Early Britain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about Early Britain.
blood in his veins.[2] But he was above all the representative of the Roman civilisation in the barbarised, half-Danish England of the tenth century.  He was a musician, a painter, a reader, and a scholar, in a world of fierce warriors and ignorant nobles.  Eadmund made him abbot of Glastonbury.  Eadgar appointed him first bishop of London, and then, on Eadwig’s death, Archbishop of Canterbury.  It was Dunstan who really ruled England throughout the remainder of his life.  Essentially an organiser and administrator, he was able to weld the unwieldy empire into a rough unity, which lasted as long as its author lived, and no longer.  He appeased the discontent of Northumbria and the Five Burgs by permitting them a certain amount of local independence, with the enjoyment of their own laws and their own lawmen.  He kept a fleet of boats cruising in the Irish Sea to check the Danish hosts at Dublin and Waterford.  He put forward a code, known as the laws of Eadgar, for the better government of Wessex and the South.  He made the over-lordship of the West Saxons over their British vassals more real than it had ever been before; and a tale, preserved by Florence, tells us that eight tributary kings rowed Eadgar in his royal barge on the Dee, in token of their complete subjection.  Internally, Dunstan revived the declining spirit of monasticism, which had died down during the long struggle with the Danes, and attempted to reintroduce some tinge of southern civilisation into the barbarised and half-paganised country in which he lived.  Wherever it was possible, he “drove out the priests, and set monks,” and he endeavoured to make the monasteries, which had degenerated during the long war into mere landowning communities, regain once more their old position as centres of culture and learning.  During his own time his efforts were successful, and even after his death the movement which he had begun continued in this direction to make itself felt, though in a feebler and less intelligent form.

 [2] It is impossible to avoid noticing the increased
     importance of semi-Celtic Britain under Dunstan’s
     administration.  He was himself at first an abbot of the old
     West Welsh monastery of Glastonbury:  he promoted West
     countrymen to the principal posts in the kingdom:  and he had
     Eadgar hallowed king at the ancient West Welsh royal city of
     Bath, married to a Devonshire lady, and buried at
     Glastonbury.  Indeed, that monastery was under Dunstan what
     Westminster was under the later kings.  Florence uses the
     strange expression that Eadgar was chosen “by the
     Anglo-Britons:”  and the meeting with the Welsh and Scotch
     princes in the semi-Welsh town of Chester conveys a like

Project Gutenberg
Early Britain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook