonbury’s disposition not to invent fable, much of John’s information is derived from Henry’s lost work.
Anyway, Gerald of Wales is only concerned with ‘Geoffrey’s’ Arthur as he appears in HRB, because his power center was in Wales and stood as an icon for Welsh nationalism. So, the fact that Gerald does not mention Joseph (even having read the DA) is irrelevant and should not be assumed by scholars as a priori basis for a late appearance of Joseph. The presumptuous deduction made by them being that mention of Joseph in DA is a late invention, following an inspiration from French Grail literature.
Again, if this were the case, how is it that Caradoc’s mention of Isle de Voirre (which can only apply to Glastonbury) pre-empts Robert de Boron’s Isle de Voirre…. when we know Life of Gildas was written c.1140. That would be the opposite of what Lagorio concludes; Glastonbury propaganda affecting continental literature.
Gerald of Wales neither mentions the St Patrick charter nor Ineswitrin, yet this is obviously Henry Blois’ invention which is also in DA. Gerald having read DA is not concerned with Glastonburyana but Arthuriana and Avalon. So, Lagorio’s assumptions about the ‘evolving’ of the legend concerning Joseph is flawed; as Joseph was assuredly written into DA before Henry Blois’ death.680
680Carley. The Chronicle of Glastonbury abbey. P li. The first official recognition of Joseph at Glastonbury is not recorded until John wrote his Cronica in the early 1340’s; what status the legend enjoyed before then, and when it was actually incorporated in DA is not clear.
It is not clear because Carley refuses to believe Henry Blois could have interpolated DA or been responsible for Joseph lore at Glastonbury. This is largely based on the fact that Gerald does not mention Joseph’s name. Why should Gerald when commenting on Arthur’s disinterment? He does not mention St Patrick either!! So Carley has concluded the St Patrick charter is by a later interpolator also. Let me therefore make it clear. Joseph and the St Patrick charter were included in DA before Henry Blois’ death…. just as the Grail was taken to Avalon in Robert’s work c.1165-1175, long before Arthur was unearthed.
Another reason scholars assume Joseph material derives from a later interpolator and was not in DA at the time of the unearthing of Arthur is because Adam of Damerham makes no mention of Joseph either. Adam starts his account, (as we have noted), where DA finishes i.e. with the abbacy of Henry Blois. For pages Adam leaves us in no doubt of the glorious reputation of Henry Blois held by monks at Glastonbury. Adam even mentions that Henry Blois had generously ordained that 30 Salmon should be eaten at the festivals of Easter and Pentecost ‘so that his own name might be remembered’. I only mention this to show Henry’s vanity in perpetuating his legacy into the future.
Adam is purely ‘following on’ and therefore is not repeating or reiterating anything found in DA. Adam wrote a hundred years after Henry died. Adam says Henry Blois died in 1177 so his accuracy is not great. He also mentions that certain saints were unearthed from the site of the Old church after the fire i.e. St Patrick, Dunstan, Indract and Gildas. Probably the only genuine relics were those of Indract. But that aside, Joseph is not mentioned as he was not unearthed. The point about unearthing Joseph was that no-one could attempt a bogus find, as one would have to replicate and produce what one imagined constituted the Grail or duo fassula.
Logically, it seems likely that if Henry had searched for Joseph at Montacute as well as Glastonbury, it may well be the cause of why Arthur is buried where he is. Henry thought the piramides might mark where Joseph was buried since Henry himself did not know where Ineswitrin was. Both the 601 charter and Prophecy were uncovered at Glastonbury. But if Henry did believe the prophecy of Melkin about a burial site for Joseph (since it was him who had provided the bogus etymology in Caradoc and changed the name on the prophecy), it clearly shows he had no idea where the remains of Joseph might be.
It seems probable that in Adam’s era there was suspicion as to how Joseph suddenly arrived to complement Glastonbury and provide it with apostolic ancestry. Anyway, Adam was relating as a continuator from William’s research, not reiterating the history already established in DA which was too recent to have formed what might be termed a ‘tradition’. Adam is covering what had happened since DA and therefore Lagorio and Carley’s assumptions, on the basis that both Gerald and Adam don’t mention Joseph and that Joseph material could not have been in DA at the time of Henry’s death or even at Arthur’s unveiling no longer stands as a scholastic decree.
Therefore, this leaves open the entire framework I am positing i.e. that Joseph material is based upon Melkin’s prophecy and the Melkin prophecy was the catalyst for the mysterious island in HRB and the Grail is based upon the duo fassula…. and the discovery of a body of Arthur on Avalon in the future is based upon Joseph’s sepulcher being found as predicted by Melkin. Most important of all is that the Grail quest is a simulation of Henry’s personal search for the relics of Joseph and the enigmatic duo fassula. Let us hope common sense prevails..
However, before this can happen, the experts need to understand the geometry leading to Ineswitrin and they should not discount it as anything other than an encoded document pinpointing the grave of Joseph on Burgh Island. Henry’s knowledge of the Melkin prophecy has in effect defined the Island of Avallon as the last place Arthur was seen.
Ineswitrin has become fictionally interpreted in HRB as Avallon, named by Henry Blois. That we should be confident that there has been a substitution of name on the Melkin prophecy is fairly self-evident. 1) The data would not point to an Island in Devon coincidentally. 2) There would not be five cassates681 on the Island which are still evident today. 3) The island’s connection to Ictis and Joseph’s name to the tin trade are a coincidence too far to be anything other than fact. 4) The islands etymological name is evident in that it was ‘White tin Island’ or Ineswitrin. 5) Henry would never have gone to the trouble of the etymological addition to Caradoc’s life of Gildas if the 601 charter, which had the name of Ineswitrin inscribed on it, did not exist.
To be clear, the 601charter existed in reality, it referred to an island in Dumnonia evidenced by its donation from its King. It is Melkin’s prophecy, which by its geometrical directions, points out the Island in Devon. Hence, Melkin’s prophecy in reality is locating Ineswitrin as the island upon which Joseph’s relics are to be found and it is synonymous with that island named in the 601 charter. Hence, it is not Insula Avallonis as stated on the prophecy…. as we know that this name also is the invented name plucked from a town in Burgundy by Henry Blois the writer of HRB.682 Thus we can be sure the same person has substituted the name.
681See image 3
682The fact that Henry’s other greatest fiction of Arthur’s continental battle scene derives from the same area in the Blois region witnesses Henry’s source of inspiration is personal.
Any theory to the contrary which avers that both Melkin and his prophecy are a fake is a theory and in no way verifiable. As I have maintained from the beginning, my reason for writing this is not to put forward a theory but to show how it is that certain events have transpired which have resulted in the relics of Joseph remaining on Burgh Island. It is easily verifiable.
Henry invented the chivalric Arthur. So, Arthur’s grave could not exist on the invented Island of Avalon. But this does not follow for Joseph of Arimathea on Burgh Island. The stupidity is that…. it is our experts who supposedly are better informed than ourselves who have decreed that a search is fruitless and no bodies are to be found on Burgh Island.
Julia Crick ‘knows’ Geoffrey’s chivalric Arthur is a twelfth century invention. Therefore, Arthur could not be buried on Avalon. She is not qualified to pronounce on Joseph being buried on Ineswitrin. Carley denies the existence of Melkin and has no idea of the meaning of Melkin’s prophecy. He dismisses the geometry which we have covered in this work. To him it has no relevance. How could it, because he was taught to accept by his mentor Lagorio that Glastonburyana (and Joseph) just happened as a ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’ and because he has adduced there is no mention of the prophecy or of Melkin himself before John’s Cronica.
It is worth pointing out though, that there was a devastating fire which must have burnt some volumes and evidence which would have led us to an earlier interconnection between Glastonburyana and continental Grail literature…. if it were still extant. Carley’s expert opinion is unbending largely because several of his works on Glastonburyana have posited conclusions which are based on false assumptions.
Anyway, back to the DA and as I have digressed so is Henry Blois about to digress because he has just assde the first two chapters and now the DA back to how it started when presented to papal authorities:
Chapter 3 of DA
How a certain monk of St Denis spoke of Glastonbury.
Let us digress a little in order to further establish the antiquity of this church. When a certain monk of Glastonbury named Godfrey, from whose letter we have taken both this chapter and the next, was staying at St Denis in the district of Paris in the time of Henry Blois, Abbot of Glastonbury, one of the older monks asked him “where do your people come from? Where do you live?” He replied,” I am a Norman monk, father from the monastery in Britain that is called Glastonbury”. “Is that ancient church of the perpetual Virgin and compassionate mother still standing” he asked. “It is”, the monk said. At this the elder who was gently stroking Godfrey’s head, remained wrapt in silence for a long time and at length spoke thus: “this church of the most glorious martyr Denis and that which you claim as yours share the same honour and privilege, the one in France, the other in Britain; they both arose at the same time and each was consecrated by the highest and greatest priest. Yet in one degree yours is superior for it is called a second Rome”. While he was hanging on that man’s words, the guest master separated them from each other, despite their reluctance, and they never saw each other again. But, no more of this.
This is such an inconsequential made up story by the artful Henry Blois himself to show others that Glastonbury is thought the second Rome. It seems to me that this is a ploy by Henry Blois and this was written in DA before his death. To me it is doubtful that this was written by the writer of T. The reader must not forget two things. Firstly, we are dealing with the master of retro authorship.
If my assumption that DA was in Henry’s possession until his death, he could well have written this for posterity. What is almost certain is that, if it was written in DA by our consolidating author of T, the propaganda about Glastonbury as a second Rome originates from Henry Blois.683 A good reason for suspecting this is that his name is involved. The propaganda in essence places Glastonbury monastery above his good friend Abbot Suger’s ecclesiastical house by the respect shown by the monk of that establishment for Glastonbury. There may be a grain of truth to the account, but in essence it is an account of a conversation which at best can be accounted as hearsay.
683It is not by accident that Henry Blois’ friend Bernard refers to Henry as a rival pope in his letter to pope Lucius II where he alludes to ‘vitis illa Wincestrie, immo ut vulgo canitur, vitis secunde Rome’
But, this is not the first time Henry Blois uses seemingly inconsequential anecdotes which establish or add credibility to one of his propagandist positions. The propagandist position is that, like St Denis where all the French Kings were buried, so is Glastonbury where King Arthur is buried. This is how ‘lore’ is established. Even though the letter, which no doubt existed, (but was fabricated by Henry), portrays the essence of a dialogue between two priests…. the bogus letter to which the piece in DA refers, makes sure we understand that at a contemporary time (when Saint Denis, Bishop of Paris c.250 AD, established the abbey of St Denis), Glastonbury was ‘standing’ as it is second to Rome.
What also raises my suspicions about Henry’s involvement in reproducing this letter as relating to a monk of Glastonbury named Godfrey, is that he is staying at St Denis in the time of Henry Blois…. and so, in effect back dates the perception we are meant to believe…. that if William of Malmesbury wrote this, it must have been a commonly held perception about the antiquity of Glastonbury especially in terms of primacy…. being accounted second unto Rome.
Henry’s aim from the time he returned from Clugny in 1158 was to establish Glastonbury as the second greatest Christian ecclesiastical establishment after Rome; established by Jesus’ uncle and it is King Arthur’s Avalon.
Before the burgeoning Cistercians, Clugny had once held a similar honour in France. My suspicion is that the story is made up of inconsequential and intimate detail dressed up to seem matter of fact…. as a conversation portrayed in a letter. My worst suspicion is upon the final sentence in that it pretends upon William of Malmesbury’s style; to be dismissive of tale and hearsay, but as always (again) the seed of propaganda is planted and irreversible.
Chapter 4 in DA
How a great number of people first began to live at Glastonbury.
Having described the foundation, dedication and later rediscovery of this oratory it remains for me to describe how this island came to be inhabited by a large number of people. We read in the ‘deeds of the ancient Britons’ that 12 brothers from the northern parts of Britain came into the West where they held several territories, namely Gwynedd, Dyfed, Gower, and Kidwelly, which their ancestor Cuneda had possessed. The names of the brothers are noted below: Ludnerth, Morgen, Catgur, Cathmor, Merguid, Morvined, Morehel, Morcant, Boten, Morgent, Mortineil, and Glasteing. It was this Glasteing who, following his sow through the Kingdom of the inland Angles from near the town called Escebtiorne up to Wells and from Wells along an inaccessible and watery track called Sugewege, that is ‘the Sow’s way’, found her suckling her piglets under an apple tree near the church of which we have been speaking. From this it has been passed down to us that the apples from the tree are known as ‘Ealde Cyrcenas epple’, that is ‘old church apples’. Similarly, the sow was called ‘Ealde Cyrce suge’. While all the other sows have 4 feet, this one had eight, remarkable though that may sound. As soon as Glasteing reached that island he saw that it abounded with many good things and so came to live on it with all his family and spent the rest of his life there. That place is said to have been first populated by his offspring and the households that succeeded him. These things have been taken from the ancient books of the Britons.
Scott highlights the point that: ‘the reference to Henry Blois in the past, establishes that this chapter and the previous was not William’s work since Henry did not die until 1171’. This is certainly not authored by a consolidating or last interpolating editor and the author of the letter above (from which this is derived: from whose letter we have taken both this chapter and the next,) uses the same conflationary format as witnessed elsewhere concerning not only himself but again with how Glastonbury got its name.
Henry feels he has licence to invent anything as we have seen before mainly in HRB where there are no end of myths; but especially where Newburgh is relating a story from Henry Blois having found a greyhound in a rock and keeping it as a pet. Just as unlikely is a pig with 8 legs.
The sole person, whose aim it is to convince us that…. firstly, Ineswitrin is the old name for Glastonbury and latterly that Insula Avallonis is synonymous with Glastonbury, is Henry Blois. Here, I believe is how Henry connects his own French propaganda which posits an alternative Isle de Voirre and connects its namesake Glas through an episode found randomly in the vita tertia of St Patrick. I believe this is Henry’s etymological contortion through an apple eating pig owned by Glasteing; so Glastonbury becomes identified as, Insula Pomorum, Isle de Voirre, and Avalon, all names fabricated by Henry Blois (except for Ineswitrin which should never have been associated with the location of Glastonbury).
We should also remember that Henry’s ‘first agenda’ had to convert Ines Gutrin684 (as it pertained to Glastonbury) as if it were synonymous with the Ineswitrin on the 601 charter which he was using as an evidential part of his case. This of course he had done neatly by impersonating Caradoc.685 Henry has employed the identification of Glasteing as a swineherd from Glas. The Vita tertia of St Patrick contains an episode where St Patrick encounters a large grave in which Glas is raised from the dead saying: Ego sum Glas filius Cais, qui fuit porcarius Lugir regis Hirote.
684Aelred Watkin would have us believe regarding Iniswitrin, Inis Gutrin, Isle of Glass, Avalon, Avallo etc: At first sight these epithets may seem disparate, but there is one factor that is common to them all, namely a reference in some form or another to a Celtic underworld or beyond world, a magical abode of healing and of peace. Watkin is certainly right about the common factor but it has nothing to do with a Celtic underworld.
685The final paragraph in which we are assured are the genuine words of Caradoc in the Life of Gildas, we get the etymological convolution which is employed solely to make the Ineswitrin on the 601 charter credibly appear to pertain to the location of Glastonbury: Glastonia was of old called Ynisgutrin, and is still called so by the British inhabitants. Ynis in the British language is insula in Latin, and gutrin (made of glass). But after the coming of the English and the expulsion of the Britons, that is, the Welsh, it received a fresh name, Glastigberi, according to the formation of the first name, that is English glass, Latin vitrum, and beria a city; then Glastinberia, that is, the City of Glass.
The sole purpose for which Henry employs this pig story in DA is to connect the apple island of VM through an apple eating pig to Glastonbury. This is so that the island in VM where Arthur is taken by Barinthus is now no other than Glastonbury. It is not by coincidence that this is where miraculously, thanks to Henry Blois having planted a bogus grave and identified its spot (in DA), Arthur will be found. Henry’s alter ego, the chivalric Arthur, will be the food of story tellers and Henry Blois’ entire fake-history will become part of British history. It is no wonder he compares himself to Cicero.
As we saw in chapter 3 of DA, the information in Godfrey’s letter from whose letter we have taken both this chapter and the next, (meaning the above chapter 4) covers a number of passages, rebuilt to cause conflation from Nennius’ Historia Brittonum and some other source (not in Nennius) which provided the court pedigrees of ‘Hywel the Good’ shown by A. Wade Evans: udnerth map Morgen, map catgur, map Catmor, map Merguid, map Moriutned, map Morhen, map Morcant, map Botan, map Morgen, map Mormayl, map Glast, unde sunt Glastenic qui venerunt que vocatur Loytcoyt.
Considering the content of this supposed letter (if one existed), I can only conclude contrary to Scott that this has Henry’s stamp on it. It might well be written into DA by Henry himself as it exists, or the information supplied was in the form of a letter composed by Henry Blois which our consolidating author of DA has transferred into DA from what was a separate letter bu doubtful.
Since this is written by the master of illusion and retro dating…. and William himself is supposed to be the composer of DA ‘as a whole’, I would suggest Henry Blois is referring to himself as if being referred to by William. It does not imply that Henry is dead as Scott assumes, but merely implies that Godfrey was writing this letter in the time of Henry Blois. This goes some way to establishing my proposition that Henry made sure the final redaction of DA was not exposed to the public domain until after his death…. and DA was part of the 40 or so books donated to Glastonbury after his death.
It is unfortunate in GS at the point where we could discover exactly what the author knew about Wales that the pertinent folios are missing. As I have covered, my proposition is that ‘Geoffrey’ obtained his knowledge of Wales as Henry Blois who was there (clearly as an eye witness in GS) to the suppression of the Welsh rebellion in 1136. It is not by coincidence that the brothers from the north come into the West where they held several territories, namely Gwynedd, Dyfed, Gower, and Kidwelly. This is exactly where Henry had spent time. It is also clear from GS that Kidwelly castle belongs to Henry Blois. This we might assume is through having retaken it and repelled a siege from within as we discussed earlier. The fact that the book or books of the ancient Britons is referred to twice as the source for the eight-legged pig is indicative of the inventor of this story…. the inspired author of so much other dubious lore found in HRB (also about the ancient Britons).
Chapter 5 in DA
On the various names of that island.
This island was at first called Ineswitrin by the Britons but at length was named by the English, who had brought the land under their yoke, Glastinbiry, either a translation into the language of its previous name, or after the Glasteing of whom we spoke above. It is also frequently called the island of Avalon, the name of which this is the origin. It was mentioned above that Glasteing found his sow under an apple tree near the church. Because he discovered on his arrival that apples were very rare in that region he named the island ‘Avallonie’ in his own language that is Apple Island, for ‘Avalla’ in British is the same as ‘Poma’ in Latin. Or it was named after a certain Avalloc who is said to have lived there with his daughters because of the solitude of the spot.
When will scholarship not be duped by Henry’s maze of eponyms and etymological contortions for Glastonbury? This chapter follows from the previous in its onslaught of propaganda in equating VM’s Isula pomorum with this apple polemic. Scott, like most previous commentators regards both the previous chapters (which are obviously linked), a late interpolation: principally because of the reference to Avalon, which we know was made only after the claim to possess Arthur’s bones.686 How Lagorio in her false assumption has so neatly hypnotised every subsequent scholar about the date when Avalon appeared at Glastonbury is astounding.
686John Scott’s DA, P.188, note24
We should be observing that it is the same man who invents Avalon in the first place in the First Variant who attempts through VM to make Barinthus’ Insula Pomorum synonymous with Glastonbury and this was long before the discovery of Arthur’s bones in Avalon. Whoever maintains that Avalon was not associated with Glastonbury prior to the discovery of the ‘Leaden cross’ is plainly ignoring the apple polemic of VM which if we were to think like a scholar, could not have forseen an unearthing of Arthur in Avalon without a designer leading them through this etymological quagmire to that conclusion; which only transpired in reality because the designer led them to Arthur’s grave by stating where it was before it was found.
The pre-planted ‘Leaden cross’ merely confirms in 1189-91 the illusion set up in Arthur’s faked grave site sometime after 1158 and before 1171…. which was already predestined to be a final confirmation of Avalon by the author of HRB and VM and pointed out by the same writer in DA. The etymologial contortions we are studying now in DA, just duped those in that era to join the dots; and accept what essentially our Cicero has left to posterity i.e. a fantastic fairytale.
One can see that on this flawed principal a priori to which Carley and Lagorio both adhere also, there can be no rational explanation as to how Giraldus’ testimony immediately accepts Avalon as Glastonbury…. if he had not previously had some understanding of it. Who is responsible for Arthur being found at Glastonbury, which is already established as Avalon? How could it possibly be Henry de Sully? Certainly, Robert de Boron knows of an association of Joseph of Arimathea and the Vaus d’Avaron already c.1165-80. It is no coincidence a person named ‘Blaise’ records this.
If it were the ‘leaden cross’ that establishes Avalon at Glastonbury first, then we must ignore Giraldus’ statements, otherwise why are they unearthing Arthur at Glastonbury? Gerald says Arthur was a distinguished patron, generous donor, and a splendid supporter of the renowned monastery of Glastonbury; they praise him greatly in their annals….Gerald had read DA and the substance concerning Arthur and Avalon was already in DA.
There is no way this reference can refer to ‘Caradoc’s’ one Arthur episode at Glastonbury. I will discuss Gerald in a later chapter, but briefly, Gerald is our best eyewitness. If we are not tethered to modern scholarship’s presumptions; the fact is that the burial site was determined by the given location between the piramides which Henry Blois had interpolated into DA as a seemingly inconsequential anecdote.
Adam writing c.1290 is far less likely to be accurate on a date for the unveiling 100 years after the disinterment.687 Gerald knew King Henry II personally and was an eyewitness to the opening of Arthur’s manufactured gravesite. Henry II died in July 1189, so the disinterment may have happened in that year or just after his death in 1190 Gerald says:
The abbot had the best evidence from the aforementioned King Henry, for the King had said many times, as he had heard from the historical tales of the Britons and from their poets, that Arthur was buried between two pyramids that were erected in the holy burial-ground…..Furthermore, in our times, while Henry II was ruling England, the tomb of the renowned Arthur was searched for meticulously in Glastonbury Abbey; this was done at the instruction of the King and under the supervision of the abbot of that place, Henry (de Sully)…..Now when they had extracted this cross from the stone, the aforementioned Abbot Henry showed it to me; I examined it, and read the words…..It read: “Here lies entombed King Arthur, with Guenevere his second wife, on the Isle of Avalon”.
687This date is approximate for he records the burial of Eleanor, queen of Edward I, as taking place 27 December 1290. He says that after that event Abbot John was summoned by the King to the funeral of his mother, Eleanor of Provence, which was performed at Ambresbury on the festival of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, 8 September 1291
Quite simply, as DA states, Arthur is buried between the piramides with Guinevere. So, why should it be presumed Gerald is lying by saying that the king said ‘many times’ that Arthur was buried between two pyramids? In truth Lagorio and Carley have quite simply ignored a contemporary eyewitness and made a massive erroneous assumption i.e. DA’s description of where to find the body could only have been interpolated after the unearthing and anything mentioning Avalon in DA could only have been written after this event.
It is evident I am annoyed at this. I have nothing against Carley or Lagorio or Crick but the fact remains that pronouncing such a decree means that no-one will ever find who ‘Geoffrey’ really was or the provenance of the Grail legend or get to the bottom of Glastonbury lore. Quite simply, these scholars presumtion excludes Henry Blois from two of our genres under scrutiny.
The only reason such a pronouncement was made was through ignorance. The ignoring of Gerald is simply not scholarship. But what these erroneous assumptions lead to is detrimental to knowledge as a whole because their subsequent assumption is that Melkin and his prophecy are also fake. Believing this is also ignorance because it is the essential document which solves the Matter of Britain. If scholars continue to hold this view, then we would never realise from what source the Grail legends were inspired and the truth that is hidden in the trappings of a tale.
Why the interpolator of DA giving the position where Arthur’s grave was found, neglects to recount anything further than the position (after the fact), seems he has no idea of what events took place. Logically, if Ralph of Coggeshall and the Margam chronicler ascribe the disinterment to chance, (because a monk had expressed a strong desire to be buried between the piramides and by fortune the grave digger came across Arthur’s bones), it can only point to two deductions.
Firstly, we know there was no grave to be found unless Henry de Sully staged the disinterment. (This is the generally held misguided consensus). But, Henry de Sully is not the author of HRB’s chivalric Arthur. If he had the opportunity to point out in an interpolation in DA where the body was located as posited by Gerald before the unearthing; do you think Henry de Sully would write such an innocuous statement. If It had been him that interpolated DA he surely would have put the details in DA that Gerald discloses. Henry de Sully is the person who supervises the dig not the fraudster as Gerald plainly states.
So, secondly, we must deduce that Coggeshall and the Margam chronicler have heard an account of the unearthing of Arthur which someone has related to them which combats the current scepticism about a possible fraud…. by implying it was a chance and random discovery. This is the hearsay of the populace giving credence to the find.
I can only logically conclude that the grave site was manufactured there by Henry Blois. The location and specific depth etc. was revealed to the King by Henry Blois with the pretence Henry Blois had gleaned the information (or it had been passed into posterity) by an old Welsh Bard and the strong contender for that position is Master Blehis the composer of Perlesvauss which when he write puts Arthur and Guinevere’s remains at Glastonbury in the present tense i.e. before Arthur was disinterred.
The idea/inspiration for this fiasco is obviously based on the Melkin prophecy where Joseph is to be found in the future. The confirmed certainty that it is Arthur’s grave and the location is Avalon is established by the ‘Leaden cross’ which, (as discussed previously), is modelled (inspirationally) on Eadmer’s reference to the ‘lead tablet’ ‘confirming’ Dunstan’s whereabouts at Canterbury; and as a certainty since this letter was in essence addressed to him we know that this was the defining evidence which refuted Henry Blois’ rumour about Dunstan having having been transferred to Glastonbury. Again, we witness Henry Blois using experiences in his own life to ensure a certainty that his alter ego is discovered and there can be no discrepancy about where Arthur is when his grave is unveiled.
Grandsen makes an error in her method of rationalizing all the discrepancies. She presumes ‘the monks of Glastonbury suppressed the part played by Henry II, because they considered the story sounded less contrived without it’. This again is based upon the supposition that all things Arthurian in DA are interpolated after the disinterment. But in fact, the opposite lends credibility to the position that…. Henry Blois, who wrote things Arthurian in DA, could not know what role Henry II played in Arthur’s unearthing.
Hence, it is only Gerald who recounts Henry II involvement leading to the disinterment and provides an eyewitness account. There is no association with King Henry mentioned in DA, which certainly there would be, if the location was inserted by a later interpolator after the disinterment…. Plus, all the other incidental detail provided by Gerald.
Grandsen sees Gerald as commissioned by the monks to carry out a propaganda campaign. She also thinks that Glastonbury monks distributed pamphlets to other religious houses. She also thinks that Gerald had simply stated that Glastonbury was the former Avalon and was somehow responsible for furthering the propaganda by giving independent etymologies for both Glastonbury and Avalon assuming they were not in DA already. Grandsen imagines some sort of joint venture, where Gerald’s version is in cahoots with the monks. Grandsen’s viewpoint assumes that Avalon becomes Glastonbury by a contemporary monk interpolating after the bogus find…. engineered by monk-craft and Henry de Sully.
Since we know Henry Blois is ‘Geoffrey’ and Avalon is based on the name of a Burgundian town and we know Robert de Boron’s stories come directly from Henry Blois as Blaise, (who also knew the Vaus d’Avaron was in the west); it is remarkable all these ‘convergent factors’ fortuitously fits together neatly for the supposed interpolating monk.
Again, the only reason Grandsen has this viewpoint is because the cabal has deduced that it has to ignore Gerald for its chronology to work; and that chronology denies the Perlesvaus colophon being in the present tense intonating where the grave is and probably the reasoning behind King Henry referring to the information as having been derived from a bard. If scholars think that Glastonbury only became Avalon after the unveiling of the ‘Leaden cross’ how is it that the Perlesvaus colophon in the present tense knows about Arthur’s and Guinevere’s graves in Avalon and where they are unearthed eventually being synonymous with Glastonbury…. before the disinterment.
Are we then supposed to believe that Gerald who has spent much time with Henry II enters ‘supposedly’ into a propaganda pact with Glastonbury monks, who don’t use the propaganda about the King in their annals which they had supposedly commissioned Gerald to concoct? Events did not transpire as Grandsen, Carley, Lagorio et al have portrayed.
Between 1171 to the period 1189-90 Henry Blois’ Matter of Britain material circulated on the continent and in insular Britain and Master Blehis had made it fairly plain in the Perlesvaus that Glastonbury was perhaps Avalon (by the description of the lead covered church). It was also plainly written in DA. When the King decided to act688 upon the words which we have proposed he heard at Henry Blois’ deathbed, and DA had existed in the public domain for twenty years, there came a point where the most talked about person in the medieval era was unearthed.
688I will discuss this point concerning Eleanor in the Chapter on Gerald.
Arthur’s disinterment probably transpired at the very time of King Henry’s death. I point this out because Henry de Sully was appointed by Richard Ist in september 1189 immediately after King Henry’s death in July 1189 and may have been appointed to carry out King Henry’s instructions. Gerald is not lying. So, we should think because he was a friend of the King’s he aggrandizes this event transpiring ‘because of’ King Henry. So, my guess is that within about 6-7 weeks of Henry II dying, King Richard now carries out his father’s wishes to disinter Arthur.
Richard Ist was of course the younger maternal half-brother of Countess Marie of Champagne and Countess Alix of Blois. These were the two nieces by marriage to Henry Blois’ nephews. It is at their court where Henry propagated his Grail stories to Chrétien and Robert.
King Louis’s wife Constance died, and Louis married Adèle Henry Blois’ niece who was the sister of the Count of Blois and Champagne. King Louis betrothed his two daughters, Marie and Alix to Theobald of Blois’ sons, Theobald and Henry. Their father was Henry Blois’ brother.
It also important to point out that Henry’s brother (Theobald V of Champagne), presided over the wedding arrangements between Eleanor of Aquitaine and the King of France, Louis VII and when he remarried Adèle the main recorded proponent of Grail literature was betrothed the Henry’s favourite nephew. We should not forget Marie of France, Eleanor of Aquitaine’s first child, was instrumental in Chrétien de Troyes obtaining the ‘book of the Grail’ written by Master Blehis, our Henry Blois. We know Marie and Alex were propagators of French romanz literature and Henry Blois was uncle to both of their Husband’s.
Now, I would suggest it was during his time in Burgundy that Henry hatched the plan to write Grail literature. It was in 1158 that Marie of France married the said ‘Henri the Liberal’, the troubadour, the favourite nephew of Bishop Henry Blois (since Eustace’s death). This Marie of France is the same as the person who wrote the Lais of Marie of France where also we hear of Avalon in her work, but I will get to this in the chapter about her because again there is huge misunderstanding from modern scholars.
This connection must not be dismissed, as Henry returns back to England to take up his place at Winchester in that year 1158. Having become less powerful and less able to manipulate and having seen his malicious Merlin prophecies concerning the Celts overrunning Henry II fail to become reality, Henry settles into a more reclusive mode to write and orally propagate propaganda concerning King Arthur, Joseph and Avalon.
If modern scholarship could rid itself of the a priori standpoint that all things Arthurian in DA are interpolated after Arthur’s disinterment, and Avalon was commensurate with Glastonbury transitionally before the ‘leaden cross’ was exposed; we can then accept a Grail, Arthurian and Joseph legend emanating from Glastonbury through Henry Blois to his relations before the Arthur disinterment; not emanating from the court of Champagne and Troyes back to Glastonbury.
Once this view is accepted, we might then accept the Island name on the prophecy of Melkin was changed to Avalon and understand why this was done as a consequence of Henry’s ‘second agenda’ i.e. the establishing of Avalon at Glastonbury and thus locating Joseph’s grave there also. Hence all the lore about the two cruets at Glastonbury!!
It is necessary that modern scholars accept the Prophecy of Melkin as part of the inspiration for the mythical island in HRB, and how ‘Geoffrey’s’ island is linked to Joseph…. because we now understand that Geoffrey of Monmouth is in fact a pen name for the Abbot of Glastonbury.
Pertinent to this tangled mess is the sepulchre of Joseph…. to be found with a mystical object already stated in the Melkin prophecy; and the commonality between Ineswitrin as Burgh Island, Joseph, Avalon and the Grail, which are all common to the prophecy of Melkin; aware that Avalon is the invention of HRB’s author.
Modern commentators also must understand that originally the bones of Joseph and the duo fassula were stated to be on Iniswitrin in the Melkin prophecy and are still on Ineswitrin in reality. The modern scholar must grasp how Henry Blois who put Arthur at Avalon in HRB; Henry Blois is the abbot of Glastonbury where Avalon was then recognised to be located. As we know, Henry Blois was a patron of Gerald and most probably predisposed an acceptance within Gerald concerning Arthuriana and Glastonburyana in relation to Avalon during conversations in Henry’s own lifetime (although Gerald never associated the Bishop with Geoffrey of Monmouth and is obviously dubious of ‘Geoffrey’s’ history). But Henry Blois may have even showed an updated DA to Gerald before he died.
After that long deviation again, we will get back to DA:
Chapter 6 of DA
With what great devotion various saints came thither.
The church of which we are speaking, frequently called by the English ‘the old church’ because of its antiquity, was that first made of wattle. Yet from the very beginning it possessed a mysterious fragrance of Divine sanctity, so that, despite its mean appearance, great reverence for it wafted through the whole country. Hence the streams of people flowing along all the roads that lead there; hence the assemblies of the wealthy divested of their pomp; hence the constant succession of men of religion and letters.
We should not forget that on the 601 charter the church was termed ‘old’ and this was on a document which obviously existed and was genuine, otherwise there would be little point in Henry making the etymological addition to the last paragraph of Caradoc’s bogus Life of Gildas or William’s unadulterated DA commencing with the charter.
The church’s mean appearance i.e. in wood; we now hear again was first made of Wattle which implies it was no longer and I believe never was. Author B states it is in wood c.960AD. So, before that date, we are led to believe in chapter 19 that Augustine’s fellow preacher Paulinus, Bishop of Rochester and earlier Archbishop of York, had strengthened the structure and covered it in wood c.600 AD. We must take account of why is it so important that the composition of the church is highlighted so frequently….especially, in consideration that William supposedly mentions often what it used to be made of 750 years previous to when William is supposedly writing these words. As I covered already, it is so that it mirrors with the cratibus in the prophecy of Melkin which makes the prophecy more likely to appear to pertain to Glastonbury when in reality it bears witness to relics on Burgh Island.
Now, all things considered, which we have discussed above concerning the synonymy between Glastonbury and Avalon that was seen to be in evidence through VM’s Insula Pomorum at an early date of 1155-58; we must now be aware that the Melkin prophecy is being made relevant to Glastonbury also through Insula Avallonis. Hence the inordinate persuasions to have us believe that the old construction of the church was in Wattle, so that another part of the Melkin prophecy complies with Glastonbury lore. But, it is the man who is inventing the lore who is also bent on us believing the prophecy applies to Glastonbury as he is the inventor of Avalon in HRB. Thus, certain parts of the prophecy’s wording i.e. cratibus, he would have us believe applies to the church in Avalon. My proposition that a parallel is being sought…. points to the existence of the prophecy of Melkin in Henry’s era and therefore is an indicator that the prophecy’s duo fassula is the template for the Grail itself and Arthur’s gravesite.
Chapter 7 of DA
On St Gildas.
As we have heard from our forefathers, Gildas neither an unlearned nor an inelegant historian, to whom the Britons are indebted for any fame they have amongst other peoples, past many years there, captivated by the holiness of the place. There too he died in 512AD and was buried before the altar in the old church.
Gildas does not even mention Glastonbury in his De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae. The only connection Gildas has to Glastonbury is that found in the concocted Life of Gildas, where Henry has impersonated Caradoc. The point of the interpolation in DA is to continue the proposition that Gildas was at Glastonbury from Henry’s 1144 ‘first agenda’.
Above, it is stated he died at Glastonbury in 512 AD. So, this has provided a further 100 years of antiquity from where William started his oldest physical evidence provided by the 601 charter. The story of Guinevere’s kidnap, as we have covered, was initially introduced to date Glastonbury to counter Osbern’s accusation through association with a ‘datable’ Gildas and to highlight the activities of Arthur, but also to corroborate that the HRB Arthur is synonymous with Life of Gildas’ Arthur through Guinevere.
As we saw in GR3 (Henry’s interpolations), Gildas is mentioned as above, but now in DA he is actually buried at Glastonbury. Henry’s interpolations of William’s GR cover the saints at Glastonbury, but omit that Gildas was buried there. This is simply because Henry did not add this anecdote in DA when he went to Rome in the first instance, but it has been added subsequently…. when he recomposed DA post 1158 and had obviously manufactured a memorial for Gildas in the abbey. It would hardly be fitting to produce a book on the Life of Gildas in which Gildas poses as an ‘arbiter’ at Glastonbury in an episode which no-one has ever heard of before; and also posit that he was buried at Glastonbury when no previous mention of his name had been found there. This might stretch credibility too far for papal authorities not to suspect newly invented material. Gildas’ resting place is obviously manufactured at a later date and brought into Glastonbury lore in chapter 7 of DA.
Chapter 8 of DA
On St Patrick.
A little before this time, when the Angles with threatening the peace of the Britons and the Pelagians were assaulting their faith, St Germanus of Auxerre provided help against both, as we read elsewhere; for he scattered the former with an alleluia chant and blasted the latter with the thunder of the evangelists and apostles. Then, when he was considering a return to his own country, he received Patrick into his immediate company before sending him some years later, at the command of Pope Celestine, to preach to the Irish. After he had diligently carried out the duty enjoined on him, Patrick returned to England in his old age, rejecting his former dignity and popular acclaim. He landed in Cornwall on his altar, which is still held in great veneration by the inhabitants, both on account of its sanctity and usefulness and on account of its deliverance of the sick. Then, coming to Glastonbury and finding 12 brothers living there as hermits, he gathered them together and, assuming the office of Abbot, taught them to live a communal life, as he quite clearly declares in the following document that he wrote at the time.
If I am correct in my analysis that the St Patrick charter was employed in the later attempt at metropolitan status in 1149 after an initial gambit of a disciplic/apostolic foundation; we can then understand that the present chapter and the following St Patrick charter are a later insertion/redaction to an already interpolated DA by Henry Blois which was simply apostolic and now to which the GR3 version B concurred as they were both presented as evidence in pursuit of metropolitan status. Thus we have the anomaly in chronology where Henry has to introduce St Patrick after he has spoken of Gildas with: A little before this time…..
Firstly, in the above, Henry refers us to HRB and then to his interpolation in GR3 relating to Patrick the archbishop preferring to stay at Glastonbury.689 All this we can understand is part of a persuasive polemic relating to the metropolitan. If a consolidating author was persuading us to believe in the St Patrick charter by stating that the Patrick charter was written at the time of St Patrick (as we are all supposed to believe), certain inconsistencies in logic appear. What is the point of the St Patrick charter if Patrick is the first abbot of Avalon and yet Arthur’s disinterment has already established Avalon as Glastonbury? Why was it necessary that this document happened to be relating about the ‘tor’ rather than at the abbey? Well, the obvious reason is so that the copy (without the seals) was found at the abbey and so could be produced at Rome.
689rather than to dwell in Kings’ palaces
There is simply no way that any other person than Henry Blois wrote the St Patrick charter which rules out Scott’s theory of a consolidating author who comprehensively rearranges DA. No consolidating author c.1230 would be setting us up to receive the next chapter (9) which is the St Patrick charter itself, which obviously existed before he wrote and logically could only be of use to Henry in his endeavour. There is simply nothing to be gained from a late invention as Scott believes.
I should just summarise what we have covered to make clear the construction of DA. Initially in 1144, at Rome, Henry had proposed an apostolic foundation and had included the Gildas myth at Glastonbury along with Caradoc’s Life of Gildas which he had written firstly to counter Obern’s accusation and then added the last paragraph to show that ineswitrin was synonymous with Glastonbury so that the 601 charter referred to a known location. Gildas was not a saint at Glastonbury nor buried there at this stage. In 1149 Henry had constructed the St Patrick charter as additional evidence to be presented with another of Malmesbury’s work i.e.GR3.
It is unlikely DA had the postscript attached where St Patrick is the first abbot of Avalon and this is more likely a later addition when Henry himself consolidates DA toward the end of his life c.1169. This late consolidation was to complement the Grail and Arthurian propaganda and material concerning Joseph propagated to the court of Champagne and Troy and especially where Glastonbury is converted to Avalon.
Henry then added chapter 1 & 2 of DA before his death which, in effect, consolidates his First 1144-1149 and Second 1158 agendas. Where Scott deduces a late consolidator for DA, I prefer Henry’s separate agenda’s to explain the overlay of material in DA. Hence, where Scott believes chapter 8 is written by a late interpolator because it leads into the St Patrick charter of Chapter 9, I suggest that it merely reflects a follow on consolidation from Henry’s ‘first agenda’ where also the text of the St Patrick charter gets included in DA.
The first agenda focused on dating and proving the antiquity of Glastonbury by the historical persona of Gildas. Gildas in effect had been placed at Glastonbury by the bogus Life of Gildas and who (we are led to believe) had followed on from an unbroken Christian settlement at Glastonbury church of apostolic foundation. This continuous glory of foundation myth had to be established as a complete chronological train of events in the St Patrick charter, so the pope who was granting the metropolitan would understand.
So, where Scott is suspicious of chapter eight’s beginning A little before this time because of chapter eight’s connection to the St Patrick charter; I suggest it is merely a reflection of the 1149 attempt at metropolitan and follows on in a consolidation from the earlier agenda which presented the Gildas material in the 1144 presentation.
However, as I have suggested before, the St Patrick Charter may have been produced as a separate document and then incorporated into DA as it is here presented with chapter 8 as its introduction. Either way, it is still a product of Henry Blois; easily understood by its corroborative Phagan and Deruvian material from Henry’s HRB. As to there being any substance to the legend of Patrick’s relics at Glastonbury, it is impossible to tell, but it seems unlikely given author B’s uncertainty as to the two Patrick’s.
Henry Blois may not be the first fraudster at Glastonbury, which institutionally, my uncle Ferdinand referred to as the officine de faux. If one had to take a position, it would be fair to conclude that someone called Patrick was buried at Glastonbury, but the charter was concocted by Henry based upon this previous rumoured uncertainty. Many of the traditions later attached to Saint Patrick actually concerned Palladius, who in ‘Prosper of Aquitaine’s’ Chronicle was said to have been sent by Pope Celestine I as the first bishop to Irish c.431. Prosper of Aquitaine’s account associates Palladius’ appointment with the visits of Germanus of Auxerre to Britain to suppress the Pelagian heresy and it has been suggested that Palladius and his colleagues were sent to Ireland to ensure that exiled Pelagians did not establish themselves among the Irish Christians. This is where Henry gets his information for DA concerning St Germanus’ possible connection to Patrick. We should not forget that this similarity of conflationary material in the construction of a legend smacks of ‘Geoffrey’s’ similar methods in HRB.
In author B’s lifetime, who was the first to write a Life of Dunstan, there was a Patrick myth, so it may have substance: now Irish pilgrims, like men of other races, felt special affection for Glastonbury, not least out of their desire to honour the ‘elder’ St Patrick, who is said to have died there happily in the Lord.
In the GP, William of Malmesbury had expressed his view that the first founder of Glastonbury was King Ina, acting under the advice of St Aldhelm, written when William had visited Glastonbury before Henry’s arrival. A similar statement is found in GR1. The relics of Benignus and Indract were recognised as genuine, but William in GP was sceptical of St Patrick’s relics residing at Glastonbury and allows the possibility of Patrick’s return after his Irish mission just as Henry in his interpolation reiterates. In William’s VP according to Leland, supposedly Patrick ‘came to Glastonbury, and having become a monk and abbot there, after some years yielded to nature’. He then follows on with the assertion: any hesitation about this statement is dispelled by a vision of one of the monks. This seems to me that Leland is sourcing what Henry had written about Patrick in DA not William’s life of St Patrick. If Henry can write a life of Gildas, he can also write a life of Patrick.; but I am already accused of apportioning authorship to our Cicero to frequently, so I will desist on this occasion.
In William’s VD: Irishmen frequented the place in great numbers; men with a wide range of expertise, who had mastered the liberal arts fully. Wishing to give themselves over to philosophy more completely, they had abandoned their native soil, rejected all family ties and made their way to Glastonbury, led on by love of their preacher, Patrick, whose mortal remains are held to have lain buried there from time immemorial.
If William did believe that Patrick’s relics resided at Glastonbury it was probably down to pressure from the monks, but we cannot say if he recorded it based on previous author’s testimony or the monks’ firm belief or whether he believed it himself…. or that he even wrote the life of Patrick. Author B struggled to rationalise Patrick’s existence with a Patricius ‘senior’ and ‘Junioris’ and expected contention on the issue: but if my writings are refuted and scorned by the envious rejection of the jealous. There is just no way to tell if there is any truth that St Patrick was at Glastonbury before Henry Blois took up the mantle to establish it as fact…. based upon what seems to be a flimsy foundation.
Chapter 9 of DA
The charter of St Patrick.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Patrick, the humble servant of God, in the year of His Incarnation 430, was sent into Ireland by the most holy Pope Celestine, and by God’s grace converted the Irish to the way of truth; and, when I had established them in the Catholic faith, at length I returned to Britain, and, as I believe, by the guidance of God, who is the life and the way, I chanced upon the isle of Ynswytrin, (Insulam Ynsgytrin) wherein I found a place holy and ancient, chosen and sanctified by God in honour of Mary the pure Virgin, the Mother of God: and there I found certain brethren imbued with the rudiments of the Catholic faith, and of pious conversation, who were successors of the disciples of St Phagan and St Deruvian, whose names for the merit of their lives I verily believe are written in heaven: and because the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance, since tenderly I loved those brethren, I have thought good to record their names in this my writing.
And they are these: Brumban, Hyregaan,690 Brenwal, Wencreth, Bamtonmeweng, Adelwalred, Lothor, Wellias, Breden, Swelwes, Hin Loernius, and another Hin. These men, being of noble birth and wishing to crown their nobleness with deeds of faith, had chosen to lead a hermit’s life; and when I found them meek and gentle, I chose to be in low estate with them, rather than to dwell in Kings’ palaces. And since we were all of one heart and one mind, we chose to dwell together, and eat and drink in common, and sleep in the same house.
690HRB IV, viii. The name of the King’s nephew was Hyreglas; who in HRB X,v. just happens to be Hireglas of Periron the nephew of Bedevere.‘Periron’, I conclude, is the river Parrett near Glastonbury upon which Henry built a mill and he also had a White horse, hence we see in a Merlin prophecy:
An old man, moreover, snowy white, sitting upon a snow-white horse, shall turn side the river of Pereiron and with a white wand shall measure out a mill thereon in HRB VII, iii.
And so they set me, though unwilling, at their head: for indeed ‘I was not worthy to unloose the latchet of their shoes’. And, when we were thus leading the monastic life according to the pattern of the approved fathers, the brothers showed me writings of St Phagan and St Deruvian, wherein it was contained that twelve disciples of St Philip and St James had built that Old Church in honour of our Patroness aforesaid, instructed thereto by the blessed archangel Gabriel.
And further, that the Lord from heaven had dedicated that same church in honour of His Mother: and that to those twelve, three pagan Kings had granted, for their sustenance, twelve portions of land. Moreover, in more recent writings I found that St Phagan and St Deruvian had obtained from Pope Eleutherius, who had sent them, ten years of indulgence. And I, brother Patrick, in my time obtained twelve years from Pope Celestine of pious memory.
Now after some time had passed, I took with me my brother Wellias and with great difficulty we climbed up through the dense wood to the summit of the mount, which stands forth in that island (Glastonbury Tor). And when we were come there, we saw an ancient oratory, well-nigh ruined, yet fitting for Christian devotion and, as it appeared to me, chosen by God. And when we entered therein, we were filled with so sweet an odour that we believed ourselves to be set in the beauty of Paradise. So, then we went out and went in again, and searched the whole place diligently; and we found a volume in which were written Acts of Apostles along with Acts and Deeds of St Phagan and St Deruvian. It was in great part destroyed, but at the end thereof, we found a writing which said that St Phagan and St Deruvian, by revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ had built that oratory in honour of St Michael the archangel,691that he should have honour there from men, who at God’s bidding was to introduce men to everlasting honour.
691It is worth noting for those sceptics who deny there is an alignment of Churches along the St Michael Line i.e. the line which starts at Avebury and runs to St Michael’s mount in Cornwall, which Melkin directs us to bifurcate; that both Glastonbury tor and St Michael’s Mount were both dedicated to Michael already at the time of the Norman invasion. Henry Blois here, as the inventor of the St Patrick charter, re-iterates this fact. This is the alignment (meridianum Anglum) to which Melkin expects us to bifurcate within the circle of Avebury (sperula) at an angle of 13 degrees; and extend a line for 104 miles south (through Montacute) to locate an Island at the terminal point of the line.
And since that writing pleased us much, we sought to read it to the end. For that same writing said that the venerable Phagan and Deruvian abode there for nine years, and that they had also obtained indulgence of thirty years for all Christian folk who visit that place, with pious intent, for the honour of the blessed Michael. Having found therefore this great treasure of divine goodness, I and brother Wellias fasted three months, engaged in prayer and watching, and controlling the demons and beasts that in divers forms appeared. And on a certain night, when I had given myself to sleep, the Lord Jesus appeared to me in a vision, saying Patrick, my servant, know that I have chosen this place to the honour of My name, and that here men should honourably invoke the aid of My archangel Michael. And this shall be a sign to thee, and to thy brethren, that they also may believe: thy left arm shall wither, till thou hast told what thou hast seen to thy brethren which are in the cell below, and art come hither again. And so it came to pass. From that day we appointed that two brethren should be there continually, unless the pastors in the future should for just cause determine otherwise.
Now to Arnulf and Ogmar, Irish brethren who had come with me from Ireland, because at my request they were the first to make their humble dwelling at that oratory, I have entrusted this present writing, keeping another like unto it in a chest at St Mary’s as a memorial for those who shall come after. And I Patrick, by counsel of my brethren, concede a hundred days of pardon to all who shall, with pious intent, cut down with axe and hatchet the wood on every side of the mount aforesaid, that there may be an easier approach for Christian men who shall make pious visit to the church of the Blessed perpetual Virgin and the aforesaid oratory.
That these things were truly so, we have proved by the testimony of a very ancient writing, as well as by the traditions of our elders. And so this saint aforesaid, who is the Apostle of the Irish and the first abbot in the Isle of Avalon, after he had duly instructed these brethren in rule and discipline, and had sufficiently enriched that place with lands and possessions by the gift of Kings and princes, when some years were past yielded to nature, and had his rightful burial, by the showing of an angel, and by the flashing from the spot of a great flame in sight of all who were there present, in the Old Church on the right hand of the altar.
J. Arimatage Robinson’s dating of the St Patrick charter to 1220 is unfounded and is based on the train of false a priori we have discussed already. There is simply no bone fide reason to believe this is a construct made in 1220 simply because Wellias’s name is employed.692 It must be understood that initially Henry Blois concerned himself with establishing the authenticity of the 601 charter by claiming Ineswitrin was in fact synonymous with Glastonbury. Only later, post 1158 when he manufactured the grave site for Arthur did he change his propagandist intent to make Glastonbury appear as synonymous with Avalon; which name….. he had invented in HRB as Arthur’s last recorded location.
692It is a little known fact that when the Saxons invaded the Britons the Invaders called them the wealas – an Old English word meaning slave or foreigner. This is probably the root of the name found on the 28 foot pyramid related inWilliam of Malmesbury’s unadulterated text and may be the source for Henry’s muses to connect this name on the ‘piramide’ Weaslieas to his Wellias from Wells. The taller, which is nearer the church, has five tiers, and is 28 feet high. It threatens to collapse from old age, but still displays some ancient features, which can be deciphered though they can no longer be fully understood. In the uppermost tier is the figure habited like a Bishop, in the second one like a King in state, and the inscription ‘Here are Sexi and Bliswerh’. In the third too are names, Wencrest Bantomp, and Winethegn. In the fourth, Bate, Wulfred and Eanfled. In the fifth, which is the lowest, is a figure, and this inscription: ‘Logwor Weaslieas and Bregden, Swelwes, Hiwingendes, Bearn
Supposedly, in Patrick’s own words in the St Patrick charter ‘I came to the island of Ineswitrin’, wholly implicates Henry Blois as author as it was he who convinces us of Glastonbury’s synonymy with this name in Life of Gildas. He is the one person who carries out the substitution of Ineswitrin for Avalon in the Melkin Prophecy693 (as we know the Melkin prophecy data applies to Burgh Island). Henry Blois corroborates Ineswitrin’s association with Glastonbury in the last paragraph of Life of Gildas and here in the Saint Patrick Charter for consistency; but also letting us know it is called Avalon in the consolidating postscript in DA which would not have accompanied the St Patrick charter when presented at Rome.
We should not consider that the part played by Phagan and Deruvian in the St Patrick charter was thought about by some other than Henry Blois or at a much later date as Robinson suggests.694 I, frankly, can see no reason for its invention given its substance other than to strengthen the case at Rome for Henry Blois metropolitam. The postscript was added to DA later in Henry’s final consolidation post 1158.
693At the time (post 1158), when the substitution of the name was carried out on the Melkin Prophecy, ineswitrin had no importance in establishing the 601 charter as authentic.
694Robinson’s assumption is largely based on the mention of Wellias, which, as we have covered, could be a later interpolation, but could just as well be Henry providing the eponym for Wells nearby. Also, Robinson thinks Avalon is established by the appearance at Glastonbury of the leaden cross like most other commentators.
Scott’s assessment of the date of the charter is based upon the misguided deduction that the point of the reference in the charter i.e. to the keeping of two copies, is indicative of a date of composition after the fire.
More probably, it is the apologic explanation for why it is found at Glastonbury abbey among its muniments. Firstly, because the oratory on the tor had been destroyed or fallen into disrepair. Secondly to excuse the charter’s sudden appearance and the fact that a copy was being presented. Henry in Rome probably maintained the Patrick charter would have been found while searching old chests. Maybe it was presented separately in 1149.
I do not agree with Scott’s claim that the charter was written post 1184 and would have been fabricated to counter Osbern’s claim. Scott’s theory is based upon the fact that the postscript says Patrick was the first abbot of Avalon. Osbern’s claim that Dunstan was the first Abbot of Glastonbury was made before 1090, so I very much doubt St Patrick’s charter solved that issue…. which in effect, Henry Blois had already solved by interpolating GR3 and DA. William of Malmesbury’s DA (excluding St Patrick charter) deals adequately with Osbern’s claim, so why invent a charter post 1184.
The postscript to the St Patrick charter in DA was indeed written by Henry Blois. The Charter may have existed (in gold letters) as a separate document, fabricated for the perusal of papal authorities in 1149. It may have been added in DA in 1149.
The fact that Henry Blois’ ‘second agenda’ post 1158 was the creation of Avalon at Glastonbury, indicates Henry’s inclusion of the charter written into DA post 1158 as part of his consolidation representing the bogus document (in gold lettering) word for word which had been used as a separate document earlier. Of course, the exposed Glastonbury Tor never had trees on it… and it is just another gambit by Henry (as he does throughout HRB) to provide an incidental explanation, that since antiquity, the trees on the tor have been chopped on account of the ease of access for the pious and the ridges on the tor have been made by centuries of pius pilgrims. Also, it is a clever gambit on Henry’s behalf to invent the fact that the charter was found along with the deeds and Acts of the Apostles. There is simply no limit to the inventiveness of Henry’s muses. No practising monk would have the effrontery to invent such lies. It can only be our storyteller, our inventor of History, our manipulator of events, our Cicero!!
The St Patrick charter, in effect (pre-Joseph lore) provides myth of the foundation story of the abbey and splices well with HRB’s mention of the preacher’s names. The brief references to Patrick by author B adds credence to the concocted charter. So, I would conclude that the St Patrick charter dates to 1149 and the mention of Wellias (which in effect establishes little for any interpolator concerned with the Wells dispute) is purely coincidental because (as we know from HRB), Henry is very keen on eponyms.
I cannot see how Patrick and Wellias as contemporaries, strengthens to any relevant degree the point of the entire interpolation of the charter, or Glastonbury’s case against the intrusion of the Bishop of Wells. It rather just highlights that Henry’s position is that Patrick must have been at Glastonbury as Wells is not so far away where his friend settled. The town nearby (Henry would have us believe) is obviously named after Wellias. Therefore, we are supposed to think that, because of the eponym, the St Patrick charter should be the more believed as genuine as tentative corroboration exists in Wells having been named after Wellias.
As I have already said, the postscript to chapter 9 is not part of the charter and would be part of Henry’s later consolidation when the conversion of Avalon to Glastonbury became the thrust of Henry’s ‘second agenda’ post 1158. If Henry had not been the author of HRB, I too would say that the Patrick charter by its inclusion of Wellias seems to be an interpolation connected with the contention with Savaric, but again, we have the reasoning behind Caradoc’s etymology to consider if the charter was presented before the postscript was added to it in DA i.e. the corroboration of Yniswitrin.
Henry may have provided evidence that the missionaries Phagan and Deruvian were also connected to the old minster at Winchester to which Rudborne also attests. Maybe Henry thinks if Glastonbury shows an early date of foundation by association with Phagan and Deruvian, it would follow that Winchester, which plays a prominent part in HRB, must also have been established by these first missionaries of Eleutherius. We do not know if Rudborne’s information is true and where Henry got their names from or they too went into Winchester lore from mention in HRB. The fact Phagan and Deruvian stayed in Glastonbury for nine years is just extraneous incidental detail meant to add flesh to the concoction.
Thus we have in HRB: At last, when everything had been thus ordained new, the prelates returned to Rome and besought the most blessed Pope to confirm the ordinances they had made. And when the confirmation had been duly granted they returned into Britain with a passing great company of others, by the teaching of whom the nation of the British was in a brief space established in the Christian faith. Their names and acts are to be found recorded in the book that Gildas wrote as concerning the victory of Aurelius Ambrosius, the which he hath handled in a treatise so luminous as that in no-wise is there any need to write it new in a meaner style.695
Henry knows Phagan and Deruvian are not mentioned in Gildas’ work and we know Henry has read Gildas as it is a source in the composition of HRB. Henry Blois, who is the advocator of Nennius’ work having been written by Gildas in HRB knows that Gildas does mention Eleutherius,696 but not obviously Phagan and Deruvian.
Why Henry chose to use Patrick was evident through author B’s senioris, junioris testimony. The rationale was that the charter would be accepted as a charter of St Patrick, which had been located by William in his endeavours to elucidate Glastonbury’s antiquity. That St Patrick was the first abbot and St Benignus his pupil was the second is a Henry myth. Even Ralph Higden questioned it in the fourteenth century supposing that there had been some confusion with a later Patrick. I would assume a tomb marked with the name Patrick existed and possibly is the reason why the myth existed about St Patrick’s burial at Glastonbury which author B relates.
The choice of content by Henry in the ‘St. Patrick’ charter697 is a means of propaganda and should come as no surprise given Henry’s aims in substantiating Glastonbury’s antiquity. What appears at first glance is a strange choice of focus (the St. Michael church) may indeed have deeper reasons. What may have happened is that the 601 charter which named Ineswitrin as the island being donated to the old church; it may have been called into question and as an effect caused the focus on the tor (as being separate from Glastonbury abbey’s Old Church).
695HRB IV, xx
696In Nennius, it states that: After the birth of Christ, one hundred and sixty seven years, King Lucius with all the chiefs of the British people received baptism in consequence of a legation sent by the Roman emperors and Pope (Evaristus) Eleutherius. This is obviously lifted from Bede’s mistaken identity of Lucius. Now, If we remember Henry’s penchant for purposefully changing the spelling of names to give the air of inaccuracy over time (because the first year of Evaristus was A.D. 79), and couple this with my suspicion and wavering position of certain interpolations into Nennius….. one can only be very suspicious at the appearance of a Legate in 167 AD. A Legatus is a general officer of the ancient Roman army drawn from among the senatorial class. A Papal Legate is a messenger from the Holy See, which we know was not sending out legates in 167 AD. We are still no clearer on the subject of interpolation in Nennius given Henry’s obvious attempts in HRB to have us believe Nennius’ work was written by Gildas.
697The consensus of modern scholarship is that with the mention of Wellias as part of the narrative, the charter must be a product of the Savaric dispute. The death of Robert of Lewes as Bishop of Bath is the root cause of future conflict where a good relation had always previously been maintained between him and Henry Blois. Robert died in 1166 and Henry soon after in 1171. Conventionally, the Glastonbury monastery, like most others, was subject to the diocese. After the death of the bishop of Bath the contention appeared. Robert of Lewes was indebted to Henry Blois for his position and he worked with Henry for the benefit of Glastonbury. At the death of Henry Blois the interference from Wells started. For nearly fifty years Glastonbury had been run under the auspices of the Bishop of Winchester and it was rich pickings for Savaric.
The objection or suspicion may have been that in GR1 King Ine had founded Glastonbury. By the miraculous discovery of a charter which fortuitously had been duplicated and had been discovered by ‘William’…. it could now be argued that ‘William’ could hold the positions held in his GR3 (or at least that was the argument to be presented at Rome); even though William is made to seem ignorant of the preachers names (saying they had been lost in time) before the advent of the newer additions.
We need to understand the Vulgate HRB as being different from a First Variant…. and also; to grasp the development of the Primary Historia into the First Variant, by assessing EAW’s evidence in the many variations of storyline in which it differs from Vulgate.
Henry of Huntingdon hearing for the first time the names of the two preachers who brought the word of God to King Lucius, would surely mention them by name as in the HRB: forasmuch as the blessed Pontiff, finding that his devotion was such, sent unto him two most religious doctors, Pagan and Duvian, who, preaching unto him the Incarnation of the Word of God, did wash him in holy baptism and converted him unto Christ.698
If they had been incorporated into the copy of Primary Historia found in 1139 they would be in EAW. We can see Henry Blois has conferred great status upon them in Vulgate HRB: The blessed doctors, therefore, when they had purged away the paganism of well-nigh the whole island….
This one fact above any other of the variations in storyline (considering Henry’s activities recorded by chroniclers) shows that Huntingdon has a different version from the Vulgate.699 The only reason scholars holds the view that Huntingdon’s summary is a summary of the Vulgate is because even though the differences in storyline are glaring, they have no way of reconciling the differences holding the a priori that the First Variant is by another author or it was composed after the Vulgate. Add to this their deductions i.e. being swayed by the dates of the dedicatees they choose to ignore the glating differences which occur in EAW or rationalise it as Huntingdon’s inaccuracy or the fact it was just a letter to a friend. In the end their logic is: why advocate a different volume if the dates of the dedicatees fit…. even witnessing the glaring differences in EAW. Basically, if it does not fit the consensus of the cabal ignore it… just as we saw with Gerald’s testimony.
698HRB. IV, xix
699Scholarship’s view is erroneous in its belief that First Variant followed Vulgate. It is also misguided in its view that Merlin and his prophecies were present in the copy found at Bec and it is an assumption that any mention of Merlin and his prophecies were purposefully omitted by Huntingdon in EAW; considering the two storylines to Stonehenge.
We know Henry wrote Primary Historia initially as a composite of the pseudo-history of Britain destined originally for Matilda…. and the chivalric Arthuriana was an addition in 1137-38 after having been in Wales in 1136. Huntingdon found Primary Historia in January 1139. On 1st of March 1139 Henry is made Legate because he had complained to the pope because he had been the Archbishop of Canterbury in waiting.
It is not by chance that Severus becomes a Legate in HRB, when before (unless Huntingdon was vastly mistaken), he was earlier an ‘Emperor’- Imperator in Huntingdon’s EAW before Henry’s appointment: When these tidings were brought unto Rome, the Senate sent as legate, Severus the senator and two legions. The Merlin prophecies were never a part of the Primary Historia. As I have already pointed out, many ‘experts’ believe the prophecies were a part of the 1139 manuscript, even though Huntingdon’s précis of the Primary Historia in EAW supposedly omits mention of the prophecies and ‘overlooks’ any allusion to the character of Merlin. So, we have to see now why Phagan and Deruvian are employed in First Variant not Primary Historia.
The Primary Historia is the first version/edition after Primary Historia, not a variant. Even Crick700 comments that if the section on Vortigern, which in effect introduces the prophecies of Merlin by including the reasoning behind Geoffrey’s intermission i.e. by means of the dedicatory letter to Alexander…. ‘could be omitted without disrupting the flow of the narrative’.701 To concede such a glaring point and not recognise that Merlin and the prophecies are not mentioned by Huntingdon’s EAW is a rationalised position rather than a logical deduction.
Crick, like Carley, forces the pieces together with her assumption that Vulgate HRB was found at Bec instead of a version she has not even contemplated (which I have called Primary Historia), which, by the briefest analysis of EAW, can be seen to differ widely from Vulgate; even by Huntingdon’s short précis.
Yet, in an unperturbed and seamless way, Huntingdon continues his narrative through the very point where the Merlin saga is inserted in HRB; and where Merlin’s prophecies are integrated with Vortigern702 and the passage which inspired Henry’s introduction of Merlin and the two Dragons. The irony is that Huntingdon is completely ignorant that his own patron Alexander is going to be the dedicatee of the Merlin insertion after 1148; after both Huntingdon and Bishop Alexander have died. This is how Alfred of Beverley’s copy does not have the Alexander preamble.
The last version of the Prophecies were partly intended to unseat Henry II by inciting rebellion and so it was expedient that ‘Geoffrey’ was created retrospectively to establish his ‘Welshness’ from Monmouth rather than the anonymous Galfridus Arthur.703 Henry of Huntingdon, unsuspecting that the Primary Historia is written by Henry Blois signs off on EAW even giving Galfridus Artur a commendation: These are the matters I promised you in brief. If you would like them at length, you should ask Geoffrey Arthur’s great book, which I discovered at Le Bec. There you will find a careful and comprehensive treatment of the above. Farewell. I just digressed here to show the progression of the First Variant and why we have Phagan and Deruvian in this edition destined for Rome but not in EAW. Also the introduction of Eleutherius’ association with Phagan and Deruvisn and Lucius.
700Julia Crick, HRB, dissemination and reception in the later middle ages. P.17
701Crick p.18 also comments that ‘many copies were in circulation during Geoffrey’s lifetime’. It is ironic that even if Geoffrey had lived in reality; virtually no copies circulated until after 1155. The completion of the Vulgate and introduction of the updated prophecies, where we witness the ‘sixth invading Ireland’ prophecy and the seditious prophecies and those seeing the downfall of the Normans, transpired after 1155 when Henry was at Clugny.
702All of this is prompted and inspired from Nennius’s boy Ambrose and the two serpents as witnessed in chapter 42 of Nennius
703Galfidus Arthur’s association with the Welsh is because Henry located Arthur’s utopian court at Caerleon and this is why Alfred of Beverley thinks he is a ‘Britannicus’. Also ‘Geoffrey’s’ association with Ralf in the charters came from Monmouth also. Only after these charters were tampered with, did ‘Geoffrey’ have his provenance from Monmouth written into the Vulgate.
So, getting back to DA; in the Patrick charter, Henry leaves out Lucius’ name, but, because of the mistake Bede makes (who is then followed by Nennius), Lucius is automatically accepted as the King who was posited by Henry Blois himself in HRB as the King of Britain at the time of Severus; as Severus was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211 (which is close enough for ‘Geoffrey’). It is remarkable that Henry wove a mistake by Bede into HRB and the person of Lucius became an integral part of his fake-history and is the cause of the arrival of the fictitious Phagan and Deruvian in the St Patrick charter.
The Eleutherius episode is entirely void of anything to do with British history as Bede had mistakenly understood Britanio for Britio. As I mentioned already, the King of Birtha was in fact a Lucius Aelius Megas Abgar. We might suggest that since Bede referred his book to papal authorities for approval, there may well have been some purposeful misguidance, which, ultimately pretends Roman proselytization of Britain where none existed prior to their propaganda…. in referring a gullible Bede to the Liber Pontificalis.
The inspiration of Henry’s Avalon in HRB becoming synonymous with Glastonbury occurred when Henry’s second agenda formed in his mind after 1158. So, chapter 2 of DA entitled ‘How the saints Phagan and Deruvian converted the Britons to the faith and came to the island of Avalon’; we may understand as a consolidation of his previous propaganda to the new.
Lucius and Phagan and Deruvian again feature in Chapter 33 of DA under the title: On the Kings, abbots and other founders of the church of Glastonbury, arranged chronologically. This chapter in effect ties together the sequence of twelve disciples of St. Philip who came to Britain, followed by Phagan and Deruvian, and followed by their distant successor Patrick.
Henry Blois is an extremely clever interpolator, but the evidence shows through Huntingdon’s précis that HRB went through a transitional evolution. The same applies for DA as it is clear that Joseph lore was the last to be added and was added after Henry had promulgated Grail stories i.e from 1159 to 1170.
The scenario is all the more believable because the St. Patrick charter was seemingly uncovered in recent research by the well-known and conscientious historian named William of Malmesbury.
Perhaps, the first fraudulently interpolated apostolic evidence of foundation, where metropolitan was actually granted in 1144, was deemed too tentative by an unsympathetic pope on the second request for metropolitan status. The Patrick charter itself provides the bogus account of how it was that a manuscript which Patrick himself purportedly discovered, related the events of the early foundation by Phagan and Deruvian which transpired at Glastonbury: In addition I discovered in a more recent document that saints Phagan and Deruvian had petitioned Pope Eleutherius who had granted them an indulgence of ten years….704
It seems likely, judging by the postscript to the St Patrick charter, that the charter was a faked ancient document presented separately from DA at Rome which Henry later added into the text of DA with the additional postscript: That these things were truly so, we have proved by the testimony of a very ancient writing…..
St David’s ring had been found miraculously by Henry Blois himself at Glastonbury. St. David (we are supposed to believe) who had been Archbishop of Caerleon, in the city of Menevia had his own abbey, founded by the blessed Patrick who had even foretold of St. David’s nativity as narrated in HRB: At that time also died David, that most holy Archbishop of Caerleon, in the city of Menevia, within his own abbey, which he loved above all the other monasteries of his diocese, for that it was founded by the blessed Patrick who had foretold his nativity.705
704The question of Indulgences has been investigated by Dr. H. C. Lea in his work on Auricular Confession. The earliest grant which he can point to as indisputably genuine is that made by Urban II at the dedication of the church of St Nicholas at Angers in 1096 AD: it gave one month’s relaxation of enjoined penance for the anniversary. At the dedication of Cluny in 1132, Innocent II granted 40 days for the anniversary. There is a grant by the papal legate, Peter of Cluny, to Westminster in 1121: this gave relaxation of 40 days of criminalia and a third of enjoined penance for minora to those who visited the church on the festival of the martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul. In Dr. Lea’s list we find that in 1163 Alexander III, in dedicating S. Germain des Prés, granted a year on the actual occasion and 20 days for the anniversary. Henry saw the advantage of indulgences, but his grants provided by St Phagan and St Deruvian make these other genuine dispensations fade into insignificance with ten years.
705HRB, XI, iii
We can understand that pope Lucius II granted a metropolitan to Henry on the basis of the interpolations in William of Malmesbury’s DA which was mainly centred upon the apostolic foundation, the GR 3 version B interpolations, along with Caradoc’s evidence which puts Gildas at Glastonbury and backed up the 601 charter. The First Variant version of HRB was obviously a great aid to presenting a pre-Augustinian Christian history at Winchester. At the second attempt, where the pope was less receptive, more guile was employed fabricating further evidence. Hence the St Patrick charter. Bede’s introduction of the mistaken Eleutherius story which was recycled in the Primary Historia, then when Henry has ambitions at Rome has the preachers introduced and named in the First Variant…. and then probably a Charter of St Patrick (a copy in gold) was used in conjunction with DA.
Coincidentally, it should be remembered that pope Lucius II also dispatched a papal legate, Igmarus (or Hincmar), to England, charged to investigate the request of Bernard, Bishop of St David’s, (who was a friend of Henry’s), who also was petitioning to elevate his see to the rank of metropolitan. Henry had tried to help Bernard by foreseeing the Pall being returned when he constructed the Merlin prophecies as well as affirming credence to his position in HRB that the metropolitan had existed in Caerleon previously.
Also, Igmarus the legate took with him the Pallium to William, Archbishop of York who was Henry Blois’ and Stephen’s Nephew as I have covered. This may indeed be part of the reasoning behind HRB’s glorification of St. David’s on account that both Henry and Bernard were after the same thing.706
Henry’s additions into DA which contained his ‘first agenda’ would have been started soon after William’s death in 1143 when he lost the legation; not forgetting Henry was the person who had paid William of Malmesbury and had the only copy of DA. As Scott concedes, the DA, when handed to Henry Blois, was minus most of the first 34-5 chapters.
Pope Innocent died on September 24th, 1143 along with Henry’s power as Legate. Archbishop Theobald having endured being subordinate to the bishop of Winchester in many respects while he called legatine councils at will, beat Henry to Rome and became the next legate to avoid the previous slight to his authority over the English church. Since Henry had lost the legation to Theobald through pope Celestine, he was dreaming up ways to overcome his predicament.
This set of twelfth century circumstances is one of the chance reasons that the DA and Glastonbury legends first evolved through Henry’s initial interpolations in DA. Henry had already written the Primary Historia; he was without influence with his brother and had been denied the legation…. as John of Hexham records about Celestine ‘a man of great age… 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 exited to a dislike of Henry Bishop of Winchester.707
706It must not be forgotten that at this stage the Primary Historia was written by Galfridus Arthur initially, not Geoffrey of Monmouth who was miraculously to become Bishop of Asaph, but only after he had been consigned to death by Henry Blois.
707John of Hexam chap 22
Theobald of Bec’s legation was brief because pope Celestine died on March 9th 1144. Theobald then waited in Rome hoping to be reinstated after such a short period. But instead Henry Blois was cordially received by the next pope but was not re-assigned as legate. Considering the rapidity with which popes were changing, Henry obtained his goal and was granted the metropolitan for Winchester instead.
However, the formalities were not concluded and Lucius II died on February 15th 1148. The new pope was a friend of Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian who hated Henry Blois with a vengeance. Eugenius III who, as we have covered, described Henry as ‘a man who could mislead two Kingdom’s with his tongue’, now refused to grant the metropolitan status of Winchester. This I believe is a fair account and explanation of how Henry’s ‘first agenda’ which is relevant to the two attempts to attain metropolitan status for the south west of England reflects firstly, the apostolic fabricated interpolations in DA and secondly the Phagan and Deruvian foundation found in the Charter of St Patrick; both in direct relationship to Henry’s attempt for metropolitan.
Chapter 10 on DA
On the death of St Patrick.
Patrick died at the age of 111 in 472 AD, which was the 47th year after he had been sent to Ireland. If he was indeed born in 361 and was sent to Ireland in 425, this took place when he was 64; and he converted the Irish to the faith of Christ in 433. When he eventually returned to Britain he remained on the island of Avalon for 39 years leading the best possible life. Then he rested at the right hand side of the altar in the church for many years, 710 in fact until the fire in that church, whereupon his body was placed in a stone piramide, near the altar to the South and the diligence of the inmates of the house later ensured that this was nobly covered in gold and silver out of reverence for the saint.
Henry’s entire fake-history is based on conflation and blurred anachronisms and Henry Blois, as witnessed in HRB, does not ‘do’ dates. The person who wrote the brief insert of chapter 10 is Scott’s consolidating author who is attempting to rationalise for his readers the chronology of St Patrick with known history. Obviously from the previous postscript where Patrick is called the first Abbot of the island of Avalon, Scott’s consolidating author follows the acceptance of the conversion myth of Avalon into Glastonbury created by Henry.
He accounts the years until the movement of the relics on account of the fire sometime post 1184. The collection or invention of relics was a commercial necessity for religious houses. Considering Henry’s own interest in relic collection at Glastonbury, it seems obvious that he knew Arthur’s bones would be exhumed at some date to be given a more sanctified resting place within the church.
Henry Blois went to the trouble of making a non-corrosive leaden cross which, when found, would establish the existence of his alter ego in Avalon. At the discovery of a body of Arthur with Guinevere, his fake-history corroborated in different sources would be accounted history. No other than Henry manufactured Arthur’s grave, given we have established that Henry is author of HRB and William of Malmesbury does not know where Arthur is buried when writing GR1 and since its plainly obvious Henry de Sully did not fabricate the cross and did not write Perlesvaus or indicate where the body might be specifically as indicated in DA; it really can only be Henry Blois who is responsible. However, given author B’s uncertainty about whether the rumours were true about St Patrick’s relics lying at Glastonbury, it would be fair to assume, if any grave existed with the name Patrick on it, Henry Blois would have secured it as St Patrick’s relics.
We can assume there was no previous legend of St Patrick because Osbern would never have said Dunstan was the first Abbot if there was any definitive previous lore concerning Patrick at Glastonbury. This surely also would have been mentioned in Eadmer’s invective against the invention of false claims about the housing of relics.
Chapter 11 of DA
A vision of St Patrick.
Long after the death of the blessed St Patrick, when the question often arose whether he had been a monk and Abbot there, all doubt was eliminated by the vision of a certain brother whose memory had grown shaky after the blessed man’s death so that he continually asked himself whether it had been so or not. It was confirmed by the following Oracle. When he had sunk into sleep and he seemed to hear someone who was reciting the saints miracles at these words: ’therefore this man was distinguished with the holiness of the Metropolitan Pall; and later he became a monk and Abbot.’ He added too that he would show what he had said written down in letters of gold for anyone who did not completely believe it.
Scott708 indicates that chapter 11 of DA identifies Glastonbury with Avalon. His notion is based upon the postscript to the St Patrick charter without realizing that at one stage Henry Blois had concocted a charter, but at a later date he had added the charter itself and its postscript into DA. So, in effect it is part of the myth that makes Glastonbury synonymous with Avalon, but the postscript was added into DA following a copy of the charter and both were fabricated by Henry Blois at separate times.
708The early history of Glastonbury, p. 191 note 36
In chapter 11, Henry Blois attempts to eliminate the suspicion that St Patrick might not have been associated with Glastonbury. In effect, the chapter establishes that ‘Archbishop’ Patrick became abbot of Glastonbury and by association distinguished with the holiness of the Metropolitan Pall the monastery at Glastonbury. Certainly, no consolidating author is interested in establishing any notion of a metropolitan pall being possessed by an abbot of Glastonbury except Henry Blois.
What is interesting though is Henry’s clever strategy of faking the St. Patrick charter. The 601 charter was ancient, the Devonian King’s flourit barely legible, having been obliterated by time. Concerning the St Patrick charter, if one was to pretend another hundred and fifty years of antiquation on top of that…. it would be very difficult to forge a convincing document for consideration which did not appear to be a fake. This is the precise reason we have this explanation of how there was in existence a St Patrick’s charter composed in gold lettering which did not obviously corrode or become illegible over time. I would imagine the charter was fabricated by Henry and the gullible contemporary’s (and us in posterity) are led to believe this charter in gold letters miraculously conveyed St Patrick’s words through time and gave evidence of Phagan and Deruvian’s foundation myth for anyone who did not completely believe it.
One should consider the cleverness of constructing such an elaborate mechanism, by which, Henry has thought out the possible way of convincing others how this new information had come to light. He used William as the discoverer of the gold lettered charter and who would doubt such a conscientious historian; especially, if the charter was in evidence.
Henry goes further back in history to establish erroneous lore because ‘supposedly’ Patrick is conveying the words of Phagan and Deruvian (which they had written in a book found in the chapel at the top of Glastonbury tor) which takes the myth right back to the apostolic era in that they had ‘re-discovered’ an already existing church in 167 their supposed era. The convolution in establishing this myth in the twelfth century without previous lore bares witness to Henry’s inventive genius. These are not the efforts of Scott’s consolidating author, who, in effect, is confuting contrary arguments to the likelyhood of St Patrick ‘returning’ to England… as he concerns himself with twisting the story to fit the known dates.
Thus, we hear of St Patrick’s unlikely 111 year age at death. The consolidating monk writes after the fire in 1184 and is solely interested in establishing Glastonbury’s claim of housing the St Patrick relics and their fortuitous appearance (since author B’s period) in the new building.
Chapter 12 of DA
On St Indract and St Bridget.
Hence the custom developed among the Irish of visiting that place to kiss the relics of their patron. Whence the well-known story that St Indract and the blessed St Bridget, prominent citizens of that land, once frequented the place. They say that after St Bridget, who had come there in 488 AD, had tarried for some time on the island of Beckery, she returned home but left behind certain of her ornaments, namely a bag, a necklace, a small bell and weaving implements, which are still preserved there in memory of her. As our pen has recorded elsewhere, St Indract and his companions were martyred and buried there. Later he was translated by King Ine from his place of martyrdom into the church of Glastonbury.
In chapter 12 of DA, Henry includes the first sentence just to re-iterate author B’s words, which is probably the earliest propaganda recorded at Glastonbury: Now Irish pilgrims, like men of other races, felt special affection for Glastonbury, not least out of their desire to honour the ‘elder’ St Patrick, who is said to have died there happily in the Lord.
As we have covered already, we can tell the entire proposition of Saint Patrick at Glastonbury is flimsy and we can see the discrepancy of a ‘senior’ and ‘junior’ Patrick as a device used to possibly explain things in author B’s era. Some have suggested Dunstan himself was the first propagator of the myth of St Patrick at Glastonbury and someone in author B’s era tries to rationalise the mistaken identity of a Patrick at Glastonbury.
We have no reason to doubt the authenticity of St Indract at Glastonbury yet he is more commonly associated with ‘Tammerton’ which could refer to Plymouth as ‘Tamar Town’. Henry Blois in DA just surreptitiously connects St Bridget and Indract as historically real to the myth of St Patrick by association. It sounds highly dubious that a bag and necklace would have come down from the fifth to the twelfth century, so I would propose that these objects were more recent to associate St Bridget with the abbey.
Chapter 13 of DA
On St Benignus.
In 460 AD. St Benignus came to Glastonbury. He was a disciple of St Patrick and the third to succeed him in his Irish see, as their ‘acts’ attest. Admonished by an Angel, he forsook his homeland and the dignity of his episcopate in accordance with a vow and undertook a voluntary pilgrimage which led him under God’s guidance, to Glastonbury where he found St Patrick. How much favour he found with God is revealed by many signs and miracles; witness the marks of his presence deal at Meare, the broad expanse of water granted at his prayers and the huge leafy tree that flourished from his withered staff. After endless struggles on the island he came to a blessed end and after many years had passed in 1091 AD he was translated to Glastonbury with honour.
We can see the only person interested in building a case for St Patrick at Glastonbury is Henry Blois because it was he who invented the charter. St Patrick at Glastonbury is doubtful in reality, yet there were rumours and St Patrick was ‘said’ to be buried there, but it all seems controversial and dubious. An account of St Patrick which attempts to bring him in to close association with Glastonbury would be made all the more credible if Saint Benignus of Armagh (d. 467, a known associate), was also brought into the concocted myth. St Benignus was the son of an Irish chieftain in Ireland. He was baptized into the Catholic faith by St. Patrick and became his favourite disciple. Benignus is said to have contributed materials for the “Psalter of Cashel”, and the “Book of Rights”. He succeeded St. Patrick’s nephew Sechnall as coadjutor and became the first rector of the Cathedral School of Armagh.
The probability that St Benignus ever set foot in Glastonbury is even less than that of St Patrick. However, there is another Patrick709 who was prominent in the area and Meare is only a couple of miles from Glastonbury. As we shall see in chapter 33 of DA shortly, Henry attempts to convince us of the notion of St Benignus’s proximity to the area because he has espied a grave inscription at Meare with an epitaph which associates a certain Beonna with the other Patrick ‘Junioris’ and would have us believe through this that Beonna is St Benignus. Henry is insistent that St Benignus should become part of Glastonbury lore because of his known relationship with St Patrick.
709Author B’s Junioris
St Patrick is more easily established and thus the St Patrick charter. In chapter 22, St Benignus’ name is mentioned in the numerous relics deposited at Glastonbury. Henry also interpolates his name into the body of William’s relatively untouched work in the latter half of DA. A curious sentence is inserted as an aside at the beginning of chapter 66 which says in reference to Aethelweard: Harthacnut gave him a reliquary, in which the body of the blessed Benignus now rests. In an obvious interpolation in chapter 67 in a list of abbots, Sigegar is randomly said to lie beneath St Benignus.
In chapter 71 Patrick is named as the first abbot and St Benignus follows as the second. These must be Henry additions to the British abbots because initially William’s list will have started with Worgret who is on the 601 Charter. In chapter 72 there is a short interpolation again to confirm the translation of St Benignus in Thurstan’s era. It is the shortest chapter of a couple of lines which has been inserted into William’s original work while on the topic of Thurstan.
This highlights the fact that Henry has inserted it into William’s original because in Henry’s mind he makes Thurstan responsible for the bogus act of translation from Meare and thus dates the event to 1091 AD during Thurstan’s abbacy. The dexterity and thoroughness with which Henry creates his illusion is clearly witnessed. I find it extraordinary that researchers in the past have been duped into believing that St Benignus ever came to Glastonbury.
A persona of secondary importance in St Benignus is incidentally provided with an entire cover story to substantiate the persona of primary importance which is St Patrick; a case study of a cover story needing background like Gaimar’s epilogue for ‘Geoffrey’s’ source book. St Patrick is the supposed creator of the St Patrick charter which substantiates Henry’s goal toward metropolitan status. The whole is a web of illusion and substantiates the fact that GR version B is heavily interpolated by Henry because its not in GR1 and if it were true Osbern would not have claimed Dunstan was the first abbot so you can guess it is not William of Malmesbury writing: Patrick was succeeded in the office of Abbot by Benignus, and where he affects being ever cautious by only stating fact: but for how many years is uncertain. Who he was and what his name in his native tongue, is neatly given in this epitaph at Meare:
Within this to the bones of Beonna lays,
Was Father here of the monks in ancient days.
Patrick of old to serve he had the honour,
So Erin’s sons aver and name Beonna.
In the DA version of this epitaph found at Meare (covered in chapter 33), it states Irish (Hybernigene) rather than Erin. It is not by coincidence that Leland did not find the Life of Benignus….because it is stated in the interpolated section of GR3 as having been written with other saints lives…. because certainly William would never have written it.
We must accept that some interpolations in GR3 are interpolations by Henry Blois into William’s final redacted manuscript as previously discussed. Otherwise, there can be no other alternative but to recognise Saint Patrick at Glastonbury as Scott and Carley have both had to concede.
The stupidity is that, if the St Patrick charter is an obvious fake, why do we lend any credibility to Patrick at Glastonbury; especially if author B’s testimony is only tentative anyway. What has duped our scholars is the thoroughness of both HRB and DA in clever conflation, correlation and corroboration…. the supporting evidence concerning St Benignus is a prime example which makes it all the more convincing.
If we can accept that Henry presented an early edition of an interpolated DA at Rome for his own purposes, we can then admit it was consolidated later by him. An unconcerned consolidating editor would more likely omit contradictory evidence rather than coalesce the whole. If we understand this, we can see that Henry at the later stage is in fact rewriting history for posterity rather than writing it for his previous contemporary agenda.
It transpired that Henry has added later anecdotal and incidental information which provides a credible background to tentative persona at Glastonbury which seemingly coincides or is corroborated by other bogus episodes. A regard for the truth was dispensed with when Henry Blois started the Dunstan rumour when he arrived at Glastonbury or composed the historical Brutus, the Briton pseudo-history for Empress Matilda and Henry Ist.
Chapter 14 of DA
On St Columba.
In 504 AD St Columba came to Glastonbury. Some men say that this saint completed the course of his life there, but whether this is so or whether he returned to his own country I cannot determine.
Saint Columba who lived from 521–597 was an Irish abbot and missionary credited with spreading Christianity in Scotland. He founded the abbey on Iona and Henry attempts to claim him also in a half-hearted way using hearsay, probably because of the Irish provenance and author B’s reference to the Irish. Henry also employs the same affected probity that he uses throughout, to give the appearance that these are William’s words.
Scott is completely duped saying that ‘this chapter ought to be accepted as William’s work because the uncertainty expressed about whether the saint died at Glastonbury is in William’s style, whereas an interpolator would not have introduced the possibility of doubt’. Henry is not only an interpolator but a serial liar and propagandist. On these same grounds of simply trusting the credence of works scholars are still discussing the source book of HRB and worse ‘Geoffrey’ hailing fom Monmouth. Because Geoffrey attests to anything why give it credence when HRB is obviously a constructed false history.
Chapter 15 of DA
On St David the Archbishop.
How highly St David, the great Archbishop of Menevia, esteemed that place, is too well known to need illustration by our account. He verified the antiquity and sanctity of the church through a divine Oracle, for he came thither with seven bishops, of whom he was the chief, in order to dedicate it. But after everything that the service customarily required had been prepared he was indulging himself in sleep on what he thought would be the night pre-ceding the ceremony. He had submerged all his senses in slumber when he saw the Lord Jesus standing beside gently asking him why he had come. Upon his instantly disclosing the reason the Lord restrained him from his purpose by saying that he himself had long ago dedicated that church in honour of his mother and that it would not be seemly to profane the sacrament with human repetition. As he was speaking he seemed to pierce the Saint’s palm with this finger and added that he should take it as a sign that he ought not repeat what the Lord had done beforehand; but because he had been motivated by devotion, not impudence, his punishment would not be prolonged, so that, when he was about to say the words, ‘through him and with him and in him’ in the mass on the following morning, the full vigour of his health would be restored to him. The priest was shaken out of his sleep by these terrors and, just as at the time he grew pale at the ulcerous sore, so later he applauded the truth of the prophecy. But, so that he might not seem to have done nothing, he quickly built another church and dedicated it as his own work.
These words ‘through him and with him and in him’ come in the Canon of the Mass after the Consecration and before the Lord’s Prayer. The corresponding passage in our Prayer Book is: ‘Not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences; through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom and with whom in the unity’ etc. The chapter is designed to substantiate the fact that there was already a church in St David’s era. The life of St David by Rhygyfarch ascribes the foundation of Glastonbury to St David. The only reason this chapter is included in DA by Henry Blois is to stipulate that St David merely tried to ‘consecrate’ an existing church so that Rhygyfarch’s version did not contradict Henry’s bogus apostolic foundation…. or even that by Phagan and Deruvian.
This counters the tradition found in the eleventh century Life of Saint David which states that St David founded twelve monasteries to the praise of God: first, arriving at Glastonbury, he built a church there; then he came to Bath, and there causing deadly water to become salutary with a blessing, he endowed it with perpetual heat, rendering it fit for people to bathe…710
710Rhygyvarch’s Life of St David, A.W. Wade-Evans’s translation1923
Scott’s assumption that William heard this from oral tradition as he was not familiar with Rhygyfarch is irrelevant as it is not William writing. To say that Henry Blois was ignorant of the part played by St David in history would be futile as the base storyline and interaction of Dubricius found in HRB is derived from Rhygyfarch’s Life of David. We can see how the primacy of the fictional Caerleon was subtly transposed onto St David’s so it did not contradict Rhygyfarch’s testimony: Here begins the genealogy of Saint David, archbishop of all Britannia by the grace and predestination of God.
Giraldus Cambrensis also wrote a Life of St. David, but that text is little more than an extract of Rhygyfarch. In fact, all the surviving manuscripts of The Life of Saint David may be traced to Rhygyvarch’s text as their ultimate source. So, Henry was on tricky ground having to find a rationalisation for what was Rhygyfarch’s account of the foundation of Glastonbury.
In any case, whether the bogus miracle story of Christ’s appearance to St. David was included as an apologia to counter balance Henry’s fabrication of an early foundation, by establishing a ‘consecration’ by Christ himself, rather than a foundation by St David, or whether it was primarily included to counter the assertion of Rhygyfarch; both establish the right of primacy to a church pre-existing any Augustinian foundation.
The chapter contradicts the stone building of King Ine in GR1 (William’s genuine position for the stone building) and makes for an early foundation myth. Essentially, it harks to the apostolic foundation of Henry’s first attempt at metropolitan by implying that (through the disciples) Christ Himself was the inspiration for the founding of the ‘Old Church’.
In GR William notes that the place of St David’s burial is uncertain yet in chapter 16 of DA, Henry has inserted an account of how he came to be at Glastonbury. St David has little bearing on Henry’s early agenda and was probably necessarily included as part of Glastonburyana lore to counter Rhygyfarch’s suggestion that Glastonbury had been founded by St David.
Chapter 16 of DA
Of the relics of St David.
This worthy saint of God died in 546 AD. Moreover certain men assert that the relics of this saintly and incomparable man have been placed with those of the blessed St Patrick in the old church, a claim supported and confirmed as beyond doubt by the frequent prayers of the Welsh and many of their stories, in which they openly disclose that Bernard, Bishop of the Ross Valley, has more than once looked for the relics of the saint there, despite the opposition of many, but has not found them. We will append an account of how his relics were translated from the Ross Valley to Glastonbury. In the time of King Edgar a certain lady named Aelswitha acquired them through a kinsman of hers, who was Bishop of the Ross Valley at that time when all the districts had been so devastated and scarcely anyone was to be found there, except a few women, and these in scattered places. And she bought the relics to Glastonbury.
The ‘certain men’ who assert can be understood as the singular Henry Blois placing St David’s relics close to those of the bogus Patrick relics. This may be a later insertion in DA as Henry’s friend Bernard died in 1148 and there would probably be no claim at Glastonbury or reference to Bernard’s search for the grave of St David in Wales until after Henry’s friend Bernard was dead. If the St Patrick tomb had already been planted in the old church at the time author B wrote, author B would not have implied his burial there as ‘tentative’ based on hearsay. It is upon author B’s tentative testimony confusing two Patrick’s that Henry builds the entire fabrication of St Patrick at Glastonbury.
Henry is cognisant of the fact that his friend Bernard had tried to locate the relics of St David without success. ‘Rosina Vallis’ does not appear elsewhere in William of Malmesbury as an alternative to Menevia. We can conclude that Henry visited the Ross valley in 1136 and affects a distance from Bernard (posing as William) by calling him bishop of the Ross valley. Henry Blois also cross references the Vallis Rosina found many times in Rhygyvarch’s text, of the Life of David:
“The land,” say they, “whereon you are, shall be yours forever.” And Bwya gave that day to holy David the whole of Vallis Rosina for a perpetual possession…. To this he answered, “I grieve to have seen smoke rising from Vallis Rosina, which encircled the whole country….
Henry also supplies the bogus translation story by connecting it to Aelswitha in the time of King Edgar. This is written by the man who loves to establish a myth to the glorification of Glastonbury.
Chapter 17 of DA
On the relics translated from Wales to Glastonbury.
Certain religious men from Wales bear witness that, intending a journey to Rome in those days, they brought with them to Glastonbury many bodies of saints and relics which they left behind there when they set out on their journey. This translation occurred in 962 AD, the 420th year after the death of St David.
The myth of St David at Glastonbury is based upon St David’s relics not existing elsewhere in Wales. This fact is made clear to Henry by his friendship with Bernard and should require us to be suspicious of any episode which mentions his name in connection with Glastonbury. Bernard, bishop of St David’s died in 1148, so there may be some possibility that the bogus translation myth was employed in the 1149 request for metropolitan status at Rome, as it could hardly come to light during Bernard’s lifetime if Bernard were looking for relics in Wales.
Chapter 18 of DA
On the sanctity and dignity of the church of Glastonbury.
The church of Glastonbury, therefore, is the oldest of all those that I know in England and hence the epithet applied to it. In it are preserved the bodily remains of many Saints, besides Patrick and the others of whom I spoke above, and there is no part of the church that is without the ashes of the blessed. The stone paved floor, the sides of the altar, the very altar itself, above and within, are filled with the relics close packed. Deservedly indeed is the repository of so many saints said to be a heavenly shrine on Earth. How fortunate, good Lord, are those inhabitants who have been summoned to an upright life by reverence for that place. I cannot believe that any of these can fail of heaven, for their deaths are accompanied by the recommendation and advocacy of such great patrons. There one can observe all over the floor stones, artfully interlaced in the forms of triangles or squares and sealed with lead; I do no harm to religion if I believe in some sacred mystery is contained beneath them. Its age and its multitude of saints have called forth such reverence for the place, that at night scarcely anyone presumes to keep watch there, nor during the day to spit there; let anyone aware of displaying such outcomes and quake with bodily fear. No one has brought a hunting bird within the neighbouring cemetery or lead a horse thither and left again without himself or his possessions being harmed. Within living memory everyone undergoing ordeal by iron or water who has offered a prayer there has, with one exception, rejoiced in his salvation. If anyone sought to place any building nearby which by its shade interfered with the light of the church that building became a ruin. It is quite clear that to the men of that province no oath was holier or more oft repeated than that ‘by the old church’, upon which they did anything rather than perjure themselves, out of fear of sudden retribution. The testimony of many absolutely truthful men throughout the ages upholds the truth, if it be doubtful, of the words we have set down.
The aim of this entire exercise is summed up in the first sentence in proving that William thought the church of Glastonbury was the oldest of all. William supposedly says: In it are preserved the bodily remains of many Saints, besides Patrick and the others of whom I spoke above. In William’s unadulterated Life of Patrick related by William, there is no mention of Patrick at Glastonbury to the end of book 2 from which Leland recycles. It is in the Life of Patrick where Henry Blois, writing as William, states on the final folio, there will be a third book…. which we can only imagine would have dealt with the fable of Patrick’s return.
In all likelihood the third book was never written just like the Estoire des Bretons said to have been written by Gaimar. It may have existed, but if it did, it would have been written by Henry Blois. This of course would lead into the fictitious time in later life when Archbishop Patrick settles as Abbot of Glastonbury. Leland relates that the works he came across were mutilated. Leland states that: ‘I found two at Glastonbury, where the monks say Patrick is buried, though this distich take, unless I am mistaken from the epigrams of Bede, tells a different story’. Leland then goes on to relate information he had found about Patrick which he assumes was written by William, but had in fact been written in DA by Henry Blois.
John of Glastonbury is irrelevant also because his information is derived from HRB and DA. After stating that Constans was formerly a monk at Winchester (the reader knowing why this fable was introduced and by whom) John of Glastonbury goes on to recycle that St Germanus brought Patrick into his intimate circle. Prior to Henry Blois, the Patrick myth was just tentative at Glastonbury, so when we read the bodily remains of many Saints, besides Patrick…. we should realise these are the words of Henry Blois. The sentence which suggests if anyone sought to place any building nearby which by its shade interfered with the light of the church that building became a ruin could refer to the state of disrepair the buildings were in before the arrival of Henry Blois and to my mind suggests that this passage was written before the fire in 1184.
Chapter 19 of DA
On St Paulinus the Bishop.
To return to my theme, the birth of St Patrick in 361 AD preceded the arrival in Britain of the blessed Augustine by 236 years. The traditions of our fathers maintain that the latter’s comrade in preaching, Paulinus, Bishop of Rochester and earlier Archbishop of York, had strengthened the structure of the church, previously made of wattle as we said, with a layer of boards and had covered it from the top down with lead. It was managed with such skill by this celebrated man that the church lost none of its sanctity and its beauty was much increased. And certainly, the more grandly constructed a church is, the more likely it is to entice the dullest minds to prayer and to bend the most stubborn to supplication.
Henry Blois states his theme here, in that, Patrick preceded St Augustine by 236 years and this is the thrust of his argument and the intent behind his propaganda. It is the point of interpolating DA with a St Patrick legend at Glastonbury. It is not in any way coincidental that, the time span by which St Patrick preceded Augustine is a stated 236 years. It clearly points to the fact that it is Canterbury’s primacy, which Henry is trying to show has no basis.
It is also made clear that Augustine’s contemporary Paulinus repaired the church and Paulinus’s name is most likely happened upon because Bede attributes the building of a stone church at Lincoln to him. In other words, Paulinus is randomly chosen to repair a pre-existing church as a known builder (of that era when Augustine arrived) and one whose action provides a proof of antiquity (because the church needed repair). This same Paulinus in Rhygyvarch’s Life of St David is:
One of the bishops, called Paulinus, rises, with whom the pontiff, Saint David, had formerly read, and says, “There is one, made bishop by the Patriarch, who has not yet appeared at our synod….
In effect the chapter is evidential support for Henry’s aim which establishes that the church was old when Augustine and Paulinus came to Britain, which indeed was a fact, as noted in the postscript to the 601 charter, but it also establishes a rationalisation of why the church is no longer in wattle. All contemporaries could see it was wooden and it probably had a lead roof.711
711In Henry Blois’ Perlesvaus (derived from Master Blehis), we hear ‘coincidentally’of the chapel nouvelemant faite, qui mout estoit bele e riche; si estoit covert de plon….
I cannot stress enough how this onslaught of polemic about the previous construction of the church only highlights that the church is wooden at the time Henry Blois wrote; and it is Henry Blois who wishes us to be apprised of the wattle construction…. as it is not an issue in GR1 or VD II.
We should then accept and understand Henry has seen and is in possession of the prophecy of Melkin. How can we think otherwise; especially, when much of the inspirational iconography of the Matière de Bretagne, (which is Henry’s work) is derived from the prophecy.
The Melkin prophecy must have been in existence. Henry Blois was the person who instigated Glastonbury to be Ineswitrin to compensate for a ‘first agenda’ and then subsequently he trans-locate’s Athur’s fictitious Avalon to be located at Glastonbury; so, a reversed Ineswitrin to compensate for his ‘second agenda’ after writing VM where he had decided to locate Avalon at Glastonbury c.1155-7.
There is only one reason Henry Blois persists in letting us know the previous construction of the old church was in wattle. It is to find relevance to match the criteria of cratibus found in the prophecy of Melkin. What in normality would seemingly be a point of such little consequence i.e. the previous constituent composition, construction material or method of build, is repeated far too often to be in any way anecdotal comment, but definitive polemic; as they are in the interpolated sections of GR3 and DA. This is overstated!!
What used to be the construction material which is ‘no longer evident’ as a ‘wattle’ oratori. Author B bears witness the church was in wood in his era; hence the introduction of Paulinus covering it with wood.
Chapter 20 of DA
On the translation of Indract and his comrades.
Some years later the bodies of the martyr Indract and his comrades were translated from their place of martyrdom and buried in that church by Ine, King of the West Saxons, who had received a divine vision. Indract’s body was put in a stone pyramid to the left of the altar, the others were put under the floor in places either carefully chosen or dictated by chance.
These are probably William’s words and follow the description of the church and its sanctity found in chapter 18. There seems to be no propaganda value for Henry…. So, the chapter seems to be slotted in where he thinks appropriate in his new version of Glastonbury’s chronological history.
Chapter 21 of DA
On the relics translated from Northumbria to Glastonbury.
Sometime later when the Danes were attacking Northumbria, Tyccea, an Abbot from those parts, migrating from the north to the West under the cover of peace, retired to Glastonbury where, in his capacity of Abbot, he assumed the role of the church in 754 AD. For many years the north of the country was exposed to the plunder of those pirates while the rest of England suffered no attacks. Naturally, Tyccea brought with him rich sureties from his homeland, namely the relics of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, the bodies of the saints Ceolfrith, Benedict, Eosterwine, Hwaetberht and Selfrith, abbots of Wearmouth, Bede the presbyter, Hebba, Begu, and Boisil, together with the body of Hilda abbess of the monastery once known as Streoneshalh but now called Whitby. These relics were placed above the altar and added greatly to reverence for the place. Moreover, when Tyccea himself bid farewell to life, he received a distinguished burial in the right-hand corner of the greater church near the entrance to the old one. This sepulchre is noted both for its size and for its artistic engraving.
These for the most part are William’s words and follow the previous chapter, but Henry has seen fit to assign to Tyccea the translation of Northern saints which is anachronistic. In GP King Edward carried out the translations. Henry himself was a relic collector and may have been responsible for some relics. However, there is something suspicious about foisting the translations on Tyccea and the story may be contrived so as not to chime with his bogus story of the translation of Dunstan due to the Danish incursion.
If we follow the same rule as above where an occasional name is added by Henry, we can see Bede features. Bede who was an idol of William’s would have been mentioned elsewhere if William of Malmesbury had genuinely known of Bede’s resting place at Glastonbury. Henry has claimed Bede so as to make Glastonbury appear a seat of learning where all who were noted in history seem to have wished to be buried there; or been translated there. The notion that every famous person in British history is buried at Glastonbury is ludicrous. Joseph of Arimathea, St Patrick, St Begninus, St David, Gildas, King Arthur, Bede….nonsense!!! Notice the same ploy in the next chapter in the pretence: I will pass over the ones mentioned before, namely…. and then ‘again’ does the complete opposite by naming them. The seed is planted!
Chapter 22 of DA
On the various relics deposited at Glastonbury.
Since the island of Glastonbury is remarkable in containing the ashes of so many saints beside those mentioned above, it is a pleasure to record the names of a few out of the many whose bodily remains, we do not doubt, for the most part rest there. For to account in detail the relics of saints collected their by Kings and magnates would be to extend this volume immeasurably; besides, they are recorded in the gospel books. I will pass over the ones mentioned before, namely that twelve disciples of St Philip, Phagan and Deruvian and their many disciples, Patrick, Benignus, Indract and his comrades, Gildas the wise, St David of Menevia, and those whom the venerable Tyccea is said to have brought thither. Know that it is reliably said that resting there are St Paulinus, Archbishop of Northumbria, two Innocents translated thither from Bethlehem by pious King Edgar, St Dunstan, our magnificent father on account of whose translation from Canterbury to Glastonbury we subjoin, as well as the bishops of St Aidan and St Besilius, martyred at a tender age; also the relics of St Urban, Pope and martyr, the bones of the martyrs St Anastasius, St Cesarius, St Benignus and St Melanus the bishop. There also rest St Aelflaed the queen and St Aelswitha, the virgin whose flesh and bones are still whole, as those who have seen them attest, and whose hair shirt and holy robe have not rotted. There to are the bones of the Queen St Balthild and the virgin St Mamilla as well as the saints Ursula, Daria, Crisanta, Udilia, Mary, Martha, Lucy, Luceus, Waleburga, Gertrude, and Cecilia. In addition to the saints just mentioned there are innumerable relics of saints, the gifts of Kings, Princes, bishops and other nobleman, some of whose names are recorded in the old books of the church. Many relics too, carried from the Kingdom of Northumbria at the time the Danes were waging war there. Others were brought from Wales, when it was being persecuted, to Glastonbury, as though to a storehouse of saints. And although we do not have complete knowledge of them, they themselves rejoice in their full knowledge and contemplation of God.
This passage naturally follows the previous. It has much that is originally William’s material. However, interspersed are names such as Mary and Martha (perhaps the innocents brought from Bethlehem) amongst a list William no doubt had compiled with the added reminder that Glastonbury history goes right back to the associates of Jesus: For to account in detail the relics of saints collected……. would be to extend this volume immeasurably; besides, they are recorded in the gospel books.
We should note again the cleverness with which Henry often affects a position to seem disinterested in imparting information and yet surreptitiously follows it with the information anyway which plants the seed of propaganda. We see this where he makes a pretence of omitting material about Arthur in DA…. yet goes right ahead and drops the bombshell of where he is buried. Again above: I will pass over the ones mentioned before, namely that 12 disciples of St Philip, Phagan and Deruvian and their many disciples, Patrick, Benignus, Indract and his comrades, Gildas the wise….
Indract is certainly relevant to Glastonbury. The rest are placed in association at Glastonbury entirely due to Henry’s agendas. This chapter would seem to be constructed pre-1158 because it incorporates all the renowned around whom Henry had created an ancient association with Glastonbury. Obviously, Joseph does not feature in Henry’s pre 1155 first agenda which deals with primacy and the case for metropolitan. Joseph, Avalon (at Glastonbury) and Arthur’s burial in Avalon are all part of the post 1158 agenda on his return to England.
Because this passage is peppered with Henry’s fabrications, it is worth noting that the passage about Dunstan’s translation having been included in this chapter along with the others (who are spuriously connected to Glastonbury), lends credence to the position that the Dunstan translation myth was started by Henry Blois. As we concluded when investigating Eadmer’s letter; St Dunstan, our magnificent father on account of whose translation from Canterbury to Glastonbury we subjoin; we know is certainly not William’s position. We can therefore look upon this chapter as a consolidation of Henry’s fabrications interspersed with William’s original words.
Chapter 23 of DA
On the translation of St Dunstan from Canterbury to Glastonbury.
Since we have been talking about other saints, we will append an account of how St Dunstan was translated. In 1012 AD during the reign of the famous King Edmund, called Ironside in his native tongue, the Danes landed on the eastern shores of England and brought all of the territory of Kent under their control. There they deprived many of their proper rank, banished many from their homeland and subjected many to a very cruel death. In this way, by slaughter rapine and burning, they destroyed divine things as much as human ones all the way to the city of London, sparing neither rank nor age nor sex. As a result the venerable Archbishop Aelfheah, not to mention any others, was driven from his seat of high office, had his estates devastated and his possessions seized. Who could tell of the rest without weeping? Alas the sorrow of it! The wicked villains entered the metropolitan church of the English people, and attacked the religious servants of God. It is horrible to tell of it. And they drove all of them from the house of God and destroyed everything by fire.
It came to pass that at that time King Edmund came to Glastonbury. There he spent some time during which he related the complete story of that terrible captivity of Abbot Beorhtred and the brethren of the house, telling them that the church of Canterbury had been burnt and entirely bereft of inhabitants and religion. The Abbot and the whole congregation were saddened at hearing this, as if a sword had pierced the heart of each of them. Among other things, they began to recite the lofty virtues of their distinguished father Dunstan who had, throughout his life, wonderfully honoured Glastonbury by gifts of ample estates and magnificent liberties and, above all, by instituting there the regular life. Deciding to be silent about all except religious matters, they at once fervently entreat the King and beseech his help and advice, that they might transfer the relics of that glorious man to the religious place where, nourished once on the milk of religion, he had attained such great virtues that he had been able to illuminate not only the flock at Glastonbury but all the provinces of England.
Hearing this, the King met their desire with pious goodwill and determined that what they asked of him should be speedily effected. There was no delay; with his wish now granted the Abbot enjoined the undertaking of this mission on four of his fellow monks, specifying that, with the help of some friends, they should hasten to Canterbury, and should transfer the bones of the most holy Dunstan to Glastonbury. His sons received their father’s orders most dutifully and, when they had made all the preparations for the great journey and had been blessed, they flew forth to obey their orders enthusiastically, trusting in the mercy of God and, especially in the power of the saint himself. For these monks had formally clung to the blessed Dunstan while he was alive by performing services in his chapel and had also committed his body to its burial place after his soul had been translated to peaceful rest; they had then remained by the side of his successor St Aelfheah until his martyrdom. For it pleased both these archbishops to have as assistants individuals from the monastic community of Glastonbury, both on account of the unsurpassed love and affection in which they especially held their nursemaid and so that, spurred on by the examples of their immediate attendants, they would not deviate from the life which they had previously been accustomed to live with them in the monastery. The names of those brothers were Sebrithus, Ethelbrithus, Bursius, and Aeldwordus, surnamed Quadrans. When these brothers came to Canterbury they found the place bereft of all its inhabitants, just as they had heard from the King. They went at once to the tomb of that most holy man, which was easily recognised by them because they themselves had placed him in his sepulchre. When they opened it they found the bones of St Dunstan, more precious than gold or Topaz; for his flesh had been destroyed over the long period of time; and gathered them up with fitting reverence, and not without tears. They also recognised the ring that had been placed on the saint’s finger when he had been committed to burial, the one that he was said to have made himself when he was a young man. When they had accomplished everything for which they had come they gave boundless thanks to the one who had made their journey prosperous and returned to Glastonbury, joyfully bringing back with them the most precious relics. With how much delight their return was received by everyone, especially the monks, can be more easily inferred by a sympathetic reader and it can be disclosed by this writer’s skill. This translation was effected in 1012 AD, the second year after the murder of the Archbishop St Aelfheah and the 24th year after St Dunstan’s final sleep.
We have already covered that Eadmer’s letter was in response to the claim put out by rumour that Dunstan’s relics lay at Glastonbury. Much of the above goes way beyond being an apologia…. but should be looked upon as a direct confutation by the man who started the rumour in his youth. This spiel is essentially what should have been in the VD but William had not co-operated with Henry or the monks.
At the time of the dispute there was no written counterclaim. How could there be because it simply is not true. Henry’s polemic here in DA provides a background to a story which was invented by Henry himself when he first arrived in Glastonbury purely to increase alms at a Dunstan grave. At that time time Eadmer opposed the rumour. Now c.1165-68 when all those that remembered it was Henry who started the rumour were dead and while the venerable bishop in late life is writing up his final consolidation of DA he decides to put to rest the issue now Dunstan has a site near the altar.
Note now, that the entire story is now on King Ironside’s word and the bogus escapade now becomes his idea. Eadmer gives a good enough account of why the proposition is ludicrous. Eadmer wrote his letter 1126-29 never mentioning King Ironside as part of the rumour he was rebutting. Henry most probably wrote this rebuttal in DA for no other reason than it was him who concocted the rumour in the first place, forty years ago and now (after his death) few will take up the issue as vehemently as Eadmer had done.
The above spiel would not have been included in DA for Henry’s attempt at metropolitan. It would bring the whole of DA under suspicion as William OF Malmesbury’s’s VD did not mention the translation and all generally accepted Dunstan’s relics at Canterbury. A continuator (Scott’s consolidator) has followed Henry’s lead in constructing the following chapters 24 and 25 out of necessity after the fire in 1184.
The initial rumour may have been a fabrication which, Henry, in later life regretted, as Eadmer’s letter does pointedly accuse the ‘youth’ at Glastonbury and implicates Henry as a fabricator. He was the most renowned youth at Glastonbury at the time. Dunstan was the most renowned son of Glastonbury before Henry went to work fabricating lore for every other famous saint he could possibly conceive might be equated with Glastonbury.
As we can guess, initially the rumour of the translation of Dunstan’s relics was instigated to revitalise the coffers of Glastonbury just after Henry Blois’ arrival. In propaganda terms, for Henry’s ‘first agenda’ at Rome, there is no benefit for proposing Dunstan’s relics lay at Glastonbury (as it was untrue) and we know Eadmer’s letter dates much earlier than 1144. There is no benefit in terms of ‘first agenda’ to counter Osbern’s accusation that Dunstan was the first abbot as this mainly had ramifications on the antiquity of Glastonbury and was the cause of William writing DA. The first agenda was about metropolitan status c.1144 and was the reason GR3 is interpolated along with DA and First Variant gets its upgrade from primary historia to appeal to the church audience at Rome.
The only benefit which can be derived from such a fabricated rumour of the translation of Dunstan’s relics is the attraction of pilgrim’s to Glastonbury’s most famous son at that time. ASC under the year 994AD records the devastation of London by the Danes and the capture and martyrdom of Aelfheah in 1011. Chapter 23 of DA can be looked upon as a reassertion of the bogus claim made by Henry himself in his youth when there is no-one left to contest the issue c.1168-71.
As we know, Henry has a copy of William’s most recent recension GR3 and as we have seen is interpolating into that also, but the chronology in that is not clear. Hence, we can excuse the minor anachronism in the supposed date of translation. Most physical depictions of Henry Blois today stem from a contemporary artwork of Henry Blois with a bishop’s staff holding a ring. I would suggest that it was either St David’s or Dunstan’s ring; fabricated to show that Dunstan had been translated to Glastonbury and now Henry has the ring.
Chapter 24 of DA
How the relics of St Dunstan were hidden under the ground.
When this had been accomplished, the brethren refreshed by God’s bounteous kindness, began a series of discussions to consider how they could commit their treasure to a safer place of confinement, for they feared with some justification, that when the enemy’s fury had been appeased and the church of Canterbury restored to its original state, the Archbishop, who was pre-eminent in authority and power, would demand back the relics that had been taken from him, whereupon the happiness that the monks had felt at their acquisition, would be equalled by their misery at their subsequent loss. The conclusion of their deliberations was a decision that two of their senior brethren, who were more reliable in keeping secrets, should conceal the most holy bones in an undisclosed place and acquaint no one with the knowledge of the secret as long as they lived. Only when faced with imminent death should they point out the place to one of the older and wiser brethren, who would similarly disclose it to someone at the moment of his death, just as had happened to him. In this way it would happen that as time passed and event followed event, the place would remain unknown to all except for one person who would know the truth, until it should please the most high that this light should not be hid under a bushel, but should be placed on a candlestick to give light to all in the house of God. Once the plan had been so conceived the two brothers chosen for the purpose put it into effect. For they did a painting on the inside of a small wooden receptacle, properly prepared for this end, and wrote on the right-hand side S, with an inscription, and on the left D, with an inscription wishing to signify by these letters the name of St Dunstan. They put his remains in the receptacle and concealed it in the larger church beneath a stone cut out for the purpose beside the holy water on the right-hand side of the monk’s entrance, a place of which all the others were quite ignorant. There he lay for 172 years, knowledge of this resting-place being entrusted to one man only at a time in the fashion prescribed.
Chapters 23, 24 and 25 obviously link together in that they cover the disinterment rumour of Dunstan at Canterbury and the translation to Glastonbury legend. Chapter 24 is the apologia for the relic’s subsequent reappearance. This took place conveniently in the year of the Great Fire (1072+172=1184). The implication given by the date is that the relics were ‘miraculously found’ in 1184 and an apologia was constructed to rationalise their fortuitous appearance at such a time when pilgrim funds were much needed to rebuild the abbey.
However, the event of the fire may have been chosen by an interpolator who wrote long after the fire to explain that it was because of that event why the relics were duly unearthed at that date.
There are two scenarios with which we might explain this happening. Given that Henry had buried Arthur and revealed the location of his burial site, he may well be accused of having concocted the painted vessel of St Dunstan. We should not forget that, like Arthur, the translation story was merely a concoction and we know Henry Blois goes to great lengths to substantiate his concoctions. In which case, we may look upon chapter 23 and with the exception of the last sentence of chapter 24, as having been written by Henry.
Chapter 25 is undoubtedly the same late interpolator continuing on from the previous sentence. The case for chapters 23 & 24 having been written by Henry, I base upon the author, who has a full understanding of how he had concocted the story in the first place even naming the dubious abbot responsible for the translation and also Henry’s wish to perpetuate and substantiate his own propaganda.
The other scenario is that a later interpolator has picked up the story and either created a hoax much like Henry de Sully was thought to have done…. or merely recounted the episode at a much later date…. as if it had transpired long ago and used the fire as the reason for the relics being re-discovered.
Chapter 25 of DA
How those relics were discovered.
Time passed and the saint still lay hidden underground until there was a certain monk there named John Canan, mature in years and most wise in mind, who was very well-informed about the ancient regulations of the monastery and into whose keeping knowledge of this secret had in turn been committed, according to the reliable testimony of the brothers. This monk had been assigned guardianship of a certain brother named John of Whatley who was youthful in years and in the monastic life, and whom the elder loved with exceeding fondness for his sunny nature. Urged by his fellows, the young monk used to exhort his master, despite constant rejection, entreating him urgently and sometimes flattering him, to point out to him the spot which contained so great a treasure. Finally the elder was softened by these repeated flattering requests and so one day, when the boy was questioning him in the usual way, he gave vent to these words: ‘my most beloved son, you cannot enter the church and sprinkle yourself with holy water without your clothes touching the stone under which that which you seek lies hidden. But do not press me any more about this; rather consider wisely and in silence what you have heard’. The youth certainly did not cover what he had heard with a curtain of oblivion, while the elder in due course yielded to fate.
After his death what he had said in secret was proclaimed from the rooftops and became common knowledge. Yet although all were perplexed by the ambiguity of his words they languished in complete inactivity and no one applied his hand to a test by which the knot of so great a doubt could have been untied. Sometime later the monastery of Glastonbury was assailed by fire which consumed not only the church and other buildings but its ornaments and treasures; and what is more, the greater part of its relics. It is not our task to describe here the sorrows caused by the fire because it is not our intention to occupy ourselves with these matters. The monks, seeking some solace for their grief, gathered together those few things that the flames had spared especially the relics. Then, troubled about St Dunstan, they recalled what John Canan and after him John of Whatley had said about him, which we related above, and they discussed it among themselves. After a few days had passed two of the brethren, Richard of Taunton and Ralph Toc, who were bolder than the rest in this matter, went with like mind to the place indicated earlier by John. They investigated it thoroughly and discovered the stone of which they had heard. Turning it over they beheld beneath it a wooden receptacle strengthened on all sides by iron bands. Calling the prior and the whole congregation together, they opened it and found therein the most sacred bones of the blessed Dunstan, with his ring on the bone of one of his fingers. And to remove every shred of doubt they saw a painting of him on the inside and S, with an inscription, on the right side of the receptacle and D, with an inscription on the left, representing the name of St Dunstan who had been placed therein. John of Canan’s story was thereby confirmed and the monks cheered by the discovery of these most desirable relics after their earlier distress, took them up joyfully and placed them with fitting reverence and devotion in a shrine suitably covered with gold and silver where they joined the shoulder and arm of St Oswald, King and martyr. The church of Glastonbury may therefore rejoice that it is fortified by the presence of so great a patron, thanks to whose intercessions and merits God continues to perform his great works there, repeatedly restoring life to the dead and health of those with all kinds of illnesses and frequently bringing aid to the foolish in all their perils.
To remove every shred of doubt, seems to imply that a physical object was fabricated to substantiate the bogus relics. The detail of the rediscovery given by the later interpolator is in the tradition started by Henry at the officine de faux, but it is clumsy by comparison. Henry knew that his additions were to be thought of as that which the reliable William had written. This clumbsy attempt ruins Henry’s consistency.
Chapter 26 of DA
On a venerable cross which once spoke.
In the church of Glastonbury there is a certain cross, worthy of their narration and covered in gold and silver, which once spoke or rather, the holy spirit spoke through it, to a monk of that place named Aylsi, in this fashion. When the monks passed by the cross, and it was as though it was by an altar, he did not incline his head with due reverence as the disciple of the rule required of him, although eventually on a certain occasion he did so bow when passing it. At this the cross burst into speech, as if it had the appropriate organs saying: ‘it’s too late now Aylsi, now it’s too late Aylsi’. Shocked by the divine voice he fell immediately to the ground and died.
The reader may remember that in the account of De Inventione Sancte Cruces Nostre, in which we have seen has the hand of Henry Blois à propos de Waltham; it also has a cross which is miraculous in that the head bows to King Harold. The cross was a very powerful symbol and to the superstitious medieval pilgrim, a story of such power and wonderment would bring pilgrims. Henry Blois understood the power of the cross and will have used it to his advantage.
Chapter 27 of DA
On another cross from which the Crown fell.
There is also in that place another very ancient cross which once used to stand in the refectory. Of this it is said that when one day King Edgar and Archbishop Dunstan were sitting at the table in the refectory thoughts contrary to the divine will arose in the Kings heart, at which, marvellous to relate, and image of the Lord attached to the beam of the cross shook its whole body, so that the force of this motion caused its Crown to fall between the King and the Archbishop. The King’s confession made clear what this portended. For when asked by St Dunstan what he had been thinking or what he had been considering doing, the King acknowledged that at that very moment he had been considering transferring the monks to another place and bringing nuns thither. The King was on this account reverently rebuked by the Archbishop, who pointed out that it was contrary to the divine will, and so he withdrew the proposition as an error.
This may well be a polemically designed passage to resist some intention by the bishop of Bath or King Henry II, King Richard or John to replace monks with nuns at Glastonbury abbey.
Chapter 28 of DA
On a wounded cross.
There is a third cross smaller than the others, yet more renowned among the people which, has of old been covered with gold and silver. By a divine miracle a great volume of blood once flowed from this when it was struck by an arrow; how this came about I will not fail to recount elsewhere.
The small cross, which is renowned among the people, may well be the small cross supposedly found with the Holy cross which went to Waltham, which is said to have been left in the church at Montacute. Again, this might well be another bogus story concocted as a pilgrim attractor. How the arrow hit the cross is not explained elsewhere, which may indicate, in whatever concoction the story appeared, it was burnt in the fire.
Chapter 29 of DA
On a certain image of the blessed it Mary.
Also to be found there is an image of the blessed St Mary which was not touched, not even the veil that hung from its head, by the great fire that surrounded the altar and consumed the cloth and all the ornaments on it. Yet because of the fire’s heat blisters, like those on a living man, arose on its face and remained visible for a long time to all who looked, testifying to a divine miracle.
Obviously written after the fire and so could not be connected to William or Henry Blois. Because the lacquer had bubbled and the image of St Mary was saved from the fire, a miracle was made of it.
Chapter 30 of DA
On the altar of St David, commonly called ‘the Sapphire’.
We read in the life of St David, Archbishop of Menevia, that while he was administering in his office of Abbot, to many of the brethren in the monastery of the Ross Valley, that he himself had built, an angel appeared to him one night saying: ‘tomorrow morning you must gird yourself, put on your shoes, and set out for Jerusalem. But you will have companions on your journey, two men from your household well known for their uprightness, Teilo and Padran, who will meet you tomorrow at an agreed place which I will now show you’. Without delay the saint disposed of the useful articles from his small cell, received the benediction from his brethren and, setting out on his journey early in the morning, reached the agreed place where he found the brothers as promised. So they began their journey together, not surrounded proudly with escorts but rich in the unity of their souls, none of them the Lord, none of them a servant. As they approached foreign lands St David was enriched with the gift of tongues so that they would not need an interpreter among the strangers. At last they drew near to the desired place and on the night before their arrival an angel appeared to the patriarch of Jerusalem and said:’ Three Catholic men are approaching from the far west whom you are to receive with joy and courteous hospitality, and consecrate as my bishops’. As a result of this divine vision the patriarch gladly carried out the orders concerning the approaching saints. After he had consecrated them he said to them: ’the power of the Jews prevails over Christians and by confuting us they drive out the faith. Appear before them therefore and preach to them constantly every day so that their vehemence will be checked and will abate when they come to know that the Christian faith has spread to the far West and that its praises are sung at the ends of the earth’. In obedience to his command they devote themselves to preaching and by its success convert the infidels and strengthen the weak. After completing all their tasks they arrange to return home. Thereupon the patriarch enriched the venerable father David with four gifts, namely a consecrated altar on which he used to offer the body of our Lord and which was valued for its innumerable miracles, a remarkable bell, a staff and the tunic of woven gold, all of which are vaunted for the brilliance of their glorious miracles’. ‘But’, said the patriarch, ’because these would be burdensome to you on your journey I will send them to you when you have arrived home’. ’The holy men bid farewell to the patriarch and at length reached their homeland where they awaited the fulfilment of his promise. Eventually they received their gifts brought to them by Angels, David in the monastery called Langemelech and Padam and Teilo in their own monasteries. Hence it is commonly said that those gifts came from heaven.
Since St David wished so precious a treasure to have a most worthy guardian after his death he presented that stone to the church of Glastonbury while he was still alive because he cherished that church with fond love on account of its venerable antiquity and especially on account of the relics of St Patrick and the other saints preserved there, as will most clearly be proven to anybody reading his deeds. Moreover that altar is still displayed in the church of Glastonbury in memory of the saint, preserved not by human diligence but by divine providence which, amid constant storms of change with Kings and Kingdoms rising and falling, the fierce hurricanes of war raging and almost everything else being destroyed, continued to check the greedy hands of those who would have stolen it. The cover in which the blessing David received that stone is still preserved and appropriately honoured in his episcopal see. After this famous stone, hidden in the past for fear of war, had lain concealed for a long time, its whereabouts known to no-one, Henry of blessed memory, the Bishop of Winchester and Abbot of Glastonbury, located it in a doorway of the church of the blessed Mary and adorned it sumptuously with gold, silver and precious stones, as can be seen today.
It is highly unlikely, given the attributes I have uncovered regarding the fabrications of Henry Blois, that a sapphire belonging to St David was genuinely discovered by Henry. In my opinion this was written by Henry, who, as I have posited before, is guilty of including his name as if it were written retrospectively. The account above is closely allied to the storyline of Rhygyvarch’s Life of St David which also names Padam and Teilo. The point which is relevant is that Henry Blois (the arch ‘back dating’ specialist), could have referred to himself as he did earlier in the third person to avoid any suspicion of authorship.
The reason we should consider this possibility is two-fold; firstly, because of his relationship with Bernard bishop of St David’s. It would be simple to donate the skin covering spoken of in Rhygyvarch’s Life of St David which authenticates the bogus find and would be easy corroborative evidence to find at St David’s…. if the skin covering found its way there via Bernard. Secondly, Henry Blois is the only one respected enough to concoct such a find and not be suspected of a manufactured fraud…. and rich enough to have the altar adorned so that it became part of Glastonbury lore.712
712An anonymous manuscript in the British Museum verifies that an altarpiece containing a large sapphire was among the items confiscated by Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries in the mid-16th century. It does not seem too silly to suggest that the gem referred to (which Henry Blois had tried to buy at Waltham for 100 marks) is the stone by which St David’s altar became famous. The gold-leafed wooden portion remains, but the sapphire is missing. It would have been easy enough to cover wood with gold leaf and the spurious find (by Henry himself) puts St David at Glastonbury…. which of course, Henry Blois as the interpolator, is trying to square with Rhygyvarch’s Life of St David. Through Henry’s interpolation, Glastonbury now owns a consecrated altar upon which the patriarch of Jerusalem used to offer the body of our Lord. The implication is that the altar was constructed and after the miraculous find of a sapphire the two were put together which indicated to the gullible that St David had hidden the sapphire and thus, we are allowed to believe this is Rhygyvarch’s association of St David adding to the church. To complete the illusion, we are informed by Henry Blois that St David built the stone church but there was of course an already extant wattle church and therefore there is no contradiction to Rhygyvarch.
Saint David was unrecognized as a saint until he was canonized by Pope Callixtus II in 1123, most probably through the influence of Bishop Bernard. As a friend of Henry Blois’, we find Bernard’s position regarding the metropolitan greatly aided through ‘Geoffrey’ and Henry Blois’ Merlin prophecies concerning St David’s.
Don’t forget, it is highly likely the introduction of St David’s name in DA is to counter Rhygyvarch’s Life of St David which asserts Glastonbury was founded by St David. We can assume by the other references to Rhygyvarch’s Life of St David that Henry Blois has read it and employs certain passages to give a semblance of coinciding reality.
It seems a possibility to suggest that Bernard was given the purported cover which probably was just a random piece of skin manufactured to seem like the cover of the altar which he had found. Henry manufactures the bogus find to coincide with Rhygyvarch’s Life of St David:
When all things are done, they undertake to return to their native land. Then it was that the Patriarch presented father David with four gifts, to wit, a consecrated altar, whereon he was wont to consecrate the Lord’s Body, which, potent in innumerable miracles, has never been seen by men from the death of its pontiff, but covered with skin lies hidden away.
Chapter 31 of DA
On the nobles buried at Glastonbury.
There is much proof of how venerated the church of Glastonbury was even by the nobles of our country and how desirable for burial, that there especially under the protection of the mother of God they might await the day of resurrection, but I omit it from fear of being tedious. I pass over Arthur, famous King of the Britons, buried with his wife in the monks Cemetery between two pyramids, and many other leaders of the Britons, as well as Centwine who lies in one of the pyramids. Also there are tombs of the Kings Edmond the Elder, in the tower to the right, Edmond the Younger, before the high altar, and Edgar, previously in a column before the entrance to the church, but now in a shrine which also boasts the remains of the martyr Vincent. If space be available posterity will not complain that I was told such things in vain. I pass over in silence to the tombs of the bishops Brihtwig and Brihtwold, which richly adorn the northern portico of St John the Baptist, and those of the bishops Lyfing and Sigfrid and the ealdorman Aelfheah, Athelstan, Aethelwine and Aethelnoth, each of whom granted £100 worth of land and many other goods to Glastonbury.
Every commentator seems to believe the mention of Arthur (or some even Avalon) did not appear in DA until after Arthur’s disinterment. The Glastonbury interpolations in GR3 already discussed are polemically aligned with those in DA. They were undoubtedly inserted as part of Henry’s case for metropolitan. Why is it that scholars are so easily duped by Henry Blois’ affectation of probity whilst pretending to be William; and by their naivety, dismiss any possibility of understanding why the body was found where it was.
Henry has no intention of ‘passing over’ Arthur, using the same scheme in GR3 chapter 21:
How sacred was that place, even among the Princes of the land, so that there above all other they preferred, under the protection of the mother of God, to await the resurrection, there is much to show, which, for fear of being tedious, I omit.
But, here in DA (after having planted the bodies in a manufactured grave), he actually stipulates the location where Arthur and his wife (Guinevere) are buried:
but I omit it from fear of being tedious. I pass over Arthur, famous King of the Britons, buried with his wife in the monks Cemetery between two pyramids, and many other leaders of the Britons.
One cannot just create tradition in an instant at Arthur’s unveiling. Henry Blois accomplishes it by foisting his words onto a reliable William of Malmesbury and others in a book about Glastonbury; not forgetting ‘Geoffrey’s’ efforts concerning the synchronicity of a non-descript, non-locational Avalon in HRB, which became an Insula Pomorum (c.1155-58)…. easily identifiable with Glastonbury. Henry uses the same ploy in chapter 22 as we witnessed above with a whole host of names, which are clearly Henry’s concoctions: I will pass over the ones mentioned before, namely that twelve disciples of St Philip, Phagan and Deruvian and their many disciples, Patrick, Benignus, Indract and his comrades, Gildas the wise, St David of Menevia.
If we know the chivalric Arthur is Henry’s concoction in HRB and he feigns to ‘pass over’ him and all the above mentioned (excepting Indract) in their association to Glastonbury; why is that scholars cannot see the affectation of a pretence in skirting over something which Henry is in fact establishing as propaganda to the reader? It is clear he pretends nonchalance, when in fact they are the main characters in his propaganda. The latter half of chapter 31 seemingly splices back into William’s words.
Chapter 32 of DA
On the two pyramids.
If I could elicit the truth I would gladly explain the significance of those pyramids which are a mystery to almost everyone. They are located a few feet from the old church and border on the monk’s cemetery. The taller one, which is nearer to the church, has five stories and is 26 feet high. Although it is almost in ruins, due to its great age it still preserves some memorials of antiquity which can be clearly read, even if not fully understood. For on the highest storey is an image fashioned in the likeness of a bishop and on the second an image displaying regal ostentation and the words Her, Sexi and Blisyer; on the third the names Wemcrest, Bantomp and Winethegn; on the fourth Hate, Wulfred and Eanfled; and on the fifth and lowest story an image and this writing Logwor, Weslicas and Bregden, Swelwes, Hwingendes, Bern. The other pyramid of 18 feet has four stories, on which may be read Hedde, Bregored and Beoruuard. I will not rashly certify what these mean but hesitantly suggest that within those hollow stones are contained the bones of those whose names can be read on the outside. It can certainly be maintained that Logwor is he after whom Lugersbury, now Montacute is named, that Bregden gave his name to Brent Knoll, now Brent Marsh, and that Beorhtwald was abbot after Heamgils. Concerning these and others who may come up, I will speak at greater length later. For now, I will proceed to set down the series of abbots, what was given to each for the use of the monastery and by which King.
We discussed the pyramids under the section on GR and the reason Henry has chosen this space between the pyramids is because they are different from any other grave markers in the Glastonbury cemetery…. and only feet away from the old wooden church. The pyramids which are a mystery to almost everyone are highlighted on purpose. It is ridiculous to pretend to be ignorant of their significance in a graveyard when names of people are on them. What Henry is really trying to do is to highlight the mystery of why the pyramids are there, because between them he has planted the body of the famous King Arthur and his wife. The description of the pyramids and the persons named for the most part seem to emanate from William’s original work.
Chapter 33 of DA
On the Kings, abbots and other founders of the church of Glastonbury, arranged chronologically.
It ought first be mentioned that three pagan Kings gave twelve portions of land to the twelve disciples of Saints Philip and James who came to Britain in 63 AD, whence the name ‘the twelve hides’ still persists. Then saints Phagan and Deruvian who came to Britain and illuminated it with the gift of faith, obtained from King Lucius, who was reborn in Christ through their efforts, confirmation of the island of Avalon and its appurtenances for the twelve brethren established there and the others who should follow them. Their successor after many years was the blessed Patrick who, finding twelve brothers still there leading a sort of eremitic life, instructed them in the communal life and enriched them with many possessions, as we can well believe even if they are unknown to us. His successor was St Benignus. Who he was and what his name was in the native tongue is expressed not inelegantly by the verses which are written as an epitaph on his tomb at Meare:
The bones of father Beonna are disposed within this stone.
He was in ancient times the father of the monks here.
And formerly Patrick’s servant too, perhaps
So say the Irish who call him Beonna.
He was succeeded there by many abbots of the British nation, whose names and deeds, veiled in a cloud of oblivion, have been lost to memory over time. Yet their remains which still rest there reveal that the church was held in the highest veneration by the great men of the British. A painting commemorating events of the past, exhibits the names of three only of those abbots, namely Worgret, Ledemund and Bregored, about whom I will have more to say later.
Henry Blois is a master at his craft, intonating that the Island of Avalon was connected through the twelve hides and the disciples through his fictitiously expanded Lucius from HRB. We may speculate that this chapter was in the edition of DA presented in the 1149 presentation because there is no real consolidation of the lore before chapters 1&2 and those two were definitely the last to be added to DA. Lucius has no place in British history. Avalon is an invention of Henry Blois’ along with the foundation myth of Disciples and Phagan and Deruvian. We are informed by Scott that this chapter is largely a fabrication of a later reviser because it refers to St Philip, Phagan and Deruvian. This is more accurately a chapter written by Henry Blois the creator of Avalon in HRB and the man who has subtly materialised his invention to exist at Glastonbury. We should never lose sight of the part that the island of Ineswitrin in the original form of the prophecy of Melkin has played in this saga, which we have covered already.
St Philip, Phagan and Deruvian are all Henry Blois concoctions. We know St Benignus at Glastonbury is a Blois invention which lent corroborative evidence in establishing St Patrick definitively at Glastonbury, but I do not deny there may have been a Beonna at Meare associated with the other Patrick. It is even possible that there was a painting with the names of Worgret and Bregored on it. However, the mention in this chapter of Worgret and Bregored is probably because their names are on the 601 charter and help to verify that it is genuine to aid Henry’s case…. as we know, the rest of the chapter is comprised of Henry’s propaganda. He is leading toward a further mention of Worgret (about whom I will have more to say later), as he gets to the point where William originally started his DA with the 601 charter.
Chapter 34 of DA
On the illustrious Arthur.
We read in the deeds of the most illustrious King Arthur that at Caerleon one Christmas he distinguished with military honours a most vigorous youth named Ider, the son of King Nuth, and, in order to try him, led him to Frog Mountain, now called Brent Knoll, to do battle with three giants notorious for their wickedness who he had learnt were there. This young soldier had gone on ahead of Arthur and his companions without their knowing it and had boldly attacked the Giants whom he killed in a terrible slaughter. After he had done so, Arthur arrived and finding Ider weak from excessive exertion and helplessly lying in a trance where he had fallen, he and his companions began to lament that the youth was almost dead. So, he returned home unutterably sad, leaving behind the body that he thought was lifeless, until he could send a conveyance there to bring it back. He considered himself responsible for the young man’s death because he had come to his aid too late and so when he returned to Glastonbury, he established 80 monks there for his soul, generously granting them lands and territories for their sustenance as well as gold, silver, chalices and other ecclesiastical ornaments.
Scott remarks that this story, the source of which cannot be determined was obviously interpolated after the purported discovery of Arthur’s remains at Glastonbury.713This is not definitive. Who else but the composer of chivalric Arthur material and (the giant fighting Arthur) would insert this with Arthur returning to Glastonbury.
713John Scott p.197.77
Scholars would have us believe that, at the discovery of the ‘leaden cross’, all and sundry (Glastonbury monks included) were instantly informed and converted to the fact that Glastonbury used to be called the island of Avalon and there had been no preconditioning of this wondrous translocation in the period between 1171-1189-91. How do we explain the supposedly independent Vaus d’Avaron714 of Robert de Boron c.1160-80, Chrétien and Robert’s and Caradoc’s Isle de Voirre…. the Grail’s appearance through Chrétien in the same era…. Perlesvaus’ reference to the church covered in lead, along with Joseph of Abarimacie and the Grail.
714We cannot know if Henry purposefully changed the name Avaron or if it was a later scribal error, but it is a madness to think that Glastonbury converted itself into Avalon and invented Joseph following Robert de Boron. This would imply that Robert de Boron is supposedly responsible for the Grail at Glastonbury. This truly would be a convergent set of fortuitous factors if we are in denial about the Melkin prophecy’s duo fassula being the template for the Grail. We would then have to deny the similarity of a body being found on Avalon just as Arthur was; and the coincidence that Joseph will be found in the future on Ineswitrin. Only a scholar would account the prophecy a fake and ignore the fact that the geometric instructions locate Burgh Island. Until it is accepted that Henry named Avalon in place of Ineswitrin on the prophecy, and the name of Avalon and Arthur’s manufactured gravesite on the island (located ay Glastonbury) are a complete invention…. scholars will be confounded in solving the puzzle of how La Matière de Bretagne evolved from genuine events just after the crucifixion.
Most importantly, King Arthur with Guinevere being buried mentioned in a book written at Avalon. We would have to necessarily ignore Giraldus’ testimony to uphold Scott’s view that all reference to Arthur postdates the exhumation.
Chapter 34 is quite simply an invented story which incorporates the local topography of Brent Knoll and provides an episode which infers another link to Glastonbury for King Arthur; which in turn implies Arthur in deed set up the monastery there. This is such a clever passage by Henry Blois in that it is entirely independent of HRB’s Arthuriana. It associates the same ‘Caerleon’ chivalric Arthur invented by Henry Blois with Glastonbury.
This could not be an association that could be made in HRB at that stage without obviating Henry’s authorship. This of course coincided with the Caradoc kidnap episode which also puts Arthur at Glastonbury. King Arthur ‘returning’ to Glastonbury implies that he came from there; and therefore provides adequate proof by association of Henry’s other goal…. the conversion of Avalon into Glastonbury.
As I have mentioned, the latter chapters of DA from chapter 35 onward are more or less how they existed when Henry received DA from William of Malmesbury. There is one later interpolation in chapter 69, to which, Henry has added regarding Arthur. Chapter 69 is titled: On the possessions of Glastonbury given by English Converts to the faith.
What is vitally important to recognise in this next interpolation in chapter 69 of DA is that it occurs in the section of the book which for the most part remains unadulterated from William’s original composition. Scott sets in bracket’s the following interpolation on Arthur, distinguishing it as an inserted interpolation found in a body of genuine text written by William.
What this actually proves for us is the genuine words of William would have run: Firstly, the King of Devon gave 5 hides of land known as Ineswitrin. What this reveals is that the 601 charter actually existed, as one can determine (as Scott indicates) how William’s words were written originally. Secondly, from this sentence above, we can understand that William had no conception that Ineswitrin was synonymous with Glastonbury as the original words written by William commences the chapter titled: On the possessions of Glastonbury given by the English converts to the faith.715
Therefore, as I have maintained, the etymology that leads us to believe Ineswitrin is synonymous with Glastonbury which is found in the last paragraph of life of Gildas and in chapter 5 of DA titled: on the various names of that Island; is all part of Henry’s propaganda concerning his ‘first agenda’.
As William starts by date in chap 69 with the first donation to Glastonbury (which he does at chapter 35, the start of the original DA), a donation of an ‘estate’ by the King of Devon in the five cassates known to be on Ineswitrin…. we have Henry’s interpolation concerning Arthur’s fictitious donation into the largely untouched part of DA:
Arthur in the time of the Britons gave Brent Marsh and Poweldone with many other lands in the neighbourhood, for the soul of Ider, as has been mentioned above; these lands were fallen upon and taken away by the English when they were pagans but later restored, with many others after their conversion to the faith.716
715Firstly, the argument does not hold because the date of the 601 charter predates the West Saxon take over of the abbey c.670. Secondly, even with Henry’s clever explanation of the change of name and re-donation…. it is impossible to donate an island to a church on which the church stands. Also it is purely logical that if Ineswitrin and five cassates represented the entire Island of Glastonbury (as we are led to believe by the spurious etymologies)…. why are only five cassates being donated if the charter really does apply to the whole Island of Witrin defined by the word Ines. The Island is obviously in Devon and is Burgh Island which has the five cottages on it.
716Interpolation into chapter 69 of DA.
The latter half of the polemic as we saw under the section in GR is part of the vital rationalisation of Henry searching for a way to establish what otherwise is a conundrum. Why, if Ineswitrin was synonymous with Glastonbury would a King of Devon be donating it to itself? The rationalisation is that Ineswitrin was known as Glastonbury in the time of the Britons and was restored to Glastonbury subsequently having been taken from them by the Saxons; i.e. the Saxons then restored to the church what was initially theirs, when they supposedly converted to the faith.
Henry sees the flaw in this argument in GR and in DA in that…. if at this time one King ‘supposedly’ ruled England, what is a King of Devon doing donating an Island to the ‘old church’. Henry Blois therefore, tries his best to explain the contradiction in the next chapter. The obvious solution which we have maintained throughout is that Ineswitrin is Burgh Island in Devon and it was never synonymous with Glastonbury. We can see William’s unadulterated reference to land known as Ineswitrin implies he does not know where it is.
One final observation is that Henry invents a King Nuth and Ider who feature nowhere else and so clearly disarms any suspicious mind into thinking that the account of this King Arthur in DA, which is the same King Arthur as that in HRB (both connected to Caerleon), are supposedly derived from independent sources; and therefore add to the credence of an historical chivalric Arthur.
To everyone’s credulity, through this propaganda in chapter 69, King Arthur ‘returned’ to Glastonbury; so, it would only be natural, if Arthur were buried on Avalon (obviated after the fact of his disinterment), that Glastonbury was always (in its previous guise as Avalon) associated with Arthur. The most pertinent fact is the title to chapter 69 On the possessions of Glastonbury given by the English converts to the faith, where land ‘known’ as Ineswitrin was a ‘possession’ of Glastonbury having originally been written by William.
The chapter 35 and its title which originally commenced the DA before much of the 34 chapters of Henry Blois’ interpolations were added.
We can see below Henry has not changed the original title of chap 35 written by William which originally began the DA.717 If Glastonbury and the ‘old church’ are commensurate’; then as stated in the title below, how can the estate of Ineswitrin be ‘given’ to Glastonbury. It comes back to the fact that one can’t donate oneself to oneself and Ineswitrin is elsewhere. Only a scholar would think it anywhere else but in Devon…. with a king of that area donating it. No ‘estate’ called Ineswitrin would term itself an island (Inis…with only five cottages on it) and the ‘old church’ to which the donation was being donated would not be receiving an ‘estate’ which termed itself an island and pretended to be the same island upon which the old church stood.
Chapter 35 of DA. On the estate of Ineswitrin, given to Glastonbury at the time the English were converted to the faith.
In 601 AD the King of Devon (Domnonie) granted 5 cassates on the estate called Ineswitrin to the old church on the petition Abbot Worgret. ‘I, Bishop Maworn, drew up this deed. I, Worgret, Abbot of the same place set my hand thereto’. The age of the document prevents us knowing who that King was, yet it can be presumed that he was British because he referred to Glastonbury in his native tongue Ineswitrin, which as we know was the British name. But Abbot Worgret, whose name smacks of British barbarism, was succeeded by Ledemund, and he by Bregored. The dates of their reigns are obscure, but their names and ranks can clearly be seen in a painting to be found near the altar in the larger church. Aeorhtwald succeeded Bregored.
(It ought rather be believed that this King was an Englishman because in the time of the Britons there were no provincial Kings, as in the time of the English, but only absolute monarchs and also because, 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 churches before finally restoring the stolen lands and many others at the time of their conversion to the faith.)
In the bracketed passage, as Thompson718 rightly points out, it is written by the same scribe as T, but Scott thinks it a later addition. However, with complete innocence Thompson observes that ‘The writer was presumably thinking of such figures as Arthur and Vortigern’. This is precisely what our interpolative author is making sure we and papal authorities understand. Not for any reason that it might corroborate HRB, but simply squaring Henry’s insistence that Ineswitrin applies to Glastonbury to strengthen the case for antiquity in pursuit of metropolitan status and in corroboration of the 601 charter.
717Logically, if William had been employed to show the antiquity of the Abbey, he is going to start with the most ancient piece of evidence…. which not only was dated, but also showed a church referred to at Glastonbury as already old at that date.
718GR vol ii p.403
The charter was being produced in front of the pope along with DA and GR3 to show that lands previously owned by Glastonbury i.e. Ineswitrin had been seized in Saxon times and reinstated back to Glastonbury. Not for any purpose in gaining lands, but purely to show that this specific charter was proof that Glastonbury existed before the Augustine mission in that…. it already had an existing church, which, as we are directed to understand conveniently in ‘William’s words’ from GR3: Another point is worth notice; how ancient a foundation must be that even then was called old church.
We can understand more clearly why Henry went to such lengths to interpolate William’s work. If he was ever going to free himself of subordination from Archbishop Theobald in the period after he lost the legation, he would have to be a metropolitan bishop. This also clarifies the contradictions between two separate agendas in DA. One aimed at a metropolitan which includes a disciplic foundation, later confirmed by the St Patrick charter. The 601 charter in effect is what convinced pope Lucius II to grant metropolitan status in the first place.
Henry’s friend Bernard at St David’s had been trying most of his life as bishop to gain the same thing based upon what was maintained in Rhygyfarch’s Life of David and this is why Henry tries to help out by predicting a metropolitan in the early Merlin prophecies. Henry employs William of Malmesbury’s works to create a bogus history, but it is not entirely fallacious as Glastonbury’s ‘old church’ did exist before Augustine’s arrival. We know this from the genuine charter when Burgh Island was donated to Glastonbury in 601AD.
Yet Henry Blois is using Glastonbury’s antiquity (and bogus material in HRB about Winchester) to gain metropolitan status for the whole of western England. As we saw previously, when 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,719 Gregory of St Angelo and other friends (as they afterward confessed) to secure a pallium for himself and become archbishop of western England. How Guy of Summa, bishop of Ostia and Gregory of St Angelo compromised Henry we shall not know. What their ‘intrigue’ consisted of and what their role was in helping Henry would shed light on much surrounding Henry’s manipulative intentions.
719On September 23, 1149 Eugenius III consecrated Guido de Summa Bishop of Ostia. He died in 1151. It is more likely that the DA was shown at Rome between these dates with the St Patrick charter (copy). Even though the 601 charter was genuine, like the St Patrick charter, it was given a rationalizing postscript in DA.
The 601 charter could be assumed a fraud until conveniently the Life of Gildas persuades us to misconstrue the 5 cassates of Ineswitrin as part of the same island as Glastonbury. The only other mention of the island of Ineswitrin was in a prophecy about the discovery of Joseph of Arimathea’s body and William would have thought this a ludicrous invention as there was nothing in any charter or previous legend (excepting those of the Cornish) concerning Joseph of Arimathea. Why would there be? There was no legend of Joseph at Glastonbury.
The monastic house to which Ineswitrin was given in 601AD was not a West Saxon house and the island of (Ines) Witrin’s connection and location became lost in time when the church at Glastonbury was taken over. The only residue of the truth was maintained in a weak legend of the Cornish which still bore witness to Joseph’s presence in Britain. The work of Melkin or certainly his prophecy was paid no attention by William of Malmesburyand is the main reason scholars like Carley pronounce on subjects such as the Prophecy of Melkin having no understanding of its meaning. Maybe if he had not been so quick to denounce Melkin and his prophecy, he would not have written such mindless babble about Abbadare saying: he is to be identified with Baybars (in Arabic al-Malik al-Zahir Rukn al-Din Baybars al-Bunduqdari), Sultan of Egypt and Syria, Edward’s formidable adversary during the Ninth Crusade, who had captured the fortress of Safed, Melkin’s ‘Saphat,’ (and with it the Galilee) from the Templars in 1266, and died of poisoning in July 1277, in the year before Edward’s visit to Glastonbury. I have argued elsewhere that Melkin’s reference originated in some satirical lay which had consigned the deceased Baybars and his paladins to one of the alternative Mediterranean, Oriental or Antipodean locations of an Avalon which has here been repatriated, along (uncomprehendingly) with the Sultan, to its British origin. Honestly, as long as I live, I do not think I will read something so mind numbingly isane; and they say I’m mad!!!!
Henry obviously could not include the Melkin prophecy in DA as it would be evident by the commonalities found in it that it was the template for the mythical isle of Avalon in his HRB, the emergent Grail stories and the reappearance of a famous body in the future. But still in 2019 the cabal and Carley still do not recognise that Abbadare is Jesus.
Anyway, Henry had not conceived of Joseph as the founder of Glastonbury and included such propaganda in DA when it was first presented to the pope. The Primary Historia had no mention of Avalon when it was first composed. But, Henry had deemed Avalon for the place where Arthur was last seen in the First Variant and we know by its more high tone and biblical nature…. First Variant was part of Henry’s evidence for the 1144 case which convinced the pope to grant Metropolitan to Henry.
Why scholars believe a supposed scribe (still alive in 1247) decided to include Joseph in DA when Arthur is already a huge attraction at Glastonbury is never clearly defined; especially when Robert and the author of Perlesvaus had made Joseph’s connection with Avalon 70 years previously.
The simple answer is that no late scribe coalesced and formulated the lore concerning Joseph at Glastonbury. Quite simply the only reason the name of Joseph was ever associated with Glastonbury is because Henry Blois possessed the Melkin prophecy. There is just no way any modern scholar will get his/her head around this simple fact because everything else that Crick, Carley et al have taught and believed all of their professional careers concerning our three genres…. crumbles; every thesis about Joseph and the Grail they have put forward becomes void. It is not that their endeavours have been in vain for without the circumspect groundwork of all previous aficionado’s of the three genres discussed here, no comprehensive conclusion could ever be discovered.
Henry Blois’ Joseph in DA becomes insignificant by comparison to Arthur after Arthur’s disinterment and this is the reason for his seeming late appearance in Glastonbury lore. Also, as we saw a reluctance to brandish Joseph lore so blatantly… having acquired him so recently, until time had honoured the myth and the collision of Grail literature and Henry’s other works confirmed the legend.
Scholar’s rationalisations about Joseph’s inclusion into DA are incorrect. As I have explained, Adam would not mention him and Gerald’s interest is only in Arthur. Gerald is not interested in some obvious concoction…inventing a saint to attract pilgrims with no previous tradition. Gerald is a chronicler of his times not a historian. Joseph’s association with Glastonbury is in DA c.1193 when Gerald wrote concerning Arthur’s discovery, but it is not clear to what extent the Perlesvaus had affected Gastonburyana or if continental Joseph d’Arimathie legends had combined with extant lore at Glastonbury so that there was a conscious understanding of Joseph and Grail lore being accepted.
Chrétien has already re- told stories about the Grail and Robert de Boron of Joseph, but more importantly, there is already a book written by Henry Blois at Glastonbury which connects Joseph and Arthur to that place.720
720William A Nitze, Glastonbury and the Holy Grail p.248. “The interesting passages bearing upon this subject have been conclusively discussed by Professor Baist and M. Lot. On more than one occasion the former scholar has expressed the opinion that in the twelfth century Glastonbury witnessed the production of an ecclesiastical Arthur story which was based on the Perceval of Crestien, and which brought the latter romance into relation with the local legend of Joseph of Arimathea and his brethren as founders of Glastonbury Abbey.” This of course is Where Lagorio and Carley take their view from and would be the only explanation, if one does not implicate Henry Blois as the instigator of continental stories…. or accept him as the initial author of the contents of Perlesvaus.
The basis for modern scholar’s conclusions rests upon the assumption that the discovery of Arthur (hence Avalon) is the product of an un-associated and concocted discovery by Henry De Sully. Scholars have not taken into account that where Arthur lay is pointed out in DA, and the possibility it was also told to Henry II by Henry Blois on his deathbed.
All Scholars have followed Nitze’s conclusions and based their assessments on the ‘fact’ (according to Logario) that Joseph does not feature in DA in 1171 (or 1191) and the Melkin prophecy is a fourteenth century fraud. King Henry II visited the dying bishop on August 6th in 1171 after his return to England. Henry Blois predicted that the King would suffer much persecution for what he had allowed to happen to Becket. Two days later Henry Blois died. It is not silly to posit that Henry Blois told the King that an ancient bard had told him where to find King Arthur as the tomb’s location was pointed out in DA, as Giraldus indicates: Indeed, there had been some evidence from the records that the body might be found there. When King Henry II went there after the fire in1184 we know he was shown GR3 and DA which states he is buried there along with the evidence in the colophon of Perlesvaus.
Henry in the end is responsible for chapter one and two of DA, but essentially, if he had included the prophecy of Melkin in DA it would have been too obvious that he was the instigator of the Matter of Britain.
For Henry’s build of the empirical literary structure of the Matter of Britain he had started with HRB which propelled Arthur through the monastic and ecclesiastical system in Latin and then onto the continental stage (through ‘Wace’) and Arthur’s burial place he had already included in DA. He had written the pre-cursor to Perlesvaus which of course mentioned Joseph and Grail lore and then proliferated this new romance grail literature which involved Arthur and Joseph, through his nephew’s and their wives c.1160 and is definitively the originator of Robert’s trilogy as the reader will also conclude in progression.
If Henry wanted to remain the anonymous ghost writer, posing as Master Blihis while introducing Joseph…. he had to be careful. It is Henry who had interpolated the very book which is dedicated to him by William of Malmesbury which also mentions Joseph and in which he is seen to convert Glastonbury into Avalon; it would hardly be a clever act to include the prophecy of Melkin in DA. The Melkin Prophecy would in effect link his name to both the DA and Life of Gildas and their connection to Glastonbury/Avalon and possibly implicate him in authorship of HRB where Avalon is first mentioned. But, even worse, it would link him to Chrétien, Robert and Marie of France and most importantly the Grail and Master Blihis, Blihos-Bliheris etc. These are the main reasons the prophecy of Melkin is not included in DA a book dedicated to him where Henry’s Avalon is established at Glastonbury.
But, thankfully, Henry Blois did not change the contents of the Melkin prophecy one jot because the instructional data in the Prophecy is how we know the cryptic puzzle was designed to lead us to Burgh island. Henry changed the name of the Island from Ineswitrin to Avalon based upon his personal association with Avallon in Burgundy721…. just as he had staged Arthur’s battle in the same region. What is certain is that he had no idea of the Islands location or who Abbadare was. But because the Melkin prophecy pertained to Joseph’s sepulchre Henry changed the name of the island to Avalon so that the prophecy would be thought to coincide with what was written in DA about an early apostolic foundation.
721Chris Barber. Journey to Avalon p.259: to be fair to Geoffrey of Monmouth, he did not bring Glastonbury into his story. He in fact referred to the island where Arthur was taken after the Battle of Camlan as Insula Avallonis. We have already revealed the true identity of the Isle of Avalon as Bardsey Island, so we now know that it certainly was not Glastonbury. This is just one of Hundreds of books about Avalon that misdirects by its conclusions. But, being ‘fair to Geoffrey’ is not the point and an impossibility as there is… and never was a ‘Geoffrey’. Who is Geoffrey and how did his work become associated to Glastonbury; and Glastonbury with Avalon? And Avalon with Joseph and Arthur. If one answers these questions, Bardsey remains the island of Bardsey and Barber’s conclusions are about as helpful as Carley’s but at least Barber got the right country instead of Syria.
To include the Melkin prophecy in DA would be to advertise the inspiration for the Sang Real and the mythical island and betray himself to the world even after his death. Henry could hardly leave the original prophecy with Ineswitrin crossed out and Avalon inserted copied into DA. Therefore, we could only learn of its existence by copy in another work written by Henry Blois which I have posited in Henry’s/Melkin’s De Regis Arthurii rotunda which by its title once one has understood Wace’s Roman De Brut was composed by Henry, could only have been composed by Henry Blois. Hence, the prophecy was merely copied into a work of Melkin’s or the Arthurian round table title which Henry must have written, to be found later with the name of the island changed, just as it came to be recycled in JG’s cronica.
From then on, Joseph also was buried in Avalon in the minds of all and sundry. Henry had the satisfaction in knowing that once Arthur was going to be discovered and the cross was found, Avalon would be established forever at Glastonbury. The DA would confirm the legend and Joseph of Arimathea would establish Glastonbury as a second Rome. Cicero spoke the truth but Henry Blois was his polar opposite where little by little he has decked and painted, till by reason of his embellishment the truth stands hid in the trappings of a tale. The reader must consider that Henry Blois knew the 601 charter was genuine and so was the prophecy, both found together at the same time; both with the name of Ineswitrin on them and Henry through no lack of trying could not locate Ineswitrin. However, he knew that what he had taken from the Melkin prophecy he had transposed as his own icons which were now hidden in his tale and the enigmatic duo fassula became the Grail.
The DA remained with Henry Blois as an only copy for his life except maybe one or two editions in Rome (if he left a copy there). The only reason I posit that as a possibility, is that, If Henry were just carrying out a final consolidation of DA when Joseph material was introduced, it would have been easier to cancel the previous positions resuling from his first Agenda. It is a possibility he smoothed over those positions as witnessed in the present DA because another previous edition was out there.
In DA were transferred interpolations which at two separate periods became relevant to his aims. It is these contradictory standpoints; the apostolic foundation and the Phagan and Deruvian foundation which has steered commentators to conclude different interpolators.
The first two chapters including Joseph material was added last which synthesises all Henry’s differing agendas. Scott envisages some astute reviser before the scribe of our present copy which he terms T or Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.5.33 (724). The manuscript is attributed to Adam of Damerham which continues the history of the monastery down to c.1230, but in the same neat hand is a catalogue of the contents of the abbey’s library and the same scribe has dated the catalogue to 1247. It is from this information that we can determine the MS date. This is in fact the earliest extant manuscript of DA. There are certain interpolations which seem to pertain to the dispute with Wells and others which refer to the abbacy of Henry Blois, some of which have been added since his death in 1171. There are also references to the fire which destroyed the abbey in 1184 which cannot be any part of what William wrote or what Henry left as his own final redaction of DA.
One other factor which may have a bearing on Joseph’s name remaining less well connected to Glastonbury until the fourteenth century is because of material lost in the fire in 1184. Whatever Master Blihis had left behind from which our present Perlesvaus and High History of the Grail are derived, must have survived second hand. There must have been other material which connects for instance Henry’s Arviragus from HRB to material which John of Glastonbury is using which is also lost…. and from which Melkin’s prophecy appears.
These inevitably must have been part of Henry’s authorial edifice which comprises the Matter of Britain. It is plain, that whoever wrote Perlesvaus was already apprised of the story of Chrétien’s Perceval and Robert’s Joseph d’Arimathie and seems to know a lot about Glastonbury. With a name like Master Blehis and Arthur’s connection to Glastonbury and the certainty of Henry having written HRB and the Merlin prophecies, one would have to be blind not to see the dots and connect them and gullible in the extreme not to recognise our Cicero. But as Carley is the main modern day proponent in denial about Melkin and Henry Blois, I refer you to his own biographic statement: ‘There is a disease which attacks most scholars who deal with the history of Glastonbury Abbey, a kind of galloping gullibility. This essay is not, I hope a manifestation of early symptoms of this malady’ I remind the reader that The Melkin prophecy is the most important document witten in the last two thousand years which sole purport is hidden in the name Abbadare. Carley’s ‘Malady’ is evident: he is to be identified with Baybars (in Arabic al-Malik al-Zahir Rukn al-Din Baybars al-Bunduqdari), Sultan of Egypt and Syria, Edward’s formidable adversary during the Ninth Crusade, who had captured the fortress of Safed, Melkin’s ‘Saphat,’ (and with it the Galilee) from the Templars in 1266, and died of poisoning in July 1277, in the year before Edward’s visit to Glastonbury. I have argued elsewhere that Melkin’s reference originated in some satirical lay which had consigned the deceased Baybars and his paladins to one of the alternative Mediterranean, Oriental or Antipodean locations of an Avalon which has here been repatriated, along (uncomprehendingly) with the Sultan, to its British origin. Total Hog!!!!!
In his final days at Winchester between 1165 and 1170 Henry writes the elusive Book of the Grail which may have gone up with the fire, disappeared on the continent, or Henry had used its fictional existence much like he had done with Walter’s book in HRB or Chrétien de Troyes is speaking the truth in le Conte du Graal claiming to be working from a source given to him by Philip count of Flanders Henry Blois’ cousin.
It could be a fiction because it establishes a fictitious source for all Henry’s concoctions and blurs the trail; Glastonbury is not connected to HRB, Joseph is connected to Glastonbury in DA and Perlesvaus but DA connects the same ‘Caerleon’ Arthur from HRB with Glastonbury where HRB avoids mention of Glastonbury. However, Glastonbury is connected to Arthur, Joseph and the Grail on the continent through Robert and Chretien’s Isle de Voirre, which had its origin in Caradoc’s/Henry’s etymological farce.722 The proposition of source books causes ‘brain ache’ as we saw with Gaimar’s epilogue bearing witness to a confusion of possibilities none of which exist as the source for Henry’s HRB.
722Caradoc, Life of Gildas:Glastonia was of old called Ynisgutrin, and is still called so by the British inhabitants. Ynis in the British language is insula in Latin, and gutrin (made of glass).
A complex propaganda invention was carried out by Henry Blois and Joseph material circulated before Henry’s death as he was the instigator of it and it was he who connected Joseph to Glastonbury. The Joseph material only surfaced in his mind to interact with his muses because he was in possession of the Melkin prophecy and this is so important to understand and to my great annoyance our main authority on Melkin’s prophecy cannot see that if it had not existed no Glastonburyalia or Grail literature would exist. It will take years before it is accepted as fact and for the present set of scholars to unlearn the backwardly contrived theses that the likes of Lagorio put forward; for their theories to work they have to say it is a Fake. This very complex subject matter because it has been divided by scholastic discipline has lain unconnected. If one cannot accept Melkin’s prophecy is a real encrypted document one will never find a solution to the Matter of Britain.
It is a bit contrived to assume that a British king Arthur in HRB and Joseph by Cornish legend…. both in Britain, are propagated in France by troubadours and they are the cause of the later legends which took fruition in Britain; especially at Glastonbury.
Glastonburyana merely coincided with the foreign template of Grail lore because it was the abbot of Glastonbury who spread the propaganda on the continent. When ‘Wace’ made Arthuriana accessible to a much wider audience and Henry saw the huge interest on the continent, he then went on to his ‘second agenda’ and through a different format to spread Joseph lore on the continent which ultimately collided with the same lore by the same author which had been percolating at Glastonbury.
If modern scholars really had a cohesive theory and their view was the true order of how events fortuitously transpired; and that there was no substance in reality to Melkin’s puzzle or the legend of Joseph; it would automatically make Kim Yale’s deconstruction of the prophecy a complete coincidence and if one was to break down the possibilities and probabilities involved that the end of one line terminating on a island one would find that the numbers involved when the parameters are obeyed i.e it has to be one hudred and four miles long at a certain angle to another line it has to bifurcate etc.etc. one would find there are more chances of winning the lottery than this document not pointing out Joseph of Arimathea’s gravesiten on Ineswitrin.
As we know…. there is not a single piece of the geometric criteria found to be redundant in the Melkin prophecy, yet scholars prefer to exclude the numerical values and declare Melkin’s prophecy a fake. Ultimately, it would mean a fourteenth century fabricator (as posited by Carley) jumbles up some figures and meaningless icons (supposed to relate to Joseph’s burial at Glastonbury) which coincidentally lead us (geometrically and by instruction to bifurcate a line) to a Devonian Island; which coincidentally, was donated to Glastonbury in 601.
If we are not going to be sedentary in our calculations, we would also consider that Joseph of Arimathea happened to be a tin merchant in Cornish legend i.e. in the old Dumnonia, and a King from that region donates an Island to Glastonbury. This Island then happens to be described by Diodorus as having a tidal causeway and happens to be an island renowned for ‘provending’ tin (two miles from where the cache of ingots/Astragali were found). It would also mean (if we assume the prophecy did not exist) that Father Good took a stab in the dark and happened to posit Montacute as a place where Joseph was buried…. rather than the name of Montacute having been supplied by Melkin as a place on the line to which he had indicated in the prophecy should be constructed to locate the Island.
A remarkable stab in the dark (for our fourteenth century fabricator) since it is not until the modern era the prophecy was decrypted. We should not think of Montacute in any other way than a marker on the line which the prophecy intended us to find, which, again by coincidence is mentioned pertaining to Joseph’s burial.
Now, if we add these random coincidences together with an Island which has a name in ancient ‘British’ which could (by my reckoning) have been derived from ‘White Tin island’ (Ineswitrin) and then connect the 601 charter to Glastonbury, (in which its British name is used and then coincidentally fits Diodorus’ description of Ictis having a tidal causeway); it becomes glaringly obvious that the Island of Ineswitrin is not at Glastonbury.
I see now that since 2010 when nothing existed on the web about Melkin; there is now a Wikipedia page for the prophecy of Melkin which has appeared recently obviously written by modern scholars who have their heads where the sun don’t shine. This new material on the internet postulates the same intransigent nonsense about Melkin’s Prophecy; and surely written by a scholar. The legend may have been partly based on an older narrative of how the discovery of the alleged grave of King Arthur at Glastonbury, in c. 1191, had been foretold by an ancient Welsh bard, mentioned by Gerald of Wales around 1193.
This was obviously written by those believing what Carley has proposed. But if the prophecy is a fake, why try to defend an indefensible position. Why all the fuss about something that could be just dismissed if it really was a fake!!!
Carley will not back track on his position that Joseph must be a late invention. He has chosen to ignore all the evidence put forward here that associates Henry Blois to Geoffrey of Monmouth and the icons in Melkin’s Prophecy being the substantive material in Grail literature.
Crick knows the chivalric Arthur to be an invention; she knows Arthur could not exist on any island as he is a fabricated persona from the mind of ‘Geoffrey’. She does not know who transfered the Burgundian name of a town to become a mystical Island in a book about which she professes to be an expert. She believes the book was written by Geoffrey of Monmouth; fully concedes its historicity is a fabrication and yet never questions the identity of ‘Geoffrey’. She never appears to enquire upon his validity i.e. the three stages of Geoffrey’s appearance as Gaufridus Artur, Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Bishop of Asaph and how it is we only have one recorded instance of a physical presence in front of Theobald. Therefore, she is not in a position to advise on the existence of Joseph of Arimathea’s sepulchre on Ineswitrin. If our experts are inept, to whom do we turn.
Without cross referencing the authorship of HRB with that of Glastonburyana and Grail literature, Crick723 nor Carley nor anyone else is in a position to pronounce upon whether Joseph of Arimathea is buried on Burgh Island without checking the facts first.
723Crick writes a paper on ‘the Marshalling of Antiquity: Glastonbury’s Historical dossier’. This high-sounding revelation starts with: the use to which history was put by the monks of Glastonbury…nurturing a cult of venerability which was spurious in the extreme. Why they felt impelled to do this, what they thought they were doing, and how they tackled their task are questions which underlie the following paper. The only thing spurious regarding Geoffrey of Monmouth or Crick’s knowledge of events at Glastonbury is her expertise. Crick attaches some sort of connection between Arthur being unearthed in 1191 with the state of the abbey at Henry Blois’s arrival. It is a certain fact that Henry Blois had not even thought of making Insula Avallonis commensurate with Glastonbury in 1126: The ultimate explanation for the historical and hagiographical creations of William of Malmesbury and Caradog of Llancarfan probably lies in reduced circumstances in which Henry of Blois found the monastery in the 1120’s when he came to be its abbot.
The beauty of writing this tome is the certainty that the established experts will deny the substance of Melkin’s prophecy and my findings. Even they as ‘experts’ cannot prevent what is ordained and at its appointed time will be uncovered. As Melkin’s prophecy predicts the whole world will come to pay their respects.
While I am on the subject of DA, there are a few more pertinent points to cover which may help elucidate what actually transpired at Glastonbury after Henry died. We have no certainty who our consolidating author of DA was or if there was more than one after Henry until the scribe of T gives us the present oldest manuscript. One interpolator may have been Robert of Winchester who was prior at Glastonbury under Henry while Henry Blois was bishop; who then became abbot of Glastonbury after Henry’s death. Robert of Winchester was concerned with infringements from Wells before the Savaric usurpation.
Two churches, at Pilton and South Brent, the patronage of which was disputed between Wells Cathedral and Glastonbury Abbey fell under the jurisdiction of Wells while Robert was abbot and was the start of friction through Henry de Sully’s abbacy between 1189-1193, when Savaric FitzGeldewin took over as Bishop of Bath and Glastonbury.724
724Adam of Damerham relates that Richard I was captured by the Duke of Austria who gave his captive to the Emperor of Germany. Now, Savaric was a cousin of the Emperor and because of the King’s importunity was suffered to grant Savaric the Bishopric of Bath as well as the abbey of Glastonbury to secure his release from his Savari’s cousin’s chains. Henry de Sully was summoned to Durrenstein and informed of the transition to Savaric and Henry de Sully was elevated to the Bishopric of Worcester instead.
However, there are charters found in GR3 version B and C and DA which must be early concoctions concerned with the infringements of the bishop of Bath and Wells. These charters provide polemical support for dismissing any attempt on behalf of a bishop to set foot inside Glastonbury. It is possible to speculate that these charters may represent an earlier attempt to appropriate Glastonbury from Henry while Henry was at Clugny in exile, but there seem to be no records referencing this while Henry was alive. One must conclude that these are additions to charters directly related to the Savaric affair.
In regard to the later passages after Henry’s death concerning Dunstan we covered in DA, we can observe that the boldness of the assertions in DA concerning Dunstan are much in keeping with the confident un-historically correct assertions made about Patrick, St Benginus, Arthur and Joseph. Henry was a High-born well connected person of immaculate pedigee, with enough confidence to dismiss conventionally held beliefs about Dunstan at Canterbury and with the gall and historical knowledge to propose the concocted account that Dunstan was translated to Glastonbury when Canterbury was set ablaze by the Danes.
Henry Blois did not count on Eadmer contradicting him and realistically he was only able to do that through his insistence that there was a lead tablet in Dunstan’s grave which showed they were the remains of Dunstan at Canterbury. Henry was not going to contest the issue with the lead tablet as the ultimate evidence until 40 years later when he returned to re-iterate and establish his rumour now those contesting it were dead. However, like so many experiences Henry is involved with, we see the shadow of those experiences in his Authorial Edifice known as the Matter of Britain and the ‘Leaden Cross’ found in his manufactured Grave for King Arthur, modelled on the Lead Tablet seen by Eadmer with Dunstan’s remains, became one of the major icons in establishing Avalon at Glastonbury.
So, it is possible to speculate that a later interpolator just after the fire in 1184 uses the premise instigated by Henry for a definitive find by planting a tomb and finding an identifiable and unequivocal Dunstan.725 The only reason to labour this point is that Lagorio followed by Crick and Carley all seem to think that the complex manoeuvrings which brought about the unearthing of Arthur, the apostolic, and Joseph foundation and the creation of Avalon at Glastonbury…. just happened to transpire through the combined efforts of various interpolators. This has to be by design and even the cathedral building masons worked to a design that inevitably when the building was finished the original designer was dead.
725Adam of Damerham says at the same time other saints were dug up such as the bones of St Patrick, St Indract and Adam repeats Henry’s interpolation and confirmation of the story about Dunstan’s translation. This is also another proof that it was Henry who had started the rumour and wrote the account in DA for which Eadmer at the time said there was no written evidence. Naturally, William does not mention the translation of Dunstan because he knows it is a fabrication. So, we can deduce soon after the fire Dunstan’s coffin was fabricated and our consolidator of DA adds his account after the fire. But as I covered this under the section in DA Henry Blois was the instigator of the rumour and confirmed the rumour in writing in DA 40 years later.
Again, Grandsen’s theory that through desperation after the fire, Avalon, Joseph, Arthur, became an integrated body of Glastonbury lore by the simple interpolation of DA which took its cue from continental romance literature. R.S Loomis, after questioning why Avalon came to be identified with Glastonbury, tells us it is not the scheming of an Angevin King or the cupidity of Glastonbury Monks but it all rests on the mistaken logic of a Breton minstrel.726
I fully admit there may well be flaws and mistakes in this thesis, but until scholars admit that the accepted theory is less tenable than mine…. Henry’s authorship of HRB will be denied; Glastonburyana will be accredited as having taken shape by a ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’ and the real Master Blehis will not be associated with the Glastonbury Perlesvaus or the emergence of Grail literature. More importantly than all, the body of Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea will remain fifty feet underground on Burgh Island.727
726Arthurian Literature in the middle ages R.S Loomis p.67
727See Image 5
It is remarkable that the appearance of a continental Grail in our ‘experts’ view, becomes the template for the ‘Glastonbury’ duo fassula found in the prophecy of Melkin and not vice versa. Would it make sense that Glastonbury waits two hundred years to invent a prophecy? Why invent an ‘ecclesiastically more acceptable Grail’ which is now (duo) doubled? It is not clear to what purpose the Grail could possibly be made double if it were a late invention.
Those experts who posit such a theory can find no rationale for Glastonbury’s doubling of a single Grail, simply because it never happened. Robert’s chalice of the last supper or magic vessel and Chrétien’s singular Graal are the product of Henry Blois’ propaganda on the continent derived from himself imagining what the duo fassula might be; but even Henry understood it was intricately connected to Jesus (Abbadare) and wove into his stories tales of a single ‘vessel’. Let it not be misunderstood; both the Glastonbury ‘two Jugs’ and the continental singular Grail were inspired by the duo fassula and its relevance to Jesus…. which, Melkin makes plain exists in Joseph of Arimathea’s sepulchre and is still in it today. If there were any logic to scholars theories and if they were able to recognise Henry Blois is behing the matter of Britain they would then have to admit that the Melkin prophecy was extant in Henry Blois’ day. This is why they are all reticent to cocede any obvious truth; that the theories held by the cabal for the last two hundred years are immutable, the utterings and pronouncements of past sages which shall be referenced reverentially rather than admitting what is blatantly obvious. The endless referencing of predecessors erroneous pronouncements adds credence to their conclusions adding to a body of knowledge built without foundation.
The duo fassula is the (elephant in the room) subtext in the Melkin prophecy after Abbadare is lost in the fog, within which, Melkin hides the real reason for designing his cryptic geometric puzzle. Henry Blois’ in his inventions which constitute Grail literature misunderstood the ‘doubled’ fasciola which in reality pertains to the ‘Turin shroud’ but this again is why I am called mad for following such a proposition. Henry thought the duo fassula pertained to two vessels, but spoke about un Graal as a ‘vessel’ containing what he thought was Jesus’ blood (sang real) as he could not link two vessels to Jesus.
Scholarly opinion naively believes that two hundred years before the advent of a fabricated prophecy, ‘William of Malmesbury had pointed out repeatedly that Wattle was the material of construction of the church at Glastonbury and stated the fact with such frequency in all innocence and with no intent. Why would William of Malmesbury think it necessary to relate to his readers that the church ‘used to be made’ of Wattle? Because henry Blois is the interpolator of Malmesbury’s work and he has the Melkin prophecy in his possession.
Why are such pains taken to erect a bronze plaque which in effect provides the only basis for any understanding of a bemusing (yet supposedly recently invented and randomly mentioned) linea bifurcata? Why was it necessary to mark where the Old Church had existed by specifically mentioning a linea bifurcate if there was no previous lore concerning it? It is because it is specified in the Melkin prophecy and the officine de faux is trying to find commonalities with the prophecy, just as Henry had done earlier with the Wattle while impersonating William. Not even Henry Blois had managed to conceive and design some extraneous lore which would incorporate the use of the linea bifurcate which would help substantiate the existence of Joseph at Glastonbury.
In fourteenth century when John of Glastonbury wrote, all the monks believed the fabricated history which Henry Blois had conjured up about Glastonbury, and further continuators had built upon the foundations of Master Blihis. Henry based his entire edifice of Arthur’s Avalon, Joseph and the Grail on the prophecy of Melkin; ‘not’ vice versa. The linea bifurcata was just another piece of Melkin’s puzzle that monk craft employed so that the linea bifurcata appeared to be marking where the Old Church had stood (the Grail chapel) after the fire. This was supposedly because of its association with Joseph.
It would be a remarkable coincidence that what Henry Blois did not embellish from the prophecy i.e. the linea bifurcata; and was instead invented as a means of marking the ‘Old Church’ relative to Joseph’s supposed sepulchre…. in reality actually geometrically locates Ineswitrin in Devon. Yet we, as common sense observers, can witness this in the geometry. So, not only does the scholastic view have a theory which explains Glastonbury’s Joseph lore as a ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’ but we also have a beyond probable coincidence of geometry which just so happens to employ every numerical criteria and icon provided by Melkin.728 One would be more likely to win the powerball lottery than all that random material be rationalised in geometry and it actually pertain to an Island.
728Carley’s fatuous explanation of the numerical data is at least an attempt to find relevance but my question is: why bother if the prophecy is a fake: Buried there is Abbadare powerful in saphat, who sleeps there with 104,000 among whom was Joseph from across the sea who lies in Linea bifurcate against the south corner of the wattle church built by the thirteen inhabitants of the place.
Now, the layman does not require any specific qualification to understand to which Island location the geometry applies. Converse to the scholastic viewpoint that the geometry is meaningless Mumbo Jumbo and the prophecy has relevance to Muslims and Syria (or whatever other tripe is peddled); for what logical reason would the supposed inventor introduce such meaningless icons such as a linea bifurcata, the numerical values which no interpolator seems to find further use for, or the mystifying sperula…. if indeed the prophecy was intended to convince us of a sepulchre of Joseph in the abbey grounds.
What have these random words and numbers to do with Baybars, Muslims or Syria…. or are we to assume the numerical values have Middle Eastern relevance also? It is an effrontery to common sense that Carley feels he has free licence to pontificate such nonsense. It is a sad fact that Carley’s pontifications are unchallenged by acquiescent deference and that other scholars have respect for his dark utterances as if they were profound truths.
What relevance would the linea bifurcata have to a concocted prophecy? If the prophecy had been concocted, one would think that the monks would have made it simpler to understand and pertain more acutely to the goals of their propaganda. Melkin’s prophecy is the foundation for the Matter of Britain not the ‘matter of Syria’ and it is an encrypted geometrical puzzle. As I have already covered, there was certainly no misunderstanding (even in the fourteenth century) that the ‘bifurcated line’ was understood as directional, yet now Carley et al. muddy the waters even further with their learnèd opinions, reinforcing an erroneous view by supplying a Wikipedia page with false information.
The DA was probably presented to Henry at Winchester just before his brother became King. Once Stephen was enthroned, Henry’s pseudo-history (which was being composed) was put on hold, as affairs of state took up his time. Any plan of a book destined for Matilda was obviously forgotten as Henry had helped his brother to usurp her crown.729 The Anarchy as such had not started, but Henry found himself in Wales suppressing the Welsh, working closely on his brother’s behalf to put down a Welsh rebellion730 while his brother dealt with the Scots in the north. There would of course be no account of Wales in GS (right at the beginning) unless Henry had been there (but alas, from what we would have known of his eyewitness account…. the folios in the GS are missing). Henry Blois advised his brother (after attempting to quell the rebellion in the south) to let the Welsh fight amongst themselves as is implied in GS. It was not until mid 1138 that Henry Blois finished the first rendition of the Primary Historia, which in essence was the initial pseudo-history now followed by the new chivalric Arthuriad after his experiences in Wales. Don’t forget both Gower and Kidwelly are mentioned in DA.
729Yet the material concerning the many Queens of Briton was still left rather than recomposing or changing the chronology and story line of the original Pseudo-History as the back bone of what became the Primary Historia.
730In 1136, the Welsh saw an opportunity to recover the lands lost to the Marcher Lords, who were nobles appointed by the Norman overlords to guard their borders. The Welsh Marches had castles built along its border by William the Conqueror, to control the Welsh. It was this opportunity, when the Welsh saw the Barons squabbling over Stephen’s usurpation of the crown and Robert of Gloucester had been side-lined as well as Matilda; this opportunism sparked the battle of Gower. King Stephen, while Henry Blois was with him with knights from Glastonbury and Winchester, lost 500 men in the battle. This Norman defeat spurred on other Welsh rebellions, in the Great Revolt, including a battle for Kidwelly castle which Henry Blois took by force and subsequently kept the castle; the GS referring to the castle as Lidelea. The Battle of Great Barrow followed again in South Wales and Henry Blois meanwhile was taking in the surrounding countryside and dreaming up the Arthuriad. In fact, it was Gwenllian’s patriotic revolt and death in the battle for Kidwelly castle in the Great Welsh revolt of 1136 where Henry Blois gets his inspiration for the name Guinevere, which he then puts into fable in Caradoc’s life of Gildas and then commissions her story in engraving on the Modena archivolt. As witnessed in the GS, Henry’s advise to his brother was to leave the Welsh to their own devices as they would fight amongst themselves because Henry Blois recognised Stephen had more pressing matters from Matilda and her brother Robert of Gloucester.
There were probably only two copies of the Primary Historia until it was reworked into the First Variant post William of Malmesbury’s death in 1143, to be employed in the 1144 request for metropolitan status. The exemplar of the First Variant (which was owned by Henry) was updated with Prophetic material which dated from 1155. However, there were no dedications to Alexander or mention of Walter in it; yet while Henry was bust replicating the Vulgate historia with updated prophecies he also covered his tracks further by replicating those same updated prophecies in copies of the First Variant. Therefore, in his mind those seditious prophecies had been in the public domain since 1139, but we know the Primary Historia had no such prophecies included and Henry must have substituted his original copy at Bec for an updated version which has confused Crick. Oh, but this would be unimaginable to a scholar, because they don’t even believe ‘Geoffrey’ was seriously under pressure to hide his tracks.
The final Vulgate version post-dates 1155 which has the ‘sixth’ in Ireland prophecy. The arrogant colophon, which is really directed to ‘whomever it may concern’ (but made to look as if it were pointed to three historians), is the final addition to the Vulgate HRB as pressure came upon the work to show that the seditious prophecies were extant even while William of Malmesbury and Caradoc were alive (the presumption is that Caradoc takes up the mantle from Geoffrey). Huntingdon also appealed to in the colophon died in 1157; so, it was safe to ‘appear’ at that stage to be appealing to him also as a contemporary historian aspecially since it was him who first saw the Primary Historia.
This is the genius of the Merlin interpolation into Orderic as this in effect predates the prophecies to Henry Ist time. Henry/’Geoffrey’ was under immense pressure on his return from Clugny. If anyone had suspected that the Merlin prophecies were written by him he may have been put to death for treason by Henry II, because there was no love lost between the two in 1158. Hence the colophon naming historians and especially Orderic’s interpolation which emphatically between both methods i.e. substituting the copy at Bec ‘seem’ to back date the prophecies.
So, any accusation of sedition as people saw the upgraded King numbering emerge, and the Celts were encouraged to rebel in the era of Henry II in the updated prophecies could not be accountable to Henry. What probably sparked this crisis in hiding his authorship was the advent of Ganieda’s prophecies in VM which were so obviously from the period in the Anarchy and thus ‘Geoffrey’s’ work came under scrutiny from people recognising the subtle change in the prophecies.
Henry made it seem as if the whole HRB was written earlier by addressing William of Malmesbury as if he were still alive. It was post 1155 when the majority of copies started to be produced and proliferated on the continent and in insular Britain being understood as an early work obviated by the dedicatees. The original Primary Historia is no longer extant and the few extant First Variant versions were eventually replaced by the more complete Vulgate editions or had updated prophecies added in newer editions. As there were probably only two copies of Primary Historia produced it is not difficult to accept that no copy has survived into the present era except what we can garner from EAW. We also know that between 1147 and 1151 there were only two references to Galfridus’ work, both of them insular and both relying on the evolving First Variant and there were not many copies of this edition made either; but both having provence through Henry’s nephew’s in the north of England.
Since the DA reflects two parts to Henry’s first agendas, both stemming from attempts to obtain metropolitan (the apostolic foundation followed by the Phagan and Deruvian foundation), it is safe to suggest that neither the interpolations which comprise the two attempts at metropolitan were deployed before William’s death or even in the public domain in England. If we can accept that both the early and later foundation myths are the consequence of separate attempts at metropolitan in Henry’s ‘first Agenda’ because Henry had been dismissed as Legate, this indicates that Henry had interpolated DA at an earlier stage (in 1144) and employed it as a genuine work of William’s words. But as I have covered the Joseph material is definitely post 1158.
The second attempt at Metropolitan status probably was accompanied by the St Patrick charter written on gold lettering which was later written into DA. Paragraphs like the postscript to the charter rendered in chapter 9 where ‘Avalon’ is mentioned would not have existed in DA at the papal presentation; but is part of a later consolidation of DA by Henry post 1158. Chapter 22, where basic Phagan and Deruvian lore is introduced may well have been part of the 1144 attempt based upon the first Variant’s reference to Eleutherius, but if an apostolic foundation were posited first then it would be unlikely. Latterly, the Phagan and Deruvian lore expanded upon by their inclusion in the St Patrick Charter.
One pertinent point in this whole affair of the Matter of Britain post Henry’s death is that Henry’s invention of a chivalric Arthur and the outcome of Arthur’s renown in the subsequent disinterment at Glstonbury; outshone Henry’s introduction of Joseph and the Grail.
Therefore, the Joseph tradition fomented at a slower rate becoming legend by the time John of Glastonbury undertakes to consolidate and recycle the various sources including the updated VM colophon and Henry’s De Regis Arthurii rotunda. The essential difference between the HRB Arthuriana and the material about Joseph of Arimathea is that the truth behind the story of Joseph and the Grail, (although fabricated by Henry in romanz) is based in reality. The HRB is a tale situated along historical lines.
That Henry suspected Ineswitrin existed in reality is highlighted by the fact that his hand is somehow connected to the search at Montacute and the coincidental procurement of Looe Island. Henry knew Joseph’s sepulchre existed, but after he had exhausted his search at Montacute he started to look for an Ynis in Dumnonia. Looe island would be the obvious bet with the extant Joseph legend. Cornwall was a wasteland before the invasion and afterward even worse. What does Henry want Looe island for?
The Montacute search for Joseph spawned the fictitious story in De Inventione. As we have mentioned, Montacute was the only other place mentioned in connection with Joseph’s burial by Father Good and since it is a precise marker on the line which Melkin led posterity to construct, the information could only have come from Melkin (or someone who knew the solution to the puzzle); which means the prophecy and the reference to Montacute existed in the time of Henry Blois.
Henry’s search for Ineswitrin almost certainly prompted his acquisition of Looe Island. Henry went to Devon731 in search of an Island based upon the fact that the 601 charter implied the island existed in Dumnonia. Henry knew Devon as he was left by his brother in charge at Exeter after the siege in early 1136 while his brother went after Baldwin. Henry, who we know was in Plympton as an eyewitness to a dawn raid on the castle there even earlier in 1136 was also very close to Ineswitrin at some stage either then or later.
731Both the 601 charter and the Prophecy of Melkin both named Ineswitrin.
If we refer back to Henry Blois’ concoction in both JC and HRB; that is about Salcombe (Salgoem) and ‘Geoffrey’s’ Saltus Geomagog (which like Salcombe is near Totnes as stated), where the Giant is thrown over a cliff by Corineus, being one and the same place…. we may suspect that Henry had ridden up on ‘Bolberry Down’ where he imagined the battle episode with the giant up on the cliffs took place. This cliff top to the west overlooks the Ineswitrin of old, the present day Burgh Island. Obviously he would have got to Plympton by passing south of Brent moor Henry’s archaic Brentigia in the JC prophecies which we shall get to in progression.
William of Malmesbury proposes in DA, with the help of documents at the abbey, to show the line of succession of abbots from antiquity; and, after he has recorded the names and dates of some nineteen English abbots before the year 940, he says: ‘I fancy it will now be clear how far that writer was from the truth who wildly stated that the blessed Dunstan was the first abbot of Glastonbury’.
It is plain that William was certain that Osbern’s accusation that Dunstan was first Abbot of Glastonbury was wrong. In VD 1 William states against Osbern: it is a misuse of learning and leisure to retail falsehoods about the doings of Saints; it shows contempt for reputation, and condemns one to infamy. William now disliked Osbern while taking his bread with the monks at Glastonbury, after earlier praising him; he now disagreed with what he had written and even refuses to refer Osbern by name. This change of opinion could only come about by certainty i.e. the genuineness of the 601 charter.
Just to re-iterate one last time; Henry’s problem was that if a donation had been made to the ‘Old Church’ on the Island of Glastonbury; to which island does the 601 charter apply in reality? Henry found it necessary to contrive that the five cassates donated were local to Glastonbury to avoid any contention or discrepancy as to whether the charter was going to be received as genuine or not. You can’t have a charter for an unknown location when you are proposing it is proof of antiquity.
GR1 has no mention of Ineswitrin as William had written this unadulterated volume before setting eyes on the 601 charter and the island is not mentioned in any other genuine work or saint’s life prior to William finding the 601 charter. We cannot conclude that the charter itself is an invention because it dates to four years after Augustine’s arrival. If it were a fabrication it would surely have ante-dated 597AD. I have shown above it fits in to where William originally referred to it in DA at the start of his proof which is now chapter 34.
One can only surmise the original manuscript of the Melkin prophecy which pertained to the island of Ineswitrin (where Joseph is buried) was found at the same time, as it relates to the same Island in the 601 charter originally, even though the island’s actual location was lost to memory when the Dumnonians might have emigrated to Brittany. When the West Saxons took over Glastonbury and Ine built the stone church the charter had no relevance. The most certain fact that Henry could know is that Ineswitrin was in Devon or Cornwall, the old Dumnonia. Yet some other piece of information existed about Joseph’s burial site which spurred him to search at Montacute.
In the two books on the life of Dunstan written contemporaneously with DA, there is no mention of Ineswitrin. In the Life of Patrick, written before DA, there is no mention of Ineswitrin. Yet, we know the person who concocted the St Patrick charter is one and the same who impersonated Caradoc who gave us the entangled etymology which puts Ineswitrin at Glastonbury. However, it is plain in the chronological sequence that William’s DA originally commenced at 601AD with the Ineswitrin charter which constituted the best (genuine) proof of the antiquity for the abbey. The 601 charter was then added to William of Malmesbury’s GR3 which constitutes chapter 27 & 28.
In GR, the preamble which starts at chapter 19 in GR3: Now, as we have reached the reign of Cenwealh, and the proper place to mention the monastery of Glastonbury, let me then from its birth tell thereof, the rise and progress of that house, so far as I can gather it from the formless mass of the documents, is positioned where it is in GR by William’s genuine inclusion of the 601 charter in his most recent updates to GR after DA had been written and William had left Glastonbury.
The accusation of some sceptics to the genuineness of the 601 charter will be that William did not refer to Ineswitrin in VD II, (written at the same time as DA), but the simple truth is that William recounted a copy of the charter purely to show the date when Ineswitrin was donated. William would never have thought that Ineswitrin was the previous name of Glastonbury because quite simply, it was not. Therefore, it was not mentioned in VD II.
The truth of this statement is indicated in the way the last paragraph of Life of Gildas is added to the main body showing the intention of carrying out the fraudulent etymological trans-location. The final paragraph would only have been added to the bogus work supposedly written by Caradoc, after William’s death in 1143 as William had never contemplated in either GR3 or DA that Ineswitrin was in any way synonymous with Glastonbury.732 The only reason some might think William did think of Ineswitrin as Glastonbury is because of all the propaganda put out by Henry Blois under the name of William of Malmesbury and the belief that Caradoc had actually written the etymological spin in the last paragraph of Life of Gildas.
William, out of favour with the monks, not having delivered what the monks expected, went to Henry at Winchester c.1134.733 Henry gladly accepted the DA and paid William. Henry Blois now had the only copy of DA into which was added the various stages of Henry’s agendas which reflect the legends upon which modern Glastonburyana still bathes itself in myth. By the time the monks at Glastonbury received the DA upon Henry Blois’ death, 30 years had transpired since William’s death. Since William’s sojourn at Glastonbury, most of the elder monks who could have remembered William’s visit were passed on. This is, in effect, how the names of Ineswitrin and Avalon were foisted imperceptibly upon Glastonbury.
732William may have met Caradoc but Caradoc was probably not at Glastonbury and also had died c. 1129. (See chapter 22 on Caradoc). It is most probable that the Life of Gildas was written after Stephen came to the throne and before 1140 which, as we discussed, is determined by the date of construction of the cathedral at Modena which has the kidnap of Guinevere episode engraved upon it.
733The original plan to which William refers in the prologue of DA is to counter Osbern’s accusation which, (without lying about Dunstan’s relics in VD 1&2) he accomplishes by the various proofs in his unadulterated DA, especially by commencing DA with the 601 Charter.
Only 13 years after Henry’s death there was a fire and many who could contradict the sudden appearance of material were in disarray. By the time Henri de Soilly unearthed the much famed King Arthur which Romanz, and the DA, and a Glastonbury Perlesvaus had rumoured to be connected to Avalon…. Glastonbury’s standing as Avalon was corroborated for those who were ignorant of the facts beforehand. Henry’s bogus history of Arthur had been accepted by all, based on the success of his HRB…. and it being accepted as a credible account of history since the ‘Leaden cross’ had now identified Arthur’s relics in Avalon.
Through King Henry II’s influence, as Gerald suggests, Arthur was unearthed at Glastonbury (see appendix 34). We should not forget either, that Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughters were most probably primed in Arthuriana in a direct link through Henry Blois. Eleanor may indeed have something to do with influencing Arthur’s unearthing after King Henry II death through her son Richard. King Henry II died in July 1189 and in September 1189 Richard I of England appointed Henry de Sully Abbot of Glastonbury.
There was no long-standing legend of Joseph except the mention of him in DA and whatever was understood about his connection to Britain…. through Perlesvaus, Joseph d’ Arimathie, the Melkin prophecy and his connection to Avalon (possibly posited in Henry’s/Melkin’s De Regis Arthurii rotunda)…. was made more easily acceptable as the disparate works collided and corroborated each other.
Arthur, the Grail and its heroes searching for the Grail’s elusive presence are connected with Joseph of Arimathea and can only sensibly be understood as their separate stories having been spliced together by Henry Blois originally entwining motifs from Melkin’s prophecy to his work on Arthur, before Chrétien and Robert expanded upon the connection through Master Bihis and Blaise.
Chrétien de Troyes in his unfinished romanz Perceval, le Conte du Graal mentions the Grail before any other raconteur, but Joseph does not feature in the story. Chrétien de Troyes claimed to be working from a source given to him by Philip count of Flanders. Henry’s mother Adela was the daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. Henry and Philip were related and Henry may have given him one variant of a Grail story i.e. Perceval, le Conte du Graal c.1160.
The only reason I mention this here is at this stage Henry had not decided openly to state Joseph’s name because he was developing the lore of Joseph in Avalon and Joseph’s connection to Glastonbury. Henry himself wrote the text that Robert then writes into prose for which Robert is now renowned.
Marie of France was an older maternal half-sister to the future Richard I of England who was the Count of Poitiers (1169–1196) son of Eleanor of Aquitaine (Marie’s mother) and Henry II of England. Wauchier who is Chrétien de Troyes continuator of Percival le conte du Graal refers to what he thinks is the original author by name and calls him ‘Bleheris’ the first time. On the second occasion he states specifically that this Bleheris was of Welsh birth and origin, ‘né et engenuïs en Galles’. Now it would not take a genius to work out who this sounds like; especially with a name like Bleheris and ‘Geoffrey’ pretending to come from Wales.
In plain speak, (unless you are a Grail scholar) Wauchier is saying that Chrétien de Troyes’ poem was originated by Henry Blois. Wauchier says this in connection with a tale being told to a certain, Comte de Poitiers, whose favourite story it was, saying ‘he loved it above all others’, which would infer that it was not the only tale the said ‘Bleheris’ had recounted to the Count.
So, we have a young Richard who is presently le compte de Poitier/pitou c.1170-80 listening to Wauchier who is ‘continuating’ one of Bleheris’s histories which had been told first to Chrétien de Troyes obviously before 1170 (Henry Blois d.1171). Since we know Chrétien de Troyes was at Marie Countess of Champagne’s court c.1165 until he joined Philip I court, we are well within Henry Blois’ life time for Henry to be the first promulgator of Grail stories at Marie’s court. You can advance evidence after evidence but there are supposed scholars like Judy Shoaf who pretend to be better informed and yet she does not even know that Marie of France was married to Henry Blois’ nephew even after ‘blithely prattling on’ saying “we know nothing of Marie of France” while claiming to be an expert on the Lais of Marie.
In a clear situation we have evidence of Henry’s Blois’ nephew’s wife a know propagator of Grail literature at her court with Chrétien de Troyes hearing Percival le conte du Graal from Bleheris. The fact that Marie of France is half sister to Richard hearing Grail literature at Marie’s court (and the count had heard the same story before as it was his favourite); you would need to be in active denial to say Henry did not propagate his Grail literature through the court of Champagne and Marie of France is not Marie of Champagne but I will get to that shortly.
Marie is steeped in Henry Blois’ Arthuriana. Her court after 1164 is one of his main conduits for spreading histoires of Henry Blois’ alter-ego Arthur and the Grail through patronising Chrétien de Troyes. She is married to Henry Blois’ elder brother’s son. Walter Map was there also in Marie’s court and certainly Robert de Boron’s work was contemporaneous but this important trilogy I will treat of later also.
Grail scholars of the past need to re-assess their time lines for the advent of Grail literature as so much credence has been given to the scholastic decree that has existed which dictated that Grail literature which includes Joseph was late; originating in France and trickling back to Glastonbury while busy monks all made it piece together seamlessly in DA before 1247.
Scholars should understand one certainty; One can’t have a Grail or un Graal without having a Melkin prophecy as the template for it. So, we should not rely on a date c.1190 for Robert de Boron’s material because scholars have decreed Joseph Grail literature comes later; after Arthur’s disinterment and the supposed advent of Avalon. This view is no longer tenable on two counts:
1) If you have the Grail which we know is derived as an icon from Melkin’s prophecy; Joseph is as equally possible because he is an icon of Melkin’s prophecy too. Both are contemporaneous in the same document that has inspired Henry Blois’ literary Grail ediface.
2) Robert de Borons work is a direct derivative of Henry’s work if it is not his directly. So, Robert’s work in origin has to have been authored in Henry Blois’ lifetime. Of course, if you are a modern scholar this could not be accepted because the premise that Melkin’s prophecy is a fake is based in ignorance. If you ignore the facts above which clearly show Henry Blois as Bleheris at Marie’s court (in his lifetime) then there will be no solution to the Matter of Britain.
I do know that once you have looked at something one way and built ones own empirically derived theory one can’t wipe the slate of one’s mind. So, until Melkin’s prophecy is accepted as real…. I see no quick advancement in medieval scholarship especially because to ontologically advance any of scholarships unfounded theories one has to understand that Geoffrey of Monmouth is not a real person. If our highest authority on the subject i.e. Julia Crick, does not accept this fact and we know how the arcane cabal of scholarship can only receive its utterances from mentor to pupil and therefore is the seal of membership in the honor bestowed from mentor to pupil. So, it is immensely difficult to break this cycle because the very dissertation one writes to claim the honor bestowed from the mentor obviously has to be agreed with by the mentor or you don’t enter the hallowed club. This why the matter of Britain could never be solved until Kim Yale solved Melkin’s prophecy. No scholar previously could countenance a theory because the great professor Carley had proclaimed the Melkin prophecy was a fake and had written dark utterings on the subject of Melkin’s prophecy where one would have to be steeped in muslim history about Baybars in Arabic al-Malik al-Zahir Rukn al-Din Baybars al-Bunduqdari and the Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and the fortress of Safed, and the deceased Baybars and Antipodean locations of an Avalon which has been repatriated, along with the Sultan, to its British origin and its no wonder such lofty announcements came from a ‘distinguished research professor’ B.A. (Victoria); M.A. (Dalhousie); Ph.D. (Toronto) who has taught students this stuff at Oberlin College, the University of Rochester and York University, Toronto because he is an Associate Fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, and an Honorary Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Its just insane!!!!
Anyway, about the same time that Robert de Boron states openly Joseph’s connection to the Grail, Robert de Boron has a full understanding of Merlin, Arthur and Joseph lore and the Grail’s connection to Avalon; too many points in Robert’s Trilogy are brought together that it could only be Henry Blois as the originator of this material. So, where the scholastic world is proposing that Monks are fitting the pieces together back at Glastonbury after 1189-91, Henry Blois the Architect of this whole Grail edifice is putting it together in verse what is now accountable as Roberts own work c.1165-1170 in prose ……25 years before scholars have been able to allow in their backwardly contrived theory.
Chrétien de Troyes has Joseph in the guise of ‘Le Roi pêcheur’ or the fisher king in this early unfinished rendition of Perceval, le Conte du Graal. By my reckoning the Joseph attachment to Glastonbury was forseen as a potential problem by Henry in traceability; so, Le Roi pêcheur’ was introduced as he was not so connected as Joseph was to the Grail simply connected in terms of tracability through the Melkin prophecy, but the fisher king was either Jesus or Joseph.
It could be the case that at this stage Henry has Joseph in mind as the ‘King of the apostles’ strangely outranking the Peter upon whom the edifice of the pope is built. The first apostles were fishers as Jesus had sent them out into the world to be fishers of men. (Mt 4, 19; Mk 1,17). Again, I only mention this here to open the possibility that Henry did believe that Joseph had arrived in Britain as an apostle and termed him King of the fishers of Men or ‘Le Roi pêcheur’ at an earlier stage.
The fact that King Arthur’s round table is in Perceval, le Conte du Graal at this early date should make those scholars who might be reluctant to connect the Winchester table to Henry Blois through ‘Wace’, at least try to make the connection that Master Blehis is Henry Blois. His relationship to Chrétien de Troyes is through Marie of France. It was the same Bleheris who, according to Wauchier, (Chrétien de Troyes continuator of le Conte du Graal) had ‘told tales concerning Gawain and Arthur’s court’.
Gawain also features in le Conte du Graal. This same Master Blihis, ‘who knew the Grail mystery’, and gave solemn counselling about its revelation in The high History of the Grail is said to be the same person who wrote the ‘book of the Grail’ from which Chrétien de Troyes is sourcing his material given him by Philip Ist. This would be the same Blihos-Bliheris, ‘who knew the Grail, and many other tales’; the Bréri, ‘who knew all the legendary tales concerning the princes of Britain’; and the famous story-teller Bledhericus.
Now if Arthur’s round table turns up where the Bishop of Winchester resides; is it too much of a stretch to assume Henry Blois commissioned it considering we have not come across too many credible theories to date. It just so happens that around the round table there is a knight called Caradoc, the same Caradoc on the Modena Archivolt in 1140 that Henry Blois commissioned and this same Caradoc features in his own romance called the life of Caradoc included in the first continuation of Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval, le Conte du Graal c.1170-80.
I do not wish to labour the point that Henry is directly involved with the proliferation of Grail literature, but one point here should be made concerning the undoubted connectedness of Geoffrey’s work, Chrétien’s work, the Modena archivolt commissioned by Henry and the Life of Cadoc;
We know that Henry Blois has authored his Life of Gildas c.1139 based on the template set out in the life of Cadoc. The Modena Archivolt engravings were fabricated c.1140. ‘Geoffrey’s’ Primary Historia is dated to 1138-9. So, if we just take two people as an example i.e. Cai and Bedwyr, we can see their provenance to Henry Blois’s muses. Cai and Bedwyr and their relation to Warlord Arthur predates all Henry Blois’ authorship; i.e. anything Henry has included them in by way of his muses.
So, Henry reads the life of Cadoc and witnesses Cai and Bedwyr’ relation to Arthur: three vigorous champions, Arthur with his two knights, to wit, Cai and Bedwyr, were sitting on the top of the aforesaid hill playing with dice.
Henry then composes the Life of Gildas where obviously he does not include Cai and Bedwyr because it would be too evident that he has based his concoction of Life of Gildas by mirroring the Life of Cadoc; but Henry achieves his agenda in writing Life of Gildas as we have discussed already. Cai and Bedwyr are in ‘Geoffrey’s’ work. They also feature on the Modena Archivolt where Burmaltus is confederate with Arthur and synonymous with Bedwir; Che is obviously Cai in the engraving, and Sir Kay is synonymous with Cai in Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval, le Conte du Graal. We have a clear picture of connection from supposedly disparate sources and we know the source is Henry Blois.
Henry’s source for Arthur originated from his reading of the Life of Cadoc and other material he had come across while researching his pseudo historia before the advent of Primary Historia. The main source to Henry Blois’ muses for all his Grail literature was the prophecy of Melkin, but he started to mix Arthur material from HRB with Joseph material and thus the Grail ledgends.
Henry Blois just needed to understand where the Island on which Joseph was buried was located so that he could discover what was inside the tomb; as he knew by his own invention of the Grail in the form he presented it, there is some unknown association of the Grail to Jesus i.e. the ‘duo fassula’ in the Melkin prophecy was something to do with Jesus.
If there was no body of Christ or tomb to be found anywhere; did Henry consider that maybe Joseph had brought Jesus here to Britain after the crucifixion even if he could not decipher the obtuse Latin in the Melkin prophecy. Again, the only reason I posit this is because the Fisher king’s castle in Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval, le Conte du Graal was called ‘Corbenic’, which comes from coir benoit, or in today’s French ‘corps béni’ which is representing the body of Christ as the ‘blessed body’. It is not a step too far considering Robert’s vaus d’avaron is so obviously the vales of Avalon; that we could even think that per-ce-val is a tongue in cheek.
Anyway, with an already extant Glastonbury Perlesvaus and with the advent of Henry’s Grail literature in France, it did not take the monks at Glastonbury (before and just after the fire) very long to deduce that their Melkin prophecy (that’s if you do not believe that JG invented it) and the Vaus d’Avaron of Robert de Boron’s Grail literature, both gave account of Joseph, who by Henry Blois’ hand now had his sepulchre at Avalon.
But, also in DA Joseph’s name was present in the first two chapters and Glastonbury was already known as Avalon to those in the monastery and this knowledge had percolated out since Henry had died. Robert de Boron’s mystical ‘vessel’ went to the Vaus d’Avaron because Henry is linked to those scripts directly which we will get to shortly.
What Lagorio sees as ‘a fortuitous convergence of factors’ was blatantly by design. With the advent of Henry’s Grail material, it would not take very long for someone to figure out that the duo fassula (from the Melkin prophecy) was the template for the Grail; especially since it was associated with Joseph…. and all of this emanated from Glastonbury/Avalon and through Henry spreading his romanz material on the continent through Master Blehis.
It is no wonder Henry did not include the prophecy in DA. Instead of the conventional theory about the advent of material concerningJoseph at Glastonbury deriving from the continent in the thirteenth century, it must be accepted that Joseph’s name was in DA at Henry’s death. But, given that it was Henry Blois who attached the spurious name of his invented Avalon to a genuine geometrical guide to a tomb, it could only be Henry Blois who included and coalesced the Joseph lore in the first two chapters of DA.
The Grail material was planted in continental soil until Grail material met with its insular forebear which were the germs of Glastonburyana in DA, De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda, and the Glastonbury Perlesvaus, in the years following Henry’s death.
William of Malmesbury’s Enquiry into the Antiquity of the Church of Glastonbury is a work which many commentators have accused him of putting together carelessly. He is often accused of a piece of work which flatters the vanity of the Glastonbury monks because of some of the beneficial lore posited in both GR3 and DA. The accusation from commentators on DA is that William had for a time taken up his abode in their house and therefore compromised himself by recording puerile history while he ate their bread. This is unfair, because he maintained his integrity as an historian. This can be understood from the prologue of DA.
The denunciation of William is furthered by the discovery of a tenth-century list of the English abbots of Glastonbury, which cannot be reconciled with William’s list in the DA. In chapter 71 we should understand that the first two named abbots St Patrick and St Benignus are Henry inventions and certainly do not cover the period until William names Worgret, the abbot named on the 601 AD charter.
Eadmer, who also wrote a Life of Dunstan, based mostly on author B’s work, had accused Glastonbury of having no written evidence of Dunstan’s interment at Glastonbury where William had not provided any proof in his VD, so a suitable story of translation in the time of the Danish invasion was produced in DA. It is not the work of William; otherwise the translation would have been in William’s VD 1 & II. This shows William kept his integrity and the DA account is partially by Henry followed by a further interpolator.
The First Variant HRB (modelled on the Primary Historia) was written at Winchester and hence Pagan and Duvian’s first appearance in HRB as named individuals: Unto Coillas born one single son whose name was Lucius, who, upon the death of his father, had succeeded to the crown of the Kingdom, and did so closely imitate to his father in all good works that he was held by all to be another Coill. Natheless, being minded that his ending should surpass his beginning, he despatched his letters unto Pope Eleutherius beseeching that from him he might receive Christianity. For the miracles that were wrought by the young recruits of Christ’s army in divers lands had lifted all clouds from his mind, and panting with love of the true faith, his pious petition was allowed to take effect, forasmuch as the blessed Pontiff, finding that his devotion was such, sent unto him two most religious doctors, Pagan and Duvian, who, preaching unto him the Incarnation of the Word of God, did wash him in holy baptism and converted him unto Christ.734
734HRB, IV. xix
The first mention of Lucius and his letter to Eleutherius is in the Catalogus Felicianus, a version of the Liber Pontificalis created in the 6th century. The Liber Pontificalis, says that Lucius as King sent a letter to Pope Eleutherius to be made a Christian. The story became widespread after it was repeated in the 8th century by Bede and is found in ASC, but Collingwood and Myers belief is correct in saying that the myth is derived from a misreading of the Liber Pontificalis.
They state that this belief rests on an error in the Liber Pontificalis confusing the name of Britain and Britium in Mesopotamia. The main point to consider, mistake or not, is that ‘Geoffrey’ believed Bede and thus went onto name Eleutherius’s envoys as Phagan and Deruvian. This is vital to the understanding of how ‘Geoffrey’ capitalized on Bede’s mistake and ultimately is responsible for the connection of Phagan and Deruvian to Eleutherius which at no time existed in reality. The King Lucius as presented in HRB is entirely fictitious.
Nennius also has the same episode, also derived from Bede: After the birth of Christ, one hundred and sixty-seven years, King Lucius, with all the chiefs of the British people, received baptism, in consequence of a legation sent by the Roman emperors and pope Evaristus.A marginal note in the Arundel MS. adds, “He is wrong, because the first year of Evaristus was A.D. 79, whereas the first year of Eleutherius, whom he ought to have named, was A.D. 161.”
Bede’s mistake was not purposeful, yet chroniclers followed the mistake until Henry designs a myth around it for his own ends. Commentators seeing so many loose ends have had to accept the occurrence as credible history. This position has been augmented and made easier to maintain by the obvious presence of an early insular Celtic church. It is for this reason we should believe Joseph of Arimathea’s relics lie in Dumnonia.
Rudborne, while writing his Historia Major on the Old Minster at Winchester, compiled from the old annals, would doubtfully suggest Phagan and Deruvian’s names in connection with the consecration of the old Minster, had he not seen their names there in connection with its foundation. Henry had originally included their names in HRB so that it might be later discovered that they were the founders of Winchester and thus it would be an added boon to his request to make Winchester a metropolitan (especially if the St Patrick charter was proffered as evidence in 1149 on which their names were seen) and their names were also found in First Variant. Don’t forget at this stage no-one knew anything about the author of Primary Historia or First Variant…. no trail of ‘Geoffrey’s’ existence had been laid.
It should not be forgotten the interpolations of DA as Henry left it and more importantly, the construction of the First Variant (in which Phagan and Deruvian were added) was written at Winchester. We hear in DA that: at the bidding of Eleutherius, therefore, two very holy men, the preachers Phagan and Deruvian’s came to Britain, as the Charter of St. Patrick and the Deeds of the Britons735attest. Proclaiming the word of life, they cleansed the King and his people at the sacred font in 166 AD. They then travelled through the realm of Britain preaching and baptising until, penetrating like Moses the lawgiver into the very heart of the wilderness, they came to the island of Avalon where, with God’s guidance, they found an old church built by the hands of the Disciples of Christ….
735In the VM we find the same reference by ‘Geoffrey’ to his own HRB: Therefore, ye Britons, give a wreath to Geoffrey of Monmouth. He is indeed yours for once he sang of your battles and those of your chiefs, and he wrote a book called “The Deeds of the Britons”
It is not by coincidence that both the authorities appealed to i.e. the Charter of St Patrick and The Deeds of the Britons (HRB) were both authored by Henry Blois. In the last line of VM, Henry actually refers to his HRB as Gesta Britonum rather than the History of the kings of Britain. Huntingdon also referred to Galfridus’ work as the Gesta Britonum in EAW, so in effect the Primary Historia found at Bec was titled Gesta Britonum also. Somewhere in the time from 1138-1155 ‘Galfridus became ‘Geoffrey’ and his book became titled the History of the Kings of Britain.
The DA then continues….So when Saints Phagan and Deruvian discovered that Oratory… the point of this is to establish that in Phagan and Deruvian’s era an ‘Oratori’ existed. In any reference prior to DA or St Patrick’s charter, any allusion to the ecclesiastical house at Glastonbury was a church or old Church and we can see the reasoning behind DA’s use of the word interchangeably with ‘old Church’ is to coincide with the Oratori of Melkin’s prophecy…. and this is possibly why the oratory on the ‘tor’ is implied. We know William in his own words refers to the church as antiquae aecclesiae in his VD and when William recycles the 601 charter he copy’s ecclesiam vetustam; so, therefore I deduce the word Oratori is employed for a parallel with the Melkin Prophecy and with all the interpolations referring to the construction method repeated all to frequently the word Oratori is employed and again by the monks trying to create lore by finding a bifurcated line relative to the Oratori all by design in an attempt to fine relevance to the Oratori in the Melkin Prophecy.
In the same section in DA entitled: How the Saints Phagan and Deruvian converted the Britons to the faith and came to the island of Avalon.
The DA continues:
they loved that place before all others and, in memory of the first twelve, chose twelve of their own companions whom with the consent of King Lucius, they established on that Island. These twelve stayed there in separate dwellings, like anchorites, in the very places which the first twelve had originally inhabited. Yet they used to gather together frequently in the old church in order to celebrate divine worship more devoutly. Just as the three pagan Kings had formally granted the island with its appurtenances to the first twelve disciples of Christ, so Phagan and Deruvian obtained confirmation of the same from King Lucius this for their twelve companions and the others who should follow them in the future. Thus, many successors always in twelves, dwelt on that island throughout the course of many years until the arrival of St Patrick, the apostle of the Irish. To the church that they found there these holy neophytes added another oratory made of stone, which they dedicated to Christ and the holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
So, it was by the work of these men that the old church of St Mary at Glastonbury was restored, as trustworthy history has continued to repeat throughout the succeeding ages. There are also letters worthy of belief to be found at St Edmunds to this effect: ‘the hands of other men did not make the church at Glastonbury, but the very disciples of Christ, namely those sent by St Philip the apostle built it’. Nor is this inconsistent with the truth, as was set down before, because if the apostle Philip preached to the Gauls, as Freculph says in chapter four of his second book, it can be believed that he also cast the seeds of the Word across the ocean.
Whether or not such letters existed is not in question as William makes the point in VD1736 about a pre-existence to Dunstan’s abbacy countering Osbern’s position in saying: But how great the store Edmund set by Glastonbury from that day on is too well-known to require my narration to publish it abroad.
736Life of Dunstan I, 15.5, William of Malmesbury’s Saints Lives, Winterbottom and Thompson.
As we have covered it was stated by author B: the first neophytes of Catholic law discovered an ancient church, built by no human skill as though prepared by heaven for the salvation of mankind.
So, William’s reference to a well-known tradition in VD1 regarding Edmund and Glastonbury are now in DA, letters existing at St Edmund’s whereby proof is to be found that what was probably some reference to author B’s wording is now twisted from built by no human skill to…… the very disciples of Christ, namely those sent by St Philip the apostle built it’. We can now see how Henry distorts the facts from seeming references made by William, from tentative positions to positively polemically motivated statements.
This is an object example of how Henry devises his craft. Supposedly, if William had reasoned in GR3 that if the apostle Philip preached to the Gauls, as Freculph says, it can be believed that he also cast the seeds of the Word across the channel. This does not mention Joseph, but the ninth century bishop of Lisieux had also written that St Philip sent a mission from Gaul to England ‘to bring thither the good news of the world of life and to preach the incarnation of Jesus Christ’.
This too is based on Freculphus’ history. But it is Dunstan’s biographer author B who recorded his belief that the earliest church at Glastonbury had not been built by men but had been fashioned in heaven. As is evident from above; the church which had not been built by men is now built by the very disciples of Christ and there is only one disciple which Henry has in mind when he adds the single word ‘restaurata’ and makes Phagan and Deruvian the restorers, (not the builders), of the Old Church as this implies Joseph as founder which connects back to his first disciplic agenda in 1144 where Joseph is obviously not named.
Henry’s agenda had shifted from an earlier proof of antiquity through the disciples posited by his interpolations in William’s GR3 and DA to the later charter of St Patrick which involved Phagan and Deruvian through William’s reference to Eleutherius. The two earlier polemics are consolidated in chapters 1 & 2 of DA to highlight Joseph’s foundation which is part of Henry’s post 1158 ‘second agenda’. The outcome is that the church is established by the actual disciples of Christ through ‘William’s’ words and it is no longer a matter of opinion but fact…. that in 167AD a church existed as witnessed in DA.
Another consideration is the cult of St Mary at Glastonbury. Both ‘Geoffrey’ and Nennius before him claimed that Arthur had gone into battle with an image of the Virgin on his shield, ‘which forced him to think perpetually of her’. Melkin’s adorandam virginem is I believe the main cause for this sudden arising of the Marian cult in the time of Henry Blois. It is not without coincidence that in the third chapter of DA it is claimed that during Blois’ time as abbot, one of his monks visited the abbey of St Denis in the Ile-de-France where he was reportedly asked if Glastonbury’s ‘ancient church of the perpetual Virgin and compassionate mother’ was still standing; to which the monk replied ‘it is’. This is another piece of Henry’s guile, as he is the instigator of this passage and clearly shows that he knew the impact that the DA would have after his death.
I suggest, it is the Melkin allusion of Virginem adorandam which fixes the St Mary cult at Glastonbury and it was just fortuitous that Nennius had such an applicable anecdote which could coalesce both Arthurian and Joseph legends to the Old Church. It was probably Henry who commissioned a statue of the Virgin for the Old Church as an image of ‘Our Lady’ is first mentioned during his abbacy when Henry provided funds to keep a candle ‘perpetually burning’ before the image.
It was Henry who fostered devotion to the Virgin by presenting his abbey with a number of St Mary relics i.e. ‘some of blessed Mary’s milk and some of her hair and part of her sepulchre’. Also fragments of the very garments of that same blessed Mother of God. It was Henry who instigated the monks to observe all the principal festivals of St Mary737 and as we have covered, left funds for the upkeep of an 8lb candle to burn in St Mary’s Church on all the principal feasts.
737Just to show the convolutions which modern scholars have undergone adhering to certain misguided a prioris and how it seems that they are blind to the input of Henry Blois at Glastonbury and his influence on the Matter of Britain…. I will provide one extract from Watkin which should amuse the reader in its associations: We can then conceive of a story, apparently known at Glastonbury and probably lying behind the late twelfth-century de Boron’s Joseph d’Arimathie and its amplification in the Estoire del Saint Graal which brought the Grail-bearer to Glastonbury. But the medieval Glastonbury writers merely use this story to bring Joseph himself to Glastonbury; they never asserted that he brought the Grail. That is one line of approach, we may now suggest another. One of the vexed questions of hagiology is the story of the growth of the cult of St Mary Magdalen. There is first the process by which the martyrs Maria and Martha become identified with the sisters of Bethany and the confusion between Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalen, Martha and Lazarus in Provence and in Burgundy. At the moment, it is impossible to say at what date Joseph of Arimathea is added to this group of Emigrants from the Holy Land. But the fact remains the cult of Lazarus has been traced back to the tenth century at Autun and, more recently still has been shown that Avalon was before Autun in the cult of Lazarus. But equally at Glastonbury we find evidence of an early cult of Lazarus. His festival occurs in a cotemporary addition to the tenth century Leofric missal and in a twelfth century Glastonbury collectarium. This festival is unknown in any other English calendars of these dates. Is it possible that here we come somewhere near to a clue to the introduction of the cult of Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, is it possible that legends connecting him with Avallon in Burgundy were transferred by a natural confusion to the isle of Avalon? At the moment this can be no more than a query, for no reference to an early cult of St Joseph at Avallon has yet been found. But it is interesting in this connexion to note that the Estoire del Saint Graal was written in Burgundy, that St Mary Magdalen is mentioned in an Eleventh century Glastonbury kalendar at Cambridge that the Hermitage mentioned in the Glastonbury version of Perlesvaus was dedicated to her…….Arthurian Literature XV edited by James P. Carley, Felicity Riddy. P.88
The stone church in Henry’s day was dedicated to Peter and Paul but someone is attempting to have us believe that in the Phagan and Deruvian era, the wooden Church which the neophytes ‘restored’ was dedicated to St Mary: To the church that they found there these holy neophytes added another oratory made of stone, which they dedicated to Christ and the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. So it was by the work of these men that the old church of St Mary at Glastonbury was restored…..
Strangely enough, the authors of the Somerset Historical Essays comment on Phagan and Deruvian and highlight their suspicions. They, however, do not contemplate that by the time the DA came to Glastonbury after Henry’s interpolations, William’s book was altered permanently with no original to compare against. It is certainly not as they suggest (along with Stubbs) that a comparison might be made with GR to find a sense of William’s original. As we know, the GR text also received interpolations concerning Glastonburyana, but we are told: The frequent repetitions in the text will at once suggest that it has passed through several stages of correction: and, in particular, the names of St Phagan and St Deruvian meet us so unnecessarily often, that we shall even begin to wonder whether they had any place at all in the original manuscript.738At last, someone who suspects somethings not quite right!!!!!!!!!!!!
738Somerset Historical Essays. J. Armitage Robinson
We know the cult of St Mary had a large following in France, but, Henry Blois, rarely in his propaganda includes a detail which has no consequence. The church was genuinely known as the ‘Old Church’, as stated on the 601 charter. We know Henry Blois has written the piece about the ‘restoration’ of the church so that his first ‘disciplic’ foundation and the Phagan and Deruvian foundation don’t contradict each other. The question is why is Henry keen to make this association that the dedication was to St Mary, excepting the obvious connection with the virginem adorandam in the Melkin prophecy and to coincide with Nennius’ allusion to Arthur’s shield, which would make Arthur’s association with Glastonbury seem all the more feasible.
King Ine was probably the first royal benefactor of the Kings of Wessex who built the stone church. This is where the recorded evidence begins with William in the unadulterated yet updated GR3: The charter of this donation was written in the year of our Lord’s incarnation 725, the fourteenth of the indiction, in the presence of the King Ina, and of Berthwald, archbishop of Canterbury.” What splendour he (Ina) added to the monastery, may be collected from the short treatise which I have written about its antiquities.
Herein is the 601 charter’s importance in the proof of antiquity. Of course, Henry Blois’ Life of Gildas provides us with supposedly earlier accounts of the existence of a monastery at Glastonbury but we know Caradoc’s account and the St Patrick charter are a Blois concoction written after William’s DA. These are the tracts with which Henry hopes to establish an archaic provenance. The gullible are made to think that William was aware of accounts beyond the 601 charter. The illusion is that William seemingly approved of their content by including the whole of St Patrick’s charter in DA and also appearing to reference the etymology from Life of Gildas concerning Ineswitrin.
With the semblance that William had nonchalantly mentioned Gildas’ stay at Glastonbury, one is obviously more inclined to believe in the truth of the kidnap of Guinevere and the part Gildas played with the abbot in a peaceable solution. The fact that there is a King Melvas at Glastonbury and a Maheloas, a great baron, lord of the Isle of Voirre in Chrétien’s ‘Erec’, where Henry has influenced Chrétien de Troyes, is not coincidence.
Now, Eric and Enid was composed as Chrétien’s first romance c.1165 while Henry Blois was still alive. You don’t have to have too much imagination to see that lord of the Isle of Voirre could only be Glastonbury. Now, the chances are this little booklet known as the life of Gildas written c.1139 to complement Henry’s ‘first agenda’, finds its way to Chrétien are pretty slim i.e. another evidential support to confute Lagorio’s theory . But once you include Henry Blois in the equation, then you are certain how Chrétien got his information either in writing or more probably verbally through Master Blihis.
We hear for the first time in Caradoc’s Life of Gildas of the Isle of Glass etymology which of course both DA and John of Glastonbury expand upon. Master Blehis is the source for Chrétien de Troyes, but we will be covering soon the relationships and influence of Marie of France and her sister Alix and their mother Eleanor in relation to Chrétien and Henry Blois.
Because of the various tracts written under pseudonyms which tangentially corroborate each other, in the last two hundred years as scholars have kept separate our three genres of study, no-one has found his way through the maze to find Henry Blois as the common author. This task has been made harder by the seeming contradictions of position in DA which we have discussed which pertains to Henry’s ‘agendas’ at separate times. Because of these contradictions, it seems as if a late consolidator has tried to rectify the discrepancies especially as some of the interpolations in DA appear to reference Henry in the past. This is why Scott advocates a consolidating interpolator which he assumes is responsible for interpolations which were actually carried out by Henry Blois himself.
The task has also been made more difficult because researchers have been unable to bring the three genres of ‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB, Glastonburyana, and Grail literature under one investigation and have tended to focus on only two genres and comment on their common material. The reason for this is that until one accepts the retro dating of Vulgate HRB (the interpolation into Orderic making the Merlin prophecies appear to have existed in Henry I’s time and the advent of the Primary Historia at Bec in 1139 being mistaken for the Vulgate version with didicatees)…. it is difficult to find the commonality between the three genres chronologically, as Grail literature has always in the past thought to have surfaced c.1180 (because of false a priori); even though we are told Grail literature had an earlier provenance from men with similar phonetically sounding names to Henry.
The difficulty unravelling what can only have come about by an initial designer has been exacerbated by the fraud of Henry’s backdating of HRB through the dedicatees and his composition of the colophon in the Vulgate version mentioning the historians. This has caused Arthurian material within HRB, to be thought of in terms of a different corpus, emanating by an entirely separate tradition of independent authorship, connected only by a distant Brythonic root.
The main hindrance which has prevented scholars finding the truth is the mistaken presumption that any Arthuriana/ Avalon material in DA was written after 1191 and the assumption that the perpetrator of the disinterment fraud is Henry de Sully.
Yet, whatever red lines, a prioris or erroneous assumptions have been created by scholars to sure up un-founded theories, King Arthur was in Avalon in 1138 in HRB, at Glastonbury in 1139-40 through the life of Gildas and the engraving at Modena and Avalon became Glastonbury in 1157 through Insula pomorum in VM; so, in effect King Arthur was in Avalon long before 1189-90 when Scott states: Finally we can be sure that all references to King Arthur must have been written after the purported discovery of his remains buried between the two pyramids in 1190-1, as must those chapters that seek to identify Avalon with Glastonbury because such an identification only became necessary and meaningful, after, and as further evidence for, the claim that Arthur had been buried at Glastonbury.
Joseph material has never been taken in any way seriously as having any basis in history. Scholars have thought of it in no other way but a thirteenth century invention purely because of Joseph’s localised tradition at Glastonbury having been wrongly accounted as having stemmed from continental Grail literature. When Arthurian Glastonburyana found its ultimate confirmation after Arthur was dug up in 1190-91, Joseph was essentially ignored.
There was no ‘Wace’ or ‘Geoffrey’ to propel Joseph lore until c.1160-65 when ‘Blaise’, on the continent through a verse rendition of Joseph d’Arimathie was transposed to prose by Robert, and Chretien de Troyes started to recycle material from Master Blehis and Bleheris about the Perceval and the Conte du Graal which connected to Joseph through the Fisher King. This material started confirming lore promulgated in England by Master Blihis’s Perlesvaus which both put Joseph at Glastonbury/Avalon; Blaise arriving at Glastonbury through mention of the Vaus d’Avaron and Master Blihis through the Grail chapel nouvelemant faite, qui mout estoit bele e riche; si estoit covert de plon… and by Arthur and Guinevere yet unearthed in Avalon stipulated in the colophon of Perlesvaus.
Arthur’s fame had begun to spread in Alfred of Beverley’s era and at the advent of Vulgate historia and then took off through the Roman de Brut and after the unearthing legend was widespread which by comparison consigned a mere saint like Joseph to obscurity; who had only surfaced in the popular culture and court society c.1160-65. Gerald of Wales was not concerned with a second-rate Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury which virtually no-one else but the few monks at Glastonbury had heard the rumours. Gerald would probably not been exposed to the continental material mentioning Joseph. Gerald’s interest lay in a Welsh Arthur from Caerleon who was buried in Avalon and it would be a tough illusion to convince the population that Henry de Sully had found Arthur at Avalon if there were no previous corroborative evidence. This is the brilliance of Henry Blois’ design.
As is evident from the DA text above, someone is trying to square the various accounts of how it is that the twelve hides exist and never paid Geld. The twelve hides of Glastonbury probably had its origin in privileges granted to the abbots of Glastonbury in a succession of charters by Anglo-Saxon Kings of Wessex. A grant from Centwine (676–85) of six hides at Glastingai and a similar grant from Baldred, may together have made up the twelve hides which was the assessment of Glastonbury in 1066, and which already represented a privileged estate. It is Henry’s clever manipulation which brings this mundane assessment corroborated in Doomesday into ancient lore by its attachment to Arviragus, masked in the confusion of history by the ridiculous notion: Thus, many successors always in twelves, dwelt on that island throughout the course of many years until the arrival of St Patrick….
The Abbey of Glastonbury had a peculiar jurisdiction in the area around Glastonbury known as the Liberty of Twelve Hides. Here the King’s courts had no authority and there is an example of a case begun before the King’s Court at Westminster and handed on to the Abbot’s court on account of the Liberty of the Twelve Hides. Glastonbury was possibly the wealthiest monastic institution at the Norman invasion.
Someone is attempting to have us believe the twelve hides stem back to Arviragus and Glastonbury’s sanctity has been in place since Joseph arrived. But we should not forget (apart from a satirical poem by Juvenal) who first brings Arviragus to notice in British history…. Arviragus played no significant part in British history except that which is wholly fabricated by ‘Geoffrey’.
Now, it becomes very difficult to maintain that Melkin was a fourteenth century invention once we understand that it was the Melkin prophecy which sparked Henry’s muses to develop some of the many facets of the Matter of Britain. This, in no way makes the basis for the formation of the prophecy in the first place untrue. Scholars have assumed the opposite of that which transpired. The Melkin prophecy with its body to be found in the future, its Grail like duo fassula and its island location, and its encrypted search which parallels the Grail quest…. are not the constituent parts which were fabricated by a thirteenth century composer of the prophecy; but a template for the Matter of Britain and a genuine encrypted document
Author B, composer of the Life of St Dunstan writing c.1000 makes it plain that neither Ineswitrin nor Avalon were previous names of Glastonbury when referring to Dunstan’s Father: Now in Heorstan’s neighbourhood there was an island belonging to the Crown, the old English name for which was Glastonbury. The modern consensus is that Glastonbury only became Avalon when Arthur was found there, (the ‘Leaden cross’ confirming the location), but not one commentator has supplied an adequate reason why Glastonbury’s Henry de Sully should claim to unearth Arthur (at Glastonbury) unless of course it was understood beforehand that it was Avalon…. And why he chose where to look in the graveyard near the old church between the piramides unless one gives credence to Gerald’s testimony; and if one does that one has to conclude the grave was manufactured beforehand. The fraud would be too ‘incredible’ without a precursor of lore which primed everyone to accept such a sudden revelation that Glastonbury used to be named Avalon. Gerald recounts the conditions whereby the excavations were undertaken which I will cover in detail in a following chapter. There is only one person who could give the directions which were in DA and he is both the inventor of Avalon and the chivalric Arthur.
The name Avalon is seemingly given so as to appear as an accepted fact in the postscript of St Patrick’s charter and chapters 1&2 of DA. Yet the information regarding where Arthur is buried is seemingly so inconsequential (matter of fact) it is nearly, but not quite, worthy of ‘omitting’.
It would take a very opportune Henry de Sully to insist he had unearthed Arthur at Glastonbury without for instance Caradoc’s convenient episode linking Arthur to Glastonbury and without there being any previous cognition of Avalon as the former name of Glastonbury. It is also evident that if the situation of Arthur’s gravesite were written into DA by a late interpolator, why are there no other circumstances recorded about the disinterment in DA.
William was employed to collate all the evidence of Glastonbury’s antiquity in a book. It was at this time Henry realised, not only did Glastonbury have an untraceable history but so did insular Britain prior to Gildas, excepting the Roman annals.
Many a time in turning over in my own mind the many themes which might be subject-matter of a book, my thoughts would fall upon the plan of writing a history of the Kings of Britain.
It is therefore, mightily fortuitous, that after considering the subject matter and then falling upon a plan to write a History of the Kings of Britain, that, lo and behold, ‘Geoffrey’s’ good friend Walter has a book, which only needs ‘translating’ and by chance, the same subject matter that Henry/ ‘Geoffrey’ had decided to write about, was fully covered in the source book. How is that for convenience? And to boot, the author’s name is Arthur just like the protagonist.
One wonders if Crick our expert on Geoffrey of Monmouth sees how ludicrous such a proposition is. It seems fair to suggest Henry did not alter drastically the form of his already started original work I have termed the pseudo-history, destined for Matilda initially which had so many queens in insular history that in no way matched history; so, one must conclude the original work had a design behind their inclusion in the pseudo history along with the aggrandising of Gloucester King Henry I bastard son and supplying the English King a heritage from Troy like the Frankish King. The pseudo history may have had a brief account of Arthur in the original, but the whole section of a chivalric Arthur from Caerleon was based upon Henry’s time in Wales in 1136. Seeing the architecture and defending Kidwelly were sources for his muses; and his muses were stimulated further while in Normandy in 1137.
Anyway toward 1144 it was Henry Blois who had stated in HRB that following the work of Pagan and Duvian the Pope set bishops where there had been flamens, and archbishops where there were archflamens. The seats of the archflamens were in the three noblest cities, in London, York and in Caerleon and this transpired supposedly long before Augustine’s Canterbury. The point being that the region which included Glastonbury (Leogria) in that era was not subject to Canterbury: Unto the Metropolitan of London Loegria and Cornwall were subject.739Of course both Winchester and Glastonbury were in Loegria.
739HRB IV, xix
By the end of the thirteenth century the Monks at Abingdon had concocted a similar foundation myth based upon ‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB (and Glastonbury’s) where Fagn and Divian on the same mission to Lucius had founded their abbey also. They even invented a legendary Irish monk Abbennus, the eponym of Mount Abbenus (much like Geoffrey love of eponyms) where their monastery now stands.
I would suggest that the most powerful prelate in the land at William of Malmesbury’s death requested William’s later redactions of GR from the monks at Malmesbury and interpolated the Glastonburyana into GR3. We should be aware of Stubbs observation concerning the renown of William at Malmesbury: With the exception indeed of the incidental references made by successive chroniclers, who borrowed from his history, there is nothing to be learned of him from extrinsic sources till the time of Leland, who indignantly observes, that even at Malmesbury, in his own monastery, they had nearly lost all remembrance of their brightest ornament.
Therefore, given the evidence above, it cannot be assumed that GR3 which contains insertions which run word for word with passages in the DA were written by William. Once we establish this and the reasoning behind the GR3 (B version) interpolations and Henry Blois’ ability to carry out interpolations….we should not accept the view that every addition in GR3 was made by William himself between the years 1135 and 1140. This view has been held for some time and used to suggest comparative accuracy in DA.
There is justification for not including the Prophecy of Melkin in DA. If one better understands how Henry Blois has maintained anonymity as the ‘ghost writer’ of many tracts, we can see that the Melkin prophecy in essence is central to two of our three main genres and would tie them together implicating Henry Blois as author when Arthur from the third genre and Joseph became entwined at Avalon. So, obeying his rule, he attaches certain icons to each other, appearing to be from entirely independent authors and leaves them separate for posterity to find.
As we have covered, Henry Blois, during his exile, killed off Geoffrey of Monmouth in the same year he published VM after Coleshill in 1157 dated by Ganieda’s latest prophecy. It is in VM we can see Henry has formed a plan concerning the conversion of Glastonbury into Avalon.740 Only later, on his return to England does he make more amendments to the DA with Joseph material…. once his first (metropolitan) agenda becomes obsolete/redundant.
Joseph was originally associated by the Melkin prophecy with Ineswitrin and the duo fassula and Joseph was also connected with a magical vessel and Avalon by Robert. Arthur’s circle (i.e. the chivalric knights) is associated with the Grail by Chrétien. Arthur and Joseph are associated by the Grail and both connected to Glastonbury. It is a master-class in illusion, brought about by fraudulent authorship by the man who accounts authorship of more worth than any other facet of value normally placed on mammon…. and this by a man who accounts himself above Cicero who was arguably the greatest writer of all time in the ancient world.
Henry Blois is inventor of some of the best-known fictitious personages in the history of Britain, Leir, Arviragus, Lucius, Phagan and Deruvian…. not to mention Merlin, but his chivalric Arthur was based upon a Celtic warlord as witnessed in the life of St Cadoc and the warlord’s friends were Kai and Beduerus.
Contrary to the consensus held by modern scholars, Joseph in Britain is not an invention and nor is the precision of the data found in the prophecy of Melkin inaccurate. Nor can the Melkin prophecy be accounted as a coincidentally accurate fraud; and therefore, the assumption that Melkin never existed is misguided. Nor can the legends of the Cornish be ignored or the ancient Greek writers such as Timaeus and Latin writers such as Strabo or Diodorus which tell of Ictis. The most famous place in Britain is Avalon and the fact that it exists in myth at Glastonbury is not by chance, but by design and human intervention. As the reader now understands, it has been achieved by the substitution of the name Ineswitrin, the Briton name for ‘White tin Island’ on the prophecy of Melkin. The Melkin island of Isewitrin being synonymous with Pytheas’ Ictis.
Lagorio believes Joseph is an invented legend at Glastonbury, but does concede: According to one Celtic tradition, possibly preserved and transmitted orally, Joseph’s family held mining interests in south western Britain, thereby permitting him to combine business with evangelism. In slight substantiation of this belief, nothing historically certain is known of Joseph’s actions following the resurrection.741
If one insists the legend of Joseph reached maturity in the late fifteenth century and ignores what is evidently at the start in the oldest manuscript of DA unequivocally dated to 1247…. there can be little chance of recognising any truth behind the legend. Lagorio has dismissed Melkin and taught others to do the same. In reference to assessing Joseph’s ‘heterogeneous’ career, as she brings to an end her exposé, Lagorio hopes that the reader might also concur ‘in the Acta Sanctorum’s sagacious, if ironic comment’: Therefore he who wishes to await Arthur’s return to England may also await the fulfilment of that which Melkin promised of Joseph.
She simply has not understood that Arthur’s return was the Zeitgeist hope of the peasantry in the early twelfth century which Henry Blois eventually addressed by planting a bogus grave between the piramides and cannot be likened to the geometrical encryption constructed by Melkin to point out the whereabouts of Joseph’s sepulchre. It has been the cloned nature of people who profess to be scholars which have prevented the discovery of Joseph on Burgh Island.
740Or even New Jerusalem at a later date as noted earlier in the additions to VM, quoted in John’s Cronica.
741Valerie. Lagorio. The evolving legend of St Joseph of Glastonbury.