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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.
page 310



A.D. 644. CONSTATS EMPEROB OV BOME. former humility, showing himself affable to strangers, a father to the poor, terrible to the rich, and observing justice in all things. When, on the sacred day of Easter, he was sitting at dinner with bishop Aidan, and a silver dish was set before him, laden with royal delicacies, and he was on the point of putting out his hand to bless the bread, on a sudden, the servant came in to whom the charge of ministering to the poor was committed, and told the king that there was a multitude of poor people approaching, who were sitting everywhere about the streets, entreating alms from the king. And he immediately ordered the food that was set before him to be carried down to them, and the dish to be broken into small pieces, and to be distributed among them ; and Aidan, being delighted at this act of royal piety, seized his right hand, and said, " This hand shall never decay." And so it happened ; for as in the battle in which he was slain, that hand and arm were cut off, it is the fact, that to this day that hand remains uncorrupted, and being enclosed in a silver gilt chest, is preserved with his arm in the royal city which is called Burgum, in the church, of the blessed Peter, and is devoutly worshipped by the people. He was the nephew of king Edwin by his sister Accha, a worthy heir of the religion and dominions of such a predecessor. But his enemy envied his goodness, while the heart of Cadwallon excited him to slay him. And so, in the thirty-eighth year of his age, on the fifth day of the month of August, and in the ninth year of his reign, he was slain in a terrible battle, which was fought by Penda, king of Mercia, in an unfavourable place, which is called in the language of the Angles jEatel* leuf, in which place, where he, fighting for his country, received the crown of martyrdom, to this day, the cure of sick persons has never ceased. The same year, Kiniwalc founded an episcopal see at Winchester, in which Hedda was the first pontiff of the Angles. For, after Birinus, bishop of Dorchester, departed to be with Christ, and had been buried in his own church, when in process of time that city was subdued by the kings of Mercia, the see was transferred to Winchester, but the body of the blessed Birinus was transferred to the same place by the bishop I have named, and honourably buried in the church of the first see. The same year, Constane, the son of Heraclius Constantinus, became master of the Roman empire, and reigned twenty-six years. He also fell into the heresy of the Monothelites, as


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