Of Coillus the sonne of Marius, his education in Rome, how long he reigned: of Lucius his sonne and successor, what time he assumed the gouernment of this land, he was an open professor of christian religion, he and his familie are baptised, Britaine receiueth the faith, 3 archbishops and 28 bishops at that time in this Iland, Westminster church and S. Peters in Cornehill builded, diuers opinions touching the time of Lucius his reigne, of his death, and when the christian faith was receiued in this Iland.
The 19. Chapter.
COILLUS the sonne of Marius was after his tatters deceasse made king of Britaine, in
the yeare of our Lord 125. This Coillus or Coill was brought vp in his youth amongst the
Romans at Rome, where he spent his time not vnprofitablie, but applied himselfe to learning & seruice in the warres, by reason whereof he was much honored of the Romans, and he likewise honored and loued them, so that he paied his tribute truelie all the time of his reigne, and therefore liued in peace and good quiet. He was also a prince of much bountie, and verie liberall, whereby he obteined great loue both of his nobles and commons. Some saie, that he made the towne of Colchester in Essex, but others write, that Coill which
reigned next after Asclepiodotus was the first founder of that towne, but by other it should séeme to be built long before, being called Camelodunum. Finallie when this Coill had reigned the space of 54 yeares, he departed this life at Yorke, leauing after him a sonne named Lucius, which succéeded in the kingdome.
LUCIUS the sonne of Coillus, whose surname (as saith William Harison) is not extant,
began his reigne ouer the Britains about the yeare of our Lord 180, as Fabian following the authoritie of Peter Pictauiensis saith, although other writers seeme to disagrée in that account, as by the same Fabian in the table before his booke partlie appeareth, wherevnto Matthæus Westmonasteriensis affirmeth, that this Lucius was borne in the yeare of our Lord 115, and was crowned king in the yeare 124, as successor to his father Coillus, which died the same yeare, being of great age yer the said Lucius was borne. It is noted by antiquaries, that his entrance was in the 4132 of the world, 916 after the building of Rome,
220 after the comming of Caesar into Britaine, and 165 after Christ, whose accounts I follow in this treatise.
This Lucius is highlie renowmed of the writers, for that he was the first king of the Britains that receiued the faith of Iesus Christ: for being inspired by the spirit of grace and truth, euen from the beginning of his reigne, he somewhat leaned to the fauoring of Christian religion, being moued with the manifest miracles which the Christians dailie wrought in witnesse and proofe of their sound and perfect doctrine. For euen from the daies of Ioseph of Arimathia and his fellowes, or what other godlie men first taught the Britains the gospell of our Sauiour there remained amongest the same Britains some Christians which ceased not to teach and preach the word of God most sincerelie vnto them: but yet no king amongst them openlie professed that religion, till at length this Lucius perceiuing not onelie some of the Romane lieutenants in Britaine as Trebellius and Pertinax, with others, to haue submitted themselues to that profession, but also the emperour himselfe to begin to be fauorable to them that professed it, he tooke occasion by their good example to giue eare more attentiuelie vnto the gospell, and at length sent vnto Eleutherius bishop of Rome two learned men of the British nation, Eluane and Meduine, requiring him to send some such ministers as might instruct him and his people in the true faith more plentifullie, and to baptise them according to the rules of christian religion.
¶ The reuerend father Iohn lewell, sometime bishop of Salisburie, writeth in his * replie
vnto Hardings answer, that the said Eleutherius, for generall order to be taken in the realme and churches héere, wrote his aduice to Lucius in maner and forme following. "You haue receiued in the kingdome of Britaine, by Gods mercie, both the law and faih of Christ; ye haue both the new and the old testament, out of the same through Gods grace, by the aduise of your realme make a law, and by the same through Gods sufferance rule you your kingdome of Britaine, for in that kingdome you are Gods vicar."
Herevpon were sent from the said Eleutherius two godlie learned men, the one named Fugatius, and the other Damianus, the which baptised the king with all his familie and people,
Britaine receiueth the faith.
and therewith remoued the worshipping of idols and false gods, and taught the right meane and waie how to worship the true and immortal! God. There were in those daies within the bounds of Britaine 28 Flamines, & thrée Archflamines, which were. as bishops and archbishops, or superintendents of the pagan or heathen religion, in whose place (they being remoued) were instituted 28 bishops & thrée archbishops of the christian religion. One of the which archbishops held his sée at London, another at Yorke, and the third at
Caerleon Arwiske in Glamorganshire. Vnto the archbishop of London was subiect Cornewall, and all the middle part of England, euen vnto Humber. To the archbishop of Yorke all the north parts of Britaine from the riuer of Humber vnto the furthest partes of Scotland. And to the archbishop of Caerleon was subiect all Wales, within which countrie as then were seuen bishops, where now there are but foure. The riuer of Seuern in those daies diuided Wales (then called Cambria) from the other parts of Britaine. Thus Britaine
Iosephus of Arimathia.
partlie by the meanes of Ioseph of Arimathia (of whome ye haue heard before) & partlie by the wholesome instructions & doctrines of Fugatius and Damianus, was the first of all other regions that openlie receiued the gospell, and continued most stedfast in that profession, till the cruell furie of Dioclesian persecuted the same, in such sort, that as well in Britaine as in all other places of the world, the christian religion was in manner extinguished, and vtterlie destroied.
Polydor. Westminster Church built.
There be that affirme, how this Lucius should build the church of saint Peter at Westminster, though manie attribute that act vnto Sibert king of the east Saxons, and write how the place was then ouergrowne with thornes and bushes, and thereof tooke the name, and was called Thorney. They ad moreouer that Thomas archbishop of London preached, read, and ministred the sacraments there to such as made resort vnto him. Howbeit by the tables hanging in the reuestrie of saint Paules at London, and also a table sometime hanging in saint Peters church in Cornehill, it should séeme that the said church of saint Peter in Cornehill was the same that Lucius builded. But herein (saith Harison anno mundi
4174) dooth lie a scruple, Sure Cornell might soone be mistaken for Thorney, speciallie in such old records, as time, age, & cuill handling haue oftentimes defaced.
But howsoeuer the case standeth, truth it is, that Lucius reioising much, in that he had brought his people to the perfect light and vnderstanding of the true God, that they néeded not to be deceiued anie longer with the craftie temptations and feigned miracles of wicked spirits, he abolished all prophane worshippings of false gods, and conuerted all such temples as had béene dedicated to their seruice, vnto the vse of christian religion: and thus studieng onlie how to aduance the glorie of the immortall God, and the knowledge of his word, without seeking the vaine glorie of worldlie triumph, which is got with slaughter and bloudshed of manie a giltlesse person, he left his kingdome; though not inlarged with broder dominion than he receiued it, yet greatlie augmented and inriched with quiet rest, good ordinances, and (that which is more to be estéemed than all the rest) adorned with Christes religion, and perfectlie instructed with his most holie word and doctrine. He
Polydor. Fabian. Iohn Hard.
reigned (as some write) 21 yeares, though other affirme but twelue yeares. Againe, some testifie that he reigned 77, others 54, and 43.
Moreouer here is to be noted, that if he procured the faith of Christ to be planted within this realme in the time of Eleutherius the Romane bishop, the same chanced in the dales of the emperour Marcus Aurelius Antonius; and about the time that Lucius Aurelius Commodus was ioined and made partaker of the empire with his father, which was seuen yéere after the death of Lucius Aelius, Aurelius Verus, and in the 177 after the birth of our Sauiour lesus Christ, as by some chronologies is easie to be collected. For Eleutherius began to gouerne the sée of Rome in the yéere 169, according to the opinion of the most diligent chronographers of our time, and gouerned fiftéene yeeres and thirtéene daies. And yet there are that affirme, how Lucius died at Glocester in the yéere of our Lord 156. Other say that
Gal. Mo Matth. West.
he died in the yere 201, and other 208. So that the truth of this historie is brought into doubt by the discord of writers, concerning the time and other circumstances, although they all agrée that in this kings daies the christian faith was first by publike consent openlie receiued and professed in this land, which as some affirme, should chance in the twelfe yéere of his reigne, and in the yéere of our Lord 177. Other iudge that it came to passe in the
eight yeere of his regiment, and in the yéere of our Lord 188, where other (as before is said) alledge that it was in the yéere of the Lord 179. Nauclerus saith, that this happened
about the yeare of our Lord 156. And Henricus de Herfordea supposeth, that it was in the
yéere of our Lord 169, and in the nintéenth yéere of the emperor Marcus Antonius Verus and after other, about the sixt yéere of the emperor Commodus.
But to conclude, king Lucius died without issue, by reason whereof after his deceasse the Britains fell at variance, which continued about the space of fiftéene yéeres (as Fabian thinketh)
howbeit the old English chronicle affirmeth, that the contention betwixt them remained fiftie yéeres, though Harding affirmeth but foure yéeres. And thus much of the Britains, and
Caxton. Iohn Hard.
their kings Coilus and Lucius. Now it resteth to speake somewhat of the Romans which gouerned here in the meane while. After that Agricola was called backe to Rome, the Britains (and namelie those that inhabited beyond Tweed) partlie being weakned of their former strength, and partlie in consideration of their pledges, which they had deliuered to the Romans, remained in peace certeine yéeres.