King Edwin is put in mind of his vision by Pauline who sawe the same in spirit, he is licenced to preach the gospell, bishop Coifi destroieth the idols, Edwin and his people receiue the christian faith, his two sonnes Osfride and Eadfride become conuerts, Redwald king of the Eastangles is baptised, he serueth God and the diuell, Sibert receiueth the faith, Felix bishop of Burgongne commeth ouer to Honorius archbishop of Canturburie, he preacheth to the Eastangles, the Northumbers and Lincolnshiremen are conuerted, manie are baptised in the riuer of Trent; king Edwins iustice how effectuall and commendable, his care for the common-wealth, his prouidence for the refection of trauellers, pope Honorius confirmeth Pauline archbishop of Yorke, the tenor of his letters touching the mutuall election of the archbishop of Canturburie and Yorke, if either of them happened to suruiue other, his letters to the Scots touching the keeping of Easter and auoiding the Pelagian heresie, Cadwallo king of Britaine rebelleth against Edwin, Penda king of Mercia enuieth his good estate, Cadwallo and Penda inuade Northumberland, Edwin and his sonne Osfride are slaine, Penda putteth his other sonne Eadfride cruellie to death.
The Xxvi. Chapter.
NOTWITHSTANDING the former vision, king Edwin deferred time yer he would receiue the christian faith, in somuch that Pauline vpon a daie came vnto him as he sat musing what he were best to doo, and laid his hand vpon his head, asking him if he knew that signe. Whereat when the king would haue fallen downe at his féet, he lifted him vp, and as it were in familiar wise thus said vnto him: "Behold, by the assistance of Gods fauour thou hast escaped the hands of thine enimies, whome thou stoodst in feare of: behold through his bountious liberalitie, thou hast obteined the kingdome which thou diddest desire, remember then that thou delaie no time to performe third thing that thou diddest promise, in receiuing his faith, and kéeping his commandements, which deliuering thée from worldlie aduersities, hath thus aduanced thée to the honor of a king: and if from henceforth thou wilt obey his will, which by my mouth hée setteth and preacheth to thée and others, he will deliuer thée from euerlasting torments, and make thée partaker with him in his celestiall kingdome." It is to be thought that the vision which the king had in times past receiued, was in spirit reuealed vnto Pauline, wherevpon without delaie of time, he put him in remembrance of it in maner as aboue is mentioned.
The king hauing heard his words, answered, that he would and ought to receiue the faith which he taught, but first he would conferre with his nobles, and if they would agrée to doo the like, then would they be baptised altogither at one time. Pauline satisfied herewith, Edwin did as he had promised, calling togither the wisest men of his realme, and of
Edwin consuneth with his nobles. The answere to an heathen bishop.
them asked the question what they thought of this diuinitie, which was preached vnto them by Pauline, vnto whome his chiefe bishop named Coifi, incontinentlie made this answer; that Suerlie the religion which they had hitherto followed was nothing worth. "For saith he, there is none of thy people that hath more reuerentlie woorshipped our gods than I haue doone, and yet be there manie that haue receiued far greater benefits at thy hands than I haue doone: and therefore if our gods were of anie power, then would they rather helpe me to high honor and dignitie than others. Therefore if it maie be found that this new religion is better & more auailable than our old, let vs with spéed imbrace the same."
Finallie, when other of the kings councell & men of high authoritie gaue their consents, that this doctrine which Pauline taught ought to be receiued, if therein appeered more certeintie of saluation than could be found in the other; at length the king gaue licence to Pauline openlie to preach the gospell, and renouncing his worshipping of false gods, professed
Pauline licer ced to preac the gospell.
the christian faith. And when he demanded of his bishop Coifi who should first deface the altars of their idols, and the tabernacles wherewith they were compassed about? He answered, that himselfe would doo it. For what is more méet (saith he) than that I, which thorough foolishnesse haue worshipped them, should now for example sake destroie the same, thorough wisedome giuen me from the true and liuing God?" And streightwaies throwing awaie the superstition of vanitie, required armour and weapon of the king, with a stoned horsse, vpon the which he being mounted, rode foorth to destroie the idols.
This was a strange sight to the people: for it was not lawfull for the bishop of their law to put on armour, or to ride on anie beast, except it were a mare. He hauing therefore a swoord gird to him, tooke a speare in his hand, and riding on the kings horsse, went to the place where the idols stood. The common people that beheld him had thought he had béene starke mad, and out of his wits: but he without longer deliberation, incontinentlie vpon his comming to the temple, began to deface the same, and in contempt threw his speare against it, & reioising greatlie in the knowledge of the worshipping of the true God, commanded his companie to destroie & burne downe the same temple with all the altars. This place where the idols were sometime worshipped was not farre from Yorke, towards the east part of the riuer of Derwent, and is called Gotmundin Gaham, where the foresaid bishop by the inspiration of God defaced and destroied those altars, which he himselfe had hallowed.
King Edwin with his people receiue the christian faith. Beda. lib. 2. cap. 14.
King Edwin therefore with all the nobilitie, and a great number of his people, receiued the faith and were baptised, in the yéere of our Lord 627, in the tenth yéere of his reigne, and about the 178 yéere after the first comming of the Englishmen into this land. He was baptised at Yorke on Easter daie (which fell that yéere the day before the Ides of Aprill)
in the church of S. Peter the apostle, which he had caused to be erected and built vp of timber vpon the sudden for that purpose, and afterwards began the foundation of the same church in stone-woorke of a larger compasse, comprehending within it that oratorie which he had first caused to be built: but before he could finish the woorke, he was slaine (as after shall be shewed) leauing it to be performed of his successor Oswald.
Pauline continued from thencefoorth during the kings life, which was six yéeres after, in preaching the gospell in that prouince, conuerting an innumerable number of people to the faith of Christ, among whom were Osfride and Eadfride the two sonnes of Edwin, whom he begot in time of his banishment of his wife Quinburga, the daughter of Cearlus king of Mercia. Also afterwards he begot children on his second wife Ethelburga, that is to say, a
sonne called Edilhimus, and a daughter named Ediltrudis, and aother sonne called Bustfrea, of the which the two first died in their cradels, and were buried in the church at Yorke. To be briefe: by the kings assistance & fauour shewed vnto Pauline in the woorke of the Lord, great multitudes of people dailie receiued the faith, and were baptised of Pauline in manie places, but speciallie in the riuer of Gleuie within the prouince of Bernicia, and also in Swale in the prouince of Deira: for as yet in the beginning thus of the church in those countries, no temples or fonts could be builded or erected in so short a time.
Of such great zeale was Edwin (as it is reported) towards the setting foorth of Gods truth,
This chanced in the yéere 632, as Matt. West. saith. Redwald king of Eastangles baptised.
that he persuaded Carpwald the sonne of Redwald king of the Eastangles to abandon the superstitious worshipping of idols, and to receiue the faith of Christ with all his whole prouince. His father Redwald was baptised in Kent long before this time, but in vaine: for returning home, through counsell of his wife and other wicked persons, he was seduced, and being turned from the sincere puritie of faith, his last dooings were woorse than his first,
Redwald would serue God and the diuell.
so that according to the maner of the old Samaritans, he would séeme both to serue the true God and his false gods, (whom before time he had serued) and in one selfe church had at one time both the sacraments of Christ ministred at one altar, and sacrifice made vnto diuels at another.
But Carpwald within a while after he had receiued the faith, was slaine by one of his owne countrimen that was an ethnike, called Richbert, and then after his death, that prouince
Sibert or Sigibert.
for the tearme of thrée yeeres was wrapped eftsoones in errour, till Sibert or Sigibert, the brother of Carpwald, a most christian prince, and verie well learned, obteined the rule of that kingdome, who whilest he liued a banished man in France during his brothers life time, was baptised there, and became a christian: and when he came to be king, he caused all his prouince to be partaker of the same fountaine of life, wherein he had beene dipped himselfe.
Vnto this godlie purpose also, a bishop of the parties of Burgoigne named Felix was a great furtherer, who comming ouer vnto the archbishop of Canturburie Honorius that was successor vnto Iustus, and declaring vnto him his earnest desire, was sent by the same archbishop to preach the woord of life vnto the Eastangles, which he did with such good successe, that he conuerted the whole countrie to the faith of Iesus Christ, and placed the sée of his
A bishop ordeined at Dunwich. Beda lib. 1. cap. 16.
bishoprike at Dunwich, ending the course of his life there in peace after he had continued in that his bishoplike office the space of 17 yéeres. Moreouer Pauline, after that he had conuerted the Northumbers, preached the woord of God vnto them of Lindsey, which is a part of Lincolnshire: and first he persuaded one Blecca the gouernour of the citie of Lincolne
This chanced in the yéere 628, as Matth. West. saith.
to turne vnto Christ, togither with all his familie. In that citie he also builded a church of stone woorke. Thus Pauline trauelled in the woorke of the Lord, the same being greatlie furthered by the helpe of Edwin, in whose presence he baptised a great number of people in the riuer of Trent, néere to a towne, which in the old English toong was called Tio vulfingacester.
This Pauline had with him a deacon named lames, the which shewed himselfe verie diligent in the ministerie, and profited greatlie therein.
But now to returne to king Edwin, who was a prince verelie of woorthie fame, and for the politike ordering of his countries and obseruing of iustice, deserued highlie to be commended: for in his time all robbers by the high waie were so banished out of his dominions,
that a woman with hir new borne child alone, without other companie, might haue trauelled from sea to sea, and not haue incountred with anie creature that durst once haue offered hir iniurie. He was also verie carefull for the aduancement of the commoditie & common wealth
Matth. West. Beda lib. 2. cap. 16.
of his people, insomuch that where there were any swéet and cleare water-springs, he caused postes to be set vp, and iron dishes to be fastened thereto with chaines, that waifaring men might haue the same readie at hand to drinke with: and there was none so hardie as to touch the same but for that vse. He vsed wheresoeuer he went within the cities or elsewhere abroad, to haue a banner borne before him, in token of iustice to be ministred by his roiall authorities.
In the meane season, pope Honorius the fift, hearing that the Northumbers had receiued the faith (as before is mentioned) at the preaching of Pauline, sent vnto the said Pauline the pall, confirming him archbishop in the sée of Yorke. He sent also letters of exhortation
Beda lib. 2. cap. 17.
vnto king Edwin, to kindle him the more with fatherlie aduise to continue and procéed in the waie of vnderstanding, into the which he was entered. At the same time also, bicause Iustus the archbishop of Canturburie was dead, and one Honorius elected to that sée, pope Honorius sent to the said elect archbishop of Canturburie his pall, with letters, wherein was conteined a decrée by him made, that when either the archbishop of Canturburie or
A decrée concerning the archbishops of Canturburie and Yorke.
Yorke chanced to depart this life, he that suruiued should haue authoritie to ordeine another in place of him that was deceassed, that they should not néed to wearie themselues with going to Rome, being so farre distant from them. The copie of which letter is registred in the ecclesiasticall historie of Beda, bearing date the third Ides of Iune, in the yéere of our Lord 633. The same pope sent letters also to the Scotish people, exhorting them to celebrate
brate the feast of Easter in such due time as other churches of the christian world obserued.
The feast of Easter. The heresie of the Pelagians.
And also bicause the heresie of the Pelagians began to renew againe amongst them (as he was informed) he admonished them to beware thereof, and by all meanes to auoid it. For he knew that to the office of a pastor it is necessarilie incident, not onelie to exhort, teach, and shew his sheepe the waies to a christian life, but also stronglie to withstand all such vniust meanes, as might hinder their procéeding in the truth of religion. For as poison is vnto the bodie, that is heresie vnto veritie. And as the bodie by poison is disabled from all naturall faculties, and vtterlie extinguished, vnlesse by present meanes the force thereof be vanquished: so truth and yeritie by errors and heresies is manie times choked and recouereth, but neuer strangled.
But now that the kingdome of Northumberland flourished (as before is partlie touched) in happie state vnder the prosperous reigne of Edwin, at length, after he had gouerned it the
Cadwallin, or Cadwallo king of Britaine.
space of 17 yeeres, Cadwalline, or Cadwallo, king of Britaine, who succeeded Cadwane, as Gal. Mon. saith, rebelled against him. For so it commeth to passe, that nothing can be so sure confirmed by mans power, but the same by the like power may be againe destroied.
Penda king of Mercia.
Penda king of Mercia enuieng the prosperous procéedings of Edwin, procured Cadwallo to mooue this rebellion against Edwin: and ioining his power with Cadwallo, they inuaded the countrie of Northumberland iointlie togither. Edwin heereof aduertised, gathered his people, & came to incounter them, so that both armies met at a place called Hatfield, where
King Edwin slaine. Matth. West.
was fought a verie sore and bloudie battell. But in the end Edwin was slaine with one of his sonnes named Osfride, and his armie beaten downe and dispersed. Also there was slaine on Edwins part, Eodbald king of Orkenie. Moreouer there was an other of Edwins sonnes named Eadfride constreined of necessitie to giue himselfe into the hands of Penda, and was after by him cruellie put to death, contrarie to his promised faith in king Oswalds dales that succéeded Edwin. Thus did king Edwin end his life in that battell, fought at Hatfield aforesaid, on the fourth ides of October, in the yere of our Lord 633, he being then about the age of 47 yéeres and vpwards.