Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/139

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Saint Alban, and on which he had spent 60l., he nevertheless did not scruple in a year of famine to tear off from his work the silver plates which had not yet been gilded, and have them turned into money, which he spent in the relief of the poor. The next year he went on with the shrine, employing on it one of the brethren of the house named Anketil, a goldsmith, who had been moneyer to the king of Denmark. He finished it all except the crest, which he hoped to complete when gold and silver and jewels should become more plentiful, for the times were bad. On 2 Aug. 1129 he translated the saint's body in the presence of Alexander, bishop of Lincoln [q. v.], and others. He founded the hospital of St. Julian for lepers, on the London road, and founded, or more probably regulated, enlarged, and endowed, a nunnery at Sopwell, near St. Albans, as a cell of the abbey. At the same time he did some things which were detrimental to the wealth of his house, and appears to have shown undue favour to his sister's husband, Hugh, who held Westwick of the convent. He found it necessary to send some valuable plate to Pope Celestine II to content his claims, and also melted down other silver and gave it to Earl Warren, William of Ypres, and the Earl of Arundel, as a ransom for the town of St. Albans, which they threatened to burn during the wars of Stephen's reign, possibly when Geoffrey Mandeville was taken there in 1143. Both in worldly and spiritual matters he was in the habit of taking counsel with Christina, a recluse much famed for sanctity, for whom he built a nunnery at Markyate or Market street in Bedfordshire. He made many rich gifts to the abbey. He died on 26 Feb. 1146, after having ruled the house with much vigour for twenty-six years and some months. His epitaph is preserved by Weever.

[Gesta Abbatum S. Albani, i. 72–105 (Rolls Ser.); Vitæ Abbatum, pp. 1007–14, ed. Wats; Roger of Wendover, ii. 200 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Matt. Paris, ii. 147, 178, vi. 39, 387 (Rolls Ser.); William of Newburgh, i. 35 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Dugdale's Monasticon, ii. 184, iii. 362, 368; Warton's Hist. of English Poetry, i. cxii; Wright's Biog. Brit., Anglo-Norman, p. 109; Hone's Ancient Mysteries, pp. 199, 201.]

W. H.

GEOFFREY of Monmouth (1100?–1154), otherwise Galfridus or Gaufridus Arturus, Galfridus Monemutensis, styled by Welsh writers Galffrai or Gruffyd ab Arthur, bishop of St. Asaph and chronicler, was either born or bred at Monmouth about the commencement of the twelfth century, and may have been at one time a monk of the Benedictine abbey there. He was the son of Arthur, who, according to Welsh authorities, was family priest of William, earl of Gloucester, an apocryphal personage. Geoffrey was brought up as ‘foster son’ by his paternal uncle Uchtryd, archdeacon and subsequently bishop of Llandaff (Archæologia Cambrensis, 3rd ser. 1864, x. 124). He went to Oxford and made the acquaintance of Archdeacon Walter [see Calenius, Walter] as early as 1129, when the two witnessed the Oseney charter subscribed by Geoffrey as Gaufridus Arturus (see Journ. Arch. Instit. 1858, p. 305). It was from Walter that Geoffrey professed to have obtained the foundation of his great work. He begins and ends his ‘Historia Regum Britanniæ’ with an acknowledgment that it was based upon a certain ‘librum vetustissimum’ ‘Britannici sermonis, quem Gualterus Oxenfordensis archidiaconus ex Britannia advexit.’ Before the book was half completed, however, Alexander, bishop of Lincoln [q. v.], desired Geoffrey to make a Latin version of the ‘Prophecies of Merlin’ from the Cymric. This was probably produced separately before the termination of his larger work (in which it was incorporated), as Ordericus Vitalis (Historia Ecclesiastica, bk. xii. cap. 47), writing about 1136–7, quotes from it. Alanus de Insulis wrote extensive commentaries upon the ‘Prophecies’ about 1170–80, and professed to have collated several manuscripts for the purpose. Towards 1140 Geoffrey went to Llandaff, ‘and for his learning and excellencies an archdeaconry was conferred upon him in the church of Teilo’ in that city, ‘where he was the instructor of many scholars and chieftains’ (‘Gwentian Brut,’ ut supra, p. 124). He probably accompanied his uncle Uchtryd, who had been made Bishop of Llandaff in that year. By this time the ‘Historia Regum Britanniæ’ had been issued in some form, as Henry of Huntingdon examined it at the abbey of Bec in Normandy, in January 1139, on his way to Rome with Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury. He made an abstract of its contents, which is extant in his works. Within a space of six months, in 1147–8, Geoffrey's two powerful friends, Robert, earl of Gloucester (to whom the ‘Historia’ is dedicated) and Bishop Alexander, as well as his uncle, died. He sought other patrons and addressed, at the beginning of 1149, his poem entitled ‘Vita Merlini’ to the new bishop of Lincoln, Robert de Chesney [q. v.], who had influence at the court of King Stephen.

Wright (Biog. Lit. 1846, p. 144) and Hardy (Catalogue, i. 350) agree in referring the final edition of the ‘Historia Regum Britanniæ,’ as we now possess it, to the