AUGUSTINE REPAIRS THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR, AND BUILDS THE MONASTERY OF ST. PETER THE APOSTLE; PETER THE FIRST ABBOT OF THE SAME.
Augustine founds Canterbury Cathedral.
Augustine having his episcopal see granted him in the royal city, as has been said, and being supported by the king, recovered therein a church, which he was informed had been built by the ancient Roman Christians, and consecrated it in the name of our holy Saviour, God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and there established a residence for himself and his successors. He also built a monastery not far from the city to the eastward, in which, by his advice, Ethelbert erected from the foundation the church of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, and enriched it with several donations; wherein the bodies of the same Augustine, and of all the bishops of Canterbury, and of the kings of Kent, might be buried. However, Augustine himself did not consecrate that church, but Laurentius, his successor.
The first abbot of that monastery was the priest Peter, who, being sent ambassador into France, was drowned in a bay of the sea, which is called Amfleat, and privately buried by the inhabitants of the place; but Almighty God, to show how deserving a man he was, caused a light to be seen over his grave every night; till the neighbours, who saw it, perceiving that he had been a holy man that was buried there, inquiring who, and from whence he was, carried away the body, and interred it in the church, in the city of Boulogne, with the honour due to so great a person.
CHAP XXXIV. —
ETHELFRID, KING OF THE NORTHUMBRIANS, HAVING VANQUISHED THE NATIONS OF THE SCOTS, EXPELS THEM FROM THE TERRITORIES OF THE ENGLISH.
Battle of Degsastan.
At this time, Ethelfrid, a most worthy king, and ambitious of glory, governed the kingdom of the Northumbrians, and ravaged the Britons more than all the great men of the English, insomuch that he might be compared to Saul, once king of the Israelites, excepting only this, that he was ignorant of the true religion. For he conquered more territories from the Britons, either making them tributary, or driving the inhabitants clean out, and planting English in their places, than any other king or tribune. To him might justly be applied the saying of the patriarch blessing his son in the person of Saul, “Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.” Hereupon, Ædan, king of the Scots that inhabit Britain, being concerned at his success, came against him with an immense and mighty army, but was beaten by an inferior force, and put to flight; for almost all his army was slain at a famous place, called Degsastan, that is, Degsa-stone. In which battle also Theodbald, brother to Ethelfrid, was killed, with almost all the forces he commanded. This war Ethelfrid put an end to in the year 603 after the incarnation of our Lord, the eleventh of his own reign, which lasted twenty-four years, and the first year of the reign of Phocas, who then governed the Roman empire. From that time, no king of the Scots durst come into Britain to make war on the English to this day.
CHAP I. —
OF THE DEATH OF THE BLESSED POPE GREGORY.
Pope Gregory dies.
At this time, that is, in the year of our Lord 605, the blessed Pope Gregory, after having most gloriously governed the Roman apostolic see thirteen years six months and ten days, died, and was translated to the eternal see of the heavenly kingdom. Of whom, in regard that he by his zeal