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Its origin can hardly be doubtful. Religious controversies have in all ages been fertile in conscious or unconscious forgeries; the appearance of the Lucius legend at Rome, at the end of the Romano-British dispute, may well be due to that dispute itself. Such an invention need not disturb our conclusions as to British Christianity in the second and third centuries.

With the fourth century we find a fully grown British church. The Diocletianic persecution of A. Near the end of the century Victricius of Rouen came over to mediate in a dispute, doubtless about ecclesiastical matters. Our other literary references to Christianity in fourth-century Britain are vague and plainly prompted by the fact that Britain, the remotest west of the empire, was suited to rhetorical antitheses.

Early in the fifth century A. To our literary proofs we may add much archaeological evidence, hitherto somewhat neglected.

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The Christian monogram and formulae have been found in many parts of Britain. The Cherish-Rho occurs in three villas. It occurs, further, on many small objects — on a silver cup found at Corbridge, near Hadrian's Wall; on two silver rings from the Roman villa at Fifehead Neville, in Dorsetshire; on a bronze object from York; on a tin vessel from the south, and occasionally on lamps.

The name Syagrius first appears prominently in the fourth century, and to that date we may assign the blocks found in the Thames. Inscriptions in stone are scarcer. The phrase plus minus , however, which is often used of a man's length of life on Christian tombstones abroad, appears on the fourth-century tombstone of Flavius Antigonus Papias, recently dug up at Carlisle, and on one or two tombstones found at Brougham, in Cumberland. Iovi Optimo maximo L. Sept [imius. Septimius renovat, Primae provinciae rector. Septimius, governor of Britannia Prima, restored a column and figure of Jupiter, which had been erected by older piety and had fallen into ruin.

The original column and figure was probably set up about A. The spread of Christianity had caused the monument to fall into ruin: some governor, zealous for the 'old faith,' restored it. Severius emeritus centurio REG?

Celtic Christianity

The inscription does not bear on it such obvious marks of date as its Cirencester fellow, but it was we are told found with coins of Carausius beneath it, and it has all the marks of being a restoration at the end of the third or beginning of the fourth century. These altars are small, rudely cut, and often illegible, and belong obviously to a late date; they seem to indicate a worship of the 'old gods' — the prisca religio of Septimius at Cirencester. In many parts of the empire the custom of erecting inscriptions decayed during the fourth century: in Britain that custom was never vigorous, and at the period in question it stopped almost wholly.

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Christianity clearly plays a prominent part in our fourth-century epigraphy. Inscriptions do not exhaust our evidence; there are definite remains also of at least one Romano-British church. It stood — or stands — east and west. The central portion is thirty feet long and ten feet wide, with a western apse; on either side are aisles five feet wide; at the east end is a porch, or narthex, seven feet deep, extending the whole width of the building.

The 'nave' was floored with coarse red-tile tesserae, but in the apse is a panel, five feet square, of finer mosaic work, marking probably the position of the altar.

Outside the building eastwards is a small tiled erection, perhaps the cantharus, and traces of a courtyard, perhaps the atrium. The resemblance of the whole to the fourth-century churches discovered in Italy, Africa, Syria is very striking, and, though the first announcement of the discovery was greeted with natural scepticism, there can be little doubt that it is a Christian church. Martin's at Canterbury. The definite testimony of Bede H. More probably, however, the church, as it stands, dates in its oldest portions from very early Saxon times.

It was a fully organised church, with three or more bishops; it numbered adherents in all parts of the Roman province. The seats of the bishoprics were in three of the largest towns. In Britain, as throughout the western empire, Christianity spread first and fastest in the great centres of city life. It was not, however, confined to the largest towns; we have detected its traces both in the smaller towns and in the villas of southern and central England.

How large a proportion of the population accepted it we do not know. The toleration shown by Constantius Chlorus, the direct protection shown by Constantine doubtless favoured its spread in Britain and Gaul at the end of the third century, and the evidence quoted above shows that at least in the latter half of the next century Christians must have been in a majority in some parts of Britain.

On the other hand one class seems wholly uninfluenced. We have no clear sign of Christianity in the army. In the great legionary fortresses of Isca Caerleon and Deva Chester , in the huge military frontier which extended from the Humber to Hadrian's Wall, the presence of the new religion is almost imperceptible. In this Britain resembles the rest of the empire. Diocletian and Licinius were able to exclude them from military service without sensibly lessening the supply of men.

Fifty years later Julian A. We know the names of few fourth-century officials in Britain, but it is perhaps not an accident that the praeses L. After the death of Julian Christianity perhaps spread faster in the army; but this cannot have affected Britain. For the next thirty years the Roman government in Britain was weak and intermittent; by degrees it was wholly abandoned. If the view here indicated of British Christianity be correct, it follows that another view, lately put forward with some confidence, is wholly inaccurate.

It has been argued by Mr. In support of this opinion Mr. Williams urges four considerations. Roman civilisation, he says, was a varnish which disappeared from the legions. In the first place Mr. Williams seems to me wholly to overrate the Celtic element in Roman and post-Roman Britain. He does not stand alone in this. It is the present fashion to call the Roman occupation an interlude, after which an unaltered Celtic civilisation resumed its interrupted supremacy. This view is the natural outcome of the most recent political developments; it is naturally dear to Welshmen, and a scholar is perhaps foolish to protest against it.

Nevertheless it is quite unhistorical. It is quite true that Roman Britain was a military district. As a frontier province it was strongly garrisoned, and its garrison must always have formed its prominent feature. At first, perhaps, this garrison was the only important thing in the island; but that was not the case in the fourth century. In the fifth century the towns of Britain were inhabited as in the fourth, and were known by the same names. There are now a number of native British parishes through England, Wales and Scotland under various external Orthodox authorities.

The greatest contributor towards documenting the ecclesiastical and political history of England is attested to St. Bede , who completed in five volumes of his best known work The Ecclesiastical History of England. According to historians, during this period St.

Non , the mother of St. Materiana of Cornwall , April 9 , reposed early 6th-century at Minster of Cornwall.

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Jump to: navigation , search. Philip sent Joseph of Arimathea , with twelve disciples, to establish Christianity in the most far-flung corner of the Roman Empire: the Island of Britain. The year AD 63 is commonly given for this "event", with AD 37 sometimes being put forth as an alternative. The eighteenth century Turin manuscript which may be based on a fifth century source suggests that St Alban may have been executed as early as , when the emperor Septimus Severus and his two sons were in Britain.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle list the year of St. Alban's execution as not as Gildas in De Excidio Britanniae. Tradition holds them to be disciples of St. Jerome suggests that this Pelagius was of Scottish descent but in such terms that it is uncertain as to whether he was from Scotland or Ireland. He is also frequently referred to as a British monk and Augustine has been documented as referring to him as "Brito" to distinguish him from Pelagius of Tarentum. In autumn , the remaining Roman army in Britain decided to mutiny.

One Marcus was proclaimed emperor in Britain, but was immediately assassinated. Hodges, , Gildas' birth can only tentatively be placed to the decades either side of the beginning of the Sixth Century. Bede indirectly suggests the year for this event and this is the date adopted for this article. Aed of Ferns are kept is currently preserved in Dublin. Beuno the Wonderworker , Abbot of Clynnog, was uncle to St. Winefride of Treffynon , November 3 , whom he also restored to life.

Boisol or Boswell, is learned from St. Bede Eccles.