previous next

What reparations and foundations Augustine finished for clergimen to the supportation of the church, the building of Paules in London and saint Peters in Westminster vncerteine, a prouinciall councell called by Augustine, he restoreth a blind man to his sight, the Britains are hardlie weaned from their old custome of beliefe, an heremits opinion of Augustine, he requireth three things to be obserued of the Britains, he ordeineth bishops at London and Rochester; Sabert reigneth ouer the Eastsaxons, Augustine dieth and is buried.

The Xxi. Chapter.

THUS farre we haue waded in the forme and maner of conuerting the English nation to christianitie, by the labours of Augustine and his coadiutors: now therefore (that we may orderlie procéed) it remaineth that we say somewhat of the acts and deeds of the said Augustine: of whom we read, that after he was established archbishop, and had his sée appointed
Beda. him at Canturburie, he restored another church in that citie which had béene erected there in times past by certeine of the Romans that were christilas, and did dedicate the same now to the honour of Christ our Sauiour. He also began the foundation of a monasterie without that citie, standing toward the east, in the which by his exhortation, king Ethelbert built a church euen from the ground, which was dedicated vnto the holie apostles Peter and Paule, in the which the bodie of the said Augustine was buried, and likewise the bodies of all the archbishops of Canturburie and kings of Kent a long time after. This abbie was called saint Austins after his name, one Peter being the first abbat thereof. The church One Peter was the first Abbat. there was not consecrated by Augustine, but by his successor Laurence, after he was dead.

Moreouer, king Ethelbert at the motion of Augustine built a church in the citie of London (which he latelie had conquered) and dedicated it vnto saint Paule; but whether he builded or restored this church of saint Paule it may be doubted, for there be diuers opinions of the building thereof. Some haue written that it was first builded by king Lud (as before is Ran, High. mentioned.) Other againe write, that it was builded afterward by Sigebert king of the Eastsaxons. Also king Ethelbert builded the church of saint Andrews in Rochester. It is likewise remembred by writers, that the same king Ethelbert procured a citizen of London Beda. to build a church to S. Peter without the citie of London toward the west, in a place then called Thorney, that is to say, the Ile of thorns, and now called Westminster: though others Ran. High. Westminster church builded. haue written that it was built by Lucius king of Britaine, or rather by Sibert king of the Eastsaxons. This church was either newlie built, or greatlie inlarged by king Edward sutrnamed the Confessor, and after that, the third Hentle king of England did make there a beautifull monasterie, and verie richlie indowed the same with great possessions and sumptuous iewels. The place was ouergrowne with vnderwoods, as thornes and brambles, before that the church was begun to be builded there in this king Ethelberts daies. ¶ Thus the faith of Christ being once begun to be receiued of the English men, tooke woonderfull increase within a short time.

Ran. Cest. Beda. Sigebertus. ann. 19. Mauricij imperatoris. A synod. Austines oke. Galfrid. lib. 8. cap. 4. In the meane season by the helpe of king Ethelbert, Augustine caused a councell to be called at a place in the confines of the Westsaxons, which place long after was called Austines oke, where he procured the bishops or doctors of the prouinces of the Britains to come before him. Among the Britains or the Welshmen, christianitie as yet remained in force, which from the apostles time had neuer failed in that nation. When Augustine came into this land, he found in their prouinces seuen bishops sées, and an archbishops sée, wherein at verie godlie & right religious prelats, and manie abbats, in the which the Lords flocke kept their right order but because they differed in obseruing the feast of Easter, and other Beda lib. 2. ca. 2. rites from the vse of the Romane church, Augustine thought it necessarie to mooue them to agrée with him in vnitie of the same, but after long disputation and reasoning of those matters, they could not be induced to giue their assent in that behalfe. Augustine to prooue his opinion good, wrought a miracle in restoring sight to one of the Saxon nation that was blind.

The Britains that were present, mooued with this miracle, confessed that it was the right waie of iustice and righteousnesse which Augustine taught; but yet they said that they might not forsake their ancient customs without consent and licence of their nation. Wherevpon Another synod. they required another synod to be holden, whereat a greater number of them might be present. This being granted, there came (as it is reported) seuen bishops of the Britains, The monasterie of Bangor. Abbat Dionoth. and a great number of learned men, speciallie of the famous monasterie of Bangor, whereof in those daies one Dionoth was abbat, who as they went towards that councell, came first to a certeine wise man, which liued amongst them an heremits life, and asked his aduise, whether they ought to forsake their traditions at the preaching of Augustine or not: who made this answer; "If he be the man of God, follow him." Then said they; "How shall The answer of a godlie man touching Austine the Englishmens apostle. we prooue whether he be so or not?" Then said he: "The Lord saith, Take vp my yoke and learne of ne, for I am méeke & humble in hart: if Augustine be humble and meeke in hart, it is to be beléeued that he also beareth the yoke of Christ, and offereth it to you to beare; but if he be not méeke but proud, it is certeine that he is not of GOD, nor his woord to be regarded." "And how shall we sée and perceiue that (said they?)" "Find meanes (said he) that he maie first come to the place of the synod with those of his side, and if he arise to receiue you at your comming, then know that he is the seruant of God, and obey him; but if he despise you, and arise not towards you, whereas you be more in number, let him be despised of you."

They did as he commanded, and it chanced, that when they came, they found Augustine sitting in his, chaire: whome when they beheld, straightwaies they conceiued indignation, and noting him of pride, laboured to reprooue all his saiengs. He told them that they vsed manie Thrée things required by Augustine of the Britains to be obserued. things contrarie to the custom of the vniuersall church, and yet if in thrée things they would obeie him, that is to say, in kéeping the feast of Easter in due time, in ministring baptisme according to the custome of the Romane church, & in preaching to the Englishmen the woord of life with him & his fellowes, then would he be contented to suffer all other things patientlie which they did, though the same were contrarie to the maners and customs of the Romane iurisdiction. But they flatlie denied to doo anie of those things, and gaue a plaine answer that they would not receiue him for their archbishop: for laieng their heads togither, thus they thought, If he refuse now to arise vnto vs, how much the more will he contemne vs if we should become subiect to him? Vnto whom (as it is said) Augustine threatneth. Augustine in threatening wise told them afore hand, that if they would not receiue peace with their brethren, they should receiue warre of the enimies; & if they would not preach to the Englishmen the waie of life, they should suffer punishment by death at the hands of them: which thing in deed after came to passe, as in place conuenient shall be expressed. After this in the yéere of our Lord 604, the archbishop Augustine ordeined two bishops, 604. that is to say, Melitus at London, that he might preach the woord of God to the Eastsaxons, Bishops ordeined at London and Rochester. which were diuided-from them of Kent by the riuer of Thames, and Iustus in the citie of Rochester within the limits of Kent.

AT that time Sabert reigned ouer the Eastsaxons, but he was subiect vnto Ethelbert king SABERT. of Kent, whose nephue he was also by his sister Ricula that was married vnto king Sledda that succéeded after Erchenwine the first king of the Eastsaxons, and begat on hir this Sabert that receiued the faith. After that Augustine had ordeined Melitus to be bishop of London, as before is said, king Ethelbert builded (as somle write) the church of saint Paule within the same citie, where the same Melitus and his successors might keepe their sée. And also for the like purpose he builded the church of saint Andrew the apostle at Rochester, that Iustus and his successors might haue their sée in that place, according to Augustines institution: he bestowed great gifts vpon both those churches, endowing them with lands and possessions verie bountifullie, to the vse of them that should be attendant in the same with the bishops.

Finallie, Augustine after he had gouerned as archbishop the church of Canturburie by Ran. Cestren. the space of 12 yéeres currant, departed this life the fiue and twentieth of Maie, and was buried first without the citie néere to the church of the apostles Peter and Paule (whereof mention is made before) bicause the same church as yet was not finished nor dedicated; but after it was dedicated, his bodie was brought into the church, and reuerentlie buried in the north Ile there. He ordeined in his life time Laurence to be his successor in the sée of Canturburie, of whome ye shall heare hereafter. ¶ Thus haue ye heard in what maner the Englishmen were first brought from the worshipping of false gods, and baptised in the name of the liuing God by the foresaid Augustine (as we find in Beda and other writers.) Now we will returne to other dooings chancing in the meane time amongst the people of this Ile.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: