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year 1146, that after acquiring the learning of those times, he was made Archdeacon of St. David's, and was twice elected by the chapter to the Bishopric of that diocese; but it was not the policy of the court to appoint, to a place of dignity and influence, a man descended from the British princes. Previously to his travels with Archbishop Baldwin, he had been appointed tutor to Prince John, and accompanying him to Ireland, wrote his curious and important topography of that kingdom.
According to Sir R. C. Hoare, whether we examine his character as a scholar, a patriot, or a divine, we may justly · consider him as one of the brightest luminaries of the 12th century. The present memoir is certainly more favourable to him than some accounts that we have consulted; his biographer thinks that, making the requisite allowances for the state of learning and manners in his time, we shall overlook much of his pride and affectation of pre-eminence.
The next subject of the worthy Editor's labours is, An Introduction to the History of Cambria, prior to the date of the Itinerary, 1188, in which the campaigns of the Romans, from Julius Cæsar to Agricola, are investigated and explained. With this are connected several maps; and various valuable plates of antiquities accompany other essays attached to the inquiry. After this dissertation, we find the Itinerary of Archbishop Baldwin through Wales, in two books: Sir R. Č. H. has added Notes at the foot of the respective pages, and subjoined to each chapter a more considerable series of Annotations, which manifest the learning, taste, and judgment, we may add, the active and patient research, of their persevering author.
Not to leave his work incomplete, Sir R. C. H. has added the "Description of Wales", by Giraldus, in two books, and has described in a supplement the present state of the places here mentioned. He has also annexed hints to landscape painters, architects, and artists in general: particularly a history of the progress of the pointed arch, as it appears in specimens se lected from existing antiquities in South Wales. We are also furnished by a friend of the Editor, with a new version of the "Hirlas", or Drinking Horn, of Owain Cyveilioc, Prince of Powys, and of his "Circuits through Wales," another poetical production of that gifted chieftain. He was son of Gruffydh ap Meredyth ap Blethyn, created Lord of Powys, by King Henry II.; took an active part in the battle of Crogen, 1165; and died 1197. In the opinion of Giraldus, he exceeded all the contemporary chieftains in eloquence and sagacity.
We cannot enter at large into the Baronet's instructive history of the Roman conquests in this country; it is not
however the most essential part of the work in reference to the Itinerary of Wales, and we could have wished, that part of the space it occupies had been devoted to a more accurate account of British history and manners from the 5th century to the 12th. In placing the sites of certain engagements between the Britons and the Romans, he differs from the opinions which generally prevail. We think that some brother antiquary, who has more leisure than we have, may start objections to his statements not very easy of solution; yet we frankly acknowledge our obligations to the ingenious author for his remarks, and for various information both new and important.
We proceed directly to the Archbishop's Itinerary. He entered Wales by way of Radnor, where he was met by Rhys, son of Gruffydh, Prince of South Wales, and many other noble personages of these parts; where a sermon being preached by the Archbishop on the subject of Crusades, and explained by an interpreter to the Welsh, the author of this Itinerary, impelled by the urgent importunity and promises of the King, and the persuasions of the Archbishop and the Justiciary, arose the first, and falling down at the feet of the holy man, devoutly took the sign of the cross. His example was followed by many others. From hence the party travelled over almost all South Wales, and a considerable part of North Wales, the order of which journey is of no great moment to our readers. The editor, with laudable zeal, has repeatedly traced, as far as is possible, the very track of Baldwin: that he has not followed it throughout, is not owing to any failure of perseverance, but to the inevitable obstacles interposed by the modern state of the country.
Giraldus, while travelling, picked up a variety of reports and rumours; and entered in his common place book of miracles whatever by good fortune was capable of being ranged under that description. It was the fashion of the day: a fashion, not perhaps necessarily incident to the human mind, but easily fixed upon it, in an age of darkness, by the fraud and authority of a mercenary priesthood.
The first chapter contains sufficient specimens of this disposition to exalt ordinary occurrences, when connected with religion, into supernatural phenomena.
At Elevein in the church of Glascum, is a portable bell, endowed with great virtues, called Bangu, and said to have belonged to Saint David. A certain woman secretly conveyed this bell to her husband, (who was confined in the castle of Raderguy near Warthrenion, which Rhys, son of Gruffydh, had lately built) for the purpose of his deliverance. The keepers of the castle not only refused to liberate him for this consideration, but seized and detained the bell; and in the same night, by divine vengeance, the whole town, except the wall in which the bell hung, was consumed by fire,' Vol. I. p. i.
Sir R. C. H. in a note at the foot of the page, informs us, that "Glascum is a small village in a mountainous and retired situation, between Builth in Brecknockshire, and Kington in Herefordshire." In his annotations, following the chapter, he adds further information.
Bangu. This was a hand bell kept in all the Welsh Churches during the times of Popery, which the clerk or sexton took to the house of the deceased on the day of the funeral: when the procession began, a psalm was sung; the bellman then sounded his bell in a solemn manner for some time, till another psalm was concluded; and again he sounded it at intervals till the funeral arrived at the Church. The bangu was at this period deemed sacred, which accounts for the superstitious attributes given it by Giraldus. This ancient custom prevailed till lately at Caerleon, a bell of the same kind being carried about the streets, and sounded just before the interment of a corpse; and some old people now living remember this ceremony to have prevailed in many other places.' p. 22.
This custom is allied to the tolling of a Church bell, during the progress of a funeral to the place of interment, as practised in our own times; to the passing bell rung at the execution of criminals, and perhaps to the moralising midnight exhortations, with which the bellman records the decease of one year, and proclaims the accession of another.
To a man who truly estimates the uncertain tenure, and the short term, on which he holds the present state of existence, it would not be any subject of regret, that his mind was fre quently recalled from the occupations of the moment, to the consideration of mortality, and the supremely important concerns of a future world. But we apprehend that the practical influence of these customs was very small in amount, and that its value was greatly reduced by the superstition which attended it..
We are assured that the custom here recorded, and several others retained among the Welsh, are still prevalent in the Highlands; such are the sports of the 1st of November, catching at an apple suspended by a string with the mouth only, or ducking for it in a tub of water, burning nuts, &c. &c.
We return to Giraldus, who was not merely a stringer of miracles; he saw with taste, and described with spirit; and has obliged us by preserving memorials of many interesting objects and places, of which, since his time, etiam periere ruina. We shall quote, as an instance, his account of Usk and Caerleon.
At the castle of Usk, a multitude of persons influenced by the Archbishop's sermon, and the exhortations of the good and worthy William, Bishop of Landaff, who faithfully accompanied us through his diocese, were signed with the cross; Alexander, Archdeacon of Bangor acting as interpreter to the Welsh. It is remarkable, that many of the most notorious
murderers, thieves, and robbers of the neighbourhood were here converted, to the astonishment of the spectators. Passing from thence to Caerleon, and leaving far on our left hand the castle of Monmouth, and the noble forest of Dean, situated on the other side of the Wye and Severn, and which amply supplies Glocester with iron and venison; we spent the night at Newport, having crossed the river Usk three times. Caerleon is called the city of Legions; Caer, in the British language, signifying a city or camp, for there the Roman legions were accustomed to winter: and from this circumstance it was styled the city of Legions. This city was of undoubted antiquity, and handsomely built of brick by the Romans; many vestiges of its former splendour may yet be seen. Immense palaces, ornamented with gilded roofs, in imitation of Roman magnificence; a tower of prodigious size, remarkable hot baths, relics of temples, and theatres inclosed within fine walls, parts of which remain standing. You will find on all sides, both within and without the circuit of the walls, subterraneous vaults and aqueducts: and what I think worthy of notice, stoves contrived with wonderful art, to transmit the heat insensibly through narrow tubes.
Julius and Aaron, after suffering martyrdom, were buried in this city, and had each a church dedicated to him. After Albanus and Amphibalus, they were esteemed the chief protomartyrs of Britannia Major. In ancient times there were three fine churches in this city, one dedicated to Julius the martyr, graced with a choir of nuns; another to Aaron his associate, and ennobled with an order of canons; and the third distinguished as the metropolitan see of Wales. Amphibalus, the instructor of Albanus in the true faith, was born in this place. The city is well situated on the river Usk, navigable to the sea, and adorned with woods and meadows. The Roman ambassadors here received their audience at the court of the great King Arthur; and here also, the Archbishop Dubricius ceded his honours to David of Menevia, the Metropolitan see being translated from this place to Menevia, according to the prophecy of Merlin Ambrosius:
"Menevia pallio urbis Legionum induetur."
Menevia shall be invested with the pall of the city of Legions.' p. 104
From these extracts the reader will judge of the character and abilities of the original writer; and of the appropriate style adopted by the editor. In his annotations on this passage, the latter has given the history of Amphibalus, and his conversion of Albanus. But, we cannot help remark.. ing, that, had he designed to support the opinion of Archbishop Usher, that Amphibalus was not a person, but a rough shaggy cloke usually worn by ecclesiastics, as the Greek word from which it is derived implies, he could not more effectually have accomplished his intention, than by his relation of the opening of Alban's tomb, at the order of King Edward II. "The monasteries of Ely and Canterbury," says he, having a controversy respecting the possession of the holy martyr's body, that king caused the tomb to be opened in which the monks of Ely asserted that the body of
Albanus was deposited, but nothing was found therein but a coarse hairy garment, sprinkled with blood in several places, which was probably the Caracalla (long flowing robe, reaching to the ankles) that Albanus had received from Amphibalus, and in which he had suffered martyrdom." If Caracalla, as appears from Aurelius Victor, denotes the form of the garment, and Amphibalus denotes the quality, or texture, of it, and if this was all the body which could be produced by the votaries of this saint, we submit the inference to our readers. Comp. Usser. de Britan. Eccles. Primord. cap. xiv. p. 539. 4to. Item. Bishop Floyd's Hist. Acc. Ch. Govern. in Brit. cap. vii. p. 151.
Before we quit the subject of this Itinerary, we may remark, that the origin of assuming the cross, may be referred to the Council of Clermont, in 1095. This badge was either woven in gold or silk, or made with cloth, and was generally sewed on the right shoulder. In the first crusade all crosses were red; but in this of 1188, (the third) the respective Sovereigns of Europe distinguished their subjects by crosses of different colours. The French retained the red, the English wore white, the Flemings green, the Italians yellow, and the Germans black. Some zealots carried their zeal so far as to imprint the figure of the cross on their skin with a red hot iron, and thus perpetuated the holy mark.
We shall next advert to our author's "Description of Wales." He has allotted eighteen chapters to the favourable qualities of the people of this country. but has com pressed their unfavourable qualities into ten. Some allowance is due for national partiality; yet we hope he has done no more than justice to the honest representatives of our aboriginal ancestors. This distinction of chapters into the laudatory and vituperative appears, from whatever cause, like the declamations of two contending advocates. It is particularly remarkable in the plan he recommends, as an English courtier, for the complete reduction and government of Wales, while, as a native Cambrian, he teaches the doctrine of resistance, and the art of defence.
As a specimen of this part of the work we select the twelfth chapter, which describes the quickness and sharpness of the understanding of the Welsh, and indicates an acquaint ance with the principles, and even refinements, of counterpoint, which has not been commonly attributed to the Cambrians at so early a period.
These people being of a sharp and acute intellect, and gifted with a rich and powerful understanding, excel in whatever studies they pursue, and are more quick and cunning than the other inhabitants of a western climate.