chapter 15

A brefe rehersall of certayne kynges / and how kyng Edgare came to Chestre. Also howe Leofric, Erle of Chestre, repared diuers churches.

stanza 172

1199 This Edgare was nominate in cronicles expresse named / explicitly
'The floure of Englande', regnyng as emperour,reigning
Lyke-wise Romulus to romains was of prowes,Just as / prowess, might
Cyrus to the persis / to the grekes their conquerour,
Great Charles to frenchemen / to troians Hectour;
Famous in victorye, preignant in wysdome,discerning
Vertuous and pacient / feruent in deuocion. 1 patient / zealous

stanza 172a

1199a Auctor opum, vindix scelerum / largitor honorum,
Sceptriger Edgarus regna superna petit.
Hic alter Solomon / legum pater / orbita pacis,
Quod claruit bellis / claruit inde magis.
Templa deo / templis monachos / monachis dedit agros:
Nequitie lapsum / iusticieque loquum. 2

stanza 173

1206Also from the byrthe of our blessed sauiour birth
A thousande fyfty yere / and seuen expresse,1057 years / clearly
In the tyme of saynt Edwarde kyng and confessour, 3 confessor
As William Maluesbury beareth wytnes, 4 testifies
Than Leofricus, a man of great mekenes, 5 humility
Was erle of Chestre and duke of merciens ,the Mercians
Son to duke Leoffwin by liniall discence.line of descent

stanza 174

1213This noble Leofric, sayth policronicon, 6
Of his deuocion and beningne grace,Out of / generous
Namely by the counsell and vertues mocion virtuous proposal
Of his lady Godith, countes whiche was, 7
Reedified churches decayed in many a place,Re-built
Also he founded the monastery of Leonence ,Leominster
By the towne of Herforde and the place of Wenlecence .Much Wenlock

stanza 175

1220 This erle repareled a noble olde monastery,restored
Euesham vpon Auen / gaue them great riches;Evesham upon Avon
Also founder was of the abbay in couentre ,Coventry
Made the cite free, for loue of his countesse: 8
At the cite of Chestre of his great goodnesthrough
He repared the College-churche of saynt Iohn,
Endowed it with riches and enormentes many on.ornaments / many a one

stanza 176

1227This erle of Chestre, the sayd Leofricus,
Of his charite / and feruent deuocionOut of
To the honour of god / reedified full gracious re-built / very beautifully
The mynstre of Werburge within the sayd towne,
Gaue vnto it riches and singular possession,special
Endowed the sayd place with fredoms and liberte
And speciall priuileges, confirmed by auctorite.authority

stanza 177

1234So the sayd place encreased in honour,
In great possessions / fredoms / and richesse;
With singular deuocion vnto our sauiour
And prayse to saynt Werburge, theyr patronesse,
The chanons obserued vertue and clennes,chastity
Daily augmentyng by diuine sufferaunce growing / indulgence
Vnto the comyng to this lande of normans.Until

chapter 16

Of the comyng of Willyam conquerour to this lande, and howe Hug. Lupe, his syster sonne, was founder of Chestre monasterye.

stanza 178

1241The yere of grace .M. sixe and thre-scour,1066
The .xiii. day of the moneth of october13th / month
The duke of normandy / William conquerour, 9
Pight a stronge batell / displayed his baner,Fought
Of normans and frenchemen hauynge great power,
Subdued kyng Harolde / opteyned all the londe,won
Was coronate at London / made saxons all bonde.crowned / bound, subjugated


In this stanza, Bradshaw compares Edgar, as flower and champion of the English, to great leaders of other nations from history and myth. These include Romulus, founder of Rome; Cyrus the Great, founder of Persia; the 'conquerour' of the Greeks, probably Alexander the Great; 'Great Charles' or Charlemagne, founder of the Carolingian empire; and Hector, the prince of Troy and leader in the Trojan War. This selection of figures recalls the tradition of the 'nine worthies' in later medieval art and literature. See 'King Arthur - Romancing Politics: Texts and Contexts', Norton Topics Online. Back to context...
These lines derive from a slightly longer panegyric to Edgar in Henry of Huntingdon’s Historia Anglorum. The text given by Diana Greenway is largely identical, except for a few differences in orthography and punctuation, although the first word varies between manuscript versions and she prefers ‘Tutor’ (‘Protector’). Bradshaw’s version would give the alternative opening epithet ‘Giver of treasure’). Greenway’s translation of these lines runs thus: 'Protector of treasure, avenger of crimes, distributor of honours, Edgar the sceptre-bearer seeks the celestial kingdoms. A second Solomon, the father of laws, the way of peace: he was all the more glorious for having no wars. He gave churches to God, monks to churches, lands to monks, a fall to wickedness, and a place to justice'. See Greenway 1996, 322, 323. Back to context...
Edward the Confessor (ruled 1042-1066). See PASE. Back to context...
Bradshaw refers to one of his sources, the twelfth-century chronicler William of Malmesbury. William of Malmesbury gives an account Leofric, for example, in the Gesta Regum Anglorum, Book II, Ch. 196 (Mynors, 1998-9), 348-51. Back to context...
Leofric, Earl of the Mercians (died 1057). See PASE. Back to context...
Higden, Polychronicon, Book V, Ch. XXVI (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 7, 198-201). Back to context...
Godgifu or 'Godiva', wife of Earl Leofric. See PASE. Back to context...
Bradshaw alludes here to the popular mythology surrounding Godgifu or 'Lady Godiva', and the story of her riding naked through the streets of Coventry in order to free the citizens from a punitive tax. See Higden, Polychronicon, Book VI, Ch. XXV (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 7, 198-200); Donoghue 2003 . Back to context...
William I or William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy from 1035 and ruled Normandy and England 1066-87). See DNB (subscription only). Back to context...