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 65

449Certaynly, sith baptym came to Chestre cite,since baptism
Soone after Lucius / and afore kynge Arthure,before
By the grace of god and their humilite,humility
The faith of holy churche dyd euer there endure
Without rediciuacion and infection / sure;relapse (into error, sin) / secure
Wherefore it is worthy a singular commendacion,worthy of a special commendation
Aboue all the citees and townes of this region.

stanza 66

456The perfect begynnyng and fyrst foundacion
Of the monasterie within the sayd cite
Was at the same tyme by famus opinionwell-known
That baptym began within this countre;baptism / country
The great lordes of Chestre of landes and auncetre lineage
First edified the churche for comfort spirituallencouragement
In honour of the apostels Peter and Paule.apostles

stanza 67

463 Whiche churche was principall to all the citie,chief
And the mouther-churche called withouten doubt;
It was their buriall by great auctorite,burial-place / by great authority, official sanction
To all this sayd cite / and .vii. myle without;seven
The cemiterie was large to compase it about.enclose it all around
But what by sufferaunce and processe of tymeExcept that / hardship / passing
Many olde customes ben brought now to ruyne.have now been brought to ruin

stanza 68

470In whiche mother-churche of Peter and Paule
All holy sacramentes ministred dayly were,were administered daily
With great encreasement of vertues all,increase / virtues
Continuall endurynge more than .CCC. yere,Lasting without interruption / 300
In the britons tyme / of blodde noble and clere,In the time of the Britons, of noble and pure blood
Afore the comyng of saxons to this lande,Before
Which with apostasie enfected all Englande.apostasy, lapse in faith / infected

stanza 69

477So after that the Angles / Iutes / and saxons 1 Jutes
By fortune of batell / power and policie battle, war / design
Had clerely subdued all the olde britons completely
And them expulsed to wales and wylde countre,expelled, exiled / wild country
The faith of holy churche remayned at chestre cite
In the sayd churche, truely, by singular grace alone,special
Like as the faith of Peter neuer fayled at Rome .Just as the faith of Peter never failed at Rome

stanza 70

484 What tyme saint Austin, the doctour of Englande, 2 At the time that / teacher
Had baptized Ethelbrut, kynge of Kent, 3
And by relacion dyd fully vnderstandereport
That the faith of Christ most digne and excellentnoble
In the cite of legions was truely remanent,continuing
In the churche of the apostoles Peter and Paul,
He magnified our lorde with thanke speciall.praised / special gratitude

stanza 71

491 That season there was a noble monasterieAt that time
xii. myles from Chestre, nominate Bangour,12 / called
Where religious monkes lyued vertuouslye,lived virtuously
Almost .iii. thousande / obedient euery houre,three thousand
Without possessions / lyuyng by theyr labour:living
Vnto whiche place he sende for helpe at nede,
To conuert the saxons (sayth venerable Bede). 4

stanza 72

498 Saynt Austin approched the cite of legions,
Where the sayd couent afore hym were present: 5
Whom he required to preche to the saxons preach
The faith of holy churche and baptym diligent.baptism
To whose humble prayer / they were disobedient,
Obseruyng no charite / yet for theyr great pridePractising / devotion
Many of them were slayne by kyng Ethelfride. 6


Bradshaw's reference to the three Germanic tribes of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes is a commonplace of medieval English historiography, following Bede's narrative in the Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Ch. 15. See Colgrave and Mynors, 1969, 48-53. Back to context...
Saint Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory to convert the Germanic tribes living within Britain. See Bede Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Ch. 23 (Colgrave and Mynors, 1969, 68-71) and PASE. Back to context...
King Æthelberht of Kent (ruled c.580-616). See Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Ch. 25-6 (Colgrave and Mynors, 1969, 72-79) and PASE. Back to context...
See Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book II, Ch. 2 (Colgrave and Mynors, 1969, 136-143). Back to context...
That is, Augustine approaches Chester where the monks of Bangor await him. Back to context...
Æthelfrith of Northumbria (died 616). Ruled the kingdom of Bernicia from c.593 and the kingdom of Deira from c.604, making him the first king of the area later known as Northumbria. See Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Ch. 34 (Colgrave and Mynors, 1969, 116-7) and Book II, Ch. 2 (Colgrave and Mynors, 1969, 134-143). Higden also refers to the massacre of the Bangor monks at Chester, giving the number of those killed as 2,200. See Higden, Polychronicon,Book V, Ch. X (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 5, 420). Back to context...