The First Inhabitation of Ireland.
IN the yeare of the world, 1525: the patriarch Noah began to admonish the
people of vengeance to followe for their wickeduesse and detestable sins, to
build his arke to foreshew his kinsfolkes and friends of that vniuersall floud which
was to come, wherewith the whole face of the earth should be couered with water;
& that within few yeares, except they amended in time. This did he before the
generall floud, one hundred & fiue and twentie yeares. But when euerie man
séemed to neglect this wholesome admonition, one Cesara that was néece to Noah,
Cesara néece to Noah.
hearing hir vncles prophesie, doubted least the same should come to passe; and
therefore determined with certeine hir adherents to séeke aduentures in some forren
region, persuading hir selfe, that if she might find a countrie neuer yet inhabited,
and so with sin vnspotted, the generall sentence of Gods wrath should not there
take effect. Wherevpon rigging a nauie, she committed hir selfe to the seas,
sailing foorth, till at length she arriued in Ireland onelie with three men, & fiftie
women, hauing lost the residue of hir companie by misfortune of sundrie shipwracks
made in that hir long & troublesome iourneie. The names of the men were these,
Bithi, Laigria, and Fintan. The coast where she first set foot on land, and where
also she lieth buried, is called Nauiculare littus,
that is, the shipping riuage or shore.
The stones wherein the memorie hereof was preserued from violence of waters,
haue béene seene of some (as they themselues haue reported) but how trulie I haue
not to say: within fortie daies after hir comming on land there, the vniuersall floud
came & ouerflowed all that coast as well as all other parts of the world. But where
as this tale bewraieth it selfe too manifestlie to be a meere vntruth, if the time and
other circumstances be throughlie examined, I will not stand longer about the
proofe or disproofe thereof; sauing that it is sufficient (as I thinke) to bring it out of
credit, to consider, how that the art of sailing was vnknowne to the world before the
vniuersall floud, and no part inhabited except the continent of Syria, and thereabouts.
But to passe such a forged fable, with the record thereof grauen in a stone
Rob. Isaac in Gene. 5.
(a deuice borowed from Iosephus, as some thinke) it shall be sufficient for the
glorie of the Irish antiquitie to grant that Ireland was discouered and peopled by
some of Noahs kinred, euen with the first Ilands of the world (it they will needs
haue it so, as the likelihood is great) according to that which is set foorth in their
After the best authors make 300 yeares, and not 100 betwéene Noahs floud and Babell.
histories, when about thrée hundred yeares after the generall floud immediatlie
vpon the confusion of toongs, Iaphet & his posteritie imboldeued by Noahs
example, aduentured to commit themselues by ship to passe the seas, & to search
out the vnknowne corners of the world, and so finding out diuerse Iles in these
west parts of the world.
There was (saie they) in that retinue one of the same progenie named Bartolenus
Bartolenus, or Bastolenus.
Clem. lib. 4.
Cambried. lib. 3.
or Bastolenus, who incouraged with the late attempt and successe of Nimrod kinsman
to Ninus (then newlie intruded vpon the monarchie of Assyria) searched so far
west, intending to atteine to some gouernement, where he might rule without anie
partner in authoritie, till at length fortune brought him and his people vpon the
coast of Ireland. Here he settled himselfe with his three sonnes Languina, Salamis,
and Ruthurgus, right actiue and stout gentlemen, who searching the land
from side to side, and from end to end, left remembrances of their names in certeine
notable places named after them; as Languinie, Stragruus, and mount Salanga,
since named saint Dominiks hill, and Ruthurgus his poole. Little is remembred of
Bartolenus, sauing that in short space with manie hands working at once, he rid
and made plaine a great part of the countrie ouergrowen with woods and thickets.
Thus was Ireland inhabited by this people vnder the gouernment of those thrée
Ireland first inhabited.
sons of Bartolenus and their offspring, about the space of thrée hundred yeares.
Togither with Bartolenus arriued Ireland certeine godles people of Nimrods stocke,
woorthilie termed giants, as those that in bodilie shape excéeded the common proportion
of others, and vsed their strength to gaine souereigntie, and to oppresse the
weake with rapine and violence. That linage (Chams brood) did grow in short
Bergon the sonne of Neptune and brother to Allion (as Iohn Bale hath) conquered Ireland and the Orkneis.
Euill examples soone followed.
while to great numbers, and alwaie indeuored themselues where soeuer they came
to beare the rule ouer others. One cause hereof was their bodilie strength, answerable
to their hugenesse of stature; another, the examples of Cham or Zoroastres
the magician, and Nimrod grandfather to Ninus. Which two persons in
themselues and their progenies were renowmed through the world as victorious
princes, ruling ouer two mightie kingdoms Egypt and Assvria. A third cause there
was, as this: they repined at the blessings bestowed vpon Sem and Iaphet, thinking
it necessarie to withstand and preuent all lawfull rule and dominion, least the cursse
of slauerie prophesied by Noah should light vpon them, as at length it did. Herevpon
rebelliouslie withdrawing their due obedience from their lawfull gouernors
here in Ireland, and taking head, set vp a king of their owne faction, and mainteining
Rebellion against gouernors.
his estate to the oppression of the subiects, by bringing them into continuall
bondage. The successe was variable on both sides betwixt the lawfull gouernors
& these vsurpers, with dailie raises and skirmishes, so much to the griefe of them
that coueted to liue in quiet vnder their rightfull princes, that they determined
with the chance of one generall battell, either wholie to subdue those proud rebellious
A woorthie resolution.
tyrants, or else to end to end their liues in fréedome, and so to be rid of further
miserie. But first, where there had growen certeine debates and enimitie among
themselues, whereby they had infeebled their owne forces, they thought good to
make peace togither, before they put their whole state in hazard of one battell
against the giants, concluding therefore an agréement, and ioining in league with
promise to assist ech other to subdue their common enimies, they assemble their
power foorth of all parts of the land, and comming to ioine battell with the giants,
after they had fought right fiercelie togither for the space of certeine houres, the
victorie inclined to the rigthfull part; so that the lawfull kings preuailing against
the wicked tyrants, great slaughter was made on the whole brood of that mischeefous
generation. For the kings meaning to deliuer themselues of all danger
Victorie too cruellie vsed.
in time to come, vsed their happie victorie with great crueltie, which turned to
their owne confusion: for where they neither spared man, woman, nor child that
came in the waie for more despite, & fuller satisfieng of their whole reuenge, they
did not vouchsafe to hurie the carcasses of their slaine enimies; but cast them out
like a sort of dead dogs; where of through stench of the same, such an infectiue
pestilence insued in all places through corruption of aire, that few escaped with life,
beside those that got them awaie by sea.
And hereby lieth a vaine tale among the Irishmen, that one of the giants named
Ruanus how long he liued.
Ruanus, chancing to be preserued from this mortalitie, liued forsooth two thousand
and one and fortie yeares, which is more than twise the age of Methusalem. By
this man (saie they) saint Patrike was informed of all the estate of the countrie:
and after that vpon request he had receiued baptisme of the said Patrike, he
deceassed in the yeare after the birth of our sauior foure hundred and thirtie, as in
the Irish histories hath bin vnaduisedlie registred. But such foolish tales and vaine
narrations may warne the aduised reader how to beware of yéelding credit vnto the
like idle fantasies and forged tales, when they hap to light vpon such blind legends.
For where some of the poets vsed for inuention sake to faine such dreaming fables
Forged tales and fables win credit in time, to passe among the vnskilfull people for true histories.
for exercise of their stiles and wits: afterwards through error and lacke of knowledge,
they haue béene taken with the ignorant for verie true and most assured
histories. But now to the matter, as we find it recorded of an inflnit number of
giants slaine and made awaie in manner afore rehearsed, certeine there were that
got them into some lurking dens or canes, and there kept them till lacke of vittels
inforced them to come foorth, and make shift for sustenance; and perceiuing no
resistance because the land was in manner left desolat, they waxed bolder; and
when they vnderstood how things had passed, they settled themselues in the best
part of the countrie, easilie subduing the poore séelie soules that remained, and so
reuiuing their linage, they became lords of the whole Iland, kéeping the same in
subiection for the space of three score yeares togither.
Among Iaphets sons we read in Genesis that Magog was one, who planted his
people in Scythia nere Tanais, from whense about the yeare of the world two thousand
Nemodus with his foure sonnes.
thrée hundred & seuenteene. Nemodus with his foure sonnes, Starius, Garbaneles,
Anuinus, Fergusius, capteins ouer a faire companie of people, were sent
into Ireland, who passing by Grecia, and taking there such as were desirous to
séeke aduentures with them, at length they landed in Ireland, inhabited the
Ireland eftsoones inhabited by the offspring of Iaphet.
The giants preuaile.
countrie, and multiplied therein, although not without continuall warre, which they
held with the giants for the space of two hundred and sixteene yeares, in the end
of which terme the giants preuailing chased them thense againe, so that they
retired into Syria. This was about the yeare after the creation (as by their account
it should séeme) two thousand fiue hundred thirtie and thrée, from which time the
giants kept possession of the land without forren inuasion, till the yeare two
thousand seauen hundred and fouretéene; but yet in all that space they were not
able to frame a common-welth: for falling at variance among themsleues, and measuring
all things by might, seditiouslie they vexed ech other. Which thing comming
The sonnes of Dela a Grecian skilfull in the art of sailing.
to the knowledge of the Grecians mooued fiue brethren, sonnes to one Dela,
being notable seamen and skilfull pilots to rig a nauie, and to attempt the conquest
of this Iland. These were of the posteritie of Nemodus, and named Gandius, Genandius,
Sagandus, Rutheranius, & Slanius. When all things were readie, and
They passe into Ireland, and destroied the giants.
their companies assembled, they tooke the sea, and finallie arriuing here in Ireland,
found the puissance of the giants sore weakened through their owne ciuill dissention:
so that with more ease they atchiued their purpose, and wan the whole
countrie, vtterlie destroieng and rooting out that wicked generation enimies to
mankind; and after diuided the Iland into fiue parts, and in each of them they
They diuide the countrie into foure parts.
seuerallie reigned. Furthermore, to satisfie all sides, and auoid contention, they
concluded to fix a mere-stone in the middle point of Ireland, to the which ech of
their kingdoms should reach, so as they might be equallie partakers of the commodities
found within that countrie soile.
These are also supposed to haue inuented the distribution of shires into cantreds,
euerie cantred or baronie conteining one hundred towneships. At length desire of
Desire of souereigntie causo of variance.
souereigntie set the fiue brethren at variance, & greatlie hindred their growing
wealths. But Slanius getting the vpper hand, and bringing his foure brethren to a
low eb, tooke on him as cheefe aboue his other brethren, incroching round about
the midle stone for the space of certeine miles, which plot in time obteined the priuilege
& name of one entier part, & now maketh vp the number of fiue parts
(into the which Ireland is said to be diuided) and is called Meth, and in Latine Media,
taking that name (as some haue gessed) for that in respect of the other, it conteined
but the moitie of cantreds, that is, sixtéene (where ech of the other comprehended
two and thirtie a péece) or else for that it lieth in the middest of the land. This
part Slanius ioined as a surplusage ouer and aboue his inheritance, to the monarchie:
which part notwithstanding grew to a seuerall kingdome. Thirtie yeares
the monarchie yet continued in this order, but finallie Slanius departed this life,
Slanius departed this life.
and was buried in a mounteine of Meth, that beareth hitherto (as they saie) the
name after him. Then the princes subiect to him, began to stomach the matter, and
denied their obeisance to his successor: wherevpon insued continuall wars betwixt
them, falling still at debat for the land of Meth, which strife of long time might
neuer fullie be appeased. In the necke of these troubles also there arriued in Ireland
A new armie of Scythians land in Ireland.
a new armie of Scythians, who made claime to the land by a title of right
which they pretended from their forefather Nemodus: and so taking & making
parts, they set all in an vprore, that hauocke was made on each side with fire and
sword in most miserable maner.
To be short, they spent themselues in pursuing one an other with such outrage,
that now they cared not what nation or what souldier they receiued to their aid,
to kéepe vp or beat downe a side. By which occasion the Britons also put in a foot
Brennus called into Ireland to aid one part of the factious people.
among them, who procured Brennus the brother of Belinus to direct his course
thithel, with the same nauie which he had made readie to passe ouer into Gallia,
now called France, to the aid of Segwin then king of the Allobroges that inhabited
the countries called Sauoie and the Delphinat. But his enterprise into Ireland
tooke small effect, though there were other kings of the Britons that gat dominion
there, in so much that Gurguntius, or Gurgwintius, the sonne of Belinus, accompted
Ireland among other his dominions to belong to him by lineall descent: notwithstanding
the British princes neuer inioied the quiet possession thereof, longer than
they held it by maine force, but were often repelled and put to the worsse with
séeking after it, finding there small gaine other than stripes, whereof they bare
awaie great plentie. But now to come to the Spaniards, that lastlie (vnder the conduct
of foure capteins) passed into Ireland from Biscaie, and inhabited that Iland,
it shall not be impertinent in following the order which our author kéepeth, to
speake somewhat of their originall, that it may appéere from whense the Irish nation
had their first beginning.
In the yeare of the world 2436, after the vniuersall floud 780, whilest the Israelits
serued in Egypt, Gathelus the sonne of one Neale, a great lord in Grecia, was vpon
disfauor exiled his countrie with a number of his factious adherents and friends.
This noble gentleman being right wise, valiant, and well spoken, comming into
Sée more of this matter in the beginning of the Scotish historie.
Egypt, got honorable interteinment of Pharao surnamed Orus, as in the Scotish
historie more plainelie appeereth. And afterwards departing that countrie, trauersed
the seas, and landing first in Portingall, after some bickering with the inhabitants:
at length yet he got by their consent a portion of the countrie, lieng by
the banks of the riuer ancientlie called Munda, & now Mondego, where shortlie
The riuer of Munda, now Mondego.
Brachara now Braga.
after he began to build a citie first named Brachara, but now Barsalo, as Hector
Boetius bath. After this, when Gathelus his people began to increase in power,
through persuasion of the Spaniards their neighbors, they remooued into Galicia,
where they also builded a citie named Brigantium, which is now called Coruna.
See more hereof in Scotland.
Gathelus passeth into Ireland.
Finallie, when they grew into such an huge multitude, that Galicia was not able to
susteine them, Gathelus with a certeine number of them passed ouer into Ireland,
and there grew into such estimation with the barbarous people, that for his knowledge
speciallie in all languages, he was highlie honored: for he not onelie inriched
and beautified the Irish toong, but also taught them letters, sought vp their anti
quities, practised their youth in warlike feats after the maner of the Greekes and
Egyptians, from whense he descended.
To conclude, he was so acceptable to them, that to gratifie such a benefactor,
The names of Ireland, & whereof the same were deriued, as they hold opinion.
they agreed to name the Iland after him Gathelia, and after his wife Scotia. This
is one opinion but yet incredible, not onelie to Humfreie Lhuid, but also to other
learned men, and diligent searchers of antiquities, by reason of the sundrie arguments
of improbabilitie, aswell in the miscount of yeares as other vnlikelihoods
found therein, when the circumstances come to be dulie examined, throughlie
weied, and well considered. Yet certeine it is, that Ireland was ancientlie named
Scotia, and the people Scots, as by diuerse old writers it may be sufficientlie prooued;
albeit by what occasion it first tooke that name, or from whense they came, it is as
yet doubted. But to proceed with the historic as we find it. The residue of Gathelus
his people, which remained in Spaine, founded the citie of Baion in the
confines of Gascoigne, and replenished the seacoasts of Spaine with store of inhabitants,
and welnéere about two hundred yeares after their first arriuall there (when
they were eftsoones pestered with multitude of people) they began to fansie a new
voiage, but whether at that time they passed ouer into Ireland, or some whither
else, it is vncerteine.
Notwithstanding sure it is, that in the daies of Gurguntius king of the Britons, the
chiefe gouernour of Baion with foure brethren Spaniards, of the which two are said
to be Hiberus and Hermion, not the sonnes (some thine) of Gathelus (as Hector
Boetius affirmeth) but some other perhaps that were desconded from him, who
vnderstanding that diuerse of the westerne Iles were emptie of inhabitants, assembling
a great number of men, women, and children, imbarked with the same in
thrée score great vessels, and directing their course westward, houered a long time
in the sea about the Iles of Orkeneie, vntill by good hap they met with Gurguntius
then returning from the conquest of Denmarke (as in the British historie
it appéereth) whom they besought in consideration of their want of vittels and
other necessaries, being such as they were not able longer to abide the seas, incumbred
with a sort of women and children, to direct and appoint them to some place
where to inhabit; promising to hold the same of him, and to become liege people
to him and his heires for euer.
Gurguntius aduising himselfe hereof, remembred with what trouble he held the
Gurguntius appointeth the Spaniards seats in Ireland to liue vnder his subiection.
Irish in subiection, and conceiuing hope that those strangers should either subdue
or wholie destroie that vnrulie generation, tooke the othes of those Spaniards with
hostages; and furnishing them and their ships with all things néedfull, set them
ouer into Ireland, where assisted with such Britons as Gurguntius had appointed to
The arriuall of the Spaniards in Ireland.
go with them for their guids, they made a conquest of the whole countrie, & setled
themselues in the same. Some write, that Ireland was before that present void of
all inhabitants: but yet they agrée that these Spaniards were guided thither by the
Britons, & that vnder such conditions as before is recited. So that it appéereth the
kings of this our Britain had an elder right to the realme of Ireland, than by
the conquest of Henrie the second, which title they euer mainteined, and sometimes
preuailed in pursuing thereof, as in the daies of king Arthur, to whom the Irish (as
The Irish were subiect to K. Arthur.
in some histories is remembred) acknowledged their due subiection with paiement of
their tribute, and making their appéerance at the citie called in the British toong
Caer Lheon. Wherevnto when their frée assent, the submission of their princes
with lawfull conquest and prescription are adioined, an inuincible title must néeds
But now to our purpose. The Spaniards substantiallie aided by the Britons, setled
themselues, and diuided their seats in quarters, the foure brethren reigning seuerallie
Dissention betwixt the brethren.
apart in foure sundrie portions in good quiet and increase of welth, vntill their
pride and ambition armed two of them against the other two: as Hiberus and one
Such are the fruits of ambition.
of his brethren against Hermion and the other brother. In this dissention Hermion
slue his brother Hiberus. Of whom at the same time the countrie (as some hold)
was named Hibernia, as in the description further appeareth: although some rather
See more hereof in the description.
hold, that it tooke the name of iron, of the plentifull mines of that kind of mettall
where with that land aboundeth: and so those ancient writers which name it Ierna,
named it more aptlie after the spéech of the inhabitants than others, which name it
Hibernia. But to procéed. Hermion herevpon to auoid the ill opinion of men,
for that he had thus atteined to the souereignetie by the vnnaturall slaughter of his
No crime so manifest or detestable that wanteth a colourable pretense to excuse it.
brother, in that vnhappie ciuill warre, purged himselfe to his subiects, that neither
maliciouslie nor contentiouslie, but for his necessarie defense and safetie he had
borne armes against his brethren: and to witnesse how farre he was from all desire
to rule alone, he appointed certeine capteins as kings, to rule vnder him seuerall
countries, reseruing to himselfe but one fourth part, and the portion of Meth
allotted to the monarchie for the better maintenance of his estate.
These parts appointed foorth in this wise at length grew to fiue kingdomes,
Ireland diuided into fiue kingdomes.
One souereigne ruler ouer the rest.
Leinster, Connagh, Vlster, and Mounster diuided into two parts, and sometime to
more, by vsurping or compounding among themselues: but euer one was chosen
to be chiefe souereigne monarch ouer them all. Thus it séemeth that certeinelie
the Spaniards of the north parts of Spaine, inhabiting the countries about Biscaie
and Galicia, came and peopled Ireland (as both their owne histories and the British
doo wholie agrée:) but from whense they came first to inhabit those countries of
Spaine, verelie I haue not otherwise to auouch: for no other writers that I can
remember, but (such as haue registred the Scotish chronicles) make mention of the
comming thither of Gathelus with his wife Scota and their people, in maner as by
the said chronicles is pretended. But now to our purpose. An hundred and thirtie
chiefe kings are reckoned of this nation from Hermion to Laogirius, the sonne of
Nealus Magnus, in whose time that holie estéemed man Patrike conuerted them to
christianitie. But now in the meane time whilest the Irishmen liued in some tollerable
order and rest vnder their seuerall kings, one Rodorike a Scithian prince with
a small companie of men, being weather driuen round about the coasts of Britaine,
was by chance cast vpon the shore of Ireland.
These were Picts, and the first that had béen heard of in these parties (as some
Picts arriue in Ireland.
authors haue recorded) a people from their verie cradle giuen to dissention, landleapers,
mercilesse, fierce and hardie. They being brought and presented to the
Irish king, craued interpretors, which granted, Rodorike their cheefeteine made
this request for him and his, as followeth: Not as denegrate from the courage of
The oration of Rodrike king of the Picts king of Ireland.
our ancestours, but fashioning our selues to fortunes course, we are become to
craue of Ireland, as humble supplicants that neuer before this present haue so embased
our selues to anie other nation. Behold sir king, and regard vs well, no light
occasion causeth these Iustie valiant bodies to stoope. Scithians we are, & Picts of
Scithia, no small portion of glorie resteth in these two names. What shall I speake
of the ciuill warre that hath expelled vs from our natiue homes, or rip vp old histories
to mooue strangers to bemone vs? Let our seruants and children discourse
therof at leisure, if perhaps you will vouchsafe to grant vs some time of abode in
your land, to the which effect and purpose our vrgent necessitie beséecheth your
fauors, a king of a king and men of men are to craue assistance. Princes can well
discerne and consider how néere it toucheth their honour and suertie, to vphold
and releeue the state of a king, by treason decaied. And manifest it is to all men
of reasonable consideration, that nothing more beseemeth the nature of man, than
to be mooued with compassion, and as it were to féele themselues hurt, when they
heare and vnderstand of other mens calamities. Admit (we beseech you) and
receiue amongst you these few scattered remnants of Scithia: if your roomes be
narrow, we are not manie: if the soile of your countrie be barren, we are borne and
enured to hardnesse: if you liue in peace, we are at commandement as subiects: if
you warre, we are readie to serue you as souldiours: we demand no kingdome, no
state, no pompous triumph in Ireland: we are héere alone, and haue left such
things behind vs with our enimies: howsoeuer you estéeme of vs, we shall content
our selues therewith, and learne to frame our liking to yours, calling to mind not
what we haue beene, but what we are.
Great consultation was had about this request of these strangers, and manie things
debated to and fro. In conclusion, the Irish laid foorth for answer the opinions of
their antiquaries; that is, such as were skilfull in old histories and saiengs of their
The answer of the Irish to the request of the Picts.
elders, wherevnto they gaue credit, and therefore they gathered it could not be
expedient to accept the Scithians into the land, for that mingling of nations in one
realme bréedeth quarels: moreouer, that the multitude of the inhabitants was such,
as roome in the whole Ile was vneth able to receiue them, and therefore those few
new commers, being placed among so manie old inhabitants, might bréed quicklie
some disturbance to bring all out of ioint. But (said they) though we may not
conuenientlie receiue you among vs, yet shall you find vs readie to further you to
be our neighbours.
Not far hense there lieth the great Ile of Britaine, in the north part whereof, being
The Irish persuadeth the Picts to place themselues in Britaine.
void of inhabitants, your manhoods and policies may purchase for you roomes to
place your selues at ease: we shall appoint you capteins to guide you thither, we
shall assist to settle you with our forces in that countrie, make readie your ships
that yée may passe thither with all conuenient spéed. Incouraged with this persuasion,
they tooke their course towards the north parts of Britaine now called
Scotland, where contrarie to their expectation Marius king of Britaine was readie
Marius otherwise called Aruiragus king of Britons.
to await their comming, and with sharpe battell vanquishing them in field, slue
Rodorike with a great number of his retinues. Those that escaped with life, and
sought to him for grace, he licenced to inhabit the vttermost end of Scotland. This
Marius Humfrie Lhuid taketh to be the same, whome the Romane writers name
Aruiragus, who reigned about the yere of our Lord seuentie, a prince of a noble
courage and of no small estimation in his daies (as should séeme by that which is
written of him.) His right name (as the said Humfreie Lhuid auoucheth) was
But now concerning the Picts, whether that those that escaped with life, got
seats by king Meurigs grant (as aboue is specified) or that getting to their ships,
they withdrew into the Iles of Orkeneie, and there remained. Wiues they wanted
also to increase their issue: and bicause the Britons thought scorne to match their
daughters with such an vnknowne and new come nation, the Picts continued
their first acquaintance with the Irish, and by intreatie obteined wines from them,
Picts marieng with the Irish doo couenant the succession of their kings.
with condition, that if the crowne should hap to fall in contention, they should
yéeld thus much to the prerogatine of the woman, that the prince should be elected
rather of the bloud roiall of the female kind than of the male. Which order (saith
Beda) the Picts were well known to kéepe vnto his time.
But howsoeuer we shall giue credit to this historie of the first comming of Picts
into this land, if we grant that to be true which Geffreie of Monmouth reporteth
of this victorie obteined by Marius against the Picts: yet haue I thought good to
aduertise the reader, that the Britons of this Ile were disquieted by that nation
long before the supposed time of the said king Marius. For Mamertinus in his
oration intituled "Panegyricus, Max. Dictus" hath these words (speaking of the
conquest which Iulius Cesar had héere against the Britons.) But in that age (saith
he) Britaine was neither furnished with anie ships of warre for battell on the sea, and
the Romans after the warres of Affrike and Asia, were well practised with the late
warres against the pirats, and after that against Mithridates, in which they were
exercised as well by sea as land. Moreouer, the British nation was then vnskilfull,
and not trained to feats of war, for the Britons then being onelie vsed to the Picts
end Irish enimies people halfe naked through lacke of skill, easilie gaue place to
the Romans force, so that Cesar might onelie as it were glorie in this, to haue
passed in that iourneie ouer the ocean sea.
Héereby it should séeme that the Picts and Irish did disquiet the Britons, before
the comming of Iulius Cesar into this Ile of Britaine. But whether they inhabited
Sée Diodorus Siculus lib. 6. cap. 9. who saith they should inhabit a portion of Britaine.
at that time in some part of Ireland, or in some of the out Iles by Scotland, either
in anie part of Germanie, or Scandinauia; or else whether they were alreadie
setteled in the furthest parts of Scotland, as in Cathnesse, towards Dungesbie head:
we haue not to affirme, other than that which in Scotland we haue written, in following
Hector Boetius, whose opinion how farre it is to be suspected in matters of
antiquitie, I leaue to the consideration of others. But for the first comming as well
of the Picts as Scots (whom he maketh inhabitants within this Ile so long before)
either the name of the one nation or the other is remembred to haue had anie
gouernement heere, by anie ancient or approoued writer. I cannot persuade my
selfe, that either Scots or Picts had anie setteled seats within the bounds of this Ile
of Britaine, till after the birth of our sauiour: but that rather the Scots, as yet
inhabiting in Ireland, and in the westerne Iles called by the Romane writers Hebrides,
and the Picts, in the Iles of Orkneie called in Latine Orchades,
did vse to
make often inuasions vpon the Britons, dwelling vpon the coasts that lie néere to
the sea side ouer against those Iles.
From whense they comming ouer in such vessels or boats, as the fishermen doo
yet vse, at length the Picts first about the yere of our Lord 290, as Humfreie Lhuid
Sée more héereof in England.
hath noted, entred generallie into Cathnesse, and other the north parts of Britaine,
where they setteled themselues, and remooued the Britons that there inhabited before
that time: and shortlie the Scots likewise came ouer and got seats in the west parts
The Picts when they first inhabited Britaine.
ouer against the north of Ireland, and in those westerne Iles, which Iles they
first got into their possession. And in this sort those nations Picts and Scots came
The Scots in Britaine.
first to inhabit héere in this our Ile of Britaine, as the said Humfreie Lhuid, not
without aduised coniectures grounded vpon good reason and sufficient authoritie
to lead him so to estéeme, hath written in his short commentaries of the description
And verelie I thinke we may more safelie beléeue that which he auoucheth in
this behalfe, than that which Hector Boetius setteth downe, sith for anie thing I
can perceiue, his authorities bring no such warrant with them, but we may with
good reason suspect them. But for the man himselfe, euen as he hath verie orderlie,
and with no lesse cunning than eloquence set downe diuerse things incredible, and
reported some other contrarie to the truth of the historie for the glorie of his
nation, as we may take it; so in his excuse it may be alledged, that he was not the
author of those matters, but wrote what he found in Cambell, Veremound, Cornelius
Gefferie Monmouth the translator not the author of the British historie.
Hibernensis, and such other, in like case as Gefferie of Monmouth wrote
what he found in old ancient British monuments, & was not the deuiser himselfe
(as some haue suspected) of such things as in his booke are by him expressed. But
now to returne to the Picts. It may be that they came at seuerall times in like
The doubt of the time of the comming of Picts and Scots into Britaine.
Ferguse king of Scots.
The marble stone.
manner as the Scots did out of Ireland, of whome the first is remembred to be
Ferguse, the son of Ferquhard, a man right skilfull in blasoning of armorie, himselfe
bare a lion gules in a field of gold. The marble stone wherof in the Scotish historie
is mentioned, brought into Ireland by Simon Brechus, and kept till those daies as a
pretious iewell, this Ferguse obteined towards the prospering of his iourneie: for
that it was thought, who so had the same in possession, could not but obteine souereigntie
and rule ouer others as a king, namelie those of the Scotish nation. This
stone Ferguse bringing into Scotland, left it there. But although that Ferguse be
put in ranke among those Scotish kings that should reigne in Britaine, yet he bare
small rule there, & was diuers times beaten backe into Ireland, where finallie he
was drowned by misfortune in the créeke of Knockfergus.
That he incountred with Coilus king of the Britons (as the Scots write) is not
possible, as our author hath verie well noted; except they mistake the name of
Coilus for Cailus, with whome the age of Ferguse might well méet: the rather, for
that in the first yeare of Cailus reigne the Picts entered, Ferguse immediatlie after
them, 330 yeares yer Christ was borne; where Coilus reigned in the yeare after the
incarnation 124, about which time befell the second arriuall of the Picts in Britaine.
And thus it may be they mistake, by errour of the name, Coilus for Cailus, and the
second arriuall of the Picts for the first. But now to the course of the historie.
Whilest the Picts were seated in the north of Britaine, and grew to a great multitude;
the Irish made sundrie errands ouer to visit their daughters, nephues, and
kinsfolks, and by their often comming and going they were aware of certeine
waste corners, and small Ilands void of inhabitants, as that which seemed rather
neglected and suffered to lie waste.
Hereof they aduertised their princes, namelie Reuther or Reuda, who being descended
Reuther or Reuda.
of Ferguse, determined to inuest himselfe in certeine portions of land
beside the Picts. He therefore well appointed passed ouer, and partlie by composition,
and partlie by force, got possession of those quarters which were desolate,
& began to erect a kingdome there, by little and little increasing his limits: and
finallie got betwixt the Picts and Britons, possessing that countrie which tooke the
name of him called Reudersdahall, and now Riddesdale (as you would saie) Rheudas
part; for Dahall in the Scotish toong signifieth a part. In these quarters he could
not setle himselfe, but that he was oftentimes assailed by the Britons that bordered
next vnto him, and at length his chance was to be slaine, but the kingdome continued
still in the hands of his successors: and the Picts and Scots grew in friendship
The amitie betwixt Scots and Picts.
togither, permitting ech other to liue in quiet.
The Scots nestled themselues in the Iles and coasts alongst the sea side. The
Picts held the middle part. But shortlie after, the peace began to hang doubtfull
betwixt them: for the diuersitie of people, place, custome and language, togither
with the memorie of old grudges, mooued such gelousie and inward hate betwixt
Their falling out.
those nations, that it seemed they were readie to breake out into open dissention
vpon the first occasion. And as in such cases there neuer wanteth one deuise or
other to raise tumults: it chanced that certeine of the Scotish nobilitie had got
out of Greece (as some write) a Molossian hound, which both in swiftnesse of foot,
and pleasantnesse of mouth, was accounted peerlesse. This hound being stollen by
Strife about dog.
a Pict, was cause of the breach of peace; so that cruell wars thereof insued, as in
the Scotish historie more at large appéereth. But where some write, that Eugenius
should reigne ouer the Scots when this quarell fell out for stealing of this hound,
Hector Boetius saith, it was in king Crathlinths daies. Morouer it shuld séeme by
that which the same Boetius writeth, that the hound or greihound for the which
this trouble rose, was not fetched so far as out of Grecia, but rather bred in Scotland:
notwithstanding bicause the Latinists call such kind of dogs Molossi
that the first generation of them, or the like, came from a citie of Grecia called
Molosse; it may be, that some haue thought that this greihound came from
thense, for that he was so called after the name of that place from whense the bréed
of him first came. But to returne to the historie.
After the Scots and Picts had tugged togither a while, at length one Carausius a
Carausius agréeth them.
Briton laboured a friendship betwixt them, and bringing his purpose to passe, persuaded
them to lend him their helpe to expell the Romans out of Britaine; but his
hap was shortlie after to be slaine by the Romane capteine Alectus. And so new
sturs were in hand betwixt the Britons and Romans, the Scots & Picts for the most
part taking part with the Britons, till at length Maximus the Romane lieutenant
found means to set the Scots and Picts at variance, and ioining with the Picts in
league, vsed their aid against the Scots, whome he so earnestlie pursued with all
the power he might make, that in the end they were vtterlie expelled out of all the
The Scots expelled.
See more of this matter in Scotland.
coasts of Britaine, so that they fled some into onè part, some into another, but the
most number got them ouer into Ireland, and the Iles, where they remained for
the space of fourtie thrée yeares, and then at length returned thither, vnder the
leading of their prince Ferguse, being the second of that name, as they account
him. From thensefoorth the Scots kept such foot in Britaine, that they incroched
vpon their neighbors, in such wise as they waxed stronger than the Picts, whome
in the end they quite rooted forth, and nestled themselues in their seats, although
The Picts rooted foorth by the Scots.
now at their first returne they concluded a firme amitie with the same Picts, that
ioining their forces togither, they might the better make head against both Romans
and Britons, whome they reputed as common enimies to them both.
Thus the Scots a liuelie, cruell, vnquiet, ancient and victorious people, got place
within this Ile of Britaine, mixed first with Britons, secondlie with Picts, thirdlie
and chieflie with the Irish, which after this time left their name of Scots vnto those
in Britaine, and chose rather to be called Irish: and then came vp the distinction
of the name, as Scotia maior
for Ireland, Scotia minor
for the countrie inhabited
by the Scots within Britaine. But Cambrensis saith, that the Scots chieflie preuailed
vnder the leading of six valiant gentlemen, sons to Muridus king of Vlster,
who in the time of Neale, surnamed the great that inioied the nonarchie of Ireland,
passing ouer into Scotland to succour their countriemen there, at length
tooke vp for themselues certeine parcels of ground, which their posteritie were
owners of in the time that Cambrensis liued, to wit, about the yeare of our Lord
1200, who treateth hereof more largelie in his booke intituled "Topographia Britanniæ."
Since which time they haue béene euer taken, reputed and named Scots,
the Pictish nation being driuen into corners, albeit the mounteine parts and out Iles
euen vnto this daie are inhabited with a wild kind of people called Redshanks,
estéemed by some to be mingled of Scots and Picts.
The Scots write, that their king Gregorie the sonne of Dongall, who began his
Gregorie king of Scots subdueth Ireland.
reigne in the yeare of our Lord 875, pretending a title to Ireland, as belonging to
him by right of lawfull succession, made a iourneie thither, and within a small
time made a conquest of the countrie. This Gregorie lieth buried in one of the
out Iles called Iona, or Colmekill, where they speake naturallie Irish: and therefore
some of the Scots would séeme to make the conquest of Henrie the second in
Ireland, a reuolting from the right inheritors: although they doo confesse they
can not tell how they came from the possession of it, otherwise than by forging a
tale that they willinglie forewent it, as reaping lesse by reteining it, than they laid
foorth, and so not able to discharge that which was to be defraied about the kéeping
of it they gaue it ouer, persuading themselues that the kings of England haue
gained little or nothing by the hauing of Ireland. And yet in the time whilest sir
Henrie Sidneie was gouernour there, when the countie of Vlster was auouched to
Sir Henrie Sidneie.
belong vnto the crowne: it was prooued in open parlement, that the reuenues of
that earledome, in the daies of Edward the third were reckoned, and found to
amount vnto the summe of one and thirtie thousand marks yearelie, the same being
but a fift part of Ireland: so that if things were well looked vnto, and such improuement
made as might be, Ireland would suffice to beare the necessarie charges,
and yéeld no small surplusage vnto the princes coffers.