The Coming of Edfride

Sixt hundred, three score year of grace:
            When Cadwallyn reigned Britan[  
The faith which fowre hundred yeres’ space
            had been there brought then dec[ 
                        by Saxons persecuting hand:
                        who chased the Britaines from this land.

Yet as the Dragon : Sathan [Hell,
            caused the woman : the Churche, to flie
Into the wildernes to dwell
            and soughte but coulde not her destr[oy,
                        she still reteinde part of her seede,
                        which kept the lawe, living in dreede.

 So God reserved a remnant still,
            in Britain, zealous of his name
who helde the faithe, workinge his will,
            and had not God reserved the same
                        As Sodome Gomorh had wee byn,
                        most lothsome lake glutted with syn. 

The worde of God, within this land,
            was in those days most precious
for few did it then understand,
            for people were so barbarous.
                        But Then God his glorie to arrere,
                        to Holie Edfride did appere.

Devoutlie praying Edfride was,
            wherewith the Lord was pleased well
in vaine his prayers did not passe;
            the Lorde apperde as stories tell:
                        byd Edfride goe in to the southe
                        and preache his Gospell at Ridgmouth

 This message Edfride did wnfoulde
            to Botholl a most holie religious man
who much rejoice to heare it toulde
            good Edfride with all gladness than
                        tooke leave, an Angell was his guide
                        conducting him by the way side.

 until he came where children plaide
            at ball: and one cride Stop the ball
from Ridgmouthe: for if not, he said,
            we have no more to play withal.
                        when Edfride heard him Ridgmouth name
                        he gave God glory for the same.

 With thancksgiveing prayers among,
            wnto the blessed Trinitie
he said devoutlie evensonge:
            most meeklie kneeling on his knee.
                        And weery restinge on the ground
                        by the brookeside so straingely founde
                        There with such meate as God him sent
                        he supped nature to content.

 As he sate there a Lion wilde
            upon a sodaine to him came.
At first Edfride wth fear was filde,
            but lyon meekelie like a lambe
                        Took bread at hand fawning him on
                        which banishéd all feare anon.

That nighte Edfride lodged abroad,
            in open field near Ridgmouth banck
next morn arisinge unto God,
            for his safetie he rendered thancke.
                        A Curteous knighte came to him tho:
                        and to his place he willed him gooe.

 Then Edfride went home with the knighte
            to whom he did Gods word declare
wherein the knighte tooke much delighte
            and hearkened thereto with greate care
                 The Wor]de prevailed, the knighte believed
                 in Christe: and baptisme receavde.

 The Kinge had dreamed: twoe blacke dogs tooke
            him by the throate; and a man alde
The dogs from him, with a kay, stroke;
            but no man could his dreame wnfolde
                        The knighte be soughte the king to sho:
                        his dreame to Edfride; he did so.

 When Edfride hearde the dream quođ he:
            theis dogs are misbelief and syn,
Wherein you to much blinded be;
            to vex you sore they will not lyn
                        Unlex Christes faith you do embrace
                        and be converted unto grace..

 Christe Gods owne sonne to save mankind,
            tooke fleshe on him, and diede on tree.
his bitter passion have in mynde;
            and beleve in the Trinitie
                        Lay houlde on Christe by livelie faithe:
                        so shall you shun eternall deathe.

 Into this faith baptised bee;
            for his worship a Churche upreare.
the king received baptisme
            and all his people Christened were.
                        Thus were theis dogs quite chaste away:
                        which daylie soughte the kinge to slay.

 The kinge through his Dominion
            caused Gods worde to be preached
and infidelitie anon
            was utterly then banished.
                        When great commanders rule aright
                        Inferiors follow with delighte.
                        Subjects followe kinges example
                        ffor kings are Gods to the people.

 The kinge baptised to Edfride gave
            to builde a churche thyrtie xxxti plowlands
which was begun by Counsell grave,
            but not in place where now it stands
                        what worke men wroughte by day, convaid 
                        was thence by night where now it is laide.

ffast where stands, to worke they fell;
            a goodlie churche was shortlie pighte*
It pleased the kinge exceeding well;

            unto St Peter it was dighte:

 ((*pighte=made; dighte=named; iwiss=in my opinion.
These words were very old-fashioned even in 1600;
in any case the poet had second thoughts.))

Wealle it stands [Buckland] the plote:
            a goodlie church built spedelie
Unto St Peter dedicate,
            it pleased the kinge it should so be.
                        Good ston]e that place yelded store.
                        wherein: it done, were found no more.

 Within short space were many moe:
            Churches upreared greate and [small
nere to this place as [records ] shoe:
            but she was mother Ch[urch of all.
                        Good] kinges set [justice for] Society;
                        whilst fearless] pastors set [forth piety.

There was a d[en o]f Lyons stearne
            whereo[f  t]his Towne first [took its name
Lyon-mynster where[……] learne
            it is a towne of worthie fame.
                        Of beasts [are] Lyons worthiest,
                        So she shoulde shine above the rest.

 Here Edfride planted pastors pure
            for life and doctrine [….] devode.
their soules ore whom they had the cure,
            they fed with zeale as times sh[owed.
                        Clo]thed they were with righteousness
                        perfection and holiness,

 And magistra]tes deckt with prudence,
            godlie foresighte and justice t[rue,
promised] the vertuous recompence:
            the wicked boughte repentance [due.
                        for com’onwealth was all their care,
                        wherein no trawell they did s[pare.

 The commons led by such good guides
            grew wp in wertue, lived in l[ove.
To God’s glory eche one provides
            for com’on goode their faith to prove:
                 som’e houses built for ympotent,
                 some com’ons gave to good entent.
            .....great fruites of faithe, then forth did springe,
                 dead faith no fruites [of goodness bring.

 Gods goodnes richelie there did dwell,
           with milk & honie flowed that s[cite;
the finest woll it bare the bell,
            the fieldes graced with finest wheat
                        plenty attending, termed rightelie
                        the holsomest yolke of the [...

 ffor pleasure, health, wealth, profit nede
            hills brookes, woods pastures iw[isse,
To make a happy Towne in dede,
            nothing was by the Godhead [missed,
                        God people blest; they praisde his name,
                        and God delighted in the [same.

Thus have you heard in brief declared,
           the first begyninge of this town,
whose situac’on in regarde
            of healthe passe many of renowne.
                        The same its now as it was then,
                        wantinge nothing but thanckfull [men.

Oh wolde to God, I pray with harte,
            as God loves ws, we coulde him lo[ve
then woulde we not from him departe,
            and of sonnes; bastards daily prov[e
                        Lamps that should burne true
                        light wolde give: riche stewards wolde ^

 You are as citie on an hill,
            the chiefest Borough in the shere.
Neighbouringe Townes beholde you still
            Let yoک good worke to them app[ear
                        That Gods glorie advaunced may be:
                        by them which yor good workes shall [see.

 Examples to vertue, or vice,
            are teachers: yonge cocks learn of old,
but woe to them whose steps intice
            others in syninge to wax bold.
                        As rulers of townes are, so be:
                        the commons which their cariage see.

 Who livethe will in their sighte,
            ore whom he rules, in what he can,
dothe the beholders slea out righte.
            Look to youکselves, ye Rulers than.
                        who pardons faultes, inwites to synne;
                        offenders quit: grow bold ther[ein
(slea=make to change direction, slew)

 In excellencie of virtue;
            examples of integritie
of life and wisdome perfect hue,
            theis ib a Magistrate should be.
                        Neighbours in love should be constant
                        just in their deedes, helpful [in want

 Kindenes shoulde be mongst nere dwellers,
            to maintaine peace, and v[erity.
consent of studies and manners,
            oft conference in divinitie.
                        And youth should be bred vertuouslie,
                        Parents be warned by old Elie.
(Elijah (Elie) sent wild bears to eat up children taunting him)

In dutie to God, Realme and Kinge,
            so live & love, God graunte you may,
that strangers may with praises singe,
             God is yor God, you him obay.
                        That others seeing yor lamps burne,
                        to God throughe faith may daylie tu[rn,
                        Then God who you preserves in health,
                        will maintaine it: and bless yor [wealth.

Here may I not omytt but show
            Sr Phillip Hobbies charitie.
The Townes freeschole he did bestow,
            and xxti therewith yerelie,
                        an able teacher to maintaine,
                        in sempiterno to remaine.

The good late Bishop [John Scory**
            Tht poore [... ...] men [
Pray then or offer [
            In which he did [
                        for 7 yeres to serve his [
                        forever thus to be [
 **d. 1585

Nor will I Edward Monnox passe,
            the barlie market house built he.*
Poore widowes gifte accepted was,
            wth zeale cast in the threasurie,
                        So Morris Price bequeathed his myte,
                        to be bestowed on church [ for light.

Works [in] faith though nere so small
            in fine shall not loose their rewarde;
if with zeale man work wthall,
            and not whats done shall God regarde.
                faithe x love wroughte; judge well/ should we,
                And followe their [... ... ...

[This poem, on a single sheet of paper much damaged in the margins, is held at the new muniments library. Extracts from the poem can be found in Blacklock's history.
For comments, as well as the attribution to John Hackluyt, see Joe & Caroline Hillaby, Leominster Minster, Priory and Borough 660-1539, Appendix, pages 260-262.]