Of Octauius a British lord, his reigne ouer the Britains, he incountereth with Traherne first neere Winchester, and afterwards in Westmerland: Octauius being discomfited fleeth into Norway, Traherne is slaine, Octauius sendeth for Maximianus, on whom he bestoweth his daughter and the kingdome of Britaine: the death of Octauius, Helena builded the wals of Colchester and London, she dietk and is buried, Constantine departeth this life, Britaine reckoned among the prouinces that reteined the christian faith, Paulus a Spaniard is sent into Britaine, he dealeth roughlie with the people, Martinus the lieutenant excuseth them as innocent, his vnluckie end, Paulus returneth into Italie.
The Xxix. Chapter.
NOW in the meane time that Constantine had obteined and ruled the whole empire, Britaine as it were hauing recouered libertie, in that one of hir children being hir king, had got the gouernment of the whole earth, remained in better quiet than afore time she had
Octauius. Caxton. Gewisses inhabited the countrie which the west Saxons after held. The name of Gewisses came in with the Saxons of Guuy, &c.
doone, But yet in the meane season, if we shall credit the British chronicle and Geffrey of Monmouth the interpretor thereof; there was a British lord, named Octauius or Octauian, as the old English chronicle nameth him, that was duke of the Gewisses, and appointed by Constantine to be ruler of the land in his absence, the which Octauius (after that Constantine had recouered Rome and Italie, and was so busied in the affaires of the empire in those parts, that as was thought, he could not returne backe into Britarie) seized into his hands the whole dominion of Britaine, and held himselfe for king.
THIS Octauius then beginning his reigne ouer the Britains in the yéere of our Lord 329,
prouoked Constantine to send against him one of his mothers vncles, the foresaid Traherne.
This Trahernus, or as some name him Traherne, entred this land with three legions of souldiers,
& in a field néere vrto Winchester, was incountered by Octauius and his Britains, by
whome after a sore battell there striken betwixt them, in the end Traherne was put to flight
Galfridus. This agréeth not altogither with that which Hector Boetius writeth, as in the Scotish chronicle appéereth.
and chased, insomuch that he was constreined to forsake that part of the land, and to draw towards Scotland. Octauius hauing knowledge of his passage, followed him, & in the countrie of Westmerland eftsoones gaue him battell, but in that battell Octauius was put to the woorsse, and constreined to forsake the land, fled into Norway, there to purchase aid: and being readie with such power as he there gathered, what of Britains and Norwegians, to returne into Britaine. Before his landing he was aduertised that an earle of Britaine which bare him heartie good will, had by treason slaine Traherne. Octauius then comming to land, eftsoones
Traherne slaine. See in the Scotish chronicles more of these matters. Matth. West. saith 316.
got possession of Britaine, which should be (as Fabian gathereth) about the yéere of our Lord 329, in the 20 yéere of the reigne of the emperour Constantine, and about two yéeres after that the said Octauius first tooke vpon him to rule as king.
After this (as the British chronicle affirmeth) Octauius gouerned the land right noblie, and greatlie to the contentation of the Britains. At length when he was fallen in age, and had no issue but one daughter, he was counselled to send vnto Rome for one Maximianus, a
Maximianus is sent for. Conan Meridoc duke of Cornewall. This agréeth not with that which is found in the Scotish chronicles.
noble yoong man, coosine to the emperour Constantine, on the part of his mother Helena, to come into Britaine, and to take to his wife the said daughter of Octauius, and so with hir to haue the kingdome. Octauius at the first meant to haue giuen hir in mariage vnto one Conan Meridoc duke of Cornewall, which was his nephue: but when the lords would not thereto agrée, at the length he appointed one Maurice sonne to the said Conan to go to Rome to fetch the forenamed Maximianus.
Maurice according to his commission and instruction in that behalfe receiued, came to Rome, and declared his message in such effectuall sort, that Maximianius consented to go
Maximianus commeth into Britaine.
with him into Britaine, and so taking with him a conuenient number, set forward, and did so much by his iournies, that finallie he landed here in Britaine. And notwithstanding that Conan Meridoc past not so much to haue béene dooing with him, for malice that he conceiued towards him, because he saw that by his meanes he should be put beside the crowne, yet at length was Maximianus safelie brought to the kings presence, and of him honorablie receiued, and finallie the mariage was knit vp, and solemnized in all princelie maner. Shortlie after, Octauius departed our. of this life, after he had reigned the terme of fiftie and
Octauius departeth this life.
foure yeares, as Fabian gathereth by that which diuers authors doo write, how he reigned till the daies that Gratian and Valentinian ruled the Roman empire which began to gouerne in the yeare of our Lord (as he saith) 382, which is to be vnderstood of Gratian his reigne
after the deceasse of his vncle Valens, for otherwise a doubt maie rise, because Valentine the father of Gratian admitted the said Gratian to the title of Augustus in the yeare of our Lord 351.
But to leaue the credit of the long reigne of Octauius, with all his and others gouernement and rule ouer the Britains since the time of Constantius, vnto our.British and Scotish writers, let vs make an end with the gouernement of that noble emperour Constantine, and assured branch of the Britains race, as borne of that worthie ladie the empresse Helen, daughter to Coell earle of Colchester, and after king of Britaine (as our histories doo witnesse.) Vnto the which empresse Constantine bare such dutifull reuerence, that he did not onelie honour hir with the name of empresse, but also made hir as it were partaker with him of all his wealth, and in manie things was led and ruled by hir vertuous and godlie admonitions, to the aduancement of Gods honour, and maintenance of those that professed the true christian religion. For the loue that she bare vnto Colchester and London, she walled them about and caused great bricke and huge tiles to be made for the performance of the same, whereof there is great store to be séene euen yet to this present, both in the walls of the towne and
Nicephorus. The empresse Helen departeth this life.
castell of Colchester, as a testimonie of the woorkemanship of those daies. She liued 79 yeares, and then departed this life about the 21 yeare of hir sonnes reigne. First she was buried at Rome without the walls of the citie with all funerall pompe, as to hir estate apperteined:
but after hir corps was remoued and brought to Constantinople, where it was eftsoones interred. Hir sonne the emperour Constantine liued till about the yeare of Christ
The deceasse of the empetour Constantine.
340, and then deceassed at Nicomedia in Asia, after he had ruled the empire 32 yeares and od moneths,.
We find not in the Romane writers of anie great stur here in Britaine during his reigne more than the British and Scotish writers haue recorded: so that after Traherne had reduced this land to quietnesse, it maie be supposed, that the Britains liued in rest vnder his gouernement, and likewise after vnder his sonnes that succeeded him in the empire, till about the
yeare 360, at what time the Picts and Scots inuaded the south parts of the land.
But now to end with Octauius, that the christian faith remained still in Britaine, during the supposed time of this pretended kings reigne, it maie appeare, in that amongst the 36 prouinces, out of the which there were assembled aboue 300 bishops in the citie of Sardica
Synodus Anno. 351.
in Dacia, at a synod held there against the Eusebians, Britaine is numbred by Athanasius in his second apologie to be one. And againe, the said Athanasius in an epistle which he writeth to the emperour Iouinianus reciteth, that the churches in Britaine did consent with the churches of other nations in the confession of faith articuled in the Nicene councell. Also mention is made by writers of certeine godlie & learned men, which Hued in offices in the church in those daies, as Restitutus bishop of London, which went ouer to the synod held at Arles in France, and also one Kibius Corinnius sonne to Salomon duke of Cornewall, and bishop of Anglesey, who instructed the people that inhabited the parts now called Northwales, and them of Anglesey aforesaid verie diligentlie.
But now to speake somewhat of things chancing in Britaine about this season (as we find recorded by the Romane writers) some trouble was likelie to haue growne vnto the Britains by receiuing certeine men of warre that fled out of Italie into Britaine, whome the emperour
Marcellinus. lib. 14. Paulus a notarie.
Constantius would haue punished, because they had taken part with Maxentius his aduersarie. Paulus a Spaniard and notarie was sent ouer by him, with commission to make inquirie of them, and to sée them brought to light to answere their transgressions: which Paulus began to deale roughlie in the matter, whereof he was called Catera, and to rage against the Britains and partakers with the fugidues, in that they had receiued and mainteined them, as
he alledged: but in the end being certified by Martinus the lieutenant of their innocencie, and fearing least his extreame rigour might alienate the hearts of the inhabitants altogither, and cause them to withdraw their obedience from the Romane empire, he turned the execution of his furie from them vnto the Romans, and, made hauocke of those that he suspected, till the said Martinus fell at square with him, & thinking on a time to kill him, he drew his sword and smote at him. But such was his age and weakenesse, that he was not able to kill him or giue him anie deadlie wound: wherefore he turned the point of his sword against himselfe, and so ended his life, being contented rather to die than sée his countriemen and subiects of the empire so to be abused. After this the said Paulus returned backe againe into Italie from whence he came, after whose departure, it was not long yer he also was slaine, and then all the Scots and Picts sore disquieted the Romane subiects, for the suppressing of whose attempts Lupicinus was sent ouer out of Gallia by Iulianus, as shall be declared out of Amianus Marcellinus, after we haue first shewed what we find written in our owne writers concerning the Scots and Picts, who now began to rob and spoile the British inhabitants within the Romane prouinces here in this Ile, and that euen in most outragious maner.