Celtic Christianity

The First Church

The church at Glastonbury in Britain is reputed to have been the first christian church above ground . It was built before 50AD but it might well have coincided with the Roman invasion.  This introduces the concept of Claudius or his army bringing a new religion to Britain.

Celtic Society

Celtic society was and remained under the new religion Matriachal. A woman normally stayed with her own family for her whole life. However at her choice she could travel or even become a warrior. She could take her pick of the young men and choose wether she had children by them. As one Celtic lady famously said “ it is better that I consort publicly and with joy with all the best men, than to consort privately and in shame with all the worst”.


We have little detail of what the Celtic Church actually believed but there certainly were great differences. According to Roman tradition the argument as to wether the Celtic Rite or the Roman Rite should prevail was  ended at the synod of Whitby in 663. Roman tradition  also says that it was that it was about setting the date for Easter and they way in which monks cut their hair but it was actually about far more important matters. St Augustine, who set about converting the Saxons of SE England in 597 described the Celtic beliefs as “wicked, evil, lewd and corrupt”. Can such a comment be directed at those who choose a different date for Easter?


Many of  the differences which brought the Celtic Church in direct conflict with the Roman Church.

One is very well documented.  Pelegarius taught that humans are not inherently evil, therefore individuals we are not predisposed to need redemption, that there is no such thing as original sin. He taught that humans do not need the intervention of church or clerics to achieve a higher state, they are capable of reaching a higher state by virtue of their own thoughts and actions. These concepts were formally rejected by the Roman Church and Pelegarius declared a heretic.

Iona v Rome

Unabashed, the Celtic church then sent missionaries and founded monasteries in mainland Europe. The fount of the Celtic Faith was at Iona but we know from oblique references that the Celtic Rite was practiced in Western France, in Germany, Austria and as far as the Ukraine. Though the progression of the Celtic missionaries is well documented there are few names given. One of the few well documented names is Boniface, who was a missionary to Northern Germany. Thus across Europe at this time there were three quite different churches, Arian, Celtic and Roman. As there is no evidence of any convict between members of Arian and Celtic communities they either co-existed and shared beliefs or they were in fact the same religion.


The battle of Chester The Church of Rome encouraged or even supported the Anglo Saxon expansion into the Roman Province of Brittania. Why would it do this? Because the Romano celtic inhabitants of Brittania had been Christians for 500 years but it was a different for of christianity than that practised and evangelised from RomeThe Church of Rome encouraged or even supported pagan Anglo Saxon expansion into the Roman Province of Brittania..It was then possible to  convert “The Pagan” Anglo Saxons to Roman Christianity taking up the period 597 -664.   The spiritual leader was Augustine.

The Celtic bishops would not recognise Augustine as their archbishop, Whereupon Augustine,  is said to have answered with a threat that was also a prophecy, that if they refused to preach to the English the way of life, they would eventually suffer at their hands the penalty of death.

The Battle of Chester

Despite this threat in the old Romano-Celtic kingdoms, Strathclyde,  Rheged, Wales Mercia and Cornwall the celtic version of christianity survived.The Roman Church church to the spread of religion by conquest.

Legend has it that King Aethelfrith of Northumbria defeated the Mercians and their Welsh allies in a bloody battle at Heronbridge, near the banks of the River Dee, and next to Handbridge. Nearly 1,200 monks are said to have been killed during the clash. Heronbridge is now a suburb of the City of Chester.

The venerable Bede, an Anglo-Saxon chronicler and theologian, recorded that the monks were from nearby Bangor-on-Dee monastery who had come to Chester to pray and chant and were slaughtered by King Aethelfrith, who believed praying against him was as bad as fighting against him. The monastery was also subsequently destroyed.

The Fringes

Following the battle, the Welsh were cut off from their compatriots in Cumbria and Cornwall, and the history of Wales as a separate nation can said to date from this time and this battle.

After the Synod Of Whitby those who adhered to the Celtic rite supposedly retreated to the “fringes of the Christian world”. In England that meant Wales Scotland and Ireland! In Europe that meant the Southern Atlantic Seaboard, the Central Massif, below the Garonne and the high alps of Provence’ in other words Occitan!

Further conflict

However the reason the Pope supported William of Normandy in his conquest of the British Isles in 1066 was to finally eradicate the Celtic “heresies” That did not work either! He tried again with Henry II giving him preference over Steven of Blois on condition that Henry imposed the Roman faith on Ireland. All this was only the aperitif for the Prussian and Albigensian Crusades!

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The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.