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The returne of Dermon Mac Morogh from king Henrie through England, and of his abode at Bristow and other places in Wales.

DERMON Mac Morogh, hauing receiued great comfort and courtesie of the king, taketh his leaue, and returneth homeward through England. And albeit he had béene verie honourablie and liberallie rewarded of the king: yet he comforted himselfe more with the hope of good successe to come, than with liberalitie receiued. And by his dailie iornieng he came at length vnto the noble towne of (1) Bristow, where bicause ships and botes did dailie repaire and come from out of Ireland, and he verie desirous to heare of the state of his people and countrie, did for a time soiorne and make his abode: and whilest he was there he would oftentimes cause the kings letters to be openlie red, and did then offer great interteinment, and promised liberall wages to all such as would helpe or serue him; but it serued not. At length Gilbert the sonne of Gilbert, earle of Chepstone (2) came to sée him and to talke with him: and they so long had conferred togither, that it was agréed and concluded betwéene them, that the erle in the next spring then following, should aid and helpe him: and in consideration thereof, the said Dermon should giue him his onelie daughter and heire to wife, togither with his whole inheritance, and the succession into his kingdome. These things orderlie concluded, Dermon Mac Morogh being desirous (as all others are) to sée his naturail countrie, departed and tooke his iourneie towards S. Dauids head or stone (3) in south Wales: for from thence is the shortest cut ouer into Ireland, the same being not a daies sailing, and which in a faire daie a man may ken and discerne. At this same time Rice Fitzgriffith was cheefe ruler vnder the king in those parties; and Dauid the second, then bishop of S. Dauids, had great pitie and compassion vpon his distresse, miserie, and calamitie.

Dermon thus languishing and lieng for passage, comforted himselfe as well as he might, sometime drawing and as it were breathing the aire of his countrie, which he séemed to breath and smell, sometimes viewing and beholding his countrie, which in a faire daie a man may ken and deserie. At this time Robert Fitzstephans vnder Rice had the gouernement, & was constable of Abertefie the cheefe towne in Caretica (4) and by the treacherie and treason of his owne men was apprehended, taken and deliuered vnto Rice, and by him was kept in prison thrée yeares, but now deliuered, vpon condition he should take part and ioine with Griffith against the king. But Robert Fitzstephans, considering with himselfe that on his tathers side (who was a Norman) he was the kings naturall subiect, although by his mother the ladie Nesta, daughter to the great Rice Fitzgriffith, he were coosen germane to the said Fitzgriffith, chose rather to aduenture his life, and to séeke fortune abrode and in forren countries, than to hazard his faith, credit, and fame, to the slander, reproch, and infamie of himselfe, and of his posteritie. At length by the earnest mediation and intercession of Dauid then bishop of S. Dauids, and of Maurice Fitzgerald, which were his halfe brothers by the mothers side, he was set frée and at libertie: and then it was agréed and concluded betwéene them and Mac Morogh, that he the said Mac Morogh should giue and grant vnto the said Robert Fitzstephans, and Maurice Fitzgerald, the towne of (5) Wexford, with two (6) cantreds of land adioining, & to their heires in fée for euer: and they in consideration thereof, promised to aid and helpe him to recouer his lands the next spring then following: and to be then with him without all faile if wind and weather so serued. Dermon being wearie of his exiled life and distressed estate, and therfore the more desirous to draw homewards for the recouerie of his owne, and for which he had so long trauelled and sought abroad: he first went to the church of S. Dauids to make his orisons and praiers, and then the wether being faire, and wind good, he aduentureth the seas about the middle of August; and hauing a merrie passage, he shortlie landed in his ingratefull (7) countrie: and with a verie impatient mind, hazarded himselfe among and through the middle of his enimies; and comming safelie to (8) Fernes, he was verie honorablie receiued of the cleargie there: who after their abilitie did refresh and succour him: but he for a time dissembling his princelie estate, continued as a priuat man all that winter following among them.

(1) Bristow in the old time was named Odera, afterwards Venta, and now Bristolium, and standeth vpon the riuer Hauinum which is nauigable, & fléeteth into Seuerne or the Seuerne seas: in it there are two rodes, the one named Kingrode, fiue miles distant from Bristow, in which the ships doo ride. The other is named Hongrode, a place where the ships lie bedded, and this is thrée miles from Bristow, It standeth vpon the borders or confines of the prouince of Glocestershire and Summersetshire: some would haue it to be in the marches and vnder the principalitie, but in the old times is was parcell of the valleie of Bath, which was the metropole of Summersetshire. It is verie old, ancient and honorable, and sometimes named but a towne: but since for desert and other good considerations, honoured with the name and title of a citie, as also is made a seuerall prouince or countie of it selfe, being distinct from all others; hauing a maior and aldermen according to the ancient times, as also two shiriffes according to the latter grants, by whome the same is directed and gouerned. It is the chéefest emporium in that part of England, the inhabitants being for the most part merchants of great wealth, aduentures, and traflikes with all nations: great delings they haue with the Camber people and the Irish nation, the one of them fast bordering vpon them, and the other by reason of the néerenesse of the seas, and pleasantnesse of the riuer, dailie resorting by water to and from them.

(2) Chepstone is a market towne in Wales, in that prouince named in old time Venta, being now vnder the principalitie of Wales. In times past it was named Strigulia, whereof Richard Strangbow being earle he tooke his name, being called Comes Strigulensis.

(3) S. Dauids head or stone is the promontorie in west Wales, which lieth and reacheth furthest into the seas towards Ireland: and the same being a verie high hill, a man shall the more easilie discerne in a faire daie the countrie of Wexford: for that is the neerest part of Ireland vnto that part of Wales. Not farre from this promontorie or point is the cathedrail church of saint Dauids, which is the sée of the bishop there: it was and is called Meneuia, and was in times past an archbishoprike. But as it is written in the annales of the said church, that in the time of Richard Carew and two of his predecessors bishops there, they were by the kings commandement made to yeeld, and submit themselues vnto the metropolitane sée of Canturburie.

(4) Aberteife is an old ancient towne standing vpon the mouth of the riuer of Teife, and thereof it taketh his name, that is to sale the mouth of Teife, but now it is called Cardigan. The countrie about it was in times past named Caretica, but now Cardiganshire, so Aberteife is Cardigan towne, and Caretica Cardiganshire.

(5) Wexford in Latine named Guesfordia, is next after Dublin the chiefest towne in Leinster, it lieth full vpon the seas, but the hauen is a barred hauen and dangerous: from it is the shortest cut out of Ireland into England, if you doo touch and take land either at saint Dauids or at Milford.

(6) A cantred (as Giraldus saith) is a word compounded of the British and of the Irish toongs, and conteineth so much ground as wherein are one hundred villages: which in England is termed a hundred. Men of later time to declare the same more plainelie, doo sale that it conteined thirtie villages & euerie village conteined eight plough lands. Other saie that a cantred conteineth twentie townes, and euerie towne hath eight plough lands arable, besides sufficient pasture in euerie for thrée hundred kine, and none to annoie another; and euerie plough land conteineth six score acres of land Irish, and euerie Irish acre farre exceedeth the content of the common acre.

(7) The place where Dermon landed is named Glasse caerge, it is a creeke or a baie lieng vpon the open seas, and in the countie of Wexford, sithence there was builded a monastere which was and is dissolued.

(8) Fernes is the sée and cathedrall church of the bishop, whose diocesse is the countie of Wexford, it lieth néere in the midle of the prouihce of Leinstes, and was somtimes a church well adorned and mainteined, but now in great ruine and decaie, the bishop & chapiter not remaining there at all. There is also a strong fort of the princes, wherein sometimes was kept a garrison at the princes charges, but now onelie a constable is placed therein, and he hath the sole charge thereof.

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