chapter 2

Howe the people of Hambury brought the shryne to Chestre / and of the solemne receuyung of it by all the inhabitauntes of Chesshyre.

stanza 50

344In procession they passed all in to the towne,
With ioye and great gladnes, ye may be sure,joy
In ordre togyther, in charite and deuocion,devotion
Praysyng our sauiour and this virgin pure;Praising
They brought full solemple with gostly p[l]easuresolemnly / spiritual
This riall relique to the moost noble place royal, noble
Within all the cite, as our lordes wyll was.

stanza 51

351 This seconde translacion of this virgin bright 1 translation
From Hambury abbay vnto Chestre cite
Was celebrate, with ioye and gladnes full right,celebrated / very proper
The yere of our saueour in his humanite In the year after Our Lord's incarnation
viii. hundreth complet .v. and seuentie;875 (i.e. 875 C.E.)
Alured regned than kyng of this region,Alfred reigned then
Victorious and liberall / coronate at London. 2 noble / crowned

stanza 52

358 This kyng deuyded in .iiii. partes his richesse:divided his wealth into four parts
One parte to the poore, the seconde to religion,
The thyrde part to scholers / the fourth to bild churches; 3 scholars
And of a day naturall / he made trium diuision:customary / three-part
viii. houres to rede and praye with feruent deuocion,
viii. houres occupied with businesse naturall,natural, bodily
And other .viii. houres to rule his realme riall.

stanza 52a

364aNobilitas innata tibi probitatis honorem,
Armipotens Alurede, dedit / probitasque laborem,
Perpetuumque labor nomen: cui mixta dolori
Gaudia semper erant: spes semper mixta timori.
Si modo victus erat / ad crastina bella parabat,
Iam post transactos regni viteque labores /
Christe ei sit vera quies / sceptrumque perenne. 4

chapter 3

A litel descripcion of the foundacion of Chestre / and of the abbay-churche within the sayd cite / where ye holy shryne by grace remayneth.

stanza 53

365Two cites of legions in cronicles we fynde: 5 cities
One in south-Wales / in the tyme of Claudius 6
Called Caeruska / by britons had in mynde, 7
Orels Caerleon / buylded by kyng Belinus; 8 Or alternatively / built
Where somtyme was a legion of knyghtes chiualrous. 9 at one time
This cite of legions was whilom the bysshops se at one time / see (regional seat) of the bishops
Vnto all south-wales / nominat Wenedocie . 10 called / Wenedocia

stanza 54

372Another cite of legions we may fynde also
In the west part of Englande / by the water of Dee,
Called Caerlleon of britons longe ago,by
After named Chestre, by great auctorite;Afterwards
Iulius the emperour sende to this sayd cite 11
A legion of knyghtes / for to subdue Irelande; 12
Like-wyse dyd Claudius (as we vnderstande). 13

stanza 55

379The founder of Chestre / as sayth Policronicon,
Was Lleon Gauer / a myghty stronge gyaunt, 14
Whiche buylded caues and dongions many one,Who built many caves and dungeons
No goodly buyldyng / propre ne pleasaunt;(neither)attractive nor pleasant
But the Kynge Leil, a briton sure and valiaunt, 15 true
Was founder of Chestre by pleasaunt buyldyng,
And of Caerleil also named by the kynge. 16

stanza 56

386 Ranulphus in his cronicle yet doth expresse say
The cite of Chestre edified for to be to have been built
By the noble romans prudence and richesse foresight, wisdom / wealth
Whan a legion of knyghtes was sende to the cite,sent
Rather than by the wysdome of the Britons or policie ;the good judgement or design of the Britons
Obiectyng clere agaynst the britons fundacion,Clearly objecting
Whiche auctour resteth in his owne opinion. 17 The said author settles on his own opinion


Werburgh's body had already been translated once at Hanbury, nine years after her death. See Book I, lines 3280-3455 (Horstmann, 1887 or via Literature Online - subscription only). Back to context...
King Alfred 'the Great' (ruled 871-899). See PASE. Back to context...
See Asser's Life of King Alfred the Great, Ch. 102 in Smyth, 2002, 50-1 or via the Online Medieval and Classical Library. Back to context...
These lines are taken from a longer panegyric to Alfred 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 Bradshaw’s version reverses the order of the fifth and sixth lines and changes them from a direct second-person address to the third person. There are also some errors in Bradshaw’s transcription. Greenway’s translation of the Henry of Huntingdon lines used by Bradshaw runs thus: 'Inborn nobility gave you, valiant Alfred, the dignity of prowess, and prowess gave you toil, and toil gave you an everlasting name. For you rejoicing was always accompanied by grief, hope always mixed with fear. If today you were among the victors, you trembled for tomorrow’s battles; if today you were defeated, you made ready for the battles of tomorrow. Now after the labours he performed in his life and reign, may Christ be his true rest and an everlasting sceptre'. See Greenway 1996, 298, 299. Back to context...
The description of the city of Chester and account of its origins in the subsequent stanzas follows Higden's Polychronicon, Book I, Ch. XLVIII (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 2, 74-6). Back to context...
The Roman Emperor Claudius I (ruled 41 C.E. - 54 C.E.), whose reign saw the conquest of Britain. Back to context...
Caeruska means 'the city on the river Usk'. Back to context...
Caerleon means 'the city of Legions'. Belinus is a legendary king of the Britons. See Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, Part III (Thorpe, 1966, 90-100). 'He restored existing cities wherever they had fallen into decay and he founded many new ones. Among the others which he founded was a certain city on the bank of the River Usk, near to the Severn Sea: this was the capital of Demetia [south Wales] and for a long time it was called Kaerusc. When the Romans came the earlier name was dropped and it was re-named the City of the Legions, taking its title from the Roman Legions who used to winter there' (99). Back to context...
Bradshaw imagines the Roman legionaries in the style of the chivalrous knights of medieval romance. See also below, line 377. Back to context...
Line 371 seems to reflect an error in reading Higden. Higden's Polychronicon describes Caerleon or Caerusk as an important city in south Wales. However, it is Chester 'quae tempore Britonum caput fuit et metropolis Venedotiae, id est, Norwalliae' ('which in the time of the Britons was the chief city of Wenedocia, that is, North Wales'). Wenedocia is in fact North Wales, and in addition Bradshaw seems to have confused the two 'cities of legions'. See the Polychronicon, Book I, Ch. XLVIII (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 2, 78). Back to context...
The Roman Emperor Julius Caesar (ruled 49 B.C.E. - 44 B.C.E.), who led the first Roman invasion of Britain in 55 B.C.E. Back to context...
Higden, Polychronicon, Book I, Ch. XLVIII (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 2, 78). Back to context...
In these stanzas, Bradshaw unpicks the different names applied to places within Britain to reveal a narrative of invasion, conquest and cultural change. Yet Bradshaw constructs these different names as historical layers, replaced in chronological progression, eliding the reality that alternative names exist for sites, including Chester, within his own period (e.g. English - Chester, Welsh - Caer). These stanzas implicitly relegate cultural difference to history, obscuring the multiple cultural communities and multiple names still operating along the Welsh Marches in Bradshaw's present. Back to context...
Higden does not in fact name Chester's founder, saying that Chester is a city 'cujus fundator ignoratur' ('whose founder is unknown'), but adding that the city appears to many observers to be 'giganteo labore' ('the work of giants'). See Higden, Polychronicon, Book I, Ch. XLVIII (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 2, 78). The name Lleon Gauer appears to be an extrapolation from Caerleon, combined with an approximation of the Welsh for giant (gawr). Back to context...
Leil or Leir, mythical king of the Britons. See Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, Part II (Thorpe, 1966, 79-80). Back to context...
Carlisle in north-west England. See Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, Part II (Thorpe, 1966, 80). 'Leil took advantage of the prosperity f his reign to build a town in the northern part of Britain which he called Kaerleil after himself.' Whilst Higden also refers to Leil as the founder of Carlisle, he does not make the connection with Chester. See Higden, Polychronicon, Book I, Ch. XLVIII (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 2, 68). Back to context...
Higden is in fact somewhat ambiguous on the foundation of Chester. Having stated that the founder of Chester is unknown, Higden remarks that the city would seem to the observer to be 'Romano seu giganteo labore, quam Britannico sudore fundata' ('founded on the work of giants or Romans, rather than the effort of Britons' (Book I, Ch. XLVIII. See Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 2, 78). Bradshaw (seemingly wilfully) mis-reads Higden at this point, in order to emphasise his own claims for the British origins of the city. Back to context...