For Giraldus, Arthur was the national hero of the Welsh. Gerald was jealous of ‘Geoffrey’s’ success, but funnily enough Gerald never had an inkling that he had met ‘Geoffrey’ because to him ‘Geoffrey’ supposedly died when Gerald was nine years old.
It is a irony that Henry Blois was Gerald’s patron in his later life. Gerald’s constant admiration for Henry Blois is often misunderstood by scholars but it was based on the time and patience which his patron afforded Gerald when surreptitiously steering Gerald’s interest in King Arthur. Gerald however, remained suspicious of HRB’s historicity and when useful utilized a Merlin prophecy when it suited; but Gerald had been manipulated regarding the historicity of King Arthur to the point that he himself may have in turn influenced King Henry II. There is more to Gerald’s relationship with the bishop of Winchester than is commonly understood by scholars such as Crick. She is found to be comparing Geoffrey and Gerald’s common ground, but Gerald heaps praise on Henry Blois and no-one seems to understand why.
It seems that modern scholar’s attitude toward Gerald is mixed but for the most part they find his writings and witness unreliable and this is largely down to his testimony concerning the uncovering of Arthur’s remains at Glastonbury.
Knowles in his short biography of Gerald unnecessarily criticizes: it is almost always singularly difficult to grip one of Gerald’s stories and nail it to the counter. When is he telling the exact truth concerning an incident of which he has himself been witness? When is he recording a mass of hearsay accretions which have crystallised round a core of fact? When is he merely retailing a legend so remote from the facts as to be more than a ‘fabliau’ or a ‘ben travoto’.
One can understand to which incident Knowles is referring and thus sends a whole slew of clones over the cliffs and Gerald’s testimony regarding the eyewitness account of the unearthing of Arthur is dismissed as unreliable. This scholastic viewpoint in the main is held rather easily because it fits with the modern misguided view that Henry de Sully was responsible for the fraud.
‘Geoffrey’ understood, the Welsh were the residue of the ancient Britons of HRB and King Arthur to Gerald was a hero. The Celtic lands i.e. Dumnonia, Wales and Scotland were not integrated into Norman hegemony. However, King Arthur was a symbol of Welsh/Briton resistance to Saxon oppression, and according to ‘Geoffrey’s’ tradition, Arthur (conflated with Ambrosius) had fought against invading Germanic tribes on behalf of the Romano-Celtic ancestors of the Welsh. The ‘hope’ of the Bretons first mentioned in EAW (or GR depending upon interpretation) reflects a view that Arthur was somehow going to return to establish the former glory of the Celtic cultures or Britons. This view point was encouraged by Merlin’s prophecies.
One view held by some scholars is that the alleged discovery of Arthur’s tomb was a propaganda stunt designed so that the English/Norman overlords could use it against the Welsh, proving to them definitively that their saviour was permanently deceased and would never return to liberate them.
The fabrication of a grave hardly seems a strategic rationale for quelling the rebellion of the Welsh against their Norman masters. Firstly, Henry II by that time had made an accord with the Welsh and it would hardly be a cause for the Welsh to submit once they found Arthur was in fact dead. It would be irrational that an entire nation would lay down arms at the discovery of Arthur’s grave. But we must remember scholar’s rationalizations over time become hallowed utterances. Carley even relates what Barber has obviously just invented as a spurious rationalisation: Barber has postulated that Giraldus was not in fact an eye witness to the exhumation as scholars have tended to portray him. Barber is dim witted to say such a thing and Carley is a fool to repeat it; as if it had any credibility apart from some hair-brained convoluted rationalisation about there having been three bodies discovered. Well either Henry de Sully can’t pull off the simplest of frauds or Henry Blois made a grave error when manufacturing the tomb. Henry Blois made no mistake for the whole of his secretive compositions culminate in the discovery of King Arthur and without a grave, his renown would never have continued.
Gerald’s testimony has been ignored by scholarship because he bears witness to how events transpired at King Arthur’s disinterment. Modern scholars’s assessment of why and how Arthur’s body was unearthed is so far from the reality of what transpired that it has virtually become accepted to dismiss Gerald’s testimony because it directly contradicts the cabal of dullards agreed position and they are sticking to it, even though they are forming an opinion 900 years after the fact and Gerald only two years after recounts an eyewitness account.
Julia Crick again struggles with what appears to her as ‘intriguing irony’ about ‘Geoffrey”s’ apparent coincidence locating Avalon at Glastonbury and Gerald’s interest in Arthuriana but does not grasp that it was Henry’s influence over Gerald which turned Gerald to chastise ‘Geoffrey’ and unrelentingly Crick still holds the false premise which insists that the monks at Glastonbury were the instigators of concocting the false grave:
Gerald’s ﬁrst recorded involvement with Arthurian matters was at Glastonbury in the early 1990’s. It is ironic that Gerald, who pilloried Geoﬀrey’s History so successfully, should have supplied one of the earliest accounts of the staged discovery of Arthur’s bones there, near the supposed site of Avalon, where Arthur was said by Geoﬀrey to have retired mortally wounded after the battle of Camlann. Gerald’s avowed hostility to the very work which eﬀectively ﬁrst advertised Arthur’s existence as a historical ﬁgure makes his purposes in becoming involved in the exhumation the more intriguing. Two main parties proﬁted from the exhumation: the monks of Glastonbury and the king. The monks stood to gain by the enhancement of the prestige of their house. The exhumation established Glastonbury as a necropolis of ancient British royalty and thereby created a special relationship with the king which proved invaluable in later jurisdictional disputes with the local bishop. The advantages to the king who, according to Gerald, initiated the search for Arthur’s bones, lay most obviously in demonstrating the mortality of a politically potent ﬁgure.
Crick also expounds upon Gerald and Geoffrey as if Geoffrey was a real person who she rationalises must have been educated on the continent:
Gerald’s position as a privileged critic of Geoﬀrey owed much to the parallels between the lives and activities of the two men. Both are known by names which associate them explicitly with Wales, although both followed a Norman career path. Geoﬀrey in his ‘History’ styles himself Monemutensis, of Monmouth, but he graduated from Paris, or some other Continental school, with the title magister,and he spent most of the last thirty years of his life in Oxford, probably becoming a canon of St.George’s. Geoﬀrey probably lacked a profound knowledge of Welsh. Monmouth may have been his birthplace but he left Wales at least for the central part of his life and may not have returned even when made bishop of St Asaph, shortly before his death in 1154 Norman French is most likely to have been his ﬁrst language.
Let it be established as a certain fact that Henry Blois was ‘Geoffrey’ and he was educated at Clugny. He was never a canon of St Georges or Bishop of Asaph or did Geoffrey die in 1154 but it is a certain fact that he lacked a profound knowledge of Welsh.
Gerald was a prolific writer throughout his career. He is best known for his historical and ethnographic works such as Topographia Hibernica (The Topography of Ireland), Expugnatio Hibernica (The Conquest of Ireland), and Descriptio Kambriae (The Description of Wales). It is two of his lesser-known works which concern us here, in which are contained his accounts of the discovery of King Arthur’s tomb: the Liber de Principis Instructione (On the Instruction of Princes) c.1193 and the Speculum Ecclesiae (Mirror of the Church) c.1216.
Gerald became a royal clerk and chaplain to King Henry II in 1184, first acting as mediator between the crown and the Welsh Prince Rhys ap Gruffydd. Later he was chosen to accompany one of the King’s sons, John, in 1185 on John’s first expedition to Ireland. This started his literary career, in that, Topographia Hibernica is an account of his journey to Ireland. Gerald was selected to accompany the Archbishop of Canterbury, Baldwin of Forde, on a tour of Wales in 1188, the object being a recruitment campaign for the Third Crusade.
Gerald’s account of that journey, the Itinerarium Cambriae (1191) was followed by the Descriptio Cambriae in 1193-94. As a royal clerk, Gerald observed significant political events at first hand. It was in this period c.1192-3 that De principis instructione was probably written. One expert, Charles Wood742 says that De principis instructione was thought to be written in or even before 1193 and says the story of Arthur’s and Guinevere’s discovery was undoubtedly conveyed to him by monks who had participated in the original fraud.
Again, the standard theory is that Henry de Sully is the perpetrator of the fraud exhuming King Arthur’s bones and he is thought to have staged the event by supplying the bogus ‘Leaden cross’ and the relics. Gerald’s testimony in the De principis instructione should be understood as Gerald having been present as an eye-witness743 and the details concerning King Henry’s involvement as genuinely derived from first-hand knowledge.
742Guinevere at Glastonbury. Charles Wood
743Now when they had extracted this cross from the stone, the aforementioned Abbot Henry showed it to me…
Gerald’s report of events surrounding Arthur’s disinterment is the closest in date to the discovery of the tomb. There is just no foundation whatsoever for modern scholars to simply ignore Gerald’s account. This view is not based on any other work, it is simply because the events which Gerald explicity relates does not rhyme with modern scholars concocted theories about King Arthur’s connection to Glastonbury.
The most important point related by Gerald and summarily dismissed by Arthurian scholars is that Gerald bears testimony to the fact that in the Glastonbury annals i.e. DA, Arthur’s resting place was already known.744 One can certainly say that Gerald has certainly swallowed a large part of Henry Blois’ interpolations in DA and the corroborating fake-history found in HRB.745
744Indeed, there had been some evidence from the records that the body might be found there….
745Gerald Writes: After Albanus and Amphibalus, they were esteemed the chief protomartyrs of Britannia Major. In ancient times there were three fine churches in this city: one dedicated to Julius the martyr, graced with a choir of nuns; another to Aaron, his associate, and ennobled with an order of canons; and the third distinguished as the metropolitan of Wales. Amphibalus, the instructor of Albanus in the true faith, was born in this place. This city is well situated on the river Usk, navigable to the sea, and adorned with woods and meadows. The Roman ambassadors here received their audience at the court of the great King Arthur; and here also, the archbishop Dubricius ceded his honours to David of Menevia, the metropolitan see being translated from this place to Menevia, according to the prophecy of Merlin Ambrosius; ” Menevia pallio urbis Legionum induetur.”Menevia shall be invested with the pall of the city of Legions.”
Modern scholars’ view assumes that the time lapse (1184-1191) after the fire to Arthur’s body’s discovery and his eventual exhumation was dictated (predicated) by financial reasons. The modern view is that as soon as King Henry was dead, the funds dried up for the rebuild of the burnt church. The presumption is that Henry de Sully was the instigator of the fraud and therefore the fabricator of the ‘Leaden cross’. Received wisdom holds (with an erroneous a priori in place) that any mention of Arthur in DA was not interpolated until after his disinterment.746
If one were to eliminate this misguided standpoint, one would have to accept the possibility that Henry Blois could be responsible for much of the Matter of Britain material. This is scholarships blind spot and haughty presumption which has squewed every theory on King Arthur’s presence at Glastonbury to the present era. Scholars have chosen to ignore Gerald’s testimony and the discovery’s connection to King Henry II as Gerald bears witness and dismiss Gerald even though he was a royal clerk and chaplain to King Henry II in the same year the fire took place
746There is no description of the disinterment in DA which would only be natural after the dig, if indeed Arthurian references were a later addition and not an interpolation by Henry Blois before the event. The presumption is that the description of who is in the grave is derived after the unearthing. The scholastic community has made a ‘grave’ error.
Most importantly, Arthurian commentators have omitted to question why it would be that an interpolator of DA (after the disinterment) has taken in hand to record where the body was found and not a single other detail about the unearthing. Luckily for us, Gerald has done so and even recorded how they knew where to look so that it may be unveiled.
It is not a coincidence that the man who introduces us to Guinevere in HRB is the same man who invents the episode of her kidnap at Glastonbury by impersonating Caradoc and establishing the first connection of Arthur to Glastonbury…. and then pays to have the same episode engraved on the Modena Archivolt and eventually (by a fortuitous convergence of factors!!!) Guinevere is lying next to Arthur in Glastonbury just as Henry Blois had foreseen in DA. It is not as if the composer of Perlesvaus (i.e.Henry Blois) was ignorant of this fact either; again before the unearthing. The fact that they were uncovered in Avalon, the same place that ‘Geoffrey had alluded to as Insulam Pomorum 35 years earlier; is a remarkable coincidence without Henry Blois’ design and foresight telling the monks where to dig.
Surely it is not beyond comprehension that Henry Blois names Guinevere as being alongside Arthur in DA when he specifies where the grave is located. Otherwise, Gerald’s account of the lock of hair is entirely fabricated and he is in cahoots with the interpolator of DA and Perlesvaus. Are we supposed to believe the interpolator of DA after the disinterment leaves it all to Gerald to give an account of Arthur’s disinterment without telling us what happened himself? Of course not!!!
Modern scholars need to understand that Arthur’s grave was planted by Henry Blois the instigator of the name Avalon, and that Arthur’s grave was nonchalantly alluded to in DA. Several other pertinent pieces of the jig saw puzzle covered by this investigation would then no longer hold true or fit theories held presently by modern scholars. Several a prioris crumble, exposing the scholastic view as a rationalization or erroneous reconstruction of events rather than accepting certain truths which consequently fit together.
It is difficult for Watkin when he struggles with his own rationalized chronology in dealing with Gerald’s ready acceptance of Avalon:
What prompted the search? According to Gerald it was the stories of the Welsh bards which reached Henry II, who in turn urged the search. Gerald also speaks of visions and the writing on the pyramids. Ralph adds the story of the monk. It is certainly likely that the identification of Avalon with Glastonbury had by then already been made; it is possible the identification reached the ears of Henry II and that the King suggested the search.
Watkin of course believes that the grave was manufactured by Henry de Sully. Because of Raleigh Radford’s assessment that the cemetery was heightened by several feet at the time of St Dunstan, the fact the grave was found so deep probably gives the best rationalization of how the grave came to exist in the way it was found.
Watkin suggests that the stone (seven feet down) in Gerald’s report was the stone of an earlier grave covered over. This is true in that Henry, when choosing a place to put King Arthur’s and Guinevere’s lock of hair and primate bones, came across the previous lid and then decided on a course of action which involved fabricating a ‘lead cross’, supplying specifically chosen bones and hair and affixing the cross to the underside of the lid of the grave of the previous occupant.
Henry must have put the bones he had brought to replicate Arthur and Guinevere’s relics in a wooden hollowed trunk and left it in the original grave and replaced the slab with the ‘Leaden cross’ fixed on the underside. Henry’s idea was to replicate a grave he had seen while unearthing saints bones in Saxon graves because he thought that was how burials in Arthur’s time would look.
Watkin’s speculation is that the grave was real (which is half true), but he thinks Henry de Sully adds the finishing touch: the cross, though fraudulent, may have replaced a grave-cross less precise in wording, for to establish that the grave was certainly that of Arthur the written identification of Glastonbury with Avalon had to be made. So, are we to believe Watkin’s explanation involves believing ‘Geoffrey’s’ historicity concerning Arthur having been taken to Avalon, even though we know Malmesbury does not mention Avalon except where Henry Blois has interpolated his work.
SO LET’S LOOK AT WHAT GERALD ACTUALLY SAYS:
I have utilised John William Sutton‘s translation in the extracts from Gerald’s two works.
The Discovery of the Tomb of King Arthur from Liber de Principis Instructione [On the Instruction of Princes] c. 1193
The memory of Arthur, the celebrated King of the Britons, should not be concealed. In his age, he was a distinguished patron, generous donor, and a splendid supporter of the renowned monastery of Glastonbury747they praise him greatly in their annals. Indeed, more than all other churches of his realm he prized the Glastonbury church of Holy Mary, mother of God, and sponsored it with greater devotion by far than he did for the rest. When that man went forth for war, depicted on the inside part of his shield was the image of the Blessed Virgin, so that he would always have her before his eyes in battle, and whenever he found himself in a dangerous encounter he was accustomed to kiss her feet with the greatest devotion. Although legends had fabricated something fantastical about his demise (that he had not suffered death, and was conveyed, as if by a spirit, to a distant place), his body was discovered at Glastonbury, in our own times, hidden very deep in the earth in an oak-hollow, between two stone pyramids that were erected long ago in that holy place. The tomb was sealed up with astonishing tokens, like some sort of miracle.748 The body was then conveyed into the church with honor, and properly committed to a marble tomb.
A lead cross was placed under the stone, not above as is usual in our times, but instead fastened to the underside.749 I have seen this cross, and have traced the engraved letters — not visible and facing outward, but rather turned inwardly toward the stone. It read: “Here lies entombed King Arthur, with Guenevere his second wife,750 on the Isle of Avalon.”
747Gerald’s view of Arthur as a generous donor to Glastonbury comes directly from Henry’s interpolations in DA and from ‘Caradoc’s’ Life of Gildas.
748Gerald is hardly going to be duped by freshly buried remains.
749Why would Gerald make such a point unless he had witnessed the event. He witnessed the ’Leaden cross’ being found on the underside of the stone and thought it a strange occurrence from his own present tradition.
750The fact that Gerald at this early stage is saying that Guinevere is Arthur’s second wife shows that already the question as to why he was buried with a wife who had soiled herself with Mordred was a question of maintaining Arthur’s reputation. Hence, it might suggest that certain people were concerned with upholding Arthur’s reputation as certain commentators believe. But Guinevere was referred to as his second wife by the same name. Henry, when he had planted the bodies, made it look as if Guinevere was buried first and then Arthur laid on top. The pertinent fact is that Gerald is not lying; because even he finds what the ‘Leaden cross’ states remarkable: Many remarkable things come to mind regarding this. For instance, he had two wives, of whom the last was buried with him. It is Henry Blois looking after Arthur’s reputation OR him trying to square the contradiction that Guinevere obviously outlived Arthur and the bones underneath were an original grave (representing her bones) with Arthur’s bones on top!!
Many remarkable things come to mind regarding this. For instance, he had two wives, of whom the last was buried with him. Her bones were discovered with her husband’s, though separated in such a way that two-thirds of the sepulcher, namely the part nearer the top, was believed to contain the bones of the husband, and then one-third, toward the bottom, separately contained the bones of his wife — wherein was also discovered a yellow lock of feminine hair, entirely intact and pristine in color, which a certain monk eagerly seized in hand and lifted out; immediately the whole thing crumbled to dust.
Indeed, there had been some evidence from the records that the body might be found there, and some from the lettering carved on the pyramids (although that was mostly obliterated by excessive antiquity), and also some that came from the visions and revelations made by good men and the devout.
But the clearest evidence came when King Henry II of England explained the whole matter to the monks (as he had heard it from an aged British poet): how they would find the body deep down, namely more than 16 feet into the earth, and not in a stone tomb but in an oak-hollow. The body had been placed so deep, and was so well concealed, that it could not be found by the Saxons who conquered the island after the King’s death — those whom he had battled with so much exertion while he was alive, and whom he had nearly annihilated. And so because of this the lettering on the cross — the confirmation of the truth — had been inscribed on the reverse side, turned toward the stone, so that it would conceal the tomb at that time and yet at some moment or occasion could ultimately divulge what it contained.
What is now called Glastonbury was, in antiquity, called the Isle of Avalon; it is like an island because it is entirely hemmed in by swamps. In British it is called Inis Avallon, that is, insula pomifera [Latin: “The Island of Apples”]. This is because the apple, which is called aval in the British tongue, was once abundant in that place. Morgan,751 a noble matron, mistress and patroness of those regions, and also King Arthur’s kinswoman by blood, brought Arthur to the island now called Glastonbury for the healing of his wounds after the Battle of Camlann. Moreover, the island had once been called in British Inis Gutrin, that is, insula vitrea[Latin:”The Island of Glass”]; from this name, the invading Saxons afterwards called this place Glastingeburi, for glas in their language means vitrum [Latin: “glass”], and buri stands for castrum [Latin:”castle”] or civitas [Latin:”city”].
It should be noted also that the bones of Arthur’s body which they discovered were so large that the poet’s verse seems to ring true: “Bones excavated from tombs are reckoned enormous”. Indeed, his shin-bone, which the abbot showed to us, was placed near the shin of the tallest man of the region; then it was fixed to the ground against the man’s foot, and it extended substantially more than three inches above his knee.752 And the skull was broad and huge, as if he were a monster or prodigy, to the extent that the space between the eyebrows and the eye-sockets amply encompassed the breadth of one’s palm. Moreover, ten or more wounds were visible on that skull, all of which had healed into scars except one, greater than the rest, which had made a large cleft753 — this seems to have been the lethal one.
751In a battle fought near Kidwelly Castle, Gwenllian’s (who I believe inspired ‘Geoffrey’s’ name of Guinevere) army was routed, she was captured in battle and beheaded by the Normans. In the battle her son Morgan was also slain and another son, Maelgwyn captured and executed. It is this same Kidwelly at which I believe Henry might have been present and claims in GS (Lidelea) belongs to himself.
752This is an eye witness account of the events and obviously Henry Blois had planted the shin bone of an animal. To remark on the space between the eyebrows, one would imagine that Henry was using the skull of a large primate unseen in Britain before by the spectators of the event.
753Again, Gerald is describing a skull which has been prepared by Henry to match events described in HRB
When Gerald says they praise him greatly in their annals, the only annals which put Arthur at Glastonbury are the DA, Life of Gildas, HRB and Melkin’s ‘De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’, all written by Henry Blois. William in GR1 states he does not know where Arthur is buried. However, when Henry Blois’s GR3 interpolations were composed no grave was yet manufactured at Glastonbury. Someone in the interim between 1143 and 1193 has been busy.
The clearest evidence of where Arthur was buried and how deep he was in the ground originates from someone who was present when Arthur’s manufactured grave was dug up Gerald obviously saw what was put in it by Henry Blois but the description of depth presupposes what they eventually find and is then validated.
That same person who manufactured the grave knew for certain Guinevere’s remains would be in the grave also indicated by bones and a lock of hair.
Henry Blois was a master of propaganda and may well have passed the information to Henry II in various different ways. Henry Blois establishes two certain facts with the inclusion of the ‘Leaden cross’. One is that the cross establishes (by where it is located) that this location is Avalon just as ‘Geoffrey’ made plain in VM that it was in somerset’s Insula Pomorum.
After the dig, the Chivalric King Arthur is now real. His bones are there! This could not be any other King Arthur because she is called Guinevere on the leaden cross. The rationalisation by Henry may be that she has been ravished by Melwas or Mordred and in Medieval terms ‘unclean’. The simple answer is (since he can do or state anything he wants because it is a story anyway) He decides to make Guinevere pure and she will be his ‘second wife’.
Gerald is emphatic: But the clearest evidence came when King Henry II of England explained the whole matter to the monks. This is not a confused statement, but Gerald unequivocally suggests it was King Henry II who told the monks how deep the grave was. We just need to realize that if Gerald is not lying (and why would he be), then obviously…. whoever put the bones in the ground is the same person who knew the information supplied to the King. One guess at who that might be is the inventor of the King Arthur persona in HRB, who puts him wounded at Avalon, just where Henry Blois had located him 35 years earlier in VM being brought to the island of Avalon/Pomorum by Barinthus.
Since Gerald is convinced that King Henry instigated the dig, we can either assume that it was some dying wish, or the dig was instigated by those closest to him after his death or that Adam of Damerham (d.after 1291) or Ralph of Coggeshall (d.after 1227) got the date wrong which is more likely than Gerald being mistaken. But this leaves the contention of Henry de Sully’s election by Richard I and the two-month span between Henry II death and Henry de Sully’s election (and the accuracy of recording his election)
Gerald is certain of Henry II involvement and states: In our own lifetime, while Henry II was ruling England.
Let us just say that Henry de Sully was the abbot as Gerald would not make that mistake especially as an eyewitness. So, Henry de Sully arrived early at Glastonbury before Henry II died and was installed properly by Richard. Whatever way you look at this, there will always be a certain amount of conjecture. Gerald is adamant of the King’s involvement and we should not dismiss the rest of his witness and defer to accounts and dates arrived at much later.
The only reason scholars have chosen to dismiss Gerald’s testimony is because it is easier to do so rather than make his evidence fit their theory i.e. about foreknowledge of the grave. Ignoring what Gerald has to say is just easier to fit in their concocted theory if Henry de Sully is thought to have fabricated the grave.
Gerald says in no uncertain terms however, two or three years after the discovery that Avalon was the ancient name for Glastonbury, and that the location of the grave was pointed out before the disinterment. Since the ‘chivalric’ Arthur never existed in history (except in Henry Blois mind) and yet ‘his bones’ had been fraudulently placed 16 feet down between two pyramids and that location was already known and we Know the Abbot of Glastonbury wrote the HRB; even the most sedentary of minds could assess that Henry Blois in the period between 1158 and 1171 is culpable of burying an animal bone,754 Gorilla755 skull and lock of blonde hair in a hollow oak tree trunk at least 20-25 years before it was discovered and to which he had led people to uncover.
754Henry Blois’ collection of exotic animals he inherited from Henry I’s hunting lodge at Woodstock. A medieval monk would probably not know what a primate skull looked like. Certainly Gerald gives a good description of the distance between its eyes.
755See Image 2
Gerald’s description of the lead cross placed under the stone, not above as is usual in our times, but instead fastened to the underside…. again, is more than anecdotal comment. Gerald is there at the unveiling of King Arthur. I have seen this cross and have traced the engraved letters — not visible and facing outward, but rather turned inwardly toward the stone. The whole piece would tend to indicate that Gerald was present as the slab of stone above the hollowed oak was removed. Gerald is interested by the method of burial. Henry Blois having removed bones and opened graves to transport saints bones had seen burial in hollowed out trees used as coffins. This was in fact a Saxon custom not a Briton custom but for effect it looked like an archaic burial site.
It would hardly seem pertinent to expound upon the events concerning the monk and the lock of Guinevere’s hair, if the grave site had no connection with her. It seems pointless regurgitating speculations concerning the cross and what it had written upon it,756 but rather state that if a lock of hair was present (which by the account seems certain), the contention would be that; why would Arthur be buried with an unfaithful wife the reason for his downfall? It would suggest that Guinevere has been expunged from future renditions of what was written on the cross rather than Gerald (the eyewitness) had invented her name as being present on the cross. 757
756In my view all later reports have expunged Guinevere to respect Arthur’s reputation and virility from having been cuckolded. Guinevere’s lock existed as Gerald maintains and whoever planted the bones and manufactured the grave had the non-corrosive cross fabricated. The same person who manufactured the grave knows he has included her name on the cross and added the lock of hair into the grave, so the manufacturer of the Grave is hardly going to state otherwise that Guinevere is not in the Grave, as all future renditions of the inscription insist. So, we must look to the testimony in DA which was put there by Henry Blois. If Henry de Sully is responsible for the bogus grave; to what end does he include a lock of hair and include her name on the cross? Henry de Sully has no reasoning for establishing a chivalric Arthur married to Guinevere. It is more proof that her name (invented by Henry in HRB) was on the cross, as all later renditions have expunged her name. Camden’s later representation of the cross must be a subsequent fake created to expunge Guinevere from lore.
757All the following examples of the inscription follow the Glastonbury hymn sheet over a 40-50-year period after Gerald’s eyewitness account:
Ralph of Coggesshall has the inscription as ’Hic Iacet inclitus Rex Arturius in Insula Avallonis sepultus’.
Adam of Damerham gives us: Hic iacet sepultus inclitus rex Arturius in insula Avalonia. John Leland However, renders it, Hic Iacet sepultus Inclytus rex Arturius in insulis Avallonia.
In any case, Guinevere being present in the grave cross-references what Henry wrote in DA and the Perlesvaus colophon long before the dig which then confirmed her manufactured presence there.
If Henry Blois had not written in DA where they both would be found, then they would not have been found anyway (unless one takes the scholar’s view that Henry de Sully picked the spot); because we know Henry did write in DA; all the more reason to believe Gerald!
If scholars are right about Henry de Sully’s involvement; Why not make the most out of the propaganda exercise and expound upon the event in DA instead of leaving it to Gerald to give an account.
Gerald of Wales repeats the same engraving on the cross in both accounts that he composes of the unveiling of king Arthur’s grave “Here lies entombed King Arthur, on the Isle of Avalon, with Guenevere his second wife”. Henry Blois is the one rationalising that Guinevere should be a second wife. One reason may be because he wanted to make sure that when the grave was discovered two bodies supplied a double confirmation (of HRB’s historicity) that the evidence of a ‘Chivalric’ Arthur with Guinevere was real as stated on the artifact of the ‘Leaden cross’ as sure as their relationship in Grail legend.
Gerald made a copy of the wording on the leaden cross; so, to get it wrong twice seems less likely than future monk’s distancing Arthur from his wife for her adultery.
To disbelieve Gerald’s testimony, we have to consider why it was that all the other extraneous detail concerning the hair, the plait, the monk jumping in the pit etc. was invented.758 The monks tried to rationalize how it was that Arthur was buried with a wife who had in fact been the reason for his downfall by defecting into the arms of Mordred in HRB. It is they who have eradicated her from the future renditions in spurious inscriptions.
758The plaits would not have been invented because of the status afforded to Guinevere’s hair in Chrétien’s Lancelot the Knight and the Cart; rather Chrétien wrote that because Henry had already implanted the hair and made a point about it when Bleheris recounted the story to Chrétien.
For some good reason Henry Blois put Guinevere in the grave and Guinevere establishes it is the King Arthur from the HRB and no other Arthur that some may still believe Arthur is alive or buried elsewhere; or of a different tradition from the HRB ‘chivalric’ Arthur. Infinitely more reasons to believe Gerald than a Henry de Sully who supposedly has not got a DA account (according to scholars) stating that Guinevere is buried with Arthur. Henry de Sully inventing lore about a second wife and then others conforming in DA and Perlesvaus with what is written (where Guinevere is included in the grave) seems unlikely; especially if the scholars insist the original inscription did not include Guinevere. This is why ‘we are where we are’ and scholars have chosen to ignore Gerald’s evidence.
If Guinevere’s name was ignored by later chroniclers from the original inscription on the cross, she was certainly present for Edward I and Eleanor of Castille’s visit in 1278 and it is the later chronicler’s rendition of the inscription that is being rationalised by prudish ecclesiastical chronichlers.
Wood’s theory of Guinevere at Glastonbury relies on ignoring most of Gerald’s testimony about the previous cognition of the whereabouts of Arthur’s grave and presumes that Henry de Sully was the instigator of the fraud. Wood supplies good reasoning and speculations as to why Henry de Sully might be implicated, but his theory ignores the existence of an already constructed translocation of Avalon759 into Glastonbury which we know is Henry Blois’ invention. What Wood does not take into account is that it is Henry Blois behind a design. Henry Blois wants the grave to be found. The evidence in DA providing the location between the piramides and the Colophon of Perlesvaus stating that Guinevere and Arthur are buried in Avalon is written in the future i.e. they are there… not that they were discovered there. The DA and Perlesvaus confirmation of a joint grave evidences that this information existed before the unveiling of the grave. By design the information made sure the grave was opened and more importantly than any other evidence was what was found in the grave. Where does Henry de Sully get Gorilla bones from.
Henry Blois is responsible for pre-fabricating the grave-site because Henry Blois is ‘Geoffrey’, the inventor of Insula Avallonis in HRB and Insula Pomorum in VM; and secondly because of Gerald’s assertion that Arthur’s burial location was known previously; and thirdly, because we know that Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’Arimathie c.1160-70 (who has obtained his story from Henry Blois) has connected the ‘vessel’ through Joseph of Arimathea to Avalon/Avaron in the west; and then…. it just so happens that Avalon turns out to be Glastonbury as posited in DA before Arthur was disinterred with his wife.760
759The cross really would be an over-ingenuous forgery and the discovery would seem highly dubious and beyond the bounds of credibility if indeed Avalon had not already been accepted as synonymous with Glastonbury, established through the propaganda found in DA. How can one name on one ‘leaden cross’ convince everybody…. without all the supporting evidence from an extant Glastonbury Perlesvaus and DA and other possible works written by Henry Blois which may have been referenced before they were burnt in the fire.
760Do not forget that there is nothing in DA that relates to the events surrounding the exhumation and if Arthur’s location had been interpolated into the DA after the dig, surely events surrounding the dig would have been interpolated also. Why would a later interpolator tell us where the grave was located and include Guinevere and then divulge nothing more about the exhumation. All of DA is about the aggrandization of Glastonbury and yet the biggest event in the abbey’s history is muted in a book said by scholars to have been interpolated after the event. It is this very misguided theory which has blinded scholars dating of Grail literature and thus, by such a ridiculous presumption, automatically excludes Henry Blois from being the main promulgator of Grail literature; even though every branch of early literature is witnessed to originate from someone with a name like Breri, Blaise, Bledhericus, Bleheris, Blihos Bleheris and Master Blehis as seen in the Bliocadran also.
We must also understand that the bones that Henry Blois will have deposited in the grave were unusually large and the probability is that he wrote a prophecy or poem (which has not survived into posterity) to the effect which foresaw the unearthing of the bones: It should be noted also that the bones of Arthur’s body which they discovered were so large that the poet’s verse seems to ring true: “Bones excavated from tombs are reckoned enormous”. As we know Henry is not averse to writing prophecy and only he could know that the bones were over-sized.
Before progressing further we should look at the extract below which is Gerald’s other testimony in a separate manuscript concerning what he had experienced when King Arthur was exhumed at Glastonbury from the graveyard.
The Discovery of the Tomb of King Arthur from Speculum Ecclesiae [Mirror of the Church].
Cap. VIII. Regarding the monk who, at the discovery of the tomb of Arthur, pulled out a lock of women’s hair with his hand, and quite shamelessly accelerated its ruin.
In our own lifetime, while Henry II was ruling England, diligent efforts were made in Glastonbury Abbey to locate what must have once been the tomb of Arthur.This was done at the instruction of the King and under the supervision of the abbot of that place, Henry, who was later transferred to Worcester Cathedral. With much difficulty the tomb was excavated in the holy burial-ground which had been dedicated by Saint Dunstan.The tomb was found between two tall, emblazoned pyramids, erected long ago in memory of Arthur.761 Though his body and bones had been reduced to dust,762 they were lifted up from below into the air, and to a more seemly place of burial.
In the same grave there was found a tress of woman’s hair, blonde and lovely to look at, plaited and coiled with consummate skill, and belonging, no doubt, to Arthur’s wife, who was buried there with her husband. Standing among the crowd763 is a monk who sees the lock of hair. So that he could seize the lock before all others, he hurled himself headlong into the lowest depths of the cavity. Then the aforementioned monk, that insolent spectator, no less impudent than imprudent, descended into the depths; the depths symbolize the infernal realm, which none of us can escape. Thus, the monk thought to pull it out with his hand, to take hold of the lock of hair before all others; evidence of his shameless mind, for women’s hair entangles the weak-willed, while strong souls avoid it. Hair, of course, is said to be incorruptible, for it has no flesh in it, nor any moisture mixed with it. Nevertheless, as he held it in his hand, having raised it up in order to inspect it (many watched intently and in amazement), it crumbled into the thinnest dust; miraculously it disintegrated, as if reduced to granules. [There are a few words in the manuscript missing here.] For it demonstrated that all things are transitory, and all worldly beauty is for our vain eyes to gaze upon, for performing illicit sensual acts, or for our moments that are susceptible to vanity — indeed, as the philosopher said, “the splendor of beauty is swift, passing, changeable, and more fleeting than the flowers of spring.”
761Gerald’s thought is that these piramides were put there to mark Arthur’s grave and implies, as we saw earlier, that there might have been some sort of engraving which indicated this. If some engraving concerning Arthur existed on the piramides we can only surmise that this inscription also was fabricated by Henry possibly obliterating some earlier Saxon engravings which William made clear were legible.
762What Gerald is also subconsciously showing us here is that the large primate bones Henry Blois had planted were in plain evidence, but the previous occupants remains were broken up. Just a few lines later Gerald says about the Gorilla or large primate remains, which are obviously the bones Henry has planted as evidence and have not had the time to break down: Regarding the bones lying intact in the tomb of King Arthur….
763Again, Gerald is saying as an eyewitness amongst the crowd that a monk jumped into the grave. It is unlikely that such an anecdote would be recounted twice by Gerald unless he had actually been present at the event and the memory of the monk’s actions that day, he had found distasteful or dis-respectful. The fact that the hair was plaited also is an anecdotal eyewitness detail not significant except to someone who actually saw the lock of hair before: it crumbled into the thinnest dust; miraculously it disintegrated, as if reduced to granules.
Regarding the bones lying intact in the tomb of King Arthur, discovered at Glastonbury in our times, and about the many things relating to these remarkable circumstances.
Furthermore, tales are regularly reported and fabricated about King Arthur and his uncertain end, with the British peoples even now contending foolishly that he is still alive. True and accurate information has been sought out, so the legends have finally been extinguished; the truth about this matter should be revealed plainly, so here I have endeavoured to add something to the indisputable facts that have been disclosed.
After the Battle of Camlann . . . [A number of words are missing in the manuscript which probably say something about Mordred] And so, after Arthur had been mortally wounded there, his body was taken to the Isle of Avalon, which is now called Glastonbury, by a noble matron and kinswoman named Morgan; afterwards the remains were buried, according to her direction, in the holy burial-ground.764 As a result of this, the Britons and their poets have been concocting legends that a certain fantastic goddess, also called Morgan, carried off the body of Arthur to the Isle of Avalon for the healing of his wounds. When his wounds have healed, the strong and powerful King will return to rule the Britons (or so the Britons suppose), as he did before. Thus, they still await him, just as the Jews, deceived by even greater stupidity, misfortune, and faithlessness, likewise await their Messiah.
764Gerald is giving us the answer to the contemporary question as to who buried Arthur and the rationalisation seems to have come up with Morgan from the VM.
It is significant . . . [Two sentences or so are damaged in the manuscript but probably say something about Glastonbury being recorded in history as the isle of Avalon] Truly it is called Avalon, either from the British word aval, which means pomum because apples and apple trees abound in that place; or, from the name Vallo, once the ruler of that territory. Likewise, long ago the place was usually called in British Inis Gutrin, that is, insula vitrea [Latin: “The Island of Glass”], evidently on account of the river, most like glass in color, that flows around the marshes. Because of this, it was later called Glastonia in the language of the Saxons who seized this land, since glas in English or in Saxon means vitrum [Latin: “glass”]. It is clear from this, therefore, why it was called an island, why it was called Avalon, and why it was called Glastonia; it is also clear how the fantastic goddess Morgan was contrived by poets.765
It is also notable that . . . [Several words are missing, obscuring the meaning of the first part of the sentence most probably relating to the piramides] from the letters inscribed on it, yet nearly all, however, was destroyed by antiquity. 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.766These were very deep, on account of the Saxons (whom he had subdued often and expelled from the Island of Britain, and whom his evil nephew Mordred had later called back against him), who endeavoured to occupy the whole island again after his death; so their fear was that Saxons might despoil him in death through the wickedness of their vengeful spirit.
A broad stone was unearthed during the excavating at the tomb, about seven feet . . . [A couple of words are missing probably saying ‘to which’] a lead cross was fastened — not to the outer part of the stone, but rather to the underside (no doubt as a result of their fears about the Saxons). It had these words inscribed on it: “Here lies entombed King Arthur, on the Isle of Avalon, with Guenevere his second wife.767 “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.768 The cross was fastened to the underside of the stone, and, moreover, the engraved part of the cross was turned toward the stone, so that it would be better concealed. Remarkable indeed was the industry and exquisite prudence of the men of that era, who, by all their exertions, wished to hide forever the body of so great a man, their lord, and the patron of that region, from the danger of sudden disturbance. Moreover, they took care that — at some time in the future when their tribulations had ceased — the evidence of the letters inscribed on the cross could be made public.
765Obviously, Gerald believed ‘Geoffrey’s’ VM account of Morgan to be fiction.
766As we have previously covered, Gerald was very closely connected to Henry II, so to imply that the King had spoken on many occasions of the location of Arthur’s burial would lead us to believe that he had been informed of the depth and location by the person who had planted the grave and had knowledge of its whereabouts. The person who interpolated DA i.e. Henry Blois, plainly states in Chapter 31: I Passover Arthur, famous King of the Britons buried with his wife in the monk’s cemetery between the two pyramids.
767Gerald is not uncertain about what he saw on the cross twenty-five years after the unearthing when this later extract was written; He had not changed his mind from his initial account written within two years of the discovery. The insistence of modern scholars that the version which excludes Guinevere is the correct version is largely based on the assumption that what is written in DA about Guinevere being present in the grave is a late interpolation after the disinterment. There is nothing to eliminate Camden’s representation of the cross as fraudulent either or three other variants on the inscription all of which monkish chroniclers had tried to eradicate Guinevere’s name. It is more likely Gerald is telling the truth because he still insists the inscription mentioned Guinevere as Arthur’s second wife and this is not in any previously stated lore; so, seems to be Henry Blois’ invention on the inscription.
768In other words, modern scholars presenting their own corrupted version of events, dismissing Gerald’s version; by implication, call Gerald a liar. To what possible end would Gerald implicate himself in an easily verifiable lie and publish this lie two years after the event when the person his is proposing gave him the ‘Leaden cross’ to look at died a full three years later.
The renowned King Arthur was a patron of Glastonbury Abbey. [Enough words are missing that the rest of this chapter heading is indecipherable.]
[The beginning of the sentence is lost but it is important that Gerald is probably referring to Henry II and what he] . . . had proposed, thus Arthur’s body was discovered not in a marble tomb, not cut from rock or Parian stone, as was fitting for so distinguished a King, but rather in wood, in oak that was hollowed out for this purpose, and 16 feet or more deep in the earth; this was certainly on account of haste rather than proper ceremony for the burial of so great a prince, driven as they were by a time of urgent distress. When the body was discovered according to the directions indicated by King Henry,769 the aforementioned abbot had an extraordinary marble tomb made for the remains, as was fitting for an excellent patron of that place, for indeed, he had prized that church more than all the rest in his Kingdom and had enriched it with large and numerous lands. And for that reason, it was not undeserved, but just and by the judgment of God, who rewards all good deeds not only in heaven, but also on earth and in this life. [The end of the manuscript is very defective.] . . and the authentic770 body of Arthur . . . to be buried properly771 . . .
769The reason scholars are so insistent upon denying that Henry II had any bearing on the event concerning the disinterment is because it fits much more neatly with their view that the unearthing, the bogus relics and the ‘leaden cross’ were all staged by Henry de Sully. Since Gerald himself does not give a date for the disinterment, is it not more likely that the grave was dug up on the information supplied by the King who had been informed through the machinations of Henry Blois and it was Henry de Sully who carried out the act of exhumation, just after the King had died as the king is not there but the exhumation is carried out and the body was discovered according to the directions indicated by King Henry.
770Words like this show that there was suspicion and therefore all the more reason to find Gerald’s account genuine as the grave site had remained undisturbed for probably thirty years since Henry planted it until it was uncovered and would seem all the more ‘authentic’.
771For all the ingenious theories modern scholars have put forward concerning the alternative inscriptions on the ‘leaden cross’ and about Gerald’s witness; it seems quite apparent the reason King Arthur was disintered from between the two piramides was to establish whether the rumours were true about Arthur and Guinevere being buried in the grave yard to put to rest ‘foolish legends even now contending foolishly that he is still alive. Secondly, once the bones were recovered, the bones were housed in the New church after the fire as the last sentence makes plain in a more befitting site.
There are logical contradictions concerning the bones and the ‘dust of bones’, but it was a bogus grave site probably of mixed bones from an earlier grave. Henry the consummate saint collector had probably seen Saxon graves made from tree trunks. From the description it seems that Henry had used an old tomb lid and buried it seven foot down as the locator of the grave. Under this he attached a fabricated cross with said inscription faced the engraving against the stone so it would not get soiled or filled with mud and laid the gorilla skull772 and shin bone (tibia) alongside some old previous bones with a lock of hair.
Against all the uncertainties surrounding exactly what was written on the cross, at least Arthur’s name indicating the grave was his and more dubiously (by providence of where the find took place) that Glastonbury was named Avalon. This is not in contention in the varying accounts. From this moment onwards for all and sundry it was made plain Glastonbury must have been known as Avalon in Arthur’s day and part of Henry Blois’ Matter of Britain was established as history.
The cross was attached to the underside of the old tomb lid and underneath that there was the appearance of a seemingly Briton tomb at 16 feet deep. Henry had may have dug it this deep searching for Joseph assuming the pyramids were a sign (from the east) of something under them. He may personally have arrived at this solution rationalising that the 601 charter and the prophecy of Melkin were both at Glastonbuy. The piramides were small step pyramids not like any other in the cemetery.
The depth could only have been indicated to King Henry by Henry Blois (as only he knew the depth) and the King had most probably been informed of the rationalized reasoning behind the depth of the grave i.e. because of the fear of Saxon interference. This however, might have been Gerald’s or the monk’s rationalized observation. But, Gerald’s mention of Guinevere is because Henry Blois has planted the lock of hair; not because Gerald is making up an anecdotal account to coincide with Grail literature.
One of modern scholars’ biggest mistakes is to assume that the Perlesvaus (even though in the elucidation it originates from Master Blihos (anagram H.Blois) was written by some other than Henry Blois. This is especially more neglectful in consideration that the author is acquainted with Glastonbury. Scholars blind spot is largely based on the dating of the Perlesvaus because its mention of Arthur’s and Guinevere’s burial place in Avalon; to them Perlesvaus could not be written before 1189.
I hope the reader appreciates the person who planted the grave and who located it between the piramides to be found in the future, and indicated the location in DA…. is the same as the person relating to Arthur’s burial in Perlesvaus.773 Witnessing the lock of hair Gerald would instantly associate it with Guinevere by what was written in DA and by what was written on the cross.
772See image 2
773Perlesvaus: But or ever the King departed he made the head be brought into the isle of Avalon, to a chapel of Our Lady that was there. Or ‘The author of the High Book of the Grail even claims that his text is copied from a Latin manuscript which was found in the Isle of Avalon in a house of holy religion which sits atop reaching tides where King Arthur and Queen Guenievre lie’.
Scholastic logic assumes that mention of Guinevere is derived from Romance literature. This contrived viewpoint is now nullified, asit is obvious to those with common sense, both Perlesvaus and the interpolations in DA are written by the same person prior to Guinevere’s disinterment. It is also (as I have stated previously) a serious omission on behalf of the supposed late interpolator of DA if he had written what scholars assign to his hand…. to not mention the events surrounding the disinterment. It is not described in DA when Henry inserted the interpolation as the event has not transpired yet; and in reality had been dead about twenty years.
We should not believe Gerald is concocting the entire account about the monk grasping the lock of hair. Scholars have tended to believe the version of words on the epitaph of the cross which omit Guinevere fraudulently a fake cross being made to expunge Guinevere for propriety’s sake now Arthur is in the New Church.
By omitting the only eyewitness account as having no reliability to the transpiration of events; scholars have been able to complete the puzzle face down without anyone aware of the picture of how events really transpired. To what end?
We should also not forget the chronology of Giraldus Cambrensis’ Bledhericus who asserts the ‘famosus ille fabulator’ who had lived “shortly before our time” i.e. 18 years before the unearthing. 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’.
Gerald has read DA, but he has no incentive to concur with it by mentioning Joseph or any other fabricated lore found within it (which is the common argument put forward by scholars as a proof Joseph was not an early inclusion found in DA). There is no reason for Gerald writing diligent efforts were made in Glastonbury Abbey to locate what must have once been the tomb of Arthur. This was done at the instruction of the King- unless it was true.
It would seem to indicate by the words: In our own lifetime, while Henry II was ruling England that Gerald links the events to King Henry II.
Gerald wrote: The tomb was found between two tall, emblazoned pyramids, erected long ago in memory of Arthur, because Gerald believed the pyramids were erected as a marker. Aelred Watkin remarks: the question remains; why dig in that spot.774
774Aelred Watkin. The Glastonbury legends. Here at least is one commentator questioning logically from my point of view; but from any other scholar’s point of view, Henry de Sully could have picked any old place in the graveyard. But lo and behold where the grave was actually uncovered, we find the tibia and skull of a Gorilla. Henry de Sully who did not write HRB, and who is not responsible for locating Avalon at Glastonbury now puts animal bones and a plait of hair in his own recently manufactured grave. Get real!!!
In Ralph of Coggeshall’s Chronicon Anglicanum, a history of England covering the years 1187 to 1224, Ralph avers that the monks were digging because of the desire of another monk to be buried in that particular spot in the cemetery. This could of course be Ralph’s own rationalisation having not heard of the events which brought about the disinterment. More likely though, it was the response which Glastonbury gave when suspicion was cast on their escapade in an attempt to make the event seem more random and less contrived. Henry de Sully was probably just as shocked as everybody else that the rumours turned out to be true and a grave of King Arthur was found.
Adam of Damerham’s account, writing after 1277, is relatively inconsequential compared to Giraldus’ and states that Henry de Sully had been urged to move Arthur’s body to a better resting place which sounds like a rationalisation of what transpired afterward. So, this also might be a catalyst for the disinterment in organising the building project and altar of the new build. Arthur’s presence at the alar may just be a consequence of the disinterment, there after finding a more sanctified location.
By William of Malmesbury’s account the piramides were marked with Saxon names (excepting possibly the interpolated Bregored).775 Henry needed a marker for the grave so in the future and with certainty, the grave would be opened, otherwise all his efforts would be in vain. In the future the edifice of the pyramid would mark the spot. Arthur would live forever in history, a creaton of the the very man who composed the colourful account of British history.
775Bregored was pre- West Saxon as in the 601 charter.
The chivalric Arthur needed to be substantiated from hearsay and myth into reality and Avalon needed to be established as a certainty at Glastonbury. The cleverness of Henry’s plan was the fabrication of a tomb and devising a plan for the discovery of the body after he was dead. The fact that Henry had covered ‘Geoffrey’ and Master Blihis from being exposed in his lifetime is testament to him being the manufacturer of the grave and no-one knowing it was him. This was achieved by the indoctrination of King Henry and the whole concept was inspired by the prophecy of Melkin. It may be also that Henry Blois had also altered some markings on the pyramid.
The discovery of the tomb conveniently fulfils Arthurian lore in HRB and VM. The whole edifice initiated by Henry Blois, on the ruse that through ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’ who had obtained archaic information (the contents of HRB) from Walter’s book, now became historically evidenced and then became a confirmed certainty for Gerald once the tomb of Arthur was opened up: True and accurate information has been sought out, so the legends have finally been extinguished…
The real question is who, (considering all we have covered previously), could be responsible for implicating Avalon as Glastonbury except Henry Blois. Aelred Watkin realizes that the leaden cross alone would not, by itself, be enough to carry off a fraud by Henry de Sully. Watkin says: It is certainly likely that the identification of Avalon with Glastonbury had by then already been made; it is possible that this identification reached the ears of Henry II and that the King suggested the search.
Henry Blois in DA and verbally in some way instilled this intrigue into King Henry and we may speculate that on Henry Blois’ deathbed Henry Blois passed the location on to King Henry.776 We should not forget either the Glastonbury Perlesvaus also pointed to the existence of Avalon at Glastonbury and the grave of Arthur and Guinevere before the disinterment. It must have been before the unearthing of Arthur’s grave because Henry Blois is responsible for the original Perlesvaus story because the original composer states that the bodies ‘are’ presently in Avalon.
776Carley. The chronicle of Glastonbury abbey. Carley suggests the unearthing of Arthur was probably Henry II idea and enquires: Why Henry would have suggested Glastonbury as the scene of Arthur’s discovery is more difficult to determine. P. xlix. Perhaps if there was not such a rigid insistence that anything Arthurian in DA could not have been interpolated until after the excavation, he might find his answer. The fact that the abbot of Glastonbury was the author of HRB is the determining factor. At least this would not suggest that King Henry is culpable for the fabrication of the ‘leaden cross’ and thus a promoter of the understanding that Avalon was synonymous with Glastonbury. To rationalise Carley’s last proposition, he must therefore explain how Avalon became Avalon because his contemporary modern scholars are of the opinion that Avalon only became known as Avalon after the discovery of Arthur. He therefore suggests randomly in relation to his proposition about Henry II: It is possible that he had in fact heard legends about Glastonbury’s being Avalon from Breton conteurs. This of course neatly dovetails with his supposition that: At some point in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century Joseph of Arimathea became associated with the court of King Arthur through the introduction of his name in the old French Grail Romances. If Lagorio had not got it wrong and taught Carley to believe an incorrect a priori concerning a provenance from French Grail Romances in regard to Avalon; and if Crick had done what she professes to be an expert at, in elucidating who Geoffrey of Monmouth really was, Carley would understand the relation between Arthur and Joseph of Arimathea and at last we could move on to understand that Master Blehis is Henry Blois…. the primordial instigator of French Grail Romances. Presumably Loomis and Carley are in cahoots in believing Avalon is invented by a Breton conteur, but this theory has little relevance and is basically predicated upon what Marie of France says of the provenance of her material.
When we consider the similarities with the discovery of the Holy Cross at Montacute and Henry’s involvement with that propaganda stunt as Dean of Waltham while he was searching for Joseph of Arimathea at Montacute hill…. it seems nearly all the evidence points to Henry Blois as to the reason Arthur was found where he was.
By the time we get to 1420AD we can see in the Biblioteca Apostolica a finalised squared up version of what was initially started by Henry Blois. The illusion is complete, yet the whole edifice of Glastonbury myth still relies on Melkin for the template from which the germ seeds of icons and ideas are taken..
Abbot John Chinnock was succeeded by Lord Nicholas Frome who was elected abbot of Glastonbury in 1420-1456 in the reign of King Henry V. The King ordered abbot Frome to inform him in writing about the excavation in the cemetery of Glastonbury Abbey which had taken place in 1419 while he was absent in Normandy and Henry V wished to be appraised of what transpired and why the dig took place. Below we witness the response of Lord Nicholas Frome answering the order from King Henry V to inform him of the excavation:
Most illustrious and dreaded lord, according to the antiquity of your monastery at Glastonbury, which was first called Yniswitrin and afterwards the Vale of Avalon, the apostle St Philip, who was preaching in France, sent 12 of his apostles into Britain, and he appointed his dearest friend Joseph of Arimathea to lead them. They came into Britain in A.D. 63 the 15th year after the assumption of the Blessed Mary, and courageously began to preach the Christian faith. A King named Arviragus reigned in Britain at that time, who did not wish to change the traditions of his forefathers for better ways, and rejected their preaching. Nevertheless, because they had come from afar, he gave them as a habitation an island called by the natives Inyswitrin. Later to other Kings, although pagans themselves, granted to each of them a portion of land, in this way the 12 hides are named for them up to present times.
Also, most Serene Prince, in the aforesaid year Joseph of Arimathea built with his disciples a chapel containing a statue of St Mary in the place where the old church of Glastonbury is now situated, making the walls of twisted wattle. Whence from ancient times it has been called the wattle Church. Indeed, all those buried there from of old, have with them twigs in their tombs, namely one according to the length of the body, the other in a cross direction under the feet, just as it is most clearly apparent to the Observer.
Also, most excellent Lord, as for the death and burial of St Joseph, the ‘Antiquities of Glastonbury’ informs us concerning the prophecy of Melkin who was before Merlin. The Isle of Avalon, eager for the burial of pagans, at the burial of them all will be decorated beyond others in the world with the soothsaying spheres of prophecy, and in the future will be adorned with those who praise the most high. Abbadare, powerful in Saphat, the most noble of pagans, took his sleep there with 104,000. Among them Joseph ‘De Marmore’, named from Arimathea, took perpetual sleep and lies in ‘linea bifurcata’, next to the southern corner of the oratory with prepared wattle, above the powerful and venerable virgin, the aforesaid twelve sperulated ones, inhabiting the place.
Also, most dreaded lord, concerning St Phagan and St Deruvian, who were sent by Pope Eleutherius to baptise King, and how they came to Glastonbury. St Patrick the apostle of Ireland and first Abbot of Glastonbury wrote thus in his charter: I Patrick a humble servant of God, sent by the most holy Pope Celestine to Ireland in A.D. 425, converted the Irish by the grace of God to the way of truth. And when I had made them firm in the Catholic faith, I returned at last to Britain and as I believe with God leading me, who is the life and the way. I happened upon the island of Inyswitrin. There I found a holy and ancient place, chosen and sanctified by God in honour of the undefiled Virgin Mary, the mother of God, and there I encountered some brothers, instructed in the rudiments of the Catholic faith and pious in their lives, who has succeeded the disciples of St Phagan and St Deruvian, whose names I truly believe to be written in heaven for the merits of their lives. As they were noble of birth and wish to crown their nobility with works of faith, they decided to lead the hermetic life. Since I found them to be humble and tranquil, I preferred to be cast out with them, then to live in the court of King’s. And because we were all of one heart and one soul, we elected to live together sharing our food and drink and sleeping in the same house. And although I was unwilling, for I was not worthy to one loose to buckles of their shoes, they set me at their head. After we had been leading the monastic life in this way according to the rule of the approved fathers, the aforesaid brothers showed me the writings of St Phagan and St Deruvian, which asserted that 12 disciples of St Philip and St James had built the old church in honour of our aforesaid advocate the Virgin’.
Also, most illustrious prince, concerning the remains discovered at Glastonbury in the seventh year of your most gracious rule and power. In the south side of the cemetery of the old church were discovered three ancient coffins in the Earth, at a depth of about 14 feet. The coffin which lay in the northern part contains the bones of a decayed and perished man, the bones arranged according to the manner of death. Near the bones of the head there was an abundance in grains of green and sweet-scented herbs with their seeds. In the coffin which lay in the middle there were contained the bones of 12 corpses, which was so ingeniously and so finally arranged within the casket, that after their extraction, indeed nobody there knew how to arrange them again in the aforesaid casket. In the third coffin which lay to the south there were bones of a decayed and perished individual lying in the manner of nature and away from the middle of the aforesaid corpse, towards the head a great abundance of fluid which appeared as fresh blood to those present in that place, both by its colour and substance. All these coffins were found outside the chapel. Within the chapel however, under the southern corner of the altar another coffin was found with the bones of a decayed man. This coffin was adorned most excellently beyond the others, with linen cloth inside all over. And because it excelled all the others in delicacy of scent and eminence of place, it was enclosed in another large coffin until clear run notice of it will be able to be had in the future. Also most feared prince, in the fourth book, 10th chapter of De Regis Britonum where he speaks about King Arviragus, Geoffrey says the last: ‘Joseph of Arimathea came at that time into the island of Avalon or Glastonbury with his 11 disciples’. Concerning this a certain scribe writes in praise of their coming: The twelvefold band of men enters Avalon, Joseph flower of Arimathea, is their chief. Josephes, Joseph’s son, accompanies his father. The right to Glastonbury is held by these and 10 others.
It just seems extraordinary that ‘Geoffrey’ is now said to have introduced the story of Joseph of Arimathea’s arrival into HRB. No doubt Carley et al. will say that must be coincidence or later interpolation. Adam of Damerham specifically states that Henry Blois gave that book to Glastonbury. If only the modern era could get its hands upon Lord Nicholas Frome’s copy (or Henry Blois’ last redaction) of HRB. It is not as if Frome is uncertain about which chapter, or to which book, or to which author he is referencing. Modern scholars need to accept the inevitable conclusion that ‘Geoffrey’ is Henry Blois and Henry Blois created more than a few manuscripts. He had sway over several scriptoriums and scholars need to understand this is how Henry’s propaganda was spread, edition after edition with corrections, refinements and incremental stepping stones; herding us all to a reality on the otherside where King Arthur becomes real and Joseph of Arimathea proseletised Britain where the enigmatic Grail is safely guarded in Avalon and the truth of its existence hid in the trappings of a tale.
Again, concerning this unearthing incident referred to by King Henry V, we have yet further scholastic speculations from Carley which only muddy the waters. Carley offers evidence of the interest demonstrated by monks of Glastonbury in finding Joseph of Arimathea’s burial site. Then he speculates that only King Henry V death in 1422 prevented the revelation of this astonishing ‘discovery’.777 It needs to be stated that Joseph of Arimathea was never buried at Glastonbury and any myth which avers such a position is as a direct consequence of the actions, oral transmission and written words of Henry Blois.
777Culture and the King. Martin Schictman, James Carley.
However, it is plain to see by the account above, that since Henry Blois’ death, the officine de faux had been busy. It is not by accident that lore had been created around a great abundance of fluid which appeared as fresh blood found in a coffin and another covered in white linen that excelled all others. It would not take much to assume this was attributed to Joseph.
So, while on the subject of Gerald’s work, it might be helpful to go through the evidence piece by piece in detail as we did with DA and GR so that what Gerald is actually saying is not ignored. Modern scholar’s scepticism is largely based on two factors: the epitaph on the cross scholars choose to believe does not match Gerald’s rendition. For them the correct inscription is the one fabricated by the monks subsequently. Secondly, they give no credence to Gerald’s two reports because King Henry was dead when Henry de Sully was elected to Glastonbury. The dates from two other chroniclers long after the event record the event as happening in 1190 or 1191. The upshot is that the cabal can construct its own theory if the eyewitness account is ignored. Dark authoritative utterances are proclaimed quoted and referenced through the last two hundred years until…. through such artistic tapestry, what appears to be their truth is just a ‘tail’; and Gerald who saw the event is consigned to the looney bin and I, (who understand who is behind the Matter of Britain) am also consigned to madness.
The Discovery of the Tomb of King Arthur from Liber de Principis Instructione (On the Instruction of Princes) c. 1192-3
1) The memory of Arthur, the celebrated King of the Britons, should not be concealed. This first sentence establishes that Gerald is a promoter of Arthur. Richard Barber778 like every other historian does not understand the existence of Henry Blois’ propaganda at Glastonbury and says of Gerald: The passage is introduced by a celebration of Arthur as patron of Glastonbury, which is not borne out by any material that can be safely dated to before the discovery. He also does not believe Gerald is an eyewitness: If Gerald had actually watched the excavation in progress, he would surely have said as much. Gerald gives an account of how it happened with detail which is contradictory to all others after him which indicates to me his version of what is written on the cross is more believable. He sees actions of the monk and he even mentions the crowd at the scene and the act of the hair disintegrating, the lay of the tomb, the description of the bones and the measuring against a person at the event, how the cross was oriented, the reaction of the crowd.
778Richard Barber. Was Mordred buried at Glastonbury? Richard William Barber is a British historian who has published several books about medieval history and Arthurian literature and even founded the press that has printed all the utterances of modern scholars about King Arthur. He has even edited all modern scholars works in the cabal bible called Aurthurian Literature; yet has no idea who created the Matter of Britain.
Every subsequent account to Gerald is singing from the same hymn sheet excluding/omitting the presence of Guinevere in the grave. We should not be ignoring the fact that Gerald says, not only was she in the Grave, but her name was written on the cross.
If her remains were not in the grave, how did King Edward later witness her relics. Funnily enough Barber concludes: Finding this did not correspond with current ideas as to Arthur’s death they hastily revised their original account and a new version was presented to visitors within a few years of the original excavation. The real events transpired exactly as Gerald explains. Henry Blois had planted two sets of bones (and a plait of female hair) and that is what was found. That some bones were dust only confirms the use of a previous grave and the fact that the tibia was in good condition along with the skull indicates they had not been in the ground for hundreds of years. Only shortly afterward did Glastonbury change the story for the protection of Arthur’s honour by excluding Guinevere.779
779HRB X, xiii. Mordred, unto whom he had committed the charge of Britain, had tyrannously and traitorously set the crown of the kingdom upon his own head, and had linked him in unhallowed union with Guenevere the Queen despite her former marriage. Charles Wood is led astray by not understanding that all Grail material on the continent was initiated by Henry Blois: unfortunately for the monks and their plans, however, even though Chrétien’s tale of compelling adultery appears to have been written in the early to mid 1170s, nothing suggests that knowledge of it had spread very quickly or, more to the point, that it had taken hold in England by 1191. Wood ignores Giraldus yet seems to think the monks decided to include Guinevere in their find but in fact the opposite was true because of Guinevere’s adultery. They had initially tried to expunge her from the records but had no option to accept she was real as she was in the coffin and translated with Arthur into the new church and not able to be expunged. The proof is that in 1278 she was present again. As the Glastonbury propaganda mill had turned in an effort to eradicate her from Glastonbury lore there was still the early record of Gerald which he reconfirmed unequivocally later on. It is for this reason we find the second exhumation to clarify the discrepancy once and for all. It is because of this second exhumation and the presence of Guinevere we can understand that once the tomb was sealed it remained untouched even though the myth had evolved outside the tomb. When it was opened the second time while Adam of Damerham was there, we find that Gerald’s record is in fact true.
Henry Blois had buried both to establish his completely fictitious tale of Guinevere and Arthur and this concurs with what was written in Perlesvaus and DA prior to the unearthing. Henry Blois’ intention was to establish Avalon and corroborate his concoctions in HRB. It has to be Henry Blois’ own apologia in presenting Guinevere as the second wife. There is no confusion in Giraldus’s mind uxore secunda meant second wife.
What we can conclude therefore from this is that the cross which Camden replicates is a forgery after the disinterment, where the monks agreed to exclude Guinevere. Herein may lie the answer to so many versions until a new cross is fabricated which concurs with the Glastonbury hymn sheet. How we can be sure of this is by the presence of Guinevere at Edward I and Eleanor of Castille’s visit in 1278 i.e. the bodies of both were transferred into the new building and then a new epitaph was written.
If we look at Adam’s account, he also mirrors what Gerald has said and does not deny Guinevere is present. Yet Adam holds with the more recent wording on the cross which has the shortened epitaph; which, in effect, had tried to get over Gerald’s insistence that the cross had stated uxore secunda and that Arthur had been buried with a defiled wife.
Adam of Damerham (more than sixty years after the fact) writes: The diggers had almost lost hope, so deep had they dug, when they found a wooden coffin of enormous size, with a lid. They raised it and opened it and found the Kings bones. They were of incredible size, the shin bone alone reached from the ground to the thigh of a tall man. They found also a leaden cross with the inscription on one side: Here lies the great King Arthur, buried in the Isle of Avalon.
Then they opened the tomb of the Queen who was buried with Arthur and found a lovely lock of golden hair, elaborately plaited, but as they touched it, it fell to dust. And so the abbot and the monks took up their relics and carried them with joy into the great Church, and laid them in a nobly worked double mausoleum, the king to the West at the head of the tomb and the queen at his feet to the East. And there they lie in splendour to this day with the following epitaph on their tomb: Here lies King Arthur, the flower of chivalry, famous for all time for his noble deeds. Here also lies his queen, whose virtues merited a heavenly crown.
We can see then by Adam of Damerham’s account that he has no problem with Guinevere being present and the detail of the actual event is from Gerald’s account otherwise there would be other extraneous detail. Guinevere’s name is omitted from the cross just as it is in Ralph’s and the anonymous Margam chronicler’s account. Since Gerald repeats the same about Guinevere being Arthur’s second wife in the later Speculum Ecclesiae and we now understand that it was Henry Blois who had the initial cross fabricated for reasons of confirmation of Avalon and King Arthur’s existence; I see no reason to disbelieve Gerald. The later rendition of the cross was to expunge the adulterer Guinevere.
2) In his age, he was a distinguished patron, generous donor, and a splendid supporter of the renowned monastery of Glastonbury. This is based on the allusions in Caradoc’s life of Gildas where it is said that ‘the two Kings gave to the abbot a gift of many domains’. Logically, if Henry Blois wrote HRB and Life of Gildas and invented Avalon and propagandized it as synonymous with Glastonbury; it is hardly surprising that Gerald is implying an already established association before the disinterment; especially, true because Henry had already written Perlesvaus. The Perlesvaus as we have mentioned before is excluded as having been written prior to the unearthing, purely because scholars have contrived to piece together the puzzle of events at Glastonbury and have deemed it impossible that Guinevere could be mentioned in the colophon. They have therefore decreed Perlesvaus is of a date following the exhumation of Arthur.
Yet Gerald is saying Guinevere is in the grave with Arthur not only because he has witnessed her exhumation but also it is stated that she is there in DA prior to the dig…. and the Perlesvaus colophon had also pointed they were buried in Avalon.
3) they praise him greatly in their annals. These annals must exist at the time of Gerald writing. We know one is DA, another, Perlesvaus, another De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda which can only be a Blois invention, (albeit under the name Melkin), which, in itself, indicates an association of Melkin with Henry Blois long before John of Glastonbury writes. All of these tracts along with Life of Gildas were written by Henry Blois. These are the annals to which Gerald refers.
4) Indeed, more than all other churches of his realm he prized the Glastonbury church of Holy Mary, mother of God, and sponsored it with greater devotion by far than he did for the rest. When that man went forth for war, depicted on the inside part of his shield was the image of the Blessed Virgin, so that he would always have her before his eyes in battle, and whenever he found himself in a dangerous encounter, he was accustomed to kiss her feet with the greatest devotion.
That Arthur sponsored Glastonbury is highlighted in Life of Gildas and JG780 where we have the king of Dumnonia interacting with Arthur about five hides on Ineswitrin which, could only be Henry’s touch that Gerald may refer to.
In the Annales Cambriae in year 72 (c. AD 516) at the Battle of Badon in which Arthur carried the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ on his shoulders for three days and three nights and the Britons were victors …. is the source of the conflation. It is mirrored also by a passage in Nennius where Arthur was said to have borne the image of the Virgin Mary on his shoulders during a battle at a castle called Guinnion.781 Scholars seem to think that the words for “shoulder” and “shield” were easily confused in old Welsh; scuit “shield” instead of scuid “shoulder”. But this seems more like Henry Blois, writing as ‘Geoffrey’ played upon this dual tradition, describing Arthur bearing “on his shoulders a shield” emblazoned with the Virgin to become its latest expanded form which Gerald has obviously read before 1192…. which connects Arthur’s acts directly to Glastonbury and its St Mary Church.
780The reason for thinking this a Blois fabrication initially is that John of Glastonbury in chap 16 says: The glorious King Arthur gave Brent Marsh and Polden along with many other lands located in the neighbourhood. Thus, a King by the name of Domp restored five hides in that land which is called Ineswitrin. It seems fairly clear that John who is more consolidator than fabricator must have obtained the knowledge from one of Henry’s works now lost. The other reason for positing this is that where Malmesbury had originally said the flourit on the 601 charter was illegible…. we now have a name of the King of Devon; a certain dubious sounding Domp of Dumnonia.
781“The eighth battle was in Guinnion fort, and in it, Arthur carried the image of the holy Mary, the everlasting Virgin, on his shield, and the heathen were put to flight on that day, and there was great slaughter upon them, through the power of Jesus Christ and the power of the holy Virgin Mary, his mother.”
5) Although legends had fabricated something fantastical about his demise (that he had not suffered death, and was conveyed, as if by a spirit, to a distant place). The ‘hope of the Britons’ as part of the zeitgeist is evident, but until Henry had named Avalon in the First Variant as the place Arthur was last seen…. there was no previous locus for Arthur. He just existed in the netherworld to return one day. The Vulgate maintained the anonymous location also like First Variant i.e. we had no idea of Avalon’s geographical location. However, we are left in no doubt in VM post 1155-8 that Avalon was also commensurate with Insula Pomorum as Arthur is taken there; just like he is taken in Vulgate and First Variant to Insula Avallonis. It leaves us in little doubt that the island of Apples is Glastonbury because Henry Blois has spelled it out for us in his etymological contortion in DA. What Gerald is conveying is that… at one time no-one knew for certain where Arthur was but now:
6) …his body was discovered at Glastonbury, in our own times, hidden very deep in the earth in an oak-hollow, between two stone pyramids that were erected long ago in that holy place. The tomb was sealed up with astonishing tokens, like some sort of miracle.
There is no doubt that Gerald is convinced the grave is genuine. There is no doubt that if Arthur really was in a hollowed out oak that it certainly would have rotted in the six centuries since he was supposedly buried. We can speculate that Henry had put the bones so deep because he genuinely had dug between the pyramids thinking that Joseph might be buried beneath them. Even though Henry did not know where Ineswitrin was…. there could have been a good chance of Joseph’s body being by the two most prominent structures in the cemetery as both 601 charter and the prophecy of Melkin both had turned up at Glastonbury.
I would suggest speculatively that his reason for digging originally was that he thought the piramides marked Joseph’s grave. This is one scenario, but Henry Blois might also have dug deep to avoid suspicion when the grave was found, in that it would have been suspected to have been uncovered in the natural course of events in burials over the last six hundred years and Arthurs bones should be naturally deeper than others buried since the six hundreds.
A change in level of the cemetery in Dunstan’s era could also be the explanation of how a tomb lid was found so deep. For whatever reason lies behind Henry Blois having buried the body at such great depth, Gerald does not seem suspicious of the tomb…. which would indicate it has been dormant some 30 years. I think we can dismiss the ‘curtains’ recounted by Adam, as Gerald does not mention them. We could presume Adam is confused with the (De Inventione) ‘Montacute dig’ writing 60 years after the Arthur disinterment and over a hundred and thirty years since the search for Joseph on Montacute hill782 which eventuated the composition of De Inventione.
782After Henry’s search at Montacute, Looe Island was appropriated by Glastonbury in Henry Blois’ tenure as abbot in 1144 because Henry knew the Island called Ineswitrin was in Dumnonia. The last event recorded in De inventione is in 1144 so we can conclude the text pertains to that era and also Henry is said to have sold his Deanship to Waltham that year.
7) The body was then conveyed into the church with honor, and properly committed to a marble tomb. Gerald goes on to tell us of the first translation into the new building. This more sanctified location was later to be exhumed by Edward I and Eleanor of Castille. Adam says they were put in a double mausoleum with a new epitaph. Adam, the abbey’s principal chronicler (since the consolidator of DA), makes it clear that Guinevere was alongside Arthur in the new resting place they had been provided when Edward I and Eleanor of Castile arrived to have the tomb opened once more: Wherein , in two caskets painted with their pictures and arms, were found separately the bones of the said king, which were of great size and those of Guinevere, which were of marvelous beauty…..On the following day….the lord king replaced the bones of the king and queen each in their own casket, having wrapped them in costly silks. When they had been sealed, they ordered the tomb to be placed forthwith in front of the high altar after removal of the skulls for the veneration of the people.
With the reference to Arthur’s large bones and the fact that there were two skulls, it would indicate that Guinevere was there after all. This is why I am insistent that Giraldus’ testimony is the more solid than any other’s…. about Guinevere being part of the manufactured gravesite that Henry Blois had planted. However, continuing with Gerald’s account:
8) A lead cross was placed under the stone, not above as is usual in our times, but instead fastened to the underside. I have seen this cross, and have traced the engraved letters — not visible and facing outward, but rather turned inwardly toward the stone. It read: “Here lies entombed King Arthur, with Guenevere his second wife, on the Isle of Avalon.”
Charles. T. Wood writes:783 In spite of Giraldus’s assurances that he himself has seen and touched the cross, its reported words fail to inspire confidence. Wood then does what no other scholar has done, he concludes the dig was genuine: It follows then, that the first dig was genuine, and it may be that the stone with its identifying cross once lay flush with the original surface before the new layers of concealing clay were added. The consequences of positing such a proposition throws up so many specious scenarios (i.e. if we start to believe in a genuine Arthur buried at Glastonbury), it is simply not worth countering them all. It is simpler just to remind the reader that Insula Avallonis is a Blois invention along with chivalric Arthur, so the cross has to be bogus.
783C.T.Wood. Fraud and its consequences.
Wood does however make one contribution by asking the question: why was Arthur somewhat tardily added to what was otherwise a group consisting purely of Saints. As we covered in DA, the discovery of Dunstan’s relics are an opportune consequence of the fire and written up by a later interpolator into DA with the concoction of a coffin (however, we have argued previously for Henry Blois having perhaps been the instigator of the coffin). King Arthur was put at Glastonbury by Henry Blois and was not ‘tardy’; he had just remained there for thirty years in the ground. Don’t forget Henry would not have been buried until after 1158 when both Vulgate HRB and Wace’s Roman de Brut became prolific.
9) Many remarkable things come to mind regarding this. For instance, he had two wives, of whom the last was buried with him. Her bones were discovered with her husband’s, though separated in such a way that two-thirds of the sepulcher, namely the part nearer the top, was believed to contain the bones of the husband, and then one-third, toward the bottom, separately contained the bones of his wife — wherein was also discovered a yellow lock of feminine hair, entirely intact and pristine in colour, which a certain monk eagerly seized in hand and lifted out; immediately the whole thing crumbled to dust.
We should accept that the cross stated that Guinevere was Arthur’s second wife. It is possible to speculate that the commonly held inscription (omitting Guinevere) is on a fabricated cross made by Glastonbury after the disinterment. It is this possibility which leads the scholars astray regarding Gerald. Richard Barber recounts: If Camden’s cross is that originally ‘found’ in the grave then Gerald’s account must be treated as highly unreliable. We should only enquire how it is then, that Guinevere is present in 1278 and Gerald two years after the fact wastes his time recounting facts about Guinevere’s hair.
Why Gerald is accused by Barber of not been present at the disinterment784 in no way correlates with the above specifics about the proportions of the grave and actions immediately surrounding the dig. There seems to be a conspiracy and overall dismissal of the earliest chronicler who wrote just after the event in preference to Adam who wrote a least sixty years after the event and mirrors what Gerald writes anyway.
Liber de Principis Instructione must have been written before the end of 1193 as Henry de Sully was elected to the See of Worcester on 4 December 1193 and consecrated on 12 December 1193. Gerald says the dig was under the supervision of the abbot of that place, Henry, who was later transferred to Worcester Cathedral… So, Gerald is definitely not confused with any other than Henry de Sully. Gerald unequivocally states in Liber de Principis Instructione (as above) Arthur had two wives. Why would Gerald lie about events when Henry de Sully is still alive and confute Gerald’s account?
So, Wright’s785 assessment of a misunderstanding of the epitaph given by Adam c.1277 is misguided. Gerald actually relates the inscription: Hic iacet sepultus inclitus rex Arthurus cum Wenneueria uxore sua secunda in insula Avallonia.
784Richard Barber asks: Was Mordred buried at Glastonbury? Gerald of Wales’s text is less likely to be an eyewitness account than a reworking in his high literary style of an earlier, genuine description by someone who was present. Again, most of the scholars take this view point because of the discrepancy on the newly fabricated cross traced by Camden.
785Neil Wright. A new Arthurian Epitaph. Wright put forward the speculation that: in the epitaph the adjective secunda is used adverbially, qualifying the participle tumulata. But Gerald could not get the inscription wrong twice Neil, the most important inscription, the final piece of a jig saw that confirms Avalon at Glastonbury and A chivalric King Arthur as a living Human. One has to understand that once those two bits of information are divulged any other information is secondary; a nugget of information not heard of in the mists of time since King Arthur lived in the fifth or sixth century, a small but confusing aside.
Grandsen seems to think Gerald conspires with the monks and commits to the ‘press release’ idea. The one problem with this theory is that Gerald is advocating what he saw and he saw Guinevere….so, he could not be in cahoots with the monks or be persuaded to confirm or conform to any other account, because his proposition that Guinevere is King Arthur’s ‘second’ wife is ‘what is says on the tin’.
Barber advocates also the official newsletter ideabandied about as a rationalisation by scholars…. supposedly put out by Glastonbury, but discounts Gerald’s testimony upon the basis that if Camden’s cross was that which was found, then Gerald must be the liar. Yet logically, if what scholars think is true these monkish propagandists did not even bother in their annals to glorify the events a such a momentous day…. No, they left it to Gerald who was like a roving correspondant for King Henry II.
Logically scholars should rationalise…. if it is Gerald alone writing a year or so after the dig who states what was on the real cross before the hymn sheet was regularized. They should rather think that when a new cross was fabricated and Guinevere omitted, Guinevere’s presence is more likely to exist on a cross…. fabricated by Henry Blois. His motivation in corroborating the historicity of HRB and the Chivalric Arthur is established by the presence of Guinevere.
Therefore, when Henry was manufacturing the cross, he posits her as Arthur’s second wife as the first was adulterous. Henry, as we have seen, loves to leave confusing detail…. as if the mists of time had covered the truth. We should not forget that Guinevere is cited as being buried in the cemetery in DA (as long as one is capable of accepting the interpolation is by Henry Blois) and also Guinevere is said to be buried in Avalon in Perlesvaus also written by Henry Blois. So, the chance of her name being mentioned on the cross is dramatically increased when all things are considered. It seems Guinevere was supposed to be there, (as Henry had arranged the grave with her in it), but latterly she was expunged in accounts by the mores of propriety in that she disgraced herself with Mordred in HRB.
Queen Guinevere tries to seduce Sir Launfal and it is not by accident that both Marie and Chrétien’s sketch of Arthur’s queen is less than blameless based on the Mordred affair in Henry’s work. Marie of France’s work was in the public domain long before 1189-91 and also Chrétien portrays Guinevere and her love affair with Arthur’s chief knight Sir Lancelot before her relics are found with Arthur’s at Glastonbury. This story appeared in Chrétien de Troyes’s Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart. It is hardly likely then that Glastonbury monks wanted any relationship with the promotion of Guinevere.
Barber believes that if Gerald had actually watched the excavation in progress, he would have said as much, but Gerald does not mention the curtains surrounding the dig which is obviously Adam mixing up the previous De Inventione account. Barber seems to want a video to convine him!!
Gerald’s account of the inscription is more believable. What more does Barber want than the intricate description of how the cross was placed relative to the slab, the destruction of the lock of hair (yet if it did turn to dust Gerald saw it beforehand); and Gerald’s comments on the inappropriate actions of the monk jumping in the hole and the three quarter proportion of the grave taken up by Arthur which is an observation made on site looking in the grave. When all were amazed at the size of the bone it was stood against someone, anecdotal eyewitness detail. A hands breadth between the eyesockets; so much more detailed than any other account. Why lie about the inscription?
In 1278 both Guinevere and Arthur are exhumed from the original re-interment. So, it makes little sense of Wood to accuse Gerald of ‘prattling on’ about a second wife; when Gerald is describing her bones and lock of hair and the episode of the monk jumping into the grave…. while at the same time, accusing Gerald of hearing the ‘official version’. Gerald’s version is the first version. The omission of Guinevere is the concocted official version. Gerald included Guinevere hair because that is how it transpired. Henry Blois had put her ‘bits’ in the grave as he lets us know in DA.
Wood, along with other scholar’s rationalisations, envisage Gerald as an invited guest after the fact: Shortly after the discoveries of 1191, Gerald is encouraged to come to Glastonbury both to view the find and to write the abbey’s past glories. While there, he sees the tomb, hears the official version of the bones recovery, and closely examines the identifying lead cross, the inscription on which he records with scrupulous accuracy, But- and this is a crucial ‘but’…..when he comes to the cross’s ‘uxore secunda’, he naturally assumes that these words must mean that Guinevere was Arthur’s second wife, surely a logical conclusion, given normal usage, and especially for one unacquainted with the specifics of Arthurian marital history. In fact, the monastic makers of the cross had always intended a rather more positive message, that she was ‘fair’ or ‘fortunate’, attributes much more in keeping with Caradoc of Llancarfan and other Welsh sources at their disposal. Gerald, alas, does not know this, so when writing his account, he embellishes it with a display of his own ignorance by blithely prattling on in his own voice about Arthur’s two wives. In other words, for this claim he had no source other than his own inventiveness. It is more likely Gerald is not ‘blithely prattling on’, but telling us what Henry Blois has had engraved on the cross and it is Wood doing the prattling referring to monastic makers of the cross and Caraadoc of Llancarfan and other Welsh sources.
If we assume Guinevere was not even present we must also assume in 1278 the monks decided to mirror Giraldus’s version of events by opening the grave for which reason Edward and Eleanor had turned up. This would in effect contradict the Glastonbury monks’ previous ‘official version’ that Arthur was alone…. in that, the newly fabricated cross no longer mentions Guinevere. Not one scholar accepts that it was Henry Blois who manufactured the grave and inserted the location where Arthur and Guinevere were to be found in DA. The reader is now better informed. Without this knowledge, no definitive solution will be accepted regarding Gerald’s account and his inclusion of Guinevere. Perlesvaus tells how Guinevere died of sorrow for the death of her son Lohot, and was buried in the island of Avalon, where it just so happens Arthur is also destined to be discovered….alongside his wife.
10) Indeed, there had been some evidence from the records that the body might be found there, and some from the lettering carved on the pyramids (although that was mostly obliterated by excessive antiquity), and also some that came from the visions and revelations made by good men and the devout. I should remind the reader that we are looking at an account definitively written within three years of the unearthing. This is not Gerald ‘blithely prattling on’. It is a record of someone having read DA knowing that the body might be found between the pyramids and explaining why the dig happened where it did and how that information was derived.
We know Gerald has read DA by the mirrored etymological account re-iterated from Henry’s interpolation concerning Avalon. One interesting observation is that Gerald implies that evidence of the site also came from the lettering on the pyramid. The reader will remember that William actually quotes those names on the pyramid as part of his updated GR3 and those names were legible after six hundred years. 50 years later, we are told they are obliterated by excessive antiquity. Ralph of Coggeshall in his Chronicon Anglicanum also says the pyramids were indecipherable.
Now, it does not take much imagination for someone intent on making a fictional person come to life (in historicity) to obliterate the older names and infer Arthur was present and the pyramids actually celebrated the grave.786 I only speculate this proposition because Gerald infers that.787 This may indeed be part of the problem in the differing renditions of the epitaph, if one was inscribed on sandstone and then worn away to pretend antiquity. We should also be aware of Henry Blois’ cunning in this regard in that it might be inferred that the smaller pyramid is in memorial of Guinevere and the larger for Arthur.
786This would counter the argument that Arthur was hidden at such depth to avoid the Saxons etc. The supposition has little import, even if we did assume Henry Blois had etched something about Arthur on the pyramid, as we know the whole site is manufactured between the pyramids. The site was chosen so the location might be exposed later by an obvious land mark specified in DA
787Aelred Watkin ignores Gerald and states: It seems abundantly clear that there was nothing in the inscriptions on the pyramids which could have conduced to the search for Arthur.
Now, from where the ‘visions of good and devout men’ is derived…. is open to a multitude of speculation. What it does again infer is that there was precognition of the gravesite at Glastonbury prior to the dig; which, in effect, negates the modern scholastic view that Henry de Sully concocted the whole affair by himself. Scholars ignore Giraldus’s testimony as it does not fit the present theory of Henry de Sully staging the entire event.
11) But the clearest evidence came when King Henry II of England explained the whole matter to the monks (as he had heard it from an aged British bard): how they would find the body deep down, namely more than 16 feet into the earth, and not in a stone tomb but in an oak-hollow. The body had been placed so deep, and was so well concealed, that it could not be found by the Saxons who conquered the island after the King’s death — those whom he had battled with so much exertion while he was alive, and whom he had nearly annihilated.
The scenarios are many that may explain away the conundrums and contradictions concerning King Henry. There are three main possibilities. The first is: we do not ignore Gerald, but the conundrum is that Henry II died in July 1189 and in September 1189 Richard I of England, just after his crowning at Westminster, appointed Henry de Sully, Abbot of Glastonbury. We might find a solution to the conundrum of Henry de Sully’s association with Henry II, if Henry de Sully were to have left Bermondsey to be at Glastonbury while Henry II was alive. Even though Henry de Sully was Richard I’s cousin, there is nothing to counter the argument that he was already at Glastonbury before his appointment. Robert of Winchester, the previous abbot had died in 1180. Crick’s assessment is that the initiative for the excavation came from Henry II but the excavation was carried out in the time of Richard I.
The second possibility is: we ignore Gerald and assume that a year or two after King Henry’s death, financial constraints on the abbey became so dire with Richard I on crusade and contributing nothing, Henry de Sully invents the whole thing. Grave site, with Adam’s curtains and a fabricated cross with an inscription omitting mention of Guinevere. This is for the most part, the accepted theory today with the pick and mix conjecture put forward by scholars. A third is too long to append here so I have put it in Appendix 34 and is offered as another pick and mix speculation. Or, of course, we can believe Gerald!!!!!
12) And so, because of this the lettering on the cross — the confirmation of the truth — had been inscribed on the reverse side, turned toward the stone, so that it would conceal the tomb at that time and yet at some moment or occasion could ultimately divulge what it contained.
What Henry Blois had in fact done is affix the cross with the inscription facing inward toward the stone slab (an earlier tomb covering found while in search for Joseph), which, in effect, covered the ancient hollowed Saxon looking wooden tree trunk in which he had placed the bogus animal bones. The object of this is to protect the inscription which was to be Henry’s pièce de résistance in his faux-historical romanticized authorial edifice now known as the Matter of Britain. Finding Arthur was the confirmation the doubters had needed that Avalon was truly at Glastonbury, just as the DA had already made plain.
13) What is now called Glastonbury was, in antiquity, called the Isle of Avalon; Are we really to believe in 1192 when Gerald is composing this work he has no previous idea of a connection between Glastonbury and Avalon? When Carley assesses Gerald’s account regarding King Henry’s input he asks: Why Henry would suggest Glastonbury for the scene of Arthur’s discovery is more difficult to determine. Carley has no idea that King Henry could only have learnt what he knew from the person who manufactured the gravesite. Carley is also ignorant of Henry Blois’ interpolations already inserted in DA or the fact that Gerald has read DA with Henry Blois’ interpolations…. already part of the composition of the T version c.1189-91.
Carley’s assessment concerning the advent of the Grail and the fact that he does not comprehend that Glastonbury was already understood as Avalon before the dig, leads to misguided conclusions: The development of the Grail legend as we know it took place during a very few years, from shortly before 1190 to c 1230. The same period was one of the most significant in Glastonbury’s history; in c.1191 King Arthur’s body was discovered in the abbey cemetery and as a result Glastonbury became publicly identified with Avalon
Are we really supposed to believe Robert de Boron mentions Vaus d’Avaron prior to knowledge that Avalon is commensurate with Glastonbury or even King Henry II randomly picks Glastonbury as the site to fake an unearthing of Arthur. The assumption is trite to say the least; especially if (as Carley envisages the events) Robert de Boron’s Joseph is sending the Grail to Avalon c.1190 and it just so happens Arthur is unearthed in the same place in the same year at Glastonbury (which, it also transpires, has a connection to Joseph).
What about Perlesvaus which predates Chretien’s work which also mentions Avalon…. which has to be Glastonbury because of the mention of the church covered in lead? We know scholars view is that…. because Gerald does not mention Joseph, Joseph lore could not be written into DA at this time. But, then how did the Grail and Joseph get mixed with Arthur in the courts on the continent c.1165. Of course, we come back to Master Blehis, Breri, Blaise Bledhericus, Bleheris, Blihos Bleheris and as seen in the Bliocadran.
We come back also to Carley’s mentor’s fatuous explanation of a ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’, which fall conveniently into place with no architect! Are we supposed to accept Gerald even comes up with the idea of explaining how ‘Geoffrey’s’ Insula Pomorum in VM is also ‘Geoffrey’s’ Insula Avallonis in HRB; and both now apply to Glastonbury.788 Gerald is regurgitating what was already written in chapter 5 of DA. Logically, we would then have to believe that evidence from the records that the body might be found there is not referring to chapter 31 in DA. If we follow this train of belief, we might then logically conclude in Wood’s possibility that Arthur’s grave is genuine. If it was a genuine grave, we should then have to accept Arthur was a giant that resembled an ape who fought other giants on the cliffs above Salcombe. Like a dog chasing its tail, we can go on ad infinitum as long as modern scholars keep ignoring Henry Blois’ input in all of the three genres under investigation in this work.
788Carley says Geoffrey himself made no connection between Avalon and Glastonbury; in his writings Avalon is the equivalent of the Celtic Otherworld. P xlii The chronicle of Glastonbury abbey. The tedium with which the Celtic Otherworld (for want of a better explanation) is peddled by one and all in the scholastic community is excruciating. If Geoffrey does not make the connection between Avalon and Glastonbury; who does? Are we to believe it is Gerald that is the first to put it in writing? Or is it Henry de Sully who transfixes a nation with a ‘leaden cross’; who, in an instant, locates Avalon at Glastonbury? Or is it, as Carley suggests, by royal intervention? Who could it be? Maybe it was the abbot of Glastonbury, the author of HRB and VM who made the connection by interpolating DA.
As Crick makes plain in her attempt to find a relationship between Gerald and Geoffrey It might be argued that one can never take Gerald at his word.We can either accept the expert’s view and ignore Giraldus’, which would necessitate a belief in the chance ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’…. or one can accept that Henry Blois interpolated DA and is the architect behind the Matter of Britain. The real problem is that this would then have a serious consequence. One would then have to accept that Joseph’s bones are on Burgh Island.
13) it is like an island because it is entirely hemmed in by swamps. In British it is called Inis Avallon, that is, insula pomifera [Latin: “The Island of Apples”]. This is because the apple, which is called aval in the British tongue, was once abundant in that place. Gerald is regurgitating chapter 5 in DA where it gives also the origin of the name Avalon and how Glasteing found his sow under the apple tree and he named the island Avallonie, which means Apple Island and Avalla in British is the same as Poma in Latin.
14) Morgan, a noble matron, mistress and patroness of those regions, and also King Arthur’s kinswoman by blood, brought Arthur to the island now called Glastonbury for the healing of his wounds after the Battle of Camlann. It is staggeringly clever how Henry Blois has woven his authorial edifice together. It would also seem beyond the bounds of coincidence that the little known insular VM story of Merlin’s madness where Morgan is mentioned on Insula Pomorum, just happens to be a friend of Guigomar, Lord of Avalon in Chrétien’s Erec.
Again, in the VM, Arthur is delivered to the Fortunate isle to Morgan, where, she said that health could be restored to him if he stayed with her for a long time and made use of her healing art. It is on Isidore’s Hesperides that we find Golden apples not as ‘Geoffrey’ later attests they are on the Fortunate isles from where he derives his Insula Pomorum. The Cauldron of the chief of the otherworld and the nine maidens who tended it are conflated with the nine sorceress priestesses of Pomponius Mela’s island of Sena…. and then again, with purposeful intent, with the nine maidens on Insula Pomorum in VM.
One would have to accept that in chapter 5 of DA, it is Henry Blois’ own words which compose the conflation with the Welsh Afallennau: Apple island from 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…. Now, this mass of conflation Gerald accepts, because much of it is in ‘Malmesbury’s’ DA. But, Gerald even introduces into his account Caradoc’s etymological contortion of how Glastonbury got its name as witnessed in what follows:
15) Moreover, the island had once been called in British Inis Gutrin, that is, insula vitrea [Latin: “The Island of Glass”]; from this name, the invading Saxons afterwards called this place Glastingeburi, for glas in their language means vitrum [Latin:”glass”], and buri stands for castrum [Latin:”castle”] or civitas [Latin:”city”]. We first hear of the vernacular ‘Isle de Voirre’ through Chrétien de Troyes.
Henry’s ingenious etymological conversion of Ineswitrin to Ynes Gutrin which gives the Glass Island which Caradoc (Henry Blois) first introduces in his Life of Gildas, we have already explained was an addition to the Life of Gildas…. so that the 601 Charter was credible (in that it applied to an ‘estate’ at Glastonbury). It is also through Henry Blois or Master Blehis and Chrétien de Troyes where we meet Maheloas as lord of the Isle de Voirre which relates to Caradoc’s Melvas and his Urbs Vitrea.
Anyway, we can see that Gerald is fairly au courant with how etymologies are derived straight after the excavation of Arthur. Now, the one thing that flags up a suspicion here…. which indicates Gerald is squaring a DA account of Avalon and where he feels it necessary to introduce Glastonbury’s derivation from Ineswitrin, is because the two names are in DA, both posited as names for Glastonbury. There is no reason to introduce any other etymology, especially if he has only just made the connection to Avalon through the ‘Leaden cross’ being produced. Gerald has seen DA…. and DA has Avalon commensurate with Glastonbury before the dig. The monks are well aware at Glastonbury that William of Malmesbury (supposedly) had posited Glastonbury as Avalon.
16) It should be noted also that the bones of Arthur’s body which they discovered were so large that the poet’s verse seems to ring true: “Bones excavated from tombs are reckoned enormous”. Indeed, his shin-bone, which the abbot showed to us, was placed near the shin of the tallest man of the region; then it was fixed to the ground against the man’s foot, and it extended substantially more than three inches above his knee. And the skull was broad and huge, as if he were a monster or prodigy, to the extent that the space between the eyebrows and the eye-sockets amply encompassed the breadth of one’s palm. Moreover, ten or more wounds were visible on that skull, all of which had healed into scars except one, greater than the rest, which had made a large cleft — this seems to have been the lethal one.
The Skull must have been the ‘holed’ skull of an ape which was buried by Henry Blois and sourced from his zoo which he had inherited from his uncle king Henry Ist (especially with the reference to the space between the eyebrows and huge sockets). Henry had planted these primate bones because this was the Arthur that fought giants. This is the description of a Gorilla skull.789 There seems little doubt that the bones existed in the grave. The shin bone was probably the Tibia of the same animal. If all we have related about Henry Blois and his fanciful imagination has anything to do with his having manufactured a grave so that his invented persona of Arthur will endure throughout the generations of man….is it not likely he put a Gorilla skull in Arthur’s grave… not Henry de Sully? The poet’s verse referred to seems poignantly directed as if already understood that there was a ‘ditty’ composed (no doubt by an ancient Welsh bard) which related to the size of Arthur’s bones.
789See Image 2
The breakdown of what Gerald wrote straight after the exhumation numbered 1 through 16 above, is the complete coverage of Arthur’s disinterment mentioned by Gerald of Wales c.1192-3. We should now see what he says in Speculum Ecclesiae c.1217, when he next broaches the subject, but in the brief section below Gerald is only relating the circumstances of Arthur’s exhumation relative to the corruptible nature of mankind in:
Regarding the monk who, at the discovery of the tomb of Arthur, pulled out a lock of women’s hair with his hand, and quite shamelessly accelerated its ruin.
1) In our own lifetime, while Henry II was ruling England, diligent efforts were made in Glastonbury Abbey to locate what must have once been the tomb of Arthur. This was done at the instruction of the King and under the supervision of the abbot of that place, Henry, who was later transferred to Worcester Cathedral.
Gerald 25 years after having written his first account is still insistent that Henry II was connected to the dig. He would hardly mention his name again and mean Richard I. There is simply no solution to the conundrum unless the dig transpired before July 1189 and Henry de Sully had moved to Glastonbury before being formally elected.
2) With much difficulty, the tomb was excavated in the holy burial-ground which had been dedicated by Saint Dunstan. The tomb was found between two tall, emblazoned pyramids, erected long ago in memory of Arthur.
There is clear evidence that Gerald believes that the pyramids were constructed to commemorate Arthur’s burial. One assumes logically, that in Gerald’s mind, they were constructed at a later date, because the idea of burying Arthur so deep was to avoid being found. I suspect that when Henry Blois made known the information concerning the depth of the tomb to Henry II, he might have invented this explanation as part of the lore which explained why the tomb would be found at such a depth. The tomb in reality, as we have covered, was in effect a tomb of an earlier body which had been interred before the renovations to the cemetery in Dunstan’s era. Henry Blois had used this tomb and its existing slab to secret the artefacts which were later found by Henry de Sully.
3) Though his body and bones had been reduced to dust, they were lifted up from below into the air, and to a more seemly place of burial.
The contradiction here is that if the tibia and skull had survived, where was the rest of the body? Gerald seems to deal with this anomaly by inferring the rest had been reduced to dust. Again, this is not something that Henry de Sully would have been able to pull off without there having been the manufactured grave planted by Henry Blois. It actually points to the fact that modern gorilla790 bones were mixed with ancient human remains from the previous occupant.
790See Image 2
4) In the same grave there was found a tress of woman’s hair, blonde and lovely to look at, plaited and coiled with consummate skill, and belonging, no doubt, to Arthur’s wife, who was buried there with her husband.
Gerald expands upon his original account saying the hair was plaited and coiled. If Gerald was not present at the time he would not be describing something which at the time of the account crumbled with age upon being man handled. He also says, as an eyewitness, the hair was blonde and initially it had been in a beautiful plait before it crumbled. Gerald is recalling the event and mentioning details he had not commented upon before. I am sure scholars will still say Gerald is ‘prattling on’. However, for those who have tried to deny that Guinevere was even present, the lock is assumed to be his wife’s. It makes little sense to ‘prattle on’ about a wife and her hair if the lock was not in evidence at the unearthing.
We might make the observation that there is little to be gained by Henry de Sully introducing the plait of hair; if he had indeed been the instigator of planting the artefacts in the grave and according to modern scholars the monks and abbot wanted to obliterate her memory, straight after having put her hair in the grave; the logic of which only dark utterances could explain.
We can deduce the placing of a plait of a woman’s hair is more to the benefit of Henry Blois as it establishes the historicity of his HRB; and this is why we should accept that Guinevere’s name is actually mentioned on the cross in the original epitaph, at least conceding her name upon it without stating categorically that it mentioned a ‘second wife’. This is especially poignant since she is mentioned in DA and in Perlesvaus which I maintain were published before the disinterment.
4) Standing among the crowd is a monk who sees the lock of hair. So that he could seize the lock before all others, he hurled himself headlong into the lowest depths of the cavity. Then, the aforementioned monk, that insolent spectator, no less impudent than imprudent, descended into the depths.
Gerald, again, does not mention curtains surrounding the excavation, but does say there was a crowd surrounding the hole in the ground which in someway confirms that Adam, writing 60 years after the event, has confused the record of the De inventione dig at Montacute and assimilated details into his account of the Arthur exhumation. So, there was a crowd and Gerald had the feeling it was entirely inappropriate that a monk took it upon himself to jump into the grave. Gerald would hardly get all perturbed by the monk’s actions if he himself was not in the crowd at the time!!
5) the depths symbolize the infernal realm, which none of us can escape. Thus, the monk thought to pull it out with his hand, to take hold of the lock of hair before all others — evidence of his shameless mind, for women’s hair entangles the weak-willed, while strong souls avoid it. Hair, of course, is said to be incorruptible, for it has no flesh in it, nor any moisture mixed with it. Nevertheless, as he held it in his hand, having raised it up in order to inspect it (many watched intently and in amazement), it crumbled into the thinnest dust; miraculously it disintegrated, as if reduced to granules. [There are a few words in the manuscript missing here.]
For it demonstrated that all things are transitory, and all worldly beauty is for our vain eyes to gaze upon, for performing illicit sensual acts, or for our moments that are susceptible to vanity — indeed, as the philosopher said, “the splendor of beauty is swift, passing, changeable, and more fleeting than the flowers of spring.”
Gerald might be perceived as blithely ‘prattling on’ as he makes relative his experience at the dig with his theological rationalisations of monkish mores. But many watched intently and in amazement is a descriptive scene from memory as a witness.
Regarding the bones lying intact in the tomb of King Arthur, discovered at Glastonbury in our times, and about the many things relating to these remarkable circumstances.
6) Furthermore, tales are regularly reported and fabricated about King Arthur and his uncertain end, with the British peoples even now contending foolishly that he is still alive. True and accurate information has been sought out, so the legends have finally been extinguished; the truth about this matter should be revealed plainly, so here I have endeavored to add something to the indisputable facts that have been disclosed. Gerald’s intention is to put an end to the rumours concerning Arthur.
7) After the Battle of Camlann . . . [A number of words are missing in the manuscript.] And so, after Arthur had been mortally wounded there, his body was taken to the Isle of Avalon, which is now called Glastonbury, by a noble matron and kinswoman named Morgan; afterwards the remains were buried, according to her direction, in the holy burial-ground. As a result of this, the Britons and their poets have been concocting legends that a certain fantastic goddess, also called Morgan, carried off the body of Arthur to the Isle of Avalon for the healing of his wounds. When his wounds have healed, the strong and powerful King will return to rule the Britons (or so the Britons suppose), as he did before. Thus, they still await him, just as the Jews, deceived by even greater stupidity, misfortune, and faithlessness, likewise await their Messiah.
There is not much I can add which has not already been commented upon in Gerald’s previous account except, Gerald’s introduction that it was Morgan who received the wounded Arthur. How is it that Gerald confidently states that the burial took place under Morgan’s direction?
8) It is significant . . . [Two sentences or so are damaged in the manuscript] Truly it is called Avalon, either from the British word aval, which means pomum because apples and apple trees abound in that place; or, from the name Vallo, once the ruler of that territory. Likewise, long ago the place was usually called in British Inis Gutrin, that is, insula vitrea[Latin: “The Island of Glass”], evidently on account of the river, most like glass in color, that flows around the marshes. Because of this, it was later called Glastonia in the language of the Saxons who seized this land, since glas in English or in Saxon means vitrum[Latin:”glass”]. It is clear from this, therefore, why it was called an island, why it was called Avalon, and why it was called Glastonia; it is also clear how the fantastic goddess Morgan was contrived by poets.
Is it not remarkable how clever Henry Blois has been in fabricating his conflationary salad? We know Avallon is his invention, named from a town in Burgundy. This was equated quite surreptitiously by him to be equal with Insula Pomorum in VM simply by implying Arthur was taken there. Whether or not Aval is the Briton/Saxon word for apple is debatable, but it would be a coincidence if it was.
The man Avalloc is already posited in DA by Henry Blois which Gerald has read. But Gerald calls him Vallo. The Inis Gutrin is first heard of in Henry’s rendition of the Life of Gildas when he impersonates Caradoc. It was in the etymological addition that the ‘G’ was added, because if the reader remembers Henry’s agenda at that time was to make Ineswitrin appear as synonymous with Glastonbury, (the ‘G’ gutrin (made of glass) was supposed to help that transitional shift). Now, we are led to believe Ines ‘witrin’ is derived from Ines ‘vitrea’; and therefore, the Glass in Glastonbury is supposed to be derived from Latin vitrea (equalling glass). The whole thing is senseless but clever, because now the Briton ‘glass’ of Glastonbury is based on Latin vitrea. Who would now advocate that the French Grail stories which mention Isle de Voirre pre-existed Henry’s marvellous conflationary soup emanating from Glastonbury and not vice versa?
9) It is also notable that . . . [Several words are missing, obscuring the meaning of the first part of the sentence.] from the letters inscribed on it, yet nearly all, however, was destroyed by antiquity. If the text were not missing, we might have had a clearer idea of whether Gerald is advocating that Arthur’s name had been recently scratched on the pyramid since William had last been able to read the names.
10) 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.
As before, in Liber de Principis Instructione, King Henry II is posited as the fount for the rumour and we can only assume, by which ever method of transmission Henry Blois used to make sure the King unveiled Arthur; King Henry understood that Arthur was buried between the two pyramids. Because the bard/poet is referred to again and it was implied in Liber de Principis Instructione that a poet had commented on the size of the bones, it is likely this was another device Henry used, as only he would have known he had put gorilla bones in the manufactured grave.
11) These were very deep, on account of the Saxons (whom he had subdued often and expelled from the Island of Britain, and whom his evil nephew Mordred had later called back against him), who endeavoured to occupy the whole island again after his death; so their fear was that Saxons might despoil him in death through the wickedness of their vengeful spirit.
This is probably Gerald’s own rationalisation of why the grave was so deep mixed with the true history as accounted in Gildas and Bede that there was resurgence after Aurelius Ambrosius had requited a forty-year reprieve from oppression. But Gerald is in fact going on ‘Geoffrey’s’ testimony.
12) A broad stone was unearthed during the excavating at the tomb, about seven feet . . . [A couple of words are missing.] a lead cross was fastened — not to the outer part of the stone, but rather to the underside (no doubt as a result of their fears about the Saxons). It had these words inscribed on it: “Here lies entombed King Arthur, on the Isle of Avalon, with Guenevere his second wife.”
The broad stone, as discussed previously, is the lid of the grave of a previous occupant, (re-employed) to which the cross had been affixed with the inscription turned inward toward the slab. If scholars are right, we should ignore the most important part of Gerald’s testimony. Gerald for the second time refers to Guinevere as Arthur’s second wife, and the assertion (we must remember) is from one who saw how the cross was affixed to the slab before its removal; evidenced by Gerald’s comments to which direction the inscription was facing. It is possible straight after the dig in an attempt to make Arthur’s presence more believable, Glastonbury distanced themselves from fables and the unfaithful Guinevere by excluding her from any testimony.
As I have covered before, it is a pretty daft notion…. that should the grave have been real that anyone burying a body would state the location on the cross. Obviously, if someone in the future were to see the cross again, those that buried Arthur could never have envisaged a change in the Island name to warrant the name of Avalon’s inclusion spelled out on the ‘leaden cross’. We all know who wrote Avalon on the cross and for what reason.
What other grave states its location in part of the epitaph?
It is Henry Blois who has done all the previous work to translocate Avallon to Glastonbury and he knew that this cross would cement his translocation permanently. It is not at all by accident that the object chosen to make this link is a cross as Henry had learnt this from Canterbury in contention over Dunstan’s remains and the idea of certain proof in the future was based on the ‘lead tablet’ mentioned by Eadmer. Henry’s work was done, his alter ego was the most famous King in history and the illusion which had evolved since the advent of the Primary Historia was complete.
13) 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. The cross was fastened to the underside the stone, and, moreover, the engraved part of the cross was turned toward the stone, so that it would be better concealed.
To dispel the rumours of fraud (especially if another cross had been produced) and counter the equivocation in what the epitaph actually had inscribed on it, Gerald affirms that (at the event) after the extraction of the cross from the stone slab Gerald held it in his hand and examined it. He can hardly get the short inscription muddled as some scholars suggest.
14) Remarkable indeed was the industry and exquisite prudence of the men of that era, who, by all their exertions, wished to hide forever the body of so great a man, their lord, and the patron of that region, from the danger of sudden disturbance. Moreover, they took care that — at some time in the future when their tribulations had ceased — the evidence of the letters inscribed on the cross could be made public. Remarkable indeed!!!!
Cap. X. The renowned King Arthur was a patron of Glastonbury Abbey. [Enough words are missing that the rest of this chapter heading is indecipherable.]
15) [The beginning of the sentence is lost.] . . . had proposed, thus Arthur’s body was discovered not in a marble tomb, not cut from rock or Parian stone, as was fitting for so distinguished a King, but rather in wood, in oak that was hollowed out for this purpose, and 16 feet or more deep in the earth; this was certainly on account of haste rather than proper ceremony for the burial of so great a prince, driven as they were by a time of urgent distress.
Here again, Gerald is making his own rationalizations and by doing so, confirms to us that the tomb itself was in fact a hollowed out oak tree trunk, just as Henry Blois had already told King Henry. This is of course explained away by pressures brought to bare by the Saxons.
16) When the body was discovered according to the directions indicated by King Henry the aforementioned abbot had an extraordinary marble tomb made for the remains, as was fitting for an excellent patron of that place, for indeed, he had prized that church more than all the rest in his Kingdom, and had enriched it with large and numerous lands. And for that reason, it was not undeserved, but just and by the judgment of God, who rewards all good deeds not only in heaven, but also on earth and in this life. [The end of the manuscript is very defective.] . . and the authentic body of Arthur . . . to be buried properly . . .
If this exhumation had transpired in Richard’s era as King, there is no mention of him. This might indeed indicate that it was Eleanor who was the driving force behind the exhumation, having been released from prison and no doubt whiled away her hours reading Arthuriana. However, we will never know any more than we do and what is most important is that we now know who manufactured the grave in the first place.
Experts on Geoffrey such as Crick are conflicted in their understanding of Gerald and Geoffrey’s relationship: However, the exorcism-story, like other episodes in Gerald’s work, while an absurd but highly eﬀective caricature, conceals complex and contradictory sentiments. The passion with which Gerald impugned Geoﬀrey’s ‘History’ seems misplaced in an author who at various stages of his career used Geoﬀrey’s version of the British past for his own purposes. Nor was Gerald’s acrimony directed at a professional rival. His victim was long dead.
It needs to be made plain to scholars that Henry Blois most probably influenced Gerald to dismiss Geoffrey’s History because of the link between the seditious prophecies put out c.1155 and the general proximity of the content of the prophecies and the regal qualities which shaped Arthur were so Norman and modelled on Henry I, that Henry Blois wanted to distance himself from any suspicion. However, Gerald wanted to believe that Arthur was real and the British church had precedent over the Roman Canterbury and he only became convinced by certain ‘history’ facts or plausability of certain parts of HRB’s historicity once the Grave of Arthur was uncovered in Avalon, as ‘Geoffrey’ had not pronounced Arthur’s death but he had left open to possibility in HRB and VM. It was only when Henry Blois had manufactured the grave and overtly stated in the colophon of Perlesvaus c.1158-60 that Arthur’s death was final. This fact was then added to DA providing the position of the grave and then the convoluted death of Arthur (Vera Historia de Morte Arthur) was inserted into an edition of HRB.
Crick’s assumption that Gerald’s description of the unveiling of Arthur’s grave was somehow deployed to prevent the furtherance of the concept of the Welsh belief in Arthur’s return is totally misguided rationalisation: The problem was resolved by Gerald of Wales. Having sought to undermine the legend of Arthur’s return at Glastonbury, Gerald took care to put it to rest. In the closing chapter of the ‘Description of Wales’ completed by 1194, he made another attempt to demonstrate the futility of the wider Welsh aspirations which Geoﬀrey had encouraged, directly or indirectly. In this chapter Gerald systematically undermined the vision with which Geoﬀrey had concluded his History.
Logically, if Gerald had been invited in to write up the press release to put a stop to the ‘hope of the Britons’ by Arthur’s certain demise, surely he and the monks would not have been in contention over what was inscribed on the ‘Leaden Cross’. Gerald’s account is clearly an eyewitness account while recounting also how the events which led to the discovery took place. If Gerald’s intent was to write a polemic, he certainly would not have just repeated the plainly eyewitness details in his second account of the events at a later date. If modern scholars persist in rejecting the fact that Henry Blois was Geoffrey they will never pin the tail on the Donkey!!!!