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TO THE MOST HONOURABLE
THE MARQUESS OF BUTE,
AND OTHERS, THE COMMITTEE,
GWENT AND DYFED ROYAL EISTEDDFOD,
HELD AT CARDIFF AUG. 20, 21, & 22, 1834;
THE FOLLOWING ESSAY,
HONOURED WITH THEIR PATRONAGE UPON THAT OCCASION,
IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED
BY THEIR HUMBLE SERVANT,
"THE EXISTENCE OF A BRITISH CHURCH BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF AUGUSTIN IN THE YEAR 597 IS A FACT CLEARLY ESTABLISHED. ITS INDEPENDENT ORIGIN IS SUFFICIENTLY ATTESTED BY THE SUBJECTS OF CONTROVERSY BETWEEN THE ANGLO-ROMAN AND BRITISH CHRISTIANS. -THE BRITONS HAD CHURCHES OF THEIR OWN, BUILT AFTER A FASHION OF THEIR OWN; THEIR OWN SAINTS; THEIR OWN HIERARCHY."
BLUNT'S REFORMATION IN ENGLAND, CHAP. I.
As an apology for presenting these pages to the public, it is perhaps necessary to inform the reader that they were originally written with a view to competition for a premium, offered by the Committee of the Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod, for the best dissertation on the following subject:
"The Notices of the Primitive Christians, by whom the Welsh Churches were founded, and to whom dedicated."
Out of several compositions transmitted for the approbation of the Society, the Essay, now printed in an enlarged form, was adjudged to be successful, accompanied with a recommendation that it should be published; and though some time has elapsed since the occasion which called it into existence, it is hoped that the interest naturally attached to its subject will ensure it a favourable reception.
Historians have laboured to trace the origin of the Britons, a profusion of learning has been expended in the endeavour to unravel the mysteries of Druidism, and the antiquarian, who finds any vestiges of the occupation of this island by the Romans, carefully records the discovery ;-so long as the inhabitants of Britain feel an interest in the history of their forefathers, disquisitions upon those subjects must demand attention, though the materials of information are exceedingly scanty. Every author, therefore, who treats of the affairs of this country, prior to the departure of the Romans, has been
diligently consulted, and his expressions construed into every variety of meaning so as to obtain a new illustration of the points of enquiry. The present researches, however, relate to a period comparatively neglected; their object being to trace the ecclesiastical history of the Britons, from the introduction of Christianity, or more especially from the termination of the Roman power in Britain, to the end of the seventh century. From the close of this period, the annals of Wales have been minutely detailed by several chroniclers whose labours are extant; before its commencement, the history of Britain may be collected from the scattered notices to be found in classical writers; and if those notices are not so numerous as can be wished, they are authentic, and are as many as may be expected when the distance of the island from the capital of the Roman empire is considered. The interval between these points is a historical blank; for it must be confessed that the Welsh, though possessed of a variety of records relating to that time, have not preserved a regular and connected history of their ancestors who rose into power upon the departure of the Romans, and who, notwithstanding their dissensions, maintained a longer and more arduous struggle against the Saxons, than the continental parts of the empire did upon the irruption of the Goths and Vandals. In the middle ages, those records, to which was added a large store of tradition, attracted the attention of the romance-writers, who gradually invested them with a cloud of fable, which at last, when arranged and regularly digested, was suffered to usurp the place of history. This remark is applied particularly to the Armorican chronicle usually attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth. It should, however, be allowed in justice to that person, that he was not its inventor, for a Welsh version of the original is preserved, which shows that he merely made a free translation, inserting occasionally interpolations of his own. When the chronicle