The sculpture on the Duomo di Modena Cathedral in Modena in northern Italy has puzzled Arthurian scholars for years. An entrance to the Cathedral known by Arthurian aficionado’s as the ‘Modena Archivolt’ is the earliest representation of an Arthurian theme in monumental sculpture. The abduction of Guinevere is a very popular element of the Arthurian legend, first appearing in written form in Caradoc of Llancarfan’s Life of Gildas. As I maintain and will show in progression, the Life of Gildas was authored by Henry Blois.
There are three reasons initially to account for Henry Blois’ impersonation of Caradoc of Llancarfan which lead to Henry’s composition of the Life of Gildas under Caradoc of Llancarfan’s name. The first reason is to settle a contention regarding the antiquity of Glastonbury in a spat between Canterbury and Glastonbury. In the text of William of Malmesbury’s GR and DA there are two references which locate Gildas at Glastonbury. Gildas is supposed to have written his De Excido there.348 These references are both interpolations (which I shall show later on in progression), but by employing the name of Gildas, it helped Glastonbury abbey to establish its position in antiquity in the ecclesiastical hierarchy by association to Gildas.
348There is no mendacious design behind Gildas’ work of history De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae and it would seem to be written by someone in the sixth century (who flourished in the year of our Lord 546) under that name. Gildas leaves no clue to where he wrote the book or where he came from. His connection with Glastonbury is entirely concocted by Henry Blois’ interpolations into DA, GR3 by William of Malmesbury and the invention of Life of Gildas by Henry Blois under the name of Caradoc.
The second reason for concocting the Life of Gildas may have to do with land claims made by Henry Blois. In the fictional account of Life of Gildas, authored by Henry Blois, undisclosed land is given to Glastonbury. After Gildas acts as peacemaker between Arthur and King Melvas due to the kidnap of Guinevere, Gildas obtains promises of reverence and obedience and assurances against future violation of the abbey or its lands.
Much of Caradoc’s Life of Gildas is based upon and formatted from the genuine Life of St Cadoc. St Cadoc’s story first appears in a Vita Cadoci written shortly before 1086 by Lifris of Llancarfan. The Cadoc legend, written long before Henry Blois depicts King Arthur in HRB as a chivalric hero, is a depiction of a saint’s life where Arthur (the warlord) is portrayed as wilful and inflamed with love for a certain Gwladys. He is also depicted with his friends Kai and Bedwir. There are many commonalities to the Cadoc legend and the concocted Life of Gildas story where Arthur helps kidnap Gwladys; and there is a King Maelgon who reigned over all Britain along with other similarities.
The inspiration for the story line for the kidnap of Guinevere depicted on the Modena Archivolt may well have derived from two sources to form the composite story as found in the Life of Gildas authored by Henry Blois. Firstly, a steward of Cadocus’ convent had his daughter carried off by King Maelgwn’s tax gatherers: a certain King, of the name of Maelgon, reigned over all Britain, who sent some of his young men to the region of Gwynllwg, that they might there receive tribute; who, coming to the house of the steward of Cadoc, seized his very beautiful daughter, and took her away with them.
Secondly, it may well be based upon on an escapade concerning a woman called Nest by whom Henry Blois’ uncle King Henry Ist bore an illegitimate son in the person of Henry Fitz Henry. Nest ferch Rhys or Helen of Wales was the only legitimate daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, King of south Wales. It is not clear if the illegitimate child was born in or out of wedlock, but Nest was known to be highly sexed and had many lovers and the King eventually married Nest to Gerald Fitz Walter of Windsor. A certain Tarquin of Wales however, was informed of her at a feast in 1109 and entered her castle and carried her off. Anyway, we may speculate that these are the composite germs of the Guinevere abduction episode.
Scholars have been ingenious in their reasoning as to how the engravings appeared on the Modena archivolt. Tatlock is bemused by the archivolt for its undisputed early date: While most of the names of course are due to the Arthur tradition, there is nothing highly individual about a man and woman in a castle…the names may even have been added later to an imaginary scene, perhaps when the portal was reconstructed by someone who had heard or read some romance.
The proposition and suggestion is contrived by Tatlock. The relationship between ‘Geoffrey’ and Caradoc’s life of Gildas are excluded in Tatlock’s rationalisation. It would be an astounding coincidence given King Arthur’s British garb in the engraving, if the carving was matched to Artus de Bretania and the names added later as Tatlock suggests. When the composer of both the Arthuriad and the Life of Gildas are found to be one and the same, we can easily deduce the Modena Archivolt was commissioned by Henry sometime after 1138.
The most probable time the engraving was commissioned on the Modena Arcivolt is in 1139 when Henry became Legate; around the time of discovery of his Primary Historia at Bec by Huntingdon. The suggestion is that Henry passed through Modena commissioned the engraving having just composed the Life of Gildas and that Henry arrived in Rome soon after.
On the north portal, known commonly as the Porta della Pescheria, the archivolt and lintel are carved in high relief with secular scenes with an Arthurian episode that appears in Caradoc of Llancarfan’s, Life of St. Gildas authored by Henry Blois. The Kidnap of Guinevere also is mentioned in Chrétien de Troyes’ The Knight of the Cart and much later by Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Lanzelet.
The fact that the Kidnap episode mentioned is in a work by Chrétien de Troyes becomes highly relevant to our further investigation much later, when we discover that the court of Champagne is propagating Grail stories told by a ‘Master Blihis’.
It is not by coincidence that Henry Blois is closely related to Marie of France,349 Chrétien’s patron. The point right now is the ‘kidnap of Guinevere’ episode is closely connected with Glastonbury, long before the famed discovery of Arthur’s remains in the manufactured grave at Glastonbury in 1189-91. So, Scott’s assumptions regarding DA (which is about Glastonbury) is incorrect 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.
Logically, If we know the ‘Chivalric’ King Arthur and Guinevere is a construct of ‘Geoffrey’ and so is Avalon, Watkin even recognises through Insulam Pomorum that Glastonbury is connected to Avalon through the Chivalric King Arthur at the advent of VM C.1155-7 negating Scott’s red line. But, since King Arthur is not connected to Avalon in the Primary Historia (EAW) composed in 1138 and the engraving on Modena turns up in 1139-40 (which is a replica of the story in Life of Gildas) composed by Henry Blois, one can see the ‘Chivalric’ Arthur i.e the one married to Guinevere, surfaces at Glastonbury (in the engraving and in the literary tract of Life of Gildas) between 1138 and 1140.
This is 40 years prior to Scott’s red line which has been forced on him by previous scholars erroneous deductions. Is it by complete coincidence that Henry Blois just happens to pass Modena on his way to Rome to pick up the pallium in this two year window 1138-40 because one other thing we know is that at the advent of the First Variant in 1144, the island of Avalon has appeared for the first time in that script because we know for certain it would have been mentioned in EAW by Huntigdon had Henry Blois conceived of that name when he composed the Primary Historia in 1138.
This fact dislocates most scholars’ theories that Arthur’s connection to Glastonbury (and thus Avalon) was established by the unveiling of his grave at that location. Scholars will only realise this if they ignore Tatlock’s rationalisation, which in effect ignores the early date of a Chivalric Arthur other than ‘Geoffrey’s’ work and accept that the life of Gildas was also authored c.1139 by Henry Blois.
The only reason Tatlock offers such a weak case for the existence of the engraving in Modena is because of the Cathedral’s completion date of 1140 and this date confutes every other wrongly deduced theory about Arthur’s connection to Glastonbury (Avalon) being after his fictional disinterment. As Watkin pointed out, the current conclusions of modern scholars is illogical because Insulam Pomorum was posited as synonymous with Insula Avallonis c.1155 at the advent of VM. Most surely King Arthur’s connection to Glastonbury was earlier than 1189.
What has puzzled commentators is that the construction of the cathedral in Modena began in 1099, but the sculpture depicting the Arthurian scene can be dated between 1130 and 1140. Loomis350 is simply wrong, dating the construction to 1099-1120, based on the fact that the edifice was consecrated in 1106. The Modena cathedral was not finished until 1140!
349See chapter on the Lais of Marie of France who is also Marie of Champagne.
350Arthurian literature in the middle ages R.S Loomis p.60
Commentators have envisaged a ‘real-life’ Geoffrey of Monmouth who was geographically remote from Modena as the originator of the ‘Chivalric’ Arthurian legend. So, the Modena archivolt engraving has presented a conundrum as to how this scene depicted, which transpires at Glastonbury in the Life of Gildas now appears in Modena, one year after the discovery at Bec of the Primary Historia. The Kidnap of Guinevere portrayed in the engraving was supposedly related by Caradoc in his Life of Gildas and centres around an imaginary dispute between King Arthur and King Melvas; but scholars need to recognise that Henry Blois is the author of the Arthuriad and the Life of Gildas; but this vital information is still ignored by experts such as Crick and Carley.
Many theories to explain the relationship of the engraving to the story found in the Life of Gildas have been posited such as the pre-existing tradition of Arthur in Brittany (which there was) which has somehow spread to Modena (which it had not) or through the troubadour tradition of Arthurian stories which I shall show in progression originated through Henry Blois. No scholar in the last 200 years has contemplated that the author of HRB and the life of Gildas were the same person; which is a fairly obvious deduction from the conclusions in this investigation.
The simple answer is that, Henry Blois, a wealthy Bishop traveller, on his way to Rome c.1139-40, commissioned the Arthurian depiction engraved on the archivolt to concur with an account Henry Blois himself had fraudulently composed in the Life of Gildas which he had fraudulently composed impersonating Caradoc’s name, (Caradoc died 1129) which puts King Arthur at Glastonbury. Henry Blois at the time of composition is the Abbot of Glastonbury where the event depicted in the engraving took place and also is the fount of all ‘Chivalric’ Arthur content. The story line of the Life of Gildas adds credence to the ‘Chivalric’ Arthur legend which Henry Blois had concocted in the HRB in 1138; but Henry made a point of not mentioning Glastonbury in HRB, so there would be no connection to him.
Henry Blois had a contretemps with the ecclesiastical authority of Canterbury and the writing of certain of its monks over the antiquity of Glastonbury; mainly brought about by Osbern’s accusation.351 This is the main reason for commissioning William of Malmesbury’s DA and has much to do with the contents of Eadmer’s letter which I shall cover in depth later. To counteract Osbern’s accusation, Henry Blois assumed the name of Caradoc and composed the Life of Gildas; in which proof was provided for the abbey’s antiquity by Gildas’s supposed association with the abbey at Glastonbury. (Gildas was of known date-able antiquity).
For good measure also, King Arthur was in the spotlight in this episode for rescuing his wife from Melvas at Glastonbury, and the scene also confirmed for the reader that the ‘Chivalric’ King Arthur, the hero of Henry Blois recently published HRB, also had a wife called Guinevere; thus substantiating the persona of the ‘Chivalric’ King Athur, corroborated by another author other than ‘Geoffrey’.
351Osbern had stated in his composition of the life of St Dunstan that St Dunstan was the first abbot of Glastonbury. This annoyed the monks at Glastonbury that a claim of older provenance in the church pecking order (based on antiquity) was made by a monk at Canterbury. Henry Blois had seen the 601 charter which dated Glastonbury’s antiquity at least 300 years prior to St Dunstan. We can see through the interpolations in DA that Henry Blois was not satisfied with the year 601 but then goes back through time inventing Phagan and Deruvian all the way to Joseph of Arimathea for Glastonbury’s pedigree of Antiquity.
A pertinent point here is that we know for certain Caradoc is dead already when the Life of Gildas was composed because if not, Henry would not be impersonating him as the author. I elucidate later on in the section on Caradoc that Caradoc plainly is seen to die c.1129; so, it makes a clear mockery out of the colophon found in certain copies of Vulgate HRB which suggest Caradoc was ‘Geoffrey’s’ contemporary.
Nothing should surprise the reader about the salad of mis-leading, yet corroborative detail left behind by Henry Blois. It is simply ridiculous to hold onto the dating conventions of the HRB as defined over the last 200 years by modern scholars. Every pre-conception about ‘Geoffrey’ learnt from the deductions about dating and authorship of the several editions of HRB needs to be re-evaluated once it is understood that Henry Blois is the author of the HRB and the Roman de Brut; Glastonburyalia from the DA; and the Life of Gildas and Arthurian legend from his propagated Perlesvaus and Grail legend; and the work of Robert de Boron.
What is confusing to most commentators is that the abduction of Guinevere episode first appears in the Life of Gildas but does not feature in HRB. There is of course no reference to Merlin on the archivolt either, as the sculpture on Modena was finished before Henry Blois had invented Merlin as a character of HRB i.e. just after the Primary Historia was composed in 1138 and before FV in 1144.
Merlin never had contact with Arthur in the story-line of HRB. This fact is not by specific design of the author, but by the circumstance of the chronology of composition of primary Historia evolving toward the FV in 1144 (and the other stemma which evolves to Alfred’s copy) and the use of prophecy to sure up the throne for Stephen and to predict a Metropolitan for Henry.
Merlin did not even get mentioned in Huntingdon’s précis of the Primary Historia, simply because the character of Merlin was an expansionary idea and addition to HRB after the Primary Historia had been composed and deposited at Bec in 1138. Also, between 1139-44 Henry had come up with the idea of employing prophecy for political gain and therefore the original Libellus Merlini would have gone out in the public domain to the privileged few such as Abbot Suger.
In the VM and HRB and in the insertion of the Merlin passage into Orderic already discussed, it is Henry Blois who is witnessed to promote the belief that Gildas is accounted as the author of the work ascribed to Nennius. It is Henry Blois who promotes with purposeful intention Nennius’ work as having been authored by Gildas; because Gildas is connected to Glastonbury by having been the adjudicator between Arthur and Melvas in the completely fictional episode of the Kidnap of Guinevere authored by Henry Blois witnessed in the Life of Gildas and on the Modena Archivolt commissioned by Henry Blois
The rationale behind the polemic is that if it were Gildas who had at one time spoken to King Arthur, (and now put forward as author of Nennius’ work) rather than the obscure mention of Arthur by Nennius; then it would lend more credibility to Henry’s depiction of the ‘Chivalric’ Arthur in HRB.
Scholars have suggested Gildas (as the composer of Nennius work) is a common medieval misrepresentation. This purposeful misrepresentation was purposefully highlighted in HRB by the supposed ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’ and was by design of Henry Blois and he even had copies of manuscripts made titled with Gildas as author to confirm his propaganda seen in HRB. Thus, the Vatican manuscript of Nennius’ work has the name of Gildas as its author. One guess at how that manuscript arrived in Rome!! What is obvious in HRB, is that Henry tries to link the ‘Chivalric’ Arthur of HRB to the Ambrosius Aurelianus of Gildas.
What I do want to stress to the reader is the purposeful confusion which Henry Blois injects, by including Caradoc’s name in the inscriptions on the Modena archivolt. This same Caradoc features in Henry Blois own romance called the life of Caradoc, included in the first continuation of Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval, le Conte du Graal c.1165 by Wauchier.352
352Richard I, before he became King was le compte de Poitier/pitou c.1165-75 listening to Wauchier who is ‘continuating’ one of ‘Bleheris’s’ histories which had been told first to Chrétien de Troyes. Of Course Belheris or Blihos- Bleheris is the same as Master Blehis or H. Blois.
Caradoc of Llancarfan is supposedly the author of the manuscript in which the ‘abduction of Guinevere’ is found and the intention might possibly be that the person who commissioned the engraving i.e. Henry Blois, wanted posterity to conflate ‘Carrado’ with Caradoc Duke of Cornwall from the HRB and with the supposed authors name from which the tale comes.
Conflation, confusion and the anachronisms of characters lost in antiquity is Henry Blois’ ‘Modus operandi’ for contructing the Matter of Britain. What may have transpired is that Caradoc of Llancarfan was known to have written a life of Gildas and left the only manuscript at Glastonbury where Henry Blois added to it. This would then ostensibly appear that even a tract written before 1129 (the year Caradoc died) bore witness to Gildas and Arthur, the two having been recorded in the sixth century together in the episode supposed to have taken place at Glastonbury.
A more likely theory in reality, since William of Malmesbury did not mention the life of Gildas manuscript or refer to its contents in the unadulterated part of DA; the probable conclusion is that Henry Blois composed the whole tract using the Life of Cadoc as a template. One thing is for certain though, Gildas never met the ‘Chivalric’ King Arthur at Glastonbury nor was Guinevere kidnapped there, so I will leave it up to the scholars to determine how an episode from a book composed by Henry Blois got to be engraved on an Archivolt in Modena in the same year Henry Blois went to Rome where he would most certainly have gone through Modena on the Bologna highway to Florence to get to Rome.
The action scene depicted on the Modena archivolt centres on a moated stone castle with a blank shield hung on the wall. The depicted castle is stone with wooden external fortifications; a woman named Winlogee looking very sad with a down-turned mouth is in a tower with a man named Mardoc. A man with a pick axe defends the tower and appears to some commentators to be named Burmaltus. The name more probably applies to the last of the three horsemen on the left and Burmaltus is confederate with Arthur and most likely intended to be synonymous with Bedwir a charachter who features in the Vita Cadoci.
On the other side of the tower, a horseman exits named Carrado to repel the attackers. All the men on horses are in Norman garb except for King Arthur who is in a kilt. The tower is besieged by Artus de Bretania and Isdernus, while the other knight, identified as Carrado, is confederate with Mardoc. Mardoc is supposed to be synonymous with Melvas in Caradoc’s Life of Gildas (also synonymous with Maelgon of Lifris’ account). Mardoc is battling three knights whose inscriptions are Galvaginus, Galvariun, and Che. Obviously, Artus is King Arthur, and Winlogee is Guenevere; Che is Kay; Galvaginus might be Gawain,353 and Carrado is Caradoc or Caradoc the Duke of Cornwall.
Isdernus who is not immediately identifiable, may just be Isidore, from whom, we know, Henry Blois derived much of his nature material from the Etymologiae (supposedly expounded by Merlin and Taliesin) in the VM as I covered earlier. We could speculate that by including the personage of Isidore in the inscription, in Henry Blois mind it dates the scene back to the early six-hundreds by the inclusion of a datable and historical figure of Isidore.354 The rationale behind Henry’s devise is that if Isidore and Gildas are seen to be connected to Arthur, then this automatically would substantiate Arthur in antiquity.
353Tatlock equates Gawain with Walwen. William of Malmesbury says that in the reign of William II the enormous grave of Walwen, worthy nephew of Arthur on the sister’s side, was discovered in Ros in Wales. He had reigned in the part of Britain still called Walweitha and had been driven out by Hengistus’ kin; but Arthur’s grave has never been found whence old foolish lies return again. p.206
354Saint Isidore of Seville. d. 636 AD.
Galvariun might be Galahad; although scholars would naturally assume he is of the later Lancelot–Grail cycle and unknown at this date, but it should not be forgotten Henry was the composer of the original Perlesvaus manuscript. Until one understands that it is Henry Blois who first proliferates and propagates Grail material on the continent, most commentators are unable to grasp there is only one person responsible for the origins of original sources of Grail Legend.
Certainly, most modern scholars’ accusation against my solution to the Matter of Britain laid out in this work accuse me of apportioning more compositions to Henry Blois than they can even consider. Henry Blois compares himself with Cicero, so consider why he would do so if he authored nothing for posterity!!! If they choose to accept Henry Blois’ misdirectional propaganda, all of which points away from Henry Blois, more fool them. But one of them one day will find the one match hidden in the haystack and when the spark of truth (i.e Henry Blois) is recognised, the whole barn will burn down and the erroneous edifice constructed by them filled with straw will be revealed as the acrid smoke of the learnèd such as Crick and Carley
Mardoc may be Mordred or Melwas. Caradoc’s Life of Gildas is central to connecting Gildas to Arthur which not only provides authority for the abduction episode but also places the episode in historical terms by relation to Gildas which is Henry Blois’ aim; also witnessed in his interpolations into William of Malmesbury’s DA about Gildas at Glastonbury. The life of Gildas not only links Gildas to Glastonbury but also Arthur. This engraved scene or episode in stone on the Modena archivolt links the Grail heroes through Caradoc’s Life of Gildas to Glastonbury as this is the location where the action supposedly takes place in Caradoc’s account.
We might suggest Burmaltus is the precursor to Barinthus, who, after the battle of Camlann, navigated a wounded Arthur to Insula Pomorum, recorded in the VM. As we are able to date the Modena inscription to c.1140, we can see that there is already a link to Glastonbury as the kidnap episode supposedly transpires there. This link is Henry Blois and until our modern set of scholars recognise this as fact the previous 200 years of garbled contradictory deductions about Glastonburyana and Arthuriana and the Grail’s existence at Glastonbury will persist.
The sculpting of the archivolt scene would have been commissioned just after Henry wrote the life of Gildas. As we have covered, Henry terminates his HRB where Caradoc’s Brut y Tywysogion picks up. We also know that Henry Blois makes overtures in the Vulgate HRB colophon to make it seem as if the Brut y Tywysogion follows on from HRB, when in reality, Caradoc is not a contemporary of ‘Geoffrey’ but died in 1129 (if ‘Geoffrey’ had ever lived in the first place).
Caradoc was already dead when the Primary Historia was composed and long before the appearance of the Vulgate HRB and its colophon as I show clearly later when we investigate Caradoc. Henry Blois as author of HRB ends his account where Caradoc’s already composed account starts, hence the ridiculous colophon advocating that Caradoc should be the ‘continuator’ of ‘Geoffrey’s’ work. Henry Blois has duped both scholars and contemporaries looking for ‘Geoffrey’ by proffering this sequence of events, simply by naming dedicatees which appear to have lived in the era when Vulgate HRB was supposedly composed and by avering that the ‘continuator’ of HRB is still alive before ‘Geoffrey’ dies; in effect implying the Gwentian chronicle of Caradoc of Llancarvan is a work still to be completed.
At the time the Modena archivolt was sculpted, there certainly was no thought of writing a Vita Merlini. However, Isidore’s name (if I am correct in assuming Isdernus is purposefully to be conflated with Isidore) was inscribed on the archivolt long before the VM was written which as we know versify’s much of Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae. Now, here is the point to be made which is vital to understanding the emergence of the Island of Avalon in 1144 in FV five years after the Primary Historia was discovered.
We know Henry Blois composed VM and we know all the island conflation therein is pulled from Isidore of Seville’s etymologiae; but by the reference to the name Isidore here in 1140 on the archivolt as Idernus and the evolution from no evidence of Avalon in EAW and the emergence of the island of Avalon in 1144 in FV…. can we not now assume as edidential that even between 1138 and 1144 we can see the physical evidence of the germ of Henry Blois’ intention to locate Avalon at Glastonbury. This purposeful conversion is made perfectly clear in VM through Insula Pomorum by employing Isidore’s Islands. In other words, we can see Avalon’s conversion as explained in the section on the VM by Henry conflating Isidores islands in 1155; but is it not pertinent that we can now see Isidore connected to Arthur not only through Insula Pomorum but by being named on the Modena archivolt c.1140.
So what I draw from this is that Henry Blois c. 1140 had the thought that he wanted Glastonbury to be the Mystical island and he was going to make sure it happened through the sophistry which is evident in the VM’s use of Isidore’s islands.
But what the reader has to understand is that if the original Melkin document which actually stated the name Ineswitrin on it (the Melkin document being the template for Henry Blois’ Island of Avalon) actually existed….. why did Henry not just produce the Melkin document and not go through the process of changing the title island from Ineswitrin to Avalon.
The answer is that Ineswitrin was used as a name to be commensurate with Glastonbury in the evidencial support given to the papal authorities in the 601 charter when Henry tried to get a Metropolitan. If he had not come up with the name Avalon instead of Ineswitrin for the mythical Island where Arthur was taken then all and sundry would then understand by the connection of Ineswitrin to Glastonbury who the author of HRB was.
Henry Blois has an innate capacity to conflate and confuse historical events to seem plausible history. He writes under the name Caradog of Llancarfan in his version of the Vita Gildae:
‘He [Gildas] arrived at Glastonbury during the time that King Melwas reigned in the summer country …it was besieged by the tyrant, Arthur, with an innumerable host on account that his wife, Gwenhwyfar, whom the aforesaid wicked King [Melwas] had violated and carried off, bringing her there for protection, owing to the invulnerable position’s protection due to the thicketed fortifications of reeds, rivers and marshes. The rebellious King had searched for his queen throughout the course of one year and at last heard that she resided there. Whereupon he roused the armies of the whole of Cornwall and Devon and war was prepared between the enemies. When he heard this, the abbot of Glastonbury, attended by the clergy and Gildas the Wise, stepped in between the contending armies and peacefully advised his King, Melwas, to restore the ravished lady. And so, she who was to be restored was restored in peace and good will. When these things had been done, the two Kings gave to the abbot the gift of many domains.’
The summer country is obviously to be deduced by the reader as Somerset in its proximity to Cornwall. Some commentators may now conclude (now that they are appraised of Henry Blois’ authorship of the Life of Gildas), that since Life of Gildas was composed in response to Osbern’s accusation (in effect to establish the antiquity of Glastonbury), the manuscript may have been written prior to Primary Historia; and therefore is the explanation of Henry’s omission of any mention of Glastonbury in HRB.
This may well be the case…. as the last paragraph of the Life of Gildas is probably an addition to the work to coincide with a later agenda of Henry Blois post 1143 (after William of Malmesbury’s death). The last paragraph of the life of Gildas establishes the 601 charter concerning the donation of Ineswitrin to appear to pertain to the island of Glastonbury being synonymous with Ineswitrin…. so confirming for the gullible, Ineswitrin is now commensurate Glastonbury.
As the reader shall understand in progression, the Life of Gildas along with the Ineswitrin charter of 601AD mentioned by William of Mamesbury plays an important part in this investigation because in reality Iniswitrin is Burgh Island in Devon. This certain fact staring the likes of Prof Carley in the face by the de-cryption of the message in the Melkin document of which the self professed expert has declared the prophecy a fake through his own ignorance and an unwillingness to be exposed as the fraudulent expert on a document about which he has pontificated absolute drivel.
The etymological explanation of Ineswitrin being the old name for Glastonbury is in an additional paragraph made later in 1144 by Henry to his already composed the Life of Gildas. The reasoning behind Henry Blois at that time purposefully misrepresenting the ancient charter concerning the donation of Iniswirin to Glastonbury Church was because he was presenting the 601 charter to papal authorities as a genuine proof of antiquity of an ‘old church’ at Glastonbury. I shall cover this important bit of sophistry later in progression but Ineswitrin needed to be understood as Glastonbury for the 601 charter to have any bearing on Glastonbury’s antiquity rather than an Island called Ineswitrin which is obviously in Devon because the King of Devon is donating it to Glastonbury.
In the ‘Dialogue of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar’ discussed by Evan Jones,355 Melwas is stated to be from Ines Witrin also Gwenhwyfar says: “I have seen a man of moderate size at Arthur’s long table in Devon dealing out wine to his friends.” For the moment it is pertinent to declare to the reader that Henry Blois knows Ineswitrin is in Devon because the 601 charter found at Glastonbury by William of Malmesbury declares the island was donated to Glastonbury by the King of Devon.
Now here is the crux for Prof Carley to understand; If the decrpyted geometrical message in the prophecy of Melkin actually locates an island in Devon and we know the Island of Avalon (now presently the name affixed to the document showing Melkin’s geometry) is a fictitious island invented by Henry Blois, then does it not seen apparent that King Arthur who is connected in the ‘Dialogue’ being from Ineswitrin is a proof solid…. that the Melkin prophecy as a document existed at Glastonbury along with the 601 charter which also names the same island. All that has transpired is that Henry Blois has swapped out the Island of Ineswitrin and replaced its name on the document with his own fictional Island of Avalon which can now be seen in JG’s rendition of the Prophecy of Melkin.
355See note 8
I hope the reader now sees what a mountain of empirical learning of the scholars need to deconstruct to start at the beginning, by the understanding that Geoffrey of Monmouth is Henry Blois. If this can be relearned by the learnèd i.e. accepted, then at least we start with a true foundation. But, what I have witnessed is that even if you establish for Crick that the Vulgate HRB could not be the template for EAW and therefore could not be the first Historia, there is no way that she will relearn that the Vulgate edition of HRB followed FV; and this is just a simple foundation block necessary to the new edifice that needs to be constructed to understand the Matter of Britain. So for her, the Vulgate appeared in 1139 and that’s that!!! regardless of all the inconsistencies in her erroneous construct but all ”Such conclusions are provisional, of course.”
In the sections on the DA and GR we will discover just how important the island of Ineswitrin is and its relevance to Glastonbury, because of the existence of the 601 charter. What I can say definitively is that the above poem of the ‘Dialogue’ post-dates Henry Blois. With Henry’s fraud involved and his ability to impersonate and backdate, it has been impossible to find the reason behind such a plethora of material which correlates with an obviously bogus history as presented in the HRB and the interpolated part of DA. It is only when one understands Henry Blois’ input, that the whole enigma can be deconstructed.
The tale of ‘Carrado of the Dolorous Tower’ for instance is an example of the myriad of crossover material. So the story seems to mirror the engraving. Winlogee (Guinevere) while out in the forest riding with Isdernus is abducted by Carrado and taken to the Dolorous tower. The answer would be that ‘Carrado of the Dolorous Tower’ is derived from Henry Blois’ Life of Gildas version of the abduction of Guinevere but the story must be viewed as a descendant conflation of the engraving on the Modena Archivolt as Carrado is not mentioned in Life of Gildas but Carradoc is…… and Henry Blois impersonates Carradoc of Llancarfan as the composer of the Life of Gildas.
Henry Blois impersonates Caradoc after he died and while travelling to Rome passes through Modena and witnesses the architecture of the new cathedral in construction. He speaks to whoever is overseeing the project and offers to pay for some of the decorative material that is to adorn the external parts of the cathedral. Why would anyone deny a bishop and someone from such a high noble family from procuring his folly; especially if he is contributing to the beautification of the structure and paying for it? Henry decides to include the name of the person he has impersonated as the author of Life of Gildas and leaves other instructions concerning names and features to be included in the engraving during a sojourn en route to or from Rome.
In the interpolations in DA, Henry reaffirms the story of Melvas which he initially had composed in the Life of Gildas and commissioned that story as an engraving on the Modena Archivolt. In the Life of Gildas, we are told Gildas wrote his history while at Glastonbury. Gildas is corroborated as being at Glastonbury and even buried there…. according to Henry’s interpolations into William of Malmesbury’s DA in the first 34 chapters. The real problem which arises from this is….in reality Gildas did not have anything to do with Glastonbury. He is only connected by the concocted works of Henry. William of Malmesbury of course does not even mention the work of Caradoc of Llancarfan.
A commission was given to Malmesbury to compose the DA. As is evident from the prologue of DA, William of Malmesbury had not gone far enough in establishing (embellishing) the abbey’s antiquity in DA. Malmesbury in DA also had only shown a proof of antiquity to the year 601 by the charter which gave Ineswitrin to the ‘Old Church’. Henry Blois wanted to establish a more archaic provenance for the Glastonbury church.
At the extreme right of the archivolt, we see two figures labelled Galvariun and Che. The odd thing about them is that they do not seem to be ready for a fight carrying their lances over their shoulders.
This is probably just a strange coincidence, but Henry Blois’ father who was Count of Blois, Count of Chartres and Count of Troyes, has on his seal a very similar image of a Norman knight with his lance over his shoulder which nearly replicates the Modena depiction.
King Arthur is depicted in what would have been thought in that era c.1140 to be the old British warrior dress, based upon what the Scottish or Welsh might have worn at the time i.e. a kilt. King Arthur is depicted as having a beard. Coincidentally, Henry Blois was castigated at times for wearing his beard too long. This strange quirk that Arthur is represented as hirsute may tie into one of the strangest episodes in the HRB: For this Ritho had fashioned him a furred cloak of the beards of the Kings he had slain, and he had bidden Arthur heedfully to flay off his beard… Whoever, commissioned the Archivolt was cognisant that Arthur had a beard.
I will show that the Life of Gildas has many parallels with the Vita Cadoci i.e. the Vita Cadoci supplies some of the inconsequential ‘filler’ material which comprises padding for the Life of Gildas and it pads out Henry Blois’ main thrust in writing the book which is strictly propagandist toward establishing Glastonbury church’s antiquity and in corroborating the person of Gildas and his association with Arthur in antiquity.
Finally, the lintel carvings on the Modena archivolt include a cross, birds, animals, and a man riding a hippocamp. According to Eratosthenes (and noted by Strabo) the temple at Helike in the coastal plain of Achaea was submerged by the sea, but it was dedicated to Poseidon Helikonios, (the Poseidon of Helicon) and the sacred spring of Boeotian Helikon we came across earlier. When an earthquake suddenly submerged the city, the temple’s bronze Poseidon accompanied by figures of hippocamps continued to snag fishermen’s nets.
Hippocamps are rare in sculpture and even rarer in medieval carving. Yet, whoever commissioned this sculpture on the archivolt wanted one depicted and had obviosly read the classics to have knowledge of a hippocamp. It would seem likely that Henry Blois had read Eratosthenes. It was Eratosthenes who endeavoured to fix the dates of the chief literary and political events from the conquest of Troy. Of course, nearly the same feat is carried out by ‘Geoffrey’ in the construction of the HRB. Also, on the lintel are the birds from Isidore’s Etymologiae. We can deduce that through the content in the VM extracted from Isidore and the archivolt’s ‘Isdurnus’ inscription, that Henry had also read Isidore’s work.
It is safe to conclude the archivolt was commissioned by Henry Blois yet no-one suspected a Bishop as an inveterate fabricator of tales. It will become clear to the reader the motives behind presenting Gildas at Glastonbury and the reasoning behind the etymological addition concerning Ineswitrin into the last paragraph of the Life of Gildas when we cover this material further on.