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"As long as a Welsh pedigree."]
Men (who are made heralds in other countries) are born heralds in Wales; so naturally are all there inclined to know and keep their descents, which they derive from great antiquity: so that any Welch gentleman (if this be not a tautology) can presently climb up, by the stairs of his pedigree, into princely extraction. I confess, some Englishmen make a mock of their long pedigree (whose own, perchance, are short enough if well examined.) I cannot but commend their care in preserving the memory of their ancestors, conformable herein to the custom of the Hebrews. The worst I wish their long pedigree, is broad possessions, that so there may be the better symmetry betwixt their extractions and estates.
"Give your horse a Welsh-bait."]
It seems it is the custom of the Welch travellers, when they have climbed up a hill (whereof plenty in these parts), to rein their horses backward, and stand still a while, taking a prospect (or respect rather) of the country they have passed. This they call a bait; and, though a peck of oats would do the palfrey more good, such a stop doth (though not feed) refresh. Others call this a Scottish bait; and I believe the horses of both mountainous countries eat the same provender, out of the same manger, on the same occasion.
Proceed we now to our DESCRIPTION, and must make use, in the first place, of a general catalogue; of such who were undoubtedly Welsh, yet we cannot with any certainty refer them to their respective counties; and no wonder: 1. Because they carry not in their surnames any directions to their nativities, as the ancient English generally (and especially the clergy) did, till lately, when, conquered by the English, some conformed themselves to the English custom: 2. Because Wales was anciently divided but into three great provinces, North-Wales, Powis, and South-Wales; and was not modelled into shires, according to the modern division, till the reign of king Henry the Eighth.
Of such, therefore, who succeed herein, though no county of Wales (perchance) can say "this man is mine," Wales may avouch" All these are ours." Yet I do not despair but that, in due time, this my common may (God willing) be inclosed (and fair inclosures, I assure you, is an enriching to a country); I mean, that, having gained better intelligence from some Welch antiquaries (whereof that Principality affordeth many) these persons may be un-generalled, and impaled in their par
I confess there were many in this Principality; but I crave
leave to be excused from giving a list of their nativities. They are so ancient I know not where to begin; and so many, I know not where to end. Besides, having in the fundamentals of this book confined princes to the children of sovereigns, it is safest for me, not to sally forth, but to entrench myself within the aforesaid restrictions.
Only I cannot but insert the following note, found in so authentic an author, for the rarity thereof in my apprehension:*
"As for the Britains, or Welch, whatsoever jura majestatis their princes had, I cannot understand that they ever had any coin of their own; for no learned of that nation have at any time seen any found in Wales or elsewhere."
Strange that, having so much silver digged out, they should have none coined in, their country; so that trading was driven on, either by the bartery or change of wares and commodities, or else by money imported out of England and other countries.
WALTER BRUTE was born in Wales; and if any doubt thereof, let them peruse the ensuing protestation, drawn up with his own hand:
"I Walter Brute, sinner, layman, husbandman, and a Christian (having mine offspring of the Britains both by father's and mother's side), have been accused to the bishop of Hereford, that I did err in many matters concerning the Catholic Christian Faith: by whom I am required, that I should write an answer in Latin to all those matters; whose desire I will satisfy to my power, &c."†
Observe herein a double instance of his humility; that, being a Welchman (with which Gentleman is reciprocal) and a scholar graduated in Oxford, contented himself with the plain addition of Husbandman.‡
He was often examined by the aforesaid bishop, by whom he was much molested and imprisoned, the particulars whereof are in master Fox most largely related. At last he escaped, not creeping out of the window by any cowardly compliance, but going forth at the door fairly set open for him by Divine Provi dence; for he only made such a general subscription, which no Christian man need to decline, in form following:
"I Walter Brute submit myself principally to the Evangely of Jesus Christ, and to the determination of Holy Kirk, and to the General Councils of Holy Kirk; and to the sentence and determination of the four doctors of Holy Writ, that is, Austin, Ambrose, Jerome, and Gregory. And I meekly submit me to your correction, as a subject ought to his bishop."§
* Camden's Remains, p. 181. Fox, ibidem, p. 475.
Fox, Acts and Monuments, p. 477.
It seems the popish prelates were not as yet perfect in their art of persecution (Brute being one of the first who was vexed for Wickliffism); so that as yet they were loose and favourable in their language of subscription. But soon after they grew so punctual in their expressions, and so particular in penning abjurations and recantations, that the persons to whom they were tendered must either strangle their consciences with acceptance, or lose their lives for refusal thereof.
[AMP.] NICHOLAS HEREFORD.--I have presumptions to persuade myself (though possibly not to prevail with the reader) to believe him of British extraction. He was bred doctor of divinity in Oxford, and a secular priest, betwixt whose profession and friary there was an ancient antipathy. But our Hereford went higher, to defy most popish principles, and maintain, 1. That in the Eucharist, after the consecration of the elements, bread and wine still remained; 2. That, bishops and all clergymen ought to be subject to their respective princes; 3. That monks and friars ought to maintain themselves by their own labour; 4. That all ought to regle their lives, not by the Pope's decrees, but Word of God.
From these his four cardinal positions many heretical opinions were by his adversaries deduced (or rather detracted); and no wonder they did rack his words, who did desire to torture his person.
From Oxford he was brought to London; and there, with Philip Repington, was made to recant his opinions publicly at Saint Paul's Cross, 1382.* See their several success:
REPINTON, like a violent renegado, proved a persecutor of his party; for which he was rewarded, first with the bishopric of Lincoln, then with a cardinal's cap.
HEREFORD did too much to displease his conscience, and yet not enough to please his enemies; for the jealousy of archbishop Arundel persecuted and continued him always a prisoner.
The same with the latter was the success of John Purvey, his partner in opinions, whom T. Walden termeth The Lollards' Library. But they locked up this library, that none might have access unto it, keeping him and Hereford in constant durance. I will say nothing in excuse of their recantation; nor will I revile them for the same: knowing there is more requisite to make one valiant under a temptation, than only to call him coward who is foiled therewith. Yet I must observe, that such as consult carnal councils to avoid afflictions (getting out by the window of their own plotting, not the door of Divine Providence) seldom enjoy their own deliverance. In such cases our Saviour's words are always (without the parties' repentance) spiritually and often literally true: "He that findeth his
• See the story at large in Mr. Fox's Acts and Monuments.
life shall lose it."* And although we read not that this Hereford was put to death, he lost the life of his life, his liberty and lustre, dwindling away in obscurity as to the time and place of his death.
REGINALD PEACOCK was born in Wales; bred in King's (commonly, saith Bale, called Oriel) College in Oxford,† where, for his learning and eloquence, he proceeded doctor in divinity; bishop first of Saint Asaph, then of Chichester. For twenty years together he favoured the opinions of Wickliffe, and wrote many books in defence thereof, until, in a synod held at Lambeth by Thomas Bourchier archbishop of Canterbury 1457, he was made to recant at Saint Paul's Cross (his books being burnt before his eyes), confuted with seven solid arguments, thus reckoned up, authoritate, vi, arte, fraude, metu, terrore, et tyrannide.
Charitable men behold this his recantation as his suffering, and the act of his enemies; some account it rather a slip than a fall; others a fall, whence afterwards he did arise. It seems his recanting was little satisfactory to his adversaries, being never restored to his bishopric, but confined to a poor pension in a mean monastery, where he died obscurely; though others say he was privily made away in prison.§ He is omitted by Pitseus in his catalogue of writers; a presumption that he apprehended him finally dissenting from the popish persuasion.
I find none bred in this Principality, and the wonder is not great: for, before the time of Austin the monk's coming over into England, Wales acknowedged no Pope, but depended merely on their own archbishop of Carlion. Yea, afterwards it was some hundreds of years before they yielded the pope free and full obedience; besides, the inabitants of Wales, being depressed in their condition, had small accommodations for their travels to Rome, and those at Rome had less list to choose persons of so great distance into the Papacy.
SERTOR of WALES was so called from his native country. By some he is named Fontanerius Valassus; but why? saith bishop Godwin, "rationem non capio:" and I will not hope to understand what he could not. He was bred a Franciscan, and was chosen (very young for that place) their general, the nineteenth in succession, anno Domini 1339. Afterwards he was made bishop of Massile, then archbishop of Ravenna; next patriarch of Grado, and by pope Innocent the Sixth was made
Matth. xvi. 25.
+ Relictâ Cambrià solo natali. Bale, Cent. viii. num. 19. § Fox, Acts and Monuments, p. 710.
cardinal, anno Domini 1361. But, being extremely aged, he was so unhappy, that, before the cardinal's cap could come to him, he was gone out of this world. Many books he wrote of his Lectures, Quodlibets; but chiefly he is eminent for his Comment on St. Austin "De Civitate Dei." He died at Padua in Italy, and was therein buried in the church of St. Anthony.*
MARBOD EVANX (I had almost read him Evans, a noted. name in Wales,) was born in this country, and bred in the study of all liberal sciences. In his time the Danes woefully harassed the land, which caused him to ship himself over into Little Britain in France; the inhabitants whereof may be termed cousin-Germans to the Welch, as sons to their younger brethren, much symbolizing with them in manners and language. Here Marbod, though abroad, was at home (worth is the world's countryman); and his deserts preferred him to be Episcopus Redonensis, bishop of Renes, "Prælatus non elatus," such his humility in his advancement.
We may conclude him a general scholar by the variety of his works, writing of gems and precious stones, and compounding profit and pleasure together in his book called "Carmina Sententiosa," much commended (Italian praise of British poetry is a black swan) by Lilius Giraldus, an Italian, in his Lives of Poets. We will conclude all with the character given unto him by Giraldus Cambrensis, "Marbodus bonarum literarum magister eruditus colores rhetoricos, et tam verborum quàm sententiarum exornationes, versibus egregiis declaravit." He flourished 1050.
WALTER de CONSTANTIIS.-Who would not conclude him, from his surname, born at Constance on the Boden Zee in Switzerland? But we have a constat for his British nativity.§ He was preferred first archdeacon of Oxford, then bishop of Lincoln, then archbishop of Rohan, by king Richard the First. A man of much merit, besides his fidelity to his sovereign, whom he attended to Palestine, through many perils by sea and by land; insomuch that there want not those who will have him named De Constantiis, from the expressive plural relating to his constancy to his master in all conditions.
No doubt he had waited on him in his return through Austria, and shared with him the miseries of his captivity, if not formally remanded into England, to retrench the tyranny of William Longchamp bishop of Ely, which he effectually performed. He had afterwards a double honour, first to inter king
Pits, de Angliæ Scriptoribus, p. 437.
Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. ii. num. 50.
Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. iii. num. 41.