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Geoffrey of Monmouth History of the Kings of Britain

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Geoffrey of Monmouth
History of the Kings of Britain
page 79

of their country. For this reason they esteemed them their mortal enemies, reckoned their faith and religion as nothing, and would no more communicate with the Angles than with dogs.

Chapter 13. Ethelfrid kills a great number of the British monks, but is at last routed by the Britons.

Therefore Ethelbert, king of Kent, when he saw that the Britons disdained subjection to Augustine, and despised his preaching, was highly provoked, and stirred up Ethelfrid, king of the Northumbrians, and the other petty kings of the Saxons, to raise a great army, and march to the city of Bangor, to destroy the abbot Dinooth, and the rest of the clergy who held them in contempt. At his instigation, therefore, they assembled a prodigious army, and in their march to the province of the Britons, came to Legecester, where Brocmail, consul of the city, was awaiting their coming. To the same city were come innumerable monks and hermits from several provinces of the Britons, but especially from the city of Bangor, to pray for the safety of their people. Whereupon Ethelfrid, king of the Northumbrians, collecting all his forces, joined battle with Brocmail, who, having a less army to withstand him, at last quitted the city and fled, though not without having made a great slaughter of the enemy. But Ethelfrid, when he had taken the city, and understood upon what occasion the monks were come thither, commanded his men to turn their arms first against them; and so two hundred of them were honoured with the crown of martyrdom, and admitted into the kingdom of heaven that same day. From thence this Saxon tyrant proceeded on his march to Bangor; but upon the news of his outrageous madness, the leaders of the Britons, viz. Blederic, duke of Cornwall, Margaduc, king of the Demetians, and Cadwan, of the Venedotians, came from all parts to meet him, and joining battle with him, wounded him, and forced him to flee; and killed of his army to the number of ten thousand and sixty-six men. On the Britons’ side fell Blederic, duke of Cornwall, who was their commander in those wars.

Book XII

Chapter 1. Cadwan acquires by treaty all Britain on this side of the Humber, and Ethelfrid the rest.

After this all the princes of the Britons met together at the city of Legecester, and consented to make Cadwan their king, that under his command they might pursue Ethelfrid beyond the Humber. Accordingly, as soon as he was crowned, they flocked together from all parts, and passed the Humber; of which when Ethelfrid received intelligence, he entered into a confederacy with all the Saxon kings, and went to meet Cadwan. At last, as they were forming their troops for a battle, their friends came, and made peace between them on these terms: that Cadwan should enjoy that part of Britain which lies on this side of the Humber, and Ethelfrid that which is beyond it. As soon as they had confirmed this agreement with an oath made to their hostages, there commenced such a friendship between them, that they had all things common. In the meantime it happened, that Ethelfrid banished his own wife and married another, and bore so great a hatred to her that was banished, that he would not suffer her to live in the kingdom of Northumberland. Whereupon she, being with child, went to king Cadwan, that by his mediation she might be restored to her husband. But when Ethelfrid could by no means be brought to consent to it, she continued to live with Cadwan, till she was delivered of the son which she had conceived. A short time after her delivery, Cadwan also had a son born to him by the queen, his wife. Then were the two boys brought up together in a manner suitable to their royal birth, one of which was called Cadwalla, the other Edwin. When they were nearly arrived at men’s estate, their parents sent them to Salomon, king of the Armorican Britons, that in his court they might learn the discipline of war, and other princely qualifications. This prince, therefore, received them graciously, and admitted them to an intimacy with him: so that there was none of their age in the whole court, that had a free access, or more familiarly discoursed with the king than they. At last he himself was an eye-witness of their exploits against the enemy, in which they very much signalized their valour.

Chapter 2. Cadwalla breaks the covenant he had made with Edwin.

In process of time, when their parents were dead, they returned to Britain, where they took upon them the government of the kingdom, and began to form the same friendship as their fathers. Two years after this, Edwin asked leave of Cadwalla to wear a crown, and to celebrate the same solemnities, as had been used of old in Northumberland. And when they had begun a treaty upon this subject by the river Duglas, that the matter might be adjusted according to the advice of their wise counsellors; it happened that Cadwalla was lying on the other side of the river in the lap of a certain nephew of his, whose name was Brian. While ambassadors were negotiating between

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