The Project Gutenberg EBook of Cathedral Cities of England, by George Gilbert This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Cathedral Cities of England Author: George Gilbert Illustrator: William Wiehe Collins Release Date: November 5, 2010 [EBook #34210] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CATHEDRAL CITIES OF ENGLAND *** Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images available at The Internet Archive)
ILLUSTRATED BY W. W. COLLINS, R.I.
DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY
BY DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY
Published October, 1905
THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A.
[Click directly on any of the images to see them enlarged. (note of etext transcriber)]
|Canterbury, The Baptistery and Chapter House||Frontispiece|
|"||from the Meadows||Page||19|
|"||Cathedral, Interior of the Nave||"||27|
|"||The Norman Stairway||"||33|
|Durham, Framwellgate Bridge||"||39|
|"||from the Railway||"||43|
|"||Interior of Cathedral, looking across the Nave|
|"||into South Transept||"||47|
|"||Cathedral, the Western Towers||"||55|
|Lichfield Cathedral. The West Front||"||61|
|Oxford. Christ Church, Interior of Nave||"||69|
|Peterborough Cathedral. The West Front||"||83|
|"||The Market Place||"||87|
|St. Albans. The Cathedral from the Walls of Old Verulam||"||95|
|Wells Cathedral and the Pools||"||103|
|"||The Cathedral from the Fields||"||107|
|"||The Ruins of the Banqueting Hall||"||113|
|Worcester. The Cathedral||"||123|
|Chichester Cathedral from the North-East||"||133|
|Chester. East Gate Street||"||141|
|"||St. Werburgh Street||"||151|
|"||Bishop Lloyd's Palace and Watergate Street||"||157|
|Rochester. The Cathedral and Castle||"||167|
|Ripon. The Cathedral||"||177|
|Ely Cathedral. The West Front||"||185|
|"||The Market Place||"||189|
|"||Cathedral, Interior of Nave||"||193|
|"||from the Fens||"||197|
|Gloucester Cathedral. Interior of the Nave||"||205|
|"||The Old Parliament House and Cathedral||"||211|
|"||Cathedral from the Paddock||"||217|
|Hereford Cathedral. The North Transept||"||229|
|Lincoln Cathedral by Moonlight||"||239|
|"||The Steep Hill||"||245|
|"||Cathedral. The West Towers||"||251|
|Bath. Pulteney Bridge||"||263|
|Salisbury. High Street Gateway into the Close||"||273|
|"||The Market Cross||"||277|
|Exeter Cathedral from the Palace Gardens||"||295|
|"||Mol's Coffee Tavern||"||301|
|"||Cathedral. Interior of the Nave||"||309|
|Norwich. The Market Place||"||319|
|"||The Æthelbert Gate||"||325|
|"||The Cathedral from the North-East||"||331|
|St. Paul's and Ludgate Hill||"||353|
|Winchester Cathedral. The North Aisle||"||399|
|"||from St. Catherine's Hill||"||403|
|"||The Cathedral from the Deanery Garden||"||407|
|Westminster Abbey. The North Transept||"||419|
CATHEDRAL CITIES OF ENGLAND
N the following accounts of the Cathedral Cities of England, technical architectural terms will necessarily appear, and to the end that they should be comprehensive, I give here a slight sketch of the origin of the various forms, and the reasons for their naming, together with dates; and to the end that I may supply a glossary of easy reference, I place as side headings in this introduction the various expressions which will be met with throughout the book.
This, I hope, may relieve the reader of the tedium of having to turn to books of reference at each moment, and being subjected to a constant reiteration of the terms, which must necessarily be frequently employed.
The Cathedrals of England may be said to comprise illustrations of Anglo-Saxon, Gothic, and Norman, with their variations and combinations.
Constantine, A.D. 306-337.—Romanesque.—With the establishment of Christianity, more especially when recognised in Rome during the time of Constantine, arose the marvellous development of architecture, founded upon the basis of classical remains. This "Romanesque," as this period of architecture came to be called, permeated later the whole of Western Europe.
Basilica.—Relieved from immediate fear of persecution, the Christian architects straightway commenced to convert the "basilica" remains to suit the requirements of the "New Faith." The Basilica, as its derivation from the Greek Βασιλικἡ ("the royal house") implies, "was the King's Bench" of the Romans. It was a long rectangular building, with sometimes rows of columns introduced to divide the space into a nave and aisles. One end terminated in an "apse," of semi-circular formation, where the judge and his assessors were accustomed to sit. This apse the Christians utilised as a chancel. The approach to the building was the "atrium," or forecourt, somewhat similar to the English Cathedral cloister, but differently situated.
A chief characteristic of the Roman buildings was the "round arch," mainly composed of brick or stone work. This the Romans for many years had used more in a decorative way than for utility, but which became of more structural significance in the hands of the Christians.
Romanesque.—Sixth to Twelfth Century.—In this wise, from the remains of the Basilica, with the further development of the "round arch" to the "semi-circular arch," the Christian Romans gradually evolved the style of architecture called "Romanesque," i.e., in the Roman Style. This style became prevalent throughout Western Europe from the beginning of the sixth to the close of the twelfth century. In process of time transepts were added and the choir prolonged, giving the outline, as it were, of a cross, the Holy Symbol of Christianity.
Anglo-Saxon.—500-1066.—Thus Romanesque may be said to be the fountain-head of Anglo-Saxon, Norman Proper, Anglo-Norman, and Gothic Architecture.
During the Roman occupation of England, missionaries came to her from Rome, the metropolis, and made converts, as they did in other countries, and as missionaries do nowadays in China and elsewhere. They and travelling merchants insensibly introduced the style of architecture then prevalent in Italy, namely, the Romanesque. Owing to the untutored nature of the Anglo-Saxons, their first attempts at imitating what would appear to them entirely new, together with the difficulty of procuring skilled labour, were necessarily crude.
These first attempts may justly come under the heading of "Anglo-Saxon."
When the Campanile or tall bell-towers came into existence in Italy, England imitated.
Anglo-Norman.—1066.—The Normans, at the Conquest, introduced their rendering of architecture, which they had borrowed from the Romanesque, with a suspicion of Lombardic, and even Byzantine styles intermingled. As they could not entirely at first uproot the local peculiarities of the Anglo-Saxon treatment of style which they found in the country, they in a way grafted the Norman architecture on to the existing style. Thus it came to be called "Anglo-Norman." At first the work was heavier in character than the Norman proper, but it became lighter towards the close of the twelfth century.
Norman Peculiarities.—The Norman peculiarities were the building of the church on a cruciform plan, with a square tower placed over the transepts where they cross the nave; the massive cylindrical nave piers. To relieve the heaviness of these massive nave piers and doorways, the chevron, or zigzag pattern, spiral and other groovings were cut. The mouldings were of the same character as in France, but towards the close of the twelfth century they were by degrees disused.
In the transition period, 1154-1189, the dog-tooth ornament appears, and occurs in combination with the "billet," a circular roll with spaces cut away at intervals, as at Canterbury.
The Normans also greatly employed arcades, both blank and open. The interlacing of arcades was frequently used by them. They were formed by semi-circular arches, intersecting each other regularly. This interlacing is supposed by many authorities to have been the origin of the "pointed lancet arch." The Norman arcades form a prominent feature in the internal and external decoration of their buildings. The internal arrangement of the larger churches consisted of three stages or tiers. The ground stage carried semi-circular arches, above that came the triforium, or second stage of two smaller arches supported by a column, and within a larger arch. Above this again, came the third stage or clerestory, with two or more semi-circular arches, one of which was pierced to admit the light.
The nave was usually covered by a flat ceiling, and not vaulted. The crypts and aisles were vaulted.
The doorways appear to have been a special feature with the Normans, for they were generally very richly ornamented, and were greatly recessed. The windows were narrow and small in proportion to the rest of the building. At a late period of the style the small circular windows became greatly enlarged, and it became necessary to divide up the space by the introduction of slender columns radiating from the centre.
In England the semi-circular apse, towards the close of the style, gradually gave place to the square apse, which was more generally adopted.
Gothic.—Fourth to Twelfth Century.—Another great and early factor in ecclesiastical architecture is the Gothic. In the early stages of Christianity, the Goths, a Teutonic race, dwelt between the Elbe and the Vistula. They subverted the Rome Empire. They, like other countries, received the Christian religion from Rome. Each country after its own fashion endeavoured to imitate the architecture of Rome. As these countries were semi-barbarous and unpolished, their work was necessarily rude. This, in conjunction with the invasions of Italy by the Goths, led to the term "Gothic." This period commenced in the fourth century, and was entirely changed in the twelfth, by the introduction of the pointed arch.
Gothic.—1145-1550.—This marked a new era, and established a new style of architecture, the transition from the Norman, or Romanesque, to the Mediæval Gothic. Several attempts were made to introduce new names in lieu of Gothic, for to name anything Gothic was looked upon with askance.
|Early Gothic||IVth century to XIIth century.|
|Henry II.||1154-1189. Transition.|
|(FIRST POINTED, OR LANCET)|
|COMPLETE, OR GEOMETRICAL POINTED|
|MIDDLE POINTED, OR CURVILINEAR|
|THIRD POINTED, OR RECTILINEAR|
|Henry VII.||1485||}Tudor Period.|
With the close of the Tudor Period, Mediæval Gothic practically died out. There crept in then the English Renaissance, followed after by what is called "The Revival of Gothic Architecture."
|The Elizabethan, or First Period||1547-1620.|
|The Anglo-Classic, or Second Period||1620-1702.|
|The Anglo-Classic, or Third Period||1702-1800.|
|The Revival of Gothic Architecture in England.||1800.|
NGLO-SAXON.—Anglo-Saxon may be briefly summed up as an inferior style of Romanesque, more especially the latter part, when it was considered necessary to build in imitation of the Roman way. In the early years of this period the advantages of stone, due to inconvenience of its carriage or lack of skill, were not widely known in England. For the most part the buildings were composed of wood with a thatched roof. Though it is true several buildings were also constructed of stone, and glass was used, yet it was only with advanced knowledge, introduced by Continental workmen, who came over in the seventh century, that architecture approached anything like a definite style.
It reached this stage just a few years before the Norman Conquest. The arches were usually plain, and always semi-circular. The columns were cylindrical, hexagonal, or octagonal, and thick in proportion to their height. The towers, as a rule, were square, and not very lofty. They were strongly but crudely worked, strip pilasters, i. e., slender columns, being introduced. Circular-headed openings served as upper windows of these towers. They were divided into two lights by rounded balusters, sometimes with caps heavily projected.
Norman.—The Norman churches were mostly cruciform in plan, with a central tower. The east end was frequently terminated by an apse. Vast columns, either circular, octagonal, or simply clustered, separated the aisles from the naves. The arches were chiefly semi-circular, the round arch being used everywhere for ornament. The Norman towers are also generally square, with a somewhat stunted appearance. Many have no buttresses whatever, whilst others are served with broad, flat, shallow projections, which assert themselves more for show than for utility. The reason for this is that the Normans built their buildings with walls immensely thick with an eye to stability. The heavy appearance of their towers is cleverly relieved by the introduction of arcades around them, as at St. Albans, and occasionally richly ornamented, as shown at Norwich and Winchester.
At one of the angles there is frequently a stone staircase. The upper windows of these towers differ little from the Anglo-Saxon, except in that the two lights are separated by a shaft or short column in place of the rounded baluster.
The Norman doorways are a great feature. They are generally adorned with a series of columns with enriched arch mouldings spanning from capital to capital.
Their vaults were heavily constructed at no great height from the ground, and generally applied to the aisles of churches. They exerted a greater thrust on the walls than the later Gothic vaults.
Norman.—These churches are generally to be found perched on commanding sites, chosen as natural places of defence. Often a river wound round the base, and where it led short, a moat was constructed on the landward side, and borrowed its water from the river.
The activity of the Norman builders is astounding, and forms a great contrast to the few years before their advent. For a short time architecture suffered a paralysis. Not till the much-dreaded Millennium (1000 A.D.), when it was thought the world would certainly come to an end, had passed did people take heart again, and architects make up for lost time.
Early English.—In this period the massive Norman walls gave way to walls reduced in thickness. The buttresses became of more structural significance. Also, flying-buttresses gradually came into use to strengthen the weakness of the upper works, caused by the reduction of the walls in thickness. The pillars were elongated, and of slight construction. The doorways, windows and arcades were built with polished marble obtained from the Isle of Purbeck.
The science of vaulting became more advanced.
The towers were taller and more elegant, with plain parapets. They were generally furnished with windows. The lower ones resembled much the arrow-slit formation of the Norman style. The upper windows were grouped in twos and threes.
The broach-spire now came into notice. It was added on to the square tower, and at the early part of this style was low in height, but gradually became taller.
The circular-headed windows of the Normans gave place to the narrow-pointed lancets of the Early English. These admitted little light, and necessitated a greater number of windows, which were grouped into couplets or triplets.
Geometrical.—The window, by the gradual process of piercing the vacant spaces in the window-head, carrying mouldings around the tracery (or ornamental filling-in), and adding cusps (the point where foliations of tracery intersect), gave rise to Geometrical work.
The earliest work of this kind is found in Westminster Abbey.
Decorated.—The towers are made to appear lighter by the parapets being either embattled or pierced with elegant designs, and pinnacles placed on them.
The broach-spires gave place to spires springing at once from the octagon. The buttresses are set angularly. In this period the architects failed to maintain the vigour of the Geometrical period. The Decorated windows are formed of portions of circles, with their centres falling on the intersection of certain geometrical figures.
There is a glorious example afforded by the west window at York.
Perpendicular.—The towers are generally richly panelled throughout; the buttresses project boldly—sometimes square, or sometimes set at an angle, but not close to each other.
The pinnacles are often richly canopied. The battlements panelled, and frequently pierced. In the middle of the parapet now and then is placed a pinnacle or a canopied niche.
F all Cathedral cities, Canterbury, or, as it is also called, Christ Church, may possibly be considered the most interesting. Though not the first to spread Christianity in Britain, it nevertheless firmly established it in the end. The earliest authentic evidence of Christians in England is mentioned by Tertullian, in 208. And again, in 304, St. Alban had been martyred during Diocletian's persecution at Verulam, now known as St. Alban's. Then, in 314, Christianity had attained such a position in Britain that it had been considered necessary for the Bishops of York and London to attend at the Council of Arles, in France. So that by the end of the third century to the beginning of the fourth, it is known that there existed bishops, though not till the close of the fourth century was there a "settled Church" in Britain, with churches, altars, Scriptures, and discipline.
These expounded the Catholic Faith, and were in touch with Rome and Palestine. But the arrival of Augustine, in 600, decidedly gave an impetus to the lasting establishment of Christianity in England, and the whole island quickly became converted.
Though Christianity had long flourished in Rome, it could hardly, in its early stages, be expected to make itself greatly felt in Britain, owing to the continual troublous times caused by the invasions first by the Roman soldiery, then by the Scots and Picts from Caledonia (now called Scotland), and the Saxons, who came from the river Elbe, and the Angles, who dwelt to the north of the Saxons, in the districts now called Schleswig and Holstein. Then the Danes and Northmen landed in England in 787, and practically overran the whole kingdom. All these tribes, each in its turn, devastated the country, pillaging and destroying everything, so that there is little to marvel at the slow growth of Christianity in the island, seeing that the clergy were the first to suffer. Augustine may be said to have certainly revived Christianity and rescued the Church from utter oblivion, but it was left till the Norman Conquest to erect the wonderful architectural structures, many of which exist till this day.
The early history of Canterbury is shrouded in mystery. The discovery of Druidical remains clearly points to the practice of religious rites of the Britons prior to the Christian era. It appears also that the Romans found it as a British town of some importance. This theory, laying aside minor considerations, is strengthened by the fact that the Romans called it Durovernum, the derivation of which they borrowed from the British words "dwr" a stream, and "whern" swift, the latter of which was most appropriate to the Stour, on whose banks the city was founded. The Saxons on their arrival called the place "Cantwarabyrig." From this, no doubt, Canterbury owes the origin of its present name. Contrary to the ordinary laws of foundation, there appears to have been no one (locally) covetous of the honour of martyrdom, or possibly worthy, if martyred, of recognition by the Church.
During the Roman occupation of the city, Christianity struggled, probably kept alive by such of the soldiers who had been previously converted in Rome.
Two churches were built in the second century. One of these, in 600, was consecrated by the Bishop of Soissons, and dedicated to St. Martin, for Bertha, a daughter of Charibert, a Christian king of Paris. On her marriage with Ethelbert of Kent, the foremost king of the English, it was stipulated that her religious inclinations should be protected. Through her influence the king became converted. To encourage Christianity, and to set a good example to his subjects, Ethelbert welcomed Augustine and his forty monks, in 597, gave him his palace, which was speedily converted into a priory, and helped him to found an abbey without the city walls, and intended as a sepulture for the Archbishops.
This abbey was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. As Canterbury was already recognised as the metropolis, or head of the State of Kent, in that their kings had their royal residence there, it was no difficulty for Augustine, as spiritual head, to make it also a Metropolitan See, the more so as, by the investiture of the Pope, he became the first Archbishop.
Pope Gregory's (the Great) scheme in sending Augustine was to divide England into two Provinces, with Metropolitans of equal dignity at London and York, and twelve Suffragans to each. But all that his emissary could effect was to consecrate two bishops, one at Rochester (Kent) and one at Essex. As Christianity took a firmer hold in England, it was generally to Canterbury that the different portions of England applied for missionaries. In this foundation Augustine has been followed by a succession of prelates, who distinguished themselves equally in spiritual and temporal affairs of the State—men, each of whom made a great stir during his life, and whose names even now are enshrined, as it were, in a halo of romance. They represent the intellect of their times; their lives show us the difficulties they encountered in overcoming the crass ignorance of the people on whose behalf they worked, and the risks and dangers and petty tyranny they suffered at the hands of kings, whose chief amusements were disturbing the peace and licentious living. Those who have played the most prominent part in ecclesiastical as well as in lay history are:
Dunstan, who governed with a tight hand the kingdom during the reigns of Edred and Edwy; Stigand, who, for his opposition to William the Conqueror, was deposed from the See to make room for Lanfranc; Lanfranc, whose memory is perpetuated not only through his abilities as scholar, statesman and administrator, but more especially as one who rebuilt the Cathedral and as founder of several religious establishments; the celebrated Thomas à Becket, who, until he became Archbishop, was the great friend of Henry II., and was Chancellor of England. On the acceptance of the Archbishopric, Becket constituted himself as a champion of the rights and claims of the Church, and would brook no interference from Henry in ecclesiastical matters. This naturally created a coolness between the two, which ended in Becket's retiring to France for six years. On Henry's promise to annul the Constitution of Clarendon, in 1170, Becket returned, only a few days after to be murdered in the Cathedral.
Stephen Langton, who was raised to the See by Pope Innocent III., in defiance of King John, during a quarrel he had with the Church; Cranmer, who, for promoting the Reformation, was burnt at the stake in Mary's reign; and Laud, who was beheaded during the Commonwealth of Cromwell for supporting the measures of his sovereign, Charles I.
Augustine did not live to see the completion of his Cathedral. It was dedicated to Our Saviour, and it is even now usually called Christ Church.
During the ravages of the Danes the city suffered greatly, and the Archbishopric became vacant in 1011, through the violent death dealt out to Archbishop Alphage by the Danes.
Canute, after his usurpation of the throne, rebuilt a great part of the city and restored the Cathedral; and the monks were not forgotten, in that the revenue of the port of Sandwich was made over to them for their support. These benefits greatly helped the city to attain great importance, and in Doomsday Book it is entered under the title of "Civitas Cantuariae."
In 1080 the Cathedral was burnt down, only to be restored with greater splendour, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity, by Archbishop Lanfranc, who rebuilt the monastic edifice, erected the Archbishop's palace, founded and endowed a priory dedicated to St. Gregory, and built the hospitals of St. John and St. Nicholas.
In 1161 the city became almost extinct through fire, and at several subsequent periods it suffered severely from the same cause.
In 1170 the great event which stirred the kingdom, and which conveniently marks the starting-point of the disastrous half of Henry II.'s reign, was the great means of replenishing the treasury of the Cathedral. In that year Becket was murdered as he was ascending the steps leading from the nave into the choir. His name was subsequently canonised. His shrine was visited from far and near by every rank of pilgrim, who seldom left without depositing first some substantial token of their reverence for the saint. Four years after the murder popular feeling was as great as ever, so that it was probably to propitiate the people, as much as to ask for Divine intercession in his troublous affairs, that Henry II. performed a pilgrimage to the shrine and submitted himself to be scourged by the monks.
Another source of great importance to the Cathedral was the institution of the Jubilee by the Pope. It commemorated every fifty years the death of Becket, and till the last one, celebrated in 1520, attracted an immense number of pilgrims, who gave a great impetus to trade in the city. The number and richness of their offerings were incredible.
The dissolution of the priory of Christ Church was gradually effected; the festivals in honour of the martyr were one by one abolished; his shrine was stripped of its gorgeous ornaments, and the bones of the saint were burnt to ashes and scattered to the winds.
A part of the monastery of St. Augustine was converted into a royal palace by Henry VIII. In this palace Queen Elizabeth held her court for a short time. During her reign there was an influx of Walloons, who, persecuted for their religious tenets, had fled from the Netherlands and settled in Canterbury.
They introduced the weaving of silk and stuffs. To them Queen Elizabeth allotted the crypt under the Cathedral as their place of worship, where the service is still performed in French to their descendants.
In this Cathedral was solemnised the marriage of Charles I. with Henrietta Maria of France, in 1625. During the war between Charles I. and Cromwell the Cathedral was wantonly mutilated and defaced by the followers of Cromwell, who converted the sacred edifice into stables for his horses. At the Restoration, Charles II., on his return from France, held his court in the royal palace at Canterbury for three days. This monarch, in 1676, granted a charter of incorporation to the refugee silk-weavers settled in the city. These refugees, a few years after, were considerably increased by French artisans, who came over consequent on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.
To those admirers of form and beauty the wonderful architecture of the present Cathedral must satisfy their every craving. To students the study of this colossal building must be a work of love, encouragement, and continued interest. Rebuilt soon after the Conquest by Archbishop Lanfranc, and worthily enlarged and enriched by his several successors, the Cathedral is a crowning work of grandeur and magnificence, exhibiting, in its highest perfection, every specimen of architecture, from the earliest Norman to the latest English. In form it is that of a double cross. Where the nave and the western transepts intersect, there springs up a lofty and elegant tower in the Later English style, with a spired parapet and pinnacles, with octagonal turrets at the angles, terminating in minarets. In the west end are two massive towers, of which the north-west is Norman, and the south-west is similar in character, though embattled, and little inferior to the central tower.
Perhaps the most noteworthy portions of this Cathedral, though it is hardly possible to make a distinction, are the Chapel of Henry IV., with its beautiful fan tracery depending from the roof; the small but beautiful Lady Chapel, which is separated from the eastern side of the transept by the interposition of a finely carved stone screen; and in that part of the Cathedral, called Becket's Crown, is the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, famous as the site of the gorgeous Shrine of St. Thomas à Becket. In "Becket's Crown" a softened light steals through the painted window. The interest in this window lies in the fact that most of the glass shown is ancient, and it is the fifth of the twelve windows in the Trinity Chapel which suffered severely at the hands of the Puritans in 1642.
What remained of the ancient glass was replaced, as far as possible in the original position, by the late Mr. George Austen, subsequently to 1853.
These windows represent the miracles of St. Thomas à Becket between the years 1220 and 1240.
Between the western towers there is a narrow entrance spanned over by a sharply pointed arch, enriched with deeply recessed mouldings. Above this are canopied niches, over which is a lofty window of six lights with richly stained glass.
The south-west porch constitutes the principal entrance, and is highly enriched with niches of elegant design. It belongs to a late period of English architecture. The roof is most elaborately groined, and shields are attached at the intersections of the ribs. In the same period of Late English must be included the fine nave and the western transepts. A gorgeous effect is given by the richly groined roof supported by eight lofty piers, which divide it off on each side from the aisles. From the eastern part numerous avenues lead to the many chapels in different parts of the interior, and give a truly magnificent effect. All these chapels deserve the closest study, like the rest of the building, to thoroughly appreciate the subtlety of design, and the marvellous skill of the architect.
Hac sunt in fossa Bedae Venerabilis ossa.
HOUGH Durham dates from the tenth century, yet it is necessary, to understand the growth of its power, to go back to the seventh century.
The exact date of the birth of St. Cuthbert is unknown. As a youth he was admitted into Melrose Abbey, where in the course of fourteen years he became monk and prior. From there he passed another fourteen years in the Convent of Lindisfarne, after which he retired to Farne for nine years. At the end of this period he was persuaded, most unwillingly, by Egrid, King of Northumbria, to become Bishop of Lindisfarne, a See in Bernicia, as Durham County was then called.
But after two years' office he retired to Farne. There died St. Cuthbert on March 20, A.D. 687, in the thirty-ninth year of his monastic life, still undecided as to where he should be buried. However, the remains were reverently preserved in the Church of Lindisfarne, till the monks were compelled to flee, owing to the invasion of the Danes, towards the end of the ninth century. Though in dire dread and confusion, the monks forgot not their sacred trust, but carried the holy remains of St. Cuthbert with them.
They wandered many a weary day throughout the North of England in search of "Dunholme," which Eadner, a monk of their order, declared to them had been divinely revealed to him as the lasting place of rest for the holy and incorruptible body of St. Cuthbert. They seemed to have had great difficulty in locating the whereabouts of Dunholme, for according to tradition they were miraculously delivered from their nomadic life. As they proceeded they heard a woman inquire of another if she had seen her cow, which had gone astray. Much to their joy and relief they heard the reply, "In Dunholme."
Thereupon they climbed to the summit of the "Hill Island," at the base of which they had arrived, as they wished to deposit their corruptible burden on a spot so close to Heaven that it should remain incorruptible, and by its incorruptibility be a fitting foundation on which to build a shrine worthy of their Saint and the God who honoured him.
About 995 their idea was realised by Bishop Ealdhune. He founded a church, built in the style usual then in Italy, of brick or stone with round arches. This style, based directly on Italian models, became prevalent throughout all Western Europe till the eleventh century, and in England was known as Anglo-Saxon. This church was erected over the Saint's resting-place, upon the rock eminence called Dunholme (Hill Island). Later on the Normans changed this into "Duresne," whence Durham. And a representation of a dun cow and two female attendants was placed upon the building. At the same period the See was transferred from Lindisfarne, and, together with the growing fame of the presence of the "incorruptible body" of the Saint, attracted pilgrims, who settled there with their industries. Thus were laid the foundations of the great city. In this wise St. Cuthbert became the patron Saint of Durham, as well as of the North of England and of Southern Scotland.
In 1093 Bishop Carileph built a church of Norman structure in place of Ealdhune's Anglo-Saxon church, and changed the Anglo-Saxon establishment of married priests into a Benedictine abbey.
After the Norman Conquest the county became Palatinate, and acquired the independence peculiar to Counties Palatine.
The bishops of Durham were invested with temporal and spiritual powers, exercising the royal prerogatives, such as paramount property in lands, and supreme jurisdiction, both civil and military, waging war, right of forfeiture, and levying taxes. These privileges were granted, owing to the remoteness of Durham from the metropolis and its proximity to the warlike kingdom of Scotland, and allowed of justice being administered at home, thereby doing away with the obligation of the inhabitants quitting their county, and leaving it exposed to hostile invasions.
They were also excused from military service across the Tees or Tayne, on the plea that they were specially charged to keep and defend the sacred body of St. Cuthbert. Those engaged on this service were called "Haliwer folc" (Holy War folk). But in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Henry VIII. the power of the See was much curtailed; and eventually, on the death of Bishop Van Milvert in 1836, it was deprived of all temporal jurisdictions and privileges.
Around Carileph's fine Norman church numerous additions were made from time to time, namely:
The Galilee or Western Chapel, of the Transitional Period.
The gradual change from the Norman to the Pointed style, which took place between 1154 and 1189, during Henry II.'s reign.
The Eastern Transept, or "Nine Altars."
The Western Towers, built in "The Early English Style," which was a further development of "The Transitional."
It was carried out in the reigns of Richard I. to Henry III., 1189 to 1272. It is also known as "First Pointed" or "Lancet."
The Central Tower (Perpendicular).
The Windows (Decorated and Perpendicular).
From 1154, the commencement of Henry II.'s reign, architecture acquired new characteristics in each reign, or rather the architects of each reign attempted to improve on the style of their predecessors. It began with the "Transition from Norman to Pointed." From that it passed to "First Pointed or Early English." Then to "Complete or Geometrical Pointed." This was succeeded, in Edward III.'s time, by a more flowing style called "Middle Pointed," "Curvilinear," or "Decorated." The graceful flowing lines of this period culminated in what is known as "The Third Pointed," "Rectilinear," or "Perpendicular Style." This period existed from 1399 to 1546, that is to say, from the beginning of the reign of Henry IV. to the end of the reign of Henry VIII.
The Galilee or Western Chapel was built and dedicated as an offering to "The Blessed Virgin," by Bishop Pudsey, between 1153 and 1195; and served as the allotted place of worship for women, who were strictly forbidden to approach the sacred shrine of St. Cuthbert.
In the south-west corner of this chapel there is an altar-tomb of blue marble. This is revered as the abiding-place of the earthly remains of the great monk and historian, the Venerable Bede. Concerning him, tradition relates how Elfred, "The Sacrist" of Durham, in 1022, stole these remains from Jarrow and preserved them in St. Cuthbert's coffin till 1104. They were afterwards placed in a gold and silver shrine by Bishop Pudsey, which was left in the refectory till 1370, when Richard of Barnard Castle, a monk afterwards buried under the blue stone on the west of the present tomb, influenced its removal to the Galilee Chapel.
There upon the altar-tomb, mentioned before, the casket was placed, and was covered by a gilt cover of wainscot, which was drawn up by a pulley when the shrine was visited by pilgrims.
Upon this altar-tomb there is an inscription in Latin, in current use of the period, which runs thus:
"Hac sunt in fossa Bedae Venerabilis ossa."
("In this tomb are the bones of the Venerable Bede.")
In connection with this inscription there is a legend that the sixth word, "Venerabilis," was miraculously supplied by divine intervention to the tired and till then uninspired monk who was penning it. Hence Bede is known generally as "The Venerable Bede."
Close by there was an altar to the Venerable Bede.
The Reformation swept away the original tomb, leaving only a few traces behind, and the bones were buried under its site; and an altar-tomb, which still exists, was erected over them.
Every Sunday and holiday at noon a monk was accustomed to ascend the iron pulpit beneath the great west window, and from it to preach.
From 1775 to 1795 this magnificent pile was given over to the tender mercies of one James Wyatt, architect, who, but for timely intervention on the part of John Carter, would have left little of it to our present view; but, alas! by his chiselling and interference with the superficial details of the exterior, he has taught us a lesson in vandalism. The Cathedral still survives with surpassing beauty, and the name of the would-be destroyer is dead.
The Galilee Chapel was happily rescued in time from utter destruction at the hands of James Wyatt. This gentleman had already commenced to pull down a portion of it to make room for a coach-road, which he had planned to facilitate the connection between the castle and the college.
Unhappily the spirit of utility of a most material age allowed the Chapter House to be demolished, but, oddly enough, this demolition, together with the peeling of the exterior, the removal, so to speak, of details and minor embellishments of the grand edifice, have robbed us of nothing of its impressiveness, but indeed remind us, as the mutilated Parthenon marbles do, of the irony of man's vain predilection to mutilate the beautiful, which must last for ever. Thus again there is evidence in the interior of man's destructive power in the mutilation of the Neville tombs.
It seems strange that the House of God the Peacemaker and the shrine of St. Cuthbert the "incorruptible" should have been used as a prison-house of corruptible beings and peace-breakers,—legitimised murderers,—for here were interned the Scotch prisoners to the number of forty-five hundred, after the battle of Dunbar, and ample scope of amusement was given for their empty brains, as their ruthless exercise of the privilege records.
The Chapel of the Nine Altars still contains the remains of St. Cuthbert. When the tomb was opened in 1827 a number of curious and interesting books and MSS., the portable altar, vestments, and other relics were found. These are now placed in the Cathedral Library. The Cathedral Library was formerly the dormitory and refectories of the abbey, as it was originally styled.
In this connection one is led to speculate upon the possible early evolution of religious thought of early Christianity, and to half suspect that the "Nine Altars" in the Galilee Chapel and the "Woman's Bar" were the remnants of symbols of pre-Christian era, retained for the obvious purpose of satisfying converts to the faith still young.
There is a strong flavour of the worship of the Nine Muses of pagan times, and of the Judaical laws with regard to women either within or without the places of worship.
Tradition has it that St. Cuthbert was a misogynist, and so strong was it that the precincts of St. Cuthbert were strictly guarded against the encroachment of women. To enforce this "The Boundary Cross" or "Woman's Bar" was constructed to limit their approach, in the south of the nave.
By this attitude towards women St. Cuthbert, as a priest, only foreshadowed the present régime of the Church of Rome as regards matrimonial obligations on the part of its servants. For so saintly a man must not be taken as a hater of women, or his beatification as the son of a woman would have no sense, and would call his incorruptibility into question, and his saintliness of character in grave doubt.
The chief entrance to the Cathedral was originally in the west end, but when Bishop Pudsey built the Galilee Chapel, a doorway was constructed in the north end, framed in a rich and deeply recessed Norman arch, doing away with the necessity of the great entrance. Fixed to the door is the famous Norman knocker, suspended from the mouth of a grotesque monster, by which offenders seeking sanctuary made their presence known.
One of the most marvellous features, perhaps, of the whole Cathedral is the impressive grandeur of its appearance to the traveller, approaching from any quarter, who sees this Island Hill capped by the mighty structure, soaring up, as it were, into the heavens, yet dominating by its protecting shadows the city round its base—the symbol most beautifully conceived of the affinity between earth and heaven, and truly the noblest form of monument of reverential design that the human brain could have possibly conceived.
ICHFIELD, the ancient cathedral city of Staffordshire, has the best existing type of the fourteenth-century English church. It is memorable also as the birthplace of Dr. Johnson. Through the generosity of Alderman Gilbert the Corporation has purchased the house in which Dr. Johnson was born, with his statue opposite it, and has opened it to the public, much in the same way as that of Shakespeare's at Stratford-on-Avon. Lichfield is about sixteen miles to the north of Birmingham, and lies in a fertile valley, on a small tributary of the Trent.
The Venerable Bede, in his accounts of this city, calls it Licidfeld, being supposed to mean "Field of the Dead." It appears that a large number of Christians, in the reign of Diocletian, was massacred just in the neighbourhood, and thus originated the name Lichfeld, now altered to Lichfield. The termination "feld" was clearly introduced from over the water, for it still exists in the Low Countries, and bears the same meaning. As to what connection exists between "licid" and "dead," we cannot clearly understand.
In 669 Lichfield became an episcopal see, over which St. Chad was the first bishop. He left behind him a work, in the form of his Gospels. For a short time, namely, in the reign of Offa, it was raised to the dignity of an archbishopric, but the Primacy was restored to Canterbury in 803. The See of Lichfield was, in 1075, transferred to Chester, and from there, a few years later, to Coventry. Eventually, in 1148, Lichfield recovered its see. In 1305 the town received a charter of incorporation, and has since returned members to Parliament. It was raised to the dignity of a city by Edward VI., 1549.
The original Norman Cathedral no longer exists. In its stead there is a beautiful structure of Early English style, dating either from the end of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century.
Mr. Collins gives us an excellent idea of the wonderful and elaborate architecture of the west front. It seems that the architect generally lavished his best powers on the west front, as if to arrest the attention of the worshipper prior to entry. The west front was, and is now, invariably the chief entrance to the church. There is no doubt that the entrance was here specially situated with a view of continuing the first great impression. There is nothing grander and more impressive in cathedral architecture than to view the gradual unfolding of the interior as the sight becomes more accustomed to the sudden transition of the outside glare of day to the subdued light inside.
Nothing can be more symbolical of religion in church structure than to observe the trend of architectural lines in perspective. If the eye follow the upward course of the central and side aisles, and the downward sweep of the caps of columns, arches and walls diminishing in true perspective lines, it will be seen that they converge to the holiest place of the sacred edifice—the altar, the point of sight for all.
This Cathedral received, like other mighty buildings, similar ill-treatment during the Civil Wars. It was converted into stables by the parliamentary troops, who created havoc amongst its rich sculptures. In 1651 it was set on fire, and, by order of Parliament, was stripped of its lead, and left to neglect and decay.
The damage was repaired by Bishop Hackett in 1671. The Restoration has not long been completed, various improvements having been made. Under the superintendence of Mr. Wyatt, the choir was enlarged by the removal of the screen in front of the Lady Chapel. The transepts are richly ornamented, and contain certain portions of Norman architecture. The windows are worked in beautiful tracery. The choir is in the Decorated style of English architecture.
St. Mary's Chapel is an elegant design by Bishop Langton. For the central window was painted "The Resurrection," by Eggington, from a design by Sir Joshua Reynolds, the first president of the Royal Academy. In this same chapel there was the rich shrine to St. Chad, which was demolished at the Dissolution.
There is a great central tower of two hundred and eighty-five feet in height, besides two western spires one hundred and eighty-three feet. The total length of the building from east to west is about four hundred feet. By the north aisle is the Chapter-house. It is a ten-sided building of great beauty, with a vaulted roof supported on a central clustered column.
The memory of Bishops Hackett, Langton, and Pattishul is kept alive by their monuments, which escaped the ravages of Cromwell's troops. A monument to Dr. Samuel Johnson, a bust of Garrick, and a mutilated statue of Captain Stanley, serve to remind us of their departure from this world. Chantrey is responsible for a monument to the memory of the infant children of Mrs. Robinson.
HE greatness of the city of Oxford, a contraction of Oxenford, as quaintly depicted on the armorial shield by an ill-drawn ox making tentative efforts to cross a ford represented by horizontal zigzag waves, consists in its magnificent colleges, not huddled together, but dotted in all directions. Some authorities derive the name from Ouseford, from the river Ouse, now the Isis, and that the wealthy abbey, erected on an island in this river, was named Ouseney, or Osney, from the same source.
Didanus, an early Saxon prince, is credited with a monastic establishment, about the year 730, dedicated to St. Mary and All Saints, and founded for twelve sisters of noble birth. His daughter Frideswide was first abbess, and was after death canonised and buried in the abbey dedicated to St. Frideswide.
The origin of the city is attributed by some historians to the establishment of schools by Alfred the Great, whilst, on the other hand, it is demonstrated to have existed many years prior to this monarch's reign, as far back as 802, by an act of confirmation by Pope Martin II., which sets it forth as an ancient academy of learning. It has its market-place and other essentials, like every town; but take away the colleges, and with them sweep away all the traditions that have sprung up and constituted that university which brooks no rival excepting Cambridge, the city would no longer be a city, but, at the most, an overgrown village.
There is no doubt that the colleges were the gradual development of monastic institutions. The hall of nowadays and the kitchens and buttery-hatch are simply the survivals of the refectory of the mediæval days. The compulsory morning attendance of students, on most days during term-time, to prayers in chapel, is again a survival of the matutinal devotions of the monks. In the early days of monasticism the inmates of the ecclesiastical buildings were the only recipients of learning and exponents of illuminated manuscripts, in addition to the knowledge of some trade or other. A few, perhaps, of the laity, who were favourites and might possibly be admitted as novices, were permitted to partake of this knowledge, but being brought up in the convent their sympathy and gratitude would be entirely with their benefactors. Nevertheless, as time went on and a thirst for knowledge of letters increased, this introduction of novices became the thin end of the wedge to the downfall of the monastic power, which was consummated by Henry VIII. in the year 1525.
On the site of the monastery of St. Frideswide Cardinal Wolsey founded a college, then named Cardinal College, but now known as Christ Church. On the disgrace of this famous prelate, Henry VIII. completed the establishment, under the name of Henry the Eighth's College. It is necessary to make this slight mention of the college, for no doubt its great accommodation influenced the removal of the episcopal see from Osney, and constituted the elevation of the Church of St. Frideswide into a cathedral. This removal necessitated the change of name to Christ Church, under which is comprised the sacred edifice and college. This has given rise to a unique position. The Cathedral is not only a cathedral of the city, but is a noble and immense chapel of the college, and the Dean occupies the singular position not only as the Dean of the church but also as the Dean of the college.
Spread out before the chief and only entrance of the church is Tom Quadrangle, with a paved walk extending all round, and raised a few steps above the circular carriage drive which encloses a lawn, with the pond famous for the ducking of students unpopular with their contemporaries.
There are evidences, at one time, of the existence of pillars supporting a roof, covering the whole extent of the broad-flagged pavement of this quadrangle. The principal entrance to this quadrangle is through Tom Tower, from which daily, about nine in the evening, the huge bell booms forth one hundred and one strokes, the signal for all colleges to close their portals, and the dealing out of pecuniary fines to all late-comers. The lower part of this tower, up to the two smaller towers, is Wolsey's, whilst the upper and incongruous half is the conception of Wren. In spite of this, it is a noble-looking structure, as can be seen by looking at the water-colour of Mr. Collins.
The Cathedral cannot strictly be termed imposing, as so little of it is visible externally. It is hemmed in on all sides by the college precincts, and jammed, as it were, into a corner, presents a rather undignified appearance, and not at all in accordance with the usual proud position of a cathedral. It shows to best advantage when viewed from the side of the river Thames, exhibiting, as it does, its beautiful spire. This spire, of Early English architecture, is one of the earliest in the kingdom, though forming no part of the original design. It is planted on the top of the central tower of the Cathedral, which is a cruciform Norman structure.
The interior presents many interesting portions of singular beauty and design; the arches of the nave, which have been partly demolished, are in a double series, the tower springing from corbels on the piers. The remains of the nave, transepts and choir arches date from the twelfth century; and the Church of St. Frideswide, or, as it is now known, Christ Church. The beautifully groined roof of the choir is decorated with pendants, presenting a rich appearance.
The Latin Chapel has several windows in the Decorated style, whilst the Dean's Chapel possesses a monument in the same style, with beautiful canopied niches, and the shrine of St. Frideswide, most elaborately designed in the Late style of English architecture. During the Parliamentary war many windows were destroyed.
It is interesting to note the various vicissitudes of the city in history. It suffered terrible visitations from the Danes, who burnt it on three separate occasions. For refusing to submit to the Conqueror, in 1067, Oxford was taken by storm and given to Robert D'Oily. William Rufus held a council in the town under Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, with other bishops assisting, to defeat a conspiracy formed against him by Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, in favour of Robert, Duke of Normandy.
Stephen assembled a council of the nobility here, to whom he promised to abolish the tax called "Dane Gelt," and to restore the laws of Edward the Confessor. By way of digression it is interesting to note that the Flemings still use the word "geld" (money), which is a corruption of "gelt."
When Henry II. and Thomas à Becket fell out the monarch held a parliament at Oxford to undermine the Pope's authority, who had laid an interdict on the kingdom.
In 1167 he again summoned here another parliament, to partition Ireland among faithful subjects who had achieved the conquest of it. The citizens of Oxford contributed handsomely to the ransom of Richard I. when detained prisoner in Austria. King John managed here in 1204, through the aid of a parliament, to raise liberal supplies. Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, held here a synod for reforming ecclesiastical abuses. Parliament was again assembled in this ancient city by Henry III., in which he assumed the government, and revoked the grant of Magna Charta and the Charter of Forests, on the plea that he signed them when a minor. In 1319 Pondras, son of a tanner at Exeter, caused some commotion at Oxford, declaring that he was the rightful heir of Edward I., and had been stolen and exchanged for the reigning prince, Edward II. For the imposture he was executed at Northampton.
Later on a conspiracy was formed to assassinate Henry IV., at a tournament to be held here, and to restore the deposed monarch, Richard II., to the throne. It signally failed, and the Earls of Kent and Salisbury, Sir Thomas Blount, and others were executed near Oxford.
The next event of importance was the influence of Henry VIII., who raised Oxford to the dignity of a see, separating it from the Diocese of Lincoln. Wolsey also left his mark, as he invariably did wherever he went. During Henry VIII.'s reign Erasmus, a native of Holland, came to Oxford to aid the progress of learning.
He taught Greek, but the violence of the popish party drove him from thence, as the study of the ancient language was deemed a dangerous innovation. In 1555 Oxford witnessed the terrible death of Latimer and Ridley, condemned to be burned at the stake. Their Protestant tendencies had incurred Queen Mary's resentment, and a brass cross let into the centre of the road, near Balliol College, marks the site, and is a pathetic reminder of their martyrdom. Soon after Cranmer followed, recanting all belief in the Pope's supremacy, and in transubstantiation.
In the time of Henry VIII. Cranmer was instrumental in getting the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the Commandments, and the Litany translated into English, for hitherto it had been customary to conduct the Church services in Latin.
In 1625 and 1665 king and Parliament hurriedly retreated from the plague in London to adjourn to Oxford. In the Parliamentary war Oxford played a prominent part, and in 1681 Charles II. dissolved Parliament at Westminster, only to assemble a new one in the university city.
But the great events that go to the making of England's history have been contributed by men whose names are inscribed upon the books of the various colleges of Oxford. The Cathedral College, Christ Church, claims the three great English revivalists: Wycliffe; the chief of the Lollards; John Wesley, founder of Methodism; and Pusey.
Samuel Wesley, the father of Samuel, John, and Charles, entered Exeter College as a "pauper scholaris," and was an eminent divine. His son Samuel, the intimate associate of Pope, Swift, and Prior, wrote squibs against Sir Robert Walpole, the Whigs, and the Low Church divines, and was a member of Christ Church, as well as Charles. These three brothers compiled the "Book of Psalms and Hymns," Charles alone composed and published some four thousand hymns, besides leaving about two thousand in manuscript.
Pusey, born near Oxford in 1800, entered as a commoner and died as a canon of Christ Church, at the age of eighty-two.
The great scholar of Corpus Christi, John Keble, became member of that college at the age of fifteen, and when nineteen was elected Fellow of Oriel,—a very proud distinction, for Oriel was then the great centre of the most famous intellects in Oxford.
To this society belonged Copleston, Davison, Whately, and soon after Keble's election Arnold, Pusey, and Newman became members. Newman, whose tendencies were in turn Evangelical and Calvinistic, to become finally cardinal, matriculated at Trinity College. Amongst other famous members of Wolsey's foundation must be included the statesmen William Gladstone and the late Marquis of Salisbury.
Other distinguished inmates of this college are Anthony Ashley Cooper, the seventh earl of Shaftesbury, who interested himself in the practical welfare of the working classes; and John Ruskin, author of "The Stones of Venice," whose father had at first conceived the ambition of seeing him become bishop; Cecil Rhodes, the Imperialist, whose health was so uncertain that at one time his doctor gave him only six months to live, acquired wealth in South Africa, and came home to be admitted to Oriel, Oxford.
The author of "Alice in Wonderland," under the nom de plume of "Lewis Carroll," was also a student of Christ Church. As Charles Lutridge Dodgson he wrote many important works on mathematics.
These, with a host of other celebrated men of all the various colleges, have all shed lustre upon their alma mater; and, as long as old traditions be revered and followed, Oxford need never fear a decline. The beautiful buildings, collegiate and ecclesiastical, the wonderful university libraries, "The Bodleian" and "The Ashmolean," the sumptuous plate and silver of the colleges, are some of the great features of this cathedral city.
St. Petrius de Burgh.
HIS ancient cathedral city of Peterborough is most curiously situated. On first looking at the map it is extremely difficult to determine off-hand to which of the three counties, Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire, or Cambridgeshire, it belongs. It is true part of the city lies in Huntingdonshire. Happily for Northamptonshire, the near proximity of the river Nene probably decided the worthy monks to select that site for the monastery. It was dedicated to St. Peter, whose saintly name was evidently borrowed to designate the name of the borough, and to displace the original appellation, which was Medeswelhamsted, or Medeshampsted, taken out of compliment to a whirlpool in the river Aufona, now the Nene. Though we are told that this monastery was founded, about 655, by a royal Christian convert, Paeda, the fifth king of Mercia, and finished by his brother, Wulfhere, in atonement for his crime in connection with the premature death of his sons for their Christian proclivities—though we are told this, nevertheless we are inclined to think that the worthy brethren were chiefly responsible for the selection of the site.
If we come to consider closely the locality of each monastic institution, we generally stumble across a river, however small and humble it may appear. And why is this? Simply for the fish, which was carefully preserved and encouraged to multiply. Even to this day all monks, nuns, and strict followers of the Roman Catholic persuasion rigidly adhere to the observance of eating fish, instead of flesh, on every Friday and fast day, though nowadays it is not customary for them to catch fish in its natural element. In the good old days the holy friars had to depend principally upon the yield of the river for Friday's requirements, if perchance the monastery was situated far inland. Travelling in mediæval times was somewhat precarious and slow.
This monastery would be in all probability a wooden erection of Anglo-Saxon style. Philologists demonstrate that "getimbrian"—to construct of wood—was the Anglo-Saxon word for "build." If this argument holds good, it accounts not only for the scarcity of Old English lapidary remains, but also for their peculiar character. Till the arrival of masons in 672 from the continent, the buildings had been composed mostly of wood covered with thatch. Only towards the close of the tenth century, with a better knowledge of stone-work, did architects develop a definite style in England.
With the arrival of the Danes, about the middle of the ninth century, the town was sacked, the monks were massacred, and the monastic buildings were burnt. For more than a century it remained in oblivion, till the combined efforts of Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, King Edgar, and his wealthy chancellor Adulph, produced a monastery, over which, in recognition of his pecuniary assistance, Adulph was made abbot. As usual, the Norman Conquest left its mark in the shape of a castle to protect the town, and to instil wholesome awe in the English. It was early in the reign of Henry I. that a fire caused great injury to the town and monastery. Though deplorable, as it at first appeared, it nevertheless gave birth to the present Norman cathedral church, which Abbot Salisbury commenced to build in 1118, two years after the accident. At the same time the site of the town was transferred from the eastern side of the monastery to the present situation north of the Nene.
Six years before the death of Henry VIII., to wit, in 1541, Peterborough was separated from the Diocese of Lincoln and was created into an episcopal see. The last abbot of Peterborough was appointed first bishop, with the abbot's house as the episcopal palace, and the monastery church as the cathedral. To this building, the Norman effort of Abbot Salisbury, was grafted the architecture of the Early English style. No pen can so adequately describe the magnificence of the west front of this cathedral as the brush of Mr. Collins. This artist has done full justice to his subject, which has evidently been a work of love to him. In his rendering he has both successfully caught the true spirit of the church's grandeur, and has managed to incorporate his distinct individuality. Mr. Collins has shown the same qualities with regard to the "market-place."
The three lofty and beautiful arches of this west front are Early English. Perhaps a jarring note to its fine composition is the small porch, over which there is a chapel to St. Thomas à Becket.
A square tower at the north-west angle and another similar one at the south-west angle of the nave enrich the general effect. The nave itself is Norman, and is separated from the aisles by finely clustered piers and arches of the same style, but lighter than usual in character.
The east end is circular, and there are several chapels of the English style subsequent to the Early English. They are elegantly designed with fan tracery, and the windows, since their original foundation, appear to have been enriched with tracery.
On the south side there is the shrine to St. Tibba, and close to it Mary Queen of Scots was buried. Her remains were afterwards exhumed and removed to Westminster.
The north side was graced with a tomb to Queen Catherine of Arragon. Uneasy was her rest, for Cromwell's troops laid sacrilegious hands on the tomb. Her royal memory is now perpetuated by a commonplace marble slab.
Not content with this the Roundheads, as the parliamentary forces were called, defaced the Cathedral, looted its plate and ornaments, and pulled down part of the cloisters, the chapter house, and the episcopal palace. What remains of the cloisters exhibit specimens of Early Norman, down to the later periods of English architecture, and give some idea of their former grandeur.
The choir, by John de Sez, is Early Norman. Martin of Bec took fifteen years, in the twelfth century, to realise the completion of the aisles of both transepts. The remaining portions of the transepts and the central tower were designed by William de Waterville, from 1155 to 1175.
Unfortunately, the insecurity of this tower caused it to be pulled down in 1883, and attempts were immediately made to substitute another.
The nave belongs to the latter part of the Norman period. To be correct, its date, 1177 to 1193, clearly indicates it should be included rather in the Transition period, which was then trending towards the Lancet of Early English.
This same Transition must also claim the western transepts by Abbot Andrew, 1193 to 1200.
The painted roof of wood, added by Abbot Benedict, 1177 to 1193, is a fair example of the fashion prevalent in Europe at that period. Another object of interest is the "decorated windows," which were placed throughout this church in the fourteenth century.
A distinctive feature is the existence of the "Close," exhibiting interesting remains of English architecture. To more thoroughly ensure the privacy of the cathedral, its precincts were enclosed, very much like a college at a university, either within a solid wall enclosure or generally surrounded by dwellings for the ecclesiastics. Though the cathedral might be in the densest quarter of the town, yet, on closing its gates, it secured complete severance from the city. The cathedral close at Salisbury is quite the best specimen extant in England.
En passant we would mention among the many eminent men that Peterborough is justly proud of, Benedict, who was abbot in 1180, and founded an hospital, which he dedicated to St. Thomas à Becket, whose biographer and ardent admirer he was; and an eminent English historian in the fourteenth century, John, abbot of the monastery of Peterborough; Archdeacon Paley, a celebrated divine and moralist, who died in 1805; and Sir John Hill, a popular writer in the eighteenth century.
In conclusion, we cannot help drawing attention to the great general, statesman, and contemporary of the Duke of Marlborough, who was called after this city, and known in the reigns of Anne and George I. The title of Earl of Peterborough was conferred by Charles I. on the family of Mordaunt, and worthily borne by the celebrated soldier-statesman.
NDER the title of "Oppidum," the stronghold of Cassivelaunus, St. Albans is frequently mentioned by Cæsar and Tacitus.
At the time of Cæsar's first visit to England, which was in 46 B.C., the Britons led a wandering life, and it was only in war time that they gathered together and took refuge in towns. Tacitus and Cæsar describe the Britons as people who had no cities, towns, or buildings of any durable materials. The sites of their towns were chosen with a view to turning to good account all the assistance that Nature could lend, such as woods, ditches, and bogs.
Though Cæsar names no particular town, yet he describes his attack and occupation of the "Oppidum" over which Cassivelaunus was the chief. And from what is known of the progress and distance of Cæsar from the Thames, there seems no doubt that "Verulamium," as it was then and afterwards called, is identical with that of the stronghold of the Britons. It was situated on the low ground on the banks of the river Ver. Cæsar's occupation was brief. Until the conquest of Britain by Claudius in 43 A.D. it remained an important city in the hands of the Britons. Finally, in 420 A.D., the Romans quitted Britain. During their stay they had greatly opened up the country, constructing the famous high roads, one of which is the great North Road, called Watling Street, which stretches from London to York.
In the fifth century Verulamium, as we shall still continue to call St. Albans for a while, was occupied by the Saxons. They changed the site of the Roman city from the low ground, on which now stands the Church of St. Michael, to the higher ground. At the same time they renamed it Watling-ceaster, after Watling Street, which passed through it.
From the ruins of the ancient city of Verulamium arose in the tenth century the celebrated monastery in honour of St. Alban. To account for the erection of this building it is necessary to give a brief sketch of its patron saint.
During the Diocletian persecution of the Christians, in the year 304 A.D., a distinguished citizen, Alban of Verulamium, of Roman origin, but converted to Christianity, suffered martyrdom for giving shelter to Amphibalus, a Christian. For this crime he was executed on the site of the present abbey, and in 772 was canonised.
Nearly five hundred years after, in 793, Offa, the King of Mercia, was very much exercised in mind as to the best means of expiating his murder of Æthelbert.
Greatly to his relief, he was bidden in a vision to seek the remains of St. Alban, and over them, when found, to erect a monastery. In accordance with these instructions he, with Higbert, Archbishop of Lichfield, the Bishops of Leicester and Lindsey, and a huge assembly of clergy and laity, visited the hill, where the "Proto-martyr of England," as St. Alban came to be known, had suffered. There the holy remains were discovered. Over them Offa founded the abbey, with a monastery for one hundred monks of the Order of St. Benedict.
The present abbey really dates from the eleventh century. At the close of the tenth century the ruins of the old Roman city of Verulamium were broken up to serve as materials for the new church buildings. But owing to the unsettled character of the times the erection was delayed, till William the Conqueror was firmly possessed of the throne, when Paul of Caen, a relative of Archbishop Lanfranc, was appointed abbot in 1077. He built the magnificent Norman structure, based upon the plans of St. Stephen's, Caen—the same church which served as a model for Lanfranc, when he built Canterbury.
Though finished for some years past, it was only consecrated in 1115.
As was invariably the custom, the church was built in the form of a cross. In this connection it is interesting to note the evolution of the cross.
Prior to the Christian era the cross was looked upon with disfavour.
To be crucified was to undergo a most ignominious form of punishment, and it was only served out to malefactors of the worst description. Nothing short of this would have been a sufficient check in those times to the growth of vice. But in the early days of Christianity the cross came to be regarded as the holiest symbol of "The Sacrifice" made for the good of mankind.
When converts met they formed on the ground the sign of the cross, in order to distinguish friends from foes. The mere fact of a severe punishment meted out consequent on discovery of this secret passport served only to increase the reverence held for the symbol.
As soon as time and opportunity allowed places of worship were erected, and the natural form adopted would be that of the cross, for which they had suffered so much persecution, and which typified the foundation of their faith and hopes of salvation.
As they assembled in church they would be sensible of the prevailing influence of the emblem. In every direction, look where they would, they would always see the holy sign. The roof would reveal to the gaze the same form as that on the ground.
Even the walls, as they soared upwards, out-lined, tier upon tier, the Christian sign, capped at the last by a mighty cross, which cast its protecting shadows around and over the worshippers.
The altar came to be placed at the head of the cross. The transept, crossing it at right angles, formed the arms, and the nave the upright.
The altar was always situated at the east end, again illustrating a link with the pagan times, when worshippers turned towards the sun.
As time progressed chapels were erected along the sides, causing the walls to be pierced and arched. These chapels were in honour, firstly, of "The Blessed Virgin," and then of the leaders of "The Faith," who had been canonised as saints on account of martyrdom. But the main building was always dedicated to the "God Head."
By a special grant in 1154, given by Pope Adrian IV., who was born near St. Albans, and who was the only Englishman ever appointed to the Papal See, the abbots of St. Albans were allowed the privilege of wearing a mitre. Added to this dignity he was given precedence over all in England, whether they were king, archbishop, bishop, or legate. He also exercised supreme episcopal jurisdiction over all clergy and laity in all lands pertaining to the monastery.
The first abbot was Willgod, nominated by King Offa.
The last one was Richard Boreman, otherwise Stevenache.
In all there were forty-one from the foundation to the suppression, which took place in 1534. In that year the monastery was seized by Henry VIII., who allowed pensions to the monks, and an annuity to the abbot.
About 1480 the abbey was amongst the first in England to set up a printing press. On this the first English translation of the Bible was printed.
In spite of every loving care exercised, the relics of St. Alban enjoyed little rest. In Wulruth's reign as fourth abbot, the abbey suffered at the hands of the Danes. They carried away with them the bones of "the Proto-martyr" to Denmark, and there placed them in a convent at Owenses. They were found and brought back to the abbey.
Again, seventy years later, the Danes ravaged the country. But this time Ælfric II., eleventh abbot, resorted to artifice. He hid the bones in the walls of the church, and sent bogus relics to the monastery at Ely, giving the monks special charges to guard them well. On the retirement of the Danes from the country, Ælfric sent post haste to reclaim these bones. Ely at first demurred, but, giving way in the end, sent back some substituted bones. This disquieted the saint.
He appeared to Gilbert, a Benedictine monk, and to him disclosed the fraud, enjoining him to bring to light the true bones from their hiding-place. This was solemnly done. But Ely unexpectedly disclosed the artifice they had practised, and claimed that they were in possession of the true relics.
As neither party would yield, "the relics of St. Alban" for a hundred years received reverential and impartial homage both at St. Albans and at Ely. Eventually Ely disclaimed their right, on the appeal of Robert de Gorham, the eighteenth abbot, to the Pope.
In the history of the "Wars of the Roses," the city of St. Albans played a prominent part.
In 1455 Henry VI. set up his royal standard on the north side of the town, whilst the Yorkists, under the Duke of York and the Earl of Warwick, the "Kingmaker," encamped in the fields east of the town.
On May 3 of the same year in Holywell Street and its adjacent roads fought the two armies to decide the succession to the English throne. The Yorkists gained the victory. The king was taken a wounded prisoner.
On February 17, 1461, St. Albans was for the second time the scene of a terrible battle. The Lancastrians, with Queen Margaret at their head, defeated the Yorkists under the Earl of Warwick, and restored Henry VI. to the throne.
The principal portions now in existence of the original Norman church by Paul of Caen are the tower, the eastern bays of the nave, and the transepts. Though it exhibits specimens of architecture of different periods, and has undergone much restoration, the main architectural outlines, as conceived by Paul, have been adhered to all the time.
Within recent years Sir Gilbert Scott, succeeded by Sir Edmund Beckett, made extensive renovations. The only reminder of the once vast monastic buildings is the great gateway, within a few yards of the west entrance to the abbey.
"ELLS, a city, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the hundred of Wells-Forum, County of Somerset." Thus runs a description of this place, and is a fair sample of most cities. We think a little explanation anent "the hundred" may possibly make that term more clear of understanding, and may not be amiss. The description, short as it is, has quite a condensed history of its own, but only conveys a hazy idea of the status of the city.
In the days of heathenism, it must be remembered that England was partitioned into several kingdoms, the size of which was regulated by the might of their respective kings. Each tribe, or kingdom, was ruled by a tribal chief, or folk-king. He was chosen by the tribe, and the king-ship became in time practically hereditary. To maintain his power he had to respect and keep the customs of his people. Without their consent he could pass no law; he could touch no freeman's life or heritage without consent of law, which gave the freeman the right of defending his cause before his fellow-freemen; he presided, at regular annual intervals, at the folk-moot, or tribal assembly, and at the great feasts and sacrifices. Counsellors and wise men assisted the king with advice. His marriages were the result of favourable and pacific negotiations with other tribes. He was called upon to travel throughout his kingdom and see that justice was properly administered and evil and oppression suppressed. He was almost regarded as a demi-god, and his crimes were supposed to be punished by the gods, who denied good seasons and brought about other calamities. The king was allowed a little army, or comitatus as it was called, of paid retainers, to maintain adequate discipline, and to form his bodyguard. These kings, chosen by the people at the tribal-moot, in heathen times were throned on the holy stone and carried about on a shield, and in Christian times were consecrated. In accordance with the extension of the West Saxon kingdom, which became the kingdom of the English, the court increased. At the time of the Conquest, a treasurer, a chancellor, and other officials looking after the king's plate, clothes, and horses were added to the royal household. When in addition to these were added the bishops, abbots, and the aldermen, who had succeeded the tribal kings in the several "folks," or "shires," on their absorption into the West Saxon kingdom, the king was recognised as the head of the Witema-gemot, or Concilium Sapientium, as the "meeting of wisemen" was called. In the tenth century the king no longer went about to get the consent of each folk-moot to a certain law, but convened the heads of each shire-moot at some convenient central spot. This convening of moots, or Mycel-gemot, became the Magnum Concilium of the Normans, and in the thirteenth century developed into the High Courts and Parliament. Beneath the shire-moots came the "hundred-moots," and later on the "hall-moots." The origin of the "hundred" appears, by some authorities, to be based on the military organisation. It is supposed, in the first instance, to be a grouping of a sufficient number of free homesteads to furnish at least one hundred and twenty fully-armed freemen for war service, and to supply full-qualified jurors for the cases of the district. This hundred-moot was presided over by a lord or an hundred-elder, and discharged the duties for the district much in the same way as the shire-moot did for the county. It was a criminal and civil court with its grand jury, and enforced the attendance of persons from each manor within the hundred. When the king was absent from the shire-moot, the "ealdorman" (alderman) of the shire presided, and to watch the royal interests was nominated the "shire-reeve," or sheriff (scirgerefa), chosen from the better class of the freeholders. We are told that the laws of England were far in advance of those in France. In fact, the English had written laws at the time of the Conquest, and the Normans had none. It hardly seems credible that the conquered were, in some respects, more civilised than their conquerors.
It was only after the Conquest that the "Doomsday Book" came into existence. After the Conquest the sheriff became simply a royal officer. He was the financial representative of the Crown within his district. Now his financial duties no longer exist, and his judicial are almost nil. Our general knowledge of him is that he is supposed to be in at the death of a murderer, and that he is somehow or other associated with the bailiff—sheriff's officer, as he is styled.
Mr. Collins presents us with three interesting graphic descriptions. This city owes its name to the numerous springs, and more particularly to that of St. Andrew's Well, whose water, rising in the vicinity of the episcopal palace, flows through the south-western part of the city. Ina, King of the West Saxons, named it thus. He, in 704, founded a collegiate church and dedicated it to St. Andrew the Apostle.
This foundation was handsomely endowed by Cynewulf in 766, and flourished till 905. Wells was then erected into a see. This change was consequent on an edict of Edward the Elder for the revival of religion, which had been brought down to a low ebb by the frequent and terrible incursions of the Danes. To combat this state of things, Pligrund, Archbishop of Canterbury, consecrated several new bishops, of whom Aldhelm, formerly Abbot of Glastonbury, became first bishop of Wells.
Edward the Confessor made his chaplain, Giso, the thirteenth bishop to the See, and at the same time enriched it by the confiscated property of Godwin, Earl of Kent, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, his son, whom he had driven into exile. Harold, in spite of his exile, made an incursion into Somersetshire, levied mail on his former tenantry, and eased the church of its treasures.
In the meantime Giso was being consecrated at Rome. On his return he was fortunate enough to gain some compensation from the queen, who was sister to Harold. But, unfortunately for Giso, Harold was again received into favour. He promptly procured the banishment of Giso, and on his succession later to the throne straightway resumed all his estates, which Edward the Confessor had granted to the Church, and thus impoverished the See.
Bishop Giso's opportunity came with the Conquest, when he was reinstated. William, in his second year of reign, restored to the Bishopric, with some small deduction, all Harold's estates. Giso augmented the number of canons, and built a cloister, hall, and dormitory, and enlarged and beautified the choir of the Cathedral. John de Villula, his successor, swept away these buildings, and on their site built a palace.
Villula's name in ecclesiastical history is closely associated with a memorable event which caused considerable commotion and rivalry between the inhabitants of Wells and Bath. He removed the See of the diocese to Bath, and assumed the title of Bishop of Bath. Feeling ran high, and the Archbishop of Canterbury was appealed to. His ingenuity proposed that the prelates should be styled "Bishop of Bath and Wells," that an equal number of delegates from both cities should elect him, and that their installation should take place in both churches. Yet, later, the determination of the diocese's headquarters became again a vexed question, under Bishop Savaricus, who was closely allied to the Emperor of Austria.
Richard I.'s liberty was granted him by the Emperor of Austria on one condition besides the ransom, that the then vacant Abbey of Glastonbury should be annexed to the See of Bath and Wells. Savaricus afterwards changed the seat of his diocese to Glastonbury, and styled himself Bishop of Glastonbury. The seat was finally settled in 1205, after his death, by the monks under his successor, Joscelyne de Wells. Glastonbury petitioned Rome, favourably, to be reinstated as an abbey, on condition of relinquishing a handsome portion of its revenue to the See.
Joscelyne assumed the bishopric title of Bath and Wells, which has remained to this day. The death of this prelate was the signal for further dispute in another direction. The monks of Bath endeavoured to exercise, in opposition to the Canon of Wells, the right of electing the successor to the See. All dispute was settled by the Pope, who managed to draw closer the union of the churches. At the Reformation the monastery of Bath was suppressed, and though the name of the See was retained, all ecclesiastical authority and the right of electing the Bishop were vested in the Dean and Chapter of Wells, which then became the sole chapter of the Diocese.
The Chapter House is a beautiful octagonal building, each side measuring fifty feet. Its finely groined roof is held up by a central clustered column of Purbeck marble. Beneath it there is a crypt displaying a very good example of plain groining.
The foundation of the present Cathedral was laid by Wiffeline, the second bishop of the diocese, and completed by Bishop Joscelyne in 1239. This cruciform structure was dedicated to St. Andrew. On the south the cloisters form three sides of a quadrangle. The prevailing style of the architecture of this church is the Early English, with the introduction of the Decorated and subsequent periods.
The west front is divided into compartments by buttresses, and is richly embellished with canopied niches, containing statues of kings, popes, cardinals, bishops, and abbots. Even the mullions of the west window and the lower stages of the western towers are similarly treated. These towers, like the central tower, are crowned with parapets elegantly pierced. The nave and transepts display the grand simplicity and elegance of the Early English style. The former is separated from the aisles by a series of clustered columns and finely pointed arches, above which are placed a triforium of lancet-shaped arches, and a range of clerestory windows with elegant tracery in the Later English style inserted.
The choir belongs to the Decorated style.
The Cathedral contains several chapels. In one there is the ancient clock from Glastonbury. It has an astronomical dial, and figures of knights in armour are set in motion by machinery. An ancient font in the south transept is of the same date as this portion of the Cathedral.
Of monuments there is the elaborate effigy of Bishop Beckington; and in the choir the grave-stone of Bishop Joscelyne is the sole relic of what was once an imposing marble monument bearing a brass effigy. In the centre of the nave King Ina was buried.
The hall, by Villula, was demolished in the reign of Edward VI. for the sake of its materials. Its remains even now clearly indicate its original splendour. In length it was one hundred and twenty feet.
On the dissolution of the monasteries Henry VIII. remodelled the then existing establishment and refounded it. This monarch's name reminds us that Cardinal Wolsey and Archbishop Laud were prelates of this see. The eminent historian, Polydore Vergil, was archdeacon in the sixteenth century, and in the year 1634 was born in this city pious Dr. George Bull, Bishop of St. David's.
PART from its beautiful Cathedral, this ancient city has gained notoriety from its famous manufacture of porcelain. Who is there who has not heard of "Old Worcester" china? From the experiments of china clay, china stone from Cornwall, feldspar from Sweden, fire-clay from Stourbridge and Broseley, marl, flint, and calcined bones, Dr. Wall evolved those exquisite creations of Worcester china which now claim universal admiration and obtain fabulous prices.
It has been said that for political reasons the joint efforts of Dr. Wall, a physician; William Davies, an apothecary; and Edward Cave, the founder of The Gentleman's Magazine, gave birth to the foundation of the Worcester Porcelain Company. This desirable event took place in 1751, six years after the invasion of the Pretender's armed forces, which penetrated as far as Derby. Whether the establishment of this industry helped George II.'s party to gain votes in the county against the numerous supporters of the Pretender, who made their presence felt in Worcester, or not, is now of little consequence. The existence of this branch of art clearly demonstrates the insecure footing of politics, and asserts the triumph of its founders.
Mr. Collins gives us another proof that "art is long" by his skilful rendering of the beautiful portion of Worcester Cathedral here shown.
At the period of the Roman invasion of England, two British tribes, the Cornavii and Dobuni, were in part ownership of Worcestershire. This British settlement was promptly annexed by the Romans as a military station, and was included in the division called Flavia Cæsariensis. They named it Vigorna, but being low and woody it offered little attraction to them, and received little attention at their hands. With the establishment of the Saxon Octarchy this territory became included in the kingdom of Mercia. Like many of the English towns that served as Roman military posts, the Saxons grafted the Roman appellation "cester" for a camp, to Wigorna.
Wigorna-cester gradually changed to Worcester. The city's advancement was temporarily checked by the ravages of the Danes, who burnt it more than once. In spite of the opposition of the Bishop of Lichfield, the See of the city was founded by Archbishop Theodore, in 673, though not finally established till 780. It then severed its connection with the See of Lichfield.
Save for predatory incursions of the Danes, especially on two occasions, when the Dane chief Canute was, in 1016, defeated by Edmund Ironsides near Blockley; and at another time, when the Danes deemed it necessary, in 1041, to punish the Saxons for refusing to pay them tribute called "danegelt,"—save for these little misfortunes, little else interfered with the gradual growth of the city's prosperity.
Naturally, with increased prosperity, the city freed itself from bondage to Danes. At the date of the Conquest it had even attained sufficient importance to have a mint. The existence of various English mints at that period, as shown here, and in Oxford and other towns, according to their importance and the exigencies of the neighbourhood, must have been solely due to the geographical partition of England.
By this is made evident the lack of unity and support against the common foe, the foreign invader. Each kingdom of necessity issued its own currency, besides framing its own laws to suit the character of the subjects and the nature of the surroundings.
Though each king attempted to restore this chaos to order by the simple process of grabbing his neighbours' land during the intermission of hostilities against foreign invaders, it was only Alfred the Great who really attempted some scheme of unity—and then failed to accomplish what seemed an impossibility. But this impossibility was entirely overcome by William the Conqueror, who straightway grasped the situation. He erected castles everywhere, with the twofold purpose of curbing the Saxons and keeping out their former foes. Under his rule internal dissensions were quelled, effete customs were abolished, new and necessary laws were introduced, architecture was encouraged, trade was fostered, and a recognised currency was adopted. All this can be readily gathered at a glance into that marvellous book he caused to be drawn up, called "Doomsday Book." In it a correct valuation of all property, from the noble lord's down to the agricultural implements of the peasant, is entered, with the position of every church and castle extant conspicuously marked on the chart in Latin. He wished to thoroughly gauge the resources of his recent conquest. With this information he gained an index to the complete establishment of his sovereignty over England. This may be considered a digression, but we submit that a brief sketch of the wonderful change that took place under this monarch is essential to the right understanding of the history alike of cathedral and city. No other reigning prince of England, before or since William's reign, has left such lasting evidences of his personality except it be Henry VIII., who is inseparable with the dissolution of the monasteries.
The drawing of Mr. Collins gives an excellent idea of the character of Worcester Cathedral. Its site is on the eastern bank of the river Severn, and is the most important building of the city. Yet it cannot be compared to the massive grandeur of Ripon. Though its beauty could not entirely be marred by restoration, yet, having been allowed to get out of repair, the task was entrusted in 1857 to Mr. Perkins, the cathedral architect. He has managed to sweep away a great part of the old work, and in some instances has replaced the original by conjectural work of Early English style.
But to revert to the early stages of the Cathedral, Bishop Oswald appears to have absorbed the secular monks of St. Peter's, the Bishop's church, into a monastery of St. Mary, thereby changing the secular state of the canons to that of the monastic. This bishop, in 983, finished the building of a new monastic cathedral.
By the time that the Normans cast their influence over Worcester, Bishop Wulfstan had gained so much fame for saintliness that it is recorded he was the only English prelate left in charge of his see. But subsequent history somewhat discounts his holy character and demonstrates his readiness to conform with new customs.
He met the Normans half-way by undertaking to build a great church of stone, after the Norman style of architecture.
In 1088 he suffered interruption through Welsh raids, but finally signalised the end of his labours by holding a synod in the crypt in 1094.
Another notable foundation of his is the Commandery, in 1095, believed to be one of the rarest specimens of early house architecture now extant. We cannot be too grateful for his contribution to church architecture, though only the outer walls of the nave, the aisles, a part of the transept walls, some shafts, and the crypt remain as evidences of his Norman adaptability.
Here it is well to accentuate the fact that the crypt (1084) is apsidal, and that only three other examples of this style exist, namely at Winchester, Gloucester, and Canterbury, all dating within the last twenty years of the eleventh century.
The nave (1175) was much injured by the collapse of the central tower. In the meanwhile, though dead some two hundred years, the saintly character of Wulfstan suffered no diminution, and was turned to profitable use by the monks soon after 1203, the year of his canonisation. The magnificent offerings to his shrine became so numerous and rich that the monks were enabled to finish the Cathedral in 1216—surely the most fitting memorial to the great founder. They continued their labours by adding a Lady chapel, soon after, in the east end, and rebuilding the choir in the Early English style. In the fourteenth century the nave was reconstructed, the Decorated style being introduced in the north side and the Perpendicular in the south.
The Chapter House is a round building with a stone roof resting on a central pillar, and dates from the Late Norman period.
The Refectory belongs to the Decorated, and the Perpendicular style claims the cloisters. The central tower is just over one hundred and sixty feet in height. As can be seen by the drawing, the plan of the building is a pure cross. There are two transept aisles, and only secondary transepts to the choir exist. A noteworthy circumstance is that St. Helen's, Worcester, is the earliest recipient of a chantry (1288).
The most interesting memorial in this cathedral is King John's, in the choir, said to be the earliest sepulchral effigy of an English king in the country. In the Chantry Chapel there is an altar-tomb to Arthur, Prince of Wales and son to Henry VII., who died in 1502. John Bauden, bishop, and author of "Icon Basilike," has a monument. Bishop Hough's memory is perpetuated by the work of Roubillac, and that of Mrs. Digby by the sculpture of Chantrey.
To give a detailed account of the history of the city would be long and unnecessary. Suffice it to say that the city continually changed hands during the civil wars. In 1265, in Worcestershire, close upon the frontier of Gloucestershire, was fought the battle of Evesham, in which Henry III.'s son surprised and defeated Earl Simon de Montford, one time a royal favourite. This result put an end to the confederacy of the barons. Cantilupe, the Bishop of Worcester, was implicated in that he favoured the Earl's cause, who had withdrawn previous to the battle, to the friendly territory of Worcester's See, and had rested at Evesham Abbey. Queen Elizabeth and James II. respectively paid the city a short visit.
It suffered extensively by the dissolution of the monasteries. The parliamentary troops foully defiled the Cathedral, and did considerable damage to the city, which was Royalist.
Here it was that Charles II., with his Scottish army, was defeated by Cromwell, who had taken up a position on Red Hill without the city gates. Fortune and disguise helped Charles to escape, and from here he began his adventurous journey to Boscobel. The cathedral city has since increased steadily in prosperity. Besides the Worcester China Company, founded in 1751, and still flourishing, a Company of Glovers was incorporated in 1661, and is an important industry. These, in addition to hop-growing, help to keep up the trade prosperity of Worcester. The See has enriched the Church of Rome by four saints, and has yielded to the English State several Lord Chancellors and Lord Treasurers.
N a geographical account of this city it is given as being locally in "the hundred of Box and Stockbridge, rape of Chichester, county of Sussex." The origin of this term "rape," comes from the Icelandic "hreppr," meaning a village or district. From the Icelandic verb, "hreppa," to catch, obtain, arose the Anglo-Saxon rendering—"hrepian, hreppan," to touch. Rape came thus to be one of six divisions of the county of Sussex, possibly by reason of their nearness to each other. It formed the intermediate between the shire and the hundred. A sketch of the shire and the hundred is treated in the description of Wells. After this slight digression, we will immediately enter upon the history of Chichester.
Its foundation dates, with certainty, from the time when England formed a portion of the Roman Empire. About the year 47 A.D., Flavius Vespasian conquered this part of England. He established a camp on the site of the present city, close to the road now known as Stane Street, throwing up an entrenchment three miles long. This is attributed to be the "Regnum" of the Belgæ, mentioned in the "Itinerary" of Antonine.
There is no reason to doubt this, if it be borne in mind that, situated almost on the south seaboard of England as Chichester is, it might quite conceivably be expected to be classed accidentally as forming a part of the territory of the Belgæ, though geographically wrong. The advantage of a site at the foot of a small spur of the South Downs, within easy distance of the sea, though inland, would offer great attractions to the Roman invader.
The early history of England shows us that invasions took effect generally on the south and east coasts of the island. The conquered tribes travelled westwards, retreating before the fierce invader.
Little seems to have been known about the Roman occupation of Chichester till the accidental turning up of a Sussex marble slab on the site of the present council chamber. This discovery took place about the year 1713. From this a little information is gleaned about the Roman buildings. The slab bears a defaced inscription in Latin, the missing letters of which having been supplied, give a conjectural reading. It appears that Chichester was the seat of a British king, Cogidubnus; and that under the auspices of a certain Pudens, a temple of Neptune and Minerva was erected out of compliment to Claudius. The evidence of this stone seems also to have been borne out by Tacitus, who mentions in his writings the existence of Cogidubnus as a native king possessed of independent authority. This king, also, is said to be the father of Claudia, who figures in the Second Epistle to Timothy. The conjectural reading again leads us to suppose that the city was occupied by a large number of craftsmen, who, in fact, were responsible for the erection of the temple mentioned above, besides the walls and other buildings.
During the early Saxon period in the fifth century the city was destroyed by Œlla. He was succeeded by his son Cissa, who rebuilt it and called it Cissa's Ceaster—Cissa after his own name, and Ceaster in recognition of the Romans having occupied it. The city afterwards became the seat of the South Saxon kings, and remained thus till about the middle of the seventh century. Wulfhere, the Mercian, then invaded it and made Athelwald, its king, prisoner. Upon his conversion to Christianity the king was reinstated. He was afterwards killed in battle by Ceadwalla of Wessex, who conquered the kingdom of the South Saxons. In 803 Egbert managed to make a union of the several Saxon kingdoms. This event caused considerable prosperity to Chichester. From ancient penny-pieces discovered, we learn that King Edgar, in the year 967, had established a mint here, thus clearly indicating the importance of the city.
It suffered a terrible decline through the devastations of the Danes; so much so, that scarcely two hundred houses and only one church existed at the time of the Norman Conquest. However, from 1070 the fortunes of the city began to mend rapidly. This wholesome change was caused primarily by the removal of the See from Selsea, where it had remained for over three hundred years, to Chichester. As first bishop of Chichester, Stigand, the chaplain to William the Conqueror, was appointed. In the reign of Henry I. a cathedral was built and consecrated by Bishop Ralph. It was soon destroyed by fire. On its site the same prelate erected a second structure of far greater magnificence, a considerable portion of which is still extant.
In 1189 the city again suffered from a terrible fire, which also caused great damage to the Cathedral. This building, however, was repaired and greatly enlarged by Bishop Siffed. His efforts, with those of Ralph, form the basis of the present cathedral. It was dedicated to St. Peter. The architecture embraces the Norman and the Early English and Decorated styles.
A beautiful tower arose from the centre, surmounted by an octagonal spire three hundred feet high, with two towers on the west, of which the upper courses of one were destroyed during the parliamentary war. On the north is seen a fine bell-tower and lantern, connected by flying buttresses with octagonal turrets springing from the angles.
In the reign of Charles I., after a stubborn defence by the Royalist citizens, the city was compelled to surrender to Cromwell's troops. In the course of this reign the north-west tower was battered down, and in 1648 Cromwell ordered the destruction of the cathedral cloisters, the Bishop's Palace, the Deanery, and the Canons' houses. The Bishop's Palace was repaired in 1725, and contains a chapel built in the thirteenth century. A general and great restoration of the Cathedral was commenced in 1830, but in spite of every precaution the tower and spire fell down in 1861. Under the guidance of Sir Gilbert Scott the necessary repairs were undertaken. The cloisters were restored about the year 1890.
Besides his grand contribution to the church's architecture, Storey's memory is perpetuated by the very fine octagonal cross in the Decorated English style. It stands fifty feet high, in the centre of the town, from which the four principal streets run out at right angles towards the country. These streets, in olden days, led to four gates in the embattled walls which surrounded the city. The last of these gates was taken down in 1773. Besides the cross, Storey founded in 1497 the Grammar School, where Archbishop Juxon, the learned Seldon, the poet Collins, and Dr. Hurdis, Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford, received their elementary education.
Amongst other schools founded was one by Oliver Whitby, in 1702, to afford free nautical education to twelve boys; namely, four from Chichester, and four from each of the villages of West Wettering and Harting. Though Chichester is connected by a short canal with the sea, and a certain amount of shipping is done, it can hardly be considered as an important port. It lies fourteen miles north-east of England's greatest naval port, Portsmouth. Curiously enough, Chichester is only five miles south of Goodwood, the famous city for horse-races.
The municipal and parliamentary borough of Chichester, incorporated as city in the year 1213, is almost surrounded by a small stream called the Lavant, and is pleasantly situated at the end of a small spur of the South Down Hills. It is considered as one of the principal cattle markets in the South of England. Accommodation for several thousands of cattle was arranged in 1871 by the Corporation.
There are also the Guildhall, which was formerly the chapel of a convent of Grey Friars; the corn-exchange, the market-house, museum, and infirmary.
Bradwardine and Juxon, both archbishops of Canterbury; Lawrence Somercote, a great canonist and writer; the poets Collins and Hayley, whose memory has been perpetuated by a tablet designed by Flaxman in the Cathedral, were all born in this city. The Diocese of Chichester covers nearly the whole extent of Sussex.
In conclusion we would draw the attention to the quaint design on the Bishop's armorial shield. It depicts the curious device of a mitred prelate holding a sword in his mouth. He is seated, presumably, on a throne, which much resembles a square block of marble, looked at perspectively. Perhaps it is meant for the Holy Stone. Both the Bishop's arms are outstretched. In his left hand an open book is held, whilst his right is palm upwards. Why the Bishop holds the sword in his mouth, when his right hand is free, it is hard to say. Possibly the arms were first drawn up for a warlike bishop, or it may mean that the sword is the sword of Justice. In all probability the correct meaning is conveyed by the twelfth verse in Hebrews iv., wherein it sets forth that the sword in the Bishop's mouth is symbolical of "The Word of the Lord," which is "sharper than any two-edged sword," and the Book of the Law is in his left hand, whilst the right hand is extended in blessing or in supplicating prayer.
HIS famous place occupies a singular position. It is a city and county of itself, a municipal county since 1888, and a parliamentary borough, besides being an episcopal city, a seaport, and county town of Cheshire.
Chester is also the capital of the county of Cheshire. It is situated on a rocky elevation, on the north bank of the River Dee, by which the city is partly encircled. Just seventeen miles north of it lies the great manufacturing and seaport town of Liverpool. At one time Chester was a palatine city, enjoying all the privileges peculiar to that dignity. This practically conferred independent authority on a city far situated from the Metropolis. The head of the city was a little king, and enjoyed discretionary power. In a brief sketch of this, in the account of Durham, is clearly shown the mutual advantages accruing, especially in cases of emergency, such as incursions of the enemy, to both the city thus honoured and the Metropolis London.
The geographical position of Chester in the extreme west of England, and its proximity to the restless Welsh, demanded some such power to cope, at a moment's notice, with any unexpected event from that quarter. This nearness to Wales contributed in a great measure to the importance of this city, as will be presently shown.
The earliest authentic history of Chester ascribes its origin to the British tribe called the Cornavii. At the time of the Roman invasion they inhabited that part of England which now is known as the counties of Chester, Salop, Stafford, Warwick, and Worcester.
The city they called Cœr Leon Vawr—City of Leon the Great. This name is supposed to have been given out of compliment to Leon, son of Brut Darien, the eighth king of Britain. By some historians this origin is contested. They say that this Welsh name of Cœr Leon Vawr indicated the "city or camp of the Great Legion." They also supply "Cœr Leon," or "Dwfyr Dwy," and render their meaning into "the city of the Legion on the Dee," from its connection with that people. The city was also called Deunana and Deva, after the same river. However, it is conclusively proved that here the Twentieth Roman Legion established a station after the defeat of Caractacus, who, after having made a mighty effort to withstand this second invasion of England by the Romans, was taken prisoner. He and his wife and family were taken to Rome, and, according to custom, were paraded through the streets for the benefit of the public, but afterwards honourably treated. This second occupation of England lasted from 43 A.D. till the Romans finally departed in 446 A. D. The first was a short stay by Julius Cæsar in B.C., some ninety-seven years previous. In 46 A.D., within three years of the landing of the Romans, Chester was established as a Roman camp, during the reign of Claudius, the Roman Emperor.
From the disposition of the four principal streets,—Northgate Street, Eastgate Street, Bridge Street, and Westgate Street, together with the walls surrounding the city, and the selection of a rocky site on the bank of a fair-sized river, Chester gives a good illustration of the principles upon which the Romans went to work. From a determined centre these roads run out to their respective gates in the boundary walls, in the direction of the four cardinal points. The walls of this city are the only ones in England that are perfect in their entire circuit of two miles, though the gateways have all been rebuilt within the last hundred years. On the departure of the Roman soldiery, England reverted to the Britons, who appeared to have been helpless, so long had they relied upon their late conquerors for protection. From them Chester was taken by Ethelfrith, King of Northumbria, who defeated them under the King of Powysland in 607. The Britons, however, regained possession and maintained it till 828, when Egbert, who was then the sole monarch of England, annexed it to his possessions. The Saxons, during their occupation of the city, named it Legancæster and Legecester.
The Danes, in the ninth century, caused severe damages. On their retreat Ethelfreda, Countess of Mercia, repaired the walls. On her death the Britons once more became the city's masters, but were driven out again by Edward the Elder. Athelstan, it is said, revived its mint. About the year 972 Edgar assembled a naval force on the river Dee. To demonstrate his supremacy he caused himself to be rowed by eight tributary kings from his palace on the south bank of the river to the Convent Church of St. John's. To increase the desired effect, we are told that he took the helm,—the symbol of government.
On the division of England, in 1016, between Canute and Edmund Ironside, Canute gained possession of Mercia, in which were included Chester and Northumbria. Chester remained as a city of Mercia, governed by its earl, till the Norman Conquest. William then bestowed it with the earldom on his nephew Hugh Lupus. He was, in view of the proximity of Wales, invested with sovereign or palatine authority over the tract of country now represented by the county of Cheshire and the coast-line of Flintshire as far as Rhuddlan. Chester was made the seat of his government.
At that time it is described in "Doomsday Book" as Cestre, and as possessing four hundred and thirty-one houses within its walls. For over two centuries after the Conquest this city formed an important military station for the defence of the English border against the Welsh. The Norman Earl Ranulph I. granted the first charter, though its purport proves that Chester already enjoyed certain municipal rights. On account of its garrison it was frequently visited by reigning monarchs.
Chester was captured by the Earl of Derby, who held it for the Crown during the war between Henry III. and the barons. The contest was ended with the defeat of the barons at the battle of Evesham, close to Worcester. Here, in 1300, it was that the Welsh chieftains paid homage to the first English Prince of Wales, the infant son of Edward I.
Richard II., by Act of Parliament, erected the earldom of Chester into a principality to be held only by the eldest son of the King. This was rescinded in the next reign. In fact, Richard II. was made captive by Henry of Lancaster, and was imprisoned in a tower over the gateway of the Castle. The city suffered greatly during the Wars of the Roses. It was visited by Queen Margaret of Anjou, the wife of Henry VI. This queen played a prominent part with regard to the claim to the English throne. She was daughter to Réné, who was a relation of the King of France. He was titular king of Sicily, but without territories. Though Margaret brought to Henry a rich dower, he was persuaded to consent to the deduction of a large portion of Maine and Anjou to her father Réné. During the Duke of Gloucester's life, who had strongly opposed the royal marriage, Margaret and her coadjutor, the Duke of Suffolk, had not dared to carry into effect the agreement they had extracted from Henry. The Duke of York, who was regent in France, through his integrity, was also a serious obstacle. She and Suffolk had him recalled, and the regency given to Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, nephew to Cardinal Beaufort. York felt injured, and took revenge by asserting his claim to the Crown.
By his father he was descended from Edward III.'s fourth son. From his mother, the last of the Mortimers, he inherited that family's claim from Lionel, the second son of the same king. On the other hand, John of Gaunt, from whom Henry VI. was descended, was Edward's third son. Thus York, through his mother, had a prior claim. These rival claims caused confusion and tumult throughout England. In the meantime the English possessions in France were lost one after the other, till in 1451 only Calais remained. The misgovernment of the regency in France under Somerset contrasted most unfavourably with that of York.
In these troublous times England looked towards York as the only one to be trusted, who then became Protector during the King's mental weakness. He imprisoned the Duke of Somerset. The latter as soon as he was free assembled an army, and was killed at the battle of St. Albans, the first War of the Roses. His followers, the Lancastrians, were defeated by the Duke of York, and the King made prisoner. Eventually York declared himself. By Act of Parliament he and his heirs were constituted successors to the throne of England after the death of Henry VI. Margaret, however, defeated the Yorkists in battle, in which York was slain. He left behind him three sons,—Edward, George, and Richard,—the first of whom later on deposed Henry VI. and became Edward IV. We have ventured to give this brief sketch of the origin of these rival claims, in that most of the cathedral cities were affected by the fortunes or misfortunes of their favoured party.
Chester, in the years 1507, 1517, and 1550, suffered from a terrible visitation of the sweating sickness. From 1602 to 1605 the plague made it necessary to suspend all the city fairs, and to hold the assizes at Nantwich. This epidemic occurred again with great loss of life to the inhabitants, between 1647-48. During the Civil War this city of Chester endured great sacrifices for its loyalty to Charles I.
The King came there in 1642, when the citizens gave him great pecuniary assistance. Not till after a memorable siege, lasting from 1643 to 1646, did the citizens agree to surrender. The garrison were allowed to march out with all the honours of war, the safety of the persons and property of the citizens with liberty of trade were secured, and the sanctity of the sacred buildings and their title-deeds preserved.
Sir Charles Booth, in 1659, with the aid of the citizens, overcame the garrison of Charles II., then an exile, but was afterwards defeated by Lambert, Cromwell's general.
The presence of the Duke of Monmouth, in 1683, stirred the populace to a tumult. Amongst other excesses the mob spent its fury in forcing the cathedral doors, breaking the painted glass, destroying the font, and other regrettable damage to this building. In 1688 the city was taken by the Roman Catholic lords, Molyneux and Ashton, for James II., who, after all, rendered further efforts useless by his abdication. Under William III. Chester was included in the six cities for the residence of an assay master, and was permitted to issue silver coinage. The last important military event that took place in this city was in the Rebellion of 1745, when it was fortified against the Pretender.
In architecture the great characteristic is the quaint way the houses have been built. The streets have been cut out of the rock below the general surface of the land. The houses appear to have been built into the rock, or rather to have been piled up against it. The shops are level with the streets, and over them runs a balustraded gallery. Steps at certain intervals lead the way down into the streets. These galleries are called by the inhabitants "The Rows." These Rows are houses with shops. Overhanging the shops, like the eaves of a house, are the upper stories, to which additional flights of steps give access.
Two explanations are given for this unusual construction of houses: one, that the Rows, or promenades, are the remnants of the ancient vestibules of the Roman houses; the other that they were probably originated to afford ready defence against the sudden raids of the Welsh. The latter appears the more likely. The Rows, from their position to the streets, would afford the besieged greater facilities of shelter and attack.
In Bridge Street and Eastgate Street the Rows are made pleasant promenades. Though many of the houses have been rebuilt, they still retain the old character. In addition to these interesting buildings there was the castle built by the Conqueror, of which there remains only a large square tower, called "Julius Agricola's Tower." The front has been entirely renewed. This tower served probably as a place of confinement of the Earl of Derby. Here were imprisoned Richard II. and Margaret, Countess of Richmond. Just shortly before the Revolution James II. heard Mass in the second chamber.
Though the Cathedral has been left to the last, its history is no less interesting than the other features of Chester. The Cathedral was originally the church attached to the convent of St. Werburgh, under which name its ecclesiastical site is mentioned in "Doomsday Book." It was first dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, but Ethelfrida afterwards transferred their patronage to that of the Saxon saint, Walmgha, the daughter of Wulphen, King of Mercia. Besides this princess the great benefactors were Leofric, Earl of Mercia, and Hugh Lupus, who substituted Benedictine monks for secular canons.
On the dissolution of the abbey, in lieu of the abbot and monks, a dean, prebendaries, and minor canons were appointed, the last abbot being made dean. Here it is as well to remember that a church was called an abbey, whatever its former denomination might have been, if an abbot became its head. In much the same way the name "minster" is derived from a monastery, and cathedral is due to the fact that the bishop had his cathedra, or throne, placed in the sacred building for his own use. At the dissolution the Cathedral of Chester was dedicated to "Christ and the Blessed Virgin." Though there are some interesting remains of the abbey, the present building was built in the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII. The diocese of Chester dates at the period of the kingdom of Mercia. It was afterwards incorporated with that of Lichfield, but in 1075, Peter, Bishop of Lichfield restored the See to Chester. His successor, however, removed it for the second time to Lichfield. Henry VIII., in 1541, created six new sees, in which he included Chester. With a portion of the possessions of the Abbey of St. Werburgh, which was dissolved, he endowed the new see. The first bishop after the dissolution was John Bird. In 1752 the palace of the bishop was rebuilt by Bishop Keene.
The cathedral site is on the eastern side of Northgate Street. Excepting the western end, it presents the appearance of a heavy, irregular pile, when viewed externally. The interior is very impressive, and contains portions in the Norman, and in the Early and Decorated styles of English architecture. It possesses a clerestory in the Later style. Some chapels in the Early English style, are to the east of the north transept. The south transept, separated from the Cathedral by a wooden screen, forms the parish church of St. Oswald. The style of the Bishop's throne, sometimes known as St. Werburgh's Shrine, belongs to the Early period of the fourteenth century. In the eastern walk of the cloister stands the Chapter House, of Early English style, built by Earl Randulph the First. It served as the burial-place of the earls of the original Norman line, except Richard, who perished by shipwreck.
The sacred edifice has from time to time undergone extensive reparations.
As a port Chester was at one time most important, but through the silting up of the Channel in the fifteenth century, it lost a considerable amount of its shipping trade. In spite of the Channel being deepened in 1824, its shipping prosperity cannot be said to have advanced hand in hand with the progress of the city, though it possibly may be greater than it was in the fifteenth century.
The great Chester Canal comes from Nantwich, passes through Chester, and merges into the Ellesmere Canal, which winds up northwards to the river Mersey. Thus the city is connected with Liverpool.
As the crow flies, the country traversed from London to Chester is most interesting. The track passes through the counties of Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, with its famous towns, Stratford-on-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, and Coventry, through Staffordshire, famous for its beautiful old china and its Cathedral at Lichfield, and finally into Cheshire, the county containing Chester and Northwich.
Among the many eminent men born at Chester was Randolph Caldecott, in 1846. He is handed down to posterity as the famous illustrator of the works of Washington Irving. But the achievement that gained him the greatest acclame was a series of coloured books for children. They began in 1878 with "John Gilpin" and "The House that Jack Built," and ended the year before his death, in 1886, with the "Elegy on Madame Blaize" and "The Great Panjandrum Himself." In the crypt of St. Paul's, London, his memory is perpetuated through the great artistic expression of a brother artist, Alfred Gilbert, R. A.
Thus, in this brief sketch, an attempt has been made to give a categorical history of one of England's most ancient cities from its earliest occupation by the British Cornavii, and its subsequent events down to the royal visit in 1869 by the then Prince of Wales, now our King Edward VII., on which occasion he opened the new townhall. It would require far greater space to record every feature of interest in connection with Chester than can be allotted within the present limitations. To the antiquarian Chester furnishes a most interesting and absorbing study, and will in all likelihood continue to do so for many years to come yet.
N the illustration is seen to great advantage the temporal and spiritual power of Rochester: the State, as represented by the Norman keep; the Church, as symbolised by the cathedral. Ever since Christianity came to England, these two mighty levers of power have marched, if not always hand in hand, more or less in accord. Though the two have frequently struggled for supremacy, yet their feuds have done more towards the enlightenment of the people than any harmonious concert could have effected. In marked contrast to mediæval times the State and Church of the present day formulate and carry out the will of the people. They are the channels of purpose as determined by the nation. Great as the power of the Church still is, it has nevertheless lost that tremendous authority it once wielded under the popes.
Henry II. set up a strenuous opposition, whilst Henry VIII. dealt it a crushing blow. The dissolution of the monasteries was a terrible check to Roman Catholicism in England, as well as Luther's reforms in Germany. Yet in spite of all this the Church of Rome has more adherents in Europe than any other religion. The menace to the Church of England lies in the lack of absolute obedience to the spiritual head, and the many different sects. The Church of Rome exacts absolute obedience and faith, and by these means is steadily increasing its influence. The Roman Catholic Cathedral recently erected in London is a convincing proof of the untiring energy of the followers of that wonderful religion. It is also curious to notice that the Latin races are the staunchest supporters of the Papacy.
As its name implies, Rochester was a Roman camp. This place formed one of the stipendiary towns of this Latin race, and was called "Durobrivae." Not much information has been preserved concerning their occupation of the town. That it was important, and served as a military basis, is clearly demonstrated by the great Roman Watling Street, which passes through the city, and which bears evidence to their great engineering skill.
The great Roman streets were at that time the chief and only means of quick communication from one camp to another. To read the account of the wonderful system of roads organised by Darius the Persian is as interesting to follow as any modern fiction. He realised that quick communication with the outlying quarters of his possessions meant increased power and security. Along the roads, at proper distances, were blockhouses guarded by soldiers. The messenger on horseback drew rein at each of these wayside places to take refreshment and get a remount, or to hand over the dispatches to a fresh messenger.
In much the same way the Romans constructed their roads for their postmen, and, no doubt, to serve as their first line of defence if a retreat should be necessary. We can almost conjure up the sight of a mounted bearer of important dispatches racing along. Suddenly the horse, almost thrown on to his haunches, is pulled up in front of one of these guardhouses dotted at regular intervals along the great road. A hasty meal is snatched, a fresh horse mounted, and off again, with a clatter and a whirlpool of dust, hurries the messenger, as if a kingdom depended upon his quick dispatch. We cannot attach too much importance to this method of communication, if we remember that it is only within the last two centuries or so that the semaphore came into existence. When first introduced, this medium of conveying rapidly a message by the waving of a wooden arm up and down on a post, which was generally planted on a commanding site, was considered a wonderful invention. Even at sea it was left to Admiral Rodney to construct an efficient code of signals. Of course the most primitive method was the lighting of beacons in times of great danger.
Besides Watling Street, the city of Rochester is known to have been defended by walls built in the direction of the cardinal points, according to the Roman custom. They extended for half a mile from east to west, and close upon a quarter of a mile from north to south. After the Romans had departed, this place came into the possession of the Saxons. They renamed it "Hrove Ceaster," which in process of time became contracted to Rochester.
During the early Saxon period Ethelbert, King of Kent, through the influence of his queen and the preaching of St. Augustine, who had just arrived, became a convert to Christianity. By this king, as we have seen, Canterbury Cathedral was richly endowed. To help carry out the papal instructions given to Augustine, Ethelbert in 600 founded a church in Rochester. By erecting this into a see, he, at the same time, laid the foundation of the future prosperity of the city. The building was dedicated to St. Andrew. A monastery for secular priests was also established, over whom was appointed for their bishop, Justus, who had accompanied St. Augustine and his forty monks into Britain.
This cathedral suffered at many times, in common with the city, from several incursions of the Danes. The city, more especially in 676, was sacked and almost destroyed by Etheldred, the King of Mercia, whilst in 839 the Danes landed at Romney, defeated the troops sent to oppose them, and massacred most of the inhabitants. Again, in 885, they sailed up the Medway under the leadership of Hasting, and laid siege to Rochester. Fortunately for the city it was rescued by the timely assistance of Alfred. Three mints established by Athelstan in 930, two for himself and one for the bishop, and the fact of the city being then recognised as one of the chief ports of England, show with what rapidity it had regained prosperity. This peaceful state was rudely awakened, however, in 999. The Danes reappeared in the Medway, before whom the terror-stricken inhabitants fled and abandoned the city to their fury. At the Conquest, Rochester was given by William to his half-brother, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, who was also created Earl of Kent. In the reign of William Rufus he was implicated in a conspiracy to dethrone Rufus in favour of Robert Duke of Normandy. Thereby his possessions reverted to the Crown. In this Rochester suffered. In 1130 Henry I. attended at the consecration of the church of St. Andrew by Lanfranc. During the ceremony a fire broke out. The city was almost reduced to ashes.
It was again visited, seven years later, by fire, from which it had hardly recovered when a third conflagration occurred and left traces of devastation for ages. In 1141, Robert Earl of Gloucester was placed in the Castle. He was the chief general and counsellor of Matilda, and had been captured prisoner at Winchester after having effected the Queen's escape. He was eventually exchanged for King Stephen. In 1215 the barons seized and held the Castle against King John, who gained it. Henry III. repaired the Castle.
The Castle was again, in 1254, successfully defended for the King by Edward Earl Warren, against Simon de Montford and the barons. In the reign of Richard II. the insurrectionists under Wat Tyler released one of their comrades imprisoned in the Castle.
Rochester has been at different times visited by reigning princes. Henry VIII., with Emperor Charles V., came there in 1521, whilst in 1573 Queen Elizabeth honoured it with her presence. Charles II., on his restoration, passed through the city en route from the Continent to London. In fact Rochester, being also a port, was a convenient place for James II. to embark secretly on board of a trading-vessel lying in the Medway, by which he was conveyed to France.
This Norman castle, which has played such an important part in the history of the city, deserves some notice. Its extensive remains, situated on a commanding site, overlook the right bank of the river. The Castle is supposed to have been built by Gundulph, when Bishop of Rochester, in the latter part of the eleventh century. It preceded by a few years the building of the Cathedral by the same prelate. The architecture of this castle is a striking example of the simplicity of plans generally employed by the Normans. By preference the castle was a rectangular keep in form. The sides varied from twenty-five to a hundred feet in length, and equally so in height. At the corners the walls advanced so as to form square towers, the faces of which were usually relieved by flat pilaster-like buttresses. The walls at the base measure sometimes as much as thirty feet in thickness, and diminish to as much as ten feet at the summit.
The internal arrangements consisted of a store-room, from which a narrow staircase, made into the thickness of the walls, gave access to the rooms of the garrison and those of the owners above, wood being employed for the floor and roof. A well was always dug. The entire building was surrounded by a deep moat filled, if possible, with water. The entrance was small, and was defended by a draw-bridge and portcullis. It was on the thickness of their walls and the moat that the Normans chiefly relied for their impregnability. They seldom departed from this simple form of architecture. Their defence was rarely constructed on a series of fortifications. Local advantages and a lofty site were invariably the Norman idea of a safe stronghold.
Great interest is attached to the Cathedral of Rochester. Its see is the smallest in the kingdom and the most ancient after Canterbury. The two were established, as we have seen, within a few years of each other, under the auspices of St. Augustine and King Ethelbert of Kent.
The present cathedral dates from the commencement of the twelfth century, when it was built by Gundulph. If what we are told about this structure be correct, its importance cannot be too greatly enhanced, for it is claimed that its architecture, though much altered and repaired since, is in the main a copy of Canterbury Cathedral at that time. Thus, in describing the plan of the one in Rochester, a general idea can be gained about the other at Canterbury.
Gundulph's contribution is a spacious and venerable building in the form of a cross, with a central tower surmounted by a spire. The Norman style forms the basis of the architecture, to which the Later English style was added chiefly in the many windows of the nave and other parts of the church. The west front was entirely restored between 1888 and 1889, the Norman style being strictly adhered to. The doorway is a most decorative bit of Norman workmanship. Let into the clustered columns on either side there is, on the right, an effigy of Queen Maud, and on the left another of Henry I. The door is covered with a rich mass of geometrical design in metal.
The crypt, invariably a great feature in a cathedral, is partly the work of Gundulph; that is, the western portion is. The eastern part consists of cylindrical and octagonal shafts with a light vaulting springing from them, and belongs to the same period as the superstructure of the thirteenth century.
There are several chapels, a finely groined roof, and ancient tombs, which all lend interest to this fine cathedral.
The red-veined marble statue of Walter de Merton cannot fail to attract attention. He was the founder of the great scholastic college at Oxford called Merton College. Though small in size, the entrée to it demands high classical attainments.
With regard to commerce, Rochester has a favourable position on the river Medway, in the creeks and branches of which are the oyster fisheries. The Corporation, assisted by a jury of free dredgers, hold a Court of Admiralty, in which they make regulations for the opening, stocking, and closing of the oyster beds.
N the West Riding of the county of York, twenty-two miles north-west of the city of York and eleven miles north of Harrogate, the ancient city of Ripon is situated at the juncture of the Ure, Laver, and Skell. The narrow and irregular streets and well-built houses, some of which still retain the quaint, picturesque gables so reminiscent of earlier times, envelop the city with that delightful, indefinable air of mediævalism—a something which, tempered with old associations and traditions, no modern city with all its improvements can supply. To saunter through the ancient, ill-lighted streets of an old town at night, when life is dormant and commercialism quiescent, is the time to view unexpected beauties of architecture unfold themselves, and to become oneself imbued with a spirit of romanticism and a feeling of rest. If a figure in mediæval costume and rapier were to come round a corner suddenly, or emerge from some dark nook, it would scarcely startle the senses, so appropriate would it seem with the surroundings, enshrouded in mysterious shadows.
A new city can be admired, but can never be revered till it has survived the many storms of generations, and has emerged with a halo of traditions respected and treasured.
Ripon, in common with other cathedral cities, possesses this charm, and after many vicissitudes presents us with a magnificent cathedral. To revert to the commencement of the city's history, it is supposed to have derived its name from the Latin "Ripa," owing to its situation upon the bank of the river Ure. The earliest authentic record gives it under the name of Inhrypun, in connection with the establishment of a monastery in 660 by Eata, who was then Abbot of Melrose. It was subsequently given by Alfred, King of Northumbria, to Wilfrid, who had been raised to the archbishopric of York. He was afterwards canonised as a saint. Under Wilfrid's administration and influence the town very much increased its wealth and importance. Through the division of the bishopric in the year 678 Ripon became a see.
A great calamity overtook the city in the ninth century. The Danes burnt and plundered it, causing such devastation that it was almost wiped out. From its ruins, however, it recovered so quickly as to be incorporated as a royal borough by Alfred the Great. This happened by the year 886. In the suppression of the insurrections of the Northumbrian Danes it suffered severely through the terrible laying waste of the land which Edred found necessary to subdue them.
Little time was left for the city to regain its former prosperity, when the surrounding country was again laid waste, in 1069, by William the Conqueror after defeating the Northumbrian rebels. This monarch's vengeance so completely demolished the town that it still remained in ruins and the land uncultivated at the time of the Norman survey. The monastery, destroyed by Edred, was rebuilt by Oswald and his successors, who were archbishops of York. It was endowed and made collegiate by Archbishop Aldred somewhere about the time of the Conquest. The city was now enjoying comparative peace, and was regaining lost prestige when it again became a mere wreck. Under Robert Bruce, in the reign of Edward II., the Scots compelled the inhabitants to surrender everything of value they had, and burnt the town. This period of devastation lasted from 1319 till 1323.
By the exertions of the Archbishop of York, ably assisted with donations from the local gentry, the city rapidly recovered by the time a terrible plague compelled Henry IV. to leave London and take up his residence here. The court of necessity followed him.
This royal sojourn did the city immense good, and again it derived benefit some two centuries after by the presence of the Lord President of York in 1617. He had been obliged by a similar plague to remove his court hither.
Ten years later another royal visitor came, namely, James I., who rested a night here on his route from Scotland to London. On this memorable occasion he was presented with a pair of Ripon spurs. From early times till the sixteenth century Ripon was a recognised centre for the manufacture of woollen caps. On the decline of this industry the city acquired such a fame for the manufacture of spurs that it became quite a current phrase to say "as true steel as Ripon rowels." Ben Jonson and Davenant make references in their verses to Ripon spurs. This industry, together with those of manufacturing buttons and various kinds of hardware, flourished till quite recently, when mechanical industries supplanted them.
In 1633 Charles I. also paid the city a visit. During the Civil War the parliamentary troops, under Sir Thomas Mauleverer, took possession of Ripon. After mutilating many of the monuments and ornaments of the church, they were eventually driven out of the town in 1643 by the Royalists, under Sir John Mallory of Studley, a township comprised under Ripon. In recounting the political fortunes of the city little has been said about its chief attraction, the Cathedral, not because it has played no important factor in the welfare of the city, but because it has been considered better to give, apart, the chief characteristics of its architecture.
We have seen how a monastery was established in 660, by Eata, which later came under the patronage of St. Wilfrid. From the ruins of St. Wilfrid's Abbey the present cathedral was founded about 680 A.D., in the reign of Egfrid. With the exception of St. Wilfrid's crypt, called St. Wilfrid's Needle, which tradition says was used for the trial of female chastity, nothing of the original Saxon fabric remains. From the similarity of this crypt, and of another at Hexham, both erected by St. Wilfrid, in formation and arrangement to the catacomb chapels at Rome, it is inferred that this churchman had made himself familiar with their peculiarities during his residence in that Latin city. This is interesting to note.
The Cathedral, as it now stands, embraces various styles of architecture, and is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Wilfrid. It is a large cruciform church, with a square central tower and two western towers. They at one time carried spires, each not less than one hundred and twenty feet in height; but the central spire having been blown down in 1660, caused considerable damage to the roof, and it was thought advisable to pull down the others. Their removal accounts for the stunted appearance of these square towers. The construction of the present church was commenced by Archbishop Roger, dating from 1154 to 1181. To this period belong the transepts and portions of the choir. The western front and towers were carried out in the Early English style, most probably by Archbishop Gray, between 1215 and 1255, and near the close of the century the eastern portion of the choir was rebuilt in the Decorated style. The nave and part of the central tower were also rebuilt in the Perpendicular style at the close of the fifteenth century. The fabric was entirely renovated under the guidance of Sir Gilbert Scott, from 1862 to 1876. The episcopal palace is a modern building in the Tudor style, and is about one mile from the town.
The present bishopric dates only from the year 1836. There are several charitable institutions: namely, the Hospital of St. John the Baptist, founded by an archbishop of York in 1109; the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalene, for women, by another prelate of York in 1341; and the Hospital of St. Anne, by some unknown benefactor who lived in the reign of Edward IV. A clock-tower was presented to the town to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. There is now, in place of the ancient industries, an extensive trade in varnish, in addition to the manufactories for saddle-trees and leather, but the most interesting industry is that of the Ripon lace. It is a torchon lace much resembling, in uniformity of pattern, the design used in peasant laces in Sweden, Germany, and Russia.
N the early history of the majority, if not of all of these cathedrals, it is interesting to note the many points of resemblance. It will be observed that most of them had their inception in the seventh century. A most convenient way also of remembering, if actual dates be forgotten, is that the commencement of the same century heralded the arrival of St. Augustine and his forty monks at Canterbury, and the re-establishment of Christianity in England. Whatever previous efforts had been attempted to christianise the natives (prior to this century) pale into insignificance after the landing of this great missionary from Rome. The subsequent important events are invariably five; namely, the devastations of the Danes in the ninth century, the erections of castles to overawe the inhabitants with the ecclesiastical foundations, still extant, after the dreaded millennium had passed, from the Conquest; the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.; the desecration and mutilation of the churches under Cromwell's Protectorate; and the inevitable restoration, not always happy, of these grand buildings.
The Venerable Bede, in his "Ecclesiastical History," ingeniously attributes the derivation of the name to an eel, called "Elge," on the assumption of the great abundance of this fish in the neighbourhood. At the same time another rendering, by some one else, supposes that the Saxon "Helyg," a willow, which flourished extensively, owing to the marshy nature of the soil round about the city, gave rise to the present contraction. However it may be, Ely dates from the year 673. The subsequent history of the Church and state of this famous place originated in that year from the small foundation of a monastery for monks and nuns by Ethelreda. This princess was the daughter of the King of the East Angles, and the wife of Egfred, the King of Northumberland. She had devoted a great deal of her life to monasticism, and eventually constituted herself as the first abbess of her religious effort. A contradictory account gives it that this lady more likely became the first abbess of a religious house which she had filled with virgins. Their number is not stated. Nothing more is heard or worth relating of the welfare of this royal benefice until the ninth century, when, in the natural order of things, it was destroyed by the Danes. In 879, a matter of nine years after this devastation, it was partially restored by those brethren who had fortunately escaped the massacre. Under the government of provosts they were established and existed as secular priests for nearly a century. At the end of this period of inactivity it received much attention from Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester. This prelate in 970 purchased the whole of the Isle of Ely from Edgar. He then rebuilt the monastery and endowed it munificently. In it regular monks were placed under the rule of an abbot, to whom Edgar granted the secular jurisdiction of two hundreds within and five hundreds without the Fens. Many other important privileges were bestowed by the same monarch, recognised by Canute, and greatly increased by Edward the Confessor in recognition of part of his education here received. These many marks of royal favour caused it to become the richest in England, and the city participated in its prosperity.
Soon after the Conquest a determined resistance was made by many of the nobility against what they considered the tyranny of William. Led by such leaders as Edwin, Earl of Chester, Egelwyn, Bishop of Durham, and headed by Hereward, an English nobleman, they contrived to do considerable damage in the surrounding country. They built a castle of wood in the Fens, and made a vigorous stand against the Normans, who besieged the island, constructed roads through the marshes, threw bridges across the streams, and erected, as usual, a strong castle at Wiseberum. With the exception of Hereward, the rebellious subjects were reduced to submission. According to one authority, it is supposed that William's camp was simply an old Roman camp repaired for the occasion. We learn that the field, which contained the ancient site, was known as Belasis in some records of the reign of Henry III. It appears that one of William's generals was called Belasis, and that he was quartered on the monastery, which he had taken possession of after the conquest of the isle. He treated the monks with every mark of courtesy, allowing them to remain under an abbot of his own choosing. At first he laid them under certain restrictions, but subsequently restored the privileges they had previously been accustomed to.
In 1107 the eleventh and last abbot, Richard, employed all his interest with Henry I. and gained the royal sanction to the establishment of an episcopal see at Ely. To this the monarch granted, for a diocese, the county of Cambridge, which had till then been under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Lincoln. The isle was also invested with sovereign powers. Richard, however, did not live to become the first bishop, an honour which was conferred in 1109 on his successor, Hervey.
By this arrangement the Abbot was superseded by the Bishop, and an entire distribution of the property belonging to the abbey was effected between them. As the abbey became the church of the See, the Abbot was obliged to alter his dignity to that of a prior. A fair, to continue for seven days, commencing from June 20, to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Ethelreda, was instituted by the Bishop. The prelate Nigel, in the reign of Stephen, built a castle here, of which no remains exist, and whose site is now conjectural. The year 1216 witnessed dreadful scenes of spoliation of churches and large sums of money exacted from the inhabitants under the guise of ransom.
The cause of all this devastation being visited upon Ely was John's idea of revenging himself upon the barons. At their hands he had, the year previously, been compelled to undergo the mortification of signing the Magna Charta at Runnymede, a field between Windsor and Staines. Ever since that time the irresolute and mean king had been devising schemes of vengeance against his opponents. Three months spent in the Isle of Wight had enabled him, through agents and the promise of the estates of the barons as plunder, to raise a considerable army of the Brabanters. At their head he suddenly emerged from concealment, and surprised the barons by appearing before Rochester Castle and defeating them.
In the meantime John was well supported at Ely by his general, William Bunk, or rather an unexpected incident hurried on its doom. The elements unkindly betrayed the city into the hands of the Brabanters. At a critical time, the treacherous swamps—the isle's hitherto great natural fortifications—became the city's undoing; for a sharp frost set in and rendered a ready glacial access to the city. The enemy lost no time in reducing the barons to submission and the wretched inhabitants to great misery. The barons, thus reduced to dire extremities, invited Louis, the eldest son of the King of France, to aid them, promising him through his wife the crown of England.
The French landed at Sandwich, retook Rochester Castle, and compelled John to flee. John, crossing over the Wash, in his march from Lynn in Norfolk into Lincolnshire, suffered great loss through the return of the tide swamping the rear of his army, all his money, and stores. He himself escaped to Swineshead Abbey, in the Lincolnshire Fens, where a monk is said to have administered poison to him. With great difficulty and exhaustion the monarch arrived at Newark, where he died in the October of the year 1216.
From this time onward the city enjoyed comparative peace, and exercised the privileges granted by Edgar, Edward the Confessor, and William the Conqueror.
Till the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Henry VIII. the royal franchise of Ely, in several statutes, was recognised as the county palatine of Ely. Henry, by Act of Parliament, remodelled the privileges, and ordered the justices of oyer and terminer, and gaol delivery, and justices of the peace for the Isle of Ely, to be appointed by letters patent under the Great Seal. The dissolution of the monasteries also was the means of converting the conventual church into a cathedral—much more appropriate to the dignity of the Bishop, whose title had been granted, as we have seen, by Henry I. in 1107. This ecclesiastical building, first a conventual and then a cathedral church, was commenced in 1081, and entirely completed in 1534. The dedication to St. Peter and St. Ethelreda was changed to "The Holy Trinity."
It is a magnificent cruciform structure, displaying the many changes that took place in ecclesiastical architecture from the early years of the Norman Conquest down to the latest period of English style.
The main feature is the extraordinary variety of arches built according to successive styles. Though this peculiar treatment suggests an unfinished appearance, it cannot rob the church of its wonderful beauty. There is a departure from the general plan of other cathedrals. The nave is continued through an extended range of twelve arches. It belongs to the Late Norman period, and its completion probably dates from about the middle of the twelfth century. From 1174 to 1189 the western tower and the transepts were built by Bishop Ridall. Bishop Eustace, between 1198 and 1215, erected the Galilee or western porch, a noble Early English structure. Much at the same time a curious coincident is noticeable. Bishop Pudsey was busy at Durham building the Galilee or Western Chapel, which is such a noble adjunct to that city's cathedral.
Ely's choir was originally Early Norman, and terminated in an apse. Unfortunately this Norman apse was destroyed. In restoration the church was extended eastward by six more arches under the guidance of Bishop Northwold, about the middle of the thirteenth century. His addition is Early English. The carving is very rich and elaborate.
While Bishop Hotham was engaged upon the building of the Lady Chapel, the Norman tower erected by Abbot Simeon tumbled down in 1321. Hotham immediately replaced it by an enlarged octagonal substitution. On it he placed a lofty lantern of wood, a rich ornament and in good keeping with the rest of the holy edifice. Though this prelate deserves every recognition, yet we are much more indebted to Alan of Walsingham, who designed the Lady Chapel and the octagonal tower and lantern so ably carried out by Hotham. Alan had also made his influence felt in the choir-bays of this same cathedral, where he has so cleverly preserved and combined the old Early English elegance of proportion with richness of detail. Under the superintendence of Sir G. B. Scott the fabric has been extensively restored.
Attached to the Cathedral is the church of Holy Trinity; it was formerly the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral. It was commenced in the reign of Edward II., and is one of the most perfect buildings of that age. Another handsome church is that dedicated to St. Mary, and is partly Norman and partly Early English in character.
At the Grammar School, founded by Henry VIII., Jeremiah Bentham, the celebrated political writer, received the rudiments of his education. The Sessions House, the new Corn Exchange, and Mechanics' Institute are other notable features of Ely.
An historic relic, now preserved at Trinity College, Cambridge, is the "Ely Book." It cannot be passed over without a word. On a page are portrayed Ethelwold and King Edgar, but its chief importance is the record of instructions received by the commissioners to supply details and valuation of property for the "Doomsday Book." The inquiries and answers indicate that England had already been divided up into manors, and furnish besides a variety of most interesting information.
Another incident in the history of Ely, if not of great importance to the city, is nevertheless an interesting insight of the respective position of the Church and State soon after the dissolution.
In the good days of Queen Bess, the Bishop of Ely received a royal rebuke.
In the great struggle between the Protestants, or anti-papal world, and the Catholic reaction, there was little leisure for the clergy to air their grievances. They were compelled to submit to the will of the Queen and her counsellor Cecil, from whom Archbishop Parker of Canterbury received his cue for the government of the Church. Though he enjoyed the personal confidence of Elizabeth beyond any other ecclesiastic of the time, his complaints were unavailing. The supremacy of the lay power over the ecclesiastical was too thoroughly accomplished to allow of the Church to exist apart in the early years of Elizabeth's reign. The Bishop of Ely, for expressing unwillingness to hand over the gardens of Ely house to Sir Christopher Hatton, received a characteristic warning, couched in elegant language, for his temerity. "By God, I will unfrock you!" was the Queen's gracious answer to the daring prelate, if he did not mend his ways.
Through the cultivation of its fertile soil by market-gardeners, Ely offers its produce to the London market.
A considerable factory for earthenware and tobacco-pipes, and numerous mills for the preparation of oil from flax, hemp, and cole-seed, help to furnish the trade resources of this historical town, which is situated on the river Ouse, in Cambridgeshire, and just sixteen miles from the celebrated University of Cambridge.
O the long list of "cesters," the Anglicised form of the Latin "Castra" (camp), must be added Gloucester, famous in more respects than one; the city where Henry I. died from a surfeit of lampreys, where Henry II. held a great council in 1175, where the coronation of Henry III. in its abbey took place; the city which the same monarch "loved better than London," the city extolled by Bede as one of the noblest in the land. Prior to the Roman invasion it is held to have been of considerable importance, and to have originated from the settlement of a tribe of Britons, called the Dobuni. This tribe, with that of the Cornavii, also controlled about the same time the destinies of Worcester, now renowned for its beautiful china. By the Dobuni the city was called Cœr Glou, either out of compliment to its founder Glowi, a native, with the meaning, "the city of Glowi," or because the same British words, according to another interpretation and its reputation, can be rendered "the fair city." In the year 47 this stronghold passed into the Roman possession, under Aulus Plautius, and according to Richard of Cirencester, a colony was established. This he styles Glebon, whilst the "Itinerary" of Antonine and other ancient records enter it as Glevum Colonia.
An interesting account upon the Roman classification of towns in England discloses a very important particular. It adds considerable weight to the description of the city by the authors just quoted. Their statements that Gloucester was classified as a colony called Glevum seemed to be borne out by a tombstone found at Rome. It purports to be in memory of a citizen of Glevum. This has given rise to the supposition that "Glevum" was the honourable title bestowed upon an English town of importance made a "colony" by Nerva. This period would be between 96 and 98 A.D. This date in no way combats the original one of 47 A.D. It is only intended to show that Gloucester at the later period had become a colony with a certain amount of self-government, forming a unit of the Great Roman Empire.
The district to the north-east of the present city, called King's Holme, is supposed to have been the actual site of the Roman camp. Close to it was also the palace belonging to the Anglo-Saxon kings of Mercia, which was called Regia Domus. Round about this spot quite a valuable collection of Roman remains has been made, which, besides establishing the fact of their occupation, have helped archæologists to form a correct estimation of the habits and customs of the Latin invaders. When the pressing needs of Rome required the return of all her legions, Gloucester came to be governed by Eldol, who was a British chief. He survived the terrible massacre of the Britons by the Saxons at Stonehenge, and in 489 revenged their memory by killing Hengist, the Saxon chief, at the battle of Mæshill in Yorkshire.
From the Britons the city in 577 was captured by the Saxons. They called it Gleauanceaster, which exists to this day under the contracted form of Gloucester. At that time it was included in the kingdom of Wessex, and was afterwards annexed to that of Mercia. In the meanwhile tradition says that a bishop's see was founded at Gloucester in the second century. Lucius, the first Christian king of Britain, is held to be the founder, and is also supposed to have been buried in the Church of St. Mary de Lode of this city. With all respect to tradition, this can only be accepted with reservation. If true, the present church of St. Mary de Lode deserves far greater recognition than it receives. Though evidently an old foundation much restored, it can hardly lay claim to such antiquity. In all probability a temple to some Roman deity existed, which, by conflicting accounts of historians, gave rise to the supposition of an early established see. Though there is proof that Christianity existed during the Roman occupation of England, it seems more likely that, after their general exodus from the island in 418, a diocese, if any, was soon after established at Gloucester, over which Eldad presided in 490.
This first bishopric, on the subversion of the country by the Anglo-Saxons, must have become extinct; for the next we hear of it is when, as part of the kingdom of Mercia, the entire county of Gloucester is included in the diocese of Lichfield at the time of the introduction of Christianity. However, the first authentic evidence of monasticism appears in the year 679, when the holy brethren founded their establishment. Under the auspices of Wulfhere, then King of Mercia, this priory was dedicated to St. Oswald, and in the same year was annexed to the newly established see of Worcester. It afterwards became the abbey. The city's importance in the same year was considerably increased by the royal patron. The King's brother and successor, Ethelred, nevertheless, completed the ecclesiastical building, which some contend was a nunnery. This the Danes destroyed. It was then refounded for the reception of secular priests in 821, by Bernulf, King of Mercia.
As early as 964, in a charter to the monks of Worcester dated at Gloucester, Edgar styles this a "royal city." Several times it suffered from the incursions of the Danes in the eighth century, and more especially so in the tenth, when it was taken and nearly destroyed by fire in the reign of Ethelred II. This monarch's reign seems to have been a disastrous one for the kingdom. In the first place, through the ambitious schemes of his mother Elfrida, who caused his stepbrother Edward to be murdered, he wrongfully occupied the throne in 979. On account of his tragic death Edward came to be styled "the Martyr." A reign thus inauspiciously commenced proved to be a constant struggle against the Danes. The King acquired the name of Ethelred the Unready; for when the Danes attacked the kingdom, instead of being prepared to repel them, he endeavoured to counteract the evil with large sums of money. As this only served as a further incentive to fresh invasions, Ethelred eventually compounded with them in 994. On condition that these plundering expeditions should cease, he offered them tribute. This is the first mention we get of the "danegelt," as it was called. With the exception of the reign of Edward the Confessor, it continued to be levied almost without interruption till the time of Henry II. The only benefit that Ethelred's reign conferred upon his subjects was the act of atonement made by Elfrida.
To ease her conscience and remorse for the murder of Edward, she caused the foundation of several monasteries, and performed penances. Edmund Ironsides, who succeeded in 1016, was the exact opposite in character to his father Ethelred.
He continued a serious obstacle to Canute and his Danes. After the last of five pitched battles Canute and he agreed to divide the kingdom between them: Canute to have Mercia and Northumberland, and Edmund the remainder. However, through the murder of Edmund a few days after, at Oxford, Canute usurped the throne of England in 1017. During his reign of eighteen years, except for a dispute with Scotland over Cumberland, the country enjoyed peace at home.
This peaceful term, in conjunction with the passing over of the dreaded millennium, when the end of the world had been expected, caused the great building activity which, under the Norman Conquest, attained such wonderful results.
In the meanwhile the trade resources of Gloucester, even before the Conquest, had greatly advanced, and had probably outdistanced in ratio those of more important commercial centres of England. No doubt the natives had learned many hitherto unknown industrial arts from the Romans.
A native art and civilisation existed in the Island, we know, before the Roman Conquest. Great skill in enamelling, claimed by the ancients to be of Celtic origin, and the primitive abundance of gold and tin, worked, as history relates, by the Phœnicians, encouraged a certain degree of native excellence in metal work. Besides this, the gold coinage and other signs of their ingenuity, by remains discovered in Yorkshire and elsewhere, illustrate that various branches of art existed a matter of a century and a half before the Roman Conquest. Yet it is only reasonable to suspect that the inhabitants of Gloucester and of the other camps profited greatly from the far better knowledge and technique brought by the invader from Rome, the acknowledged centre of civilisation at that time. Certain it is that the Roman influence must have left some result. The subsequent history of Gloucester has it that a mint existed at the time of Alfred. It evidently fell into disuse, for a mint was again established in the reign of King John. He also granted the burgesses exemption from toll, and showered other marks of royal favour. As far back as the twelfth century, Long Smith Street derived its name from the numerous artisans who dwelled there.
They were employed in forges for the smelting of ore. Iron-founding and cloth-making were also in full swing. Felt-making, sugar-refining, and glass-manufacture all flourished at one time or another. Pin-making was introduced by a Mr. John Tilsby in 1625, and until quite recently formed the staple trade of the place. Bell-founding, once a feature, no longer is practised. In its career of nearly two centuries close upon 5,000 bells of different sizes had been cast. With the exception of foundries, many modern industries have supplanted the old, and include match works, marble and slate works, saw mills and flour mills, chemical works, rope works, railway wagon and engine factories, agricultural implements, and ship-building yards; for it must be remembered that Gloucester is reckoned as a port. It exports such valuable commodities as iron, coals, malt, salt, bricks, and pottery. The town is also celebrated for its Severn salmon and lampreys.
In discussing the resources of Gloucester, no regard has been paid to the proper distribution of dates. A leap from the eleventh to the nineteenth century has been unavoidably made, and to chronicle the chief events it is necessary to go back to the year 1022, when a change was made in Bernulf's foundation.
This year saw the ejection of the secular priests and the introduction of the Benedictine monks by Canute. In spite of opposition, the new order managed to keep possession of the monastery till the dissolution. The abbey founded by Aldred, Bishop of Worcester, a few years before the Norman Conquest served as the basis of the present cathedral. This transition took place from 1072 till 1104, under Abbot Serle. In 1381 Walter Frocester, its historian, became its first mitred abbot. Here again we have an instance of a Norman building forming the backbone to subsequent periods of Gothic and English architecture. Though each style is distinct, the tout ensemble is in such perfect harmony that it calls for the greatest admiration for the wonderful skill of the several architects. The plan of the Cathedral is the usual symbol of the cross. In the centre there is the beautiful fifteenth-century tower. Its mass of detail and pierced work give it an air of elegance and lightness. The oldest portions are the nave, the chantry chapels, which are apsidal and are on either side of the choir, and the crypt. These are supposed to have belonged to Aldred's abbey, which may thus be taken to have become incorporated in the present building. They are of Norman origin, or rather date a few years before the Conquest. No doubt these parts came, more or less, to be touched up and restored by the Normans. In 1248, the roof of the nave, an Early English addition to the massive Norman nave, was finished by Abbot Henry Foliot. The Chapter House also is Norman. Compared with those at Wells and Lincoln, its simplicity is striking. It differs also in another respect. Belonging, as it did, to a Benedictine church, it follows the shape usually found in churches of that order; namely, the square.
The south aisle was commenced by Abbot Thokey in 1310, and the south transept in 1330. About the same time building operations were commenced for the north transept and the choir. The latter was finished in 1457.
To the north of the nave lie the cloisters. These form a most wonderful Early example of fan-tracery, constructed some time between 1351 and 1390. Here in the south end of the cloisters were set apart a series of stalls, better known as the carrels, in which the monks studied and wrote. They may have undergone great hardships and austerities, but they evidently had a great sense of beauty. They have left us the finest works of architecture possible, which have not been surpassed by any modern erection.
The west front, and the south porch with fan-traceried roof, were added in 1421.
The triforium, carried round in a curve under the great east window, forms a narrow passageway from one side of the choir to the other. This formation, curiously enough, has constituted quite a feature at Gloucester. It is called the "whispering gallery." There is no evidence that the architect intended it. St. Paul's, in London, affords another similar example.
The sculptor's art is represented by many tombs of certain merit. There is the tomb erected by Abbot Parker to the memory of Osric, King of Northumberland, who was one of the founders of the monastery, and who died about the eighth century. In the north aisle leading to the Lady Chapel—which by the way, with its square ending appears like an after-thought, extended eastwards, as it were, from the apsidal termination of the choir—is a monument covering the remains of Robert Duke of Normandy, the eldest son of the Conqueror. He was a benefactor to the old abbey. His effigy in coloured bog oak is disposed in a recumbent attitude on an altar-tomb. There are many others, amongst which that of Dr. Jenner, famous for the introduction of vaccination into general practice, commands great attention. Robert Raikes is also represented. He and the Rev. Thomas Stock, a rector of St. John the Baptist in this city, share the honour of having established the first Sunday school in England, which was held in Gloucester. Some authorities, however, contend that the reverend gentleman was the originator of the Sunday school, though they do not deny that Raikes, through his unwearied exertions, promoted the increase of these institutions throughout the kingdom.
But of all the monuments, that erected by the monks of Gloucester to the memory of Edward of Carnarvon deserves the most attention, not only for its beauty, but because it served as the type for the Gothic sculptors to copy during two centuries. The recumbent effigy is hedged in by a series of elaborately decorated shafts, forming a kind of open-work grille, with pinnacles and niches. Overhead it is covered in with richly ornamented Gothic work.
This shrine, constructed to receive the body of the murdered Edward II., conveyed thither from Berkeley Castle by Abbot Thokey, throughout the greater part of Edward III.'s reign continued to attract vast numbers of pilgrims. Their offerings soon brought in a great revenue, which was spent not on rebuilding the church, but in restoring the surface, in putting new windows in the old walls, and, generally, in adapting the twelfth-century building to the Perpendicular style of the fourteenth century. In this way the original Norman work forms the skeleton to the Perpendicular casing.
In 1541 the Cathedral was separated from the diocese of Worcester by Henry VIII. and made a distinct bishopric.
Besides this magnificent pile, Gloucester possesses four other churches, which deserve some slight notice. There is the Church of St. Mary de Lode, said to contain the remains of Lucius, the first British king. It has an interesting old chancel, and a monument to Bishop Hooper.
St. Mary de Crypt is a cruciform building of the twelfth century, with a beautiful lofty tower. The curfew bell is still rung from the tower of St. Michael, which is said to have been connected with the ancient abbey of St. Peter. St. Nicholas, originally Norman, is now an ancient structure of the Early style of English architecture.
Of schools, one was refounded by Henry VIII. for the education of the cathedral choir. Another was established in the same reign by Dame Joan Cooke, and was called the Crypt School, from the fact of its schoolroom adjoining the church of the same name. Sir Thomas Rich, a native of Gloucester, in 1666 founded the Blue-Coat Hospital, much on the same lines as that of Christ's Hospital, recently removed from London to the country.
During the many years that were taken in beautifying the Cathedral, we must not forget that the city was struggling with varying fortune. It might almost be called a royal city, so often was it visited by princes, were it not that Winchester claims that distinction. In the war between Stephen and the Empress Matilda, Gloucester always accorded a welcome to the Empress. Thither she is said to have escaped after the siege of Winchester, carried in a coffin. If not true, the story is well founded. The city was captured from Henry III. by the barons in 1263. In one of the many Parliaments held at Gloucester, were passed, in 1279, the laws connected with the Statute of Quo Warranto, better known as the Statutes of Gloucester.
In 1327 Edward II. was assassinated in Berkeley Castle by his keeper, Sir Thomas Gournay, and John de Maltravers, Lord Berkeley. From this time Gloucester seems to have enjoyed comparative peace, though its county was the theatre of several important historical events enacted in its cities of Chichester and Tewkesbury. The latter is especially memorable for the great and decisive battle, in which the Lancastrians were totally defeated, in 1471. On that occasion Margaret of Anjou, her son Prince Edward, and her general, the Duke of Somerset, were taken prisoners by Edward IV. After the battle Prince Edward was murdered and the Duke of Somerset beheaded. In the great contest between Charles I. and the Parliament, the city of Gloucester, it is true, became an object of importance to the success of the royal cause. The city was, however, successfully defended for the Parliament by Colonel Massie, till relieved in 1643 by the Earl of Essex. In the meantime Chichester was taken by Prince Rupert.
The subject-matter of this city has unconsciously led us to introduce Tewkesbury and Chichester. Having gone so far we cannot close without first drawing attention to the existence of three other cities that prominently stand out in this same county of Gloucestershire. They are Cheltenham, the home of the famous public school; Tewkesbury, where the decisive battle of the Roses was fought; and Bristol, the great port situated near the mouth of the Severn, the river on the banks of which lies this ancient cathedral city of Gloucester.
N the borders of Wales is Herefordshire, and almost in the centre of the county is its ancient capital, Hereford. A Roman station is supposed to have been in the neighbourhood, under the name of Ariconium, which is considered to be identical with the present Kenchester. The present name of Hereford is derived from the pure Saxon. Like Oxford, it had no bridges at first. As the river had to be crossed, the shallowest part was chosen.
This consideration probably determined the site of Hereford to be upon the left bank of the river Wye, and the pass over it was called by the Saxons, Here-ford, or "Military ford." We glean little information of this place till the seventh century. An episcopal see is stated to have existed in this place before the invasion of Britain by the Saxons. From this uncertainty we arrive at something more definite, which took place in 655. Oswy, then King of Mercia, in that year made Hereford part of the diocese of Lichfield, which already wielded jurisdiction over the whole of the kingdom of Mercia.
A few years later it was decided by a synod held here under the presidency of Theodore, then Archbishop of Canterbury, in 673, to make a division of the diocese of Lichfield. Very naturally Wilford, then bishop of that see, refused to recognise the decree, and for this piece of contumacy was subsequently deprived of part of his diocese. His successor, Sexulph, however, was more amenable, and with his consent Hereford was detached from Lichfield and restored to its original independence as a separate diocese. Putta was straightway translated from Rochester See to become the first bishop of Hereford in 680. This instance is one of many such in the history of the Church. The shuffling of dioceses, the enlargement of one at the expense of another, whether from motives of malice or a sense of right distribution, occurs usually in the early years of Christianity in England, and also at the general winding up of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII.
Hereford was by no means the only see that suffered these changes. It was simply a unit in the great policy of welding together the churches of the several kingdoms into one whole, which had never been carried into effect till Theodore of Tarsus came to England. He was a Greek monk little known till the Pope elected to fill the vacant archbishopric of Canterbury. Only three bishops were left in the whole of England; of these two were rivals for the See of York, and the third had bought the See of London. The first thing that Theodore did after his arrival was to travel throughout the country. By consecrating new bishops and creating a thorough organisation, he acquired a complete understanding with the Church. He also instituted a system of synods, which he intended should meet annually to discuss the general welfare of the Church. This, however, seems to have fallen into disuse.
In all, Theodore managed to divide England into a matter of fifteen dioceses, through the subdivision of the old dioceses. Truly a great achievement when we remember that the conversion of the English kingdoms mostly depended upon the good-will of their respective kings. Thus it came about that one king in each kingdom had one bishop, generally his chaplain at first, who took his title, not from a see, but from the people. He was either bishop of Mercia, or Northumbria, or some other large kingdom. As we have seen in the collision with Wilford, Theodore's policy did not suit every prelate's views. His influence, however, effected the installation of three bishops in Northumbria, four in Mercia, two in East Anglia, and two in Wessex. Kent already had two since 604.
Thus the result was the complete conversion of England, effected by Theodore from about 673 to 688 A.D.
Prior to the eighth century Hereford is known to have been the capital of the kingdom of Mercia, as it is now of Herefordshire, which is much reduced in size. From the years 765 to 791 Mercia was governed by King Offa. Apart from his connection with the Cathedral of Hereford, his reign must possess some interest to the collectors of coins. For though the die-sinker's art was practised in England as far back as the Roman occupation, and an indigenous coinage came into existence in the seventh century, it is not till this monarch's reign that genuine English coinage was properly in currency. It appears that Offa had to pay an annual tribute of 365 mancuses in coin to the Pope. As a mancus was equal to 30 pennies, the sum was a considerable one.
In the year 782 an event occurred which laid the foundation of the Cathedral. From Marden, the original place of sepulture, the body of Ethelbert, King of the East Angles (who, by the way, is not to be confounded with Ethelbert of Kent, who welcomed St. Augustine), was removed to Hereford. He had been treacherously slain by his intended mother-in-law, the Queen of Mercia. In expiation of the murder King Offa, with munificent donations, enabled a nobleman called Milfride, a viceroy under Egbert, to found the Cathedral about 825. The building was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Ethelbert. It fell into decay in less than two centuries and necessitated a rebuilding during the prelacy of Bishop Athelstan, between 1012 and 1015. It was burnt by the Welsh in 1055, and remained in ruins till 1079, when the first Norman bishop, Robert of Lorraine, was appointed to the See.
He commenced a new edifice on the lines of Aken, now Aix-la-Chapelle. It was carried on, with the exception of the tower left to be erected by Bishop Giles de Braos in the following century, by Bishop Raynelm, in 1107, and eventually completed in 1148 by Bishop R. de Betum.
The plan is the usual cross. A lofty tower rises from the intersection, and was formerly surmounted by a spire, taken down for safety's sake. The screen and reredos, the pillars, the arches of naves, and the north and south arches of the choir belong to the Norman period. The Early English claims the triforium, the Lady Chapel, clerestory, and the stone vaulting. The north transept is by Bishop Aquablanca, 1245-1268, whilst the south-east transept dates from the Late Decorated style.
For over 450 years a number of additions and restorations have afforded every facility for the skill of the architect, not always happily taken advantage of. The great western tower unfortunately fell down in 1786, and caused considerable damage to the west front and adjacent work. Mr. Wyatt, during modern restorations, in 1842 and 1863, rebuilt the tower. The west front, soon after its misfortune, was restored in a style different from the original. The whole exterior of this edifice presents a curious variety of architectural style. This capitulation of bishops and dates is possibly dry reading, but it is absolutely necessary to determine the date of the different erections and restorations, and their successive styles of architecture.
Near the choir was the shrine of St. Ethelbert, which was destroyed during the Commonwealth of Cromwell. Another attraction to the pilgrims was the tomb erected to the memory of Bishop Cantelupe, who died in 1282. His heart was brought to Hereford and buried in the north transept of the Cathedral, and he was canonised in 1310. The pilgrims resorted to this place, as it was reputed that no less than four hundred miracles had been performed there. In consequence of this the succeeding bishops altered the quarterings of their ancient arms, which were those of St. Ethelbert, and assumed the paternal coat of Cantelupe. This change constitutes the present arms of the bishopric.
Amongst many other memorials is one to Bishop Aquablanca. A plain marble tablet was also erected to the memory of John Philips, a well-known author of poems entitled "The Splendid Shilling," and "Cyder."
Perhaps the most interesting item, as well as the most curious of all the old maps, is the "Mappa Mundi," preserved in the south choir aisle. It was compiled somewhere about 1275 to 1300, by a monk of Lincoln. How it ever came to Hereford appears to be an enigma. The most likely solution is that the monk may have been transferred from Lincoln to this see.
The "Hereford Map," as it is called, is a great picture, more to be classed as a grotesque work of art than a valuable aid to geography. It is, at least, a gigantic attempt to represent the whole world, with the introduction of the main features, the people, industries, and products of each country. It is one mass of legendary figures, and the farther we get from England, which is hardly recognisable, the more grotesque and improbable become the monsters. The Minotaurs and Gog-Magog of Tartary, the dog-faced, the horse-footed, and flap-eared freaks of nature of the far east, together with the one-legged, one-eyed, four-eyed, headless, and hermaphrodite tribes who fringe the Torrid Zone, give us an interesting idea of the imposition by travellers upon the minds of the people of that period, the thirteenth century. Even the fishes, supposed to be peculiar to each sea, are carefully depicted. Truly it is a wonderful work of imagination, not the less to be respected for that, and quite alone deserves a journey to Hereford.
An epitome of the chief historical events of the city will be a sufficient guide to its status. Except cider making, it has no industries of special note.
To the fortifications erected in the time of Athelstan, and nearly perfected in Leland's time, was added a castle by Edward the Elder. In 1055, two miles from this place, Griffith the Prince of Wales defeated Ralph Earl of Hereford; and the Welsh, having thus taken the city, spent their time in reducing it to a heap of ruins. Harold, afterwards king, attacked and defeated the Welsh, and repaired and enlarged the fortifications in view of further invasions. In the conflicts between Stephen and the Empress Maud, Hereford was successfully defended for the latter by Milo, to be reduced by the King in 1141. At the commencement of the parliamentary war, Hereford was garrisoned for the King, but surrendered, without a blow being struck, to the army of Sir William Waller in 1643. On the retreat of this knight the Royalists occupied it, and under the governorship of Barnabas Scudamore, Esquire, made a stubborn resistance against the Scots, under the Earl of Leven, and obliged them to raise the siege.
The inhabitants, at the Restoration, for their loyalty to the royal cause, received from Charles II. a new charter with extended privileges, and new heraldic arms testifying to their fidelity to the House of Stuart. Previous to this Charles I. had been generous enough to reward the many sacrifices and sufferings of the loyal citizens by granting the city its motto of
Invictæ fidelitatis præmium.
HE commercial importance of Lincoln, whatever it may be now, was at one time considerable. At the time of the Norman survey it commanded sufficient attention to cause the entry of the city in the "Doomsday Book" as one of the leading centres of commerce. This happy state was continued, or rather increased, by the famous Ordinance of the Staple in the reign of Edward III. He was an ambitious monarch, and desired to become master of France. If we recall the battles of Cressy and Poitiers, we can readily understand what an enormous expenditure would be required for the proper conduct of the war. By some means or other the English revenues had to be found. This was met to a great extent by the Ordinance of the Wool Staple, enacted by Edward III., who, besides waging war in France, was keen on the extension of foreign trade. By charters granted to merchants of Gascony, who imported wine and other commodities, and by giving special protection to the Flemish weavers in England, the King enhanced the prospects of trade. But the most important of all his commercial projects was, as we have said, his scheme, finally declared in 1353, by which a staple for English exports was established under the direct control of the Crown. Thus the monopoly of wool, which accrued so advantageously to Bruges and other cities on the Continent, and had become unbearable, was in 1353 transferred to England. For the exclusive sale of wool ten English towns were chosen. They were situated within easy distance of the coast, or the town was in connection with a convenient port. Of these ten towns with corresponding ports, Lincoln with Boston was chosen as a staple town for wool. This with other sources of trade, such as the staple of lead and leather, flourished in Lincoln from Edward III.'s time till the commencement of the eighteenth century, when the trade of the town declined. Through the several plagues prevalent in the fourteenth century, such as the black death and other epidemics similar in death-dealing if not in character at that time, especially about the year 1390, many towns in England were much decayed. Except London, York, Bristol, Coventry, and Plymouth, the afflicted towns did not regain the population they enjoyed in the fourteenth century till the Tudor period, and some, notably Sarum and Leicester, not until late in the reign of Elizabeth. The decline of Lincoln, though progressive, in a way appears to have been truly a gradual decay, and more terrible in its imperceptible undermining than any knock-down blow, for it never recovered its old trade prosperity; whilst Norwich, which before the plagues was next to London, bore relatively and even greater and sharper evidence of the terrible visitation, yet managed somehow to hark back in a measure to days of its former glory. The old saying which ran "Lincoln was, London is, York shall be" indicates, far more than anything else, the change of Lincoln's fortunes. Whatever its shortcomings may be, Lincoln possesses a most interesting record of antiquity. Its minster is truly a gem, for it is not only the earliest example of a pure Gothic building in Europe, but presents a delightful study of every kind of style, from the early Norman down to the Late Decorated.
Of the many characteristics of this interesting edifice—the foundation of Remigius—we will note the chief. The building material consists of the oolite and calcareous stone of Lincoln Heath and Haydor, the surface of which, when worked upon with tools, appears to become quite hardened.
Remigius adopted the plan of the church at Rouen as the model of his foundation, which he laid in 1086. It was completed by his successor, Bishop Bloet. The accidental fire that broke out gave his successor, Bishop Alexander, the opportunity of repairing it. To prevent a like occurrence, this prelate conceived and carried out his idea of covering the aisles with a vaulted roof of stone. It had a disastrous effect in that its pressure weighed too heavily upon the walls. It necessitated a thorough overhauling by St. Hugh, a subsequent bishop, in the reign of Henry II. He rebuilt the church upon a plan then newly introduced, and greatly enlarged it by taking down the east end and re-erecting it upon a far bigger scale. Since his time the Cathedral has undergone several alterations and embellishments at the fostering care of several succeeding prelates. On the magnificent central tower there used to be a lofty spire, which was blown down in 1547. The two western towers were also deprived of their spires in 1808 to avert a similar calamity. The approximate dates of the different portions of the Cathedral are:
The central west front and the font belong to Remigius' period.
The three west portals and Norman portion of the west tower above the screen to the third story are 1148.
The nave, its aisles, and north and south chapels of the west end were finished in 1220.
The Early English work of the west front and the upper portions of the north and south wings with the pinnacle turrets date from 1225.
The west porch of the main transept is 1220.
The lower courses of the central tower date from 1235, while the upper ones originated in 1307.
The gables, the upper parts of the main transept, the parapets of the south side of the nave, the south wing, the west front, and the screen in the south aisle take us back again to the year 1225. The subsequent additions are:
The west door of the choir aisles in 1240; the south porch of the presbytery in 1256; the choir screens in 1280, and ten years later the Easter Sepulchre. The fine circular window at the end of the north transept, and especially the ones in the south transept, attract considerable attention. They are called respectively "The Dean's Eye" and "The Bishop's Eye," and are supposed to belong to the year 1350. Perhaps they are better known as the rose windows, which were more popular in France than in England. They exhibit a network of interlacing stems in imitation of the freedom of the briar-rose, and show the advanced skill of the workmen upon the plate-tracery they formerly put up as a masterpiece in the close vicinity of the rose windows.
For purposes of fortification, if necessary, Remigius chose the summit of the hill close to the Castle as the site. The Cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, thus, from its commanding station, forms a magnificent object seen from many miles around, and in the days of pilgrimage must have held out a welcome beacon of hope to the weary pilgrims.
Of the many famous prelates of this see must be mentioned Remigius, Bloet, St. Hugh, and Fleming, who died in 1431. The latter was the founder of Lincoln College at Oxford. Just at the back of this college is situated the well-known college of Brazennose, the foundation of another Lincoln Bishop, namely Smith, who died in 1521.
Another attraction that Lincoln possesses in its vicinity is the race-course just beyond Newland.
For the early history of Lincoln we must go as far back as the Saxon days. After the departure of the Romans, Lincoln was the chief city of the district. It was the capital of the kingdom of Mercia, as it now is of the county of Lincolnshire.
Besides being described like other cities as being locally in the county of Lincoln, it is said to be in the wapentake. This is a departure from the "hundred" only in name, not in purpose. In the northern counties of England the wapentakes denoted the usual divisions answering to the hundreds of other counties. The origin of the wapentake is woepenge-toc, woepentac, from the Icelandic vapnatak. It literally means a weapon-taking or weapon-touching, and became an expression of assent. It was anciently invariably the custom to touch lances or spears when the hundreder, or chief, entered in his office. Tacitus, in the "Germania," gives a full description of this interesting rite.
In the Low Countries words very similar appear as the names of streets. At Bruges, in Belgium, there is the "Wapen-makers Straat," which means nothing more or less than that in that street was originally carried on an industry of warlike implements made by "weapon-makers."
In this wise Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and Nottinghamshire were divided into wapentakes instead of "hundreds."
Another peculiar distinction of this city was its former government by a portreve. The term is now obsolete, but in the old English law it denoted the chief magistrate of a port or maritime town. In its old form it was written "portgerefa," a combined word meaning port, a harbour, and "gerefa," a reeve or sheriff. In the third year of the reign of George I. the city, with a district of twenty miles round it, was erected into a county, under the designation of "The City and County of the City of Lincoln." It was also entered as a maritime county. The extreme flatness of the Lincolnshire coast, with the slow sluggishness of the lower part of the course of the rivers, caused, in remote ages, the inundation of a great tract of land. The feasibility of reclaiming some portion of these fens received the attention of the Romans. They constructed the large drain called the car-dyke, signifying the fen-dyke, carrying it from the river Witham, near Lincoln, to the river Welland on the southern side of the county, with the object of draining the waters from the high grounds and of preventing the inundation of the low grounds. This policy was adopted in subsequent reigns with great success, and is even to this day continued. It has been the means of bringing rich tracts of land into cultivation, and of dispelling the unhealthy miasma which once caused the great prevalency of the ague fever. From fragments of vessels found near its channel it is affirmed that large ships of bygone days could formerly sail up the river Witham from Boston to Lincoln, but now it is only navigable for barges.
In 1121 Henry I. materially altered the great Foss-Dyke, extending a matter of eight miles from a great marsh near Lincoln to the river Trent, to serve the double purpose of draining the adjacent level and of constructing a high waterway for vessels from the Trent to Lincoln.
For defraying the expenses of draining, it appears that in general a rate was levied upon all lands in the contiguous wapentakes.
With this preface of the general character of the district, we propose to give a history of the city from its commencement.
On the summit of a hill close to the river Lindis, which is now called the Witham, the ancient Britons established a city of considerable importance from the most remote period of the British history. They christened the city after the original name of the river. This, on the invasion of Britain, passed into the hands of the Romans. They made it one of their chief stations in this part of England and established a colony. Instead of calling the city something "cester," they appear to have Latinised the Celtic name, signifying "the hill port by the pool," and called it Lindum Colonia. Through process of time and differences of pronunciation, consequent on the various dialects spoken successively by the Saxons, Danes, and Normans, the title became abbreviated to Lin-coln. The date of the Roman occupation is given as being in the year 100 A.D.
Their plan of the city consisted of the form of a parallelogram about 400 yards in length by the same number of yards in breadth, defended by massive, strong walls and intersected by two streets running at right angles.
Presumably the extremities of these streets pointed to the four cardinal points. They terminated in gates, the sole one of which—an excellent example of Roman architecture in England—is the North Gate, or, as it is generally called, Newport. It is composed of a central arch, with two lesser ones, one on either side, and is on a lower level than that of the street. Through this gate passes the great Roman Road called Ermine Street, out into the country for a distance of about ten miles or so. To the south-west of this entrance is supposed to have been a mint. This seems to be borne out by the discovery of many Roman coins found in the vicinity. The Exchequer Gate is a very fine specimen of the thirteenth century. It bears a carved representation of the Crucifixion, which lends it considerable interest.
At the top of High Street is Pottergate and Stonebow, over which is the Guildhall. The latter is an ancient embattled structure, rebuilt in the reign of Richard II.
Besides the Northgate, the Romans appear, according to remains found, to have contributed the inevitable bath and sudatorium. On their departure from Britain, Lincoln was made the capital of the kingdom of Mercia by the Saxons in 518. Vortimer, who endeavoured to oppose them, was slain and interred here. From 786 Lincoln suffered repeatedly from visitations of the Danes, control being recovered by Edmund II., according to agreement with Canute in 1016. Throughout the whole of this period the only peace the city had enjoyed was when Alfred the Great subdued the Danes. However, Edmund II., better known as Edmund Ironsides, did not live many days longer, being murdered at Oxford. Whereupon, in 1017, Canute took possession of the murdered monarch's territory, in which Lincoln was included. William I. then came along in 1086, swept away close upon two hundred houses to make room for the erection of a castle—on a site which meant the occupation of nearly one-fourth of the old Roman city.
The Castle still has traces of Norman work, the foundations of which were formed of enormous beams of wood and a mixture of thin, coarse mortar, used for pouring into the joints of masonry and brickwork, usually called "grouting."
In that wonderful survey of his—the "Doomsday Book"—fifty-two parishes are stated to have composed this city.
The Castle in 1140 figured in the disputes between the Empress Matilda and Stephen, the latter of whom was crowned here in 1141. Stephen was, however, made prisoner, but was afterwards exchanged, and lived three years later to celebrate Christmas here. But prior to this period Lincoln was for the first time erected into a see in the reign of William Rufus.
In pursuance of a decree of a synod held at London at this time, that all the episcopal sees should be removed to fortified places, Remigius, the Bishop of Dorchester, determined to establish the seat of his diocese at Lincoln. He built the church and an episcopal palace, but died just before its consecration.
His work was completed by his successor, Robert Bloet. In the reign of Henry II. the Diocese, which once extended from the Thames to the Humber, was curtailed to add a part to form that of Ely. It again suffered diminution in Henry VIII.'s time, when the limits of the Sees of Oxford and Peterborough were defined. In spite of it all, Lincoln's see is fairly extensive, though it suffered again in 1884. Prior to this monarch's reign Lincoln had as many as fifty-two churches, but when he decided upon reformation from Popery their number was greatly diminished. Their names, still preserved, are the sole reminders of their former existence, with the exception of fourteen which remain. These have probably been rebuilt.
Before entering further concerning the See, and the Cathedral founded by Remigius, which was constantly in the hands of the architect even down to recent years, we shall add the chief political events subsequent to Stephen. On the death of this monarch, Henry II., probably not satisfied with his coronation in London, underwent the ceremony again at Wigford, a place just a little to the south of Lincoln city.
John here early in his reign received the homage of David the King of Scotland. During the struggle with the barons in 1216 the citizens remained loyal to their sovereign; but their city was taken at last in 1217, and invested by the barons under Gilbert de Gaunt, afterwards created Earl of Lincoln. After the disaster that overtook John's army in the passage across the Wash, and his death, which took place soon afterwards, his son Henry III. was loyally assisted by the inhabitants against the barons, who had summoned to their aid Louis, the Dauphin of France. The Castle, however, remained for many years in the possession of the Crown. Eventually it became the summer residence of the celebrated John of Gaunt. He was Earl of Lincoln, and in 1396 married here Lady Swinford, who was a sister-in-law to Chaucer.
Several times Parliament was held in Lincoln; namely, twice by Edward I., and in 1301 and 1305; twice also by Edward II.; and in the first year of Edward III.'s reign.
Henry VI. paid a visit, as did also Henry VII., who held a public thanksgiving for his victory over Richard III. at the battle of Bosworth Field.
Throughout the parliamentary war the inhabitants were staunch supporters of the Crown. The city was stormed by Earl Manchester, an indefatigable soldier of Cromwell. The Commonwealth troopers during their occupation created considerable havoc in the ecclesiastical buildings. According to their invariable custom they stabled their horses and housed themselves within the cathedral walls. Not satisfied with that, they damaged the tombs and deprived the niches of their statuary.
To go back a matter of four hundred years to this period, the population of Lincoln rose en masse against the Jews. They were alleged to have crucified a little Lincoln boy, presumably a Christian, at a place called Dunestall in the year 1255. The enraged mob wreaked their vengeance by causing the execution of eighteen Jews, murdering many more, and later on making a saint of the victim, under the name of "little Saint Hugh." The punishment seems to be out of proportion to the crime. In fact little Hugh's crucifixion appears rather to have served as an excuse for the wrongful persecution of the Semitic race than for the proper administration of the law irrespective of creed. Even to this day this regrettable racial feeling is kept alive. In the middle ages this bitter feeling was fostered and brought about chiefly owing to the wonderful success of the Jews in England, who grew rich upon the profits accruing to usury, which they alone might exercise. Among many prominent instances of popular vengeance, besides little St. Hugh's murder, are the tombs of boy-martyrs, shrines which became often the most popular in the Cathedral.
The most characteristic are the records of the burials, attended with great pomp, of St. William of Norwich in 1144, Harold of Gloucester in 1168, Robert of Edmundsbury in 1184, a nameless boy in London in 1244, and St. Hugh of Lincoln in 1255; boys canonised by the populace simply through bitter racial feeling. Remains of the shrine of little St. Hugh are still extant at Lincoln.
Among the many interesting antiquities of Lincoln is a fine specimen of the Norman domestic architecture. It is called the Jews' House, and it is an edifice of curious design. Its mouldings much resemble those of the west portals of the Cathedral, a date which probably would be 1184. The house belonged to a Jewess called Belaset de Wallingford. She was hanged in the reign of Edward I. for clipping the coin.
In the cloister garden are preserved a tesselated pavement and the sepulchral slab of a Roman soldier. From the same place the splendidly carved stone coffin lid of Bishop Remigius has recently been removed into the interior of the Cathedral.
In the years 1884 to 1891 excavations were conducted on the site of the old "Angel Inn," when it was discovered that it had been a Roman burial-place. Amongst the débris were found several funeral urns. Under St. Peter's at Gowts was brought to light a Roman altar, and remains of a Roman villa were unearthed at Greetwell. In the same year, that is to say 1884, the Blue Coat School was closed, its endowments were given to the Middle School, and the buildings were sold to the Church Institute.
Within the last few years two memorable events occurred. In the year 1884 the See of Lincoln was deprived of the county of Nottingham, which was transferred from that see to the See of Southwell. This was followed shortly afterwards by the great lawsuit called "The Lincoln Judgment."
Great controversy arose and came to a climax. In the year 1888 Dr. King, the Bishop of Lincoln, was cited before his metropolitan, Dr. Benson, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to answer charges of various ritual offences alleged to have been committed by himself at the administration of the Holy Communion.
The action was brought by certain gentlemen of Lincoln interested in the doings of their prelate. Their religious scruples had been outraged, it appears, on two separate occasions; namely, in the Church of St. Peter's at Gowts on December 4, 1887, and in the Cathedral on December 10 of the same year. An appeal had been made to the Archbishop to restrain these illegal practices. The celebrated ecclesiastical lawsuit was heard in 1888. The judgment was confined to the declarations of the law, which were summarised. No monition or sentence was pronounced against the Bishop of Lincoln for having committed breaches of the ecclesiastical law. The dissension has happily ended. The Bishop of Lincoln has conformed his practice to the Archbishop's judgment from the date of its delivery, and still retains his bishopric. Thus has ended the conflict between the Primate and the Suffragan, which agitated, for a brief space of time, the opponents of offences of ritualism, and brought about the famous Lincoln Judgment.
N the banks of the river Avon, in the County of Somersetshire, is situated the beautiful and ancient city of Bath. Its ecclesiastical history is closely bound up with that of Wells, and at one time with that of Glastonbury, when it figures in the disputes concerning the See. This unseemly quarrelling amongst prelates is now happily laid at rest. Though lacking in all authority, Bath is the joint partner of Wells in the bishopric title.
The origin of the city of Bath takes us far back. Perhaps the strongest link with the Roman days, besides the Roman roads, lies in the present-day existence of the Roman baths, built about 55 B.C.
Though we are told that in all probability it is a mere myth that the British king, Bladud, first founded this city of Bath, yet we are inclined to think that the presence of these springs would influence a settlement of even the nomadic British, prior to the Roman invasion.
When we remember what primitive ideas the early Britons had, we cannot wonder at the non-existence of any vestiges of their occupation. In these days of materialism one loves to respect old traditions, however uncertain they may be in substance. We would therefore give the benefit of the doubt to an early British settlement.
With the arrival of the Romans the approximate date and origin of Bath can be readily ascertained. From excavations on the place since the year 1875, it has been proved that the Romans founded here a city, which they named Aquae Solis, in the reign of Claudius. In 55 B.C. the baths had been constructed for certain. In addition to this they erected a temple to Minerva, with votive offerings, and many other buildings, and carried a line of fortifications and walls around the city. The remains of their marvellous architecture still bear testimony, though they have suffered ill-treatment and undergone restoration, to their former magnificence and grandeur.
On the retirement of the Romans Aquae Solis passed into the hands of the Britons, under the name of Cœr Palladen (the city of the waters of Pallas). During their possession of a century, two attacks made by the Saxon chieftains, Œlla and Cerdic, were repulsed by King Arthur.
The Saxons, by the year 577, having practically subverted the rest of the kingdom, turned their attention to the West. They seized and ravaged Bath. The Roman structures were reduced to ruins. After a while they rebuilt the walls and fortifications upon the original foundations, employing the old materials. The baths also were soon restored. By this time the Saxons had renamed the city, "Hat Bathur" (Hot baths), and "Ace-mannes-ceaster" (City of invalids). The "ceaster" tacked on to the Saxon word is the first evidence we get of the Saxon recognition of the former existence of the Roman occupation of this city.
With the spreading influence of Christianity travelling from the east to the west of England in the seventh century, a nunnery was erected here, in 676, by King Osric. This was destroyed during the wars of the Heptarchy, and on its site a college of secular canons was founded, in 775, by Offa, King of Mercia. This monarch had taken Bath from the King of Wessex, and had annexed it to his own kingdom. Possibly in recognition of this victory he built an abbey in 775.
After this the city evidently increased in prosperity, for it was important enough to witness the coronation of Edgar in 973, as King of England, by Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury. At the same time Edgar converted the college of secular canons into a Benedictine monastery. This, with the church, was again demolished by the Danes.
This city of Bath, like all other cities of that time, came under the Norman Survey, and was entered in Doomsday Book as Baden-ceaster. William Rufus had scarce been crowned king when Bath was seized and burnt, the most part by Geoffry, Bishop of Coutances, and Robert de Mowbray. They had jointly risen in support of the claim laid to the throne of England by Robert Duke of Normandy. But under the abbacy of John de Villula it soon recovered prosperity. This abbot, on promotion to the See of Wells, about 1090, purchased the city from Henry I. He built a new church, and removed the See from Wells to this place. Here it remained till 1193, when Bishop Savaricus handed it over to Richard I., in exchange for Glastonbury Abbey.
About this time Bath received its first charter as a free borough from this monarch, and was represented in Parliament in 1297. In 1330 the manufacture of woollen cloth was established by the monks. By reason of this the shuttle was incorporated in the arms of the monastery. In 1447, and in 1590, Henry VI. and Elizabeth respectively granted charters, which materially increased the prospects of the city.
This present cruciform Abbey Church dates from 1499. It is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, and forms one of the best specimens of the later style of English architecture. It rests upon the site of the conventual church of the monastery founded by Osric. After a course of eight hundred years it became dilapidated, and was rebuilt from the old materials in 1495, by Bishop Oliver King. He is said to have been admonished in a dream. He did not live to see the completion of the building.
As the citizens refused to purchase it from the Commissioners of Henry VIII., the walls were left roofless till Dr. James Montague, Bishop of the Diocese, with the aid of the local nobility and gentry, procured the necessary funds, and finished it in 1606.
On the west front is sculptured the founder's dream of angels ascending and descending on Jacob's ladder. The church is crowned with a quadrangular tower of 162 feet in height from the point of intersection.
Though the medicinal properties of the springs of Bath attracted from the earliest times the continuous attention of invalids, it was only under the guidance of Beau Nash, the gamester, and the enterprise of John Wood, the architect, that it reached to the highest pinnacle of fame as a place of fashionable resort in the eighteenth century. The works of Fielding, Smollett, Jane Austen, Dickens, Thackeray, and others, give us a clear insight into the meteor-like prosperity of the city, for, after the death of Nash, it gradually relapsed to its normal state, and, in fact, according to statistics, the number of inhabitants has decreased even within the last few years.
A brief sketch of Beau Nash and the means adopted will account in some measure for the marvellous change in Bath in the eighteenth century. Nash was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, and Jesus College, Oxford. He then obtained a commission in the army. This he soon threw up to become a law-student at the Middle Temple. Whilst there he gained much attention by his wit and sociability. These qualities induced his fellow-students to elect him as the president of a pageant that they prepared for William III. The king was so pleased with Nash that, it is said, he offered him a knighthood. This Nash refused unless accompanied by a pension, which was not granted.
He was much addicted to gambling, which, in addition to a restless spirit and an empty purse, led him in 1704 to try his luck at Bath, a place which then offered opportunities to a gamester. There he soon became master of the ceremonies, in succession to Captain Webster. Under his authority reforms were introduced which speedily accorded to Bath a leading position as a fashionable watering-place. He formed a strict code of rules for the regulation of balls and assemblies; allowed no swords to be worn in places of public amusement; persuaded gentlemen to discard boots for shoes and stockings when in assemblies and parades, and introduced a tariff for lodgings.
As insignia of his office he wore an immense white hat, and a richly embroidered dress. He drove about in a chariot with six greys, and laced lackeys blew French horns. When Parliament abolished gambling it caused a serious check to the visits of fashionable people to the city. However, the Corporation, in recognition of his valuable services, granted Nash a pension of 120 guineas a year, and at his death in 1761 he was buried with splendour at the expense of the town. A year after his demise his biography was anonymously published in London by Oliver Goldsmith.
John Wood, the architect, though hardly as well known to posterity as Nash, must not be overlooked. Till he appeared in Bath in 1728, the city had been confined strictly within the Roman limits. The suburbs consisted merely of a few scattered houses. Wood improved and enlarged the city by his architectural efforts, which led to the quarrying of freestone found existing in the neighbourhood. His successors carried on his enterprise.
The grand Pump-room, erected in 1797, with a portico of Corinthian columns; the King's Bath, with a Doric colonnade; the Queen's Bath; the Cross Bath, so called from a cross erected in the centre of it; the Hot Bath, on account of its superior degree of heat, were once thronged by fashionable gatherings in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The architecture in the eighteenth century at Bath was an adaptation of the Doric and Ionic orders. Nearly all the principal buildings were constructed after these classic principles. St. Michael's Church belongs to the Doric, with a handsome dome, and was erected in 1744. Even the Greek influence is the prevailing feature of Pulteney Bridge.
In conclusion, amongst eminent men of Bath may be mentioned: John Hales, Greek Professor at Oxford in 1612; and Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, was a native of, and received his early education in the Grammar School of this city. Benjamin Robins was born here in 1707; he was a celebrated mathematician, and wrote the account of the voyage of Commodore Anson round the world.
Amongst the tombs in the Abbey are those to the memory of Quin, Nash, Broome, Malthus, and Melmothe.
The hot springs of Bath still continue to alleviate the aches and pains of invalid visitors. The interesting history, the curious mingling of Roman and Later English architecture with the revival of the Ionic and Doric orders in the eighteenth-century buildings, can never fail to be of interest alike to the student and the casual visitor in Bath.
ALISBURY affords a remarkable instance of the complete transference of the cathedral followed by the ultimate desertion of the city in the change from old Sarum, the original site, to New Sarum, another within a short distance—one might almost say within a stone's throw. In the old days of prosperity Old Sarum, now simply a conical mass of ruins, was peopled with the Belgæ, who came from Gaul and ousted the original inhabitants. How this site ever came to be chosen as a desirable place of settlement seems to be rather a mystery, for even in those early days constant difficulties arose with regard to the insufficiency of water. They aptly called it "the dry city," which is supposed to be the meaning of the old name Searobyrig, which later underwent a further contraction—Scarborough. This arid spot, however, received the attention of the Romans, who possibly were attracted by the natural advantages of defence offered by the conical mound rising abruptly, as it does, from the valley. They carried on the old name and Latinised it, as they invariably seemed to have done, or rather made a compromise between the native and their own formation, and arrived at Sorbiordunum. The scarcity of water seems not to have deterred them in any way, as witness the many evidences of their fossæ, extensive ramparts, and fortress—signs which indicate that in their hands Old Sarum was held to be of considerable importance. Roman roads branched out of it, no doubt pointing to the four cardinal points, in accordance with regular custom, though their whereabouts may be difficult to define, seeing that several centuries have passed since the desertion of Old Sarum.
With their passing away the Roman conquerors have left behind them many relics, possibly in their day considered worthless, but the unearthing of which has caused, for many a year, unalloyed joy and given a priceless treasure to the unwearied antiquaries. Another great source of speculation to the archæologists has been the temple of the Druids erected some time at Stonehenge. It lies beyond the city on the great Salisbury plain. This primitive form of architecture takes us back to many years before Christ, when the early Britons wore no clothes, save the skins of animals they slew in the chase, and when they could neither read, write, weave, nor do anything which would be considered nowadays as civilising. They were to all intents and purposes mere savages, kept in control by their priests and lawgivers, the Druids, whom they held in the greatest respect. The Britons, we are told, had the additional discomfort of dwelling in holes burrowed in the ground, or in miserably constructed huts. In view of this poor state of domestic architecture, how they ever managed to erect roofless temples, as at Stonehenge and at the island of Anglesea, and to overcome, what must have been to them a very great engineering feat, the setting up of the heavy blocks of stone in situ, seems marvellous and not easy of explanation.
The great veneration in which the Britons held these temples of the Druids is much accentuated by an incident during the second occupation of Britain by the Romans. Suetonius Paulinus, one of their greatest generals, thought that by destroying the temple at the island of Anglesea he would shake the faith of the Britons in their priests, and gain thereby a speedier conquest, much in the same way as when Clive in India knocked down Dupleix's column to undermine the French influence over the natives. In the latter case history has assured us of the ultimate fulfilment of hopes, and it was the same with Paulinus in 61, only on his return to the mainland he all but suffered a reverse from an unexpected rising of Britons under Boadicea. Nevertheless, the power of the Druids was irretrievably broken by the slaughter of their order and the felling of the groves at Anglesea, as Paulinus had foreseen. What the object and origin of these remains at Stonehenge were, still serve as an interesting matter for controversy. Competent authorities, like Geoffrey of Monmouth, Polydore Vergil, and in the eighteenth century Dr. Stukely, arrived more or less at the same conclusions. The first named said that Stonehenge was a sepulchral monument erected by Aurelius Ambrosius, who, according to a tradition, was thus led by the counsel of Merlin to commemorate the slaughter of 500 Britons by Hengist, the Saxon chief, about the year 450 A.D. Polydore Vergil confined himself to the statement that it was the ancient temple of the Britons in which the Druids officiated, whilst Dr. Stukely asserted that the Britons here held their annual meetings at which laws were passed and justice administered. He was also fortunate enough to discover the "cursus," in 1723, in its vicinity. Perhaps it may be thought that Stonehenge is out of place in this account of Salisbury; but in leaving it out it would be as much as to doubt the genuineness of any one's visit to this ancient cathedral city if he had not also seen the Druidical remains.
In the neighbourhood of Old Sarum, Cynric won a victory over the Britons in the year 552. Though it steadily increased in importance, little worthy of notice occurred there till the close of the tenth century. At the small town of Wilton, which is almost three miles distant from Salisbury, the seat of the Diocese was originally established in the first years of the tenth century, and remained under the superintendence of eleven succeeding bishops. The last one of them was Hermannus. On his accession to the See of Sherborne—an ancient and interesting town of Dorsetshire—he annexed it to the Bishopric of Wilton. He thereupon founded, for these united sees, a cathedral church at Old Sarum. This effort of his was afterwards completed by Osmund, who accompanied William the Conqueror to England, and was by him appointed bishop. A matter of sixty years prior to the Norman invasion Old Sarum had fallen a victim in 1003 to the fury of Sweyn, the King of Denmark. This was in accordance with a vow of retaliation he had made when he learnt of the murder of his sister in the general massacre of the Danes, which had taken place the year before. This unhappy period, when many other counties besides Wiltshire suffered extensively, was during the reign of Ethelred the Unready.
In the great plain of Salisbury the Conqueror, in 1070, passed a review of his army, just flushed with their victories in the neighbourhood. On the completion of his great survey, the "Doomsday Book," in 1086, he here at Salisberie, as he renamed the city, received the homage and oath of allegiance from the English landlords. Till the year 1217 the See remained at Old Sarum, and even after the complete depopulation and the demolition of every house of this ancient Roman site, it still was represented regularly at Parliament by two members till the year 1832.
The reasons that led to the choice of the new site by Bishop Poore were the many advantages offered, especially the abundance of water by New Sarum, as it was called, as set against the exposure to the stormy winds which it was alleged went even so far as to drown the voice of the officiating priest, the congestion of houses within its narrow limits, the difficulty of procuring water, and finally the despotism of the governor at Old Sarum. To rid himself of these inconveniences, Bishop Poore procured the papal authority to the removal of the Cathedral from Old Sarum to its present site in the year 1218, though not till the Reformation was the service discontinued in the old buildings.
By then New Sarum had reaped the full benefit of the new conditions and surroundings. Though only two miles away, the old place, in proportion to the rising of the new township, sank to a few inhabitants, loth perhaps to part with old associations.
The first building to appear in New Sarum, or Salisbury as we shall henceforth call it, seems to have been the wooden chapel of St. Mary, the erection of which was commenced in the Easter of the year 1219. This was followed in the year 1220 by the foundation of the new cathedral as planned by Bishop Poore. It was completed and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1258. The ground-plan is that of a Greek or double cross. With the slight exceptions of the upper part of the tower and the spire, which belong to a later date, the entire fabric represents the purest style of the Early English architecture. The cloisters, built by Bishop Walter de la Wyle, are the largest and most magnificent of any in the kingdom. They are of the late Early English style, and took, with the addition of the Chapter House by the same prelate, from 1263 till 1274 to complete.
Shortly after, the upper part of the tower was built in the Decorated style by Bishop Wyville, about 1330. Five years later it was capped by the highest spire in England. A marvellous achievement of lightness of design, of slenderness and beauty of proportion, it reaches from base to crown to the remarkable height of four hundred and four feet. Its great height has caused much anxiety from time to time, through the enormous pressure exerted upon the tower beneath it.
This unique example of a spire was followed next by a chapel built by Bishop Beauchamp between 1450 and 1482. Another was carried out by Lord Hungerford in 1476. These two chapels, together with an elegant campanile, were entirely swept away in the restorations that took place under the direction of the architect James Wyatt. No doubt the Cathedral required extensive repairs, but it seems regrettable that any architect should have caused such demolition, instead of endeavouring to make good the ravages of time. As for the old west front, the coloured drawing of Mr. Collins gives an excellent idea of its rich sculpturesque beauty.
The Cathedral is isolated in the centre of an immense lawn, as it were. This again can be kept private by the Close, the area of which extends to half a mile square. Within its limits is a delightful mall shaded with trees, as there are also the Bishop's Palace,—a building of various dates, originated by Poore the founder,—the Deanery, and several other houses. We have said elsewhere that the Cathedral Close of Salisbury may be considered the best example of its kind in England, though that at Wells is not far behind. The close was an enclosure, within the precincts of the cathedral, reserved for the dwellings originally intended for the exclusive domestic use of the Bishop and canons. This, however, is not strictly observed now.
Two or three delightful gateways of ancient character and beautiful design give access to the Cathedral Close of Salisbury. Appended to the Cathedral is the beautiful Chapter House, lighted by lofty windows. It is octagonal in form, the roof of which is upheld by a central clustered column. A frieze in bas-relief, carried round the interior of the building, is ornamented with biblical subjects. At different times numerous monuments, chiefly to the bishops of the See, have been erected, notably those to Bishops Joceline and Roger.
A monument to one of the children of the choir has a sad interest. It was customary during the festival of St. Nicholas for one of the choristers to personate the character of a bishop. In this case the boy-bishop died while performing his rôle.
The other interesting buildings of the town are the parish churches of St. Martin, St. Thomas, and St. Edmond; the banqueting hall of J. Halle, who was a wool merchant in 1470; Audley House, which also dates from the fifteenth century, and which in 1881 underwent a thorough repair. It serves now as the Church House of the Diocese. Elizabeth's Grammar School, St. Nicholas Hospital, founded in Richard II.'s reign, and Trinity House, established by Agnes Bottenham in 1379, are interesting links of mediævalism.
In this period must also be included the Poultry Cross. It is a high cross, hexagonal in form. Its space is well distributed by six arches and a central pillar. Lord Montacute erected it just prior to the year 1335.
The city's prosperity depended upon that of the church. In fact it was laid out according to Bishop Poore's plan. The citizens deserted Old Sarum to settle around the new ecclesiastical establishment at New Sarum. In 1227, by a charter of Henry III., the city enjoyed the same freedom and liberties as those of Winchester. The government of the city became vested in a mayor, recorder, deputy-recorder, twenty-four aldermen, and various other subordinate officers. The charter was confirmed by successive sovereigns till the accession of Anne.
Salisbury, or New Sarum, was first represented at Parliament in 1295. In 1885, by the Redistribution Act, its two representatives were reduced to one. The city itself has also witnessed the assembly of Parliament within its limits on various occasions. For being implicated in a conspiracy for deposing Richard III. to raise Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, to the throne, the Duke of Buckingham was in 1484 executed at Salisbury. For a reward of £1000 the Duke was betrayed by a dependent with whom he was in hiding in Shropshire.
During the Civil War the city was held alternately by both parties. Since then the citizens have been left in comparative peace, intent on their several industries. At one time they were actively engaged in the preparation of woollen articles and in the manufacture of excellent cutlery. These are now declined, and such commodities as boots and shoes take the first rank, whilst the shops depend mainly on the villages and agriculture around. The many places of antiquity in this ancient city of the county of Wiltshire have furnished many interesting palæolithic relics for the reception of which the Blackmore Museum was established. The library was instituted by Bishop Jewal, in 1560 to 1571.
There have been many men of note from Salisbury. The celebrated poet and essayist Addison, born near Amesbury in this county of Wiltshire, was educated at the Grammar School for choristers within the Close. Amongst the many eminent natives of the city are included William Hermann, author of several works in prose and verse; George Coryate, who wrote "The Crudities"; John Greenhill, a celebrated portrait painter; William and Henry Lawes, both musicians and composers; and James Harris, author of "Hermes." But the most conspicuous, or rather the best known, is Henry Fawcett, the politician and economist.
Born in 1833, he was the second son of a draper who, starting as an assistant, became afterwards his own master. He was enabled to afford his son Henry a good education at King's College and Peterhouse, Cambridge, from which he migrated to Trinity Hall. He became Seventh Wrangler and Fellow of his College. At the Cambridge Union, Fawcett gained considerable notice for his oratory. His ambition conceived the idea of attaining the highest honours in the kingdom through the profession of a barrister. For this purpose he entered Lincoln's Inn, but at the age of twenty-five a terrible accident happened to him. His eyesight was lost by two stray pellets from the gun of his father.
Though his plans of advancement were altered, he determined within ten minutes of the catastrophe to continue his old pursuits of rowing, fishing, skating, riding, and even playing at cards which were marked. He became Liberal candidate for Brighton in 1865, and entered Parliament just when Palmerston's career came to a close. He opposed Gladstone's scheme for universal education in Ireland. He was an opponent to Disraeli's Government.
On the return of the Liberal Party to power Fawcett was offered the post of Postmaster-General, though without a seat in the Cabinet. He introduced five important postal reforms; namely, the parcels-post, postal-orders, sixpenny telegrams, the banking of small savings by means of stamps, and increased facilities for life insurance and annuities. He also invented the little slot label, "next collection," on the pillar-boxes.
The employment of women he greatly advocated. The defeat of the scheme for the deforestation of Epping Forest and the New Forest was entirely due to the exertions of this great politician.
After a marvellous career of many years Fawcett died in 1884. From humble origin, and in spite of his blindness, if he did not realise his full ambition, he reached to an exalted position in the State—an achievement never accomplished by any one under like disability.
N the great peninsula that runs out into the Atlantic is Devonshire, adjoining Cornwall, that dwindles to the Land's End, the point eagerly welcomed by visitors to England, the last of the Old Country to which a farewell is given. Through the northern portion of Devonshire meanders the river Exe, having established its source in Somersetshire. Quite ten miles before the river empties its waters at the mouth into the English Channel, on a broad ridge of land rising steeply from the left bank of the Exe, is the old city of Exeter. It is the chief of the county, and has had a varied existence.
For the earliest period of Exeter, Geoffrey of Monmouth supplies much information, which has been greatly borne out by subsequent researches. He considered that Exeter was a city of the Britons some time before the Romans elected to establish their camp. The British named it indifferently Cær-Wisc (city of the water), or Cær Rydh (the red city), from the coloured nature of the soil. When captured by the Romans they made it a stipendiary town. They called it Isca, to which was added Danmoniorum, to avoid confusion with the other Isca, a Latinised name given also to a town on the river (now Usk) in Monmouthshire. Many proofs of Roman occupation have turned up in the shape of numerous coins and other relics.
The year 1778 was especially notable for the excavations which brought to light many important objects. Small statuettes of Mercury, Mars, Ceres, and Apollo, evidently the household gods of the Romans, together with urns, tiles, and tessellated pavements, were unearthed. Exeter at one time went by the name of Augusta, which was due to its having been occupied by the Second Augustan Legion, whose commander, Vespasian, included the city under his conquest Britannia Prima. The same legion, during the period 47 to 52, had also a permanent station at Isca Silurum, as Cærleon-on-the-Usk in Monmouth was called. But as Vespasian continued the conquest, 69 to 79, it seems fair to surmise that the Second Legion of Augusta was advanced or a portion sent from Isca Silurum to garrison Isca Danmoniorum, the present Exeter.
For a considerable time it was the capital of the West Saxon kingdom. It was probably during the Saxon occupation that the city changed its name to Excestre, which would easily be contracted into that of Exeter. In violation of a compact made with Alfred, who was a Saxon monarch, the Danes seized the city. They were, however, compelled to evacuate it, together with the surrender of all their prisoners within the West Saxon territory, by Alfred, in 877. This monarch was again called upon in 894 to relieve the Saxons from their Danish oppressors. The next century witnessed a marked improvement in the prosperity of the city. It had from quite an early period been distinguished for its numerous monastic institutions, so much so that it was said to have been called "Monk Town" by Britons in Cornwall and the heathen Saxons. They were pleased to deride it thus, but when Athelstan came he clearly made them understand that it was no happy state to be without the pale of the Church. He so thoroughly instilled into them the necessity of imbibing the principles of religion that those who were unwilling to become converts were expelled.
With the exception of a few, we may take it that many embraced Christianity as a matter of compulsion or for expediency's sake, for in those days of hard knocks it was hardly likely that any mass of ignorant peasants would comprehend anything but the most stringent measures. The transition from heathen darkness to the light of Christianity must have meant a severe initiation to two-thirds of the population of Exeter at the time of Athelstan's accession. He came westward about the year 926 and found the Britons and Saxons living amicably and enjoying equal rights. The city had by them already been called Exenceaster, that is, the "cester" or fortified town on the "Exe." Athelstan augmented the number of religious institutions by the foundation of a Benedictine monastery. The building was dedicated to St. Peter, the establishment of which there seems no reason to doubt gave birth eventually to the present cathedral. Besides this he materially increased the importance of the town by appointing two mints and erecting regular fortifications with towers and a wall of hewn stone. Athelstan's monastery was destroyed by the Danes. King Edgar in 968 restored it, and appointed Sydemann to the Abbacy, as it then became. Ultimately this abbot was raised to the Bishopric of Crediton, which was the seat of the Devonshire Diocese about 910. In 1003 Exeter, after a gallant defence of some three months' duration, was betrayed by its governor into the hands of Sweyn. As has been said elsewhere, this king came from Denmark especially to punish Ethelred the Unready for having allowed the massacre of Danes, in which the sister of Sweyn had perished. The monastery of St. Peter was not spared, nor was the city, which did not recover from the terrible visitation till the accession of Canute.
From this time Exeter increased to such importance and wealth that in the reign of Edward the Confessor it was deemed advisable and for better security to make it the head of the Diocese.
For this purpose the Sees of Crediton and St. Germans (Cornwall) were united under one bishop. To uphold worthily the new dignity, the abbey church of St. Peter was erected into a cathedral by the Confessor, who appointed his chaplain Leofric as first bishop of the united see. Leofric had the monks removed to Westminster Abbey, and installed in their stead were twenty-four secular canons. The date of Leofric's installation is about 1040, which is, of course, that of the foundation of the Cathedral. This arrangement was altered on the re-erection of the Cornish See in 1876.
In William the Conqueror's time Githa, the mother of Harold, gave the Normans considerable trouble. It was only on the appearance of that monarch before the city's walls that the citizens surrendered. They were made to pay a heavy fine, whilst Githa escaped with her treasures to take refuge in Flanders. William in the end relented and renewed all their former privileges. Nevertheless he took the precaution to erect a fortress in Exeter, the charge of which was entrusted to Baldwin de Brioniis, who, by virtue of his office, became Earl of Devon and sheriff of the county. The chief remains of the Castle is a gateway tower.
This same castle was held by the partisans of the Empress Matilda for three months, when it was compelled in 1136 through scarcity of water to surrender to Stephen. Contrary to expectation, they were treated very well. Henry II., for their loyalty, was pleased to grant additional privileges.
In 1200 the city for the first time was governed by a mayor and corporation. Subsequently their importance was increased by the charters of Edward III., Edward IV., and Henry VIII., whilst Henry VIII. constituted Exeter a county of itself. These privileges were extended by Charles I.; and in 1684 a new charter of incorporation was granted by Charles II., but not put into effect. In 1770 George III. renewed and confirmed the charter, since when the government has been invested in a mayor assisted by subordinate officers. In the meantime a curious incident occurred in 1824, which greatly interfered with the prosperity of the city, inasmuch as the navigation of the river Exe was obstructed by a dam erected by Hugh Courtenay, at that time Earl of Devon.
Exeter, through its happy situation on the river Exe, had for many years reaped full benefit. At the time of the Conquest it had gained considerable importance through the river being navigable for ships right up to its quays. Among many petty matters that annoyed the Earl the following is alleged to have been the chief. There were three pots of fish in the market-place. The Earl wanted them all. The Bishop likewise. Neither would give way, and the Mayor was called in to adjudicate. He allotted one to the Earl, the second to the Bishop, and the third to the town. This distribution did not suit the Earl. Out of pique he caused a dam to be constructed across the Exe at Topsham. There he built a quay, and had the satisfaction of greatly curtailing the trade of Exeter.
In 1286 Edward I. assembled a parliament at Exeter, whilst in 1371 the Black Prince brought here his royal prisoner of France and stayed several days. The Duchess of Clarence, accompanied by many royal adherents, took refuge within the city walls in 1469. It was besieged by Sir William Courtenay, who eventually raised it on the mediation of the clergy.
The next event of importance not only affected Exeter, but threw into agitation the whole of the British Empire. Of two impostors that laid claim to the Crown which Henry VII. was wearing, the second was a youth called Perkin Warbeck. He bore such a striking resemblance to the Plantagenets that he had been secretly instructed to impersonate Richard Duke of York, the younger brother of Edward V., who it was pretended had escaped from the Tower and from the fate that overtook his brother. So ingratiating was his manner that he successfully enlisted the aid of the Duchess of Burgundy, who was holding her court at Brussels. His first attempt to land in England was in Kent; his second in Ireland. Both ventures being unsuccessful, he tried Scotland. There he convinced King James IV. that he was a true Plantagenet, and through him he raised an army and invaded England. However, the two kings having come to an understanding, Warbeck retired to Ireland. He there received an invitation from the Cornishmen, acting on which he landed at Whitsand Bay in that county.
At Bodmin he was joined by a considerable force of men, with whom he marched and laid siege to Exeter in the year 1497. At the approach of the royal forces his followers were dispersed, whilst he fled to Beaulieu in Hampshire. Two years afterwards he ended his career at Tyburn.
In 1536 Exeter was erected a county of itself. The year 1549 saw the investment of the city by a numerous body of popish adherents, from whom it was relieved by John Lord Russell in August. On the very day of its investment, the second of July, the strange spectacle of Welch being hanged from the tower of his own church, in which he had been accustomed to officiate as vicar, took place. He suffered on the charge of being a Cornish rebel. During the parliamentary war it was taken and retaken, finally to be surrendered to the Roundheads in 1646. Throughout it all the citizens were warm supporters of the Stuarts, as they had always been to the Crown. So much so was their loyalty that in a previous reign, that of Elizabeth, she presented to the Corporation, with many other marks of her royal favour, the motto "Semper Fidelis." During the stay of the parliamentary troops under General Fairfax, the Cathedral was ruthlessly defaced and divided into places of worship for Presbyterians and Independents. The palace adjoining was also turned into barracks, and the Chapter House converted into stables. During these troubles Queen Henrietta Maria, the consort of Charles I., had returned to Exeter from Oxford, believing herself to be in danger from the hatred with which she feared she was regarded by the people. Here she gave birth to her youngest child, the Princess Henrietta. Leaving the infant at Exeter she escaped to France.
In the Guildhall, which is a picturesque Elizabethan building, are two full-length portraits: one depicts the features of General Monk, Duke of Albemarle, painted by Sir Peter Lely; the other was given by Charles II. to the Corporation as some slight acknowledgment of the city's loyalty. It represents the portrait of his sister, Princess Henrietta, then Duchess of Orleans. James II. was the next sovereign to bestow favour, which he did by establishing a mint in 1688. His influence was shortlived, for on the arrival of the Prince of Orange in the August of the same year the inhabitants readily submitted. This prince is credited with establishing a mint at Exeter, or it may be he simply completed or confirmed that of his predecessor. The following year saw him on the throne of the kingdom as William III., which ratified the declaration he had caused to be read by Burnet in the Cathedral of Exeter. Though visited by subsequent reigning princes, their presence may be said to have conferred more honour than to have promoted any material changes to the prosperity of Exeter.
The mainstay of the city is the glorious Cathedral, and the quaintness of some of its houses and streets is unique. They afford a great attraction to visitors, who are willing to go a long railway journey west simply to see and compare the merits and demerits of the Cathedral with the many others dotted throughout Great Britain.
The actual date of the Cathedral is in 1049. Its origin, as we have seen, occasioned no turning of the soil to receive foundations, but merely the conventual church of the monks, removed by Edward the Confessor to his new abbey at Westminster, adapted to meet the requirements of Bishop Leofric and his secular canons appointed to the united Sees of Devon and Cornwall. The head of the Diocese was at Exeter. What was the size and character of the converted monastic church at that time no two authorities seem able to agree. According to an old record at Oxford its lease soon ran out, for in the year 1112 a new church was commenced by Bishop Warlewast, continued by his successors, and finally completed by Bishop Marshall, who died in 1206. They are supposed to have carried out the plan of Warlewast; but as the whole of the fabric, with the exception of the towers, was entirely rebuilt in 1280, the original design is chiefly conjectural. The body of the church probably corresponded in character with the two massive transeptal towers. These are quite a feature in that, with the exception of those at the collegiate church of Ottery in Devonshire, they exist nowhere else in England. This arrangement of the towers did away with the necessity of either a central tower or lantern. It enabled the architect to extend a long unbroken roof throughout the nave and choir. The aisles, with the intervention of richly clustered pillars and pointed arches springing from their caps, range along on either side of the nave. With the sets of ribs starting each from a clustered centre, and spreading out as they soar towards the highest limit of the roof, as grand an exposition of beauty and noble gradations of perspective lines, as conceived by architects of the Decorative period, have been realised. The period of this rebuilding was commenced in 1280 with the Early English style of architecture by Bishop Quivil, and was completed in 1369 in the best years of the Decorated style, just a few years before the Perpendicular came into vogue. It is said that this cathedral served as a model for the church at Ottery. Though this cathedral in miniature resembles the great edifice in Exeter in certain points, notably the transeptal towers, yet, if the principal part of it dates from 1260, it can hardly, with the one exception, have been a copy of the chief church of the Diocese. The Early English work of Ottery church takes, by comparison of dates, priority over that at Exeter by some twenty years.
The west front, which is one mass of elegant tracery and canopied niches adorned with statuary, is the Decorated period merged into that of the Perpendicular, covering the years from about 1369 to 1394, under the episcopacy of Brantingham. The windows are excellent examples of elegant tracing. Under successive bishops after Quivil, the chief alteration was the lengthening of the nave and the roof vaulted by Grandison. The year 1420 really saw the completion of the building under Bishop Lacey. Time and weather having caused certain decay, Sir G. G. Scott was directed in 1870 to restore it. The undertaking took seven years. A new stall, a reredos, the choir repaved, rich marbles and porphyries used, and stained glass put up mainly by Clayton and Bell, were the chief items of restoration. When erecting the reredos Scott could never have foreseen the little storm it gave rise to, just when he was half-way through with the general renovation. Prebendary Philpotts, the Chancellor, and several others had their conscientious objections, which they laid before the Bishop's visitation court in 1873. It was ruled that the Bishop had the jurisdiction in the matter. He ordered the removal of the reredos in April 1874. In August of the same year Dean Boyd appealed to the Court of Arches, and had the previous decision reversed by Sir R. Phillimore. However, Prebendary Philpotts saw fit to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. They decided that the reredos should remain. Thus in 1875 was ended the controversy; and there rests Sir G. G. Scott's design, open to the criticism of all who are capable of framing an impartial one.
In this same year of 1875 much excitement arose over the church-tax. It was called indifferently "dominicals" and "sacrament money," which were said to be of the nature of tithes. However, the disputes were ended by the distraints for payment.
In the Chapter House is preserved an important manuscript, including the famous book of Saxon poetry presented by Leofric on his accession to the See of Exeter. It is called the "Exeter Book," and is the life of St. Guthlac, by Cynewulf, who was an early English writer. Born somewhere between 720 and 730 at Northumbria, Cynewulf was a wandering bard by profession. Late in life he suffered a religious crisis, and devoted his remaining years to religious poetry. An early work of his is a series of ninety-four Riddles.
It is an example of the effects of Latin influence, which in the end revolutionised the style of Old English literature as a whole. Cynewulf appears to have been a prolific writer. Besides the Riddles, the "Crist" (dealing with the three advents of Christ), the lives of St. Juliana and St. Elene, and the "Fates of the Apostles" are ascribed to him, as well as "The Descent into Hell," "Felix," and the lives of St. Andreas and St. Guthlac. A valuable treasure is that in the possession of Exeter. Many such precious relics are to be found distributed among the various ecclesiastical buildings in England, known only to antiquarians and people with interest akin to theirs. The quaint, picturesque old coffee tavern, with its bow windows of square-leaded panes, ends curiously at the top with a moulded outline so reminiscent of many houses in Belgium.
The tombs are mostly to the memory of bishops who each in his own time maintained the dignity of the See. Of those natives who came to the front through sheer ability may be enumerated the following: Josephus Iscanus, or Joseph of Exeter, a distinguished Latin poet of the twelfth century; his contemporary, Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury; John Hooker, author of "A History of Exeter in the Sixteenth Century"; Sir Thomas Bodley, who founded the magnificent Bodleian Library at Oxford; Matthew Lock, a seventeenth-century musical composer of note; and many others.
Amongst many notable institutions is the Grammar School, which dates from the reign of Henry VIII.
The manufactures are few. The woollen trade, at one time only surpassed by Leeds, has now entirely departed from Exeter. If it were not for its glorious minster and the river Exe, up which vessels of three hundred tons' burden can come up right to the city's quay, Exeter would have long ago sunk to mere insignificance.
The river, which decided the early Britons to settle on its banks, the Romans to station the Second Legion of Augusta, the monks to establish their humble monastery, eventually to be absorbed into a see, has from the early times afforded facilities for exports and imports. The ship canal from Exeter to Topsham, which is in the estuary of the Exe, begun in 1564, enlarged in 1675 and again in 1827, materially assisted and rescued commerce from a serious decline. Those vessels that are too deep in the water remain at Topsham, whilst those of still greater tonnage discharge their holds at Exmouth, a port at the mouth of the river.
HEN this city first came into being it is puzzling to say. The difficulty is as to where the site was originally fixed. Three miles to the south of Norwich is the village of Caistor (St. Edmunds). Owing to its position on the river Wentsum, or Wensum, it was called Cær Gwent by the Britons, and for the like reason it was named by the Romans Venta Icenorum. It formed their principal station, as it before had served as the residence of the kings of the Iceni. From the ruins of Venta Icenorum gradually arose Norwich. As to when it was firmly established on its present eminence under the name of Nordewic, or North Town, there seems to be no reliable evidence. It first appears by that name in the Saxon Chronicle of the year 1004. It may possibly mean the town north of the old settlement. For one thing it is certain, in proportion as Nordewic rose Caistor sank from an important town to a mere village in ruins. According to an authority, an earlier date is arrived at than the entry in the Saxon Chronicle. He conjectures that the keep, the only remnant of the castle built on the summit of the steep mound by William Rufus, was the Saxon "burh," erected in 767. This, if correct, would clearly indicate that Norwich had already attained considerable importance. According to Spelman, it was the residence of the kings of East Anglia. They established a mint, where it is supposed coins of Alfred and several succeeding monarchs were struck. From its geographical position Norwich was frequently exposed to the attacks of the Norsemen, who could easily land on the Norfolk coast and cover the few intervening miles in a short time. The city was alternately in the possession of the Saxons and the Danes. Against the latter Alfred the Great repaired and fortified the citadel, to whom, however, he eventually handed it over after a treaty of peace. The Saxons afterwards regained it and held it till 1004, when it had to surrender to the Danes under their leader Sweyn. The terrible weak reign of Ethelred II. had earned him the epithet of Unready. His indolence caused his territories to be terrorised, the towns to be racked, and their inhabitants to be massacred by the Danes under Sweyn, who, under pretext of avenging the murder of his sister, took the opportunity of ravaging and laying waste the land. On the accession of Canute, however, though a Dane, the cities began to prosper again. Thus it came about that Norwich, which had remained in a state of desolation till 1018, came again into Danish possession, but under Canute. With this fresh beginning it rapidly rose to great importance. By the time of the Norman Conquest, Norwich was classed as second only to York in extent and prosperity, being described in the "Doomsday Book" as having 1320 burgesses with their families, 25 parish churches, and covering an area of not far short of 1000 acres. It was bestowed by the Conqueror on Ralph de Guaer, or Guader, in 1075, who rewarded his master's kindness by joining a conspiracy formed by the Earls of Hereford and Northumberland against the Crown. After having unsuccessfully defended the Castle, he retired into Brittany, leaving his wife to sustain the siege. The city was very much damaged, and the number of burgesses woefully reduced in numbers, some 560 only being left on the capitulation to the Conqueror. In view of the gallant defence by Guader's wife and garrison of Britons, William granted them all the honours of war and permission to leave the kingdom in perfect security. This siege was a great check to the advancement of the city. At the same time the value of the property must have been considerably lessened. This depreciation after the drawing up of the "Doomsday Book" in 1086 could hardly have suited the views of the Conqueror. To obviate the difficulty it would be necessary to introduce some new element, some attraction that would bring added interest and fresh residents willing to ply their industries in the town. The commencement of a new period of prosperity was soon realised after the establishment of a see at Norwich, though not until the time of William Rufus. One of his followers from Normandy was Herbert de Lozinga, or Lorraine, who having been made Bishop of East Anglia, decided to remove the See from Thetford to Norwich. In addition to the Cathedral, he established an episcopal palace and a monastery to maintain sixty monks, all in the year 1094. It had the desired effect; the city rapidly improved, the number of inhabitants greatly increased, and trade extended. In the reign of Stephen it was rebuilt. In 1122 Henry I. granted Norwich the same franchise as that enjoyed in London, incorporated in a charter. The government of the city was at the same time separated from that of the Castle, and entrusted to the chief magistrate, or Præpositus (provost), as he was styled. Another factor in the city's welfare was the colony of Flemish weavers who settled at Worstead, about thirteen miles from Norwich. They introduced the manufacture of woollen stuffs. A second colony, however, came in Edward III.'s time and settled right in Norwich, when it was made a staple town for the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.
The citizens, in the reign of John, suffered considerable loss from the depredations of the Dauphin, who had been invited from France to assist the barons. In 1272 a riot between the monks and the citizens caused the burning of the priory. The terrible plague, called the black death, that occurred between 1348 and 1349, destroyed two-thirds of the population. The city no sooner was beginning to recover from this terrible visitation than one of its residents, John Listher, a dyer by profession, incited an insurrection called the Norfolk Levellers. They managed in 1381 to do much damage before the rebellion was quelled by the Bishop of Norwich, who defeated Listher and had him executed. From Henry IV. the citizens received permission to be governed by a mayor and sheriffs in 1403, and Norwich was made a county of itself. But in spite of it all the city severely suffered: what with the continued dissension between the monks and the citizens, when the monastic buildings were burnt down, and the tumults by tradesmen all too ready to lay aside their tools and follow some hare-brained leader with a grievance, and later on, after the peaceful period of Elizabeth, the Civil War. The most notable insurrection was that conducted under the reign of Edward VI. by a tanner, Robert Kett, and his brother William. Under the pretence of resisting the "enclosure of waste lands," they contrived to excite a most formidable rising. They seized upon the palace of the Earl of Surrey, and, converting it into a prison, confined many of the aristocracy. They then encamped upon Mouse-hold Heath, where eventually they were routed by the army under the Earl of Warwick in 1549. The two brothers were taken prisoners, Robert being hanged on Norwich Castle, and William suffering a like penalty on the steeple of Wymondham church, the parish from which they had both come. During the reign of Elizabeth a large body of Dutch and Walloons settled in Norwich, and introduced among many other articles the manufacture of bombazine, for which the city soon became noted. These refugees were Protestants, who had sought an asylum in England to escape the persecution of the Duke of Alva, and though many Roman Catholics and even some of the Protestants were unwilling martyrs to the stake at Norwich during this same reign of Elizabeth, the city no doubt appeared to these exiles to offer a better chance of life than that in the Netherlands. By the year 1582 their numbers had increased to five thousand. The Queen, who had encouraged and protected these emigrants, thus laid the foundation of the commercial and manufacturing prosperity of the town, as she had done elsewhere, and on her visit to Norwich was sumptuously fêted. But the Civil War in Charles I.'s reign did much to upset trade in Norwich. It was held by the Parliamentarians, who seem to have got out of control. The Cathedral was barbarously defaced, all its plate and ornaments looted, and the Bishop's Palace greatly damaged. The Castle, on the other hand, was strongly fortified for Cromwell. After the Restoration, Norwich was one of the first to swear allegiance to Charles II., who with his consort paid it a visit. He went away richer than he came, the city having assigned its fee-farm to him, with the presentation of £1000 sterling besides. Since then the citizens have been content to lead a quiet life, and carry on such manufactures as ironworks, mustard, starch, and brewing of ale, though the textile manufacture, once important, has now declined. Printing, which was introduced here in 1570, but discontinued for several years, was revived in 1701, when newspapers began to be printed and circulated. Though, as we have seen, the monks and citizens often did not agree, yet we must not forget that it was mainly owing to the establishment of the See that prosperity came to Norwich. The presence of the Cathedral immediately rescued the city from oblivion, and, more, it raised it above the commonplace. All credit must be awarded to Herbert de Lozinga. For some reason or other he was dissatisfied with Thetford, which was then the seat of the Diocese, and determined to transfer it elsewhere. For this purpose in 1094 he purchased a large plot of ground near the Castle and soon commenced the building of a magnificent cathedral. It was purely Norman. Though it has undergone many alterations, additions, and restorations, Lozinga's plan is still in great evidence, much more so than many other examples of Norman work in England. With the establishment of a Benedictine monastery, Lozinga brought his work to a close, and dedicated it to Holy Trinity in 1101. As presented to us now, it is a spacious cruciform structure, with a highly finished and ornamental Norman tower rising from the centre. This again is surmounted by an elegant octagonal spire of the Later Decorated style, and crocketed at the angles. The spire is 315 feet, and its height is exceeded in England only by that at Salisbury. The west front is of Norman character, with a central entrance, over which was placed a large window in the Later English style. The nave, remarkable for its elaborate 328 bosses, was stone-vaulted in the fifteenth century. The vaulting of the transepts and the chantry of Bishop Nix dates from the sixteenth century. The choir is richly ornamented with excellent design in tracery work of the Later English style, whilst the east end has several circular chapels. The Lady Chapel, which was early English, was unfortunately demolished about 1580. The cloisters are very fine. They are 12 feet wide, and cover an area of 175 square feet, with 45 windows inserted. They were commenced in 1297 and completed in 1430. Though mainly composed of the Decorated period, they range in character from the early years of that style down to the Later English style. The Cathedral, in common with the city, suffered severely. At one time it was very much destroyed by fire. The dome was repaired soon after by John of Oxford, who was the fourth bishop.
Besides this it received repeated assaults arising from the numerous disagreements between the monks and the citizens. It is always marvellous to think how such great works of art have come down to the present day exhibiting, in spite of fires, Commonwealth defacements, repairs and alterations, so much evidence of the skill of those great masters of mediæval architecture. The Chapter House, usually a great feature of the cathedral, is missing at Norwich, though it once existed. There are two monumental effigies, one to Bishop Goldwell about 1499, and the other to Bishop Bathurst in 1837, the work of Chantrey. Of the mural monuments there is one to Sir William Boleyn. He was the great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth. His remains were interred on the south side of the Presbytery, in the midst of which once stood the tomb of Herbert de Lozinga, the founder. "Best viewed from the east," wrote George Borrow in "The Lavengro" in a description of Norwich Cathedral. Perhaps the advice of this extraordinary man is the best one to follow. Born at East Dereham, Norfolk, in 1803, of Cornish descent, educated at Norwich Grammar School, which he supplemented with the study of some twenty languages, he passed an adventurous and varied career from running away from Norwich to be a footpad to travelling partly with gypsies over Europe and Asia, the latter part being supposed to account for his disappearance—the veiled period he called it, lasting from 1826 to 1833. In subsequent years he found time between his restless wanderings to write "The Gypsies in Spain" (1841), "The Bible in Spain" (1843), the much delayed auto-biography, appearing in 1851, and "The Romany Rye" in 1857. After another long disappearance, when it was believed he was dead, he came to life again by publishing his "Romano Lavo-Lil" (Gypsy Word-Book) in 1874. From this year till his death in 1881 the famous philologist, traveller, and author spent most of his time in lodgings in Norwich, where he became a familiar figure. The lives of many men can lay a better claim to be recognised by Norwich than Borrow, through virtue of their birthright. In the fourteenth century William Bateman, one time Bishop of Norwich, founded the great college of Trinity Hall at Cambridge. His great example was followed by another native of Norwich, Dr. Kaye or Caius, who established the beautiful college of Gonville and Caius at the same university. Matthew Parker, second Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, as chaplain attended Queen Anne Boleyn to the scaffold; Robert Green became a popular writer in the reign of Elizabeth. In 1734 Edward King was born here. He gained much recognition as author of a work on ancient architecture entitled "Munimenta Antiqua," and for his many antiquarian researches was admitted Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. The Reverend William Beloe acquired a reputation by his translation of Herodotus, though possibly only known to classical scholars. The Linnæan Society owes its inception to Sir James Edward Smith, M. D., whose first president he became. This distinguished native of Norwich was also the author of the "Flora Britannica."
The beautiful gate of Erpingham, which was erected in 1420 and faces the west end of the Cathedral, recalls the munificence of Sir Thomas Erpingham, by whom it was built. He greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Agincourt, and was eventually interred in the Cathedral of Norwich, the town of his residence, though not of his birth. Another resident was Sir John Fastof, who lived fighting as a renowned warrior for Henry IV., V., and VI. in their wars in France.
From the old Grammar School came, besides Borrow, Sir Edward Coke, who was born in Norfolk. When only forty years of age he became Attorney-General, and lived in the reign of Elizabeth, always at strife with his dangerous and brilliant legal rival, Francis Bacon. Coke, by his opposition to the royal prerogative of raising money on the validity of the Court of High Commission, and in taking a considerable share in the drawing up of the Petition of Right, and in the debates upon the conduct of Buckingham, earned the dislike of James I. Though treading on dangerous ground, Coke nevertheless received active employment, and appears to have got on quite well in spite of royal displeasure.
Two other scholars were Brooke and Lord Nelson. Brooke entered the East India Company's army in 1819 at the age of sixteen. In his remarkable career he assisted the Sultan of Brunti to reduce the marauding Dyak tribes of Sarawak, and with such success that the Sultan created him rajah of the province of Sarawak in 1841.
A famous school of landscape painting was that at Norwich. It flourished in the first part of the nineteenth century, the principal artists of which were Crome,—who by the way was a native of Norwich,—Cotman, Vincent, and Stark.
Of recent years the Cathedral has undergone extensive restoration, namely, in 1892 and 1900.
Before closing this account we think it would be of interest to outline the causes that embittered the existence of the Jews and led to their persecution through the disappearance of a Christian boy in 1144 from Norwich.
We have had occasion, under Lincoln, to mention the attitude adopted by the citizens towards the Jews. If anything, the feeling was more intense at Norwich. It is uncertain when they first resided in England, though it is supposed they visited before the Conquest for purposes of the slave trade, of which they held a monopoly. The position of the Jews in a Christian State entirely depended upon the attitude of the Church, whose stringent measures effectually precluded any Semitic from the exercise of any public office unless the reception was confirmed by oaths of a Christian character. As this clause was foreign to the tenets of the Hebrew religion, and as the Church regarded the means of loans lent out on interest as prohibited by the Gospel, and as a disreputable calling and unworthy of a Christian, usury became the only means of subsistence to the Jew in England. They were not affected by the views of the Church, and soon made themselves felt. As, however, capital was needed for the building of monasteries, abbeys, and cathedrals by the Church, and the kings of England, especially John and Henry III., found it convenient to extort tallage, the Jews were tolerated. The rate of interest demanded for what was in the first place a trifling loan in a few years increased to a formidable debt. The means adopted by the Christian Church and kings of the middle ages to free themselves from this bondage in no way reflect any honour. The custom appears to have been for the king to seize the whole of the estate, both treasure and debts, of the Jew on his demise, though there may have been sons to inherit. Another was to burn the proofs of indebtedness after having slain the creditors, as the attack against the Jews organised by a set of nobles, who were deep in their debt, is recorded to have taken place at York. For the Jew being a usurer, the estate fell into the hands of the King, who might be influenced to cancel the debt for a much smaller amount. We cannot then wonder that the lower classes followed in the steps of their superiors. But above all, in the twelfth century the Church encouraged the circulation of a suspicion that the Jews sacrificed Christian children in their Passover. However, the suspicion or "blood accusation," as it was called, first took root with a case in which a boy of the name of William disappeared at Norwich. This terrible accusation against the Jews has since been proved to have been founded on the shallowest pretexts, but at the time the myth was nevertheless encouraged by the clergy, since it attracted vast numbers of pilgrims to any cathedral or church which might contain the martyred remains of these boy-saints. The example of Norwich was followed in the same century by one at Gloucester and Edmondsbury, whilst in the following century the supposed martyrdom of Hugh of Lincoln served only to increase and confirm the popular belief. Hence the intense ill-feeling between the Christian and the Jew.
Si quaeris monumentum, circumspice.
O epitaph more noble and impressive can have possibly been conceived than the simple Latin inscription placed upon the modest tomb of Christopher Wren: "If ye seek my monument, look around." When building this magnificent structure, the great architect was preparing a glorious sepulchre to receive his remains. Some thirty-five years it took Wren to realise this great achievement—an achievement the more astounding when we learn that he was actively engaged throughout the whole time in the planning and personal superintendence of some thirty churches in London, no two of which are alike. Daily he walked around jotting down a sketch of the next detail to be worked upon, deciding, as the work progressed, and maturing his plans, throwing out one day a course, another day realising an idea that had just occurred to him. Thus the fabric rose higher day by day, month by month, year by year. He adhered to no carefully prepared plans; he entrusted nothing to his subordinates; he hugged the entire responsibility. They did not know what phase of work the morrow would bring. On the day each workman would receive a rough section and plan jotted down on the spot, accompanied with verbal instructions. If, even when finished according to his directions, Wren was dissatisfied with this gem of his brain, down it had to come, to be substituted by some other improved idea. Of course Wren had in the first place to submit plans for the proposed cathedral. It is not likely that any committee would engage in anything so important blindfolded. But these plans only formed the shell on which to peg any new suggestions that might crop up in the progress of the work, very much after the fashion of a plastic sketch submitted by the sculptor to a committee, who look wise and generally make foolish comments. The sketch is merely an indication of what is to come after, and is intended as some guarantee. Without this no conscientious committee would commit themselves to any agreement. They control the expenditure of the public subscriptions. If the finished work does not come up to the promised standard of excellence, the committee can fall back upon the sketch and get exonerated of all culpable blame. The artist gets the abuse for the failure or departure from the original. When such necessarily rough sketches are faithfully carried out, they often are failures; for what look well in a rough sketch often become serious blemishes in the completed work. The true artist is never satisfied—that is, that extraordinary being who has a greater love for art than for mere coin—and will alter and improve upon his original design at every suggestion (and they crowd thick upon him) that makes itself manifest, with a total disregard to his own pocket and that punctuality so essential to the successful city man. He has got his ideal, and he is determined to reach it if he has to go through a brick wall.
Very much in the same way, we may be sure, Wren was actuated. His pay was no inducement. He received only £200 a year throughout the whole time of building, and then at one time a certain portion of this miserable pittance was withheld by order of Parliament, because his detractors accused him of delaying the final completion of the work from corrupt motives. Wren's clerk of the works, by name Nicholas Hawksmoor, who afterwards became famous as the builder of several London churches, was paid only twenty pence a day. Tijou, his ironworker, and Grinling Gibbons, the famous carver in wood, were all actuated by the same ideal when they helped to give expression to their master's genius. However, in one or two particulars, which will be mentioned later on, Wren's superior judgment was overruled by his committee. Much to his intense and lasting mortification they carried the day and stamped themselves as incompetent judges. This process of realisation, this seeking after an ideal, sometimes led Wren into strange architectural difficulties, only to be overcome in a masterly way. By discovering these little inconsistencies, the architect's skilfulness in taking advantage of accidents, in turning what appeared an irremediable blunder into a great success, shows what a complete understanding he had in that great branch of art—architecture—and endorses more than ever the great position he will always be accorded.
An example will serve to illustrate his ingenuity.
How many people, when climbing up the stairs that lead to the whispering gallery and elsewhere, have ever noticed any peculiarity about them? Yet there is one. When first they were being built each step was meant to be of the same height, but as they mounted higher, Wren suddenly discovered that the top one would be an ugly tall one to ascend. To avoid this meant one of two things, either to demolish what had already been completed and start afresh, or to turn this accident to good account. The latter alternative was chosen. By gradually reducing the height of the remaining steps, he contrived to overcome the difficulty so successfully that he has tricked the eye and foot, so slight is the difference of each tread. They appear to be equidistant as the ones lower down, and the illusion can only be dispelled by measurement.
If any one is observant on reaching the top of Ludgate Hill, one peculiarity of the great building will strike him. It is that the great west façade does not squarely face Ludgate Hill, but bears considerably to the right. In fact its axis does not run due east and west.
On the advancement of Wren to be principal architect, he was not only commissioned to erect the Cathedral, but was to rebuild the city. His scheme was very thorough. It comprised the widening of the streets; the complete insulation of all important churches; the public buildings were to have good frontages; and the halls of the City Guilds were to form a quadrangle around the Guildhall. To carry these improvements into effect, Government issued orders that none except Wren's rebuilding would be recognised. Unfortunately much valuable time was wasted in an attempt at the restoration of the old cathedral, insisted upon by the committee, against Wren's wishes, and it was only when a portion of the nave fell down that Dean Sancroft was able to obtain the consent of the committee to raze the old walls to the ground and to allow Wren to build from the very foundations. The delay of this decision had in the meanwhile given opportunity to individuals to erect buildings much as they pleased upon their own properties in spite of Government prohibition, with the result that to a great extent streets and boundaries, which existed before the Great Fire, were reproduced. It also caused the loss of a far more spacious frontage than now exists, which we may be sure formed an important item in Wren's design for the Cathedral. The architect, however, by receding the west front from the old site now occupied by the statue of Queen Ann, has cleverly spaced out a noble frontage. Another consideration that determined Wren to alter the axis of the Cathedral was his great aversion to utilising the old foundations. His great ambition was to strike out for himself and to be dependent on no one else's work. In order to realise this he laid the axis of the new work to a point farther north of that of the old cathedral, and the plan by this projection has in a marvellous way covered practically the same ground, whilst at the same time Wren managed to secure fresh ground for his foundations almost throughout the whole church. The plan of St. Paul's is a Latin cross, and is based upon classical lines. The principal front, the west, is composed of a double portico of Corinthian fluted pillars, with two flights of steps leading down to the road-level. In fact the entire body of the ground floor is above the elevation of the street. Overhead is a large pediment, with its panel sculptured in high relief. On either side the west front is flanked by a campanile tower, composed at the summit of grouped circular pillars. Just inside, on the left, is the Morning Chapel, whilst straight on the opposite side lies the Chapel of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. Proceeding eastwards, the nave is flanked by three massive and imposing arches. Then comes the dome or cupola, rising to a height of 365 feet, or 404 feet to the top of the cross. Viewed from the interior the inner dome is 225 feet, and rests at the intersection of the cross. The transepts are carried one arch to the north and one to the south, each of which are bound by semi-circular rows of Corinthian pillars.
Continuing again towards the east, a couple of steps mark the commencement of the choir leading from the dome, and is carried forward by three arches on either side. Behind the altar the colossal building terminates in the apsidal Chapel of Jesus. Throughout the entire length and breadth of the building is the crypt below. There under the choir, the nearest to the south wall in the crypt chapel, is the modest slab that covers the remains of the great architect of the grand edifice. Next to him lies the body of Lord Leighton, the greatest president the Royal Academy has ever had. Just in the one corner are buried some of the most eminent of England's painters, sculptors, and musicians. Those more generally known are Sir Joshua Reynolds, the first president of the Royal Academy; Benjamin West, who succeeded him in office; Sir Thomas Lawrence, who next filled it, and Sir John Millais, who held the dignity only a few months after Leighton's death. The remains of J. M. W. Turner, James Barry, John Foley, Sir Edwin Landseer, and Sir Arthur Sullivan, musician, who are also some of the many great builders of art, have all been accorded a little plot of ground close to their very great brother-artist and predecessor, Sir Christopher Wren. In the centre of the crypt, or rather right underneath the dome, is a noble mausoleum containing the body of England's greatest admiral, Viscount Horatio Nelson, whilst just close to him between the crypt chapel and the dome is the massive sarcophagus of granite, encased in which is the body of the Duke of Wellington. The monument of this hero of Waterloo is the chief feature of the plastic art that attracts the visitor on looking up the nave. It is the great artistic expression of Stevens, the sculptor, and dwarfs all other monuments in its immediate neighbourhood. We would like to enumerate the names of all the great men that lie in the mighty shadow of St. Paul's, and pay some tribute to the many artists who have, through their monuments, endeavoured their best to honour the memories of those who have so worthily upheld the traditions of the great empire; but any such attempt we feel we must relinquish, and devote all the space we can to Wren's work and to that of his predecessors.
The wonderful wood-carving of the choir stall, and especially the remarkable realistic floral designs of the Bishop's throne, were executed by Grinling Gibbons, who lived between 1648 and 1720. He was born at Rotterdam, and as a youth came over to England, and was discovered by Evelyn, the diarist. So astonished was Evelyn by the genius of Gibbons, who had just carved in wood a copy of Tintoretto's "Crucifixion," that he introduced him to Wren, Pepys, and the King. With such powerful friends and his marvellous talent he soon became the most famous carver of his age. In viewing the great edifice one cannot help thinking from whence came the money which enabled Wren to carry on the work. With the exception of the Tillingham farm there were no endowments, and people were, after the fire, far from being generous donors. As funds were absolutely necessary, royal warrants were issued to authorise the building committee to borrow on the security of the coal and wine taxes. As the remuneration of Wren, Grinling Gibbons, and Tijou was nothing to speak of, we may take it that practically the whole of the proceeds was sunk in the materials and the workmen's wages.
Throughout the whole time of building Wren was harassed by petty annoyances on the part of the committee, who interfered in small matters of technical and artistic knowledge which lay quite beyond their province. Against the architect's will they insisted upon the erection of the heavy iron railings which fence in the Cathedral and mar the beautiful gradations of lines from the lowest step of the transept entrances to the summit of the dome's cross. This only serves as one of many such instances. Finally, Wren's persecutors went so far as to suspend his patent in the year 1718, being the forty-ninth of his office and the eighty-sixth of his age, and William Benson was appointed to succeed him.
This abrupt dismissal entirely upset any plan of internal decoration which Wren might have been thinking of, though it is supposed he had proposed to enrich and beautify St. Paul's with a scheme of colour composed of marble and mosaic work with gold and paintings. With the exception of the frescoes in the dome by Sir James Thornhill, nothing of importance was done for fifty years after Wren's death. A proposal to contribute a number of paintings from Sir Joshua Reynolds and the members of the Royal Academy was negatived by Dr. Terrick, who was Bishop of London at that time. In 1891 W. B. Richmond, A.R.A., was commissioned to decorate the choir and the dome with mosaic work, it being considered the most suitable material on account of the brilliancy of its surface, and the easiest to clean without risk of injury to the work. Sir William Richmond, K.C.B. (as he has since been created), decided to depart from modern methods in favour of the ancient way of embedding in cement cubes, so chosen and disposed to suit the various shades of his subjects. They represent various incidents taken from the Bible, treated most skilfully, as one would naturally expect from such a talented artist.
The difficulties of such an undertaking, restricted within certain limits as it must be by the nature of the material, together with the many attendant side-issues of which the outside public have not the faintest idea, can only be known to the artist himself, and perhaps to some of his confrères.
In course of erection is the gilt iron balustrade upon the cornice that runs round the church in continuation of that commenced by Wren at the west end. This is the gift of Mr. Somers Clarke. He has also designed the fittings for the installation of the electric light, which is the generous presentation of Mr. Pierpont Morgan.
In conclusion, we cannot help recalling the incident that cheered the closing years of Wren. Once every year the aged artist came from his retirement at Hampton Court to London, to spend the day seated beneath the great dome, happy to view the creation of his great intellect, though possibly disturbed now and then by a little grain of discontent: how much better he could do it now, if only he had youth and opportunity—a worry that only assails the true artist.
In the natural sequence of dates we ought to have opened this account with the earlier foundations. This we purposely disregarded, and introduced the reader straightway to the most beautiful and impressive building of St. Paul's that the site has ever had, leaving the others to be dealt with until now.
The earliest known house for religious observance on the site of the present cathedral was a temple. In accordance with the usual practice of early founders, it is not surprising to find that the site selected for it was upon the highest spot of ground in the city. If we follow the accounts of old London, it would have been folly for the Romans to have erected an important building like a temple upon a lower level, which might have got swamped by an unusual rising of the tidal Thames. Apart from such consideration, it was not the Roman custom to debase, but rather to elevate as high as possible, any object they held in great reverence. It would form also a convenient centre to rally round in defence of any attack. In all accounts of the site of St. Paul's the writers have plenty to say about the three churches, but seldom, if ever, allude to the temple erected by the Romans.
This is the more curious when etymologists have endeavoured to explain the affinity of Christian symbols to those of heathenism, showing how it was clearly impossible, and hardly to be expected, that pagan customs should be suddenly arrested and completely abolished, and an entire set of new observances introduced expressly for the new faith—Christianity. Such a sudden change could not, they contend, be thrust upon a people brought up to revere the old heathen deities and observe customs rendered sacred through superstition and countless ages. They required a gradual weaning, and this, so they say, was done by christianising the pagan symbols derived from nature-worship and adapting them to meet the requirements of the new faith,—symbols which, in course of time, became so clothed that their original significance was lost sight of.
It would greatly astonish all devout Christians to learn that the many objects they look up to with sacred awe and wonder of mystery, the inverted triangles which often form an ornament in church windows, the facing towards the east, even the derivation of the very nave they may happen to be in, with a variety of other symbols, existed long before Christianity was ever thought of. It may also be a little disturbing to learn that, quite unintentionally, they are indirectly paying respect to many of the most heathen observances cloaked under the garb of Christian religion. It is far from our intention to advocate a return to pagan darkness, but if this be really true, surely there is a very close connection between the temple and the Christian church. For this very reason, and the more so in that certain lines of their argument are not to be refuted, we would accord a greater importance than has been hitherto done to the Roman temple that undoubtedly first stood on the prominent piece of land in the London of those days. We do not mean to say that at the time this temple was erected to Diana the sufferings and crucifixion of Our Lord had not already borne fruit, but the very existence of the temple clearly indicates that in London, at any rate, the new faith was very much in its infancy, if it existed at all. But the demolition of the temple, to make room for the first Christian church, which was in turn destroyed in 302 during the Diocletian persecution, clearly gives evidence that there must have been growing indications of the presence of converts and missionaries which led to the erection of the latter from the ruins of the former.
A matter of twenty years later, in the reign of Constantine, the church was rebuilt, and completed by 337. What the shape of the first one was can only be conjectured. It would most probably be based upon the temple. The second was undoubtedly Romanesque, if we can rely upon the dates of its rebuilding. They fall conveniently between 306 and 337, a period of marvellous development of ecclesiastical architecture based upon classical remains, which the favourable attitude of Constantine towards Christianity encouraged. Converts in Rome had increased to such numbers that it was felt that some covered-in space was essential to protect the congregation against the sun's hot rays and inclement weather, the more especially as such a building, far from attracting hostile attention, would serve to the furtherance of Christianity. The form it took was the conversion of the basilica. As anything that came from Rome was looked upon as a correct thing to copy, it is not surprising to learn that travelling merchants and missionaries were able to control the taste of the cities they passed through. In this way each country adopted the basilica, though in many features they differed from each other, consequent on customs, surroundings, and climatic conditions. However, about the year 597, the pagan Saxons appear to have destroyed the church. We come then to the first church of St. Paul's of which we have authentic record. It was built by Ethelbert, King of Kent, in 607. He had first to obtain the sanction of Sebert, who claimed London as being in his dominion of the East Angles. To this see Mellitus was appointed as the first bishop. He was one of the forty monks who had accompanied Augustine in 597 to help to carry out Pope Gregory the Great's scheme, which was to divide England into two provinces with metropolitans of equal dignity at London and York, with twelve suffragans to each. Since then London's see has become third, ranking next to York. In the course of four hundred and eighty years, 607-1087, no doubt Ethelbert's church underwent considerable alteration, probably commencing with a very humble building, perhaps chiefly of wood, and as portions got out of repair such characteristics of stone buildings, as learnt from travellers returning from Italy, were introduced, thus gradually transforming the Saxon church to architecture "in the Roman way." For after the departure of the Romans the Britons at first appear to have returned to primitive methods of architecture. It is only as time progressed that they gradually became initiated, through the visits of travellers, into the working of stone, which, after the arrival of the Normans, came into more general practice.
The chief event which took place within its walls was the first great Ecclesiastical Council of the English Church under the presidency of Archbishop Lanfranc. Twelve years afterwards, in 1087, a great conflagration completely destroyed the church. No time was lost, for apparently in the same year building operations were put in hand for what many writers call Old St. Paul's, the second church. By this time we may take it that architecture in England had advanced considerably, and if anything it was a rather fortunate accident that overtook Ethelbert's building. The nation had by now realised that 1000 A.D. was the dreaded millennium of the past; they recognised they had a stern master in William the Conqueror, who, though he might be harsh upon them, would allow no one else to be so. For some years prior to the millennium few buildings of any importance were erected, so thoroughly had the mind been terrorised at the prospect of the world coming to an end, and even after it had proved false, the reaction does not seem to have taken place till the accession of the Norman. When it did occur, we see by examples now extant what a great advance architecture had made, or rather, the knowledge of stone-work had become more general. This can only be attributed to the monks and stonemasons who followed in the wake of the Conquest. The plan of the Norman church of St. Paul's was the Latin cross. The body of it appears to have been narrower and considerably longer than Wren's cathedral. In fact we are much indebted to the numerous discoveries of Mr. Penrose, and we learn that the west front came right to the fore of Queen Anne's statue, which then did not exist. Another great difference was that the axis of Old St. Paul's, as one faces the west front, was more to the left of the statue, whereas that of the present building runs right through the centre of it. At the outset the Cathedral consisted of a nave of twelve bays, transepts, and a short apsidal choir built in the round arched style peculiar to Norman architecture. The whole then stood within spacious precincts enclosed by a continuous wall. In the wall were six gates. The principal one opened in the west on to Ludgate Hill, whilst the second, at St. Paul's Alley, led to "Little North Dore"; the third, at Canon's Alley, showed the way to the north transept door; the fourth was called Little Gate, and led from Cheapside to Paul's Cross (where now stands a fountain); the fifth, St. Augustine's Gate, faced Watling Street; and the sixth was the entrance from the side of the river to the south transept. A matter of 130 years later, it was decided to extend eastwards from the choir and introduce the newly developed style, which was the use of the pointed arch. The new work, consisting of eight bays, was carried out, but it caused the demolition of the old parish church of St. Faith, which lay right in the course. As some compensation the parishioners were allowed to use a portion of the crypt under the new choir as their parish church. After the Great Fire much controversy arose. The parishioners of St. Faith's claimed their right to bury their dead in the whole space beneath the choir of Wren's cathedral. This the Chapter disallowing, a lawsuit ensued, which resulted in a compromise, the parishioners being satisfied with rights of burial in the north aisle of the crypt. The "new work" was solemnly dedicated in 1240. In the meantime a spire, 489 feet in height, was put in hand and was finally completed in 1315. The spire of Old St. Paul's proved to be a great source of anxiety. It was struck by lightning three times, and eventually was completely destroyed by fire, from a fourth lightning in the reign of Elizabeth, in 1561. It was never put up again. Right in the angle of the south transept and the nave existed a fair-sized Chapter House, which appears to have had cloisters, the remains of which can still be seen in the gardens on the south side of the nave, whilst on the north side of the choir the position of Paul's Cross is defined by the insertion of stones let into the ground. Paul's Cross, which by order of Parliament was demolished in 1643, was a pulpit of wood, mounted upon steps of stone, and covered with lead. At this place, the Court, the Mayor, the Aldermen, and the chief citizens used to assemble to listen to sermons from the most eminent divines, who were appointed to preach every Sunday in the forenoon. It was used as early as 1259, and not only were sermons delivered from it, but also political and ecclesiastical discourses were held.
Old St. Paul's, by the time of Charles I., got into such a terrible state of dilapidation that steps were taken to put it into thorough repair. A fund was established and the work was intrusted to Inigo Jones. He got as far as the refacing of the Cathedral inside and out, and the adding of a classical portico, when his labours were interrupted by the Commonwealth. The famous architect died before the Restoration. In the meantime Cromwell's troops did considerable damage, what with stabling their horses within the sacred edifice and employing their leisure time in defacing the building. They removed and sold the scaffolding, which Inigo Jones had set up for the purpose of restoring the vaulting, and in consequence much of the roof-work fell down. At the Restoration, Dr. Wren, as he was then called, was appointed Assistant-Surveyor-General of his Majesty's Works, and instructed to repair the fabric. However, on September 2, 1666, the Great Fire of London broke out and completely destroyed Old St. Paul's. Instead of carrying out his scheme of restoration, Wren was afterwards enabled to leave to posterity this masterpiece of genius that took him from the year 1675 till the year 1710 to realise.
How is one to describe London, the capital of the British Empire, and the largest city in the world? The subject-matter would take volumes, if an exhaustive treatise be required. Here it necessarily can only be a slight sketch. If we are to put any reliance on Geoffrey of Monmouth, a city existed here 1107 years before Christ was born, and 354 even before Rome came into existence. The founder, he asserts, was Brute, a lineal descendant of the Trojan Æneas, by whom the city was called New Troy, or Troy-novant, till the advent of Lud, who changed it to Cœr Lud or Lud-town, and encompassed it with walls. Though the king's name is made evident in Ludgate Hill, which runs up to St. Paul's west front, this author's statements are considered as pleasing fictions by serious-minded authorities. Again, it is said to have been the capital of the Trinobantes in 54 B.C. With the arrival of the Romans we get more definite information, yet we are inclined to think that they must have found some kind of a British settlement, the more especially if we bear in mind that, until the Romans came, the mouth of the Thames was close at hand. The Thames of to-day was not the Thames of that time. It was very much shallower, possibly quite easy to ford at low tide. This was caused by the great inundation over large tracts of the counties of Kent and Essex, which took place every time it became high tide.
Till the Romans set the example of reclaiming the land and confining the river to its channel, a great volume of water had thus expended itself and reduced the depth considerably. But to the early Britons, where the higher level of land checked and brought back the wandering Thames, to continue its upward course within its proper confinement, must have appeared the mouth. In their belief that such was the case it is only natural to suppose that the Britons would take advantage of such an excellent site. A clearing was gradually made, for London was well wooded once, on the highest ground, which would be somewhere from the site of St. Paul's to as far as the Bank of England, and a temple was erected within some groves. To the Romans in 61 A.D. it was known as Londinium or Colonia Augusta, the former, no doubt, being a Latinised form of Lyn-Din, meaning "the town on the lake." Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, in the same year is credited with having reduced it to ashes, and to have put 70,000 Romans and strangers to the sword. This wholesale slaughter was punished, in the same year, by Suetonius, who retaliated by a massacre of 80,000 Britons, a defeat that so preyed upon Boadicea that she promptly poisoned herself. Tacitus, the Roman historian, who lived about 90 years after Christ, relates how Suetonius felt constrained to abandon London, "that place of busy traffic and thronged with traders," to the British, because he did not feel equal to the task of defending it. This is surely a proof that London was no mushroom city, though Tacitus makes no mention of a mint, as he does when he describes Verulamium and Camulodum. There also appears to have been another British settlement on the south bank, now known as Southwark. This district, by the way, has just within the last few days been erected into a see with the cathedral, or throne, installed in its fine old church of St. Saviour. This is where Gower, the father of English poets, is interred, and is honoured with a quaint coloured monument principally of carved wood, and the holy precincts also contain the remains of Shakespeare's brother. Southwark is the Londinium attributed to Ptolemy's description as being on the south bank of the Thames, though it does not discredit the existence of that on the north. As to the actual size and exact site of early London, it will be many years before that can be accurately determined. As old buildings are pulled down and excavations are made for foundations, speculation becomes much narrowed. The discoveries by Wren, and recently by Mr. Arthur Taylor, the late Mr. H. Black, Mr. Roach-Smith and Mr. J. E. Price, one of our greatest authorities, have thrown much light on early London. It has been found that cemeteries once existed in Cheapside, on the site of St. Paul's, close to Newgate and elsewhere, which are known to date from the Later Roman period. On the assumption that it was an illegal Roman practice to bury the dead within the city walls, it follows they must have been outside, thus limiting the habitable area.
As to when and where the first bridge spanned the Thames are points difficult to decide. Sir George Airy supposes that the bridge mentioned by Dion Cassius (43 A.D.) at the mouth of the Thames was not far from the site of London Bridge, on the inference that the mouth of the Thames of early times was close to this site. Dr. Guest, on the other hand, recognises it as a bridge made by the Britons, but places it as being constructed over the marshy valley of the Lea, near Stratford, his theory being that the Britons would have been unable to bridge over a tidal river like the Thames with the width of three hundred yards, and a difference of nearly twenty feet in the rise and fall of the water. From remains found of ancient piles in the river-bed, and the great number of Roman coins, a well-known practice observed by this Latin race to commemorate any important undertaking, antiquarians seem to agree that there was a Roman bridge in the Anno Domini period of their occupation, and that indications point to its location at London Bridge. In their time London was a port of considerable importance. As many as eight hundred vessels are said to have been employed in exporting corn alone in the year 359, which shows that agriculture was in full swing. With the departure of the Romans in 409 the city became the capital of the Saxon kingdom of Essex, and was called Lundenceaster. Subsequent events of importance are those that occurred under the dynasties of the Norman (1066-1154), the Plantagenet (1154-1485), the Tudor (1485-1603), the Stuart (1603-1714), interrupted in the midst by Cromwell's Protectorate, and finally the Hanoverian succession, which brings us down to this year of grace, with Edward VII., King of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India, and monarch of the greatest and most prosperous empire. To attempt to give a detailed account of all that happened under the successive heads of the State is clearly impossible. Two events, however, stand out prominently. One was the Great Plague of London that commenced in December 1664, and carried off a matter of ninety thousand victims. The horrors of this pestilence are graphically described in the Diary of Samuel Pepys, who was an eye-witness. Daniel Defoe, though writing some years after, has given us a wonderfully realistic account in his "History of the Plague." Fires were kept up night and day, to purify the air, for three days. No sooner did the infection come to an end than the great conflagration of September 2, 1666, broke out. It began at one o'clock in the morning in a baker's shop in Pudding Lane, behind Monument Yard. It spread from the Tower to the Temple Church of the Middle Temple in Fleet Street, and away to Holborn. In the short space of four days it destroyed eighty-nine churches (including St. Paul's), the city gates, the Royal Exchange, the Custom House, Guildhall, Sion College, and many other public buildings, besides some fourteen thousand houses and the ruin of four hundred streets. The Monument, built by Wren in 1671-1672, commemorates the origin of the fire, 202 feet from its base.
It is only within recent years that London—by which is meant London in its broadest sense; that is, including the city and excluding the suburbs—has been divided into a number of townships. It is now no longer correct to call Marylebone, Paddington, and many other such, "parishes." They are all boroughs, and possess a mayor and corporation of their own, each with a townhall to support the dignity. They have a certain amount to say in local affairs, the more important being under the control of the London County Council, who in turn hold themselves responsible to Parliament.
The jurisdiction of the Lord Mayor of London proper is confined within certain limits, as defined by an irregular line of boundary commencing from the Tower, northward through the Minories, past Aldgate, behind Liverpool Street Station, working round to Holborn, across Chancery Lane, to end at Middle Temple. His career is generally marked by an apprenticeship of seven years' duration to some city guild, such as the Mercers', the Grocers', Merchant Tailors', Vintners', Armourers and Braziers', and some seventy others. At the end of this period he obtains, on the payment of a certain fee and a glance at a series of Hogarth's "Progress of the Rake" at the Guildhall, the freedom of the Ancient City of London. As a vacancy occurs in his company he fills it as a "Liveryman." After these initial stages he is open to become a Master of the said company, and becomes eligible for alderman, sheriff, and Lord Mayor. The candidate's ambition, however, is tempered according to his means; for to worthily fill the office of the first magistrate he must be prepared to be considerably out of pocket, though the loss is generally compensated by a knighthood, and on special occasions by a baronetcy. Though he may be entirely devoid of any legal training, the Lord Mayor during his tenure of office, or the aldermen, are always present on the bench at the Central Criminal Court, which sits at the Old Bailey. This court was created in 1834 to bring under one jurisdiction the criminal cases that are supplied by the immense population around the city. Opposite the Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor, is the Bank of England. The Royal Mint faces the Tower of London, and was constituted as now about 1617, whilst the buildings date about 1810. The first known Warder or Master was in the reign of Henry I., the wardership becoming extinct with Lord Maryborough (1814—23), and the last Master was Professor Thomas Graham, who died in 1869. By the Coinage Act in the following year the Master of the Mint, who as such had existed up till then, was abolished, and the post was combined with that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. On the other side of the road is the famous Tower of London, the White Tower or central keep of which was built in 1078 by Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, in obedience to the command of William the Conqueror. By the side of this historic pile is the Tower Bridge, the marvellous engineering feat of Sir Horace Jones and Sir J. Wolfe Barry. It opens upwards in the centre to allow the shipping to pass through. Right away towards the east are the great docks, the principal of which are the London Docks and the East India Docks.
Passing west of the city are the great Law Courts in the Strand, designed by Streeter.
Behind them is Lincoln's Inn, and in front across Fleet Street, is the Temple. Gray's Inn is in Holborn, as well as Staple Inn, with the picturesque old-fashioned frontage, once the prevailing style of London's domestic architecture. Smaller Inns are Clifford's Inn, threatened with demolition, with Old Serjeant's Inn adjoining, while Serjeant's Inn is on the other side of Fleet Street, nearer to Ludgate Circus, and not far from the Temple.
In Trafalgar Square a priceless collection of old masters' paintings are housed in the National Gallery, once the premises of the Royal Academy of Arts, who moved to Burlington House, Piccadilly.
Regent Street, with its shops, and Bond Street, the great centre for art dealers and picture galleries, hardly require further description. The British Museum, the South Kensington Museum, and numerous others; the great hospitals,—St. Bartholomew's, Guy's, Charing Cross, and many more equally as well known; the wonderful open spaces as typified by Hyde Park; the Palaces of Buckingham, St. James, and Kensington; besides the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Abbey, and Houses of Parliament, Westminster, with the newly erected Roman Catholic Cathedral, close to Victoria Station, comprise only a tithe of what can be seen in the capital of the British Empire.
NE can hardly think of York without recalling the wonderful ride of Dick Turpin on his famous mare Black Bess. It came about one day that he was resting at the Kilburn Wells—a site now taken up by a modern banking-house—in the company of another notorious highwayman, King, who seemed very much depressed. "Dick," he said, "I have had a most curious dream. I seemed to be dying from a pistol-shot by you." "No, no," protested Dick, and was doing his best to cheer up his friend when suddenly unusual commotion arose outside, followed by the immediate entrance of the bailiffs to apprehend King dead or alive. One of his numerous mistresses had given him away in a mad fit of jealousy. It took little time for Turpin and King to reach their horses, which were always tethered close by. Turpin was soon in the saddle, but turning round he perceived that his comrade was in difficulties. The horse was restive, and its master was making vain attempts to mount. To draw his pistol out of the holster and empty its contents towards the man who had by now laid his hand on King was a moment's thought. But to Turpin's horror he saw the dream realised. His friend dead, it was folly to dally longer. Amidst a volley of shots he quickly wheeled his mare round and galloped off, hotly pursued by the excisemen, who had soon recognised him. Along West End Lane into Finchley, away towards Barnet, his mare, gallantly taking every toll-gate, soon carried her master out of immediate danger. It was then that Dick Turpin determined to try the fettle of Bess by carrying out his long-cherished ambition of riding ninety miles to York. Without a change of mounts, and only an occasional rinse-out of his faithful animal's mouth with some strong stimulant, he accomplished his wish, but at the sacrifice of his mare. She died from exhaustion, having, however, saved her master and cheated justice. This is no legend, but an absolute fact—a story that has quickened the imagination of every English schoolboy, accompanied with a regret that such good old rollicking days no longer exist, that there is no relieving rich merchants of well-filled purses, no opportunity of calming the fears of fair ladies, no chance of acting the grand seigneur towards the poor, no languishing in Newgate with a glorious death at Tyburn. No, that is all a dream now.
Though customs have greatly changed since those days of unsafe travelling, the quaint streets, the great gateways of bold architecture, and the magnificent church all lend the city of York the wonderful fascination of age, heightened by the situation of the river Ouse at its junction with the Foss.
In what county of England the famous city and glorious minster of York are, requires little mental effort. It is the most ancient metropolitan see in England. At one time great controversy arose between York and Canterbury as to precedence. It was thought that whichever one of them could successfully prove that the one first confirmed was meant by Pope Gregory to be the senior, should be the superior. As, however, no satisfactory understanding could be arrived at, the question was left to the Papal Court at Rome. By its decision it was determined in favour of Canterbury, so the Archbishop of Canterbury styles himself Primate of All England, whilst the Archbishop of York rests content with Primate of England; the reduction of one word, but it means a great deal. In the history of England we see what part these two metropolitans have taken, how they have occasionally fallen out over what now appears to us the most trifling matters, but which no doubt were considered of most vital importance at the time. In this account they need no recapitulation, for they can be turned up in any history book on England.
In the very early years of Anno Domini, when Christianity in England was quite in its infancy,—or to be more exact about the year 180,—it is said that King Lucius established the Metropolitan See at York. In those days, however, it could hardly have been called by that name. Prior to this monarch's time it was the town of the Brigantes, and was known as Evrauc. They appear to have been a very hardy race. Through them it was that Caractacus, one of two sons of Cymbeline, after the Silures were defeated by Ostorius, made the last important stand against the Romans. That is to say, with the submission of the Brigantes and the capture of Caractacus, all unity among the British tribes came to an end, so that it became comparatively an easy task for the Romans to complete the conquest of England.
This they did in the second campaign of Agricola, about the year 79 A.D., and the Roman power was due to the divided factions and parties of the Britons, who, though they might have kings and all the outward show of sovereignty, were merely puppets in the hands of the conquerors. From this year to 400 the Romans steadily evolved a unity of their own in Britain. On their departure, history tells us how the British implored them to come back and protect them, so helpless had they become in the art of attack and defence.
As Evrauc belonged to the Brigantes, we may take it that it was the chief town of the British in the north when it passed into the hands of the Romans after the defeat of Caractacus. By them it was called Eboracum, and became the metropolitan of the north, the military capital and centre of the Romans in Britain.
The original Roman city was rectangular in form and of considerable dimensions. It is supposed to have been laid out in imitation of ancient Rome, on the east bank of the Ouse. A temple to Bellona was erected as well as a prætorium, in which the emperors sat, for Eboracum was honoured by the great heads of Rome. The first to reside here was Hadrian, in 120, whilst Severus died in the city in 211. This last had come over with his sons, Caracalla and Geta, and a large army, and the attendance of his whole court. His time was busily engaged in reducing the troublesome Britons to proper submission. The two sons nobly helped their aged father. Caracalla completed the erection of a strong wall of stone nearly eighty miles long, close to the rampart of earth raised by Hadrian, in accordance with the wish of Severus, to form a more effectual barrier against future incursions of the natives. During the residence of the court, Eboracum reached to the highest state of splendour. The constant visits of tributary kings and foreign ambassadors, who came to pay their allegiance to Rome, caused it to be unsurpassed among the cities of the world, so much so that it came to be called "Altera Rome." The remains of the Emperor Severus, though he died here in 212, were enclosed in an urn and sent to Rome.
The Emperor Constantius Chlorus died also in Eboracum in 307. His son, Constantius the Great, was present at his father's death, and by the army proclaimed emperor.
After 409 the Greek and Latin writers tell us that Britain was no longer ruled by the Romans. Their statements are borne out by the Saxon Chronicle. This did not mean that there was a general exodus of the Latin race or civilisation, for the connection of Rome with its British provinces did not cease suddenly, though the tie gradually became weakened, because from 409 Roman officials probably ceased to be sent regularly. Britain still considered itself to be Roman, and the inhabitants, or rather the upper classes, continued to speak Latin. Even in the sixth century they were pleased to call themselves "Romani," and held themselves aloof from the surrounding barbarians—a term which we know was applied by the Romans to tribes, not necessarily because they were uncivilised, but rather as a convenient mark of distinction from themselves. Since their departure from Britain, archæologists have found rich mines of Roman remains in every place of their occupation, and none more so than at York; but to enumerate the many discoveries would require more space than can here be allotted. Suffice it to say that the "multangular tower" is a notable evidence of the Roman occupation, though it is much dilapidated.
The city was frequently assailed by the Picts and Scots, and after the arrival of the Saxons it suffered considerably from the many wars that arose between the Britons and their new allies, as well as in the struggle for supremacy during the establishment of the several kingdoms of the Octarchy, and other minor wars. Early in the seventh century Eboracum underwent a change. By the Saxons the city was called Euro wic, Euore wic, and Eofor wic, which by Leland is supposed to have been borrowed from its situation on the river Eure, now known as the Ouse; but by what process these titles came to be contracted into its present name of York seems rather difficult to account. However, under the name of Eoforwic, the city flourished as the capital of the Bretwaldas early in the seventh century. Consequent on the conversion of Edwin, King of Northumbria, to Christianity, resulting from his marriage to Ethelburga, daughter of King Ethelbert of Kent, the city was erected in 624 into an archiepiscopal see, over which Paulinus, the confessor of the Queen, was made primate. In addition to this, Edwin had constituted the city as the metropolitan of his kingdom. Edwin's work upon the church, which he dedicated to St. Peter, and the missionary work of Paulinus, were suddenly suspended by an attack of the Britons under Cadwallo in 633. Edwin was killed, whilst Ethelburga escaped into Kent with Paulinus. The church in the meantime was allowed to decay until it was restored by Oswald, successor to Edwin. He managed to regain possession of his kingdom after a sanguinary conflict with Cadwallo, who, with the chief officers, was killed during the fight.
We have it by Bede that on the site of the wooden church, in which the baptism was conducted by Paulinus, Edwin erected "a large and more noble basilica of stone," dedicated to St. Peter; but, as we have seen, the work was interrupted by the untimely death of the founder. Finally it was repaired by Archbishop Wilfrid, the third prelate to succeed to the government of the See and provinces. His predecessor had been Cedda, who had been appointed on the death of Paulinus in Kent. The establishment was continued on its original lines by Wilfrid and his successors till the Norman Conquest. In the meantime York, under Archbishop Egbert, from 730 to 766, became a most celebrated centre of learning, and reached to its height under Alcuin. The former had repaired the ravages caused by fire in 741 to the Cathedral, which is described by Alcuin as "a most magnificent basilica." The city fell into the hands of the Danes. They soon made it an important seat of commerce, and constituted it the capital of the Danish jarl. In 1050 the Abbey of St. Mary's was founded by Siward, who is supposed to have died at York five years later and to have been buried in St. Olave's Church. William the Conqueror then seized York in 1068 and erected a tower. The new condition of things was not allowed to remain long. Sweyn, in the following year, sent his two sons, Harold and Canute, with a numerous following of Danes. They disembarked on the shores of the Humber, and, joined by Edgar Atheling and his army, advanced to York, laying waste the land they passed through. To prevent the enemy from fortifying itself, the garrison fired the houses in the suburbs; but the flames were fanned by a strong wind into a devastating conflagration, in the midst of which the Danes entered and put to the sword the whole Norman garrison. This slaughter was eventually punished by the Conqueror, who, harbouring a suspicion of treachery on the part of the citizens, reduced them to his idea of submission by burning the city about their ears and desolating the neighbouring country from the Humber to the Tyne. Nevertheless the city gradually recovered in the two succeeding reigns. Archbishop Thomas endeavoured to patch up the Cathedral, but eventually pulled it down and rebuilt it. The city continued to advance in prosperity in spite of many attacks from the Scots. In 1088 William Rufus laid the first stone for a large monastery for the Benedictine Order, which was dedicated to St. Mary.
In 1137, during the reign of Stephen, a terrible fire broke out which destroyed, it is said, the Cathedral, the monastery, and some forty parish churches. On the accession of Henry I. the city received its first charter of incorporation, whilst in 1175 Henry II. held here one of the first meetings which came to be afterwards called Parliament. It also served as an occasion for William of Scotland to pay his homage to the King in the Cathedral. In the reign of Richard I. the fury of the populace was excited against the Jews for having mingled with the crowd at the Coronation in London. In spite of a royal proclamation in their favour, they were terribly persecuted throughout the country, especially in the big towns. York was by no means behind the times in 1190. Many of the Jews, having defended the castle in which they had taken refuge, put their own wives and children to death, and then committed suicide. Those who did not were cruelly tortured to death by the Christians. In the meantime it is pleasing to note that certain portions of Yorkshire had been reclaimed from its wild state wherever the Cistercians and other orders of monks had settled. They introduced sheep-farming, besides tilling the reclaimed wilderness. The subsequent history of York is taken up with the many visits of royalty and benefits conferred, till we get to the year 1569, when the Council of the North was established, after the suppression of the rebellion known as the "Pilgrimage of Grace." This was consequent on the dissolution of the monasteries, the demolition of ten parish churches, and the wholesale appropriation of revenues and materials by Henry VIII. The principal leader was Robert Aske, who, with 40,000 men attended by priests with sacred banners, seized this city and Hull. They were soon dispersed, Aske being brought to York and hanged upon Clifford's Tower. Though suppressed for a time, public feeling broke out into an insurrection during Elizabeth's reign to restore Roman Catholicism. It ended in their discomfiture, Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland, being beheaded at York as the chief ringleader, and his head stuck on the Micklegate Bar as a warning to others. History records a Parliament held here by Charles I. in 1642, when he promised to govern legally. In fact, he seems to have removed his entire court here, or rather those willing to follow him. However, as all attempts at negotiation had failed, he advanced to Nottingham and there erected his standard. After the battle of Marston Moor, which is about six miles out, York was taken for the Parliament by Sir Thomas Fairfax in 1644.
After the Restoration, Charles II. was royally welcomed. James II. aroused public indignation by attempting to introduce Roman Catholicism at York, which only led to the persecution of the followers of that religion. Subsequent events have been principally the visits of royalty. In 1829 terrible consternation arose at the sight of smoke issuing from the roof of the Cathedral. The act was afterwards proved to have been that of a madman who had secreted himself for that purpose in the Cathedral after the evening service was over. The whole of the choir was gutted by the flames. The Cathedral, after Sweyn's visitation, had been rebuilt by Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux.
It was commenced in 1070 and finished by 1100. Of this building little now remains, it having been destroyed by an accidental fire in 1137. It remained in a desolate state till Archbishop Roger rebuilt the apsidal choir and crypt (1154-1191). To this was added the south transept by Archbishop Walter de Grey (1215-1255) in the reign of Henry III., whilst the north transept and the central tower were erected by John le Romaine, who was at that time treasurer of the Cathedral. The two transepts, besides the crypt, are the oldest portions of the present building. They belong to the best years of the Early English style. The south transept has a distinctive feature in its magnificent rose window, whilst the north transept is adorned with a series of beautiful worked lancet windows, known as the Five Sisters. The son of the treasurer, who became also Archbishop, laid the foundation of the nave about 1290, which was completed about forty years later by Archbishop Melton, who also built the west front and the two western towers. The Chapter House also belongs to the same period. In 1361 Archbishop Thoresby commenced to erect the Lady Chapel and presbytery after the Early Perpendicular style. He also in eight years completed the central tower, which he had taken down in 1370, whilst previous to this he had started to rebuild the choir in 1361 to render it more in accordance with the character of the nave, though it was not finished till about 1400. It is a very fine example of the Late Perpendicular style. By this time all traces of the ancient Norman architecture, with the exception of the eastern portion of the crypt by Archbishop Roger, which still remains, had been eliminated. To keep in character it was decided to recase the central tower and alter it into a perpendicular tower with a lantern, which was completed in 1444. With the erection of the south-west tower in 1432, and the north-west tower in 1470, the church was completed, and two years later was reconsecrated. Besides the fire of the madman in 1829, when the woodwork was entirely destroyed, another one broke out in 1840 in the south-west tower, reducing it to a wreck. Since then it has undergone the usual restoration. The whole resembles a Latin cross, and constitutes a glorious minster, the beauty of which can be more readily appreciated by a glance at Mr. Collins' work than by any amount of word-painting. The other illustrations give also a faithful description of the old gateways. They are the four principal gates or "bars" to the walls of the city—walls which contain Norman and Early English work, but principally belong to the Decorative style. Micklegate Bar is the south entrance, upon which were exposed the heads of traitors, and is Norman. Monk Bar leads on to the Scarborough Road, and probably belongs to the fourteenth century. It was formerly called Goodramgate, which was changed after the Restoration to Monk Bar, in honour of General Monk. Walmgate Bar dates from the reign of Edward I., and still retains the barbican rebuilt in 1648, whilst Bootham Bar, with a Norman arch, is the main entrance from the north. Stonegate is situated practically in the heart of the city, not far from the minster. It is a curious piece of architecture. York has been most happy with regard to the birth of men who have distinguished themselves. It has yielded to the Church of Rome eight saints and three cardinals, and to England no less than twelve lord chancellors, two lord treasurers and lord presidents of the north. But the earliest recorded birth of an eminent native takes us out of the ordinary ranks of men. If any name is well known it is certainly that of the first Roman emperor who embraced Christianity. He is Constantine the Great. Flaccus Albanus was also born here. He was a pupil of the great ecclesiastical historian, the Venerable Bede. Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland and son of Siward; Thomas Morton, in turn Bishop of Chester, Lichfield, Coventry, and Durham, first came into the world at York; whilst of more recent times there was Gent, an eminent painter and historian; Swinburn, a distinguished lawyer; and Flaxman, one of England's most celebrated sculptors, who is perhaps as well known by his beautiful designs for the Wedgwood pottery as by any other work of his. Not to know who Flaxman was is almost as bad as to admit ignorance of the existence of Michael Angelo.
HIS ancient city on the river Itchen in Hampshire is inseparably bound with William of Wykeham. He it was who rebuilt a great part of the magnificent cathedral now extant, and who founded the great public school of Winchester, at which so many celebrated men have received their education. These form the great attraction of the city, and rescue it from oblivion. It is with sorrow we foresee that the inevitable restoration will take place in the east end of this venerable structure. For many years past the foundations were known to be in an unsafe condition, but recently great alarm was caused by the appearance of large cracks in the upper masonry and of the bulging in of the groining of the crypt. There was no doubt that the foundations were slowly subsiding, and speculation was rife as to the cause. With a view to ascertaining the state of the foundations, excavations were made. It was discovered that the original builders had rested them on marshy ground, strengthened with oak piles, which have gradually decayed during the lapse of centuries. At the same time the presence of an underground stream, thought to be part of the river Itchen, was seen to be bubbling up through the gravel, saturating the upper soil of peat.
In much the same way as the site of St. Paul's Cathedral in London probably was covered, in the first instance, with buildings for pagan worship, so we find that the Romans at Winchester erected temples to Apollo and Concord upon the ground that eventually came to be the precincts of the Cathedral. The presence of a Christian church appears to have been in the third century, when the city is said to have become one of the chief centres of the Christian Britons. This first church, however, was destroyed during the persecution of Aurelian and was rebuilt in 293, to be made a wreck in 495 by the Saxons, who fired it. What with the religious convulsion of England, which, with the exception of Kent, fluctuated with the rise and fall of circumstances chiefly controlled by the policy of kings either heathen at one time and Christian at another, or the deposition and death of a Christian monarch, caused by one more powerful and deeply imbued with heathenism, the See of Winchester does not appear to have come into existence till about the middle of the seventh century. The establishment of its bishopric in a way marks the commencement of a new epoch in the English Church.
The mission of St. Augustine, backed with the royal countenance of Ethelbert, had, though not completed, done much towards conversion; but on their death practically the whole of the Christian territory, excepting Kent, relapsed into heathenism, and to such an extent that Augustine's successor, Laurentius, was on the point of giving up the whole mission and taking refuge in Gaul. Not until 625 did a mission again venture forth from the Kentish kingdom, and then their tentative efforts were rendered abortive by the battle of Hatfield in 633, which for a while seems to have crushed all hope at Rome. But a couple of years later an independent missionary, Birinus, was consecrated in Italy, and was sent by the people to make fresh attempts to break down the barriers of heathenism in England. Through his influence Cynegils became the first Christian king of the West Saxons. To inaugurate his conversion the monarch decided to establish a bishopric, and immediately began to collect materials for building, at his capital of Winchester, a cathedral, which was eventually constructed by his son Cenwahl in 646. The Danes in 867 broke up the establishment, and the year following, secular priests were substituted. They remained till 963, when Ethelwold, by command of King Edgar, expelled them to make room for the monks of the Benedictine Order from Abendon. They enjoyed uninterrupted possession, and were richly endowed with royal donations, as the dissolution revealed the extent of its revenue. Henry VIII. then refounded it for a bishop, dean, chancellor, twelve prebendaries, and other subordinate officers. The Cathedral was first dedicated to St. Amphibalus, then jointly to St. Peter and St. Paul, and afterwards to St. Swithin, once bishop here. With Henry VIII.'s régime the title was altered to the Holy and undivided Trinity. The church of Cynegils having become entirely ruined, a new cathedral was commenced in 1073-98 by Bishop Walkelyn. The two Norman transepts and the low central tower, as also the very early crypt, still exist. The church is a spacious, massive, and splendid cruciform building of Norman architecture with subsequent additions in the Gothic style. The whole of the Norman nave was demolished and re-erected on a far grander scale by William of Wykeham at the end of the fourteenth century, though not quite completed till after his death. The choir was much restored in the fourteenth century, whilst it underwent considerable alteration by Bishop Fox from 1510 to 1528. Here is the tomb of William II. A great feature is the magnificent reredos behind the altar. It extends the full width of the choir, with two processional entrances pierced through its lofty wall, and covered with tier upon tier of rich canopied niches. They once contained colossal statues. Behind this reredos there is a second stone screen, which enclosed the small chapel in which stood the magnificent gold shrine studded with jewels. It contained the body of St. Swithin, and was the gift of King Edgar. The Cathedral, in fact, received at one time and another great treasures of gold and jewels by many of the early kings of England. Canute is said to have caused his crown of gold and gems to be suspended over the great crucifix above the high altar.
The magnificent chantry of Cardinal Beaufort is of the Later style of English architecture. Bishop Waynfleet's chantry is in the same style, and has been kept in excellent repair by the trustees of his foundation at Magdalene College. Both chantries contain tombs of their founders. There are several other chapels, all deserving close study of their beautiful architecture. The most notable of the many examples of mediæval recumbent effigies are those of the monuments to Bishops Edingdon, Wykeham, Langton, and Fox. The famous authoress, Jane Austen, is buried here.
The black marble font is an interesting relic of eleventh-century skill. The sides are composed of scenes taken from the life of St. Nicholas. The Cathedral, situated in an open space near the centre of the city towards the south-east, is a marvellous combination of beauty and dignity, surpassed, if at all, by few. It is the central feature of Winchester, and will always command the greatest admiration. One of England's great public schools is that founded by William of Wykeham and built between 1387 and 1393. The foundation originally consisted of a warden, ten fellows, three chaplains, seventy scholars, and sixteen choristers. The prelate had previously established a school here in 1373. Thus the oldest of England's great schools was called "Seinte Marie College of Wynchester," the charter of which was dated October 1382. The ancient statutes were revived in 1855, and were still further influenced by the Public Schools Act of 1868. The establishment has a fine chapel, hall, cloister, and other necessary buildings, all in excellent preservation. Another interesting structure is that afforded by the hospital of St. Cross, founded in 1136 by Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester. It lies about a mile out of town. Its general plan can be readily seen by a glance at Mr. Collins' drawing. Henry de Blois intended it to provide board and lodging for thirteen poor men, and a daily dinner for one hundred others. It was mostly rebuilt by Cardinal Beaufort between 1405 and 1447. The whole has undergone much restoration, which was not entirely happy, though it has certainly kept the buildings in a good state of preservation. On the precincts is also the very stately cruciform chapel, dating roughly from the year 1180. The city of Winchester was at one time proverbial for its splendour, which was owing to the many kings that preferred to reside within its walls than elsewhere.
Mainly owing to its central position on the high roads in the south of England, Winchester was from early times a town of great importance. This Hampshire city is first ascribed to the Celtic Britons, who settled here in 392 B. c., having emigrated from the coasts of Armorica in Gaul. They remained in undisturbed possession till within a century prior to the Christian era, when they were expelled by the Belgæ, who advanced from their settlements on the southern coasts into the interior. Soon after it had become the capital of the Belgæ, the settlement passed into Roman occupation. The Cœr Gwent (White City) of the Britons became the Venta Belgarum of the Romans. The Roman word Venta eventually became transformed to "Winte," "Winte-ceaster," from which was derived Winchester. Under Cedric, about 520 A.D., it became the capital of the West Saxons, and of England in 827 by Egbert. He had obtained the sovereignty of all the other kingdoms of the Octarchy, and was crowned sole monarch in the Cathedral of Winchester. On this occasion the monarch published an edict commanding all his subjects throughout his dominions to be called English. The union of the kingdoms gave that importance to Winchester which it had never had previously, and the fact of being not only the capital of Wessex, but the metropolis of England, caused it to leap into great prominence. This state, however, suffered a severe check when London, in the reign of William the Conqueror, began to rival it, and was brought almost to the verge of ruin through the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. However, at different periods, Winchester received much unwelcome discomfiture. It was seized by the Danes in 871; whilst in 1013 it was ravaged by Sweyn on his path of vengeance. In 1100 the body of William Rufus was solemnly interred in the Cathedral. During the parliamentary war the city was taken and retaken by Cromwell, and the castle dismantled. Here it was that Charles I. commissioned Wren to build a palace in 1683, which was only begun. Previous to this the plague of 1666 greatly reduced the number of inhabitants, and it was possibly to help the city recover itself that Charles thought of building a palace.
F the three cathedrals in London, Westminster Abbey may be said to possess the greatest charms. Compared to it St. Paul's is a new church, whilst St. Saviour's, Southwark, is little known. It is true that the foundation of St. Paul's is coeval with that of the Abbey, and St. Saviour's is an old church, but St. Paul's dates from the Great Fire of London, and the merit of its architecture is the wonderful genius of Wren. In more ways than one Westminster is bound up with the history of the great empire. Within her precincts repose the greater number of reigning heads who inaugurated their reigns in the sacred interior with the coronation, a ceremony which was last performed when our present king came to the throne, though the last monarch to be laid to rest in the venerable pile ceased with the interment of King George II. in 1760.
The Abbey is also the favourite sepulture for eminent statesmen, poets, authors, and great travellers,—men whose intellects have done far more for the wonderful rise of Great Britain than the average crowned head, men whose ability and personality in many cases were little understood during life, preyed upon, as is often the case, by others who could turn it to good pecuniary account. But when death claims them, the nation, sensible of their loss, pay homage by interring the remains in the noble sepulchre of a cathedral, or perpetuate the memory by an epitaph on the wall.
To wander around the Poets' Corner along the echoing aisles, and stand in front of each memorial and read off the few cold lines that seem a mockery to regard as a record of some mighty intellect, serve only to awaken the imagination and to recall their sad biographies read at one time or another. Were Chaucer, Shakespeare, Spenser, Dryden, Milton, Oliver Goldsmith, Handel, Thackeray, David Garrick, to mention only a few, ever made peers, much less knights? No; yet many of their contemporaries of inferior intellect enjoyed such worldly distinction. To stand in the presence of the great dead, or in lieu to read their epitaphs, casts a great fascination over the mind, and makes one linger within the precincts of the historic abbey till a rude awakening comes from the verger that it is closing-time. With a sigh we emerge from the great mausoleum into the hard, glaring daylight, for a few seconds dazed. The fascination still clings to us, and when we get home we are eager to consult authorities and learn more of the beautiful church at Westminster.
The Abbey, like nearly all our great cathedrals, is the growth of centuries. Looking at it under present-day conditions, we can hardly realise that in the dim past the site was an island of dry sand and gravel, bound on the one side by the river Thames, and on the other by marshes watered by the little stream called the Eye. This stream still runs, though out of sight, under New Bond Street, the Green Park, and Buckingham Palace, to empty itself into the Thames near Vauxhall Bridge, and has lent its name to Tyburn (Th' Eye Burn). In the early years of the seventh century, possibly within a few months of his restoring the church on the site of St. Paul's, which would take us back to about the year 610, Sebert, the King of the East Saxons, decided to build a church to the honour of St. Peter on this Isle of Thorns, or, as it is sometimes called, Thorney Island. The fact of the vicinity being westward of the neighbouring hill of St. Paul's eventually gave rise to the name of Westminster. According to tradition, on the eve of the new church being consecrated by Bishop Mellitus, the boatman Edric, whilst attending to his nets by the bank of the island, was attracted by a gleaming light on the opposite shore. Rowing across, he found a venerable man, who desired to be ferried over. On landing at the island, the mysterious stranger proceeded towards the church, accompanied by a host of angels, who gave him light by candles as he went through the forms of church consecration. On his return to the boat, the old man bade Edric tell Mellitus that St. Peter had come in person to consecrate the church, and promised him that fish would always come plentifully to his nets, provided he did not work on a Sunday and did not forget to offer a tithe of that which he caught to the Abbey of Westminster. On the morrow, Mellitus, hearing the fisherman's story, confirmed by the marks of consecration in the chrism, the crosses on the doors, and the droppings from the candles of the angels, acknowledged the work of St. Peter as sufficient consecration, and changed the name from Thorney Island to Westminster, to distinguish it as being to the west of the city of London and to the Church of St. Paul's on the neighbouring hill. However incredible Edric's story may be it bore fruit, in that till 1382 a tithe of fish was paid by the Thames fisherman to the Abbey, in exchange for which the bearer had the privilege to sit, on that day, at the Abbot's table, and to ask for bread and ale from the cellarman. By degrees the neighbourhood became peopled, partly on account of the church and partly from the erection of a palace close to it, which led the nobility to build houses in the vicinity. The Abbey, becoming ruinous through the Danes, was rebuilt by Edward the Confessor as the "Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster." In fact this monarch is usually regarded as the founder of the Church. According to Matthew Paris, it was the first cruciform church erected in England, the immense size and beauty of which can be seen in the Bayeux tapestry. The foundation was laid somewhere about 1052, and the church was consecrated in 1065, a few days prior to the Confessor's death. The monastery was filled with monks from Exeter, whilst Pope Nicholas II. constituted the Abbey for the inauguration of the kings of England. Throughout the succession of reigning heads, Edward V., who died uncrowned, was the only exception.
Of the Confessor's church and monastery the only remains appear to be the Chapel of the Pyx, the lower part of the refectory below the Westminster schoolroom, a portion of the dormitory, and the walls of the south cloister.
The Abbey, with these few exceptions, was demolished and rebuilt on a magnificent scale by Henry III. between 1220 and 1269. The material employed was first a green stone and afterwards Cæn stone. The portions that remain to us from that rebuilding are the Confessor's chapel, the side aisles and their chapels, and the choir and transepts, all beautiful examples of the Geometrical Pointed period of architecture. Henry's work was continued by his son Edward I., who added the eastern portion of the nave after the same style; it was afterwards carried on by successive abbots till the erection of the great west window by Abbot Estney in 1498. The College Hall, the Abbot's House, Jerusalem Chamber, and part of the cloisters had also in the meantime been added by Abbot Littlington in 1380. Amongst various improvements Henry VII. built the west end of the nave, his own chapel, the deanery, and portions of the cloisters in the Perpendicular style.
The choir, a fine specimen of Early English with decorations added in the fourteenth century, is where the coronation of English sovereigns takes place, and contains the tombs of Sebert, King of the East Angles, Anne of Cleves, and Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Leicester. Henry VII.'s chapel displays the architect's skill to perfection, with the wonderful fretted work of the roof and the graceful fan-tracery. It contains the glorious tomb of Henry VII., the work of the great sculptor Pietro Torrigiano. It is composed chiefly of black marble with figures and pilasters of gilt copper. The figures once wore crowns, but some sacrilegious hands have stolen them. In the chapel of Edward the Confessor are the shrine of Edward the Confessor in Purbeck marble, the altar-tomb of Edward I., the coronation chairs of the English sovereigns, besides the stone of Scone, the old coronation seat of the Scottish kings. The beautiful chapels of St. Benedict, St. Edmund, St. Nicholas, St. Paul, St. Erasmus, and St. John the Baptist chiefly contain the monuments of ecclesiastics and nobility.
The entrance generally used is the North Porch, known as Solomon's Porch. It was erected in the reign of Richard II., but entirely changed its character in the hands of Wren, who appears not to have appreciated the beauties of Gothic architecture. The same architect is said to have built the two western towers, though they are sometimes ascribed to his pupil Hawksmoor. Wren's work upon the north porch was again altered by Sir G. G. Scott, who introduced the present triple portico. On passing under it we come to the north transept, generally known as the Statesmen's Aisle. Here in the same grave lie the Earl of Chatham and his famous son, William Pitt. Close to them are either the graves or monuments of Fox, Castlereagh, Grattan, Palmerston, Peel, the three Cannings, and Disraeli. Right in the centre of the aisle is a slab marking the resting-place of W. E. Gladstone and his wife (1898 and 1900), over whom unconsciously the people tread, gradually wearing out the simple words of memorial. The south transept is the Poets' Corner, containing the memorials from Chaucer to Ruskin. In the nave lie David Livingstone (1873), a great missionary and traveller, whose remains were reverently brought from Central Africa; Robert Stephenson (1859), the famous engineer; Sir Charles Barry (1860), architect of the Houses of Parliament; Sir G. G. Scott (1873); George Edmund Street (1881), architect of the Law Courts; Colin Campbell; Lord Clyde (1863), who recaptured Lucknow. We have mentioned these names, not for the sake of invidiousness, but have chosen them at random.
Leading from the cloisters up a flight of stone steps is the Chapter House. The original structure was built by King Edward in the eleventh century, and it is noticeable in that it departed from the usual Benedictine form. In 1250 it was rebuilt by Henry III., and is an octagonal structure, second only to that at Lincoln in size. Here the monks were accustomed once a week to hold their chapters. In ornamental stalls opposite the entrance the Abbot and his four chief officers were enthroned, whilst the monks ranged themselves along the stone benches which go around the walls. Criminals were tried, and if found guilty were tied up to the central pillar of Purbeck marble (thirty-five feet high) and were flogged publicly. The monks, however, were not left in undisturbed possession of the Chapter House, for on the separation of the Houses of Lords and Commons in the reign of Edward I., the House of Commons held sittings here and continued to do so till 1547. The last parliament held here was on the day that Henry VIII. died, when it sat to discuss the Act of Attainder passed upon the Duke of Norfolk. At the dissolution of the monastery the Chapter House passed to the Crown, and seven years afterwards the House of Commons removed to St. Stephen's Chapel in the Palace of Westminster.
There are now two or three glass cases filled with interesting ancient deeds and illuminated parchments relating to the history of the Abbey. Adjoining the Abbey is the great public school of Westminster, or St. Peter's College as it was called when founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1560 for the education of forty boys, denominated the Queen's scholars, and prepared for the university. Since then the numbers have greatly increased, and to have been educated there is something to boast of, for it is so much sought after that preference is given to the sons of old Westminster boys. We might go on for ever, so vast is the subject-matter, but before closing we would draw attention to St. Margaret's Church, which stands in front of Solomon's Porch. It was founded by the Confessor, and is the especial church of the House of Commons. Curiously enough, it gives scale to the whole Abbey. The Houses of Parliament are across the road to the east of the Abbey and on the bank of the river Thames. In the Tudor style Sir Charles Barry, R.A., built the New Palace of Westminster, containing the two Houses of Parliament (1840-1859). It is a stupendous work and a marvellous mass of rich architecture. Some authority states that the clock tower is much after the style of the belfry at Bruges. This statement, we would point out, is hardly correct. The two no more resemble each other than do black and white.
How is it possible to describe in a few cold words the wonderful beauties that lie hidden in the architecture of the Abbey, the best artistic expressions of its several architects? Impressions created depend upon the temperament of the individual who gazes upon them. All acknowledge the great beauty, but each from his own standpoint, according to his tastes and inclinations, which are moulded by his pursuits in life, or more rarely endowed by that inherent sense of all that is noble and refined he is enabled to sink his own individuality for a moment, and to enjoy the brain-product of a fellow-being. To the dull intellect the Abbey appeals as a mystery; to the commercial man it represents so much outlay of capital, and a proud possession of the empire's city; to the poet and artist the memorials must recall the wonderful lines of Longfellow:
|"Lives of great men all remind us|
|We can make our lives sublime";|
to the architect a marvellous insight into the great possibilities offered by architecture; to the musician the ambition to create a great composition that will be worthy to echo throughout the lofty and beautiful aisles, whose music is so unconsciously based upon those laws of harmony which should exist in architecture, sculpture, painting, and literature.
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