The beginning of the kingdome of Brenitia, of whome the king of Kent, Mertia, and west Saxons descended, Ida the Saxon commended, the originall of the kingdome of Deira, the circuit and bounds therof, of Ella the gouernour of the same, when the partition of the kingdome of Northumberland chanced; Vortiporus reigneth ouer the Britains, he vanquisheth the Saxons; Gyldas sharplie reprooueth Vortiporus for manie greeuous offenses, and exhorteth him to amendement.
The Xvj. Chapter.
IN the yeare of the Lord 547, which was about the first yeare of the reigne of Aurelius
Conanus, the kingdome of Brenitia began vnder a Saxon ruler there called Ida, & descended
of Woden. For where the said Woden had three sonnes, Weldecius, Withlegris, and Beldecius;
H. Hunt. The kingdom of Brenitia began.
of the first, the kings of Kent were lineallie extracted: of the second, the kings of Mertia: and of the third sonne came the kings of Westsaxon, and also of him was this Ida descended, being the ninth in lineall succession from the said Beldecius and the tenth from Woden. The same Ida was vndoubtedlie a right noble personage, and changed first that dukedome into a kingdome; where before that time the Saxons that ruled there, were subiects vnto the kings of Kent. Whether he tooke vpon him of his owne accord to vsurpe the kinglie title and roiall authorities, or whether that the same was giuen to him by consent of other, the certeintie appeareth not. But sure it is, that he being a woorthie prince, did not degenerate from his noble ancestors inuincible in warre abroad and at home, qualifieng his kinglie seueritie with a naturall kind of courteous humanitie. The bounds of his kingdome called (as is said) Brenitia, began in the south at the riuer of Tine, and ended in the north at the Forth in Scotland, in the British toong called Werd.
ABOUT the same time, or rather about 14 yeares after, one Ella a Saxon also reigned as king
in Deira, which kingdome began at the said riuer of Tine in the north, & ended at the riuer of Humber toward the south. These two kingdomes were sometime gouerned by two
The beginning of the kingdome of Deira.
seuerall kings, and afterwards at other times they were ioined in one, and gouemed by one onelie king, and named the kingdome of Northumberland, which in processe of time was much inlarged, so that it included the shires of Yorke, Notingham, Darbie, Lancaster, the bishoprike of Durham, Copland, and other countries betwixt the east and the west seas,
The riuer of Mersie.
euen vnto the riuer of Mersie. The foresaid Ella was sonne to Iffus, being descended from Woden, as the 12 in succession from him, though not by right line as William Malmesburie hath noted, Ida (as the same Malmesburie dooth testifie) reigned 14 yeares.
Now Ella who was successor to Ida (as he saith) reigned thirtie yeares, and verie valiantlie
inlarged his kingdome. But one author writeth how Ida reigned but 12 yeares, and that he builded the castell of Bamburge, first fensing it with pales, and after with a wall of
stone. The same Ida had by his wife six sonnes, begotten in lawfull bed, Ada, Ebric
Theodoric, Athelric, Osmer, and Theofred. Moreouer he begat of certeine concubines (which he kept) six bastard sonnes, Oga, Aleric, Ettha, Osbale, Segor, and Segother. These came altogither into this land, and arriued at Flernesburke with fortie ships, as Matthæus Westmonasteriensis hath recorded. The partition of the kingdome of Northumberland chanced after the deceasse of Ida, as the same author signifieth: for Ada the sonne of the foresaid Ida succéeded his father in the kingdome of Brenitia, reigning therein seuen yeares: and Ella the sonne of Histria, a most valiant duke, began to gouerne Deira, as both the said Matth. Westin. and others doo affirme.
VORTIPORUS. Matth. West. noteth 578.
VORTIPORUS the sonne of Aurelius Conanus succeeded his father, and began to reigne ouer the Britains, in the yéere of our Lord 576, in the 11, yeare of the emperour Flauius Anicius Iustinus, in the fourth yeare of the reigne of Childeric king of France, and in the fourth yeare of Clephis the Gothish king in Italie. This Vortiporus vanquished the Saxons in battell, as the British histories make mention, and valiantlie defended his land and subjects the Britains, from the danger of them and other their allies. In the time of this kings reigne, the foresaid Ella began to rule in the south part of the kingdome of Northumberland called Deira, as before is mentioned, according to the account of some authors, who also take this Vortiporus to begin his reigne in the yeare 548. After that Vortiporus had ruled
Matth. West. noteth 3 yeares.
the Britans the space of 4 yeares, he departed this life, and left no issue behind him to succéed him in the kingdome.
Against this Vortiporus Gyldas also whetting his toong, beginneth with him thus: "And why standest thou as one starke amazed? Thou (I say) Vortiporus the tyrant of Southwales, like to the panther in maner and wickednesse diuerslie spotted as it were with manie colors, with thy hoarie head in thy throne, full of deceits, crafts and wiles, and defiled euen from the lowest part of thy bodie to the crowne of thy head, with diuers & sundrie murthers committed on thine owne kin, and filthie adulteries, thus proouing a naughtie sonne of a good king, as Manasses was to Ezechias. How chanceth it that the violent streames of sinnes which thou swallowest vp like pleasant wine, or rather art deuoured of them, (the end of thy life by little and little now drawing néere) can not yet satisfie the? What meanest thou that with fornication of all euills, as it were the full heape, thine owne wife being put away, thou by hir honest death dooest oppresse thy soule with a certeine burthen that can not be auoided, of thine vnshamefast daughter? Consume not (I pray thée) the residue of thy daies to the offense of God, &c." These and the like woords vttered he, exhorting him to repentance, with admonitions taken out of the scriptures both for his comfort and warning.
¶ If the circumstance of this that Gyldas writeth of Vortiporus be marked, it may be perceiued, that Geffrey of Monmouth, and also Matthew of Westminster, the author of the floures of histories, are deceiued, in that they take him to be the sonne of Aurelius Conanus: and rather it may be gathered, that not onlie the same Aurelius Conanus and Vortiporus, but also Constantinus, yea & Cuneglasus, and Maglocunus, of the which he also intreateth (as partlie shall be hereafter touched) liued and reigned all at one time in seuerall parts of this lie, and not as monarchs of the whole British nation, but as rulers each of them in his quarter, after the maner as the state of Ireland hath: béene in times past before the countrie came vnder the English subiection, if my coniecture herein doo not deceiue me.