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The Itinerary of Archibishop Baldwin through Wales

by Giraldus Cambrensis

December, 1997 [Etext #1148]

The Project Gutenberg Etext of Baldwin's Itinerary Through Wales
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This etext was prepared by David Price, from the 1912 J. M. Dent edition.

The Itinerary of Archbishop Baldwin through Wales


Gerald the Welshman - Giraldus Cambrensis - was born, probably in 1147, at Manorbier Castle in the county of Pembroke. His father was a Norman noble, William de Barri, who took his name from the little island of Barry off the coast of Glamorgan. His mother, Angharad, was the daughter of Gerald de Windsor {1} by his wife, the famous Princess Nesta, the "Helen of Wales," and the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr, the last independent Prince of South Wales.

Gerald was therefore born to romance and adventure. He was reared in the traditions of the House of Dinevor. He heard the brilliant and pitiful stories of Rhys ap Tewdwr, who, after having lost and won South Wales, died on the stricken field fighting against the Normans, an old man of over fourscore years; and of his gallant son, Prince Rhys, who, after wrenching his patrimony from the invaders, died of a broken heart a few months after his wife, the Princess Gwenllian, had fallen in a skirmish at Kidwelly. No doubt he heard, though he makes but sparing allusion to them, of the loves and adventures of his grandmother, the Princess Nesta, the daughter and sister of a prince, the wife of an adventurer, the concubine of a king, and the paramour of every daring lover - a Welshwoman whose passions embroiled all Wales, and England too, in war, and the mother of heroes - Fitz-Geralds, Fitz-Stephens, and Fitz-Henries, and others - who, regardless of their mother's eccentricity in the choice of their fathers, united like brothers in the most adventurous undertaking of that age, the Conquest of Ireland.

Though his mother was half Saxon and his father probably fully Norman, Gerald, with a true instinct, described himself as a "Welshman." His frank vanity, so naive as to be void of offence, his easy acceptance of everything which Providence had bestowed on him, his incorrigible belief that all the world took as much interest in himself and all that appealed to him as he did himself, the readiness with which he adapted himself to all sorts of men and of circumstances, his credulity in matters of faith and his shrewd common sense in things of the world, his wit and lively fancy, his eloquence of tongue and pen, his acute rather than accurate observation, his scholarship elegant rather than profound, are all characteristic of a certain lovable type of South Walian. He was not blind to the defects of his countrymen any more than to others of his contemporaries, but the Welsh he chastised as one who loved them. His praise followed ever close upon the heels of his criticism. There was none of the rancour in his references to Wales which defaces his account of contemporary Ireland. He was acquainted with Welsh, though he does not seem to have preached it, and another archdeacon acted as the interpreter of Archbishop Baldwin's Crusade sermon in Anglesea. But he could appreciate the charm of the Cynghanedd, the alliterative assonance which is still the most distinctive feature of Welsh poetry. He cannot conceal his sympathy with the imperishable determination of his countrymen to keep alive the language which is their differentia among the nations of the world. It is manifest in the story which he relates at the end of his "Description of Wales." Henry II. asked an old Welshman of Pencader in Carmarthenshire if the Welsh could resist his might. "This nation, O King," was the reply, "may often be weakened and in great part destroyed by the power of yourself and of others, but many a time, as it deserves, it will rise triumphant. But never will it be destroyed by the wrath of man, unless the wrath of God be added. Nor do I think that any other nation than this of Wales, or any other tongue, whatever may hereafter come to pass, shall on the day of the great reckoning before the Most High Judge, answer for this corner of the earth." Prone to discuss with his "Britannic frankness" the faults of his countrymen, he cannot bear that any one else should do so. In the "Description of Wales" he breaks off in the middle of a most unflattering passage concerning the character of the Welsh people to lecture Gildas for having abused his own countrymen. In the preface to his "Instruction of Princes," he makes a bitter reference to the prejudice of the English Court against everything Welsh - "Can any good thing come from Wales?" His fierce Welshmanship is perhaps responsible for the unsympathetic treatment which he has usually received at the hands of English historians. Even to one of the writers of Dr. Traill's "Social England," Gerald was little more than "a strong and passionate Welshman."

Sometimes it was his pleasure to pose as a citizen of the world. He loved Paris, the centre of learning, where he studied as a youth, and where he lectured in his early manhood. He paid four long visits to Rome. He was Court chaplain to Henry II. He accompanied the king on his expeditions to France, and Prince John to Ireland. He retired, when old age grew upon him, to the scholarly seclusion of Lincoln, far from his native land. He was the friend and companion of princes and kings, of scholars and prelates everywhere in England, in France, and in Italy. And yet there was no place in the world so dear to him as Manorbier. Who can read his vivid description of the old castle by the sea - its ramparts blown upon by the winds that swept over the Irish Sea, its fishponds, its garden, and its lofty nut trees - without feeling that here, after all, was the home of Gerald de Barri? "As Demetia," he said in his "Itinerary," "with its seven cantreds is the fairest of all the lands of Wales, as Pembroke is the fairest part of Demetia, and this spot the fairest of Pembroke, it follows that Manorbier is the sweetest spot in Wales." He has left us a charming account of his boyhood, playing with his brothers on the sands, they building castles and he cathedrals, he earning the title of "boy bishop" by preaching while they engaged in boyish sport. On his last recorded visit to Wales, a broken man, hunted like a criminal by the king, and deserted by the ingrate canons of St. David's, he retired for a brief respite from strife to the sweet peace of Manorbier. It is not known where he died, but it is permissible to hope that he breathed his last in the old home which he never forgot or ceased to love.

He mentions that the Welsh loved high descent and carried their pedigree about with them. In this respect also Gerald was Welsh to the core. He is never more pleased than when he alludes to his relationship with the Princes of Wales, or the Geraldines, or Cadwallon ap Madoc of Powis. He hints, not obscurely, that the real reason why he was passed over for the Bishopric of St. David's in 1186 was that Henry II. feared his natio et cognatio, his nation and his family. He becomes almost dithyrambic in extolling the deeds of his kinsmen in Ireland. "Who are they who penetrated into the fastnesses of the enemy? The Geraldines. Who are they who hold the country in submission? The Geraldines. Who are they whom the foemen dread? The Geraldines. Who are they whom envy would disparage? The Geraldines. Yet fight on, my gallant kinsmen,

" Felices facti si quid mea carmina possuit."

Gerald was satisfied, not only with his birthplace and lineage, but with everything that was his. He makes complacent references to his good looks, which he had inherited from Princess Nesta. "Is it possible so fair a youth can die?" asked Bishop, afterwards Archbishop, Baldwin, when he saw him in his student days. {2} Even in his letters to Pope Innocent he could not refrain from repeating a compliment paid to him on his good looks by Matilda of St. Valery, the wife of his neighbour at Brecon, William de Braose. He praises his own unparalleled generosity in entertaining the poor, the doctors, and the townsfolk of Oxford to banquets on three successive days when he read his "Topography of Ireland" before that university. As for his learning he records that when his tutors at Paris wished to point out a model scholar they mentioned Giraldus Cambrensis. He is confident that though his works, being all written in Latin, have not attained any great contemporary popularity, they will make his name and fame secure for ever. The most precious gift he could give to Pope Innocent III., when he was anxious to win his favour, was six volumes of his own works; and when good old Archbishop Baldwin came to preach the Crusade in Wales, Gerald could think of no better present to help beguile the tedium of the journey than his own "Topography of Ireland." He is equally pleased with his own eloquence. When the archbishop had preached, with no effect, for an hour, and exclaimed what a hardhearted people it was, Gerald moved them almost instantly to tears. He records also that John Spang, the Lord Rhys's fool, said to his master at Cardigan, after Gerald had been preaching the Crusade, "You owe a great debt, O Rhys, to your kinsman, the archdeacon, who has taken a hundred or so of your men to serve the Lord; for if he had only spoken in Welsh, you would not have had a soul left." His works are full of appreciations of Gerald's reforming zeal, his administrative energy, his unostentatious and scholarly life.

Professor Freeman in his "Norman Conquest" described Gerald as "the father of comparative philology," and in the preface to his edition of the last volume of Gerald's works in the Rolls Series, he calls him "one of the most learned men of a learned age," "the universal scholar." His range of subjects is indeed marvellous even for an age when to be a "universal scholar" was not so hopeless of attainment as it has since become. Professor Brewer, his earliest editor in the Rolls Series, is struck by the same characteristic. "Geography, history, ethics, divinity, canon law, biography, natural history, epistolary correspondence, and poetry employed his pen by turns, and in all these departments of literature he has left memorials of his ability." Without being Ciceronian, his Latin was far better than that of his contemporaries. He was steeped in the classics, and he had, as Professor Freeman remarks, "mastered more languages than most men of his time, and had looked at them with an approach to a scientific view which still fewer men of his time shared with him." He quotes Welsh, English, Irish, French, German, Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, and with four or five of these languages at least he had an intimate, scholarly acquaintance. His judgment of men and things may not always have been sound, but he was a shrewd observer of contemporary events. "The cleverest critic of the life of his time" is the verdict of Mr. Reginald Poole. {3} He changed his opinions often: he was never ashamed of being inconsistent. In early life he was, perhaps naturally, an admirer of the Angevin dynasty; he lived to draw the most terrible picture extant of their lives and characters. During his lifetime he never ceased to inveigh against Archbishop Hubert Walter; after his death he repented and recanted. His invective was sometimes coarse, and his abuse was always virulent. He was not over-scrupulous in his methods of controversy; but no one can rise from a reading of his works without a feeling of liking for the vivacious, cultured, impulsive, humorous, irrepressible Welshman. Certainly no Welshman can regard the man who wrote so lovingly of his native land, and who championed her cause so valiantly, except with real gratitude and affection.

But though it is as a writer of books that Gerald has become famous, he was a man of action, who would have left, had Fate been kinder, an enduring mark on the history of his own time, and would certainly have changed the whole current of Welsh religious life. As a descendant of the Welsh princes, he took himself seriously as a Welsh patriot. Destined almost from his cradle, both by the bent of his mind and the inclination of his father, to don "the habit of religion," he could not join Prince Rhys or Prince Llewelyn in their struggle for the political independence of Wales. His ambition was to become Bishop of St. David's, and then to restore the Welsh Church to her old position of independence of the metropolitan authority of Canterbury. He detested the practice of promoting Normans to Welsh sees, and of excluding Welshmen from high positions in their own country. "Because I am a Welshman, am I to be debarred from all preferment in Wales?" he indignantly writes to the Pope. Circumstances at first seemed to favour his ambition. His uncle, David Fitz-Gerald, sat in the seat of St. David's. When the young scholar returned from Paris in 1172, he found the path of promotion easy. After the manner of that age - which Gerald lived to denounce - he soon became a pluralist. He held the livings of Llanwnda, Tenby, and Angle, and afterwards the prebend of Mathry, in Pembrokeshire, and the living of Chesterton in Oxfordshire. He was also prebendary of Hereford, canon of St. David's, and in 1175, when only twenty-eight years of age, he became Archdeacon of Brecon. In the following year Bishop David died, and Gerald, together with the other archdeacons of the diocese, was nominated by the chapter for the king's choice. But the chapter had been premature, urged, no doubt, by the impetuous young Archdeacon of Brecon. They had not waited for the king's consent to the nomination. The king saw that his settled policy in Wales would be overturned if Gerald became Bishop of St. David's. Gerald's cousin, the Lord Rhys, had been appointed the king's justiciar in South Wales. The power of the Lord Marches was to be kept in check by a quasi-alliance between the Welsh prince and his over-lord. The election of Gerald to the greatest see in Wales would upset the balance of power. David Fitz- Gerald, good easy man (vir sua sorte contentus is Gerald's description of him), the king could tolerate, but he could not contemplate without uneasiness the combination of spiritual and political power in South Wales in the hands of two able, ambitious, and energetic kinsmen, such as he knew Gerald and the Lord Rhys to be. Gerald had made no secret of his admiration for the martyred St. Thomas e Becket. He fashioned himself upon him as Becket did on Anselm. The part which Becket played in England he would like to play in Wales. But the sovereign who had destroyed Becket was not to be frightened by the canons of St. David's and the Archdeacon of Brecon. He summoned the chapter to Westminster, and compelled them in his presence to elect Peter de Leia, the Prior of Wenlock, who erected for himself an imperishable monument in the noble cathedral which looks as if it had sprung up from the rocks which guard the city of Dewi Sant from the inrush of the western sea.

It is needless to recount the many activities in which Gerald engaged during the next twenty-two years. They have been recounted with humorous and affectionate appreciation by Dr. Henry Owen in his monograph on "Gerald the Welshman," a little masterpiece of biography which deserves to be better known. {4} In 1183 Gerald was employed by the astute king to settle terms between him and the rebellious Lord Rhys. Nominally as a reward for his successful diplomacy, but probably in order to keep so dangerous a character away from the turbulent land of Wales, Gerald was in the following year made a Court chaplain. In 1185 he was commissioned by the king to accompany Prince John, then a lad of eighteen, who had lately been created "Lord of Ireland," to the city of Dublin. There he abode for two years, collecting materials for his two first books, the "Topography" and the "Conquest of Ireland." In 1188 he accompanied Archbishop Baldwin through Wales to preach the Third Crusade - not the first or the last inconsistency of which the champion of the independence of the Welsh Church was guilty. His "Itinerary through Wales" is the record of the expedition. King Richard offered him the Bishopric of Bangor, and John, in his brother's absence, offered him that of Llandaff. But his heart was set on St. David's. In 1198 his great chance came to him. At last, after twenty-two years of misrule, Peter de Leia was dead, and Gerald seemed certain of attaining his heart's desire. Once again the chapter nominated Gerald; once more the royal authority was exerted, this time by Archbishop Hubert, the justiciar in the king's absence, to defeat the ambitious Welshman. The chapter decided to send a deputation to King Richard in Normandy. The deputation arrived at Chinon to find Coeur-de-Lion dead; but John was anxious to make friends everywhere, in order to secure himself on his uncertain throne. He received the deputation graciously, he spoke in praise of Gerald, and he agreed to accept the nomination. But after his return to England John changed his mind. He found that no danger threatened him in his island kingdom, and he saw the wisdom of the justiciar's policy. Gerald hurried to see him, but John point blank refused publicly to ratify his consent to the nomination which he had already given in private. Then commenced the historic fight for St. David's which, in view of the still active "Church question" in Wales, is even now invested with a living interest and significance. Gerald contended that the Welsh Church was independent of Canterbury, and that it was only recently, since the Norman Conquest, that she had been deprived of her freedom. His opponents relied on political, rather than historical, considerations to defeat this bold claim. King Henry, when a deputation from the chapter in 1175 appeared before the great council in London and had urged the metropolitan claims of St. David's upon the Cardinal Legate, exclaimed that he had no intention of giving this head to rebellion in Wales. Archbishop Hubert, more of a statesman than an ecclesiastic, based his opposition on similar grounds. He explained his reasons bluntly to the Pope. "Unless the barbarity of this fierce and lawless people can be restrained by ecclesiastical censures through the see of Canterbury, to which province they are subject by law, they will be for ever rising in arms against the king, to the disquiet of the whole realm of England." Gerald's answer to this was complete, except from the point of view of political expediency. "What can be more unjust than that this people of ancient faith, because they answer force by force in defence of their lives, their lands, and their liberties, should be forthwith separated from the body corporate of Christendom, and delivered over to Satan?"

The story of the long fight between Gerald on the one hand and the whole forces of secular and ecclesiastical authority on the other cannot be told here. Three times did he visit Rome to prosecute his appeal - alone against the world. He had to journey through districts disturbed by wars, infested with the king's men or the king's enemies, all of whom regarded Gerald with hostility. He was taken and thrown into prison as King John's subject in one town, he was detained by importunate creditors in another, and at Rome he was betrayed by a countryman whom he had befriended. He himself has told us

Of the most disastrous chances
Of moving accidents by flood and field,

which made a journey from St. David's to Rome a more perilous adventure in those unquiet days than an expedition "through darkest Africa" is in ours. At last the very Chapter of St. David's, for whose ancient rights he was contending, basely deserted him. "The laity of Wales stood by me," so he wrote in later days, "but of the clergy whose battle I was fighting scarce one." Pope Innocent III. was far too wary a politician to favour the claims of a small and distracted nation, already half-subjugated, against the king of a rich and powerful country. He flattered our poor Gerald, he delighted in his company, he accepted, and perhaps even read, his books. But in the end, after five years' incessant fighting, the decision went against him, and the English king's nominee has ever since sat on the throne of St. David's. "Many and great wars," said Gwenwynwyn, the Prince of Powis, "have we Welshmen waged with England, but none so great and fierce as his who fought the king and the archbishop, and withstood the might of the whole clergy and people of England, for the honour of Wales."

Short was the memory and scant the gratitude of his countrymen. When in 1214 another vacancy occurred at a time when King John was at variance with his barons and his prelates, the Chapter of St. David's nominated, not Gerald, their old champion, but Iorwerth, the Abbot of Talley, from whose reforming zeal they had nothing to fear. This last prick of Fortune's sword pierced Gerald to the quick. He had for years been gradually withdrawing from an active life. He had resigned his archdeaconry and his prebend stall, he had made a fourth pilgrimage, this time for his soul's sake, to Rome, he had retired to a quiet pursuit of letters probably at Lincoln, and henceforward, till his death about the year 1223, he devoted himself to revising and embellishing his old works, and completing his literary labours. By his fight for St. David's he had endeared himself to the laity of his country for all time. The saying of Llewelyn the Great was prophetic. "So long as Wales shall stand by the writings of the chroniclers and by the songs of the bards shall his noble deed be praised throughout all time." The prophecy has not yet been verified. Welsh chroniclers have made but scanty references to Gerald; no bard has ever yet sung an Awdl or a Pryddest in honour of him who fought for the "honour of Wales." His countrymen have forgotten Gerald the Welshman. It has been left to Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Foster, Professor Brewer, Dimmock, and Professor Freeman to edit his works. Only two of his countrymen have attempted to rescue one of the greatest of Welshmen from an undeserved oblivion. In 1585, when the Renaissance of Letters had begun to rouse the dormant powers of the Cymry, Dr. David Powel edited in Latin a garbled version of the "Itinerary" and "Description of Wales," and gave a short and inaccurate account of Gerald's life. In 1889 Dr. Henry Owen published, "at his own proper charges," the first adequate account by a Welshman of the life and labours of Giraldus Cambrensis. When his monument is erected in the cathedral which was built by his hated rival, the epitaph which he composed for himself may well be inscribed upon it -

Cambria Giraldus genuit, sic Cambria mentem
Erudiit, cineres cui lapis iste tegit.

And by that time perhaps some competent scholar will have translated some at least of Gerald's works into the language best understood by the people of Wales.

It would be impossible to exaggerate the enormous services which three great Welshmen of the twelfth century rendered to England and to the world - such services as we may securely hope will be emulated by Welshmen of the next generation, now that we have lived to witness what Mr. Theodore Watts-Dunton has called "the great recrudescence of Cymric energy." {5} The romantic literature of England owes its origin to Geoffrey of Monmouth; {6} Sir Galahad, the stainless knight, the mirror of Christian chivalry, as well as the nobler portions of the Arthurian romance, were the creation of Walter Map, the friend and "gossip" of Gerald; {7} and John Richard Green has truly called Gerald himself "the father of popular literature." {8} He began to write when he was only twenty; he continued to write till he was past the allotted span of life. He is the most "modern" as well as the most voluminous of all the mediaeval writers. Of all English writers, Miss Kate Norgate {9} has perhaps most justly estimated the real place of Gerald in English letters. "Gerald's wide range of subjects," she says, "is only less remarkable than the ease and freedom with which he treats them. Whatever he touches - history, archaeology, geography, natural science, politics, the social life and thought of the day, the physical peculiarities of Ireland and the manners and customs of its people, the picturesque scenery and traditions of his own native land, the scandals of the court and the cloister, the petty struggle for the primacy of Wales, and the great tragedy of the fall of the Angevin Empire - is all alike dealt with in the bold, dashing, offhand style of a modern newspaper or magazine article. His first important work, the 'Topography of Ireland,' is, with due allowance for the difference between the tastes of the twelfth century and those of the nineteenth, just such a series of sketches as a special correspondent in our own day might send from some newly-colonised island in the Pacific to satisfy or whet the curiosity of his readers at home." The description aptly applies to all that Gerald wrote. If not a historian, he was at least a great journalist. His descriptions of Ireland have been subjected to much hostile criticism from the day they were written to our own times. They were assailed at the time, as Gerald himself tells us, for their unconventionality, for their departure from established custom, for the freedom and colloquialism of their style, for the audacity of their stories, and for the writer's daring in venturing to treat the manners and customs of a barbarous country as worthy the attention of the learned and the labours of the historian. Irish scholars, from the days of Dr. John Lynch, who published his "Cambrensis Eversus" in 1622, have unanimously denounced the work of the sensational journalist, born out of due time. His Irish books are confessedly partisan; the "Conquest of Ireland" was expressly designed as an eulogy of "the men of St. David's," the writer's own kinsmen. But in spite of partisanship and prejudice, they must be regarded as a serious and valuable addition to our knowledge of the state of Ireland at the latter end of the twelfth century. Indeed, Professor Brewer does not hesitate to say that "to his industry we are exclusively indebted for all that is known of the state of Ireland during the whole of the Middle Ages," and as to the "Topography," Gerald "must take rank with the first who descried the value and in some respects the limits of descriptive geography."

When he came to deal with the affairs of state on a larger stage, his methods were still that of the modern journalist. He was always an impressionist, a writer of personal sketches. His character sketches of the Plantagenet princes - of King Henry with his large round head and fat round belly, his fierce eyes, his tigerish temper, his learning, his licentiousness, his duplicity, and of Eleanor of Aquitaine, his vixenish and revengeful wife, the murderess of "Fair Rosamond" (who must have been known to Gerald, being the daughter of Walter of Clifford-on-the-Wye), and of the fierce brood that they reared - are of extraordinary interest. His impressions of the men and events of his time, his fund of anecdotes and bon mots, his references to trivial matters, which more dignified writers would never deign to mention, his sprightly and sometimes malicious gossip, invest his period with a reality which the greatest of fiction-writers has failed to rival. Gerald lived in the days of chivalry, days which have been crowned with a halo of deathless romance by the author of "Ivanhoe" and the "Talisman." He knew and was intimate with all the great actors of the time. He had lived in the Paris of St. Louis and Philip Augustus, and was never tired of exalting the House of Capet over the tyrannical and bloodthirsty House of Anjou. He had no love of England, for her Plantagenet kings or her Saxon serfs. During the French invasion in the time of King John his sympathies were openly with the Dauphin as against the "brood of vipers," who were equally alien to English soil. For the Saxon, indeed, he felt the twofold hatred of Welshman and Norman. One of his opponents is denounced to the Pope as an "untriwe Sax," and the Saxons are described as the slaves of the Normans, the mere hewers of wood and drawers of water for their conquerors. He met Innocent III., the greatest of Popes, in familiar converse, he jested and gossiped with him in slippered ease, he made him laugh at his endless stories of the glory of Wales, the iniquities of the Angevins, and the bad Latin of Archbishop Walter. He knew Richard Coeur-de-Lion, the flower of chivalry, and saw him as he was and "not through a glass darkly." He knew John, the cleverest and basest of his house. He knew and loved Stephen Langton, the precursor of a long line of statesmen who have made English liberty broad - based upon the people's will. He was a friend of St. Hugh of Lincoln, the sweetest and purest spirit in the Anglican Church of the Middle Ages, the one man who could disarm the wrath of the fierce king with a smile; and he was the friend and patron of Robert Grosstete, afterwards the great Bishop of Lincoln. He lived much in company with Ranulph de Glanville, the first English jurist, and he has "Boswellised" some of his conversations with him. He was intimate with Archbishop Baldwin, the saintly prelate who laid down his life in the Third Crusade on the burning plains of Palestine, heart-broken at the unbridled wickedness of the soldiers of the Cross. He was the near kinsman and confidant of the Cambro-Normans, who, landing in Leinster in 1165, effected what may be described as the first conquest of Ireland. There was scarcely a man of note in his day whom he had not seen and conversed with, or of whom he does not relate some piquant story. He had travelled much, and had observed closely. Probably the most valuable of all his works, from the strictly historical point of view, are the "Itinerary" and "Description of Wales," which are reprinted in the present volume. {10} Here he is impartial in his evidence, and judicial in his decisions. If he errs at all, it is not through racial prejudice. "I am sprung," he once told the Pope in a letter, "from the princes of Wales and from the barons of the Marches, and when I see injustice in either race, I hate it."

The text is that of Sir Richard Colt Hoare, who published an English translation, chiefly from the texts of Camden and Wharton, in 1806. The valuable historical notes have been curtailed, as being too elaborate for such a volume as this, and a few notes have been added by the present editor. These will be found within brackets. Hoare's translation, and also translations (edited by Mr. Foster) of the Irish books have been published in Bohn's Antiquarian Library.

The first of the seven volumes of the Latin text of Gerald, published in the Rolls Series, appeared in 1861. The first four volumes were edited by Professor Brewer; the next two by Mr. Dimmock; and the seventh by Professor Freeman.


The following is a list of the more important of the works of

Topographia Hibernica, Expugnatio Hibernica, Itinerarium Kambriae,
Descriptio Kambriae, Gemma Ecclesiastica, Libellus Invectionum, De
Rebus a se Gestis, Dialogus de jure et statu Menevensis Ecclesiae,
De Instructione Principum, De Legendis Sanctorum, Symbolum


As the times are affected by the changes of circumstances, so are the minds of men influenced by different manners and customs. The satirist [Persius] exclaims,

"Mille hominum species et mentis discolor usus;
Velle suum cuique est, nec voto vivitur uno."

"Nature is ever various in her name;
Each has a different will, and few the same."

The comic poet also says, "Quot capita tot sententiae, suus cuique mos est." "As many men, so many minds, each has his way." Young soldiers exult in war, and pleaders delight in the gown; others aspire after riches, and think them the supreme good. Some approve Galen, some Justinian. Those who are desirous of honours follow the court, and from their ambitious pursuits meet with more mortification than satisfaction. Some, indeed, but very few, take pleasure in the liberal arts, amongst whom we cannot but admire logicians, who, when they have made only a trifling progress, are as much enchanted with the images of Dialectics, as if they were listening to the songs of the Syrens.

But among so many species of men, where are to be found divine poets? Where the noble assertors of morals? Where the masters of the Latin tongue? Who in the present times displays lettered eloquence, either in history or poetry? Who, I say, in our own age, either builds a system of ethics, or consigns illustrious actions to immortality? Literary fame, which used to be placed in the highest rank, is now, because of the depravity of the times, tending to ruin and degraded to the lowest, so that persons attached to study are at present not only not imitated nor venerated, but even detested. "Happy indeed would be the arts," observes Fabius, "if artists alone judged of the arts;" but, as Sydonius says, "it is a fixed principle in the human mind, that they who are ignorant of the arts despise the artist."

But to revert to our subject. Which, I ask, have rendered more service to the world, the arms of Marius or the verses of Virgil? The sword of Marius has rusted, while the fame of him who wrote the AEneid is immortal; and although in his time letters were honoured by lettered persons, yet from his own pen we find,

" - tantum
Carmina nostra valent tela inter Martia, quantum
Chaonias dicunt, aquila veniente, columbas."

Who would hesitate in deciding which are more profitable, the works of St. Jerom, or the riches of Croesus? but where now shine the gold and silver of Croesus? whilst the world is instructed by the example and enlightened by the learning of the poor coenobite. Yet even he, through envy, suffered stripes and contumely at Rome, although his character was so illustrious; and at length being driven beyond the seas, found a refuge for his studies in the solitude of Bethlehem. Thus it appears, that gold and arms may support us in this life, but avail nothing after death; and that letters through envy profit nothing in this world, but, like a testament, acquire an immortal value from the seal of death.

According to the poet,

"Pascitur in vivis livor, post fata quiescit;
Cum suus ex merito quemque tuetur honor."

And also

"Denique si quis adhuc praetendit nubila, livor
Occidet, et meriti post me referentur honores."

Those who by artifice endeavour to acquire or preserve the reputation of abilities or ingenuity, while they abound in the words of others, have little cause to boast of their own inventions. For the composers of that polished language, in which such various cases as occur in the great body of law are treated with such an appropriate elegance of style, must ever stand forward in the first ranks of praise. I should indeed have said, that the authors of refined language, not the hearers only, the inventors, not the reciters, are most worthy of commendation. You will find, however, that the practices of the court and of the schools are extremely similar; as well in the subtleties they employ to lead you forward, as in the steadiness with which they generally maintain their own positions. Yet it is certain that the knowledge of logic (the acumen, if I may so express it, of all other sciences as well as arts) is very useful, when restricted within proper bounds; whilst the court (i.e. courtly language), excepting to sycophants or ambitious men, is by no means necessary. For if you are successful at court, ambition never wholly quits its hold till satiated, and allures and draws you still closer; but if your labour is thrown away, you still continue the pursuit, and, together with your substance, lose your time, the greatest and most irretrievable of all losses. There is likewise some resemblance between the court and the game of dice, as the poet observes:-

"Sic ne perdiderit non cessat perdere lusor,
Dum revocat cupidas alea blanda manus;"

which, by substituting the word CURIA for ALEA, may be applied to the court. This further proof of their resemblance may be added; that as the chances of the dice and court are not productive of any real delight, so they are equally distributed to the worthy and the unworthy.

Since, therefore, among so many species of men, each follows his own inclination, and each is actuated by different desires, a regard for posterity has induced me to choose the study of composition; and, as this life is temporary and mutable, it is grateful to live in the memory of future ages, and to be immortalized by fame; for to toil after that which produces envy in life, but glory after death, is a sure indication of an elevated mind. Poets and authors indeed aspire after immortality, but do not reject any present advantages that may offer.

I formerly completed with vain and fruitless labour the Topography of Ireland for its companion, the king Henry the Second, and Vaticinal History, for Richard of Poitiou, his son, and, I wish I were not compelled to add, his successor in vice; princes little skilled in letters, and much engaged in business. To you, illustrious Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, equally commendable for your learning and religion, I now dedicate the account of our meritorious journey through the rugged provinces of Cambria, written in a scholastic style, and divided into two parts. For as virtue loves itself, and detests what is contrary to it, so I hope you will consider whatever I may have written in commendation of your late venerable and eminent predecessor, with no less affection than if it related to yourself. To you also, when completed, I destine my treatise on the Instruction of a Prince, if, amidst your religious and worldly occupations, you can find leisure for the perusal of it. For I purpose to submit these and other fruits of my diligence to be tasted by you at your discretion, each in its proper order; hoping that, if my larger undertakings do not excite your interest, my smaller works may at least merit your approbation, conciliate your favour, and call forth my gratitude towards you; who, unmindful of worldly affections, do not partially distribute your bounties to your family and friends, but to letters and merit; you, who, in the midst of such great and unceasing contests between the crown and the priesthood, stand forth almost singly the firm and faithful friend of the British church; you, who, almost the only one duly elected, fulfil the scriptural designation of the episcopal character. It is not, however, by bearing a cap, by placing a cushion, by shielding off the rain, or by wiping the dust, even if there should be none, in the midst of a herd of flatterers, that I attempt to conciliate your favour, but by my writings. To you, therefore, rare, noble, and illustrious man, on whom nature and art have showered down whatever becomes your supereminent situation, I dedicate my works; but if I fail in this mode of conciliating your favour, and if your prayers and avocations should not allow you sufficient time to read them, I shall consider the honour of letters as vanished, and in hope of its revival I shall inscribe my writings to posterity.


Since those things, which are known to have been done through a laudable devotion, are not unworthily extolled with due praises; and since the mind, when relaxed, loses its energy, and the torpor of sloth enervates the understanding, as iron acquires rust for want of use, and stagnant waters become foul; lest my pen should be injured by the rust of idleness, I have thought good to commit to writing the devout visitation which Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury, made throughout Wales; and to hand down, as it were in a mirror, through you, O illustrious Stephen, to posterity, the difficult places through which we passed, the names of springs and torrents, the witty sayings, the toils and incidents of the journey, the memorable events of ancient and modern times, and the natural history and description of the country; lest my study should perish through idleness, or the praise of these things be lost by silence.



Journey through Hereford and Radnor

In the year 1188 from the incarnation of our Lord, Urban the Third {11} being the head of the apostolic see; Frederick, emperor of Germany and king of the Romans; Isaac, emperor of Constantinople; Philip, the son of Louis, reigning in France; Henry the Second in England; William in Sicily; Bela in Hungary; and Guy in Palestine: in that very year, when Saladin, prince of the Egyptians and Damascenes, by a signal victory gained possession of the kingdom of Jerusalem; Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury, a venerable man, distinguished for his learning and sanctity, journeying from England for the service of the holy cross, entered Wales near the borders of Herefordshire.

The archbishop proceeded to Radnor, {12} on Ash Wednesday (Caput Jejunii), accompanied by Ranulph de Glanville, privy counsellor and justiciary of the whole kingdom, and there met Rhys, {13} son of Gruffydd, prince of South Wales, and many other noble personages of those parts; where a sermon being preached by the archbishop, upon the subject of the Crusades, and explained to the Welsh by an interpreter, the author of this Itinerary, impelled by the urgent importunity and promises of the king, and the persuasions of the archbishop and the justiciary, arose the first, and falling down at the feet of the holy man, devoutly took the sign of the cross. His example was instantly followed by Peter, bishop of St. David's, {14} a monk of the abbey of Cluny, and then by Eineon, son of Eineon Clyd, {15} prince of Elvenia, and many other persons. Eineon rising up, said to Rhys, whose daughter he had married, "My father and lord! with your permission I hasten to revenge the injury offered to the great father of all." Rhys himself was so fully determined upon the holy peregrination, as soon as the archbishop should enter his territories on his return, that for nearly fifteen days he was employed with great solicitude in making the necessary preparations for so distant a journey; till his wife, and, according to the common vicious licence of the country, his relation in the fourth degree, Guendolena, (Gwenllian), daughter of Madoc, prince of Powys, by female artifices diverted him wholly from his noble purpose; since, as Solomon says, "A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps." As Rhys before his departure was conversing with his friends concerning the things he had heard, a distinguished young man of his family, by name Gruffydd, and who afterwards took the cross, is said thus to have answered: "What man of spirit can refuse to undertake this journey, since, amongst all imaginable inconveniences, nothing worse can happen to any one than to return."

On the arrival of Rhys in his own territory, certain canons of Saint David's, through a zeal for their church, having previously secured the interest of some of the prince's courtiers, waited on Rhys, and endeavoured by every possible suggestion to induce him not to permit the archbishop to proceed into the interior parts of Wales, and particularly to the metropolitan see of Saint David's (a thing hitherto unheard of), at the same time asserting that if he should continue his intended journey, the church would in future experience great prejudice, and with difficulty would recover its ancient dignity and honour. Although these pleas were most strenuously urged, the natural kindness and civility of the prince would not suffer them to prevail, lest by prohibiting the archbishop's progress, he might appear to wound his feelings.

Early on the following morning, after the celebration of mass, and the return of Ranulph de Glanville to England, we came to Cruker Castle, {16} two miles distant from Radnor, where a strong and valiant youth named Hector, conversing with the archbishop about taking the cross, said, "If I had the means of getting provisions for one day, and of keeping fast on the next, I would comply with your advice;" on the following day, however, he took the cross. The same evening, Malgo, son of Cadwallon, prince of Melenia, after a short but efficacious exhortation from the archbishop, and not without the tears and lamentations of his friends, was marked with the sign of the cross.

But here it is proper to mention what happened during the reign of king Henry the First to the lord of the castle of Radnor, in the adjoining territory of Builth, {17} who had entered the church of Saint Avan (which is called in the British language Llan Avan), {18} and, without sufficient caution or reverence, had passed the night there with his hounds. Arising early in the morning, according to the custom of hunters, he found his hounds mad, and himself struck blind. After a long, dark, and tedious existence, he was conveyed to Jerusalem, happily taking care that his inward sight should not in a similar manner be extinguished; and there being accoutred, and led to the field of battle on horseback, he made a spirited attack upon the enemies of the faith, and, being mortally wounded, closed his life with honour.

Another circumstance which happened in these our days, in the province of Warthrenion, {19} distant from hence only a few furlongs, is not unworthy of notice. Eineon, lord of that district, and son-in-law to prince Rhys, who was much addicted to the chase, having on a certain day forced the wild beasts from their coverts, one of his attendants killed a hind with an arrow, as she was springing forth from the wood, which, contrary to the nature of her sex, was found to bear horns of twelve years' growth, and was much fatter than a stag, in the haunches as well as in every other part. On account of the singularity of this circumstance, the head and horns of this strange animal were destined as a present to king Henry the Second. This event is the more remarkable, as the man who shot the hind suddenly lost the use of his right eye, and being at the same time seized with a paralytic complaint, remained in a weak and impotent state until the time of his death.

In this same province of Warthrenion, and in the church of Saint Germanus, {20} there is a staff of Saint Cyric, {21} covered on all sides with gold and silver, and resembling in its upper part the form of a cross; its efficacy has been proved in many cases, but particularly in the removal of glandular and strumous swellings; insomuch that all persons afflicted with these complaints, on a devout application to the staff, with the oblation of one penny, are restored to health. But it happened in these our days, that a strumous patient on presenting one halfpenny to the staff, the humour subsided only in the middle; but when the oblation was completed by the other halfpenny, an entire cure was accomplished. Another person also coming to the staff with the promise of a penny, was cured; but not fulfilling his engagement on the day appointed, he relapsed into his former disorder; in order, however, to obtain pardon for his offence, he tripled the offering by presenting three- pence, and thus obtained a complete cure.

At Elevein, in the church of Glascum, {22} is a portable bell, endowed with great virtues, called Bangu, {23} and said to have belonged to Saint David. A certain woman secretly conveyed this bell to her husband, who was confined in the castle of Raidergwy, {24} near Warthrenion, (which Rhys, son of Gruffydd, had lately built) for the purpose of his deliverance. The keepers of the castle not only refused to liberate him for this consideration, but seized and detained the bell; and in the same night, by divine vengeance, the whole town, except the wall on which the bell hung, was consumed by fire.

The church of Luel, {25} in the neighbourhood of Brecheinoc (Brechinia), was burned, also in our time, by the enemy, and everything destroyed, except one small box, in which the consecrated host was deposited.

It came to pass also in the province of Elvenia, which is separated from Hay by the river Wye, in the night in which king Henry I. expired, that two pools {26} of no small extent, the one natural, the other artificial, suddenly burst their bounds; the latter, by its precipitate course down the declivities, emptied itself; but the former, with its fish and contents, obtained a permanent situation in a valley about two miles distant. In Normandy, a few days before the death of Henry II., the fish of a certain pool near Seez, five miles from the castle of Exme, fought during the night so furiously with each other, both in the water and out of it, that the neighbouring people were attracted by the noise to the spot; and so desperate was the conflict, that scarcely a fish was found alive in the morning; thus, by a wonderful and unheard-of prognostic, foretelling the death of one by that of many.

But the borders of Wales sufficiently remember and abhor the great and enormous excesses which, from ambitious usurpation of territory, have arisen amongst brothers and relations in the districts of Melenyth, Elvein, and Warthrenion, situated between the Wye and the Severn.


Journey through Hay and Brecheinia

Having crossed the river Wye, we proceeded towards Brecheinoc, and on preaching a sermon at Hay, {27} we observed some amongst the multitude, who were to be signed with the cross (leaving their garments in the hands of their friends or wives, who endeavoured to keep them back), fly for refuge to the archbishop in the castle. Early in the morning we began our journey to Aberhodni, and the word of the Lord being preached at Landeu, {28} we there spent the night. The castle and chief town of the province, situated where the river Hodni joins the river Usk, is called Aberhodni; {29} and every place where one river falls into another is called Aber in the British tongue. Landeu signifies the church of God. The archdeacon of that place (Giraldus) presented to the archbishop his work on the Topography of Ireland, which he graciously received, and either read or heard a part of it read attentively every day during his journey; and on his return to England completed the perusal of it.

I have determined not to omit mentioning those occurrences worthy of note which happened in these parts in our days. It came to pass before that great war, in which nearly all this province was destroyed by the sons of Jestin, {30} that the large lake, and the river Leveni, {31} which flows from it into the Wye, opposite Glasbyry, {32} were tinged with a deep green colour. The old people of the country were consulted, and answered, that a short time before the great desolation {33} caused by Howel, son of Meredyth, the water had been coloured in a similar manner. About the same time, a chaplain, whose name was Hugo, being engaged to officiate at the chapel of Saint Nicholas, in the castle of Aberhodni, saw in a dream a venerable man standing near him, and saying, "Tell thy lord William de Braose, {34} who has the audacity to retain the property granted to the chapel of Saint Nicholas for charitable uses, these words: 'The public treasury takes away that which Christ does not receive; and thou wilt then give to an impious soldier, what thou wilt not give to a priest.'" This vision having been repeated three times, he went to the archdeacon of the place, at Landeu, and related to him what had happened. The archdeacon immediately knew them to be the words of Augustine; and shewing him that part of his writings where they were found, explained to him the case to which they applied. He reproaches persons who held back tithes and other ecclesiastical dues; and what he there threatens, certainly in a short time befell this withholder of them: for in our time we have duly and undoubtedly seen, that princes who have usurped ecclesiastical benefices (and particularly king Henry the Second, who laboured under this vice more than others), have profusely squandered the treasures of the church, and given away to hired soldiers what in justice should have been given only to priests.

Yet something is to be said in favour of the aforesaid William de Braose, although he greatly offended in this particular (since nothing human is perfect, and to have knowledge of all things, and in no point to err, is an attribute of God, not of man); for he always placed the name of the Lord before his sentences, saying, "Let this be done in the name of the Lord; let that be done by God's will; if it shall please God, or if God grant leave; it shall be so by the grace of God." We learn from Saint Paul, that everything ought thus to be committed and referred to the will of God. On taking leave of his brethren, he says, "I will return to you again, if God permit;" and Saint James uses this expression, "If the Lord will, and we live," in order to show that all things ought to be submitted to the divine disposal. The letters also which William de Braose, as a rich and powerful man, was accustomed to send to different parts, were loaded, or rather honoured, with words expressive of the divine indulgence to a degree not only tiresome to his scribe, but even to his auditors; for as a reward to each of his scribes for concluding his letters with the words, "by divine assistance," he gave annually a piece of gold, in addition to their stipend. When on a journey he saw a church or a cross, although in the midst of conversation either with his inferiors or superiors, from an excess of devotion, he immediately began to pray, and when he had finished his prayers, resumed his conversation. On meeting boys in the way, he invited them by a previous salutation to salute him, that the blessings of these innocents, thus extorted, might be returned to him. His wife, Matilda de Saint Valery, observed all these things: a prudent and chaste woman; a woman placed with propriety at the head of her house, equally attentive to the economical disposal of her property within doors, as to the augmentation of it without; both of whom, I hope, by their devotion obtained temporal happiness and grace, as well as the glory of eternity.

It happened also that the hand of a boy, who was endeavouring to take some young pigeons from a nest, in the church of Saint David of Llanvaes, {35} adhered to the stone on which he leaned, through the miraculous vengeance, perhaps, of that saint, in favour of the birds who had taken refuge in his church; and when the boy, attended by his friends and parents, had for three successive days and nights offered up his prayers and supplications before the holy altar of the church, his hand was, on the third day, liberated by the same divine power which had so miraculously fastened it. We saw this same boy at Newbury, in England, now advanced in years, presenting himself before David the Second, {36} bishop of Saint David's, and certifying to him the truth of this relation, because it had happened in his diocese. The stone is preserved in the church to this day among the relics, and the marks of the five fingers appear impressed on the flint as though it were in wax.

A small miracle happened at St. Edmundsbury to a poor woman, who often visited the shrine of the saint, under the mask of devotion; not with the design of giving, but of taking something away, namely, the silver and gold offerings, which, by a curious kind of theft, she licked up by kissing, and carried away in her mouth. But in one of these attempts her tongue and lips adhered to the altar, when by divine interposition she was detected, and openly disgorged the secret theft. Many persons, both Jews and Christians, expressing their astonishment, flocked to the place, where for the greater part of the day she remained motionless, that no possible doubt might be entertained of the miracle.

In the north of England beyond the Humber, in the church of Hovedene, {37} the concubine of the rector incautiously sat down on the tomb of St. Osana, sister of king Osred, {38} which projected like a wooden seat; on wishing to retire, she could not be removed, until the people came to her assistance; her clothes were rent, her body was laid bare, and severely afflicted with many strokes of discipline, even till the blood flowed; nor did she regain her liberty, until by many tears and sincere repentance she had showed evident signs of compunction.

What miraculous power hath not in our days been displayed by the psalter of Quindreda, sister of St. Kenelm, {39} by whose instigation he was killed? On the vigil of the saint, when, according to custom, great multitudes of women resorted to the feast at Winchelcumbe, {40} the under butler of that convent committed fornication with one of them within the precincts of the monastery. This same man on the following day had the audacity to carry the psalter in the procession of the relics of the saints; and on his return to the choir, after the solemnity, the psalter stuck to his hands. Astonished and greatly confounded, and at length calling to his mind his crime on the preceding day, he made confession, and underwent penance; and being assisted by the prayers of the brotherhood, and having shown signs of sincere contrition, he was at length liberated from the miraculous bond. That book was held in great veneration; because, when the body of St. Kenelm was carried forth, and the multitude cried out, "He is the martyr of God! truly he is the martyr of God!" Quindreda, conscious and guilty of the murder of her brother, answered, "He is as truly the martyr of God as it is true that my eyes be on that psalter;" for, as she was reading the psalter, both her eyes were miraculously torn from her head, and fell on the book, where the marks of the blood yet remain.

Moreover I must not be silent concerning the collar (torques) which they call St. Canauc's; {41} for it is most like to gold in weight, nature, and colour; it is in four pieces wrought round, joined together artificially, and clefted as it were in the middle, with a dog's head, the teeth standing outward; it is esteemed by the inhabitants so powerful a relic, that no man dares swear falsely when it is laid before him: it bears the marks of some severe blows, as if made with an iron hammer; for a certain man, as it is said, endeavouring to break the collar for the sake of the gold, experienced the divine vengeance, was deprived of his eyesight, and lingered the remainder of his days in darkness.

A similar circumstance concerning the horn of St. Patrick (not golden indeed, but of brass [probably bronze], which lately was brought into these parts from Ireland) excites our admiration. The miraculous power of this relic first appeared with a terrible example in that country, through the foolish and absurd blowing of Bernard, a priest, as is set forth in our Topography of Ireland. Both the laity and clergy in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales held in such great veneration portable bells, and staves crooked at the top, and covered with gold, silver, or brass, and similar relics of the saints, that they were much more afraid of swearing falsely by them than by the gospels; because, from some hidden and miraculous power with which they are gifted, and the vengeance of the saint to whom they are particularly pleasing, their despisers and transgressors are severely punished. The most remarkable circumstance attending this horn is, that whoever places the wider end of it to his ear will hear a sweet sound and melody united, such as ariseth from a harp gently touched.

In our days a strange occurrence happened in the same district. A wild sow, which by chance had been suckled by a bitch famous for her nose, became, on growing up, so wonderfully active in the pursuit of wild animals, that in the faculty of scent she was greatly superior to dogs, who are assisted by natural instinct, as well as by human art; an argument that man (as well as every other animal) contracts the nature of the female who nurses him. Another prodigious event came to pass nearly at the same time. A soldier, whose name was Gilbert Hagernel, after an illness of nearly three years, and the severe pains as of a woman in labour, in the presence of many people, voided a calf. A portent of some new and unusual event, or rather the punishment attendant on some atrocious crime. It appears also from the ancient and authentic records of those parts, that during the time St. Elwitus {42} led the life of a hermit at Llanhamelach, {43} the mare that used to carry his provisions to him was covered by a stag, and produced an animal of wonderful speed, resembling a horse before and a stag behind.

Bernard de Newmarch {44} was the first of the Normans who acquired by conquest from the Welsh this province, which was divided into three cantreds. {45} He married the daughter of Nest, daughter of Gruffydd, son of Llewelyn, who, by his tyranny, for a long time had oppressed Wales; his wife took her mother's name of Nest, which the English transmuted into Anne; by whom he had children, one of whom, named Mahel, a distinguished soldier, was thus unjustly deprived of his paternal inheritance. His mother, in violation of the marriage contract, held an adulterous intercourse with a certain knight; on the discovery of which, the son met the knight returning in the night from his mother, and having inflicted on him a severe corporal punishment, and mutilated him, sent him away with great disgrace. The mother, alarmed at the confusion which this event caused, and agitated with grief, breathed nothing but revenge. She therefore went to king Henry I., and declared with assertions more vindictive than true, and corroborated by an oath, that her son Mahel was not the son of Bernard, but of another person with whom she had been secretly connected. Henry, on account of this oath, or rather perjury, and swayed more by his inclination than by reason, gave away her eldest daughter, whom she owned as the legitimate child of Bernard, in marriage to Milo Fitz-Walter, {46} constable of Gloucester, with the honour of Brecheinoc as a portion; and he was afterwards created earl of Hereford by the empress Matilda, daughter of the said king. By this wife he had five celebrated warriors; Roger, Walter, Henry, William, and Mahel; all of whom, by divine vengeance, or by fatal misfortunes, came to untimely ends; and yet each of them, except William, succeeded to the paternal inheritance, but left no issue. Thus this woman (not deviating from the nature of her sex), in order to satiate her anger and revenge, with the heavy loss of modesty, and with the disgrace of infamy, by the same act deprived her son of his patrimony, and herself of honour. Nor is it wonderful if a woman follows her innate bad disposition: for it is written in Ecclesiastes, "I have found one good man out of a thousand, but not one good woman;" and in Ecclesiasticus, "There is no head above the head of a serpent; and there is no wrath above the wrath of a woman;" and again, "Small is the wickedness of man compared to the wickedness of woman." And in the same manner, as we may gather grapes off thorns, or figs off thistles, Tully, describing the nature of women, says, "Men, perhaps, for the sake of some advantage will commit one crime; but woman, to gratify one inclination, will not scruple to perpetrate all sorts of wickedness." Thus Juvenal, speaking of women, say,

" - Nihil est audacior illis
Deprensis, iram atque animos a crimine sumunt.
- Mulier saevissima tunc est
Cum stimulos animo pudor admovet.
- colllige, quod vindicta
Nemo magis gaudet quam foemina.

But of the five above-mentioned brothers and sons of earl Milo, the youngest but one, and the last in the inheritance, was the most remarkable for his inhumanity; he persecuted David II., bishop of St. David's, to such a degree, by attacking his possessions, lands, and vassals, that he was compelled to retire as an exile from the district of Brecheinoc into England, or to some other parts of his diocese. Meanwhile, Mahel, being hospitably entertained by Walter de Clifford, {47} in the castle of Brendlais, {48} the house was by accident burned down, and he received a mortal blow by a stone falling from the principal tower on his head: upon which he instantly dispatched messengers to recal the bishop, and exclaimed with a lamentable voice, "O, my father and high priest, your saint has taken most cruel vengeance of me, not waiting the conversion of a sinner, but hastening his death and overthrow." Having often repeated similar expressions, and bitterly lamented his situation, he thus ended his tyranny and life together; the first year of his government not having elapsed.

A powerful and noble personage, by name Brachanus, was in ancient times the ruler of the province of Brecheinoc, and from him it derived this name. The British histories testify that he had four- and-twenty daughters, all of whom, dedicated from their youth to religious observances, happily ended their lives in sanctity. There are many churches in Wales distinguished by their names, one of which, situated on the summit of a hill, near Brecheinoc, and not far from the castle of Aberhodni, is called the church of St. Almedda, {49} after the name of the holy virgin, who, refusing there the hand of an earthly spouse, married the Eternal King, and triumphed in a happy martyrdom; to whose honour a solemn feast is annually held in the beginning of August, and attended by a large concourse of people from a considerable distance, when those persons who labour under various diseases, through the merits of the Blessed Virgin, received their wished-for health. The circumstances which occur at every anniversary appear to me remarkable. You may see men or girls, now in the church, now in the churchyard, now in the dance, which is led round the churchyard with a song, on a sudden falling on the ground as in a trance, then jumping up as in a frenzy, and representing with their hands and feet, before the people, whatever work they have unlawfully done on feast days; you may see one man put his hand to the plough, and another, as it were, goad on the oxen, mitigating their sense of labour, by the usual rude song: {50} one man imitating the profession of a shoemaker; another, that of a tanner. Now you may see a girl with a distaff, drawing out the thread, and winding it again on the spindle; another walking, and arranging the threads for the web; another, as it were, throwing the shuttle, and seeming to weave. On being brought into the church, and led up to the altar with their oblations, you will be astonished to see them suddenly awakened, and coming to themselves. Thus, by the divine mercy, which rejoices in the conversion, not in the death, of sinners, many persons from the conviction of their senses, are on these feast days corrected and mended.

This country sufficiently abounds with grain, and if there is any deficiency, it is amply supplied from the neighbouring parts of England; it is well stored with pastures, woods, and wild and domestic animals. River-fish are plentiful, supplied by the Usk on one side, and by the Wye on the other; each of them produces salmon and trout; but the Wye abounds most with the former, the Usk with the latter. The salmon of the Wye are in season during the winter, those of the Usk in summer; but the Wye alone produces the fish called umber, {51} the praise of which is celebrated in the works of Ambrosius, as being found in great numbers in the rivers near Milan; "What," says he, "is more beautiful to behold, more agreeable to smell, or more pleasant to taste?" The famous lake of Brecheinoc supplies the country with pike, perch, excellent trout, tench, and eels. A circumstance concerning this lake, which happened a short time before our days, must not be passed over in silence. "In the reign of king Henry I., Gruffydd, {52} son of Rhys ap Tewdwr, held under the king one comot, namely, the fourth part of the cantred of Caoc, {53} in the cantref Mawr, which, in title and dignity, was esteemed by the Welsh equal to the southern part of Wales, called Deheubarth, that is, the right-hand side of Wales. When Gruffydd, on his return from the king's court, passed near this lake, which at that cold season of the year was covered with water-fowl of various sorts, being accompanied by Milo, earl of Hereford, and lord of Brecheinoc, and Payn Fitz-John, lord of Ewyas, who were at that time secretaries and privy counsellors to the king; earl Milo, wishing to draw forth from Gruffydd some discourse concerning his innate nobility, rather jocularly than seriously thus addressed him: "It is an ancient saying in Wales, that if the natural prince of the country, coming to this lake, shall order the birds to sing, they will immediately obey him." To which Gruffydd, richer in mind than in gold, (for though his inheritance was diminished, his ambition and dignity still remained), answered, "Do you therefore, who now hold the dominion of this land, first give the command;" but he and Payn having in vain commanded, and Gruffydd, perceiving that it was necessary for him to do so in his turn, dismounted from his horse, and falling on his knees towards the east, as if he had been about to engage in battle, prostrate on the ground, with his eyes and hands uplifted to heaven, poured forth devout prayers to the Lord: at length, rising up, and signing his face and forehead with the figure of the cross, he thus openly spake: "Almighty God, and Lord Jesus Christ, who knowest all things, declare here this day thy power. If thou hast caused me to descend lineally from the natural princes of Wales, I command these birds in thy name to declare it;" and immediately the birds, beating the water with their wings, began to cry aloud, and proclaim him. The spectators were astonished and confounded; and earl Milo hastily returning with Payn Fitz-John to court, related this singular occurrence to the king, who is said to have replied, "By the death of Christ (an oath he was accustomed to use), it is not a matter of so much wonder; for although by our great authority we commit acts of violence and wrong against these people, yet they are known to be the rightful inheritors of this land."

The lake also {54} (according to the testimony of the inhabitants) is celebrated for its miracles; for, as we have before observed, it sometimes assumed a greenish hue, so in our days it has appeared to be tinged with red, not universally, but as if blood flowed partially through certain veins and small channels. Moreover it is sometimes seen by the inhabitants covered and adorned with buildings, pastures, gardens, and orchards. In the winter, when it is frozen over, and the surface of the water is converted into a shell of ice, it emits a horrible sound resembling the moans of many animals collected together; but this, perhaps, may be occasioned by the sudden bursting of the shell, and the gradual ebullition of the air through imperceptible channels. This country is well sheltered on every side (except the northern) by high mountains; on the western by those of cantref Bychan; {55} on the southern, by that range, of which the principal is Cadair Arthur, {56} or the chair of Arthur, so called from two peaks rising up in the form of a chair, and which, from its lofty situation, is vulgarly ascribed to Arthur, the most distinguished king of the Britons. A spring of water rises on the summit of this mountain, deep, but of a square shape, like a well, and although no stream runs from it, trout are said to be sometimes found in it.

Being thus sheltered on the south by high mountains, the cooler breezes protect this district from the heat of the sun, and, by their natural salubrity, render the climate most temperate. Towards the east are the mountains of Talgarth and Ewyas. {57} The natives of these parts, actuated by continual enmities and implacable hatred, are perpetually engaged in bloody contests. But we leave to others to describe the great and enormous excesses, which in our time have been here committed, with regard to marriages, divorces, and many other circumstances of cruelty and oppression.


Ewyas and Llanthoni

In the deep vale of Ewyas, {58} which is about an arrow-shot broad, encircled on all sides by lofty mountains, stands the church of Saint John the Baptist, covered with lead, and built of wrought stone; and, considering the nature of the place, not unhandsomely constructed, on the very spot where the humble chapel of David, the archbishop, had formerly stood decorated only with moss and ivy. A situation truly calculated for religion, and more adapted to canonical discipline, than all the monasteries of the British isle. It was founded by two hermits, in honour of the retired life, far removed from the bustle of mankind, in a solitary vale watered by the river Hodeni. From Hodeni it was called Lanhodeni, for Lan signifies an ecclesiastical place. This derivation may appear far- fetched, for the name of the place, in Welsh, is Nanthodeni. Nant signifies a running stream, from whence this place is still called by the inhabitants Landewi Nanthodeni, {59} or the church of Saint David upon the river Hodeni. The English therefore corruptly call it Lanthoni, whereas it should either be called Nanthodeni, that is, the brook of the Hodeni, or Lanhodeni, the church upon the Hodeni. Owing to its mountainous situation, the rains are frequent, the winds boisterous, and the clouds in winter almost continual. The air, though heavy, is healthy; and diseases are so rare, that the brotherhood, when worn out by long toil and affliction during their residence with the daughter, retiring to this asylum, and to their mother's {60} lap, soon regain their long-wished-for health. For as my Topographical History of Ireland testifies, in proportion as we proceed to the eastward, the face of the sky is more pure and subtile, and the air more piercing and inclement; but as we draw nearer to the westward, the air becomes more cloudy, but at the same time is more temperate and healthy. Here the monks, sitting in their cloisters, enjoying the fresh air, when they happen to look up towards the horizon, behold the tops of the mountains, as it were, touching the heavens, and herds of wild deer feeding on their summits: the body of the sun does not become visible above the heights of the mountains, even in a clear atmosphere, till about the hour of prime, or a little before. A place truly fitted for contemplation, a happy and delightful spot, fully competent, from its first establishment, to supply all its own wants, had not the extravagance of English luxury, the pride of a sumptuous table, the increasing growth of intemperance and ingratitude, added to the negligence of its patrons and prelates, reduced it from freedom to servility; and if the step-daughter, no less enviously than odiously, had not supplanted her mother.

It seems worthy of remark, that all the priors who were hostile to this establishment, died by divine visitation. William, {61} who first despoiled the place of its herds and storehouses, being deposed by the fraternity, forfeited his right of sepulture amongst the priors. Clement seemed to like this place of study and prayer, yet, after the example of Heli the priest, as he neither reproved nor restrained his brethren from plunder and other offences, he died by a paralytic stroke. And Roger, who was more an enemy to this place than either of his predecessors, and openly carried away every thing which they had left behind, wholly robbing the church of its books, ornaments, and privileges, was also struck with a paralytic affection long before his death, resigned his honours, and lingered out the remainder of his days in sickness.

In the reign of king Henry I., when the mother church was as celebrated for her affluence as for her sanctity (two qualities which are seldom found thus united), the daughter not yet being in existence (and I sincerely wish she never had been produced), the fame of so much religion attracted hither Roger, bishop of Salisbury, who was at that time prime minister; for it is virtue to love virtue, even in another man, and a great proof of innate goodness to show a detestation of those vices which hitherto have not been avoided. When he had reflected with admiration on the nature of the place, the solitary life of the fraternity, living in canonical obedience, and serving God without a murmur or complaint, he returned to the king, and related to him what he thought most worthy of remark; and after spending the greater part of the day in the praises of this place, he finished his panegyric with these words: "Why should I say more? the whole treasure of the king and his kingdom would not be sufficient to build such a cloister." Having held the minds of the king and the court for a long time in suspense by this assertion, he at length explained the enigma, by saying that he alluded to the cloister of mountains, by which this church is on every side surrounded. But William, a knight, who first discovered this place, and his companion Ervistus, a priest, having heard, perhaps, as it is written in the Fathers, according to the opinion of Jerome, "that the church of Christ decreased in virtues as it increased in riches," were accustomed often devoutly to solicit the Lord that this place might never attain great possessions. They were exceedingly concerned when this religious foundation began to be enriched by its first lord and patron, Hugh de Lacy, {62} and by the lands and ecclesiastical benefices conferred upon it by the bounty of others of the faithful: from their predilection to poverty, they rejected many offers of manors and churches; and being situated in a wild spot, they would not suffer the thick and wooded parts of the valley to be cultivated and levelled, lest they should be tempted to recede from their heremitical mode of life.

But whilst the establishment of the mother church increased daily in riches and endowments, availing herself of the hostile state of the country, a rival daughter sprang up at Gloucester, under the protection of Milo, earl of Hereford; as if by divine providence, and through the merits of the saints and prayers of those holy men (of whom two lie buried before the high altar), it were destined that the daughter church should be founded in superfluities, whilst the mother continued in that laudable state of mediocrity which she had always affected and coveted. Let the active therefore reside there, the contemplative here; there the pursuit of terrestrial riches, here the love of celestial delights; there let them enjoy the concourse of men, here the presence of angels; there let the powerful of this world be entertained, here let the poor of Christ be relieved; there, I say, let human actions and declamations be heard, but here let reading and prayers be heard only in whispers; there let opulence, the parent and nurse of vice, increase with cares, here let the virtuous and golden mean be all-sufficient. In both places the canonical discipline instituted by Augustine, which is now distinguished above all other orders, is observed; for the Benedictines, when their wealth was increased by the fervour of charity, and multiplied by the bounty of the faithful, under the pretext of a bad dispensation, corrupted by gluttony and indulgence an order which in its original state of poverty was held in high estimation. The Cistercian order, derived from the former, at first deserved praise and commendation from its adhering voluntarily to the original vows of poverty and sanctity: until ambition, the blind mother of mischief, unable to fix bounds to prosperity, was introduced; for as Seneca says, "Too great happiness makes men greedy, nor are their desires ever so temperate, as to terminate in what is acquired:" a step is made from great things to greater, and men having attained what they did not expect, form the most unbounded hopes; to which the poet Ovid thus alludes.

"Luxuriant animi rebus plerumque secundis,
Nec facile est aequa commoda mente pati;

And again:

"Creverunt opes et opum furiosa cupido,
Et eum possideant plurima, plura petunt."

And also the poet Horace:

" - scilicet improbae
Crescunt divitiae, tamen
Curtae nescio quid semper abest rei.
Crescentem sequitur cura pecuniam
Majorumque fames."

To which purpose the poet Lucan says:

" - O vitae tuta facultas
Pauperis, angustique lares, o munera nondum
Intellecta Deum!"

And Petronius:

Non bibit inter aquas nec poma fugacia carpit
Tantalus infelix, quem sua vota premunt.
Divitis hic magni facies erit, omnia late
Qui tenet, et sicco concoquit ore famem."

The mountains are full of herds and horses, the woods well stored with swine and goats, the pastures with sheep, the plains with cattle, the arable fields with ploughs; and although these things in very deed are in great abundance, yet each of them, from the insatiable nature of the mind, seems too narrow and scanty. Therefore lands are seized, landmarks removed, boundaries invaded, and the markets in consequence abound with merchandise, the courts of justice with law-suits, and the senate with complaints. Concerning such things, we read in Isaiah, "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they be placed alone in the midst of the earth."

If therefore, the prophet inveighs so much against those who proceed to the boundaries, what would he say to those who go far beyond them? From these and other causes, the true colour of religion was so converted into the dye of falsehood, that manners internally black assumed a fair exterior:

"Qui color albus erat, nunc est contrarius albo."

So that the scripture seems to be fulfilled concerning these men, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." But I am inclined to think this avidity does not proceed from any bad intention. For the monks of this Order (although themselves most abstemious) incessantly exercise, more than any others, the acts of charity and beneficence towards the poor and strangers; and because they do not live as others upon fixed incomes, but depend only on their labour and forethought for subsistence, they are anxious to obtain lands, farms, and pastures, which may enable them to perform these acts of hospitality. However, to repress and remove from this sacred Order the detestable stigma of ambition, I wish they would sometimes call to mind what is written in Ecclesiasticus, "Whoso bringeth an offering of the goods of the poor, doth as one that killeth the son before his father's eyes;" and also the sentiment of Gregory, "A good use does not justify things badly acquired;" and also that of Ambrose, "He who wrongfully receives, that he may well dispense, is rather burthened than assisted." Such men seem to say with the Apostle, "Let us do evil that good may come." For it is written, "Mercy ought to be of such a nature as may be received, not rejected, which may purge away sins, not make a man guilty before the Lord, arising from your own just labours, not those of other men." Hear what Solomon says; "Honour the Lord from your just labours." What shall they say who have seized upon other men's possessions, and exercised charity? "O Lord! in thy name we have done charitable deeds, we have fed the poor, clothed the naked, and hospitably received the stranger:" to whom the Lord will answer; "Ye speak of what ye have given away, but speak not of the rapine ye have committed; ye relate concerning those ye have fed, and remember not those ye have killed." I have judged it proper to insert in this place an instance of an answer which Richard, king of the English, made to Fulke, {63} a good and holy man, by whom God in these our days has wrought many signs in the kingdom of France. This man had among other things said to the king; "You have three daughters, namely, Pride, Luxury, and Avarice; and as long as they shall remain with you, you can never expect to be in favour with God." To which the king, after a short pause, replied: "I have already given away those daughters in marriage: Pride to the Templars, Luxury to the Black Monks, and Avarice to the White." It is a remarkable circumstance, or rather a miracle, concerning Lanthoni, that, although it is on every side surrounded by lofty mountains, not stony or rocky, but of a soft nature, and covered with grass, Parian stones are frequently found there, and are called free-stones, from the facility with which they admit of being cut and polished; and with these the church is beautifully built. It is also wonderful, that when, after a diligent search, all the stones have been removed from the mountains, and no more can be found, upon another search, a few days afterwards, they reappear in greater quantities to those who seek them. With respect to the two Orders, the Cluniac and the Cistercian, this may be relied upon; although the latter are possessed of fine buildings, with ample revenues and estates, they will soon be reduced to poverty and destruction. To the former, on the contrary, you would allot a barren desert and a solitary wood; yet in a few years you will find them in possession of sumptuous churches and houses, and encircled with an extensive property. The difference of manners (as it appears to me) causes this contrast. For as without meaning offence to either party, I shall speak the truth, the one feels the benefits of sobriety, parsimony, and prudence, whilst the other suffers from the bad effects of gluttony and intemperance: the one, like bees, collect their stores into a heap, and unanimously agree in the disposal of one well-regulated purse; the others pillage and divert to improper uses the largesses which have been collected by divine assistance, and by the bounties of the faithful; and whilst each individual consults solely his own interest, the welfare of the community suffers; since, as Sallust observes, "Small things increase by concord, and the greatest are wasted by discord." Besides, sooner than lessen the number of one of the thirteen or fourteen dishes which they claim by right of custom, or even in a time of scarcity or famine recede in the smallest degree from their accustomed good fare, they would suffer the richest lands and the best buildings of the monastery to become a prey to usury, and the numerous poor to perish before their gates.

The first of these Orders, at a time when there was a deficiency in grain, with a laudable charity, not only gave away their flocks and herds, but resigned to the poor one of the two dishes with which they were always contented. But in these our days, in order to remove this stain, it is ordained by the Cistercians, "That in future neither farms nor pastures shall be purchased; and that they shall be satisfied with those alone which have been freely and unconditionally bestowed upon them." This Order, therefore, being satisfied more than any other with humble mediocrity, and, if not wholly, yet in a great degree checking their ambition; and though placed in a worldly situation, yet avoiding, as much as possible, its contagion; neither notorious for gluttony or drunkenness, for luxury or lust; is fearful and ashamed of incurring public scandal, as will be more fully explained in the book we mean (by the grace of God) to write concerning the ecclesiastical Orders.

In these temperate regions I have obtained (according to the usual expression) a place of dignity, but no great omen of future pomp or riches; and possessing a small residence {64} near the castle of Brecheinoc, well adapted to literary pursuits, and to the contemplation of eternity, I envy not the riches of Croesus; happy and contented with that mediocrity, which I prize far beyond all the perishable and transitory things of this world. But let us return to our subject.


The journey by Coed Grono and Abergevenni

From thence {65} we proceeded through the narrow, woody tract called the bad pass of Coed Grono, leaving the noble monastery of Lanthoni, inclosed by its mountains, on our left. The castle of Abergevenni is so called from its situation at the confluence of the river Gevenni with the Usk.

It happened a short time after the death of king Henry I., that Richard de Clare, a nobleman of high birth, and lord of Cardiganshire, passed this way on his journey from England into Wales, accompanied by Brian de Wallingford, lord of this province, and many men-at-arms. At the passage of Coed Grono, {66} and at the entrance into the wood, he dismissed him and his attendants, though much against their will, and proceeded on his journey unarmed; from too great a presumption of security, preceded only by a minstrel and a singer, one accompanying the other on the fiddle. The Welsh awaiting his arrival, with Iorwerth, brother of Morgan of Caerleon, at their head, and others of his family, rushed upon him unawares from the thickets, and killed him and many of his followers. Thus it appears how incautious and neglectful of itself is too great presumption; for fear teaches foresight and caution in prosperity, but audacity is precipitate, and inconsiderate rashness will not await the advice of the leader.

A sermon having been delivered at Abergevenni, {67} and many persons converted to the cross, a certain nobleman of those parts, named Arthenus, came to the archbishop, who was proceeding towards the castle of Usk, and humbly begged pardon for having neglected to meet him sooner. Being questioned whether he would take the cross, he replied, "That ought not be done without the advice of his friends." The archbishop then asked him, "Are you not going to consult your wife?" To which he modestly answered, with a downcast look, "When the work of a man is to be undertaken, the counsel of a woman ought not to be asked;" and instantly received the cross from the archbishop.

We leave to others the relation of those frequent and cruel excesses which in our times have arisen amongst the inhabitants of these parts, against the governors of castles, and the vindictive retaliations of the governors against the natives. But king Henry II. was the true author, and Ranulf Poer, sheriff of Hereford, the instrument, of the enormous cruelties and slaughter perpetrated here in our days, which I thought better to omit, lest bad men should be induced to follow the example; for although temporary advantage may seem to arise from a base cause, yet, by the balance of a righteous judge, the punishment of wickedness may be deferred, though not totally avoided, according to the words of the poet, -

"Non habet eventus sordida praeda bonos."

For after seven years of peace and tranquillity, the sons and grandsons of the deceased, having attained the age of manhood, took advantage of the absence of the lord of the castle (Abergevenni), and, burning with revenge, concealed themselves, with no inconsiderable force during the night, within the woody foss of the castle. One of them, name Sisillus (Sitsylt) son of Eudaf, on the preceding day said rather jocularly to the constable, "Here will we enter this night," pointing out to him a certain angle in the wall where it seemed the lowest; but since

" - Ridendo dicere verum
Quis vetat?"


" - fas est et ab hoste doceri,"

the constable and his household watched all night under arms, till at length, worn out by fatigue, they all retired to rest on the appearance of daylight, upon which the enemy attacked the walls with scaling-ladders, at the very place that had been pointed out. The constable and his wife were taken prisoners, with many others, a few persons only escaping, who had sheltered themselves in the principal tower. With the exception of this stronghold, the enemy violently seized and burned everything; and thus, by the righteous judgment of God, the crime was punished in the very place where it had been committed. A short time after the taking of this fortress, when the aforesaid sheriff was building a castle at Landinegat, {68} near Monmouth, with the assistance of the army he had brought from Hereford, he was attacked at break of day, when

"Tythoni croceum linquens Aurora cubile"

was only beginning to divest herself of the shades of night, by the young men from Gwent and the adjacent parts, with the descendants of those who had been slain. Through aware of this premeditated attack, and prepared and drawn up in battle array, they were nevertheless repulsed within their intrenchments, and the sheriff, together with nine of the chief men of Hereford, and many others, were pierced to death with lances. It is remarkable that, although Ranulf, besides many other mortal wounds, had the veins and arteries of his neck and his windpipe separated with a sword, he made signs for a priest, and from the merit of his past life, and the honour and veneration he had shewn to those chosen into the sacred order of Christ, he was confessed, and received extreme unction before he died. And, indeed, many events concur to prove that, as those who respect the priesthood, in their latter days enjoy the satisfaction of friendly intercourse, so do their revilers and accusers often die without that consolation. William de Braose, who was not the author of the crime we have preferred passing over in silence, but the executioner, or, rather, not the preventer of its execution, while the murderous bands were fulfilling the orders they had received, was precipitated into a deep foss, and being taken by the enemy, was drawn forth, and only by a sudden effort of his own troops, and by divine mercy, escaped uninjured. Hence it is evident that he who offends in a less degree, and unwillingly permits a thing to be done, is more mildly punished than he who adds counsel and authority to his act. Thus, in the sufferings of Christ, Judas was punished with hanging, the Jews with destruction and banishment, and Pilate with exile. But the end of the king, who assented to and ordered this treachery, sufficiently manifested in what manner, on account of this and many other enormities he had committed (as in the book "De Instructione Principis," by God's guidance, we shall set forth), he began with accumulated ignominy, sorrow, and confusion, to suffer punishment in this world. {69}

It seems worthy of remark, that the people of what is called Venta {70} are more accustomed to war, more famous for valour, and more expert in archery, than those of any other part of Wales. The following examples prove the truth of this assertion. In the last capture of the aforesaid castle, which happened in our days, two soldiers passing over a bridge to take refuge in a tower built on a mound of earth, the Welsh, taking them in the rear, penetrated with their arrows the oaken portal of the tower, which was four fingers thick; in memory of which circumstance, the arrows were preserved in the gate. William de Braose also testifies that one of his soldiers, in a conflict with the Welsh, was wounded by an arrow, which passed through his thigh and the armour with which it was cased on both sides, and, through that part of the saddle which is called the alva, mortally wounded the horse. Another soldier had his hip, equally sheathed in armour, penetrated by an arrow quite to the saddle, and on turning his horse round, received a similar wound on the opposite hip, which fixed him on both sides of his seat. What more could be expected from a balista? Yet the bows used by this people are not made of horn, ivory, or yew, but of wild elm; unpolished, rude, and uncouth, but stout; not calculated to shoot an arrow to a great distance, but to inflict very severe wounds in close fight.

But let us again return to our Itinerary.


Of the progress by the castle of Usk and the town of Caerleon

At the castle of Usk, a multitude of persons influenced by the archbishop's sermon, and by the exhortations of the good and worthy William bishop of Landaf, {71} who faithfully accompanied us through his diocese, were signed with the cross; Alexander archdeacon of Bangor {72} acting as interpreter to the Welsh. It is remarkable that many of the most notorious murderers, thieves, and robbers of the neighbourhood were here converted, to the astonishment of the spectators. Passing from thence through Caerleon and leaving far on our left hand the castle of Monmouth, and the noble forest of Dean, situated on the other side of the Wye and on this side the Severn, and which amply supplies Gloucester with iron and venison, we spent the night at Newport, having crossed the river Usk three times. {73} Caerleon means the city of Legions, Caer, in the British language, signifying a city or camp, for there the Roman legions, sent into this island, were accustomed to winter, and from this circumstance it was styled the city of legions. This city was of undoubted antiquity, and handsomely built of masonry, with courses of bricks, by the Romans. Many vestiges of its former splendour may yet be seen; immense palaces, formerly ornamented with gilded roofs, in imitation of Roman magnificence, inasmuch as they were first raised by the Roman princes, and embellished with splendid buildings; a tower of prodigious size, remarkable hot baths, relics of temples, and theatres, all inclosed within fine walls, parts of which remain standing. You will find on all sides, both within and without the circuit of the walls, subterraneous buildings, aqueducts, underground passages; and what I think worthy of notice, stoves contrived with wonderful art, to transmit the heat insensibly through narrow tubes passing up the side walls.

Julius and Aaron, after suffering martyrdom, were buried in this city, and had each a church dedicated to him. 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."

Not far hence is a rocky eminence, impending over the Severn, called by the English Gouldcliffe {74} or golden rock, because from the reflections of the sun's rays it assumes a bright golden colour:

"Nec mihi de facili fieri persuasio posset,
Quod frustra tantum dederit natura nito rem
Saxis, quodque suo fuerit flos hic sine fructu."

Nor can I be easily persuaded that nature hath given such splendour to the rocks in vain, and that this flower should be without fruit, if any one would take the pains to penetrate deeply into the bowels of the earth; if any one, I say, would extract honey from the rock, and oil from the stone. Indeed many riches of nature lie concealed through inattention, which the diligence of posterity will bring to light; for, as necessity first taught the ancients to discover the conveniences of life, so industry, and a greater acuteness of intellect, have laid open many things to the moderns; as the poet says, assigning two causes for these discoveries,

" - labor omnia vincit Improbus, et duris urgens in rebus egestas."

It is worthy of observation, that there lived in the neighbourhood of this City of Legions, in our time, a Welshman named Melerius, who, under the following circumstances, acquired the knowledge of future and occult events. Having, on a certain night, namely that of Palm Sunday, met a damsel whom he had long loved, in a pleasant and convenient place, while he was indulging in her embraces, suddenly, instead of a beautiful girl, he found in his arms a hairy, rough, and hideous creature, the sight of which deprived him of his senses, and he became mad. After remaining many years in this condition, he was restored to health in the church of St. David's, through the merits of its saints. But having always an extraordinary familiarity with unclean spirits, by seeing them, knowing them, talking with them, and calling each by his proper name, he was enabled, through their assistance, to foretel future events. He was, indeed, often deceived (as they are) with respect to circumstances at a great distance of time or place, but was less mistaken in affairs which were likely to happen nearer, or within the space of a year. The spirits appeared to him, usually on foot, equipped as hunters, with horns suspended from their necks, and truly as hunters, not of animals, but of souls. He particularly met them near monasteries and monastic cells; for where rebellion exists, there is the greatest need of armies and strength. He knew when any one spoke falsely in his presence, for he saw the devil, as it were, leaping and exulting upon the tongue of the liar. If he looked on a book faultily or falsely written, or containing a false passage, although wholly illiterate, he would point out the place with his finger. Being questioned how he could gain such knowledge, he said that he was directed by the demon's finger to the place. In the same manner, entering into the dormitory of a monastery, he indicated the bed of any monk not sincerely devoted to religion. He said, that the spirit of gluttony and surfeit was in every respect sordid; but that the spirit of luxury and lust was more beautiful than others in appearance, though in fact most foul. If the evil spirits oppressed him too much, the Gospel of St. John was placed on his bosom, when, like birds, they immediately vanished; but when that book was removed, and the History of the Britons, by Geoffrey Arthur, {75} was substituted in its place, they instantly reappeared in greater numbers, and remained a longer time than usual on his body and on the book.

It is worthy of remark, that Barnabas placed the Gospel of St. Matthew upon sick persons, and they were healed; from which, as well as from the foregoing circumstance, it appears how great a dignity and reverence is due to the sacred books of the gospel, and with what danger and risk of damnation every one who swears falsely by them, deviates from the paths of truth. The fall of Enoch, abbot of Strata Marcella, {76} too well known in Wales, was revealed to many the day after it happened, by Melerius, who, being asked how he knew this circumstance, said, that a demon came to him disguised as a hunter, and, exulting in the prospect of such a victory, foretold the ruin of the abbot, and explained in what manner he would make him run away with a nun from the monastery. The end in view was probably the humiliation and correction of the abbot, as was proved from his shortly returning home so humbled and amended, that he scarcely could be said to have erred. Seneca says, "He falls not badly, who rises stronger from his fall." Peter was more strenuous after his denial of Christ, and Paul after being stoned; since, where sin abounds, there will grace also superabound. Mary Magdalen was strengthened after her frailty. He secretly revealed to Canon, the good and religious abbot of Alba-domus, his opinion of a certain woman whom he had seen; upon which the holy man confessed, with tears in his eyes, his predilection for her, and received from three priests the discipline of incontinence. For as that long and experienced subtle enemy, by arguing from certain conjectural signs, may foretell future by past events, so by insidious treachery and contrivance, added to exterior appearances, he may sometimes be able to discover the interior workings of the mind.

At the same time there was in Lower Gwent a demon incubus, who, from his love for a certain young woman, and frequenting the place where she lived, often conversed with men, and frequently discovered hidden things and future events. Melerius being interrogated concerning him, said he knew him well, and mentioned his name. He affirmed that unclean spirits conversed with mankind before war, or any great internal disturbance, which was shortly afterwards proved, by the destruction of the province by Howel, son of Iorwerth of Caerleon. At the same time, when king Henry II., having taken the king of Scotland prisoner, had restored peace to his kingdom, Howel, fearful of the royal revenge for the war he had waged, was relieved from his difficulties by these comfortable words of Melerius: "Fear not," says he, "Howel, the wrath of the king, since he must go into other parts. An important city which he possesses beyond sea is now besieged by the king of France, on which account he will postpone every other business, and hasten thither with all possible expedition." Three days afterwards, Howel received advice that this event had really come to pass, owing to the siege of the city of Rouen. He forewarned also Howel of the betraying of his castle at Usk, a long time before it happened, and informed him that he should be wounded, but not mortally; and that he should escape alive from the town. In this alone he was deceived, for he soon after died of the same wound. Thus does that archenemy favour his friends for a time, and thus does he at last reward them.

In all these singular events it appears to me most wonderful that he saw those spirits so plainly with his carnal eyes, because spirits cannot be discerned by the eyes of mortals, unless they assume a corporeal substance; but if in order to be seen they had assumed such a substance, how could they remain unperceived by other persons who were present? Perhaps they were seen by such a miraculous vision as when king Balthazar saw the hand of one writing on the wall, "Mane, Techel, Phares," that is, weighed, numbered, divided; who in the same night lost both his kingdom and his life. But Cambria well knows how in these districts, from a blind desire of dominion, a total dissolution of the endearing ties of consanguinity, and a bad and depraved example diffused throughout the country, good faith has been so shamefully perverted and abused.


Newport and Caerdyf

At Newport, where the river Usk, descending from its original source in Cantref Bachan, falls into the sea, many persons were induced to take the cross. Having passed the river Remni, we approached the noble castle of Caerdyf, {77} situated on the banks of the river Taf. In the neighbourhood of Newport, which is in the district of Gwentluc, {78} there is a small stream called Nant Pencarn, {79} passable only at certain fords, not so much owing to the depth of its waters, as from the hollowness of its channel and muddy bottom. The public road led formerly to a ford, called Ryd Pencarn, that is, the ford under the head of a rock, from Rhyd, which in the British language signifies a ford, Pen, the head, and Cam, a rock; of which place Merlin Sylvester had thus prophesied: "Whenever you shall see a mighty prince with a freckled face make an hostile irruption into the southern part of Britain, should he cross the ford of Pencarn, then know ye, that the force of Cambria shall be brought low." Now it came to pass in our times, that king Henry II. took up arms against Rhys, the son of Gruffydd, and directed his march through the southern part of Wales towards Caermardyn. On the day he intended to pass over Nant Pentcarn, the old Britons of the neighbourhood watched his approach towards the ford with the utmost solicitude; knowing, since he was both mighty and freckled, that if the passage of the destined ford was accomplished, the prophecy concerning him would undoubtedly be fulfilled. When the king had followed the road leading to a more modern ford of the river (the old one spoken of in the prophecy having been for a long time in disuse), and was preparing to pass over, the pipers and trumpeters, called Cornhiriet, from HIR, long, and CORNU, a horn, began to sound their instruments on the opposite bank, in honour of the king. The king's horse, startling at the wild, unusual noise, refused to obey the spur, and enter the water; upon which, the king, gathering up the reins, hastened, in violent wrath, to the ancient ford, which he rapidly passed; and the Britons returned to their homes, alarmed and dismayed at the destruction which seemed to await them. An extraordinary circumstance occurred likewise at the castle of Caerdyf. William earl of Gloucester, son of earl Robert, {80} who, besides that castle, possessed by hereditary right all the province of Gwladvorgan, {81} that is, the land of Morgan, had a dispute with one of his dependants, whose name was Ivor the Little, being a man of short stature, but of great courage. This man was, after the manner of the Welsh, owner of a tract of mountainous and woody country, of the whole, or a part of which, the earl endeavoured to deprive him. At that time the castle of Caerdyf was surrounded with high walls, guarded by one hundred and twenty men-at-arms, a numerous body of archers, and a strong watch. The city also contained many stipendiary soldiers; yet, in defiance of all these precautions of security, Ivor, in the dead of night, secretly scaled the walls, and, seizing the count and countess, with their only son, carried them off into the woods, and did not release them until he had recovered everything that had been unjustly taken from him, and received a compensation of additional property; for, as the poet observes,

"Spectandum est semper ne magna injuria fiat
Fortibus et miseris; tollas licet omne quod usquam est
Argenti atque auri, spoliatis arma supersunt."

In this same town of Caerdyf, king Henry II., on his return from Ireland, the first Sunday after Easter, passed the night. In the morning, having heard mass, he remained at his devotions till every one had quitted the chapel of St. Piranus. {82} As he mounted his horse at the door, a man of a fair complexion, with a round tonsure and meagre countenance, tall, and about forty years of age, habited in a white robe falling down to his naked feet, thus addressed him in the Teutonic tongue: "God hold the, cuing," which signifies, "May God protect you, king;" and proceeded, in the same language, "Christ and his Holy Mother, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Peter salute thee, and command thee strictly to prohibit throughout thy whole dominions every kind of buying or selling on Sundays, and not to suffer any work to be done on those days, except such as relates to the preparation of daily food; that due attention may be paid to the performance of the divine offices. If thou dost this, all thy undertakings shall be successful, and thou shalt lead a happy life." The king, in French, desired Philip de Mercros, {83} who held the reins of his horse, to ask the rustic if he had dreamt this? and when the soldier explained to him the king's question in English, he replied in the same language he had before used, "Whether I have dreamt it or not, observe what day this is (addressing himself to the king, not to the interpreter), and unless thou shalt do so, and quickly amend thy life, before the expiration of one year, thou shalt hear such things concerning what thou lovest best in this world, and shalt thereby be so much troubled, that thy disquietude shall continue to thy life's end." The king, spurring his horse, proceeded a little way towards the gate, when, stopping suddenly, he ordered his attendants to call the good man back. The soldier, and a young man named William, the only persons who remained with the king, accordingly called him, and sought him in vain in the chapel, and in all the inns of the city. The king, vexed that he had not spoken more to him, waited alone a long time, while other persons went in search of him; and when he could not be found, pursued his journey over the bridge of Remni to Newport. The fatal prediction came to pass within the year, as the man had threatened; for the king's three sons, Henry, the eldest, and his brothers, Richard of Poitou, and Geoffrey, count of Britany, in the following Lent, deserted to Louis king of France, which caused the king greater uneasiness than he had ever before experienced; and which, by the conduct of some one of his sons, was continued till the time of his decease. This monarch, through divine mercy (for God is more desirous of the conversion than the destruction of a sinner), received many other admonitions and reproofs about this time, and shortly before his death; all of which, being utterly incorrigible, he obstinately and obdurately despised, as will be more fully set forth (by the favour of God) in my book, "de Principis Instructione."

Not far from Caerdyf is a small island situated near the shore of the Severn, called Barri, from St. Baroc {84} who formerly lived there, and whose remains are deposited in a chapel overgrown with ivy, having been transferred to a coffin. From hence a noble family, of the maritime parts of South Wales, who owned this island and the adjoining estates, received the name of de Barri. It is remarkable that, in a rock near the entrance of the island, there is a small cavity, to which, if the ear is applied, a noise is heard like that of smiths at work, the blowing of bellows, strokes of hammers, grinding of tools, and roaring of furnaces; and it might easily be imagined that such noises, which are continued at the ebb and flow of the tides, were occasioned by the influx of the sea under the cavities of the rocks.


The see of Landaf and monastery of Margan, and the remarkable things in those parts

On the following morning, the business of the cross being publicly proclaimed at Landaf, the English standing on one side, and the Welsh on the other, many persons of each nation took the cross, and we remained there that night with William bishop of that place, {85} a discreet and good man. The word Landaf {86} signifies the church situated upon the river Taf, and is now called the church of St. Teileau, formerly bishop of that see. The archbishop having celebrated mass early in the morning, before the high altar of the cathedral, we immediately pursued our journey by the little cell of Ewenith {87} to the noble Cistercian monastery of Margan. {88} This monastery, under the direction of Conan, a learned and prudent abbot, was at this time more celebrated for its charitable deeds than any other of that order in Wales. On this account, it is an undoubted fact, that, as a reward for that abundant charity which the monastery had always, in times of need, exercised towards strangers and poor persons, in a season of approaching famine, their corn and provisions were perceptibly, by divine assistance, increased, like the widow's cruise of oil by the means of the prophet Elijah. About the time of its foundation, a young man of those parts, by birth a Welshman, having claimed and endeavoured to apply to his own use certain lands which had been given to the monastery, by the instigation of the devil set on fire the best barn belonging to the monks, which was filled with corn; but, immediately becoming mad, he ran about the country in a distracted state, nor ceased raving until he was seized by his parents and bound. Having burst his bonds, and tired out his keepers, he came the next morning to the gate of the monastery, incessantly howling out that he was inwardly burnt by the influence of the monks, and thus in a few days expired, uttering the most miserable complaints. It happened also, that a young man was struck by another in the guests' hall; but on the following day, by divine vengeance, the aggressor was, in the presence of the fraternity, killed by an enemy, and his lifeless body was laid out in the same spot in the hall where the sacred house had been violated. In our time too, in a period of scarcity, while great multitudes of poor were daily crowding before the gates for relief, by the unanimous consent of the brethren, a ship was sent to Bristol to purchase corn for charitable purposes. The vessel, delayed by contrary winds, and not returning (but rather affording an opportunity for the miracle), on the very day when there would have been a total deficiency of corn, both for the poor and the convent, a field near the monastery was found suddenly to ripen, more than a month before the usual time of harvest: thus, divine Providence supplied the brotherhood and the numerous poor with sufficient nourishment until autumn. By these and other signs of virtues, the place accepted by God began to be generally esteemed and venerated.

It came to pass also in our days, during the period when the four sons of Caradoc son of Iestin, and nephews of prince Rhys by his sister, namely, Morgan, Meredyth, Owen, and Cadwallon, bore rule for their father in those parts, that Cadwallon, through inveterate malice, slew his brother Owen. But divine vengeance soon overtook him; for on his making a hostile attack on a certain castle, he was crushed to pieces by the sudden fall of its walls: and thus, in the presence of a numerous body of his own and his brother's forces, suffered the punishment which his barbarous and unnatural conduct had so justly merited.

Another circumstance which happened here deserves notice. A greyhound belonging to the aforesaid Owen, large, beautiful, and curiously spotted with a variety of colours, received seven wounds from arrows and lances, in the defence of his master, and on his part did much injury to the enemy and assassins. When his wounds were healed, he was sent to king Henry II. by William earl of Gloucester, in testimony of so great and extraordinary a deed. A dog, of all animals, is most attached to man, and most easily distinguishes him; sometimes, when deprived of his master, he refuses to live, and in his master's defence is bold enough to brave death; ready, therefore, to die, either with or for his master. I do not think it superfluous to insert here an example which Suetonius gives in his book on the nature of animals, and which Ambrosius also relates in his Exameron. "A man, accompanied by a dog, was killed in a remote part of the city of Antioch, by a soldier, for the sake of plunder. The murderer, concealed by the darkness of the morning, escaped into another part of the city; the corpse lay unburied; a large concourse of people assembled; and the dog, with bitter howlings, lamented his master's fate. The murderer, by chance, passed that way, and, in order to prove his innocence, mingled with the crowd of spectators, and, as if moved by compassion, approached the body of the deceased. The dog, suspending for a while his moans, assumed the arms of revenge; rushed upon the man, and seized him, howling at the same time in so dolorous a manner, that all present shed tears. It was considered as a proof against the murderer, that the dog seized him from amongst so many, and would not let him go; and especially, as neither the crime of hatred, envy, or injury, could possibly, in this case, be urged against the dog. On account, therefore, of such a strong suspicion of murder (which the soldier constantly denied), it was determined that the truth of the matter should be tried by combat. The parties being assembled in a field, with a crowd of people around, the dog on one side, and the soldier, armed with a stick of a cubit's length, on the other, the murderer was at length overcome by the victorious dog, and suffered an ignominious death on the common gallows.

Pliny and Solinus relate that a certain king, who was very fond of dogs, and addicted to hunting, was taken and imprisoned by his enemies, and in a most wonderful manner liberated, without any assistance from his friends, by a pack of dogs, who had spontaneously sequestered themselves in the mountainous and woody regions, and from thence committed many atrocious acts of depredation on the neighbouring herds and flocks. I shall take this opportunity of mentioning what from experience and ocular testimony I have observed respecting the nature of dogs. A dog is in general sagacious, but particularly with respect to his master; for when he has for some time lost him in a crowd, he depends more upon his nose than upon his eyes; and, in endeavouring to find him, he first looks about, and then applies his nose, for greater certainty, to his clothes, as if nature had placed all the powers of infallibility in that feature. The tongue of a dog possesses a medicinal quality; the wolf's, on the contrary, a poisonous: the dog heals his wounds by licking them, the wolf, by a similar practice, infects them; and the dog, if he has received a wound in his neck or head, or any part of his body where he cannot apply his tongue, ingeniously makes use of his hinder foot as a conveyance of the healing qualities to the parts affected.


Passage of the rivers Avon and Neth - and of Abertawe and Goer

Continuing our journey, {89} not far from Margan, where the alternate vicissitudes of a sandy shore and the tide commence, we forded over the river Avon, having been considerably delayed by the ebbing of the sea; and under the guidance of Morgan, eldest son of Caradoc, proceeded along the sea-shore towards the river Neth, which, on account of its quicksands, is the most dangerous and inaccessible river in South Wales. A pack-horse belonging to the author, which had proceeded by the lower way near the sea, although in the midst of many others, was the only one which sunk down into the abyss, but he was at last, with great difficulty, extricated, and not without some damage done to the baggage and books. Yet, although we had Morgan, the prince of that country, as our conductor, we did not reach the river without great peril, and some severe falls; for the alarm occasioned by this unusual kind of road, made us hasten our steps over the quicksands, in opposition to the advice of our guide, and fear quickened our pace; whereas, through these difficult passages, as we there learned, the mode of proceeding should be with moderate speed. But as the fords of that river experience a change by every monthly tide, and cannot be found after violent rains and floods, we did not attempt the ford, but passed the river in a boat, leaving the monastery of Neth {90} on our right hand, approaching again to the district of St. David's, and leaving the diocese of Landaf (which we had entered at Abergevenny) behind us.

It happened in our days that David II., bishop of St. David's, passing this way, and finding the ford agitated by a recent storm, a chaplain of those parts, named Rotherch Falcus, being conversant in the proper method of crossing these rivers, undertook, at the desire of the bishop, the dangerous task of trying the ford. Having mounted a large and powerful horse, which had been selected from the whole train for this purpose, he immediately crossed the ford, and fled with great rapidity to the neighbouring woods, nor could he be induced to return until the suspension which he had lately incurred was removed, and a full promise of security and indemnity obtained; the horse was then restored to one party, and his service to the other.

Entering the province called Goer, {91} we spent the night at the castle of Sweynsei, {92} which in Welsh is called Abertawe, or the fall of the river Tawe into the sea. The next morning, the people being assembled after mass, and many having been induced to take the cross, an aged man of that district, named Cador, thus addressed the archbishop: "My lord, if I now enjoyed my former strength, and the vigour of youth, no alms should ransom me, no desire of inactivity restrain me, from engaging in the laudable undertaking you preach; but since my weak age and the injuries of time deprive me of this desirable benefit (for approaching years bring with them many comforts, which those that are passed take away), if I cannot, owing to the infirmity of my body, attain a full merit, yet suffer me, by giving a tenth of all I possess, to attain a half." Then falling down at the feet of the archbishop, he deposited in his hands, for the service of the cross, the tenth of his estate, weeping bitterly, and intreating from him the remission of one half of the enjoined penance. After a short time he returned, and thus continued: "My lord, if the will directs the action, and is itself, for the most part, considered as the act, and as I have a full and firm inclination to undertake this journey, I request a remission of the remaining part of the penance, and in addition to my former gift, I will equal the sum from the residue of my tenths." The archbishop, smiling at his devout ingenuity, embraced him with admiration.

On the same night, two monks, who waited in the archbishop's chamber, conversing about the occurrences of their journey, and the dangers of the road, one of them said (alluding to the wildness of the country), "This is a hard province;" the other (alluding to the quicksands), wittily replied, "Yet yesterday it was found too soft."

A short time before our days, a circumstance worthy of note occurred in these parts, which Elidorus, a priest, most strenuously affirmed had befallen himself. When a youth of twelve years, and learning his letters, since, as Solomon says, "The root of learning is bitter, although the fruit is sweet," in order to avoid the discipline and frequent stripes inflicted on him by his preceptor, he ran away, and concealed himself under the hollow bank of a river. After fasting in that situation for two days, two little men of pigmy stature appeared to him, saying, "If you will come with us, we will lead you into a country full of delights and sports." Assenting and rising up, he followed his guides through a path, at first subterraneous and dark, into a most beautiful country, adorned with rivers and meadows, woods and plains, but obscure, and not illuminated with the full light of the sun. All the days were cloudy, and the nights extremely dark, on account of the absence of the moon and stars. The boy was brought before the king, and introduced to him in the presence of the court; who, having examined him for a long time, delivered him to his son, who was then a boy. These men were of the smallest stature, but very well proportioned in their make; they were all of a fair complexion, with luxuriant hair falling over their shoulders like that of women. They had horses and greyhounds adapted to their size. They neither ate flesh nor fish, but lived on milk diet, made up into messes with saffron. They never took an oath, for they detested nothing so much as lies. As often as they returned from our upper hemisphere, they reprobated our ambition, infidelities, and inconstancies; they had no form of public worship, being strict lovers and reverers, as it seemed, of truth.

The boy frequently returned to our hemisphere, sometimes by the way he had first gone, sometimes by another: at first in company with other persons, and afterwards alone, and made himself known only to his mother, declaring to her the manners, nature, and state of that people. Being desired by her to bring a present of gold, with which that region abounded, he stole, while at play with the king's son, the golden ball with which he used to divert himself, and brought it to his mother in great haste; and when he reached the door of his father's house, but not unpursued, and was entering it in a great hurry, his foot stumbled on the threshold, and falling down into the room where his mother was sitting, the two pigmies seized the ball which had dropped from his hand, and departed, shewing the boy every mark of contempt and derision. On recovering from his fall, confounded with shame, and execrating the evil counsel of his mother, he returned by the usual track to the subterraneous road, but found no appearance of any passage, though he searched for it on the banks of the river for nearly the space of a year. But since those calamities are often alleviated by time, which reason cannot mitigate, and length of time alone blunts the edge of our afflictions, and puts an end to many evils, the youth having been brought back by his friends and mother, and restored to his right way of thinking, and to his learning, in process of time attained the rank of priesthood. Whenever David II., bishop of St. David's, talked to him in his advanced state of life concerning this event, he could never relate the particulars without shedding tears. He had made himself acquainted with the language of that nation, the words of which, in his younger days, he used to recite, which, as the bishop often had informed me, were very conformable to the Greek idiom. When they asked for water, they said Ydor ydorum, which meant bring water, for Ydor in their language, as well as in the Greek, signifies water, from whence vessels for water are called {Greek text which cannot be reproduced}; and Dur also, in the British language, signifies water. When they wanted salt they said, Halgein ydorum, bring salt: salt is called {Greek text} in Greek, and Halen in British, for that language, from the length of time which the Britons (then called Trojans, and afterwards Britons, from Brito, their leader) remained in Greece after the destruction of Troy, became, in many instances, similar to the Greek.

It is remarkable that so many languages should correspond in one word, {Greek} in Greek, Halen in British, and Halgein in the Irish tongue, the g being inserted; Sal in Latin, because, as Priscian says, "the s is placed in some words instead of an aspirate," as {Greek} in Greek is called Sal in Latin, {Greek} - semi - {Greek} - septem - Sel in French - the A being changed into E - Salt in English, by the addition of T to the Latin; Sout, in the Teutonic language: there are therefore seven or eight languages agreeing in this one word. If a scrupulous inquirer should ask my opinion of the relation here inserted, I answer with Augustine, "that the divine miracles are to be admired, not discussed." Nor do I, by denial, place bounds to the divine power, nor, by assent, insolently extend what cannot be extended. But I always call to mind the saying of St. Jerome; "You will find," says he, "many things incredible and improbable, which nevertheless are true; for nature cannot in any respect prevail against the lord of nature." These things, therefore, and similar contingencies, I should place, according to the opinion of Augustine, among those particulars which are neither to be affirmed, nor too positively denied.


Passage over the rivers Lochor and Wendraeth; and of Cydweli

Thence we proceeded towards the river Lochor, {93} through the plains in which Howel, son of Meredyth of Brecheinoc, after the decease of king Henry I., gained a signal victory over the English. Having first crossed the river Lochor, and afterwards the water called Wendraeth, {94} we arrived at the castle of Cydweli. {95} In this district, after the death of king Henry, whilst Gruffydd son of Rhys, the prince of South Wales, was engaged in soliciting assistance from North Wales, his wife Gwenliana (like the queen of the Amazons, and a second Penthesilea) led an army into these parts; but she was defeated by Maurice de Londres, lord of that country, and Geoffrey, the bishop's constable. {96} Morgan, one of her sons, whom she had arrogantly brought with her in that expedition, was slain, and the other, Malgo, taken prisoner; and she, with many of her followers, was put to death. During the reign of king Henry I., when Wales enjoyed a state of tranquillity, the above-mentioned Maurice had a forest in that neighbourhood, well stocked with wild animals, and especially deer, and was extremely tenacious of his venison. His wife (for women are often very expert in deceiving men) made use of this curious stratagem. Her husband possessed, on the side of the wood next the sea, some extensive pastures, and large flocks of sheep. Having made all the shepherds and chief people in her house accomplices and favourers of her design, and taking advantage of the simple courtesy of her husband, she thus addressed him: "It is wonderful that being lord over beasts, you have ceased to exercise dominion over them; and by not making use of your deer, do not now rule over them, but are subservient to them; and behold how great an abuse arises from too much patience; for they attack our sheep with such an unheard-of rage, and unusual voracity, that from many they are become few; from being innumerable, only numerous." To make her story more probable, she caused some wool to be inserted between the intestines of two stags which had been embowelled; and her husband, thus artfully deceived, sacrificed his deer to the rapacity of his dogs.


Tywy river - Caermardyn - monastery of Albelande

Having crossed the river Tywy in a boat, we proceeded towards Caermardyn, leaving Lanstephan and Talachar {97} on the sea-coast to our left. After the death of king Henry II., Rhys, the son of Gruffydd, took these two castles by assault; then, having laid waste, by fire and sword, the provinces of Penbroch and Ros, he besieged Caermardyn, but failed in his attempt. Caermardyn {98} signifies the city of Merlin, because, according to the British History, he was there said to have been begotten of an incubus.

This ancient city is situated on the banks of the noble river Tywy, surrounded by woods and pastures, and was strongly inclosed with walls of brick, part of which are still standing; having Cantref Mawr, the great cantred, or hundred, on the eastern side, a safe refuge, in times of danger, to the inhabitants of South Wales, on account of its thick woods; where is also the castle of Dinevor, {99} built on a lofty summit above the Tywy, the royal seat of the princes of South Wales. In ancient times, there were three regal palaces in Wales: Dinevor in South Wales, Aberfrau in North Wales, situated in Anglesea, and Pengwern in Powys, now called Shrewsbury (Slopesburia); Pengwern signifies the head of a grove of alders. Recalling to mind those poetical passages:

"Dolus an virtus quis in hoste requirat?"


"Et si non recte possis quocunque modo rem,"

my pen shrinks with abhorrence from the relation of the enormous vengeance exercised by the court against its vassals, within the comot of Caeo, in the Cantref Mawr. Near Dinevor, on the other side of the river Tywy, in the Cantref Bychan, or the little cantred, there is a spring which, like the tide, ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours. {100} Not far to the north of Caermardyn, namely at Pencadair, {101} that is, the head of the chair, when Rhys, the son of Gruffydd, was more by stratagem than force compelled to surrender, and was carried away into England, king Henry II. despatched a knight, born in Britany, on whose wisdom and fidelity he could rely, under the conduct of Guaidanus, dean of Cantref Mawr, to explore the situation of Dinevor castle, and the strength of the country. The priest, being desired to take the knight by the easiest and best road to the castle, led him purposely aside by the most difficult and inaccessible paths, and wherever they passed through woods, the priest, to the general surprise of all present, fed upon grass, asserting that, in times of need, the inhabitants of that country were accustomed to live upon herbs and roots. The knight returning to the king, and relating what had happened, affirmed that the country was uninhabitable, vile, and inaccessible, and only affording food to a beastly nation, living like brutes. At length the king released Rhys, having first bound him to fealty by solemn oaths and the delivery of hostages.

On our journey from Caermardyn towards the Cistercian monastery called Alba Domus, {102} the archbishop was informed of the murder of a young Welshman, who was devoutly hastening to meet him; when turning out of the road, he ordered the corpse to be covered with the cloak of his almoner, and with a pious supplication commended the soul of the murdered youth to heaven. Twelve archers of the adjacent castle of St. Clare, {103} who had assassinated the young man, were on the following day signed with the cross at Alba Domus, as a punishment for their crime. Having traversed three rivers, the Taf, then the Cleddeu, under Lanwadein, {104} and afterwards another branch of the same river, we at length arrived at Haverford. This province, from its situation between two rivers, has acquired the name of Daugleddeu, {105} being enclosed and terminated, as it were, by two swords, for cleddue, in the British language, signifies a sword.


Of Haverford and Ros

A sermon having been delivered at Haverford {106} by the archbishop, and the word of God preached to the people by the archdeacon, whose name appears on the title-page of this work, many soldiers and plebeians were induced to take the cross. It appeared wonderful and miraculous, that, although the archdeacon addressed them both in the Latin and French tongues, those persons who understood neither of those languages were equally affected, and flocked in great numbers to the cross.

An old woman of those parts, who for three preceding years had been blind, having heard of the archbishop's arrival, sent her son to the place where the sermon was to be preached, that he might bring back to her some particle, if only of the fringe of his garment. The young man being prevented by the crowd from approaching the archbishop, waited till the assembly was dispersed, and then carried a piece of the earth on which the preacher had stood. The mother received the gift with great joy, and falling immediately on her knees, applied the turf to her mouth and eyes; and thus, through the merits of the holy man, and her own faith and devotion, recovered the blessing of sight, which she had entirely lost.

The inhabitants of this province derived their origin from Flanders, and were sent by king Henry I. to inhabit these districts; a people brave and robust, ever most hostile to the Welsh; a people, I say, well versed in commerce and woollen manufactories; a people anxious to seek gain by sea or land, in defiance of fatigue and danger; a hardy race, equally fitted for the plough or the sword; a people brave and happy, if Wales (as it ought to have been) had been dear to its sovereign, and had not so frequently experienced the vindictive resentment and ill-treatment of its governors.

A circumstance happened in the castle of Haverford during our time, which ought not to be omitted. A famous robber was fettered and confined in one of its towers, and was often visited by three boys, the son of the earl of Clare, and two others, one of whom was son of the lord of the castle, and the other his grandson, sent thither for their education, and who applied to him for arrows, with which he used to supply them. One day, at the request of the children, the robber, being brought from his dungeon, took advantage of the absence of the gaoler, closed the door, and shut himself up with the boys. A great clamour instantly arose, as well from the boys within, as from the people without; nor did he cease, with an uplifted axe, to threaten the lives of the children, until indemnity and security were assured to him in the most ample manner. A similar accident happened at Chateau-roux in France. The lord of that place maintained in the castle a man whose eyes he had formerly put out, but who, by long habit, recollected the ways of the castle, and the steps leading to the towers. Seizing an opportunity of revenge, and meditating the destruction of the youth, he fastened the inward doors of the castle, and took the only son and heir of the governor of the castle to the summit of a high tower, from whence he was seen with the utmost concern by the people beneath. The father of the boy hastened thither, and, struck with terror, attempted by every possible means to procure the ransom of his son, but received for answer, that this could not be effected, but by the same mutilation of those lower parts, which he had likewise inflicted on him. The father, having in vain entreated mercy, at length assented, and caused a violent blow to be struck on his body; and the people around him cried out lamentably, as if he had suffered mutilation. The blind man asked him where he felt the greatest pain? when he replied in his reins, he declared it was false and prepared to precipitate the boy. A second blow was given, and the lord of the castle asserting that the greatest pains were at his heart, the blind man expressing his disbelief, again carried the boy to the summit of the tower. The third time, however, the father, to save his son, really mutilated himself; and when he exclaimed that the greatest pain was in his teeth; "It is true," said he, "as a man who has had experience should be believed, and thou hast in part revenged my injuries. I shall meet death with more satisfaction, and thou shalt neither beget any other son, nor receive comfort from this." Then, precipitating himself and the boy from the summit of the tower, their limbs were broken, and both instantly expired. The knight ordered a monastery to be built on the spot for the soul of the boy, which is still extant, and called De Doloribus.

It appears remarkable to me that the entire inheritance should devolve on Richard, son of Tankard, governor of the aforesaid castle of Haverford, being the youngest son, and having many brothers of distinguished character who died before him. In like manner the dominion of South Wales descended to Rhys son of Gruffyd, owing to the death of several of his brothers. During the childhood of Richard, a holy man, named Caradoc, led a pious and recluse life at St. Ismael, in the province of Ros, {107} to whom the boy was often sent by his parents with provisions, and he so ingratiated himself in the eyes of the good man, that he very often promised him, together with his blessing, the portion of all his brothers, and the paternal inheritance. It happened that Richard, being overtaken by a violent storm of rain, turned aside to the hermit's cell; and being unable to get his hounds near him, either by calling, coaxing, or by offering them food, the holy man smiled; and making a gentle motion with his hand, brought them all to him immediately. In process of time, when Caradoc {108} had happily completed the course of his existence, Tankard, father of Richard, violently detained his body, which by his last will he had bequeathed to the church of St. David; but being suddenly seized with a severe illness, he revoked his command. When this had happened to him a second and a third time, and the corpse at last was suffered to be conveyed away, and was proceeding over the sands of Niwegal towards St. David's, a prodigious fall of rain inundated the whole country; but the conductors of the sacred burthen, on coming forth from their shelter, found the silken pall, with which the bier was covered, dry and uninjured by the storm; and thus the miraculous body of Caradoc was brought into the church of St. Andrew and St. David, and with due solemnity deposited in the left aisle, near the altar of the holy proto-martyr Stephen.

It is worthy of remark, that these people (the Flemings), from the inspection of the right shoulders of rams, which have been stripped of their flesh, and not roasted, but boiled, can discover future events, or those which have passed and remained long unknown. {109} They know, also, what is transpiring at a distant place, by a wonderful art, and a prophetic kind of spirit. They declare, also, by means of signs, the undoubted symptoms of approaching peace and war, murders and fires, domestic adulteries, the state of the king, his life and death. It happened in our time, that a man of those parts, whose name was William Mangunel, a person of high rank, and excelling all others in the aforesaid art, had a wife big with child by her own husband's grandson. Well aware of the fact, he ordered a ram from his own flock to be sent to his wife, as a present from her neighbour, which was carried to the cook, and dressed. At dinner, the husband purposely gave the shoulder-bone of the ram, properly cleaned, to his wife, who was also well skilled in this art, for her examination; when, having for a short time examined the secret marks, she smiled, and threw the oracle down on the table. Her husband, dissembling, earnestly demanded the cause of her smiling, and the explanation of the matter. Overcome by his entreaties, she answered: "The man to whose fold this ram belongs, has an adulterous wife, at this time pregnant by the commission of incest with his own grandson." The husband, with a sorrowful and dejected countenance, replied: "You deliver, indeed, an oracle supported by too much truth, which I have so much more reason to lament, as the ignominy you have published redounds to my own injury." The woman, thus detected, and unable to dissemble her confusion, betrayed the inward feelings of her mind by external signs; shame and sorrow urging her by turns, and manifesting themselves, now by blushes, now by paleness, and lastly (according to the custom of women), by tears. The shoulder of a goat was also once brought to a certain person, instead of a ram's - both being alike, when cleaned; who, observing for a short time the lines and marks, exclaimed, "Unhappy cattle, that never was multiplied! unhappy, likewise, the owner of the cattle, who never had more than three or four in one flock!" Many persons, a year and a half before the event, foresaw, by the means of shoulder-bones, the destruction of their country, after the decease of king Henry I., and, selling all their possessions, left their homes, and escaped the impending ruin.

It happened also in Flanders, from whence this people came, that a certain man sent a similar bone to a neighbour for his inspection; and the person who carried it, on passing over a ditch, broke wind, and wished it in the nostrils of the man on whose account he was thus troubled. The person to whom the bone was taken, on examination, said, "May you have in your own nose, that which you wished to be in mine." In our time, a soothsayer, on the inspection of a bone, discovered not only a theft, and the manner of it, but the thief himself, and all the attendant circumstances; he heard also the striking of a bell, and the sound of a trumpet, as if those things which were past were still performing. It is wonderful, therefore, that these bones, like all unlawful conjurations, should represent, by a counterfeit similitude to the eyes and ears, things which are passed, as well as those which are now going on.


Of Penbroch

The province of Penbroch adjoins the southern part of the territory of Ros, and is separated from it by an arm of the sea. Its principal city, and the metropolis of Demetia, is situated on an oblong rocky eminence, extending with two branches from Milford Haven, from whence it derived the name of Penbroch, which signifies the head of the aestuary. Arnulph de Montgomery, {110} in the reign of king Henry I., erected here a slender fortress with stakes and turf, which, on returning to England, he consigned to the care of Giraldus de Windesor, {111} his constable and lieutenant-general, a worthy and discreet man. Immediately on the death of Rhys son of Tewdwr, who a short time before had been slain by the treachery of his own troops at Brecheinoc, leaving his son, Gruffydd, a child, the inhabitants of South Wales besieged the castle. One night, when fifteen soldiers had deserted, and endeavoured to escape from the castle in a small boat, on the following morning Giraldus invested their armour bearers with the arms and estates of their masters, and decorated them with the military order. The garrison being, from the length of the siege, reduced to the utmost want of provisions, the constable, with great prudence and flattering hopes of success, caused four hogs, which yet remained, to be cut into small pieces and thrown down to the enemy from the fortifications. The next day, having again recourse to a more refined stratagem, he contrived that a letter, sealed with his own signet, should be found before the house of Wilfred, {112} bishop of St. David's, who was then by chance in that neighbourhood, as if accidentally dropped, stating that there would be no necessity of soliciting the assistance of earl Arnulph for the next four months to come. The contents of these letters being made known to the army, the troops abandoned the siege of the castle, and retired to their own homes. Giraldus, in order to make himself and his dependants more secure, married Nest, the sister of Gruffydd, prince of South Wales, by whom he had an illustrious progeny of both sexes; and by whose means both the maritime parts of South Wales were retained by the English, and the walls of Ireland afterwards stormed, as our Vaticinal History declares.

In our time, a person residing at the castle of Penbroch, found a brood of young weasels concealed within a fleece in his dwelling house, which he carefully removed and hid. The mother, irritated at the loss of her young, which she had searched for in vain, went to a vessel of milk that had been set aside for the use of the master's son, and raising herself up, polluted it with her deadly poison; thus revenging, as it were, the loss of her young, by the destruction of the child. The man, observing what passed, carried the fleece back to its former place; when the weasel, agitated by maternal solicitude, between hope and fear, on finding again her young, began to testify her joy by her cries and actions, and returning quickly to the vessel, overthrew it; thus, in gratitude for the recovery of her own offspring, saving that of her host from danger.

In another place, an animal of the same species had brought out her young into a plain for the enjoyment of the sun and air; when an insidious kite carried off one of them. Concealing herself with the remainder behind some shrubs, grief suggested to her a stratagem of exquisite revenge; she extended herself on a heap of earth, as if dead, within sight of the plunderer, and (as success always increases avidity) the bird immediately seized her and flew away, but soon fell down dead by the bite of the poisonous animal.

The castle called Maenor Pyrr, {113} that is, the mansion of Pyrrus, who also possessed the island of Chaldey, which the Welsh call Inys Pyrr, or the island of Pyrrus, is distant about three miles from Penbroch. It is excellently well defended by turrets and bulwarks, and is situated on the summit of a hill extending on the western side towards the sea-port, having on the northern and southern sides a fine fish-pond under its walls, as conspicuous for its grand appearance, as for the depth of its waters, and a beautiful orchard on the same side, inclosed on one part by a vineyard, and on the other by a wood, remarkable for the projection of its rocks, and the height of its hazel trees. On the right hand of the promontory, between the castle and the church, near the site of a very large lake and mill, a rivulet of never-failing water flows through a valley, rendered sandy by the violence of the winds. Towards the west, the Severn sea, bending its course to Ireland, enters a hollow bay at some distance from the castle; and the southern rocks, if extended a little further towards the north, would render it a most excellent harbour for shipping. From this point of sight, you will see almost all the ships from Great Britain, which the east wind drives upon the Irish coast, daringly brave the inconstant waves and raging sea. This country is well supplied with corn, sea-fish, and imported wines; and what is preferable to every other advantage, from its vicinity to Ireland, it is tempered by a salubrious air. Demetia, therefore, with its seven cantreds, is the most beautiful, as well as the most powerful district of Wales; Penbroch, the finest part of the province of Demetia; and the place I have just described, the most delightful part of Penbroch. It is evident, therefore, that Maenor Pirr is the pleasantest spot in Wales; and the author may be pardoned for having thus extolled his native soil, his genial territory, with a profusion of praise and admiration.

In this part of Penbroch, unclean spirits have conversed, nor visibly, but sensibly, with mankind; first in the house of Stephen Wiriet, {114} and afterwards in the house of William Not; {115} manifesting their presence by throwing dirt at them, and more with a view of mockery than of injury. In the house of William, they cut holes in the linen and woollen garments, much to the loss of the owner of the house and his guests; nor could any precaution, or even bolts, secure them from these inconveniences. In the house of Stephen, the spirit in a more extraordinary manner conversed with men, and, in reply to their taunts, upbraided them openly with everything they had done from their birth, and which they were not willing should be known or heard by others. I do not presume to assign the cause of this event, except that it is said to be the presage of a sudden change from poverty to riches, or rather from affluence to poverty and distress; as it was found to be the case in both these instances. And it appears to me very extraordinary that these places could not be purified from such illusions, either by the sprinkling of holy water, or the assistance of any other religious ceremony; for the priests themselves, though protected by the crucifix, or the holy water, on devoutly entering the house, were equally subject to the same insults. From whence it appears that things pertaining to the sacraments, as well as the sacraments themselves, defend us from hurtful, but not from harmless things; from annoyances, but not from illusions. It is worthy of note, that in our time, a woman in Poitou was possessed by a demon, who, through her mouth, artfully and acutely disputed with the learned. He sometimes upbraided people with their secret actions, and those things which they wished not to hear; but when either the books of the gospel, or the relics of saints, were placed upon the mouth of the possessed, he fled to the lower part of her throat; and when they were removed thither, he descended into her belly. His appearance was indicated by certain inflations and convulsions of the parts which he possessed, and when the relics were again placed in the lower parts, he directly returned to the upper. At length, when they brought the body of Christ, and gave it to the patient, the demon answered, "Ye fools, you are doing nothing, for what you give her is not the food of the body, but of the soul; and my power is confined to the body, not to the soul." But when those persons whom he had upbraided with their more serious actions, had confessed, and returned from penance, he reproached them no more. "I have known, indeed," says he, "I have known but now I know not, (he spake this as it were a reproach to others), and I hold my tongue, for what I know, I know not." From which it appears, that after confession and penance, the demons either do not know the sins of men, or do not know them to their injury and disgrace; because, as Augustine says, "If man conceals, God discovers; if man discovers, God conceals."

Some people are surprised that lightning often strikes our places of worship, and damages the crosses and images of him who was crucified, before the eyes of one who seeth all things, and permits these circumstances to happen; to whom I shall only answer with Ovid,

"Summa petit livor, perflant altissima venti,
Summa petunt dextra fulmina missa Jovis."

On the same subject, Peter Abelard, in the presence of Philip king of France, is said to have answered a Jew, who urged these and similar things against the faith. "It is true that the lightning descending from on high, directs itself most commonly to the highest object on earth, and to those most resembling its own nature; it never, therefore, injures your synagogues, because no man ever saw or heard of its falling upon a privy." An event worthy of note, happened in our time in France. During a contention between some monks of the Cistercian order, and a certain knight, about the limits of their fields and lands, a violent tempest, in one night, utterly destroyed and ruined the cultivated grounds of the monks, while the adjoining territory of the knight remained undamaged. On which occasion he insolently inveighed against the fraternity, and publicly asserted that divine vengeance had thus punished them for unlawfully keeping possession of his land; to which the abbot wittily replied, "It is by no means so; but that the knight had more friends in that riding than the monastery;" and he clearly demonstrated that, on the other hand, the monks had more enemies in it.

In the province of Penbroch, another instance occurred, about the same time, of a spirit's appearing in the house of Elidore de Stakepole, {116} not only sensibly, but visibly, under the form of a red-haired young man, who called himself Simon. First seizing the keys from the person to whom they were entrusted, he impudently assumed the steward's office, which he managed so prudently and providently, that all things seemed to abound under his care, and there was no deficiency in the house. Whatever the master or mistress secretly thought of having for their daily use or provision, he procured with wonderful agility, and without any previous directions, saying, "You wished that to be done, and it shall be done for you." He was also well acquainted with their treasures and secret hoards, and sometimes upbraided them on that account; for as often as they seemed to act sparingly and avariciously, he used to say, "Why are you afraid to spend that heap of gold or silver, since your lives are of so short duration, and the money you so cautiously hoard up will never do you any service?" He gave the choicest meat and drink to the rustics and hired servants, saying that "Those persons should be abundantly supplied, by whose labours they were acquired." Whatever he determined should be done, whether pleasing or displeasing to his master or mistress (for, as we have said before, he knew all their secrets), he completed in his usual expeditious manner, without their consent. He never went to church, or uttered one Catholic word. He did not sleep in the house, but was ready at his office in the morning.

He was at length observed by some of the family to hold his nightly converse near a mill and a pool of water; upon which discovery he was summoned the next morning before the master of the house and his lady, and, receiving his discharge, delivered up the keys, which he had held for upwards of forty days. Being earnestly interrogated, at his departure, who he was? he answered, "That he was begotten upon the wife of a rustic in that parish, by a demon, in the shape of her husband," naming the man, and his father-in-law, then dead, and his mother, still alive; the truth of which the woman, upon examination, openly avowed. A similar circumstance happened in our time in Denmark. A certain unknown priest paid court to the archbishop, and, from his obsequious behaviour and discreet conduct, his general knowledge of letters and quick memory, soon contracted a great familiarity with him. Conversing one day with the archbishop about ancient histories and unknown events, on which topic he most frequently heard him with pleasure, it happened that when the subject of their discourse was the incarnation of our Lord, he said, amongst other things, "Before Christ assumed human nature, the demons had great power over mankind, which, at his coming, was much diminished; insomuch that they were dispersed on every side, and fled from his presence. Some precipitated themselves into the sea, others into the hollow parts of trees, or the clefts of rocks; and I myself leaped into a well;" on which he blushed for shame, and took his departure. The archbishop, and those who were with him, being greatly astonished at that speech, began to ask questions by turns, and form conjectures; and having waited some time (for he was expected to return soon), the archbishop ordered some of his attendants to call him, but he was sought for in vain, and never re- appeared. Soon afterwards, two priests, whom the archbishop had sent to Rome, returned; and when this event was related to them, they began to inquire the day and hour on which the circumstance had happened? On being told it, they declared that on the very same day and hour he had met them on the Alps, saying, that he had been sent to the court of Rome, on account of some business of his master's (meaning the archbishop), which had lately occurred. And thus it was proved, that a demon had deluded them under a human form.

I ought not to omit mentioning the falcons of these parts, which are large, and of a generous kind, and exercise a most severe tyranny over the river and land birds. King Henry II. remained here some time, making preparations for his voyage to Ireland; and being desirous of taking the diversion of hawking, he accidentally saw a noble falcon perched upon a rock. Going sideways round him, he let loose a fine Norway hawk, which he carried on his left hand. The falcon, though at first slower in its flight, soaring up to a great height, burning with resentment, and in his turn becoming the aggressor, rushed down upon his adversary with the greatest impetuosity, and by a violent blow struck the hawk dead at the feet of the king. From that time the king sent every year, about the breeding season, for the falcons {117} of this country, which are produced on the sea cliffs; nor can better be found in any part of his dominions. But let us now return to our Itinerary.


Of the progress by Camros and Niwegal

From Haverford we proceeded on our journey to Menevia, distant from thence about twelve miles, and passed through Camros, {118} where, in the reign of king Stephen, the relations and friends of a distinguished young man, Giraldus, son of William, revenged his death by a too severe retaliation on the men of Ros. We then passed over Niwegal sands, at which place (during the winter that king Henry II. spent in Ireland), as well as in almost all the other western ports, a very remarkable circumstance occurred. The sandy shores of South Wales, being laid bare by the extraordinary violence of a storm, the surface of the earth, which had been covered for many ages, re-appeared, and discovered the trunks of trees cut off, standing in the very sea itself, the strokes of the hatchet appearing as if made only yesterday. {119} The soil was very black, and the wood like ebony. By a wonderful revolution, the road for ships became impassable, and looked, not like a shore, but like a grove cut down, perhaps, at the time of the deluge, or not long after, but certainly in very remote ages, being by degrees consumed and swallowed up by the violence and encroachments of the sea. During the same tempest many sea fish were driven, by the violence of the wind and waves, upon dry land. We were well lodged at St. David's by Peter, bishop of the see, a liberal man, who had hitherto accompanied us during the whole of our journey.



Since, therefore, St. David's is the head, and in times past was the metropolitan, city of Wales, though now, alas! retaining more of the NAME than of the OMEN, {120} yet I have not forborne to weep over the obsequies of our ancient and undoubted mother, to follow the mournful hearse, and to deplore with tearful sighs the ashes of our half-buried matron. I shall, therefore, endeavour briefly to declare to you in what manner, from whence, and from what period the pall was first brought to St. David's, and how it was taken away; how many prelates were invested with the pall; and how many were despoiled thereof; together with their respective names to this present day.


Of the see of Saint David's

We are informed by the British histories, that Dubricius, archbishop of Caerleon, sensible of the infirmities of age, or rather being desirous of leading a life of contemplation, resigned his honours to David, who is said to have been uncle to king Arthur; and by his interest the see was translated to Menevia, although Caerleon, as we have observed in the first book, was much better adapted for the episcopal see. For Menevia is situated in a most remote corner of land upon the Irish ocean, the soil stony and barren, neither clothed with woods, distinguished by rivers, nor adorned by meadows, ever exposed to the winds and tempests, and continually subject to the hostile attacks of the Flemings on one side, and of the Welsh on the other. For the holy men who settled here, chose purposely such a retired habitation, that by avoiding the noise of the world, and preferring an heremitical to a pastoral life, they might more freely provide for "that part which shall not be taken away;" for David was remarkable for his sanctity and religion, as the history of his life will testify. Amongst the many miracles recorded of him, three appear to me the most worthy of admiration: his origin and conception; his pre-election thirty years before his birth; and what exceeds all, the sudden rising of the ground, at Brevy, under his feet while preaching, to the great astonishment of all the beholders.

Since the time of David, twenty-five archbishops presided over the see of Menevia, whose names are here subjoined: David, Cenauc, Eliud, who was also called Teilaus, Ceneu, Morwal, Haerunen, Elwaed, Gurnuen, Lendivord, Gorwysc, Cogan, Cledauc, Anian, Euloed, Ethelmen, Elauc, Malscoed, Sadermen, Catellus, Sulhaithnai, Nonis, Etwal, Asser, Arthuael, Sampson. In the time of Sampson, the pall was translated from Menevia in the following manner: a disorder called the yellow plague, and by the physicians the icteric passion, of which the people died in great numbers, raged throughout Wales, at the time when Sampson held the archiepiscopal see. Though a holy man, and fearless of death, he was prevailed upon, by the earnest intreaties of his people, to go on board a vessel, which was wafted, by a south wind, to Britannia Armorica, {121} where he and his attendants were safely landed. The see of Dol being at that time vacant, he was immediately elected bishop. Hence it came to pass, that on account of the pall which Sampson had brought thither with him, the succeeding bishops, even to our times, always retained it. But during the presidency of the archbishop of Tours, this adventitious dignity ceased; yet our countrymen, through indolence or poverty, or rather owing to the arrival of the English into the island, and the frequent hostilities committed against them by the Saxons, lost their archiepiscopal honours. But until the entire subjugation of Wales by king Henry I., the Welsh bishops were always consecrated by the bishop of St. David's; and he was consecrated by his suffragans, without any profession or submission being made to any other church.

From the time of Sampson to that of king Henry I., nineteen bishops presided over this see: Ruelin, Rodherch, Elguin, Lunuerd, Nergu, Sulhidir, Eneuris, Morgeneu, who was the first bishop of St. David's who ate flesh, and was there killed by pirates; and he appeared to a certain bishop in Ireland on the night of his death, shewing his wounds, and saying, "Because I ate flesh, I am become flesh." Nathan, Ievan (who was bishop only one night), Argustel, Morgenueth, Ervin, Tramerin, Joseph, Bleithud, Sulghein, Abraham, Wilfred. Since the subjugation of Wales to the present time, three only have held the see: in the reign of king Henry I., Bernard; in the reign of king Stephen, David II.; and in the reign of king Henry II., Peter, a monk of the order of Cluny; who all, by the king's mandate, were consecrated at Canterbury; as also Geoffrey, prior and canon of Lanthoni, who succeeded them in the reign of king John, and was preferred to this see by the interest of Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, and afterwards consecrated by him. We do not hear that either before or after that subjugation, any archbishop of Canterbury ever entered the borders of Wales, except Baldwin, a monk of the Cistercian order, abbot of Ford, and afterwards bishop of Worcester, who traversed that rough, inaccessible, and remote country with a laudable devotion for the service of the cross; and as a token of investiture, celebrated mass in all the cathedral churches. So that till lately the see of St. David's owed no subjection to that of Canterbury, as may be seen in the English History of Bede, who says that "Augustine, bishop of the Angles, after the conversion of king Ethelfred and the English people, called together the bishops of Wales on the confines of the West Saxons, as legate of the apostolic see. When the seven bishops {122} appeared, Augustine, sitting in his chair, with Roman pride, did not rise up at their entrance. Observing his haughtiness (after the example of a holy anchorite of their nation), they immediately returned, and treated him and his statutes with contempt, publicly proclaiming that they would not acknowledge him for their archbishop; alleging, that if he now refused to rise up to us, how much more will he hold us in contempt, if we submit to be subject to him?" That there were at that time seven bishops in Wales, and now only four, may be thus accounted for; because perhaps there were formerly more cathedral churches in Wales than there are at present, or the extent of Wales might have been greater. Amongst so many bishops thus deprived of their dignity, Bernard, the first French [i.e. Norman] bishop of St. David's, alone defended the rights of his church in a public manner; and after many expensive and vexatious appeals to the court of Rome, would not have reclaimed them in vain, if false witnesses had not publicly appeared at the council of Rheims, before pope Eugenius, and testified that he had made profession and submission to the see of Canterbury. Supported by three auxiliaries, the favour and intimacy of king Henry, a time of peace, and consequent plenty, he boldly hazarded the trial of so great a cause, and so confident was he of his just right, that he sometimes caused the cross to be carried before him during his journey through Wales.

Bernard, however commendable in some particulars, was remarkable for his insufferable pride and ambition. For as soon as he became courtier and a creature of the king's, panting after English riches by means of translation, (a malady under which all the English sent hither seem to labour), he alienated many of the lands of his church without either advantage or profit, and disposed of others so indiscreetly and improvidently, that when ten carucates {123} of land were required for military purposes, he would, with a liberal hand, give twenty or thirty; and of the canonical rites and ordinances which he had miserably and unhappily instituted at St. David's, he would hardly make use of one, at most only of two or three. With respect to the two sees of Canterbury and St. David's, I will briefly explain my opinion of their present state. On one side, you will see royal favour, affluence of riches, numerous and opulent suffragan bishops, great abundance of learned men and well skilled in the laws; on the other side, a deficiency of all these things, and a total want of justice; on which account the recovery of its ancient rights will not easily be effected, but by means of those great changes and vicissitudes which kingdoms experience from various and unexpected events.

The spot where the church of St. David's stands, and was founded in honour of the apostle St. Andrew, is called the Vale of Roses; which ought rather to be named the vale of marble, since it abounds with one, and by no means with the other. The river Alun, a muddy and unproductive rivulet, {124} bounding the churchyard on the northern side, flows under a marble stone, called Lechlavar, which has been polished by continual treading of passengers, and concerning the name, size, and quality of which we have treated in our Vaticinal History. {125} Henry II., on his return from Ireland, is said to have passed over this stone, before he devoutly entered the church of St. Andrew and St. David. Having left the following garrisons in Ireland, namely, Hugh de Lacy (to whom he had given Meath in fee) in Dublin, with twenty knights; Fitz-Stephen and Maurice Fitzgerald, with other twenty; Humphrey de Bohun, Robert Fitz-Bernard, and Hugh de Grainville at Waterford, with forty; and William Fitz-Adelm and Philip de Braose at Wexford, with twenty; on the second day of Easter, the king embarked at sunrise on board a vessel in the outward port of Wexford, and, with a south wind, landed about noon in the harbour of Menevia. Proceeding towards the shrine of St. David, habited like a pilgrim, and leaning on a staff, he met at the white gate a procession of the canons of the church coming forth to receive him with due honour and reverence. As the procession solemnly moved along, a Welsh woman threw herself at the king's feet, and made a complaint against the bishop of the place, which was explained to the king by an interpreter. The woman, immediate attention not being paid to her petition, with violent gesticulation, and a loud and impertinent voice, exclaimed repeatedly, "Revenge us this day, Lechlavar! revenge us and the nation in this man!" On being chidden and driven away by those who understood the British language, she more vehemently and forcibly vociferated in the like manner, alluding to the vulgar fiction and proverb of Merlin, "That a king of England, and conqueror of Ireland, should be wounded in that country by a man with a red hand, and die upon Lechlavar, on his return through Menevia." This was the name of that stone which serves as a bridge over the river Alun, which divides the cemetery from the northern side of the church. It was a beautiful piece of marble, polished by the feet of passengers, ten feet in length, six in breadth, and one in thickness. Lechlavar signifies in the British language a talking stone. {126} There was an ancient tradition respecting this stone, that at a time when a corpse was carried over it for interment, it broke forth into speech, and by the effort cracked in the middle, which fissure is still visible; and on account of this barbarous and ancient superstition, the corpses are no longer brought over it. The king, who had heard the prophecy, approaching the stone, stopped for a short time at the foot of it, and, looking earnestly at it, boldly passed over; then, turning round, and looking towards the stone, thus indignantly inveighed against the prophet: "Who will hereafter give credit to the lying Merlin?" A person standing by, and observing what had passed, in order to vindicate the injury done to the prophet, replied, with a loud voice, "Thou art not that king by whom Ireland is to be conquered, or of whom Merlin prophesied!" The king then entering the church founded in honour of St. Andrew and St. David, devoutly offered up his prayers, and heard mass performed by a chaplain, whom alone, out of so large a body of priests, Providence seems to have kept fasting till that hour, for this very purpose. Having supped at St. David's, the king departed for the castle of Haverford, distant about twelve miles. It appears very remarkable to me, that in our days, when David II. presided over the see, the river should have flowed with wine, and that the spring, called Pistyll Dewi, or the PIPE of David, from its flowing through a pipe into the eastern side of the churchyard, should have run with milk. The birds also of that place, called jackdaws, from being so long unmolested by the clergy of the church, were grown so tame and domesticated, as not to be afraid of persons dressed in black. In clear weather the mountains of Ireland are visible from hence, and the passage over the Irish sea may be performed in one short day; on which account William, the son of William the Bastard, and the second of the Norman kings in England, who was called Rufus, and who had penetrated far into Wales, on seeing Ireland from these rocks, is reported to have said, "I will summon hither all the ships of my realm, and with them make a bridge to attack that country." Which speech being related to Murchard, prince of Leinster, he paused awhile, and answered, "Did the king add to this mighty threat, If God please?" and being informed that he had made no mention of God in his speech, rejoicing in such a prognostic, he replied, "Since that man trusts in human, not divine power, I fear not his coming."


Of the journey by Cemmeis - the monastery of St. Dogmael

The archbishop having celebrated mass early in the morning before the high altar of the church of St. David, and enjoined to the archdeacon (Giraldus) the office of preaching to the people, hastened through Cemmeis {127} to meet prince Rhys at Aberteive. {128} Two circumstances occurred in the province of Cemmeis, the one in our own time, the other a little before, which I think right not to pass over in silence. In our time, a young man, native of this country, during a severe illness, suffered as violent a persecution from toads, {129} as if the reptiles of the whole province had come to him by agreement; and though destroyed by his nurses and friends, they increased again on all sides in infinite numbers, like hydras' heads. His attendants, both friends and strangers, being wearied out, he was drawn up in a kind of bag, into a high tree, stripped of its leaves, and shred; nor was he there secure from his venomous enemies, for they crept up the tree in great numbers, and consumed him even to the very bones. The young man's name was Sisillus Esceir-hir, that is, Sisillus Long Leg. It is also recorded that by the hidden but never unjust will of God, another man suffered a similar persecution from rats. In the same province, during the reign of king Henry I., a rich man, who had a residence on the northern side of the Preseleu mountains, {130} was warned for three successive nights, by dreams, that if he put his hand under a stone which hung over the spring of a neighbouring well, called the fountain of St. Bernacus, {131} he would find there a golden torques. Obeying the admonition on the third day, he received, from a viper, a deadly wound in his finger; but as it appears that many treasures have been discovered through dreams, it seems to me probable that, with respect to rumours, in the same manner as to dreams, some ought, and some ought not, to be believed.

I shall not pass over in silence the circumstance which occurred in the principal castle of Cemmeis at Lanhever, {132} in our days. Rhys, son of Gruffydd, by the instigation of his son Gruffydd, a cunning and artful man, took away by force, from William, son of Martin (de Tours), his son-in-law, the castle of Lanhever, notwithstanding he had solemnly sworn, by the most precious relics, that his indemnity and security should be faithfully maintained, and, contrary to his word and oath, gave it to his son Gruffydd; but since "A sordid prey has not a good ending," the Lord, who by the mouth of his prophet, exclaims "Vengeance is mine, and I will repay!" ordained that the castle should be taken away from the contriver of this wicked plot, Gruffydd, and bestowed upon the man in the world he most hated, his brother Malgon. Rhys, also, about two years afterwards, intending to disinherit his own daughter, and two granddaughters and grandsons, by a singular instance of divine vengeance, was taken prisoner by his sons in battle, and confined in this same castle; thus justly suffering the greatest disgrace and confusion in the very place where he had perpetrated an act of the most consummate baseness. I think it also worthy to be remembered, that at the time this misfortune befell him, he had concealed in his possession, at Dinevor, the collar of St. Canauc of Brecknock, for which, by divine vengeance, he merited to be taken prisoner and confined.

We slept that night in the monastery of St. Dogmael, where, as well as on the next day at Aberteivi, we were handsomely entertained by prince Rhys. On the Cemmeis side of the river, not far from the bridge, the people of the neighbourhood being assembled together, and Rhys and his two sons, Malgon and Gruffydd, being present, the word of the Lord was persuasively preached both by the archbishop and the archdeacon, and many were induced to take the cross; one of whom was an only son, and the sole comfort of his mother, far advanced in years, who, steadfastly gazing on him, as if inspired by the Deity, uttered these words:- "O, most beloved Lord Jesus Christ, I return thee hearty thanks for having conferred on me the blessing of bringing forth a son, whom thou mayest think worthy of thy service." Another woman at Aberteivi, of a very different way of thinking, held her husband fast by his cloak and girdle, and publicly and audaciously prevented him from going to the archbishop to take the cross; but, three nights afterwards, she heard a terrible voice, saying, "Thou hast taken away my servant from me, therefore what thou most lovest shall be taken away from thee." On her relating this vision to her husband, they were struck with mutual terror and amazement; and on falling asleep again, she unhappily overlaid her little boy, whom, with more affection than prudence, she had taken to bed with her. The husband, relating to the bishop of the diocese both the vision and its fatal prediction, took the cross, which his wife spontaneously sewed on her husband's arm.

Near the head of the bridge where the sermons were delivered, the people immediately marked out the site for a chapel, {133} on a verdant plain, as a memorial of so great an event; intending that the altar should be placed on the spot where the archbishop stood while addressing the multitude; and it is well known that many miracles (the enumeration of which would be too tedious to relate) were performed on the crowds of sick people who resorted hither from different parts of the country.


Of the river Teivi, Cardigan, and Emelyn

The noble river Teivi flows here, and abounds with the finest salmon, more than any other river of Wales; it has a productive fishery near Cilgerran, which is situated on the summit of a rock, at a place called Canarch Mawr, {134} the ancient residence of St. Ludoc, where the river, falling from a great height, forms a cataract, which the salmon ascend, by leaping from the bottom to the top of a rock, which is about the height of the longest spear, and would appear wonderful, were it not the nature of that species of fish to leap: hence they have received the name of salmon, from salio. Their particular manner of leaping (as I have specified in my Topography of Ireland) is thus: fish of this kind, naturally swimming against the course of the river (for as birds fly against the wind, so do fish swim against the stream), on meeting with any sudden obstacle, bend their tail towards their mouth, and sometimes, in order to give a greater power to their leap, they press it with their mouth, and suddenly freeing themselves from this circular form, they spring with great force (like a bow let loose) from the bottom to the top of the leap, to the great astonishment of the beholders. The church dedicated to St. Ludoc, {135} the mill, bridge, salmon leap, an orchard with a delightful garden, all stand together on a small plot of ground. The Teivi has another singular particularity, being the only river in Wales, or even in England, which has beavers; {136} in Scotland they are said to be found in one river, but are very scarce. I think it not a useless labour, to insert a few remarks respecting the nature of these animals - the manner in which they bring their materials from the woods to the water, and with what skill they connect them in the construction of their dwellings in the midst of rivers; their means of defence on the eastern and western sides against hunters; and also concerning their fish-like tails.

The beavers, in order to construct their castles in the middle of rivers, make use of the animals of their own species instead of carts, who, by a wonderful mode of carnage, convey the timber from the woods to the rivers. Some of them, obeying the dictates of nature, receive on their bellies the logs of wood cut off by their associates, which they hold tight with their feet, and thus with transverse pieces placed in their mouths, are drawn along backwards, with their cargo, by other beavers, who fasten themselves with their teeth to the raft. The moles use a similar artifice in clearing out the dirt from the cavities they form by scraping. In some deep and still corner of the river, the beavers use such skill in the construction of their habitations, that not a drop of water can penetrate, or the force of storms shake them; nor do they fear any violence but that of mankind, nor even that, unless well armed. They entwine the branches of willows with other wood, and different kinds of leaves, to the usual height of the water, and having made within-side a communication from floor to floor, they elevate a kind of stage, or scaffold, from which they may observe and watch the rising of the waters. In the course of time, their habitations bear the appearance of a grove of willow trees, rude and natural without, but artfully constructed within. This animal can remain in or under water at its pleasure, like the frog or seal, who shew, by the smoothness or roughness of their skins, the flux and reflux of the sea. These three animals, therefore, live indifferently under the water, or in the air, and have short legs, broad bodies, stubbed tails, and resemble the mole in their corporal shape. It is worthy of remark, that the beaver has but four teeth, two above, and two below, which being broad and sharp, cut like a carpenter's axe, and as such he uses them. They make excavations and dry hiding places in the banks near their dwellings, and when they hear the stroke of the hunter, who with sharp poles endeavours to penetrate them, they fly as soon as possible to the defence of their castle, having first blown out the water from the entrance of the hole, and rendered it foul and muddy by scraping the earth, in order thus artfully to elude the stratagems of the well-armed hunter, who is watching them from the opposite banks of the river. When the beaver finds he cannot save himself from the pursuit of the dogs who follow him, that he may ransom his body by the sacrifice of a part, he throws away that, which by natural instinct he knows to be the object sought for, and in the sight of the hunter castrates himself, from which circumstance he has gained the name of Castor; and if by chance the dogs should chase an animal which had been previously castrated, he has the sagacity to run to an elevated spot, and there lifting up his leg, shews the hunter that the object of his pursuit is gone. Cicero speaking of them says, "They ransom themselves by that part of the body, for which they are chiefly sought." And Juvenal says,

" - Qui se
Eunuchum ipse facit, cupiens evadere damno

And St. Bernard,

"Prodit enim castor proprio de corpore velox
Reddere quas sequitur hostis avarus opes."

Thus, therefore, in order to preserve his skin, which is sought after in the west, and the medicinal part of his body, which is coveted in the east, although he cannot save himself entirely, yet, by a wonderful instinct and sagacity, he endeavours to avoid the stratagems of his pursuers. The beavers have broad, short tails, thick, like the palm of a hand, which they use as a rudder in swimming; and although the rest of their body is hairy, this part, like that of seals, is without hair, and smooth; upon which account, in Germany and the arctic regions, where beavers abound, great and religious persons, in times of fasting, eat the tails of this fish- like animal, as having both the taste and colour of fish.

We proceeded on our journey from Cilgerran towards Pont-Stephen, {137} leaving Cruc Mawr, i.e. the great hill, near Aberteivi, on our left hand. On this spot Gruffydd, son of Rhys ap Tewdwr, soon after the death of king Henry I., by a furious onset gained a signal victory against the English army, which, by the murder of the illustrious Richard de Clare, near Abergevenny (before related), had lost its leader and chief. {138} A tumulus is to be seen on the summit of the aforesaid hill, and the inhabitants affirm that it will adapt itself to persons of all stature and that if any armour is left there entire in the evening, it will be found, according to vulgar tradition, broken to pieces in the morning.


Of the journey by Pont Stephen, the abbey of Stratflur, Landewi
Brevi, and Lhanpadarn Vawr

A sermon having been preached on the following morning at Pont Stephen, {139} by the archbishop and archdeacon, and also by two abbots of the Cistercian order, John of Albadomus, and Sisillus of Stratflur, {140} who faithfully attended us in those parts, and as far as North Wales, many persons were induced to take the cross. We proceeded to Stratflur, where we passed the night. On the following morning, having on our right the lofty mountains of Moruge, which in Welsh are called Ellennith, {141} we were met near the side of a wood by Cyneuric son of Rhys, accompanied by a body of light-armed youths. This young man was of a fair complexion, with curled hair, tall and handsome; clothed only, according to the custom of his country, with a thin cloak and inner garment, his legs and feet, regardless of thorns and thistles were left bare; a man, not adorned by art, but nature; bearing in his presence an innate, not an acquired, dignity of manners. A sermon having been preached to these three young men, Gruffydd, Malgon, and Cyneuric, in the presence of their father, prince Rhys, and the brothers disputing about taking the cross, at length Malgon strictly promised that he would accompany the archbishop to the king's court, and would obey the king's and archbishop's counsel, unless prevented by them. From thence we passed through Landewi Brevi, {142} that is, the church of David of Brevi, situated on the summit of that hill which had formerly risen up under his feet whilst preaching, during the period of that celebrated synod, when all the bishops, abbots, and clergy of Wales, and many other persons, were collected thither on account of the Pelagian heresy, which, although formerly exploded from Britain by Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, had lately been revived in these parts. At this place David was reluctantly raised to the archbishopric, by the unanimous consent and election of the whole assembly, who by loud acclamations testified their admiration of so great a miracle. Dubricius had a short time before resigned to him this honour in due form at Caerleon, from which city the metropolitan see was transferred to St. David's.

Having rested that night at Lhanpadarn Vawr, {143} or the church of Paternus the Great, we attracted many persons to the service of Christ on the following morning. It is remarkable that this church, like many others in Wales and Ireland, has a lay abbot; for a bad custom has prevailed amongst the clergy, of appointing the most powerful people of a parish stewards, or, rather, patrons, of their churches; who, in process of time, from a desire of gain, have usurped the whole right, appropriating to their own use the possession of all the lands, leaving only to the clergy the altars, with their tenths and oblations, and assigning even these to their sons and relations in the church. Such defenders, or rather destroyers, of the church, have caused themselves to be called abbots, and presumed to attribute to themselves a title, as well as estates, to which they have no just claim. In this state we found the church of Lhanpadarn, without a head. A certain old man, waxen old in iniquity (whose name was Eden Oen, son of Gwaithwoed), being abbot, and his sons officiating at the altar. But in the reign of king Henry I., when the authority of the English prevailed in Wales, the monastery of St. Peter at Gloucester held quiet possession of this church; but after his death, the English being driven out, the monks were expelled from their cloisters, and their places supplied by the same violent intrusion of clergy and laity, which had formerly been practised. It happened that in the reign of king Stephen, who succeeded Henry I., a knight, born in Armorican Britain, having travelled through many parts of the world, from a desire of seeing different cities, and the manners of their inhabitants, came by chance to Lhanpadarn. On a certain feast-day, whilst both the clergy and people were waiting for the arrival of the abbot to celebrate mass, he perceived a body of young men, armed, according to the custom of their country, approaching towards the church; and on enquiring which of them was the abbot, they pointed out to him a man walking foremost, with a long spear in his hand. Gazing on him with amazement, he asked, "If the abbot had not another habit, or a different staff, from that which he now carried before him?" On their answering, "No!" he replied, "I have seen indeed and heard this day a wonderful novelty!" and from that hour he returned home, and finished his labours and researches. This wicked people boasts, that a certain bishop {144} of their church (for it formerly was a cathedral) was murdered by their predecessors; and on this account, chiefly, they ground their claims of right and possession. No public complaint having been made against their conduct, we have thought it more prudent to pass over, for the present, the enormities of this wicked race with dissimulation, than exasperate them by a further relation.


Of the river Devi, and the land of the sons of Conan

Approaching to the river Devi, {145} which divides North and South Wales, the bishop of St. David's, and Rhys the son of Gruffydd, who with a liberality peculiarly praiseworthy in so illustrious a prince, had accompanied us from the castle of Aberteivi, throughout all Cardiganshire, to this place, returned home. Having crossed the river in a boat, and quitted the diocese of St. David's, we entered the land of the sons of Conan, or Merionyth, the first province of Venedotia on that side of the country, and belonging to the bishopric of Bangor. {146} We slept that night at Towyn. Early next morning, Gruffydd son of Conan {147} came to meet us, humbly and devoutly asking pardon for having so long delayed his attention to the archbishop. On the same day, we ferried over the bifurcate river Maw, {148} where Malgo, son of Rhys, who had attached himself to the archbishop, as a companion to the king's court, discovered a ford near the sea. That night we lay at Llanvair, {149} that is the church of St. Mary, in the province of Ardudwy. {150} This territory of Conan, and particularly Merionyth, is the rudest and roughest district of all Wales; the ridges of its mountains are very high and narrow, terminating in sharp peaks, and so irregularly jumbled together, that if the shepherds conversing or disputing with each other from their summits, should agree to meet, they could scarcely effect their purpose in the course of the whole day. The lances of this country are very long; for as South Wales excels in the use of the bow, so North Wales is distinguished for its skill in the lance; insomuch that an iron coat of mail will not resist the stroke of a lance thrown at a small distance. The next morning, the youngest son of Conan, named Meredyth, met us at the passage of a bridge, attended by his people, where many persons were signed with the cross; amongst whom was a fine young man of his suite, and one of his intimate friends; and Meredyth, observing that the cloak, on which the cross was to be sewed, appeared of too thin and of too common a texture, with a flood of tears, threw him down his own.


Passage of Traeth Mawr and Traeth Bachan, and of Nevyn, Carnarvon, and Bangor

We continued our journey over the Traeth Mawr, {151} and Traeth Bachan, {152} that is, the greater and the smaller arm of the sea, where two stone castles have newly been erected; one called Deudraeth, belonging to the sons of Conan, situated in Evionyth, towards the northern mountains; the other named Carn Madryn, the property of the sons of Owen, built on the other side of the river towards the sea, on the head-land Lleyn. {153} Traeth, in the Welsh language, signifies a tract of sand flooded by the tides, and left bare when the sea ebbs. We had before passed over the noted rivers, the Dissenith, {154} between the Maw and Traeth Mawr, and the Arthro, between the Traeth Mawr and Traeth Bachan. We slept that night at Nevyn, on the eve of Palm Sunday, where the archdeacon, after long inquiry and research, is said to have found Merlin Sylvestris. {155}

Beyond Lleyn, there is a small island inhabited by very religious monks, called Caelibes, or Colidei. This island, either from the wholesomeness of its climate, owing to its vicinity to Ireland, or rather from some miracle obtained by the merits of the saints, has this wonderful peculiarity, that the oldest people die first, because diseases are uncommon, and scarcely any die except from extreme old age. Its name is Enlli in the Welsh, and Berdesey {156} in the Saxon language; and very many bodies of saints are said to be buried there, and amongst them that of Daniel, bishop of Bangor.

The archbishop having, by his sermon the next day, induced many persons to take the cross, we proceeded towards Banchor, passing through Caernarvon, {157} that is, the castle of Arvon; it is called Arvon, the province opposite to Mon, because it is so situated with respect to the island of Mona. Our road leading us to a steep valley, {158} with many broken ascents and descents, we dismounted from our horses, and proceeded on foot, rehearsing, as it were, by agreement, some experiments of our intended pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Having traversed the valley, and reached the opposite side with considerable fatigue, the archbishop, to rest himself and recover his breath, sat down on an oak which had been torn up by the violence of the winds; and relaxing into a pleasantry highly laudable in a person of his approved gravity, thus addressed his attendants: "Who amongst you, in this company, can now delight our wearied ears by whistling?" which is not easily done by people out of breath. He affirming that he could, if he thought fit, the sweet notes are heard, in an adjoining wood, of a bird, which some said was a woodpecker, and others, more correctly, an aureolus. The woodpecker is called in French, spec, and with its strong bill, perforates oak trees; the other bird in called aureolus, from the golden tints of its feathers, and at certain seasons utters a sweet whistling note instead of a song. Some persons having remarked, that the nightingale was never heard in this country, the archbishop, with a significant smile, replied, "The nightingale followed wise counsel, and never came into Wales; but we, unwise counsel, who have penetrated and gone through it." We remained that night at Banchor, {159} the metropolitan see of North Wales, and were well entertained by the bishop of the diocese. {160} On the next day, mass being celebrated by the archbishop before the high altar, the bishop of that see, at the instance of the archbishop and other persons, more importunate than persuasive, was compelled to take the cross, to the general concern of all his people of both sexes, who expressed their grief on this occasion by loud and lamentable vociferations.


The island of Mona

From hence, we crossed over a small arm of the sea to the island of Mona, {161} distant from thence about two miles, where Roderic, the younger son of Owen, attended by nearly all the inhabitants of the island, and many others from the adjacent countries, came in a devout manner to meet us. Confession having been made in a place near the shore, where the surrounding rocks seemed to form a natural theatre, {162} many persons were induced to take the cross, by the persuasive discourses of the archbishop, and Alexander, our interpreter, archdeacon of that place, and of Sisillus, abbot of Stratflur. Many chosen youths of the family of Roderic were seated on an opposite rock, and not one of them could be prevailed upon to take the cross, although the archbishop and others most earnestly exhorted them, but in vain, by an address particularly directed to them. It came to pass within three days, as if by divine vengeance, that these young men, with many others, pursued some robbers of that country. Being discomfited and put to flight, some were slain, others mortally wounded, and the survivors voluntarily assumed that cross they had before despised. Roderic, also, who a short time before had incestuously married the daughter of Rhys, related to him by blood in the third degree, in order, by the assistance of that prince, to be better able to defend himself against the sons of his brothers, whom he had disinherited, not paying attention to the wholesome admonitions of the archbishop on this subject, was a little while afterwards dispossessed of all his lands by their means; thus deservedly meeting with disappointment from the very source from which he expected support. The island of Mona contains three hundred and forty-three vills, considered equal to three cantreds. Cantred, a compound word from the British and Irish languages, is a portion of land equal to one hundred vills. There are three islands contiguous to Britain, on its different sides, which are said to be nearly of an equal size - the Isle of Wight on the south, Mona on the west, and Mania (Man) on the north-west side. The two first are separated from Britain by narrow channels; the third is much further removed, lying almost midway between the countries of Ulster in Ireland and Galloway in Scotland. The island of Mona is an arid and stony land, rough and unpleasant in its appearance, similar in its exterior qualities to the land of Pebidion, {163} near St. David's, but very different as to its interior value. For this island is incomparably more fertile in corn than any other part of Wales, from whence arose the British proverb, "Mon mam Cymbry, Mona mother of Wales;" and when the crops have been defective in all other parts of the country, this island, from the richness of its soil and abundant produce, has been able to supply all Wales.

As many things within this island are worthy of remark, I shall not think it superfluous to make mention of some of them. There is a stone here resembling a human thigh, {164} which possesses this innate virtue, that whatever distance it may be carried, it returns, of its own accord, the following night, as has often been experienced by the inhabitants. Hugh, earl of Chester, {165} in the reign of king Henry I., having by force occupied this island and the adjacent country, heard of the miraculous power of this stone, and, for the purpose of trial, ordered it to be fastened, with strong iron chains, to one of a larger size, and to be thrown into the sea. On the following morning, however, according to custom, it was found in its original position, on which account the earl issued a public edict, that no one, from that time, should presume to move the stone from its place. A countryman, also, to try the powers of this stone, fastened it to his thigh, which immediately became putrid, and the stone returned to its original situation.

There is in the same island a stony hill, not very large or high, from one side of which, if you cry aloud, you will not be heard on the other; and it is called (by anti-phrasis) the rock of hearers. In the northern part of Great Britain (Northumberland) so named by the English, from its situation beyond the river Humber, there is a hill of a similar nature, where if a loud horn or trumpet is sounded on one side, it cannot be heard on the opposite one. There is also in this island the church of St. Tefredaucus, {166} into which Hugh, earl of Shrewsbury, (who, together with the earl of Chester, had forcibly entered Anglesey), on a certain night put some dogs, which on the following morning were found mad, and he himself died within a month; for some pirates, from the Orcades, having entered the port of the island in their long vessels, the earl, apprised of their approach, boldly met them, rushing into the sea upon a spirited horse. The commander of the expedition, Magnus, standing on the prow of the foremost ship, aimed an arrow at him; and, although the earl was completely equipped in a coat of mail, and guarded in every part of his body except his eyes, the unlucky weapon struck his right eye, and, entering his brain, he fell a lifeless corpse into the sea. The victor, seeing him in this state, proudly and exultingly exclaimed, in the Danish tongue, "Leit loup," let him leap; and from this time the power of the English ceased in Anglesey. In our times, also, when Henry II. was leading an army into North Wales, where he had experienced the ill fortune of war in a narrow, woody pass near Coleshulle, he sent a fleet into Anglesey, and began to plunder the aforesaid church, and other sacred places. But the divine vengeance pursued him, for the inhabitants rushed upon the invaders, few against many, unarmed against armed; and having slain great numbers, and taken many prisoners, gained a most complete and bloody victory. For, as our Topography of Ireland testifies, that the Welsh and Irish are more prone to anger and revenge than any other nations, the saints, likewise, of those countries appear to be of a more vindictive nature.

Two noble persons, and uncles of the author of this book, were sent thither by the king; namely, Henry, son of king Henry I., and uncle to king Henry II., by Nest, daughter of Rhys, prince of South Wales; and Robert Fitz-Stephen, brother to Henry, a man who in our days, shewing the way to others, first attacked Ireland, and whose fame is recorded in our Vaticinal History. Henry, actuated by too much valour, and ill supported, was pierced by a lance, and fell amongst the foremost, to the great concern of his attendants; and Robert, despairing of being able to defend himself, was badly wounded, and escaped with difficulty to the ships.

There is a small island, almost adjoining to Anglesey, which is inhabited by hermits, living by manual labour, and serving God. It is remarkable that when, by the influence of human passions, any discord arises among them, all their provisions are devoured and infected by a species of small mice, with which the island abounds; but when the discord ceases, they are no longer molested. Nor is it to be wondered at, if the servants of God sometimes disagree, since Jacob and Esau contended in the womb of Rebecca, and Paul and Barnabas differed; the disciples also of Jesus disputed which of them should be the greatest, for these are the temptations of human infirmity; yet virtue is often made perfect by infirmity, and faith is increased by tribulations. This island is called in Welsh, Ynys Lenach, {167} or the ecclesiastical island, because many bodies of saints are deposited there, and no woman is suffered to enter it.

We saw in Anglesey a dog, who accidentally had lost his tail, and whose whole progeny bore the same defect. It is wonderful that nature should, as it were, conform itself in this particular to the accident of the father. We saw also a knight, named Earthbald, born in Devonshire, whose father, denying the child with which his mother was pregnant, and from motives of jealousy accusing her of inconstancy, nature alone decided the controversy by the birth of the child, who, by a miracle, exhibited on his upper lip a scar, similar to one his father bore in consequence of a wound he had received from a lance in one of his military expeditions. Stephen, the son of Earthbald, had a similar mark, the accident being in a manner converted into nature. A like miracle of nature occurred in earl Alberic, son of Alberic earl of Veer, {168} whose father, during the pregnancy of his mother, the daughter of Henry of Essex, having laboured to procure a divorce, on account of the ignominy of her father, the child, when born, had the same blemish in its eye, as the father had got from a casual hurt. These defects may be entailed on the offspring, perhaps, by the impression made on the memory by frequent and steady observation; as it is reported that a queen, accustomed to see the picture of a negro in her chamber, unexpectedly brought forth a black child, and is exculpated by Quintilian, on account of the picture. In like manner it happened to the spotted sheep, given by Laban out of his flock to his nephew Jacob, and which conceived by means of variegated rods. {169} Nor is the child always affected by the mother's imagination alone, but sometimes by that of the father; for it is well known that a man, seeing a passenger near him, who was convulsed both behind and before, on going home and telling his wife that he could not get the impression of this sight off his mind, begat a child who was affected in a similar manner.


Passage of the river Conwy in a boat, and of Dinas Emrys

On our return to Banchor from Mona, we were shown the tombs of prince Owen and his younger brother Cadwalader, {170} who were buried in a double vault before the high altar, although Owen, on account of his public incest with his cousin-german, had died excommunicated by the blessed martyr St. Thomas, the bishop of that see having been enjoined to seize a proper opportunity of removing his body from the church. We continued our journey on the sea coast, confined on one side by steep rocks, and by the sea on the other, towards the river Conwy, which preserves its waters unadulterated by the sea. Not far from the source of the river Conwy, at the head of the Eryri mountain, which on this side extends itself towards the north, stands Dinas Emrys, that is, the promontory of Ambrosius, where Merlin {171} uttered his prophecies, whilst Vortigern was seated upon the bank. There were two Merlins; the one called Ambrosius who prophesied in the time of king Vortigern, was begotten by a demon incubus, and found at Caermardin, from which circumstance that city derived its name of Caermardin, or the city of Merlin; the other Merlin, born in Scotland, was named Celidonius, from the Celidonian wood in which he prophesied; and Sylvester, because when engaged in martial conflict, he discovered in the air a terrible monster, and from that time grew mad, and taking shelter in a wood, passed the remainder of his days in a savage state. This Merlin lived in the time of king Arthur, and is said to have prophesied more fully and explicitly than the other. I shall pass over in silence what was done by the sons of Owen in our days, after his death, or while he was dying, who, from the wicked desire of reigning, totally disregarded the ties of fraternity; but I shall not omit mentioning another event which occurred likewise in our days. Owen, {172} son of Gruffyth, prince of North Wales, had many sons, but only one legitimate, namely, Iorwerth Drwyndwn, which in Welsh means flat-nosed, who had a son named Llewelyn. This young man, being only twelve years of age, began, during the period of our journey, to molest his uncles David and Roderic, the sons of Owen by Christiana, his cousin-german; and although they had divided amongst themselves all North Wales, except the land of Conan, and although David, having married the sister of king Henry II., by whom he had one son, was powerfully supported by the English, yet within a few years the legitimate son, destitute of lands or money (by the aid of divine vengeance), bravely expelled from North Wales those who were born in public incest, though supported by their own wealth and by that of others, leaving them nothing but what the liberality of his own mind and the counsel of good men from pity suggested: a proof that adulterous and incestuous persons are displeasing to God.


Of the mountains of Eryri

I must not pass over in silence the mountains called by the Welsh Eryri, but by the English Snowdon, or Mountains of Snow, which gradually increasing from the land of the sons of Conan, and extending themselves northwards near Deganwy, seem to rear their lofty summits even to the clouds, when viewed from the opposite coast of Anglesey. They are said to be of so great an extent, that according to an ancient proverb, "As Mona could supply corn for all the inhabitants of Wales, so could the Eryri mountains afford sufficient pasture for all the herds, if collected together." Hence these lines of Virgil may be applied to them:-

"Et quantum longis carpent armenta diebus,
Exigua tautum gelidus ros nocte reponet."

"And what is cropt by day the night renews,
Shedding refreshful stores of cooling dews."

On the highest parts of these mountains are two lakes worthy of admiration. The one has a floating island in it, which is often driven from one side to the other by the force of the winds; and the shepherds behold with astonishment their cattle, whilst feeding, carried to the distant parts of the lake. A part of the bank naturally bound together by the roots of willows and other shrubs may have been broken off, and increased by the alluvion of the earth from the shore; and being continually agitated by the winds, which in so elevated a situation blow with great violence, it cannot reunite itself firmly with the banks. The other lake is noted for a wonderful and singular miracle. It contains three sorts of fish - eels, trout, and perch, all of which have only one eye, the left being wanting; but if the curious reader should demand of me the explanation of so extraordinary a circumstance, I cannot presume to satisfy him. It is remarkable also, that in two places in Scotland, one near the eastern, the other near the western sea, the fish called mullets possess the same defect, having no left eye. According to vulgar tradition, these mountains are frequented by an eagle who, perching on a fatal stone every fifth holiday, in order to satiate her hunger with the carcases of the slain, is said to expect war on that same day, and to have almost perforated the stone by cleaning and sharpening her beak.


Of the passage by Deganwy and Ruthlan, and the see of Lanelwy, and of Coleshulle

Having crossed the river Conwy, {173} or rather an arm of the sea, under Deganwy, leaving the Cistercian monastery of Conwy {174} on the western bank of the river to our right hand, we arrived at Ruthlan, a noble castle on the river Cloyd, belonging to David, the eldest son of Owen {175} where, at the earnest invitation of David himself, we were handsomely entertained that night.

There is a spring not far from Ruthlan, in the province of Tegengel, {176} which not only regularly ebbs and flows like the sea, twice in twenty-four hours, but at other times frequently rises and falls both by night and day. Trogus Pompeius says, "that there is a town of the Garamantes, where there is a spring which is hot and cold alternately by day and night." {177}

Many persons in the morning having been persuaded to dedicate themselves to the service of Christ, we proceeded from Ruthlan to the small cathedral church of Lanelwy; {178} from whence (the archbishop having celebrated mass) we continued our journey through a country rich in minerals of silver, where money is sought in the bowels of the earth, to the little cell of Basinwerk, {179} where we passed the night. The following day we traversed a long quicksand, and not without some degree of apprehension, leaving the woody district of Coleshulle, {180} or hill of coal, on our right hand, where Henry II., who in our time, actuated by youthful and indiscreet ardour, made a hostile irruption into Wales, and presuming to pass through that narrow and woody defile, experienced a signal defeat, and a very heavy loss of men. {181} The aforesaid king invaded Wales three times with an army; first, North Wales at the above-mentioned place; secondly, South Wales, by the sea-coast of Glamorgan and Goer, penetrating as far as Caermarddin and Pencadair, and returning by Ellennith and Melenith; and thirdly, the country of Powys, near Oswaldestree; but in all these expeditions the king was unsuccessful, because he placed no confidence in the prudent and well-informed chieftains of the country, but was principally advised by people remote from the marches, and ignorant of the manners and customs of the natives. In every expedition, as the artificer is to be trusted in his trade, so the advice of those people should be consulted, who, by a long residence in the country, are become conversant with the manners and customs of the natives; and to whom it is of high importance that the power of the hostile nation, with whom, by a long and continued warfare, they have contracted an implacable enmity and hatred, should be weakened or destroyed, as we have set forth in our Vaticinal History.

In this wood of Coleshulle, a young Welshman was killed while passing through the king's army; the greyhound who accompanied him did not desert his master's corpse for eight days, though without food; but faithfully defended it from the attacks of dogs, wolves, and birds of prey, with a wonderful attachment. What son to his father, what Nisus to Euryalus, what Polynices to Tydeus, what Orestes to Pylades, would have shewn such an affectionate regard? As a mark of favour to the dog, who was almost starved to death, the English, although bitter enemies to the Welsh, ordered the body, now nearly putrid, to be deposited in the ground with the accustomed offices of humanity.


Of the passage of the River Dee, and of Chester

Having crossed the river Dee below Chester, (which the Welsh call Doverdwy), on the third day before Easter, or the day of absolution (holy Thursday), we reached Chester. As the river Wye towards the south separates Wales from England, so the Dee near Chester forms the northern boundary. The inhabitants of these parts assert, that the waters of this river change their fords every month, and, as it inclines more towards England or Wales, they can, with certainty, prognosticate which nation will be successful or unfortunate during the year. This river derives its origin from the lake Penmelesmere, {182} and, although it abounds with salmon, yet none are found in the lake. It is also remarkable, that this river is never swollen by rains, but often rises by the violence of the winds.

Chester boasts of being the burial-place of Henry, {183} a Roman emperor, who, after having imprisoned his carnal and spiritual father, pope Paschal, gave himself up to penitence; and, becoming a voluntary exile in this country, ended his days in solitary retirement. It is also asserted, that the remains of Harold are here deposited. He was the last of the Saxon kings in England, and as a punishment for his perjury, was defeated in the battle of Hastings, fought against the Normans. Having received many wounds, and lost his left eye by an arrow in that engagement, he is said to have escaped to these parts, where, in holy conversation, leading the life of an anchorite, and being a constant attendant at one of the churches of this city, he is believed to have terminated his days happily. {184} The truth of these two circumstances was declared (and not before known) by the dying confession of each party. We saw here, what appeared novel to us, cheese made of deer's milk; for the countess and her mother keeping tame deer, presented to the archbishop three small cheeses made from their milk.

In this same country was produced, in our time, a cow partaking of the nature of a stag, resembling its mother in the fore parts and the stag in its hips, legs, and feet, and having the skin and colour of the stag; but, partaking more of the nature of the domestic than of the wild animal, it remained with the herd of cattle. A bitch also was pregnant by a monkey, and produced a litter of whelps resembling a monkey before, and the dog behind; which the rustic keeper of the military hall seeing with astonishment and abhorrence, immediately killed with the stick he carried in his hand; thereby incurring the severe resentment and anger of his lord, when the latter became acquainted with the circumstance.

In our time, also, a woman was born in Chester without hands, to whom nature had supplied a remedy for that defect by the flexibility and delicacy of the joints of her feet, with which she could sew, or perform any work with thread or scissors, as well as other women.


Of the journey by the White Monastery, Oswaldestree, Powys, and

The feast of Easter having been observed with due solemnity, and many persons, by the exhortations of the archbishop, signed with the cross, we directed our way from Chester to the White Monastery, {185} and from thence towards Oswaldestree; where, on the very borders of Powys, we were met by Gruffydd son of Madoc, and Elissa, princes of that country, and many others; some few of whom having been persuaded to take the cross (for several of the multitude had been previously signed by Reiner, {186} the bishop of that place), Gruffydd, prince of the district, publicly adjured, in the presence of the archbishop, his cousin-german, Angharad, daughter of prince Owen, whom, according to the vicious custom of the country, he had long considered as his wife. We slept at Oswaldestree, or the tree of St. Oswald, and were most sumptuously entertained after the English manner, by William Fitz-Alan, {187} a noble and liberal young man. A short time before, whilst Reiner was preaching, a robust youth being earnestly exhorted to follow the example of his companions in taking the cross, answered, "I will not follow your advice until, with this lance which I bear in my hand, I shall have avenged the death of my lord," alluding to Owen, son of Madoc, a distinguished warrior, who had been maliciously and treacherously slain by Owen Cyfeilioc, his cousin-german; and while he was thus venting his anger and revenge, and violently brandishing his lance, it suddenly snapped asunder, and fell disjointed in several pieces to the ground, the handle only remaining in his hand. Alarmed and astonished at this omen, which he considered as a certain signal for his taking the cross, he voluntarily offered his services.

In this third district of Wales, called Powys, there are most excellent studs put apart for breeding, and deriving their origin from some fine Spanish horses, which Robert de Belesme, {188} earl of Shrewsbury, brought into this country: on which account the horses sent from hence are remarkable for their majestic proportion and astonishing fleetness.

Here king Henry II. entered Powys, in our days, upon an expensive, though fruitless, expedition. {189} Having dismembered the hostages whom he had previously received, he was compelled, by a sudden and violent fall of rain, to retreat with his army. On the preceding day, the chiefs of the English army had burned some of the Welsh churches, with the villages and churchyards; upon which the sons of Owen the Great, with their light-armed troops, stirred up the resentment of their father and the other princes of the country, declaring that they would never in future spare any churches of the English. When nearly the whole army was on the point of assenting to this determination, Owen, a man of distinguished wisdom and moderation - the tumult being in some degree subsided - thus spake: "My opinion, indeed, by no means agrees with yours, for we ought to rejoice at this conduct of our adversary; for, unless supported by divine assistance, we are far inferior to the English; and they, by their behaviour, have made God their enemy, who is able most powerfully to avenge both himself and us. We therefore most devoutly promise God that we will henceforth pay greater reverence than ever to churches and holy places." After which, the English army, on the following night, experienced (as has before been related) the divine vengeance.

From Oswaldestree, we directed our course towards Shrewsbury (Salopesburia), which is nearly surrounded by the river Severn, where we remained a few days to rest and refresh ourselves; and where many people were induced to take the cross, through the elegant sermons of the archbishop and archdeacon. We also excommunicated Owen de Cevelioc, because he alone, amongst the Welsh princes, did not come to meet the archbishop with his people. Owen was a man of more fluent speech than his contemporary princes, and was conspicuous for the good management of his territory. Having generally favoured the royal cause, and opposed the measures of his own chieftains, he had contracted a great familiarity with king Henry II. Being with the king at table at Shrewsbury, Henry, as a mark of peculiar honour and regard, sent him one of his own loaves; he immediately brake it into small pieces, like alms-bread, and having, like an almoner, placed them at a distance from him, he took them up one by one and ate them. The king requiring an explanation of this proceeding, Owen, with a smile, replied, "I thus follow the example of my lord;" keenly alluding to the avaricious disposition of the king, who was accustomed to retain for a long time in his own hands the vacant ecclesiastical benefices.

It is to be remarked that three princes, {190} distinguished for their justice, wisdom, and princely moderation, ruled, in our time, over the three provinces of Wales: Owen, son of Gruffydd, in Venedotia, or North Wales; Meredyth, his grandson, son of Gruffydd, who died early in life, in South Wales; and Owen de Cevelioc, in Powys. But two other princes were highly celebrated for their generosity; Cadwalader, son of Gruffydd, in North Wales, and Gruffydd of Maelor, son of Madoc, in Powys; and Rhys, son of Gruffydd, in South Wales, deserved commendation for his enterprising and independent spirit. In North Wales, David, son of Owen, and on the borders of Morgannoc, in South Wales, Howel, son of Iorwerth of Caerleon, maintained their good faith and credit, by observing a strict neutrality between the Welsh and English.


Of the journey by Wenloch, Brumfeld, the castle of Ludlow, and
Leominster, to Hereford

From Shrewsbury, we continued our journey towards Wenloch, by a narrow and rugged way, called Evil-street, where, in our time, a Jew, travelling with the archdeacon of the place, whose name was Sin (Peccatum), and the dean, whose name was Devil, towards Shrewsbury, hearing the archdeacon say, that his archdeaconry began at a place called Evil-street, and extended as far as Mal-pas, towards Chester, pleasantly told them, "It would be a miracle, if his fate brought him safe out of a country, whose archdeacon was Sin, whose dean the devil; the entrance to the archdeaconry Evil-street, and its exit Bad-pass." {191}

From Wenloch, we passed by the little cell of Brumfeld, {192} the noble castle of Ludlow, through Leominster to Hereford leaving on our right hand the districts of Melenyth and Elvel; thus (describing as it were a circle) we came to the same point from which we had commenced this laborious journey through Wales.

During this long and laudable legation, about three thousand men were signed with the cross; well skilled in the use of arrows and lances, and versed in military matters; impatient to attack the enemies of the faith; profitably and happily engaged for the service of Christ, if the expedition of the Holy Cross had been forwarded with an alacrity equal to the diligence and devotion with which the forces were collected. But by the secret, though never unjust, judgment of God, the journey of the Roman emperor was delayed, and dissensions arose amongst our kings. The premature and fatal hand of death arrested the king of Sicily, who had been the foremost sovereign in supplying the holy land with corn and provisions during the period of their distress. In consequence of his death, violent contentions arose amongst our princes respecting their several rights to the kingdom; and the faithful beyond sea suffered severely by want and famine, surrounded on all sides by enemies, and most anxiously waiting for supplies. But as affliction may strengthen the understanding, as gold is tried by fire, and virtue may be confirmed in weakness, these things are suffered to happen; since adversity (as Gregory testifies) opposed to good prayers is the probation of virtue, not the judgment of reproof. For who does not know how fortunate a circumstance it was that Paul went to Italy, and suffered so dreadful a shipwreck? But the ship of his heart remained unbroken amidst the waves of the sea.


A description of Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury {193}

Let it not be thought superfluous to describe the exterior and inward qualities of that person, the particulars of whose embassy, and as it were holy peregrination, we have briefly and succinctly related. He was a man of a dark complexion, of an open and venerable countenance, of a moderate stature, a good person, and rather inclined to be thin than corpulent. He was a modest and grave man, of so great abstinence and continence, that ill report scarcely ever presumed to say any thing against him; a man of few words; slow to anger, temperate and moderate in all his passions and affections; swift to hear, slow to speak; he was from an early age well instructed in literature, and bearing the yoke of the Lord from his youth, by the purity of his morals became a distinguished luminary to the people; wherefore voluntarily resigning the honour of the archlevite, {194} which he had canonically obtained, and despising the pomps and vanities of the world, he assumed with holy devotion the habit of the Cistercian order; and as he had been formerly more than a monk in his manners, within the space of a year he was appointed abbot, and in a few years afterwards preferred first to a bishopric, and then to an archbishopric; and having been found faithful in a little, had authority given him over much. But, as Cicero says, "Nature had made nothing entirely perfect;" when he came into power, not laying aside that sweet innate benignity which he had always shewn when a private man, sustaining his people with his staff rather than chastising them with rods, feeding them as it were with the milk of a mother, and not making use of the scourges of the father, he incurred public scandal for his remissness. So great was his lenity that he put an end to all pastoral rigour; and was a better monk than abbot, a better bishop than archbishop. Hence pope Urban addressed him; "Urban, servant of the servants of God, to the most fervent monk, to the warm abbot, to the luke-warm bishop, to the remiss archbishop, health, etc."

This second successor to the martyr Thomas, having heard of the insults offered to our Saviour and his holy cross, was amongst the first who signed themselves with the cross, and manfully assumed the office of preaching its service both at home and in the most remote parts of the kingdom. Pursuing his journey to the Holy Land, he embarked on board a vessel at Marseilles, and landed safely in a port at Tyre, from whence he proceeded to Acre, where he found our army both attacking and attacked, our forces dispirited by the defection of the princes, and thrown into a state of desolation and despair; fatigued by long expectation of supplies, greatly afflicted by hunger and want, and distempered by the inclemency of the air: finding his end approaching, he embraced his fellow subjects, relieving their wants by liberal acts of charity and pious exhortations, and by the tenor of his life and actions strengthened them in the faith; whose ways, life, and deeds, may he who is alone the "way, the truth, and the life," the way without offence, the truth without doubt, and the life without end, direct in truth, together with the whole body of the faithful, and for the glory of his name and the palm of faith which he hath planted, teach their hands to war, and their fingers to fight.


{1} It is a somewhat curious coincidence that the island of Barry is now owned by a descendant of Gerald de Windor's elder brother - the Earl of Plymouth.

{2} "Mirror of the Church," ii. 33.

{3} "Social England," vol. i. p. 342.

{4} Published in the first instance in the "Transactions of the Cymmrodaian Society," and subsequently amplified and brought out in book form.

{5} Introduction to Borrow's "Wild Wales" in the Everyman Series.

{6} Geoffrey, who ended his life as Bishop of St. Asaph, was supposed to have found the material for his "History of the British Kings" in a Welsh book, containing a history of the Britons, which Waltor Colenius, Archdeacon of Oxford, picked up during a journey in Brittany.

{7} Walter Map, another Archdeacon of Oxford, was born in Glamorganshire, the son of a Norman knight by a Welsh mother. Inter alia he was the author of a Welsh work on agriculture.

{8} Green, "Hist. Eng. People," i. 172.

{9} "England under the Angevin Kings," vol. ii. 457.

{10} Project Gutenberg has released "The Description of Wales" as a separate eText - David Price.

{11} Giraldus has committed an error in placing Urban III. at the head of the apostolic see; for he died at Ferrara in the month of October, A.D. 1187, and was succeeded by Gregory VIII., whose short reign expired in the month of December following. Clement III. was elected pontiff in the year 1188. Frederick I., surnamed Barbarossa, succeeded Conrad III. in the empire of Germany, in March, 1152, and was drowned in a river of Cilicia whilst bathing, in 1190. Isaac Angelus succeeded Andronicus I. as emperor of Constantinople, in 1185, and was dethroned in 1195. Philip II., surnamed Augustus, from his having been born in the month of August, was crowned at Rheims, in 1179, and died at Mantes, in 1223. William II., king of Sicily, surnamed the Good, succeeded in 1166 to his father, William the Bad, and died in 1189. Bela III., king of Hungary, succeeded to the throne in 1174, and died in 1196. Guy de Lusignan was crowned king of Jerusalem in 1186, and in the following year his city was taken by the victorious Saladin.

{12} New Radnor.

{13} Rhys ap Gruffydd was grandson to Rhys ap Tewdwr, prince of South Wales, who, in 1090, was slain in an engagement with the Normans. He was a prince of great talent, but great versatility of character, and made a conspicuous figure in Welsh history. He died in 1196, and was buried in the cathedral of St. David's; where his effigy, as well as that of his son Rhys Gryg, still remain in a good state of preservation.

{14} Peter de Leia, prior of the Benedictine monastery of Wenlock, in Shropshire, was the successful rival of Giraldus for the bishopric of Saint David's, vacant by the death of David Fitzgerald, the uncle of our author; but he did not obtain his promotion without considerable opposition from the canons, who submitted to the absolute sequestration of their property before they consented to his election, being desirous that the nephew should have succeeded his uncle. He was consecrated in 1176, and died in 1199.

{15} In the Latin of Giraldus, the name of Eineon is represented by AEneas, and Eineon Clyd by AEneas Claudius.

{16} Cruker Castle. The corresponding distance between Old and New Radnor evidently places this castle at Old Radnor, which was anciently called Pen-y-craig, Pencraig, or Pen-crug, from its situation on a rocky eminence. Cruker is a corruption, probably, from Crug-caerau, the mount, or height, of the fortifications.

{17} Buelth or Builth, a large market town on the north-west edge of the county of Brecon, on the southern banks of the Wye, over which there is a long and handsome bridge of stone. It had formerly a strong castle, the site and earthworks of which still remain, but the building is destroyed.

{18} Llan-Avan, a small church at the foot of barren mountains about five or six miles north-west of Buelth. The saint from whom it takes its name, was one of the sons of Cedig ab Cunedda; whose ancestor, Cunedda, king of the Britons, was the head of one of the three holy families of Britain. He is said to have lived in the beginning of the sixth century.

{19} Melenia, Warthrenion, Elevein, Elvenia, Melenyth, and Elvein, places mentioned in this first chapter, and varying in their orthography, were three different districts in Radnorshire: Melenyth is a hundred in the northern part of the county, extending into Montgomeryshire, in which is the church of Keri: Elvein retains in modern days the name of Elvel, and is a hundred in the southern part of the county, separated from Brecknockshire by the Wye; and Warthrenion, in which was the castle built by prince Rhys at Rhaiadyr-gwy, seems to have been situated between the other two. Warthrenion may more properly be called Gwyrthrynion, it was anciently one of the three comots of Arwystli, a cantref of Merioneth. In the year 1174, Melyenith was in the possession of Cadwallon ap Madawc, cousin german to prince Rhys; Elvel was held by Eineon Clyd and Gwyrthrynion by Eineon ap Rhys, both sons-in-law to that illustrious prince.

{20} The church of Saint Germanus is now known by the name of Saint Harmans, and is situated three or four miles from Rhaiadyr, in Radnorshire, on the right-hand of the road from thence to Llanidloes; it is a small and simple structure, placed on a little eminence, in a dreary plain surrounded by mountains.

{21} Several churches in Wales have been dedicated to Saint Curig, who came into Wales in the seventh century.

{22} Glascum is a small village in a mountainous and retired situation between Builth and Kington, in Herefordshire.

{23} Bangu. - This was a hand bell kept in all the Welsh churches, which the clerk or sexton took to the house of the deceased on the day of the funeral: when the procession began, a psalm was sung; the bellman then sounded his bell in a solemn manner for some time, till another psalm was concluded; and he again sounded it at intervals, till the funeral arrived at the church.

{24} Rhaiadyr, called also Rhaiader-gwy, is a small village and market-town in Radnorshire. The site only of the castle, built by prince Rhys, A.D. 1178, now remains at a short distance from the village; it was strongly situated on a natural rock above the river Wye, which, below the bridge, forms a cataract.

{25} Llywel, a small village about a mile from Trecastle, on the great road leading from thence to Llandovery; it was anciently a township, and by charter of Philip and Mary was attached to the borough of Brecknock, by the name of Trecastle ward.

{26} Leland, in his description of this part of Wales, mentions a lake in Low Elvel, or Elvenia, which may perhaps be the same as that alluded to in this passage of Giraldus. "There is a llinne in Low Elvel within a mile of Payne's castel by the church called Lanpeder. The llinne is caullid Bougklline, and is of no great quantite, but is plentiful of pike, and perche, and eles." - Leland, Itin. tom. v. p. 72.

{27} Hay. - A pleasant market-town on the southern banks of the river Wye, over which there is a bridge. It still retains some marks of baronial antiquity in the old castle, within the present town, the gateway of which is tolerably perfect. A high raised tumulus adjoining the church marks the site of the more ancient fortress. The more modern and spacious castle owes its foundation probably to one of those Norman lords, who, about the year 1090, conquered this part of Wales. Little notice is taken of this castle in the Welsh chronicles; but we are informed that it was destroyed in 1231, by Henry II., and that it was refortified by Henry III.

{28} Llanddew, a small village, about two miles from Brecknock, on the left of the road leading from thence to Hay; its manor belongs to the bishops of Saint David's, who had formerly a castellated mansion there, of which some ruins still remain. The tithes of this parish are appropriated to the archdeaconry of Brecknock, and here was the residence of our author Giraldus, which he mentions in several of his writings, and alludes to with heartfelt satisfaction at the end of the third chapter of this Itinerary.

{29} Aberhodni, the ancient name of the town and castle of Brecknock, derived from its situation at the confluence of the river Hodni with the Usk. The castle and two religious buildings, of which the remains are still extant, owed their foundation to Bernard de Newmarch, a Norman knight, who, in the year 1090, obtained by conquest the lordship of Brecknock. [The modern Welsh name is Aberhonddu.]

{30} Iestyn ap Gwrgant was lord of the province of Morganwg, or
Glamorgan, and a formidable rival to Rhys ap Tewdwr, prince of South
Wales; but unable to cope with him in power, he prevailed on Robert
Fitzhamon, a Norman knight, to come to his assistance.

{31} This little river rises near the ruins of Blanllyfni castle, between Llangorse pool and the turnpike road leading from Brecknock to Abergavenny, and empties itself into the river Usk, near Glasbury.

{32} A pretty little village on the southern banks of the Usk, about four miles from Hay, on the road leading to Brecknock.

{33} The great desolation here alluded to, is attributed by Dr. Powel to Howel and Meredyth, sons of Edwyn ap Eineon; not to Howel, son of Meredith. In the year 1021, they conspired against Llewelyn ap Sitsyllt, and slew him: Meredith was slain in 1033, and Howel in 1043.

{34} William de Breusa, or Braose, was by extraction a Norman, and had extensive possessions in England, as well as Normandy: he was succeeded by his son Philip, who, in the reign of William Rufus, favoured the cause of king Henry against Robert Curthose, duke of Normandy; and being afterwards rebellious to his sovereign, was disinherited of his lands. By his marriage with Berta, daughter of Milo, earl of Hereford, he gained a rich inheritance in Brecknock, Overwent, and Gower. He left issue two sons: William and Philip: William married Maude de Saint Wallery, and succeeded to the great estate of his father and mother, which he kept in peaceable possession during the reigns of king Henry II. and king Richard I. In order to avoid the persecutions of king John, he retired with his family to Ireland; and from thence returned into Wales; on hearing of the king's arrival in Ireland, his wife Maude fled with her sons into Scotland, where she was taken prisoner, and in the year 1210 committed, with William, her son and heir, to Corf castle, and there miserably starved to death, by order of king John; her husband, William de Braose, escaped into France, disguised, and dying there, was buried in the abbey church of Saint Victor, at Paris. The family of Saint Walery, or Valery, derived their name from a sea- port in France.

{35} A small church dedicated to Saint David, in the suburbs of Brecknock, on the great road leading from thence to Trecastle. "The paroche of Llanvays, Llan-chirch-Vais extra, ac si diceres, extra muros. It standeth betwixt the river of Uske and Tyrtorelle brooke, that is, about the lower ende of the town of Brekenok." - Leland, Itin. tom. v. p. 69.

{36} David Fitzgerald was promoted to the see of Saint David's in 1147, or according to others, in 1149. He died A.D. 1176.

{37} Now Howden, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

{38} Osred was king of the Northumbrians, and son of Alfred. He commenced to reign in A.D. 791, but was deprived of his crown the following year.

{39} St. Kenelm was the only son and heir of Kenulfus, king of the Mercians, who left him under the care of his two sisters, Quendreda and Bragenilda. The former, blinded by ambition, resolved to destroy the innocent child, who stood between her and the throne; and for that purpose prevailed on Ascebert, who attended constantly on the king, to murder him privately, giving him hopes, in case he complied with her wishes, of making him her partner in the kingdom. Under the pretence of diverting his young master, this wicked servant led him into a retired vale at Clent, in Staffordshire, and having murdered him, dug a pit, and cast his body into it, which was discovered by a miracle, and carried in solemn procession to the abbey of Winchelcomb. In the parish of Clent is a small chapel dedicated to this saint.

{40} Winchelcumbe, or Winchcomb, in the lower part of the hundred of Kiftsgate, in Gloucestershire, a few miles to the north of Cheltenham.

{41} St. Kynauc, who flourished about the year 492, was the reputed son of Brychan, lord of Brecknock, by Benadulved, daughter of Benadyl, a prince of Powis, whom he seduced during the time of his detention as an hostage at the court of her father. He is said to have been murdered upon the mountain called the Van, and buried in the church of Merthyr Cynawg, or Cynawg the Martyr, near Brecknock, which is dedicated to his memory.

{42} In Welsh, Illtyd, which has been latinised into Iltutus, as in the instance of St. Iltutus, the celebrated disciple of Germanus, and the master of the learned Gildas, who founded a college for the instruction of youth at Llantwit, on the coast of Glamorganshire; but I do not conceive this to be the same person. The name of Ty- Illtyd, or St. Illtyd's house, is still known as Llanamllech, but it is applied to one of those monuments of Druidical antiquity called a cistvaen, erected upon an eminence named Maenest, at a short distance from the village. A rude, upright stone stood formerly on one side of it, and was called by the country people Maen Illtyd, or Illtyd's stone, but was removed about a century ago. A well, the stream of which divides this parish from the neighbouring one of Llansaintfraid, is called Ffynnon Illtyd, or Illtyd's well. This was evidently the site of the hermitage mentioned by Giraldus.

{43} Lhanhamelach, or Llanamllech, is a small village, three miles from Brecknock, on the road to Abergavenny.

{44} The name of Newmarche appears in the chartulary of Battel abbey, as a witness to one of the charters granted by William the Conqueror to the monks of Battel in Sussex, upon his foundation of their house. He obtained the territory of Brecknock by conquest, from Bleddyn ap Maenarch, the Welsh regulus thereof, about the year 1092, soon after his countryman, Robert Fitzhamon, had reduced the county of Glamorgan. He built the present town of Brecknock, where he also founded a priory of Benedictine monks. According to Leland, he was buried in the cloister of the cathedral church at Gloucester, though the mutilated remains of an effigy and monument are still ascribed to him in the priory church at Brecknock.

{45} Brecheinoc, now Brecknockshire, had three cantreds or hundreds, and eight comots. - 1. Cantref Selef with the comots of Selef and Trahayern. - 2. Cantref Canol, or the middle hundred, with the comots Talgarth, Ystradwy, and Brwynlys, or Eglyws Yail. - 3. Cantref Mawr, or the great hundred, with the comots of Tir Raulff Llywel, and Cerrig Howel. - Powel's description of Wales, p. 20.

{46} Milo was son to Walter, constable of England in the reign of Henry I., and Emme his wife, one of the daughters of Dru de Baladun, sister to Hameline de Baladun, a person of great note, who came into England with William the Conqueror, and, being the first lord of Overwent in the county of Monmouth, built the castle of Abergavenny. He was wounded by an arrow while hunting, on Christmas eve, in 1144, and was buried in the chapter-house of Lanthoni, near Gloucester.

{47} Walter de Clifford. The first of this ancient family was called Ponce; he had issue three sons, Walter, Drogo or Dru, and Richard. The Conqueror's survey takes notice of the two former, but from Richard the genealogical line is preserved, who, being called Richard de Pwns, obtained, as a gift from king Henry I., the cantref Bychan, or little hundred, and the castle of Llandovery, in Wales; he left three sons, Simon, Walter, and Richard. The Walter de Clifford here mentioned was father to the celebrated Fair Rosamond, the favourite of king Henry II.; and was succeeded by his eldest son, Walter, who married Margaret, daughter to Llewelyn, prince of Wales, and widow of John de Braose.

{48} Brendlais, or Brynllys, is a small village on the road between Brecknock and Hay, where a stately round tower marks the site of the ancient castle of the Cliffords, in which the tyrant Mahel lost his life.

{49} St. Almedha, though not included in the ordinary lists, is said to have been a daughter of Brychan, and sister to St. Canoc, and to have borne the name of Elevetha, Aled, or Elyned, latinised into Almedha. The Welsh genealogists say, that she suffered martyrdom on a hill near Brecknock, where a chapel was erected to her memory; and William of Worcester says she was buried at Usk. Mr. Hugh Thomas (who wrote an essay towards the history of Brecknockshire in the year 1698) speaks of the chapel as standing, though unroofed and useless, in his time; the people thereabouts call it St. Tayled. It was situated on an eminence, about a mile to the eastward of Brecknock, and about half a mile from a farm-house, formerly the mansion and residence of the Aubreys, lords of the manor of Slwch, which lordship was bestowed upon Sir Reginald Awbrey by Bernard Newmarche, in the reign of William Rufus. Some small vestiges of this building may still be traced, and an aged yew tree, with a well at its foot, marks the site near which the chapel formerly stood.

{50} This same habit is still (in Sir Richard Colt Hoare's time) used by the Welsh ploughboys; they have a sort of chaunt, consisting of half or even quarter notes, which is sung to the oxen at plough: the countrymen vulgarly supposing that the beasts are consoled to work more regularly and patiently by such a lullaby.

{51} The umber, or grayling, is still a plentiful and favourite fish in the rivers on the Welsh border.

{52} About the year 1113, "there was a talke through South Wales, of Gruffyth, the sonne of Rees ap Theodor, who, for feare of the king, had beene of a child brought up in Ireland, and had come over two yeares passed, which time he had spent privilie with his freends, kinsfolks, and affines; as with Gerald, steward of Penbrooke, his brother-in-law, and others. But at the last he was accused to the king, that he intended the kingdome of South Wales as his father had enjoied it, which was now in the king's hands; and that all the countrie hoped of libertie through him; therefore the king sent to take him. But Gryffyth ap Rees hering this, sent to Gruffyth ap Conan, prince of North Wales, desiring him of his aid, and that he might remaine safelie within his countrie; which he granted, and received him joiouslie for his father's sake." He afterwards proved so troublesome and successful an antagonist, that the king endeavoured by every possible means to get him into his power. To Gruffyth ap Conan he offered "mountaines of gold to send the said Gruffyth or his head to him." And at a subsequent period, he sent for Owen ap-Cadogan said to him, "Owen, I have found thee true and faithful unto me, therefore I desire thee to take or kill that murtherer, that doth so trouble my loving subjects." But Gruffyth escaped all the snares which the king had laid for him, and in the year 1137 died a natural and honourable death; he is styled in the Welsh chronicle, "the light, honor, and staie of South Wales;" and distinguished as the bravest, the wisest, the most merciful, liberal, and just, of all the princes of Wales. By his wife Gwenllian, the daughter of Gruffyth ap Conan, he left a son, commonly called the lord Rhys, who met the archbishop at Radnor, as is related in the first chapter of this Itinerary.

{53} This cantref, which now bears the name of Caeo, is placed, according to the ancient divisions of Wales, in the cantref Bychan, or little hundred, and not in the Cantref Mawr, or great hundred. A village between Lampeter in Cardiganshire and Llandovery in Caermarthenshire, still bears the name of Cynwil Caeo, and, from its picturesque situation and the remains of its mines, which were probably worked by the Romans, deserves the notice of the curious traveller.

{54} The lake of Brecheinoc bears the several names of Llyn Savaddan, Brecinau-mere, Llangorse, and Talyllyn Pool, the two latter of which are derived from the names of parishes on its banks. It is a large, though by no means a beautiful, piece of water, its banks being low and flat, and covered with rushes and other aquatic plants to a considerable distance from the shore. Pike, perch, and eels are the common fish of this water; tench and trout are rarely, I believe, (if ever), taken in it. The notion of its having swallowed up an ancient city is not yet quite exploded by the natives; and some will even attribute the name of Loventium to it; which is with much greater certainty fixed at Llanio-isau, between Lampeter and Tregaron, in Cardiganshire, on the northern banks of the river Teivi, where there are very considerable and undoubted remains of a large Roman city. The legend of the town at the bottom of the lake is at the same time very old.

{55} That chain of mountains which divides Brecknockshire from Caermarthenshire, over which the turnpike road formerly passed from Trecastle to Llandovery, and from which the river Usk derives its source.

{56} This mountain is now called, by way of eminence, the Van, or the height, but more commonly, by country people, Bannau Brycheinog, or the Brecknock heights, alluding to its two peaks. Our author, Giraldus, seems to have taken his account of the spring, on the summit of this mountain, from report, rather than from ocular testimony. I (Sir R. Colt Hoare) examined the summits of each peak very attentively, and could discern no spring whatever. The soil is peaty and very boggy. On the declivity of the southern side of the mountain, and at no considerable distance from the summit, is a spring of very fine water, which my guide assured me never failed. On the north-west side of the mountain is a round pool, in which possibly trout may have been sometimes found, but, from the muddy nature of its waters, I do not think it very probable; from this pool issues a small brook, which falls precipitously down the sides of the mountain, and pursuing its course through a narrow and well- wooded valley, forms a pretty cascade near a rustic bridge which traverses it. I am rather inclined think, that Giraldus confounded in his account the spring and the pool together.

{57} The first of these are now styled the Black Mountains, of which the Gadair Fawr is the principal, and is only secondary to the Van in height. The Black Mountains are an extensive range of hills rising to the east of Talgarth, in the several parishes of Talgarth, Llaneliew, and Llanigorn, in the county of Brecknock, and connected with the heights of Ewyas. The most elevated point is called Y Gadair, and, excepting the Brecknock Van (the Cadair Arthur of Giraldus), is esteemed the highest mountain in South Wales. The mountains of Ewyas are those now called the Hatterel Hills, rising above the monastery of Llanthoni, and joining the Black Mountains of Talgarth at Capel y Ffin, or the chapel upon the boundary, near which the counties of Hereford, Brecknock, and Monmouth form a point of union. But English writers have generally confounded all distinction, calling them indiscriminately the Black Mountains, or the Hatterel Hills.

{58} If we consider the circumstances of this chapter, it will appear very evidently, that the vale of Ewyas made no part of the actual Itinerary.

{59} Landewi Nant Hodeni, or the church of St. David on the Hodni, is now better known by the name of Llanthoni abbey. A small and rustic chapel, dedicated to St. David, at first occupied the site of this abbey; in the year 1103, William de Laci, a Norman knight, having renounced the pleasures of the world, retired to this sequestered spot, where he was joined in his austere profession by Ernicius, chaplain to queen Maude. In the year 1108, these hermits erected a mean church in the place of their hermitage, which was consecrated by Urban, bishop of Llandaff, and Rameline, bishop of Hereford, and dedicated to St. John the Baptist: having afterward received very considerable benefactions from Hugh de Laci, and gained the consent of Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, these same hermits founded a magnificent monastery for Black canons, of the order of St. Augustine, which they immediately filled with forty monks collected from the monasteries of the Holy Trinity in London, Merton in Surrey, and Colchester in Essex. They afterwards removed to Gloucester, where they built a church and spacious monastery, which, after the name of their former residence, they called Llanthoni; it was consecrated A.D. 1136, by Simon, bishop of Worcester, and Robert Betun bishop of Hereford, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

{60} The titles of mother and daughter are here applied to the mother church in Wales, and the daughter near Gloucester.

{61} William of Wycumb, the fourth prior of Llanthoni, succeeded to Robert de Braci, who was obliged to quit the monastery, on account of the hostile molestation it received from the Welsh. To him succeeded Clement, the sub-prior, and to Clement, Roger de Norwich.

{62} Walter de Laci came into England with William the Conqueror, and left three sons, Roger, Hugh, and Walter. Hugh de Laci was the lord of Ewyas, and became afterwards the founder of the convent of Llanthoni; his elder brother, Robert, held also four caracutes of land within the limits of the castle of Ewyas, which king William had bestowed on Walter, his father; but joining in rebellion against William Rufus, he was banished the kingdom, and all his lands were given to his brother Hugh, who died without issue.

{63} This anecdote is thus related by the historian Hollinshed: "Hereof it came on a time, whiles the king sojourned in France about his warres, which he held against king Philip, there came unto him a French priest, whose name was Fulco, who required the king in anywise to put from him three abominable daughters which he had, and to bestow them in marriage, least God punished him for them. 'Thou liest, hypocrite (said the king), to thy verie face; for all the world knoweth I have not one daughter.' 'I lie not (said the priest), for thou hast three daughters: one of them is called Pride, the second Covetousness, and the third Lecherie.' With that the king called to him his lords and barons, and said to them, 'This hypocrite heere hath required me to marry awaie my three daughters, which (as he saith) I cherish, nourish, foster, and mainteine; that is to say, Pride, Covetousness, and Lecherie: and now that I have found out necessarie and fit husbands for them, I will do it with effect, and seeks no more delaies. I therefore bequeath my pride to the high-minded Templars and Hospitallers, which are as proud as Lucifer himselfe; my covetousness I give unto the White Monks, otherwise called of the Cisteaux order, for they covet the divell and all; my lecherie I commit to the prelats of the church, who have most pleasure and felicitie therein.'"

{64} This small residence of the archdeacon was at Landeu, a place which has been described before: the author takes this opportunity of hinting at his love of literature, religion, and mediocrity.

{65} The last chapter having been wholly digressive, we must now recur back to Brecknock, or rather, perhaps, to our author's residence at Landeu, where we left him, and from thence accompany him to Abergavenny. It appears that from Landeu he took the road to Talgarth, a small village a little to the south east of the road leading from Brecknock to Hay; from whence, climbing up a steep ascent, now called Rhiw Cwnstabl, or the Constable's ascent, he crossed the black mountains of Llaneliew to the source of the Gronwy-fawr river, which rises in that eminence, and pursues its rapid course into the Vale of Usk. From thence a rugged and uneven track descends suddenly into a narrow glen, formed by the torrent of the Gronwy, between steep, impending mountains; bleak and barren for the first four or five miles, but afterwards wooded to the very margin of the stream. A high ledge of grassy hills on the left hand, of which the principal is called the Bal, or Y Fal, divides this formidable pass (the "Malus passus" of Giraldus) from the vale of Ewyas, in which stands the noble monastery of Llanthoni, "montibus suis inclusum," encircled by its mountains. The road at length emerging from this deep recess of Coed Grono, or Cwm Gronwy, the vale of the river Gronwy, crosses the river at a place called Pont Escob, or the Bishop's bridge, probably so called from this very circumstance of its having been now passed by the archbishop and his suite, and is continued through the forest of Moel, till it joins the Hereford road, about two miles from Abergavenny. This formidable defile is at least nine miles in length.

{66} In the vale of the Gronwy, about a mile above Pont Escob, there is a wood called Coed Dial, or the Wood of Revenge. Here again, by the modern name of the place, we are enabled to fix the very spot on which Richard de Clare was murdered. The Welsh Chronicle informs us, that "in 1135, Morgan ap Owen, a man of considerable quality and estate in Wales, remembering the wrong and injury he had received at the hands of Richard Fitz-Gilbert, slew him, together with his son Gilbert." The first of this great family, Richard de Clare, was the eldest son of Gislebert, surnamed Crispin, earl of Brion, in Normandy. This Richard Fitz-Gilbert came into England with William the Conqueror, and received from him great advancement in honour and possessions. On the death of the Conqueror, favouring the cause of Robert Curthose, he rebelled against William Rufus, but when that king appeared in arms before his castle at Tunbridge, he submitted; after which, adhering to Rufus against Robert, in 1091, he was taken prisoner, and shortly after the death of king Henry I., was assassinated, on his journey through Wales, in the manner already related.

{67} Hamelin, son of Dru de Baladun, who came into England with William the Conqueror, was the first lord of Over-Went, and built a castle at Abergavenny, on the same spot where, according to ancient tradition, a giant called Agros had erected a fortress. He died in the reign of William Rufus, and was buried in the priory which he had founded at Abergavenny; having no issue, he gave the aforesaid castle and lands to Brian de Insula, or Brian de Wallingford, his nephew, by his sister Lucia. The enormous excesses mentioned by Giraldus, as having been perpetrated in this part of Wales during his time, seem to allude to a transaction that took place in the castle of Abergavenny, in the year 1176, which is thus related by two historians, Matthew Paris and Hollinshed. "A.D. 1176, The same yeare, William de Breause having got a great number of Welshmen into the castle of Abergavennie, under a colourable pretext of communication, proposed this ordinance to be received of them with a corporall oth, 'That no traveller by the waie amongst them should beare any bow, or other unlawful weapon,' which oth, when they refused to take, because they would not stand to that ordinance, he condemned them all to death. This deceit he used towards them, in revenge of the death of his uncle Henrie of Hereford, whom upon Easter-even before they had through treason murthered, and were now acquited was the like againe." - Hollinshed, tom. ii. p. 95.

{68} Landinegat, or the church of St. Dingad, is now better known by the name of Dingatstow, or Dynastow, a village near Monmouth.

{69} [For the end of William de Braose, see footnote 34.]

{70} Leland divides this district into Low, Middle, and High Venteland, extending from Chepstow to Newport on one side, and to Abergavenny on the other; the latter of which, he says, "maketh the cumpace of Hye Venteland." He adds, "The soyle of al Venteland is of a darke reddische yerth ful of slaty stones, and other greater of the same color. The countrey is also sumwhat montayneus, and welle replenishid with woodes, also very fertyle of corne, but men there study more to pastures, the which be well inclosed." - Leland, Itin. tom. v. p. 6. Ancient Gwentland is now comprised within the county of Monmouth.

{71} William de Salso Marisco, who succeeded to the bishopric of Llandaff, A.D. 1185, and presided over that see during the time of Baldwin's visitation, in 1188.

{72} Alexander was the fourth archdeacon of the see of Bangor.

{73} Once at Usk, then at Caerleon, and afterwards on entering the town of Newport.

{74} Gouldcliffe, or Goldcliff, is situated a few miles S.E. of Newport, on the banks of the Severn. In the year 1113, Robert de Candos founded and endowed the church of Goldclive, and, by the advice of king Henry I., gave it to the abbey of Bec, in Normandy; its religious establishment consisted of a prior and twelve monks of the order of St. Benedict.

{75} [Geoffrey of Monmouth.]

{76} The Cistercian abbey here alluded to was known by the several names of Ystrat Marchel, Strata Marcella, Alba domus de Stratmargel, Vallis Crucis, or Pola, and was situated between Guilsfield and Welshpool, in Montgomeryshire. Authors differ in opinion about its original founder. Leland attributes it to Owen Cyveilioc, prince of Powys, and Dugdale to Madoc, the son of Gruffydh, giving for his authority the original grants and endowments of this abbey. According to Tanner, about the beginning of the reign of king Edward III., the Welsh monks were removed from hence into English abbeys, and English monks were placed here, and the abbey was made subject to the visitation of the abbot and convent of Buildwas, in Shropshire.

{77} Cardiff, i.e., the fortress on the river Taf.

{78} Gwentluc - so called from Gwent, the name of the province, and llug, open, to distinguish it from the upper parts of Wentland, is an extensive tract of flat, marshy ground, reaching from Newport to the shores of the river Severn.

{79} Nant Pencarn, or the brook of Pencarn. - After a very attentive examination of the country round Newport, by natives of that place, and from the information I have received on the subject, I am inclined to think that the river here alluded to was the Ebwy, which flows about a mile and a half south of Newport. Before the new turnpike road and bridge were made across Tredegar Park, the old road led to a ford lower down the river, and may still be travelled as far as Cardiff; and was probably the ford mentioned in the text, as three old farm-houses in its neighbourhood still retain the names of Great Pencarn, Little Pencarn, and Middle Pencarn.

{80} Robert Fitz-Hamon, earl of Astremeville, in Normandy, came into England with William the Conqueror; and, by the gift of William Rufus, obtained the honour of Gloucester. He was wounded with a spear at the siege of Falaise, in Normandy, died soon afterwards, and was buried, A.D. 1102, in the abbey of Tewkesbury, which he had founded. Leaving no male issue, king Henry gave his eldest daughter, Mabel, or Maude, who, in her own right, had the whole honour of Gloucester, to his illegitimate son Robert, who was advanced to the earldom of Gloucester by the king, his father. He died A.D. 1147, and left four sons: William, the personage here mentioned by Giraldus, who succeeded him in his titles and honours; Roger, bishop of Worcester, who died at Tours in France, A.D. 1179; Hamon, who died at the siege of Toulouse, A.D. 1159; and Philip.

{81} The Coychurch Manuscript quoted by Mr. Williams, in his History of Monmouthshire, asserts that Morgan, surnamed Mwyn-fawr, or the Gentle, the son of Athrwy, not having been elected to the chief command of the British armies, upon his father's death retired from Caerleon, and took up his residence in Glamorganshire, sometimes at Radyr, near Cardiff, and at other times at Margam; and from this event the district derived its name, quasi Gwlad-Morgan, the country of Morgan.

{82} St. Piranus, otherwise called St. Kiaran, or Piran, was an Irish saint, said to have been born in the county of Ossory, or of Cork, about the middle of the fourth century; and after that by his labours the Gospel had made good progress, he forsook all worldly things, and spent the remainder of his life in religious solitude. The place of his retirement was on the sea-coast of Cornwall, and not far from Padstow, where, as Camden informs us, there was a chapel on the sands erected to his memory. Leland has informed us, that the chapel of St. Perine, at Caerdiff, stood in Shoemaker Street.

{83} So called from a parish of that name in Glamorganshire, situated between Monk Nash and St. Donat's, upon the Bristol Channel.

{84} Barri Island is situated on the coast of Glamorganshire; and, according to Cressy, took its name from St. Baruc, the hermit, who resided, and was buried there. The Barrys in Ireland, as well as the family of Giraldus, who were lords of it, are said to have derived their names from this island. Leland, in speaking of this island, says, "The passage into Barrey isle at ful se is a flite shot over, as much as the Tamise is above the bridge. At low water, there is a broken causey to go over, or els over the shalow streamelet of Barrey-brook on the sands. The isle is about a mile in cumpace, and hath very good corne, grasse, and sum wood; the ferme of it worth a 10 pounds a yere. There ys no dwelling in the isle, but there is in the middle of it a fair little chapel of St. Barrok, where much pilgrimage was usid." [The "fair little chapel" has disappeared, and "Barry Island" is now, since the construction of the great dock, connected with the mainland, it is covered with houses, and its estimated capital value is now 250,000 pounds].

{85} William de Salso Marisco.

{86} The see of Llandaff is said to have been founded by the British king Lucius as early as the year 180.

{87} From Llandaff, our crusaders proceeded towards the Cistercian monastery of Margam, passing on their journey near the little cell of Benedictines at Ewenith, or Ewenny. This religious house was founded by Maurice de Londres towards the middle of the twelfth century. It is situated in a marshy plain near the banks of the little river Ewenny.

{88} The Cistercian monastery of Margam, justly celebrated for the extensive charities which its members exercised, was founded A.D. 1147, by Robert earl of Gloucester, who died in the same year. Of this once-famed sanctuary nothing now remains but the shell of its chapter-house, which, by neglect, has lost its most ornamental parts. When Mr. Wyndham made the tour of Wales in the year 1777, this elegant building was entire, and was accurately drawn and engraved by his orders.

{89} In continuing their journey from Neath to Swansea, our travellers directed their course by the sea-coast to the river Avon, which they forded, and, continuing their road along the sands, were probably ferried over the river Neath, at a place now known by the name of Breton Ferry, leaving the monastery of Neath at some distance to the right: from thence traversing another tract of sands, and crossing the river Tawe, they arrived at the castle of Swansea, where they passed the night.

{90} The monastery of Neath was situated on the banks of a river bearing the same name, about a mile to the westward of the town and castle. It was founded in 1112, by Richard de Grainville, or Greenefeld, and Constance, his wife, for the safety of the souls of Robert, earl of Gloucester, Maude, his wife, and William, his son. Richard de Grainville was one of the twelve Norman knights who accompanied Robert Fitz-Hamon, and assisted him in the conquest of Glamorganshire. In the time of Leland this abbey was in a high state of preservation, for he says, "Neth abbay of white monkes, a mile above Neth town, standing in the ripe of Neth, semid to me the fairest abbay of al Wales." - Leland, Itin. tom. v. p. 14. The remains of the abbey and of the adjoining priory-house are considerable; but this ancient retirement of the grey and white monks is now occupied by the inhabitants of the neighbouring copper- works.

{91} Gower, the western district of Glamorganshire, appears to have been first conquered by Henry de Newburg, earl of Warwick, soon after Robert, duke of Gloucester, had made the conquest of the other part of Glamorganshire.

{92} Sweynsei, Swansea, or Abertawe, situated at the confluence of the river Tawe with the Severn sea, is a town of considerable commerce, and much frequented during the summer months as a bathing- place. The old castle, now made use of as a prison, is so surrounded by houses in the middle of the town, that a stranger might visit Swansea without knowing that such a building existed. The Welsh Chronicle informs us, that it was built by Henry de Beaumont, earl of Warwick, and that in the year 1113 it was attacked by Gruffydd ap Rhys, but without success. This castle became afterwards a part of the possessions of the see of St. David's, and was rebuilt by bishop Gower. [The old castle is no longer used as a prison, but as the office of the "Cambria Daily Leader." It is significant that Swansea is still known to Welshmen, as in the days of Giraldus, as "Abertawe."]

{93} Lochor, or Llwchwr, was the Leucarum mentioned in the Itineraries, and the fifth Roman station on the Via Julia. This small village is situated on a tide-river bearing the same name, which divides the counties of Glamorgan and Caermarthen, and over which there is a ferry. "Lochor river partith Kidwelli from West Gowerlande." - Leland, Itin. tom. v. p. 23. [The ferry is no more. The river is crossed by a fine railway bridge.]

{94} Wendraeth, or Gwen-draeth, from gwen, white, and traeth, the sandy beach of the sea. There are two rivers of this name, Gwendraeth fawr, and Gwendraeth fychan, the great and the little Gwendraeth, of which Leland thus speaks: "Vendraeth Vawr and Vendraith Vehan risith both in Eskenning commote: the lesse an eight milys of from Kydwelli, the other about a ten, and hath but a little nesche of sand betwixt the places wher thei go into the se, about a mile beneth the towne of Kidwely."

{95} Cydweli was probably so called from cyd, a junction, and wyl, a flow, or gushing out, being situated near the junction of the rivers Gwendraeth fawr and fychan; but Leland gives its name a very singular derivation, and worthy of our credulous and superstitious author Giraldus. "Kidwely, otherwise Cathweli, i.e. Catti lectus, quia Cattus olim solebat ibi lectum in quercu facere: - There is a little towne now but newly made betwene Vendraith Vawr and Vendraith Vehan. Vendraith Vawr is half a mile of." - Leland, Itin. tom. v. p. 22.

{96} The scene of the battle fought between Gwenllian and Maurice de Londres is to this day called Maes Gwenllian, the plain or field of Gwenllian; and there is a tower in the castle of Cydweli still called Tyr Gwenllian. [Maes Gwenllian is now a small farm, one of whose fields is said to have been the scene of the battle.]

{97} The castle of Talachar is now better known by the name of Llaugharne.

{98} Much has been said and written by ancient authors respecting the derivation of the name of this city, which is generally allowed to be the Muridunum, or Maridunum, mentioned in the Roman itineraries. Some derive it from Caer and Merddyn, that is, the city of the prophet Merddyn; and others from Mur and Murddyn, which in the British language signify a wall. There can, however, be little doubt that it is derived simply from the Roman name Muridunum. The county gaol occupies the site of the old castle, a few fragments of which are seen intermixed with the houses of the town.

{99} Dinevor, the great castle, from dinas, a castle, and vawr, great, was in ancient times a royal residence of the princes of South Wales. In the year 876, Roderic the Great, having divided the principalities of North and South Wales, and Powys land, amongst his three sons, built for each of them a palace. The sovereignty of South Wales, with the castle of Dinevor, fell to the lot of Cadell. [The ruins of Dinevor Castle still crown the summit of the hill which overshadows the town of Llandilo, 12 miles from Carmarthen.]

{100} There is a spring very near the north side of Dinevor park wall, which bears the name of Nant-y-rhibo, or the bewitched brook, which may, perhaps, be the one here alluded to by Giraldus.

{101} Pencadair is a small village situated to the north of Carmarthen.

{102} Alba Domus was called in Welsh Ty Gwyn ar Daf, or the White House on the river Taf. In the history of the primitive British church, Ty Gwyn, or white house, is used in a sense equivalent to a charter-house. The White House College, or Bangor y Ty Gwyn, is pretended to have been founded about 480, by Paul Hen, or Paulius, a saint of the congregation of Illtyd. From this origin, the celebrated Cistercian monastery is said to have derived its establishment. Powel, in his chronicle, says, "For the first abbey or frier house that we read of in Wales, sith the destruction of the noble house of Bangor, which savoured not of Romish dregges, was the Tuy Gwyn, built the yeare 1146, and after they swarmed like bees through all the countrie." (Powel, p. 254.) - Authors differ with respect to the founder of this abbey; some have attributed it to Rhys ap Tewdwr, prince of South Wales; and others to Bernard, bishop of Saint David's, who died about the year 1148. The latter account is corroborated by the following passage in Wharton's Anglia Sacra: "Anno 1143 ducti sunt monachi ordinis Cisterciensis qui modo sunt apud Albam Landam, in West Walliam, per Bernardum episcopum." Leland, in his Collectanea, says, "Whitland, abbat. Cistert., Rhesus filius Theodori princeps Suth Walliae primus fundator;" and in his Itinerary, mentions it as a convent of Bernardynes, "which yet stondeth."

{103} Saint Clears is a long, straggling village, at the junction of the river Cathgenny with the Taf. Immediately on the banks of the former, and not far from its junction with the latter, stood the castle, of which not one stone is left; but the artificial tumulus on which the citadel was placed, and other broken ground, mark its ancient site.

{104} Lanwadein, now called Lawhaden, is a small village about four miles from Narberth, on the banks of the river Cleddeu.

{105} Daugleddeu, so called from Dau, two, and Cled, or Cleddau, a sword. The rivers Cledheu have their source in the Prescelly mountain, unite their streams below Haverfordwest, and run into Milford Haven, which in Welsh is called Aberdaugleddau, or the confluence of the two rivers Cledheu.

{106} Haverford, now called Haverfordwest, is a considerable town on the river Cledheu, with an ancient castle, three churches, and some monastic remains. The old castle (now used as the county gaol), from its size and commanding situation, adds greatly to the picturesque appearance of this town. [The old castle is no longer used as a gaol.]

{107} The province of Rhos, in which the town of Haverfordwest is situated, was peopled by a colony of Flemings during the reign of king Henry I.

{108} St. Caradoc was born of a good family in Brecknockshire, and after a liberal education at home, attached himself to the court of Rhys Prince of South Wales, whom he served a long time with diligence and fidelity. He was much esteemed and beloved by him, till having unfortunately lost two favourite greyhounds, which had been committed to his care, that prince, in a fury, threatened his life; upon which Caradoc determined to change masters, and made a vow on the spot to consecrate the remainder of his days to God, by a single and religious life. He went to Llandaff, received from its bishop the clerical tonsure and habit, and retired to the deserted church of St. Kined, and afterwards to a still more solitary abode in the Isle of Ary, from whence he was taken prisoner by some Norwegian pirates, but soon released. His last place of residence was at St. Ismael, in the province of Rhos, where he died in 1124, and was buried with great honour in the cathedral of St. David's. We must not confound this retreat of Caradoc with the village of St. Ismael on the borders of Milford Haven. His hermitage was situated in the parish of Haroldstone, near the town of Haverfordwest, whose church has St. Ismael for its patron, and probably near a place called Poorfield, the common on which Haverfordwest races are held, as there is a well there called Caradoc's Well, round which, till within these few years, there was a sort of vanity fair, where cakes were sold, and country games celebrated. [Caradoc was canonised by Pope Innocent III. at the instance of Giraldus.]

{109} This curious superstition is still preserved, in a debased form, among the descendants of the Flemish population of this district, where the young women practise a sort of divination with the bladebone of a shoulder of mutton to discover who will be their sweetheart. It is still more curious that William de Rubruquis, in the thirteenth century, found the same superstition existing among the Tartars.

{110} Arnulph, younger son of Roger de Montgomery, did his homage for Dyved, and is said, by our author, to have erected a slender fortress with stakes and turf at Pembroke, in the reign of king Henry I., which, however, appears to have been so strong as to have resisted the hostile attack of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn in 1092, and of several lords of North Wales, in 1094.

{111} Walter Fitz-Other, at the time of the general survey of England by William the Conqueror, was castellan of Windsor, warden of the forests in Berkshire, and possessed several lordships in the counties of Middlesex, Hampshire, and Buckinghamshire, which dominus Otherus is said to have held in the time of Edward the Confessor. William, the eldest son of Walter, took the surname of Windsor from his father's office, and was ancestor to the lords Windsor, who have since been created earls of Plymouth: and from Gerald, brother of William, the Geralds, Fitz-geralds, and many other families are lineally descended. The Gerald here mentioned by Giraldus is sometimes surnamed De Windsor, and also Fitz-Walter, i.e. the son of Walter; having slain Owen, son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, chief lord of Cardiganshire, he was made president of the county of Pembroke.

{112} Wilfred is mentioned by Browne Willis in his list of bishops of St. David's, as the forty-seventh, under the title of Wilfride, or Griffin: he died about the year 1116.

{113} Maenor Pyrr, now known by the name of Manorbeer, is a small village on the sea coast, between Tenby and Pembroke, with the remaining shell of a large castle. Our author has given a farfetched etymology to this castle and the adjoining island, in calling them the mansion and island of Pyrrhus: a much more natural and congenial conjecture may be made in supposing Maenor Pyrr to be derived from Maenor, a Manor, and Pyrr the plural of Por, a lord; i.e. the Manor of the lords, and, consequently, Inys Pyrr, the Island of the lords. As no mention whatever is made of the castle in the Welsh Chronicle, I am inclined to think it was only a castellated mansion, and therefore considered of no military importance in those days of continued warfare throughout Wales. It is one of the most interesting spots in our author's Itinerary, for it was the property of the Barri family, and the birth-place of Giraldus; in the parish church, the sepulchral effigy of a near relation, perhaps a brother, is still extant, in good preservation. Our author has evidently made a digression in order to describe this place.

{114} The house of Stephen Wiriet was, I presume, Orielton. There is a monument in the church of St. Nicholas, at Pembroke, to the memory of John, son and heir of Sir Hugh Owen, of Bodeon in Anglesea, knight, and Elizabeth, daughter and heir of George Wiriet, of Orielton, A.D. 1612.

{115} The family name of Not, or Nott, still exists in Pembrokeshire. [The descendants of Sir Hugh continued to live at Orielton, and the title is still in existence.]

{116} There are two churches in Pembrokeshire called Stackpoole, one of which, called Stackpoole Elidor, derived its name probably from the Elidore de Stakepole mentioned in this chapter by Giraldus. It contains several ancient monuments, and amongst them the effigies of a cross-legged knight, which has been for many years attributed to the aforesaid Elidore.

{117} Ramsey Island, near St. David's, was always famous for its breed of falcons.

{118} Camros, a small village, containing nothing worthy of remark, excepting a large tumulus. It appears, by this route of the Crusaders, that the ancient road to Menevia, or St. David's, led through Camros, whereas the present turnpike road lies a mile and a half to the left of it. It then descends to Niwegal Sands, and passes near the picturesque little harbour of Solvach, situated in a deep and narrow cove, surrounded by high rocks.

{119} The remains of vast submerged forests are commonly found on many parts of the coast of Wales, especially in the north. Giraldus has elsewhere spoken of this event in the Vaticinal History, book i. chap. 35.

{120} Giraldus, ever glad to pun upon words, here opposes the word NOMEN to OMEN. "Plus nominis habens quem ominis." He may have perhaps borrowed this expression from Plautus. Plautus Delphini, tom. ii. p. 27. - Actus iv., Scena iv.

{121} Armorica is derived from the Celtic words Ar and Mor, which signify on or near the sea, and so called to distinguish it from the more inland parts of Britany. The maritime cities of Gaul were called "Armoricae civitates - Universis civitatibus quae oceanum attingunt, quaeque Gallorum consuetudine Armoricae appellantur." - Caesar. Comment, lib. vii.

{122} The bishops of Hereford, Worcester, Llandaff, Bangor, St. Asaph, Llanbadarn, and Margam, or Glamorgan.

{123} The value of the carucate is rather uncertain, or, probably, it varied in different districts according to the character of the land; but it is considered to have been usually equivalent to a hide, that is, to about 240 statute acres.

{124} This little brook does not, in modern times, deserve the title here given to it by Giraldus, for it produces trout of a most delicious flavour.

{125} See the Vaticinal History, book i. c. 37.

{126} Lechlavar, so called from the words in Welsh, Llec, a stone, and Llavar, speech.

{127} Cemmeis, Cemmaes, Kemes, and Kemeys. Thus is the name of this district variously spelt. Cemmaes in Welsh signifies a circle or amphitheatre for games.

{128} [Cardigan.]

{129} There is place in Cemmaes now called Tre-liffan, i.e. Toad's town; and over a chimney-piece in the house there is a figure of a toad sculptured in marble, said to have been brought from Italy, and intended probably to confirm and commemorate this tradition of Giraldus.

{130} Preseleu, Preselaw, Prescelly, Presselw.

{131} St. Bernacus is said, by Cressy, to have been a man of admirable sanctity, who, through devotion, made a journey to Rome; and from thence returning into Britany, filled all places with the fame of his piety and miracles. He is commemorated on the 7th of April. Several churches in Wales were dedicated to him; one of which, called Llanfyrnach, or the church of St. Bernach, is situated on the eastern side of the Prescelley mountain.

{132} The "castrum apud Lanhever" was at Nevern, a small village between Newport and Cardigan, situated on the banks of a little river bearing the same name which discharges itself into the sea at Newport. On a hill immediately above the western side of the parish church, is the site of a large castle, undoubtedly the one alluded to by Giraldus.

{133} On the Cemmaes, or Pembrokeshire side of the river Teivi, and near the end of the bridge, there is a place still called Park y Cappel, or the Chapel Field, which is undoubtedly commemorative of the circumstance recorded by our author.

{134} Now known by the name of Kenarth, which may be derived from Cefn y garth - the back of the wear, a ridge of land behind the wear.

{135} The name of St. Ludoc is not found in the lives of the saints. Leland mentions a St. Clitauc, who had a church dedicated to him in South Wales, and who was killed by some of his companions whilst hunting. "Clitaucus Southe-Walliae regulus inter venandum a suis sodalibus occisus est. Ecciesia S. Clitauci in Southe Wallia." - Leland, Itin., tom. viii. p. 95.

{136} The Teivy is still very justly distinguished for the quantity and quality of its salmon, but the beaver no longer disturbs its streams. That this animal did exist in the days of Howel Dha (though even then a rarity), the mention made of it in his laws, and the high price set upon its skin, most clearly evince; but if the castor of Giraldus, and the avanc of Humphrey Llwyd and of the Welsh dictionaries, be really the same animal, it certainly was not peculiar to the Teivi, but was equally known in North Wales, as the names of places testify. A small lake in Montgomeryshire is called Llyn yr Afangc; a pool in the river Conwy, not far from Bettws, bears the same name, and the vale called Nant Ffrancon, upon the river Ogwen, in Caernarvonshire, is supposed by the natives to be a corruption from Nant yr Afan cwm, or the Vale of the Beavers. Mr. Owen, in his dictionary, says, "That it has been seen in this vale within the memory of man." Giraldus has previously spoken of the beaver in his Topography of Ireland, Distinc. i. c. 21.

{137} Our author having made a long digression, in order to introduce the history of the beaver, now continues his Itinerary. From Cardigan, the archbishop proceeded towards Pont-Stephen, leaving a hill, called Cruc Mawr, on the left hand, which still retains its ancient name, and agrees exactly with the position given to it by Giraldus. On its summit is a tumulus, and some appearance of an intrenchment.

{138} In 1135.

{139} Lampeter, or Llanbedr, a small town near the river Teivi, still retains the name of Pont-Stephen.

{140} Leland thus speaks of Ystrad Fflur or Strata Florida: "Strateflere is set round about with montanes not far distant, except on the west parte, where Diffrin Tyve is. Many hilles therabout hath bene well woddid, as evidently by old rotes apperith, but now in them is almost no woode - the causes be these. First, the wood cut down was never copisid, and this hath beene a cause of destruction of wood thorough Wales. Secondly, after cutting down of woodys, the gottys hath so bytten the young spring that it never grew but lyke shrubbes. Thirddely, men for the monys destroied the great woddis that thei should not harborow theves." This monastery is situated in the wildest part of Cardiganshire, surrounded on three sides by a lofty range of those mountains, called by our author Ellennith; a spot admirably suited to the severe and recluse order of the Cistercians.

{141} [Melenydd or Maelienydd.]

{142} Leaving Stratflur, the archbishop and his train returned to Llanddewi Brefi, and from thence proceeded to Llanbadarn Vawr.

{143} Llanbadarn Fawr, the church of St. Paternus the Great, is situated in a valley, at a short distance from the sea-port town of Aberystwyth in Cardiganshire.

{144} The name of this bishop is said to have been Idnerth, and the same personage whose death is commemorated in an inscription at Llanddewi Brefi.

{145} This river is now called Dovey.

{146} From Llanbadarn our travellers directed their course towards the sea-coast, and ferrying over the river Dovey, which separates North from South Wales, proceeded to Towyn, in Merionethshire, where they passed the night. [Venedotia is the Latin name for Gwynedd.]

{147} The province of Merionyth was at this period occupied by David, the son of Owen Gwynedd, who had seized it forcibly from its rightful inheritor. This Gruffydd - who must not be confused with his great-grandfather, the famous Gruffydd ap Conan, prince of Gwynedd - was son to Conan ap Owen Gwynedd; he died A.D. 1200, and was buried in a monk's cowl, in the abbey of Conway.

{148} The epithet "bifurcus," ascribed by Giraldus to the river Maw, alludes to its two branches, which unite their streams a little way below Llaneltid bridge, and form an aestuary, which flows down to the sea at Barmouth or Aber Maw. The ford at this place, discovered by Malgo, no longer exists.

{149} Llanfair is a small village, about a mile and a half from Harlech, with a very simple church, placed in a retired spot, backed by precipitous mountains. Here the archbishop and Giraldus slept, on their journey from Towyn to Nevyn.

{150} Ardudwy was a comot of the cantref Dunodic, in Merionethshire, and according to Leland, "Streccith from half Trait Mawr to Abermaw on the shore XII myles." The bridge here alluded to, was probably over the river Artro, which forms a small aestuary near the village of Llanbedr.

{151} The Traeth Mawr, or the large sands, are occasioned by a variety of springs and rivers which flow from the Snowdon mountains, and, uniting their streams, form an aestuary below Pont Aberglaslyn.

{152} The Traeth Bychan, or the small sands, are chiefly formed by the river which runs down the beautiful vale of Festiniog to Maentwrog and Tan y bwlch, near which place it becomes navigable. Over each of these sands the road leads from Merionyth into Caernarvonshire.

{153} Lleyn, the Canganorum promontorium of Ptolemy, was an extensive hundred containing three comots, and comprehending that long neck of land between Caernarvon and Cardigan bays. Leland says, "Al Lene is as it were a pointe into the se."

{154} In mentioning the rivers which the missionaries had lately crossed, our author has been guilty of a great topographical error in placing the river Dissennith between the Maw and Traeth Mawr, as also in placing the Arthro between the Traeth Mawr and Traeth Bychan, as a glance at a map will shew.

{155} To two personages of this name the gift of prophecy was anciently attributed: one was called Ambrosius, the other Sylvestris; the latter here mentioned (and whose works Giraldus, after a long research, found at Nefyn) was, according to the story, the son of Morvryn, and generally called Merddin Wyllt, or Merddin the Wild. He is pretended to have flourished about the middle of the sixth century, and ranked with Merddin Emrys and Taliesin, under the appellation of the three principal bards of the Isle of Britain.

{156} This island once afforded, according to the old accounts, an asylum to twenty thousand saints, and after death, graves to as many of their bodies; whence it has been called Insula Sanctorum, the Isle of Saints. This island derived its British name of Enlli from the fierce current which rages between it and the main land. The Saxons named it Bardsey, probably from the Bards, who retired hither, preferring solitude to the company of invading foreigners.

{157} This ancient city has been recorded by a variety of names. During the time of the Romans it was called Segontium, the site of which is now called Caer Seiont, the fortress on the river Seiont, where the Setantiorum portus, and the Seteia AEstuarium of Ptolemy have also been placed. It is called, by Nennius, Caer Custent, or the city of Constantius; and Matthew of Westminster says, that about the year 1283 the body of Constantius, father of the emperor Constantine, was found there, and honourably desposited in the church by order of Edward I.

{158} I have searched in vain for a valley which would answer the description here given by Geraldus, and the scene of so much pleasantry to the travellers; for neither do the old or new road, from Caernarvon to Bangor, in any way correspond. But I have since been informed, that there is a valley called Nant y Garth (near the residence of Ashton Smith, Esq. at Vaenol), which terminates at about half a mile's distance from the Menai, and therefore not observable from the road; it is a serpentine ravine of more than a mile, in a direction towards the mountains, and probably that which the crusaders crossed on their journey to Bangor.

{159} Bangor. - This cathedral church must not be confounded with the celebrated college of the same name, in Flintshire, founded by Dunod Vawr, son of Pabo, a chieftain who lived about the beginning of the sixth century, and from him called Bangor Dunod. The Bangor, i.e. the college, in Caernarvonshire, is properly called Bangor Deiniol, Bangor Vawr yn Arllechwedd, and Bangor Vawr uwch Conwy. It owes its origin to Deiniol, son of Dunod ap Pabo, a saint who lived in the early part of the sixth century, and in the year 525 founded this college at Bangor, in Caernarvonshire, over which he presided as abbot. Guy Rufus, called by our author Guianus, was at this time bishop of this see, and died in 1190.

{160} Guianus, or Guy Rufus, dean of Waltham, in Essex, and consecrated to this see, at Ambresbury, Wilts, in May 1177.

{161} Mona, or Anglesey.

{162} The spot selected by Baldwin for addressing the multitude, has in some degree been elucidated by the anonymous author of the Supplement to Rowland's Mona Antiqua. He says, that "From tradition and memorials still retained, we have reasons to suppose that they met in an open place in the parish of Landisilio, called Cerrig y Borth. The inhabitants, by the grateful remembrance, to perpetuate the honour of that day, called the place where the archbishop stood, Carreg yr Archjagon, i.e. the Archbishop's Rock; and where prince Roderic stood, Maen Roderic, or the Stone of Roderic." This account is in part corroborated by the following communication from Mr. Richard Llwyd of Beaumaris, who made personal inquiries on the spot. "Cerrig y Borth, being a rough, undulating district, could not, for that reason, have been chosen for addressing a multitude; but adjoining it there are two eminences which command a convenient surface for that purpose; one called Maen Rodi (the Stone or Rock of Roderic), the property of Owen Williams, Esq.; and the other Carreg Iago, belonging to Lord Uxbridge. This last, as now pronounced, means the Rock of St. James; but I have no difficulty in admitting, that Carreg yr Arch Iagon may (by the compression of common, undiscriminating language, and the obliteration of the event from ignorant minds by the lapse of so many centuries) be contracted into Carreg Iago. Cadair yr archesgob is now also contracted into Cadair (chair, a seat naturally formed in the rock, with a rude arch over it, on the road side, which is a rough terrace over the breast of a rocky and commanding cliff, and the nearest way from the above eminences to the insulated church of Landisilio. This word Cadair, though in general language a chair, yet when applied to exalted situations, means an observatory, as Cadair Idris, etc.; but there can, in my opinion, be no doubt that this seat in the rock is that described by the words Cadair yr Archesgob." [Still more probable, and certainly more flattering to Giraldus, is that it was called "Cadair yr Arch Ddiacon" (the Archdeacon's chair).]

{163} This hundred contained the comots of Mynyw, or St. David's, and Pencaer.

{164} I am indebted to Mr. Richard Llwyd for the following curious extract from a Manuscript of the late intelligent Mr. Rowlands, respecting this miraculous stone, called Maen Morddwyd, or the stone of the thigh, which once existed in Llanidan parish. "Hic etiam lapis lumbi, vulgo Maen Morddwyd, in hujus caemiterii vallo locum sibi e longo a retro tempore obtinuit, exindeque his nuperis annis, quo nescio papicola vel qua inscia manu nulla ut olim retinente virtute, quae tunc penitus elanguit aut vetustate evaporavit, nullo sane loci dispendio, nec illi qui eripuit emolumento, ereptus et deportatus fuit."

{165} Hugh, earl of Chester. The first earl of Chester after the Norman conquest, was Gherbod, a Fleming, who, having obtained leave from king William to go into Flanders for the purpose of arranging some family concerns, was taken and detained a prisoner by his enemies; upon which the conqueror bestowed the earldom of Chester on Hugh de Abrincis or of Avranches, "to hold as freely by the sword, as the king himself did England by the crown."

{166} This church is at Llandyfrydog, a small village in Twrkelin hundred, not far distant from Llanelian, and about three miles from the Bay of Dulas. St. Tyvrydog, to whom it was dedicated, was one of the sons of Arwystyl Glof, a saint who lived in the latter part of the sixth century.

{167} Ynys Lenach, now known by the name of Priestholme Island, bore also the title of Ynys Seiriol, from a saint who resided upon it in the sixth century. It is also mentioned by Dugdale and Pennant under the appellation of Insula Glannauch.

{168} Alberic de Veer, or Vere, came into England with William the Conqueror, and as a reward for his military services, received very extensive possessions and lands, particularly in the county of Essex. Alberic, his eldest son, was great chamberlain of England in the reign of king Henry I., and was killed A.D. 1140, in a popular tumult at London. Henry de Essex married one of his daughters named Adeliza. He enjoyed, by inheritance, the office of standard-bearer, and behaved himself so unworthily in the military expedition which king Henry undertook against Owen Gwynedd, prince of North Wales, in the year 1157, by throwing down his ensign, and betaking himself to flight, that he was challenged for this misdemeanor by Robert de Mountford, and by him vanquished in single combat; whereby, according to the laws of his country, his life was justly forfeited. But the king interposing his royal mercy, spared it, but confiscated his estates, ordering him to be shorn a monk, and placed in the abbey of Reading. There appears to be some biographical error in the words of Giraldus - "Filia scilicet Henrici de Essexia," for by the genealogical accounts of the Vere and Essex families, we find that Henry de Essex married the daughter of the second Alberic de Vere; whereas our author seems to imply, that the mother of Alberic the second was daughter to Henry de Essex.

{169} "And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel, and of the chesnut tree, and peeled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods, which he had peeled, before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs, when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle speckled and spotted." - Gen. xxx.

{170} Owen Gwynedd, the son of Gruffydd ap Conan, died in 1169, and was buried at Bangor. When Baldwin, during his progress, visited Bangor and saw his tomb, he charged the bishop (Guy Ruffus) to remove the body out of the cathedral, when he had a fit opportunity so to do, in regard that archbishop Becket had excommunicated him heretofore, because he had married his first cousin, the daughter of Grono ap Edwyn, and that notwithstanding he had continued to live with her till she died. The bishop, in obedience to the charge, made a passage from the vault through the south wall of the church underground, and thus secretly shoved the body into the churchyard. - Hengwrt. MSS. Cadwalader brother of Owen Gwynedd, died in 1172.

{171} The Merlin here mentioned was called Ambrosius, and according to the Cambrian Biography flourished about the middle of the fifth century. Other authors say, that this reputed prophet and magician was the son of a Welsh nun, daughter of a king of Demetia, and born at Caermarthen, and that he was made king of West Wales by Vortigern, who then reigned in Britain.

{172} Owen Gwynedd "left behind him manie children gotten by diverse women, which were not esteemed by their mothers and birth, but by their prowes and valiantnesse." By his first wife, Gladus, the daughter of Llywarch ap Trahaern ap Caradoc, he had Orwerth Drwyndwn, that is, Edward with the broken nose; for which defect he was deemed unfit to preside over the principality of North Wales and was deprived of his rightful inheritance, which was seized by his brother David, who occupied it for the space of twenty-four years.

{173} The travellers pursuing their journey along the sea coast, crossed the aestuary of the river Conway under Deganwy, a fortress of very remote antiquity.

{174} At this period the Cistercian monastery of Conway was in its infancy, for its foundation has been attributed to Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, in the year 1185, (only three years previous to Baldwin's visitation,) who endowed it with very extensive possessions and singular privileges. Like Stratflur, this abbey was the repository of the national records, and the mausoleum of many of its princes.

{175} [David was the illegitimate son of Owen Gwynedd, and had dispossessed his brother, Iorwerth Drwyndwn.]

{176} This ebbing spring in the province of Tegeingl, or Flintshire, has been placed by the old annotator on Giraldus at Kilken, which Humphrey Llwyd, in his Breviary, also mentions.

{177} See before, the Topography of Ireland, Distinc. ii. c. 7.

{178} Saint Asaph, in size, though not in revenues, may deserve the epithet of "paupercula" attached to it by Giraldus. From its situation near the banks of the river Elwy, it derived the name of Llanelwy, or the church upon the Elwy.

{179} Leaving Llanelwy, or St. Asaph, the archbishop proceeded to the little cell of Basinwerk, where he and his attendants passed the night. It is situated at a short distance from Holywell, on a gentle eminence above a valley, watered by the copious springs that issue from St. Winefred's well, and on the borders of a marsh, which extends towards the coast of Cheshire.

{180} Coleshill is a township in Holywell parish, Flintshire, which gives name to a hundred, and was so called from its abundance of fossil fuel. Pennant, vol. i. p. 42.

{181} The three military expeditions of king Henry into Wales, here mentioned, were A.D. 1157, the first expedition into North Wales; A.D. 1162, the second expedition into South Wales; A.D. 1165, the third expedition into North Wales. In the first, the king was obliged to retreat with considerable loss, and the king's standard- bearer, Henry de Essex, was accused of having in a cowardly manner abandoned the royal standard and led to a serious disaster.

{182} The lake of Penmelesmere, or Pymplwy meer, or the meer of the five parishes adjoining the lake, is, in modern days, better known by the name of Bala Pool. The assertion made by Giraldus, of salmon never being found in the lake of Bala, is not founded on truth.

{183} Giraldus seems to have been mistaken respecting the burial- place of the emperor Henry V., for he died May 23, A.D. 1125, at Utrecht, and his body was conveyed to Spire for interment.

{184} This legend, which represents king Harold as having escaped from the battle of Hastings, and as having lived years after as a hermit on the borders of Wales, is mentioned by other old writers, and has been adopted as true by some modern writers.

{185} Some difficulty occurs in fixing the situation of the Album Monasterium, mentioned in the text, as three churches in the county of Shropshire bore that appellation; the first at Whitchurch, the second at Oswestry, the third at Alberbury. The narrative of our author is so simple, and corresponds so well with the topography of the country through which they passed, that I think no doubt ought to be entertained about the course of their route. From Chester they directed their way to the White Monastery, or Whitchurch, and from thence towards Oswestry, where they slept, and were entertained by William Fitz-Alan, after the English mode of hospitality.

{186} By the Latin context it would appear that Reiner was bishop of Oswestree: "Ab episcopo namque loci illius Reinerio multitudo fuerat ante signata." Reiner succeeded Adam in the bishopric of St. Asaph in the year 1186, and died in 1220. He had a residence near Oswestry, at which place, previous to the arrival of Baldwin, he had signed many of the people with the cross.

{187} In the time of William the Conqueror, Alan, the son of Flathald, or Flaald, obtained, by the gift of that king, the castle of Oswaldestre, with the territory adjoining, which belonged to Meredith ap Blethyn, a Briton. This Alan, having married the daughter and heir to Warine, sheriff of Shropshire, had in her right the barony of the same Warine. To him succeeded William, his son and heir. He married Isabel de Say, daughter and heir to Helias de Say, niece to Robert earl of Gloucester, lady of Clun, and left issue by her, William, his son and successor, who, in the 19th Henry II., or before, departed this life, leaving William Fitz-Alan his son and heir, who is mentioned in the text.

{188} Robert de Belesme, earl of Shrewsbury, was son of Roger de Montgomery, who led the centre division of the army in that memorable battle which secured to William the conquest of England, and for his services was advanced to the earldoms of Arundel and Shrewsbury.

{189} This expedition into Wales took place A.D. 1165, and has been already spoken of.

{190} The princes mentioned by Giraldus as most distinguished in North and South Wales, and most celebrated in his time, were, 1. Owen, son of Gruffydd, in North Wales; 2. Meredyth, son of Gruffydd, in South Wales; 3. Owen de Cyfeilioc, in Powys; 4. Cadwalader, son of Gruffydd, in North Wales; 5. Gruffydd of Maelor in Powys; 6. Rhys, son of Gruffydd, in South Wales; 7. David, son of Owen, in North Wales; 8. Howel, son of Iorwerth, in South Wales.

1. Owen Gwynedd, son of Gruffydd ap Conan, died in 1169, having governed his country well and worthily for the space of thirty-two years. He was fortunate and victorious in all his affairs, and never took any enterprise in hand but he achieved it. 2. Meredyth ap Gruffydd ap Rhys, lord of Caerdigan and Stratywy, died in 1153, at the early age of twenty-five; a worthy knight, fortunate in battle, just and liberal to all men. 3. Owen Cyfeilioc was the son of Gruffydd Meredyth ap Meredyth ap Blethyn, who was created lord of Powys by Henry I., and died about the year 1197, leaving his principality to his son Gwenwynwyn, from whom that part of Powys was called Powys Gwenwynwyn, to distinguish it from Powys Vadoc, the possession of the lords of Bromfield. The poems ascribed to him possess great spirit, and prove that he was, as Giraldus terms him, "linguae dicacis," in its best sense. 4. Cadwalader, son of Gruffydd ap Conan, prince of North Wales, died in 1175. Gruffydd of Maelor was son of Madoc ap Meredyth ap Blethyn, prince of Powys, who died at Winchester in 1160. "This man was ever the king of England's friend, and was one that feared God, and relieved the poor: his body was conveyed honourably to Powys, and buried at Myvod." His son Gruffydd succeeded him in the lordship of Bromfield, and died about the year 1190. 6. Rhys ap Gruffydd, or the lord Rhys, was son of Gruffydd ap Rhys ap Tewdwr, who died in 1137. The ancient writers have been very profuse in their praises of this celebrated Prince. 7. David, son of Owen Gwynedd, who, on the death if his father, forcibly seized the principality of North Wales, slaying his brother Howel in battle, and setting aside the claims of the lawful inheritor of the throne, Iorwerth Trwyndwn, whose son, Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, in 1194, recovered his inheritance. 8. Howel, son of Iorwerth of Caerleon, appears to have been distinguished chiefly by his ferocity.

{191} Malpas in Cheshire.

{192} It appears that a small college of prebendaries, or secular canons, resided at Bromfield in the reign of king Henry I.; Osbert, the prior, being recorded as a witness to a deed made before the year 1148. In 1155, they became Benedictines, and surrendered church and lands to the abbey of St. Peter's at Gloucester, whereupon a prior and monks were placed there, and continued till the dissolution. An ancient gateway and some remains of the priory still testify the existence of this religious house, the local situation of which, near the confluence of the rivers Oney and Teme, has been accurately described by Leland.

{193} Baldwin was born at Exeter, in Devonshire, of a low family, but being endowed by nature with good abilities, applied them to an early cultivation of sacred and profane literature. His good conduct procured him the friendship of Bartholomew bishop of Exeter, who promoted him to the archdeaconry of that see; resigning this preferment, he assumed the cowl, and in a few years became abbot of the Cistercian monastery at Ford. In the year 1180, he was advanced to the bishopric of Worcester, and in 1184, translated to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury. In the year 1188, he made his progress through Wales, preaching with fervour the service of the Cross; to which holy cause he fell a sacrifice in the year 1190, having religiously, honourably, and charitably ended his days in the Holy Land.

{194} Giraldus here alludes to the dignity of archdeacon, which Baldwin had obtained in the church of Exeter.

End of the Project Gutenberg eText The Itinerary of Archbishop
Baldwin through Wales by Giraldus Cambrensis