Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

(GAUFRIDUS ARTURUS, GALFRIDUS MONEMETENSIS, GALFFRAI or GRUFFYD AB ARTHUR).

Bishop of St. Asaph and chronicler; b. at Monmouth about 1100, d. at Llandaff, 1154. He was the son of Arthur, a priest, and was educated by his uncle Uchtryd, afterwards Bishop of Llandaff. It has been surmised that he became a Benedictine monk, but this is uncertain. At Oxford he met Walter the Archdeacon, who suggested to him the idea of his great work, "Historia Regum Britanniae". About 1140 he accompanied Uchtryd to Llandaff, where he became archdeacon of St.Teilo's, and opened schools in which many clerics and chieftains were educated. This "Historia" had appeared before 1139, but Geoffrey continued to work at it, and in 1147 he completed it in its final form. In 1151-2 he was elected bishop of St. Asaph and was consecrated at Lambeth by Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury , on 24 Feb., having been ordained priest a week before, but he died without having entered his diocese. Geoffrey's "History" has been one of the great influences in English literature, making itself especially felt in the national romance from Layamon to Tennyson. Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, Pope, and Wordsworth have all used his legends, while many of the earlier chroniclers followed him as an historian. But the twelve books of his "History", recounting how Brut, great-grandson of Aeneas, founded the kingdom, and narrating the adventures of subsequent kings, are in truth not history at all but the beginning of English story-telling. Among his legends is that of King Arthur, which became the most famous of the great cycles of romance so popular in the Middle Ages. Geoffrey's legend having received a new form from Sir Thomas Malory in the fifteenth century has again been given fresh life by Tennyson in the "Idylls of the Kings". Geoffrey claimed that his work was founded on a "most ancient book" -- probably a collection of British legends no longer extant. Geoffrey also wrote a Latin version of the Cymric "Prophecies of Merlin" and a life of Merlin is attributed to him. His stories exercised a wide influence in Germany, France, and Italy, while England they furthered the unification of the English people by spreading belief in a common origin of Briton, Saxon, and Norman. The "Historia Britonum" was first printed at Paris, 1508; the latest editions being those of Giles (London, 1844) and Schulz (Halle, 1854).


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 55:6-9
6 Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
2 Day after day I shall bless you, I shall praise ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 1:20-24, 27
20 all in accordance with my most confident hope and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 21st, 2014 Image

St. Matthew
September 21: St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter