Vortigerne furnisheth the tower with a garrison, he bewraieth his crueltie, Aurelius and Pendragon brethren to the late king Constantius flie into Britaine Armorike, what common abuses and sinnes did vuiuersally concurre with a plentifull yeere, the Scots and Picts reuenge the death of their countrimen, Vortigerne is in doubt of his estate, the Britains send for succour to the Saxons, they come vnder the conduct of Hengist and Horsus two brethren, where they are assigned to be seated, they vanquish the Scots, disagreement in writers touching the Saxons first comming into this Iland.
The Second Chapter.
VORTIGERNE, by such diuelish meanes and vnconscionable practises (as you heare)
stealing away the hearts of the people, was chosen and made king of Britaine, in the yéere of our Lord 446, in the 3 consulship of Aetius, 1197 of Rome, 4 of the 305 Olympiad,
4112 of the world, the dominicall letter going by F, the prime by 10, which fell about the 21 yéere of the emperour Valentinianus, the same yéere that Meroneus began to reigne ouer the Frenchmen. Before he was made king, he was earle or duke of the Geuisses, a people which held that part of Britaine where afterwards the west Saxons inhabited. Now when
he had with treason, fraud, and great deceit at length obteined that for the which he had long looked, he first of all furnished the tower of London with a strong garrison of men of warre.
Then studieng to aduance such onelie as he knew to be his speciall friends and fauourers, he sought by all meanes how to oppresse other, of whose good will he had neuer so litle
mistrust, and namelie those that were affectionate towards the linage of Constantine he hated deadlie, and deuised by secret meanes which way he might best destroy them. But these his practises being at the first perceiued, caused such as had the gouernance of the two yoong gentlemen with all spéed to get them ouer (as ye haue heard) into Britaine Armorike,
there to remaine out of danger with their vncle the king of that land. Diuers of the Britains Britains also, that knew themselues to be in Vortigerne his displeasure, sailed ouer dailie vnto them, which thing brought Vortigerne into great doubt and feare of his estate.
It chanced also the same time that there was great plentie of come, & store of fruit, the
Pientie of wealth accompanied with store of sinnes.
like wherof had not béene seene in manie yéeres before, and therevpon insued riot, strife lecherie, and other vices verie heinous, & yet accounted as then for small or rather none offenses at all. These abuses & great enormities reigned not onelie in the temporaltie, but also in the spiritualtie and chéefe rulers in the same: so that euerie man turned the point of his speare (euen as he had consented of purpose) against the true and innocent person. The commons also gaue themselues to voluptuous lust, drunkennesse, and idle loitering, whereof followed fighting, contention, enuie, and much debate. Of this plentie therefore insued great pride, and of this abundance no lesse hautinesse of mind, wherevpon followed great wickednesse, lacke of good gouernement and sober temperancie, and in the necke of these as a iust punishment, death and mortalitie, so that in some countries scarse the quicke sufficed to burie the dead.
Seots and Picts inuade the Britains.
And for an augmentation of more mischéefe, the Scots and Picts hearing how their countrimen through the false suggestion of Vortigerne, had bene wrongfullie and most cruellie put to death at London, began with fire & sword to make sharpe & cruell warre against the Britains, wasting their countrie, spoiling and burning their townes, and giuing them the ouerthrow in a pitcht field, as in the Scotish historie more plainlie appeareth. To be bréefe, the Britains were brought into such danger and miserie, that they knew not what way to take for remedie in such present perill, likelie to be ouerrun and vtterlie vanquished of their enimies. In the meane time Vortigerne not onelie troubled with these imminent euils, but fearing also the returne of the two brethren, Aurelius Ambrose, and Vter Pendragon, began to consider of the state of things, and estéeming it most sure to worke by aduise, called togither the principall lords and chéefe men of the realme to haue their counsell and opinion, how to procéed in such a weightie businesse: and so debating the matter with them, measured both his owne force, and also the force of his enimies, and according to the condition and state of the time, diligentlie considered and searched out what remedie was to be had and prouided.
Gyldas. Wil. Malm. Beda. The Saxons sent for. 10000 hath Hector Boet. Gyldas and Beda mention onelie but of 3 plates or gallies, but Hector Boet. hath 30.
At length after they had throughlie pondered all things, the more part of the nobles with the king also were of this mind, that there could be no better way deuised, than to send into Germanie for the Saxons to come to their aid: the which Saxons in that season were highlie renowmed for their valiancie in armes, and manifold aduentures heretofore atchiued, And so forthwith messengers were dispatched into Germanie, the which with monie, gifts, and promises, might procure the Saxons to come to the aid of the Britains against the Scots and Picts. The Saxons glad of this message, as people desirous of intertainment to serue in warres, choosing forth a picked companie of lustie yoong men vnder the leading of two brethren Hingist and Horsus, got them aboord into certeine vessels appointed for the purpose, and so with all spéed directed their course towards great Britaine.
This was in the yeare of our Lord 449, and in the second yeare of Vortigerns reigne, as the most autentike writers both British and English séeme to gather, although the Scotish
writers, and namelie, Hector Boetius doo varie herein, touching the iust account of yeares, as to the perusers of the writings aswell of the one as the other may appeare. But others take it to be in the 4 yéere of his reigne: whereto Beda séemeth to agrée, who noteth it in the same yeare that Martianus the emperour began to rule the empire, which was (as appeareth by the consularie table) in the consulship of Protogenes and Austerius, and third yeere of Meroneus king of France.
These Saxons thus arriuing in Britaine, were courteouslie receiued, & hartilie welcomed of king Vortigerne, who assigned to them places in Kent to inhabit, and foorthwith led them against the Scots and Picts, which were entred into Britaine, wasting & destroieng the countrie before them. Héerevpon comming to ioine in battell, there was a sore fight betwixt the parties for a while. But at length when the Saxons called to their remembrance that the same was the day which should either purchase to them an euerlasting name of manhood by victorie, or else of reproch by repulse, began to renew the fight with such violence,
Scots Vanquished by the Saxons.
that the enimies not able to abide their fierce charge, were scattered and beaten downe on ech side with great slaughter.
The king hauing gotten this victorie, highlie rewarded the strangers according to their well deseruings, as by whose prowesse he had thus vanquished his enimies, which (as some write)
were come as farre as Stamford, and vsed at that time to fight with long darts and speares, whereas the Saxons fought onelie with long swords and axes.
¶ Some haue written that the Saxons were not sent for, but came by chance into the Ile,
and the occasion to be this. There was an ancient custome among the English Saxons a people in Germanie, as was also at the first among other nations, that when the multitude of them was so increased, that the countrie was not able to susteine and find them, by commandement of their princes, they should choose out by lots a number of yoong and able personages fit for the warrs, which should go foorth to séeke them new habitations: and so it chanced to these, that they came into great Britaine, and promised to serue the king for wages in his warres.