A chronicle of the Kings of England, from the time of the Romans goverment [sic] unto the raigne of our soveraigne lord, King Charles containing all passages of state or church, with all other observations proper for a chronicle
Baker, Richard, Sir, 1568-1645.

Of the first knowne times of this Island.

ALthough we begin the Aera of our Computation from William called the Conquerour, as though he were the first King of our English Nation: Yet before him; were many other excellent Kings; and their Acts perhaps as worthy to bee knowne, if they could be knowne. But seeing after ages can know nothing of former times but what is Recorded by writing: It hath followed that as the first Writers were Poets: So the first writings have been Fictions; and nothing is delivered to Posterity of the most ancient times, but very Fables: Such as is the story of Albina (of whom they say, this Island was called Al∣bion: though others say, ab albis rupibus, of the white cliffes) that shee should be the eldest of the two and thirty daughters of Dioclesian King of Syria, (such as ne∣ver was) who being marryed to two and thirty Kings, in one night killed all their husbands: for which fact, they were put in a shippe, themselves alone without any Pylo, so to try their adventure, and by chance arrived in this Island, of whom Gy∣ants were begotten. And if you like not of this; then have you the story of Albion the sonne of Neptune, of whom the Island tooke its name. But when these are ex∣ploded; there followes another with great Attestation, and yet as very a Fable as these; namely the story of the Trojan Brute, (of whom the Island they say, was called Britaine: though many other causes are given of the name:) as likewise the story of Brutes cosin Corinaeus, (of whom they say, the Country of Cornwall had its name, to whom it was given, for overcomming the Giant Gogmagog:) and that Brute having three sonnes, Lectrine, Albanact, and Camber; he gave at his death to his eldest sonne Locrine, all the land on this side Humber, and called it Logria; to his second sonne Albanact, all the land beyond Humber, of whom it was called Albania, (now Scotland:) and to his youngest sonne Camber, all the land beyond the river of Severne, of whom it was called Cambria, (now Wales:) with other such stuffe, which may please children, but not riper Judgements; and were first broached by Geoffry Arch∣deacon Page  2 of Monmouth: for which all the Writers of his time cryed shame upon him; and yet can scarce keepe many at this day, from giving credit to his Fictions.

And when we are once gotten out of Fables, and come to some truth; yet that truth is delivered in such slender draughts, and such broken pieces, that very small benefit can be gotten by the knowing it, and was not till the time of Iulius Caesar, a thousand yeares after the Fable of Brute: at which time, the Island was yet but in manner of a Village, being without Walls, as having no shipping, (which are in∣deed the true Wals of an Island) but onely certaine small vessels, made of boards and wicker. And as they had no ships, for defence without: So neither had they any Forts, for defence within: scarce any houses but such as were made of stakes and boughes of trees fastned together; Neither was it yet come to be a Kingdome, but was Governed by a number of petty Rulers: So as Kent onely had in it (as Caesar calleth them) foure Kings; Cingetorix, Carvilius, Taximagulus, and Segonax: which division, as it made the Britaines the more easie to be conquered, so it made the Romans the longer in conquering. For if they had beene one united body, one or two battailes might have made a conquest of the whole, where being thus divi∣ded, there was need to be as many battailes as there were divisions; So as it was ma∣ny yeares, before the Romanes could conquer the whole Island; even from the time of Iulius Caesar, to the time of the Emperour Domitian; not much lesse then two hundred yeares. It is true, after Caesars first comming, the Island grew sensible of this defect of their division, and thereupon by consent of a great part, made choyce of Cassibelan, King of the Trinovants, who had his seate at Verulam, to be Generall of their warres; which made indeed some little stoppe to the Romanes proceedings, but after the losse of a battaile or two, they fell againe into a relapse of their former defect, and thought it better to secure every one his owne, by his owne meanes, then by a generall power, to hazard all at once; whereby it came afterward to be true: Dum singuli pugnant, universi vincuntur. Yet before the Coutry could bee wholly Conquered; at first by reason of the Nations valour, seeking to keepe themselves free, and afterward by reason of the insolency of the garrison souldiers, that sought to make them slaves, many great oppositions were made, amongst which the most memorable was that of Voadicia, a certaine Queene of the Country, who having beene by the Romane souldiers herselfe abused, and her daughters ravished, used meanes to levy an Army of six score thousand men, whom she led herselfe into the field, and set upon the Romanes in their chiefe townes, which were London, Verulam, and Camalodunum (now Malden in Essex;) of whom she flew above seventy thousand: but then in a second battaile, had fourescore thousand of her owne Army slaine, after which defeate, for avoyding of slavery, she poysoned herselfe.

This Island for a long time, was so much esteemed of the Romanes, that their Emperors sometimes came hither in person; as first the Emperor Adrian, in the yeare 124. who made a great wall of earth betweene England and Scotland, and ha∣ving set the Country in order, returned. After him sometime, Severus the Empe∣ror in the yeare 212. came over into Britine to represse the Incurions of the Picts and Scots, by whom in a battaile neere Yorke, he was wounded and thereof dyed, or as others say, he dyed of age and sicknesse. Afterward in the yeare 305. Constanti∣us the Emperor came into Britaine, and ended his life at Yorke, making that City fa∣mous for the death and buriall of two great Emperors; and yet more famous for the honor done to Constantine the Great, sonne of Constantius, who in that City was first saluted Emperor. But notwithstanding the great estimation the Romanes a long time made of this Island, yet at last, after five hundred yeares they had kept it in subjection, they voluntarily left it: the charge of keeping it, being greater, then the benefit; for to keepe it in subjection, they maintained no fewer than fourescore thousand souldiers in pay, and when warres grew amongst themselves at home, they could no longer spare so many abroad, but recalled them home: but then, though they left Britaine, yet they left not the Britaines, but carried them, at least, a great part of them away with them; of whom the most were slaine in their service, and the rest planted in that part of France, which of them was afterward, and is to this Page  3 day called Britaine. And now one would thinke, the Island should be in good case, being freed from them that kept them in subjection, but it proved to bee in worse case being at liberty, then it was before in servitude, for being deprived of their ablest men, and at the same time, their King Lucius happening to dye without issue, they were left as a few loose sticks without the bond of a Governour: which the Picts and Scots observing, thought now was the time to make the Country their owne, and thereupon made invasions upon it with all their Forces. Whereupon the Britaines having none left of their Native Kings to succeed; and knowing they could ill manage the Body of an Army without a Head: they make choyce of Vor∣tigerne Earle of Cornwall, one extracted from the British Line; and he, whether so advised by his Cabinet Counsellor, the Propheticall Merlin, or as finding his owne strength too weake to make resistance; implores first ayde of the Romanes, and they making answer, they had businesse enough to do of their owne, and lea∣ving them to themselves, he then fled to the Saxons for ayde; a warlike people of Germany, and who had greater swarmes then their hives would well hold.

And here we may plainly see how dangerous a thing it is for a Nation, to call in strangers to their ayd, and especially in any great number; for though they come at first but mercenaries, yet once admitted, and finding their owne strength, they soone grow Masters, as here it proved with the Saxons.

But before we speake further of the comming in of the Saxons, who were at that time Infidels, and brought with them their two Idols, Woden and Frya, (whereof two of our weeke dayes, Wednesday and Friday, take their names; it will be fit to say something of the state of the Christian Church in this Island. First then, it is recorded, that in the yeare 63. what time Arviragus raigned here, Ioseph of Arim∣thea (who buried the body of Christ) came into this Island, and laid the foundation of the Christian Faith in the Westerne parts, at a place called then Hvalon; now Glastenbury; and that there came with him, Mary Magdalen, Lazarus, and Martha: and more then this, that Simon Zelotes one of the Apostles suffered martyrdome here in Britaine: and more then this, that both St. Peter and St. Paul came into this Island and Preached the Gospell; all which and more to this purpose, is Recorded by Authors of good Account: though it be hard believing, That persons, and specially women of so great age, as these must needes be at this time, should take so long a journey. But howsoever it was, certaine it is, that the doctrine of Christianity was about this time planted in this Island, though it made afterwards but small progresse, and that with some persecution; as in which time, St. Alban suffered martyrdome at Verulam, and at Liechfield shortly after, no fewer then a thousand. After this, in the yeare 180 what time Lucius was King of this Island, Eleutherius then Bishop of Rome, sent Fa∣ganus and Damianus to him: upon whose preaching, the Temples of the Heathenish Flamins and Arch-flamins (one and thirty in number) were converted to so many Bi∣shops Sees; whereof London, Yorke, and Caerleyn (now St. Davids) were made the Metropolitans of the Province. And there is a Table remaining at this day, in the Parish Church of St. Peter on Cornhill London, which recordeth; that the Founda∣tion thereof was laid by this King Lucius, and that this Church was the Cathe∣dral to that Archbishops See. In the yeare 359. a Councel was holden at Ariminum in Italie; where foure hundred Westerne Bishops were Assembled, whereof three went out of Britaine, and gave their voyces against the Arian Heresie. After this, about the yeare 420. rose up in this Island, one Pelagius a Monke, brought up in the Monastery of Bangor in Wales, who spread the poyson of his Heresie, first in this his Native Countrey, and afterward all the world over. And these had beene the chiefe passages in matters Ecclesiasticall within this Island, when the Saxons were called in, about the yeare 450.

And now under the Conduct of two brothers, Hengist and Horsa, came over nine thousand Saxons with their wives and children, to a••ist the Britaines aginst the Scots, and were appointed the Isle of Thanet to Inhabit. With which assistance the Britaines give their enemies battaile, and overcome them: So as they accounted the Saxons as Angels sent from heaven, and then allowed them Kent also fo their Page  4 Inhabiting. Not long after Hengist obtained of King Vortigern the property of so much ground, as he could enclose with a Buls Hide: which cutting into thongs, hee there built the Castle, Facti de nomine, called Thong Castle. And now having built it he invites Vrtigern to a Feast, where falling in love with Rowena, the beauti∣full daughter of Hengist, and marrying her, it put Hengist into such a height of bold∣nesse, that he began to aspire, sending for greater Forces to come over to him; as meaning to transplant himselfe hither, and to make this Island his Inheritance: which the British Lords perceiving, and not able to weane their King from his new wife, and her father Hengist, they Depose him; and in his place set up his sonne Vortimer, a true lover of his Country: who presently in a pitcht battaile neere unto Aylesford in Kent, set upon the Saxons; where Catigern the brother of Vorimer, and Hrs, of Hengist, in single ight hand to hand slew each other. In which place Catigern was buried, and a Monument in memory of him Erected, the stones whereof at this day are standing in a great Plaine in the Parish of Aylesford; which instead of Catigern, is corruptly called Kits-Cotyhouse. Another the like Monument was erected for Hors, though now defaced; remembred onely by the Towne where it stood, called Horstead. Three other battailes after this were fought betweene the Britaines and the Saxons: one at Craford; another at Weppeds-fleete; the third upon Colmore: in which last, the Britaines got so great a victory, that the Saxons were cleane driven out of Kent, and in Thanet also not suffered also to rest; so as shortly after, Hengist with his Saxons departed the Kingdome, as being now out of hope to make his Fortune in this Island. But while Vortimer was ths intentive for his Countries li∣berty; Rowena the former Kings wife, being daughter to Hengist, was as intentive to bring it into servitude; which knowing she could not do as long as Vortimer lived, she used meanes by poyson, to take away his life, after he had beene King the space of foure yeeres, and then by the witchcraft of faire words, so enchanted the Bri∣tish Nobility, that her husband Vortigern was againe established in the Kingdome; which was no sooner don, but Hengist, (relying upon his sonne Vortigerns love) with a mighty Army attempts to returne againe into the Island; when being re∣sisted, he makes a shew, as if hee desired nothing but to fetch away his daughter Rowena, and to have a friendly conference for continuance of amity: which moti∣on seeming reasonable, a place and time of conference was appointed: the time upon the first of May; the place upon the Plaine of Ambrii, now called Salisbury; whither the plaine meaning Britaines came unarmed, according to agreement; but the fraudulent Saxons under their long Cassocks had short skeynes hidden, with which, upon a watch-word given, they set upon the Britaines, and of their unar∣med Nobility slew three, some say five hundred, & took the King himselfe prisoner, whom they would not release, till they were put in possession of these foure Counties, Kent, Sussex, Suffolke, and Norfolke. Whereupon Vortigern, whether fearing a second Deposing, or whether so advised by his Cabinet Counsailour the Prophe∣ticall Merlin, betooke him into Wales, and there built him a strong Castle for his safeguard; while the Saxons comming daily in great swarmes into the Land, had at this time overrunne all; if Aurelius Ambrosius a Romane borne, but affected to the British Nation, had not landed at Tones in Devonshire, to whom resorted great troopes of Britaines. His first expedition was against Vortigern, (as the first cause of the Britaines misery) whose Castle he besieged; and whether by wilde fire, or by fire from Heaven, both he and his Castle, and all that were in it were burnt to ashes. To this Ambrosius is ascribed the admirable Monument in Wiltshire, now called Stoneh••ge, in the place where the Briaines had beene treacherously laugh∣tered and interred; and of whom the Towne of Ambersbury beares its name. After this he set upon the Saxons, and in many batrailes discomited them; till at last fal∣ling sicke in the City of Winchester, a Saxon, in shew a Britain, and in habit a Physi∣tian, was sent unto him, who instead of Physick, ministred poyson, whereof he died, in the yeare 497. after he had raigned two and thirty yeares.

After Ambrosius, succeeded Uter, (some say his brother, others, a Britaine) called Pendragon, of his Royall Banner borne ever before him; wherein was portrayed a Page  5 Dragon with a golden Head, as in our English Camps, it is at this day borne for the Imperiall standard. And he also in many battailes discomfited the Saxons, till after eighteene yeares Raigne he came to his end by treachery; dying by poyson put into a Well, whereof he usually dranke; in the yeare 515.

After him succeeded his sonne Arthur, begotten of the faire Lady Igren, wife of the Duke of Cornwall, to whose bed the Art of Merlin brought him in the likenesse of her husband; and hee in telve set battailes discomfited the Saxons; but in one most memorable in which giding himselfe with his sword called Callibourne, he flew upon his Enemies, and with his owne hand slew eight hundred of them; which is but one of his wonderfull deedes, whereof there are so many reported, that hee might well be reckoned amongst the Fabulous, if there were not now true to give them credit. Amongst other his Acts, he Insti∣tuted the Order of Knights of the Round Table, to the end there might be no que∣stion about Precedence, and to teach Heroicall minds, nor to stand upon place, but Merit. But this great Prince, for all his great valour, was at last in a battaile woun∣ded, whereof he died, in the yeare 542. after he had raigned six and twenty yeares.

After King Arthur succeeded his cosin Constantine; & after his three yeares raigne, Aurelius Conanus the Nephew of King Arthur; whose Raigne is so uncertaine, that some say, he raigned onely two, some, three yeares, some againe thirty, and some three and thirty. After Conanus succeeded Vortiporus, who after many victories a∣gainst the Saxons, and foure yeares Raigne, died. After whom succeeded Malgo Co∣nanus, and Raigned six yeares. After him Careticus, who setting upon the Saxons and beaten, led into the Towne of Chichester, whereupon the Saxons catching certaine Sparrowes and fastning fire to their feete, let them fly into the Towne, where light∣ing upon traw, and other matter apt to take fire, the whole City in short space was burnt; and thereupon Careticus flying, secured himselfe amongst the Mountaines of Wales, where he dyed, after he had unprosperously Raigned three yeares: and from that time forth, the Britaines lost their whole Kingdome in the East part of the Island, and were confined in the West by the rivers Severne and Dee. After Careti∣cus succeeded Cadwan, who Raigned two and twenty yeares. After him his sonne Cadwallo, who Raigned eight and forty yeares, and then died; whose body was bu∣ried in St. Martins Church neere Ludgate, and his Image of brasse placed upon the same gate, for a terrour to the Saxons. In his time, the doctrine of Mahomet began to spread it selfe all the Easterne world over. After Cadwallo succeeded his sonne Cadwalladar; in whose time so great a Famine, and afterward Mortality hapned, continuing eleven yeares, that the Land became in a manner desolate: in so much, that the King and many of his Lords were driven to forsake their native Coun∣try, and Cadwalladar himselfe went to his cousin Alan King of little Britaine in France. At which time the Saxons taking advantage of his absence, came over in swarmes, and dispossessed the forlorne Britaines of all they had, and divided the Land amongst themselves. Whereupon Cadwalladar, obtaining assistance of his cou∣sin Alan, was comming over to restraine their insolencies; when making prayers to God for good successe, an Angell appeared to him, or at least to his seeming hee heard a voyce, that forbad him the enterprise, declaring that it was not Gods will, the Britaines should rule this Land any longer, and therefore bade him hie him to Rome, and receive of Pope Sergius the habit of Religion, wherein he should die and rest in peace. Which accordingly he did: and in him ended the blood of the British Kings; in the yeare 689. So as Britaine now, was no longer Britine; but a Colony of the Saxons.

And now is time to speake of the Heptarchy of the Saxons; so much spoken of, by all Writers and to shew by what degrees the Britaies lost, and the Saxons got the whole possession of this Island: for this Heptarchie or division of this Island into seven Kingdomes, came not in all at once, nor yet in an equall partition, but some good distance of time, one after another, and as the Invadour had strength to expell the Natives.