CAP. VII. INTO HOW MANIE KINGDOMS THIS ILAND HATH BEENE DIUIDED.
Britaine at the first one entire kingdome.
IT is not to be doubted, out that at the first the whole Iland was ruled by one onelie prince, and so continued from time to time, vntill ciuill discord, grounded vpō ambitious desire to reigne, caused the same to be gouerned by diuerse. And this I meane so well of the time before the comming of Brute, as after the extinction of his whole race & posteritie. Howbeit, as it is vncerteine into how manie regions it was seuered, after the first partition; so it is most sure that this latter disturbed estate of regiment, continued in the same, not onelie vntill the time of Cæsar, but also in maner vnto the daies of Lucius, with whome the whole race of the Britons had an end, and the Romans full possession of this Iland, who gouerned it by Legats after the maner of a prouince. It should séeme also that within a while after the time of Dunwallon (who rather brought those foure princes that vsurped in his time to obedience, than extinguished their titles, & such partition as they had made of the Iland among themselues) each great citie had hir fréedome and seuerall kind of regiment, proper vnto hir selfe, beside a large circuit of the countrie appertinent vnto the same, wherein were sundrie other cities also of lesse name, which owght homage and all subiection vnto the greater sort. And to saie truth, hereof it came to passe, that each of these regions, whereinto this Iland was then diuided, tooke his name of some one of these cities; although Ciuitas after Cæsar doth sometime signifie an whole continent or kingdome, whereby there were in old time Tot ciuitates quot regna, and contrariwise as may appeare by that of the Trinobantes, which was so called of Trinobantum the chiefe citie of that portion, whose territories conteined all Essex, Middlesex, and part of Hertfordshire, euen as the iurisdiction of the bishop of London is now extended, for the ouersight of such things as belong vnto the church. Ech of the gouernors also of these regions, called themselues kings, and therevnto either of them dailie made warre vpon other, for the inlarging of their limits. But for somuch as I am not able to saie how manie did challenge this authoritie at once, and how long they reigned ouer their seuerall portions, I will passe ouer these ancient times, and come néerer vnto our owne, I meane the 600. yéere of Christ, whereof we haue more certeine notice, & at which season there is euident proofe, that there were twelue or thirtéene kings reigning in this Iland.
Wales diulded into three kingdomes.
We find therefore for the first, how that Wales had hir thrée seuerall kingdomes, which being accompted togither conteined (as Giraldus saith) 49. cantreds or cantons (whereof thrée were in his time possessed by the French and English) although that whole portion of the Iland extended in those daies no farder than about 200. miles in length, and one hundred in bredth, and was cut from Lhoegres by the riuers Sauerne and Dee, of which two streames this dooth fall into the Irish sea at Westchester, the other into the maine Ocean, betwixt Somersetshire and Southwales, as their seuerall courses shall witnesse more at large.
In the begining it was diuided into two kingdoms onelie, that is to saie, Venedotia or Gwynhedh (otherwise called Dehenbarth) and Demetia, for which we now vse most cōmonlie the names of South & Northwales. But in a short processe of time a third sprung vp in the verie middest betwéene them both, which from thence-foorth was called Powisy, as shalbe shewed hereafter. For Roderijc the great, who flourished 850. of Christ, and was
king of all Wales (which then conteined onlie six regions) leauing thrée sons behind him, by his last will & testament diuided the countrie into three portions according to the number of his children, of which he assigned one vnto either of them, wherby Morwing or Morwinner had Gwynhedh or Northwales, Cadelh Demetia or Southwales, and Anaralt Powisy, as Giraldus and other doo remember. Howbeit it came to passe that after this diuision, Cadelh suruiued all his brethren, and thereby became lord of both their portions, and his successors after him vntill the time of Teuther or Theodor (all is one) after which they were contented to kéepe themselues within the compasse of Demetia, which (as I said) conteined 29. of those 49. cantreds before mentioned, as Powisy did six, and Gwinhedh fourtéene, except my memorie doo faile me.
The first of these thrée, being called (as I said) Northwales or Venedotia (or as Paulus
Iouius saith Malfabrene, for he diuideth Wales also into thrée regions, of which he calleth the first Dumbera, the second Berfrona, and the third Malfabrene) lieth directlie ouer against the Ile of Anglesei, the chiefe citie whereof stood in the Ile of Anglesei and was called Aberfraw.
It conteineth 4. regions, of which the said Iland is the first, and whereof in the chapter insuing I will intreate more at large. The second is called Arfon, and situate betweene
two riuers, the Segwy and the Conwy. The third is Merioneth, and as it is seuered
from Arfon by the Conwy, so is it separated from Tegenia (otherwise called Stradcluyd and
Stradcluyd or Tegenia.
Igenia the fourth region) by the riuer Cluda. Finallie, the limits of this latter are extended also euen vnto the Dée it selfe, and of these foure regions consisteth the kingdome of Venedotia, whereof in times past the region of the Canges was not the smallest portion.
The kingdome of Powisy, last of all erected, as I said, hath on the north side Gwinhedh,
on the east (from Chester to Hereford, or rather to Deane forest) England, on the south and west the riuer Wy and verie high hilles, whereby it is notablie seuered from Southwales, the chiefe citie thereof being at the first Salopsburg, in old time Pengwerne and Ynwithig, but now Shrowesburie, a citie or towne raised out of the ruines of Vricouium, which (standing 4. miles from thence, and by the Saxons called Wrekencester and Wrokecester, before they ouerthrew it) is now inhabited with méere English, and where in old time the kings of Powisy did dwell and hold their palaces, till Englishmen draue them from thence to Matrauall in the same prouince, where they from thencefoorth aboad. Vpon the limits of this kingdome, and not far from Holt castelI, vpon ech side of the riuer, as the chanell now runneth, stood sometime the famous monasterie of Bangor, whilest the abated glorie of the
Britons vet remained vnextinguished, and herein were 2100. monkes of which the learned sort did preach the Gospell, and the vnlearned labored with their hands, thereby to mainteine themselues, and to sustaine their preachers. This region was in like sort diuided afterward in twaine, of which, the one was called Mailor or Mailrosse the other reteined still hir old
denomination, and of these the first laie by south, & the latter by north of the Sauerne.
As touching Mailrosse, I read moreouer in the gests of Fowkes de Warren, how
Fowkes de Warren.
that one William sonne to a certeine ladie sister to Paine Peuerell, the first lord of Whittington, after the conquest did win a part of the same, and the hundred of Ellesmore from the Welshmen, in which enterprise he was so desperatlie wounded, that no man hight him life; yet at the last by eating of the shield of a wild bore, he got an appetite and recouered his health. This William had issue two daughters, to wit, Helene maried to the heire
of the Alans, and Mellent which refused mariage with anie man, except he were first tried to
be a knight of prowesse. Herevpon hir father made proclamation, that against such a daie & at such a place, whatsoeuer Gentleman could shew himselfe most valiant in the field, should marrie Mellent his daughter, & haue with hir his castell of Whittington with sufficient liueliehood to mainteine their estates for euer. This report being spred, Fowkes de Warren came thither all in red, with a shield of siluer and pecocke for his crest, whereof he was called the red knight, and there ouercomming the kings sonne of Scotland. and a Baron of Burgundie, he maried the maid, and by hir had issue as in the treatise appeareth. There is yet great mention of the red knight in the countrie there about; and much like vnto this
Mellent was the daughter sometime of one of the lord Rosses, called Kudall, who bare such
The originall of Fitz Henries.
good will to Fitz-Henrie clarke of hir fathers kitchen, that she made him carie hir awaie on horssebacke behind him, onlie for his manhood sake, which presentlie was tried. For being pursued & ouer taken, she made him light, & held his cloke whilest he killed and draue hir fathers men to flight: and then awaie they go, till hir father conceiuing a good opinion of Fitz-Henrie for this act, receiued him to his fauour, whereby that familie came vp. And thus much (by the waie) of Mailrosse, whereof this may suffice, sith mine intent is not as now to make anie precise description of the particulars of Wales; but onelie to shew how those regions laie, which sometime were knowne to be gouerned in that countrie.
The third kingdome is Demetia, or Southwales, sometime knowne for the region of the Syllures, wherevnto I also am persuaded, that the Ordolukes laie in the east part thereof, and extended their region euen vnto the Sauerne: but howsoeuer that matter falleth out, Demetia hath the Sauerne on hir south, the Irish sea on hir west parts, on the east the Sauerne onelie, and by north the land of Powisy, whereof I spake of late.
Of this region also Caermarden, which the old writers call Maridunum, was the chéefe citie and palace belonging to the kings of Southwales, vntill at the last through forren and ciuill inuasions of enimies, the princes thereof were constrained to remooue their courts to Dinefar (which is in Cantermawr, and situate neuerthelesse vpon the same riuer Tewy, wheron Caermarden standeth) in which place it is far better defended with high hils, thicke woods, craggie rocks, and déepe marises. In this region also lieth Pembroke aliàs Penmoroc shire, whose fawcons haue béene in old time very much regarded, and therein likewise is Milford hauen, whereof the Welsh wisards doo yet dreame strange toies, which they beleeue shall one daie come to passe. For they are a nation much giuen to fortelling of things to come, but more to beléeue such blind prophesies as haue béene made of old time, and no man is accompted for learned in Wales that is not supposed to haue the spirit of prophesie.
Pictland. Scotland. Picts. Scots.
That Scotland had in those daies two kingdoms, (besides that of the Orchades) whereof the one consisted of the Picts, and was called Pightland or Pictland, the other of the Irish race, and named Scotland: I hope no wise man will readilie denie. The whole region or portion of the Ile beyond the Scotish sea also was so diuided, that the Picts laie on the east side, and the Scots on the west, ech of them being seuered from other, either by huge hils or great lakes and riuers, that ran out of the south into the north betwéene them. It séemeth also that at the first these two kingdoms were diuided from the rest of those of the Britons by the riuers Cluda and Forth, till both of them desirous to inlarge their dominions, draue the Britons ouer the Solue and the Twede, which then became march betweene both the nations. Wherefore the case being so plaine, I will saie no more of these two, but procéed in order with the rehersall of the rest of the particular kingdoms of this our south part of the Ile limiting out the same by shires as they now lie, so néere as I can, for otherwise it shall be vnpossible for me to leaue certaine notice of the likeliest quantities of these their seuerall portions.
The first of these kingdoms therefore was begunne in Kent by Henghist in the 456. of Christ, and thereof called the kingdome of Kent or Cantwarland, and as the limits thereof extended it selfe no farther than the said countie (the cheefe citie whereof was Dorobernia or Cantwarbyry now Canturburie) so it indured well néere by the space of 400. yeares, before it was made an earledome or Heretochie, and vnited by Inas vnto that of the West Saxons, Athelstane his sonne, being the first Earle or Heretoch of the same. Maister Lambert in his historie of Kent dooth gather, by verie probable coniectures, that this part of the Iland was first inhabited by Samothes, and afterward by Albion. But howsoeuer that case standeth, sure it is that it hath béen the onelie doore, whereby the Romans and Saxons made their entrie vnto the conquest of the region, but first of all Cæsar, who entred into this Iland vpon the eightéenth Cal. or 14. of September, which was foure daies before the full of the moone, as he himselfe confesseth, and then fell out about the 17. or 18. of that moneth, twelue daies before the equinoctiall (apparant) so that he did not tarrie at that time
aboue eight or ten daies in Britaine. And as this platforme cannot be denied for his entrance, so the said region and east part of Kent, was the onelie place by which the knowledge of Christ was first brought ouer vnto vs, whereby we became partakers of saluation, and from the darkenesse of mistie errour, true conuerts vnto the light and bright beames of the shining truth, to our eternall benefit and euerlasting comforts.
The second kingdome conteined onelie Sussex, and a part of (or as some saie all) Surrie,
which Ella the Saxon first held: who also erected his chéefe palace at Chichester, when he had destroied Andredswald in the 492. of Christ. And after it had continued by the space of 232. years, it ceased, being the verie least kingdome of all the rest, which were founded in this Ile after the comming of the Saxons (for to sale truth, it conteined little aboue 7000. families) & within a while after the erection of the kingdome of the Gewisses or Westsaxons, notwithstanding that before the kings of Sussex pretended and made claime to all that which laie west of Kent, and south of the Thames, vnto the point of Corinwall, as I haue often read.
The third regiment was of the East Saxons, or Tribonantes. This kingdome began vnder
Erkenwijn, whose chéefe seat was in London (or rather Colchester) and conteined whole Essex, Middlesex, and part of Herfordshire. It indured also much about the pricke of 303. yeares, and was diuided from that of the East Angles onlie by the riuer Stoure, as Houeden and others doo report, & so it continueth separated from Suffolke euen vnto our times, although the said riuer be now growne verie small, and not of such greatnesse as it hath béene in times past, by reason that our countriemen make small accompt of riuers, thinking carriage made by horsse and cart to be the lesse chargeable waie. But herin how far they are deceiued, I will else-where make manifest declaration.
The fourth kingdome was of the West Saxons, and so called, bicause it laie in the west
part of the realme, as that of Essex did in the east, and of Sussex in the south. It began in the yeare of Grace 519. vnder Cerdijc, and indured vntill the comming of the Normans,
including at the last all Wiltshire, Barkeshire, Dorset, Southampton, Somersetshire, Glocestershire, some part of Deuonshire (which the Britons occupied not) Cornewall, and the rest of Surrie, as the best authors doo set downe. At the first it conteined onelie Wiltshire, Dorcetshire, and Barkeshire, but yer long the princes thereof conquered whatsoeuer the kings of Sussex and the Britons held vnto the point of Cornewall, and then became first Dorchester (vntill the time of Kinigils) then Winchester the chéefe citie of that kingdome. For when Birinus the moonke came into England, the said Kinigils gaue him Dorchester, and all the land within seauen miles about, toward the maintenance of his cathedrall sea, by meanes whereof he himselfe remooued his palace Winchester.
The fift kingdome began vnder Ida, in the 548. of Christ and was called Northumberland,
Rrennicia, aliàs Northumberland. Ida.
bicause it laie by north of the riuer Humber. And from the comming of Henghist to this Ida, it was onlie gouerned by earls or Heretoches as an Heretochy, till the said Ida conuerted it into a kingdome. It conteined all that region which (as it should séeme) was in time past either wholie apperteining to the Brigants, or whereof the said Brigants did possesse the greater part. The cheefe citie of the same in like maner was Yorke, as Beda, Capgraue, Leyland, and others doo set downe, who ad thereto that it extended from the Humber vnto the Scotish sea, vntill the slaughter of Egfride of the Northumbers, after which time the Picts gat hold of all, betweene the Forth and the Twede, which afterward descending to the Scots by meanes of the vtter destruction of the Picts, hath not béene sithens vnited to the crowne of England, nor in possession of the meere English, as before time it had béene. Such was the crueltie of these Picts also in their recouerie of the same, that a certeine houre they made a Sicilien euensong, and slew euerie English man, woman and child, that they could laie hold vpon within the aforesaid region, but some escaped narrowlie, and saued themselues by flight.
Afterward in the yeare of Grace 560. it was parted in twaine, vnder Adda, that yeelded vp
all his portion, which lay betweene Humber and the Tine vnto his brother Ella (according to
their fathers appointment) who called it Deira, or Southumberland, but reteining the rest still vnto his owne vse, he diminished not his title, but wrote himselfe as before king of all Northumberland. Howbeit after 91. yeares, it was revnited againe, and so continued vntill Alfred annexed the whole to his kingdome, in the 331. after Ida, or 878. of the birth of Jesus Christ our Sauiour.
Eastangles Offa, à quo Offlingæ.
The seauenth kingdome, called of the East-Angles, began at Norwich in the 561. after Christ, vnder Offa, of whom the people of that region were long time called Offlings. This included all Norfolke, Suffolke, Cambridgeshire, and Elie, and continuing 228. yeares, it flourished onelie 35. yeares in perfect estate of liberte, the rest being consumed vnder the tribut and vassallage of the Mercians, who had the souereigntie thereof, and held it with great honour, till the Danes gat hold of it, who spoiled it verie sore, so that it became more miserable than any of the other, and so remained till the kings of the West-saxons vnited it to their crownes. Some saie that Grantcester, but now Cambridge (a towne erected out of hir ruines) was the chéefe citie of this kingdome, and not Norwich. Wherein I may well shew the discord of writers, but I cannot resolue the scruple. Some take this region also to be all one with that of the Icenes, but as yet for my part I cannot yeeld to their assertions, I meane it of Leland himselfe, whose helpe I vse chéefelie in these collections, albeit in this behalfe I am not resolued that he doth iudge aright.
The 8. & last was that of Mertia, which indured 291. yeares, and for greatnesse exceeded all the rest. It tooke the name either of Mearc the Saxon word, bicause it was march to the rest (and trulie, the limits of most of the other kingdomes abutted vpon the same) or
else for that the lawes of Martia the Queene were first vsed in that part of the Iland. But as
this later is but a méere coniecture of some, so the said kingdome began vnder Creodda, in the 585. of Christ, & indured well néere 300. yeares before it was vnited to that of the Westsaxons by Alfred, then reigning in this Ile. Before him the Danes had gotten hold thereof, and placed one Ceolulph an idiot in the same; but as he was soone reiected for his follie, so it was not long after yer the said Alfred (I saie) annexed it to his kingdome by his manhood.
Limits of Mertia.
The limits of the Mertian dominions included Lincolne, Northampton, Chester, Darbie, Nottingham, Stafford, Huntington, Rutland, Oxford, Buckingham, Worcester, Bedford shires, and the greatest part of Shropshire (which the Welsh occupied not) Lancaster, Glocester, Hereford (alias Hurchford) Warwijc and Hertford shires: the rest of whose territories were holden by such princes of other kingdomes through force as bordered vpon the same. Moreouer, this kingdome was at one time diuided into south and north Mertia, whereof this laie beyond and the other on this side of the Trent, which later also Oswald of Northumberland did giue to Weada the sonne of Penda for kindred sake, though he not long inioied it. This also is worthie to be noted, that in these eight kingdomes of the Saxons, there were twelue princes reputed in the popish Catalog for saints or martyrs, of which Alcimund, Edwine, Oswald, Oswijn and Aldwold reigned in Northumberland; Sigebert, Ethelbert, Edmond, and another Sigebert among the Estangels; Kenelme and Wistan in Mertia; and Saint Edward the confessor, ouer all; but how worthilie, I referre me to the iudgement of the learned. Thus much haue I thought good to leaue in memorie of the aforesaid kingdomes: and now will I speake somewhat of the diuision of this Iland also into prouinces, as the Romanes seuered it whiles they remained in these parts. Which being done, I hope that I haue discharged whatsoeuer is promised in the title of this chapter.
The Romans therefore hauing obteined the possession of this Iland, diuided the same at
the last into fiue prouinces, as Vibius Sequester saith. The first whereof was named Britannia prima, and conteined the east part of England (as some doo gather) from the Trent vnto the
Twede. The second was called Valentia or Valentiana, and included the west side, as they
note it, from Lirpoole vnto Cokermouth. The third hight Britannia secunda, and was that portion of the Ile which laie southwards, betwéene the Trent and the Thames. The
fourth was surnamed Flauia Cæsariensis, and conteined all the countrie which remained betweene Douer and the Sauerne, I meane by south of the Thames, and wherevnto (in like
sort) Cornewall and Wales were orderlie assigned. The fift and last part was then named Maxima Cæsariensis, now Scotland, the most barren of all the rest, and yet not vnsought
out of the gréedie Romanes, bicause of the great plentie of fish and foule, fine alabaster and hard marble that are ingendred and to be had in the same, for furniture of houshold and curious building, wherein they much delited. More hereof in Sextus Rufus, who liued in the daies of Valentine, and wrate Notitiam prouinciarum now extant to be read.