The beginning of the kingdome of the Eastsaxons, what it conteined, of Arthur king of Britaine, his twelue victories ouer the Saxons against whome he mainteined continuall warre, why the Scots and Picts enuied him his roialtie and empire, a league betwixt Arthur and Loth king of the Picts, Howell king of little Britaine aideth Arthur against Cheldrike king of Germanie, who taking the ouerthrow, is slaine by the duke of Cornewall, the Picts are discomfited, the Irishmen with their king put to flight, and the Scots subdued, Arthurs sundrie conquesis against diuers people, the vanitie of the British writers noted.
The Twelfe Chapter.
IN those daies also the kingdome of the Eastsaxons began, the chéefe citie whereof was
The kingdom of the Eastsaxons.
London. It conteined in effect so much as at this present belongeth to the diocesse of London. One Erchenwin a Saxon was the first king thereof, the which was sonne to one Offa, the sixt in lineall descent from one Saxnot, from whom the kings of that countrie fetched their originall. Harison noteth the exact yéere of the erection of the kingdome of the Eastsaxons to begin with the end of the eight of Cerdicus king of the Westsaxons, that is, the 527 of Christ, and 78 after the comming of the Saxons. In the 13 yéere of the reigne of Cerdicus, he with his sonne Kenrike, and other of the Saxon capteins fought with the Britains in the Ile of Wight at Witgarsbridge, where they slue a great number of Britains, and so conquered the Ile, the which about four yéeres after was giuen by Cerdicus vnto his nephues Stuffe and Witgar.
AFTER the deceasse of Vter Pendragon (as we doo find in the British histories) his sonne Arthur, a yoong towardlie gentleman, of the age of 15 yéeres or thereabouts, began his reigne ouer
the Britains in the yéere of our Lord 516, or as Matt. Westmin. saith 517, in the 28 yéere of the emperour Anastasius, and in the third yéere of the reignes of Childebert, Clothare, Clodamire,
Matth. West. hath noted 518
and Theodcrike, brethren that were kings of the Frenchmen. Of this Arthur manie things are written beyond credit, for that there is no ancient author of authoritie that confirmeth the same: but surelie as may be thought he was some woorthie man, and by all likelihood a great enimie to the Saxons, by reason whereof the Welshmen which are the verie Britains in déed, haue him in famous remembrance. He fought (as the common report goeth of him) 12 notable battels against the Saxons, & in euerie of them went away with the victorie, but yet he could not driue them quite out of the land, but that they kept still the countries which they had in possession, as Kent, Sutherie, Norfolke, and others: howbeit some writers testifie, that they held these countries as tributaries to Arthur.
But truth it is (as diuers authors agrée) that he held continuall warre against them, and also against the Picts, the which were allied with the Saxons: for as in the Scotish histories is conteined, euen at the first beginning of his reigne, the two kings of the Scots and Picts séemed to enuie his aduancement to the crowne of Britaine, bicause they had maried the two sisters of the two brethren, Aurelius Ambrosius, and Vter Pendragon, that is to say, Loth king of Picts had married Anne their eldest sister, and Conran king of Scots had in mariage Alda their yoonger sister, so that bicause Arthur was begotten out of wedlocke, they thought it stood with more reason, that the kingdome of the Britains should haue descended vnto the sisters sonnes, rather than to a bastard, namelie Loth the Pictish king, which had issue by his wife Anna, sore repined at the matter.
Wherefore at the first, when he saw that by suit he could not preuaile, he ioined in league with the Saxons, and aiding them against Arthur, lost many of his men of warre being ouerthrowne in battell, which he had sent vnto the succours of Colgerne the Saxon prince that ruled as then in the north parts. But finallie a league was concluded betwixt Arthur and the foresaid Loth king of Picts, vpon certeine conditions, as in the Scotish historie is expressed, where ye may read the same, with many other things touching the acts of Arthur, somewhat in other er than our writers haue recorded.
¶ The British authors declare, that Arthur (immediatlie after he had receiued the crowne of Dubright bishop of Caerleon) went with his power of Britains against the Saxons of Northumberland, which had to their capteine (as before is said) one Colgrime or Colgerne, whome Arthur discomfited and chased into the citie of Yorke, within which place Arthur besieged him, till at length the same Colgrime escaped out of the citie, & leauing it in charge
with his brother called Bladulfe, passed ouer into Germanie vnto Cheldrike king of that
Cheldrike commeth in aid of Colgrime. Matt. Westm. saith but 700.
countrie, of whom he obteined succor, so that the said Cheldrike made prouision of men and ships, and came himselfe ouer into Scotland, hauing in his companie fiftéene hundred sailes one with an other.
When Arthur was aduertised thereof, was raised his siege, and withdrew to London, sending letters with all speed vnto Howell king of little Britaine in France, that was his sisters sonne, requiring of him in most earnest wise his aid. Howell incontinentlie assembled his people, to
Howell king of Britaine commeth ouer in aid of Arthur.
the number of fifteene thousand men, and taking the sea, landed with them at Southhampton, where Arthur was readie to receiue him with great ioy and gladnesse. From thence they drew northwards, where both the hosts of Arthur and Howell being assembled togither, marched forward to Lincolne, which citie Cheldrike did as then besiege. Here Arthur and Howell assailed the Saxons with great force & no lesse manhood, and at length after great
Cheldrike ouerthrowne in baitell.
slaughter made of the enimies, they obteined the victorie, and chased Cheldrike (with the residue of the Saxons that were left aliue) vnto a wood where they comassed them about within the same, in such wise, that in the ende they were constrined to yéeld themselue, with condition that they might be suffered to depart on foot to their ships, and so auoid the land, leauing their horsse, armour, and other furniture vnto the Britains.
Héerevpon the Britains taking good hostages for assurance, permitted the Saxons to go their waies, and so Cheldrike and his people got them to their ships, in purpose to returne into their countrie: but being on the sea, they were forced by wind to change their course, and comming on the coasts of the west parts of Britaine, they arriued at Totnesse, and contrarie to the couenanted articles of their last composition with Arthur, inuaded the countrie anew, and taking such armour as they could find, marched foorth in robbing and spoiling the people, till they came to Bath, which towne the Britains kept and defended against them, not suffering them by anie meanes to enter there, wherevpon the Saxons inuironed it with a strong siege. Arthur informed heereof, with all spéed hasted thither, and giuing the enimies
battell, slue the most part of Cheldrikes men.
There were slaine both Colgrime and Bladulfe, howbeit Cheldrike himselfe fled out of the
The Saxons ouerthrow Colgrime and Bladulfe.
field towards his ships, but being pursued by Cador earle of Cornwall (that had with him tèn thousand men) by Arthurs appointment, he was ouertaken and in flight slaine with all his
Cheldrike siaine by Cador duke of Cornwall. K. Howell besieged by the Scots.
people. Arthur himselfe returned from this battell foughten at Bath with all speed towards the marshes of Scotland, for that he had receiued aduertisement, how the Scots had besieged Howell K. of Britaine there, as he lay sicke. Also when Cador had accomplished his enterprise and slaine Cheldrike, he returned with as much spéed as was possible towards Arthur, & found him in Scotland, where he rescued Howell, and afterwards pursued the Scots which fled before him by heaps.
About the same time, one Guillomer king of Ireland arriued in Scotland with a mightie power of Irishmen (neere the place where Arthur lodged) to helpe the Scots against the Britains: wherevpon Arthur turning his forces towards the same Guillomer, vanquished him, and chased him into Ireland. This doone, he continued in pursute of the Scots, till he caused them to sue for pardon, and to submit them selues wholie to him, and so receiuing them to mercie, & taking homage of them, he returned to Yorke, and shortlie after tooke
to wife one Guenhera a right beautifull ladie, that was néere kinswoman to Cador earle of Cornwall.
In the yeere following, which some note to be 525, he went into Ireland, and discomfiting
king Guillomer in battell, he constreined him to yéeld, and to acknowledge by dooing his fealtie to hold the realme of Ireland of him. It is further remembred in those British histories,
that he subdued Gothland and Iseland, with all the Iles in and about those seas. Also that he ouercame the Romans in the countrie about Paris, with their capteine Lucius, and wasted the most part of all France, and slue in singular combats certeine giants that were of passing force and hugenesse of stature. And if he had not béene reuoked and called home to resist his coosen Mordred, that was sonne to Loth king of Pightland that rebelled in his countrie, he had passed to Rome, intending to make himselfe emperor, and afterward to vanquish the other emperor, who then ruled the empire. ¶ But for so much as there is not anie approoued author who dooth speake of anie such dooings, the Britains are thought to haue registered méere fables in sted of true matters, vpon a vaine desire to aduance more than reason would, this Arthur their noble champion, as the Frenchmen haue doone their Rouland, and diuerse others.