Britannia, by William Camden

ornament
⌈Islands
to the

West of Britain.⌉

Flatholme. Small i IN the Severn-Sea, there first appear two small Islands. The one, being flat and level, is called Flatholme, in the same sense with Planarie in Italy; the other being steep, is call’d Stepholme,Stepholme. and in British Reoric; but the Britains call’d both Echni, and we call both Holmes;Holmes. for so the Saxons nam’d a grassy plot of ground enclosed with water. They are not famous for any thing in Antiquity, but for the Danes harbouring there, and for the burial of Gualch, a Britain of great piety, whose Disciple Barruch has given name to the Isle of BarryBarry. in Wales, as we learnGiraldus, v. p.739. from an ancient Monument of the Church of Landaff; and the Island it self has done the same to the Barries, a noted family in Ireland. Hard by this, lies Silly:Silly. a small Island upon the coast of the antient Silures, of which word the present name has very plain foot-steps; as has also a small Town over-against it, in Glamorganshire. Yet I dare not affirm this to be the Silura, or Insula Silurum, which Solinus speaks of; because there are other Islands of the same name, at a great distance from the Silures.

From hence we arrive at Caldey,Caldey. in British Inispir, pretty near the shore; and over-against it, more into the Sea, is Londey,Londey. which * * Spectans ad.faces Devonshire, being fourteen miles from the Promontory Hertness in that County. This is reckon’d the larger of the two, and yet not much above two miles broad, and a mile long; and is so pent in with rocks, that there is no coming to it, but by one or two Entrances. Here has formerly been a Fort; the ruins of which, as also the remains of St. Helen’s Chapel, are still visible. Heretofore, it has been plow’d, as is manifest from the furrows; but now all their gain and profit arises from the Sea-fowl, with which it abounds. No trees grow in it, except stinking elders, to which the Starlings flock in such numbers, that one can hardly come at them for dung. But why do I enlarge upon this, when Sir Thomas Delamere, Knight, has already describ’d it; where he tells us, how poor King Edward the second endeavour’d to shelter himself here from his troublesome Wife and rebellious Barons. Londay (says he) is an Island situate in the mouth of the Severn, about two miles over, every way; full of good pasture, and well stock’d with Rabbets, Pigeons, and Starlings (Alexander Necham calls them Ganimedes’s Birds,) which are breeding continually. Though it is encompass’d with the Sea, yet it affords the Inhabitants fresh Spring-water. It has only one way to it, which is so strait that two men can hardly walk a-breast. On all sides else, the horrible steep Rocks make it inaccessible. rabbit pirate Our Historians scarce mention it, but on the account of William de Marisco, a mischievous Pirat, who from hence infested these coasts in the reign of Henry the third. In Edward the third’s time, it was part of the estate of the Lutterels.

From hence we arrive at Gresholme, Stockholme,Gresholme, Stockholme. and Scalemy,Scalemy. lying at the very bend or turning of Pembrokshire: In these there is good store of grass and plenty of wild thyme. I was heretofore of Opinion, that this Scalemy was the SilimnusSilimnus. of Pliny; but since, I have had reason to be of another mind. For the Silimnus in Pliny may probably, from the resemblance of the two names, be the * * Lambay in Ireland, Ware.Limni in Ptolemy. That this Limni is the same which the Britains call’d Lymen, is clear from the name it self, tho’ the English have given it another, viz. that of Ramsey.Ramsey. It lies over-against the Episcopal See of St. David, to which it belongs; and was famous in the † † So said, ann. 1607.last age for the death of Justinian a holy man, who in that fruitful age of Saints retir’d hither out of Bretagne in France; and, having for a long time devoted himself wholly to God, as a Hermit, here, he was at last slain by * * Servulo.a servant, and canoniz’d for a Martyr. In the history of his life, this Island is often call’d Insula Lemeneia; which name, compar’d with that of Limen (as the Britains call it) shews the supineness of that Writer, who would have the Island next above it to be Ptolemy’s Limnos; call’d at present by the Welsh Enhly, and by the English Berdsey,Berdsey. that is, an Island of Birds. One may * * Safely infer, C.infer from the signification of the word, that ¦ ¦ Or, Beg-eri, in Wexford; which see.this is it, which Ptolemy calls Edri, and Pliny Andros, or Adros, as some Copies have it. For Ader among the Britains signifies a bird; and so the English in the same sense call’d it afterwards Berdsey. The name Enhly is modern, and deriv’d from a certain Religious person, who liv’d a Hermit here. For this Isle (which on the east shoots out in a high Promontory, but on the west is level and fruitful) has been formerly inhabited by so many Saints, that, without reckoning Dubritius and Merlin the Caledonian, no fewer than twenty thousand are said in ancient Histories to lie buried in it. Next to this, is MonaMona. or the Isle of Anglesey;Anglesey. call’d by the Britains Mon, Tir-Mon, and Inis Dowyll, that is, the Dark Island; and by the Saxons Saxon monege: of which I have already † spoken.† In Wales.

Near Anglesey, lie three lesser Islands: To the northwest, Moyl Rhoniad,Moyl Rhoniad. that is, the Isle of Seals: (This was unjustly detain’d by certain Invaders, from the Bishops of Bangor, to whom it belong’d; till Henry Deney Bishop of Bangor, as we read in the Canterbury-History, recover’d it by the assistance of a Fleet and Army, in Henry the seventh’s time:) To the east, below it, Ynis Ligod,Ynis Ligod. that is, the Isle of Mice; and Prestholme,Prestholme. i.e. the Isle of Priests; where I saw nothing, but the * * Sacram turrim.Steeple of St. Cyriac’s Chapel, visible at a great distance. The neighbours report incredible things of the number of Sea-fowls breeding here; and, what is no less strange, of a Causey that went out from hence through the Sea, to the foot of that huge Mountain call’d Pen-Maen-Maur, for the convenience of such as came in Pilgrimage hither. I take no notice of Lambey,Lambey. a small Island over-against this upon the Irish shore; though Alum has been ¦ ¦ Lately, C.sought there, at the great expence of the Undertakers.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06