previous next


AFTER his deceasse, his brother Conranus with great reioising of all the Scotish nation
Conranus created king of Scotland. 501. H. B. was admitted K. in the yeare after the birth of our Sauiour 512, and the 22 of the reigne of the emperour Anastasius. This Conranus otherwise called Goranus, being established king, first tooke order that the sonnes of his brother Congall being within age, should be brought vp in the Ile of Man, vnder the gouernance of certeine wise instructors & schoolemaisters, to be trained in learning and vertuous discipline, according to an ancient ordinance thereof made and enacted. Also doubting least peace and quietnesse, now after The earnest diligence of Conranus for maintenance of good orders among his subiects. long warres, should minister matter to his people of raising some commotion, to the disturbance of all ciuill order & politike gouernement within his realme, he rode as it had béene in circuit round about the same, making inquirie of all maner of offendors, on whome he caused due punishment to be executed, without respect either of kith or kin.

And amongest other enormities which he vnderstood to be vsed in maner through all his countries, this (as he thought) was most grieuous, that the husbandmen and other commons of the countrie, being euill intreated and misused at the gentlemens hands, durst not complaine, nor procure anie redres; by reason whereof, when they were oppressed, or suffered anie maner of wrong or iniurie, they were without remedie to haue the same reformed; he A goodlie ordinance deuised by Conranus for reliefe of his commons ordeined therefore, that the names of all such offendors, with the maner of their offenses, should be secretlie registred in a booke euerie yeare, by certeine inquisitours thereto chosen and appointed. And if it chanced that those which were thus accused, might afterwards be found guiltie before the kings iustices by matter plainelie prooued against them; they should then be sure to be punished according to the measure of their offenses.

This custome of accusations, commonlie called inditements, continueth euen vnto these our daies. Conranus himselfe (as is reported) vsed much to be present at assises and The king present at assises. sessions to sée the lawes duelie ministred, either else to passe the time in hunting within some forrest or chase, néere to the place where the iustices sat. Now whilest Conranus king of Scots thus studied for the good gouernement of his people, Aurelius Ambrose the Aurelius Ambrose fell sicke of a consumption. Occa and Pascentius returne into Britaine. king of Britaine fell sicke of a consumption, which brought him to such weakenesse, that all recouerie of health in him was despaired; whereof Occa and Pascentius sonnes to Hengist being aduertised, returned with a mightie power of Saxons into Britaine, which (as Hector Boetius saith) they named at that present Hengists land.

Vter the brother of Aurelius laie also at the same time sore sicke of a flix in the parties of Wales, so that to auoid dissention that was raised among the Britains, about the appointing of a generall to go against the enimies, Aurelius euen sicke as he was, caused himselfe to be caried forth in a litter; with whose presence his people were so incouraged, that incountring with the Saxons they wan the victorie, although with such losse on their side, that Aurelius was glad to take truce for the space of foure moneths, and therewith breaking vp his campe, went into Winchester, and sent ambassadours vnto the Scotish and Pictish kings for aid against the time when the truce should expire, which was granted, and so he prouided for all things readie for the warres against the appointed time of their assemblie. Occa also sent his brother Pascentius into Germanie for more aid, but as some write, he was driuen by contrarie winds into Ireland, & getting a great power of men togither there, he came backe to his brother with the same. But whether he had those men out of Ireland or Germanie, sure it is that the power of the Saxons was greatlie increased therewith. In the meane time died Aurelius Ambrose, who was poisoned by a mischéefous moonke, a Aurelius Ambrose departeth this life. Saxon borne, named Eopa or Copa (as some bookes haue) that tooke vpon him to be skilfull in physicke, and a moonke by profession. His death was sore lamented of the Britains: but contrariwise, the Saxons reioised greatlie thereof, so that immediatlie after, Occa with his power inuadeth the Britains, vsing great crueltie in all places wheresoeuer he came.

In the meane time the Scotish and Pictish armies were come forward towards Aurelius, according to promise made vnto his ambassadours; but when his death was certeinelie knowen amongest them, the capteins and leaders of both those armies, resolued to returne home The Scotish armie returne home againe. againe, and so they did, for that they doubted in what state and order things should stand amongest the Britains now after the deceasse of their late king. After the death of Aurelius Ambrose, his brother Vter was made king of Britaine, and falling in loue with the wife of Gothlois duke of Cornewall, he did not onelie force hir to lie with him; but also to the end he might inioy hir the more fréelie, he ceassed not to pursue hir husband to rid him out of the waie, whome at length he tooke within a castell into the which he was fled, & foorthwith caused him to be executed, surmising mater against him, for that he had forsaken one of the capteins called Nathaliod, in battell against the Saxons. By the wife of this Gothlois, Vter Vter begat Arthur. had issue the great Arthur, and because he had no legitimat sonne, he appointed that Arthur should succéed him in gouernement of the realme. Herewith Loth the Pictish king was not a little mooued, disdaining that Arthur being a bastard, and begot of another mans wife in adulterie, should be preferred before his sons the rightfull heires of the British kingdome: and therefore by ambassadours he did what he could to dissuade Vter from making anie such ordinance. But when he saw that he could not remoue him from his opinion, he thought best to content himselfe with silence, till the time serued better for his purpose. At length when the wars were againe renewed betwixt Vter and Occa the Saxon king, Loth in reuenge of the iniurie doone to him and his children, ioined himselfe to the Saxons, and was with them at the battell, in which the Britains got the victoriee by the presence of saint Germane that holie bishop of Auxer, as the Scotish writers make mention. Which battell as the same is set foorth by Hector Boetius, because it touched the state of the Picts, we haue thought good here to expresse.

It was therefore about the feast of Easter, when the armies came into the field, the Saxons with the Picts on the one side, & the Britains on the other, of whom no small number (being either growen to be idolaters through conuersation with the Saxons, either els infected with the heresie of the Pelagians) euen there in campe, by hearing such good sermons as saint Germane preached amongest them, were conuerted to the true beliefe, receiuing at the same S. Germane preacheth vnto the campe. S. Germane leadeth the fore ward. Their crie was Alleluia. time the sacrament of the Lords bodie, togither in companie with other of the faithfull christians. Finallie when both parties were readie to giue battell, saint Germane tooke vpon him to haue the leading of the fore ward, wherein he had all the préests and ecclesiasticall ministers, giuing commandement, that when he should crie Alleluia, they should all answere him with one intire voice.

Thus procéed they foorth to the battell, saint Germane bearing the kings standard in the S. Germane beareth the kings standard. fore front, & vpon the approch to the enimies, he with the rest of the préests crieng with a lowd voice thrice togither Alleluia, was answered by all the whole host, vttering and crieng the same crie so wholie togither, that the verie sound thereof caused such an eccho on each side by reason of the hollow mounteines and cliffes hard by them, that the Saxons amazed The Saxons miraculouslie discomfited. at this doubled noise, and doubting not onelie another power of their enimies to be hidden priuilie among the hilles which they saw on ech side of them, but also least the verie rocks & mounteins would haue fallen downe vpon their heads togither with the frame of the Hyperbole. element, readie (as it séemed to them) to breake in sunder, they tooke them to their féet in such dreadfull hast, that their breath was not able to suffice halfe the desire they had to continue their course. Manie of them made such hast, that running to the next riuer in hope to passe the same, were drowned therein. To conclude, all of them generallie threw away both weapon and armour, the more lightlie to make away. Thus through the policie of that blessed man saint Germane, the victorie remained with king Vter and his Britains, without anie bloudshed.

Saint Beda making mention of this battell, assigneth the time to be at the first comming Beda dissenteth from Hector Boetius and his authour Veremond. of S. Germane into this land, whereas Hector Boetius following Veremond, supposeth it to be at the second time of his comming hither, which was in the daies of king Vter. But at what time soeuer this victorie thus chanced, certeine it is, the Britains waxing proud thereof, nothing regarded the power of the Saxons, nor tooke anie héed for prouision of further defense; but after that those holie bishops Germane and Seuerus were returned into their The Britains giue themselues vnto all kinds of vice and abhominations. The threatning of vengeance to succéed vicious liuing. countrie, they fell to all kinds of gluttenie and excesse, in following onelie their sensuall lusts and fleshlie concupiscence: which abuses, the bishops and other godlie men lamenting, ceassed not most earnestlie to reprooue, menacing destruction to the whole countrie, if the people leauing their wicked liuing and most heinous offenses towards God, did not amend and repent in due time and space.

Neither were they deceiued herein: for within few yeares after, Occa eftsoones began to The Britains receiue a great ouerthrow. King Occa slaine. The yoonger Occa nephue to the former Occa by his brother Oiscus. Loth contrarie to his oth of credence aided the Britains against the Saxons. make warres vpon the Britains againe, and gaue them a notable ouerthrow, sleaing of them to the number of fiftéene thousand, with their generall Nathaliod. But yet this victorie was not greatlie pleasant to the Saxons, for in the chase they lost their king the foresaid Occa, being aduanced a good way off from the residue of his armie, with fiue hundred horssemen and a few footmen, in pursute of his enimies, which was the onelie cause that as then the Saxons attempted no further exploit against the Britains. And yet for that they would not be without a gouernour, they created an other Occa to be their K. the nephue of the former Occa by his brother Oiscus: and then turned all their force to make warres against the Picts, for that Loth king of the Picts, contrarie to his oth of credence, had aided the Britains in the last battell, as by certeine prisoners taken in the same they had perfect vnderstanding.

Occa therfore being fierce of nature, to the end to indamage his enimies the more, sent Colgerne or Colgerme a Saxon is sent for by Occa. into Germanie for one Colgerme or Colgerne, a man of great estimation and birth amongest the Saxons, to come ouer with a power vnto him into England, promising for recompense of his trauell and aid against the Picts, to deliuer vnto him all such lands as lay beyond the water of Humber, which might be recouered out of the hands of the Picts, to inioy vnto him and his for euer. Colgerne accepting the offer, landed shortlie after in Colgerne landeth in Northumberland. Northumberland, putting the whole countrie vnto fire and sword. Which cruell dealing caused a great number of Scots & Picts, which held diuerse castels in that quarter, to come foorth into the field to defend the countrie, and ioining battell with their enimies were discomfited, their slaughter being much increased by the comming of Occa at vnwares vpon them. For he first taking truce with Vter king of the Britains, hasted with all speed to ioine his power with Colgerne, after he heard once that he was come on land.

These newes being brought by such as fled away into Galloway and Pictland, caused both The king of Scots and Picts raise their powers to resist the Saxons. the kings, Loth and Conranus in most speedie wise to assemble their forces, and with the same to march foorthwith towards the Saxons: but being come within sight of them readie to giue battell, great was the feare and terror of both their hosts, to ioine in fight with such a number of fierce people, as they saw there before their faces. Which feare arose first The Scots and Picts are put in feare of the Saxons valiancie. through the Britains, of whome no small number was there, in aid of the Scots and Picts against the Saxons, declaring manie things of the great valure, strength of bodie, and huge forme of lims of the same Saxons, being so fierce and cruell in fight, as they alledged, that they were able to put their enimies to flight euen with their grim lookes and terrible countenances. Whereof such feare and terror was spread through both the whole armies, that if shame had not partlie wrought amongest the men of warre, manie of them would haue fled their waies before anie battell had béene attempted at all.

The kings perceiuing such discomfiture amongst their men, caused them to assemble The kings cause one to make an oration vnto their people to remoue all feare out of their hearts. togither, and appointed one such as was thought méet for the purpose, to declare vnto them on their behalfes, how they could not but maruell to vnderstand such feare & lacke of courage, as appeared generallie through both the armies, considering there was no cause thereof, they being such a number of able warriours throughlie appointed, and therewithall led by such gouernours and capteins, as there was no reason why to be doubtfull of victorie, before they had séene some triall and iust occasion of disaduantage. For as touching the Saxons, they were no such men but that they might be ouercome well inough, as it might sufficientlie appeare, both by proofe of such victories as Vortimer the British king had obteined against them; and also Aurelius Ambrose, who had vanquished them in such sort, that when they durst not eftsoones incounter with him in battell, they found means by poison to make him awaie.

Then sith the Britains (whome the Scots & Picts so often had subdued) had at sundrie times vanquished the Saxons, why should they feare in such wise to fight with them in common defense of their countrie, and reuenge of such iniuries as they had latelie receiued at their hands, sith the righteous God (as all good men ought to trust) is euer readie to aduance a righteous quarrell. And where it was bruted amongest them, that the Saxons were so huge of stature, and mightie of lims, that no force was able to withstand them, it was certeinelie knowen, that the Scots & Picts were indued with no lesse mightinesse and strength of bodie than the Saxons; so that if they were not of like stomachs, that rested in their owne slouthfull cowardize, & not in natures woorke, hauing doone hir part in bestowing hir gifts vpon them touching bodilie force, in such plentious maner, as no other nation did lightlie anie waies surmount them.

Manie other arguments were alledged and laid foorth to remoue feare out of their hearts, and to incourage them to fight, insomuch that in the end it appeared the same wrought the The Scots through comfortable words of an oration recouer new courages. The Scots and Picts are put to flight. wished effect, in such wise, that they generallie required battell, offering to liue and die at their capteins féet, and to follow them whither soeuer it should please their kings and liege lords to appoint them. Herewith the kings being satisfied, foorth they march towards their enimies, whome they found readie to receiue them, and that with such rigorous violence, that in the end, after great slaughter made on both parts, the Scots and Picts were put to flight, the Saxons pursuing in the chase till the darke night caused them to withdraw & returne into their campe. The next day following, the Scotish king with the residue of his armie hasted away with all spéed towards Galloway, and the Pictish king withdrew into Pictland. The Saxons vsing the victorie most cruellie, slue all such of the Pictish and Scotish nations as they met with, in all places betwixt Tine and Twéed. Then did Occa create the forenamed Colgerme created duke of Northumberland. Colgerme duke of Northumberland, who reparing all such castels and strong houses, as he thought expedient to haue kept, placed garrisons of souldiers in the same to defend the countrie against all maner of enimies. After this, Occa turned his power against the Britains, which in the last battell had aided the Scots and Picts, as before is partlie touched. The Britains, The Britains ouerthrowen in battell by the Saxons. Vter withdraweth into Wales. London recouered by the Saxons. receiuing a great ouerthrow in battell, Vter the British king was glad with such as might escape the enimies hands, to withdraw into Wales, leauing the residue of his countries vnto the Saxons, who therevpon recouered not onelie the citie of London, yéelding it selfe vnto them for doubt of some long siege, but also all those countries and prouinces which Hengist the first of the Saxons that reigned as king within the bounds of Albion at anie time, had holden or inioied, and ceassed not after recouerie of the same, to vexe and disquiet the Scots, Britains, and Picts, with continuall incursions, hoping by such means to kéepe them still occupied. In the midst of this trouble Vter K. of the Britains departed this world, poisoned (as some have The death of Vter poisoned by drinking water of a well. 521. Loth requireth the kingdome of Britaine. written) by drinking water taken out of a fonteine which the Saxons had inuenomed. He died in the yeare after the birth of our Sauior 521, and in the eightéenth of his owne reigne. After his deceasse, Loth king of the Picts sent his ambassadours vnto the lords, and other the states of the British dominions, requiring them, according to the accustomed lawes and ancient ordinances of the realme, to receiue him as king, sith he had maried the sister and heire of the two brethren Aurelius Ambrose, and Vter, their two last kings, being as then both deceassed, without leauing behind them anie lawfull issue, by reason whereof their estate was fallen vnto him, to inioy the same during his life, hauing maried (as is said) their owne naturall and lawfull borne sister, and after the deceasse of him and his wife the said sister, then it ought by course of the lawes of all realmes and countries to descend vnto such issue as he had begot of hir, which was Mordred and Gawan. two sonnes, the one named Mordred, and the other Valuan, or Gawan, as some doo call him.

The Britains disdainfullie vsing the Pictish ambassadours that came with this message, The Britains refuse to receiue either Loth or anie of his sonnes to reigne ouer them. Arthur proclamed king of Britaine. Arthur goeth foorth against the Saxous. refused not onelie to come vnder subiection of Loth, but also denied that his sonnes begot of his lawfull wife, the sister of Aurelius and Vter, should haue anie rule or gouernement amongest them, as those that were no Britains borne, but strangers vnto them, being both borne and vpbread in a forren countrie. Those ambassadours then hauing their answere, and being sent home with reproch, the Britains contrarie to the lawes of all nations, proclamed Arthur, being a bastard borne, king of their realme, and foorthwith assembling their powers vnder his leading, marched on against the Saxons, in purpose to abate some part of their strength, before the Picts (which was doubted would shortlie come to passe) should ioine with them.

Therfore hauing procured aid of the Armorike Britains forth of France, they fought with The Armorike Britains in aid of Arthur. The Saxons vanquished, are constreined to pay tribute to the Britains. London is woon by the Britains. Arthur raiseth a power against the Picts. A league concluded betwixt, Loth & Colgerme. their enimies within ten miles of London at the first, where the Saxons being at two seuerall times vanquished, were constreined not only to paie tribute, but also to receiue magistrates to gouerne them by the said Arthurs appointment, with other grieuous articles of agréement, to the great reioising of the Britains, for these so luckie beginings in the first exploits of their late elected king. Afterwards was London easilie woon by the Britains, wherin Arthur remaining for a season, tooke aduise with his nobles how to procéed in his warres against the rest of the Saxons. Finallie hauing prepared a mightie armie, he determineth to go against those which inhabited beyond Humber northwards, with whome (as he had certeine knowledge) the Picts were ioined: for Loth comming to agréement with Colgerme, concluded a leage with him, whereby they were bound to aid one another against the Britains, as common enimies and aduersaries to them both.

The Britains at their comming into Yorkeshire pitched their campe not farre off from their enimies, who were alreadie ioined togither and incamped abroad in the field. The next day after, knowledge being had that they should haue battell, Arthur appointed Howell leader of Howell le der of the Annorike Britains. the Armorike Britains to incounter with the battell of the Picts, and he himselfe to match with the Saxons. Thus they met togither on both parts verie fiercelie, and a sore battell was fought there betwixt them, so that for a good space it was doubtfull whether part should haue the aduantage of the day, but at length the Picts were put to flight, which aduanced The Picts put to flight. The Saxons chased, made their race towards Yorke. the Britains to the gaine of the whole field. For the Saxons, after they perceiued how the Picts were discomfited, dreading to abide the whole brunt by themselues, betooke them also to their héeles, and made their race towards Yorke, as fast as their feet might beare them.

Arthur pursuing them thither, besieged the citie almost three moneths togither, but the York besieged. Saxons defended the walles so stoutlie, making often issues foorth vpon the Britains, that till hunger began to constreine them, they cared little for the siege. In the end, when they were determined to haue yéelded vp the citie, they had knowledge, how there was an huge armie of Picts and Saxons newlie assembled, and readie to come forward to their succors; also that king Occa (escaping from the battell wherein he had receiued the ouerthrow at Occa returneth out of Germanie with a new power. Arthurs hands, and fléeing afterward into Germanie) was now returned with a new power, and arriued within the mouth of Humber. Which newes caused them to deferre all communication, in hope that if they might abide the siege but for a small time, the Britains should shortlie be compassed in on each side, and oppressed on the sudden.

Arthur heard of the comming of their succours in like maner, and iudging it no wisedome to tarie the comming of his so puissant enimies, considering what a number of diseased and sicke persons he had alreadie in his host, by reason of their lieng abroad in the field, raised his Arthur raiseth his siege. siege, and withdrew himselfe so spéedilie as was possible with his whole armie into Wales, where he appointed the Armorike Britains to soiorne for that winter, with other of the meaner sort of his owne souldiers: whilest he tooke the residue of his chosen bands, and went to Arthur returneth to London. London, there to prouide that no rebellion should be raised among the Saxons of Kent, or other of the countries neere about. In the beginning of the next spring, he gathered his host togither againe, and with the same went foorth against Colgerme and Occa, who being issued foorth of Northumberland, were entered into the British confines, spoiling and wasting the countrie with their accustomed crueltie.

Wherevpon incountering them twise in battell, he obteined the victorie, and then besieging Arthur discomfiteth the Saxons twise in battel & then againe laieth siege to Yorke and winneth it. Arthur vseth the victorie with gentlenesse. Yorke, at length he entered into that citie, by meanes of a Britaine, who dwelling amongst the Saxons there, in the night season conueied a sort of Britains into the citie, the which breaking open the gates in the dead of the night, did let in all the whole host. Where Arthur would not suffer his men to make any great murther of the enimies, which were content to yéeld themselues, but vsed them very gently, therby to win more praise amongst all those that heard of his woorthie victories. The Britains hauing thus conquered the citie of Yorke, manie feats of armes were dailie practised betwixt them and the Saxons, which held possession still of the countrie thereabouts. But the Britains lieng in that citie all the summer and winter The Britains soiourning for the winter time within Yorke, giue thēselues vnto banketting & voluptuousnesse. following, at length began to take their ease, namelie in the depth of winter, and therewith gaue themselues to banketting, drinking, plaie, and other kinds of voluptuous pleasures, so that it seemed they trusted more to their passed victories, than to their present force, not fearing such dangers as was like to follow.

It is thought of some, that about the same time, Arthur first instituted, that the feast of Christmasse should be kept with such excesse of meats and drinks, in all kinds of inordinate banketting and reuell for the space of thirteene daies togither, according to the custome vsed still through both the realmes of England and Scotland euen vnto this day, resembling the Christmasse bankets resembling the feasts Bacchanalia. feasts which the gentiles vsed to kéepe in the honor of their drunken god Bacchus, called in Latin Bacchanalia: wherein all kinds of beastlie lust and sensuall voluptuousnes was put in vre. But whence soeuer, or by whome soeuer this insatiable gourmandise came vp amongst vs, suerlie a great abuse it is, to see the people at such a solemne feast, where they ought to be occupied in thanks giuing to almightie God, for the sending downe of his onelie begotten sonne amongst vs, to giue themselues in manner wholie to gluttonie, and excessiue filling of their bellies, with such maner of lewd and wanton pastimes, as though they should rather celebrate the same feasts of Bacchanalia, and those other which the gentiles also kept, called Floralia, and Priapalia, than the remembrance of Christs natiuitie, who abhorreth all maner of such excesse.

But now to my purpose. When the next summer was once come, Arthur led foorth his The Britains through rest and ease became vnapt to susteine the paines of warres. A league concluded betwixt Arthur king of Britains, & Loth king of Picts. Mordred marieth the daughter of one Gawolan a Britaine. Gawan or Gawen in seruice with K. Arthur. Britains against their enimies, but by reason of such ease and pleasure as they had taken whilest they soiourned in Yorke, being now come into the field, they were able to abide no paines, so that no good was doone of certeine yéers after, till finallie Arthur ioined in league with Loth king of the Picts. The conditions of which league were these. That Arthur during his naturall life should reigne as king of the Britains, and after his decease, the kingdome to remaine vnto Mordred and his issue, if he chanced to haue anie. That the Picts should aid the Britains against the Saxons, and haue all such land as might be recouered of them beyond Humber. Also the league which was betwixt them and the Scots, they should dulie obserue. Mordred should marrie the daughter of Gawolan a noble man amongst the Britains and of highest authoritie next vnto Arthur himselfe: the children of this marriage to be brought vp with their grandfather in Britaine, till they came to yeeres of discretion. Gawan the brother of the foresaid Mordred, should serue king Arthur, and receiue at his hands large interteinment, and great possessions to mainteine therewith his estate.

Other articles there were comprised in this league, according as was thought requisite for the maintenance of stable friendship betwixt these kings and their nations. So that Arthur hauing concluded this league, and still being desirous to purge the whole Ile of all miscreants and enimies of the christian faith, he sent vnto the Scotish and Pictish kings, requiring them Arthur sendetin ambassadors vnto the kings of Scots and Picts. on the behalfe of that dutie which they owght vnto the aduancement of Christs religion, to assemble their powers, & to méet him at Tinmouth, whither he would repaire to ioine with them, at such day as they would appoint, from thence to march foorth against the Saxons.

Loth king of the Picts, and Conranus king of the Scotishmen, failed not in this so Scots, Picts and Britains ioine togither against the Saxons. necessarie an enterprise, but agréeable to Arthurs request, within few daies after they came forward, and ioining with the Britains, forth they went against the Saxons, whom they vnderstood to be alreadie in campe, vnder the conduct of their king Occa, in purpose to stop their passage. When both the armies were approched néere togither, they prepared to the battell, and first Colgerme duke of Northumberland mounting vpon a light gelding, rode almost euen hard to the face of the Picts, where they stood in their order of battell right stoutlie, and there vttering manie reprochfull words vnto Loth, and other of his nobles, for breach of their Colgerme reproueth Loth. promised friendship to him and his Saxons, declared that he trusted shortlie to see iust punishment light vpon them for this falshood and vntruths sake, in thus ioining with their former enimies against their most trustie friends and stedfast alies.

The Pictish king not greatlie mooued héerewith, commanded his standards to aduance forward, and the Saxons likewise hasted apace towards them, so that the one being come within danger of shot of the other, the Picts let flie their arrowes verie freshlie. Arthur in the meane time hauing set his people in araie, exhorted them to fight manfullie: and so soone as he perceiued that the fraie was begun by the Picts, he in semblable wise cōmandeth the Britains to giue the onset, so that immediatlie there insued a sore conflict, the Scots being in the right wing, & sleaing Cheldrike one of the chiefest capteins amongst the Saxons, quicklie discomfited that wing with the which they were first matched. Colgerme with his Saxons incountring (as is said) with the Picts, placed in the left wing, rushed in amongst his enimies vpon an earnest desire to be reuenged of his aduersarie king Loth) with such violence, that at their first incounter he ouerthrew the same Loth: but immediatlie therevpon two Pictish Colgerme is run through by his aduersaries. horssemen running at Colgerme sidelingwise, bare him quite through.

In the meane time, Loth by meane of his strong habergion escaping without hurt, was relieued by such as stood about him, and restored againe to his companie: but Colgerme being dead before he could be recouered from amongst the throng of his enimies, his men were so discomforted therewith, that streightwaies therevpon they fell to running away. The maine The Saxons are put to flight. battell of the Saxons being thus left bare on both sides, began to giue backe, which Arthur perceiuing, the more earnestlie preassed foorth vpon them, so that in the end Occa being Occa constreined to flée. constreined to flée, and receiuing a sore wound, had much adoo to be conueied awaie by some of his horssemen, the Britains pursued so fiercelie vpon him. At length being brought vnto the sea side, he got vessels, and escaped ouer into Germanie. This victorie being thus Vpon what condition Arthur receiueth the Saxons vpon their submission. atchiued, constreined the Saxons to yéeld vnto king Arthur, simplie submitting themselues vnto his mercie, who of his clemencie was contented to pardon them of life and goods, vpon condition they would become christians, and from thencefoorth neuer after to make anie warres vpon their neighbors the Britains, Scots, or Picts. But if they would not agrée héerevnto, then leauing their goods, armor, and weapon behind them, they should auoid the land, & that within 18 daies next insuing.

Manie of the Saxons that could get passage, sailed ouer into Germanie. Other feining themselues to become christians, remained in the land, looking one day for better hap & fortune. Diuerse that were not able by meanes of pouertie to get awaie within the time appointed, and yet refusing to be christened, were put to death, according to the prcclamation set foorth for the same purpose, so that in comparison verie few amongst them receiued the christian faith sincerelie, and with a true meaning mind. Things being thus quieted in Northumberland, Arthur tooke order for the reparing of churches abroad in the countrie, which the Arthur caused churches to be repared. Saxons had ouerthrowne or defaced; & namelie in the citie of Yorke he bestowed great cost, where the cruell infidels had doone much hurt vpon churches, and other religious houses.

In the yéere following, Arthur had newes how the Saxons which held the Ile of Wight, ioining with the Kentish Saxons, had doone great displeasures vnto the Britains, on that side of the Thames, killing & sleaing an huge number of them with great crueltie, wherewith being sore mooued, he drew towards London with his armie, purposing vtterlie to destroie all Arthur purposeth to destroie the whole race of the Saxons in Albion. the east & south Saxons, since otherwise he could not prouide for the suertie of his subiects, being still in danger to be murthered and robbed, so long as anie of that wicked generation of the Saxons remained heere amongst them.

By meanes also of the league, he had with him in this iournie ten thousand Picts, & as manie Scots: Eugenius nephue to king Conran by his brother Congall being generall ouer the Scots, and Mordred the sonne of king Loth by his wife Anne, gouerning the Picts, a lustie The opinion which men had conceiued of Mordred for his wit & towardlinesse. yoong gentleman, verie wittie and towardlie in all his dooings. Furthermore, Arthur vnderstanding what hurt rest and ease had doone amongst his men of warre, caused them to keepe the field in all this iournie, and passing by London, lodged them a little beside the riuer of Thames. But he himselfe with some of his nobles, entred into the citie, causing supplications to be made vnto almightie God thrée daies together, for good successe to follow against the Saxons. On the fourth day hearing diuine seruice celebrated by the bishop of London, and causing a sermon to be made in the market place, he committed himselfe and his whole armie vnto the tuition of Christ, and his mother the virgine, whose image in stéed Arthurs badge. of a badge he bare in his shield continuallie from that day forward, as diuerse héeretofore haue written. After this, issuing foorth of the citie, he willed all his men to be of good Arthurs exhortation to his people. comfort, as they that fought in a iust quarell against Pagans, and enimies of the faith. Mordred and his father in law Gawolane passed on before the battels with fiue thousand horssemen, and being come within fiue miles of the Saxons, who likewise were assembled in campe, there came from them vnto Arthur ambassadors, requiring him to staie his iournie, for they were An offer made by the Saxons vnto king Arthur. readie (if they might haue libertie so to doo) to depart out of the land with their goods and substance, without further molesting the Britains, either by one meanes or other.

Arthur would neither consent heerevnto, nor yet grant a truce for thrée daies, for the which they made earnest sute, but bad them depart for that time, onelie assuring them that he would not come passing two miles forwards for that day, so that if they thought good, they might returne to him in the morning, and haue answer what the chiefest gouernors of his host thought touching their request, by whome he would haue the matter more throughlie debated. In the meane time, whilest the Britains were busied with hearing of these ambassadors, and taking aduise what was best to doo touching their demand, the Saxons marched foorth with all spéed, and comming vpon Mordred and Gawolan at vnwares, they gaue the The Saxons comming vpon Mordred and Gawolan put them with their people to the woorse, onset freshlie vpon them, and that verie much to the disaduantage of the Britains and Picts, who notwithstanding, through the earnest exhortation of their capteins, receiued their enimies verie fiercelie, in dooing that which was possible for so small a number to doo, howbeit in the end oppressed with multitude, they were forced to flée, and so did, not resting till they came in sight of the whole armie. In which flight, Mordred and Gawolan by helpe of their souldiers, being mounted vpon their horsses, escaped without hurt, though they lost no small number of their companie, as well in the fight as in the chase.

The Saxons ambassadors being not yet departed out of the British campe, were héerevpon staied till the next morning, and then had answer giuen them, that from thencefoorth the What answer the Saxons ambassadors had at Arthurs hands. Britains were not minded to heare anie messengers of the Saxons comming to intreat of peace, since it was manifest enough, they ment nothing but falshood, as well appéered in that they had against the law of armes, whilest their ambassadors were in communication, distressed part of the British armie, and therefore they should assure themselues, to haue at Arthurs hands nothing but cruell war to the vttermost of his power, in reuenge of such their great vntruths and cloked dealings. They had scarse receiued their answer, but that there came from the Saxons fortie other ambassadors, being men of great authoritie amongst them, to excuse that The excuse of the Saxons. which had happened ouer night, in laieng the fault vpon a sort of vndiscréet persons, nothing priuie vnto that which the gouernors of the armie had doone, touching the sending of their ambassadors, and therevpon had without their aduise made that skirmish.

But Arthur iudging that there was some new subtill practise in hand, vnder pretense of this new ambassage, commanded as well these that came last, as the other which came first, to be kept in the marshals tent, that in no wise they should escape, whilest he himselfe in the second watch of the night departed out of his campe, with all his puissance, which he diuided into thrée battels, and hauing marched thrée miles forward, he was vpon his enimies The sudden inuasion made by the Britains vpon the Saxons. The great tumult in the Saxons campe. Mordred besirous to besirous to be reuenged. yer they vnderstood anie thing of his comming, insomuch that the Britains had slaine and chased the watch of the Saxons campe, before it was certeinlie knowne what the matter ment. Héereof also insued such a tumult and noise amongst the Saxons, running vp and downe, calling and crieng one to another, as it happeneth in such cases of extreme feare, that the best aduised amongest them wist not well what to doo. Wherevpon Mordred desirous to reuenge his last ouerthrowe, brake in also vpon his enimies verie fiercelie.

But some of them hauing gotten them into their armor, stood at their defense awhile amongst their carts and carriages, and so resisted the Britains on that side for a season; other of the Saxons hauing no leasure to arme themselues, nor to draw into anie order of battell, by reason of the sudden impression of the Britains, brake foorth of the campe on the contrarie side, & fled so fast as their féet might beare them. But being pursued by the British The Saxons are put to the flight. horssemen, and beaten downe, a great number of them ran into the next riuer, and there were drowned, choosing rather that kind of death, than so cruellie to be murthered by the aduersaries hands: verelie the Britains shewed no mercie that day, for so manie as came within The crueltie of the Britains in sleaing the Saxons. their danger, died without redemption. And this bloudie battell made an end of such an huge number of Saxons, that it was thought they should neuer haue recouered againe anie puissance able to haue indamaged the Britains in anie manner of wise.

Arthur hauing thus vanquished his enimies, gaue licence vnto those nobles which he had deteined (as is said) in his campe, being sent vnto him as ambassadors, to depart ouer into Germanie, appointing the residue of such Saxons as were men of no defense, to remaine still in the land, yéelding a yéerelie tribute vnto the Britains, and also with condition that they should become christians. The Scotishmen and Picts which had aided the Britains in this iournie, soiorned a while after at London, where Arthur feasted & banketted them in most roiall wise, shewing them all the honor that might be deuised, and afterwards sent them Arthurs munificence. home verie princelie rewarded with manie great gifts and rich presents. Whilest such businesse as ye haue heard was thus in hand betwixt the Saxons & Britains, the estate of the Scotish common-wealth was gouerned by great wisedome and policie, without anie notable trouble or disorder. But finallie, when king Conrane began to wax aged, and that such as had the chiefe dooings vnder him, sought not the execution of iustice, but their owne commodities, to the hinderance of a multitude, the people began to repine thereat, and to practise a conspiracie with diuerse of the nobles against Conrane, and those which ruled by his A conspiracie practised against Conrane. appointment.

It chanced that there was one Toncet, a man of base birth, assigned by the kings commission to be chiefe iustice, or as it were chancelor for the administration of the lawes in Murrey land, a person passing full of rigorous crueltie, especiallie in iudgements of life and death, An euill officer. and in gathering vp of all manner of forfeitures of penall lawes, which he did onelie to purchase fauor of the king, by the inriching of his coffers, in respect whereof he had small regard either of right or wrong, so that there were hope of somewhat to be gotten. Amongest other the violent dooings of this Toncet, he caused diuerse merchantmen of the towne of Fores in Murrey land (as then the chiefest towne of all that countrie) to be accused of treason by a light information, and in the end executed without anie apparant matter, onelie vpon a couetous desire to haue their goods and riches, bicause they were men of great wealth and substance. Diuerse noble men of the countrie there abouts, and namelie of the towne of Fores, being partlie of kin vnto those merchants, were sore offended with this act, and héerevpon they first came vnto Toncet, and reuiled him with manie high reprochtull woords, and afterwards fell A presumptuous act. vpon him in the place of open iudgement where he sat as then in his iudgement seate, & there murthered him, getting them foorthwith vp into the mounteins, to auoid the danger which they knew vnpossible for them to escape, if they should happen to be taken while Conrane should be liuing.

After this, they deuised how they might increase their heinous deed and bold enterprise with The determination of the murtherers to dispatch the king also. an other farre more horrible and notable, which was to slea the king himselfe, as the originall cause of all such mischiefe that then reigned in the realme through the vnwoorthie gouernment of his vniust ministers and couetous magistrats, hoping withall to obteine the fauor of some of the noble men, whome they knew to maligne the king and his councell most extremelie, and thereby in short time to be assured of their pardon. Shortlie after it chanced that one Donald also gouernor of Atholl, a man in great fauor and trust with the king, had Donald gouernor of Athol conspireth with the outlawes to murther the king. vnderstanding what these outlawes intended, and therevpon practised with them by priuie messengers, that they should come in secret manner vnto Enuerlochtée, where the king soiorned, promising them by most assured meanes of oths and vowes, that they should haue all the furtherance he could deuise towards the atchiuing of their enterprise.

Héerevpon these outlawes, according to their instructions, camé in secret wise vnto The outlaws enter into the kings bedhamber. Enuerlochtée, and were closelie conueied into Conrans bedchamber by Donalds meanes, who as though he had knowne nothing of the matter, got himselfe quickelie out of the waie when he saw them once entered within the doore of the chamber. Conrane the king perceiuing how he was betraied, and that his enimies were got into his chamber readie to murther him, stept foorth of his bed; and falling downe vpon his knées besought them to take pitie of his age, and not to defile their hands in the bloud of their naturall lord and king, considering the fault was not his, if they had béene anie waies wronged Howbeit they doubting nothing but least Conrane is murthered within his bed chamber by traitorous meanes. 35. H. B. 20. H. B. 535. H. B. he should escape their hands, streightwaies dispatched him out of life, and withall made haste awaie. This was the end of king Conranus; in the 20 yéere of his reigne, being the 16 of Arthurs dominion ouer the Britains, the fift of the emperor Iustinianus, and in the veere after the birth of our Sauior 531. But his corps was buried in the abbeie of Iona, otherwise called Colmekill, with such funerall pompe and exequies, as in those daies were vsed.

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: