The Holinshed Project

Holinshed Project Home

The Texts

Previous | Next

1.4. What sundrie nations haue dwel|led in Albion. Cap. 4.

What sundrie nations haue dwel|led in Albion. Cap. 4.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _AS few or no nations can iustlie boast themselues to haue con|tinued sithence their countrie was first replenished, without any mixture, more or lesse, of forreine inhabitants; no more can this our Iland, whose mani|fold commodities haue oft allu|red sundrie princes and famous capteines of the world to conquer and subdue the same vnto their owne sub|iection. Manie sorts of people therfore haue come in hi|ther and settled themselues here in this Ile, and first of all other, a parcell of the linage and posteritie of Ia|phet,Samothe|ans. brought in by Samothes in the 1910. after the creation of Adam. Howbeit in processe of time, and after they had indifferentlie replenished and furnished this Iland with people (which was doone in the space of 335. yeares) Albion the giant afore mentioned, repai|red hither with a companie of his owne race procéeding from Cham, and not onelie annexed the same to his owne dominion, but brought all such in like sort as he found here of the line of Iaphet, into miserable serui|tude and most extreame thraldome. After him also, and within lesse than sixe hundred and two yeares, came Brute the sonne of Syluius with a great traine of the posteritie of the dispersed Troians in 324. ships: Britains. who rendering the like courtesie vnto the Chemminits as they had doone before vnto the séed of Iaphet,Chemmi|nits. brought them also wholie vnder his rule and gouernance, and dispossessing the peeres & inferior owners of their lands and possessions, he diuided the countrie among such princes and capteines as he in his arriuall here had led out of Grecia with him.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 From hencefoorth I doo not find any sound report of other nation whatsoeuer,Romans. that should aduenture hither to dwell, and alter the state of the land, vntill the Ro|mane emperours subdued it to their dominion, sa|uing of a few Galles, (and those peraduenture of Belgie) who first comming ouer to rob and pilfer vpon the coasts, did afterward plant themselues for altogi|ther neere vnto the shore, and there builded sundrie ci|ties and townes which they named after those of the maine, from whence they came vnto vs. And this is not onelie to be gathered out of Cesar where he wri|teth of Britaine of set purpose, but also else-where, as in his second booke a litle after the beginning: for spea|king of Deuiaticus king of the Swessions liuing in his time, he affirmeth him not onelie to be the mightiest prince of all the Galles, but also to hold vnder his sub|iection the Ile of Britaine, of which his sonne Galba was afterward dispossessed. But after the com|ming of the Romans, it is hard to say with how manie sorts of people we were dailie pestered, almost in euerie steed. For as they planted their forworne legions in the most fertile places of the realme, and where they might best lie for the safegard of their conquests: so their armies did commonlie consist of manie sorts of people, and were (as I may call them) a confused mixture of all other countries and nations then liuing in the world. Howbeit, I thinke it best, bicause they did all beare the title of Romans, to re|teine onelie that name for them all, albeit they were wofull ghests to this our Iland: sith that with them came all maner of vice and vicious liuing, all riot and excesse of behauiour into our countrie, which their legi|ons brought hither from each corner of their domini|ons: for there was no prouince vnder them from whence they had not seruitours.

How and when the Scots,Scots. Picts. a people mixed of the Scithian and Spanish blood, should arriue here out of Ireland, & when the Picts should come vnto vs out of Sarmatia, or from further toward the north & the Scithi|an Hyperboreans, as yet it is vncerteine. For though the Scotish histories doo carrie great countenance of their antiquitie in this Iland: yet (to saie fréelie what I thinke) I iudge them rather to haue stolne in hither within the space of 100. yeares before Christ, than to haue continued here so long as they themselues pre|tend, if my coniecture be any thing. Yet I denie not, but that as the Picts were long planted in this Iland be|fore the Scots aduentured to settle themselues also in Britaine; so the Scots did often aduenture hither to rob and steale out of Ireland, and were finallie called in by the Meats or Picts (as the Romans named them, be|cause they painted their bodies) to helpe them against the Britains, after the which they so planted them|selues in these parts, that vnto our time that portion of the land cannot he cleansed of them. I find also that as these Scots were reputed for the most Scithian-like and barbarous nation, and longest without letters; so they vsed commonlie to steale ouer into Britaine in leather skewes, and began to helpe the Picts about or not long before the beginning of Cesars time. For both EEBO page image 6 Diodorus lib. 6 . and Strabo lib. 4. doo seeme to speake of a parcell of the Irish nation that should inhabit Bri|taine in their time, which were giuen to the eating of mans flesh, and therefore called Anthropophagi. Ma|mertinus in like sort dooth note the Redshanks and the Irish (which are properlie the Scots) to be the onelie enimies of our nation, before the comming of Caesar, as appeareth in his panegyricall oration, so that hereby it is found that they are no new ghestes in Britaine. Wherefore all the controuersie dooth rest in the time of their first attempt to inhabit in this Iland. Certein|lie I maruell much whie they trauell not to come in with Cantaber and Partholonus : but I see perfectlie that this shift should be too grosse for the maintenance of their desired antiquitie. Now, as concerning their name, the Saxons translated the word Scotus for Irish: whereby it appeareth that those Irish, of whom Strabo and Diodorus doo speake, are none other than those Scots, of whom Ierome speaketh A duersus Iouini|anum, lib. 2. who vsed to féed on the buttocks of boies and womens paps, as delicate dishes. Aethicus writing of the Ile of Man, affirmeth it to be inhabited with Scots so well as Ireland euen in his time. Which is another proofe that the Scots and Irish are all one people. They were also called Scoti by the Romans, bicause their I|land & originall inhabitation thereof were vnknowne, and they themselues an obscure nation in the sight of all the world. Now as concerning the Picts,Of the Picts. whatso|euer Ranulphus Hygden imagineth to the contrarie of their latter enterance, it is easie to find by Herodian and Mamertinus (of which the one calleth them Meates, the other Redshankes and Pictones) that they were setled in this Ile long before the time of Seuerus, yea of Caesar, and comming of the Scots. Which is proofe suffi|cient, if no further authoritie remained extant for the same. So that the controuersie lieth not in their com|ming also, but in the true time of their repaire and ad|uenture into this Iland out of the Orchades (out of which they gat ouer into the North parts of our coun|trie, as the writers doo report) and from whence they came at the first into the aforsaid Ilands. For my part I suppose with other, that they came hither out of Sar|matia or Scythia: for that nation hauing how al|waies an eie vnto the commodities of our countrie, hath sent out manie companies to inuade and spoile the same. It may be that some will gather, those to be the Picts, of whom Caesar saith that they stained their faces with wad and madder, to the end they might ap|peare terrible and fearefull to their enimies; and so in|ferre that the Picts were naturall Britans. But it is one thing to staine the face onelie as the Britans did, of whom Propertius saith,

Nunc etiam infectos demummutare Britannos,
And to paint the images and portrattures of beasts, fish and foules ouer the whole bodie, as the Picts did, of whom Martial saith,
Barbara depictis veni Bascauda Britannis.
Certes the times of Samothes and Albion, haue some likelie limitation: and so we may gather of the comming in of Brute, of Caesar, the Saxons, the Danes, the Normans, and finallie of the Flemmings, (who had the Rosse in Wales assigned vnto them 1066. after the drowning of their countrie.) But when first the Picts, & then the Scots should come ouer into our. I|land, as they were obscure people, so the time of their arriuall is as far to me vnknowne. Wherefore the reso|lution of this point must still remaine In tenebris. This neuerthelesse is certeine, that Maximus first Le|gate of Britaine, and afterward emperour, draue the Scots out of Britaine, and compelled them to get ha|bitation in Ireland, the out Iles, and the North part of the maine, and finallie diuided their region betwéene the Britaines and the Picts. He denounced warre also against the Irishmen, for receiuing them into their land: but they crauing the peace, yéelded to subscribe, that from thence-foorth they would not receiue any Scot into their dominions; and so much the more, for that they were pronounced enimies to the Romans, and disturbers of the common peace and quietnesse of their prouinces here in England.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The Saxons became first acquainted with this Ile, by meanes of the piracie which they dailie practi|sed vpon our coastes (after they had once begun to ad|uenture themselues also vpon the seas, thereby to seeke out more wealth than was now to be gotten in the West parts of the maine, which they and their neigh|bours had alreadie spoiled in most lamentable and bar|barous maner) howbeit they neuer durst presume to inhabit in this Iland,The hurt by forren aid. vntill they were sent for by Vor|tiger to serue him in his warres against the Picts and Scots, after that the Romans had giuen vs ouer, and lest vs wholie to our owne defense and regiment. Be|ing therefore come vnder Hengist in three bottoms or kéeles , and in short time espieng the idle and negligent behauiour of the Britaines, and fertilitie of our soile, they were not a little inflamed to make a full conquest of such as at the first they came to aid and succour. Herevpon also they fell by little and little to the wind|ing in of greater numbers of their countrimen and neighbours, with their wiues and children into this re|gion, so that within a while these new comlings began to molest the homelings, and ceased not from time to time to continue their purpose, vntill they had gotten possession of the whole, or at the leastwise the greatest part of our countrie; the Britons in the meane sea|son being driuen either into Wales and Cornewall, or altogither out of the Iland to séeke new habitati|ons.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 In like maner the Danes (the next nation that succéeded) came at the first onelie to pilfer and robbe vpon the frontiers of our Iland,Danes. till that in the end, being let in by the Welshmen or Britons through an earnest desire to be reuenged vpon the Saxons, they no lesse plagued the one than the other, their fréends than their aduersaries, seeking by all meanes possible to establish themselues also in the sure pos|session of Britaine. But such was their successe, that they prospered not long in their deuise: for so great was their lordlinesse, crueltie, and infatiable desire of riches, beside their detestable abusing of chast matrons, and yoong virgins (whose husbands and pa|rents were dailie inforced to become their drudges and slaues, whilest they sat at home and fed like drone bées of the sweet of their trauell and labours) that God I say would not suffer them to continue any while ouer vs, but when he saw his time he remooued their yoke, and gaue vs libertie as it were to breath vs, thereby to see whether this his sharpe scourge could haue mooued vs to repentance and amendment of our lewd and sinfull liues, or not. But when no signe thereof appeared in our hearts, he called in an other nation to vex vs, I meane the Normans,The Nor|mans. a people mixed with Danes, and of whom it is worthilie doubted, whether they were more hard and cruell to our countrimen than the Danes, or more heauie and intollerable to our Iland than the Saxons or the Romans. This nation came out of Newstria, the people thereof were called Nor|mans by the French, bicause the Danes which sub|dued that region, came out of the North parts of the world: neuerthelesse, I suppose that the ancient word Newstria , is corrupted from West-rijc, bi|cause that if you marke the situation, it lieth oppo|site from Austria or Ost-rijc, which is called the East region, as Newstria is the Weast: for Rijc in the old Scithian toong dooth signifie a region or kingdome, as in Franc-rijc, or Franc-reich, Westsaxon-reich, Ost saxon-reich, Su-rijc, Angel-rijc, &c, is else to be séene. But howsoeuer this falleth out, these Normans EEBO page image 7 or Danish French, were dedlie aduersaries to the Eng|lish Saxons, first by meane of a quarell that grew be|twéene them in the daies of Edward the Confessour, at such time as the Earle of Bullen, and William Duke of Normandie, arriued in this land to visit him, & their freends; such Normans (I meane) as came ouer with him and Emma his mother before him, in the time of Canutus and Ethelred. For the first footing that euer the French did set in this Iland, sithence the time of Ethel|bert & Sigebert, was with Emma, which Ladie brought ouer a traine of French Gentlemen and Ladies with hir into England.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 After hir also no small numbers of attendants came in with Edward the Confessour, The cause of the conquest by the Nor|mans. whome he pre|ferred to the greatest offices in the realme, in so much that one Robert a Norman , became Archbishop of Canturburie, whose preferment so much enhanced the minds of the French, on the one side, as their lord|lie and outragious demeanour kindled the stomachs of the English nobilitie against them on the other: in|somuch that not long before the death of Emma the kings mother, and vpon occasion of the brall hapning at Douer (whereof I haue made sufficient mention in my Chronologie, not regarding the report of the French authors in this behalfe, who write altogither in the fauour of their Archbishop Robert, but following the authoritie of an English préest then liuing in the court ) the English Peeres began to shew their disli|king in manifest maner. Neuerthelesse, the Normans so bewitched the king with their lieng and bosting, Ro|bert the Archbishop being the chéefe instrument of their practise, that he beléeued them, and therevpon vexed sundrie of the nobilitie, amongst whom Earle Good|wijn of Kent was the chéefe, a noble Gentleman and father in law to king Edward by the mariage of his daughter. The matter also came to such issue against him, that he was exiled, and fiue of his sonnes with him, wherevpon he goeth ouer the sea, and soone after returning with his said sonnes, they inuaded the land in sundrie places, the father himselfe comming to Lon|don, where when the kings power was readie to ioine with him in battell, it vtterlie refused so to doo: affir|ming plainelie, that it should be méere follie for one Englishman to fight against another, in the reuenge of Frenchmens quarels: which answer entred so déep|lie into the kings mind, that he was contented to haue the matter heard, and appointing commissioners for that purpose; they concluded at the vpshot, that all the French should depart out of England by a day, few excepted, whom the king should appoint and nominate. By this means therfore Robert the Archbishop,Archbishop of Can. exi|led, and the rest of the French. & of se|cret counsell with the king, was first exiled as princi|pall abuser & seducer of the king, who goeth to Rome, & there complaineth to the Pope of his iniurie receiued by the English. Howbeit as he returned home a|gaine with no small hope of the readeption of his See, he died in Normandie, whereby he saued a killing. Cer|tes he was the first that euer tendered complaint out of England vnto Rome, & with him went William Bi|shop of London (afterward reuoked) and >Vlfo of Lin|colne , who hardlie escaped the furie of the English no|bilitie. Some also went into Scotland, and there held themselues, expecting a better time. And this is the true historie of the originall cause of the conquest of Eng|land by the French: for after they were well beaten at Douer, bicause of their insolent demeanour there shewed, their harts neuer ceased to boile with a desire of reuenge that brake out into a flame, so soone as their Robert possessed the primacie, which being once obtei|ned, and to set his mischéefe intended abroch withall, a contention was quicklie procured about certeine Kentish lands, and controuersie kindled, whether he or the Earle should haue most right vnto them. The king held with the priest as with the church, the nobilitie with the Earle. In processe also of this businesse,Erle Good|wine slande|red by the French wri|ters. the Archbi|shop accused the Earle of high treason, burdening him with the slaughter of Alfred the kings brother, which was altogither false: as appeareth by a treatise yet extant of that matter , written by a chaplaine to king Edward the Confessour, in the hands of Iohn Stow my verie fréend, wherein he saith thus, Alfredus incautè agens in aduentu suo in Angliam a Danis circumuen|tus occiditur. He addeth moreouer, that giuing out as he came through the countrie accompanied with his few proud Normans, how his meaning was to recouer his right vnto the kingdome, and supposing that all men would haue yéelded vnto him, he fell into their hands, whome Harald then king did send to apprehend him, vpon the fame onelie of this report brought vnto his eares. So that (to be short) after the king had made his pacification with the Earle, the French (I say) were exiled, the Quéene restored to his fauour (whom he at the beginning of this broile had imprisoned at Wilton, allowing hir but one onlie maid to wait vpon hir) and the land reduced to hir former quietnesse, which conti|nued vntill the death of the king. After which the Nor|mans not forgetting their old grudge, remembred still their quarell, that in the end turned to their conquest of this Iland. After which obteined, they were so cruellie bent to our vtter subuersion and ouerthrow, that in the beginning it was lesse reproch to be accoun|ted a slaue than an Englishman,The miserie of the Eng|lish vnder the French. or a drudge in anie filthie businesse than a Britaine: insomuch that eue|rie French page was superiour to the greatest Peere; and the losse of an Englishmans life but a pastime to such of them as contended in their brauerie, who should giue the greatest strokes or wounds vnto their bodies, when their toiling and drudgerie could not please them, or satisfie their gréedie humors. Yet such was our lot in those daies by the diuine appointed order, that we must needs obey such as the Lord did set ouer vs, and so much the rather, for that all power to resist was vtterlie ta|ken from vs, and our armes made so weake and feeble that they were not now able to remooue the importable load of the enimie from our surburdened shoulders. And this onelie I saie againe,The cause of our miserie. bicause we refused grace offered in time, and would not heare when God by his Preachers did call vs so fauourablie vnto him. Oh how miserable was the estate of our countrie vnder the French and Normans, wherein the Brittish and English that remained, could not be called to any func|tion in the commonwealth, no not so much as to be con|stables and headburowes in small villages, except they could bring 2. or 3. Normans for suerties to the Lords of the soile for their good behauiour in their offices! Oh what numbers of all degrées of English and Brittish were made slaues and bondmen, and bought and sold as oxen in open market! In so much that at the first comming, the French bond were set free; and those that afterward became bond, were of our owne coun|trie and nation, so that few or rather none of vs re|mained free without some note of bondage and ser|uitude to the French. Hereby then we perceiue, how from time to time this Iland hath not onelie béene a prey, but as it were a common receptacle for strangers, the naturall homelings or Britons being still cut shorter and shorter, as I said before, till in the end they came not onelie to be driuen into a corner of this region, In this voi|age the said Harald buil|ded Porta|schith, which Caradoch ap Griffin afterward ouerthrew, and killed the garrison that Ha|rald left therein. but in time also verie like vtterlie to haue beene extinguished. For had not king Edward, surna|med the saint, in his time, after greeuous wars made vpon them 1063. (wherein Harald latelie made Earle of Oxenford , sonne to Goodwin Earle of Kent, and af|ter king of England, was his generall) permitted the remnant of their women to ioine in mariage with the Englishmen (when the most part of their husbands and male children were slaine with the sword) it could not haue béene otherwise chosen, but their whole race must EEBO page image 8 needs haue susteined the vttermost confusion, and there|by the memorie of the Britons vtterlie haue perished a|mong vs.

Thus we see how England hath six times beene subiect to the reproch of conquest. And wheras the Scots séeme to challenge manie famous victories also ouer vs, be|side gréeuous impositions, tributs, & dishonorable com|positions: it shall suffice for answer, that they deale in this as in the most part of their historie, which is to seeke great honor by lieng, & great renowme by prating and craking. Indeed they haue doone great mischéefe in this Iland, & with extreme crueltie; but as for any conquest the first is yet to heare of. Diuers other conquests also haue béene pretended by sundrie princes sithence the conquest, onelie to the end that all pristinate lawes and tenures of possession might cease, and they make a new disposition of all things at their owne pleasure. As one by king Edw. the 3 . but it tooke none effect. An|other by Henrie the 4. who neuerthelesse was at the last though hardlie drawne from the challenge by William Thorington , then cheefe Iustice of England. The third by Henrie the 7 . who had some better shew of right, but yet without effect. And the last of all by Q. Marie , as some of the papists gaue out, and also would haue had hir to haue obtained, but God also staied their mali|ces, and hir challenge. But beside the six afore menti|oned, Huntingdon the old historiographer speaketh of a seuenth, likelie (as he saith) to come one daie out of the North, which is a wind that bloweth no man to good, sith nothing is to be had in those parts, but hunger & much cold. Sée more hereof in the historie of S. Albons, and aforsaid author which lieth on the left side of the librarie belonging now to Paules : for I regard no prophesies as one that doubteth from what spirit they doo procéed, or who should be the author of them.

Previous | Next