Gildas

, the oldest British historian, surnamed The Wise, was, according to Leland, born in Wales, in the year 511, but according to others, in 493. Where he was educated is uncertain; but from his writings he appears to have been a monk. Some writers say that he went over to Ireland others, that he visited France and Italy; but they agree that after his return to England, he became a celebrated and assiduous preacher ofChristianity. Leland says that he retired to one of the small islands in the Bristol Channel called the Hulms; but that, being disturbed by pirates, he removed thence to the monastery of Glastonbury, where he died. But all this is supposed to belong to another of the name, called Gildas Albanius. Du Pin says he founded a monastery at Venetia in Britain. The place and time of his death are as uncertain as ther particulars of his history which may be found in our airthorities. He is the only British author of the sixth century whose works are printed; and they are therefore valuable on account of their antiquity, and as containing the only information of the times in which he wrote. The only book, however, attributed to him with certainty, i$ his “Epistola de excidio Britanniæ, et castigatio ordinis ecclesiastici,” Lond. 1525, 8vo, Basil, 1541, 8vo, Lond. 1567, 12mo, Paris, 1576, Basil, 1568, 12mo, and by Gale, in his “Rerum Anglic. Scriptores veteres,” fol. 1684—7. There is also an English translation, Lond. 1652, 12mo. In this he laments over the miseries and almost total ruia of his countrymen, and severely reproves th corruption and profligacy of the age. The first part contains a vague accwnnt of events from the Roman invasion to his own | umes. There were two other Gildas’s of the sixth century, whom some make distinct persons, and others consider as one and the same. 1

1

Tanner. —Leland. Ware’s Ireland. Nioolson’s English Hist. Library. Cave, vol. 1. Dupin.—Gent. Mag. vol. LXXXlil. part. I. p. 213. ',