previous next


BUT bicause there was none thought so méet to beare that office, as Fergusius, and that the chaire of hope was also brought with him: they concluded by whole consent to commit that charge vnto him, and so to the great reioising of the people, he was placed vpon his marble stone, and crowned king, being the first of the Scotish nation that euer ruled in Albion as absolute gouernor, who began his reigne in the yeare after the creation of the world 3649, which is (as Harison saith in his chronologie) before the incarnation of our sauiour 327, after the building of Rome 420, and after the entring of Brutus into Britaine 790.

The kingdome of the Scotishmen being thus begun in Albion, Ferguse tooke vpon him to rule as king, making prouision on all sides to resist his enimies: who whilest these things were a dooing in Argile, had assembled their powers: vnto whom also the Britains had ioined The Britains aid against the Scots. themselues, and were now entred into the Scotish borders. Ferguse hauing hereof knowledge, spéedilie got togither his people, and came with banners displaied to encounter his enimies. In king Ferguses banner, there was a red lion portraied rampant, with his taile folden towards his backe, as though he did beat the same, which is the maner of them when they be mooued to displeasure. Ferguse was the first that bare this cognisance in Albion, which euersince hath béene borne by those kings that haue successiuelie reigned after him there.

Both the armies were now come within sight of other, and readie to haue giuen the onset, when there went a murmuring amongst the Picts, that their companions the Britains were The Britains are about to deceiue the Picts. gotten to a hill a little beside them, minding to sée the end of the battell before they did stir, and then if occasion serued (as their hope was it should) they purposed to fall vpon both parties, as well Picts as Scots, and so to destroie them both, the vanquishers togither with the vanquished, as they found them out of araie in following the chase. The like report was brought vnto Ferguse by one that fled to his side from the enimies campe, touching this Treason reuealed vnto Ferguse. treason of the Britains, conspiring the exterminion of both the people.

By reason whereof, either part being put in feare of that which might insue through the Ferguse sendeth to the Picts. malicious purpose of the Britains, they kept their tents certeine daies togither, without making any hast to battell. And in the meane while Ferguse sent a messenger vnto the king of the Picts, requiring him to come to a communication before they should fight, for that he had to informe him of such matters as perteined no lesse to the safegard and preseruation of the Picts, than of his owne people the Scots. The king of the Picts willinglie gaue eare to this message, and so a little beside both the armies standing in battell araie, the two kings accompanied with a few of their nobles met togither, where in the end the danger in which they both stood, being plainelie disclosed and throughlie weied, they condescended to haue a A peace to be concluded. further treatie of peace, which the king of the Picts alleged he might not conclude without the publike consent of his subiects; and therefore he appointed on the daie following to returne to the same place againe, there to giue a resolute answer, after he had vnderstood the minds of his lords and commons in the same.

Herevpon therefore returning to his campe, he called his councell afore him, declaring the The king of the Picts called his councell and commons. substance of the communication which had beene betwixt king Ferguse and him, which was in effect tending to this end. First considering the present deuises of the Britains, there was nothing more expedient than a peace to be agréed vpon, as well for the commoditie of the Picts as Scots, if they would yeeld withall to auoid the imminent perill of their vtter ruine and common destruction intended by the Britains.

Herevpon also he required their aduise what they thought good to be doone; declaring that according as they counselled him, he would worke therein. This matter being thus proposed, as there were diuerse heads, so were there sundrie opinions. Some iudged that in no case they could enter frendship againe with the Scots, who had so cruellie slaine and murthered a great number of the Pictish nation; and had shewed such tokens of a beastlie furious nature, that there was no hope to continue long in amitie with such a raging kind of people: and hereto they held that it was not vnknowne how the prophesie went, that the A prophesie. Scots should in the end destroie all the Pictish progenie. So that it were wisdome to kéepe their power vnder, so long as was possible, and not to increase the same by ioining with them in friendship.

Other were of a contrarie mind, esteeming that in no wise the Scotish mens friendship ought to be refused, vnlesse they would determine to séeke new dwellings in some other forraine parties; sith the Britains would not faile, but vpon occasion take what vantage they could to expell them both, as well Scots as Picts, out of the countries now by them possessed. And as for that, which was alledged touching the prophesie, if the gods had so determined, then might no policie of man preuent it: and if there were no such thing appointed by the same gods, what follie then were it to cast such dreadfull doubts where no cause was? Ouer and besides this, they had taken them wiues of the Scotish nation, and thereby ingraffed their séed (the hope of their posteritie) in that stocke, which is the néerest meane and foreablest occasion to nourish friendship amongest people, that is or may be deuised; therefore it should not be onelie profitable but necessarie also to haue peace with the Scots, to renew againe with them the former league, to the perpetuall strengthening and aduancement of both the nations.

Whilest the Picts were thus in debating the matter, their wiues also being present there in The Picts admonished by their wiues to peace. the armie, came in amongest them with their children, and in most lamentable wise besought their husbands to hauepitie vpon them, in their so sorowfull case, and not to suffer their hands to be defiled with vnnaturall murther, sith it were lesse discomfort to them with their sillie little ones to die anie kind of death whatsoeuer it were, rather than to behold their husbands with their fathers, their brethren, and their kinsfolke ioine togither in battell, and there to kill one another without all mercie and compassion. The nobles and gentlemen of the Picts hearing the cries The Picts are moued to pittie. of these women, and being now som what moued to pitie, consented at last to haue peace with the Scotish men, and to renew againe the old league that was heretofore betweene them: and for mutuall iniuries heretofore committed, that there should be a mutuall recompense, according as might stand with equitie and reason. So that where the Britains had been the chiefe procurers of all that mischiefe and discord betwixt them, in hope thereby to destroy both the parties, they should now be reputed from henceforth as common enimies to them Britainsreputed as enimies. both. As for all other articles & conditions of agreement, it was ordeined that their king should doo therein as vnto him might seeme good.

In the morning therefore, as was appointed, the king of Picts meeting with king Ferguse, The méeting of the two kings. declared what his subiects were agréed vpon: and further opening his mind touching the establishment of the peace, thought it conuenient to haue a day of méeting betwixt them to ratifie the same. Wherewith Ferguse being well contented & glad that through his motion a peace should thus ensue, a day was appointed betwixt them and kept accordinglie, so that comming An other day taken for the ratification of the peace. The Britains go homward disappointed of their purpose. The Scots and Picts returne home in peace. togither, the ancient league was in all points renewed, with some conditions added thereto, auailable (as was thought) for the stronger confirmation thereof. Before this, and after the first méeting betwixt the Scots and Picts, I meane so soone as the Britains had vnderstanding of this agréement, they had no lust to tarie longer in the field, but raising their power, they departed their waies homewards, doubting least the said agréement might turne finallie to their gaine. The Picts and Scotishmen also after they had thus fullie ratified the peace and league betwixt them, brake vp their camps, euerie man repairing to the place of his abode.

The king also of the Britains named Coill (soiourning in that season néere about Yorke) This Coilus by the circumstance of the time, and other considerations, should séeme to be the same whome the Britains name Gutteline. Coilus his subtiltie. being informed of this sudden renouation of the league betwixt the Scotishmen and Picts, was nothing ioyfull of the newes: for he doubted least in time to come their confederacie might be occasion of their further increasing in puissance, and after that some new occasion of his trouble. Wherefore studieng by what waies and meanes he might best prouide remedie for such inconueniences as might insue, he attempted nothing openlie for the space of two yeares, but onelie watched his time, to the end that if he might in that season chance (thorough the insolent courage of either nation) to espie anie occasion seruiceable for his time, he might set vpon and be a plague vnto them both.

At length also he caused his subiects (such I meane as bordered néere to the marches of both The Britains rob the Scots and the Picts for to stirre discord. the people) to fetch preies and booties out of the Pictish confins. So that when the Picts sent thither with request to haue restitution made, it was by and by answered, that the Scots had doone such trespasses (being a people iniured vnto such feats by nature, and not the Britains, who were nothing guiltie in that kind of matter; and thus would the Britains doo in like sort when they had robbed the Scots, so that with such iniurious dissimulation, aswell Scots as Picts The Scots and Picts inuade the Britains. being not a little offended, they entred soone after into the British confins, robbing & spoiling the same, as their custome is, with all maner of crueltie. When Coill of Britaine had notice of these dooings, he tooke grieuous indignation thereat, and therevpon determined to prooue whether he might with open warres atchiue his purpose, which he could not bring to passe by his former cloaked practise. And herewith assembling an armie, he entred into the Scotish Coilus entred into Scotland with an armie. borders lieng towards the Irish seas, wasting & spoiling with fire and sword whatsoeuer he found in his waies, till he came euen to the riuer of Dune, where incamping himselfe vpon the banks thereof, he sent forth companies of his souldiers to destroie the countrie, and to bring in all such prisoners as they should lay hands vpon.

But in the meane time, and so soone as Ferguse heard of the approch of the Britains, he Ferguse assembled a great power of Scotismen. caused all the people in the countrie to get them with their goods & cattels vnto the mounteins, except such as were able to beare armour: whome he appointed to attend vpon him, to defend the countrie as occasion serued. Whereof Coill hauing knowledge brought by an espiall, he sent foorth about fiue thousand nimble men, and such as had beene vsed to clime craggie hilles, to go before and win the passages, purposing the next day to follow himselfe with the whole armie. But the Scotishmen and Picts being now assembled togither, and certified hereof also by their spies, they first fell in consultation what they were best to doo; and in the end agréed that the same night they should set vpon the British campe: Ferguse with his Scotishmen on the one side, and the king of the Picts on the other; so that in the dead of the night the Scotishmen killing the watch, were entered into the British campe, yer Coill had knowledge of anie such thing.

Whereby it came to passe that whilest the Britains (awaked with the noise) drew vnto that part where the alarme rose, to beat backe the Scots; the Picts comming ouer the riuer of Dune, by a certeine blind foord, assailed them on the backs, to the great confusion of the whole armie, by reason whereof the Britains (séeing none other remedie but to saue themselues by flight) turned their backs and fled, in which turmoile they were trodden downe and fell by heaps one vpon an other, and were not able to helpe themselues, nor yet to make shift to auoid the hands of their aduersaries. In this businesse also Coill himselfe Coill was slaine and his whole armie discomfited, of whome as Hector Boet. saith, their countrie of Coill tooke name. chanced to be oppressed amongest the rest, so that he was found dead in the search of such as were slaine, and after solemnlie buried according to his estate in Troinouant, leaning the kingdome vnto his sonne Sisellius, who with his mother Mertia gouerned the same togither by the space of manie yeares.

Such Britains also as escaped out of their enimies hands, got them togither in the next morning, & perceiuing what losse they had susteined not onlie by the death of their prince, but also in the slaughter of a great part of their whole armie, sent an herault vnto the Scots and Picts to require a peace: which though the most part of the people were not in will to Peace concluded. haue consented vnto, yet persuaded in the end by their princes, they were contented to yéeld thereto: so that a generall peace was concluded, and spéedilie published betwixt them.

Immediatlie herevpon, the Picts with their part of the spoile gotten at this iournie, departed to their homes, and Ferguse returned into Argile; where studieng dailie for the quiet aduancement of the Scotish commonwealth, he called ā parlement of his nobles, and first A parlement. An exhortation vnto quietnesse and peace. declaring to the assemblie how much bound they were to the gods for giuing them this victorie ouer so puissant enimies as the Britains were, he exhorted them to liue in friendlie concord amongest themselues, and to absteine from violating the leagues now concluded, aswell with the Britains as before hand with the Picts.

Also for the auoiding of enuious contention, and for the better assurance of euerie mans estate, he iudged it necessarie to haue a partition made of all the lands belonging vnto the The land is parted. Scotish dominion. For before they occupied the whole as in commune, without knowing to whome this péece or that did belong. Which politike aduise of Ferguse, the Scotishmen praised most highlie, promising not onelie to follow his counsell herein in all that he should Obedient subiects. wish, but also in all that he should otherwise command.

Wherevpon shortlie after there were chosen by his aduise seuen ancient personages, men of good conscience and great experience, which were appointed to be surueiors of the whole countrie, and to diuide the same as néere as they could into a set number of equall portions Men diuide the land into Portions. (but with this consideration, that according as the fruitfulnesse or barrennesse of the soile required, so they should inlarge or diminish the circuit of their bounds.) When they had viewed the countrie, and according to their commission seuered foorth the same into parts, they returned into Argile, where Ferguse then soiourned, and there in his presence, the The gouernement is giuen vnto the nobles by lots. names of all his noble men that were reputed as gouernors were put in lots, euerie of them to haue such part of the realme for his owne, as should fall to him by good lucke and present hap.

By this meanes each of them being placed as his chance fell, they inhabited their quarters with such people as they had the leading of, so that afterwards the countries tooke their names of those the first gouernors: which names for the more part (being a little changed) remaine amongst them euen vnto this day. Ferguse hauing thus without occasion of enuie Statutes and lawes are made. diuided his countrie amongst his nobles and subiects, studied furthermore to deuise lawes for the maintenance of common quiet amongst them. And therefore amongst other ordinances he made statutes against murther, robberie, burning of houses, and especiallie against theft.

He builded also the castell of Beregonium in Loughquhabre on the west side of Albion, Beregonium. A place apointed for iustice. ouer against the westerne lles, where he appointed a court to be kept for the administration of iustice: that both the Albion Scots, and also those of she same Iles might haue their accesse & resort thither for redresse of wrongs, and ending of all controuersies. The residue of his life he past in rest and peace with his neighbors the Picts and Britains, indeuouring Ferguse went into Ireland and in his returne was drowned. Rocke Ferguse, otherwise Knocke Ferguse. by all meanes to knit and couple the hearts of his subiects in one friendlie bond of inward loue and amitie. Finallie, sailing afterward into Ireland to be arbitrator in a matter of variance betwixt the nobles of that land, as he returned homewards by force of tempest, the ship wherein he was inbarked, was driuen vpon a rocke, where he perished, after he had reigned as king amongst the Scotishmen in Albion about 25 yeeres. The rocke where he was thus cast away, hath béene euer since called rocke Ferguse, after his name.

In the same season there reigned amongst the Britains one Enanius, named by Hector Esdadus. Boetius Esdadus, and amongst the Picts one Cruthneus Camelonus that builded a famous Cruthneus Camelonus. This citie the Scotish writers take to be Camelodunum, of the which there is so often mention made in the Roman writers; but verelie herein they doo greatlie erre. Agneda now called Edenbrough. The castell of Maidens. The Scots consult about an other election of a king. citie vpon the banke of the riuer called Caron, as the Scotish writers affirme, appointing it to be the chiefe citie of all the Pictish kingdome, where in times past there was a faire commodious hauen apt to harbour ships in at all seasons, but now it is dammed vp in such sort, that vneath there appeareth anie token where that hauen was: and the citie it selfe was finallie subuerted by Kenneth king of Scotland, as after shall appeare. The forenamed Cruthneus builded also the towne of Agneda, afterwards called Edenbrough, of Ethus king of the Picts, the castell was named the castell of Maidens, for that the daughters of the Pictish kings were there kept vnder strait custodie, appointed to learne to sow & woorke, till they came to yéeres of mariage.

But now to returne to the Scotishmen. After the death of Ferguse, the nobles of the realme assembled togither, to take counsell whome they might choose to succéed in his place. Manie of them, in respect of the high benefits which their nation had receiued by the politike gouernement of king Ferguse, would not in anie wise that his sonnes, though yoong of yéeres, should be forgotten; but that according to reason and equitie, the eldest of them should be elected, sith they might not otherwise deliuer them selues of the note of ingratitude towards his father, vnto whome they were more bound than with toong can be well expressed.

Other hauing a speciall regard to the quiet of their commonwealth, doubted least if they crowned a child to their king, during his minoritie, it could not be but that there should follow strife, enuie, and contention for the gouernance of his person and realme amongst the nobles; and that in such wise, as the people being diuided into sundrie factions, the due administration of iustice should be neglected, the nobles bearing and bolstering vp all kinds of iniuries doone or committed by anie of their partakers.

And though it might so happen that they agréed vpon one speciall gouernor, as reason was they should; yet should he séeke to aduance his kinsfolks more than reason happilie required, and peraduenture doo things otherwaies much displeasant to no small number of them by that his priuate authoritie. And againe, the king should no sooner come to yéeres of anie discretion, but one or other would put him in mind to take vpon him to rule the whole him selfe, before he vnderstood what charge he had in hand: and by reason of his fraile youth he lightlie would not follow the counsell of anie, but such as consented vnto him in his sensuall lusts and inordinate fansies, which commonlie reigne in such princes as take vpon them gouernance of realmes, before they know (through want of sufficient yéeres) how to gouerne themselues.

For these and the like considerations, alledged by some of no small authoritie amongst Feritharis chosen king. them, it was agréed in the end, that one Feritharis the brother of the late deceassed Ferguse should be crowned king, and haue the gouernance of the realme during his life: and herewith in the meane time to see his nephues king Ferguse his sons brought vp in princelie nurture and discipline, as apperteined to the sons of a king: that after his deceasse, if he liued till anie of them were come to ripe yéeres, they might succéed him in the estate and kingdome.

This ordinance also they decréed to be obserued as a law from thencefoorth euer after, that if the king died leauing no issue, but such as were vnder age to succéed him, then should one of his néerest coosins, such as was thought méetest to occupie the roome, be chosen to reigne as king during his life, and after his deceasse the crowne to reuert vnto his predecessors issue without controuersie, if the same were once growne vp to lawfull age.

By this meanes then were children excluded from obteining the crowne, least the publike libertie of the reaime might chance to be put in danger. But yet was it afterwards perceiued The choosing of kings was not allowed. that this deuise for choosing of kings, ministred occasion sometimes to the vncle to séeke the destruction of the nephue, and likewise to the nephue to procure the dispatch of the vncle and vncles sonnes, with the committing of manie heinous murders of right worthie princes, to the no small danger of ouerthrowing the whole state of the commonwealth, so that tinallie that ordinance was clearelie abrogated, as you shall heare hereafter.

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: