EDWARD THE CONFESSOR'S CHAPEL, WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
THERE are a few matters in these "Stories" which seem to call for brief explanations.
I have put hte story of the Roman conquest of Britain into the form of a dialogue, because I wished to
give what we may suppose to have been the British way of looking at this event.
The legends of Vortigern and Arthur are supposed to be told by a bard. They are not historical, but have,
it is probable, some historical foundation. Of course they could not have been omitted altogether.
It was equally impossible to omit the various picturesque anecdotes which occur from time to time in the
story of England. At the same time, it would have been out of place in such a a book as this to discuss
their genuinenesss. The authority for them is of a degree which varies greatly. Curiously enough, one of the
best authenticated, the story of Canute and his followers, is one of the least probable. The courtiers whom the
King rebukes are of an Oriental type, not in the least like the sturdy Danes or Englishmen with whom he had to do.
Another, the well-known anecdote of the intercession of Queen Philippa for the citizens of Calais, comes to us on
good authority, for it is told in detail by Froissart, who was ten years old when it happened, and who may very
well have heard it from the Queen herself, to whose service he was attached for a considerable time. Yet reasons
apparently cogent have been given for doubting its truth. Sometimes I have taken occasion to tell these stories
with a certain reserve. I wish to make special acknowledgements of obligation to Professor Freeman's Norman
Conquest (Macmillan), to the Dictionary of English History (Cassell & Co.), and to the series
of English History from Contemporary Writers (D. Nutt).
The illustrations are reproductions of ancient sculptures and illuminations from engravings in
Montfaucon's L'Antiquité Illustrée, and Strutt's Antiquities.
Ashley Rectory, Tetbury. Aug. 7, 1894