History Files


Medieval Britain

Histories of the Kings of England (Extracts)

by Geoffrey of Monmouth, translation by Sebastian Evans (1904), 2 August 2008

Written by Geoffrey of Monmouth, archdeacon of Llandsaff (in 1140) and bishop of St Asaph (in 1152).

Book 11, Chapter 13

Ethelbert, therefore, King of the men of Kent, when he saw that the Britons did disdain to make subjection unto Augustine, and did despise his preaching, took the same in grievous dudgeon and stirred up Ethelfrid, King of the Northumbrians, and the other Saxon knights to collect a mighty army and go unto the city of Bangor to make away utterly with the Abbot Dinoot and the rest of the clerics that did hold them in scorn. Agreeably therefore unto his counsel, they mustered a marvellous great army, and upon their way unto the province of the Britons came unto Leicester, where Brocmail, Earl of that city, was expecting their arrival. There had come also unto the same city out of the divers provinces of Britain a numberless company of monks and hermits, and more especially from the city of Bangor, to pray for the safety of their people. Thereupon, assembling all his armies from every quarter, Ethelfrid, King of the Northumbrians, gave battle unto Brocmail, who, making such stand as he could against him with a lesser number of soldiers, quitted the city and fled, but not before he had inflicted exceeding great slaughter upon the enemy. But Ethelfrid, after he had taken the city, understanding the reason wherefore the said monks had come unto the city, bade his men first turn their arms against them, and thus upon that very day one thousand two hundred of then, adorned with the palm of martyrdom, did obtain a seat in the kingdom of Heaven. These, when the said tyrant of the Saxons went forward on his march towards the city of Bangor, hearing of his mad outrage, the Dukes of the Britons, to wit, Blederic, Duke of Cornwall, Margadud, King of the South Welsh, and Cadran, King of the North, came from all parts to meet him, and joining battle with him, drove him fleeing wounded before them, but so passing great was the number of his army slain, that it was reckoned not less than about ten thousand and sixty-six had fallen. On the side of the Britons likewise fell Blederic, Duke of Cornwall, who was their commander in those battles.



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