Vortimer is created hing in the roome of his father Vortigerne, he giueth the Saxons sore and sharpe battels, a combat fought betweene Catigerne the brother of Vortimer and Horsus the brother of Hengist, wherein they were both slaine, the Britains driue the Saxons into the Ile of Tenet, Rowen the daughter of Hengist procureth Vortimer to be poisoned, the Saxons returne into Germanie as some writers report, they ioine with the Scots and Picts against the Britains and discomfit them.
The Fourth Chapter.
THIS Vortimer being eldest sonne to Vortigerne, by the common assent of the Britains was
Fabian. Galf. Mon. Matt. West. saith 454.
made king of Britaine, in the yeare of our Lord 46, which was in the fourth yeare of the emperour Leo the fift, and about the sixt yeare of Childericus king of France, as our common account runneth, which is far disagréeing from that whereof W. Harison dooth speake
in his chronologie, who noteth Vorigerne to be deposed in the 8 after his exaltation to the crowne, 454 of Christ, and 5 currant after the comming of the Saxons, which concurreth with the 4420 of the world, and 8 of Meroneus, as by his chronologie dooth more at large appeare.
But to procéed, Vortimer being thus aduanced to the gouernment of the realme, in all hast made sore warre against the Saxons, and gaue vnto them a great battell vpon the riuer
The riuer of Derwent.
of Derwent, where he had of them the vpper hand. And the second time he fought with
them at a place called Epiford, or Aglisthrop, in the which incounter Catagrine or Catigernus the brother of Vortimer, and Horsus the brother of Hengist, after a long combat betwixt them two, either of them slue other: but the Britains obteined the field (as saith
The Ile of Tenet.
the British historie.) The third battell Vortimer fought with them néere to the sea side, where also the Britains chased the Saxons, & droue them into the Ile of Tenet. The
Hen. Hunt. Colemoore.
fourth battell was stricken néere to a moore called Colemoore, the which was sore fought by the Saxons, and long continued with great danger to the Britains, because the foresaid moore inclosed a part of their host so stronglie, that the Britains could not approch to them, being beaten off with the enimies shot, albeit in the end the Saxons were put to flight, & manie of them drowned and swallowed vp in the same moore. Beside these
Fabian Tetford in Norfolke. Colchester.
foure principall battels, Vortimer had diuers other conflicts with the Saxons, as in Kent and at Tetford in Norfolke, also néere to Colchester in Essex: for he left not till he had bereft them of the more part of all such possessions as before time they had got, so that they were constrained to kéepe them within the Ile of Tenet, where he oftentimes assailed them with such ships as he then had. When Ronowen the daughter of Hengist perceiued the great losse that the Saxons susteined by the maruall prowesse of Vortimer, she found means that within a while the said Vortimer was poisoned, after he had ruled the Britains by the space of 6 or 7 yeares and od moneths.
¶ By the British historie it should séeme, that Vortimer before his death handled the Saxons so hardlie, kéeping them besieged within the Ile of Tenet, till at length they were constrained to sue for licence to depart home into Germanie in safetie: and the better to bring this to pas, they sent Vortigerne, (whome they had kept still with them in all these battels) vnto his sonne Vortimer, to be a meane for the obteining of their sute. But whilest this treatie was in hand, they got them into their ships, and leauing their wiues and children behind them, returned into Germanie. Thus far Gal. Mon. But how vnlikelie this is to be true, I will not make anie further discourse, but onelie refer euerie man to that which in old autentike historiographers of the English nation is found recorded, as in Will. Malmes. Henr. Hunt. Marianus,
and others: vnto whome in these matters concerning the dooings betwixt the Saxons and Britains, we male vndoubtedlie and safelie giue most credit.
William Malmes. writing of this Vortimer, or Guortigerne, and of the warres which he had against the Saxons, varieth in a maner altogither from Geffrey of Monmouth, as by his words here following ye maie perceiue. Guortimer, the sonne of Vortimer (saith he) thinking not good long to dissemble the matter, for that he saw himselfe and his countriemen the Britains preuented by the craft of the English Saxons, set his full purpose to driue them out of the realme, and kindled his father to the like attempt. He therefore being the author and procurer, seuen yeares after their first comming into this land, the league was broken, and by the space of 20 yeares they fought oftentimes togither in manie light incounters, but foure times
Hengist had the victorie in this battell saith Ra. Hig. Horse and Catigene slaine.
they fought puissance against puissance in open field: in the first battell they departed with like fortune, whilest the one part, that is to meane, the Saxons lost their capteine Horse that was brother to Hengist, and the Britains lost Catigerne an other of Vortigerns sonnes.
In the other battels, when the Englishmen went euer awaie with the vpper hand, at length
a peace was concluded, Guortimer being taken out of this world by course of fatall death, the which much differing from the soft and milde nature of his father, right noblie would haue gouerned the realme, if God had suffered him to haue liued. But these battels which Vortimer gaue to the Saxons (as before is mentioned) should appeare by that which some writers haue recorded, to haue chanced before the supposed time of Vortimers or Guortimers atteining to the crowne, about the 6 or 7 yeare after the first comming of the Saxons into this realme with Hengist. And hereto X. Harison giueth his consent, referring the mutuall slaughter of Horsus and Catigerne to the 6 years of Martianus, & 455 of Christ. Howbeit
Polydor Virgil saith, that Vortimer succéeded his father, and that after his fathers deceasse the English Saxons, of whome there was a great number then in the Ile, comming ouer dailie like swarmes of bées, and hauing in possession not onelie Kent, but also the north parts of the realme towards Scotland, togither with a great part of the west countrie, thought it now a fit time to attempt the fortune of warre: and first therefore concluding a league with the Scots and Picts, vpon the sudden they turned their weapons points against the Britains, and most cruellie pursued them, as though they had receiued some great iniurie at their hands, and ne benefit at all. The Britains were maruelouslie abashed herewith, perceiuing that they should haue to doo with Hengist, a capteine of so high renowme, and also with their ancient enimies the Scots and Picts, thus all at one time, and that there was no remedie but either they must fight or else become slaues. Wherefore at length, dread of bondage stirred vp manhood in them, so that they assembled togither, and boldlie began to resist their enimies on ech side: but being too weake, they were easilie discomfited and put to flighty so that all
The Britains discomfited by the Scots.
hope of defense by force of armes being vtterlie taken awaie, as men in despaire to preuaile against their enimies, they fled as shéepe scattered abroad, some following one capteine and some another, getting them into desart places, woods and maresh grounds, and moreouer left such townes and fortresses as were of no notable strength, as a preie vnto their enimies.
Thus saith Polydor Virgil of the first breaking of the warres betwixt the Saxons and the Britains, which chanced not (as should appeare by that which he writeth thereof) till after the death of Vortigerne. Howbeit he denieth not that Hengist at his first comming got seates for him and his people within the countie of Kent, and there began to inhabit. This ought
not to be forgotten, that king Vortimer (as Sigebertus hath written) restored the christian religion after he had vanquished the Saxons, in such places where the same was decaied by the enimies inuasion, whose drift was not onelie to ouerrun the land with violence, but also to erect their owne laws and liberties without regard of clemencie.