Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden maonachi Cestrensis; together with the English translations of John Trevisa and of an unknown writer of the fifteenth century.
Higden, Ranulf, d. 1364., Trevisa, John, tr. d. 1402., Caxton, William, ca. 1422-1491., Malverne, John, d 1415?, Babington, Churchill, ed. 1821-1889,, Lumby, J. Rawson ed. (Joseph Rawson), 1831-1895.

Of Wales, and of the Maneres and Consuetudes of hit. Capitulum tricesimum octavum.

THE auctor of this presente Cronicle towchethe in his progresse other processe rather Wales then Englonde, makenge haste to Wales to the kynrede of Priamus, to the bloode of grete Iupiter, and to the kynrede of Dar|danus. Begynne the state of that londe vnder these iiij. titles. Fyrste of the cause of the name; in the seconde of the preconyes; in the thridde of the rites of the peple in hit; and in the iiijthe of the mervayles of hit. Of the reason of the name of hit. That londe whiche is callede Page  397, vol.1 now Wallia, other Wales in Englische, was callede somme tyme Cambria, of Camber the son of Brute, whiche was lorde of hyt. Afterwarde hit was callede Wales, other wise Wallia, of Gwaleas the qwene, the doȝhter of Kynge Ebrancus wedede vn to those costes. Other elles hit was callede Wallia of Gualo a gentilman. Thauȝhe the cir|cumference of hit be lesse then the grownde of Englonde, neuerthelesse hit is egalle to hit in fertilite what in the moder and in the doȝhter. Of the preconyes of that cuntre. That londe is plentuous in frutes, flesche, fische, horses, oxen, and schepe bothe wylde and tame. That londe is apte also to alle seedes, gresse, cornes, medoes, feldes, and Page  399, vol.1 woodes, with herbes and floures, floodes and welles, vales and hilles. The vales in hit brynge furthe foode, and the hilles metalles. And the matere and substaunce amonge theyme is hony, mylke, and whitemeite. Methe and bragotte be there, as ale habundantely in that cuntre; whiche londe bryngethe furthe plentuousely what so euer thynge that is necessary to the lyfe. Entendenge to conclude mony thynges of those dowerys in fewe wordes, that yle stondethe in an angle of the worlde as God dothe from hit, ȝiffenge that londe as a promptuary of alle hollesomme thynges. That londe is diuidede by a water whiche is callede Tywy, whiche Page  401, vol.1 diuidethe northe Wales from the southe parte of hit by certeyne merkes. The sowthe parte of Wales is callede Demecia. That other parte is callede Venedocia. Men of Demecia use bawes to schote, and men of Venedocia use speres. In whiche procincte were wonte to be thre courtes. The firste was at Caermerthyn, the secunde was in Anglesey, the thrydde was in Powiselonde at Pengwerne, whiche is now callede Schrewisbery. Somme tyme þer were vij. bischopes in hit, and now þer be iiij., whiche were obediente somme tyme to the princes of that cuntre, but now thei be obediente to the Saxones. Of the rytes of the inhabitatores of hit. The vse of that cuntre differrethe from the rite of Englonde in clothenge, in fyndenge, and in mony other thynges. A mantelle and a schurte be the nowble thynges of vesture amonge theyme, whiche vse to bere fewe clothes in wynter, Page  403, vol.1 thauȝhe wynde blawe ryȝhte coldely; whiche sytte, stonde, and slepe despisenge schetes; with owte huddes, cootes, or tabardes, bare on the legges; whiche vse vnnethe to go eny other way, thauȝhe thei scholde mete a kynge; fiȝhtenge with shorte speres in conflictes, amonge whom the men in foote be more stronge then the horse men. Woodes be to theym as for towres, and marras for places of defence; whiche take fleenge as fiȝhte, when they thenke tyme and opor|tunite. Gildas rehersethe Wallche men to be frayle, not stable in pease. And if the cause be inquirede, hit is not Page  405, vol.1 to be hade in meruayle if a peple expulsede be abowte to expelle the expulsores of hit. But now in this tyme, the woodes kytte, mony castelles be made after the costes in the see. The peple of that cuntre wille suffre hungre longe, luffenge the commune foode, inquirenge not the artificialle operacion of cookes at the dyners of theyme, eitenge brede made of otes and of barly, brode, rownde, and thynne, as hit besemethe suche bloode. That peple dothe eite selde whete that is baken in an oue; the meites of whom be buttyr, mylke, and chese; which prouoke a man to drynke methe and ale, whiche thei do vse daily. Thei accompte that wyne moste principalle whiche is moste redde, whiche peple vsenge to drynke seasethe not from Page  407, vol.1 communicacion and talkenge of ydelele thynges. Salt and lekes be to theyme solace at meyte, and after; acomptenge that a grete solace to ȝiffe a caldron with potages to men syttenge abowte and to diuide to euery man his porcion, kepenge to hym the remanente. But the infortuny of flesche nyouthe theim moche eitenge salmon hoote ageyne the precepte of phisike. Whiche inhabite howses, whom thei make of litelle roddes; not nye to gedre, as thei vse to make edificacions in cites. This peple vsethe to deuoure the goodes of other men after that thei haue de|uourede theire awne goodes, eitenge that thei fynde, re|turnenge after that to theire awne places, spendenge theire Page  409, vol.1 life in ydelnesse and in slawthe. The consuetude is of Walche men to ȝiffe water to theire gestes to drynke. And if thei wasche theire feete, thei thenke that thei be welle commen. That peple lyvethe in suche ease that vnnethe thei bere a purse, for thei vse to honge theire moneye at the hippes of theyme, mervaylenge moche, sythe that thei abhorre moche the sownde of the partes posterialle, that thei make seges of filthe afore the durres of theym. Men of that cuntre vse in theire festes a crowde, an harpe, and trumpes. But at the dethe of a man thei crye lyke to wylde bestes in exaltenge the bloode of Troy, of whom thei toke begynnenge. That peple thenkethe men nye to theyme by bloode whom a c. degrees do separate. Neuer|thelesse [folio 57b] thei be obediente to pristes, worschippenge theyme Page  411, vol.1 as the angelles of God. The prophecy of Merlyne and wycche crafte was wonte to begile theyme and to move theim to batelles. But nowe thei chaunge theire maneres gretely in to better exercise thro the communicacion of Saxones. Thei tylle feldes and gardynes, and applye theim to inhabite townes, usenge haburiones, and goenge with schoes, refreschenge theim in meites after curtesy, slepenge in beddes after the consuetude of Englische rather then after the maner of theim vsede afore tyme. And if the cause be inquirede why thei lyve so now rather then in tymes afore, hyt may be ansuerede and seide that rychesse be the cause þer of, but now the drede of theire goode with|drawethe theim from the exercise of conflictes. For a man Page  413, vol.1 that hathe noȝhte to loose dredethe but lytelle; þerfore Satiricus seithe that a man hauenge but lytelle goode syngethe, and goethe in more suerte afore a thefe then a ryche man. Of the meruayles of Wales. At Brehenoc is a water habundante in fisches of diuerse coloures, where a man may see in clere tymes meruellous edifienges, where a meruellous noyce and sownde be herde. And if the prince of that londe come, the bryddes synge and make grete melody to him, schewenge not pleasure and comforte to eny other man. Also there is a grete broken hille nye to the walles of Kaerlyon, schynenge moche ageyne the beames of the sonne, whom peple calle Goldecliffe, in that hit schynethe like to golde. Whiche floure apperethe not there with owte frute, if the interialle partes of that hille Page  415, vol.1 were souȝhte; for mony benefites of nature be priveye in hit, whiche be vnknowen yitte for the ignoraunce of men, but thei schalle be knowen by the study and labores of men to comme afterwarde. Also in Sowthe Wales is an yle at Kaerdif, nye to the water of Seuerne, callede in olde tyme Barri, in a nye parte to whom is a place, and if thou putte thyne eiere to hit thou schalle here a mar|uellous sownde and noyce, otherwhile like to the blawenge Page  417, vol.1 of belose, and in an other season lyke to þe sownde of metalles, and otherwhile like the rubbenge of a qwettenge|ston, and otherwhile lyke to the noyce of a flame of [folio 58a] fire. But hit is noo meruayle these thynges to happe of the floenges off water causenge that sownde vnder the erthe. Also there is a region at Penbroke*. [So the MS., in extenso.] whiche is vexede moche by the illusion of deuelles, whiche can not be made clene thro eny crafte other preiers, whiche, movenge that londe, dothe prenosticate a grete falle of the peple of that cuntre. Also there is a maruellous berielle at Curcinaur in Weste Wales, whiche is conformede to euery man com|menge to hit; if holle armor be lafte þer at nyȝhte, þou schalle fynde theim broken in the mornenge. Also in a place in Northe Wales callede Neuyn is an yle whiche is callede Pardesey, inhabite of monkes, where thei lyve soe Page  419, vol.1 that the elder man diethe euer a fore the yonger man. Where Merlyn callede Silvestris is beryede, as hit is seide. Therefore there were ij. Merlynes; oon of them callede Ambrosius, geten of a spratte at Kaermerthyn in Sowthe Wales, whiche*. [in the whiche, MS., originally.] profeciede in Snawdonia in the tyme of Vortigernus. Also there was an other Merlyn in Albania, Page  421, vol.1 callede now Scottelande, whiche hade ij. names; oon name was Siluestris, that other was Calidonius, of a woode callede Calidonia, where he propheciede; callede Silvestris in that he beenge in batelle see in the aiere a meruellous thynge thro the whiche siȝhte he began to be distracte. Whiche goenge to a woode began to prophecy in the tyme of Page  423, vol.1 Kynge Arthure. There be hilles in Snawdonia of a grete altitude, in so moche that a man may vnnethe goe from the foote of hit to the hiȝhte of hit in a day. Whiche hilles men of that cuntre calle Eriri, that sowndethe in Englishe the hilles of snawe, whiche be sufficiaunte in pastures to alle the bestes in Wales; in the altitude of whom be ij. waters, oon of whom concludethe an yle movede to and fro with the wynde, in so moche that drovers of bestes meruaile theyme to be caryede from oon place to an other sodenly. That other water ȝiffethe fisches of di|uerse kyndes hauenge but oon eie, whiche thynge is founde also in the Mulwelle of Albania. Also there is a lytelle welle in the costes of Ruthlande, Tetengil by name, whiche Page  425, vol.1 dothe not floo and refloo in the maner of a see, but other|while water habundethe there, and otherwhile hit wontethe water. Also there is a ston in Mononia in Northe Wales, [folio 58b] whiche is callede Angleseye, as y haue lernede, accordenge to the hippe of man; whiche ston brouȝhte from that place by a certeyne space of eny man is returnede to his propre place ageyne in the nyȝhte, as hit hathe bene provede mony tymes. Hugo, therle of Schrewesbury, provenge the seide thynge in the tyme of kynge Henry the firste, bonde that ston to an other with grete cheynes of yrne, and caste hit in to the water, whiche ston was founde in the mornynge in his olde place. Whiche ston a churle bonde in a tyme to his theȝhe, and hit rotede anoon, and the ston wente to Page  427, vol.1 his propre place. And if the synne of lechery be fulle|fillede with in the caste of ston to hit, that ston wille sende from hit as sweetenge, and also thei schalle not gette a childe. Also there is an hille of men herenge, callede so by name contrarious, that and if thou make a sownde, other elles blawe with an horne, the sownde is not perceyvede in that parte. Also there is an other yle contiguate to that place, conteynenge heremites; and if there be discorde amonge theyme, myce gedre anoon and devoure the meites of theyme, whiche greuaunce dothe not cease tille that peace be reconsilede amonge theim. Also that peple of that cuntre be replete with the melancholy lyke to the peple of Yrlonde, so seyntes of that cuntre be prompte vn to vengeaunce; where belles and crokede staves be hade in grete veneration, as men vse in Yrlonde and in Scotte|lande, Page  429, vol.1 whiche peple drede more to swere by theym then on a masse booke. Also at Basyngwere spryngethe an holy welle, whiche is of so grete feruence that hit castethe owte thynges caste in to hit, whiche bredethe so grete a water that myȝhte suffice to alle Wales; whiche water ȝiffethe grete helpe to seke peple; where thou schalle fynde stones hauenge in theym as dropes of blood, in the signe of the holy bloode whiche floede owte from the throte of Seynte Wenefride. For whiche offence the doers of hit and alle theire childer and successores berke in the maner of dogges, Page  431, vol.1 vn til thei aske the suffrage and helpe of Seynte Wene|fride at that welle, other elles at the cite of Schrewisbury, where sche restethe now, hade there in grete veneracion.