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Title: The Christian Church in These Islands before the Coming of Augustine - Three Lectures Delivered at St. Paul's in January 1894
Author: Browne, G. F. (George Forrest), 1833-1930
Language: English
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  _Three Lectures delivered at St. Paul's in
  January 1894_

  REV. G. F. BROWNE, B.D., D.C.L.,



  NEW YORK: E. & J. B. YOUNG & CO.




Importance of the anniversaries connected with the years
1894-1897.--Christianity in Kent immediately before
Augustine.--Dates of Bishop Luidhard and Queen Bertha.--
Romano-British Churches in Canterbury.--Who were the
Britons.--Traditional origin of British Christianity.--
St. Paul.--Joseph of Arimathea.--Glastonbury.--Roman
references to Britain                                          5


Early mentions of Christianity in Britain.--King
Lucius.--Origin and spread of Christianity in Gaul.--
British Bishops at Councils.--Pelagianism.--British
Bishops of London.--Fastidius                                 54


Early Christianity in other parts of these islands.--
Ninian in the south-west of Scotland.--Palladius and
Patrick in Ireland.--Columba in Scotland.--Kentigern
in Cumbria.--Wales--Cornwall.--The fate of the several
Churches.--Special rites &c. of the British Church.--
General conclusion                                          107

_The Christian Church in these Islands before the coming of Augustine._


     Importance of the anniversaries connected with the years
     1894-1897.--Christianity in Kent immediately before Augustine.--Dates
     of Bishop Luidhard and Queen Bertha.--Romano-British Churches in
     Canterbury.--Who were the Britons.--Traditional origin of British
     Christianity.--St. Paul.--Joseph of Arimathea.--Glastonbury.--Roman
     references to Britain.

We are approaching an anniversary of the highest interest to all English
people: to English Churchmen first, for it is the thirteen-hundredth
anniversary of the planting of the Church of England; but also to all who
are proud of English civilisation, for the planting of a Christian Church
is the surest means of civilisation, and English civilisation owes
everything to the English Church. In 1897 those who are still here will
celebrate the thirteen-hundredth anniversary of the conversion of
Ethelbert, king of the Kentish people, by Augustine and the band of
missionaries sent by our great benefactor Gregory, the sixty-fourth bishop
of Rome. I am sorry that the limitation of my present subject prevents me
from enlarging upon the merits of that great man, and upon our debt to
him. Englishmen must always remember that it was Gregory who gave to the
Italian Mission whatever force it had; it was Gregory who gave it courage,
when the dangers of a journey through France were sufficient to keep it
for months shivering with fear under the shadow of the Alps; it was
Gregory who gave it such measure of wisdom and common sense as it had,
qualities which its leader sadly lacked. Coming nearer to the present
year, there will be in 1896 the final departure of Augustine from Rome to
commemorate, on July 23, and his arrival here in the late autumn. In 1895
there will be to commemorate the first departure from Rome of Augustine
and his Mission, by way of Lérins and Marseilles to Aix, and the return of
Augustine to Rome, when his companions, in fear of the dangers of the way,
refused to go further. An ill-omened beginning, prophetic and prolific of
like results. The history of the Italian Mission is a history of failure
to face danger. Mellitus fled from London, and got himself safe to Gaul;
Justus fled from Rochester, and got himself safe to Gaul; Laurentius was
packed up to fly from Canterbury and follow them[1]; Paulinus fled from
York. In 1894 we have, as I believe, to commemorate the final abandonment
of earlier and independent plans for the conversion of the English in
Kent, from which abandonment the Mission of Augustine came to be.

It is a very interesting fact that just when we are preparing to
commemorate the thirteen-hundredth anniversary of the introduction of
Christianity into England, and are drawing special attention to the fact
that Christianity had existed in this island, among the Britons, for at
least four hundred years before its introduction to the English, our
neighbours in France are similarly engaged. They are preparing to
celebrate in 1896 the fourteen-hundredth anniversary of "the introduction
of Christianity into France," as the newspapers put it. This means that
in 496, Clovis, king of the Franks, became a Christian; as, in 597,
Ethelbert, king of the Kentish-men, became a Christian[2]. As we have to
keep very clear in our minds the distinction between the introduction of
Christianity among the English, from whom the country is called England,
and its introduction long before into Britain; so our continental
neighbours have to keep very clear the difference between the introduction
of Christianity among the Franks, from whom the country is called France,
and its introduction long before into Gaul. The Archbishop of Rheims,
whose predecessor Remigius baptized Clovis in 496, is arranging a solemn
celebration of their great anniversary; and the Pope has accorded a six
months' jubilee in honour of the occasion. No doubt the Archbishop of
Canterbury, whose predecessor Augustine baptized Ethelbert, will in like
manner make arrangements for a solemn celebration of our great
anniversary. It would be an interesting and fitting thing, to hold a
thanksgiving service within the walls of Richborough, which is generally
accepted as the scene of Augustine's first interview with King Ethelbert,
and has now been secured and put into the hands of trustees[3]. The two
commemorations, at Rheims and at Canterbury, are linked together in a
special way by the fact that Clotilde, the Christian wife of Clovis, was
the great-grandmother of Bertha, the Christian wife of Ethelbert.

In the year 594, two years before the arrival of Augustine, there was, and
I believe had long been, a Christian queen in pagan Kent; there was, and I
believe had long been, a Christian bishop in pagan Canterbury, sent there
to minister to the Christian queen. An excellent opening this for the
conversion of the king and people, an opening intentionally created by
those who made the marriage on the queen's side. But, however hopeful the
opening, the immediate result was disappointing. If more of missionary
help had been sent from Gaul, from whence this bishop came, the conversion
of the king and people might have come in the natural way, by an inflow of
Christianity from the neighbouring country. But such help, though
pressingly asked for, was not given; and as I read such signs as there
are, this year 594, of which we now inaugurate the thirteen-hundredth
anniversary, was the year in which it came home to those chiefly concerned
that the conversion was not to be effected by the means adopted. Beyond
some very limited area of Christianity, only the queen and some few of her
people, and the religious services maintained for them, the bishop's work
was to be barren. The limited work which he did was that for which
ostensibly he had come; but I think we are meant to understand that his
Christian ambition was larger than this, his Christian hope higher. I
shall make no apology for dwelling a little upon the circumstances of this
Christian work, immediately before the coming of Augustine. It may seem a
little discursive; but it forms, I think, a convenient introduction to our
general subject.

Who Bishop Luidhard was, is a difficult question. That he came from Gaul
is certain, but his name is clearly Teutonic; whence, perhaps, his
acceptability as a visitor to the English. He has been described as Bishop
of Soissons; but the lists of bishops there make no mention of him, nor do
the learned authors and compilers of _Gallia Christiana_. This assignment
of Luidhard to the bishopric of Soissons may perhaps be explained by an
interesting story.

The Bishop of Soissons, a full generation earlier than the time of which
we are speaking, was Bandaridus. He was charged before King Clotaire, that
one of the four sons of the first Clovis who succeeded to the kingdom
called "of Soissons," with many offences of many kinds; and he was
banished. He crossed over to England--for so Britain is described in the
old account--and there lived in a monastery for seven years, performing
the humble functions of a kitchen-gardener. Whether the story is
sufficiently historical to enable us to claim the continuance of Christian
monasteries of the British among the barbarian Saxons so late as 540, I am
not clear. There was a little Irish monastery at Bosham, among the pagan
South-Saxons, a hundred and forty years later. It is easy, I think, to
overrate the hostility of the early English to Christianity. Penda of
Mercia has the character of being murderously hostile; but it was land,
not creed, that he cared for. He was quite broad and undenominational in
his slaughters.

About A. D. 545, a great plague raged at Soissons, and the people begged
for the return of their bishop. He went back to his old charge, and there
is no suggestion that he ever left it again. This legend of a Bishop of
Soissons coming to our island, may well have given rise to the tradition
that Bishop Luidhard, who certainly was living in the time of Bandaridus,
had been Bishop of Soissons. In any case, the incidental hint the story
gives us of the skill of our neighbours on the continent in the
cultivation of vegetables, even at that early time, makes the story worth
reproduction. The Bishop of Soissons, at the time of which we are
speaking, was Droctigisilus (variously spelled, as might perhaps be
expected). Of him Gregory of Tours tells that he lost his senses through
over-drinking. Gregory adds a moral reflection--if we can so describe
it--which does not give us a very high idea of the practical Christianity
of the times. It is this:--"Though he was a voracious eater, and drank
immoderately, exceeding the bounds which priestly caution should impose,
no one ever accused him of adultery[4]." If we must choose a bishop of
Soissons to be represented by Luidhard, we may fairly prefer the
vegetable-gardener to the immoderate drinker.

We read, again, in fairly early times, that our first Christian bishop in
England had been bishop of Senlis. The authors and compilers of _Gallia
Christiana_ insert the name of Lethardus, or Letaldus, among the bishops
of Senlis, quoting Sprot and Thorn. He was said to have come over with
Bertha as early as 566, and they insert him accordingly after a bishop who
subscribed at the third Council of Paris in 557. Jacques du Perron, bishop
of Angoulême, almoner to Queen Henrietta Maria, took this view of his
predecessor, the almoner of Queen Bertha, that he had been Bishop of
Senlis. The parallel which he drew between the two cases of the first
Christian queen and her almoner, and the first Romanist queen after the
final rupture and her almoner, was much in point. "Gaul it was that sent
to the English their first Christian queen. The clergy of Gaul it was that
sent them their first bishop, her almoner." But the sacramentary of
Senlis, the calendar of commemorations, and the list of bishops, all are
silent as to this Bishop Lethardus. Let me note for future use that these
places, Soissons and Senlis, were in Belgic Gaul, that part of the
continent which was directly opposite to the south-eastern parts of

I have said more about the diocese to which Luidhard may have belonged
than I think the question deserves. This is done out of respect to my
predecessors in the enquiry. The idea that a bishop must have had a see is
natural enough to us, but is not according to knowledge. A hundred and
fifty years later than this, there were so many wandering bishops in Gaul,
that a synod held in this very diocese of Soissons declared that wandering
bishops must not ordain priests; but that if any priests thus ordained
were good priests, they should be reordained. And a great Council of all
the bishops of Gaul, held at Verneuil in 755, declared that wandering
bishops, who had not dioceses, should be incapable of performing any
function without permission of the diocesan bishop. There is no suggestion
that these were foreign bishops; and it was before the time when the
invasions of Ireland by the Danes drove into England and on to the
continent a perfect plague of Irish ecclesiastics calling themselves
bishops. I think it is on the whole fair to say that the more you study
the early history of episcopacy in these parts of Europe, the less need
you feel to find a see for Bishop Luidhard.

There is one very interesting fact, which deserves to be noted in
connection with this mysterious Gallican bishop. The Italian Mission paid
very special honour to his memory and his remains. There is in the first
volume of Dugdale's _Monasticon_[5] a copy of an ancient drawing of St.
Augustine's, Canterbury. This is not, of course, the Cathedral Church,
which was an old church of the British times restored by Augustine and
dedicated to the Saviour; "Christ Church" it still remains. St.
Augustine's was the church and monastery begun in Augustine's lifetime,
and dedicated soon after his death to St. Peter and St. Paul, as Bede (i.
33) and various documents tell us precisely. This fact, that the church
was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, was represented last June, when
"the renewal of the dedication of England to St. Mary and St. Peter" took
place[6], by the statement that "the first great abbey church of
Canterbury was dedicated to St. Peter." In the preparatory pastoral,
signed by Cardinal Vaughan and fourteen other Roman Catholic Bishops,
dated May 20, 1893, the statement took this form[7]:--"The second
monastery of Canterbury was dedicated to St. Peter himself." Not only is
that not so, but I cannot find evidence that Augustine dedicated any
church anywhere "to St. Peter himself." Of the two Apostles, St. Peter and
St. Paul, who were united in the earliest of all Saints' days, and still
are so united in the Calendar of the Roman Church, though we have given to
them two separate days, of the two, if we must choose one of them, St.
Paul, not St. Peter, was made by Augustine the Apostle of England. To St.
Paul was dedicated the first church in England dedicated to either of the
two "himself," that is, alone; and that, too, this church, the first and
cathedral church of the greater of the two places assigned by Gregory as
the two Metropolitical sees of England, London and York.

The "dedication of England to St. Mary" has a similar difficulty to face.
There is no evidence that Augustine assigned any dedication to the Blessed
Virgin. The first church mentioned with that dedication was built by
Laurentius and dedicated by Mellitus. But if twenty churches had been
dedicated by Augustine to the Virgin and to St. Peter, England would have
been the richer by twenty churches, and that would have been all.

The ancient drawing to which I am referring was made after 1325, when St.
Ethelbert was added to the Apostles Peter and Paul and St. Augustine in
the dedication of the high altar. It was copied for Sir William Dugdale's
purposes in 1652, at which time it had passed into the safe hands of one
of the Cambridge Colleges, Trinity Hall. The altar is shewn as deeply
recessed into a structural reredos. A large number of shrines are shewn,
ranged in semi-circles behind the reredos. On either side of the altar
there is a door, as in our reredos at St. Paul's. They are marked "north
door" and "south door," "to the bodies of the saints." On the shrines,
shewn in the apse to which these doors lead, are written the names of
those whose relics they contained, and the roll of names is illustrious.
In the centre, at the extreme east, is Augustine, with Laurentius and
Mellitus north and south of him: then, on the north, Justus, Deusdedit,
Mildred, Nothelm, and Lambert; on the south, Honorius, Theodore, Abbat
Hadrian, Berhtwald, and Tatwin. Besides these shrines in the apse, behind
the reredos, there is shewn immediately above the altar itself a
prominent shrine, marked Scs. Ethelbertus, the relics of the first
Christian king. Then, behind that, a number of books--manuscripts, of
course--with a Latin description stating that they are "books sent by
Gregory to Augustine"--one or two of which are still in existence. Above
these, on either side of a great vesica enclosing a representation of our
Lord, are two shrines, one marked "Relics," the other, which stands on the
side of greater honour, is marked Scs. Letald(us). Thus the Canterbury
monks at St. Augustine's, the great treasure-house of early Canterbury
saints, put in the places of highest honour the relics of Bertha's husband
and of Bertha's Gallican bishop. It is a pleasant thought in these days of
ecclesiastical jealousies--and when were there days, before Christ or
since, without ecclesiastical jealousies?--it is a very pleasant thought
that the successors of Augustine paid such honour to Augustine's Gallican
precursor, whose work they might almost have been expected, considering
the temper of the times, to be inclined to ignore. The shrine with
Luidhard's relics no doubt represents the golden chest in which--as we
know--they used to carry his relics round Canterbury on Rogation Days.

It is not easy, indeed it is not possible, to make sure of the dates
connected with Luidhard's work among the English at Canterbury--to give
them the general name of "English." It is of some importance to make the
attempt. The indications seem to me to point to a ministry of some
considerable duration; but I am aware that among the many views expressed
incidentally in the books, some names of great weight appear on the other
side. When Ethelbert died in 616, Bede tells us that he had reigned
gloriously for fifty-six years; that is, he began to reign in 560, a date
earlier than that assigned by the Chronicle. Matthew of Westminster thinks
Bede and the rest were wrong. With the Chronicle, he puts Ethelbert's
accession later, as late as 566; but he keeps to Bede's fifty-six years'
reign, and so makes him die in 622, much too late. If, as is said[8], he
was born in 552, he was eight years old at his accession--rather an early
age for an English sovereign in those times--and sixty-four at his death.
His wife Bertha, whose marriage dates the arrival of Luidhard, was the
daughter of Charibert, king of that part of the domains of his grandfather
Clovis which gave to its sovereign the title of King of Paris. Her mother
was Ingoberga; and if the statement of Gregory of Tours, that king
Charibert married Ingoberga, is to be taken strictly, i.e. if he married
her after his accession, Bertha was born about 561. But I much doubt
whether Charibert had time for all his many marital wickednesses in his
short reign, and I am inclined to think that he married a good deal
earlier. He was the eldest son of his father Clotaire, who died in 561,
and the known dates of Clovis make it probable that Charibert was of
marriageable age a good many years before he succeeded his father.

So far as these considerations go, Bertha may have been of much the same
age as her husband Ethelbert, and their marriage may have taken place
about the year 575. I find nothing in the notices of Gregory of Tours
inconsistent with this. Indeed, it may fairly be said that Gregory's facts
indicate a date quite as early as that I have suggested. Ingoberga put
herself under Gregory's own special charge. He describes her admirable
manner of life in her widowhood, passed in a religious life, without any
hint that her daughter was with her; and when she died in 589, Gregory
guessed her age at seventy.

The chief reason for assigning a later date to the marriage is that King
Edwin of Northumbria married Ethelberga, Bertha's daughter, in 625. Edwin
was then a middle-aged widower, but that does not quite decide for us what
sort of age he was likely to look for in a second wife. If Ethelberga was
thirty when she married Edwin, Bertha would be about forty, or a little
more, when her daughter was born.

There is one argument in favour of Bertha's marriage having been long
before the coming of Augustine, which has, I think, generally escaped
notice. In the letter which Gregory sent from Rome to Bertha,
congratulating her on the conversion of her husband, Gregory urges her,
now that, the time is fit, to repair what has been neglected; he remarks
that she ought some time ago, or long ago, to have bent her husband's mind
in this direction; and he tells her that the Romans have earnestly prayed
for her life. All this, especially the "some time ago," or "long ago,"
looks unlike a recent marriage. It is interesting to notice, in view of
recent assertions and claims, that Gregory does not make reference to St.
Peter in this letter, as Boniface did in writing to Bertha's daughter. In
his letter to Ethelbert, Gregory remarks at the end that he is sending him
some small presents, which will not be small to him, as they come from the
benediction of the blessed Peter the Apostle. Boniface, his fifth
successor, considerably developed the Petrine position. Writing to Edwin
of Northumbria, curiously enough while he was still a pagan, he says:--"We
have sent to you a benediction of your protector the blessed Peter, prince
of the Apostles, that is to say, a chemise embroidered with gold, and a
garment of Ancyra." Probably Boniface did not know how nearly related the
Galatian workers of the garment of Ancyra were to the Gallo-Britons whom
Edwin's ancestors had expelled. And his letter to Ethelberga ended in the
same way:--"We have sent to you a blessing of your protector the blessed
Peter, prince of the Apostles, that is to say, a silver mirror and an
ivory comb inlaid with gold." It is a significant note on this difference
of language, that in the ordinary lists, where a distinction, more or less
arbitrary, is made between bishops and popes, the break comes between
Gregory and Boniface.

On the whole, then, I believe that Ethelbert and Bertha had been married
many years when Augustine came, and, by consequence, that Luidhard had
been living among the English many years. Though his work was in the end
barren, there had been times when it was distinctly promising. His
experiment had so far succeeded, that only more help was wanted to bring
the heathen people to Christ. That help he had sought; perhaps especially
when he felt old age coming upon him. Gregory distinctly states, in more
than one of his letters, that the English people were very ready, were
desirous, to be converted, and that applications for missionary help had
been made, but made in vain, to the neighbouring priests. The tone and
address of the letters imply that this meant the clergy of the
neighbouring parts of Gaul. There certainly would be no response if they
applied to the very nearest part they could reach by the ordinary route,
namely, their landing-place, Boulogne. We Londoners are accustomed to say,
no doubt with due contrition, but at the same time with some lurking sense
of consequence, as having been actors in a striking episode, that after a
few years of Christianity we went off into paganism again in a not
undramatic manner, and from 616 to 654 repudiated Christianity. This fact
is indicated by an eloquent void on our alabaster tablets of bishops of
London in the south aisle of this church. At the time of which I am
speaking, 594 or thereabouts, the Gauls of Boulogne were having the
experience which the English of London were so soon to have. In London we
turned out our first Italian bishop, our first bishop, that is, of the
second series of bishops of London, after the restoration of Christianity
on this site. In Boulogne and Terouenne, where the first bishop they ever
had was sent to them after the year 500, they relapsed into paganism in
about fifty years' time, and in 594 they had been pagans for many years.
Pagans they remained till 630, when Dagobert got St. Omer to win them
back. St. Omer died in 667, the year after Cedd died, who won us back. It
is clear, then, that the appeals from the English to the Gauls for
conversion, at any date consistent with the facts, must have gone beyond

It has been thought that the appeal was made to the British priests, who
had retired to the mountainous parts of the island, beyond the reach of
the slaying Saxon; but there would be no point in Gregory's remarks to his
Gallican correspondents if that were so. And how Gregory was to know that
appeals had been made by the English to the Britons for instruction in
Christianity, appeals most improbable from the nature of the case, no one
can say. On the other hand, he was distinctly in a position to know of
such application to the Gauls, for his presbyter Candidus had gone to
Gaul, and there was to purchase some pagan English boys of seventeen or
eighteen to be brought up in monasteries. This had taken place a very
short time before the mission set out, as is clear from Gregory's letter
to the Patrician of Gaul.

The facts suggest that Luidhard was now quite an old man, and had failed
to get any Gallican bishop to take up the work he could no longer carry
on. And accordingly, tradition makes him die a month or two after
Augustine's arrival. If we look to the language of Bede, we shall see, I
think, that Luidhard had become incapable of carrying on his work when
Augustine and his companions arrived. For they at once entered upon the
use of his church. "There was on the east side of the city a church
erected of old in honour of St. Martin[9], when the Romans were still
inhabiting Britain, where the queen used to pray. In this church they met
at first, to sing, pray, celebrate masses, preach, and baptise; till the
king, on his conversion, gave them larger licence, to preach anywhere, and
to build and restore churches."

Now, quite apart from Luidhard's long and faithful work, we have seen that
there was in Canterbury the fabric of a Christian church remaining from
the time before the English came; and that there was in Canterbury the
fabric of another church, out of which they made their Cathedral church.

There was a church in existence at Canterbury when our bishop Mellitus was
archbishop there, between 619 and 624, dedicated to the Four Crowned
Martyrs of Diocletian's persecution, the Quattro Santi Incoronati, whose
church is one of the most interesting in Rome. But this Canterbury church
may have been built by the Italians.

Again, there is very unmistakable and interesting Roman work at St.
Pancras, in Canterbury; and this was, according to tradition, the temple
which Ethelbert had appropriated for the worship of his idols, and now
gave for Christian purposes. The tradition further says that it had once
been a Christian church, before the pagan English came; and the remains of
the Roman building still visible are believed to point in that direction.
The church of St. Pancras at Rome was built about 500. In connection with
this idea of a pagan temple being used by the Christian clergy for a
church, we may remember that the Pantheon at Rome was turned into a church
seven or eight years after this, the dedication being changed from "all
the Gods" to "St. Mary of the Martyrs," and this was the origin of the
Festival of All Saints[10]. Bede adds an important fact, that Ethelbert
gave the Italians a general licence to restore churches.

How did it come about that when the Italians came to heathen England, they
found here these remains of Christian churches, needing only repair? Who
built them? Was it an accidental colony of Christians, that had been
settled in Canterbury, or had there been what we may call a British
Church, a Christian church in Britain, long before the Saxons came, longer
still by far before the Italians? The answer to those questions is not a
short or a simple one, when we once get beyond the bare "yes" and "no."
Many other questions rise up on all sides, when we are looking for an
answer to the original questions. It is my aim to take those who care to
come with me over some parts of the field of inquiry; rather courting than
avoiding incidental illustrations and digressions; for I think that in
that informal way we pick up a good deal of interesting information, and
get perhaps to feel more at home in a period than by pursuing a more
formal and stilted course. Indeed a good deal of what I have said already
has evidently been said with that object.

The first question I propose for our consideration is this:--Who were the
people who built the churches? It is not a very explanatory answer, to
say "The Britons." There is a good deal left to the imagination in that
answer, with most of us. With the help of the best qualified students, but
without any hope that we could harmonise all the diverse views if we went
far into detail, let us look into the matter a little. It may be well for
all of us to remember in this enquiry that our foundations are not very
solid; we are on thin ice. Nor is the way very smooth; it is easy to trip.

We need not go back to the time of the cavemen, interesting and indeed
artistic as the evidence of their remains shews them to have been. Their
reign was over before Britain became an island, before a channel separated
it from the continent. It is enough for our present purpose to realise,
that when the great geological changes had taken place which produced
something like the present geographical arrangements, but still in
prehistoric times, times long before the beginning of history so far as
these islands are concerned, our islands were occupied by a race which
existed also in the north-west and extreme west of Europe. Herodotus knew
nothing of the existence of our islands; but he tells us that in his time
the people furthest to the west, nearer to the setting sun than even the
Celtae, were called Kynesii, or Kynetes. Archaeological investigations
shew that, though he did not know it, his statement covered our islands.
The people of whom he wrote were certainly here as well as on the western
parts of the continent. As some of us may have some of their blood in our
veins, we may leave others to discuss the question whether the names
Kynesii, Kynetes, mean "dog-men," and if so, what that implies. St. Jerome
in the course of his travels, say about 370 years after Christ, saw a body
of savage soldiers in the Roman army, brought from a part of what is now
Scotland--if an Englishman dare say such a thing; they were fed, he tells
us, on human flesh. The locality from which they came indicates that they
were possibly representatives of these earlier "dog-men," if that is the
meaning of Kynetes. Secular historians, long before Jerome, have an
uncomfortable way of saying that the inhabitants of the interior of
Britain were cannibals, and their matrimonial arrangements resembled those
of herds of cattle. As we in London had relations with the centre of the
country, we may argue--and I think rightly--that by "the interior" the
historians did not mean what we call the Midlands, but meant the parts
furthest removed from the ports of access in the south-east, that is, the
far west and the far north.

Next, and again before the history of our islands begins, an immigration
of Celts[11] took place, a people belonging--unlike the earlier race of
whom I have spoken--to the same Indo-European family of nations to which
the Latins, and the Teutons, and the Greeks, and the speakers of Sanskrit,
belonged. Of their various cousin-nations, these Celts were nearest in
language to the Latins, we are told, and, after the Latins, to the
Teutons. They came to this island, it is understood, from the country
which we call France.

Thirdly, the Gauls, who on the continent had both that name and the name
of the older Celts[12], and must be regarded as the dominant sub-division
of their race, impelled in their turn by pressure from the south and east,
came over into these islands, and here were called Britons[13]. They
squeezed out the earlier occupants from most part of the larger island,
driving them north and west and south-west, as the Celtic inhabitants
long before had driven the earlier race. When the Romans came, fifty years
before Christ, these Britons occupied the land practically from the south
coast to the further side of the Firth of Forth. There had been for some
time before Caesar's arrival a steady inflow of Belgic Gauls, people from
the eastward parts of what we call France; and these people, the most
recent comers among the Britons, were found chiefly on the coasts, but in
parts had extended to considerable distances inland. The Celts, to
distinguish the preceding immigrants by that name, though in fact it does
not properly convey the distinction, occupied Devon and Cornwall, South
Wales, the north-west corner of North Wales, Cumberland, and the
south-west of what we now call Scotland, that is, Wigton, Kirkcudbright,
Dumfries, and part of Ayr. They occupied also a belt of Caledonia north of
Stirling. They occupied at least the eastern parts of Ireland. Anglesey
and Man were in their hands. The parts of Scotland north of Perthshire and
Forfar may be regarded as the principal refuge of the remnant of the
people whom we have described as the earlier race, before the Celts; and
there were traces of them left in almost all the parts occupied by their
immediate successors the Celts. The name by which we ought probably to
call these latter, the Celts, in whatever part of the islands they might
be, has been familiarly used in a sense so limited that it might cause
confusion to use it now in its larger sense. I mean Gael, and Gaelic.

Now we gather from the records that before the Jutes and the Angles and
the Saxons came, and in their turn drove the Britons north and west, the
religion of Christ had spread to all parts of the territory occupied by
the Britons, that is, to the towns in all parts. It may very well have
been that in the country parts there were many pagans left even to the
last, perhaps in towns too. Putting the commencement of the driving out of
the Britons at about the year 450 after Christ, we know that less than a
hundred years before that time the pagans were so numerous in Gaul, that
when Martin became Bishop of Tours, the pagans were everywhere, and to
work for their conversion would have been sufficient work for him. As for
the towns in Gaul, Hilary, the Bishop of Poitiers, was a leading official
in that town, and only became a Christian in the year 350, when he was
about thirty-five years of age. Martin of Tours, too, was born a heathen.
We may be sure that in Britain, so remote from the centres of influence,
and so inaccessible by reason of its insular position, that state of
things continued to prevail a good deal longer than in the civilised parts
of Gaul. We must not credit our British predecessors with anything like a
universal knowledge and acceptance of Christianity.

It is not necessary to dwell on the familiar fact of the intermixture of
the Romans and the Britons. In the more important towns there was much
blending of the two races, and the luxurious arts of Rome produced their
effect in softening the British spirit. The Briton gave up more than he
gained in the mixed marriages, and it seems clear that the Romano-Britons
who were left to face the barbarous Picts and Scots, and the hardy Angles
and Saxons, were by comparison an enervated race. In the parts further
remote from commercial and municipal centres, and from the military lines,
it is probable that the invaders found much tougher work. It is only fair
to the later Romano-Britons, to remember that all the flower of the youth
of Britain had been carried away by one general and emperor after another,
to fight the battles of Rome, or to support the claims of a usurper of the
imperial purple, in Gaul and Spain and Italy; and when the imperial
troops were finally withdrawn, the older men and the less hardy of the
youths of Britain were left to cope with enemies who had baffled the Roman

So much for the Britons. As for the Celts, we have sufficient evidence
that the message of Christ was taken to them and welcomed by them in the
later parts of the period ending with 450. During the years of the
struggle between the Britons and their Teutonic invaders, say from 450 to
590, this Christianising went on among the Celts. About the end of that
period it reached even to the furthest parts of the north, the parts
which, in the early times of the Roman occupation, were probably held by
descendants of the earlier race, and it more or less covered Ireland.

Thus the knowledge of the Christian faith had, before the English came,
extended over the whole of that part of this island which the English
invaders in their furthest reach ever occupied. It had covered--and it
continued to cover, and has never ceased to cover--very much that they
never even touched. To convert the early English to Christ, which was the
task undertaken by Augustine, a very small part of it being accomplished
by him or his mission from first to last, was to restore Christianity to
those parts from which the English had driven it out. It was to remove
the barrier of heathendom which the English invaders had formed between
the Church universal and the Celtic and British church or churches. It
proved in the end that the undertaking was much beyond the powers of the
Italian missionaries; and then the earlier church stepped in from its
confines in the West and did the work. It was so that the great English
province of Northumbria--meaning vastly more than Northumberland, even all
the land from Humber to Forth--was evangelized. It was so that the great
English province of Mercia--the whole of the middle of the
island--received the message of Christ. It was so that Christianity was
given back to Essex and to us in London, by the labours of our Bishop
Cedd, consecrated, as the crown of his long and faithful labours among our
heathen predecessors, by the Celtic Bishop Finan of Lindisfarne. Cedd is
an admirable example of the careful methods of the Celtic Church. He was
not a Celt himself, he was an Angle. When the English branch of the Celtic
Church, settled at Lindisfarne and evangelizing Northumbria, had succeeded
in converting the son of the Mercian king, they sent him four priests as
missionaries to his people, a people who were in large part Angles. Of
these four priests, trained and sent by the Celtic Church for the
conversion of the English, only one was a Celt; the other three, including
Cedd, were themselves Angles. To send Anglian priests to convert Anglian
people was indeed a wise and broad policy; and it was, as it deserved to
be, eminently successful. It is a striking contradiction of the prevalent
idea that the Celtic Church was isolated, narrow, bigoted; unable and
unwilling to work with any but those of its own blood.

There are, then, these two main divisions before us, of the people who
occupied these islands when the Romans came, and still occupied them when
the English came, the Britons and the Celts[14]. We are not to suppose
that this is nothing more than a mere dead piece of archaeology. It is a
very living fact. A large proportion of those who are here to-day have
to-day--possibly some of them not knowing it--kept alive the distinction
between Briton and Celt. Every one who has spoken the name Mackenzie, or
Macpherson, or any other Mac, has used the Celtic speech in its most
characteristic feature. Every one who has spoken the name Price, that is,
ap Rhys, or any other name formed with ap[15], has taken the Briton's side
on this characteristic point. When you speak of Pen(maen)maur and the king
Malcolm Ceanmor you are saying the same words; but in Penmaenmaur you take
the Briton's side, in speaking of Ceanmor you take the Celt's. You will
not find a better example than that which we owe to our dear Bede. The
wall of Antonine abuts on the river Forth at Kinnell, a name which does
not seem to have much to do with the end of a wall. But Bede tells us that
the Picts of his day called it Penfahel, that is, head of the wall,
"fahel" being only "wall" pronounced as some of our northern neighbours
would pronounce it, the interesting people who say "fat" for "what." He
adds that the English, his own people, called it Penel, cutting the
Penfahel short. The Britons called it Penguaul. The modern name Kinnell is
the Celtic form of Penel.

Those being the people, and that the extent to which Christianity had in
the end spread among them, how did Christianity find its way here?

The various suggestions that have from time to time been made, in the
course of the early centuries, as to the introduction of Christianity to
this island, were collected and commented on in a searching manner
twenty-five years ago by two men of great learning and judgement. One of
them was taken away from historical investigations, and from his canonry
of St. Paul's, to the laborious and absorbing work of a bishop. The other
was lost to historical study by death. I need scarcely name Dr. Stubbs and
Mr. Haddan. Their work has made darkness almost light.

We cannot wonder that the marvellous apostolic journeys and missionary
work of St. Paul so vividly impressed the minds of the early Christian
writers, that they attributed to him even more than he actually performed.
Clement of Rome, of whom I suppose the great majority of students of the
Scripture and of Church History believe that he actually knew St. Paul,
says that Paul preached both in the West and in the East, and taught the
whole world, even to the limits of the West. Chrysostom says that from
Illyricum Paul went to the very ends of the earth. These are the strongest
statements which can be advanced by those who think that St. Paul himself
may have visited Britain. He may have reached Spain. There does not
appear to be any evidence that he ever reached Gaul; still less Britain.
One of the Greek historians, Eusebius, writing about 315, appears to say
that Britain was Christianised by some of the disciples; and another,
Theodoret, about 423, names the Britons among those who were persuaded to
receive the laws of the Crucified, by "our fishermen and publicans." This
is evidence, and very interesting evidence, of the general belief that
Britain was Christianised early in the history of Christianity, but it
practically amounts to nothing more definite than that[16].

But a very curious connection may be made out, between the Britons and the
great apostle of the Gentiles.

In speaking of the relations, real or fairly imaginable, between Soissons
or Senlis and the English in the parts of the island which lie opposite to
that part of Gaul, I asked you to note that this was Belgic Gaul. We have
seen that for some time before Julius Caesar's invasion a change had been
going on in the population of those parts of Britain to which I now refer.
The Belgae had been crossing the narrow sea and settling here, presumably
driving away the inhabitants whom they found. They so specially occupied
the parts where now Hampshire is, that the capital city, Went, was named
from them by the Latins Venta Belgarum, Belgian Venta; to return in later
times to its old name of Caer Went, this is, Went Castle, Winchester.
Indeed, the Belgae are credited with the occupation of territory up to the
borders of Devon. The British tribe of the Atrebates, again, were the
same people as the Gauls in the district of Arras; and they occupied a
large tract of country stretching away from the immediate west of London.
Caesar remarks on this fact that the immigrant Gauls retained the names of
their continental districts and cities. The Parisii on the east coast,
north of the Humber, afford another illustration.

Now when Jerome, about the year 367, was at Trèves, the capital of Gaul,
situate in Belgic Gaul, he learned the native tongue of the Belgic Gauls;
and when later in his life he travelled through Galatia, in Asia Minor, he
found the people there speaking practically the same language as the Gauls
about Trèves. Thus we are entitled to claim the Galatians as of kin to the
Belgic division of the Gauls, and therefore as the same people with those
who from before Caesar's time flowed steadily over from Belgic Gaul to
Britain. That the Galatians were Gauls is of course a well-known fact in
history; the point I wish to note is that they were Belgic Gauls. We may
therefore see in St. Paul's epistle to the Galatian churches a description
of the national character of the Britons of these parts of the island.
Fickleness, superstition, and quarrelsomeness, are the characteristics on
which he remarks. The very first words of the Epistle, after the preface,
strike a clear and forcible note:--"I marvel that ye are so quickly moved
to abandon the gospel of him that called you, for another gospel." Again,
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you!" "Ye were in bondage to them
which are by nature no gods;... how turn ye back again to the weak and
beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again!" "If
ye bite and devour one another." Without at all saying that these national
characteristics are traceable in any parts of our islands now, it is
evident that they are in close accord with what we hear of the early
inhabitants. As also is another remark made in early times, "the Gauls
begin their fights with more than the strength of men, they finish them
with less than the strength of women."

The line taken by a recent writer, Professor W. M. Ramsay, in his most
interesting and able book, "The Church in the Roman Empire," traverses
this argument about the Galatian Epistle. In opposition to the great
divine who for eight years spoke from this pulpit, and made this Epistle a
special study for a great part of his life, Professor Ramsay maintains, by
arguments drawn from geographical and epigraphical facts not known thirty
years ago, when Dr. Lightfoot first wrote, that the Epistle was addressed
to the people in the southern part of the Roman province called Galatia,
who were not Galatians at all; and was not addressed to those in the
northern part, who were Galatians proper, and occupied the whole of the
country named from them Galatia. But I use the illustration,
notwithstanding this. The controversy is not quite ended yet; and I do not
feel sure that the difficulties of the Epistle itself, from Professor
Ramsay's point of view, are very much less considerable than those which
Dr. Lightfoot's view undoubtedly has to face. In any case the Galatians
proper were of close kin with the more civilised of our British
predecessors--ancestors we may perhaps say--and this at least gives us a
personal interest in what at first sight would seem to be a very far-off

The tradition which used to find most favour was that Joseph of Arimathea
came over with twelve companions, and received from a British king in the
south-west a portion of land for each of his companions, and founded the
ecclesiastical establishment of Glastonbury. There is certainly some very
ancient history connected with the "twelve hides" of Glastonbury. Go as
far back as we will in the records, we never come to the beginning of the
"xii. hidæ." The Domesday Survey tells us, eight hundred years ago, that
the twelve hides "never have been taxed." Clearly they take us back to
some very early donation; and I see no reason--beyond the obvious
difficulty of its geographical remoteness--against the tradition that here
was the earliest Christian establishment in Britain. At the Council of
Basle, in 1431, when the Western Church was holding councils with a view
to reforming from within the enormous abuses of the Roman Court, a prelude
to the "Reformation" into which we were driven a hundred years later, the
precedence of churches was determined by the date of their foundation. The
English Church claimed and received precedence as founded in Apostolic
times by Joseph of Arimathea. Those were not very critical days, so far as
historical evidence was concerned, and I should not have mentioned this
legend, or should only have mentioned it and passed on, but for a recent
illustration of a part of the story. The more we look into early local
legends, the more disinclined we become to say that there is nothing
substantial in them. The story has from early times gone, that the first
British Christians erected at Glastonbury a church made of twigs, of
wattle-work. This wattle church survived the violent changes which swept
over the face of the land. Indeed, it is said, and with so much of
probability that Mr. Freeman was willing to accept it as a fact, that
Glastonbury was the one place outside the fastnesses to which the British
Christians fled, where Christian worship was not interrupted when the
English came. This wattle church survived till after the Norman invasion,
when it was burned by accident[17]. Wattle-work is a very perishable
material; and of all things of the kind the least likely would seem to be,
that we, in this nineteenth century, should, in confirmation of the story,
discover at Glastonbury an almost endless amount of British wattle-work.
Yet that is exactly what has happened. In the low ground, now occupying
the place of the impenetrable marshes which gave the name of the Isle of
Avalon to the higher ground, the eye of a local antiquary had long marked
a mass of dome-shaped hillocks, some of them of very considerable
diameter, and about seventy in number, clustered together in what is now
a large field, a mile and a quarter from Glastonbury. The year before
last he began to dig. Peat had formed itself in the long course of time,
and its preservative qualities had kept safe for our eyes that which it
enclosed and covered. The hillocks proved to be the remains of British
houses burned with fire. They were set on ground made solid in the midst
of waters, with causeways for approach from the land. The faces of the
solid ground and the sides of the causeways are revetted with wattle-work.
There is wattle-work all over, strong and very well made. It clearly was
the main stand-by of the Britons, whose fortress this was, and their skill
in making it and applying it was great. The wattle when first uncovered is
as good to all appearance as the day it was made. The huts are oval and
circular, and some are of large dimensions. The largest of all are not yet
opened, but already a hut covering about 450 square feet has been found.
All have a circular area of white stones in the middle, carried from far,
for a hearth, &c., and all have been destroyed by fire. But though the
fire has destroyed the huts completely, it has preserved for us the
account of the material of which they were made, as clearly as if it were
inscribed on the brick cylinders of an Assyrian king. It has baked the
clay with which the huts were covered, and the baked clay shews the
impress of wattle-work. The houses of the Britons at Glastonbury were, as
a matter of fact, as long tradition tells us their church was, made of

Julius Caesar speaks more than once of the skill of the British in this
respect. He tells us of the plaiting together of the branches of growing
trees to form barriers in the woods, which his soldiers found unpleasantly
effective. We read also of the wattle-work erections of various shapes in
which human victims were enclosed to be burned. And, from a more peaceful
side, we learn that the tables of ladies in Rome were not completely in
the fashion if they had no examples of British baskets. "Basket," as you
know, is one of the best examples of the survival of a British word among
us, a word used also by the Romans[19], their word _bascauda_ and our
"basket" representing the Welsh _basgawd_ and _basget_.

There is abundance of evidence of the interest taken by the Romans in
Britain and its people, and of the esteem in which Britons were held at
Rome. Martial, who settled in Rome in the year A. D. 66, perhaps one year
or two years before St. Paul's death, speaks of a British lady in Rome,
Claudia, the newly-married wife of Pudens. Of her he says[20], in terms as
he believed of the highest personal praise--

  Though Claudia from the sea-green Britons came,
  She wears the aspect of a Roman dame.

And, again, he mentions, not without pride, that he was read in Britain:
'Britain, too, is said to sing my verse.' It is a little difficult to
resist the tendency to see in this Pudens and Claudia the Pudens and
Claudia of the last sentence before the final blessing in the last letter
of St. Paul, where their names are linked together by that of Linus, the
first Bishop of Rome. We are told, however, that the severe historian
ought to resist this tendency of the natural man.

Again, Seneca, the brother of Gallio, whom we meet in the Acts, had a
great deal of money invested in Britain. Juvenal brings a British king
into his verse, and Richborough oysters. Josephus[21] tells us that Titus
made use of the Britons, as a telling illustration in his final speech to
the desperate Jews:--"Pray what greater obstacle is there than the wall of
the Ocean, with which the Britons are encompassed? And yet they bow before
the arms of the Romans."

Those are probably sufficient indications of the kind of evidence we have.
We know, too, that the Roman troops came and went; and we may be sure that
they made Britain and the strange things they had seen here a frequent
subject of conversation. We cannot doubt that St. Paul, in his enforced
intercourse with the soldiery at Rome, learned all he could about the
distant parts of the world, which only the Roman armies had visited. Nay,
we in London may go further than that. Seeing that Nero recalled from
Britain the victorious Suetonius in 61, and that St. Paul lived with Roman
soldiers in all probability from 61 to 63, we may imagine that some
soldier or other described to St. Paul that terrible day on which
Suetonius made up his mind that he must leave London to its fate. You
remember the account of Tacitus[22], so telling in its studied brevity. It
is, I think, the first definite appearance of London on the stage of
history. The occasion was the revolt of Boadicea, to retain the familiar
incorrectness of the name. Colchester had fallen, all the Romans there
being slaughtered. The ninth legion had been attacked and routed by the
Britons, and all the infantry killed. Many a gallant fight no doubt in the
thick woods, like that which Wilson and his comrades fought last
month[23]. The governor of the province fled to Gaul. Verulam fell, with
great slaughter. There was no taking captive, no selling into slavery. The
Britons made sure work; they burned, they tortured, they crucified. One
man of the Romans kept his head, or all would have been massacred. With a
constancy which made men marvel, Suetonius marched through the midst of
foes to the relief of London--London not then illustrious as a colony, but
more famous than any other city in the land for the number of its
merchants and the abundance of its merchandise. Should he make London his
centre of defence? He looked at the small number of his soldiers: he
thought of the destruction of the ninth legion. He determined to leave
London to its fate. Tears and prayers could not move him. He gave the
signal to march. Those of the citizens who accompanied him his soldiers
protected. All who remained behind, unable or unwilling to leave their
homes, all were overwhelmed in one great slaughter. The Romans calculated
that at Colchester, Verulam, and London, from seventy to eighty thousand
of Romans and their allies were slain by the enraged Britons[24]. We may
imagine how St. Paul would listen to that tale of woe, then quite fresh,
the most tragic event of the time; and how he would long for an
opportunity of softening the disposition of the Britons by the gentle
doctrines of Christ.

To no such source as that, however, are we to look for the beginnings of
the faith among us. There is no sign of any one great effort, by any one
great man, to introduce Christianity into our land. It came, we cannot
doubt, in the natural way, simply and quietly, through the nearest
continental neighbours of the Britons and their nearest kinsfolk, the
people of Gaul. That will form the main subject of my next lecture.


     Early mentions of Christianity in Britain.--King Lucius.--Origin and
     spread of Christianity in Gaul.--British Bishops at
     Councils.--Pelagianism.--British Bishops of London.--Fastidius.

We are to consider this evening the Christian Church in Britain, from the
earliest times at which we have any definite notice of it, to the time of
its expulsion from what had become England. It may be well to take notice
first of one or two statements of early writers about the existence of
Christianity here, at dates precisely known.

Tertullian, writing in or about the year 208, at a time when a revolt
against Severus in the north of this island gave special point to his
remark, thus describes the wide spread of the Gospel. "In all parts of
Spain, among the various nations of Gaul, in districts of Britain
inaccessible to the Romans but subdued to Christ, in all these the kingdom
and name of Christ are venerated." Origen, in 239, speaking of
polytheism, asks, "When, before the coming of Christ, did the land of
Britain hold the belief in the one God?" And again:--"The power of the
Saviour is felt even among those who are divided from our world, in
Britain." At the same time Origen gives us a timely warning against taking
his remarks to mean anything like the complete Christianisation of the
island; he tells us that among the Britons, and six other nations whom he
names, "very many have not yet heard the word of the Gospel."

The Greek historian Sozomen speaks of Constantine living in Gaul and
Britain, and there, as, he says, was universally admitted, becoming a
Christian. Both Eusebius, writing about 320, and Sozomen, about 443, tell
of an experiment made in the palace by Constantine's father Constantius,
when he governed Gaul and Britain, which shews the spread of the gospel
and the high places it had by that time reached. It has this special
interest for Britain, that York was one of the two cities at one of which
it must have taken place, Trèves being the other; for those were the two
capitals and seats of government of the whole province of the Gauls, the
one for the continental the other for the insular department of the
province. A persecution of the Christians was ordered by his three
colleagues in the empire, about the year 303. Constantius, though not
himself a Christian, did not allow much severity in his own government; a
contemporary writer, Lactantius, declares that from east to west three
savage beasts raged; everywhere but in the Gauls, that is, Gaul and
Britain. The experiment was this. He told the officers of his court, who
are spoken of as if all were Christians, though he himself was not, that
those of them who would sacrifice to demons should remain with him and
enjoy their honours: those who would not, should be banished from his
presence. He gave them time to think the matter over. They came to him
again, each with his mind made up; and some said they would sacrifice, and
some said they would not. When all had declared their intention, he told
those who would sacrifice, that if they were ready to be false to their
God, he did not see how he could trust them to be true to him. To the
others he said that such worthy servants of their God would be faithful to
their king too. The story reminds us of the sturdy old pagan king of
Mercia, Penda, who said he was quite willing that the Lindisfarne
missionaries should convert his people to Christianity, if they could;
but he gave full warning that he would not have people calling themselves
Christians and not living up to their high profession.

This story of Constantius, the father of Constantine, which I prefer to
place at York, the favourite residence of Constantius, introduces us of
course to the one well-known result of the persecution, so far as Britain
was concerned, the death of Alban at Verulam, about 305. When you go to
St. Albans, you see the local truth of the traditional details. Standing
on the narrow bridge across the little stream, you realise the blocking of
the bridge by the crowd of spectators nearly 1,600 years ago: and you can
see Alban, in his eagerness to win his martyr's crown, pushing his way
through the shallow water, rather than be delayed by the crowd on the
bridge. There is an interesting coincidence, in connection with the story
of St. Alban, which I have not seen noticed. The Gauls of Galatia, as we
have seen, were of kin to the Britons; and while the Britons were being
almost entirely saved from harm by Constantius, their Galatian cousins
were passing through a very fiery trial. The persecution of Diocletian
raged furiously in Galatia. As St. Alban is, I believe, the earliest
example of a name attached to a Christian site in this island, so the
earliest existing church in Ancyra, the capital of Gaulish Galatia, owes
its name to St. Clement, the martyr bishop of Ancyra, St. Alban's
contemporary in martyrdom.

It is unnecessary to say more on the evidence of Christianity in our
island at least from 200 onwards. But, as I have said before, there is an
entire dearth of information as to any special introduction of the new
faith. It came. It grew. How it came; who planted it; who watered it; all
is blank.

You are, of course, familiar with the story that Lucius, a British king,
requested Eleutherus, or Eleutherius, Bishop of Rome 171 to 185, to send
some one to teach his people Christianity, of which he had himself some
knowledge. The documents which profess to be the letters connected with
this request are unskilful forgeries. A note is appended to the name of
Eleutherus in the _Catalogue of Roman Pontiffs_ to the effect that "he
received a letter from Lucius, a British king, requesting that he might be
made a Christian." But this is a later addition, for it does not exist in
the earlier catalogue, which was itself written nearly 200 years after the
supposed event. It is an addition of the kind of which we have, alas! so
many examples at Rome and elsewhere, but especially and above all at Rome:
a statement inserted in later times for the sake of magnifying the claims
to ecclesiastical authority, and affording evidence, in an uncritical age,
of their recognition by former generations. The credit of this fallacious
insertion has rather unkindly, but perhaps not unjustly, been assigned to
Prosper of Aquitaine, of whom we shall hear again[25]. It is quite in his

It is natural to say, and many of us no doubt have said it, that there is
no improbability in the statement that such an application was made. I
used to think so, but each further investigation makes the improbability
seem more real. Neither if we look to the Church of Rome, at the time, nor
if we look to the state of Gaul, shall we find encouragement for a story,
which in itself it would be very pleasant to believe of our British
predecessors. It might be thought not unlikely that some Christian,
escaping from the terrible persecutions just then enacted at Lyons and
Vienne, had fled northwards through lands all pagan, and had reached pagan
Britain. But if that were so, he would scarcely tell Lucius to send to
Rome. There were Christians in Southern Gaul: send to them. The man's
allegiance to a centre would be to Asia Minor, not to Rome. The Bishops of
Rome, too, were not particularly strong men in early times, nor men of
much distinction. The really great men were in the East; were in Africa;
anywhere but Rome. The secular world was still ruled from the pagan city
of Rome; but ecclesiastical Rome was not in a large way as yet: it did not
as yet live up to its natural position. Rome was marked out by its supreme
secular position to be the centre of the Western Church; and it had,
besides, the great ecclesiastical claim of its origin. It was the most
ancient of the Churches of the West. It alone could stand the test, stated
so convincingly by Tertullian, of Apostolical foundation; for it, and it
alone in the West, had a letter that could be read in its churches from
the Apostle who founded it. Rome, as Tertullian says, had a letter written
by its founder, equal in this supreme respect, as he puts it, to Corinth,
Philippi, Thessalonica, Ephesus. It had also the exceptional happiness, as
Tertullian justly describes it, of being the scene of the martyrdom of its
founder, St. Paul; and of that other great Apostle who found a grave
there, St. Peter; to which Tertullian adds the miracle of St. John at the
Latin gate. The force of the claim which its secular position gave to it
was fully and justly recognised by the Second General Council, in terms
which are a permanent stumbling-block to the mediaeval claims of Rome. The
Fathers, assembled in 381, declared that the see of Constantinople should
rank next in precedence to the see of Rome, on the ground that
Constantinople, now the seat of empire, was 'new Rome;' taking
ecclesiastical rank from its secular position, as Rome itself had done. In
the early times of which we are now speaking, we do not find even the
germ of the mediaeval theory of Roman supremacy; and the men who filled
the office of Bishop of Rome were not men of mark enough to work any
approach to such a theory, or to fix upon them the eyes of a far-off
barbarian chief. It was either this Eleutherus, or his successor Victor,
who was all but taken in to recognise Montanism, as indeed Zosimus was
taken in, 250 years later, by the superior subtlety of our countryman, the
Briton Pelagius. Eleutherus, or Victor, was only saved from this grave
mistake by the advice of an Oriental heretic.

But apart from all such considerations, which I mention historically and
not polemically, I see no reason why Britons should go so far afield if
they wished to learn of Christ. With Gaul so close at hand, its people so
near of kin, its government so identical with theirs, the Britons would
hear of Christianity, would learn Christianity, from and through Gaul, and
would look to Gaul, not Italy. But if we look to the state of Gaul in the
time to which this British king is assigned, we shall see that it was in
the very highest degree improbable that he should aim at making his people
Christians. It was a time of terrible trial, with everything to be lost by
becoming Christian. What sort of Christian hero was this, in the year 175
or 180, who desired to lead his nation to a change in their religion, that
they might court the barbarous tortures inflicted by their kinsfolk on all
of the Christian name at this exact conjuncture?

The new faith was planted in the south of Gaul comparatively early, but it
spread northwards very slowly. The first congregations, those of Lyons and
Vienne, were formed by Christians from Asia Minor, where some of them had
known Polycarp, who was a pupil of St. John. Soon after the foundation of
this infant Church, the great persecution of its members took place, about
the year 175, when Eleutherus was bishop of Rome. The details of the
persecution are so well known, through the letter which the survivors
wrote--not to Rome, but to their parent Church and personal friends in
Asia and Phrygia,--a letter preserved to us by the Greek historian
Eusebius, that I think they have given a wrong impression as to the extent
of the Christian Church in Gaul towards the end of the second century[26].
The Christians at Lyons and Vienne were a small and isolated flock, not
however isolated as foreigners speaking a strange tongue, for Irenaeus,
who was one of them, mentions his daily use of the Gallic language. They
seem to have been almost the only Christians known in Gaul. The ignorance
of the practices of Christianity was so great among the Gauls, that they
were accused of crimes such as they did not believe any man
committed,--banquets of Thyestes, incests of Oedipus. That was in the year
175. Lyons was a wonderful water-centre. An examination of a good map will
surprise even those who know France fairly well. North, south, east, and
west, there were water-ways. Even Eusebius, writing far away in the East,
remarked on this; and you know how tantalisingly silent early historians
are as a rule about such things. And yet Christianity spread exceedingly
slowly. Gregory of Tours, whose inclination would not be to make little of
the early Church in Gaul, seeing that he was a Gallo-Roman of lofty
lineage, and not a newfangled Frank, quotes with complete assent the
statement that a great missionary effort had to be made in Gaul about the
year 250 to spread Christianity; and that so late as that, missionary
bishops had to be sent--neither he nor his authority says by whom--to
seven cities and districts, in most of which, we should otherwise have
supposed, Christianity in its full form had for many years existed. These
were Tours, Arles, Narbonne, Toulouse, Paris, Auvergne, and Limoges[27].
With the exception of Paris, that does not carry us very far towards
Britain, even in the middle of the third century. There is not any
evidence, and without evidence it would be unreasonable to imagine so
improbable a thing, that far-away Britain was in advance of Gaul by
decades of Christian years. Gregory of Tours, however, was not completely
informed. We may probably accept, as having some historical foundation,
the story that some of those who escaped from the persecution at Lyons did
push up northwards and teach Christianity at Autun, Dijon, and Langres.
The last-named town was well up on one of the routes to Britain. It was
the death-place of Abbot Ceolfrid on his journey towards Rome in 716.

If we look to the traditional dates of the establishment of bishoprics in
the parts of Gaul which face the Britannic isles, we shall find that even
tradition does not assign to them any very early origin. Beginning with
the archdiocese of Rouen, and bearing in mind that it is not the way of
ecclesiastical traditions to err on the side of lateness, the first dated
bishops in the several dioceses are as follows. The third bishop of Rouen,
or, as some count, the second, was at Arles in 314. The third bishop of
Bayeux dates 458-65. The second bishop of Avranches, 511. The second
bishop of Evreux, 450-90. The fifth bishop of Séez, 500. The first bishop
of Lisieux whose name is recorded, 538. The first bishop of Coutances,
about 475. As three British bishops were at Arles in 314, when only one of
these seven bishoprics was in existence, the antiquity and completeness of
our island Church compares very favourably with that of the archdiocese of
Rouen. Passing to the archdiocese of Cambray, the first bishop of Cambray
died in 540; the first bishop of Tournay is dated 297; the other
bishoprics are late. In the archdiocese of Rheims, the two first bishops
of Rheims, paired together, are assigned to 290; the two first bishops of
Soissons were the same pair as those of Rheims; the first bishop of Lâon
was at Orleans in 549; Beauvais, 250; Châlons about 280; the second bishop
of Amiens, 346; the ninth of Senlis, 511; the second of Boulogne, 552.
Here, again, our three bishops at Arles in 314 compare favourably with
this great archdiocese, which was in the most accessible part of Gaul for
the insular Britons.

Unless we are prepared to believe that our island was Christianised by
some influence apart from Gaul, and reaching us through some route other
than that of Gaul--and I do not see any evidence for anything of the
kind--we must, I think, take it that our position was that of younger
sister to the Church in Gaul. All the indications point in that direction.
It is most cruel that the British history has all been blotted out, by the
severity of the English conquest and the barbarity of the bordering
tribes. In Gaul, the history was not blotted out by the successful
invasion of the Franks. Gregory of Tours died in the year 594, of which we
have said so much. He was a Gallo-Roman, one of the race overrun by the
Franks; and yet he writes the history of the Franks, putting on record an
immense amount of information about the earlier Gaulish times--not very
trustworthy, it is true. But for the sack of London by the East Saxons, of
which I shall have to speak later, we might have had a history that would
solve all our doubts, from a Brito-Roman Bishop of London, exactly
contemporary with Gregory of Tours. Failing all such record, we must read
the signs for ourselves, and they point in the direction I have described.
They make us a younger sister, not very much younger, of the Church of
Gaul--a Church founded from Ephesus--Oriental in its origin, not Western.
I may, perhaps, have time to indicate in my concluding lecture some points
which shew the non-Western connection of the British Church.

The probability is that from Tertullian's time onwards the faith spread
and grew here quietly. The Christian Church certainly took to itself an
outward form. Bishops were appointed in central places. By the year
314--that is, in one century of growth--it appears that we had in Britain
a Christian Church as fully equipped as any corresponding area of the
Continent at that time was. What is the evidence for this?

At the Council of Arles, A. D. 314, three British bishops were present.
Two of them are described as of the province of Britain; the third is not
so described. All are included among the bishops of the Galliae, that is,
of the province of the Roman Empire so called. Three may not sound a
large number, but as a question of proportion it is in fact large[28].
Thirty-two or thirty-three bishops, in all, signed the decrees of the
Council. Of these, seven were from Italy and the islands, ten from Africa,
eleven from what we call France, three from Britain, and two from
elsewhere. The large number of bishops from Africa will surprise no one
who knows the prominence of the African Church in the early times, the
large number of its bishoprics, the area which it covered. It was the
birthplace and home of Latin Christianity, while the Roman Church was
still practically a Greek Church. In Africa, not in Italy, the Latin
version of the Scriptures was first made.

The principal French bishoprics represented at Arles were Marseilles,
Vienne, Lyons, Bordeaux, Trèves, Rheims, and Rouen. In such company it is
quite sufficient for us to find York and London, and a see which is
understood to be Caerleon; the three bishops thus representing the whole
of the island except Caledonia, and occupying what may well have been
regarded as the three metropolitical sees, north, south, and west. This
coincided fairly well with the re-arrangement of the Roman province of
Britain shortly before this time. I venture to suggest that the dates I
gave just now, of the foundation of bishoprics in Belgic Gaul, appear to
shew some considerable advance in the years about 280, and that from 260
to 280 may have seen the commencement of British episcopacy.

The records of the signatures at the Council of Nicaea in 325 are, as is
well known, not in such a state as to enable us to say that British
bishops were present. But considering their presence at Arles, the first
of the Councils, and the interest of Constantine in Britain and his
intimate local knowledge of its circumstances; considering, too, the very
wide sweep of his invitations to the Council; it is practically certain
that we were represented there. At the Council of Sardica, in 347, only
the names of the bishops are given, not their sees. But fortunately the
names of the bishops are grouped in provinces. The province of the
Gauls--that is, Gaul and Britain--had thirty-three bishops present. I
think that any one who has studied the dates of the foundation of the
French bishoprics will allow that to make up thirty-three bishops in 347,
several British bishops must have been included. At the Council of Rimini,
in 359, there were so many British bishops present that three were singled
out from the rest of their countrymen as being so poor that they accepted
the Emperor's bounty for their daily support, declining a collection made
for their expenses among their brother bishops. The others, who could do
without the Imperial allowance, refused it as unbecoming.

In the year 358 or 359, in preparation for this Council of Rimini, a
treatise of great importance was addressed to the bishops of the British
provinces, among others. This was the treatise of Hilary, bishop of
Poitiers, on the Synods of the Catholic Faith and against the Arians. He
wrote at a very anxious time, when he was himself in exile for the faith,
and when he earnestly desired that his orthodox colleagues should take a
broad view, so as not to keep out of their communion any who could
properly be included. He addressed his treatise to the bishops of Germany,
Gaul, and the British provinces. He wrote as to men thoroughly familiar
with the very subtle heresy that was dividing the world, men who were
thoroughly sound on the point in dispute, but inclined perhaps to be
rather unflinching on a point on which he desired to make some
concession--concession in terms, not in substance. He specially urged them
not to press as vital one single phrase, not to reject as fatal another.
For, as he pointed out, each phrase could be used with a sound meaning,
either could be used unsoundly. Again, he reminded them of the difficulty
inherent in attempts to express exactly in one language a difficult
technical phrase from another. Hilary, as the first person in Gaul to
write ecclesiastical and religious treatises in Latin, instead of the then
more familiar Greek, felt this difficulty keenly; as our own Bede did when
he tried to put Caedmon's Creation song into Latin. And he warned them
against misconceiving the views of others; pointing out that while they
suspected the Oriental bishops of doubting the coequality of the Son of
God with the Father, the Oriental bishops suspected them of doubting the
distinction between the Father and the Son. Hilary had been, before his
conversion to Christianity, a highly-trained and cultured official of his
Gallo-Roman city, and he wrote this treatise with force and insight on
very difficult subjects. It was a compliment to the bishops of any church
that such a document should be addressed to them. We learn in the sequel
that Hilary's views of comprehension prevailed; but we have no means of
determining what was the share of the British in this result. I need
probably not go further in the records of British connection with
ecclesiastical events on the continent.

It may have seemed to you rather barren, this talk of Councils. But it is
in reality far from being barren talk. It shews us the representatives of
the British Church in the full swim of ecclesiastical affairs; summoned as
a matter of course to the greatest councils; addressed as a matter of
course by the greatest writer of their quarter of the world; taking their
share in the settlement of the most subtle and vital points of Christian
faith and practice. At Arles, they dealt with the question, so practical
after Diocletian's recent persecution, how men were to be re-admitted to
the Church, who in time of persecution had fallen away. They decided,
further, one of the gravest questions they could have had to decide,
whether baptism in the name of the blessed Trinity was valid baptism, even
though a schismatic had administered the rite. Their decision was against
re-baptism in such cases, a fact of which I may have time to remind you
when I speak of some of the practices of the British Church; admission by
the laying on of hands was to suffice. They also determined that Easter
must be kept everywhere on one and the same day, again a fact which
reappears very prominently in their later history. At Nicaea, they dealt
with the greatest question that ever stirred the Church of Christ, the
question of the coequal deity, the oneness of nature, of the Son with the
Father; and they laid down a rule for observing Easter, from which their
descendants 350 years later accused the Roman Church of having departed.
At Sardica they asserted the innocence of St. Athanasius; and gave
authority to Julius, Bishop of Rome, to receive appeals from a province,
if a bishop was dissatisfied with a decision of his synod. Their
descendants were too busy with the inroads of barbarians and the
subtleties of heretics, to pay much heed to the amusing exposure by the
African Church of the Popes Zosimus, Boniface, and Celestine, 417-432, for
quoting this Sardican Canon as a Canon of Nicaea, with "Julius" altered
to "Sylvester" to make the name fit the forged date. The difference
between calling it a Nicene Canon and calling it Sardican may seem little
more than a question of a right name and a wrong. But its effect was
tremendous. It added the greater part of the known world to the sphere of
influence of the Bishop of Rome. For the Sardican Canons were passed by
the Western bishops, after the Easterns had left Sardica, and could bind
at most only the West. The Canons of Nicaea were binding on the whole of
the Christian world. The sarcastic comments of the African Church, in
their letter to Celestine, at the close of the controversy, should have
had more effect in checking such proceedings than it had. At Rimini the
British upheld the coequal deity of the Son; and when the Arian Emperor
compelled the signature of a heterodox creed, the bishops of the provinces
of Gaul gathered themselves together on their way home, and re-asserted
their Catholic belief. Time after time, from Constantine onwards, the
unswerving orthodoxy of the British was the subject of special and
favourable comment. They were, as I began by saying, in the full swim of
ecclesiastical affairs; and they held a position of recognised importance
with dignity and effect.

Nor was the journeying of British Christians limited to attending
Councils. A historian writing in 420, of the time before 410, says that
from East and West people were flocking on pilgrimage to the Holy Land,
from Persia and from Britain. And Theodoret, writing of the years about
423, says that many went to the Holy Land from the extreme West,
Spaniards, and Britons, and the Galatae who dwelled between them.

We now come to a time when two natives of these islands played a large
part--one of them, a very large part, in the origin the principal part--in
the great theological controversy of the Western Church, a controversy
which touched the East too, but less pointedly. Pelagius and Coelestius
enunciated the views on the nature of man, and the operation of the grace
of God, which were combated with vehemence by two of the leading men of
the West, Augustine and Jerome. From that day to this the controversy has
never died out. When the first beginnings of the theory of
transubstantiation were heard, this Pelagian controversy divided those who
opposed the new idea. Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas, in their turn,
differed on this point, as Pelagius and Augustine did. The Franciscans and
the Dominicans took respectively the views of those two great schoolmen.
The Jesuits and the Jansenists of Louis XV's time shewed a like cleavage.
Wherever you find Calvinistic views held and combated, there you have in
fact the controversy which was started by our countrymen. Calvin declared
that every man is predestined to life or to death, from before the
foundation of the world. Pelagius maintained the freedom of will and
action of every man; his power by nature to turn and come to God; his
natural independence, so to speak.

One of the two great opponents of Pelagius, Augustine of Hippo, says that
Pelagius was a Briton. The name is Greek, and means "of the sea,"
"belonging to the sea," and hence his native name has been supposed to be
Morgan, sea-born: that, however, is only a guess. The other writers who
were his contemporaries call him a Briton. His second principal opponent,
Jerome, says that he was by birth one of the Scots, neighbours of the
Britons. This meant in those times, and for some centuries after, a native
of Ireland, whether living in Ireland or settled in the northern parts of
Britain, if any Scots were settled there so early as 370, which was about
the date of his birth. It is, however, quite as likely that Jerome is
speaking not of Pelagius, but of his companion Coelestius, whom all allow
to have been an Irishman. Whichever he means, he is not civil, as he
seldom was in controversy. He describes his opponent as "a huge fellow,
stuffed to repletion with Scotch porridge," a most disrespectful way of
speaking of porridge. Pelagius was a layman, and a monk. About 400 he went
to Rome, and he remained there till the shadow of Alaric's siege began to
fall upon the city. In those eight years he lived an exemplary life. He
urged upon others the necessity of so living, and the uselessness of
religious observance combined with laxity of life. It is easy to see how
this admirable line of teaching might be diverted, by the pressure of
controversion, into a declaration that all men could, if they pleased, so
live; that it was a matter of will, not of grace, a man's turning to God
and living as a believer should live. This was quite different from the
controversy between faith and works, which some have believed to exist
between St. Paul and St. James. It was the controversy between the
necessity of the grace of God for a man to live as he should, and the
comparative subordination of grace to the sufficient power of the will of
man. Pelagius held that if the will was not free, man was a mere puppet:
if the will was not free, man was not responsible. From this position,
which is one side of a great truth, he passed to the denial of the need
for God's grace, that is, he denied the other side of the same great
truth; or he so defined grace as to make it a mere matter of suitable

A great controversy on a great subject can scarcely stop short at its
first limits. Other points rise, unexpected results follow. I venture to
say that it is impossible to go on pressing one side of this great and
lasting controversy on the freedom of the will, to the disregard of the
other side, without arriving at results which shock the reverent common
sense of the devout Christian.

It is clear, for example, that when Pelagius asserted the freedom of man's
will to turn to God, he denied the Catholic doctrine of original sin, and
denying that, he denied so far the need for baptism. Indeed he taught
directly, it was in fact the key of his position, that when man sinned he
sinned after the example which Adam had set, not because he had received
the taint of sin by his descent from Adam. When pressed on this question
of the need of baptism, he allowed that there was the need, but he put it
on a different basis from that which his opponents took. It was not
necessary for salvation, he maintained; but for those who desired to
reach the full Christian heaven, a state different from that of ordinary
salvation, for them it was necessary. Entrance to that higher order of the
heavenly life was not to be obtained without baptism. When pressed again,
on the question of the need for the operation of the grace of God, he
allowed that there was that need. But he explained that when he said God's
grace must be given in order that a man might turn to God, he meant that
the man must be set in a position and under conditions and with
surroundings which rendered it natural and likely that he should so turn.
It seems clear, further, that the Pelagian view of the position and nature
of man in respect to God is inconsistent with the doctrine of the
Redemption wrought by Christ. That great sacrifice is rendered
unnecessary, if the views of Pelagius are accepted. Men could, so to
speak, turn to God and be saved without the Atonement. It is only fair to
say that the extreme view on the opposite side seems to be equally
inconsistent with this vital doctrine. If it be true that each man is
predestined absolutely to life or to death, whether before the fall of
Adam or as the immediate consequence of that fall, it would appear that
not all the Atonement of Christ can add one single soul to them that
shall be saved.

My object is to speak of Church History, not of doctrine. But this
Pelagian question is the most important fact in the history of the British
Church; and unless these few words were said to bring out the extreme
gravity of the matter in dispute, the episode would not appear to fill the
important place it does in fact fill.

With Pelagius himself we have but little to do. He spent his life far from
his native shores; he propounded his views in Rome and Carthage and
Palestine, not in London and York and Bangor. But the history of what
happened to him and his views in those distant parts is so curious--if one
may say so, so comical--and the evidence it affords of the importance of
the controversy is so great, that I must say a little about it. We shall
find in it, I think, an explanation of the course taken by the British

At Rome Pelagius met Coelestius, a Scot--that is, a native of Ireland--and
Coelestius became a devoted champion of his views, publishing them in a
more definite form than Pelagius himself adopted. These views were
condemned at a Council held at Carthage in 412. A Council at Jerusalem in
415 heard the explanations of Pelagius and did not condemn him. A Council
at Lydda in the same year fully accepted his explanations, to the great
wrath of Jerome. Carthage then took the matter up again, and requested
that Pelagius should be summoned to return to Rome, and the whole matter
be fully inquired into there, the controversy being one affecting the West
and not the East. To enable the Bishop to form an opinion on the views of
Pelagius, they sent him a copy of one of his books, with the worst
passages marked. Innocent, the Bishop of Rome, gladly received this
request, treating it as a request for his authoritative verdict, which it
was not. He replied in three letters dated January 27, 417. He began each
with a strong assertion of the supreme authority of his see, and many
expressions of his satisfaction that the controversy had been referred to
him for final decision. The Bishop was clearly not to the manner born.
These were not the sayings of unconscious dignity, of unquestionable
authority. He did protest too much. The book of Pelagius forwarded to him
he pronounced unhesitatingly to be blasphemous and dangerous; and he gave
his judgement that Pelagius, Coelestius, and all abettors of their views,
ought to be excommunicated.

Nothing could be more clear. But, unfortunately for the consistency of
official infallibility, Innocent died six weeks after writing these
letters, and Zosimus succeeded him. Coelestius and Pelagius between them
were too much for Zosimus. Coelestius came to Rome. He argued with Zosimus
that the points in dispute lay outside the limits of necessary articles of
faith, and declared his adherence to the Catholic faith in all points.
Pelagius did not come, but he wrote to Zosimus. Zosimus declared the
letter and creed of Pelagius to be thoroughly Catholic, and free from all
ambiguity; and the Pelagians to be men of unimpeachable faith, who had
been wrongly defamed. Augustine appears to imply that in his opinion
Zosimus had allowed himself to be deceived by the specious and subtle
admissions of the heretics.

Zosimus did not rest satisfied with that. He wrote to the African bishops,
vehemently upbraiding them with their readiness to condemn, and declaring
that Pelagius and his followers had never really been estranged from
Catholic truth. Far from accepting his decision or his rebukes, the
Africans, who enjoyed a successful tussle with a Pope, sent a subdeacon
with a long reply. Zosimus, in acknowledging their letter, wrote in
extravagant terms of the dignity of his own position as the supreme judge
of religious appeals, and, quaintly enough, hinted at the possibility of
reconsidering his decision. The Africans did not wait. They met in synod,
214 bishops or more, and passed nine canons, anathematizing the Pelagian
views. The Emperors Honorius and Theodosius banished Pelagius and
Coelestius from Rome. What was Pope Zosimus to do, under these singularly
trying circumstances? These men, thus banished from Rome, he had declared
to be men of unimpeachable faith, wrongly defamed, never estranged from
Catholic truth. He dealt with the matter in this way. He wrote a circular
letter, declaring that the Popes inherit from St. Peter a divine authority
equal to that of St. Peter, derived from the power which our Lord bestowed
on him; so that no one can question the Pope's decision. He then proceeded
to censure, as contrary to the Catholic faith, the tenets of Pelagius and
Coelestius, specially censuring some of Pelagius's comments on St. Paul
which had been laid before him since his former decision. He ordered all
bishops, in the churches acknowledging his authority, to subscribe to the
terms of his letter on pain of deprivation. In Italy itself, Rome's own
Italy, eighteen bishops protested against this change of front, and were
deprived of their sees under the authority of the civil power.

Of course all men, however exalted their position, are liable to these
sudden changes, whether pressed by external circumstances or impelled by
inward conviction. And men who have themselves known what it is to be
tried in any such way, on however humble a scale, are inclined rather to
feel with them than sharply to condemn them; especially when, as in this
case, their second thoughts are best. But if they are to be treated thus,
with kindly judgement not unmixed with sympathy, they must not herald
their change of view with statements that they have a divine authority,
equal to that of St. Peter, and that no one can question their
contradictory decisions.

To come nearer home after this long digression, which yet is not really a
digression from the British point of view. The views of Pelagius had
considerable success in Gaul, and gave a good deal of trouble there. In
Britain their success was alarmingly great. The bishops and clergy were
unable to make head against the wave of heresy. Whether there was
anything, in the independence of the position claimed by Pelagius for man,
which specially appealed to the nature of the Britons and their Celtic
congeners; anything in the claim of each individual to be good enough in
himself, if he pleases to be good enough; which harmonised with the
opinion those races had--dare I say have?--of themselves; these are
questions to which I cannot venture to give an answer. There the fact
remains, that Pelagianism did appeal very strongly to the temperament of
those who then dwelt in our land. And coupled with this is the fact, that,
however orthodox the clergy and bishops might be, and however well versed
in the great controversy in which in the previous century they had played
their part, the subtleties of this new controversy, initiated as it was by
one of their own or kindred race, springing up from their own nature and
appealing to the nature of their people, were too much for them--as indeed
they had been for Pope Zosimus. Agricola was the name of the man who acted
as the apostle of the Pelagians in the home regions, the son, we are told,
of a bishop of Pelagian views.

What our predecessors may have lacked in subtlety, they more than made up
in practical common sense. If they could not grapple with the heresy
themselves, they sent for those who could. They applied to their nearest
ecclesiastical neighbour, the Church of Gaul, to which no doubt they
looked partly as their mother and partly as their elder sister. The
account of their application and the response it met with comes to us from
a life of Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, the person chiefly concerned,
written by special request forty years after his death by an eminent
person, and published on the request of the then Bishop of Auxerre. When
the application reached the heads of the Gallican Church, a numerous synod
was called together, and Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus, Bishop of
Troyes, were appointed to visit Britain. The manner of treating the heresy
had been forced upon the attention of the Gallican prelates by their own
experiences. At that very time semi-Pelagianism was rife in the south of
Gaul, about Marseilles, and it continued in force there for a long time,
another fellow-countryman of ours, Faustus the Briton, imbuing even the
famous monastery of Lérins with this modified form of the heresy. To
concert measures for dealing with the south of Gaul, Prosper of Aquitaine,
a monk and probably a layman, afterwards secretary to Pope Leo the Great,
went to Rome about two years after this to consult the Pope, and from
Celestine he no doubt heard what he repeated or embellished twenty-five
years later. He tells us that the Pope took pains to keep the "Roman
island" Catholic, referring of course to the long occupation of Britain by
the Roman troops, at this time abandoned. In another passage, whose
genuineness has been questioned, Prosper says that Celestine sent Germanus
in his own stead to Britain. Prosper was certainly in a position to
receive from the best-informed source an account of what was done; but the
Gallican Church appears to have known nothing of this sending of Germanus
by Celestine. Prosper's inclination to magnify the importance of the Popes
has been referred to already[29]; and we may take it as certain that if
such an unparalleled step as going himself or sending some one in his
stead, a forecast of Gregory's action, had been attempted or taken by the
Pope, we should have heard of it in the records of Gaul or in the life of
Germanus. The successor of Germanus would have known of it. That Celestine
had known at the time what was going on, and that he felt and probably
expressed warm approval, we may regard as certain too. I must defer, to an
opportunity in my third lecture, remarks which I wish to make on what may
seem an ungenerous questioning of these assertions of benefits conferred
by Rome.

In 429, then, the Gallican prelates came to Britain. They had a very rough
crossing, and a story, rejected with scorn by quite modern writers, is
told of a miracle wrought by Germanus. He stilled the storm by pouring oil
upon the sea in the name of the Trinity. We now know that if they had oil
on board, and knew how to use it, the stilling of the waves was done;
without miracle, but with not the less earnest trust in the watchful care
of God[30].

It was on this journey to Britain that Germanus and Lupus saw at Nanterre
a little girl aged seven, and prophesied great things of her. Her name was
Genofeva, and she became the famous Ste. Geneviève. In these days when
people coquet with the principles of revolution and shut their eyes to its
realities, it may be well to add that her coffin of silver and gold was
sold in 1793, and her body burned on the Place de Grève, by public decree.

When they got to work in Britain, they proceeded on a definite plan. Some
sixty or seventy years before, Hilary, the Bishop of Poitiers, dealing in
Gaul with the great heresy which preceded this, had found it of great
service to go about from place to place and collect in different parts
small assemblies of the bishops, for free discussion and mutual
explanation. He found that misunderstandings were in this way, better than
in any other, got rid of, and differences of opinion were reduced to a
minimum. Germanus and Lupus dealt with the people of Britain as their
predecessor had dealt with the bishops of Gaul. They went all over,
discussing the great question with the people whom they found. They
preached in the churches, they addressed the people on the highroads, they
sought for them in the fields, and followed them up bypaths. It is clear
that the visitors from Gaul could speak to the people, both in town and in
country, in their own tongue, or in a tongue well understood by them. No
doubt the native speech of Gaul and that of Britain were still so closely
akin that no serious difficulty was felt in this respect. They met with
success so great that the leaders on the other side were forced to take
action. They felt, so the biographer tells us, not that his is likely to
be convincing evidence as to their feelings, that they must run the risk
of defeat rather than seem by silence to give up the cause. They
undertook to dispute with the Gallicans in public. The biographer is not
an impartial chronicler. The Pelagians came to the disputation with many
outward signs of pomp and wealth, richly dressed, and attended by a crowd
of supporters. Why should the biographer thus indicate that the Pelagian
heresy was specially rife among great and wealthy and popular people?
Perhaps it may be the case, that, with imperfectly civilised people, a
position of wealth and distinction tends to make men less humble in their
view of the need of the grace of God. Besides the principals, we are told
that immense numbers of people came to hear the dispute, bringing with
them their wives and children; coming, in the important phrase of the
biographer, to play the part of spectator and judge. That is the first
note we have of the function of the laity in religious disputes in this
land of ours. It is a pregnant hint. The disputants were now face to face.
On one side divine authority, on the other human presumption; on one side
faith, on the other perfidy; on one side Christ, on the other Pelagius.
The description is Constantius's, not mine. The bishops set the Pelagians
to begin, and a weary business the Pelagians made of it. Then their turn
came. They poured forth torrents of eloquence, apostolical and evangelical
thunders. They quoted the scriptures. The opponents had nothing to say.
The people, to whose arbitration it was put, scarce could keep their hands
off them; the decision was given by acclamation, against the Pelagians.

Where did this take place? Certainly not far from Verulam, for Constantius
goes on to say that the bishops hastened to the shrine of St. Alban, which
at the request of Germanus was opened, that he might deposit there some
relics which he had brought with him. He took away, in exchange, some
earth from the actual spot of the martyrdom. Presumably the disputation
took place somewhere near London, on the road to St. Albans; perhaps at
Verulam itself.

The British Church was thus saved from enemies within; but enemies without
soon had it by the throat. There were no Roman troops to guard the
northern wall, to guard the Saxon shore. The Roman troops had gone, and
with them the flower of the British youth[31]. From north and east the
barbarians poured in upon the Britons, pell mell. Gildas, crying bitter
tears, and using bitter ink, in his Welsh monastery, tells us of the
weakness and the follies of the British and their kings, of the cruelties
of the barbarous folk. We see in his pages the smoke of burned churches,
the blood of murdered Christians. Matthew of Westminster tells us that the
churches that were burned had the happier fate. In thirty cases churches
were saved and made into heathen temples, the altars polluted with pagan
sacrifice. But the Saxons and Angles made way so slowly that it is
certain they met with a much sturdier opposition than Gildas credits his
countrymen with. Strive as they would, however, and did, the Britons
gradually gave way. Thus, and thus only, can we fill the dreary void in
British history, which we know as the first hundred and fifty years of the
Making of England.

This brings us very near to the end of our period. Not of our subject; for
in my concluding lecture I have to deal--with sad scantness--with the
Christian Church in other parts of these islands, before and at the coming
of Augustine.

In the twenty years immediately preceding the arrival of Augustine, the
long line of British Bishops of London came to an end. It has been a
subject of remark, and of moralising, that Theonus, the last bishop, lost
heart and fled just when the chance was coming for which it is presumed
that he had been waiting, the actual beginning of the conversion of the
English. But remarks of this character are misplaced; they disregard--or
are ignorant of--the political facts of the time. Theonus of London was a
British bishop in a British city. London had not fallen. Most difficult of
access in the then state of land and water, of marsh and mud, whether
from north or south or east or west, it held out to the last. The earliest
date that can be assigned to its fall is about the year 568, and a date so
early as that is only given to account for Ethelbert's being able to take
his army from Kent to Wimbledon without interruption from London. But for
that, and there may be other explanations of it, it is quite possible to
put the taking of London by the East Saxons a few years later. But it is
not necessary for our purpose. The date of the flight of Theonus has been
said to be 586. It is probable that this is about the date of Ethelbert's
vigorous action northwards, by which he made himself over-lord of his East
Saxon neighbours and of London their most recent conquest, which they
appear not to have occupied for some years after its fall. The political
and administrative changes, due to this expansion of the power of Kent,
may well have made ruined London no longer a possible place of residence,
and of work, for a Christian Briton so prominent in position and office as
the Bishop of London must always have been. It seems probable that Matthew
of Westminster was not far wrong when he wrote that in 586 Theonus took
with him the relics of the saints, and such of the ordained clergy as had
survived the perils, and retired to Wales. Others, he says, fled further,
to the continental Britain. Thadioc of York, he adds, went at the same
time. In some parts, as for instance about Glastonbury, the British
Christians remained undisturbed by the English for sixty or seventy years

A year or two ago, when we set up the list of Bishops of London in the
south aisle here, there was at first an inclination in some quarters to
criticise the decision at which we arrived as to the bishops of the
British period. But the explanations kindly given by those who approved
our action soon put a stop to that. There is a list of Archbishops of
London before Augustine's time, beginning about the year 180 and ending
with Theonus, whose date may be put about 580. In those four centuries,
sixteen names are given, a number clearly insufficient for 400 years. The
names are specially insufficient in the later part of the time, only four
being given between 314 and 580. This is rather in favour of the four
names being real; for it is evident that if people were inventing names,
they might as well have invented twenty, while they were about it, instead
of only four, for 260 years[33].

The traditions of York do not supply any long list of bishops, continuous
or not. Eborius, at Arles in 314, is the first named. And there are only
three others, each of whom has a date with Matthew of Westminster, Sampson
507, Piran 522, Thadioc 586. York probably fell as early as the date
assigned to Sampson; who, by the way, was created Archbishop of York by
the forgers of the twelfth century, to back up an ecclesiastical claim on
the continent.

The decision at which we arrived in respect of the London list was to give
one name only, that of Restitutus, putting a row of dots above him and
below him, to shew that there were British bishops before him, probably
very few, and British bishops after him, certainly many. Restitutus signed
the decrees of the Council of Arles, as Bishop of London, in the year 314.
That is sure ground; and in a list of bishops, set up officially in the
Cathedral Church, nothing less solid than sure ground should be taken.

As to the British Bishops of London being styled archbishops, there is no
evidence for it. Our famous Dean Ralph (A. D. 1181), no mean historian,
left on record his view that there were three archbishoprics[34] in
Britain--London, York, and Caerleon--which last, he said, corresponded to
St. David's. Whether Gregory had some information that has since been
lost, respecting the ecclesiastical arrangements which had existed here,
we cannot say; but it is a curious coincidence, explicable perhaps by the
mere importance of the two places, that he directed Augustine to make
arrangements for a metropolitan at London, with twelve suffragans, and a
metropolitan at York with twelve suffragans. The complete arrangements, as
set out by Gregory when he sent an additional supply of missionaries to
Augustine, of whom Mellitus was one, were as follows. Augustine was told
to ordain in various places twelve bishops, to be subject to his control,
so that London should for the future be a metropolitan see; and it appears
that Gregory contemplated Augustine's occupying as a matter of course the
position of Bishop of London[35]. He was to ordain and send to York a
suitable bishop, who should in like manner ordain twelve bishops and
become the metropolitan. The northern metropolitan was to be under
Augustine's jurisdiction; but after Augustine's death he was to be
independent of London, and for the future the metropolitan who was senior
in consecration was to have precedence[36]. This takes no account of the
bishops existing in what we call Wales and Cornwall. Gregory specially
declared that those bishops, then at least seven in number, were subject
to Augustine. It is impossible that these seven were to be included among
the twelve suffragans of London, for with Rochester and Canterbury that
would leave only three bishops for the whole of the rest of the south of
England. That the tradition of British times, and a part of the scheme
actually laid down by Gregory, should be carried out in our time, would be
I think an excellent thing. An Archbishop of London, with some half-dozen
suffragans, with dioceses and diocesan rank, in districts of this great
wilderness of houses, would be a solution of some very difficult problems.

There were two names in the traditional list which it was thought we might
at least have included along with Restitutus. One was that of the last on
the list, Theonus. But the evidence for him, though quite sufficient for
ordinary purposes, was not of the highest order. The other was that of
Fastidius, the last but two on the list. His date--for he was a real and
well-known man--was much earlier than that position would indicate, for he
was described, among illustrious men, by a writer who lived a full
century before Theonus, the last on the list. This writer, Gennadius of
Marseilles, informs us that Fastidius was a British bishop. One important
manuscript has, in place of this, "Fastidius a Briton," as if his being a
bishop was not certain. In any case there is nothing to connect him with
the bishopric of London, or with London, beyond the natural assignment to
the most important position of a man not specially assigned by the
earliest historian. His date is probably about 430 to 450.

This Fastidius is the only writer of the British Church, besides Pelagius
if we can properly reckon him as one, whose work has come down to us. I do
not know that the early British Christians produced any writers other than
Fastidius and Pelagius. Had their records not been destroyed, it might
well have been that many a manuscript work of British bishops would have
remained till the middle ages and been now in print. Fastidius and Gildas
are sufficient evidence of the literary tendencies of the British mind.
Indeed, we may credit the Britons of the time of Gildas with having been
laborious students, those, at least, who were settled in Wales. Their
Celtic cousins had a passion for writing.

We find Gennadius of Marseilles testifying to the soundness of the
doctrine of Fastidius, and its worthiness of God. But who shall testify to
the soundness of Gennadius? He was a semi-Pelagian; and so it appears was
Fastidius, for whose soundness he vouches. Fastidius distinctly quotes
from Pelagius, though without mentioning him by name. He uses the phrase
which is the keynote of Pelagianism, man sinned "after the example of
Adam;" and he describes the manner in which saints should pray, in words
which cannot be independent of Pelagius's words on that subject.

Apart from their heretical tendency, the works or work of Fastidius may be
taken as containing excellent teaching. He naturally presses most the
practical side, the necessity of a good life. "Our Lord said," he shrewdly
reminds the reader, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments;
He did not say keep faith only. For if faith is all that is required, it
is too much to say that the commandments must be kept. Far be it from me
to suppose, that my Lord said too much on any point." One interesting
allusion to the state of the country in his time, the Christian
settlements here and there in the midst of a heathen population, it may be
the Romano-Briton among the unmixed Britons, occurs in a passage full of
practical teaching:--"It is the will of God that His people should be
holy, and free from all stain of unrighteousness; so righteous, so
merciful, so pure, so unspotted from the world, so single-hearted, that
the heathen should find in them no fault, but should say in wonder,
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He hath
chosen for His own inheritance."


     Early Christianity in other parts of these islands.--Ninian in the
     south-west of Scotland.--Palladius and Patrick in Ireland.--Columba
     in Scotland--Kentigern in Cumbria.--Wales.--Cornwall.--The fate of
     the several Churches.--Special rites &c. of the British
     Church.--General conclusion.

We are to consider this evening the early existence of Christianity in
other parts of these islands, in order that we may have some idea of the
actual extent to which Christianity prevailed in England, Wales, Scotland,
and Ireland, at the time when Augustine came to Kent.

The Italians appear to have blamed the British Church for its want of
missionary zeal. But that only applied to missions to the Angles and
Saxons; and I have never quite been able to see how the Britons could be
expected to go to their sanguinary and conquering foes with any message,
least of all to tell them that their religion was hopelessly false. The
expulsion of the Britons from the land of their fathers was too recent for
that; the retort of the Saxons too apposite, that at least their gods had
shewn themselves stronger than the God of the Britons.

It is a curious fact that we know more of the work of the British Church
beyond its borders than at home; and what we know of it is very much to
its credit. Somewhere about the year 395, when the inroads of barbarians
from the north had become a grave danger, and the territory between the
walls had been abandoned by the Romano-Britons, one of the British nation,
who had studied at Rome the doctrine and discipline of the Western Church,
and had studied among the Gauls at Tours, established himself among the
Picts of Galloway and built there a church of stone. The story is that he
heard of the death of his friend Martin of Tours when he was building his
church, and that he dedicated it to him. This, which after all is a late
story in its present form, but is, as I think, to be fully accepted, gives
us the date 397; the only sure date in Ninian's history. From this
south-west corner of Scotland he spread the faith, we are told, throughout
the southern Picts, that is, as far north as the Grampians.

This Christianising of the Picts may not have been very lasting. Patrick
more than once speaks of them[37] as the apostate Picts. It did not
prevent their ravaging Christian Britain, denuded of the Roman troops. But
it had a great influence in another way. The monastery of Whithorn, which
Ninian founded, was for some considerable time the training place of
Christian priests and bishops and monks, both for Britain, and,
especially, for Ireland. The Irish traditions make Ninian retire from
Britain and live the later part of his life in Ireland, where he is
certainly commemorated under the name Monenn,--"Mo" being the affectionate
prefix "my," and Monenn meaning "my Ninian."

Ninian lived and worked, we are told, for many years, dying in 432, a date
for which there is no known authority. That period covers the second,
third, and fourth withdrawal of the Roman troops from the northern
frontier and from Britain[38]; a time when British Christians might well
have said they had more than enough to do at home. Ninian's work has left
for us memorials such as no other part of these islands can shew. There
are three great upright stones, one at Whithorn itself, and two at
Kirkmadrine, that in all human certainty come from his time. They are in
complete accordance with what we know of sepulchral monuments in Roman
Gaul. Each has a cross in a circle deeply incised, with the member of an R
attached to one limb, so as to form the Chi Rho monogram. The Chi Rho is
found as early as 312 in Rome and 377 in Gaul, with Alpha and Omega, 355
in Rome and 400 in Gaul. _Hic iacet_ is found in 365. The stone at
Whithorn itself has _Petri Apustoli_ rather rudely carved on it. The two
at Kirkmadrine have Latin inscriptions[39] well cut, running apparently
from one to the other, as though they had stood at the head and foot of a
grave in which the four priests were buried:--"here lie the chief
priests"--some say that at that time _sacerdotes_ meant bishops--"that is,
Viventius and Mavorius" "[Piu]s and Florentius." One of these latter
stones has at the top, above the circle, the Alpha and Omega[40]. I ought
to say "had," for some years ago a carriage was seen from a distance to
drive up to the end of the lane leading to the desolate burying-place, a
man got out, went to the stone, knocked off with a hammer the corner
which bore the Omega, and made off with it. They are since then scheduled
as ancient monuments. There was formerly a third stone, which bore the
very unusual Latin equivalent of Alpha and Omega, _initium et finis_, "the
beginning and the end." These remains in a solitary place may indicate the
wealth of very early monuments we must once have had in this island, long
ago broken up by men who saw nothing in them but stones. Time would fail
if I were to begin to tell of the recent exploration of the cave known by
immemorial tradition as Ninian's cave, and of the sculptured treasures of
early Christianity found there. There is in this same territory between
the walls, but nearer the northern wall, another memorial of the later
British times. It is a huge stone a few miles north-west of Edinburgh,
with a rude Latin inscription[41], _In this tumulus lies Vetta, son of
Victis_. It takes us to the time when, along with the Picts and Scots who
ravaged Britain, we hear for the first time of allies of the ravagers
called Saxons. We are accustomed to think of the Saxons as coming first
from the south-east and east; but we hear of them first in this region of
which we are speaking. As Vetta and Victis correspond to the names of the
father and grandfather of Hengist and Horsa, it is difficult to resist the
suggestion that in this great Cat Stane, that is, Battle Stone, we have
the monument set up by the Romano-Britons, in triumph over the fallen
chief of the Saxon marauders. If this is so, the sons of Vetta found the
south of the island better quarters than their father found the north,
though Horsa, it is true, was killed soon. A great monument bearing his
name was to be seen in Bede's time in Kent, and this fact serves to
confirm the assignment of the Cat Stane to another generation of his

Ninian affords one of the many evidences of a close connection between
Britain and Gaul. We should have been surprised if there had not been this
close connection; but somehow or other it has been a good deal overlooked.
He dedicated his church to his friend St. Martin of Tours. In the
Romano-British times a church at the other end of the island, in
Canterbury, had a like dedication; and these are the only Romano-British
dedications of which we are sure, so far as I know.

In these dedications we may find an interesting illustration of what took
place in Gaul, especially in the parts near Britain. There are eighty-six
dioceses in modern France, and there are in all no less than 3,668
churches dedicated to St. Martin. There are eight of the eighty-six
dioceses which have more than 100 churches thus dedicated, and all of
these eight are in the regions opposite to the shores of Britain. Amiens
has 148; Arras 157; Bayeux 107; Beauvais 110; Cambray 122; Coutances 103;
Rouen 112; Soissons 158. Here again is an instance which shows Soissons
prominent in a British connection[42]. No other diocese has more than
eighty-four; and only five others have more than seventy. The Christian
poet of the sixth century, writing at Poitiers of St. Martin, declares
that the Spaniard, the Moor, the Persian, the Briton, loved him. This
order of countries is due only to the exigencies of metre. Gaul is not
named, because it was the centre of the cult of St. Martin, and there
Fortunatus wrote.

Next in order of time, we must turn to the main home of the Celtic or
Gaelic Church, the main centre of its many activities, Ireland. As is very
well known, Ireland never formed part of the Roman empire; never came
under that iron hand, which left such clear-cut traces of its fingers
wherever it fastened its grip. Agricola used to talk of taking possession,
about the year 80 A. D., but he never went. He had looked into the
question, and he thought the enterprise not at all a serious one, from a
military point of view; while, as a matter of policy, he was strongly
inclined to it. His son-in-law Tacitus tells us this[43], in one of those
little bursts of confidential talk which obliterate the eighteen centuries
that intervene, and make us hear rather than read what he says. "I have
often heard Agricola say that with one legion, and a fair amount of
auxiliaries, Ireland could be conquered and held; and that it would be a
great help, in governing Britain, if the Roman arms were seen in all
parts, and freedom were put out of sight." If this means that Ireland
could be seen from the parts of Britain of which he was speaking, we must
understand that he spoke of the Britons north of the Solway; and we know
that after his operations against Anglesey he passed on to subdue the
parts of Wigton and Dumfries, and, two years later, Cantyre and Argyll.
Those are the parts of this island from which Ireland is easily visible.

Of course we all know that St. Patrick was the Apostle of Ireland. That
puts the introduction of Christianity rather late; the date of Patrick's
death, which best suits at once the national traditions and the arguments
from contemporary events, being A. D. 493. Those who feel bound to give
him a mission from Pope Celestine put his death in 460, rather than face
the difficulty of making him live to be 120--or, as some say, 132.

The story of St. Patrick's life is told by many people in many different
ways, both in modern times and in ancient. In one of the accounts, known
as the Tripartite Life, written in early Irish, we find mention of the
existence of Christianity in Ireland before his time. He and his
attendants were about to perform divine service in the land of the Ui
Oiliolls, when it was found that the sacred vessels were wanting. Patrick,
thereupon, divinely instructed, pointed out a cave in which they must dig
with great care, lest the glass vessels be broken. They dug up an altar,
having at its corners four chalices of glass. Even in the Book of Armagh
we find that Patrick shewed to his presbyter a wonderful stone altar on a
mountain in this region. This may seem a slight basis on which to found
the existence of Christianity before Patrick, but its incidental character
gives it importance; and traditions of early times support the
conclusion. The whole of an elaborate story of Patrick finding bishops in
Munster, and coming to a compromise with them, is a late invention, forged
for an ecclesiastical purpose.

There is certainly evidence of an intention to preach Christianity in
Ireland before Patrick's time, and this evidence itself affords evidence
of a still earlier teaching. In speaking of the visit of Germanus to
Britain to put down Pelagianism, the first of two visits as tradition
says, I intentionally said nothing about the visit of Germanus's deacon
Palladius to Rome. Some writers would not allow the phrases "Germanus's
deacon," and "visit to Rome." They say that Palladius was a deacon of
Rome; from that he is made archdeacon of the Pope; and from that again a
cardinal and Nuncio apostolical. But I shall take him to be the deacon of
Germanus, a Gaul by birth and education, though some believe that he must
have been himself an Irishman.

The Chronicle of Prosper of Aquitaine, of which we have heard before[44],
has in the less corrupt of the two editions the statement that in 431
"Palladius was consecrated by Pope Celestine, and sent to the Scots
believing in Christ, as their first bishop." The Scots, of course, then
and for some centuries later, were the Irish. It is interesting to us to
find Pope Leo XIII, in his Bull restoring the Scottish hierarchy in 1878,
gravely taking Prosper to mean that Celestine sent Palladius as the
apostle of the Scots in the modern sense of the word, that is, the people
of what we call Scotland. Fordun, the chronicler of Scotland, came upon
the same rock, and was driven by consequence into wild declarations about
the work of Palladius in North Britain. Fordun, however, had the
disadvantage of not being infallible.

Prosper of Aquitaine is not a person to be implicitly followed, when the
subject is the claims and the great deeds of bishops of Rome. There is a
fair suspicion that it was he who credited Eleutherus with the mission to
Lucius[45]. His very title, Prosper of Aquitaine, reminds us that
Aquitaine includes Gascony. He is suspected of being a romancer. With him,
as indeed with many of the evidences of the importance of the action of
Rome in early times, great caution is necessary.

Remarks of this kind I do not make from choice; they are forced upon me.
It is a pleasure of a very real kind to feel grateful; but when people
base upon benefits conferred very large demands and claims, one's feelings
of gratitude rapidly and permanently take a very different character. A
proverb tells us not to look a gift horse in the mouth. But when there is
grave doubt whether the horse ever existed, and when an immense price is
afterwards demanded for the gift, proverbs of that kind do not appeal to
us very strongly. The claims upon us of mediaeval Rome, mischievous as
they were absurd, were based on evidence much of which was so fictitious,
that we are more than justified in scanning closely the beginnings of any
of the evidence. Time after time one is reminded, in looking into these
claims, of the retort of a lay ruler, referring to the forged donation by
the first Christian Emperor to the bishops of Rome. Asked by the Pope for
his authority for the independent position he maintained, "you will find
it," he said, "written on the back of the donation of Constantine."

Nor, again, would it disturb me in the least, if convincing evidence were
discovered, in favour of much which I think at best doubtful on the
evidence as now known. Benefits conferred lay the foundation of gratitude,
not of subservience. The descendants, and representatives, of those who
conferred them, have in our eyes all the interest attaching to descendants
of benefactors. But when the Popes--say of the Plantagenet times--on the
strength of the past or of the supposed past, lorded it over the English
people, and carried out of England, every year, to be spent in no very
excellent way in Italy, sums of money that would seem fabulous if it were
not that no one at the time contested their accuracy, the English people
found them, and frankly told them so, an intolerable nuisance. The demands
of the Popes were so ludicrous in their shamelessness, that when one of
them was read to the assembled peers, the peers roared with laughter. We
might perhaps forget such episodes as these. We might forget the
abominations which at times have steeped the Papacy and the infallible
Popes in earth's vilest vilenesses. We might dream, some of us did dream,
as young men, of drawing nearer to communion with the old centre of the
Western Church, while maintaining our doctrinal position. It was always
the fault of the Roman more than the Englishman that we had to part. And
now, late in time, in our own generation, the Roman has cut himself off
from us by an impassable barrier, the declaration of the divine
infallibility of the man who is the head of his Church. It is to me one of
the saddest sights on the face of the earth, a thoroughly estimable and
loveable old man, whom one cannot but venerate, made the mouthpiece of
ecclesiastics who are pulling the wires of policy, and declared to be the
medium of divinely infallible judgement.

It may well have been that Palladius came to Britain with Germanus, and
here heard--probably from the Britons of the West--of sparse congregations
of Christians scattered about in Ireland; and that he sought authority to
visit them, and confirm them in the faith, from some source which the
Irish people would not suspect or regard with jealousy. That he had the
assent of Germanus we may fairly suppose; that he had the consent and
authorisation of Pope Celestine I am quite ready to believe. Pope
Celestine, we may remember, was one of the Popes who got into trouble with
Africa for persisting in quoting a Sardican Canon as a Canon of Nicaea. He
was not likely to hesitate on ecclesiastical grounds when action such as
this was proposed to him.

Palladius went, then, about 432, to visit the scattered Irish Christians.
There is not a word of his mission being of the same character as that of
Germanus to Britain, namely, to attack Pelagianism. He landed in Ireland;
and then the several accounts proceed to contradict one another in a very
Celtic manner. The two earliest accounts, dating probably not later than
700, agree that the pagan people received him with much hostility. One of
the two accounts martyrs him in Ireland; the other says that he did not
wish to spend time in a country not his own, and so crossed over to
Britain to journey homewards by land, but died in the land of the Britons.
Another ancient Irish account says that he founded some churches in
Ireland, but was not well received and had to take to the sea; he was
driven to North Britain, where he founded the Church of Fordun, "and Pledi
is his name there." I found, when visiting Fordun to examine some curious
remains there, that its name among the people was "Paldy Parish."

The Scottish accounts make Palladius the founder of Christianity among the
Picts in the east of Scotland, Forfarshire and Kincardineshire and
thereabouts, Meigle being their capital for a long time. They are silent
as to any connection with Ireland. They are without exception late and
unauthentic, whatever may be the historical value of the matter which has
been imported into them. But all, Scottish and Irish, agree in assigning
to the work of Palladius in Ireland either no existence in fact, or at
most a short period and a small result. The way was thus left clear for
another mission. The man who took up the work made a very different mark
upon it.

I shall not discuss the asserted mission from Rome of St. Patrick, for we
have his own statements about himself. Palladius was called also Patrick,
and to him, not to the greater Patrick, the story of the mission from Rome

Some time after the death of Celestine and the termination of Palladius's
work in Ireland, Patrick commenced his missionary labours; and when he
died in or about 493, he left Christianity permanently established over a
considerable part of the island. That is the great fact for our present
purpose, and I shall go into no details. It is a very interesting
coincidence that exactly at the period when Christianity was being
obliterated in Britain, it was being planted in large areas of Ireland;
and that, too, by a Briton. For after all has been said that can be said
against the British origin of Patrick, the story remains practically

It is, I think, of great importance to note and bear in mind the fact that
Ireland was Christianised just at the time when it was cut off from
communication with the civilised world and the Christian Church in Europe.
Britain, become a mere arena of internecine strife, the Picts and Scots
from the north, and the Jutes and Saxons and Angles from the east and
south, obliterating civilisation and Christianity,--Britain, thus
barbarously tortured, was a complete barrier between the infant Church in
Ireland and the wholesome lessons and developments which intercourse with
the Church on the continent would have naturally given. Patrick, if we are
to accept his own statements, was not a man of culture; he was probably
very provincial in his knowledge of Christian practices and rites; a rude
form of Christian worship and order was likely to be the result of his
mission. He was indeed the son of a member of the town council, who was
also a deacon,--it sounds very Scotch: he was the grandson of a priest;
his father had a small farm. But he was a native of a rude part of the
island. And his bringing up was rude. He was carried off captive to
Ireland at the age of sixteen, and kept sheep there for six years, when he
escaped to Britain. After some years he determined to take the lessons of
Christianity to the people who had made him their slave. The people whom
he Christianised were themselves rude; not likely to raise their
ecclesiastical conceptions higher than the standard their apostle set;
more likely to fall short of that standard. In isolation the infant Church
passed on towards fuller growth; developing itself on the lines laid down;
accentuating the rudeness of its earliest years; with no example but its

And not only was the Irish Church isolated as a Church, its several
members were isolated one from another. It was a series of camps of
Christianity in a pagan land, of centres of Christian morals in a land of
the wildest social disorder. The camps were centred each in itself, like a
city closely invested. The monastic life, in the extremest rigour of
isolation, was the only life possible for the Christian, under the social
and religious conditions of the time. And each monastic establishment must
be complete in itself, with its one chief ruler, its churches, its
priests, and the means of keeping up its supply of priests. There was no
diocesan bishop, to whom men could be sent to be ordained, or who could be
asked to come and ordain. They kept a bishop on the spot in each
considerable establishment; to ordain as their circumstances might
require; under the rule of the abbat, as all the members were. Very
likely in great establishments they had several bishops. The groups of
bishops in sevens, named in the Annals, the groups of churches in sevens,
as by the sweeping Shannon at Clonmacnois or in the lovely vale of
Glendalough, these, we may surmise, matched one another. We read of
hundreds of bishops in existence at one time in Ireland, and people put it
down to "Irish exaggeration." But given this principle, that an Irish
monastery, in a land not as yet divided into dioceses, not possessing
district bishops, must have its own bishop, the not unnatural or unfounded
explanation of "Irish exaggeration" is not wanted. In some cases, no
doubt, a bishop did settle himself at the headquarters of a district, and
had a body of priests under his charge, living the monastic life with him
under his rule, and exercising ministrations in the district. But in the
large number of cases the bishops were only necessary adjuncts to
monasteries over which they did not themselves rule. A presbyter or a
layman ruled the ordinary monastery, including the bishop or bishops whom
the monastery possessed.

I have dwelt upon this because it is a point often lost sight of, and it
explains a good deal. And there is a good deal to explain. When
Columbanus and his twelve companions from Ireland burst suddenly upon Gaul
in the year 590, they formed a very strange apparition. Dressed in a
strange garb, tonsured in a strange manner, speaking a strange tongue, but
able to converse fluently enough in Latin with those who knew that
language, it was found that some of their ecclesiastical customs were as
strange as their appearance and their tongue; so strange that the Franks
and Burgundians had to call a council to consider how they should be
treated. Columbanus was characteristically sure that he was right on all
points. He wrote to Boniface IV, about the time when our first St. Paul's
was being built, to claim that he should be let alone, should be treated
as if he were still in his own Ireland, and not be required to accept the
customs of these Gauls. When Irish missionaries began to pass into this
island, on its emergence from the darkness that had settled upon it when
the pagan barbarians came, their work was of the most self-denying and
laborious character. But contact with the Christianity of the Italian
mission, or with that of travelled individual churchmen such as Benedict
and Wilfrid, revealed the existence of great differences between the
insular and the continental type. We rather gather from the ordinary
books that these differences came to a head, so far as these islands were
concerned, at the synod of Whitby, and that the Irish church not long
after accepted the continental forms and practices, and the differences
disappeared. But that is not the effect produced by a more extended
enquiry. In times a little later than the synod of Whitby, Irish
bishops--I say it with great respect--were a standing nuisance. One
council after another had to take active steps to abate the nuisance. The
Danish invasions of Ireland drove them out in swarms, without letters
commendatory, for there was no one to give due commendation. Ordination by
such persons was time after time declared to be no ordination, on the
ground that no one knew whether they had been rightly consecrated. There
was in this feeling some misapprehension, it may be, arising from the fact
of the government of bishops in a monastery by the presbyter abbat, but no
doubt the feeling had a good deal of solid substance to go upon. It was
reciprocated, warmly, hotly. Indeed, if I may cast my thought into a form
that would be recognised by the people of whom I speak, the reciprocators
were the first to begin. Adamnan tells us that when Columba had to deal
with an unusually abominable fellow-countryman, he sent him off to do
penance in tears and lamentations for twelve years among the Britons.
There is the curious--almost pathetic--letter of Laurentius and Mellitus,
the one Augustine's immediate successor, the other our first bishop of
English London, addressed to the bishops and abbats of all Scotia. "They
had felt," they said, "great respect for the Britons and the Scots, on
account of their sanctity. But," they pointedly remark, evidently smarting
under some rather trying recollections, "when they came to know the
Britons, they supposed the Scots must be superior. Unfortunately,
experience had dissipated that hope. Dagan in Britain, and Columban in
Gaul, had shewn them that the Scots did not differ from the Britons in
their habits. Dagan, a Scotic bishop, had visited Canterbury, and not only
would he not take food with them, he would not even eat in the same

It is very interesting to find that we can, in these happy days of the
careful examination of ancient manuscripts, put a friendlier face upon the
relations between the two churches in times not much later than these, and
in connection with the very persons here named. In the earliest missal of
the Irish church known to be in existence, the famous Stowe Missal,
written probably eleven hundred years ago, and for the last eight hundred
years contained in the silver case made for it by order of a son of Brian
Boroimhe, there is of course a list--it is a very long list--of those for
whom intercessory prayers were offered. In the earliest part of the list
there are entered the names of Laurentius, Mellitus, and Justus, the
second, third, and fourth archbishops of Canterbury, and then, with only
one name between, comes Dagan. The presence of these Italian names in the
list does great credit to the kindliness of the Celtic monks, as the
marked absence of Augustine's name testifies to their appreciation of his
character. Many criticisms on his conduct have appeared; I do not know of
any that can compare in first-hand interest, and discriminating severity,
with this omission of his name and inclusion of his successors' names in
the earliest Irish missal which we possess. It is so early that it
contains a prayer that the chieftain who had built them their church might
be converted from idolatry. Dagan, who had refused to sit at table with
Laurentius and Mellitus, reposed along with them on the Holy Table for
many centuries in this forgiving list.

Of a similar feeling on the part of the Britons, when isolated in Wales,
Aldhelm of Malmesbury had a piteous tale to tell, soon after 700. "The
people on the other side the Severn had such a horror of communication
with the West Saxon Christians that they would not pray in the same church
with them or sit at the same table. If a Saxon left anything at a meal,
the Briton threw it to dogs and swine. Before a Briton would condescend to
use a dish or a bottle that had been used by a Saxon, it must be rubbed
with sand or purified with fire. The Briton would not give the Saxon the
salutation or the kiss of peace. If a Saxon went to live across the
Severn, the Britons would hold no communication with him till he had been
made to endure a penance of forty days." There is quite a modern air about
this pitiful tale of love lost between the Celt and the Saxon[46]. Matthew
of Westminster, writing in the fourteenth century, carries the hostility
down to his time, in words which leave us in no doubt as to their
sincerity. "Those who fled to Wales have never to this day ceased their
hatred of the Angles. They sally forth from their mountains like mice from
caverns, and will take no ransom from a captive save his head."

Another result of the consideration, which I have suggested, of the date
and manner of the Christianising of Ireland, is the probability that the
Irish Church and the remains of the British Church had some not
inconsiderable differences of practice. This is a point which it would be
well worth while to examine closely, but we cannot do it now. Laurentius
and Mellitus at first supposed that the Britons and the Scots were the
same in their habits; then they supposed that they must be different; then
they found they were the same. But this was the habit of hostility to the
Italian mission in England, and that can scarcely be classed among
religious practices. It is too much assumed that the British Church and
the Celtic Church were the same in their differences from the Church of
the continent. To take one most important point, while they differed from
the Church Catholic in their computation of Easter, they differed from
each other in the basis of their computation. The British Church used the
cycle of years[47] arranged by Sulpicius Severus, the disciple of Martin
of Tours, about 410, no doubt introduced to Britain by Germanus; the Irish
Church used the earlier cycle of Anatolius, a Bishop of Laodicea in the
third century. The Council of Arles, in 314, had found that the West,
Britain included, was unanimous in its computation of Easter, and Nicaea,
in 325, settled the question in the same sense. Then came the cycle of
410, of which the British were aware, and not the Irish. Then came
another, in this way. Hilary, Archdeacon and afterwards Bishop of Rome,
wrote in 457 to Victorius of Aquitaine to consult him about the Paschal
cycle. The result was the calculation of a new cycle, which was authorised
by the Council of Orleans in 541. It was this newer cycle of which the
British Church was found to be ignorant, and their ignorance of it is
eloquent proof of the isolation into which the ravages of the invading
English had driven them. One of the indications of difference between the
Irish and the British Church is rather amusing. When the Irish had
conformed to Roman customs, well on in the seventh century, they solemnly
rebuked the Britons of Wales for cutting themselves off from the Western

We are not to suppose that the only intercourse with Ireland was through
Britain by way of the English Channel. The south of Ireland, at least, was
in direct communication with the north-western part of France by sea. When
a province of the Third Lyonese was formed, with Tours as its capital, in
394, its area including Britany and the parts south of that, Martin was
still Bishop of Tours, and he became the metropolitan. He at once sent
into Britany the monasticism which he had founded in Gaul, and it passed
thence direct to the south-west corner of Wales. Thence it passed to
Ireland. We hear of a ship at Nantes, ready to sail to Ireland. And in
Columba's time, when the Saint was telling them of an accident that was at
that moment happening in Istria, he assured them that in the course of
time Gallican sailors would come and bring the news[48]. This double
contact must be kept in mind, when we find the south of Ireland different
in Christian tone and temper from the north. It would seem that there were
race-differences too, but on that I must not enter.

I am not clear that the Irish Church, as such, had anything to do with
missionary enterprise among our pagan English ancestors. Columbanus merely
passed through Britain, on his way to do a much more widely-extended
missionary work in Gaul than Augustine, his contemporary, did in England.
But it is a very different matter when we come to the great off-shoot from
the Irish Church, the vigorous Church whose centre was the island of Hii,
its moving spirit St. Columba. Iona--to adopt the familiar blunder which
makes a _u_ into an _n_ in a name all vowels--Iona did indeed pay back
with a generous hand all and more than all that Ireland had owed to

It was in 563 that St. Columba crossed over from Ireland to north Britain,
with the wonted twelve companions. He established himself in the island of
Hii, the Iouan island, now called Iona. In 565 he went to the mainland,
crossed the central ridge of mountains, and made his way to the residence
of the king of the northern Picts, near "the long lake of the river Ness,"
not far from Inverness. Here he found much the same kind of paganism as
Patrick had found in Ireland. The king's priests and wise men, here as in
Ireland, went by the name of Druids, _Magi_ in Latin, and professed to
have influence with the powers of nature. Here he worked for some nine or
ten years with great success, beginning with the defeat of the Druids in
their attempt to prevent his coming, followed soon after by the baptism of
the king, who appears to have been a monarch of great power and wide rule.
Then Columba devoted himself to his island monastery; and it grew under
his hands and those of his immediate successors, till its fame reached all
lands. Columba died in 597, the very year in which Ethelbert was converted
to Christianity. Thirty-seven years after Columba's death, his successors
did that for the Northumbrian Angles which the successors of Augustine had
failed to do.

We shall make a very great mistake if we ridicule or under-rate the power
of the pagan priests, to whom these stories make reference. Classical
mythology treats the gods of Greece and Rome as intensely important
beings: and their priests were dominant. We must assign a like position to
the gods and the priests of our pagan predecessors. When Apollo was
consulted in Diocletian's presence, an answer was given in a hollow
voice, not by the priest, but by Apollo himself, that the oracles were
restrained from answering truly; and the priests said this pointed to the
Christians. And when the entrails of victims were examined in augury on
another of Diocletian's expeditions, and found not to present the wonted
marks, the chief soothsayer declared that the presence of Christians
caused the failure. Just such scenes were enacted, with at least as much
of tragic earnestness, when Patrick worsted the Druid Lochra in the hall
of Tara, or when Columba baffled the devices of Broichan, the arch-Druid
of Brude, the Pictish king.

While Columba was doing his great work, Christianity was re-established by
a British king in a part of Britain where it had been obliterated by pagan
Britons, that is, in the territory called Cumbria, extending southwards
from Dumbarton on the Clyde and including our Cumberland. The king was a
Christian; and the question whether Cumbria should be Christian or pagan
was brought to the arbitration of battle. The great fight of Ardderyd, a
few miles north of Carlisle, gave it for Christianity in 573, twenty years
before the period to which our attention is mainly drawn. Kentigern, a
native of the territory between the walls, became the apostle of Cumbria.
His mother was Teneu, or Tenoc, and in these railway days she has
re-appeared in a strange guise. From St. Tenoc she has become St. Enoch,
and has given that name to the great railway station in Glasgow, much to
the puzzlement of travellers, who ask when the Old Testament Enoch was
sainted by the Scotch[49]. The establishment of Christianity in this
kingdom of Cumbria is said by the Welsh records to have had a great
result. They claim that the first conversion of the northern section of
the Northumbrian Angles, before their relapse, was due to a missionary who
was of the royal family of Cumbria; indeed they appear to assert that
Edwin of Northumbria himself was baptised by this missionary, Rum, or Run,
son of Urbgen or Urien.

It seems probable that the districts of Britain which we call Wales had in
Romano-British times only one bishopric, that of Caerleon-on-Usk, near
Newport, in Monmouthshire. But as soon as light is seen in the country
again, after the darkness which followed the departure of the Romans, we
find a number of diocesan sees. The influx of bishops and their flocks
from the east of the island no doubt had something to do with this, as had
also the territorial re-arrangements under British princes. The secular
divisions probably decided the ecclesiastical. Bangor, St. Asaph, St.
David's, Llanbadarn, Llandaff, and Llanafanfawr, are the sees of which we
have mention, founded by Daniel, Asaph, David, Paternus, Dubricius, and
Afan. The deaths of these founders date from 584 to 601, so far as the
dates are known. Llanafanfawr was merged in Llanbadarn, and that again in
St. David's. These dates correspond well with the traditional dates of the
final flight of Christian Britons to Wales, under the pressure of Saxon
conquest. We may, I think, fairly regard this as the remodelling of the
British Church, which once had covered the greater part of the island, in
the narrow corner into which it had now been driven. It is to Bangor, St.
Asaph, St. David's, and Llandaff, that we are to look, if we wish to see
the ecclesiastical descendants of Restitutus and Eborius and Adelfius, who
in 314 ruled the British Church in those parts of the island which we call
England and Wales, with their seats or sees at London, York, and Caerleon.

When we come to consider the flight of the Christian Britons before the
Saxon invaders, it is worth while to consider how far Christianity really
had occupied the land generally, even at the date of its highest
development. The Britons were rather sturdy in their paganism. Their
Galatian kinsfolk were pagans still in the fourth century, to a large
extent. Their kinsfolk in Gaul were pagans to a large extent as late as
350. It seems to me not improbable that a good many of the Britons stayed
behind when the Christian Britons fled before the heathen Saxons; and that
the flocks whom British bishops led to places of safety, in Britany and
the mountains of Britain, may have been not very numerous. If on the whole
the fugitives were chiefly from the municipal centres, places so
completely destroyed as their ruins prove them to have been, the few
Christians left in the country places would easily relapse. But they would
retain the Christian tradition; and from them or their children would come
such information as that which enabled Wilfrid to identify, and recover
for Christ, the sacred places of British Christianity.

We should, I think, make a serious mistake if we supposed that the British
Church in Cornwall and Devon was originally formed by fugitives from other
parts of the island. The monuments seem to shew that Christianity was
established there as well as in other parts of Britain in Romano-British
times. Such monuments as we find there and in Wales do not exist in other
parts of the island where the British Church existed; and it is an
interesting and important question, is that because these parts were
unlike the other parts, or is it because in other parts the processes of
agriculture and building have broken up the old stones with their rude
inscriptions? We now and then come across a warning that the total absence
of monumental remains in a place may not mean that there never were any.
Many of you would say with confidence that we certainly have not
monumental remains from the original cathedral church of St. Paul's, built
in the first years of Christianity and burned after the Conquest. But we
have. They found some years ago a Danish headstone, with a runic
inscription of the date of Canute, twenty feet below the present surface
of the churchyard. You can see it in the Guildhall Library, or a cast of
it in our library here. I have no doubt there are many such, if we could

But it is of course impossible here to enter upon the evidence of the
monumental inscriptions. They deserve courses of lectures to themselves.
I may say that the language of the inscriptions connected with the British
Church is Latin, while in Ireland the vernacular is used, quite simply at
the great monastic centres of Clonmacnois and Monasterboice; markedly
Latinised at Lismore, the place of study of the south. In Cornwall the
inscriptions are mostly very curt, just "A, son of B," all in the genitive
case, meaning "the monument of A, who was son of B." In Wales they are
many of them much longer, and some of them in exceedingly bad Latin,
certainly not ecclesiastical Latin, almost certainly Latin such as the
Romano-Britons may have talked: "Senacus the presbyter lies here, _cum
multitudinem fratrum_;" "Carausius lies here, _in hoc congeries lapidum_."
One of the British inscriptions in Wales is charmingly characteristic of
the modesty of the race: "Cataman the king lies here, the wisest and most
thought-of of all kings." Cataman, by the way, is identified with Cadfan,
and Cadfan in his lifetime told the Abbat of Bangor his mind in very
Celtic style as follows (evidently he made a point of living up to his
epitaph): "If the Cymry believe all that Rome believes, that is as strong
a reason for Rome obeying us, as for us obeying Rome."

The question of the inscriptions is complicated by a very remarkable
phenomenon. There are in South Wales, at its western part, a large number
of what are called Ogam inscriptions, and in Devon there are one or
two[50]. In the south of Ireland there are large numbers. Outside these
islands no such thing is known in the whole world. The language is early
Gaelic, that is, the monuments belong to the Celtic, not to the British
people[51]. The formula is "(the monument) of A, son of B." In Wales the
Ogam is frequently accompanied by a boldly cut Latin inscription to the
same effect[52], with just such differences as help to shew us how the
Ogam cutters pronounced their letters. My own explanation of the Ogam
system is that it represents the signs made with the fingers in cryptic
speech, used as very simple for cutting on stone when the need for mystery
was at an end, that is to say, in all probability, when Druidism was just
dying out, and the practice of committing nothing to writing had ceased
to be a religious observance. I merely mention these things to add another
to the many varied and interesting problems which are forced upon us by a
consideration of our fore-elder, the British Church.

It is time to draw towards a conclusion of this hasty scramble over a full

If any one asks, where is the old Irish Church now? Dr. Todd, in his Life
of St. Patrick (1864), gives in effect the following answer: 'The Danish
bishops of Waterford and Dublin in the eleventh century entirely ignored
the Irish Church and the successors of St. Patrick; they received
consecration from the see of Canterbury; and from that time there were two
Churches in Ireland. Then, the Anglo-Norman settlers of the twelfth
century ignored the native bishops, on very high authority. Pope Adrian
the Fourth, who was himself an Englishman, claimed possession of Ireland
under the supposed donation of Constantine, as being an island. He gave it
to Henry the Second, charging him to convert to the true Christian faith
the ignorant and uncivilised tribes who inhabited it, and to exterminate
the nurseries of vices, and--with an eye to business--to pay to St. Peter
a penny in every year for every house in the country. It is clear that
there was to be no recognition of the old Irish Church. In 1367 the Irish
Parliament at Kilkenny enacted the famous Statute of Kilkenny. It was made
penal to present any Irishman to an ecclesiastical benefice, and penal for
any religious house within the English pale to receive any Irishman to
their profession. Three archbishops and five bishops were to excommunicate
all who violated the act. These prelates were all appointed by papal
provision; some were consecrated at Avignon; their names tell the old
story, Galatian biting Galatian, Celt devouring Celt. There were among the
excommunicators an O'Carroll, an O'Grada, and an O'Cormacan. And so it
came that when the Anglo-Irish Church accepted the Reformation, the old
Irish Church was extinct.' My next sentence is quoted exactly from Dr.
Todd. "Missionary bishops and priests, therefore, ordained abroad, were
sent into Ireland to support the interests of Rome; and from them is
derived a third Church, in close communion with the see of Rome, which has
now assumed the forms and dimensions of a national established religion."

If any one asks, where is the old Scottish Church now? Dr. Skene in his
Celtic Scotland gives in effect the following answer. 'The old Scottish
Church was a monastic system. It worked well as long as the ecclesiastical
character of the monasteries was preserved. But the assimilation to Rome
introduced secular clergy, side by side with the monastic clergy, and this
ended in the establishment of a parochial system and a diocesan
episcopacy, which still further isolated the old church in its
monasteries. Then the monasteries themselves fell into the hands of lay
abbats, who held them as hereditary property, and they ceased to be
ecclesiastical establishments. These changes occupied the earlier part of
the twelfth century. About the middle of that century the Culdees, the
sole remaining representatives of the old order of clergy, were absorbed
into the cathedral chapters by being made regular canons; and thus the
last remains of the old Scottish Church disappeared.' This was chiefly
done in David's reign.

The old Cumbrian Church, that is, the Church of the Britons of
Strathclyde, of which we have spoken under Ninian and Kentigern, had all
but disappeared in the times of confusion and revolution which began with
the Danish invasions. The same David who as king brought the old Scottish
Church to an end, as earl had reconstituted Kentigern's diocese. The
Culdees who had once formed the chapter had quite disappeared, and
absorption was unnecessary. Glasgow had given to it in 1147 the decanal
constitution of Salisbury, by Bishop Herbert, consecrated by the Pope at
Auxerre. About 1133 Whithorn was reconstituted a bishopric, as suffragan
to York; and Carlisle was made a bishopric, as suffragan to York. Other
parts had gone before. Thus all vestiges of the old British Church of
Cumbria had entirely disappeared before 1150.

The old British Church in Cornwall and Devon came to an end in this way.
In 884 King Alfred formed in Devonshire a West-Saxon see, and made Asser
the Saxon Bishop. Cornwall was made to undergo several changes, and at
last, in 1050, was merged in the see of Exeter. It is a matter of very
great difficulty to approach to a determination as to where the British
see of Cornwall, or of Cornwall and Devon, really was,--or the sees, if
there were more than one. All record has perished.

If any one asks, where is the old British Church of what is now England?
the answer is very different. The old Church is living still. The Bishops
of the four dioceses of Wales rule it still. There is a curious irony in
the historical contrast between 594 and 1894, in calling attention to
which I make and mean no political remark. Political remarks in this
place, on this occasion, from one who could not if he would, and would not
if he could, dissociate himself from membership of a corporate body, with
the reticence which that position sometimes enjoins, and who hopes that
his audience is very far from being composed of persons of one set of
political views only, political remarks would be merely offensive. The
contrast is this. In 594, the Christian bishops of Britain had fled before
the pagan English and established themselves in Wales, where they
gradually gathered endowments for their holy purposes. In 1894, it is a
question of the day whether the Christian English will disestablish them
and assign their endowments to purposes less holy.

The old British Church of what is now Wales of course exists still in
Wales, with a history quite unbroken from the earliest centuries. If we
must specially localise it, St. David's probably is its most direct
representative. But it is not possible to draw any clear line between the
representatives of the Church in Wales before the English occupation of
Britain, and the present representatives of those who fled to Wales to
escape from the pagan English.

Just one or two remarks on peculiarities of the Church in Britain.

I have spoken of the writings of Fastidius and Gildas, and have accepted
as genuine the writings ascribed to St. Patrick. In all of these we find
quotations from the Scripture, and they tell us what is very interesting
about the version from which they quote. A hundred or a thousand years
hence it will be quite easy for those who read--say--the sermon delivered
at St. Paul's last Sunday afternoon, to determine whether the preacher
used the Authorised or the Revised Version. So we can tell with ease
whether a writer about 430, or 470, or 570, used Jerome's Vulgate Version,
or the earlier and ruder Latin Version which preceded it. Of that ruder
version there were many differing editions--so to call them. Jerome got a
number of copies of it, before setting to work, and he found almost as
many differing revisions as there were copies.

Now Fastidius, writing about 430, in the time when intercourse with Gaul
and Italy was still full, affords clear evidence that he knew, and on
occasion used, the Vulgate. But the Vulgate was very new then, and he much
more frequently quoted from the older version. Patrick, fifty years later,
has indications that he had some slight knowledge of the Vulgate, if
indeed these indications be not due to copyists. Instead of advance in
knowledge, Patrick's writing shews isolation from the sources of new
knowledge. Gildas, on the other hand, 100 years later, but while Britain
was all under the heel of the pagan Saxon, and cut off from the Christian
world, shews a very clear advance in the use of the newer version, as
might be expected from one of the leading men in the great seminary of
South Wales. It seems to me that this strengthens the belief that from and
after the time of Martin of Tours, South Wales had means of access to
continental scholarship by way of Britany, and not through Britain only.

The point of special interest that comes out in all this investigation of
the details of differences in quotations, is, that the edition, or
recension, of the Old Version, used by British writers, was unlike any now
known. It was, so far as we can ascertain, peculiar to themselves.

We learn from Gildas that the British Church had one rite at least
peculiar to itself, that of anointing the hands at ordination. The lessons
from Holy Scripture, too, used at ordination, were different both from the
Gallican and from the Roman use. In the early Anglo-Saxon Church this
anointing the hands of deacons, priests, and bishops, was retained; hence
it seems probable that other rites at ordination in the early Anglo-Saxon
Church, which we cannot trace to any other source, were British. Such
were, the prayer at giving the stole to deacons, the delivering the
Gospels to deacons, the investing the priests with the stole.

And what of the administration of the Two Sacraments? To their manner of
administering the Holy Communion, Augustine did not raise objection. To
their Baptism, he did. What, in detail, the objection was, we do not know.
It is a very curious fact that the actual words to be used in baptising
are omitted in the Stowe Missal, where full directions as to various rites
connected with Baptism are given. If we may judge from some correspondence
of Gregory at this date with Spain, it was probably a question between
single immersion and immersion three times. Gregory, with a freedom of
concession in which he more than any one in like position allowed himself,
advised the retention of single immersion in Spain, because of the
peculiar position of Spain with respect to Arianism. There was, curiously
enough, a British bishopric in Spain at that very time.

To speak of the Holy Eucharist, a course of lectures, instead of a
sentence in one lecture, might afford space not wholly inadequate.
Augustine wrote to Gregory to ask what he was to do, as he found the
custom of Masses[53] in the Church of the Gauls (Galliarum) different
from the Roman. Gregory replied that whatever seemed to Augustine the most
suitable, whether in the Roman use or in that of the Gauls, or in the use
of any other Church, that he should adopt; and having thus made a
collection of all that seemed best, he should form it into one whole, and
establish that among the English. Gregory actually himself added words to
the Roman Canon of the Mass, so free did he feel himself to deal with such
points. Augustine went so far in this direction of recognising other
liturgies, that he told the Britons if they would agree with him about
Easter and Baptism, and help him to convert the English, he on his part
would tolerate all their other customs, though contrary to his own.
Gildas, thirty years before, stated directly that the Britons were
contrary to the whole world, and hostile to the Roman custom, both in the
Mass and in the tonsure. A very early Irish statement, usually accepted as
historical, shews that the British custom of the Mass was different from
that which the Irish had from St. Patrick: that this British custom was
introduced into Ireland by Bishop David, Gildas, and Docus, the Britons,
say about 560; and that from that time till 666 there were different
Masses used in Ireland.

The South of Ireland accepted the Roman Easter in 634, and the North in
692; so this date 666 is not unlikely. But it was centuries before the old
national rites really died out in Ireland. Malachy, the great Romaniser,
Bishop of Armagh 1134-1148, was the first Irish bishop to wear the Roman
pallium. He established in all his churches the customs of the Roman

It may be as well to state approximately the dates at which differences of
practice disappeared in the several parts of our own island.

The English of Northumbria abandoned the insular Easter in 664.

The Britons of Strathclyde conformed to the English usages in 688; the
first British bishop to conform in that district was present at a Council
at Rome in 721, where he signs himself "Sedulius, a bishop of Britain, by
race a Scot."

Pictish Scotland, and also Iona, adopted the Catholic rites between 710
and 717.

The Britons of North Wales did not conform to the usages adopted by the
Anglo-Saxon Church till 768; those of South Wales till 777.

My object in these last cursory remarks has not been, I really need not
say, to convey information in detail on the difficult and intricate points
to which I have referred[54]. It has been simply this, to shew how very
real, and substantial, and fully equipped, and independent, was the Church
existing in all parts of these islands, save only the parts of Britain
occupied by the pagan Jutes and Saxons and Angles, at the time when
Augustine came; came with his monks from Rome, his interpreters from Gaul.
I do not say that there were no pagans left then in parts of Scotland and
of Ireland and perhaps of Wales, but the knowledge of the Lord covered the
earth, save where the English were.

The impression left on my mind by a study of the face of our islands in
the year 594, thirteen hundred years ago, is that of the pause, the hush,
which precedes the launch of a great ship. The ship is the Church of
England. In the providence of God, all was prepared; Christian forces all
around were ready to play their part; unconsciously ready, but ready;
passively ready, needing to be called into play. There were obstacles
enough, but obstacles removable; obstacles that would be removed. The
English had been the first to act. They desired to move. They had called
across the narrow sea to the Gauls to come over and help them. But there
was no voice, nor any that answered. Once in motion, its own momentum
would soon carry the ship beyond the need of the aids that helped it move.
Who should touch the spring, and give the initiation of motion?

Far away, in Rome, there was a man with eagle eye, who saw that the moment
had come. In wretched health, tried continually by severe physical pain,
his own surroundings enough to break down the spirit of any but the
strongest of men; with all his sore trials, he was never weary of well
doing. He was called upon to rule the Church of Rome at one of the very
darkest of its many times of trial. Pestilence was rife; it had carried
off his predecessor. Italy was overrun by enemies. The celibate life had
for long found so many adherents, that defenders of the country were few;
children were not born to fill the gaps of pestilence and war. Husbandry
was abandoned. The distress was so great, so universal, that the
conviction was held in the highest quarters that those were the fearful
sights and great signs heralding the end of the world.

And even more than by these secular troubles was he that then ruled the
Roman Church tried by ecclesiastical difficulties. Arianism, so far from
being at an end, dominant or threatening wherever the Goths and the
Lombards were; and where were they not? Donatism once again raising its
head in Africa, and lifting its hands of violence; controversies a hundred
and fifty years old, about Nestorianism, breaking into fresh life,
threatening fresh divisions of the seamless robe of Christ. He thus
described the church he ruled:--"an old and shattered ship; leaking on all
sides; its timbers rotten; shaken by daily storms; sounding of wreck."

He it was that in the midst of trials much as these, his own ship on the
point of foundering, touched the spring that launched the English Church.
Moving very slowly at first; seriously checked now and again; brought up
shivering once and more than once; the forces round it not playing their
part with a will; some of them even opposing; it still went on and
gathered way. As time went on, it took on board one source of strength
that most had stood aloof; for many centuries the British Church has
formed part of the ship's company. And still the ship goes gallantly on,
gathering way; the Grace of God, we hopefully and humbly believe,
sustaining and guiding it; guiding it, through unquiet seas, to the
destined haven of eternal peace and rest.

The man who in the providence of God touched the spring, was Gregory, the
Bishop of Rome. Let God be thanked for him.






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[1] Laurentius, Mellitus, and Justus agreed that it was better for them to
go back to their own country, and there serve God with minds at rest, than
to live fruitlessly among barbarians who had revolted from the faith
(Bede, ii. 5). It was in pursuance of this resolution that Mellitus and
Justus crossed the Channel, and Laurentius prepared to follow them.

[2] The last decade of the century usually played an important part in the
period which our present consideration covers. From 190 to 200,
Christianity made such progress in Britain as to justify the remark of
Tertullian quoted on page 54. From 290 to 300, Constantius secured his
position. From 390 to 400, the last great stand against the barbarian
invaders on the north was made by the help of Roman arms. From 490 to 500,
the great victory of the Britons under Ambrosius Aurelianus over the
Saxons rolled back for many years the English advance. From 590 to 600,
the Christianising of the English began to be a fact.

[3] See page 96.

[4] Ecclesiastical History of the Franks, ix. 37.

[5] Page 120.

[6] _Daily Chronicle_, June 30, 1893.

[7] _Standard_, May 30, 1893.

[8] _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ (late Canterbury copy). Green, _Making of
England_, p. 111.

[9] There is a very interesting discussion in a recent book, _The History
of St. Martin's Church, Canterbury_, by the Rev. C. F. Routledge, Honorary
Canon of Canterbury, on the meaning of this statement (pages 120, &c.). It
seems to me clear that Bede believed the church in question to have been
dedicated to St. Martin while the Romans were still in the land. As Martin
was living up to 397, and the Roman empire in Britain ended in 407, there
is not much time for a dedication to this particular Martin. But our ideas
of dedications are very different from those which guided the nomenclature
of churches in the earliest centuries of Christianity here. If Martin
himself ever lived at Canterbury, and had this church, the difficulty
would disappear.

[10] The contradictory instructions given by Gregory on the question of
using heathen temples for Christian worship are rather puzzling. They are
found in a letter to Mellitus, dated June 15, 601, and in a letter to
Augustine, dated June 22, 601. The surmise of Messrs. Haddan and Stubbs
that the former date is wrong, and that the letter to Mellitus was later
than that to Augustine, is reasonable, and solves the puzzle. On this
view, Gregory wrote to Augustine, on June 22, 601, to the effect that the
idol-temples must be destroyed. This letter, as we know, he gave to
Mellitus, who was in Rome, to be brought by him to England. Then, a few
days later, perhaps on June 27, he sent a short letter to Mellitus, to say
that he had carefully considered the matter, and had decided that if an
idol-temple was well built, it should be cleansed, and consecrated to the
service of Christ. It is an interesting fact that the earliest historical
testimony to the existence and martyrdom of St. George, who was recognised
for so many centuries as the Patron of England, is found in an inscription
in a church in southern Syria, dating from about the year 346, stating
that the church had been a heathen temple, and was dedicated as a church
in honour of the "great martyr" St. George.

[11] Known as the Goidelic branch of the Celtic race.

[12] The names Galatae and Celtae are not improbably the same word, the
latter name being pronounced with a short vowel between the _l_ and the
_t_, as though spelled Celătae or Celŭtae. It is in fact so
pronounced to this day in many parts of the island.

[13] Known as the Brythonic branch of the race.

[14] As has been already remarked, they are now generally described as the
Brythonic and Goidelic branches of the Celtic race.

[15] Or with ab, as Bevan and Baddam, that is, ab Evan and ab Adam. Map
and mab, ap and ab, stand for "son."

[16] St. Peter is now being claimed as one of the Apostles of Britain; but
it is impossible to deal seriously with such a proposition. A pamphlet
with this view was issued in 1893, by the Reverend W. Fleming, M. R.
Cardinal Baronius, holding the view that St. Peter lived long in Rome,
felt the difficulty which any one with the historic sense must feel, that
St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans makes no mention of St. Peter as
being then in Rome, nor does the history in the last chapters of the Acts.
The explanation given is that St. Peter, though permanently resident in
Rome, was away from home on these occasions. As there is no trace of him
in any known country at the time, Britain is taken as the place of his
sojourn during some of the later years of St. Paul, probably as the
country where traces of his sojourn were least likely to be found on
record. Mr. Fleming quotes a passage from a book written in 1609 by the
second "Vicar Apostolic of England and Scotland," which is only too
typical an example of a style of assertion and argument of which we might
have hoped that we had seen the last. "I assure the indifferent reader,
that St. Peter's preaching to the ancient Britons, on the one side is
affirmed both by Latins and Greeks, by ancient and modern, by foreign and
domestic, by Catholic writers..., by Protestant antiquaries...; and on the
other side, denied by no one ancient writer, Greek or Latin, foreign or
domestic, Catholic or other."

[17] Archdeacon Prescott informs me that in an early deed in the MS.
Register of Lanercost Priory there is mention made of a _capella de
virgis_, a chapel of wattle-work, at Treverman (Triermain). Divine Service
was celebrated there by consent of Egelwin, the last Anglo-Saxon Bishop of

[18] Some writers, not aware of the extent to which wattle-work can be
used and has been used, have said that _virgea_ must in this connection
mean "made of boards," not of wattle. There seems to be no sufficient
reason for putting this interpretation upon a well-known word. And even if
it had that meaning, we should find in the recently revealed British
marsh-fortress an equally good illustration of their skill in working
boards. The principal causeway is faced with oak boards on its two
vertical sides. These are kept in their place by carefully squared oak
posts, driven deep into the ground below, so that their tops are level
with the surface of the causeway. The tops of the posts are morticed, and
a bar of oak, across the causeway, is let into the tops of the two posts
opposite to one another, and is fastened there with oak pegs. Thus the
boards which face the vertical sides of the causeway are clamped tight in
their places. The work is done throughout with extreme neatness of fit and

[19] Juvenal, _Satires_, xii. 46; Martial, _Epigrams_, xiv. 99.

[20] _Ep._ xi. 53.

[21] _Wars of the Jews_, vi. 6.

[22] _Annals_, xiv. 32, 33.

[23] That is, in December 1893, in the war with the Matabele.

[24] It is added that in the eventual revenge of the Romans, some eighty
thousand of the Britons were killed. These numbers seem at first sight
very large, too large to be historical. But we may bear in mind that
Caesar a hundred years before had noted with surprise the populousness of
Britain--_hominum infinita multitudo_, countless swarms of men.

[25] See p. 117. As I have found myself obliged by historical
considerations to abandon the interesting old tradition of King Lucius, I
may as well give in a note some details of the story which have special
interest for us in London. It may be mentioned as a preliminary, that
Gildas (about A. D. 560) makes no reference to the story. Bede, who
usually follows Gildas, gets his information about Lucius from the Roman
Chronicle, as enlarged in the time of Prosper. But he gives two different
dates, in one place (i. 4) A. D. 156, which is inconsistent with the names
of the reigning emperors as given by him, and in another place (the
summary at the end of book v) after A. D. 167. The earliest British
testimony to the story is that of Nennius, in the ninth century. He tells
us that Lucius was called Lleur maur, the great light, because of this

The fully developed story is quoted by Dugdale (_History of St. Paul's_,
p. 2) from a MS. in the possession of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's
before the fire of 1666, as follows:--'In the year 185 Pope Eleutherius
sent hither into Britain, at the instance of King Lucius, two eminent
doctors, Faganus and Damianus, to the end that they might instruct him and
his subjects in the principles of Christian religion, and consecrate such
churches as had been dedicated to divers false gods, unto the honour of
the true God: whereupon these holy men consecrated three metropolitical
sees in the three chief cities of the island, unto which they subjected
divers bishopricks: the first at London, whereunto all England, from the
banks of Humber southwards, and Severn eastward, belonged: the second,
York, which contained all beyond Humber northwards, together with
Scotland: the third, Caerleon (upon Uske) whereunto all westward of
Severn, with Wales totally, were subject. All which continued so till
Augustine (who was sent by Pope Gregory) in the year 604 after the birth
of our Saviour, having translated the primacy to Canterbury, constituted
Mellitus the first bishop of London.'

The Church of St. Peter upon Cornhill claims to have been the Cathedral
Church of London, as founded by Lucius. There was a brass plate hanging
'in the revestrie of Saint Paules at London' (Hollinshed, A D. 1574), with
a statement to that effect, probably dating from the time of Edward IV.
The old brass plate, now preserved in the vestry of St. Peter's, Cornhill,
is 'the old one revived': except in some of the details it agrees with the
following copy of the plate formerly in the vestry of St. Paul's as given
by Weever before the fire (_Funeral Monuments_, A. D. 1631, p. 413).

'Be hit known to al Men that the yeerys of owr Lord God An. clxxix,
Lucius, the fyrst christen king of this lond, then callyd Brytayne,
fowndyd the fyrst Chyrch in London, that is to sey, the Chyrch of Sent
Peter upon Cornhyl; and he fowndyd ther an Archbishoppys See, and made
that Chirch the Metropolitant and cheef Chirch of this Kindom, and so
enduryd the space of cccc yeerys and more, unto the commyng of Sent
Austen, an Apostyl of Englond, the whych was sent into the lond by Sent
Gregory, the Doctor of the Chirch, in the tym of King Ethelbert, and then
was the Archbyshoppys See and Pol removyd from the aforeseyd Chirch of
Sent Peters apon Cornhyl unto Derebernaum, that now ys callyd Canterbury,
and ther yt remeynyth to this dey.

'And Millet Monk, whych came into this lond wyth Sent Austen, was made the
fyrst Bishop of London, and hys See was made in Powllys Chyrch. And this
Lucius, Kyng, was the fyrst Fowndyr of Peters Chyrch apon Cornhyl; and he
regnyd King in this Ilond after Brut mccxlv yeerys. And the yeerys of owr
Lord God a cxxiiii Lucius was crownyd Kyng, and the yeerys of hys reygne
lxxvii yeerys, and he was beryd aftyr sum cronekil at London, and aftyr
sum cronekil he was beryd at Glowcester, at that plase wher the ordyr of
Sent Francys standyth.'

The records of the Corporation of London shew that in 1399 and 1417 the
Rector of St. Peter's, Cornhill, had precedence over all Rectors in the
City on this account. 'An apostolic contention oftentimes arose between
the Rectors of the churches of St. Peter, Cornhill, St. Magnus the Martyr,
and St. Nicholas, Cold Abbey, which of them would seem to be the greater
and by reason of such dignity should occupy the last place in the
procession in the week of Pentecost.' The Mayor and Aldermen decided that
the Rector of St. Peter's, 'of right, and for the honour of that most
sacred Basilica of St. Peter (which was the first church founded in
London, namely, in the year of our Lord 199, by King Lucius, and in which
was the metropolitan see for four hundred years and more) shall go alone
after all the other Rectors of the same City ... as being priors or abbots
over them.' [From an account of the Church of St. Peter upon Cornhill, by
the Rev. R. Whittington, now Prebendary of St. Paul's, 1872.]

[26] On this important point we may expect some detailed discussion before
long. The interesting publication, recently commenced, of the _Supplément
aux Bollandistes pour des vies de Saints de l'époque Mérovingienne_
(Dupont, 4 Rue du Bouloi, Paris), will contain a treatise _sur
l'évangélisation de l'Angleterre par les soins du roi Lucius_.

[27] The French ecclesiastics claim the foundation of bishoprics at some
of these places in the first century.

[28] The language of the traditions would suggest that only the holders of
the principal sees went from Britain, there being other bishops who stayed
at home, in smaller places. Bishoprics rapidly increased in number in the
early Anglo-Saxon Church; indeed, the number of bishoprics in England
remained almost stationary from Bede's time to Henry VIII. In the time of
Archbishop Tatwine, who was contemporary with the last years of Bede,
there were seventeen bishoprics, counting Whithorn, and at the beginning
of Henry VIII's reign there were eighteen, counting Man; the Welsh
bishoprics are not included in these numbers. Dunwich and Elmham,
Sherborne, Selsey, Lindisfarne, Lindsey, in Tatwine's time, were
represented respectively by Norwich, Salisbury, Chichester, Durham,
Lincoln, in Henry VIII's time. Leicester, Hexham, Whithorn, had
disappeared, and Bath, Carlisle, Ely, Exeter, Man, had come into

[29] See page 59.

[30] Any one writing of these early times has to exercise great
self-restraint, if he is not to overload his subject with interesting
illustrations. I cannot refrain from quoting here two paragraphs from Bede
(iii. 15) which shew that there was a curious knowledge of the property of
oil in England in the seventh century, about 651 A. D.

A certain priest, whose name was Utta, a man of great gravity and
sincerity, and on that account honoured by all men, even the princes of
the world, being ordered to Kent, to bring from thence, as wife for King
Oswy, Eanfleda, the daughter of King Edwin, who had been carried thither
when her father was killed; and intending to go thither by land, but to
return with the virgin by sea; repaired to Bishop Aldan, entreating him to
offer up his prayers to our Lord for him and his company, who were then to
set out on their journey. He, blessing and recommending them to our Lord,
at the same time gave them some holy oil, saying, "I know that when you go
aboard, you will meet with a storm and contrary wind; but do you remember
to cast this oil I give you into the sea, and the wind shall cease
immediately, you will have pleasant calm weather, and return home safe."

All which fell out as the bishop had predicted. For in the first place,
the winds raging, the sailors endeavoured to ride it out at anchor, but
all to no purpose; for the sea breaking in on all sides, and the ship
beginning to be filled with water, they all concluded that certain death
was at hand. The priest at last remembering the bishop's words, laid hold
of the phial and cast some of the oil into the sea, which, as had been
foretold, became presently calm. Thus it came to pass that the man of God,
by the spirit of prophecy, foretold the storm that was to happen, and by
virtue of the same spirit, though absent, appeased the same. Which miracle
was not told me by a person of little credit, but by Cynemund, a most
faithful priest of our church, who declared that it was related to him by
Utta, the priest, on and by whom the same was wrought.

[31] The dates of the departures and restorations of the Roman troops may
be stated as follows:--

     A. D. 387. Withdrawal of the Roman troops from Britain.

     A. D. 396. A legion sent to guard the Wall.

     A. D. 402. The legion withdrawn.

     A. D. 406. The Roman army restored.

     A. D. 407. Constantine the usurper again withdraws the army.

     A. D. 409. Termination of the Roman empire in Britain.

The last troops no doubt sailed from Richborough, the massive Roman walls
of which have defied the ravages of time. Since these lectures were
delivered, an interesting token of the presence of the Romans has been
found there, a gold coin of Honorius, who was emperor of the West at the
time of the final withdrawal. It has evidently not been in circulation for
more than at most a very short time. Richborough has now been purchased at
the instance of the Archbishop of Canterbury and placed under trustees,
and all treasures found there will be carefully preserved. The great bulk
of the coins and other relics found in recent years was acquired some time
ago for the Liverpool Museum.

[32] Haddan and Stubbs, i. 121. The British were not driven from these
parts much before 652-658. Hence, perhaps, the preservation of the old
wattle church, the conquerors being now Christians.

[33] The list of sixteen Archbishops is given by Sir T. D. Hardy in his
edition (1854) of Le Neve's _Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae_, on the ground
that he did not wish to omit a list given by Godwin; he adds that Wharton
(_de episcopis Londin_.) believed Restitutus and Fastidius to be the only
names of Bishops of London contained in the list. The names of the
so-called Archbishops are:--1. Theanus; 2. Eluanus; 3. Cadar; 4. Obinus;
5. Conanus; 6. Palladius; 7. Stephanus; 8. Iltutus; 9. Theodwinus, or
Dewynus; 10. Theodredus; 11. Hilarius; 12. Restitutus; 13. Guitelinus; 14.
Fastidius; 15. Vodinus; 16. Theonus. The first on the list is said to have
been made archbishop by King Lucius. The date of the twelfth is of course
314. The fifteenth is said to have been murdered by Hengist for protesting
against the unlawful marriage of Vortigern with Hengist's daughter Rowena,
about 455; this date of the last but one on the list is consistent with a
view held by some chroniclers that there were no bishops of London between
the beginning of the Saxon invasion and the coming of Augustine.

It is evident that when the masquerading dress of Latin is taken off the
names, some of them are British.

[34] It is unnecessary to say that some writers in the past have assumed
that a metropolitan bishop in early times was of course an archbishop. It
was not so.

[35] Augustine does not appear to have been called Archbishop of
Canterbury in his lifetime. He was called Bishop of the English, and
sometimes Archbishop. His epitaph, as given by Bede (ii. 3), described him
as _dominus Augustinus Dorovernensis Archiepiscopus primus_, "the Lord
Augustine, first Archbishop of Dorovernium" (Canterbury).

[36] Bede, i. 29.

[37] If, indeed, he is certainly speaking of the same Picts.

[38] See page 96.

[39] On one stone,--Α et Ω, hic iacent sancti et praecipui
sacerdotes id est Viventius et Mavorius; on the other,--[Piu]s et

[40] It has been said confidently that the Alpha and Omega is not found in
Ireland. I found, however, an early stone in the churchyard at Kells with
the Alpha and Omega, the Chi Rho, and the I H S. This is the only case in
which I have seen all three on one monument.

[41] In a field near the Almond, at Kirkliston. The inscription is In oc
tumulo iacit Vetta f Victi ... If we take the form used by Bede (i. 15)
_Victi_ would stand for Victigilsi.

[42] See page 11.

[43] Tacitus, _Life of Julius Agricola_, ch. 24.

[44] See page 59.

[45] See page 58.

[46] Almost the same details, however, appear in the treatment of Wilfrid
by his fellow-Anglians (Eddi, ch. 49). His opponents so entirely execrated
his fellowship, that if any abbat or priest of his party, bidden by a
faithful layman, made the sign of the cross over the meat, it was cast out
as a thing offered to idols; and any vessel they used was washed before
one of the other side would touch it. Theological differences are a
competent substitute for difference of race.

[47] The general idea of the "cycle of years" is that after such-and-such
a number of years the sun and moon and earth return to the same relative
positions. This is fairly true of nineteen years; more closely true of

[48] Adamnan, who tells us this, tells us also that the prophecy was
fulfilled. Lugbe Mocummin was at Cantyre with the Saint some months after,
and found there a ship whose captain told them of the destruction of the
city (now called Citta Nuova). _Life of Columba_, i. 22.

[49] St. Oliver, formed from Santo Liverio (St. Liberius, the Swiss St.
Livres), and San Todo, from St. Odo, are similar cases.

[50] One has recently been found at Silchester, much further east than any
other known example.

[51] In modern phrase, the Goidelic, not the Brythonic branch of the
Celtic race.

[52] Thus on the famous stone at St. Dogmael's, near Cardigan, the first
bilingual inscription of this kind found, the Ogam is _sagramni maqi
cunatami_, the Latin, _sagrani fili cunotami_.

[53] It is unnecessary to explain that _Missa_, the Latin equivalent of
Mass, was of course used in Augustine's time. It was not for centuries
after this that a narrow meaning came to be attached to the words Missa
and Mass, by the introduction and prevalence of the doctrine of

[54] Those who desire information on these points will find it in the Rev.
F. E. Warren's _Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church_.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _underscore_.

The original text includes Greek characters. For this text version these
letters have been replaced with +transliterations+.

"Bythonic" has been corrected to "Brythonic" in footnote 51.

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