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 57

393 Kyng Marius, a bryton, regnyng in prosperite 1 reigining / prosperity
In the West partie of this noble region,part
Ampliat and walled strongly Chestre cite Enlarged
And myghtyly fortified the sayd foundacion.mightily
Thus eche auctour holdeth a singular opinion. 2 each author, authority / distinct
This Marius slewe Reodric, kyng of pictis lande,
Callyng the place of his name Westmarilande. 3 through

stanza 58

400 This 'cite of legions', so called by the Romans, 4
Nowe is nominat in latine of his proprete called in Latin, because of its distinctive qualities,
Cestria quasi castria / of honour and pleasance: 5 Chester, as it were a castle (Latin)
Proued by the buyldynge of olde antiquite
In cellers and lowe voultes / and halles of realte vaults / royal halls
Lyke a comly castell / mighty, stronge and sure,beautiful castle
Eche house like a toure, somtyme of great pleasure. Each / tower / at one time

stanza 59

407Vnto the sayd Chestre all northwales subiect were was subject
For reformacion, Iustice and iugement;correction, punishment / judgement
Theyr bysshops see also it was many a yere see (regional seat) / for many years
Enduryng the gouernance of brutes auncient ;Continuing the [English] government of the ancient Britons
To saxons and britons a place indifferent;A place which was impartial towards Saxons and Britons
The inhabitauntes of it manfull and liberall,manly / noble, generous
Constant, sad and virtuous / and gentyll continuall.serious / always noble

stanza 60

414Of frutes and cornes there is great habundaunce,abundance
Woddes / parkes / forestes / and beestis of venare,Woods / animals for hunting
Pastures / feeldes / commons / the cite to auaunce,fields / common land / to enhance the city
Waters / pooles / pondes of fysshe great plente;fish
Most swete holsome ayre by the water of dee:sweet wholesome air
There is great marchaundise / shyps and wynes strang,merchandise, trade / ships / strong wines
With all thing of pleasure the citezens amonge.

stanza 61

421The yere of our lorde a hundred sixe and fyfty 156 C.E.
Reigned vpon this lande a briton kyng Lucius,
Whiche with great desire required instantly Who / urgently
His realme to be baptized of pope
Whose charitable mocion was harde full gratius:Whose devout proposal was heard very graciously
The pope enioyed / graunted his peticion made joyful / petition
And sende .ii. doctours to conuerte this region. 6 sent two teachers / convert

stanza 62

428The doctours by prechyng and singular gracepreaching / special
In short tyme conuerted the greatter Britayne; 7
The people confessed their synne and trespase,transgression
Batpized all were / forgyuenes dyd attayne;forgiveness / attain
Idolatrie cessed through-out this lande, certayne;Idolatry
With grace circumfulced and lyghtned was Englande,strengthened / illuminated
By faith to god professed was all Wales and scotlande.

stanza 63

435 Kynge Lucius ordeyned / by the doctours mocion arranged / at the teachers' suggestion
xxxviii. bisshops in this realme for to be,twenty-eight
And .iii. archebisshops, for gostly exhortacion,three / spiritual encouragement
To reduce the people to vertue and humilite.bring the people back
At London was set the chiefe archebisshops se,see, bishop's seat
The seconde in south-Wales at cite of legions, 8
The thyrde was at yorke, all subiect to the britons.

stanza 64

442Churches were edified in many a placebuilt
Here in the more Britayne with diligent labour,greater Britain
Christis faith encreased by speciall grace,Christ's
Faithfull religion delated euery hour;grew
Diuine seruice was songon & sayd with great honour,sung
True faith and deuocion wre dayly encreasynge,
Namely in Chestre by grace continuall abidynge.


See Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, Part IV (Thorpe, 1966, 123-4). Back to context...
Here Bradshaw notes the existence of different, competing foundation myths for Chester. Back to context...
'Reodric' corresponds with 'Sodric' in Geoffrey of Monmouth's account. See Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, Part IV (Thorpe, 1966, 123): 'A little later on in his reign a certain King of the Picts called Sodric came from Scythia with a large fleet and landed in the northern part of Britain which is called Albany. He began to ravage Marius' lands. Marius thereupon collected his men together and marched to meet Sodric. He fought a number of battles against him and finally killed him and won a great victory. In token of his triumph Marius set up a stone in the district, which was afterwards called Westmorland after him'. Higden gives the name as 'Rodricus'. See Higden, Polychronicon, Book IV, Ch. IX (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 4, 416-19) Back to context...
'City of legions' translates the Welsh Caerleon. Back to context...
The phrase 'Cestria quasi Castria' corresponds with the first line of Higden's poem in praise of Chester, 'Cestria de castro nomen quasi Castria sumpsit' ('Chester, like a fortress, assumes the name of a castle'). The subsequent references to the buildings of Chester in this stanza also derive from Hidgen's poem. See Higden Polychronicon, Book I, Ch. XLVIII (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 2, 80-2). Back to context...
See Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, Part IV (Thorpe, 1966, 124-6): '[Lucius's] great wish was that he should end in even greater esteem than he had begun, and he therefore sent a letter to Pope Eleutherius to ask that he might be received by him into the Christian faith... What he asked for in his pious petition was granted to him: for the Holy Father, when he heard of the devotion of Lucius, sent him two learned and religious men, Faganus and Duvianus, who preached the Incarnation of the Word of God and so converted Lucius to Christ and washed him clean in holy baptism'. See also Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Ch. 4 (Colgrave and Mynors, 1969, 24, 25). Back to context...
'Greater Britain' as opposed to Bretagne, the region in the north-west of present-day France. Back to context...
That is, Caerleon in south Wales. Back to context...