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Title: Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2
Author: Turner, Dawson, 1775-1858
Language: English
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ACCOUNT OF A TOUR IN NORMANDY Volume II by Dawson Turner

LETTERS FROM NORMANDY,

ADDRESSED
TO THE REV. JAMES LAYTON, B.A.
OF
CATFIELD, NORFOLK.

UNDERTAKEN CHIEFLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATING THE ARCHITECTURAL
ANTIQUITIES OF THE DUCHY, WITH OBSERVATIONS ON ITS HISTORY, ON THE
COUNTRY, AND ON ITS INHABITANTS.

ILLUSTRATED
WITH NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS.

CONTENTS.

LETTER XIV.

Ducler--St. Georges de Bocherville--M. Langlois

LETTER XV.

Abbey of Jumieges--Its History--Architectural Details--Tombs of Agnes
Sorel and of the Enervez

LETTER XVI.

Gournay--Castle of Neufmarché--Castle and Church of Gisors

LETTER XVII.

Andelys--Fountain of Saint Clotilda--La Grande Maison--Château
Gaillard--Ecouis

LETTER XVIII.

Evreux--Cathedral--Abbey of St. Taurinus--Ancient History

LETTER XIX.

Vicinity of Evreux--Château de Navarre--Cocherel--Pont-Audemer--
Montfort-sur-Risle--Harfleur--Bourg-Achard--French Wedding


LETTER XX.

Moulineaux--Castle of Robert the Devil--Bourg-Theroude--Abbey of
Bec--Brionne

LETTER XXI.

Bernay--Broglie--Orbec--Lisieux--Cathedral--Ecclesiastical History

LETTER XXII.

Site and Ruins of the Capital of the Lexovii--History of
Lisieux--Monasteries of the Diocese--Ordericus Vitalis--M.
Dubois--Letter from the Princess Borghese

LETTER XXIII.

French Police--Ride from Lisieux to Caen--Cider--General Appearance
and Trade of Caen--English resident there

LETTER XXIV.

Historians of Caen--Towers and Fortifications--Château de la
Gendarmerie--Castle--Churches of St. Stephen, St. Nicholas, St.
Peter, St. John, and St. Michel de Vaucelles

LETTER XXV.

Royal Abbeys of the Holy Trinity and St. Stephen--Funeral of the
Conqueror, Exhumation of his Remains, and Destruction of his Monument

LETTER XXVI.

Palace of the Conqueror--Heraldic Tiles--Portraits of William and
Matilda--Museum--Public Library--University--Academy--Eminent
Men--History of Caen

LETTER XXVII.

Vieux--La Maladerie--Chesnut Timber--Caen Stone--History of
Bayeux--Tapestry

LETTER XXVIII.

Cathedral of Bayeux--Canon of Cambremer--Cope of St. Regnobert--Odo

LETTER XXIX.

Church and Castle of Creully--Falaise--Castle--Churches--Fair of
Guibray

LETTER XXX.

Rock and Chapel of St. Adrien--Pont-de-l'Arche--Priory of the two
Lovers--Abbey of Bonport--Louviers--Gaillon--Vernon

APPENDIX I.

APPENDIX II.

INDEX.



LIST OF PLATES.

Plate 26 Sculpture upon a capital in the Chapter-House at St. Georges

Plate 27 M. Langlois

Plate 28 Musicians, from the Chapter-House at St. Georges

Plate 29 Distant View of the Abbey of St. Jumieges

Plate 30 Ancient trefoil-headed Arches in ditto

Plate 31 Distant of the Castle of Gisors

Plate 32 Banded Pillar in the Church of ditto

Plate 33 Distant View of Château Gaillard

Plate 34 Gothic Puteal, at Evreux

Plate 35 Leaden Font at Bourg-Achard

Plate 36 Ancient Tomb in the Cathedral at Lisieux

Plate 37 Head-Dress of Females, as Caen

Plate 38 Tower in the _Château de Calix_, at ditto

Plate 39 Tower and Spire of St. Peter's Church, at ditto

Plate 40 Sculpture upon a Capital in ditto

Plate 41 Tower of St. John's Church, at Caen

Plate 42 Monastery of St. Stephen, at ditto

Plate 43 Fireplace in the Conqueror's Palace, at Ditto

Plate 44 Profile of M. Lamouroux

Plate 45 Figure from the Bayeux Tapestry

Plate 46 Sculpture at Bayeux

Plate 47 Ornaments in the Spandrils of the Arches in Bayeux Cathedral

Plate 48 Castle of Falaise

Plate 49 Elevation of the West Front of _La Délivrande_

Plate 50 Font at Magneville



LETTERS FROM NORMANDY.



LETTER XIV.

DUCLER--ST. GEORGES DE BOCHERVILLE--M. LANGLOIS.


(_Ducler, July_, 1818.)

You will look in vain for Ducler in the _livre des postes_; yet this
little town, which is out of the common road of the traveller, becomes
an interesting station to the antiquary, it being situated nearly
mid-way between two of the most important remains of ancient
ecclesiastical architecture in Normandy--the abbeys of St. Georges de
Bocherville and of Jumieges.--The accommodation afforded by the inns at
Bocherville and Jumieges, is but a poor substitute for the hospitality
of the suppressed abbeys; and, as even the antiquary must eat and
perhaps sleep, he who visits either St. George or the holy Virgin, will
do well to take his _fricandeau_ and his bed, at the place whence I am
writing.

At a period when the right bank of the Seine from Harfleur to Rouen
displayed an almost uninterrupted line or monastic buildings, Ducler
also boasted of a convent[1], which must have been of some importance,
as early as the middle of the seventh century.--King Childeric IInd,
granted the forest of Jumieges to the convent of the same name and that
of St. Vandrille; and St. Ouen was directed by the monarch to divide the
endowment between the two foundations. His award did not give
satisfaction to St. Philibert, the abbot of Jumieges, who maintained
that his house had not received a fair allotment. The proposition was
stoutly resisted by St. Lambert, abbot of St. Vandrille; and the dispute
was at length settled by the saints withdrawing their claims, and ceding
the surplus land to the abbey of Ducler. St. Denys was the patron of
this abbey; and to him also the present parochial church is dedicated:
it is of Norman architecture; the tower is surrounded by a row of
fantastic corbels; and a considerable quantity of painted glass yet
remains in the windows. The village itself (for it is nothing more than
a village, though honored by French geographers with the name of a
_bourg_), consists of a single row of houses, placed immediately under
the steep chalk cliff which borders the Seine. The face of the cliff is
also indented by excavations, in which the poorer inhabitants dwell,
almost like the Troglodytes of old. The situation of Ducler, and that of
the two neighboring abbeys, is delightful in summer and in fine weather.
In winter it must be cold and cheerless; for, besides being close to a
river of so great breadth, it looks upon a flat marshy shore, whence
exhalations copiously arise. The view from our chamber window this
morning presented volumes of mist rolling on with the stream. The tide
was setting in fast downwards; and the water glided along in silent
rapidity, involved in clouds.

The village of Bocherville, or, as it is more commonly called, of St.
Georges, the place borrowing its name from the patron saint of the
abbey, lies, at the distance of about two leagues from Rouen. The road
is exceedingly pleasing. Every turning presents a fresh view of the
river; while, on looking back, the city itself is added to the
landscape; and, as we approach, the abbey-church is seen towering upon
the eminence which it commands.

The church of St. Georges de Bocherville, called in old charters _de
Baucherville_, and in Latin _de Balcheri_ or _Baucheri villa_, was built
by Ralph de Tancarville, the preceptor of the Conqueror in his youth,
and his chamberlain in his maturer age. The descendants of the founder
were long the patrons and advocates of the monastery. The Tancarvilles,
names illustrious in Norman, no less than in English, story, continued
during many centuries to regard it as under their particular protection:
they enriched it with their donations whilst alive, and they selected it
as the spot to contain their remains when they should be no more.

The following portion of the charter, which puts us in possession of the
indisputable æra of the erection of the church, is preserved by
Mabillon[2]. It is the Conqueror who speaks.--"Radulfus, meus magister,
aulæque et cameræ princeps, instinctu divino tactus, ecclesiam
supradicti martyris Georgii, quæ erat parva, re-edificare a fundamentis
inchoavit, et ex proprio in modum crucis consummavit."

The Monarch and his Queen condescended to gratify a faithful and
favorite servant, by endowing his establishment. The corpse of the
sovereign himself was also brought hither from St. Gervais, by the monks
and clergy, in solemn procession, before it was carried to Caen[3] for
interment.

Ralph de Tancarville, however, was not fortunate in the selection of
the inmates whom he planted in his monastery. His son, in the reign of
Henry Ist, dismissed the canons for whom it was first founded, and
replaced them by a colony of monks from St. Evroul. Ordericus Vitalis,
himself of the fraternity of St. Evroul, commemorates and of course
praises the fact. Such changes are of frequent occurrence in
ecclesiastical history; and the apprehension of being rejected from an
opulent and well-endowed establishment, may occasionally have
contributed, by the warning example, to correct the irregularities of
other communities. A century later, the abbot of St. Georges was
compelled to appeal to the pope, in consequence of an attempt on the
part of his brethren at St. Evroul, to degrade his convent into a mere
cell, dependent upon theirs.--The chronicle of the abbey is barren of
events of general interest; nor do its thirty-one abbots appear to have
been men of whom there was much more to be said, than that they arrived
at their dignity on such a year, and quitted it on such another. Of the
monks, we are told that, in the fifteenth century, though their number
was only eight, the dignitaries included, the daily task allotted them
was greater than would in any of the most rigid establishments, in
latter days, have been imposed upon forty brethren in a week!

Inconsiderable as is the abbey, in an historical point of view, the
church of St. Georges de Bocherville is of singular importance, inasmuch
as it is one of the land-marks of Norman architecture. William, in his
charter, simply styles himself _Dux Normannorum_; it therefore was
granted a few years before the conquest. The building has suffered
little, either from the hands of the destroyers, or of those who do
still more mischief, the repairers; and it is certainly at once the most
genuine and the most magnificent specimen of the circular style, now
existing in Upper Normandy.--The west front is wholly of the time of the
founder, with the exception of the upper portion of the towers that
flank it on either side. In these are windows of nearly the earliest
pointed style; and they are probably of the same date as the
chapter-house, which was built in the latter part of the twelfth
century. The effect of the front is imposing: its general simplicity
contrasts well with the rich ornaments of the arched door-way, which is
divided into five systems of mouldings, all highly wrought, and
presenting almost every pattern commonly found in Norman buildings. A
label encircles the whole, the inner edge of which is indented into
obtuse pyramids, erroneously called lozenges. The capitals of the
columns supporting the arch are curiously sculptured: upon the second to
the left, on entering, are Adam and Eve, in the act of eating the
forbidden fruit; upon the opposite one, is represented the Flight into
Egypt. Normandy does not contain, I believe, a richer arch; but very
many indeed are to be seen in England, even in our village churches,
superior in decoration, though not, perhaps, in size; for this at St.
Georges is on a very large scale: on each side of it is a smaller blank
arch, with a single moulding and a single pillar. Two tiers of
circular-headed windows of equal size fill up the front.--The rest of
the exterior may be said to be precisely as it was left by the original
builders, excepting only the insertion of a pointed window near the
central tower.

The inside is at least equally free from modern alterations or
improvements. No other change whatever is to be traced in it than such
as were required to repair the injuries done it during the religious
wars; and these were wholly confined to a portion of the roof, and of
the upper part of the wall on the south side of the nave. The groined
roof, though posterior to the original date of the building, is perhaps
of the thirteenth century. The nave itself terminates towards the east
in a semi-circular apsis, according to the custom of the times; and
there, as well as at the opposite extremity of the building, it has a
double tier of windows, and has columns more massy than those in the
body of the church. The aisles end in straight lines; but, within, a
recess is made in the thickness of the wall, for the purpose of
admitting an altar. Both the transepts are divided within the church, at
a short distance from their extremities, into two stories, by a vaulted
roof of the same height as the triforium.--M. Le Prevost, who has very
kindly communicated to me the principal part of these details, has
observed the same to be the case in some other contemporary buildings in
Normandy. On the eastern side of each transept is a small chapel,
ending, like the choir, in a semi-circular apsis, which rises no higher
than the top of the basement story. A cable moulding runs round the
walls of the whole church within.--You and I, in our own country, have
often joined in admiring the massy grandeur of Norman architecture,
exemplified in the nave of Norwich cathedral: at St. Georges I was still
more impressed by the noble effect of semi-circular arcades, seen as
they are here on a still larger scale, and in their primitive state,
uninterrupted and undebased by subsequent additions.

On closer examination, the barbarous style of the sculpture forces
itself upon the eye. Towards the western end of the building the
capitals are comparatively plain: they become more elaborate on
approaching the choir. Some of them are imitations or modifications (and
it may even be said beautiful ones) of the Grecian model; but in general
they are strangely grotesque. Many represent quadrupeds, or dragons, or
birds, and commonly with two bodies, and a single head attached to any
part rather than the neck. On others is seen "the human form divine,"
here praying, there fighting; here devouring, there in the act of being
devoured; not uncommonly too the men, if men they must be called, are
disfigured by enormous heads with great flapping ears, or loll out an
endless length of tongue.--One is almost led to conceive that Schedel,
the compiler of the _Nuremberg Chronicle_, had a set of Norman capitals
before his eyes, when he published his inimitable series of monsters.
His "homines cynocephali," and others with "aures tam magnas ut totum
corpus contegant," and those again whose under lips serve them as
coverlids, may all find their prototypes, or nearly so, in the carvings
of St. Georges.

The most curious sculptures, however, in the church, are two square
bas-reliefs, opposite to one another, upon the spandrils of the arches,
in the walls that divide the extremities of the transepts into different
stories[4]. They are cut out of the solid stone, in the same manner as
the subjects on the block of a wood-engraving: one of these tablets
represents a prelate holding a crosier in his left hand, while the two
fore-fingers of the right are elevated in the act of giving the
blessing; the other contains two knights on horseback, jousting at a
tournament. They are armed with lance and buckler, and each of them has
his head covered with a pointed helmet, which terminates below in a
nasal, like the figures upon the Bayeux tapestry.--This coincidence is
interesting, as deciding a point of some moment towards establishing the
antiquity of that celebrated relic, by setting it beyond a doubt that
such helmets were used anterior to the conquest; for it is certain that
these basso-relievos are coeval with the building which contains them.

This church affords admirable subjects for the pencil. It should be
drawn in every part: all is entire; all original; the corbel-stones that
support the cornice on the exterior are perfect, as well along the choir
and nave, as upon the square central steeple: each of the sides of this
latter is ornamented with a double tier of circular arches. The
buttresses to the church are, like those of the chapel of St. Julien,
shallow and unbroken; and they are ranged, as there, between the
windows. At the east end alone they take the shape of small
semi-cylindrical columns of disproportionate length.

[Illustration: Sculpture upon a capital in the Chapter-House at St.
Georges]

The monastic buildings, which were probably erected about the year
1700, now serve as a manufactory. Between them and the church is
situated the chapter-house, which was built towards the end of the
twelfth century, at a period when the pointed architecture had already
begun to take place of the circular style. Its date is supplied in the
_Gallia Christiana_, where we read, that Victor, the second abbot,
"obiit longævus dierum, idibus Martii, seu XVIII calendas Aprilis, ante
annum 1211; sepultusque est sub tabulâ marmoreâ in capitulo quod
erexerat."

We found it in a most ruinous and dilapidated state, yet extremely
curious; indeed not less so than the church. Its front to the west
exhibits a row of three semi-circular arches, with an ornament on the
archivolt altogether different from what I recollect to have seen
elsewhere[5]. The inside corresponds in profuse decoration with this
entrance; but the arches in it are all pointed. An entablature of
beautiful workmanship is carried round the whole building, which is now
used as a mill: it was crowded with dirty children belonging to the
manufactory; and the confusion which prevailed, was far from being
favorable to the quiet lucubrations of an antiquary. In no part of the
church is the sculpture equally curious; and it is very interesting to
observe the progress which this branch of the art had made in so short a
time. Two or three of the capitals to the arches in front, seem to
include one continued action, taken apparently from the history of
Joshua. Another capital, of which I send you a sketch from the pencil of
M. Le Prevost, is a great curiosity. The group which it contains, is
nearly a duplicate of the supposed statue of William the Conqueror at
Caen. In all probability it represents some legendary story, though the
subject is not satisfactorily ascertained. Against the pillars that
support these arches, were affixed whole-length figures, or cariatides,
in alto-relievo. Three of them still remain, though much mutilated; two
women and a man. They hold in their hands labels, with inscriptions that
fall down to their feet in front. One of the females has her hair
disposed in long braided tresses, which reach on either side to her
girdle. In this respect, as well as in the style of the sculpture and
costume, there is a resemblance between these statues and those on the
portals at St. Denys and at Chartres, as well as those formerly on that
of St. Germain des Prés, at Paris, all which are figured by Montfaucon
in his _Monumens de la Monarchie Française_, and are supposed by him to
be of the times of the Merovingian or Carlovingian dynasty; but
subsequent writers have referred them to the eleventh or twelfth
century.

[Illustration: M. Langlois]

It was in this chapter-house that M. Langlois[6] found, among a heap of
stones, a most interesting capital, that had formerly been attached to a
double column. By his kindness, I inclose you two drawings of it. One of
them shews it in its entire form as a capital; the other exhibits the
bas-relief carved upon it[7].

[Illustration: Bas-relief on capital]

The various injuries sustained by the building, render it impossible to
ascertain the spot which this capital originally occupied; but M. Le
Prevost supposes that it belonged to some gate of the cloister, which is
now destroyed. A more curious series of musical instruments is, perhaps,
no where to be found; and it is a subject upon which authors in general
are peculiarly unsatisfactory. I am told that, in an old French romance,
the names of upwards of twenty are enumerated, whose forms and nature
are quite unknown at the present day; while, on the other hand, we are
all of us aware that painting and sculpture supply figures of many, for
which it would be extremely difficult or impossible to find names[8].

[Illustration: Musicians, from the Chapter-House at St. Georges]

The chapter-house, previously to the revolution, contained a
tomb-stone[9], uninscribed and exhibiting only a sculptured sword, under
which it was supposed that either Ralph de Tancarville himself, the
founder of the abbey, or his grandson, William, lay interred. It is of
the latter that the records of the monastery tell, how, on the fifth day
after he girded himself with the military belt, he came to the church,
and deposited his sword upon the altar, and subsequently redeemed it by
various donations, and by confirming to the monks their right to the
several benefices in his domain, which had been ceded to them by his
grandfather.--Here then, I quit you: in a few days I shall have paid my
devotions at the shrine of Jumieges:--meanwhile, in the language of the
writers of the elder day, I close this sheet with.

  EXPLICIT FELICITER Stus. GEORGIUS DE BOCHERVILLA;
  DEO GRATIAS.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II. p. 266. VOL. II.]

[Footnote 2: _Ann. Benedict._ III. p. 674, 675.--This charter was not
among the archives of the monastery; but I am informed by M. Le Prevost,
that several are still in existence, most of them granted by the family
of the founder, but some by Kings of England. One of the latter is by
Richard Coeur de Lion, and his seal of red wax still remains appended to
it, in fine preservation. The seal, on one side, represents the king
seated upon his throne, with a pointed beard, having his crown on his
head, and a sword in one hand, and sceptre in the other: on the other
side, he is on horseback, with his head covered with a cylindrical
helmet, surmounted with a very remarkable crest, in the form of a fan:
on his shield are plainly distinguishable the three lions of
England.--From among the charters granted by the Tancarville family, M.
Le Prevost has sent me copies of two which have never yet been printed;
but which appear to deserve insertion here. One is from Lucy, daughter
of William de Tancarville, and grand-daughter of Ralph, the
chamberlain.--"Notum sit Ricardo de Vernon and Willelmo Camerario de
Tancarvilla, et veteribus et juvenibus, quòd Lucia, filia Willelmi,
Camerarii de Tancarvilla, pro animâ suâ et pro animabus antecessorum
suorum, ad ecclesiam Sti. Georgii de Bauchervilla dedit molendinum de
Waldinivilla, quod est subter aliud molendinum et molendinum de
Waldinval, liberè et quietè, et insupèr ecclesiam de Seonvilla, salvâ
elemosinâ Roberti sacerdotis in vitâ suâ, si dignus est habendi eam. Et
post mortem Willelmi capellani sui de Sancto Flocello, ad ecclesiam
suprà dictam dedit decimam de vavassoribus de Seolvilla, quam dedit in
elemosinâ habendam Willelmo capellano totâ vitâ bene et in pace et
securè, et decimas de custodiis totius terre sue que est in
Constantino.--Ego Lucia do hanc elemosinam pro animâ meâ et pro
antecessoribus ad ecclesiam Sanctii Georgii; et qui auferet ab eâ et
auferetur ab eo regnum Dei. Amen.--Testibus, Ricardo de Haia et Matille
uxore suâ et Nigello de Chetilivilla et hominibus de Sancto
Flocello."--To this is added, in a smaller hand-writing, probably the
lady's own autograph, the following sentence:--"Et precor vos quòd
ecclesia Sancti Georgii non decrescatur in tempore vestro pro Dei amore
et meo de elemosinis patris mei neque de meis."--There is still farther
subjoined, in a different hand-writing, and in a much paler ink:--"Hæc
omnia Ricardus de Vernon libenter concessit."--The other charter was
granted by William the Younger, and details a curious custom
occasionally observed in the middle ages, in making donations:--

"Universis sancte ecclesie fidelibus. Willelmus junior camerarius in
domino salutem. Notum sit presentibus et futuris, quod ego Willelmus
junior camerarius quinto die post susceptum militie cingulum veni apud
Sanctum Georgium, ibique cum honorificâ processione suscepérunt me Abbas
Ludovicus et monachi cum magno gaudio letantes; et ibi obtuli gladium
meum super altare Sti. Georgii, et tunc consilio et admonitione sociorum
meorum nobilium virorum qui mecum venerant, scilicet Roberti des Is,
dapiferi mei, et Rogerii de Calli, et Johannis de Lunda, et aliorum
plurium, redemi gladium meum per dona et confirmationem plurium
ecclesiarum, quas ipso die concessi eisdem meo dono, et, sicut avus
meus, fundator illius monasterii dederat, confirmavi; scilicet ecclesiam
de Abetot et ecclesiam de Espretot cum decimâ, et ecclesiam Sancti
Romani cum duabus partibus decime, et similitèr ecclesiam de
Tibermaisnil: confirmavi etiam dona militum meorum et amicorum quæ
dederunt ipso die abbatie in perpetuam elemosynam, Rogerius de Calli
dedit XX Sot. annuatìm; Robertus de Mortùomari X Sot.; Robertus des Is X
solidos; Johannes de Lunda, cognatus meus X Sot.; Andreas de Bosemuneel
X solidos, vel decimam de una carrucatura terre ... Humfridus de
Willerio X solid.; Willelmus de Bodevilla X acras terre; Garinus de Mois
V solid.; Adam de Mirevilla X solid.; Robert. de Fuschennis X solid.;
Lesra de Drumara I acram terre."]

[Footnote 3: The following are the words of Ordericus Vitalis, upon the
subject:

"Religiosi tandem viri, Clerici et Monachi, collectis viribus et intimis
sensibus, processionem ordinaverunt: honestè induti, crucibus et
thuribus, ad Sanctum Georgium processerunt, et animam Regis, secundum
morem sanctæ Christianitatis Deo commendaverunt."--_Duchesne, Scriptores
Normanni_, p. 661.]

[Footnote 4: See _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, t.
10. f. A. and B.]

[Footnote 5: See _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, t.
11. last figure.]

[Footnote 6: My readers will join with me, I trust, in thanks to M.
Langlois, for his drawings; and will not be sorry to see, accompanying
his sketch of the bas-relief, a spirited one of himself. Normandy does
not contain a more ardent admirer of her antiquities, or one to whom she
is more indebted for investigating, drawing, and publishing them. But,
to the disgrace of Rouen, his labors are not rewarded. All the
obstacles, however opposed by the "durum, pauperies, opprobium," have
not been able to check his independent mind: he holds on his course in
the illustration of the true Norman remains; and to any antiquary who
visits this country, I can promise a great pleasure in the examination
of his port-folio.]

[Footnote 7: Its size at top is fourteen inches and a half, by six
inches and two-thirds.]

[Footnote 8: This difficulty, in the present instance, has yielded to
the extensive researches of Mr. Douce, who has afforded assistance to
me, which, perhaps, no other antiquary could have bestowed. He has
unravelled all the mysteries of minstrelsy with his usual ability; and I
give the information in his own words, only observing that the numbers
begin from the left.--"No. 1 was called the _violl_, corresponding with
our _Viol de Gamba_. As this was a larger violin, though the sculptor
has not duly expressed its comparative bulk, I conceive it was either
used as a tenor or base, being perfectly satisfied, in spite of certain
doubts on the subject, that counterpoint was known in the middle
ages.--No. 2 is the largest instrument of the kind that I have ever
seen, and it seems correctly given, from one part of it resting on the
figure, No. 3, to support it. Twiss mentions one that he saw sculptured
on the cathedral, at Toro, five feet long. The proper name of it is the
_rote_, so called from the internal wheel or cylinder, turned by a
winch, which caused the _bourdon_, whilst the performer stopped the
notes on the strings with his fingers. This instrument has been very
ignorantly termed a _vielle_, and yet continues to be so called in
France. It is the modern Savoyard _hurdy-gurdy_, as we still more
improperly term it; for the hurdy-gurdy is quite a different instrument.
In later times, the _rote_ appears to have lost its rank in concert, and
was called the _beggar's lyre_.--No. 4 is evidently the _syrinx_, or
_Pan's pipe_, which has been revived with so much success in the streets
of London.--Twiss shewed me one forty years ago, that he got in the
south of France, where they were then very common.--No. 5 is an
instrument for which I can find no name, nor can I immediately call to
memory any other representation of it. It has some resemblance to the
old Welsh fiddle or _crowth_; but, as a bow is wanting, it must have
been played with the fingers; and I think the performer's left hand in
the sculpture does seem to be stopping the strings on the upper part, or
neck, a portion of which has been probably broken off.--I suspect it to
be the old _mandore_, whence the more modern _mandolin_. The rotundity
of the sounding-board may warrant this conjecture.--No. 6 was called the
_psalterion_, and is of very great antiquity, (I mean as to the middle
ages).--Its form was very diversified, and frequently triangular. It was
played with a _plectrum_, which the performer holds in his right
hand.--No. 7 is the _dulcimer_, which is very common in sculpture. This
instrument appears, as in the present case, to have been sometimes
played with the fingers only, and sometimes with a _plectrum_.--No. 8 is
the real _vielle_, or _violin_, of very common occurrence, and very
ancient.--No. 9 is a female tumbler, or _tomllesterre_, as Chaucer calls
them. This profession, so far as we can depend on ancient
representation, appears to have exclusively belonged to women.--No. 10.
A _harp_ played with a _plectrum_, and, perhaps, also with the left hand
occasionally.--No. 11. The figure before the suspended _bells_ has had a
hammer in each hand with which to strike them, and the opposite, and
last, person, who plays in concert with him, has probably had a harp, as
is the case in an ancient manuscript psalter illumination that I have,
prefixed to the psalm _Exaltate Deo_.--I have seen these bells suspended
(in illumination to the above psalm) to a very elegant Gothic frame,
ascending like the upper part of a modern harp."]

[Footnote 9: _Gallia Christiana_, XI. p. 270.]

[Illustration: Distant View of the Abbey of St. Jumieges]



LETTER XV.

ABBEY OF JUMIEGES--ITS HISTORY--ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS--TOMBS OF AGNES
SOREL AND OF THE ENERVEZ.


(_Ducler, July_, 1818)

The country between Ducler and Jumieges is of much the same character
with that through which we had already travelled from Rouen; the road
sometimes coasting the Seine, and sometimes passing through a
well-wooded country, pleasantly intermingled with corn-fields. In its
general appearance, this district bears a near resemblance to an English
landscape; more so, indeed, than in any other part of Normandy, where
the features of the scenery are upon a larger scale.

The lofty towers of the abbey of Jumieges are conspicuous from afar: the
stone of which they are built is peculiarly white; and at a distance
scarcely any signs of decay or dilapidation are visible. On a nearer
approach, however, the Vandalism of the modern French appears in full
activity. For the pitiful value of the materials, this noble edifice is
doomed to destruction. The arched roof is beaten in; and the choir is
nearly levelled with the ground. Two cart-loads of wrought stones were
carried away, while we were there; and the workmen were busily employed
in its demolition. The greater part, too, of the mischief, appears
recent: the fractures of the walls are fresh and sharp; and the
fresco-paintings are unchanged.--Had the proud, abbatial structure but
been allowed to have existed as the parochial church of the village,
the edifice might have stood for ages; but the French are miserably
deficient in proper feeling; and neither the historical recollections
connected with Jumieges, nor its importance as a monument of
architectural antiquity, could redeem it from their tasteless
selfishness. In a few years, its very ruins will have perished; and not
a wreck will remain of this ancient sanctuary of religion and of
learning.

It was in the year 654 or 655, that St. Philibert, second abbot of
Rebais, in the diocese of Meaux, founded this monastery. He selected the
site upon which the present building stands, a delightful situation, in
a peninsula on the right bank of the Seine. This peninsula, and the
territory extending from Ducler to Caudebec, had been granted to him for
this purpose by Clovis IInd, or, more properly speaking, by Bathilda,
his queen; for the whole administration of affairs was in reality under
her guidance, though the reins of state were nominally held by her
feeble husband. The territory[10] had previously borne the name of
Jumieges, or, in Latin, Gemeticum, a term whose origin has puzzled
etymologists. Those who hold it disgraceful to be ever at a loss on
points of this nature, and who prefer displaying a learned to an
unlearned ignorance, derive Gemeticum, either from _gemitus_, because,
"pro suis offensis illìc gemunt, qui in flammis ultricibus non erunt
gemituri;" or from _gemma_, conformably to the following distich,--


   "Gemmeticum siquidem a gemmâ dixere priores;
    Quòd reliquis gemmæ, præcelleret instar Eoæ."


The ground upon which the abbey was erected was previously occupied by
an ancient encampment. The author of the Life of St. Philibert, who
mentions this circumstance, has also preserved a description of the
original church. These authentic accounts of edifices of remote date,
which frequently occur in hagiology, are of great value in the history
of the arts[11].--The bounty of the queen was well employed by the
saint; and the cruciform church, with chapels, and altars, and shrines,
and oratories, on either side, and with its high altar hallowed by
relics, and decked out with gold and silver and precious stones, shews
how faithfully the catholics, in their religious edifices of the present
day, have adhered to the models of the early, if not the primitive, ages
of the church.

Writers of the same period record two facts in relation to Jumieges,
which are of some interest as points of natural history.--Vines were
then commonly cultivated in this place and neighborhood;--and fishes of
so great a size, that we cannot but suppose they must have been whales,
frequently came up the Seine, and were caught under the walls of the
monastery.--The growth of the vine is abundantly proved: it is not only
related by various monkish historians, one of whom, an anonymous writer,
quoted by Mabillon, in the _Acta Sanctorum ordinis Sancti Benedicti_,
says, speaking of Jumieges, "hinc vinearum abundant botryones, qui in
turgentibus gemmis lucentes rutilant in Falernis;" but even a charter
of so late a date as the year 1472, expressly terms a large tract of
land belonging to the convent, the vineyard[12].--The existence of the
English monastic vineyards has been much controverted, but not
conclusively. Whether these instances of the northern growth of the
vine, as a wine-making plant, do or do not bear upon the question of the
supposed refrigeration of our climate by the increase of the Polar ice,
must be left to the determination of others.--The whale-fishery of
Jumieges rests upon the single authority of the _Gesta Sancti
Philiberti_: the author admits, indeed, that it is a strange thing, "et
a sæculo inauditum;" but still he speaks of it as a fact that has fallen
under his own knowledge, that the monks, by means of hooks, nets, and
boats, catch sea-fish[13], fifty feet in length, which at once supply
their table with food, and their lamps with oil.

The number of holy men who originally accompanied St. Philibert to his
new abbey, was only seventy; but they increased with surprising
rapidity; insomuch, that his successor, St. Aicadras, who received the
pastoral staff, after a lapse of little more than thirty years from the
foundation of Jumieges, found himself at the head of nine hundred monks,
besides fifteen hundred attendants and dependants of various
denominations.

During all these early ages, the monastery of Jumieges continued to be
accounted one of the most celebrated religious houses in France. Its
abbots are repeatedly mentioned in history, as enjoying the confidence
of sovereigns, and as charged with important missions. In their number,
was Hugh, grandson of Pépin le Bref, or, according to other writers, of
Charlemagne. Here also, Tassilo, Duke of Bavaria, and his son, Theodo,
were compelled to immure themselves, after the emperor had deposed them;
whilst Anstruda, daughter of Tassilo, was doomed to share his imperial
bed.

An æra of misfortune began with the arrival of the Normans. It was in
May, in the year 841, that these dreadful invaders first penetrated as
far as Rouen, marking their track by devastation. On their retreat,
which almost immediately succeeded, they set fire to Jumieges, as well
as to the capital. In their second invasion, under Ironside and
Hastings, the "fury of the Normans" was poured out upon Neustria; and,
during their inroad, they levelled Jumieges with the ground[14]. But the
monks saved themselves: they dispersed: one fled as far as St. Gall;
others found shelter in the royal abbey of St. Denis; the greater part
re-assembled in a domain of their own, called Haspres, in Flanders,
whither they carried with them the bodies of St. Aicadrus and St. Hugh:
there too they resided till the conversion of their enemies to
Christianity.

The victorious fleet of Rollo first sailed in triumph up the Seine, in
the year 876. According to three monkish historians, Dudo of St.
Quintin, William of Jumieges, and Matthew of Westminster, the chieftain
venerated the sanctity of Jumieges, and deposited in the chapel of St.
Vast, the corpse of the holy virgin, Hameltruda, whom he had brought
from Britain. They also tell us that, on the sixth day after his
baptism, he made a donation of some lands to this monastery.--The
details, however, of the circumstances connected with the first,
diminish its credibility; and Jumieges, then desolate, could scarcely
contain a community capable of accepting the donation. But under the
reign of the son and successor of Rollo, the abbey of Jumieges once more
rose from its ashes. Baldwin and Gundwin, two of the monks who had fled
to Haspres, returned to explore the ruins of the abbey: they determined
to seclude themselves amidst its fire-scathed walls, and to devote their
lives to piety and toil.--In pursuing the deer, the Duke chanced to
wander to Jumieges, and he there beheld the monks employed in clearing
the ground. He listened with patience to their narration; but when they
invited him to partake of their humble fare, barley-bread and water, he
turned from them with disdain. It chanced, however, that immediately
afterwards, he encountered in the forest a boar of enormous size. The
beast unhorsed him, and he was in danger of death. The peril he regarded
as a judgment from heaven; and, as an expiation for his folly, he
rebuilt the monastery. So thoroughly, however, had the Normans
_demonachised_ Neustria, that William Longa Spatha was compelled to
people the abbey with a colony from Poitou; and thence came twelve
monks, headed by Abbot Martin, whom the duke installed in his office in
the year 930. William himself also desired to take refuge from the
fatigues of government in the retirement of the monastery; and though
dissuaded by Abbot Martin, who reminded him that Richard, his infant,
son still needed his care, he did not renounce his intention:--but his
life and his reign were soon ended by treachery.

This second æra of the prosperity of Jumieges was extremely short; for
the prefect, whom Louis d'Outremer, King of France, placed in command at
Rouen, when he seized upon the young Duke Richard, pulled down the
walls of this and of all the other monasteries on the banks of the
Seine, to assist towards the reparation and embellishment of the seat of
his government. But from that time forward the tide of monastic affairs
flowed in one even course of prosperity; though the present abbatial
church was not begun till the time of Abbot Robert, the second of that
name, who was elected in 1037. By him the first stone of the foundation
was laid, three years after his advancement to the dignity; but he held
his office only till 1043, when Edward the Confessor invited him to
England, and immediately afterwards promoted him to the Bishopric of
London.--Godfrey, his successor at Jumieges, was a man conversant with
architecture, and earnest in the promotion of learning. In purchasing
books and in causing them to be transcribed, he spared neither pains nor
expence. The records of the monastery contain a curious precept, in
which he directs that prayers should be offered up annually upon a
certain day, "pro illis qui dederunt et fecerunt libros."--The inmates
of Jumieges continued, however, to increase in number; and the revenues
of the abbey would not have been adequate to defray the expences of the
new building, had not Abbot Robert, who, in 1050, had been translated to
the see of Canterbury, supplied the deficiency by his munificence, and,
as long as he continued to be an English prelate, remitted the surplus
of his revenues to the Norman abbey. He held his archiepiscopal dignity
only one year, at the expiration of which he was banished from England:
he then retired to Jumieges, where he died the following spring, and was
buried in the choir of the church which he had begun to raise. At his
death, the church had neither nave nor windows; and the whole edifice
was not completed till November, in the year 1066. In the following July
the dedication took place. Maurilius, Archbishop of Rouen, officiated,
in great pomp, assisted by all the prelates of the duchy; and William,
then just returned from the conquest of England, honored the ceremony
with his presence.

I have dwelt upon the early history of this monastery, because Normandy
scarcely furnishes another of greater interest. In the _Neustria Pia_,
Jumieges fills nearly seventy closely-printed folio pages of that
curious and entertaining, though credulous, work.--What remains to be
told of its annals is little more than a series of dates touching the
erection of different parts of the building: these, however, are worth
preserving, so long as any portion of the noble church is permitted to
have existence, and so long as drawings and engravings continue to
perpetuate the remembrance of its details.

The choir and extremities of the transept, all of pointed architecture,
are supposed to have been rebuilt in 1278.--The Lady-Chapel was an
addition of the year 1326.--The abbey suffered materially during the
wars between England and France, in the reigns of our Henry IVth and
Henry Vth: its situation exposed it to be repeatedly pillaged by the
contending parties; and, were it not that the massy Norman architecture
sufficiently indicates the true date, and that we know our neighbors'
habit of applying large words to small matters, we might even infer that
it was then destroyed as effectually as it had been by Ironside: the
expression, "lamentabilitèr desolata, diffracta et annihilata," could
scarcely convey any meaning short of utter ruin, except to the ears of
one who had been told that a religious edifice was actually _abimé_
during the revolution, though he saw it at the same moment standing
before him, and apparently uninjured.--The arched roof of the choir
received a complete repair in 1535: that of the nave, which was also in
a very bad state, underwent the same process in 1688; at the same time,
the slender columns that support the cornice were replaced with new
ones, and the symbols of the Evangelists were inserted in the upper part
of the walls. These reparations are managed with a singular perception
of propriety; and though the manner of the sculpture in the symbolic
figures, is not that of a Gothic artist, yet they are most appropriate,
and harmonize admirably with the building.

[Illustration: Symbols of the Evangelists]

You must excuse me that, now I am upon this subject, I venture to
"travel somewhat out of the record," for the sake of proposing to you a
difficulty which has long puzzled me:--the connection which Catholic
divines find between St. Luke's Bull and the word Zecharias;--for it
appears, by the following distich from the Rhenish Testament, that some
such cause leads them to regard this symbol as peculiarly appropriate to
the third Evangelist:--


    "Effigies vituli, Luca, tibi convenit; extat
    Zacariæ in scriptis mentio prima tuis."--


[Illustration: Figures of effigies]

An antiquary might be perplexed by these figures, the drawings whereof I
now send you. He would find it impossible to suppose the
exquisitely-sculptured images and the slender shafts with richly-wrought
capitals, of the same date as the solid simple piers and arches all
around; and yet the stone is so entirely the same, and the workmanship
is so well united, that it would require an experienced eye to trace the
junction. In the middle of the sixteenth century, the central tower was
also found to need reparation; and the church, upon this occasion,
sustained a lasting injury, in the loss of its original spire, which was
of lead, and of great height and beauty. It was taken down, under
pretence of its insecurity; but in reality the monks only wished to get
the metal. This happened in 1557, under Gabriel le Veneur, Bishop of
Evreux, the then abbot. Five years afterwards the ravages of the
Huguenots succeeded: the injury done to Jumieges by these sectaries, was
estimated at eighty thousand francs; and the library and records of the
convent perished in the devastation.

The western front of the church still remains almost perfect; and it is
most singular. It consists, of three distinct parts; the central
division being nearly of equal width to the other two conjointly, and
projecting considerably beyond them. The character of the whole is
simplicity: the circular door-way is comparatively small, and entirely
without ornament, except a pillar on each side; the six circular-headed
windows over the entrance, disposed in a double row, are equally plain.
Immediately above the upper tier of windows, is a projecting chequered
cornice; and, still higher, where the gable assumes a triangular form,
are three lancet-shaped apertures, so extremely narrow, that they
resemble the loop-holes of a dungeon rather than the windows of a
church. In each of the lateral compartments was likewise originally a
door-way, and above it a single window, all of the same Norman style,
but all now blocked up. These compartments are surmounted with short
towers, capped with conical spires. The towers appear from their style
and masonry to be nearly coeval with the lower part of the building,
though not altogether so: the southern is somewhat the most modern. They
are, however, so entirely dissimilar in plan from the rest of the front,
that we cannot readily admit that they are a portion of the original
design. Nor are they even like to each other. Both of them are square at
their bases, and preserve this form to a sufficient height to admit of
two tiers of narrow windows, separated from each other by little more
than a simple string-course. Above these windows both become octagon,
and continue so to the top; but in a very different manner. The northern
one has obtuse angles, imperfectly defined; the southern has four
projecting buttresses and four windows, alternating with each other. The
form of the windows and their arrangement, afford farther marks of
distinction. The octagon part is in both turrets longer than the square,
but, like it, divided into two stories.

The central tower of the church, which was large and square, is now
reduced to a fragment: three of its sides are gone; the western remains
sufficiently perfect to shew what the whole was when entire. It
contained a double tier of arches, the lower consisting of two, which
were large and simple, the upper of three, divided by central shafts and
masonry, so that each formed a double window. All of them were
circular-headed, but so far differed from the architecture of the nave,
that they had side-pillars with capitals.

The church[15] was entered by a long narrow porch.--The nave is a fine
specimen of Norman architecture, but is remarkable in that style for one
striking peculiarity, that the eight wide circular arches on either
side, which separate it from the aisles, are alternately supported by
round pillars and square piers; the latter having semi-cylindrical
columns applied to each of their sides. The capitals are ornamented with
rude volutes. The arches in the triforium are of nearly the same width
as those below, but considerably less in height. There is no archivolt
or moulding or ornament. Above these there is only one row of windows,
which, like all the rest, are semi-circular headed; but they have
neither angular pillars, nor mouldings, nor mullions. These windows are
rather narrow externally, but within the opening enlarges considerably.
The windows in the upper and lower tiers stand singly: in the
intermediate row they are disposed by threes, the central one separated
from the other two by a single column.--The inside of the nave is
striking from its simplicity: it is wholly of the eleventh century,
except the reparations already mentioned, which were made in 1688.--The
choir and Lady-Chapel are nearly demolished; and only some fragments of
them are now standing: they were of pointed architecture, and posterior
to the nave by at least two centuries.

A smaller church, dedicated to St. Peter, stood near the principal one,
with which it was connected by means of a corridor of pointed arches.
There are other instances of two churches being erected within the
precincts of one abbey, as at Bury St. Edmund's. St. Peter's was a
building at least of equal antiquity with the great church. But it had
undergone such alterations in the year 1334, during the prelacy of the
twenty-seventh abbot, William Gemblet, that little of the original
structure remained. He demolished nearly the whole of the nave, for the
sake of adding uniformity to the cloisters of the monastery.--M. Le
Prevost, however, is of opinion, that the ruins of Jumieges contain
nothing more interesting to an antiquary than the west end of the
portion of building, which subsequently served as the nave. It is a mass
of flint-work; and he considers it as having belonged to the church that
existed before the incursion of the Normans.

The cloisters, which stood to the south-west of St. Peter's, are now
almost wholly destroyed.--To the west of them is a large hall or
gallery, known by the name of _la Salle des Chevaliers_. It is entered
by two porches, one towards the north-west, the other towards the
south-west[16], both full of architectural beauty and curiosity. I know
of no authority for their date; but, from the great variety and richness
of their ornaments, and the elegant taste displayed in the arrangement
of these, I should suppose them to have been erected during the latter
half of the twelfth century: one of the arches is unquestionably
pointed, though the cusp of the arch is very obtuse. The slight sketch
which accompanies this letter, represents a fragment of the inner
door-way of the south-west porch, and may enable you to form your own
judgment upon the subject.

[Illustration: Sketch of fragment of inner door-way]

The stones immediately over the entrance are joggled into each other,
the key-stone having a joggle on either side.--I have not observed this
peculiarity in any other specimen of Norman masonry.--Between these
porches apartments, along the interior of which runs a cornice,
supported by grotesque corbels, and under it a row of windows, now
principally blocked up, disposed in triplets, a trefoil-headed window
being placed between two that are semi-circular, as seen in the
accompanying drawing. The date of the origin of the trefoil-headed arch
has been much disputed: these perhaps are some of the earliest, and they
are unquestionably coeval with the building.

[Illustration: Ancient trefoil-headed Arches in Abbey of Jumieges]

The stupid and disgraceful barbarism, which is now employing itself in
the ruins of Jumieges, has long since annihilated the invaluable
monuments which it contained.--In the Lady-Chapel of the conventual
church was buried the heart of the celebrated Agnes Sorel, mistress of
Charles VIIth, who died at Mesnil, about a league from this abbey,
during the time when her royal lover was residing here.--Her death was
generally attributed to poison; nor did the people hesitate in
whispering that the fatal potion was administered by order of the Queen.
Her son, the profligate tyrant Louis XIth, detested his father's
concubine; and once, forgetting his dignity and his manhood, he struck
the _Dame de Beauté_.--The statue placed upon the mausoleum represented
Agnes kneeling and offering her heart to the virgin; but this effigy had
been removed before the late troubles: a heart of white marble, which
was at the foot of the tomb, had also disappeared. According to the
annals of the abbey, they were destroyed by the Huguenots. The tomb
itself, with various brasses inlaid upon it, remained undisturbed till
the period of the revolution, when the whole memorial was removed, and
even her remains were not suffered to rest in peace. The slab of black
marble which covered them, and which bore upon its edges the French
inscription to her memory, is still in existence; though it has changed
its place and destination. The barbarians who pillaged the convent sold
it with the rest of the plunder; and it now serves as a threshold to a
house near the Mont aux Malades, at Rouen[17]. The inscription, which is
cut in very elegant Gothic characters, is as follows: a part of it is,
however, at present hidden by its position:--"Cy gist Agnes Surelle,
noble damoiselle, en son vivant Dame de Roqueferriere, de Beaulté,
d'Yssouldun, et de Vernon sur Seine, piteuse entre toutes gens, qui de
ses biens donnoit largement aux gens d'église et aux pauvres; qui
trespassa le neuvieme jour de Fevrier, l'an de grace 1449.--Priez Dieu
pour elle."--It is justly to be regretted, that some pains are not taken
for the preservation of this relic, which even now would be an ornament
to the cathedral.--The manor-house at Mesnil, where the fair lady died,
still retains its chimneys of the fifteenth century; and ancient
paintings are discernible on the walls.

The monument in the church of St. Peter, generally known by the name of
_le tombeau des énervez_, was of still greater singularity. It was an
altar-tomb, raised about two feet above the pavement; and on the slabs
were carved whole-length figures, in alto-relievo, of two boys, each
about sixteen years of age, in rich attire, and ornamented with diadems,
broaches, and girdles, all copiously studded with precious stones.
Various traditions concerning this monument are recorded by authors, and
particularly at great length by Father du Plessis[18].--The nameless
princes, for such the splendor of their garb denotes them to have been,
were considered, according to a tradition which prevailed from very
early times, as the sons of Clovis and Bathilda, who, in the absence of
their father, were guilty of revolt, and were punished by being
hamstrung; for this is the meaning of the word _énervez_.--According to
this tradition, the monks, in the thirteenth century, caused the
monument to be ornamented with golden fleurs-de-lys, and added the
following epitaph:--


    "Hic in honore Dei requiescit stirps Clodovei,
        Patris bellica gens, bella salutis agens.
     Ad votum matris Bathildis poenituere,
        Scelere pro proprio, proque labore patris."--


Three other lines, preserved by Yepez, in his chronicle, refer to the
same tale, but accuse the princes of a crime of deeper die than mere
rebellion against parental authority:--


    "Conjugis est ultus probrum; nam in vincula tradit
     Crudeles natos, pius impietate, simulque
     Et duras pater, o Clodovee, piusque maritus."


Mabillon supposed the tomb to have been erected for Tassilo and his son;
but I do not know how this conjecture is to be reconciled to the
appearance of the statues, both representing persons of equal age. An
examination of the grave at the time of the destruction of the abbey,
might have afforded some interesting results; though, had any discovery
been made, it would have been but a poor reward for the desolation which
facilitated the research.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 10: Immediately on the opposite side of the Seine, are
extensive turf-bogs, which are of rare occurrence in this part of
France; and in them grows the _Andromeda polifolia_, a plant that seems
hitherto to have been discovered no where else in the kingdom.]

[Footnote 11: The following particulars relative to the territory of
Jumieges, as well as the church, are curious: they are copied from an
extract from the Life of St. Philibert, as given in the _Neustria Pia_,
p. 262.--"Congruè sanè locus ille _Gemmeticus_ est dictus, quippe qui
instar gemmarum multivario sit decore conspicuus. Videas illic arborum
comas sylvestrium, multigenos arborum fructus, solum fertile, prata
virentia, hortorum flores suaveolentes, bortis gravidas vîtes, humum
undique cinctam aquis, pascua pecorum uberrima, loca venationi apta,
avium cantu circumsonantia. Sequana fluvius illic cernitur late ambiens:
et deindè suo pergeus cursu, uno duntaxat commeantibus aditu relicto.
Ibi mare increscens nunc eructat: nunc in sinum suum revolutum, navium
fert compendia, commercia plurimorum. Nihil illic deest; quicquid
vehiculis pedestribus, et equestribus plaustris, et ratibus
subministratur, abunde suppetit. Illic castrum condidere antiqui; ibi
stant, in acie, illustria castra Dei: ibi præ desiderio paradisi
suspirantes gemunt, quibus postea opus non erit, in flammis ultricibus,
nihil profuturos edere gemitus. Ibi denique almus sacerdos, Philibertus,
multiplici est laude et prædicatione efferendus: qui instar Patriarchæ
Jacob, in animabus septuaginta, demigravit in hanc eremum, addito grege
septemplici, propter septiformem gratiam spiritus sancti. Ibi enim eius
prudentia construxit mœnia quadrata, turrita mole surgentia; claustra
excipiendis adventantibus mirè opportuna. In his domus alma fulget;
habitatoribus digna. Ab Euro surgit Ecclesia, crucis effigie, cujus
verticem obtinet Beatissima Virgo Maria; Altare est ante faciem lectuli,
cum Dente sanctiss, patris _Philiberti_, pictum gemmarum luminibus, auro
argentoque comptum: ab utroque latere, _Joannis_ et _Columbani_ Aræ dant
gloriam Deo; adherent verò a Boreâ, _Dyonisii_ Martyris, et _Germani_
Confessoris, ædiculæ; in dextrâ domus parte, sacellum nobile extat _S.
Petri_; a latere habens _S. Martini_ oratorium. Ad Austrum est S. Viri
cellula, et petris habens margines; saxis cinguntur claustra camerata:
is decor cunctorum animos oblectans, eum inundantibus aquis, geminus
vergit ad Austrum. Habet autem ipsa domus in longum pedes ducentos
nonaginta, in latum quinquaginta: singulis legere volentibus lucem
transmittunt fenestræ vitreæ: subtus habet geminas ædes, alteras
condendis vinis, alteras cibis apparandis accommodatas."]

[Footnote 12: Allusions to the cultivation of the vine at Jumieges, as
then commonly practised, may be found in many other public documents of
the fifteenth century: but we may come yet nearer our own time; for we
know that, in the year 1500, there was still a vineyard in the hamlet of
Conihoult, a dependence upon Jumieges, and that the wine called _vin de
Conihoult_, is expressly mentioned among the articles of which the
charitable donations of the monastery consisted.--We are told, too, that
at least eighteen or twenty acres, belonging to the grounds of the abbey
itself, were used as a vineyard as late as 1561.--At present, I believe,
vines are scarcely any where to be seen in Normandy, much north of
Gaillon.]

[Footnote 13: In a charter belonging to the monastery, granted by Henry
IInd, in 1159, (see _Neustria Pia_, p. 323) he gives the convent,
"integritatem aquæ ex parte terræ Monachorum, et _Graspais_, si fortè
capiatur."--The word _Graspais_ is explained by Ducange to be a
corruption of _crassus piscis_. Noel (in his _Essais sur le Département
de la Seine Inférieure_, II, p. 168) supposes that it refers
particularly to porpoises, which he says are still found in such
abundance in the Seine, nearer its mouth, that the river sometimes
appears quite black with them.]

[Footnote 14: The following account of the destruction of the monastery
is extracted from William of Jumieges. (See _Duchesne's Scriptores
Normanni_, p. 219)--"Dehinc Sequanica ora aggrediuntur, et apud
_Gemmeticum_ classica statione obsidionein componunt.... In quo
quamplurima multitudo Episcoporum, seu Clericorum, vel nobilium
laïcorum, spretis secularibus pompis, collecta, Christo Regi militatura,
propria colla saluberrimo iugo subegit. Cuius loci Monachi, sive incolæ,
Paganorum adventum comperientes, fugâ lapsi quædam suarum rerum sub
terra occulentes, quædam secum asportantes, Deo juvante evaserunt.
Pagani locum vacuum reperientes, Monasterium sanctæ Mariæ sanctíque
Petri, et cuncta ædificia igne iniecto adurunt, in solitudinem omnia
redigentes. Hac itaque patrata eversione, locus, qui tauto honoris
splendore diu viguerat, exturbatis omnibus ac subuersis domibus, cœpit
esse cubile ferarum et volucrum: maceriis in sua soliditate in sublime
porrectis, arbustisque densissimis; et arborum virgultis per triginta
fermè annorum curricula ubique a terra productis."]

[Footnote 15: The following are the proportions of the building, in
French feet:--

  Length of the church..................265
  Ditto of the nave.....................134
  Width of ditto.........................62
  Length of choir........................43-1/2
  Width of ditto.........................31
  Length of Lady-Chapel..................63
  Width of ditto.........................27
  Height of central tower...............124
  Ditto of western towers...............150

]

[Footnote 16: Mr. Cotman has figured this porch, (_Architectural
Antiquities of Normandy_, t. 4) but has, by mistake, called it "_An Arch
on the West Front of the Abbey Church_."]

[Footnote 17: See a paper by M. Le Prevost in the _Précis Analitique des
Travaux de l'Académie de Rouen_, 1815, p. 131.]

[Footnote 18: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II, p. 260.]



LETTER XVI.

GOURNAY--CASTLE OF NEUFMARCHÉ--CASTLE AND CHURCH OF GISORS.


(_Gisors, July_, 1818)

We are now approaching the western frontiers.--Gournay, Gisors, and
Andelys, the objects of our present excursion, are disposed nearly in a
line between the capitals of France and Normandy; and whenever war broke
out between the two states, they experienced all the glory, and all the
afflictions of warfare. This district was in fact a kind of debatable
land; and hence arose the numerous strong holds, by which the country
was once defended, and whose ruins now adorn the landscape.

The tract known by modern topographers, under the names of the
_arrondissemens_ of Gournay and of Andelys, constituted one of the
general divisions of ancient Normandy, the _Pays de Bray_. It was a
tract celebrated beyond every other in France, and, from time
immemorial, for the excellence of the products of its dairies. The
butter of Bray is an indispensable requisite at every fashionable table
at Paris; and the _fromage de Neufchâtel_ is one of the only two French
cheeses which are honored with a place in the bill of fare at Véry's at
Grignon's, or at Beauvilliers'.

The females of the district frequently passed us on the road, carrying
their milk and eggs to the provincial metropolis. Accustomed as we are
to the Norman costume, we still thought that the many-colored attire
and long lappetted cap, of the good wife, of Bray, in conjunction with
her steed and its trappings, was a most picturesque addition to the
surrounding scenery. The large pannier on either side of the saddle
leaves little room for the lady, except on the hinder parts of the poor
beast; and there she sits, perfectly free and _dégagée_, without either
pillion or stirrup, showing no small portion of her leg, and
occasionally waving a little whip, ornamented in the handle with tufts
of red worsted.--We had scarcely quitted the suburbs of Rouen before we
found ourselves in Darnétal, a place that has risen considerably in
importance, since the revolution, from the activity of its numerous
manufacturers. Its population is composed entirely of individuals of
this description, to whose pursuits its situation upon the banks of the
Robec and Aubette is peculiarly favorable: the greater part of the goods
manufactured here are coarse cloths and flannels. Before the revolution,
the town belonged to the family of Montmorenci.--The rest of the ride
offered no object of interest. The road, like all the main post-roads,
is certainly wide and straight; but the French seem to think that, if
these two points are but obtained, all the rest may be regarded as
matter of supererogation. Hence, very little attention is paid to the
surface of the highways: even on those that are most frequented, it is
thought enough to keep the centre, which is paved, in decent repair: the
ruts by the side are frequently so deep as to be dangerous; and in most
cases the cross roads are absolutely impassable to carriages of every
description, except the common carts of the country.--There is nothing
in which England has a more decided superiority over France than in the
facility of communication between its different towns; and there is also
nothing which more decidedly marks a superiority of civilization.
English travellers, who usually roll on the beaten track to and from the
capital, return home full of praises of the French roads; but were they
to attempt excursions among the country-towns and villages, their
opinion would be wofully altered.--The forest of Feuillée extends about
four leagues on each side of the road, between Rouen and Gournay. It
adds little to the pleasantness of the ride: the trees are planted with
regularity, and the side-branches are trimmed away almost to the very
tops. Those therefore who expect overhanging branches, or the green-wood
shade, in a French forest, will be sadly disappointed. On the contrary,
when the wind blows across the road, and the sun shines down it, such a
forest only adds to the heat and closeness of the way.

The country around Gournay is characterized by fertility and abundance;
yet, in early times, the rich valley in which it is situated, was a
dreary morass, which separated the Caletes from the Bellovacences. A
causeway crossed the marshes, and formed the only road of communication
between these tribes; and Gournay arose as an intermediate station.
Therefore, even prior to the Norman æra, the town was, from its
situation, a strong hold of note; and under the Norman dukes, Gournay
necessarily became of still greater consequence, as the principal
fortress on the French frontier; but the annexation of the duchy to the
crown of France, destroyed this unlucky pre-eminence; and, at present,
it is only known as a great staple mart for cheese and butter. Nor is
it advantageously situated for trade; as there is no navigable river or
means of water-carriage in its vicinity. The inhabitants therefore look
forward with some anxiety to the completion of the projected canal from
Dieppe.

Gournay is a small, clean, and airy place. The last two circumstances
are no trifling recommendation to those who have just escaped from the
dirt and closeness of Rouen. Its streets are completely those of a
country town: the intermixture of wood and clay in the houses gives them
a mean aspect, and there are scarcely two to be found alike, either in
size, shape, color, or materials.--The records of Gournay begin in the
reign of Rollo. That prince gave the town, together with the Norman
portion of the Pays de Bray, to Eudes[19], a nobleman of his own nation,
to be held as a fief of the duchy, under the usual military tenure. In
one of the earliest rolls of Norman chieftains[20], the Lord of Gournay
is bound, in case of war, to supply the duke with twelve soldiers from
among his vassals, and to arm his dependants for the defence of his
portion of the marches. Hugh, the son of Eudes de Gournay, erected a
castle in the vicinity of the church of St. Hildebert, and the whole
town was surrounded with a triple wall and double fosse. The place was
inaccessible to an invading enemy, when these fosses were filled with
the waters of the Epte; but Philip Augustus caused the protecting
element to become his most powerful auxiliary. Willelmus Brito
relates his siege with minuteness in his _Philippiad_, an heroic poem,
devoted to the acts and deeds of the French monarch.--After advancing
through Lions and Mortemer, Philip encamped before Gournay, thus
described by the historical bard;--


   "Non procul hinc vicum populosâ genta superbum,
    Divitiis plenum variis, famâque celebrem,
    Rure situm piano, munitum triplice muro,
    Deliciosa nimis speciosaque vallis habebat.
    Nomine GORNACUM, situ inexpugnabilis ipso,
    Etsi nullus ei defensor ab intus adesset;
    Cui multisque aliis præerat Gornacius HUGO.
    Fossæ cujus erant amplæ nimis atque profundae
    Quas sic Epta suo repleret flumine, posset
    Nullus ut ad muros per eas accessus haberi.
    Arte tamen sibi REX tali pessundedit ipsum.
    Haud procul a muris stagnum pergrande tumebat,
    Cujus aquam, pelagi stagnantis more, refusam
    Urget stare lacu sinuoso terreus agger,
    Quadris compactus saxis et cespite multo.
    Hunc REX obrumpi medium facit, effluit inde
    Diluvium immensum, subitâque voragine tota
    Vallis abit maris in speciem, ruit impete vasto
    Eluvies damnosa satis, damnosa colonis.
          *       *       *       *       *
    Municipes fugiunt ne submergantur, et omnis
    Se populus villâ viduat, vacuamque relinquit.
          *       *       *       *       *
    Armis villa potens, muris munita virisque,
    Arte capi nullâ metuens aut viribus ullis,
    Diluvio capitur inopino...............
          *       *       *       *       *
    REX ubi GORNACUM sic in sua jura redegit,
    Indigenas omnes revocans ad propria, pacem
    Indicit populis libertatemque priorem;
    Deinde re-ædificat muros.............


In 1350, after the death of Philip of Valois, Gournay was again
separated from France, and given as a dower to Blanche of Navarre, the
widow of that prince, who held it forty-eight years, when, after her
death, it reverted to the crown. At the commencement of the following
century, the town fell, with the rest of the kingdom, into the
possession of the English; and once more, upon the demise of our
sovereign, Henry Vth, formed part of the dower of the widowed queen. On
her decease, it devolved upon her son; but a period of eleven years had
scarcely elapsed, when the laws of conquest united it for a third time
to the crown of France, in 1449.--From that period to the revolution, it
was constantly in the possession of different noble families of the
kingdom.

The name of Hugo de Gournay is enrolled amongst those who followed the
conqueror into England, and who held lands _in capite_ from him in this
country[21]. Hugo was a man of eminent valor, and his services were
requited by the grant of many large possessions; but, after all his
military actions, he sought repose in the abbey of Bec, which had been
enriched by his piety. His son, Girald, who married the sister of
William, Earl Warren, accompanied Robert, Duke of Normandy, into the
Holy Land; and the grandson of Girald was in the number of those who
followed Richard Coeur-de-Lion in a similar expedition, and was
appointed his commissioner, to receive the English share of the spoil,
after the capture of Acre. He was also among the barons who rose against
King John. Their descendants settled in very early times in our own
county, where their possessions were extensive and valuable.

It was in Gournay that the unfortunate Arthur, heir to the throne of
England, received the order of knighthood, together with the earldoms of
Brittany, Poitou, and Angers, from Philip Augustus, immediately
previously to entering upon the expedition, which ultimately ended with
his death; and, according to tradition, it was on this occasion that the
town adopted for its arms the sable shield, charged with a knight in
armor, argent[22].

Gournay has now no other remains of antiquity, except the collegiate
church of St. Hildebert[23], which was founded towards the conclusion of
the eleventh century, though it was scarcely completed at the end of the
thirteenth. Hence the discrepancy of style observable in the
architecture of its different parts. The west front, in which the
windows are all pointed, was probably one of the last portions
completed. The interior is principally of semi-circular architecture,
with piers unusually massy, and capitals no less fanciful and
extraordinary than those already noticed at St. Georges. Here, however,
we have fewer monsters. The ornaments consist chiefly of foliage, and
wreaths, and knots, and chequered work, and imitations of members of the
antique capital. Some of the pillars, instead of ending in regular
capitals, are surmounted by a narrow projecting rim, carved with
undulating lines. It has been supposed that this ornament, which is
quite peculiar to the church of St. Hildebert, is a kind of
hieroglyphical representation of water.--Perhaps, it is the chamber of
Sagittarius; or, perhaps, it is a _fess wavy_, to which the same
signification has been assigned by heralds.--If this interpretation be
correct, the symbol is allusive to the ancient situation of the town,
built in the midst of a marsh, intersected by two streams, the Epte and
the St. Aubin.

While we were on the point of setting out from Gournay, we had the
pleasure of meeting Mr. Cotman, who landed a few days since at Dieppe,
and purposes remaining in Normandy, to complete a series of drawings
which he began last year, towards the illustration of the architectural
antiquities of the duchy. He has joined our party, and we are likely to
have the advantage of his society for some little time.

The village of Neufmarché, about a league from Gournay, on the right
bank of the Epte, still retains a small part of its castle, built by
Henry Ist, to command the passage of the river, and to serve as a
barrier against the incursions of the French. Its situation is good,
upon an artificial hill, surrounded by a fosse; and the principal
entrance is still tolerably entire. But the rest is merely a shapeless
heap of ruins: the interior is wholly under the plough; and the
fragments of denudated walls preserve small remains of the coating of
large square stones, which formerly embellished and protected them.
Neufmarché, in the days of Norman sovereignty, was one of the strong
holds of the duchy. The chroniclers[24] speak of the village as being
defended by a fortress, in the reign of William the Conqueror. The
church, too, with its semi-circular architecture, attests the antiquity
of the station.

Long before we reached Gisors, we had a view of the keep of the castle,
rising majestically above the town, which is indeed at present "une
assez maussade petite ville, qui n'a guère qu'une rue." From its
position and general outline, the castle, at first view, resembles the
remains of Launceston, in Cornwall. It recalled to my mind the
impressions of surprise, mixed with something approaching to awe, which
seized me, when the first object that met my eyes in the morning (for it
was late and dark when I reached Launceston) was the noble keep,
towering immediately above my chamber windows, and so near, that it
appeared as if I had only to open them and step into it. I do not mean
to draw a parallel between the castles of Launceston and Gisors, and
still less am I about to inquire into the relationship between the
Norman and the Cornish fortresses. The lapse of twenty years has
materially weakened my recollection of the latter, nor would this be a
seasonable opportunity for such a disquisition: but the subject deserves
investigation, the result of which may tend to establish the common
origin of both, and to dissipate the day-dreams of Borlase, who longed
to dignify the castellated ruins of the Cornish peninsula, by ascribing
them to the Roman conquerors of Britain.

Gisors itself existed before the tenth century; but its chief celebrity
was due to William Rufus, who, anxious to strengthen his frontiers
against the power of the kings of France, caused Robert of Bellême to
erect this castle, in 1097. Thus then we have a certain date; and there
is no reason to believe, but that the whole of what is left us is really
of the same æra, or of the following reign, in which it is known that
the works were greatly augmented; for Henry Ist was completely a
castle-builder. He was a prince who spared no pains in strengthening and
defending the natural frontiers of his province, as the fortresses of
Verneuil, Tillières, Nonancourt, Anet, Ivry, Château-sur-Epte, Gisors,
and many others, abundantly testify. All these were either actually
built, or materially strengthened by him.--This at Gisors, important
from its strength and from its situation, was the source of frequent
dissentions between the sovereigns of England and France, as well as the
frequent witness of their plighted faith, and the scene of their
festivities.--In 1119, a well-known interview took place here, between
Henry Ist and Pope Calixtus IInd, who had travelled to France for the
purpose of healing the schisms in the church, and who, after having
accomplished that task, was desirous not to quit the kingdom till he had
completed the work of pacification, by reconciling Henry to Louis le
Gros, and to his brother, Robert. The speech of our sovereign upon this
occasion, as recorded by Ordericus Vitalis[25], is a valuable document
to the English historian: it sets forth, at considerable length, his
various causes of grievance, whether real, imaginary, or invented,
against the legal heir to our throne.--After a lapse of thirty-nine
years, Louis le Jeune succeeded in annexing Gisors to the crown of
France; but he resigned it to our Henry IInd, only three years
subsequently, as a part of the marriage portion of his daughter,
Margaret. It then remained with our countrymen till the conquest of the
duchy by Philip Augustus; previously to which event, that sovereign and
Henry met, in the year 1188, under an elm near Gisors, on the road to
Trie, upon receiving the news of the capture of Jerusalem by the Sultan
Saladin[26]. The monarchs, actuated by religious zeal, took up the
cross, and mutually pledged themselves to suspend for a while their
respective differences, and direct their united efforts against the
common foe of the christian faith, Legends also tell that, during the
conference, a miraculous cross appeared in the air, as if in
ratification of the compact; and hence the inhabitants derive the
armoria bearing of the town; _gules_, a cross engrailed _or_[27]. In
1197, Philip embellished Gisors with new buildings; and he retired
hither the following year, after the battle of Courcelles, a conflict,
which began by his endeavor to surprise Richard Coeur-de-Lion, but which
ended with his total defeat. He had well nigh lost his life during the
flight, by his horse plunging with him, all armed as he was, into the
Epte.--He took refuge in Gisors; and the _golden gate_ of the town
commemorated his gratitude. With eastern magnificence, he caused the
entire portal to be covered with gold; and the statue of the Virgin,
which surmounted it, received the same splendor.

During the wars between France and England, in the fifteenth century,
Gisors was repeatedly won and lost by the contending parties. In later
and more peaceable times, it has been only known as the provincial
capital of the bailiwick of Gisors, and of the Norman portion of the
Vexin.

The castle consists of a double ballium, the inner occupying the top of
a high artificial mound, in whose centre stands the keep. The whole of
the fortress is of the most solid masonry. Previously to the discovery
of cannon, it could scarcely be regarded otherwise than as impregnable,
for the site which it occupies is admirably adapted for defence; and the
walls were as strong as art could make them.--The outer walls were of
great extent: they were defended by two covered ways, and flanked by
several towers, of various shapes.--In the inclosed sketch, you will
observe a circular tower, which is perhaps more perfect than any of the
rest. The two entrances which led to the inner wards, were defended by
more massy towers, strengthened with portcullises and draw-bridges.

[Illustration: Distant of the Castle of Gisors]

The conical mound is almost inaccessible, on account of its steepness.
The summit is inclosed by a circular wall of considerable height,
pierced with loop-holes, and strengthened at regular intervals with
buttresses, most of which are small and shallow, and resemble such as
are found in the Norman churches. Those, however, which flank the
entrance of the keep, are of a different character: they project so
boldly, that they may rather be considered as bastions or solid
turrets.--The dungeon rises high above all the rest, a lofty octagon
tower, with a turret on one side of the same shape, intended to receive
the winding staircase, which still remains, but in so shattered a state,
that we could not venture to ascend it. The shell of the keep itself is
nearly perfect, and is also varied in its outline with projecting
piers.--Within the inner ballium, we discovered the remains of the
castle-chapel. More than half, indeed, of the building is destroyed, but
the east end is standing, and is tolerably entire. The roof is vaulted
and groined: the groins spring from short pillars, whose capitals are
beautifully sculptured with foliage; The architecture of the whole is
semi-circular; but I should apprehend it to be posterior to any part of
the fortress.--The inside of the castle serves at this time for a
market-hall: the fosse, now dry and planted with trees, forms a
delightful walk round the whole.

[Illustration: Banded Pillar in the Church of Gisors]

We were much disappointed by the church of Gisors; in the illustration
of the details of which, Millin is very diffuse. The building is of
considerable magnitude; its proportions are not unpleasing, and it
contains much elaborate sculpture; but the labor has been ill bestowed,
having been lavished without any attention to consistency. It is
throughout a jumble of Roman and Gothic, except that the exterior of the
north transept is wholly Gothic. Some of the little figures which
decorate it are very gracefully carved, especially in the drapery. A
pillar in the south aisle, entwined by spiral fillets, is of great
singularity and beauty. The dolphin is introduced in each pannel, and
the heraldic form of this fish harmonizes with the gentle curve of the
field upon which it is sculptured. A crown of fleurs-de-lys surrounds
the columns at mid-height. These symbols, as I believe I observed on a
former occasion, are often employed as ornaments by the French
architects. The church, which is dedicated to the twin saints, St.
Gervais and St. Protais, is the work of different æras, but principally
of the latter half of the sixteenth century, a time when, as a Frenchman
told me, "l'on commença à bâtir dans le beau style Romain."--The man who
made the observation was of the lower order of society, one of the
_swinish multitude_, who, in England, never dream about styles in
architecture. I mention the circumstance, for the sake of pointing out
the difference that exists in these matters between the two countries.

Here, every man, gentle or simple, educated or uneducated, thinks
himself qualified and bound to deliver his opinion on objects connected
with the fine arts; and though such opinions are of necessity commonly
crude, and sometimes absurd, they, on the other hand, frequently display
a degree of feeling, and occasionally of knowledge, that surprises you.
It may be true indeed, as Dr. Johnson said, with some illiberality, of
our brethren across the Tweed, that though "every man may have a
mouthful, no one has a belly full;" but it still marks a degree of
national refinement, that any attention whatever is bestowed upon such
subjects. This smattering of knowledge, accompanied with the constant
readiness to communicate it, is also agreeable to a stranger. Except in
a few instances at Rouen, I never failed to find civility and attention
among the French. To the ladies of our nation they are uniformly polite
though occasionally their compliments may appear of somewhat a
questionable complexion; as it happened to a female friend of mine to be
told, while drawing the church of St, Ouen, "qu'elle avait de l'esprit
comme quatre diables."

         *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 19: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, I, p. 18.]

[Footnote 20: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 1046.]

[Footnote 21: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 1129.]

[Footnote 22: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, I. p. 20.]

[Footnote 23: See _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy,
plates_ 38-41.]

[Footnote 24: _Ordericus Vitalis_, in _Duchesne's Scriptores Normanni_,
p. 490, 491, 606.]

[Footnote 25: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 865.]

[Footnote 26: Some writers say that the real cause of their meeting was
to settle a difference of long standing.--Hoveden, as quoted in the
_Concilia Normannica_, I. p. 92, tells us, that Henry was upon the point
of sailing for England, when tidings were brought him that Philip had
collected a great force, with which he threatened to lay Normandy waste,
unless the British monarch surrendered to him Gisors with its
dependencies, or caused his son Richard, Count of Poitou, to marry
Alice, sister of the French king;--"Quod cùm regi Angliæ constaret,
reversus est in Normanniam; et, accepte colloquio inter ipsum et Regem
Franciæ inter Gisortium et Trie, XII. Kalendas Februarii, die S. Agnetis
V. et Martyris, convenerunt illuc cum Archiepiscopis, et Episcopis et
Comitibus, et Baronibus regnoram suorum. Cui colloquio interfuit
Archiepiscopus Tyri, qui repletus spiritu sapientiæ et intellectus, miro
modo prædicavit verbum Domini coram regibus et principibus. Et convertit
corda eorum ad crucem capiendam; et qui priùs hostes erant, illo
prædicante, et Deo co-operante, facti sunt amici in illa die, et de manu
ejus crucem receperunt: et in eadem hora apparuit super eos signum
crucis in cœlo. Quo viso miraculo, plures catervatim ruebant ad
susceptionem crucis. Prædicti verò reges in susceptionem crucis, ad
cognoscendum gentem suam, signum sibi et suis providerunt. Rex namque
Franciæ et gens sua receperunt cruces rubeas et Rex Angliæ cum gente sua
suscepit cruces virides: et sic unusqnisque ad providendum sibi et
itineri suo necessaria, reversus est in regionem suam."]

[Footnote 27: In 1555, an addition was made to this coat of a chief
_azure_, charged with three fleurs-de-lys, _or_, by the command of Henry
IInd of France, to commemorate his public entry into Gisors.]



LETTER XVII.

ANDELYS--FOUNTAIN OF SAINT CLOTILDA--LA GRANDE MAISON--CHÂTEAU
GAILLARD--ECOUIS.


(_Ecouis, July_, 1818)

Our evening journey from Gisors to Andelys, was not without its
inconveniences.--The road, if road it may be called, was sometimes
merely a narrow ravine or trench, so closely bordered by trees and
underwood, that our vehicle could scarcely force its way; and sometimes
our jaded horses labored along a waggon-way which wound amidst an
expanse of corn-fields. Our postilion had earnestly requested us to
postpone our departure till the following morning; and he swore and
cursed most valiantly during the whole of his ride. On our arrival,
however, at Andelys, a few kind words from my companions served to
mitigate his ire; and as their eloquence may have been assisted by a few
extra sous, presented to him at the same time, his nut-brown countenance
brightened up, and all was tranquillity.

Andelys is a town, whose antiquity is not to be questioned: it had
existence in the time of the venerable Bede, by whom it is expressly
mentioned, under its Latin appellation, _Andilegum_[28]. The derivation
of this name has afforded employment to etymologists. The syllable _and_
enters, as it is said, into the composition of the names of sundry
places, reported to be founded by Franks, and Saxons, and Germans; and
therefore it is agreed that a Teutonic origin must be assigned to
Andelys. But, as to the import of this same syllable, they are all of
them wholly at a loss.--The history of Andelys is brief and unimportant,
considering its antiquity and situation. It was captured by Louis le
Gros in the war which he undertook against Henry Ist, in favour of
Clito, heir of the unfortunate Duke Robert; and his son, Louis le Jeune,
in 1166, burned Andelys to the ground, thus revenging the outrages
committed by the Anglo-Normans in France: in 1197, it was the subject of
the exchange which I have already mentioned, between Richard
Coeur-de-Lion and Walter, Archbishop of Rouen; and only a few years
afterwards it passed by capitulation into the possession of Philip
Augustus, when the murder of Arthur of Brittany afforded the French
sovereign a plausible pretext for dispossessing our worthless monarch of
his Norman territory.

What Andelys wants, however, in secular interest, it makes up in
sanctity. Saint Clotilda founded a very celebrated monastery here, which
was afterwards destroyed by the Normans.--If we now send our ripening
daughters to France, to be schooled and accomplished, the practice
prevailed equally amongst our Anglo-Saxon ancestors; and we learn from
Bede, that Andelys was then one of the most fashionable
establishments[29]. However, we must not forget that the fair Elfleda,
and the rosy Ælfgiva, were so taught in the convent, as to be fitted
only for the embraces of a celestial husband--a mode of matrimony which
has most fortunately become obsolete in our days of increasing
knowledge and civilization.

After the destruction of the monastery by the Normans, it was never
rebuilt; yet its sanctity is not wholly lost. At the behest of Clotilda,
the waters of the fountain of Andelys were changed into wine for the
relief of the weary labourer, and the tutelary saint is still worshipped
by the faithful.

It was our good fortune to arrive at Andelys on the vigil of the
festival of Saint Clotilda. The following morning, at early dawn, the
tolling bell announced the returning holiday; and then we saw the
procession advance, priests and acolytes bearing crosses and consecrated
banners and burning tapers, followed by a joyous crowd of votaries and
pilgrims. We had wished to approach the holy well; but the throng
thickened around it, and we were forced to desist. We could not witness
the rites, whatever they were, which were performed at the fountain; and
long after they had concluded, it was still surrounded by groups of
women, some idling and staring, some asking charity and whining, and
some conducting their little ones to the salutary-fountain. Many are the
infirmities and ailments which are relieved through the intercession of
Saint Clotilda, after the patient has been plunged in the gelid spring.
A Parisian sceptic might incline to ascribe a portion of their cures to
cold-bathing and ablution; but, at Andelys, no one ever thought of
diminishing the veneration, inspired by the Christian queen of the
founder of the monarchy. Several children were pointed out to us,
heretical strangers, as living proofs of the continuance of miracles in
the Catholic church. They had been cured on the preceding anniversary;
for it is only on Saint Clotilda's day that her benign influence is shed
upon the spring.

Andelys possesses a valuable specimen of ancient domestic architecture.
The _Great House_[30] is a most sumptuous mansion, evidently of the age
of Francis Ist; but I could gain no account of its former occupants or
history. I must again borrow from my friend's vocabulary, and say, that
it is built in the "Burgundian style." In its general outline and
character, it resembles the house in the _Place de la Pucelle_, at
Rouen. Its walls, indeed, are not covered with the same profusion of
sculpture; yet, perhaps, its simplicity is accompanied by greater
elegance.--The windows are disposed in three divisions, formed by
slender buttresses, which run up to the roof. They are square-headed,
and divided by a mullion and transom.--The portal is in the centre: it
is formed by a Tudor arch, enriched with deep mouldings, and surmounted
by a lofty ogee, ending with a crocketed pinnacle, which transfixes the
cornice immediately above, as well as the sill of the window, and then
unites with the mullion of the latter.--The roof takes a very high
pitch.--A figured cornice, upon which it rests, is boldly sculptured
with foliage.--The chimneys are ornamented by angular buttresses.--All
these portions of the building assimilate more or less to our Gothic
architecture of the sixteenth century; but a most magnificent oriel
window, which fills the whole of the space between the centre and
left-hand divisions, is a specimen of pointed architecture in its best
and purest style. The arches are lofty and acute. Each angle is formed
by a double buttress, and the tabernacles affixed to these are filled
with statues. The basement of the oriel, which projects from the flat
wall of the house, after the fashion of a bartizan, is divided into
compartments, studded with medallions, and intermixed with tracery of
great variety and beauty. On either side of the bay, there are flying
buttresses of elaborate sculpture, spreading along the wall.--As,
comparatively speaking, good models of ancient domestic architecture are
very rare, I would particularly recommend this at Andelys to the notice
of every architect, whom chance may conduct to Normandy.--This building,
like too many others of the same class in our own counties of Norfolk
and Suffolk, is degraded from its station. The _great house_ is used
merely as a granary, though, by a very small expence, it might be put
into habitable repair. The stone retains its clear and polished surface;
and the massy timbers are undecayed.--The inside corresponds with the
exterior, in decorations and grandeur: the chimney-pieces are large and
elaborate, and there is abundance of sculpture on the ceilings and other
parts which admit of ornament.

The French, in speaking of Andelys, commonly use the plural number, and
say, _les Andelys_, there being a smaller town of the same name, within
the distance of a mile: hence, the larger, all inconsiderable as it is,
and though it scarcely contains two thousand inhabitants, is dignified
by the appellation of _le Grand Andelys_.

As the French seldom neglect the memory of their eminent men, I was
rather disappointed at not finding any tribute to the glory of Poussin,
nor any object which could recal his name.--The great master of the
French school was born at Andelys, in 1594, of poor but noble parents.
The talents of the painter of the _Deluge_ overcame all obstacles. Young
Poussin, with barely a sufficiency to buy his daily bread, found means
of making his abilities known in the metropolis to such advantage, as
enabled him to proceed to Rome, where the patronage of the Cavaliere
Marino smoothed his way to that splendid career, which terminated only
with his life.--And yet I doubt if the example of Poussin has, on the
whole, been favorable to the progress of French art. Horace Walpole, in
his summary of the excellencies and defects of great painters, observed
with much justice, that "Titian wanted to have seen the antique; Poussin
to have seen Titian." The observation referred principally to the
defective coloring, which is admitted to exist in the greater part of
the works of the painter of Andelys. But Poussin, considered as a model
for imitation, and especially as a model for the student, is liable to a
more serious objection.--He was a total stranger to real
nature:--classical taste, indeed, and knowledge, and grace, and beauty,
pervade all his works; but it is a taste, and a knowledge, and a grace,
and a beauty, formed solely upon the contemplation of the antique.
Horace's adage, that "decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile," has been
remarkably verified in the case of Poussin; and I am mistaken, if the
example set by him, which has been rigorously followed in the French
school, even down to the present day, has not contributed more than any
thing else to that statuary style in forms, and that coldness in
coloring, which every one, who is not born in France, regrets to see in
the works of the best of their artists.--The learned Adrian Turnebus was
also a native of Andelys; and the church is distinguished as the
burial-place of Corneille.

[Illustration: Distant View of Château Gaillard]

I doubt, however, whether we should have travelled hither, had we not
been attracted by the celebrity of the castle, called _Château
Gaillard_, erected by Richard Coeur-de-Lion, in the immediate vicinity
of Le Petit Andelys.--Our guide, a sturdy old dame, remonstrated
strongly against our walking so far to look at a mere heap of stones,
nothing comparable to the fine statue of Clotilda, of which, if we would
but have a little patience, we might still procure a sight.--Our
expectations respecting the castle were more than answered. Considered
as to its dimensions and its situation, it is by far the finest
castellated ruin I ever saw. Conway, indeed, has more beauty; but
Château Gaillard is infinitely superior in dignity. Its ruins crown the
summit of a lofty rock, abruptly rising from the very edge of the Seine,
whose sinuous course here shapes the adjoining land into a narrow
peninsula. The chalky cliffs on each side of the castle, are broken into
hills of romantic shape, which add to the impressive wildness of the
scene. The inclosed sketch will give you an idea, though a very faint
one, of the general appearance of the castle at a distance. Towards the
river, the steepness of the cliff renders the fortress unassailable: a
double fosse of great depth, defended by a strong wall, originally
afforded almost equal protection on the opposite side.

The circular keep is of extraordinary strength; and in its construction
it differs wholly from any of our English dungeon-towers.--It may be
described as a cylinder, placed upon a truncated cone. The massy
perpendicular buttresses, which are ranged round the upper wall, from
which they project considerably, lose themselves at their bases in the
cone from which they arise. The building, therefore, appears to be
divided into two stories. The wall of the second story is upwards of
twelve feet in thickness. The base of the conical portion is perhaps
twice as thick.--It seldom happens that the military buildings of the
middle ages have such a _talus_ or slope, on the exterior face, agreeing
with the principles of modern fortification, and it is difficult to
guess why the architect of Château Gaillard thought fit to vary from the
established model of his age. The masonry is regular and good. The
pointed windows are evidently insertions of a period long subsequent to
the original erection.

The inner, ballium is surrounded by a high circular wall, which consists
of an uninterrupted line of bastions, some semi-circular and others
square.--The whole of this part of the castle remains nearly perfect.
There are also traces of extensive foundations in various, directions,
and of great out-works. Château Gaillard was in fact a citadel,
supported by numerous smaller fortresses, all of them communicating with
the strong central hold, and disposed so as to secure every defensible
post in the neighborhood. The wall of the outer ballium, which was built
of a compact white and grey stone, is in most places standing, though in
ruins. The original facing only remains in those parts which are too
elevated to admit of its being removed with ease.--Beneath the castle,
the cliff is excavated into a series of subterraneous caverns, not
intended for mere passages or vaults, as at Arques and in most other
places, but forming spacious crypts, supported by pillars roughly hewn
out of the living rock, and still retaining every mark of the workman's
chisel.

It will afford some satisfaction to the antiquary to find, that the
present appearance of the castle corresponds in every important
particular with the description given by Willelmus Brito, who beheld it
within a few years after its erection, and in all its pride. Every
feature which he enumerates yet exists, unaltered and unobliterated:--


    "Huic natura loco satis insuperabile per se
     Munimeu dederat, tamen insuperabiliorem
     Arte quidem multa Richardus fecerat illum.
     Duplicibus muris extrema clausit, et altas
     Circuitum docuit per totum surgere turres,
     A se distantes spatiis altrinsecus æquis;
     Eruderans utrumque latus, ne scandere quisquam
     Ad muros possit, vel ab ima repere valle.
     Hinc ex transverso medium per planitiei
     Erigitur murus, multoque labore cavari
     Cogitur ipse silex, fossaque patere profunda,
     Faucibus et latis aperiri vallis ad instar;
     Sic ut quam subito fiat munitio duplex
     Quæ fuit una modo muro geminata sequestro.
     Ut si forte pati partem contingeret istam
     Altera municipes, queat, et se tuta tueri.
     Inde rotundavit rupem, quæ celsior omni
     Planitie summum se tollit in aera sursum;
     Et muris sepsit, extremas desuper oras
     Castigansque jugi scrupulosa cacumina, totum
     Complanat medium, multæque capacia turbæ
     Plurima cum domibus habitacula fabricat intus.
     Umboni parcens soli, quo condidit arcem.
     Hic situs iste decor, munitio talis honorem
     Gaillardæ rupis per totum prædicat orbem."


The keep cannot be ascended without difficulty. We ventured to scale
it; and we were fully repaid for our labor by the prospect which we
gained. The Seine, full of green willowy islands, flows beneath the rock
in large lazy windings: the peninsula below is flat, fertile, and well
wooded: on the opposite shores, the fantastic chalky cliffs rise boldly,
crowned with dark forests.

I have already once had occasion to allude to the memorable strife
occasioned by the erection of Château Gaillard, which its royal founder
is reported to have so named by way of mockery. In possession of this
fortress, it seemed that he might laugh to scorn the attacks of his
feudal liege lord.--The date of the commencement of the building is
supposed to have been about the year 1196, immediately subsequent to the
treaty of Louviers, by which, Richard ceded to Philip Augustus the
military line of the Epte, and nearly the whole of the Norman Vexin. By
an express article of the treaty, neither party was allowed to repair
the fortifications of Andelys; and Philip was in possession of Gisors,
as well as of every other post that might have afforded security to the
Normans. Thus the frontiers of the duchy became defenceless; but
Richard, like other politicians, determined to evade the spirit of the
treaty, adhering nevertheless to its letter, by the erection of this
mighty bulwark.--The building arose with the activity of fear. Richard
died in 1199, yet the castle must have been completely habitable in his
life-time, for not a few of his charters are dated from Château
Gaillard, which he terms "his beautiful castle of the rock."--Three
years only had elapsed from the decease of this monarch, when Philip
Augustus, after having reduced another castle, erected at the same time
upon an island opposite the lesser Andelys, encamped before Château
Gaillard, and commenced a siege, which from its length, its horrors, and
the valor shewn on either side, has ever since been memorable in
history.--Its details are given at great length by Father Daniel; and Du
Moulin briefly enumerates a few of the stratagems to which the French
King was obliged to have recourse; for, as the reverend author observes,
"to have attempted to carry the place by force, would have been to have
exposed the army to certain destruction; while to have tried to scale
the walls, would have required the aid of Dædalus, with the certainty of
a fall, as fatal as that of Icarus;" and without the poor consolation of


   ".... vitreo daturus
    Nomina ponto."--


The castle, commanded by Roger de Lacy, defied the utmost efforts of
Philip for six successive months.--So great was its size; that more than
two thousand two hundred persons, who did not form a part of the
garrison, were known to quit the fortress in the course of the siege,
compelled to throw themselves upon the mercy of the besiegers. But they
found none; and the greater part of these unfortunate wretches,
alternately suppliants to either host, perished from hunger, or from the
weapons of the contending parties. At length the fortress yielded to a
sudden assault. Of the warriors, to whose valor it had been entrusted,
only thirty-six remained alive. John, ill requiting their fidelity, had
already abandoned them to their fate.

Margaret of Burgundy, the queen of Louis Xth, and Blanche, the consort
of his brother, Charles le Bel, were both immured in Château Gaillard,
in 1314. The scandalous chronicle of those times will explain the causes
of their imprisonment. Margaret was strangled by order of her husband.
Blanche, after seven years' captivity, was transferred to the convent of
Maubuisson, near Pontoise, where she continued a recluse till her
death--In 1331, David Bruce, compelled to flee from the superior power
of the third Edward, found an asylum in Château Gaillard; and here, for
a time, maintained the pageantry of a court.--Twenty-four years
subsequently, when Charles the Bad, king of Navarre, was sent as a
captive from Rouen to Paris, he was confined here, during one night, by
order of the dauphin, who had made him his prisoner by treachery, whilst
partaking of a banquet.--In the following century Château Gaillard
braved the victorious arms of Henry Vth; nor was it taken till after a
siege of sixteen months. The garrison only consisted of one hundred and
twenty men; yet this scanty troop would not have yielded, had not the
ropes, by which they drew up their water-buckets[31], been worn out and
destroyed.--During the same reign, it was again taken and lost by the
French, into whose hands it finally fell in 1449, when Charles VIIth
commanded the siege in person. Even then, however it stood a long siege;
and it was almost the last of the strong-holds of Normandy, which held
out for the successors of the ancient dukes. After the re-union of the
duchy, it was not destroyed, or suffered to fall into decay, like the
greater number of the Norman fortresses: during the religious wars, it
still continued to be a formidable military post, as well as a royal
palace; and it was honored by the residence of Henry IVth, whose father,
Anthony of Bourbon, died here in 1562.--Its importance ceased in the
following reign.--The inhabitants of the adjacent country requested the
king to order that the castle should be dismantled. They dreaded, lest
its towers should serve as an asylum to some of the numerous bands of
marauders, by whom France was then infested. It was consequently
undermined and reduced to its present state of ruin.

We did not again attempt to pay our devotions at the shrine of Saint
Clotilda, and we found no interesting object in the church of Andelys
which could detain us. We therefore proceeded without delay to Ecouis,
where we were assured that the church would gratify our curiosity.--This
building has an air of grandeur as it is seen rising above the flat
country; and it is of a singular shape, the ground-plan being that of a
Greek cross. The exterior is plain and offers nothing remarkable: the
interior retains statues of various saints, which, though not very
ancient or in very good taste, are still far from being inelegant. Saint
Mary, the Egyptian, who is among them, covered with her tresses, which
may easily be mistaken for a long plaited robe, is a saint of unfrequent
occurrence in this part of France. In the choir are several tomb-stones,
with figures engraved upon them, their faces and hands being inlaid with
white marble.--In this part of the building also remains the tomb of
John Marigni, archbishop of Rouen, with his effigy of fine white marble,
in perfect preservation. The face is marked with a strong expression of
that determined character, which he unquestionably possessed. When he
was sent as an ambassador to Edward IIIrd, in 1342, he made his
appearance at the English court in the guise of a military man, and not
as a minister of peace; and we may doubt whether his virtues qualified
him for the mitre. If even a Pope, however, in latter days, commanded a
sculptor to pourtray him with a sword in his hand, the martial tendency
of an archbishop may well be pardoned in more turbulent times. The
following distich, from his epitaph, alludes to his achievements:--


   "Armis præcinctus, mentisque charactere cinctus,
    Dux fuit in bellis, Anglis virtute rebellis."


The unfortunate Enguerrand de Marigni, brother of the archbishop, and
lord treasurer under Philip the Fair, was the founder of this church. At
the instigation of the king's uncle, Enguerrand was hanged without
trial, and his family experienced the most bitter persecution. His body,
which had at first been interred in the convent of the Chartreux, at
Paris, was removed hither in 1324; and his descendants obtained
permission, in 1475, to erect a mausoleum to his memory. But the king,
at the same time that he acceded to their petition, added the express
condition[32], that no allusion should be made to Marigni's tragical
end. The monument was destroyed in the revolution; but the murder of the
treasurer is one of those "damned spots," which will never be washed out
of the history of France.--Charles de Valois soon felt the sting of
remorse; and within a year from the wreaking of his vengeance, he caused
alms to be publicly distributed in the streets of Paris, with an
injunction to every one that received them, "to pray to God for the
souls of Enguerrand de Marigni, and Charles de Valois, taking care to
put the subject first[33]."--In the church at Ecouis, was formerly the
following epitaph, whose obscurity has given rise to a variety of
traditions:--


   "Ci gist le fils, ci gist la mere,
    Ci gist la soeur, ci gist le frère,
    Ci gist la femme, et le mari;
    Et ci ne sont que deux ici[34]."


Other inscriptions of the same nature are said to have existed in
England. Goube[35] supposes that this one is the record of an incestuous
connection; but we may doubt whether a less sinful solution may not be
given to the enigma.

      *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 28: Andelys is also called in old deeds _Andeleium_ and
_Andeliacum_.]

[Footnote 29: "Seculo septimo, cum pauca essent in regione Anglorum
monasteria, hunc morem in illâ gente fuisse, ut multi ex Britanniâ,
monastiae conversationis gratiâ, Francorum monasteria adirent, sed et
filias suas eisdem erudiendas ac sponso coelesti copulandas mitterent,
maximè in Brigensi seu S. Farae monasterio, et in Calensi et in
_Andilegum_ monasterio."--_Bede, Hist_. lib. III. cap. 8.]

[Footnote 30: _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, plate
15.--In a future portion of his work, Mr. Cotman designs devoting a
second plate exclusively to the oriel in the east front of this
building.]

[Footnote 31: _Monstrelet, Johnes' Translation_, II. p. 242.]

[Footnote 32: The letter of this stipulation appears to have been
attended to much more than its spirit for at the top of the monument
were five figures:--Our Savior seated in the centre, as if in the act of
pronouncing sentence; on either side of him, an angel; and below,
Charles de Valois and Enguerrand de Marigni; the former on the right of
Christ, crowned with the ducal coronet; the other, on the opposite side,
in the guise and posture of a suppliant, imploring the divine vengeance
for his unjust fate.--_Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II. p. 338.]

[Footnote 33: _Montfaucon, Monumens de la Monarchie Française_, II. p.
220.]

[Footnote 34: In a collection of epitaphs printed at Cologne, 1623,
under the title of _Epitaphia Joco-seria_, I find the same monumental
inscription, with the observation, that it is at Tournay, and with the
following explanation.--"De pari conjugum, posteà ad religionem
transeuntium et in eâ præfectorum. Alter fuit Franciscanus; altera verò
Clarissa."]

[Footnote 35: _Histoire du Duché de Normandie_, III. p. 15.]



LETTER XVIII.

EVREUX--CATHEDRAL--ABBEY OF ST. TAURINUS--ANCIENT HISTORY.


(_Evreux, July_, 1818.)

Our journey to this city has not afforded the gratification which we
anticipated.--You may recollect Ducarel's eulogium upon the cathedral,
that it is one of the finest structures of the kind in France.--It is
our fate to be continually at variance with the doctor, till I am half
inclined to fear you may be led to suspect that jealousy has something
to do with the matter, and that I fall under the ban of the old Greek
proverb,--


    "Και ϰεραμευς ϰεραμει Φϑονεει ϰαι τεϰτονι τεϰτων."--


[English. Not in Original: The potter is jealous of the potter, as the
builder is jealous of the builder.]

As for myself, however, I do hope and trust that I am marvellously free
from antiquarian spite.--And in this instance, our expectations were
also raised by the antiquity and sanctity of the cathedral, which was
entirely rebuilt by Henry Ist, who made a considerate bargain with
Bishop Audinus[36], by which he was allowed to burn the city and its
rebellious inhabitants, upon condition of bestowing his treasures for
the re-construction of the monasteries, after the impending
conflagration. The church, thus raised, is said by William of
Jumieges[37], to have surpassed every other in Neustria; but it is
certain that only a very small portion of the original building now
remains. A second destruction awaited it. Philip Augustus, who desolated
the county of Evreux with fire and sword, stormed the capital, sparing
neither age nor sex; and all its buildings, whether sacred or profane,
were burnt to the ground. Hoveden, his friend, and Brito, his
enemy, both bear witness to this fact--the latter in the following
lines:--


   "... irarum stimulis agitatus, ad omne
    Excidium partis adversæ totus inardens,
    Ebroicas primò sic incineravit, ut omnes
    Cum domibus simul ecclesias consumpserit ignis."--


The church, in its present state, is a medley of many different styles
and ages: the nave alone retains vestiges of early architecture, in its
massy piers and semi-circular arches: these are evidently of Norman
workmanship, and are probably part of the church erected by Henry.--All
the rest is comparatively modern.--The western front is of a debased
Palladian style, singularly ill adapted to a Gothic cathedral. It is
flanked with two towers, one of which ends in a cupola, the other in a
short cone.--The central tower, which is comparatively plain and
surmounted by a high spire, was built about the middle of the fifteenth
century, during the bishopric of the celebrated John de Balue, who was
in high favor with Louis XIth, and obtained from that monarch great
assistance towards repairing, enlarging, and beautifying his church. The
roof, the transept towards the palace, the sacristy, the library, and a
portion of the cloisters, are all said to have been erected by
him[38].--The northern transept is the only part that can now lay claim
to beauty or uniformity in its architecture: it is of late and bastard
Gothic; yet the portal is not destitute of merit: it is evidently copied
from the western portal of the cathedral at Rouen, though far inferior
in every respect, and with a decided tendency towards the Italian style.
Almost every part of it still appears full of elaborate ornaments,
though all the saints and bishops have fled from the arched door-way,
and the bas-relief which was over the entrance has equally disappeared.

Ducarel[39] notices four statues of canons, attached to a couple of
pillars at the back of the chancel.--We were desirous of seeing
authentic specimens of sculpture of a period at least as remote as the
conquest; and, as the garden belonging to the prefect, the Comte de
Goyon, incloses this portion of the church, we requested to be allowed
to enter his grounds. Leave was most obligingly granted, and we received
every attention from the prefect and his lady; but we could find no
traces of the objects of our search. They were probably destroyed during
the revolution; at which time, the count told us that the statues at the
north portal were also broken to pieces. At Evreux, the democrats had
full scope for the exercise of their iconoclastic fury. Little or no
previous injury had been done by the Calvinists, who appear to have been
unable to gain any ascendency in this town or diocese, at the same time
that they lorded it over the rest of Normandy. Evreux had been fortified
against heresy, by the piety and good sense of two of her bishops: they
foresaw the coming storm, and they took steps to redress the grievances
which were objects of complaint, as well as to reform the
church-establishment, and to revise the breviary and the
mass-book.--Conduct like this seldom fails in its effect; and the
tranquil by-stander may regret that it is not more frequently adopted by
contending parties.

The interior of the cathedral is handsome, though not peculiar. Some
good specimens of painted glass remain in the windows; and, in various
parts of the church, there are elegant tabernacles and detached pieces
of sculpture, as well in stone as in wood. The pulpit, in particular, is
deserving of this praise: it is supported on cherubs' heads, and is well
designed and executed.

The building is dedicated to the Virgin: it claims for its first bishop,
Taurinus, a saint of the third century, memorable in legendary tale for
a desperate battle which he fought against the devil. Satan was sadly
drubbed and the bishop wrenched off one of his horns[40]. The trophy was
deposited in the crypt of his church, where it long remained, to amuse
the curious, and stand the nurses of Evreux in good stead, as the means
of quieting noisy children.--The learned Cardinal Du Perron succeeded to
St. Taurinus, though at an immense distance of time. He was appointed by
Henry IVth, towards whose conversion he appears to have been greatly
instrumental, as he was afterwards the principal mediator, by whose
intercession the Pope was induced to grant absolution to the monarch.
The task was one of some difficulty: for the court of Spain, then
powerful at the Vatican, used all their efforts to prevent a
reconciliation, with a view of fomenting the troubles in France.--Most
of the bishops of this see appear to have possessed great piety and
talent.

I have already mentioned to you, that the fraternity of the Conards was
established at Evreux, as well as at Rouen. Another institution, of
equal absurdity, was peculiar, I believe, to this cathedral[41]. It bore
the name of the Feast of St. Vital, as it united with the anniversary of
that saint, which is celebrated on the first of May: the origin of the
custom may be derived from the heathen Floralia, a ceremony begun in
innocence, continued to abomination. At its first institution, the feast
of St. Vital was a simple and a natural rite: the statues of the saints
were crowned with garlands of foliage, perhaps as an offering of the
first-fruits of the opening year. In process of time, branches were
substituted for leaves, and they were cut from the growing trees, by a
lengthened train of rabble pilgrims.--The clergy themselves headed the
mob, who committed such devastation in the neighboring woods, that the
owners of them were glad to compromise for the safety of their timber,
by stationing persons to supply the physical, as well as the religious,
wants of the populace. The excesses consequent upon such a practice may
easily be imagined: the duration of the feast was gradually extended to
ten days; and, during this time, licentiousness of all kinds prevailed
under the plea of religion. To use the words of a manuscript, preserved
in the archives of the cathedral, they played at skittles on the roof of
the church, and the bells were kept continually ringing. These orgies,
at length, were quelled; but not till two prebendaries belonging to the
chapter, had nearly lost their lives in the attempt.--Hitherto, indeed,
the clergy had enjoyed the merriment full as well as the laity. One
jolly canon, appropriately named Jean Bouteille, made a will, in which
he declared himself the protector of the feast; and he directed that, on
its anniversary, a pall should be spread in the midst of the church,
with a gigantic _bottle_ in its centre, and four smaller ones at the
corners; and he took care to provide funds for the perpetuation of this
_rebus_.

The cathedral offers few subjects for the pencil.--As a species of
monument, of which we have no specimens in England, I add a sketch of a
Gothic _puteal_, which stands near the north portal. It is apparently of
the same æra as that part of the church.

[Illustration: Gothic Puteal, at Evreux]

From the cathedral we went to the church of St. Taurinus. The proud
abbey of the apostle and first bishop of the diocese retains few or no
traces of its former dignity. So long as monachism flourished, a contest
existed between the chapter of the cathedral and the brethren of this
monastery, each advocating the precedency of their respective
establishment.--The monks of St. Taurinus contended, that their abbey
was expressly mentioned by William of Jumieges[42] among the most
ancient in Neustria, as well as among those which were destroyed by the
Normans, and rebuilt by the zeal of good princes. They also alleged the
dispute that prevailed under the Norman dukes for more than two hundred
years, between this convent and that of Fécamp, respecting the right of
nominating one of their own brethren to the head of their community, a
right which was claimed by Fécamp; and they displayed the series of
their prelates, continued in an uninterrupted line from the time of
their founder. Whatever may have been the justice of these claims, the
antiquity of the monastery is admitted by all parties.--Its monks, like
those of the abbey of St. Ouen, had the privilege of receiving every new
bishop of the see, on the first day of his arrival at Evreux; and his
corpse was deposited in their church, where the funeral obsequies were
performed. This privilege, originally intended only as a mark of
distinction to the abbey, was on two occasions perverted to a purpose
that might scarcely have been expected. Upon the death of Bishop John
d'Aubergenville in 1256, the monks resented the reformation which he had
endeavoured to introduce into their order, by refusing to admit his body
within their precinct; and though fined for their obstinacy, they did
not learn wisdom by experience, but forty-three years afterwards shewed
their hostility decidedly towards the remains of Geoffrey of Bar, a
still more determined reformer of monastic abuses. Extreme was the
licentiousness which prevailed in those days among the monks of St.
Taurinus, and unceasing were the endeavors of the bishop to correct
them. The contest continued during his life, at the close of which they
not only shut their doors against his corpse, but dragged it from the
coffin and gave it a public flagellation. So gross an act of indecency
would in all probability be classed among the many scandalous tales
invented of ecclesiastics, but that the judicial proceedings which
ensued leave no doubt of its truth; and it was even recorded in the
burial register of the cathedral.

The church of St. Taurinus offers some valuable specimens of ancient
architecture.--The southern transept still preserves a row of Norman
arches, running along the lower part of its west side, as well as along
its front; but those above them are pointed. To the south are six
circular arches, divided into two compartments, in each of which the
central arch has formerly served for a window. Both the lateral ones are
filled with coeval stone-work, whose face is carved into lozenges, which
were alternately coated with blue and red mortar or stucco: distinct
traces of the coloring are still left in the cavities[43]. To the
eastern side of this transept is attached, as at St. Georges, a small
chapel, of semi-circular architecture, now greatly in ruins. The
interior of the church is all comparatively modern, with the exception
of some of the lower arches on the north side.--A strange and whimsical
vessel for holy water attracted our attention. I cannot venture to guess
at its date, but I do not think it is more recent than the fourteenth
century.

[Illustration: Vessel for holy water]

The principal curiosity of the church, and indeed of the town, is the
shrine, which contained, or perhaps, contains, a portion of the bones of
the patron saint, whose body, after having continued for more than three
hundred years a hidden treasure, was at last revealed in a miraculous
manner to the prayers of Landulphus, one of his successors in the
episcopacy.--The cathedral of Chartres, in early ages, set up a rival
claim for the possession of this precious relic; but its existence here
was formally verified at the end of the seventeenth century, by the
opening of the _châsse_, in which a small quantity of bones was found
tied up in a leather bag, with a certificate of their authenticity,
signed by an early bishop.--The shrine is of silver-gilt, about one and
a half foot in height and two feet in length: it is a fine specimen of
ancient art. In shape it resembles the nave of a church, with the sides
richly enchased with figures of saints and bishops. Our curious eyes
would fain have pried within; but it was closed with the impression of
the archbishop's signet.--A crypt, the original burial place of St.
Taurinus, is still shewn in the church, and it continues to be the
object of great veneration. It is immediately in front of the high
altar, and is entered by two staircases, one at the head, the other at
the foot of the coffin. The vault is very small, only admitting of the
coffin and of a narrow passage by its side. The sarcophagus, which is
extremely shallow, and neither wide nor long, is partly imbedded in the
wall, so that the head and foot and one side alone are visible.--A
portion of the monastic buildings of St. Taurinus now serves as a
seminary for the catholic priesthood.

The west front of the church of St. Giles is not devoid of interest.
Many other churches here have been desecrated; and this ancient building
has been converted into a stable. The door-way is formed by a fine
semi-circular arch, ornamented with the chevron-moulding, disposed in a
triple row, and with a line of quatrefoils along the archivolt. Both
these decorations are singular: I recollect no other instance of the
quatrefoil being employed in an early Norman building, though
immediately upon the adoption of the pointed style it became exceedingly
common; nor can I point out another example of the chevron-moulding thus
disposed. It produces a better effect than when arranged in detached
bands. The capitals to the pillars of the arch are sculptured with
winged dragons and other animals, in bold relief.

These are the only worthy objects of architectural inquiry now existing
in the city. Many must have been destroyed by the ravages of war, and by
the excesses of the revolution.--Evreux therefore does not abound with
memorials of its antiquity. But its existence as a town, during the
period of the domination of the Romans, rests upon authority that is
scarcely questionable. It has been doubted whether the present city, or
a village about three miles distant, known by the name of _Old Evreux_,
is the _Mediolanum Aulercorum_ of Ptolemy. His description is given with
sufficient accuracy to exclude the pretensions of any other town, though
not with such a degree of precision as will enable us, after a lapse of
sixteen centuries, to decide between the claims of the two sites. Cæsar,
in his _Commentaries_, speaks in general terms of the _Aulerci
Eburovices_, who are admitted to have been the ancient inhabitants of
this district, and whose name, especially as modified to _Ebroici_ and
_Ebroi_, is clearly to be recognized in that of the county. The
foundations of ancient buildings are still to be seen at Old Evreux; and
various coins and medals of the upper empire, have at different times
been dug up within its precincts. Hence it has been concluded, that the
_Mediolanum Aulercorum_ was situated there. The supporters of the
contrary opinion admit that Old Evreux was a Roman station; but they say
that, considering its size, it can have been no more than an encampment:
they also maintain, that a castle was subsequently built upon the site
of this encampment, by Richard, Count of Evreux, and that the
destruction of this castle, during the Norman wars, gave rise to the
ruins now visible, which in their turn were the cause of the name of the
village[44].

It is certain that, in the reign of William the Conqueror, the town
stood in its present situation: Ordericus Vitalis speaks in terms that
admit of no hesitation, when he states that, in the year 1080, "fides
Christi Evanticorum, id est Evroas, urbem, _super Ittonum fluvium sitam_
possidebat et salubritèr illuminabat[45]."

In the times of Norman sovereignty, Evreux attained an unfortunate
independence: Duke Richard Ist severed it from the duchy, and erected it
into a distinct earldom in favor of Robert, his second son. From him the
inheritance descended to Richard and William, his son and grandson;
after whose death, it fell into the female line, and passed into the
house of Montfort d'Amaury, by the marriage of Agnes, sister of Richard
of Evreux.--Nominally independent, but really held only at the pleasure
of the Dukes of Normandy, the rank of the earldom occasioned the misery
of the inhabitants, who were continually involved in warfare, and
plundered by conflicting parties. The annals of Evreux contain
the relation of a series of events, full of interest and amusement to us
who peruse them; but those, who lived at the time when these events were
really acted, might exclaim, like the frogs in the fable, "that what is
entertainment to us, was death to them."--At length, the treaty of
Louviers, in 1195, altered the aspect of affairs. The King of France
gained the right of placing a garrison in Evreux; and, five years
afterwards, he obtained a formal cession of the earldom. Philip Augustus
took possession of the city, to the great joy of the inhabitants, who,
six years before, had seen their town pillaged, and their houses
destroyed, by the orders of this monarch. The severity exercised upon
that occasion had been excessive; but Philip's indignation had been
roused by one of the basest acts of treachery recorded in
history.--John, faithless at every period of his life, had entered into
a treaty with the French monarch, during the captivity of his brother,
Coeur-de-Lion, to deliver up Normandy; and Philip, conformably with this
plan, was engaged in reducing the strong holds upon the frontiers,
whilst his colleague resided at Evreux. The unexpected release of the
English king disconcerted these intrigues; and John, alarmed at the
course which he had been pursuing, thought only how to avert the anger
of his offended sovereign. Under pretence, therefore, of shewing
hospitality to the French, he invited the principal officers to a feast,
where he caused them all to be murdered; and he afterwards put the rest
of the garrison to the sword.--Brito records the transaction in the
following lines, which I quote, not only as an historical document,
illustrative of the moral character of one of the worst sovereigns that
ever swayed the British sceptre, but as an honorable testimony to the
memory of his unfortunate brother:--


   "Attamen Ebroïcam studio majore reformans
    Armis et rebus et bellatoribus urbem,
    Pluribus instructam donavit amore Johanni,
    Ut sibi servet eam: tamen arcem non dedit illi.
    Ille dolo plenus, qui patrem, qui modo fratrem
    Prodiderat, ne non et Regis proditor esset,
    Excedens siculos animi impietate Tyrannos,
    Francigenas omnes vocat ad convivia quotquot
    Ebroïcis reperit, equites simul atque clientes,
    Paucis exceptis quos sors servavit in arce.
    Quos cum dispositis armis fecisset ut una
    Discubuisse domo, tanquam prandere putantes,
    Evocat e latebris armatos protinus Anglos,
    Interimitque viros sub eadem clade trecentos,
    Et palis capita ambustis affixit, et urbem
    Circuit affixis, visu mirabile, tali
    Regem portento quærens magis angere luctu:
    Talibus obsequiis, tali mercede rependens
    Millia marcharum, quas Rex donaverat illi.
      Tam detestanda pollutus cæde Johannes
    Ad fratrem properat; sed Rex tam flagitiosus
    Non placuit fratri: quis enim, nisi dæmone plenus,
    Omninoque Deo vacuus, virtute redemptus
    A vitiis nulla, tam dira fraude placere
    Appetat, aut tanto venetur crimine pacem?
    Sed quia frater erat, licet illius oderit actus
    Omnibus odibiles, fraternæ foedera pacis
    Non negat indigno, nec eum privavit amore,
    Ipsum qui nuper Regno privare volebat."


The vicissitudes to which the county of Evreux was doomed to be subject,
did not wholly cease upon its annexation to the crown of France. It
passed, in the fourteenth century, into the hands of the Kings of
Navarre, so as to form a portion of their foreign territory; and early
in the fifteenth, it fell by right of conquest under English
sovereignty.--Philip the Bold conferred it, in 1276, upon Louis, his
youngest son; and from him descended the line of Counts of Evreux, who,
originating in the royal family of France, became Kings of Navarre. The
kingdom was brought into the family by the marriage of Philip Count of
Evreux with Jane daughter of Louis Hutin, King of France and Navarre, to
whom she succeeded as heir general. Charles IIIrd, of Navarre, ceded
Evreux by treaty to his namesake, Charles VIth of France, in 1404; and
he shortly after bestowed it upon John Stuart, Lord of Aubigni, and
Constable of Scotland.--Under Henry Vth, our countrymen took the city in
1417, but we were not long allowed to hold undisturbed possession of it;
for, in 1424, it was recaptured by the French. Their success, however,
was only ephemeral: the battle of Verneuil replaced Evreux in the power
of the English before the expiration of the same year; and we kept it
till 1441, when the garrison was surprised, and the town lost, though
not without a vigorous resistance.--Towards the close of the following
century, the earldom was raised into a _Duché pairie_, by Charles IXth,
who, having taken the lordship of Gisors from his brother, the Duc
d'Alençon, better known by his subsequent title of Duc d'Anjou,
recompenced him by a grant of Evreux. Upon the death of this prince
without issue, in 1584, Evreux reverted to the crown, and the title lay
dormant till 1652, when Louis XIVth exchanged the earldom with the Duc
de Bouillon, in return for the principality of Sedan. In his family it
remained till the revolution, which, amalgamating the whole of France
into one common mass of equal rights and laws, put an end to all local
privileges and other feudal tenures.

Evreux, at present, is a town containing about eight thousand
inhabitants, a great proportion of whom are persons of independent
property, or _rentiers_, as the French call them. Hence it has an air of
elegance, seldom to be found in a commercial, and never in a
manufacturing town; and to us this appearance was the more striking, as
being the first instance of the kind we had seen in Normandy. The
streets are broad and beautifully neat. The city stands in the midst of
gardens and orchards, in a fertile valley, watered by the Iton, and
inclosed towards the north and south by ranges of hills. The river
divides into two branches before it reaches the town, both which flow on
the outside of the walls. But, besides these, a portion of its waters
has been conducted through the centre of the city, by means of a canal
dug by the order of Jane of Navarre. This Iton, like the Mole, in Kent,
suddenly loses itself in the ground, near the little town of Damville,
about twenty miles south of Evreux, and holds its subterranean course
for nearly two miles. A similar phenomenon is observable with a
neighboring stream, the Risle, between Ferrière and Grammont[46]: in
both cases it is attributed, I know not with what justice, to an abrupt
change in the stratification of the soil.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 36: This curious transaction, which took place in the year
1119, is related with considerable _näiveté_ by Ordericus Vitalis, p.
852, as follows:--"Henricus Rex rebellibus ultrà parcere nolens, pagum
Ebroicensem adiit, et Ebroas cum valida manu impugnare coepit. Sed
oppidanis, qui intrinsecus erant, cum civibus viriliter repugnantibus,
introire nequivit. Erant cum illo Ricardus filius ejus, et Stephanus
Comes nepos ejus, Radulfus de Guader, et maxima vis Normannorum. Quibus
ante Regem convocatis in unnm, Rex dixit ad Audinum Episcopum. "Videsne,
domine Præsul, quòd repellimur ab hostibus, nec eos nisi per ignem
subjugare poterimus? Verùm, si ignis immittitur, Ecclesiæ comburentur,
et insontibus ingens damnum inferetur. Nunc ergo, Pastor Ecclesiæ,
diligentèr considera, et quod utilius prospexeris providè nobis insinua.
Si victoria nobis per incendium divinitùs conceditur, opitulante Deo,
Ecclesiæ detrimenta restaurabuntur: quia de thesauris nostris commodos
sumptus gratantèr largiemur. Unde domus Dei, ut reor, in melius
reædificabuntur." Hæsitat in tanto discrimine Præsul auxius, ignorat
quid jubeat divinæ dispositioni competentius: nescit quid debeat magis
velle vel eligere salubrius. Tandem prudentum consultu præcepit ignem
immitti, et civitatem concremari, ut ab anathematizatis proditoribus
liberaretur, et legitimis habitatoribus restitueretur. Radulfus igitur
de Guader a parte Aquilonali primus ignem injecit, et effrenis flamma
per urbem statim volavit, et omnia (tempos enim autumni siccum erat)
corripuit. Tunc combusta est basilica sancti Salvatoris, quam
Sanctimoniales incolebant, et celebris aula gloriosæ virginis et matris
Mariæ, cui Præsul et Clerus serviebant, ubi Pontificalem Curiam
parochiani frequentabant. Rex, et cuncti Optimales sui Episcopo pro
Ecclesiarum combustione vadimonium supplicitèr dederunt, et uberes
impensas de opibus suis ad restaurationem earum palam spoponderunt."]

[Footnote 37: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 309.]

[Footnote 38: _Gallia Christiana_, XI. p. 606.]

[Footnote 39: From the manner in, which Ducarel speaks of these statues,
(_Anglo-Norman Antiquities_, p. 85.) he leaves it to be understood, that
they were in existence in his time; but it is far from certain that this
was the case; for the whole of his account of them is no more than a
translation from the following passage in Le Brasseur's _Histoire du
Comté d'Evreux_, p. 11.--"Le Diocèse d'Evreux a été si favorisé des
grâces de Dieu, qu'on ne voit presqu'aucun temps où l'Hérésie y ait
pénétré, même lorsque les Protestans inondoient et corrompoient toute la
France, et particulierement la Normandie. On ne peut pas cependant
desavoüer qu'il y a eu de temps en temps, quelques personnes qui se sont
livrées à l'erreur; et l'on peut remarquer quatre Statuës attachées à
deux piliers au dehors du chancel de l'Eglise Cathédrale du côté du
Cimetiere, dont trois représentent trois Chanoines, la tête couverte de
leurs Aumuces selon la coûtume de ce temps-là, et une quatrième qui
représente un Chanoine à un pilier plus éloigné, la tête nuë, tenant sa
main sur le coeur comme un signe de son repentir; parce que la tradition
dit, qu'aïant été atteint et convaincu du crime d'hérésie, le Chapitre
l'avoit interdit des fonctions de son Bénéfice; mais qu'aïant ensuite
abjuré son erreur, le même Chapitre le rétablit dans tous ses droits,
honneurs, et privileges: cependant il fut ordonné qu'en mémoire de
l'égarement et de la pénitence de ce Chanoine, ces Statuës demeureroient
attachées aux piliers de leur Eglise, lorsqu'elle fût rébâtie des
deniers de Henry I. Roy d'Angleterre, par les soins d'Audoenus Evêque
d'Evreux."]

[Footnote 40: This was not the first, nor the only, contest, which was
fought by Taurinus with Satan. Their struggles began at the moment of
the saint's coming to Evreux, and did not even terminate when his life
was ended. But the devil was, by the power of his adversary, brought to
such a helpless state, that, though he continued to haunt the city,
where the people knew him by the name of _Gobelinus_, he was unable to
injure any one.--All this is seriously related by Ordericus Vitalis, (p.
555.) from whom I extract the following passage, in illustration of what
Evreux was supposed to owe to its first bishop.--"Grassante secundâ
persecutione, quæ sub Domitiano in Christianos furuit, Dionysius
Parisiensis Episcopus Taurinum filiolum suum jam quadragenarium,
Præsulem ordinavit; et (vaticinatis pluribus quæ passurus erat)
Ebroicensibus in nomine Domini direxit. Viro Dei ad portas civitatis
appropinquanti, dæmon in tribus figmentis se opposuit: scilicet in
specie ursi, et leonis, et bubali terrere athletam Christi voluit. Sed
ille fortiter, ut inexpugnabilis murus, in fide perstitit, et coeptum
iter peregit, hospitiumque in domo Lucii suscepit. Tertia die, dum
Taurinus ibidem populo prædicaret, et dulcedo fidei novis auditoribus
multùm placeret, dolens diabolus Eufrasiam Lucii filiam vexare coepit,
et in ignem jecit. Quæ statim mortua est; sed paulò pòst, orante Taurino
ac jubente ut resurgeret, in nomine Domini resuscitata est. Nullum in ea
adustionis signum apparuit. Omnes igitur hoc miraculum videntes subitò
territi sunt, et obstupescentes in Dominum Jesum Christum crediderunt.
In illa die cxx. homines baptizati sunt. Octo cæci illuminati, et
quatuor multi sanati, aliique plures ex diversis infirmitatibus in
nomine Domini sunt curati."]

[Footnote 41: _Masson de St. Amand, Essais Historiques sur Evreux_, I.
p. 77.]

[Footnote 42: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 279.]

[Footnote 43: For this observation, as well as for several others
touching Evreux and Pont-Audemer, I have to express my acknowledgments
to Mr. Cotman's memoranda.]

[Footnote 44: _Le Brasseur, Histoire du Comté d'Evreux_, p. 4.]

[Footnote 45: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 555.]

[Footnote 46: _Goube, Histoire du Duché de Normandie_, III. p. 223.]



LETTER XIX.

VICINITY OF EVREUX--CHÂTEAU DE NAVARRE--COCHEREL--PONT-AUDEMER
--MONTFORT-SUR-RISLE--HARFLEUR--BOURG-ACHARD--FRENCH WEDDING.


(_Bourg-Achard, July_, 1818.)

Evreux is seldom visited by the English; and none of our numerous
absentees have thought fit to settle here, though the other parts of
Normandy are filled with families who are suffering under the sentence
of self-banishment. It is rather surprising, that this town has not
obtained its share of English settlers: the air is good, provisions are
cheap, and society is agreeable. Those, too, if such there be, who are
attracted by historical reminiscences, will find themselves on
historical ground.

The premier viscount of the British parliament derives his name from
Evreux; though, owing to a slight alteration in spelling and to our
peculiar pronunciation, it has now become so completely anglicised, that
few persons, without reflection, would recognize a descendant of the
Comtes d'Evreux, in Henry Devereux, Viscount of Hereford. The Norman
origin of this family is admitted by the genealogists and heralds, both
of France and of England; and the fate of the Earl of Essex is
invariably introduced in the works of those authors, who have written
upon Evreux or its honors.

It would have been unpardonable to have quitted Evreux, without rambling
to the Château de Navarre, which is not more than a mile and half
distant from the town.--This Château, whose name recals an interesting
period in the history of the earldom, was originally a royal residence.
It was erected in the middle of the fourteenth century by Jane of
France, who, with a very pardonable vanity, directed her new palace to
be called Navarre, that her Norman subjects might never forget that she
was herself a queen, and that she had brought a kingdom as a marriage
portion to her husband. Her son, Charles the Bad, a prince whose
turbulent and evil disposition caused so much misfortune to France, was
born here. Happy too had it been for him, had he here closed his eyes
before he entered upon the wider theatre of the world! During his early
days passed at Navarre, he is said to have shewn an ingenuousness of
disposition and some traits of generosity, which gave rise to hopes that
were miserably falsified by his future life.--The present edifice,
however, a modern French Château, retains nothing more than the name of
the structure which was built by the queen, and which was levelled with
the ground, in the year 1686, by the Duc de Bouillon, the lord of the
country, who erected the present mansion. His descendants resided here
till the revolution, at which time they emigrated, and the estate became
national property. It remained for a considerable period unoccupied, and
was at last granted to Joséphine, by her imperial husband. At present,
the domain belongs to her son, Prince Eugene, by whom the house has
lately been stripped of its furniture. Many of the fine trees in the
park have also been cut down, and the whole appears neglected and
desolate. His mother did not like Navarre: he himself never saw it: the
queen of Holland alone used occasionally to reside here.--The principal
beauty of the place lies in its woods; and these we saw to the greatest
advantage. It was impossible for earth or sky to look more lovely.--The
house is of stone, with large windows; and an ill-shaped dome rises in
the centre. The height of the building is somewhat greater than its
width, which makes it appear top-heavy; and every thing about it is
formal; but the noble avenue, the terrace-steps, great lanthorns, iron
gates, and sheets of water on either side of the approach, are upon an
extensive scale, and in a fine baronial style.--Yet, still they are
inferior to the accompaniments of the same nature which are found about
many noblemen's residences in England.--The hall, which is spacious, has
a striking effect, being open to the dome. Its sides are painted with
military trophies, and with the warlike instruments of the four quarters
of the globe. We saw nothing else in the house worthy of notice. It is
merely a collection of apartments of moderate size; and, empty and dirty
as they were, they appeared to great disadvantage. In the midst of the
solitude of desolation, some ordinary portraits of the Bouillon family
still remain upon the walls, as if in mockery of departed greatness.

We were unable to direct our course to Cocherel, a village about sixteen
miles distant, on the road to Vernon, celebrated as the spot where a
battle was fought, in the fourteenth century, between the troops of
Navarre, and those of France, commanded by Du Guesclin.--I notice this
place, because it is possible that, if excavations were made there,
those antiquaries who delight in relics of the remotest age of European
history, might win many prizes. A tomb of great curiosity was discovered
in the year 1685; and celts, and stone hatchets, and other implements,
belonging, as it is presumed, to the original inhabitants of the
country, have been found beneath the soil. Many of these are described
and figured by the Abbé de Cocherel, in a paper full of curious
erudition, subjoined to Le Brasseur's _History of Evreux_. The hatchets
resembled those frequently dug up in England; but they were more
perfect, inasmuch as some of them were fastened in deers' horns, and had
handles attached to them; thus clearly indicating the manner in which
they were used.--The place of burial differed, I believe, in its
internal arrangement from any sepulchral monument, whether Cromlech,
Carnedd, or Barrow, that has been opened in our own country. Three sides
of it were rudely faced with large stones: within were contained about
twenty skeletons, lying in a row, close to each other, north and south,
their arms pressed to their sides. The head of each individual rested on
a stone, fashioned with care, but to no certain pattern. Some were
fusiform, others wedge-shaped, and others irregularly oblong. In
general, the stones did not appear to be the production of the country.
One was oriental jade, another German agate. In the tomb were also a few
cinerary urns; whence it appears that the people, by whom it was
constructed, were of a nation that was at once in the habit of burning,
and of interring, their dead. From these facts, the Abbé finds room for
much ingenious conjecture; and, after discussing the relative
probabilities of the sepulchre having been a burying-place of the Gauls,
the Jews, the Druids, the Normans, or the Huns, he decides, though with
some hesitation, in favor of the last of these opinions.

From Evreux we went by Brionne to Pont-Audemer: at first the road is
directed through an open country, without beauty or interest; but the
prospect improved upon us when we joined the rapid sparkling _Risle_,
which waters a valley of great richness, bounded on either side by
wooded hills.--Of Brionne itself I shall soon have a better opportunity
of speaking; as we purpose stopping there on our way to Caen.

A few miles before Brionne, we passed Harcourt, the ancient barony of
the noble family still flourishing in England, and existing in France.
It is a small country town, remarkable only for some remains of a
castle[47], built by Robert de Harcourt, fifth in descent from Bernard
the Dane, chief counsellor, and second in command to Rollo. The blood of
the Dane is in the present earl of Harcourt: he traces his lineage in a
direct line from Robert, the builder of the castle, who accompanied the
Conqueror into England, and fell in battle by his side.

Pont-Audemer is a small, neat, country town, situated upon the Risle,
which here, within ten miles of its junction with the Seine, is enlarged
into a river of considerable magnitude. But its channel, in the
immediate vicinity of the town, divides into several small streams; and
thus it loses much of its dignity, though the change is highly
advantageous to picturesque beauty, and to the conveniences of trade.
Mills stand on some of these streams, but most of them are applied to
the purposes of tanning; for leather is the staple manufacture of the
place, and the hides prepared at Pont-Audemer are thought to be the best
in France.

From Brionne the valley of the Risle preserves a width of about a mile,
or a mile and half: at Pont-Audemer it becomes somewhat narrower, and
the town stretches immediately across it, instead of being built along
the banks of the river.--The inhabitants are thus enabled to avail
themselves of the different streams which intersect it.

Tradition refers the origin, as well as the name of Pont-Audemer, to a
chief, called Aldemar or Odomar, who ruled over a portion of Gaul in the
fifth century, and who built a bridge here.--These legendary heroes
abound in topography, but it is scarcely worth while to discuss their
existence. In Norman times Pont-Audemer was a military station. The
nobility of the province, always turbulent, but never more so than
during the reign of Henry Ist, had availed themselves of the opportunity
afforded by the absence of the monarch, and by his domestic misfortunes,
to take up arms in the cause of the son of Robert. Henry landed at the
mouth of the Seine, and it was at Pont-Audemer that the first conflict
took place between him and his rebellious subjects. The latter were
defeated, and the fortress immediately surrendered; but, in the early
part of the fourteenth century, it appears to have been of greater
strength: it had been ceded by King John of France to the Count of
Evreux, and it resisted all the efforts of its former lord during a
siege of six weeks, at the end of which time his generals were obliged
to retire, with the loss of their military engines and artillery. This
siege is memorable in history, as the first in which it is known that
cannon were employed in France.--Pont-Audemer, still in possession of
the kings of Navarre, withstood a second siege, towards the conclusion
of the same century, but with less good fortune than before. It was
taken by the constable Du Guesclin, and, according to Froissart[48],
"the castle was razed to the ground, though it had cost large sums to
erect; and the walls and towers of the town were destroyed."

St. Ouen, the principal church in the place, is a poor edifice. It
bears, however, some tokens of remote age: such are the circular arches
in the choir, and a curious capital, on which are represented two
figures in combat, of rude sculpture.--A second church, that of Notre
Dame des Prés, now turned into a tan-house, exhibits an architectural
feature which is altogether novel. Over the great entrance, it has a
string-course, apparently intended to represent a corbel-table, though
it does not support any superior member; and the intermediate spaces
between the corbels, instead of being left blank, as usual, are filled
with sculptured stones, which project considerably, though less than the
corbels with which they alternate. There is something of the same kind,
but by no means equally remarkable, over the arcades above the west
door-way of Castle-Acre Priory[49]. Neither Mr. Cotman's memory, nor my
own, will furnish another example.--The church of Notre Dame des Prés is
of the period when the pointed style was beginning to be employed. The
exterior is considerably injured: to the interior we could not obtain
admission.

The suburbs of Pont-Audemer furnish another church dedicated to St.
Germain, which would have been an excellent subject for both pen and
pencil, had it undergone less alteration. The short, thick, square,
central tower has, on each side, a row of four windows, of nearly the
earliest pointed style; many of the windows of the body of the church
have semi-circular heads; the corbels which extend in a line round the
nave and transepts are strangely grotesque; and, on the north side of
the eastern extremity, is a semi-circular chapel, as at St.
Georges.--The inside is dark and gloomy, the floor unpaved, and every
thing in and about it in a state of utter neglect, except some dozen
saints, all in the gayest attire, and covered with artificial flowers.
The capitals of the columns are in the true Norman style. Those at St.
Georges are scarcely more fantastic, or more monstrous.--Between two of
the arches of the choir, on the south side of this church, is the effigy
of a man in his robes, coifed with a close cap, lying on an altar-tomb.
The figure is much mutilated; but the style of the canopy-work over the
head indicates that it is not of great antiquity. The feet of the statue
rest upon a dog, who is busily occupied in gnawing a marrow-bone.--Dogs
at the base of monumental effigies are common, and they have been
considered as symbols of fidelity and honor; but surely the same is not
intended to be typified by a dog thus employed; and it is not likely
that his being so is a mere caprice of the sculptor's.--There is no
inscription upon the monument; nor could we learn whom it is intended to
commemorate.

At but a short distance from Pont-Audemer, higher up the Risle, lies the
yet smaller town of Montfort, near which are still to be traced, the
ruins of a castle,[50] memorable for the thirty days' siege, which it
supported from the army of Henry Ist, in 1122; and dismantled by Charles
Vth, at the same time that he razed the fortifications of Pont-Audemer.
The Baron of Montfort yet ranks in our peerage; though I am not aware
that the nobleman, who at present bears the title, boasts a descent from
any part of the family of _Hugh with a beard_, the owner of Montfort at
the time of the conquest, and one of the Conqueror's attendants at the
battle of Hastings.

From Pont-Audemer we proceeded to Honfleur: it was market-day at the
place which we had quitted, and the throng of persons who passed us on
the road, gave great life and variety to the scene. There was scarcely
an individual from whom we did not receive a friendly smile or nod,
accompanied by a _bon jour_; for the practice obtains commonly in
France, among the peasants, of saluting those whom they consider their
superiors. Almost all that were going to market, whether male or female,
were mounted on horses or asses; and their fruit, vegetables, butchers'
meat, live fowls, and live sheep, were indiscriminately carried in the
same way.

About a league before we arrived at Honfleur, a distant view of the
eastern banks of the river opened upon us from the summit of a hill, and
we felt, or fancied that we felt, "the air freshened from the wave." As
we descended, the ample Seine, here not less than nine miles in width,
suddenly displayed itself, and we had not gone far before we came in
sight of Honfleur. The mist occasioned by the intense heat, prevented us
from seeing distinctly the opposite towns of Havre and Harfleur: we
could only just discern the spire of the latter, and the long projecting
line of the piers and fortifications of Havre. The great river rolls
majestically into the British Channel between these two points, and
forms the bay of Honfleur. About four miles higher up the stream where
it narrows, the promontories of Quilleboeuf and of Tancarville close the
prospect.--Honfleur itself is finely situated: valleys, full of meadows
of the liveliest green, open to the Seine in the immediate vicinity of
the town; and the hills with which it is backed are beautifully clothed
with foliage to the very edge of the water. The trees, far from being
stunted and leafless, as on the eastern coast of England, appear as if
they were indebted to their situation for a verdure of unusual
luxuriancy. A similar line of hills borders the Seine on either side, as
far as the eye can reach.

It was unfortunate for us, that we entered the town at low water, when
the empty harbor and slimy river could scarcely fail to prepossess us
unfavorably. The quays are faced with stone, and the two basins are fine
works, and well adapted for commerce. This part of Honfleur reminded us
of Dieppe; but the houses, though equally varied in form and materials,
are not equally handsome.--Still less so are the churches; and a
picturesque castle is wholly wanting.--In the principal object of my
journey to Honfleur, my expectations were completely frustrated. I had
been told at Rouen, that I should here find a very ancient wooden
church, and our imagination had pictured to us one equally remarkable
as that of Greensted, in Essex, and probably constructed in the same
manner, of massy trunks of trees. With the usual anticipation of an
antiquary, I imagined that I should discover a parallel to that most
singular building; which, as every body knows, is one of the greatest
architectural curiosities in England. But, alas! I was sadly
disappointed. The wooden church of Honfleur, so old in the report of my
informant, is merely a thing of yesterday, certainly not above two
hundred and fifty years of age; and, though it is undeniably of wood,
within and without, the walls are made, as in most of the houses in the
town, of a timber frame filled with clay. There is another church in
Honfleur, but it was equally without interest. Thus baffled, we walked
to the heights above the town: at the top of the cliff was a crowd of
people, some of them engaged in devotion near a large wooden crucifix,
others enjoying themselves at different games, or sitting upon the neat
stone benches, which are scattered plentifully about the walks in this
charming situation. The neighboring little chapel of Notre Dame de Grace
is regarded as a building of great sanctity, and is especially resorted
to by sailors, a class of people who are superstitious, all the world
over. It abounds with their votive tablets. From the roof and walls


   "Pendono intorno in lungo ordine i voti,
    Che vi portaro i creduli divoti."


Among the pictures, we counted nineteen, commemorative of escape from
shipwreck, all of them painted after precisely the same pattern: a
stormy sea, a vessel in distress, and the Virgin holding the infant
Savior in her arms, appearing through a black cloud in the corner,--In
the Catholic ritual, the holy Virgin, is termed _Maris Stella_, and she
is κατ' εξοχην [English. Not in Original: pre-eminently, especially,
above all] the protectress of Normandy.

Honfleur is still a fortified town; but it does not appear a place of
much strength, nor is it important in any point of view. Its trade is
inconsiderable, and its population does not amount to nine thousand
inhabitants. But in the year 1450, while in the hands of our countrymen,
it sustained a siege of a month's duration from the king of France; and,
in the following century, it had the distinction, attended with but
little honor, of being the last place in the kingdom that held out for
the league.

From Honfleur we would fain have returned by Sanson-sur-Risle and
Foullebec, at both which villages M. Le Prevost had led us to expect
curious churches; but our postillion assured us that the roads were
wholly impassable. We were therefore compelled to allow Mr. Cotman to
visit them alone, while we retraced a portion of our steps through the
valley of the Risle, and then took an eastern direction to Bourg-Achard
in our way to Rouen.

Bourg-Achard was the seat of an abbey, built by the monks of Falaise, in
1143: it was originally dedicated to St. Lô; but St. Eustatius, the
favorite saint of this part of the country, afterwards became its
patron. Before the revolution, his skull was preserved in the sacristy
of the convent, enchased in a bust of silver gilt[51]; and even now,
when the relic has been consigned to its kindred dust, and the shrine to
the furnace, and the abbey has been levelled with the ground, there
remains in the parochial church a fragment of sculpture, which evidently
represented the miracle that led to Eustatius' conversion.--The knight,
indeed, is gone, and the cross has disappeared from between the horns of
the stag; but the horse and the deer, are left, and their position
indicates the legend.--The church of Bourg-Achard has been materially
injured. The whole of the building, from the transept westward, has been
taken down; but it deserves a visit, if only as retaining a _bénitier_
of ancient form and workmanship, and a leaden font. Of the latter, I
send you a drawing. Leaden fonts are of very rare occurrence in
England[52], and I never saw or heard of another such in France: indeed,
a baptismal font of any kind is seldom to be seen in a French church,
and the vessels used for containing the holy water, are in most cases
nothing more than small basins in the form of escalop shells, affixed to
the wall, or to some pillar near the entrance.--It is possible that
the fonts were removed and sold during the revolution, as they were in
our own country, by the ordinance of the houses of parliament, after the
deposition of Charles Ist; but this is a mere conjecture on my own part.
It is also possible that they may be kept in the sacristy, where I have
certainly seen them in some cases. In earlier times, they not only
existed in every church, but were looked upon with superstitious
reverence. They are frequently mentioned in the decrees of
ecclesiastical councils; some of which provide for keeping them clean
and locked; others for consigning the keys of them to proper officers;
others direct that they should never be without water; and others that
nothing profane should be laid upon them[53].

[Illustration: Leaden Font at Bourg-Achard]

As we were at breakfast this morning, a procession, attended by a great
throng, passed our windows, and we were invited by our landlady to go to
the church and see the wedding of two of the principal persons of the
parish, We accepted the proposal; and, though the same ceremony has been
witnessed by thousands of Englishmen, yet I doubt whether it has been
described by any one.--The bride was a girl of very interesting
appearance, dressed wholly in white: even her shoes were white, and a
bouquet of white roses, jessamine, and orange-flowers, was placed in her
bosom.--The mayor of the town conducted her to the altar. Previously to
the commencement of the service, the priest stated aloud that the forms
required by law, for what is termed the civil marriage, had been
completed. It was highly necessary that he should do so; for, according
to the present code, a minister of any persuasion, who proceeds to the
religious ceremonies of marriage before the parties have been married by
the magistrate, is subject to very heavy penalties, to imprisonment, and
to transportation. Indeed, going to church at all for the purpose of
marriage, is quite a work of supererogation, and may be omitted or not,
just as the parties please; the law requiring no other proof of a
marriage, beyond the certificate recorded in the municipal registry.
After this most important preliminary, the priest exhorted every one
present, under pain of excommunication, to declare if they knew of any
impediment: this, however, was merely done for the purpose of keeping up
the dignity of the church, for the knot was already tied as fast as it
ever could be. He then read a discourse upon the sanctity of the
marriage compact, and the excellence of the wedded state among the
Catholics, compared to what prevailed formerly among the Jews and
Heathens, who degraded it by frequent divorces and licentiousness. The
parties now declared their mutual consent, and his reverence enjoined
each to be to the other "comme un époux fidèle et de lui tenir fidélité
en toutes choses."--The ring was presented to the minister by one of the
acolytes, upon a gold plate; and, before he directed the bridegroom to
place it upon the finger of the lady, he desired him to observe that it
was a symbol of marriage.--During the whole of the service two other
acolytes were stationed in front of the bride and bridegroom, each
holding in his hands a lighted taper; and near the conclusion, while
they knelt before the altar, a pall of flowered brocade was stretched
behind them, as emblematic of their union. Holy water was not forgotten;
for, in almost every rite of the Catholic church, the mystic
sanctification by water and by fire continually occurs.--The ceremony
ended by the priest's receiving the sacrament himself, but without
administering it to any other individual present. Having taken it, he
kissed the paten which had contained the holy elements, and all the
party did the same: each, too, in succession, put a piece of money into
a cup, to which we also were invited to contribute, for the love of the
Holy Virgin.--They entered by the south door, but the great western
portal was thrown open as they left the church; and by that they
departed.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 47: _Masson de St. Amand, Essais Historiques sur Evreux_, I.
p. 39.]

[Footnote 48: _Johnes' Translation_, 8vo, IV. p. 292.]

[Footnote 49: See _Britten's Architectural Antiquities_, III. t. 2.]

[Footnote 50: _Goube, Histoire de Normandie_, III. 249.]

[Footnote 51: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II. p. 319.]

[Footnote 52: Mr. Gough, (See _Archæologia_, X. p. 187.) whose attention
had been much directed to this subject, seems to have known only four
fonts made of lead, in the kingdom;--at Brookland in Kent, Dorchester in
Oxfordshire, Wareham in Dorsetshire, and Walmsford in Northamptonshire;
but there are in all probability many more. We have at least four in
Norfolk. He says, "they are supposed to be of high antiquity; and that
at Brookland may have relation to the time of Birinus himself. To what
circumstance the others are to be referred, or from what other church
brought, does not appear."--The leaden fonts which I have seen, have all
been raised upon a basis of brick or stone, like this at Bourg-Achard,
and are all of nearly the same pattern.]

[Footnote 53: See _Concilia Normannica_, II. pp. 56, 117, 403, 491, 508,
&c]



LETTER XX.

MOULINEAUX--CASTLE OF ROBERT THE DEVIL--BOURG-THEROUDE--ABBEY OF
BEC--BRIONNE.


(_Brionne, July_, 1818.)

Having accomplished the objects which we had proposed to ourselves in
Rouen and its vicinity, we set out this morning upon our excursion to
the western parts of the province. Our first stage, to Moulineaux, was
by the same road by which we returned a few days ago from Bourg-Achard.
It is a delightful ride, through the valley of the Seine, here of great
width, stretching to our left in an uninterrupted course of flat open
country, but, on our right hand, bordered at no great distance by the
ridge of steep chalky cliffs which line the bank of the river. The road
appears to have been a work of considerable labor: it is every where
raised, and in some places as high as fifteen feet above the level of
the fields on either side.--Agriculture in this district is conducted,
as about Paris, upon the plan called by the French _la petite culture_:
the fields are all divided into narrow strips; so that a piece of not
more than two or three acres, frequently produces eight or ten different
crops, some of grain, others of culinary vegetables, at the same time
that many of these portions are planted with apple and cherry trees. The
land is all open and uninclosed: not a fence is to be seen; nor do there
even appear to be any balks or head-marks. Strangers therefore who come,
like us, from a country entirely inclosed, cannot refrain from frequent
expressions of surprise how it is that every person here is enabled to
tell the limits of his own property.

Moulineaux is a poor village, a mere assemblage of cottages, with mud
walls and thatched roofs. But the church is interesting, though
desecrated and verging to ruin. Even now the outside alone is entire.
The interior is gutted and in a state of absolute neglect.--The building
is of the earliest pointed style: its lancet-windows are of the plainest
kind, being destitute of side pillars: in some of the windows are still
remains of handsome painted glass.--Either the antiquaries in France are
more honest than in England, or they want taste, or objects of this kind
do not find a ready market. We know too well how many an English church,
albeit well guarded by the churchwardens and the parson, has seen its
windows despoiled of every shield, and saint, and motto; and we also
know full well, by whom, and for whom, such ravages are committed. In
France, on the contrary, where painted glass still fills the windows of
sacred buildings, now employed for the meanest purposes, or wholly
deserted, no one will even take the trouble of carrying it away; and the
storied panes are left, as derelicts utterly without value.--The east
end of the church at Moulineaux is semi-circular; the roof is of stone,
handsomely groined, and the groinings spring from fanciful corbels. On
either side of the nave, near the choir, is a recess in the wall, carved
with tabernacle-work, and serving for a piscina. Recesses of this kind,
though of frequent occurrence in English churches, do not often appear
in France. Still less common are those elaborate screens of carved
timber, often richly gilt or gorgeously painted, which separate the nave
from the chancel in the churches of many of our smaller villages at
home. The only one I ever recollect to have seen in France was at
Moulineaux.--I also observed a mutilated pillar, which originally
supported the altar, ornamented with escalop shells and fleurs-de-lys in
bold relief. It reminded me of one figured in the _Antiquarian
Repertory_, from Harold's chapel, in Battle Abbey[54].

Immediately after leaving Moulineaux, the road winds along the base of a
steep chalk hill, whose brow is crowned by the remains of the famous
castle of Robert the Devil, the father of Richard Fearnought. Robert the
Devil is a mighty hero of romance; but there is some difficulty in
discovering his historical prototype. Could we point out his _gestes_ in
the chronicle, they would hardly outvalue his adventures, as they are
recorded in the nursery tale. Robert haunts this castle, which appears
to have been of great extent, though its ruins are very indistinct. The
walls on the southern side are rents, and covered with brush-wood; and
no architectural feature is discernible. Wide and deep fosses encircle
the site, which is undermined by spacious crypts and subterraneous
caverns.--The fortress is evidently of remote, but uncertain, antiquity:
it was dismantled by King John when he abandoned the duchy. The
historians of Normandy say that it was re-fortified during the civil
wars; and the fact is not destitute of probability, as its position is
bold and commanding.

Bourg-Theroude, our next stage, is one of those places which are
indebted to their names alone for the little importance they possess. At
present, it is a small assemblage of mean houses, most of them inns; but
its Latin appellation, _Burgus Thuroldi_, commemorates no less a
personage than one of the preceptors of William the Conqueror, and his
grand constable at the time when he effected the conquest of
England.--The name of Turold occurs upon the Bayeux tapestry,
designating one of the ambassadors dispatched by the Norman Duke to Guy,
Earl of Ponthieu; and it is supposed that the Turold there represented
was the grand constable[55].--The church of Bourg-Theroude, which was
collegiate before the revolution, is at present uninteresting in every
point of view.

About half way from this place to Brionne, we came in sight of the
remains of the celebrated abbey of Bec, situated a mile and half or two
miles distant to our right, at the extremity of a beautiful valley. We
had been repeatedly assured that scarcely one stone of this formerly
magnificent building was left upon another; but it would have shewn an
unpardonable want of curiosity to have passed so near without visiting
it: even to stand upon the spot which such a monastery originally
covered is a privilege not lightly to be foregone:--


   "The pilgrim who journeys all day,
      To visit some far distant shrine;
    If he bear but a relic away,
      Is happy, nor heard to repine."--


And _happiness_ of this kind would on such an occasion infallibly fall
to your lot and to mine. A love for botany or for antiquities would
equally furnish _relics_ on a similar _pilgrimage_.

As usual, the accounts which we had received proved incorrect. The
greater part of the conventual edifice still exists, but it has no kind
of architectural value. Some detached portions, whose original use it
would be difficult now to conjecture, appear, from their wide pointed
windows, to be of the fifteenth century. The other buildings were
probably erected within the last fifty years.--The part inhabited by the
monks is at this time principally employed as a cotton-mill; and, were
it in England, nobody would suspect that it ever had any other
destination. Of the church, the tower[56] only is in existence. I find
no account of its date; though authors have been unusually profuse in
their details of all particulars relating to this monastery. I am
inclined to refer it to the beginning of the seventeenth century, in
which case it was built shortly after the destruction of the nave. Its
character is simple, solid elegance. Its ornaments are few, but they are
selected and disposed with judgment. Each corner is flanked by two
buttresses, which unite at top, and there terminate in a crocketed
pinnacle. The buttresses are also ornamented with tabernacles of saints
at different heights; and one of the tabernacles upon each buttress,
about mid-way up the tower, still retains a statue as large as life, of
apparently good workmanship. They were fortunately too high for the
democrats to destroy with ease. The height of the tower is one hundred
and fifty feet, as I found by the staircase of two hundred steps, which
remains uninjured, in a circular turret attached to the south side. The
termination of this turret is the most singular part of the structure:
it is surmounted by a cap, considerably higher than the pinnacles, and
composed, like a bee-hive, of a number of circles, each smaller than the
one below it. A few ruined arches of the east end of the church, and of
one of the side chapels are also existing. The rest is levelled with the
ground, and has probably been in a great measure destroyed lately; for
piles of wrought stones are heaped up on all sides.

If historical recollections or architectural beauty could have proved a
protection in the days of revolution, the church of Bec had undoubtedly
stood. Ducarel, who saw it in its perfection, says it was one of the
finest gothic structures in France; and his account of it, though only
an abridgement of that given by Du Plessis, in his _History of Upper
Normandy_, is curious and valuable.--Mr. Gough states the annual income
of the abbey at the period of the revolution, to have exceeded twenty
thousand crowns. Its patronage was most extensive: the monks presented
to one hundred and sixty advowsons, two of them in the metropolis; and
thirty other ecclesiastical benefices, as well priories as chapels, were
in their gift[57].--Its possessions, as we may collect from the various
charters and donations, might have led us to expect a larger revenue.
The estates belonging to the monastery in England, prior to the
reformation, were both numerous and valuable.

Sammarthanus, author of the _Gallia Christiana_, says, in speaking of
Bec, that, whether considered as to religion or literature, there was
not, in the eleventh century, a more celebrated convent throughout the
whole of Neustria. The founder of the abbey was Hellouin, sometimes
called Herluin, a nobleman, descended by the mother's side from the
Counts of Flanders, but he himself was a native of the territory of
Brionne, and educated in the castle of Gislebert, earl of that district.
Hellouin determined, at an early age, to withdraw himself from the court
and from the world: it seems he was displeased or affronted by the
conduct of the earl; and we may collect from the chroniclers, that it
was not a very easy task in those times for an individual of rank,
intent upon monastic seclusion, to carry his purpose into effect, and
that still greater difficulties were to be encountered if he wished to
put his property into mortmain. Hellouin was obliged to counterfeit
madness, and at last to come to a very painful explanation with his
liege lord; and, when he finally succeeded in obtaining the permission
he craved, his establishment was so poor, that he was compelled to take
upon himself the office of abbot, from an inability to find any other
person who would accept it.--The monkish historians lavish their praises
upon Hellouin. They assign to him every virtue under heaven; but they
particularly laud him for his humility and industry: all day long he
worked as a laborer in the building of his convent, whilst the night was
passed in committing the psalter to memory. At this period of his life,
a curious anecdote is recorded of him: curious in itself, as
illustrative of the character of the man; and particularly curious, in
being quoted as matter of commendation, and thus serving to illustrate
the feelings of a great body of the community.--His mother, who shared
in the pious disposition of her son, had attached herself to the convent
to assist in the menial offices; and one day, while she was thus
engaged, the building caught fire, and she perished in the flames; upon
which, Hellouin, though bathed in tears, lifted up his hands to heaven,
and gave thanks to God that his parent had been burned to death in the
midst of an occupation of humility and piety!

During the life of Hellouin, the abbey was twice levelled with the
ground: on each occasion it rose more splendid from its ruins, and on
each the site was changed, till at length it was fixed upon the spot
from which its ruins are now vanishing. The whole of Normandy would
scarcely furnish a more desirable situation. Under the prelacy of
Hellouin, Bec increased rapidly in celebrity, and consequently in the
number of its inmates: it was principally indebted for this increase to
an accidental circumstance. Lanfranc, a native of Pavia, a lawyer in
Italy, but a monk in France, after having visited various monasteries,
and distinguished himself by defending the doctrine of the real
presence, then impugned by Berengarius, established himself here in the
year 1042, and immediately opened a school, which, to judge from the
language of Ordericus Vitalis[58], seems to have been the first ever
known in Normandy. Scholars from France, from England, and from
Flanders, hastened to place themselves under his care; his fame,
according to William of Malmesbury, went forth into the outer parts of
the earth; and Bec, under his auspices, became a most celebrated resort
of literature. To borrow the more copious account given by William of
Jumieges--"report quickly spread the glory of Bec, and of its abbot,
Hellouin, through every land. The clergy, the sons of dukes, the most
eminent schoolmasters, the most powerful of the laity, and the nobility,
all hastened hither. Many, actuated by love for Lanfranc, gave their
lands to the convent. The abbey was enriched with ornaments, with
possessions, and with noble inmates. Religion and learning increased;
property of all kinds abounded; and the monks, who but a few years
before, could scarcely command sufficient ground for the site of their
own building, now saw their estates extend for many miles in a
lengthening line."--Promotion followed the fame of Lanfranc, who soon
became abbot of the royal monastery of St. Stephen, at Caen, and thence
was translated to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury.

It was the rare good fortune of Bec, that the abbey furnished two
successive metropolitans to the English church, both of them selected
for their erudition, Lanfranc and Anselm. It is not a little remarkable,
too, that both were Italians. Lanfranc, whilst archbishop of Canterbury,
presided in the year 1077, at the dedication of the third church built
at Bec. We may judge how far the abbey had at that time increased in
consequence; for five bishops, one of them brother to the Conqueror,
honored the ceremony with their presence; and the nobles and ladies of
France, Normandy, and England crowded to the spot, to refresh their
bodies by the pleasures of the festival, and their souls by endowments
to the convent.

In the fifteenth century, when our Henry Vth brought his victorious
armies into France, the monks of Bec were reduced to a painful
alternative. It was apprehended by the French monarch, that the
monastery might be converted into a dépôt by the English; and they were
commanded either to demolish the church, or to fortify it against the
invaders. They naturally regarded the latter as the lesser evil; and the
consequence was, that the abbey was scarcely put into a state of
defence, when it was attacked by the enemy, and, after sustaining a
siege for a month, was obliged to surrender. A great part of the
monastic buildings were levelled to the ground; and the fortifications
which had been so strangely affixed to them were also razed: meanwhile
the monks suffered grievously from the contending parties: their
sacristy was plundered; their treasury emptied; and they were themselves
exposed to a variety of personal hardships. At the same time, also, the
tomb of the Empress Maud[59], which faced the high altar, was destroyed,
after having been stripped of its silver ornaments.

Considering the number of illustrious persons who were abbots or
patrons of Bec, and who had been elected from it to the superintendance
of other monasteries, the church does not appear to have been rich in
monuments. We read indeed of many individuals who were interred here
belonging to the house of Neubourg, a family distinguished among the
benefactors of the convent; and the records of the abbey speak also of
the tomb of Richard of St. Leger, Bishop of Evreux; but the Empress was
the only royal personage who selected this convent as the resting-place
for her remains; and she likewise appears to have been the only eminent
one, except Hellouin, the founder, who lay in the chapter-house, under a
slab of black marble, with various figures of rude workmanship[60]
carved upon it. His epitaph has more merit than the general class of
monumental inscriptions:--


   "Hunc spectans tumulum, titulo cognosce sepultum;
      Est via virtutis nôsse quis ipse fuit.
    Dum quater hic denos ævi venisset ad annos,
      Quæ fuerant secli sprevit amore Dei.
    Mutans ergò vices, mundi de milite miles
      Fit Christi subito, Monachus ex laïco.
    Hinc sibi, more patrum, socians collegia fratrum,
      Curâ, quâ decuit, rexit eos, aluit.
    Quot quantasque vides, hic solus condidit ædes,
      Non tàm divitiis quàm fidei meritis.
    Quas puer haud didicit scripturas postea scivit,
      Doctus ut indoctum vix sequeretur eum.
    Flentibus hunc nobis tulit inclementia mortis
      Sextilis quinâ bisque die decimâ.
    Herluine pater, sic cœlica scandis ovantèr;
      Credere namque tuis hoc licet ex meritis."


In number of inmates, extent of possessions, and possibly, in
magnificence of buildings, other Norman monasteries may have excelled
Bec: none equalled it in the prouder honor of being a seminary for
eminent men and especially for those destined to the highest stations in
the church. Lanfranc and Anselm were not the only two of its monks who
were seated on the archiepiscopal throne at Canterbury. Two others,
Theobald and Hubert obtained the same dignity in the following century;
and Roger, the seventh abbot of Bec, enjoyed the still more enviable
distinction of having been unanimously elected to fill the office of
metropolitan, but of possessing sufficient firmness of mind to resist
the attractions of wealth, and rank, and power. The sees of Rochester,
Beauvais, and Evreux were likewise filled by monks from Bec; and it was
here that many monastic establishments, both Norman and foreign, found
their pastors. Three of our own most celebrated convents, those of
Chester, Ely, and St. Edmund's Bury, received at different epochs their
abbots from Bec; and during the prelacy of Anselm, the supreme pontiff
himself selected a monk of this house as the prior of the distant
convent of the holy Savior at Capua.--The village of Bec, which adjoins
the abbey, is small and unimportant.

I was returning to our carriage, when a soldier invited me to walk to a
part of the monastic grounds (for they are very extensive) which is
appropriated to the purpose of keeping up the true breed of Norman
horses. The French government have several similar establishments: they
consider the matter as one of national importance; and, as France has
not yet produced a Duke of Bedford or a Mr. Coke, the state is obliged
to undertake what would be much better effected by the energy of
individuals.--A Norman horse is an excellent draft horse: he is strong,
bony, and well proportioned. But the natives are not content with this
qualified praise: they contend that he is equally unrivalled as a
saddle-horse, as a hunter, and as a charger. In this part of the country
the present average price of a hussar's horse is nineteen pounds; of a
dragoon's thirty-four pounds; and of an officer's eighty pounds.--These
prices are considered high, but not extravagant. France abounds at this
time in fine horses. The losses occasioned by the revolutionary wars,
and more especially by the disastrous Russian campaign, have been more
than compensated by five years of peace, and by the horses that were
left by the allied troops. An annual supply is also drawn from
Mecklenburg and the adjacent countries. Importations of this kind are
regarded as indispensable, to prevent a degeneration in the stock. A
Frenchman can scarcely be brought to believe it possible; that we in
England can preserve our fine breed of horses without having recourse to
similar expedients; and if at last, by dint of repeated asseverations,
you succeed in obtaining a reluctant assent, the conversation is almost
sure to end in a shrug of the shoulders, accompanied with the
remark--"Ah, vous autres Anglais, vous voulez toujours voler de vos
propres ailes."

As we approached Brionne, the face of the country became more uneven;
and we passed an extensive tract of uncultivated chalk hills, resembling
the downs of Wiltshire.--Brionne itself lies in a valley watered by the
Risle: the situation is agreeable, and advantageous for trade. The
present number of its inhabitants does not amount to two thousand; and
there is no reason to apprehend that the population has materially
decreased of late years. But in the times of Norman rule, Brionne was a
town of more importance: it had then three churches, besides an abbey
and a lazar-house. At present a single church only remains; and this is
neither large, nor handsome, nor ancient, nor remarkable in any point of
view. We found in it a monument of the revolution, which I never saw
elsewhere, and which I never expected to see at all. The age of reason
was a sadly irrational age.--The tablet containing the rights and duties
of man, disposed in two columns, like the tables of the Mosaic law, is
still suffered to exist in the church, though shorn of all its
republican dignity, and degraded into the front of a pew.

On the summit of a hill that overhangs the town, stood formerly the
castle of the Earls of Brionne; and a portion of the building, though it
be but an insignificant fragment, is still left. The part now standing
consists of little more than two sides of the square dungeon, The walls,
which are about fifty feet in height, appear crumbling and ragged, as
they have lost the greater part of their original facing. Yet their
thickness, which even now exceeds twelve feet, may enable them to bid
defiance for many a century, to "the heat of the sun, and the furious
winter's rages."--Nearly the half of one of the sides, which is seventy
feet long, is occupied by three flat Norman buttresses, of very small
projection. No arched door-way, no window remains; nor any thing, except
these buttresses, to give a distinct character to the architecture: the
hill is so overgrown with brush-wood, that though traces of foundation
are discernible in almost every part of it, no clear idea can be formed
of the dimensions or plan of the building. Its importance is
sufficiently established by its having been the residence of a son or
brother of Richard IInd, Duke of Normandy, on whose account, the town of
Brionne, with the adjacent territory, was raised into an earldom.
Historians speak unequivocally of its strength. During the reign of
William the Conqueror, it was regarded as impregnable. This king was
little accustomed to meet with disappointment or even with resistance;
but the castle of Brionne defied his utmost efforts for three successive
years. Under his less energetic successor, it was taken in a day. Its
possessor, Robert, Earl of Brionne, felt himself so secure within his
towers, that he ventured, with only six attendants, to oppose the whole
army of the Norman Duke; but the besiegers observed that the fortress
was roofed with wood; and a shower of burning missiles compelled the
garrison to surrender at discretion.--The castle was finally dismantled
by the orders of Charles Vth.

Brionne is known in ecclesiastical history as the place where the
council of the church was held, by which the tenets of Berengarius were
finally condemned. It appears that the archdeacon of Angers, after some
fruitless attempts to make converts among the Norman monks, took the
bold resolution of stating his doctrines to the duke in person; and that
the prince, though scarcely arrived at years of manhood, acted with so
much prudence on the occasion, as to withhold any decisive answer, till
he had collected the clergy of the duchy. They assembled at Brionne, as
a central spot; and here the question was argued at great length, till
Berengarius himself, and a convert, whom he had brought with him,
trusting in his eloquence, were so overpowered by the arguments of their
adversaries, that they were obliged to renounce their errors. The
doctrine of the real presence in the sacrament, was thus
incontrovertibly established; and it has from that time remained an
undisputed article of faith in the Roman Catholic church.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 54: Vol. III. p. 187.--The engraving in the _Antiquarian
Repertory_ was made from a drawing in the possession of the late Sir
William Burrell, Bart.]

[Footnote 55: The word _Turold_, in the tapestry, stands immediately
over the head of a dwarf, who is holding a couple of horses; and it has
therefore been inferred by Montfaucon, (_Monumens de la Monarchie
Française_, I. p. 378.) that he is the person thus denominated. But M.
Lancelot, in the _Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions_, VI. p. 753,
supposes Turold to be the ambassador who is in the act of speaking; and
this seems the more probable conjecture. The same opinion is still more
decidedly maintained by Father Du Plessis, in his _Histoire de la Haute
Normandie_, II. p. 342.--"Sur une ancienne tapisserie de l'Eglise de
Baieux, que l'on croit avoir été faite par ordre de la Reine Mathilde
femme du Conquérant, pour représenter les circonstances principales de
cette mémorable expédition, on lit distinctement le mot _Turold_ à côté
d'un des Ambassadeurs, que Guillaume avoit envoiez au Comte de Ponthieu;
et je ne doute nullement que ce Turold ne soit le même que le
Connétable. Le sçavant Auteur des Antiquitez de notre Monarchie croit
cependant que ce mot doit se rapporter à un Nain qui tient deux chevaux
en bride derriere les Ambassadeurs; et il ajoute que ce Nain devoit être
fort connu à la Conr du Duc de Normandie. On avoue que si c'est lui en
effet qui doit s'appeller Turold, il devoit tenir aussi à la Cour de son
Prince un rang distingué; sans quoi on n'auroit pas pris la peine de le
désigner par son nom dans la tapisserie. On avoue encore que le nom de
Turold est placé là de maniere qu'on peut à la rigueur le donner au Nain
aussi bien qu'à l'un des deux Ambassadeurs; et comme le Nain est
appliqué à tenir deux chevaux en bride, on pourrait croire enfin que
c'est le Connétable, dont les titres de l'Abbaïe de Facan nous ont
appris le nom: _Signum Turoldi Constabularii_. Mais le Nain est très-mal
habillé, il a son bonnet sur la tête, et tourne le dos au Comte de
Ponthieu, pendant que les deux Ambassadeurs noblement vêtus regardent ce
Prince en face, et lui parlent découverts: trois circonstances qui ne
peuvent convenir, ni au Connétable du Duc, ni à toute autre personne de
distinction qui auroit tenu compagnie, ou fait cortege aux
Ambassadeurs."]

[Footnote 56: This tower is figured, but very inaccurately, by Gough, in
his _Alien Priories_, I. p. 22.--The cupola which then surmounted it is
now gone; and the cap to the turret, which served as the staircase, has
strangely changed its shape.]

[Footnote 57: _Alien Priories_, I. p. 24.]

[Footnote 58: "Nam antea, sub tempore sex ducum vix ullus Normannorum
liberalibus studiis adhæsit; nec doctor inveniebatur, donec provisor
omnium, Deus, Normannicis oris Lanfrancum appulit. Fama peritiæ illius
in totâ ubertim innotuit Europâ, unde ad magisterium ejus multi
convenerunt de Franciâ, de Wasconiâ, de Britanniâ, necne
Flandriâ."--_Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 519.]

[Footnote 59: A question always existed, whether the Empress was really
buried here, or at the abbey of Ste Marie des Prés, at Rouen. Hoveden
expressly says, that she was interred at Rouen: the chronicle of Bec, on
the other hand, is equally positive in the assertion that her body was
brought to Bec, and entombed with honor before the altar of the Virgin.
The same chronicle adds that, in the year 1273, her remains were
discovered before the high altar, sewed up in an ox's hide.--Still
farther to substantiate their claim, the monks of Bec maintained that,
in 1684, upon the occasion of some repairs being done to this altar, the
bones of the empress were again found immediately under the lamp (which,
in Catholic churches, is kept constantly burning before the holy
sacrament,) and that they were deposited once more in the ground in a
wooden chest, covered with lead.--The Empress was a munificent endower
of monasteries, and was at all times most liberal towards Bec. William
of Jumieges says, that it would be tedious to enumerate the presents she
made to the abbey, but that the sight of them gave pleasure to those
strangers who have seen the treasures of the most noble churches. His
remarks on this matter, and his account of her arguments with her
father, on the subject of her choice of Bec, as a place of her
interment, deserve to be transcribed.--"Transiret illac hospes Græcus
aut Arabs, voluptate traheretur eadem. Credimus autem, et credere fas
est, æquissimum judicem omnium non solùm in futuro, verumetiam in
præsenti seculo, illi centuplum redditurum, quod seruis suis manu sicut
larga, ita devota gratantèr impendit. Ad remunerationem verò instantis
temporis pertinere non dubium est, quòd, miserante Deo, sopita adversa
valetudine, sanctitatem refouit, et Monachos suos, Monachos Beccenses,
qui præ omnibus, et super omnes pro ipsius sospitate, jugi labore
supplicandi decertando pene defecerant, aura prosperæ valetudinis ejus
afflatos omninò redintegravit.--Nec supprimendum illud est silentio,
imò, ut ita dicatur, uncialibus literis exaratum, seculo venturo
transmittendum; quòd antequam convalesceret postulaverat patrem suum, ut
permitteret eam in Cœnobio Beccensi humari. Quod Rex primo abnuerat,
dicens non esse dignum, ut filia sua, Imperatrix Augusta, quæ semel et
iterùm in urbe Romulea, quæ caput est mundi, per manus summi Pontificis
Imperiali diademate processerat insignita, in aliquo Monasterio, licèt
percelebri et religione et fama, sepeliretur; sed ad civitatem
Rotomagensium, quæ metropolis est Normannorum, saltem delata, in
Ecclesia principali, in qua et majores ejus, Rollonem loquor et
Willelmum Longamspatam filium ipsius, qui Neustriam armis subegerunt,
positi sunt, ipsa et poneretur. Qua deliberatione Regis percepta, illi
per nuncium remandavit, animam suam nunquam fore lætam, nisi compos
voluntatis suæ in hac duntaxat parte efficeretur.--O femina macte
virtutis et consilii sanioris, paruipendens pompam secularem in corporis
depositione! Noverat enim salubrius esse animabus defunctorum ibi
corpora sua tumulari, ubi frequentiùs et devotiùs supplicationes pro
ipsis Deo offeruntur. Victus itaque pater ipsius Augustæ pietate et
prudentia filiæ, qui ceteros et virtute et pietate vincere solitus erat,
cessit, et voluntatem, et petitionem ipsius de se sepelienda Becci fieri
concessit. Sed volente Deo ut præfixum est, sanitati integerrimæ
restituta convaluit."--_Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 305.]

[Footnote 60: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II. p, 281.]



LETTER XXI.

BERNAT--BROGLIE--ORBEC--LISIEUX--CATHEDRAL--ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.


(_Lisieux, July_, 1818.)

Instead of pursuing the straight road from Brionne to this city, we
deviated somewhat to the south, by the advice of M. Le Prevost; and we
have not regretted the deviation.

Bernay was once celebrated for its abbey, founded in the beginning of
the eleventh century, by Judith, wife of Richard IInd, Duke of Normandy.
Some of the monastic buildings are standing, and are now inhabited: they
appear to have been erected but a short time before the revolution, and
to have suffered little injury.--But the abbey church, which belonged to
the original structure, is all desolate within, and all defaced without.
The interior is divided into two stories, the lower of which is used as
a corn market, the upper as a cloth hall. Thus blocked up and
encumbered, we may yet discern that it is a noble building: its
dimensions are grand, and in most parts it is a perfect specimen of the
semi-circular style, except the windows and the apsis, which are of
later dates. The pillars in the nave and choir are lofty, but massy: the
capitals of some of them are curiously sculptured. On the lower member
of the entablature of one capital there are still traces of an
inscription; but it is so injured by neglect and violence, that we were
unable to decipher a single word. The capital itself is fanciful and not
devoid of elegance.

[Illustration: Capital]

The convent was placed under the immediate protection of the sovereign,
by virtue of an ordinance issued by Philip Augustus[61], in 1280, at
which time Peter, Count of Alençon, attempted to establish a claim to
some rights affecting the monastery. He alleged a grant from a former
monarch to one of his predecessors, by whom he asserted that the convent
had been founded; and, in support of his claim, he urged its position
within the limits of his territory. The abbot and monks resisted: they
gave proof that the abbey of Bernay was really founded by the duchess;
and therefore the king, after a full and impartial hearing, decided
against the count, and declared that the advocation of the monastery was
thenceforth to belong to himself and his successors in the dukedom for
ever.--Judith died before the convent was entirely built, and the task
of completing it devolved upon her widowed husband, whose charter,
confirming the foundation, is still in existence. It begins by a recital
of the pious motives[62] which urged the duchess to the undertaking; it
expressly mentions her death while the building was yet unfinished; and,
after detailing the various lands and grants bestowed on the abbey, it
concludes by denouncing the anger of God, and a fine of two hundred
pounds weight of gold upon those who disturb the establishment, "that
they may learn to their confusion that the good deeds of their
ancestors, undertaken for the love of God, are not to be undone with
impunity."

The parochial church at Bernay is uninteresting. The sculptures,
however, which adorn the high altar, are relics saved from the
destruction of the abbey of Bec. The Virgin Mary and Joseph are
represented, contemplating the infant Jesus, who is asleep. The statues
are all of the natural size. We saw many grave-stones from the same
abbey, nine or ten feet long, and covered with monumental figures of the
usual description, indented in the stone. These memorials were standing
by the side of the church door, not for preservation, but for sale! And
at a small chapel in the burial-ground near the town, we were shewn
twelve statues of saints, which likewise came from Bec. They are of
comparatively modern workmanship, larger than life, and carved in a
good, though not a fine, style. In the same chapel is kept the common
coffin for the interment of all the poor at Bernay.

The custom of merely putting the bodies of persons of the lower class
into coffins, when they are brought to the burial-ground, and then
depositing them naked in their graves, prevails at present in this part
of France as it did formerly in England.--In a place which must be the
receptacle for many that were in easy, and for not a few that were in
affluent, circumstances, it was remarkable that all lay indiscriminately
side by side, unmarked by any monumental stone, or any sepulchral
record.--Republican France proscribed distinctions of every description,
and those memorials which tended to perpetuate distinctions beyond the
limits of mortal existence, were naturally most unpardonable in the eyes
of the apostles of equality. But doctrines of this nature have fallen
into disrepute for more than twenty years; and yet the country
church-yard remains as naked as when the guillotine would have been the
reward of opposition to the tenets of the day. There are few more
comfortless sights, than such a cemetery: it looks as if those by whom
it is occupied regarded death as eternal sleep, and thought that the
memory of man should terminate with the close of his life. However
unlettered the muse, however hackneyed the rhyme, however misapplied
the text, it is consolatory to see them employed. Man dwells with a
melancholy satisfaction upon the tomb-stones of his relations and
friends, and not of them alone, but of all whom he has known or of whom
he has heard.--A mere _hic jacet_, with the name and years of him that
sleeps beneath, frequently recals the most lively impressions; and he
who would destroy epitaphs would destroy a great incitement to
virtue.--In other parts of France tomb-stones, or crosses charged with
monumental inscriptions, have re-appeared: at Bernay we saw only two;
one of them commemorated a priest of the town; the other was erected at
the public expence, to the memory of three gendarmes, who were killed at
the beginning of the revolution, and before religion was proscribed, in
the suppression of some tumult.

At less than a mile from Bernay, in the opposite direction, is another
church, called Notre Dame de la Couture, a name borrowed from the
property on which it stands. We were induced to visit it, by the
representation of different persons in the town, who had noticed our
architectural propensities. Some assured us that "C'est une belle
pièce;" others that "C'est une pièce qui n'est pas vilaine;" and all
concurred in praising it, though some only for the reason that "les
processions vont tout autour du choeur."--We found nothing to repay the
trouble of the walk.

Bernay contains upwards of six thousand inhabitants, the greater part of
whom are engaged in manufacturing coarse woollen and cotton cloths; and
the manufactures flourish, the goods made being principally for home
consumption. It is the chief place of the _arrondissement_, and the
residence of a sub-prefect.--Most of the houses are like those at Rouen,
merely wooden frames filled with mortar, which, in several instances, is
faced with small bricks and flints, disposed in fanciful patterns: here
and there the beams are carved with a variety of grotesque figures. The
lower story of all those in the high street retires, leaving room for a
wooden colonnade, which shelters the passenger, though it is entirely
destitute of all architectural beauty. The head-dress of the females at
Bernay is peculiar, and so very archaic, that our chamber-maid at the
inn appeared to deserve a sketch, full as much as any monumental effigy.

[Illustration: Head-dress of females of Bernay]

On our road between Bernay and Orbec, we stopped at the village of
Chambrais, more commonly called Broglie. Before the revolution, it
belonged to the noble family of that name, and it thence derived its
familiar appellation. The former residence of the Seigneurs of Broglie,
which is still standing, apparently uninjured, upon an adjoining
eminence, has lately been restored to the present Maréchal Duc de
Broglie. It looks like an extensive parish work-house, or like any thing
rather than a nobleman's seat.--The village church is very ancient and
still curious, though in parts considerably modernized. Unlike most
churches of great antiquity, it is not built in the form of a cross, but
consists only of a nave and choir, with side-aisles and an apsis, all on
a small scale[63]. Towards the north, the nave is separated from the
aisle by some of the largest and rudest piers I ever saw. They occupy
full two-thirds of the width of the intervening arches, which are five
feet wide, elliptic rather than semi-circular, and altogether without
ornament of any kind. Above each of these arches is a narrow,
circular-headed window, banded with a cylindrical pilaster; and, in most
instances, a row of quatrefoils runs between the pillar and the window.
The bases of the windows rest upon a string-course that extends round
the whole building; and on this also, alternating with the windows, rest
corbels, from which spring very short, clustered columns, intended to
support the groinings of the roof. On the south side, the massy piers
have been pared into comparatively slender pillars; and the arches are
pointed, as are all the lower windows in the church.--The font is of
stone, and ancient: it consists of a round basin, on a quadrangular
pedestal, like many in England.--The west front of the church is
peculiar. It is entered by a very wide, low, semi-circular door-way, of
rude architecture, and quite unornamented. Above is a window
corresponding with those in the clerestory; and, still higher, a row of
interlaced arches, also semi-circular. A pointed arch, the receptacle
for the statue of a saint, surmounts the whole; but this is, most
probably, of a later æra, as evidently are the two lateral
compartments, which terminate in slender spires of slate, and are
separated from the central division by Norman buttresses.

We stopped to dine at Orbec, a small and insignificant country town,
formerly an appendage of the houses of Orléans and Navarre, with the
title of a barony; but, more immediately before the revolution, the
domain of the family of Chaumont. Its church is a most uncouth edifice:
the plan is unusual; the entrance is in the north transept, which ends
in a square high tower.

Bernay, Orbec, and Lisieux, communicate only by cross roads, scarcely
passable by a carriage, even at this season of the year. From Orbec to
Lisieux the road runs by the side of the Touques, which, at Orbec, is no
more than a rivulet. The beautiful green meadows in the valley, appear
to repay the great care which is taken in the draining and irrigating of
them. They are every where intersected by small trenches, in which the
water is confined by means of sluices.--In this part of the country, we
passed several flocks of sheep, the true _moutons du pays_, a large
breed, with red legs and red spotted faces. Their coarse wool serves to
make the ordinary cloth of the country, but is inapplicable to any of a
finer texture. To remedy this deficiency, and, if possible, improve the
local manufactures, some large flocks of Merino sheep were imported at
the time when the French occupied Spain; and they are said to thrive.
But it is only of late years that any attempts, have been made of the
kind.--The Norman farmer, however careful about the breed of his horses,
has altogether neglected his sheep; and this is the more extraordinary,
considering that the prosperity of the province is inseparably connected
with that of the manufactures, and that much of the value of the produce
must of necessity depend upon the excellence of the material. His pigs
are the very perfection of ugliness: it is no hyperbole to say, that, in
their form, they partake as much of a greyhound as of an English
pig.--These animals are sure to attract the gaze of our countrymen; and
poor Trotter, in his narrative of the journey of Mr. Fox, expressed his
marvel so often, as to call down upon himself the witty vengeance of one
of our ablest periodical writers.

Melons are cultivated on a great scale in the country about Lisieux.
They grow here in the natural soil, occupying whole fields of
considerable size, and apparently without requiring any extraordinary
pains.--As we approached the city, the meadows, through which we passed,
were mostly occupied as extensive bleaching-grounds. Lisieux is an
industrious manufacturing town. Its ten thousand inhabitants find their
chief employment in the making of the ordinary woollen cloths, worn by
the peasantry of Normandy and of Lower Brittany. Linen and flannels are
also manufactured here, though on a comparatively trifling scale. For
trade of this description, Lisieux is well situated upon the banks of
the Touques, a small river, which, almost immediately under the walls of
the town, receives the waters of a yet smaller stream, the Orbec. A
project is in agitation, and it is said that it may be carried into
effect at an inconsiderable expence, of making the Touques navigable to
Lisieux. At present, it is so no farther than the the little town of the
same name as the river; and even this derives no great advantage from
the navigation; for, however near its situation is to the mouth of the
stream, it is approachable only by vessels of less than one hundred tons
burthen.--It was at Touques that Henry Vth landed in France, in the
spring of 1417, when the monarch, flushed with a degree of success as
extraordinary as it was unexpected, quitted England with the
determination of returning no more till the whole kingdom of France
should be subjugated.

The greater part of the houses in Lisieux are built of wood; and many of
them are old, and most of them are mean; yet, on the whole, it is
picturesque and handsome. Its streets are spacious, and contain several
large buildings: it is surrounded with pleasant _boulevards_; and its
situation, like that of most other Norman towns, is delightful.--In
consequence of the revolution, the city has lost the privilege of being
an episcopal see. Even when Napoléon, by virtue of the concordat of
1801, restored the Gallican church to its obedience to the the supreme
Pontiff, the see of Lisieux was suppressed. The six suffragan bishops of
ancient Normandy were at that time reduced to four, conformably to the
number of the departments of the province; and Lisieux and Avranches
merged in the more important dioceses of Bayeux and Coutances.

The cathedral, now the parish church of St. Peter, derived, however, one
advantage from the revolution. Another church, dedicated to St. Germain,
which had previously stood immediately before it, so as almost to block
up the approach, was taken down, and the west front of the cathedral was
made to open upon a spacious square.--Solid, simple grandeur are the
characters of this front, which, notwithstanding some slight anomalies,
is, upon the whole, a noble specimen of early pointed architecture.--It
is divided into three equal compartments, the lateral ones rising into
short square towers of similar height. The southern tower is surmounted
by a lofty stone spire, probably of a date posterior to the part below.
The spire of the opposite tower fell in 1553, at which time much injury
was done to the building, and particularly to the central door-way,
which, even to the present day, has never been repaired.--Contrary to
the usual elevation of French cathedrals, the great window over the
principal entrance is not circular, but pointed: it is divided into
three compartments by broad mullions, enriched with many mouldings. The
compartments end in acute pointed arches.--In the north tower, the whole
of the space from the basement story is occupied by only two tiers of
windows. Each tier contains two windows, extremely narrow, considering
their height; and yet, narrow as they are, each of them is parted by a
circular mullion or central pillar. You will better understand how high
they must be, when told that, in the southern tower, the space of the
upper row is divided into three distinct tiers; and still the windows do
not appear disproportionately short. They also are double, and the
interior arches are pointed; but the arches, within which they are
placed, are circular. In this circumstance lies the principal anomaly in
the front of the cathedral; but there is no appearance of any disparity
in point of dates; for the circular arches are supported on the same
slender mullions, with rude foliaged capitals, of great projection,
which are the most distinguishing characteristics of this style of
architecture.

The date of the building establishes the fact of the pointed arch being
in use, not only as an occasional variation, but in the entire
construction of churches upon a grand scale, as early as the eleventh
century.--Sammarthanus tells us that Bishop Herbert, who died in 1049,
began to build this church, but did not live to see it completed; and
Ordericus Vitalis expressly adds, that Hugh, the successor to Herbert,
upon his death-bed, in 1077, while retracing his past life, made use of
these words:--"Ecclesiam Sancti Petri, principis apostolorum, quam
venerabilis Herbertus, praedecessor meus, coepit, perfeci, studiosè
adornavi, honorificè dedicavi, et cultoribus necessariisque divino
servitio vasis aliisque apparatibus copiosè ditavi."--Language of this
kind appears too explicit to leave room for ambiguity, but an opinion
has still prevailed, founded probably upon the style of the
architecture, that the cathedral was not finished till near the
expiration of the thirteenth century. Admitting, however, such to be the
fact, I do not see how it will materially help those who favor the
opinion; for the building is far from being, as commonly happens in
great churches, a medley of incongruous parts; but it is upon one fixed
plan; and, as it was begun, so it was ended.--The exterior of the
extremity of the south transept is a still more complete example of the
early pointed style than the west front: this style, which was the most
chaste, and, if I may be allowed to use the expression, the most severe
of all, scarcely any where displays itself to greater advantage. The
central window is composed of five lancet divisions, supported upon
slender pillars: massy buttresses of several splays bound it on either
side.

The same character of uniformity extends over the interior of the
building. On each side of the nave is a side-aisle; and, beyond the
aisles, chapels. The pillars of the nave are cylindrical, solid, and
plain. Their bases end with foliage at each corner, and foliage is also
sculptured upon the capitals. The arches which they support are
acute.--The triforium is similar in plan to the part below; but the
capitals of the columns are considerably more enriched, with an obvious
imitation of the antique model, and every arch encircles two smaller
ones. In the clerestory the windows are modern.--The transepts appear
the oldest parts of the cathedral, as is not unfrequently the case;
whether they were really built before the rest, or that, from being less
used in the services of the church, they were less commonly the objects
of subsequent alterations. They are large; and each of them has an aisle
on the eastern side. The architecture of the choir resembles that of the
nave, except that the five pillars, which form the apsis, are slender
and the intervening arches more narrow and more acute.--The Lady-Chapel,
which is long and narrow, was built towards the middle of the fifteenth
century, by Peter Cauchon, thirty-sixth bishop of Lisieux, who, for his
steady attachment to the Anglo-Norman cause, was translated to this see,
in 1429, when Beauvais, of which he had previously been bishop, fell
into the hands of the French. He was selected, in 1431, for the
invidious office of presiding at the trial of the Maid of Orléans.
Repentance followed; and, as an atonement for his unrighteous conduct,
according to Ducarel, he erected this chapel, and therein founded a high
mass to the Holy Virgin, which was duly sung by the choristers, in
order, as is expressed in his endowment-charter, to expiate the false
judgment which he pronounced[64].--The two windows by the side of the
altar in this chapel have been painted of a crimson color, to add to the
effect produced upon entering the church; and, seen as they are, through
the long perspective of the nave and the distant arches of the choir,
the glowing tint is by no means unpleasing.--The central tower is open
within the church to a considerable height: it is supported by four
arches of unusual boldness, above which runs a row of small arches, of
the same character as the rest of the building; and, still higher, on
each side, are two lancet-windows.--The vaulting of the roof is very
plain, with bosses slightly pendant and carved.

[Illustration: Ancient Tomb in the Cathedral at Lisieux]

At the extremity of the north transept is an ancient stone sarcophagus,
so built into the wall, that it appears to have been incorporated with
the edifice, at the period when it was raised. The style of the
medallions which adorn it will be best understood by consulting the
annexed sketch, which is very faithful, though taken under every
possible disadvantage. The transept is now used as a school; and the
little filthy imps, who are there taught to drawl out their catechisms,
continued swarming round the feverish artist, during the progress of the
drawing. The character of the heads, the crowns, and the disposition of
the foliage, may be considered as indicating that it is a production, at
least of the Carlovingian period, if it be not indeed of earlier date. I
believe it is traditionally supposed to have been the tomb of a saint,
perhaps St. Candidus; but I am not quite certain whether I am accurate
in the recollection of the name.--Above are two armed statues, probably
of the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. These have been engraved by
Willemin, in his useful work, _Les Monumens Français_, under the title
of _Two Armed Warriors, in the Nave of the Cathedral at Lisieux_; and
both are there figured as if in all respects perfect, and with a great
many details which do not exist, and never could have existed, though at
the same time the draftsman has omitted the animals at the feet of the
statues, one of which is yet nearly entire.--This may be reckoned among
the innumerable proofs of the disregard of accuracy which pervades the
works of French antiquaries. A French designer never scruples to
sacrifice accuracy to what he considers effect.--Willemin describes the
monuments as being in the nave of the church. I suspect that he has
availed himself of the unpublished collection of Gaignat, in this and
many other instances. It is evident that originally the statues were
recumbent; but I cannot ascertain when they changed their position.--No
other tombs now exist in the cathedral: the brazen monument raised to
Hannuier, an Englishman, the marble that commemorated the bishop,
William d'Estouteville, founder of the _Collège de Lisieux_ at Paris,
that of Peter Cauchon in the Lady-Chapel, and all the rest, were
destroyed during the revolution.

The diocese of Lisieux was a more modern establishment than any other in
Normandy. Even those who are most desirous to honor it by antiquity, do
not venture to date its foundation higher than the middle of the sixth
century. Ordericus Vitalis, a monk of the province, suggests with some
reason that we ought not to be hasty in forming our judgment upon these
subjects; for that, owing to the destruction caused by the Norman
pirates and the abominable negligence (_damnabilis negligentia_) of
those to whom the care of the records of religious houses had
subsequently been intrusted, many documents had been irretrievably
lost.--The see of Lisieux was also peculiarly unfortunate, in having
twice been in a state of anarchy, and on each occasion for a period of
more than a century. The series of its prelates is interrupted from the
year 670 to 853, and again from 876 to 990.

It is rather extraordinary, that no one of the Lexovian bishops was ever
admitted by the church into the catalogue of her saints. Many of them
were prelates of unquestionable merit. Freculfus, in the ninth century,
was a patron of literature, and himself an author; Hugh of Eu, grandson
of Richard, Duke of Normandy, was one of the most illustrious
ecclesiastics of his day; Gilbert is described by Ordericus Vitalis as
having been a man of exemplary charity, and deeply versed in all
sciences, though it is admitted that he was somewhat too much addicted
to worldly pleasures, and not averse from gambling; and Arnulf, whose
letters and epigrams are preserved among the manuscripts of the Vatican,
was a prelate who would have done honor to St. Peter's chair.--All these
were bishops of Lisieux, during the ages when canonization was not
altogether so unfrequent as in our days. Arnulf particularly
distinguished himself by taking a leading part in the principal
transactions of the times. He accompanied the crusaders to the holy land
in 1147; five years subsequently he officiated at the marriage of Henry
Plantagenet with Eleanor of Guyenne, the repudiated wife of Louis le
Jeune, which was performed in his cathedral; he assisted at the
coronation of the same king, by whom he was shortly afterwards employed
in a mission of great importance at Rome; and he interposed to settle
the differences between that sovereign and Thomas à Becket; and though
he espoused the part of the prelate, he had the good fortune to retain
the favor of the monarch. A life thus eventful ended with the conviction
that all was vanity!--Arnulf, disgusted with sublunary honors, abdicated
his see and retired to a monastery at Paris, where he died.--One of the
immediate successors of this prelate, William of Rupierre, was the
ambassador of Richard Coeur-de-Lion to the Pope; and he pleaded the
cause of his sovereign against Walter, Archbishop of Rouen, on the
occasion of the differences that originated from the building of Château
Gaillard. He also resisted the power usurped by King John within the
city and liberties of Lisieux, and finally obtained a sentence from the
Norman court of exchequer, whereby the privileges of the dukes of the
province were restricted to what was called the _Placitum Spathæ_,
consisting of the right of billetting soldiers, of coining money, and of
hearing and determining in cases of appeal. The decision is honorable
both to the independence of the court, and the vigor of the prelate.--In
times nearer to our own, a bishop of Lisieux, Jean Hennuyer, obtained a
very different distinction. Authors are strangely at variance whether
this prelate is to be regarded as the protector or the persecutor of the
protestants. All agree that his church suffered materially from the
excesses of the Huguenots, in 1562, and that, on the following year, he
received public thanks from the Cardinal of Bourbon, for the firmness
with which he had opposed them; but the point at issue is, whether,
after the massacre of St. Bartholomew, ten years subsequently, he
withstood the sanguinary orders from the court to put the Huguenots to
the sword, or whether he endeavored, as far as lay in his power, to
forward the pious labor of extirpating the heretics, but was himself
effectually resisted by the king's own lieutenant.--Sammarthanus tells
us that the first of these traditions rests solely upon the authority
of Anthony Mallet[65] but it obtained general credence till within the
last three years, when a very well-informed writer, in the _Mercure de
France_, and subsequently in the article _Hennuyer_ in the
_Bibliographie Universelle_, espoused, and has apparently established,
the opposite opinion.

We visited only one other of the churches in Lisieux, that of St.
Jacques, a large edifice, in a bad style of pointed architecture, and
full of gaudy altars and ordinary pictures. On the outside of the stalls
of the choir towards the north is some curious carving; but I should
scarcely have been induced to have spoken of the building, were it not
for one of the paintings, which, however uninteresting as a piece of
art, appears to possess some historical value. It represents how the
bones of St. Ursinus were miraculously translated to Lisieux, under the
auspices of Hugh the Bishop, in 1055; and it professes, and apparently
with truth, to be a copy, made in the seventeenth century, from an
original of great antiquity. The legend relating to the relics of this
saint, is noticed by no author with whom I am acquainted, nor do I find
him mentioned any where in conjunction with the church of Lisieux, or
with any other Norman diocese.--But the extraordinary privilege granted
to the canons of the cathedral, of being Earls of Lisieux, and of
exercising all civil and criminal jurisdiction within the earldom, upon
the vigil and feast-day of St. Ursinus, in every year, is most probably
connected with the tradition commemorated by the picture. The actual
existence of the privilege, in modern times, we learn from Ducarel; who
also details at length the curious ceremonies with which the claim of it
was accompanied. The exercise of these rights was confirmed by a compact
between the canons and the bishop, who, prior to the revolution, united
the secular coronet of an earl with the episcopal mitre, and bore
supreme sway in all civil and ecclesiastical polity, during the
remaining three hundred and sixty-three days in the year.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 61: This ordinance is preserved by Du Monstier in the
_Neustria Pia_, p. 400.]

[Footnote 62: The preamble of the charter is as follows:--"Nulli dubium
videri debet futuros esse haeredes Regni coelestis, et cohaeredes Dei,
qui Christum haeredem sui facientes, eorum, quæ in hujus vitae
peregrinatione, quasi a quadam paterna haereditate possident, locis ea
Divino cultui deditis mancipare non dubitant. Ad quam rem, nostram
firmat fidem calix aquæ frigidae, qui, juxta Evangelicum verbum, suo
pollet munere. Non ergò divini muneris gratia privari credendi sunt, qui
Ecclesiasticis obsequiis, etsi officio non intersunt, rerum tamen suarum
admistratione, Divini officii sustentant ministros: ea spe temporalem
subministrantes alimoniam, ut sic solummodò coelestibus reddant
intentos, qui coelestis Regis assiduo constituuntur invigilare obsequio,
participes fiant ejusmodi beneficii omnimodò."--_Neustria Pia_, p. 398.]

[Footnote 63: The following are the dimensions of the building, in
English feet:--

              LENGTH.     WIDTH.
  Nave          54          15
  Choir         45          15
  North aisle                7
  South ditto               15

]

[Footnote 64: _Anglo-Norman Antiquities_, p. 47.]

[Footnote 65: "Sed ne quid omittam eorum etiam quæ unum Antonium
_Mallet_ habent auctorem, anno 1572, cum prorex urbis Lexoviensis
Livarotus a Carolo rege literas accepisset, quibus qui Lexovii infecti
erant hæresi occidi omnes jubebantur per eos dies quibus princeps
civitas cruore ejus insaniæ hominum commaduerat, easque communicasset
episcopo: Neque sum passurus, inquit præsul, oves meas, et quamquam
evagatas Christi caula, meas tamen adhuc, necdum desperatas, gladio
trucidari. Referente contra prorege imperio se mandatoque urgeri
principis; quod si posthabeatur, omnem esse periculi aleam in caput suum
moriendique necessitatem redituram: Et polliceor, inquit episcopus, illa
te eximendum, postulantique cautionem, præsul consignatum manu sua
scriptum tradidit, fidem datam confirmans. Qua illico publicata
clementia, et ad errantes oves perlata, sollicitudine præsulis
vigilantis circa gregis commissi sibi salutem et conservationem, rediere
sensim in ecclesiæ sinum omnes quotquot Lexovii per ea tempora novum
istud fataleque delirium dementarat, nec ultra ibidem diu visi qui a
recta fide aberrarent."--_Gallia Christiana_, p. 802.]



LETTER XXII.

SITE AND RUINS OF THE CAPITAL OF THE LEXOVII--HISTORY OF
LISIEUX--MONASTERIES OF THE DIOCESE--ORDERICUS VITALIS--M.
DUBOIS--LETTER FROM THE PRINCESS BORGHESE.


(_Lisieux, July_, 1818.)

Lisieux represents one of the most ancient capitals of the primitive
tribes of Gaul. The Lexovii, noticed by Julius Cæsar, in his
_Commentaries_, and by other authors, who were almost contemporary with
the Roman conqueror, are supposed by modern geographers to have occupied
a territory nearly co-extensive with the bishopric of Lisieux; and it
may be remarked, that the bounds of the ancient bishoprics of France
were usually conterminal with the Roman provinces and prefectures.

The capital of the Lexovii was called the _Neomagus_ or _Noviomagus
Lexoviorum_; and no doubt ever was entertained but that the present city
occupied the same site, till an accidental discovery, in the year 1770,
proved the contrary to be the fact.--About that time a _chaussée_ was
formed between Lisieux and Caen; and, in the course of some excavations,
which were made under the direction of M. Hubert, the superintending
engineer, for the purpose of procuring stone, the laborers opened the
foundations of some ruined buildings scattered over a field, called _les
Tourettes_, about three-quarters of a mile from the former town. The
character of these foundations was of a nature to excite curiosity: they
were clearly the work of a remote age, and various specimens of ancient
art were dug up amongst the ruins. The extent of the foundations, which
spread over a space four times as large as the plot occupied by modern
Lisieux left no doubt but that Danville, and all other geographers, must
have been mistaken with respect to the position assigned by them to the
ancient Neomagus. M. Hubert drew a plan of the ruins, and accompanied it
with an historical memoir; but unfortunately he was a man little capable
of prosecuting such researches; and though M. Mongez, in his report to
the National Institute[66], eulogized the map as exact, and the memoir
as excellent, they were both of them extremely faulty. It was reserved
for M. Louis Dubois, of whom I shall have occasion to speak again before
I close this letter, to repair the omissions and rectify the mistakes of
M. Hubert, and he has done it with unremitting zeal and extraordinary
success. The researches of this gentleman, among the remains of Neomagus
Lexoviorum, have already brought to light a large number of valuable
medals, both in silver and bronze, as well as a considerable quantity of
fragments of foreign marble, granite, and porphyry, some of them
curiously wrought. The most important of his discoveries has been
recently made: it is that of a Roman amphitheatre, in a state of great
perfection, the grades being covered only by a thin layer of soil, which
a trifling expence of time and labor will effectually remove.

Such vestiges prove that Neomagus must have been a place of importance;
and, like the other Gallo-Roman cities, it would probably have
maintained its honors under the Franks; but about the middle of the
fourth century, the Saxons, swarming from the mouths of the Elbe and
Weser, laid waste the coasts of Belgium and of Neustria, and finally
established themselves in that portion of northern Gaul called the
_Secunda Lugdunensis_, which thence obtained, in the _Notitia Imperii_,
the title of the _Littus Saxonicum_.--In the course of these incursions,
it is supposed that Neomagus was utterly destroyed by the invaders. None
of the medals dug up within the precincts of the town, or in its
neighborhood, bear a later date than the reign of Constantine; and,
though the city is recorded in the _Itinerary of Antoninus_, no mention
of it is to be found in the curious chart, known by the name of the
_Tabula Peutingeriana_, formed under the reign of Theodosius the Great;
so that it then appears to have been completely swept away and
forgotten.

The new town of Lisieux and the bishopric most probably arose together,
towards the close of the sixth century; and the city, like other
provincial capitals in Gaul, took the name of the tribe by whom the
district had been peopled. It first appears in history under the
appellation of _Lexovium_ or _Lexobium_: in the eleventh century, when
Ordericus Vitalis composed his history, it was called _Luxovium_; and
soon after it became _Lixovium_, and _Lizovium_, which, gallicised,
naturally passed into _Lyzieulx_, or, as it is now written, _Lisieux_.
The city was ravaged by the Normans about the year 877, in the course of
one of their predatory excursions from Bayeux: it again felt their
vengeance early in the following century, when Rollo, after taking
Bayeux by storm, sacked Lisieux at the head of his army on his way to
Rouen. The conqueror was not put in possession of the Lexovian territory
by Charles the Simple till 923, eleven years after the rest of Neustria
had been ceded to him.

United to the duchy, Lisieux enjoyed a short respite from the calamities
of war; nor does it appear to have borne any prominent part in the
transactions of the times. The name, indeed, of the city occurs as the
seat of the council held for the purpose of degrading Malgerius from the
primacy of Normandy; but, except on this occasion, Lisieux is scarcely
mentioned till the first year of the twelfth century, when it was the
seat of rebellion. Ralph Flambart, bishop of Durham, a prelate of
unbounded arrogance, had fled from England, and joined Duke Robert, then
in arms against his brother. Raising the standard of insurrection, he
fixed himself at Lisieux, took forcible possession of the town, and
invested his son, only twelve years old, with the mitre[67], while he
himself exercised despotic authority over the inhabitants. At length, he
purchased peace and forgiveness, by opening the gates to his lawful
sovereign, after the battle of Tinchbray.--In the middle of October, in
the same year, Henry returned to Lisieux, and there held an assembly of
the Norman nobility and prelates, who proclaimed peace throughout the
duchy, enacted sundry strict regulations to prevent any infringement of
the laws, and decreed that Robert, the captive duke, should be consigned
to an English prison.--Two years subsequently, another council was also
assembled at Lisieux, by the same sovereign, and for nearly the same
objects; and again, in 1119, Henry convened his nobles a third time at
Lisieux, when this parliament ratified the peace concluded at Gisors,
six years previously, and witnessed the marriage[68] of the king's son,
William Adelin, with Matilda, daughter of Fulk, earl of Anjou.

Historical distinction is seldom enviable:--in the wars occasioned by
the usurpation of Stephen, Lisieux once more obtained an unfortunate
celebrity. The town was attacked in 1136, by the forces of Anjou, under
the command of Geoffrey Plantagenet, husband of the Empress Maud, joined
by those of William, Duke of Poitiers; and the garrison, consisting of
Bretons, seeing no hope of effectual resistance or of rescue, set fire
to the place to the extreme mortification of the invaders, who, in the
language of the chronicles of the times, "when they beheld the city and
all its wealth a prey to the flames, waxed exceedingly wroth, at being
deprived of the spoil; and grieved sorely for the loss of the booty
which perished in the conflagration."--The town, however, was not so
effectually ruined, but that, during the following year, it served King
Stephen as a rallying point, at which to collect his army to march
against his antagonist.--In 1169, it was distinguished by being selected
by Thomas à Becket, as the place of his retirement during his temporary
disgrace.

History from this time forward relates but little concerning Lisieux.
Though surrounded with walls during the bishopric of John, who was
promoted to the see early in the twelfth century, the situation of the
town, far from the coast or from the frontiers of the province, rendered
the inhabitants naturally unwarlike, and caused them in general to
submit quietly to the stronger party.--Brito, in his _Philippiad_, says
that, when Philip Augustus took Lisieux, in 1213, the Lexovians,
destitute of fountains, disputed with the toads for the water of the
muddy ditches. His mentioning such a fact is curious, as shewing that
public fountains were at that early period of frequent occurrence in
Normandy.--Our countrymen, in the fifteenth century, acted with great
rigor, to use the mildest terms, towards Lisieux. Henry, after landing
at Touques, in 1417, entered the town, in the character of an enraged
enemy, not as the sovereign of his people: he gave it up to plunder; and
even the public archives were not spared. The cruelty of our English
king is strongly contrasted by the conduct of the Count de Danois,
general of the army of Charles VIIth, to whom the town capitulated in
1449. Thomas Basin, then bishop, negociated with such ability, that,
according to Monstrelet, "not the slightest damage was done to any
individual, but each peaceably enjoyed his property as before the
surrender."

The most celebrated monasteries within the diocese of Lisieux were the
Benedictine abbeys of Bernay, St. Evroul, Preaux, and
Cormeilles.--Cormeilles was founded by William Fitz-Osborne, a relation
to William the Conqueror, at whose court he held the office of sewer,
and by whom he was promoted to the earldom of Hereford. Its church and
monastic buildings had so far gone to ruin, in the last century, as to
call forth a strong remonstrance from Mabillon[69]: they were afterwards
repaired by Charles of Orléans, who was appointed abbot in 1726.--The
abbey of Preaux is said to have existed prior to the invasion of the
Normans; but its earliest records go no farther back than the middle of
the eleventh century, when it was restored by Humphrey de Vetulis, who
built and inclosed the monastery about the year 1035, at which time Duke
Robert undertook his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This abbey, according
to the account given by Gough, in his _Alien Priories_, presented to
thirty benefices, and enjoyed an annual revenue of twenty thousand
livres.--Among its English lands which were considerable, was the priory
of Toft-Monks in our own immediate vicinity: the name, as you know,
remains, though no traces of the building are now in existence.

The third abbey, that of St. Evrau or St. Evroul, called in Latin,
_Monasterium Uticense_, was one of the most renowned throughout
Normandy. The abbey dates its origin from St. Evroul himself, a
nobleman, who lived in the reign of Childebert, and was attached to the
palace of that monarch, "from which," to use the words of the
chronicles, "he made his escape, as from shipwreck, and fled to the
woods, and entered upon the monastic life."--The legend of St. Ebrulfus
probably savors of romance, the almost inseparable companion of
traditional, and particularly of monastic, history: it is safer,
therefore, to be contented with referring the foundation of the
monastery to the tenth century, when William Gerouis, after having been
treacherously deprived of his sight and otherwise maimed, renounced the
world; and, uniting with his nephews, Hugh and Robert de Grentemaisnil,
brought considerable possessions to the endowment of this abbey. The
abbey was at all times protected by the especial favor of the kings of
France. No payment or service could be demanded from its monks; they
acknowledged no master without their own walls, besides the sovereign
himself; they were entitled to exemption from every kind of burthen; and
they had the privilege of being empowered to castellate the convent, and
to compel the people of the surrounding district to contribute their
assistance for the purpose.

St. Evroul, however, principally claims our attention, as the sanctuary
where Ordericus Vitalis, to use his own expressions, "delighted in
obedience and poverty."--This most valuable writer was an Englishman;
his native town being Attingesham, on the Severn, where he was born in
the year 1075. He was sent to school at Shrewsbury, and there received
the first rudiments, both of the _humanities_ and of ecclesiastical
education. In the tenth year of his age, his father, Odelerius,
delivered the boy to the care of the monk Rainaldus. The weeping father
parted from the weeping son, and they never saw each other more.
Ordericus crossed the sea, and arrived in Normandy, an exile, as he
describes himself, and "hearing, like Joseph in Egypt, a language which
he understood not." In the eleventh year of his age, he received the
tonsure from the hands of Mainerius, the abbot of St. Evroul. In the
thirty-third year of his age, he was ordained a priest; and
thenceforward his life wore away in study and tranquillity. Aged and
infirm, he completed his _Ecclesiastical History_, in the sixty-seventh
year of his age; and this great and valuable work ends with his
auto-biography, which is written in an affecting strain of simplicity
and piety.--The Ecclesiastical History of Ordericus is divided into
parts: the first portion contains an epitome of the sacred and profane
history of the world, beginning with the incarnation, and ending with
Pope Innocent IInd. The second, and more important division, contains
the history of Normandy, from the first invasion of the country, down
to the year 1141.--Though professedly an ecclesiastical historian, yet
Ordericus Vitalis is exceedingly copious in his details of secular
events; and it is from these that his chronicle derives its importance
and curiosity. It was first published by Duchesne, in his collection of
Norman historians, a work which is now of rare occurrence, and it has
never been reprinted.

Valuable materials for a new edition were, however, collected early in
the eighteenth century, by William Bessin, a monk of St. Ouen; and
these, before the revolution, were preserved in the library of that
abbey. Bessin had been assisted in the task by Francis Charles Dujardin,
prior of St. Evroul, who had collated the text, as published in the
collection of Norman historians, with the original manuscript in his own
monastery, to which latter Duchesne unfortunately had not access, but
had been obliged to content himself with a copy, now in the Royal
Library at Paris. It is to be hoped, that the joint labors of Bessin and
Dujardin may still be in existence, and may come to light, when M.
Liquet shall have completed the task of arranging the manuscripts in the
public library at Rouen. The manuscript which belonged to St. Evroul,
and was always supposed to be an autograph from the hands of Ordericus
Vitalis himself, was discovered during the revolution among a heap of
parchments, thrown aside as of no account, in some buildings belonging
to the former district of Laigle. It is now deposited in the public
library of the department of the Orne, but unfortunately, nearly half
the leaves of the volume are lost. The earliest part of what remains is
towards the close of the seventh book, and of this only a fragment,
consisting of eight pages, is left. The termination of the seventh book,
and the whole of the eighth are wanting. From the ninth to the
thirteenth, both of these inclusive, the manuscript is perfect. A page
or two, however, at the end of the work, which contained the author's
life, has been torn out.--At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the
manuscript was complete; for it is known that, at that time, a monk of
St. Evroul made a transcript of it, which extended through four volumes
in folio. These volumes were soon dispersed. Two of them found their way
to Rouen, where they were kept in the library of St. Ouen: the other two
were in that of the abbey of St. Maur de Glandefeuille, on the Loire. A
third, though incomplete, copy of the original manuscript was also known
to exist in France before the revolution. It formerly belonged to
Coaslin de Camboret, Bishop of Metz, by whom it was presented, together
with four thousand manuscripts, to the monks of St. Germain des Prés at
Paris. But the greater part of the literary treasures of this abbey fell
a prey to the flames in July, 1793, and it is feared that the copy of
Ordericus perished at that time.

The original code from St. Evroul, was discovered by M. Louis Dubois,
whom I have already mentioned in connection with the ruins of Neomagus.
He is an antiquary of extensive knowledge and extraordinary zeal. His
_History of Lisieux_, which he has long been preparing for the press,
will be a work of great curiosity and interest. The publication of it is
for the present suspended, whilst he superintends an edition of the
_Vaux-de-Vires_, or _Vaux de villes_, of Olivier Basselin, an early
Norman poet. Meanwhile, M. Dubois still continues his researches among
the foundations of the ancient city, from which he has collected a
number of valuable relics. Some of the most pleasant and instructive
hours of my tour have been spent in his society; and, whilst it was
under his guidance that I visited the antiquities of Lisieux, his
learning assisted me in illustrating them. M. Dubois likewise possesses
a large collection of original autograph letters, which I found much
pleasure in perusing.

During the reign of Napoléon, he held the office of librarian of
Alençon, a situation that afforded him the opportunity of meeting with
many literary curiosities of this nature. Among others, which thus fell
into his hands, was the following letter, written by the Princess
Borghese, sister to the Emperor, and addressed to the Empress
Marie-Louise, by whom it was received, while on a tour through the
western departments. I annex a transcript of this epistle; for, although
it has no immediate connection with the main subject of our
correspondence, it yet is a very singular contribution towards the
private history of the dynasty of Napoléon.--The odd mixture of
caudle-cup compliment and courtly flattery, is sufficiently amusing. I
have copied it, word for word, letter for letter, and point for point;
for, as we have no other specimen of the epistles of her imperial
highness, I think it right to preserve all the peculiarities of the
original; and, by, way of a treat for the collectors of autographs, I
have added a fac-simile of her signature.

Madame et tres chere Sœur,

je recois par le Prince Aldobrandini la lettre de V.M. et la belle tasse
dont elle a daigné, le charger pour moi au nom de L'empereur, je
remercie mille fois votre aimable bonté, et j'ose vous prier ma tres
chere sœur d'être aupres de L'empereur l'interprete de ma reconnaissance
pour cette marque de souvenir.--je fais parler beaucoup le Prince et la
Princesse Aldobrandini sur votre santé, sur votre belle grossesse, je ne
me lasse pas de les interroger, et je suis heureuse d'apprendre que vous
vous portés tres bien, que rien ne vous fatigue, et que vous avés la
plus belle grossesse qu'il soit possible de desirer, combien je desire
chere sœur que tous nos vœux soient exaucés, ne croyés cependant pas
que si vous nous donnés une petite Princesse je ne l'aimerais pas. non,
elle nous serait chere, elle resemblerait a V.M. elle aurait sa douceur,
son amabilité, et ce joli caractere qui la fait cherir de ceux qui out
le bonheur de la Conaitre--mais ma chère sœur j'ai tort de m'apesantir
sur les qualités dont serait douée cette auguste princesse, vous nous
donnerés d'abord un prince un petit Roi de Rome, jugés combien je le
desire nos bons toscans prient pour vous, ils vous aiment et je n'ai pas
de peine a leur inspirer ce que je sens si vivement.

je vous remercie ma tres chere sœur de l'interest que vous prenez a mon
fils, tout le monde dit qu'il ressemble a L'empereur. cela me Charme il
est bien portant a present, et j'espere qu'il sera digne de servir sous
les drapeaux de son auguste oncle.--adieu ma chere sœur soyés assés
bonne pour Conserver un souvenir a une sœur qui vous est tendrement
attachée. Napoléon ne cesse de lire la lettre pleine de bonté que V.M. a
daigné lui ecrire, cela lui a fait sentir le plaisir qu'il y avait a
savoir lire, et l'encourage dans ses etudes--je vous embrasse et suis,

Madame et tres chere Sœur

de V.M.

La plus attachée

[Illustration: Autograph of the Princess Borghese]

Pitti le 18 janvier 1811

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 66: See _Magazin Encyclopédique, for_ 1802, III. p. 504.]

[Footnote 67: This transaction appears to have been peculiarly flagrant:
a long detail of the circumstances, accompanied by several letters, very
characteristic of the feeling and church-government of the times, is
preserved in the _Concilia Normannica_, p. 520.--The account concludes
in the following words:--"Exhorruit ad facinus, non Normannia solum et
Anglia, quibus maledicta progenies notissima erat, sed et universa
Gallia, et a singulis ad Apostolicum Paschalem delatum est. Nec tamen
utrique simul ante quinquienniuin sordes de domo Dei propulsare
prævaluerunt. Ceteris ferventiùs institit Yvo Carnotensis Antistes,
conculcatæ disciplinæ ecclesiasticæ zelo succensus; in tantum ut
Neustriacos Præsules quasi desides ac pusillanimes coarguere veritus non
sit: sed ea erat Ecclesiæ sub ignavo Principe sors per omnia
lamentabilis, ut ipsemet postmodum cum laude non invitus agnovit."]

[Footnote 68: Sandford, in his _Genealogical History of the Kings of
England_, says, that this marriage was solemnized at Luxseul, in the
county of Burgundy; but he refers for his authority to Ordericus
Vitalis, by whom it is stated to have been at Luxovium, the name by
which he always calls Lisieux; and he, in the same page, mentions the
assembly of the nobles also held there.]

[Footnote 69: _Annal_, IV. p. 599.]



LETTER XXIII.

FRENCH POLICE--RIDE FROM LISIEUX TO CAEN--CIDER--GENERAL APPEARANCE AND
TRADE OF CAEN--ENGLISH RESIDENT THERE.


(_Caen, August_, 1818.)

Our reception at Caen has been somewhat inauspicious: we had scarcely
made the few necessary arrangements at the hôtel, and seated ourselves
quietly before the _caffé au lait_, when two gens-d'armes, in military
costume, stalked without ceremony into the room, and, taking chairs at
the table, began the conversation rather abruptly, with "Monsieur, vous
êtes sous arrêt."--My companions were appalled by such a salutation, and
apprehended some mistake; but the fact turned out to be, that our
passport did not bear the signature of the mayor of Rouen, and that this
ignorance of the regulations of the French police had subjected us to so
unexpected a visit. It was too late in the day for the deficiency to be
then supplied; and therefore, after a few expostulations, accompanied
with observations, on their part, that we had the good fortune to have
fixed ourselves at an _honnête hôtel_, and did not wear the appearance
of suspicious persons, the soldiers took their leave, first exacting
from me a promise, that I would present myself the next morning before
the proper officer, and would in the meanwhile consider myself a
prisoner upon my parole.

The impression which this occurrence could not fail to make upon our
minds, was, that the object of the gens-d'armes had been either to
extort from us money, or to shew their consequence; but I have since
been led to believe that they did no more than their duty.--We have
several acquaintance among the English who reside here, and we find from
the whole of them, that the utmost strictness is practised in all
matters relating to passports, and not less towards natives than
foreigners. No Frenchman can quit his _arrondissement_ unprovided with a
passport; and the route he intends to take, and the distance he designs
to travel, must also be specified. A week or two ago the prefect of the
police himself was escorted back to Caen, between a couple of
gens-d'armes, because he inadvertently paid a visit to a neighboring
bathing-place without his passport in his pocket. This is a current
story here: I cannot vouch for its authenticity; however it is certain,
that since the discovery of the late plot contrived by the ultras, a
plot whose existence is generally disbelieved, the French police is more
than usually upon the alert.

When I presented myself at the Hôtel de Ville, to redeem my promise, a
recent decree was pointed out to me, containing a variety of regulations
which shew extraordinary uneasiness on the part of the government, and
which would seem to indicate that they are in possession of intelligence
respecting projects, that threaten the public tranquillity[70]. To judge
from all official proceedings, it seems as if we were walking upon a
smothered volcano, and yet we are told by every body that there is not
the slightest room for apprehension of any kind.

This interruption has thrown me out of the regular course of my
narration.--My last letter left me still at Lisieux, from which city to
Caen the road lies through a tract of country altogether without
interest, and in most places without beauty. During the first half of
the ride, we could almost have fancied ourselves at home in
Norfolk.--About this part of the way, the road descends through a hollow
or dale, which bore the ominous name of "_Coupe Gorge_." When Napoléon
was last in Normandy, he inquired into the origin of the
appellation.--The diligences, he was answered, "had often been stopped
and robbed in this solitary pass."--Napoléon then said, "If one person
can be made to settle here, more will follow, for it is conveniently
situated between two good towns. Let the prefect buy a little plot of
ground and build a house upon it, and give it to an old soldier, upon
condition that he shall constantly reside in it with his family." The
orders of Napoléon were obeyed. The old soldier opened an inn, other
houses arose round it, and the cut-throat pass is now thoroughly secure.
The conductor and the post-boy tell the tale with glee whilst they drive
through the hamlet; and its humble dwellings will perhaps recal the
memory and fame of Napoléon Buonaparte when the brazen column of the
grand army, and the marble arch of the Thuilleries, shall have been long
levelled with the ground.--As to the character of the landscape, I must
add, that though it makes a bad picture, there are great appearances of
care in the agriculture, and of comfort in the population. The country,
too, is sufficiently well wooded; and apple and pear trees every where
take the place of the pollard oaks and elms of our hedge-rows.

Norman cider is famous throughout France: it is principally, however,
the western part of the province that produces it. Throughout the whole
of that district, the lower classes of the inhabitants scarcely use any
other beverage. Vines, as I have already had occasion to mention, were
certainly cultivated, in early times, farther to the north than they are
at present. The same proofs exist of vineyards in the vicinity of Caen
and Lisieux, as at Jumieges. Indeed, towards the close of the last
century, there was still a vineyard at Argence, only four miles
south-east of Caen; and a kind of white wine was made there, which was
known by the name of _Vin Huet_. But the liquor was meagre; and I
understand that the vineyard is destroyed.--Upon the subject of the
early use of beer in Normandy, tradition is somewhat indistinct. The
ancient name of one of the streets in Caen, _rue de la Cervoisiere_,
distinctly proves the habit of beer-drinking; and, when Tacitus speaks
of the beverage of the Germans, in his time, as "humor ex hordeo vel
frumento in quandam similitudinem vini corruptus," it seems highly
improbable but that the same liquor should have been in use among the
cognate tribes of Gaul. Brito, however, expressly says of Flanders, that
it is a place where,


   "Raris sylva locis facit umbram, vinea nusquam:
    Indigenis potus Thetidi miscetur avena,
    Ut vice sit vini multo confecta labore."


And the same author likewise tells us, that the Normans of his time were
cider-drinkers--


   "... _Siceræque_ potatrix
    Algia tumentis ...
    Non tot in autumni rubet Algia tempore _pomis_
    Unde liquare solet _siceram_ sibi _Neustria_ gratam."


Huet is of opinion, that the use of cider was first introduced into
Neustria by the Normans, who had learned it of the Biscayans, as these
latter had done from the inhabitants of the northern coast of Africa.

We did not find the Norman cider at all palatable: it is extremely sour,
hard, and austere. The inhabitants, however, say that this is not its
natural character, but is attributable to the late unfavorable seasons,
which have prevented the fruit from ripening properly.--The apple-tree
and pear-tree in Normandy, far from being ugly, and distorted, and
stunted in their growth, as is commonly seen in England, are trees of
great beauty, and of extreme luxuriance, both in foliage and
ramification. The _Coccus_, too, which has caused so much destruction
among our orchards at home, is fortunately still unknown here.

The only place at which we stopped between Lisieux and Caen, was
Croissanville, a poor village, but one that possesses a degree of
historical interest, as the spot where the battle was fought between
Aigrold, King of Denmark, and Louis d'Outremer, King of France; a battle
which seated Richard Fearnought upon the throne of Normandy.--The
country about Croissanville is an immense tract of meadow-land; and from
it the Parisian market draws a considerable proportion of its supplies
of beef. The cattle that graze in these pastures are of a large size,
and red, and all horned; very unlike those about Caen, which latter are
of small and delicate proportions, with heads approaching to those of
deer, and commonly with black faces and legs.

From Croissanville to Caen the road passes through a dead flat, almost
wholly consisting of uninclosed corn-fields, extending in all
directions, with unvaried dull monotony, as far as the eye can reach.
Buck-wheat is cultivated in a large proportion of them: the inhabitants
prepare a kind of cake from this grain, of which they are very fond, and
which is said to be wholesome. Tradition, founded principally upon the
French name of this plant, _sarrazin_, has given rise to a general
belief, that buck-wheat was introduced into France by the Moors; but
this opinion has, of late, been ably combated. The plant is not to be
found in Arabia, Spain, or Sicily; the countries more particularly
inhabited by Mahometans; and in Brittany, it still passes by the Celtic
appellation, _had-razin_, signifying _red-corn_, of which words
_sarrazin_ may fairly be regarded a corruption, as _buck-wheat_, in our
own tongue, ought unquestionably to be written _beech-wheat_; a term
synonymous to what it is called in Latin and German. The present name
may well appear inexplicable, to those who are unacquainted with the
Anglo-Saxon and its cognate dialects.

In the midst of this level country, in which even apple-trees are
scarce, stands the ancient capital of Lower Normandy, extending from
east to west in so long a line, that on our approach it appeared to
cover as much ground as Rouen, which is in fact double its size.--From a
distance, the view of Caen is grand; not only from the apparent
magnitude of the town, but from the numerous spires and towers, that,
rising from every part of it, give it an air of great importance. Those
of the abbeys of St. Stephen and the Trinity, at opposite extremities,
constitute the principal features in the view.--The same favorable
impressions continue when you enter the town. The streets are wide, and
the houses of stone; and a stone city is a pleasing sight to eyes long
accustomed to the wooden buildings of Rouen, Bernay, and
Lisieux.--Besides, there is a certain degree of regularity in the
construction of the buildings, and some care is taken in keeping them
clean.--Lace-making is the principal occupation of females of the lower
class in Caen and the neighborhood; the streets, as we passed along,
were lined almost uninterruptedly on either side, with a row of
lace-makers; and boys were not uncommonly working among the women. It is
calculated that not fewer than twenty thousand individuals, of all ages,
from ten or twelve years old and upwards, are thus employed; and the
annual produce of their labor is estimated at one hundred and seventy
thousand pounds sterling. Caen lace is in high estimation for its beauty
and quality, and is exported in considerable quantities.

The present population of Caen amounts to about thirty-one thousand
individuals. The town, no longer the capital of Lower Normandy, is still
equally distinguished as the capital of the department of the Calvados.
The prefect resides here; and the royal court of Caen comprises in its
jurisdiction, not only the department more especially appertaining to
it, but also those of the Manche and the Orne.--The situation of the
town, though at the confluence of the Orne and the Odon, is not such as
can be regarded favorable to extensive trade. The united rivers form a
stream, which, though navigable at very high tides for vessels of two
hundred tons burthen, will, on other occasions, admit only of much
smaller ones; while the channel, nearer to its mouth, is obstructed by
rocks that render the navigation difficult and dangerous. Many plans
have been projected and attempted for the purpose of improving and
enlarging the harbor, but little or no progress has yet been made.
Vauban long since pointed out the mouth of the Orne as singularly well
adapted for a naval station; and Napoléon, in pursuance of this idea,
actually commenced the excavation of a basin under the walls of the
town, and intended to deepen the bed of the river, thinking it best to
make a beginning in this direction. All idea, however, of prosecuting
such a plan is for the present abandoned.--Other engineers have proposed
the junction of the Orne with the Loire by means of a canal, which would
be of the greatest importance to France, not only by facilitating
internal commerce, but by saving her vessels the necessity of coasting
Capes Finisterre, and la Hogue, and thus enabling them to avoid a
navigation, which is at all times dangerous, and in case of war
peculiarly exposed.

For minor purposes, however, for mills and manufactories of different
kinds, Caen is certainly well situated; being in almost every direction
intersected with streams, owing to the repeated ramifications of the
Odon, some of which are artificial, and of as early a date as the
eleventh century. The same circumstance contributes materially to the
pleasantness of the town; for the banks of the river are in many places
formed into walks, and crowned by avenues of noble trees.

[Illustration: Head-Dress of Females, at Caen]

The _grand cours_ at Caen is almost as fine a promenade as that at
Rouen. On Sunday evening it was completely crowded. The scene was full
of life and gaiety, and very varied. All the females of the lower rank,
and many of the higher orders, were dressed in the costume of the
country, which commonly consists of a scarlet gown and deep-blue apron,
or _vice versâ_. Their hair, which is usually powdered, is combed
entirely back from every part of their faces, and tucked up behind. The
snow-white cap which covers it is beautifully plaited, and has longer
lappets than in the Pays de Caux. Mr. Cotman sketched the _coiffure_ of
the chamber-maid, at the Hôtel d'Espagne, in grand costume, and I send
his drawing to you.--The men dress like the English; but do not
therefore fancy that you or I should have any chance of being mistaken
for natives, even if we did not betray ourselves by our accent. Here, as
every where else, our countrymen are infallibly known: their careless
slouching gait is sure to mark them; and the police keep a watchful eye
upon them. Caen is at present frequented by the English: those indeed,
who, like the Virgilian steeds, "stare loco nesciunt," seldom shew
themselves in Lower Normandy; but above thirty British families have
taken up their residence in this town: they have been induced to do so
principally by the cheapness of living, and by the advantages held out
for the education of their children. A friend of mine, who is of the
number of temporary inhabitants, occupies the best house in the place,
formerly the residence of the Duc d'Aumale; and for this, with the
garden, and offices, and furniture of all kinds, except linen and plate,
he pays only nine pounds a month. For a still larger house in the
country, including an orchard and garden, containing three acres, well
stocked with fruit-trees, he is asked sixty pounds from this time to
Christmas. But, cheap as this appears, the expence of living at
Coutances, or at Bayeux, or Valognes, is very much less.

Were I obliged to seek myself a residence beyond the limits of our own
country, I never saw a place which I should prefer to Caen. I should not
be tempted to look much farther before I said,


    "Sis meæ sedes utinam senectæ:"--


The historical recollections that are called forth at almost every turn,
would probably have some influence in determining my choice; the noble
specimens of ancient architecture which happily remain, unscathed by
wars and Calvinists and revolutions, might possibly have more; but the
literary resources which the town affords, the pleasant society with
which it abounds, and, above all, the amiable character of its
inhabitants, would be my great attraction.--At present, indeed, we have
not been here sufficiently long to say much upon the subject of society
from our own experience; but the testimony we receive from all quarters
is uniform in this point, and the civilities already shewn us, are of a
nature to cause the most agreeable prepossessions. It is not our
intention to be hurried at Caen; and I shall therefore reserve to my
future letters any remarks upon its history and its antiquities. To a
traveller who is desirous of information, the town is calculated to
furnish abundant materials.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 70: The following were among the articles of the decree:--"No
individual to leave his _arrondissement_ without a passport.--No person
to receive a stranger in his house, or suffer one to quit it, without
apprising the police.--The inhabitants to carry their arms of all kinds
to the Hôtel de Ville.--No plays to be performed, except first approved
by the officers of the police.--The manager of the theatre to give
notice every Friday to the mayor, of the pieces intended to be acted the
following week.--The actors to read nothing, and say nothing, which is
not in the play.--The performance to begin precisely at six, and close
at ten.--Only a certain interval to be allowed between the different
pieces, or between the acts of each.--Every person to be uncovered,
except the soldiers on duty.--No weapons of any kind, nor even sticks or
umbrellas, to be taken into the theatre."]



LETTER XXIV.

HISTORIANS OF CAEN--TOWERS AND FORTIFICATIONS--CHÂTEAU DE LA
GENDARMERIE--CASTLE--CHURCHES OF ST. STEPHEN, ST. NICHOLAS, ST. PETER,
ST. JOHN, AND ST. MICHEL DE VAUCELLES.


(_Caen, August,_ 1818.)

France does not abound in topographical writers; but the history and
antiquities of Caen have been illustrated with singular ability, by men
to whom the town gave birth, and who have treated their subject with
equal research and fidelity--these are Charles de Bourgueville, commonly
called the Seigneur de Bras, and the learned Huet, Bishop of Avranches.

De Bourgueville was a magistrate of Caen, where he resided during almost
the whole of the sixteenth century. The religious wars were then raging;
and he relates, in a most entertaining and artless manner, the history
of the events of which he was an eye-witness. His work, as is justly
observed by Huet, is a treasure, that has preserved the recollection of
a great variety of the most curious details, which would otherwise have
been neglected and forgotten. Every page of it is stamped with the
character of the author--frankness, simplicity, and uprightness. It
abounds in sound morality, sage maxims, and proofs of excellent
principles in religion and politics; and, if the writer occasionally
carries his _naïveté_ to excess, it is to be recollected that the book
was published when he was in his eighty-fifth year, a period of life
when indulgence may reasonably be claimed. He died four years
subsequently, in 1593.--In Huet's work, the materials are selected with
more skill, and are digested with more talent. The author brought to his
task a mind well stored with the learning requisite for the purpose, and
employed it with judgment. But he has confined himself, almost wholly,
to the description of the town; and the consequence is, that while the
bishop's is the work most commonly referred to, the magistrate's is that
which is most generally read. The dedication of the former to the town
of Caen, does honor to the feelings of the writer: the portrait of the
latter, prefixed to his volume, and encircled with his quaint motto,
_"L'heur de grace use l'oubli,"_ itself an anagram upon his name,
bespeaks and insures the good will of the reader.

The origin of Caen is uncertain.--Its foundation has been alternately
ascribed to Phoenicians, Romans, Gauls, Saxons, and Normans. The
earliest historical fact connected with the town, is recorded in an old
chronicle of Normandy[71], written in 1487, by William de Talleur, of
Rouen. The author, in speaking of the meeting between Louis d'Outremer,
King of France, and Richard Ist, Duke of Normandy, about the year 945,
enumerates Caen among the good towns of the province. Upon this, Huet
observes that, supposing Caen to have been at that time only recently
founded, it must have acquired importance with much rapidity; for, in
the charter, by which Richard IIIrd, Duke of Normandy, granted a dowery
to Adela, daughter of Robert, King of France, whom he married in 1026,
Caen is not only stated as one of the portions of the dower, but its
churches, its market, its custom-house, its quay, and its various
appurtenances are expressly mentioned; and two hundred years afterwards,
Brito in his _Philippiad_, puts Caen in competition with Paris,


   "Villa potens, opulenta situ, spatiosa, decora,
    Fluminibus, pratis, et agrorum fertilitate,
    Merciferasque rates portu capiente marino,
    Seque tot ecclesiis, domibus et civibus ornans,
    Ut se Parisio vix annuat esse minorem."--


Caen is designated in Duke Richard's charter, by the appellation of "in
Bajocensi comitatu villa quæ dicitur _Cathim_, super fluvium
Olnæ."--From _Cathim_, came _Cahem_; and _Cahem_, in process of time,
was gradually softened into _Caen_. The elision that took place in the
first instance, is of a similar nature to that by which the Italian
words _padre_ and _madre_, have been converted into _père_ and _mère_;
and the alteration in the latter case continued to be indicated by the
diæresis, which, till lately, separated the two adjoining
vowels.--Towards the latter part of the eleventh century, Caen is
frequently mentioned by the monkish historians, in whose Latin, the town
is styled _Cadomus_ or _Cadomum_.--And here ingenious etymologists have
found a wide field for conjecture: Cadomus, says one, was undoubtedly
founded by Cadmus; another, who hesitates at a Phoenician antiquity,
grasps with greater eagerness at a Roman etymon, and maintains that
_Cadomus_ is a corruption from _Caii domus_, fully and sufficiently
proving that the town was built by Julius Cæsar.

Robert Wace states, in his _Roman de Rou_, that, at the time
immediately previous to the conquest of England, Caen was an open
town.--


   "Encore ert Caen sans Châtel,
    N'y avoit mur, ny quesnel."--


And Wace is a competent witness; for he lived during the reign of Henry
Ist, to whom he dedicated his poem. Philip de Valois, in 1346, allowed
the citizens to surround the town with ditches, walls, and gates. This
permission was granted by the king, on the application of the
inhabitants, Caen, as they then complained, being still open and
unfortified. Hence, the fortifications have been considered to be the
work of the fourteenth century, and, generally speaking, they were
unquestionably, of that time; but it is equally certain, that a portion
was erected long before.

A proof of the antiquity of the fortifications may perhaps be found in
the name of the tower called _la Tour Guillaume le Roi_, which stands
immediately behind St. Peter's, and was intended to protect the river at
the extremity of the walls, dividing the town from the suburb of
Vaugeux. This tower is generally supposed to be the oldest in the
fortifications. Its masonry is similar to that of the wall with which it
is connected, and which is known to have been built about the same time
as the abbey of St. Stephen. The appearance of it is plain, massy, and
rugged; and it forms a picturesque object. Such also is the _Tour au
Massacre_, which is situated at the confluence of the Orne and Odon. The
tower in question is said to have received its gloomy title from a
massacre, of which our countrymen were guilty, at the time when the town
was taken in 1346. There is, however, reason to believe that this tale
is a mere fiction. Huet, at the same time that he does not venture so
far to oppose popular belief, as altogether to deny the truth of the
story of the massacre, adds, that the original name of the tower was _la
Tour Machart_, and suspects its present appellation to be no more than a
corruption of the former one. Renauld Machart was bailiff of Caen two
years prior to the capture of the place by Edward IIIrd; and the
probability is, that the tower was erected by him in those times of
alarm, and thus took his name. It has been supposed that the figure
sculptured upon it, may also be intended for a representation of Machart
himself.

Caen contains another castellated building, which might easily mislead
the studious antiquarian. The _Château de Calix_, as it is sometimes
called, is situated at the extremity of the suburb known by that name;
and the curious inhabitants of Caen usually suppose that it was erected
for the purpose of commanding the river, whilst it flowed in its
ancient, but now deserted, bed; or, at least, that it replaces such a
fortification. According to the learned Abbé de la Rue, however, and he
is a most competent authority, no real fortification ever existed here;
but the castle was raised in conformity to the caprice of Girard de
Nollent, the wealthy owner of the property, who flourished towards the
beginning of the sixteenth century.--Girard de Nollent's mansion is now
occupied by a farmer. It has four fronts. The windows are
square-headed, and surrounded by elegant mouldings; but the mullions
have been destroyed. One medallion yet remains over the entrance; and it
is probable that the walls were originally covered with ornaments of
this kind. Such, at least, is the case with the towers and walls, which,
surrounding the dwelling, have given it a castellated aspect. The
circular tower nearest the gate forms the subject of the accompanying
sketch: it is dotted on all sides with busts in basso-relievo, enclosed
in medallions, and of great diversity of character. One is a frowning
warrior, arrayed in the helmet of an emperor of the lower empire;
another, is a damsel attired in a ruff; a third, is a turbaned turk. The
borders of the medallions are equally diversified: the _cordelière_,
well known in French heraldry, the vine-leaf, the oak-leaf, all appear
as ornaments. The battlements are surmounted with two statues,
apparently Neptune, or a sea-god, and Hercules. These heathen deities
not being very familiar to the good people of Caen, they have converted
them, in imagination, into two gens-d'armes, mounting guard on the
castle; and hence it is frequently called the _Château de la
Gendarmerie_. Some of the busts are accompanied by inscriptions--"Vincit
pudicitiam mors;" "Vincit amor pudicitiam;" "Amor vincit mortem;" and
all seem to be either historical or allegorical. The battlements of the
curtain-wall are ornamented in the same manner. The farther tower has
less decoration, and is verging to decay. I have given these details,
because the castle of Calix is a specimen of a style of which we have no
fair parallel in England, and the workmanship is far from being
contemptible.

[Illustration: Tower in the _Château de Calix_, at Caen]

In the Rue St. Jean is a house with decorations, in the same style, but
more sumptuous, or, perhaps I ought rather to say, more perfect. Both of
them are most probably of nearly the same date: for it was principally
during the reigns of Charles VIIIth and Louis XIIth, that the practice
prevailed in France, of ornamenting the fronts of houses with
medallions. The custom died away under Francis Ist.

I must now return to more genuine fortifications.--When the walls of
Caen were perfect, they afforded an agreeable and convenient promenade
completely round the town, their width being so great, that three
persons might with ease walk abreast upon them. De Bourgueville tells us
that, in his time, they were as much frequented as the streets; and he
expatiates with great pleasure upon the gay and busy prospect which they
commanded,

The castle at Caen, degraded as it is in its character by modern
innovation, is more deserving of notice as an historical, than as an
architectural, relic. It still claims to be ranked as a place of
defence, though it retains but few of its original features. The
spacious, lofty, circular towers, known by the names of the black, the
white, the red, and the grey horse, which flanked its ramparts, have
been brought down to the level of the platform. The dungeon tower is
destroyed. All the grandeur of the Norman castle is lost; though the
width of its ditches, and the thickness of its walls, still testify its
ancient strength. I doubt whether any castle in France covers an equal
extent of ground. Monstrelet and other writers have observed, that this
single fortress exceeded in size the towns of Corbeil or of Montferrand;
and, indeed, there are reasons for supposing that Caen, when first
founded, only occupied the site of the present castle; and that, when it
became advisable to convert the old town into a fortress, the
inhabitants migrated into the valley below. Six thousand infantry could
be drawn up in battle-array within the outer ballium; and so great was
the number of houses and of inhabitants enclosed within its area, that
it was thought expedient to build in it a parochial church, dedicated to
St. George, besides two chapels.

One of the chapels is still in existence, though now converted to a
store-house; and the Abbé de la Rue considers it as an erection anterior
to the conquest, and, belonging to the old town of Caen. Its choir is
turned towards the west, and its front to the east.--The religious
edifices upon the continent do not preserve the same uniformity as our
English ones, in having their altars placed in the direction of the
rising sun; but this at Caen is a very remarkable instance of the
position of the entrance and the altar being completely reversed[72].
The door-way is a fine semi-circular arch: the side pillars supporting
it are very small, but the decorations of the archivolt are rich: they
consist principally of three rows of the chevron moulding, enclosed
within a narrow fillet of smaller ornaments, approaching in shape to
quatrefoils. Collectively, they form a wide band, which springs from
flat piers level with the wall, and does not immediately unite with the
head of the inner arch. The intermediate space is covered by a
reticulated pattern indented in the stone. Above the entrance is a
window of the same form, its top encircled by a broad chequered band, a
very unusual accompaniment to this style of architecture. The front of
the chapel presents in other respects, a flat uniform surface, unvaried,
except by four Norman buttresses, and a string-course of the simplest
form, running round the whole building, at somewhat less than
mid-height. The sides of the chapel are lighted by a row of
circular-headed windows, with columns in the angles; and between these
windows are buttresses, as in the chapel of the lazar-house of St.
Julien, at Rouen.

Huet endeavours to prove that the first fortress which was built at
Caen, was erected by William the Conqueror, who frequently resided here
with his Queen Matilda, and who was likely to find some protection of
this nature desirable, as well to guard his royal residence against the
mutinous disposition of the lords of the Bessin, as to command the
navigation of the Orne. The castle was enlarged and strengthened by his
son Henry; but it is believed that the four towers, just mentioned, and
the walls surrounding the keep, were added by our countrymen, during
that short period when the Norman sceptre was again wielded by the
descendants of the Norman dukes. Under Louis XIIth and Francis Ist, the
whole of the castle, but particularly the dungeon, underwent great
repairs, by which the original form of the structure was entirely
changed.--From that period history is silent respecting the fortress. I
cannot, however, take leave of it without reminding you, that Sir John
Fastolf, whilom our neighbour at Castor, was for some time placed in
command here, as Lieutenant to the Regent Duke of Bedford. You, who are
acquainted with the true character of the knight, need scarcely be told,
that even his enemies concur in bearing testimony to his ability, his
vigilance, and his valor: it is to be regretted that he has not met with
equal justice at home. Not one individual troubles himself about
history, whilst a thousand read the drama; and the stains which
Shakspeare's pen has affixed to the name of Fastolf, are of a nature
never to be wiped away; thus disproving the distich of the satyrist, who
indeed, by his own works, has effectually falsified his own maxim,
that--


   "Truth will survive when merry jokes are past;
    For rising merit must buoy up at last."


As usual, the buildings dedicated to religion are far more numerous and
valuable than the relics of military architecture. Of these, the first
which salutes the stranger who enters by the great high road, is the
Hôtel Dieu, which is almost intact and unaltered. The basement story
contains large and deep pointed arches, ornamented with the chevron
moulding, disposed in a very peculiar manner.--From the style of the
building, there is every reason to believe that it is of the beginning
of the thirteenth century, at which time William, Count of Magneville,
appropriated to charitable purposes the ground now occupied by this
hospital, and caused his donation to be confirmed by a bull from Pope
Innocent IIIrd, dated in April, 1210.

The abbeys, the glories of Caen, will require more leisure: at present
let us pass on to the parochial churches. Of these, the most ancient
foundation is _St. Etienne le Vieil_; and tradition relates that this
church was dedicated by St. Renobert, bishop of Bayeux, in the year
350.--But, though the present edifice may stand upon the site of an
ancient one, there would be little risk in affirming, that not one stone
of it was laid upon another till after the year 1400. The building is
spacious, and its tower is not devoid of beauty. The architecture is a
medley of debased gothic and corrupted Roman; but the large pointed
windows, decorated by fanciful mouldings and scroll-work, have an air of
richness, though the component parts are so inharmonious.

Attached to the wall of the choir of this church is still to be seen an
equestrian statue[73], part of the celebrated group supposed to
represent William the Conqueror making his triumphal entry into Caen. A
headless horse, mounted by a headless rider, and a figure, which has
lost all shape and form, beneath the feet of the steed, are all that now
remain; but De Bourgueville, who knew the group when perfect, says, that
there likewise belonged to it a man and woman upon their knees, as if
seeking some explanation for the death of their child, or
rather, perhaps, in the act of imploring mercy.--I have already pointed
out the resemblance between these statues and the bas-relief, of which I
have sent you a sketch from St. Georges. One of the most learned
antiquaries of the present time has found a prototype for the supposed
figure of the Duke, among the sculptures of the Trajan column. But this,
with all due deference, is far from a decisive proof that the statue in
question was not intended for William. Similar adaptations of the
antique model, "mutato nomine," frequently occur among the works of the
artists of the middle ages; and there is at least a possibility that,
had the face been left us, we might have traced some attempt at a
portrait of the Norman Duke. Upon the date of the sculpture, or the
style of the workmanship, I dare not venture an opinion. There are
antiquaries, I know, (and men well qualified to judge,) who believe it
Roman: I have heard it pronounced from high authority, that it is of the
eleventh century, others suspect that it is Italian, of the thirteenth
or fourteenth centuries; whilst M. Le Prevost and M. De Gerville
maintain most strenuously that it is not anterior to the fifteenth. De
Bourgueville certainly calls it "une antiquité de grand remarque;" but
we all know that any object which is above an hundred years old, becomes
a piece of antiquity in the eye of an uncritical observer; and such was
the good magistrate.

The church of St. Nicholas, now used as a stable, was built by William
the Conqueror, in the year 1060, or thereabouts. Desecrated as it is, it
remains entire; and its interior is remarkable for the uniformity of the
plan, the symmetry of the proportions. All the capitals of the pillars
attached to the walls are alike; and those of the arches, which very
nearly resemble the others, are also all of one pattern. In the
side-aisles there is no groining, but only cross vaulting. The vaulting
of the nave is pointed, and of late introduction. Round the choir and
transepts runs a row of small arches, as in the triforium.--The west end
was formerly flanked by two towers, the southern of which only remains.
This is square, and well proportioned: each side contains two lancet
windows. The lower part is quite plain, excepting two Norman buttresses.
The whole of the width of the central compartment, which is more than
quadruple that of either of the others, is occupied below by three
circular portals, now blocked up.--Above them are five windows, disposed
in three tiers. In the lowest are two not wider than loop-holes: over
these two others, larger; another small one is at the top. All these
windows are of the simplest construction, without side pillars or
mouldings.--The choir of the church ends in a semi-circular apsis,
divided into compartments by a row of pillars, rising as high as the
cornice: in the intercolumniation are windows, and under the windows
small arches, each of which has its head hewn out of a single
stone.--The roof of the choir is of stone, and the pitch of it is very
high.

Here, then, we have the exact counterpart of the Irish stone-roofed
chapels, the most celebrated of which, that of Cormac, in Cashel
Cathedral, appears, from all the drawings and descriptions I have seen
of it, to be altogether a Norman building. Ledwich asserts that "this
chapel is truly Saxon, and was erected prior to the introduction of the
Norman, and gothic styles[74]." If, we agree with him, we only obtain a
proof that there is no essential difference between Norman and Saxon
architecture; and this proposition, I believe, will soon be universally
admitted. We now know what is really Norman; and a little attention to
the buildings in the north of Germany, may terminate the long-debated
questions, relative to Saxon architecture and the origin of the
stone-roofed chapels in the sister isle.

In the burial-ground that surrounds the church of St. Nicholas, are
several monumental inscriptions, all of them posterior to the
commencement of the reign of Napoléon, and all, with one single
exception, commemorative of females. The epitaphs are much in the same
tone as would be found in an English church-yard. The greater part,
however, of the tomb-stones, are uninscribed. They are stone coffins
above-ground, sculptured with plain crosses, or, where they have been
raised to ecclesiastics, with an addition of some portion of the
sacerdotal dress.

[Illustration: Tower and Spire of St. Peter's Church, at Caen]

Among the churches of comparatively modern erection, St. Peter deserves
most attention. From every part of the town and neighborhood, its lofty
spire, towering above the surrounding buildings, forces itself upon your
view. It is not easy to carry accurate ideas of height in the memory;
but, as far as recollection will serve me, I should say that its
elevation is hardly inferior to that of the spire of Salisbury
cathedral. I have no hesitation in adding, that the proportions of the
tower and spire of the church at Caen, are more pleasing. Elegance,
lightness, and symmetry, are the general characters of the whole, though
the spire has peculiar characters of its own.--The tower, though built a
century later than that of Salisbury, is so much less ornamented, that
it might be mistaken for an earlier example of the pointed style. The
lowest story is occupied wholly by a portal: the second division is
surrounded by pointed arches, beneath crocketed gables: the third is
filled by four lancet arches, supported by reeded pillars, so lofty,
that they occupy nearly two-thirds of the entire height of the tower.
The flanking arches are blanks: the two middle ones are pierced into
windows, divided by a central mullion. The balustrade at the top of the
tower is of a varied pattern, each side exhibiting a different tracery.
Eight crocketed pinnacles are added to the spire, which is octangular,
and has a row of crockets at each angle. From the base to the summit it
is encircled, at regular distances, with broad bands of stone-work,
disposed like scales; and, alternating with the bands, are perforations
in the form of cinquefoils, quatrefoils, and trefoils, diminishing as
the spire rises, but so disposed, that the light is seen distinctly
through them. The effect of these perforations was novel and very
pleasing.

[Illustration: Sculpture upon a Capital in St. Peter's Church at Caen]

This tower and spire were built in the year 1308, under the directions
of Nicolle L'Anglois, a burgher of Caen, and treasurer of the
church.--How far we are at liberty to infer from his name, as Ducarel
does, that he was an Englishman, may admit of some doubt. He was buried
here; and De Bourgueville has preserved his epitaph, which recounts
among his other merits, that


   "Et par luy, et par sa devise
    Fut la tour en sa voye mise
    D'estre faicte si noblement."--


But the name of the architect who was employed is unrecorded.--The rest
of the church was erected at different periods: the northern aisle in
1410; the opposite one some time afterwards; and the eastern extremity,
with the vaulted roof of the choir and aisles, in 1021.--With this
knowledge, it is not difficult to account for the diversity of styles
that prevails in the building.--The western front contains much good
tracery, and well disposed, apparently as old as the tower.--The
exterior of the east end, with its side-chapels, is rather Italian than
gothic.--The interior is of a purer style: the five arches forming the
apsis are perhaps amongst the finest specimens of the luxuriant French
gothic: roses are introduced with great effect amongst the tracery and
friezes, with which the walls are covered. The decorations of the
chapels round the choir, although they display a tendency towards
Italian architecture, are of the most elaborate arabesque. The niches
are formed by escalop shells, swelling cylinders of foliage, and
scrolls: some of the pendants from the roofs are of wonderfully varied
and beautiful workmanship.--The nave has nothing remarkable, saving the
capital of one of the side pillars. Its sculptures, with the exception
of one mutilated group, have been drawn by Mr. Cotman.--The subjects are
strangely inappropriate, as the ornaments of a sacred edifice. All are
borrowed from romance.--Aristotle bridled and saddled by the mistress
of Alexander. Virgilius, or, as some say, Hippocrates, hanging in the
basket. Lancelot crossing the raging flood.--The fourth, which is not
shewn in the sketch, is much defaced, but seems to have been taken from
the _Chevalier et la Charette_. According to the usual fate of ancient
sculpture, the _marguilliers_ of the parish have so sadly encumbered it
with white-wash, that it is not easy to make out the details; and a
friend of mine was not quite certain whether the bearded figure riding
on the lion, was not a youthful Cupid. No other of the capitals has at
present any basso-relievo of this kind; but I suspect they have been
chopped off. The church suffered much from the Calvinists; and
afterwards, during the revolution, when most of the bas-reliefs of the
portal were destroyed.

[Illustration: Tower of St. John's Church, at Caen]

The neighboring church of St. John appears likewise to be the work of
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This building and St. Peter's
agree in general character: their towers are nearly the counterparts of
each other. But, in St. John's, the great tower is placed at the west
end of the edifice, the principal portal being beneath it. This is not
very usual in the Norman-gothic churches, though common in England. The
tower wants a spire; and, at present, it leans considerably out of the
perpendicular line, so that some apprehensions are entertained for its
safety. It was originally intended that the church should also be
surmounted by a central tower; and, as De Bourgueville says, the
beginning was made in his time; but it remains to the present day
incomplete, and has not been raised sufficiently high to enable us to
form a clear idea of the design of the architect, though enough remains
to shew that it would have been built in the Romanizing-gothic
style.--The inside is comparatively plain, excepting only the arches in
the lower open part of the tower. These are richly ornamented; and a
highly-wrought balustrade runs round the triforium, uniform in its
pattern in the nave and choir, but varying in the transepts.--In the
other ecclesiastical buildings at Caen, we saw nothing to interest
us.--The chapel of St. Thomas l'Abattu, which, according to Huet, "had
existed from time immemorial," and which, to judge from Ducarel's
description and figure, must have been curious, has now entirely
disappeared.

In the suburb of Vaucelles, the church of St. Michael contains some
architectural features of great curiosity[75]. The circular-headed
arches in the short square tower, and in a small round turret that is
attached to it, are unquestionably early Norman, and are remarkable for
their proportions, being as long and as narrow as the lancet windows of
the following æra. It would not be equally safe to pronounce upon the
date of the stone-roofed pyramid which covers this tower. The north
porch is entered by a pointed arch, which, though much less ornamented,
approaches in style to the southern porch of St. Ouen, and, like that,
has its inner archivolt fringed with pendant trefoils. The wall above
the arch rises into a triangular gable, entirely covered with waving
tracery, the only instance of the kind which I have seen at Caen.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 71: _Huet, Origines de Caen_, p. 12.]

[Footnote 72: Upon this subject, Huet has an extraordinary observation,
(_Origines de Caen_, p. 186.) "that, in the early times of Christianity,
it was customary for all churches to front the east or north, or some
intermediate point of the compass."--So learned and careful a writer
would scarcely have made such a remark without some plausible grounds;
but I am at a loss where to find them. Bingham, in his _Origines
Eccleslasticæ_, I. p. 288, says, "that churches were so placed, that
the front, or chief entrances, were towards the west, and the sanctuary
or altar placed towards the east;" and though he adduces instances of a
different position, as in the church of Antioch, which faced the east,
and that of St. Patrick, at Sabul, near Down in Ulster, which stood from
north to south, he cites them only as deviations from an established
practice.]

[Footnote 73: _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, t. 20.]

[Footnote 74: _Antiquities of Ireland_, p. 151.]

[Footnote 75: See _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, t.
18, 19.]



LETTER XXV.

ROYAL ABBEYS OF THE HOLY TRINITY AND ST. STEPHEN--FUNERAL OF THE
CONQUEROR, EXHUMATION OF HIS REMAINS, AND DESTRUCTION OF HIS MONUMENT.


(_Caen, August_, 1818.)

The two royal abbeys of Caen have fortunately escaped the storms of the
revolution. These buildings are still standing, an ornament to the town,
and an honor to the sovereign who caused them to be erected, as well as
to the artist who planned, and to the age which produced them. As models
of architecture they are the same land-marks to the history of the art
in Lower Normandy, as the church of St. Georges is in the upper division
of the province. Their dates are equally authenticated; and the
characteristic features in each are equally perfect.

Both these noble edifices rose at the same time, and from the same
motive. William the Conqueror, by his marriage with Matilda, daughter of
Baldwin, Earl of Flanders, had contracted an alliance proscribed by the
degrees of consanguinity. The clergy inveighed against the union; and
they were supported in their complaints by Lanfranc, then resident at
Bec, whose remonstrances were so uncourtly and strenuous, that the duke
banished him from the province. It chanced that the churchman, while in
the act of obedience to this command, met the sovereign. Their interview
began with recriminations: it ended with reconciliation; and Lanfranc
finally engaged to undertake a mission to the supreme Pontiff, who,
considering the turbulent disposition of the Normans, and that a better
end was likely to be answered by peaceable than by hostile measures,
consented to grant the necessary dispensation. At the same time, by way
of penance, he issued an injunction that the royal pair should erect two
monasteries, the one for monks, the other for nuns. And in obedience to
this command, William founded the abbey of St. Stephen, and Matilda, the
abbey of the Holy Trinity; or, as they are usually called at Caen,
_l'abbaye aux hommes_, and _l'abbaye aux dames_.

The approach to the monastery of the Trinity is through a spacious
gate-tower, part of the original structure. Over the rent and shapeless
door-way are three semi-circular arches, upon the capitals of which is
distinctly observable the cable-moulding, and along the top of the tower
runs a line of the same toothed ornament, remarked by Ducarel at
Bourg-Achard, and stated by him to have been considered peculiar to
Saxon architecture[76]. The park that formerly environed the abbey
retains its character, though abandoned to utter neglect. It is of great
extent, and is well wooded. The monastic buildings, which are, as usual,
modern, are mostly perfect.--A ruined wall nearly in front of the
church, with a chimney-piece, perhaps of Norman workmanship, belonged to
the old structure. Such part of the chimney wall as was exposed to the
flame is built of large tiles, placed diagonally. All other vestiges of
the ancient apartments have been removed.

The noble church[77] is now used as a work-house for the department. At
the revolution it became national property, and it remained
unappropriated, till, upon the institution of the Legion of Honor,
Napoléon applied it to some purpose connected with that body, by whom it
was lately ceded for it present object. But, if common report may be
credited, it is likely soon to revert to its original destination. The
restoration may be easily effected, as the building has sustained but
little injury. A floor has been thrown across the nave and transept,
dividing them into two stories; but in other respects they are
unaltered, and divine service is still performed in the choir.

A finer specimen of the solid grandeur of Norman architecture is
scarcely to be found any where than in the west front of this church.
The corresponding part of the rival abbey of St. Stephen is poor when
compared to it; and Jumieges and St. Georges equally fail in the
comparison. In all of these, there is some architectural anomaly: in the
Trinity none, excepting, indeed, the balustrade at the top of the
towers; and this is so obviously an addition of modern times, that no
one can be misled by it. This balustrade was erected towards the
beginning of the seventeenth century, when the oval apertures and
scrolls seen in Ducarel's print were introduced. Anciently the towers
were ornamented with very lofty spires. According to some accounts,
these were demolished, because they served as land-marks to the English
cruizers, being seen far out at sea; but other accounts state, that the
spires were pulled down by Charles, King of Navarre, who was at war with
his namesake, Charles Vth, then Dauphin and Regent. The abbey at that
time bore the two-fold character of nunnery and fortress.--Strangely
inconsistent as this union may appear, the fact is undoubted. Even now a
portion of the fosses remains; and the gate-way indicates an approach
to a fortified place. Ancient charters likewise expressly recognize the
building in both capacities: they endow the abbey for the service of
God; and they enjoin the inhabitants of the adjacent parishes to keep
the fortifications in repair against any assaults of men. Nay, letters
patent, granted by Charles Vth, which fix the salary of the captain of
the _Fort of the Trinity, at Caen_, at one hundred francs per annum, are
yet extant.

I shall attempt no description of the west front of this monastery, few
continental buildings being better known in England. The whole remains
as it was in the time of Ducarel, except that the arches of entrance are
blocked up, and modern windows have been inserted in the door-ways.--The
north side of the church is quite concealed by the cloisters and
conventual buildings. The southern aisle has been plastered and patched,
and converted into a range of work-shops, so that its original elevation
is wholly obliterated. But the nave, which rises above, is untouched by
innovation. The clerestory range is filled by a row of semi-circular
headed windows, separated by intervening flat buttresses, which reach to
the cornice. Each buttress is edged with two slender cylindrical
pilasters; and each window flanked by two smaller arches, whose surfaces
are covered with chequer-work. The arch of every window has a key-stone,
formed by a grotesque head.--Above the whole is a corbel-table that
displays monsters of all kinds, in the form of beasts, and men scarcely
less monstrous.--The semi-circular east end is divided in its elevation
into three compartments. The lower contains a row of small blank arches:
in each of the other two is a window, of a size unusually large for a
Norman building, but still without mullions or tracery; its sides
ornamented with columns, and its top encircled with a broad band of
various mouldings. The windows are separated by cylindrical pillars,
instead of buttresses.--In the upper part of the low central tower are
some pointed arches, the only deviations of style that are to be found
in the building. To the extremity of the southern transept has been
attached a Grecian portico, which masks the ancient portal. Above is a
row of round arches, some of which are pierced into windows.

Of the effect of the nave and transept within, it is difficult now to
obtain a correct idea, the floor intervening to obstruct a general
view.--High arches, encircled with the embattled moulding below; above
these, a wide billeted string-course, forming a basis for a row of
smaller arches, without side-pillars or decoration of any kind; then
another string-course of different and richer patterns; and over this,
the triforium, consisting also of a row of small arches, supported by
thick pillars;--such is the elevation of the sides of the nave; and the
same system is continued with but small variation in the transepts. But,
notwithstanding the general uniformity of the whole, no two compartments
are precisely alike; and the capitals are infinitely varied. It is
singular to see such a playfulness of ornament in a building, whose
architect appears, at first view, to have contemplated only grandeur and
solidity.--The four arches which support the central tower are on a
magnificent scale. The archivolts are encircled by two rows of lozenged
squares, indented in the stone. The rams, or rams' heads, upon the
capitals of these piers, are peculiar. The eastern arch rises higher
than the rest, and is obtusely pointed; yet it seems to be of the same
date with its circular companions.--So exquisite, however, is the
quality of the Caen stone, that no opinion drawn from the appearance of
the material, ought to be hazarded with confidence. Seven centuries have
elapsed since this church was erected, and there is yet no difference to
be discovered in the color of the stone, or the sharpness of the work;
the whole is as clean and sharp as if it were but yesterday fresh from
the chisel. The interior of the choir has not been divided by the
flooring; and the eastern extremity, which remains perfect, shews the
original design. It consists of large arches, disposed in a double tier,
so as to correspond with the windows of the apsis, and placed at a short
distance from the wall; but without any Lady-Chapel beyond. The pillars
that support these arches are well proportioned: the sculptures on their
capitals are scarcely less grotesque than those at St. Georges; but,
barbarous as they are, the corners of almost every capital are finished
with imitations, more or less obvious, of the classical Ionic
volute.--Among the sculptures is a head resting upon two lions, which
has been fancied to be a representation of the Conqueror himself; whilst
a faded painting of a female, attired as a nun, on the north side of the
altar, is also commonly entitled a portrait of the foundress.--Were any
plausible reason alleged for regarding the picture as intended to bear
even an imaginary resemblance to Matilda, I would have sent you a copy
of it; but there appear no grounds to consider it as
authentic.--Willing, however, to contribute a mark of respect to a
female, styled by William of Malmesbury, "fæminam prudentiæ speculum,
pudoris culmen," and, by way of a companion to the rough sketch of her
illustrious consort, in the initial letter in the library at Rouen, I
add the fac-simile of a seal, which, by the kindness of a friend has
fallen into my hands. It has been engraved before, but only for private
distribution; and, if a suspicion should cross your mind, that it may
have belonged to the Empress Maud, or to Matilda, wife to Stephen, I can
only bespeak your thanks to me, for furnishing you with a likeness of
any one of these ladies.

[Illustration: Fac-simile of seal]

Matilda was interred in the middle of this choir; and, according to
Ordericus Vitalis, a monument of exquisite workmanship, richly
ornamented with gold and precious stones, and bearing a long inscription
in letters of gold, was raised to her memory. Her effigy was afterwards
added to the monument; the whole of which was destroyed in 1652, by the
Calvinists, who tore open the Queen's coffin, and dispersed her remains.
After a lapse of an hundred and forty years, the royal bones were again
collected, and deposited in this church. At the same time, the splendid
monument was replaced by a plain altar-tomb, which existed till the
revolution, when all was once more swept away. The marble slab,
inscribed with the original epitaph, alone remained entire, and was
carried to the abbey church of St. Stephen's, where it still forms a
part of the pavement in a chapel. The letters are finely sculptured and
perfectly sharp. However, it is not likely to continue there long; for
Count de Montlivault, the prefect of the department, has already caused
a search to be made for Matilda's remains, and he intends to erect a
third monument to her memory. The excavations for this purpose have
hitherto been unsuccessful: the Count met with many monumental stones,
and many coffins of various kinds, but none that could be mistaken for
the desired object; for one of the inscriptions on the late monument
expressly states, that the Queen's bones had been wrapped in a linen
cloth, and enclosed in a leaden box.

The inquiry, however, will not be discontinued[78]: there are still
hopes of success, especially in the crypt, which corresponds in its
architecture with the church above. It is filled with columns placed in
four ranges, each standing only four feet from the other, all of elegant
proportions, with diversified capitals, as those in the choir.--Round
it runs a stone bench, as in the subterraneous chapel in St. Gervais, at
Rouen.

Founded by a queen, the abbey of the Trinity preserved at all times a
constitution thoroughly aristocratical. No individual, except of noble
birth, was allowed to take the veil here, or could be received into the
community. You will see in the series of the abbesses the names of
Bourbon, Valois, Albret, Montmorenci, and others of the most illustrious
families in France. Cecily, the Conqueror's eldest daughter, stands at
the head of the list. According to the _Gallia Christiana_, she was
devoted by her parents to this holy office, upon the very day of the
dedication of the convent, in July 1066.

The black marble slab which covered her remains, was lately discovered
in the chapter-house. A crozier is sculptured upon it. It is delineated
in a very curious volume now in the possession of the Abbé de la Rue,
which contains drawings of all the tombs and inscriptions that formerly
existed in the abbey.

The annual income of the monastery of the Trinity is stated by Gough, in
his _Alien Priories_, at thirty thousand livres, and that of the
monastery of St. Stephen, at sixty thousand; but Ducarel estimates the
revenue of the former at seventy thousand, and of the latter at two
hundred thousand; and I should not doubt but that the larger sums are
nearest the truth; indeed, the grants and charters still in existence,
or noticed by historians, would rather lead to the supposition that the
revenues must have been even greater. Parsimony in the endowment of
religious buildings, was not a prevailing vice in the eleventh and
twelfth centuries. Least of all was it likely that it should be
practised in the case of establishments, thus founded in expiation of
the transgressions of wealthy and powerful sinners. Page after page, in
the charters, is filled with the list of those, who, with


   "Lands and livings, many a rood,
    Had gifted the shrine for their soul's repose."


The privileges and immunities enjoyed by these abbeys were very
extensive. Both of them were from their origin exempted by Pope
Alexander IInd, with the consent of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, from all
episcopal jurisdiction; and both had full power, as well spiritual as
ecclesiastical, over the members of their own communities, and over the
parishes dependent upon them; with no other appeal than to the
archbishop of Rouen, or to the Pope. Express permission was likewise
given to the abbot of St. Stephen's, by virtue of a bull from Pope
Clement VIIth, to wear a gold mitre studded with precious stones, and a
ring and sandals, and other episcopal ornaments.

Many of the monuments and deeds of the greater abbey are now in the
prefecture of the department. The original chartulary or register was
saved by the Abbé de la Rue, and is at this time preserved in his
valuable collection. The charters of the Trinity were hid, during the
revolution, by the nuns, who secreted them beneath the tiling of a barn.
They were discovered there not long since; but damp and vermin had
rendered them wholly illegible.

Lanfranc, whose services at Rome well deserved every distinction that
his sovereign could bestow, was the first abbot of St. Stephen's. Upon
his translation to the see of Canterbury, he was succeeded by William,
who was likewise subsequently honored with an archiepiscopal mitre. The
third abbot, Gislebert, was bishop of Evreux; and, though the series was
not continued through an uninterrupted line of equal dignity, the office
of abbot of this convent was seldom conferred, except upon an individual
of exalted birth. Eight cardinals, two of them of the noble houses of
Medici and Farnese, and three others, still more illustrious, the
cardinals Richelieu, Mazarine, and Fleury, are included in the list,
though in later times the abbacy was held _in commendam_ by these
powerful prelates, whilst all the internal management of the house
devolved upon a prior. Amongst the abbots will also be found Hugh de
Coilly, grandson of King Stephen, Anthony of Bourbon, a natural son of
Henry IVth of France, and Charles of Orléans, who was likewise of royal
extraction.--St. Stephen was selected as the patron of the abbey, in
consequence of the founder having bestowed upon it the head of the
protomartyr, together with one of his arms, and a phial of his blood,
and the stone with which he was killed.

[Illustration: Monastery of St. Stephen, at Caen]

The monastic buildings now serve for what, in the language of
revolutionary and imperial France, was called a _Lycée_, but which has
since assumed the less heathen appellation of a college. They constitute
a fine edifice, and, seen from a short distance, in conjunction with the
east end of the church, they form a grand _tout-ensemble_. The abbey
church, from this point of view, has somewhat of an oriental character:
the wide sweep of the semi-circular apsis, and the slender turrets and
pyramids that rise from every part of the building, recal the idea of
a Mahometan mosque. But the west end is still more striking than the
east; and if, in the interior of the church of the Trinity, we had
occasion to admire the beautiful quality of the Caen stone, our
admiration of it was more forcibly excited here: notwithstanding the
continual exposure to wind and weather, no part appears corroded, or
discolored, or injured. A character of magnificence, arising in a great
measure from the grand scale upon which it is built, pervades this
front. But, to be regarded with advantage, it must be viewed as a whole:
the parts, taken separately, are unequal and ill assorted. The
simplicity of the main division approaches to meanness. Its three
door-ways and double tier of windows appear disproportionally small,
when contrasted with the expanse of blank wall; and their returns are
remarkably shallow. The windows have no mouldings whatever, and the
pillars and archivolts of the doors are very meagre. The front consists
of three compartments, separated by flat buttresses; the lateral
divisions rising into lofty towers, capped with octagon spires. The
towers are much ornamented: three tiers of semi-circular arches surround
the upper divisions; the arches of the first tier have no mouldings or
pillars; the upper vary in pattern, and are enriched with pillars and
bands, and some are pierced into windows.--Twelve pinnacles equally full
of arches, some pointed, others semi-circular, surround each spire.
Similar pinnacles rise from the ends of the transepts and the
choir.--The central tower, which is short and terminates in a conical
roof, was ruined by the Huguenots, who undermined it, thinking that its
fall would destroy the whole building. Fortunately, however, it only
damaged a portion of the eastern end; the reparations done to which have
occasioned a discrepancy of style, that is injurious to the general
effect. But the choir and apsis were previously of a different æra from
the rest of the edifice. They were raised by the Abbot Simon de
Trevieres, in the beginning of the fourteenth century.--I am greatly
mistaken, if a real Norman church ever extended farther eastward than
the choir.

The building is now undergoing a thorough repair, at the expence of the
town. No other revenues, at present, belong to it, except the _sous_
which are paid for chairs during mass.

A friend, who is travelling through Normandy, describes the interior in
the following manner; and, as I agree with him in his ideas, I shall
borrow his description:--"Without doubt, the architect was conversant
with Roman buildings, though he has Normanized their features, and
adopted the lines of the basilica to a _barbaric_ temple. The Coliseum
furnished the elevation of the nave;--semi-circular arches surmounted by
another tier of equal span, and springing at nearly an equal height from
the basis of the supporting pillars. The architraves connecting the
lower rows of pillars are distinctly enounced. The arches which rise
from them have plain bold mouldings. The piers between each arch are of
considerable width. In the centre of each pier is a column, which
ascends as usual to the vault. These columns are alternately simple and
compound. The latter are square pilasters, each fronted by a
cylindrical column, which of course projects farther into the nave than
the simple columns; and thus the nave is divided into bays. This system
is imitated in the gothic cathedral, at Sens. The square pilaster ceases
at about four-fifths of its height: then two cylindrical pillars rise
from it, so that, from that point, the column becomes clustered. Angular
brackets, sculptured with knots, grotesque heads, and foliage, are
affixed to the base of these derivative pillars. A bold double-billeted
moulding is continued below the clerestory, whose windows adapt
themselves to the binary arrangement of the bays. A taller arch is
flanked by a smaller one on the right or the left side, as its situation
requires. These are supported by short massy pillars: an embattled
moulding runs round the windows.

"In the choir the arches become pointed, but with Norman mouldings: the
apsis is a re-construction. In that portion of the choir, which seems
original, there are pointed windows formed by the interlacing of
circular arches: these light the gallery.

"The effect produced by the perspective of the interior is lofty and
palatial. The ancient masonry of the exterior is worthy of notice. The
stones are all small, perhaps not exceeding nine or twelve inches: the
joints are about three-quarters of an inch."

At the north-west angle of the nave has been built a large chapel,
comparatively a modern erection; and in the centre of this lies
Matilda's gravestone.--There is no other chapel to the nave, and, as
usual, no monument in any portion of the church; but in front of the
high altar is still to be seen the flat stone, placed there in 1742, in
memory of the Conqueror, and bearing the epitaph--

[Illustration: Epitaph in memory of the Conqueror]


    QUI REXIT RIGIDOS NORMANNOS ATQUE BRITANNOS
    AVDACTER VICIT FORTITER OBTINVIT
    ET CENOMANENSES VIRTVTE COERCVIT ENSES
    IMPERIIQVE SVI LEGIBUS APPLICVIT
    REX MAGNVS PARVA JACET HIC VILLELMVS IN VRNA
    SVFFICIT HÆC MAGNO PARVA DOMVS DOMINO
    TER SEPTEM GRADIBVS SE VOLVERAT ATQUE DVOBVS
    VIRGINIS IN GREMIO PHOEBVS ET HIC OBIIT
    ANNO MLXXXVII
    REQVIESCEBAT IN SPE CORPVS BENEFICIENTISSIMI
    FVNDATORIS QVVM A CALVINIANIS ANNO MDLXII
    DISSIPATA SVNT EIVS OSSA VNVM EX EIS A VIRO NOBILI
    QVI TVM ADERAT RESERVATVM ET A POSTERIS ILLIVS
    ANNO MDCXLII RESTITVTVM IN MEDIO CHORO DEPOSITVM
    FVERAT MOLE SEPVLCHRALI DESVPER EXTRVCTA HANC
    CEREMONIARVM SOLEMNITATE MINVS ACCOMMODAM
    AMOVERVNT MONACHI ANNO MDCCXLII REGIO
    FVLTI DIPLOMATE ET OS QVOD VNVM SVPERERAT
    REPOSVERVNT IN CRYPTA PROPE ALTARE
    IN QVO IVGITER DE BENEDICTIONIBVS METET
    QVI SEMINAVIT IN BENEDICTIONIBVS
    FIAT FIAT


The poetical part of this epitaph was composed by Thomas, archbishop of
York, and was engraved upon the original monument, as well as upon a
plate of gilt copper, which was found within the sepulchre when it was
first opened. Many other poets, we are told by Ordericus Vitalis,
exercised their talents upon the occasion; but none of their productions
were deemed worthy to be inscribed upon the tomb. The account of the
opening of the vault is related by De Bourgueville, from whom it has
been already copied by Ducarel; but the circumstances are so curious,
that I shall offer no apology for telling a twice-told tale. From
Ordericus Vitalis also we may borrow some details respecting the funeral
of the Conqueror, which, though strictly appertaining to English
history, have never yet, I believe, appeared in an English dress.

In speaking of the church of St. Gervais at Rouen, I have already
briefly alluded to the melancholy circumstances by which the death of
this monarch was attended. The sequel of the story is not less
memorable.

The king's decease was the signal for general consternation throughout
the metropolis of Normandy. The citizens, panic struck, ran to and fro,
as if intoxicated, or as if the town were upon the point of being taken
by assault. Each asked counsel of his neighbor, and each anxiously
turned his thoughts to the concealing of his property. When the alarm
had in some measure subsided the monks and clergy made a solemn
procession to the abbey of St. Georges, where they offered their prayers
for the repose of the soul of the departed Duke; and archbishop William
commanded that the body should be carried to Caen, to be interred in the
church of St. Stephen, which William had founded. But the lifeless king
was now deserted by all who had participated in his munificence and
bounty. Every one of his brethren and relations had left him; nor was
there even a servant to be found to perform the last offices to his
departed lord. The care of the obsequies was finally undertaken by
Herluin, a knight of that district, who, moved by the love of God and
the honor of his nation, provided at his own expence, embalmers, and
bearers, and a hearse, and conveyed the corpse to the Seine, whence it
was carried by land and water to the place of its destination.

Upon the arrival of the funeral train at Caen, it was met by Gislebert,
bishop of Evreux, then abbot of St. Stephen's, at the head of his monks,
attended with a numerous throng of clergy and laity; but scarcely had
the bier been brought within the gates, when the report was spread that
a dreadful fire had broken out in another part of the town, and the
Duke's remains were a second time deserted. The monks alone remained;
and, fearful and irresolute, they bore their founder "with candle, with
book, and with knell," to his last home. Ordericus Vitalis enumerates
the principal prelates and barons assembled upon this occasion; but he
makes no mention of the Conqueror's son, Henry, who, according to
William of Jumieges, was the only one of the family that attended, and
was also the only one worthy of succeeding to such a father.--Mass had
now been performed, and the body was about to be committed to the
ground, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust," when, previously to this closing
part of the ceremony, Gislebert mounted the pulpit, and delivered an
oration in honor of the deceased.--He praised his valor, which had so
widely extended the limits of the Norman dominion; his ability, which
had elevated the nation to the highest pitch of glory; his equity in
the administration of justice; his firmness in correcting abuses; and
his liberality towards the monks and clergy; then, finally, addressing
the people, he besought them to intercede with the Almighty for the soul
of their prince, and to pardon whatsoever transgression he might have
been guilty of towards any of them.--At this moment, one Asselin, an
obscure individual, starting from the crowd, exclaimed with a loud
voice, "the ground upon which you are standing, was the site of my
father's dwelling. This man, for whom you ask our prayers, took it by
force from my parent; by violence he seized, by violence he retained it;
and, contrary to all law and justice, he built upon it this church,
where we are assembled. Publicly, therefore, in the sight of God and
man, do I claim my inheritance, and protest against the body of the
plunderer being covered with my turf."--The appeal was attended with
instant effect; bishops and nobles united in their entreaties to
Asselin; they admitted the justice of his claim; they pacified him; they
paid him sixty shillings on the spot by way of recompence for the place
of sepulture; and, finally, they satisfied him for the rest of the land.

But the remarkable incidents doomed to attend upon this burial, were not
yet at an end; for at the time when they were laying the corpse in the
sarcophagus, and were bending it with some force, which they were
compelled to do, in consequence of the coffin having been made too
short, the body, which was extremely corpulent, burst, and so
intolerable a stench issued from the grave, that all the perfumes which
arose from all the censers of the priests and acolytes were of no avail;
and the rites were concluded in haste, and the assembly, struck with
horror, returned to their homes.

The latter part of this story accords but ill with what De Bourgueville
relates. We learn from this author, that four hundred and thirty years
subsequent to the death of the Conqueror, a Roman cardinal, attended by
an archbishop and bishop, visited the town of Caen, and that his
eminence having expressed a wish to see the body of the duke, the monks
yielded to his curiosity, and the tomb was opened, and the corpse
discovered in so perfect a state, that the cardinal caused a portrait to
be taken from the lifeless features.--It is not worth while now to
inquire into the truth of this story, or the fidelity of the
resemblance. The painting has disappeared in the course of time: it hung
for a while against the walls of the church, opposite to the monument;
but it was stolen during the tumults caused by the Huguenots, and was
broken into two pieces, in which state De Bourgueville saw it a few
years afterwards, in the hands of a Calvinist, one Peter Hodé, the
gaoler at Caen, who used it in the double capacity of a table and a
door.--The worthy magistrate states, that he kept the picture, "because
the abbey-church was demolished."

He was himself present at the second violation of the royal tomb, in
1572; and he gives a piteous account of the transaction. The monument
raised to the memory of the Conqueror, by his son, William Rufus, under
the superintendance of Lanfranc, was a production of much costly and
elaborate workmanship: the shrine, which was placed upon the mausoleum,
glittered with gold and silver and precious stones. To complete the
whole, the effigy of the king had been added to the tomb, at some
period subsequent to its original erection.--A monument like this
naturally excited the rapacity of a lawless banditti, unrestrained by
civil or military force, and inveterate against every thing that might
be regarded as connected with the Catholic worship.--The Calvinists were
masters of Caen, and, incited by the information of what had taken place
at Rouen, they resolved to repeat the same outrages. Under the specious
pretext of abolishing idolatrous worship, they pillaged and ransacked
every church and monastery: they broke the painted windows and organs,
destroyed the images, stole the ecclesiastical ornaments, sold the
shrines, committed pulpits, chests, books, and whatever was combustible,
to the fire; and finally, after having wreaked their vengeance upon
eyery thing that could be made the object of it, they went boldly to the
town-hall to demand the wages for their labors.--In the course of these
outrages the tomb of the Conqueror at one abbey, and that of Matilda at
the other, were demolished. And this was not enough; but a few days
afterwards, the same band returned, allured by the hopes of farther
plunder. It was customary in ancient times to deposit treasures of
various kinds in the tombs of sovereigns, as if the feelings of the
living passed into the next stage of existence;--


   "... quæ gratia currûm
    Armorumque fuit vivis, quæ cura nitentes
    Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos."


The bees that adorned the imperial mantle of Napoléon were found in the
tomb of Childeric. A similar expectation excited the Huguenots, at Caen.
They dug up the coffin: the hollow stone rung to the strokes of their
daggers: the vibration proved that it was not filled by the corpse; and
nothing more was wanted to seal its destruction.

De Bourgueville, who went to the spot and exerted his eloquence to check
this last act of violence, witnessed the opening of the coffin. It
contained the bones of the king, wrapped up in red taffety, and still in
tolerable preservation; but nothing else. He collected them, with care,
and consigned them to one of the monks of the abbeys who kept them in
his chamber, till the Admiral de Châtillon entered Caen at the head of
his mercenaries, on which occasion the whole abbey was plundered, and
the monks put to flight, and the bones lost. "Sad doings, these," says
De Bourgueville, "_et bien peu réformez!_"--He adds, that one of the
thigh-bones was preserved by the Viscount of Falaise, who was there with
him, and begged it from the rioters, and that this bone was longer by
four fingers' breadth than that of a tall man. The bone thus preserved,
was re-interred, after the cessation of the troubles: it is the same
that is alluded to in the inscription, which also informs us that a
monument was raised over it in 1642, but was removed in 1742, it being
then considered as an incumbrance in the choir.

With this detail I close my letter. The melancholy end of the Conqueror,
the strange occurrences at his interment, the violation of his grave,
the dispersion of his remains, and the demolition and final removal of
his monument, are circumstances calculated to excite melancholy emotions
in the mind of every one, whatever his condition in life. In all these
events, the religious man traces the hand of retributive justice; the
philosopher regards the nullity of sublunary grandeur; the historian
finds matter for serious reflection; the poet for affecting narrative;
the moralist for his tale; and the school-boy for his theme.--Ordericus
Vitalis sums the whole up admirably. I should spoil his language were I
to attempt to translate it; I give it you, therefore, in his own
words:--"Non fictilem tragoediam venundo, non loquaci comoedia
cachinnantibus parasitis faveo: sed studiosis lectoribus varios eventus
veraciter intimo. Inter prospera patuerunt adversa, ut terrerentur
terrigenarum corda. Rex quondam potens et bellicosus, multisque populis
per plures Provincias metuendus, in area jacuit nudus, et a suis, quos
genuerat vel aluerat, destitutus. Aere alieno in funebri cultu indiguit,
ope gregarii pro sandapila et vespilionibus conducendis eguit, qui tot
hactenus et superfluis opibus nimis abundavit. Secus incendium a
formidolosis vectus est ad Basilicam, liberoque solo, qui tot urbibus et
oppidis et vicis principatus est, caruit ad sepulturam. Arvina ventris
ejus tot delectamentis enutrita cum dedecore patuit, et prudentes ac
infrunitos, qualis sit gloria carnis, edocuit[79]."

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 76: _Anglo-Norman Antiquities_, p. 45.]

[Footnote 77: See _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, t.
24-33.]

[Footnote 78: A detailed account of the proceedings on this occasion, is
given in the _Journal Politique du Département du Calvados_, for March
21, and May 6, 1819.--The first attempt at the discovery of Matilda's
coffin, was made in March, 1818, and was confined to the chapter-house:
the matter then slept till the following March, when Count de
Montlivault, attended by the Bishop of Bayeux, Mr. Spencer Smythe, and
other gentlemen, prosecuted his inquiries within the church itself, and,
immediately under the spot where her monument stood, discovered a stone
coffin, five feet four inches long, by eleven inches deep, and varying
in width from twenty inches to eleven. Within this coffin was a leaden
box, soldered down; and, in addition to the box, the head of an effigy
of a monk, in stone, and a portion of a skull-bone filled with aromatic
herbs, and covered with a yellowish-white membrane, which proved, upon
examination, to be the remains of a linen cloth. The box contained
various bones, that had belonged to a person of nearly the same height
as Matilda is described to have been. No doubt seemed to remain but that
the desideratum was discovered. The whole was therefore carefully
replaced; and the prefect ordered that a new tomb should be raised,
similar to that which was destroyed at the revolution; and that the
slab, with the original epitaph, should be laid on the top; that copies
of the former inscription, stating how the queen's remains had been
re-interred by the abbess, in 1707, should be added to two of the sides;
that to the third should be affixed the ducal arms of Normandy; and that
the fourth should bear the following inscription:--


   "Ce tombeau renfermant les dépouilles mortelles
    de l'illustre Fondatrice de cette Abbaye,
    renversé pendant les discordes civiles,
    et déplacé depuis une longue série d'années,
    a été restauré, conformément au voeu des
    amis de la religion, de l'antiquité et des arts,
        1819.
    Casimir, comte de Montlivault, conseiller d'état, préfet.
    Léchaudé d'Anisy, directeur de l'Hospice."


The ceremony of the re-interment was performed with great pomp on the
fifth of May; and the Bishop of Bayeux pronounced a speech on the
occasion, that does him credit for its good sense and affecting
eloquence.]

[Footnote 79: _Hist. Normannorum Scriptores_, p. 662.]



LETTER XXVI.

PALACE OF THE CONQUEROR--HERALDIC TILES--PORTRAITS OF WILLIAM AND
MATILDA--MUSEUM--PUBLIC LIBRARY--UNIVERSITY--ACADEMY--EMINENT
MEN--HISTORY OF CAEN.


(_Caen, August_, 1818.)

Within the precincts of the abbey of St. Stephen are some buildings,
which do not appear to have been used for monastic purposes. It is
supposed that they were erected by William the Conqueror, and they are
yet called his palace. Only sixty years ago, when Ducarel visited Caen,
these remains still preserved their original character.

He describes the great guard-chamber and the barons' hall, as making a
noble appearance, and as being perhaps equally worth the notice of an
English antiquary as any object within the province of Normandy. The
walls of these rooms are standing, but dilapidated and degraded; and
they have lost their architectural character, which, supposing Ducarel's
plate to be a faithful representation, must have been very decisive. It
is scarcely possible to conceive how any man, with such a specimen of
the palace before his eyes, could dream of its being coeval with the
Norman conquest: every portion is of the pointed style, and even of a
period when that style was no longer in its purity. Possibly, indeed,
other parts of the edifice may have been more ancient; such certainly
was the "Conqueror's kitchen," a singular octagon building, with four
tall slender chimneys capped with perforated cones. This was destroyed
many years ago; but Ducarel obtained an original drawing of it, which he
has engraved. Amongst the ruins there is a chimney which perhaps
belonged to this building.--The guard-chamber and barons' hall are noble
rooms: the former is one hundred and ninety feet in length and ninety in
breadth. You remember how admirably the _Lay of the Last Minstrel_ opens
with a description of such a hall, filled with knights, and squires, and
pages, and all the accompaniments of feudal state. I tried, while
standing by these walls, to conjure up the same pictures to my
imagination, but it was impossible; so desolate and altered was every
thing around, and so effectually was the place of baronial assemblage
converted into a granary. The ample fire-place still remains; but, cold
and cheerless, it looks as if had been left in mockery of departed
splendor and hospitality. I annex a sketch of it, in which you will also
see a few scattered tiles, relics of the magnificent pavement that once
covered the floor.

[Illustration: Fireplace in the Conqueror's Palace, at Caen]

This pavement has been the subject of much learned discussion; because,
if the antiquity of the emblazoned tiles could be established, (which it
certainly cannot) we should then have a decisive proof of the use of
armorial bearings in the eleventh century. Nearly the whole of these
tiles are now removed. After the abbey was sold, the workmen entirely
destroyed the tiles, breaking them with their pick-axes. The Abbé de la
Rue, however, collected an entire set of them; and others have been
preserved by M. Lair, an antiquary of Caen.--Ducarel thus describes the
pavement when perfect: "The floor is laid with tiles, each near five
inches square, baked almost to vitrification. Eight rows of these
tiles, running from east to west, are charged with different coats of
arms, said to be those of the families who attended Duke William in his
invasion of England. The intervals between each of these rows are filled
up with a kind of tessellated pavement, the middle whereof represents a
maze or labyrinth, about ten feet in diameter, and so artfully contrived
that were we to suppose a man following all the intricate meanders of
its volutes, he could not travel less than a mile before he got from one
end to the other. The remainder of the floor is inlaid with small
squares of different colors, placed alternately, and formed into draught
or chess-boards, for the amusement of the soldiers while on guard."

Such is the general description of the floors of this apartment: with
regard to the date of the tiles, Ducarel proceeds to state that "it is
most probable the pavement was laid down in the latter part of the reign
of King John, when he was loitering away his life at Caen, with the
beautiful Isabel of Angoulême, his queen; during which period, the
custom of wearing coats of arms was introduced."--Common tradition
assigns the tiles to higher date, making them coeval with the conquest;
and this opinion has not been without supporters. It was strenuously
defended by Mr. Henniker Major, who, in the year 1794, printed for
private distribution, two letters upon the subject, addressed to Lord
Leicester, in which he maintained this opinion with zeal and laborious
research. To the letters were annexed engravings of twenty coats of
arms, the whole, as he observes, that were represented on the pavement;
for though the number of emblazoned tiles was considerable, the rest
were all repetitions[80]. The same observation was found in the
inscription attached to a number of the tiles, which the monks kept
framed for public inspection, in a conspicuous part of the monastery;
and yet some of the armorial bearings in this very selection, differ
from any of those figured by Mr. Henniker Major. The Abbé de la Rue has
also many which are not included in Mr. Henniker Major's engravings. In
one of the coats the arms are quartered, a practice that was not
introduced till the reign of Edward IIIrd. The same quarterings are also
found upon an escutcheon, placed over the door that leads to the
apartment. This door is a flattened arch, with an ogee canopy, the
workmanship probably of the fourteenth century.

To the same date I should also refer the tiles; and possibly the whole
palace was built at that period. There are no records of its erection;
no document connects its existence with the history of the duchy; no
author relates its having been suffered to fall into decay. So striking
an absence of all proof, and this upon a point where evidence of
different kinds might naturally have been expected, may warrant a
suspicion how far the building was ever a royal palace, according to the
strict import of the town. A friend of mine supposes that these
buildings may have been the king's lodgings. During the middle ages it
was usual for monarchs in their progresses, to put up at the great
abbeys; and this portion of the convent of St. Stephen may have been
intended for the accommodation of the royal guests.

The assigning of a comparatively modern date to the pavement, does not
necessarily interfere with the question as to the antiquity of heraldic
bearings. The coats of arms which are painted upon the tiles may have
been designed to represent those of the nobility who attended Duke
William on his expedition to England: it is equally possible that they
embraced a more general object, and were those of the principal families
of the duchy--De Thou gives his suffrage in favor of the former opinion,
but Huet of the latter; and the testimony of the bishop must be allowed,
in this case, to outweigh that of the president.--Huet also says, that
it is matter of notoriety that the tiles were laid down towards the
close of the fourteenth century. He mentions, however, no authority for
the assertion; and less credit perhaps will be given to it than it
deserves, from his having stated just before, that the abbey and palace
were contemporary structures.

Upon the outside wall of a chapel that is supposed to have belonged to
the same palace, were ancient fresco paintings of William and Matilda,
and of their sons, Robert and William Rufus. They are engraved by
Montfaucon[81], and are supposed by him, probably with reason, to be
coeval with the personages they represent. The figures are standing upon
animals, the distribution of which is the most remarkable circumstance
connected with the portraits. To the king is assigned a dog; to the
queen a lion: the eldest son has the same symbol as his father; the
younger rests upon a two-bodied beast, half swine, half bird, the bodies
uniting in a female head.--Upon the same plate, Montfaucon has given a
second whole-length picture of the conqueror, which represents him with
the crown upon his head, and the sceptre in his hand. Considering the
costume, he observes with justice that it cannot have been painted
earlier than the latter part of the fourteenth century. Ducarel, who, as
usual, has copied the Benedictine's engravings, says that, in his time,
the same portrait existed in fresco over a chimney-piece in the porter's
lodge.--We saw two copies of it; the one in the sacristy of the abbey
church, the other in the museum, an establishment which may, without
injustice to the honors of Caen, be dismissed with the brief
observation, that, though three rooms are appropriated to the purpose,
there is a very scanty assortment of pictures, and their quality is
altogether ordinary.

The public library is a handsome apartment, one hundred and thirty feet
in length, and it contains about twenty thousand volumes, mostly in good
condition; but a great proportion of the books are of a description
little read, being old divinity. To the students of the university, this
establishment is of essential service; and on this account it is to be
regretted, that the very scanty revenue with which it is endowed,
amounting only to twelve hundred francs per annum, prevents the
possibility of any material increase to the collection, except in the
case of such books as the liberality of the state contributes. And these
are principally works of luxury and great expence, which might
advantageously be exchanged for the less costly productions of more
extensive utility. We inquired in vain after manuscripts and specimens
of early typography. None were to be found; and yet they might surely
have been expected here; for a public library has existed in Caen from
an early part of the last century, and, previous to the revolution, it
was enriched with various donations. M. de Colleville presented to it
the whole of the collection of the celebrated Bochart; Cavelier, printer
to the university, a man known by several treatises on Roman
antiquities, added a donation of two thousand volumes; and Cardinal de
Fleury, who considered it under his especial protection, gave various
sums of money for the purchase of books, and likewise provided a salary
for the librarian. I suspect that no small proportion of the more
valuable volumes, have been dispersed or stolen. Round the apartment
hang portraits of the most eminent men of Caen: tablets are also
suspended, for the purpose of commemorating those who have been
benefactors to the library; but the tablets at present are blank.

For its university Caen is indebted to Henry VIth, who, anxious to give
éclat and popularity to British rule, founded a college by letters
patent, dated from Rouen, in January, 1431. The original charter
restricted the objects of the university to education in the canon and
civil law; but, five years subsequently, the same king issued a fresh
patent, adding the faculties of theology and the arts; and, in the
following year, he still farther added the faculty of medicine.--To
give permanency to the work thus happily begun, the states of Normandy
preferred their petition to Pope Eugene IVth, who issued two bulls,
dated the thirtieth of May, 1437, and the nineteenth of May, 1439, by
which the new university received the sanction of the holy see, and was
placed upon the same footing as the other universities of the kingdom.
The Bishop of Bayeux was at the same time appointed chancellor; and
sundry apostolical privileges were conceded, which have been confirmed
by subsequent pontiffs.--Thus Normandy, as is admitted by De
Bourgueville, owed good as well as evil to her English sovereigns; but
Charles VIIth had no sooner succeeded in expelling our countrymen from
the province, than jealousy arose in his breast, at finding them in
possession of such a title to the gratitude of the people, and he
resolved to run the risk of destroying what had been done, rather than
lose the opportunity of gratifying his personal feeling. The university
was therefore dissolved in 1450, that a new one might hereafter be
founded by the new sovereign. The king thought it necessary to vary in
some degree from the example of his predecessor; and for this purpose he
had recourse to the extraordinary expedient of abolishing the faculty of
law. A petition, however, from the states, induced him to replace the
whole upon its original footing in 1452, and it continued till the time
of the revolution to have all the five faculties, and to be the only one
in France that retained them. Two years only intervened between the
dates of the patents issued by Charles VIIth, upon the subject of this
university; yet there is a remarkable difference in their language. The
first of them, which is obviously intended to disparage Caen, styles it
a large town, scantily inhabited, without manufactures or commerce, and
destitute of any great river to afford facilities towards the transport
of the produce of the country. The second was designed to have an
opposite tendency; and in this, the people of Caen are praised for their
acuteness, and the town for its excellent harbor and great rivers. The
patent also adds, that the nearest university, that of Paris, is fifty
leagues distant.

In the estimation, at least, of the inhabitants, the university of Caen
ranks at present the third in France; Paris and Strasbourg being alone
entitled to stand before it. The faculty of law retains its old
reputation, and the legal students are quite the pride of the
university. Since the peace, many young jurisprudents from Jersey and
Guernsey have resorted to it. Medical students generally complete their
education at Paris, where it is commonly considered in France, that,
both in theory and practice, the various branches of this faculty have
nearly attained the acmè of perfection. The students, who amount to just
five hundred, are under the care of twenty-six professors, many of them
men of distinguished talents. The Abbé de la Rue fills the chair of
history; M. Lamouroux, that of the natural sciences. They receive their
salaries wholly from the government; their emoluments continue the same,
whether the students crowd to hear their courses, or whether they
lecture to empty benches. It is strictly forbidden to a student to
attempt to make any remuneration to a professor, or even to offer him a
present of any kind. The whole of the dues paid by the scholars go to
the state; and the state in its turn, defrays the expences of the
establishment.

There is likewise at Caen an Academy of Sciences, Arts and Belles
Lettres, which has published two volumes; not, strictly speaking, of its
Transactions, but exhibiting a brief outline of the principal papers
that have been read at the meetings. The antiquarian dissertations of
the Abbé de la Rue, which they contain, are of great merit; and it is
much to be regretted, that they have not appeared in a more extended
form. A chartered academy was first founded here in the year 1705; and
it continued to exist, till it was suppressed, like all others
throughout France, at the revolution. The present establishment arose in
1800, under the auspices of General Dugua, then prefect of the
department, who had been urged to the task by the celebrated Chaptal,
Minister of the Interior.--Some interesting, letters are annexed to the
second part of the poems of Mosant de Brieux, in which, among much
curious information relative to Caen, he describes the literary meetings
that led to the foundation of the first academy. The town at that time
could boast an unusual proportion of men of talents. Bochart, author of
_Sacred Geography_; Graindorge, who had published _De Principiis
Generationîs_; Huet, a man seldom mentioned, without the epithet
_learned_ being attached to his name; and Halley and Ménage, authors
almost equally distinguished, were amongst those who were associated for
the purposes of acquiring and communicating information.

Indeed, Caen appears at all times to have been fruitful in literary
characters. Huet enumerates no fewer than one hundred and thirty-seven,
whom he considers worthy of being recorded among the eminent men of
France. The greater part of them are necessarily unknown to us in
England; and allowance must be made for a man who is writing upon a
subject, in which self-love may be considered as in some degree
involved; the glory of our townsmen shining by reflection upon
ourselves. A portion, however, of the number, are men whose claims to
celebrity will not be denied.--Such, in the fifteenth century, were the
poets John and Clement Marot; such was the celebrated physician,
Dalechamps, to whom naturalists are indebted for the _Historia
Plantarum_; such the laborious lexicographer, Constantin; and, not to
extend the catalogue needlessly, such above all was Malherbe. The medal
that has been struck at Caen in honor of this great man, at the expence
of Monsieur de Lair, bears for its epigraph, the three first words of
Boileau's eulogium--"Enfin Malherbe vint."--The same inscription is also
to be seen upon the walls of the library. So expressive a beginning
prepares the reader for a corresponding sequel; and I should be guilty
of injustice towards this eminent writer, were I not to quote to you the
passage at length.--


   "Enfin, Malherbe vint, et le premier en France
    Fit sentir dans les vers une juste cadence:
    D'un mot mis en sa place enseigna le pouvoir,
    Et reduisit la muse aux règles du devoir.
    Par ce sage écrivain, la langue repareé,
    N'offrit plus rien de rude à l'oreille épureé.
    Les stances avec grâce apprirent à tomber,
    Et le Vers sur le Vers n'osa plus enjamber."


Wace and Baudius, though not born at Caen, have contributed to its
honor, by their residence here. Baudius was appointed to the
professorship of law in the university, by the President de Thou; but he
disagreed with his colleagues, and soon removed to Leyden, where he
filled the chair of history till his death. Some of his earlier letters,
in the collection published by Elzevir, are dated from Caen. His Iambi,
directed against his brethren of this university, are scarcely to be
exceeded for severity, by the bitterest specimens of a style
proverbially bitter. Their excessive virulence defeated the writer's
aim; but there is an elegance in the Latinity of Baudius, and a degree
of feeling in his sentiments, which will ensure a permanent existence to
his compositions, and especially to his poems.--He it was who called
forth the severe saying of Bayle, that "many men of learning render
themselves contemptible in the places where they live, while they are
admired where they are known only by their writings."--Wace was a native
of Jersey, but an author only at Caen. The most celebrated of his works
is _Le Roman de Rou et des Normans_, written in French verse. He
dedicated this romance to our Henry IInd, who rewarded him with a stall
in the cathedral at Bayeux.

[Illustration: Profile of M. Lamouroux]

Quitting the departed for the living, I send you a profile of M.
Lamouroux, the professor of natural history at this university, to whom
we have been personally indebted for the kindest attention. His name is
well known to you, as that of a man who has, perhaps, deserved more than
any other individual at the hands of every student of marine Botany. His
treatises upon the _Classification of the Submersed Algæ_, have been
honored with admission in the _Mémoires du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle_,
and have procured him the distinction of being elected into the National
Institute: his subsequent publication on the _Corallines_, is an
admirable manual, in a very difficult branch of natural history; and he
is now preparing for the press, a work of still greater labor and more
extensive utility, an arrangement of the organized fossils found in the
vicinity of Caen.

The whole of this neighborhood abounds in remains of the antediluvian
world: they are found not only in considerable quantity, but in great
perfection. In the course of last year; a fossil crocodile was dug up at
Allemagne, a village about a mile distant, imbedded in blue lias. Other
specimens of the same genus, comprising, as it appears, two species,
both of them distinct from any that are known in a living state, had
previously been discovered in a bed of similar hard blue limestone, near
Havre and Honfleur, as well as upon the opposite shores of England. But
the Caen specimen is the most interesting of any, as the first that has
been seen with its scales perfect; and the naturalists here have availed
themselves of the opportunity thus afforded them, to determine it by a
specific character, and give it the name of _Crocodilus Cadomensis_.

The civil and ecclesiastical history of Caen will be amply illustrated
in the forthcoming volumes of the Abbé de la Rue, as he is preparing a
work on the subject, _à l'instar_ of the Essays of St. Foix. In the
leading events of the duchy, we find the town of Caen had but little
share. It is only upon the occasion of two sieges from our countrymen,
the one in 1346, the other in 1417, that it appears to have acted a
prominent part. The details of the first siege are given at some length
by Froissart.--Edward IIIrd, accompanied by the Black Prince, had landed
at La Hogue; and, meeting with no effectual resistance, had pillaged the
towns of Barfleur, Cherbourg, Carentan, and St. Lô, after which he led
his army hither. Caen, as Froissait tells us, was at that time "large,
strong, and full of drapery and all other sorts of merchandize, rich
citizens, noble dames and damsels, and fine churches." In its defence
were assembled the Constable of France, with the Counts of Eu, Guignes,
and Tancarville. But the wisdom of the generals was defeated by the
impetuosity of the citizens. They saw themselves equal in number to the
invaders, and, without reflecting how little numerical superiority
avails in war against experience and tactics, they required to be led
against the foe. They were so, and were defeated. The conquerors and
conquered entered the city pell-mell; and Edward, enraged at the
citizens for shooting upon his troops from the windows, issued orders
that the inhabitants should be put to the sword, and the town burned.
The mandate, however, was not executed: Sir Godfrey de Harcourt, with
wise remonstrances, assuaged the anger of the sovereign, and diverted
him from his purpose.--Immense were the riches taken on the occasion.
The English fleet returned home loaded with cloth, and jewels, and gold,
and silver plate, together with sixty knights, and upwards of three
hundred able men, prisoners. This gallant exploit was shortly afterwards
followed by the decisive battle of Crécy.

Caen suffered still more severely upon the occasion of its second
capture; when Henry IVth marched upon the town immediately after landing
at Touques. The siege was longer, and the place, taken by assault, was
given up to indiscriminate plunder. Even the churches were not spared:
that of the Holy Sepulchre was demolished, and, among its other
treasures, a crucifix was carried away, containing a portion of the real
cross, which, as we are told, testified by so many miracles its
displeasure at being taken to England, that the conquerors were glad to
restore it to its original destination.

From this time to the year 1450, our countrymen kept undisturbed
possession of Caen. In the latter year they capitulated to the Count de
Dunois, after a gallant resistance. But though the town has
thenceforward remained, without interruption, subject to the crown of
France, it has not therefore been always free from the miseries of
warfare. A dreadful riot took place here in 1512, occasioned by the
disorderly conduct of a body of six thousand German mercenaries, whom
Louis XIIth introduced, by way of garrison, to guard against any sudden
attack from Henry VIIIth. The character given by De Bourgueville of
these _Lansquenets_ is, that they were "drunkards who guzzle wine,
cider, and beer, out of earthen pots, and then fall asleep upon the
table." Three hundred lives were lost upon this occasion, on the part of
the Germans alone.--In the middle of the same century, happened the
civil wars, originating in the reformation: and in the course of these,
Caen suffered dreadfully from the contending parties. Friend and foe
conspired alike to its ruin: what was saved from the violence of the
Huguenots, was taken by the treachery of the Catholics, under the
plausible pretext of its being placed in security. Thus, after the
Calvinists had already seized on every thing precious that fell in their
way, the Duke de Bouillon, the governor of the town, commanded all the
reliquaries, shrines, church-plate, and ecclesiastical ornaments, to be
carried to him at the castle; and he had no sooner got them into his
possession, than "all holy, rich, and precious, as they were, he caused
them to be melted down, and converted into coin to pay his soldiers; and
he scattered the relics, so that they have never been seen
more."--Loosen but the bands of society, and you will find that, in all
ages of the world, the case has been nearly the same; and, as upon the
banks of the Simoeis, so upon the plains of Normandy,--


   "Seditione, dolis, scelere, atque libidine, et irâ,
    _Iliacos_ extra muros peccatur et intra."


       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 80: Engravings of the same tiles, and of some others, chiefly
with fanciful patterns, are to be found in the _Gentleman's Magazine_
for March 1789, LIX. p. 211, plates 2, 3. The subjects of the latter
plate are those tiles which were hung in a gilt frame, on the walls of
the cloister of the abbey, with an inscription, denoting whence they
were taken.]

[Footnote 81: _Monumens de la Monarchie Française_, I. p. 402, t. 55.]



LETTER XXVII.

VIEUX--LA MALADERIE--CHESNUT TIMBER--CAEN STONE--HISTORY OF
BAYEUX--TAPESTRY.


(_Bayeux, August_, 1818.)

Letters just received from England oblige us to change our course
entirely: their contents are of such a nature, that we could not prolong
our journey with comfort or satisfaction. We must return to England;
and, instead of regretting the objects which we have lost, we must
rejoice that we have seen so much, and especially that we have been able
to visit the cathedral and tapestry of Bayeux.

At the same time, I will not deny that we certainly could have wished to
have explored the vicinity of Caen, where an ample harvest of subjects,
both for the pen and pencil, is to be gathered; but the circumstances
that control us would not even allow of a pilgrimage to the shrine of
our Lady of la Délivrande, on the border of the English Channel, or of
an excursion to the village of Vieux, in the opposite
direction.--Antiquaries have been divided in opinion, concerning the
nature and character of the buildings which anciently occupied the site
of this village.--The remains of a Roman aqueduct are still to be seen
there, and the foundations of ancient edifices are distinctly to be
traced. In the course of the last century, a gymnasium was likewise
discovered, of great size, constructed according to the rules laid down
by Vitruvius, and a hypocaust, connected with a fine stone basin, twelve
feet in diameter, surrounded by three rows of seats. Abundance of
medals of the upper empire, among others, of Crispina, wife to Commodus,
and Latin inscriptions and sarcophagi, are frequently dug up among its
ruins[82]. Hence, a belief has commonly prevailed that during the Roman
dominion in Gaul, Vieux was a city, and that Caen, which is only six
miles distant, arose from its ruins. This opinion was strenuously
combated by Huet; yet it subsequently found a new advocate in the Abbé
Le Beuf[83]. The bishop contends that the extent of the buildings rather
denotes the ruins of a fortified camp, than of a city; and he therefore
considers it most probable, that Vieux was the site of an encampment,
raised near the Orne, for the purpose of defending the passage of the
river, at the point where it was crossed by the military road that led
from the district of the Bessin, to that of the Hiesmois.--Portions of
the causeway, may still be traced, constructed of the same kind of brick
as the aqueduct; and the name of the village so far tends to corroborate
the conjecture, that _Vieux_ originally denoted a ford; and the word
_Vé_, which is most probably a corruption from it, retains this
signification in Norman French.--The Abbé, at the same time that he does
not pretend to contradict the argument deduced from etymology, maintains
that a careful comparison of the position of Vieux, with the distances
marked on the _Tabula Peutingeriana_, and with what Ptolemy relates of
certain towns adjoining the Viducassian territory, will support him in
the assertion, that Vieux was the ancient _Augustodurum_ the Viducassian
capital; and that Bayeux was probably the site of _Arigenus_ another of
the towns of that tribe.--The red, veined marble of Vieux is much
esteemed in France; as are also the other marbles of this department,
which vary in color from a dull white, through grey, to blue. The
quarries, as is generally believed, were first opened and worked by the
Romans. Vieux marble is to be seen at Paris, where it was employed by
Cardinal Richelieu, in the construction of the chapel of the Sorbonne.

At about a mile from Caen, on the road to Bayeux, stands the village of
St. Germain de Blancherbe, more commonly called in the neighborhood _la
Maladerie_, a name derived from the lazar-house in it, the _Léproserie
de Beaulieu_, founded by Henry IInd, in 1161.--Robert Du Mont terms the
building a wonderful work. It was a princely establishment, designed for
the reception of lepers from all the parishes of Caen, except four,
whose patients had an especial right to be admitted into a smaller
hospital in the same place. The great hospital is now used as a house of
correction. Seen from the road, it appears to be principally of modern
architecture though still retaining a portion of the ancient structure;
the same, probably, as is mentioned by Ducarel, who says, that "part of
the magnificent chapel, which was considered as the parish church for
the lepers, and ruined by the English, is turned into a large common
hall for the prisoners, and separated from the other part, which is made
into a chapel, by means of an iron gate, through which they may have an
opportunity of hearing mass celebrated every morning."--Within the
village street stands a desecrated church of the earliest Norman style,
with a very perfect door-way. The present parish church, though chiefly
modern, deserves attention on account of the west front, which is wholly
of the semi-circular style, and is somewhat curious, from having two
Norman buttresses, that rise from a string-course at the top of the
basement story, (in which the arched door-way is contained,) and are
thence continued upwards till they unite with the roof. The decorations
round its southern entrance are also remarkable: they principally
consist of a very sharp chevron moulding, interspersed with foliage and
various figures.

The quarries in this village, and in that of Allemagne, on the opposite
side of the Orne, supply most of the free-stone, for which Caen has,
during many centuries, been celebrated. Stone of the finest quality is
found in strata of different thickness, at the depth of about sixty feet
below the surface of the ground. If worked much lower, it ceases to be
good. It is brought up in square blocks, about nine feet wide, and two
feet thick, by means of vertical wheels, placed at the mouths of the
pits. When first dug from the quarry, its color is a pure and glossy
white, and its texture very soft; but as it hardens it takes a browner
hue, and loses its lustre.

In former days this stone was exported in great quantity to our own
country. Stow, in his _Survey of London_, states that London Bridge,
Westminster Abbey, and several others of our public edifices were built
with it. Extracts from sundry charters relative to the quarries are
quoted by Ducarel, who adds that, in his time, though many cargoes of
the stone were annually conveyed by water to the different provinces of
the kingdom, the exportation of it out of France was strictly
prohibited, insomuch that, when it was to be sent by sea, the owner of
the stone, as well as the master of the vessel on board of which it was
shipped, was obliged to give security that it should not be sold to
foreigners.--We omitted to inquire how far the same prohibitions still
continue in force.

At but a short distance from St. Germain de Blancherbe, stands the
ruined abbey of Ardennes, now the residence of a farmer; but still
preserving the features of a monastic building. The convent was founded
in 1138, for canons of the Præmonstratensian order. Its Celtic name
denotes its antiquity, as it also tends to prove that this part of the
country was covered with timber. The word, _arden_, signified a forest,
and was thence applied, with a slight variation in orthography, to the
largest forest in England, and to the more celebrated forest in the
vicinity of Liege. According to tradition, the Norman ardennes
consisted: of chesnut-trees. De Bourgueville tells us that timber of
this description is the principal material of most of the houses in the
town. John Evelyn relates the same of those in London; and in our own
counties wherever a village church has been so fortunate as to preserve
its ancient timber cieling, the clerk is almost sure to state that the
wood is chesnut. Either this tree therefore must formerly have abounded
in places where it has now almost ceased to exist, or oak timber must
have been commonly mistaken for it: and we may equally adopt both these
conjectures. The yew and the service, as well as the chesnut, are
occasionally mentioned in old charters, and are admitted by botanists to
be indigenous in England. I should doubt, however, if any one of them
could now be found in a wild state; and there is a fashion in planting
as well as in every thing else, which renders peculiar trees more or
less abundant at different times.

About half way between Caen and Bayeux, is the village of Bretteville
l'Orgueilleuse, the lofty tower of whose church, perforated with long
lancet windows, and surmounted by a high spire, excites curiosity.
Churches are numerous in this neighborhood, and there is no other part
of Normandy, in which, architecturally considered, they are equally
deserving of notice. Scarcely one is to be seen that is not marked by
some peculiarity. I know not why Bretteville acquired the epithet
attached to its name; and I am equally at a loss for the derivation of
the word _Bretteville_ itself; but the term must have some
signification in Normandy, at least eleven villages in the duchy being
so called.

The first part of the road to Bayeux passes through a flat and open
district, resembling that on the other side of Caen; in the remaining
half, the country is enclosed, with a more varied surface. Apple-trees
again abound; and the old custom of suspending a bush over the door of
an inn is commonly practised here. For this purpose misletoe is almost
always selected. Throughout the whole of this district and the
neighboring province of Brittany, the ancient attachment of the Druids
to misletoe continues to a certain degree to prevail. The commencement
of the new year is hailed by shouts of "au gui; l'an neuf;" and the
gathering of the misletoe for the occasion is still the pretext for a
merry-making, if not for a religious ceremony.

Bayeux was the seat of an academy of the Druids. Ausonius expressly
addresses Attius Patera Pather, one of the professors at Bordeaux, as
being of the family of the priesthood of this district:--


      "Doctor potentum rhetorum,
    Tu Bajocassis stirpe Druidarum satus;"


And tradition to this hour preserves the remembrance of the spot that
was hallowed by the celebration of their mystic rites. This spot, an
eminence adjoining the city, has subsequently served for the site of a
priory dedicated to St. Nicholas _de la chesnaye_, thus commemorating by
the epithet, the oaks that formed the holy grove. Near it stood the
famous temple of Mount Phaunus, which was flourishing in the beginning
of the fourth century, and, according to Rivet, was considered one of
the three most celebrated in Gaul. Belenus was the divinity principally
worshipped in it; but, according to popular superstition, adoration was
also paid to a golden calf, which was buried in the hill, and still
remains entombed there. Even within the last fifty years, two laborers
have lost their lives in a fruitless attempt to find this hidden
treasure. Tombs, and urns, and human bones, are constantly discovered;
yet neither Druidic temples, nor pillars of stone, nor cromlechs or
Celtic remains of any description exist, at least, at present, in the
neighborhood of Bayeux.

Roman relics, however, abound. The vases and statues dug up near this
city, have afforded employment to the pen and the pencil of Count
Caylus, who, judging from the style of art, refers the greater part of
them to the times of Julius and Augustus Cæsar. Medals of the earliest
emperors have likewise frequently been detected among the foundations of
the houses of the city; and even so recently as in the beginning of the
present century, mutilated cippi, covered with Latin inscriptions, have
been brought to light. These discoveries all tend to shew the Roman
origin of Bayeux, and two Roman causeways also join here; so that,
notwithstanding the arguments of the Abbé le Beuf, most antiquaries
still believe that Bayeux was the city called by Ptolemy the _Næomagus
Viducassium_.--The term _Viducasses_ or _Biducasses_ was in early ages
changed to _Bajocasses_; and the city, following the custom that
prevailed in Gaul, took the appellation of _Bajocæ_, or, as it was
occasionally written, of _Baiæ_ or _Bagicæ_. Its name in French has
likewise been subject to alterations.--During the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries, it was _Baex_ and _Bajeves_; in the fourteenth _Bajex_; in
the sixteenth _Baieux_; and soon afterwards it settled info the present
orthography.

Pursuing the history of Bayeux somewhat farther, we find this city in
the _Notitia Galileæ_ holding the first rank among the towns of the
_Secunda Lugdunensis_. During the Merovingian and Carlovingian
dynasties, its importance is proved by the mint which was established
here. Golden coins, struck under the first race of French sovereigns,
inscribed _HBAJOCAS_, and silver pieces, coined by Charles the Bald,
with the legend _HBAJOCAS-CIVITAS_, are mentioned by Le Blanc. Bayeux
was also in those times, one of the head-quarters of the high
functionaries, entitled _Missi Dominici_, who were annually deputed by
the monarchy for the promulgation of their decrees and the
administration of justice. Two other cities only in Neustria, Rouen and
Lisieux, were distinguished with the same privilege.--Nor did Bayeux
suffer any diminution of its honors, under the Norman Dukes: they
regarded it as the second town of the duchy, and had a palace here, and
frequently made it the seat of their _Aula Regio_.

The destruction of the Roman Bayeux is commonly ascribed, like that of
the Roman Lisieux, to the Saxon invasion. No traces of the Viducassian
capital are to be found in history, subsequently to the reign of
Constantine; no medals, no inscriptions of a later period, have been dug
up within its precincts. During the earliest incursions of the Saxons
in Gaul, they seem to have made this immediate neighborhood the seat of
a permanent settlement. The Abbé Le Beuf places the district, known by
the name of the _Otlingua Saxonia_, between Bayeux and Isigny; and
Gregory of Tours, in his relation of the events that occurred towards
the close of the sixth century, makes repeated mention of the _Saxones
Bajocassini_, whom the early Norman historians style _Saisnes de
Bayeux_. Under the reign of Charlemagne, a fresh establishment of Saxons
took place here. That emperor, after the bloody defeat of this valiant
people, about the year 804, caused ten thousand men, with their wives
and children, to be delivered up to him as prisoners, and dispersed them
in different parts of France. Some of the captives were colonized in
Neustria; and, among the rest, Witikind, son of the brave chief of the
same name, who had fought so nobly in defence of the liberty of his
country, had lands assigned to him in the Bessin. Hence, names of Saxon
origin commonly occur throughout the diocese of Bayeux; sometimes alone
and undisguised, but more frequently in composition. Thus, in _Estelan_,
you will have little difficulty in recognizing _East-land: Cape la
Hogue_ will readily suggest the idea of a lofty promontory; its
appellation being derived from the German adjective, _hoch_, still
written _hoog_, in Flemish: the Saxon word for the Almighty enters into
the family names of _Argot_, _Turgot_, _Bagot_, _Bigot_, &c.; and, not
to multiply examples, the quaking sands upon the sea-shore are to the
present hour called _bougues_, an evident corruption of our own word
_bogs_.

When, towards the middle of the same century, the Saxons were succeeded
by the Normans, the country about Bayeux was one of the districts that
suffered most from the new invaders. Two bishops of the see, Sulpitius
and Baltfridus, were murdered by the barbarians; and Bayeux itself was
pillaged and burned, notwithstanding the valiant resistance made by the
governor, Berenger. This nobleman, who was count of the Bessin, was
personally obnoxious to Rollo, for having refused him his daughter, the
beautiful Poppea, in marriage. But, on the capture of the town, Poppea
was taken prisoner, and compelled to share the conqueror's bed. Bayeux
arose from its ruins under the auspices of Botho, a Norman chieftain, to
whom Rollo was greatly attached, and who succeeded to the honors of
Berenger. By him the town was rebuilt, and filled with a Norman
population, the consequence of which was, according to Dudo of St.
Quintin, that William Longa-Spatha, the successor of Rollo, who hated
the French language, sent his son, Duke Richard, to be educated at
Bayeux, where Danish alone was spoken. And the example of the Duke
continued for some time to be imitated by his successors upon the
throne; so that Bayeux became the academy for the children of the royal
family, till they arrived at a sufficient age to be removed to the
metropolis, there to be instructed in the art of government.

The dignity of Count of the Bessin ceased in the reign of William the
Conqueror, in consequence of a rebellion on the part of the barons,
which had well nigh cost that sovereign his life. From that time, till
the conquest of Normandy by the French, the nobleman, who presided over
the Bessin, bore the title of the king's viscount; and, under this
name, you will find him the first cited among the four viscounts of
Lower Normandy, in the famous parliament of all the barons of this part
of the duchy, convened at Caen by Henry IInd, in 1152.--When Philip
Augustus gained possession of Normandy, all similar appointments were
re-modelled, and viscounts placed in every town; but their power was
restricted to the mere administration of justice, the rest of their
privileges being transferred to a new description of officers, who were
then created, with the name of bailiffs. The bailiwicks assigned to
these bore no reference to the ancient divisions of the duchy; but the
territorial partition made at that time, has ever since been preserved,
and Caen, which was honored by Philip with a preference over Bayeux,
continues to the present day to retain the pre-eminence.

After these troubles, Bayeux enjoyed a temporary tranquillity; and,
according to the celebrated historical tapestry and to the _Roman de
Rou_, this city was selected for the place at which William the
Conqueror, upon being nominated by Edward, as his successor to the crown
of England, caused Harold to attend, and to do homage to him in the name
of the nation. The oath was taken upon a missal covered with cloth of
gold, in the presence of the prelates and grandees of the duchy; and the
reliques of the saints were collected from all quarters to bear witness
to the ceremony. Bayeux was also the spot in which Henry Ist was
detained prisoner by his eldest brother, and it suffered for this
unfortunate distinction; for Henry had scarcely ascended the English
throne, when, upon a shallow pretext, he advanced against the city, laid
siege to it, and burned it to the ground; whether moved to this act of
vengeance from hatred towards the seat of his sufferings, or to satisfy
the foreigners in his pay, whom the length of the siege had much
irritated. He had promised these men the pillage of the city, and he
kept his word; but the soldiers were not content with the plunder: they
set fire to the town, and what had escaped their ravages, perished in
the flames.[84] In 1356, under the reign of Edward IIIrd, Bayeux
experienced nearly the same fate from our countrymen; and in the
following century it again suffered severely from their arms, till the
decisive battle of Formigny, fought within ten miles of the city,
compelled Henry VIth to withdraw from Normandy, carrying with him
scarcely any other trophies of his former conquests, than a great
collection of Norman charters, and, among the rest, those of Bayeux,
which are to this hour preserved in the tower of London.

During the subsequent wars occasioned by the reformation, this town bore
its share in the common sufferings of the north of France. The horrors
experienced by other places on the occasion were even surpassed by the
outrages that were committed at Bayeux; but it is impossible to enter
into details which are equally revolting to decency and to humanity.

Of late years, Bayeux has been altogether an open town. The old castle,
the last relic of its military character, a spacious fortress flanked by
ten square towers, was demolished in 1773; and, as the poet of Bayeux
has sung[85],--


   "... Gaulois, Romains, Saxons,
    Oppresseurs, opprimés, colliers, faisceaux, blasons,
    Tout dort. Du vieux château la taciturne enceinte
    Expire. Par degrés j'ai vu sa gloire éteinte.
    J'ai marché sur ses tours, erré dans ses fossés:
    Tels qu'un songe bientôt ils vont être effacés."


And in truth, they are so effectually _effaced_, that not a single
vestige of the walls and towers can now be discovered.

Bayeux is situated in the midst of a fertile country, particularly rich
in pasturage. The Aure, which washes its walls, is a small and
insignificant streamlet, and though the city is within five miles of the
sea, yet the river is quite useless for the purposes of commerce, as not
a vessel can float in it. The present population of the town consists of
about ten thousand inhabitants, and these have little other employment
than lace-making.--Bayeux wears the appearance of decay: most of the
houses are ordinary; and, though some of them are built of stone, by far
the greater part are only of wood and plaster. In the midst, however, of
these, rises the noble cathedral; but this I shall reserve for the
subject of my next letter, concluding the present with a few remarks
upon that matchless relic, which,


   "... des siècles respecté,
    En peignant des héros honore la beauté."


The very curious piece of historical needle-work, now generally known by
the name of the _Bayeux tapestry_, was first brought into public notice
in the early part of the last century, by Father Montfaucon and M.
Lancelot, both of whom, in their respective publications, the _Monumens
de la Monarchie Française_[86], and a paper inserted in the _Mémoires de
l'Académie des Inscriptions_[87], have figured and described this
celebrated specimen of ancient art. Montfaucon's plates were afterwards
republished by Ducarel[88], with the addition of a short dissertation
and explanation, by an able antiquary of our own country, Smart
Lethieuilier.

These plates, however, in the original, and still more in the copies,
were miserably incorrect, and calculated not to inform, but to mislead
the inquirer. When therefore the late war was concluded and France
became again accessible to an Englishman, our Society of Antiquaries,
justly considering the tapestry as being at least equally connected with
English as with French history, and regarding it as a matter of national
importance, that so curious a document should be made known by the most
faithful representation, employed an artist, fitted above all others for
the purpose, by his knowledge of history and his abilities as a
draughtsman, to prepare an exact fac-simile of the whole. Under the
auspices of the Society, Mr. C.A. Stothard undertook the task; and he
has executed it in the course of two successive visits with the greatest
accuracy and skill. The engravings from his drawings we may hope shortly
to see: meanwhile, to give you some idea of the original, I
enclose a sketch, which has no other merit than that of being a faithful
transcript. It is reduced one half from a tracing made from the tapestry
itself. By referring to Montfaucon, you will find the figure it
represents under the fifty-ninth inscription in the original, where "a
knight, with a _private_ banner, issues to mount a led horse." His
beardless countenance denotes him a Norman; and the mail covering to his
legs equally proves him to be one of the most distinguished characters.

[Illustration: Figure from the Bayeux Tapestry]

Within the few last years this tapestry has been the subject of three
interesting papers, read before the Society of Antiquaries. The first
and most important, from the pen of the Abbé de la Rue[89], has for its
object the refutation of the opinions of Montfaucon and Lancelot, who,
following the commonly received tradition, refer the tapestry to the
time of the conquest, and represent it as the work of Queen Matilda and
her attendant damsels. The Abbé's principal arguments are derived from
the silence of contemporary authors, and especially of Wace, who was
himself a canon of Bayeux;--from its being unnoticed in any charters or
deeds of gift connected with the cathedral;--from the improbability that
so large a roll of such perishable materials would have escaped
destruction when the cathedral was burned in 1106;--from the unfinished
state of the story;--from its containing some Saxon names unknown to the
Normans;--and from representations taken from the fables of Æsop being
worked on the borders, whereas the northern parts of Europe were not
made acquainted with these fables, till the translation of a portion of
them by Henry Ist, who thence obtained his surname of
_Beauclerk_.--These and other considerations, have led the learned Abbé
to coincide in opinion with Lord Littleton and Mr. Hume, that the
tapestry is the production of the Empress Maud, and that it was in
reality wrought by natives of our own island, whose inhabitants were at
that time so famous for labors of this description, that the common mode
of expressing a piece of embroidery, was by calling it _an English
work_.

The Abbé shortly afterwards found an opponent in another member of the
society, Mr. Hudson Gurney, who, without following his predecessor
through the line of his arguments, contented himself with briefly
stating the three following reasons for ascribing the tapestry to
Matilda, wife to the Conqueror[90].--_First_, that in the many buildings
therein pourtrayed, there is not the least appearance of a pointed arch,
though much pointed work is found in the ornaments of the running
border; whilst, on the contrary, the features of Norman architecture,
the square buttress, flat to the walls, and the square tower surmounted
by, or rather ending in, a low pinnacle, are therein frequently
repeated.--_Secondly_, that all the knights are in ring armour, many of
their shields charged with a species of cross and five dots, and some
with dragons, but none with any thing of the nature of armorial
bearings, which, in a lower age, there would have been; and that all
wear a triangular sort of conical helmet, with a nasal, when represented
armed.--And, _Thirdly_, that the Norman banner is, invariably, _Argent_,
a Cross, _Or_, in a Bordure _Azure_; and that this is repeated over and
over again, as it is in the war against Conan, as well as at Pevensey
and at Hastings; but there is neither hint nor trace of the later
invention of the Norman leopards.--Mr. Gurney's arguments are ingenious,
but they are not, I fear, likely to be considered conclusive: he
however, has been particularly successful in another observation, that
all writers, who had previously treated of the Bayeux tapestry, had
called it a _Monument of the Conquest of England_; following, therein,
M. Lancelot, and speaking of it as an unfinished work, whereas, it is in
fact an _apologetical history of the claims of William to the crown of
England, and of the breach of faith and fall of Harold_, in a perfect
and finished action.--With this explanation before us, aided by the
short indication that is given of the subjects of the seventy-two
compartments of the tapestry, a new light is thrown upon the story.

The third memoir is from the pen of Mr. Amyot, and concludes with an
able metrical translation from Wace. It is confined almost exclusively
to the discussion of the single historical fact, how far Harold was
really sent by the Confessor to offer the succession to William; but
this point, however interesting, in itself, is unconnected with my
present object: it is sufficient for me to shew you the various sources
from which you may derive information upon the subject.

Supposing the Bayeux tapestry to be really from the hands of the Queen,
or the Empress, (and that it was so appears to me proved by internal
evidence,) it is rather extraordinary that the earliest notice which is
to be found of a piece of workmanship, so interesting from its author
and its subjects, should be contained in an inventory of the precious
effects deposited in the treasury of the church, dated 1476. It is also
remarkable that this inventory, in mentioning such an article, should
call it simply _a very long piece of cloth, embroidered with figures and
writing, representing the conquest of England_, without any reference to
the royal artist or the donor.

Observations of this nature will suggest themselves to every one, and
the arguments urged by the Abbé de la Rue are very strong; and yet I
confess that my own feelings always inclined to the side of those who
assign the highest antiquity to the tapestry. I think so the more since
I have seen it. No one appears so likely to have undertaken such a task
as the female most nearly connected with the principal personage
concerned in it, and especially if we consider what the character of
this female was: the details which it contains are so minute, that they
could scarcely have been known, except at the time when they took place:
the letters agree in form with those upon Matilda's tomb; and the
manners and customs of the age are also preserved.--Mr. Stothard, who is
of the same opinion as to the date of the tapestry, very justly
observes, that the last of these circumstances can scarcely be
sufficiently insisted upon; for that "it was the invariable practice
with artists in every country, excepting Italy, during the middle ages,
whatever subject they took in hand, to represent it according to the
costume of their own times."

Till the revolution, the tapestry was always kept in the cathedral, in a
chapel on the south side, dedicated to Thomas à Becket, and was only
exposed to public view once a year, during the octave of the feast of
St. John on which occasion it was hung up in the nave of the church,
which it completely surrounded. From the time thus selected for the
display of it, the tapestry acquired the name of _le toile de Saint
Jean_; and it is to the present day commonly so called in the city.
During the most stormy part of the revolution, it was secreted; but it
was brought to Paris when the fury of vandalism had subsided. And, when
the first Consul was preparing for the invasion of England, this ancient
trophy of the subjugation of the British nation was proudly exhibited to
the gaze of the Parisians, who saw another _Conqueror_ in Napoléon
Bonaparté; and many well-sounding effusions, in prose and verse,
appeared, in which the laurels of Duke William were transferred, by
anticipation, to the brows of the child and champion of jacobinism.
After this display, Bonaparté returned the tapestry to the municipality,
accompanied by a letter, in which he thanked them for the care they had
taken of so precious a relic. From that period to the present, it has
remained in the residence appropriated to the mayor, the former
episcopal palace; and here we saw it.

It is a piece of brownish linen cloth, about two hundred and twelve feet
long, and eighteen inches wide, French measure. The figures are worked
with worsted of different colors, but principally light red, blue, and
yellow. The historical series is included between borders composed of
animals, &c. The colors are faded, but not so much so as might have been
expected. The figures exhibit a regular line of events, commencing with
Edward the Confessor seated upon his throne, in the act of dispatching
Harold to the court of the Norman Duke, and continued through Harold's
journey, his capture by the Comte de Ponthieu, his interview with
William, the death of Edward, the usurpation of the British throne by
Harold, the Norman invasion, the battle of Hastings, and Harold's death.
These various events are distributed into seventy-two compartments, each
of them designated by an inscription in Latin. Ducarel justly compares
the style of the execution to that of a girl's sampler. The figures are
covered with work, except on their faces, which are merely in outline.
In point of drawing, they are superior to the contemporary sculpture at
St. Georges and elsewhere; and the performance is not deficient in
energy. The colors are distributed rather fancifully: thus the fore and
off legs of the horses are varied. It is hardly necessary to observe
that perspective is wholly disregarded, and that no attempt is made to
express light and shadow.

Great attention, however, is paid to costume; and more individuality of
character has been preserved than could have been expected, considering
the rude style of the workmanship. The Saxons are represented with long
mustachios: the Normans have their upper lip shaven, and retain little
more hair upon their heads than a single lock in front.--Historians
relate how the English spies reported the invading army to be wholly
composed of ecclesiastics; and this tapestry affords a graphical
illustration of the chroniclers' text. Not the least remarkable feature
of the tapestry, in point of costume, lies in the armor, which, in some
instances, is formed of interlaced rings; in others, of square
compartments; and in others, of lozenges. Those who contend for the
antiquity of Duke William's equestrian statue at Caen, may find a
confirmation of their opinions in the shape of the saddles assigned to
the figures of the Bayeux tapestry; and equally so in their cloaks, and
their pendant braided tresses.

The tapestry is coiled round a cylinder, which is turned by a winch and
wheel; and it is rolled and unrolled with so little attention, that if
it continues under such management as the present, it will be wholly
ruined in the course of half a century. It is injured at the beginning:
towards the end it becomes very ragged, and several of the figures have
completely disappeared. The worsted is unravelling too in many of the
intermediate portions. As yet, however, it is still in good
preservation, considering its great age, though, as I have just
observed, it will not long continue so. The bishop and chapter have
lately applied to government, requesting that the tapestry may be
restored to the church. I hope their application will be successful.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 82: The most interesting relic of Roman times yet found at
Vieux, is a cippus of variegated marble, about five feet high by two
feet wide, and bearing inscriptions upon three of its sides. It
generally passes in France by the name of the _Torigny marble_, being
preserved at the small town of the latter name, whither it was carried
in 1580, the very year when it was dug up. The Abbé Le Beuf has made it
the subject of a distinct paper in the _Mémoires de l'Académie des
Inscriptions_. This cippus supported a statue raised in honor of Titus
Sennius Sollemnis, a Viducassian by birth, and one of the high priests
of the town. The statue was erected to him after his death, in the
Viducassian capital, upon a piece of ground granted by the senate for
the purpose, in pursuance of a general decree passed by the province of
Gaul. The inscriptions set forth the motives that induced the nation to
bestow so marked a distinction upon a simple individual; and, in the
foremost rank of his merits, they place the games which he had given to
his fellow-citizens, during four successive days.]

[Footnote 83: _Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions_, XXI. p. 489.]

[Footnote 84: _Archæologia_, XVII. p. 911.]

[Footnote 85: _Bayeux et ses Environs, par M. Delauney_, p. 12.]

[Footnote 86: I. p. 371-379; pl. 35-49, and II. p. 1-29; pl. 1-9.]

[Footnote 87: VI. p. 739, and VIII. p. 602.]

[Footnote 88: _Anglo-Norman Antiquities_, Appendix, No. 1.]

[Footnote 89: _Archæologia_, XVII. p. 85.]

[Footnote 90: _Archæologia_, XVIII. p. 359.]

[Illustration: Sculpture at Bayeux]



LETTER XXVIII.

CATHEDRAL OF BAYEUX--CANON OF CAMBREMER--COPE OF ST. REGNOBERT--ODO.


(_Bayeux, August_, 1818.)

Excepting the tapestry and the cathedral, Bayeux, at this time, offers
no objects of interest to the curious traveller. Its convents are either
demolished, or so dilapidated or altered, that they have lost their
characteristic features; and its eighteen parish churches are now
reduced to four. We wandered awhile about the town, vainly looking after
some relic of ancient art, to send you by way of a memento of Bayeux. At
length, two presented themselves--the entrance of the corn-market,
formerly the chapel of St. Margaret, a Norman arch, remarkable for the
lamb and banner, an emblem of the saint, sculptured on the transom
stone; and a small stone tablet, attached to an old house near the
cathedral. The whimsical singularity of the latter, induced us to give
it the preference. It may possibly be of the workmanship of the
fourteenth century, and possibly much later. In all probability, it owes
its existence merely to a caprice on the part of the owner of the
residence, whose crest may be indicated by the tortoises which surmount
the columns by way of capitals. Still there is merit in the performance,
though perhaps for nothing so much as for the accurate resemblance of
peeled wood; and this I never saw imitated with equal fidelity in stone.

But, however unattractive Bayeux may be in other respects, so long as
the cathedral is suffered to stand, the city will never want interest.
It is supposed that the first church erected here was built by St.
Exuperius otherwise called St. Suspirius, or St. Spirius, who, according
to the distich subjoined to his portrait, formerly painted on one of the
windows of the nave, was not only the earliest bishop of the diocese,
but claimed the merit of having introduced the Christian faith into
Normandy,--


   "Primitùs hic pastor templi fuit hujus et auctor,
    Catholicamque fidem Normannis attulit idem."


St. Exuperius lived in the third century, and his efforts towards the
propagation of the gospel were attended with so great success, that his
successor, St. Regnobert, was obliged to take down the edifice thus
recently raised, and to re-construct it on a more enlarged scale, for
the purpose of accommodating the increasing congregation. Regnobert is
likewise reported to have built the celebrated chapel on the sea-coast,
dedicated to our Lady de la Délivrande; and the people believe that a
portion at least, of both the one and the other of these original
edifices, exists to the present day. The Abbé Béziers, however, in his
_History of Bayeux_, maintains, and with truth, that St. Regnobert's
cathedral was destroyed by the Normans; and he adds that, immediately
after the conversion of Rollo, another was raised in its stead on the
same spot, and that this latter was one of those which the chieftain
most enriched by his endowments at the period of his baptism.

A dreadful fire, in the year 1046, reduced the Norman cathedral to
ashes; but the episcopal throne was then filled by a prelate who wanted
neither disposition nor abilities to repair the damage. Hugh, the third
bishop of that name, son to Ralph, Count of the Bessin, who, by the
mother's side, was brother to Duke Richard Ist, presided at that time
over the see of Bayeux. Jealous for the honor of his diocese, the
prelate instantly applied himself to rebuild the cathedral; but he lived
to see only a small progress made in his work. It was finished by a
prelate of still greater, though evil celebrity, the unruly Odo, brother
to the Conqueror, who, for more than fifty years, continued bishop of
this see, and by his unbounded liberality and munificence in the
discharge of his high office, proved himself worthy of his princely
descent. The Conqueror and his queen, attended by their sons, Robert and
William, and by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, as well as by
the various bishops and barons of the province, were present at the
dedication of the church, which was performed in 1077, by John,
Archbishop of Rouen. Odo, on the occasion, enriched his church with
various gifts, one of which has been particularly recorded. It was a
crown of wood and copper, sixteen feet high and thirty-eight feet in
diameter, covered with silver plates, and diversified with other crowns
in the shape of towers; the whole made to support an immense number of
tapers, that were lighted on high festivals. This crown was suspended in
the nave, opposite the great crucifix; and it continued to hang there
till it was destroyed by the Huguenots, in 1562.

It is doubtful how much, or indeed if any portion, of the church erected
by Odo be now in existence. Thirty years had scarcely elapsed from the
date of its dedication, when, as I have already mentioned to you, the
troops of Henry Ist destroyed Bayeux with fire. The ruin was so
complete, that for more than fifty years, no attempt was made to
re-construct the cathedral; but it remained in ashes until the year
1157, when bishop, Philip of Harcourt, determined to restore it. A
question has arisen whether the oldest part of what is now standing, be
the work of Philip or of Odo. The lapse of eighty years in those early
times, would perhaps occasion no very sensible difference in style; and
chroniclers do not afford the means of determining, if, at the time when
Bayeux suffered so dreadfully in 1106, the church was actually burned to
the ground, or only materially damaged. In the _History of the Diocese_
we are merely told that Philip, having, by means of papal bulls, happily
succeeded in regaining possession of all the privileges, honors, and
property of the see, began to rebuild his cathedral in 1159, and
completed it with great glory and expence.--From that time forward, we
hear no more of demolition or of re-edification; but the injuries done by
the silent lapse of ages, and the continued desire on the part of the
prelates to beautify and to enlarge their church, have produced nearly
the same effect as fire or warfare. The building, as it now stands, is a
medley of various ages; and, in the absence of historical record, it
would be extremely difficult to define the several portions that are to
be assigned to each.

The west front is flanked by two Norman towers, bold and massy, with
semi-circular arches in the highest stories. The spires likewise appear
ancient, though these and the surrounding pinnacles are all gothic. The
northern one, according to tradition, was built with the church; the
southern, in 1424. They both greatly resemble those of the abbey-church
of St. Stephen at Caen. But the whole centre of this front, and indeed
both the sides also, as high as the roof, is faced by a screen divided
into five compartments. In the middle is a large, wide, pointed arch,
with a square-headed entrance beneath. North and south of this are deep
arches, evidently older, but likewise pointed, having their sides above
the pillars, and the flat arched part of the door-way, filled with small
figures. The door-ways themselves are arches that occupy only one half
of the width of those which enclose them. In the two exterior
compartments the arches are unpierced, and are flanked by a profusion of
clustered pillars. Over each of the four lateral arches, rises a
crocketed pyramid: the central one is surmounted by a flat balustrade,
above which, behind the screen, is a large pointed window, and over it a
row of saints, standing under trefoil-headed arches, arranged in pairs,
the pediment terminating above each pair of arches in a pyramidal
canopy.

The outside of the nave is of florid gothic, but it is not of a pure
style; nor is the southern portal, which, nevertheless, considered as a
whole, is bold and appropriate. On each side of the door-way were
originally three statues, whose tabernacles remain, though the saints
have been torn out of the niches. Over the door is a bas-relief,
containing numerous figures disposed in three compartments, and
representing some legendary tale, which our knowledge of that kind of
lore would not enable us to decipher.--The exterior of the choir is
likewise of pointed architecture: it is considerably more simple, and
excels, in this respect, the rest of the church. But even here there is
a great want of uniformity: some of the windows are deeply imbedded in
the walls; others are nearly on a level with their surface.--The cupola,
which caps the low central tower, is wretchedly at variance with the
other parts of the building. It was erected in the year 1714, at the
expence of the bishop, Francis de Nesmond; and it is, as might be
expected from a performance of that period, rather Grecian than gothic.
Whichever style it may be termed, it is a bad specimen of either. And
yet, such as it is, we are assured by Béziers, that it was built after
the designs of a celebrated architect of the name of Moussard, and that
it excited particular attention, and called forth loud praises, on the
part of the Maréchal de Vauban, who was, probably, a better judge of a
modern fortification, than of a gothic cathedral.

The interior of the church consists of a wide nave, with side-aisles,
and chapels beyond them. The first six piers of the nave are very massy,
and faced with semi-circular pillars supporting an entablature. The
arches above them are Norman, encircled with rich bands, composed
chiefly of the chevron moulding and diamonds. On one of them is a
curious border of heads, as upon the celebrated door-way at Oxford; but
the heads at Bayeux are of much more regular workmanship and more
distinctly defined. Had circumstances allowed, I would have sent you an
accurate drawing of them; but our time did not permit such a one to be
made, and I must beg of you to be contented with the annexed slight
sketch.

[Illustration: Border of heads]

The wall above the arches is incrusted with a species of tessellated
work of free-stone, of varied patterns, some interwoven, others
reticulated, as seen in the sketches: the lines indented in the stones,
as well as the joints which form the patterns, are filled with a black
cement or mastich, so as to form a kind of _niello_.

[Illustration: Tessellated work of free stone]

With the sixth arch of the nave begins the pointed style. The capitals
of the pillars are complicated, and the carving upon them is an evident
attempt at an imitation of the Grecian orders. In this part of the
church there is no triforium; but a row of small quartrefoils runs
immediately above the ornaments of the spandrils; and above the
quatrefoils is a cornice of an antique pattern, which is surmounted by a
light gallery in front of the windows of the clerestory, the largest
windows I remember to have seen in a similar situation. They extend
almost from the roof to the line of the old Norman basement. Their
magnitude is rendered still more remarkable by their being arranged in
pairs, each separate pair inclosed within a pointed arch, and its
windows parted only by a clustered pillar. The very lofty arches that
support the central tower, are likewise pointed; as are those of the
transepts, the choir, the side-aisles, and the chapels. In short,
excepting the arches immediately beneath the northern and southern
towers, which are most probably relics of Odo's cathedral, the part of
the nave, which I first described, is all that is left above-ground of
the semi-circular style; and this is of a very different character from
whatever else I have seen of Norman architecture. The circular ornaments
inserted in the spandrils of the arches of the choir, possess, as a
friend of mine observes, somewhat of the Moorish, or, perhaps, Tartarian
character; being nearly in the style of the ornaments which are found in
the same situation in the Mogul mosques and tombs, though here they have
much more flow and harmony in the curves. Some are merely in bas-relief:
in others the central circles are deeply perforated, whilst the ribs are
composed of delicate tracery.--There are so many peculiarities both in
the arrangement and in the details of this cathedral[91], that it is
quite impossible to convey an adequate idea of them by a verbal
description; and I can only hope that they will be hereafter made
familiar to the English antiquarian by the pencil of Mr. Cotman or Mr.
Stothard.

[Illustration: Ornaments in the Spandrils of the Arches in Bayeux
Cathedral]

The screen that separates the nave from the choir is Grecian, and is as
much at variance with the inside of such a church, as the cupola, which
is nearly over it, is with the exterior.--Upon the roof of the choir,
are still to be seen the portraits of the first twenty-one bishops of
Bayeux, each with his name inscribed by his side. The execution of the
portraits is very rude, particularly that of the twelve earliest, whose
busts are represented. The artist has contented himself with exhibiting
the heads only, of the remaining nine. Common tradition refers the whole
of these portraits to the time of Odo; but it is hardly necessary to
observe, that the groined and pointed vaulting is subsequent to his
date.--Bayeux cathedral abounded in works of this description of art:
the walls of the chapels of the choir were covered with large
fresco-paintings, now nearly obliterated.--It is believed, and with
every appearance of probability, that the Lady-Chapel was erected at a
time posterior to the rest of the building; but there is no certain
account of its date. Before the revolution, it served as a burial-place
for some of the bishops of the see, and for a duke of the noble family
of Montemart. Their tombs ornamented the chapel, which now appears
desolate and naked, retaining no other of its original decorations, than
a series of small paintings, which represent the life of the Holy
Virgin, and are deserving of some attention from the character of
expression in the faces, though the drawing in general is bad. Over the
altar is a picture, in which an angel is pointing out our Savior and the
Virgin to a dying man, whose countenance is admirable.--The stalls of
the choir display a profusion of beautiful oak carving; and beneath them
are sculptured _misereres_, the first which we have observed in
Normandy.--Very little painted glass is to be found in any part of the
church; but the glazing of the windows is composed of complicated
patterns. This species of ornament was introduced about the time of
Louis XIVth; and Felibien, who has given several pattern plates in his
treatise on architecture, observes, that it was intended to supply the
place of painted glass, which, as it was then thought, excluded the
light.

Beneath the choir is a subterraneous chapel dedicated to St. Maimertus,
otherwise called St. Manvieu. Its character is so similar to that of the
crypt at the abbey of the Holy Trinity at Caen, that there would be
little risk in pronouncing it to be part of Odo's church. It is
supported on twelve pillars, disposed in two rows, the last pillar of
each row being imbedded in the wall. The capitals of the pillars are
carved, each with a different design from the rest. Their sculpture
bears a strong resemblance to some of what is seen in similar situations
in the Egyptian temples; indeed, so strong, that a very able judge tells
me he has been led to suspect that the model might have been introduced
by an anchorite from the desert. Take the following as a specimen.

[Illustration: Capital of pillar]

The walls of the crypt are covered with paintings, probably of the
fifteenth century; but those upon the springing of the arches above the
pillars, appear considerably older. Each spandril contains an angel,
holding a trumpet or other musical instrument. The outlines of these
figures are strongly drawn in black.--Upon the right-hand side, on
entering the chapel, is the altar-tomb of John de Boissy, who was bishop
at the beginning of the fifteenth century; and, on the opposite side,
stands that of his immediate predecessor, Nicolas de Bosc. Their
monuments were originally ornamented with bas-reliefs and paintings, all
which were mutilated and effaced during the religious wars. De Boissy's
effigy, however, remains, though greatly injured; and the following
epitaph to his memory is preserved in a perfect state, over the only
window that gives light to this crypt. The inscription is curious, as
recording the discovery of the chapel, which had been forgotten and
unknown for centuries.


   "En l'an mil quatre cens et douze
    Tiers jour d'Avril que pluye arrouse
    Les biens de la terre, la journée
    Que la Pasques fut célébrée
    Noble homme et révérend père
    Jehan de Boissy, de la mère
    Eglise de Bayeux Pasteur
    Rendi l'âme à Son Créateur
    Et lors en foillant la place
    Devant le grant autel de grâce
    Trova l'on la basse chapelle
    Dont il n'avoit esté nouvelle
    Ou il est mis en sépulture
    Dieu veuille avoir son âme en cure,--Amen."


This inscription is engraved as prose: verse is very frequently written
in this manner in ancient manuscripts, which custom, as Joseph Ritson
conjectured, arose "from a desire of promoting the salvation of
parchment." I must also add, that the initial letters are colored red
and blue, so that the whole bears a near resemblance to a manuscript
page.

There is another epitaph, engraved in large letters, upon the exterior
of the southern tower, which is an odd specimen of the spirit of the
middle ages. It is supposed to have been placed there in the twelfth
century.


   "Quarta dies Pasche fuerat cum Clerus ad hujus
      Que jacet hic vetule venimus exequias:
    Letitieque diem magis amisisse dolemus
      Quam centum tales si caderent vetule."


Some authors contend, that the old lady alluded to was the mistress of
one of the Dukes of Normandy: others believe her to have been the _chère
amie_ of Robert, Earl of Gloucester, illegitimate son to Henry Ist.

Till lately, there was an epitaph within the church, which, without
containing in itself any thing remarkable, strange, or mysterious, had a
legend connected: with it, that supplied the verger with an
inexhaustible fund of entertainment for the curious and the credulous.
The epitaph simply commemorated John Patye, canon of the prebend of
Cambremer, who died in 1540; but upon the same plate of copper with the
inscription, was also engraved the Virgin, with John Patye at her feet,
kneeling, and apparently in the act of reading from a book placed on a
fald-stool. Behind the priest stood St. John the Baptist, the patron
saint of the prebend, having one hand upon his votary's neck, while with
the other he pointed to a lamb.--In all this, there was still nothing
remarkable: unfortunately, however, the artist, wishing perhaps to add
importance to the saint, had represented him of gigantic stature; and
hence originated the story, which continues to the present day, to
frighten the old women, and to amuse the children of Bayeux.--

   Once upon a time, the wicked canons of the cathedral murdered their
   bishop; in consequence of which foul deed, they and their successors
   for ever, were enjoined, by way of penance, annually to send one of
   their number to Rome, there to chaunt the epistle at the midnight
   mass. In the course of revolving centuries, this vexatious duty fell
   to the turn of the canon of Cambremer, who, to the surprise of the
   community, testified neither anxiety nor haste on the
   occasion.--Christmas-eve arrived, and the canon was still in his
   cell: Christmas-night came, and still he did not stir. At length,
   when the mass was actually begun, his brethren, more uneasy than
   himself, reproached him with his delay; upon which he muttered his
   spell, called up a spirit, mounted him, reached Rome in the twinkling
   of an eye, performed his task, and, the service being ended, he
   stormed the archives of the Vatican, where he burned the compulsory
   act, and then returned by the same conveyance to Bayeux, which he
   reached before the mass was completed, and, to the unspeakable joy of
   the chapter, announced the happy tidings of their deliverance.

So idle and unmeaning is the tale, that I should scarcely have thought
it worth while to have repeated it, but for the Latin distich, which, as
the story goes, was extemporized by the demon, at the moment when they
were flying over the Tuscan sea, and by which he sought to mislead his
rider, and to cause him to end his journey beneath the deep.--The sense
of the verses is not very perspicuous, but they are remarkable for
reading forwards and backwards the same; and though to you they may
appear a childish waste of intellect, you will, I am sure, admit them to
be ingenious, and they may amuse some of the younger members of your
family:--


   "Signa te, signa, temerè me tangis et angis;
    Roma tibi subito motibus ibit amor."--


I must dismiss the canon of Cambremer, by stating, that I am informed by
a friend, that the same story is also found in the lives of sundry other
wizards and sorcerers of the good old times.

Bayeux cathedral, like the other Neustrian churches, has been deprived
of its sainted relics, and its most precious treasures, in consequence
of the successive spoliations which have been inflicted upon it by
heathen Normans, heretical Calvinists, and philosophical jacobins. The
body of St. Exuperius was carried, in the ninth century, for safety to
Corbeil, and the chapter have never been able to recover it: that of St.
Regnobert was in after times stolen by the Huguenots. Many are the
attempts that have been made to regain the relics of the first bishop of
the see; but the town of Corbeil retained possession, whilst the
Bajocessians attempted to console themselves by antithetical
piety.--"Referamus Deo gratias, nec inde aliquid nos minus habere
credamus, quòd Corbeliensis civitas pignus sacri corporis vindicavit.
Teneant illi tabernaculum beatæ animæ in cineribus suis; nos ipsam
teneamus animam in virtutibus suis: teneant illi ossa, nos merita: apud
illos videatur remansisse quod terræ est, nos studeamus habere quod
coeli est: amplectantur illi quod sepulchre, nos quod Paradiso
continetur. Meminerit et beatior ille vir, utrique quidem loco, sed huic
speciali se jure deberi."--St. Regnobert's _chasuble_ is however, left
to the church, together with his maniple and his stole, all of them
articles of costly and elaborate workmanship. They were found in his
coffin, when it was opened by the Calvinists; and they are now worn by
the bishop, on the anniversary of the saint, as well as on five other
high festivals, during the year; at which times, the faithful press with
great devotion to kiss them. When not in use, they are kept in an ivory
chest, magnificently embossed with solid silver, and bearing an
inscription in the Cufic character, purporting that whatever honor men
may have given to God, they cannot honor him so much as He deserves.
Father Tournemine, the Jesuit, is of opinion, that this box was taken by
the French troops, under Charles Martel, in their pillage of the Saracen
camp, at the time of the memorable defeat of the infidels; and that it
was afterwards presented to Charles the Bald, whose queen, Hermentrude,
devoted it to the pious purpose of holding the relics of Regnobert, in
gratitude for a cure which the monarch had received through the
intercession of the saint. But this is merely a conjecture, and it is
not improbable but that the chest may have been brought from Sicily,
which abounded with Arabic artificers, at the time when it was occupied
by the Normans.

St. Regnobert, who was one of the most illustrious bishops of Bayeux, is
placed second on the list, in the _History of the Diocese_; but in the
_Gallia Christiana_ he stands twelfth in order. It was customary before
the revolution, and it possibly may be so at present, for the
inhabitants of the city, upon the twenty-fourth of October, the
anniversary of his feast, to bring their domestic animals in solemn
procession to the church, there to receive the episcopal benediction, in
the same manner as is practised by the Romans with their horses, on the
feast of St. Anthony.--St. Lupus, the fourth bishop, and St. Lascivus,
the tenth, are remarkable for their names. St. Lupus is said to have
been so called from his having destroyed the wolves in the vicinity of
Bayeux[92]; and the other is reported to have been descended from the
same person, whom Ausonius addresses in the following stanza, which has
likewise been applied to this bishop.


   "Iste _Lascivus_ patiens vocari,
    Nomen indignum probitate vitae
    Abnuit nunquam; quia gratum ad aures
                        Esset amicas."--


But neither among her ancient nor her modern prelates can Bayeux boast
of a name equally distinguished as that of Odo. Many were unquestionably
the misdeeds of this great man, and many were probably his crimes, but
no one who wore the episcopal mitre, ever deserved better of the see. As
a statesman, Odo bore a leading part in all the principal transactions of
the times: as a soldier, he accompanied the Conqueror to England,
fought by his side at Hastings, and by his eloquence and his valor,
contributed greatly to the success of that memorable day. Nor was
William tardy in acknowledging the merits of his brother; for no sooner
did he find himself seated firmly on the throne, than he rewarded Odo
with the earldom of Kent, and appointed him his viceroy in England,
whilst he himself crossed the channel, to superintend his affairs in
Normandy. But the mind which was proof against difficulties, yielded, as
too commonly happens, to prosperity. Nothing less than the papacy could
satisfy the ambition of Odo: he abused the power with which he was
invested in a flagrant manner; and William, finally, disgusted with his
proceedings, arrested him with his own hand, and committed him prisoner
to the old palace at Rouen, where he continued till the death of the
monarch.--The sequel of the story is of the same complexion: more plots,
attended now with success, and now with disgrace; till at length the
prelate resolved to expiate his sins by a pilgrimage to the Holy Land,
and died on his journey, at Palermo.--Such was Odo in his secular
character: as a churchman, historians unanimously agree that he was most
zealous for the honor of his diocese, indefatigable in re-building the
churches which time or war had destroyed, liberal in endowments,
munificent in presents, and ever anxiously intent upon procuring a
supply of able ministers, establishing regular discipline, and reforming
the morals of the flock committed to his charge.

The Bishop of Bayeux has at all times claimed the distinction of being
regarded the first among the suffragan bishops of the Norman church. In
the absence of the archbishop, he presides at, the ecclesiastical
assemblies and councils. His revenue, before the revolution, was
estimated at one hundred thousand livres: per annum. The see, in point
of antiquity, even contests for the priority with Rouen. From time
immemorial, the chapter has enjoyed the right of mintage; and they
appear to have used it till the year 1577, at which time their coin was
so much counterfeited, that they were induced to recal it by public
proclamation. Their money, which was of the size of a piece of two sous,
was stamped, on one side, with a two-headed eagle, and the legend
_moneta capituli_; and on the obverse, with the letter V, surrounded by
the word _Bajocensis_. The eagle was probably adopted, in allusion to
the arms of the see, which were, _gules_; an eagle displayed with two
heads, _or_[93].--Another privilege of the chapter was, that no person
of illegitimate birth could be allowed to hold place in it, under any
pretext or dispensation whatever.--Among their peculiar customs, they
imitated that of the see of Rouen, in the annual election of a
boy-bishop upon Innocents'-day; a practice prevalent in many churches in
Spain and Germany, and notoriously in England at Salisbury. The
young chorister took the crozier in his hands, during the first vespers,
at the verse in the _Magnificat_, "He has put down the mighty from their
seats, and has exalted the humble and meek;" and he resigned his dignity
at the same verse in the second vespers.--The ceremony was abolished in
1482.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 91: The following are the dimensions of the church, in French
measure, according to Béziers.

                                        FEET.
  Height of the central tower            224
  Ditto of the two western ditto         230
  Length of the interior of the church   296
  Width of ditto                          76
  Height of ditto                         76
  Length of the nave                     140
  Width of ditto                          38
  Ditto of side-aisles                    17
  Ditto of chapels                        15
  Length of the transepts                113
  Width of ditto                          33
  Length of the choir                    118
  Width of ditto                          36

]

[Footnote 92: A new St. Lupus is now wanted for the see; for wolves are
by no means extinct in the neighborhood of Bayeux. We saw a tame one,
kept near the cathedral, which had been taken in the woods, about a year
ago, when it was quite young. Wild boars are likewise found in
considerable numbers, and the breed is encouraged for the purposes of
hunting.]

[Footnote 93: In its origin, the _Baiocco_ of Naples seems to have been
the two-penny piece of Bayeux, its denomination being abbreviated from
the last word in the legend. It has been supposed that the coin was
struck and named by lusty Joan, as a token of her affection towards a
Frisick warrier, who, in his own country, was called the _Boynke_, or
the Squire; but we think that our etymology is the most natural one.]



LETTER XXIX.  CHURCH AND CASTLE OF
CREULLY--FALAISE--CASTLE--CHURCHES-FAIR OF GUIBRAY.


(_Falaise, August_, 1818.)

Previously to quitting Bayeux, we paid our respects to M. Pluquet, a
diligent antiquary, who has been for some time past engaged in writing a
history of the city. His collections for this purpose are extensive, and
the number of curious books which he possesses is very considerable.
Amongst those which he shewed to us, the works relating to Normandy
constituted an important portion. His manuscript missals are numerous
and valuable. I was also much pleased by the inspection of an old copy
of Aristophanes, which had formerly belonged to Rabelais, and bore upon
its title-page the mark of his ownership, in the hand-writing of the
witty, though profligate, satirist himself. M. Pluquet's kindness
allowed me to make the tracing of the signature, which I send you.--

[Illustration: Rabelais hand-writing]

Such an addition as we here find to Rabelais' name, denoting that the
owner of a book considered it as being the property of his friends
conjointly with himself, is not of uncommon occurrence. Our friend, Mr.
Dibdin, who had been here shortly before us, and had carried off, as we
were told, some works of great rarity from this collection, has
enumerated more than one instance of the kind in his _Bibliographical
Decameron_; and the valuable library of my excellent friend, Mr.
Sparrow, of Worlingham, contains an Erasmus, which was the property of
Sir Thomas Wotton, and bears, stamped upon its covers, _Thomae Wotton et
amicorum_.

From Bayeux we returned to Caen, by way of Creully, passing along bad
roads, through an open, uninteresting country, almost wholly cropped
with buck-wheat.--The barony of Creully was erected by Henry Ist, in
favor of his natural son, the Earl of Gloucester: it was afterwards held
by different noble families, and continued to be so till the time of the
revolution. At that period, it gave a title to a branch of the line of
Montmorenci, whose emigration caused the domain to be confiscated, and
sold as national property; but the baronial castle is still standing,
and displays, in two of its towers and in a chimney of unusual form, a
portion of its ancient character: the rest of the building is modernized
into a spruce, comfortable residence, and is at this time occupied by a
countryman of our own, General Hodgson.

The church at Creully is one of the most curious we have seen. The nave,
side-aisles, and choir, are all purely Norman, except at the
extremities. The piers are very massy; the arches wide and low; the
capitals covered with rude, but most remarkable sculpture, which is
varied on every pillar. Round the arches of the nave runs a band of the
chevron ornament; and over them is a row of lancet windows, devoid of
ornament, and sunk in a wall of extraordinary thickness. Externally, all
is modernized.

The view of Caen, on entering from this direction, is still more
advantageous than that on the approach from Lisieux. Time would not
allow of our making any stop at the town on our return: we therefore
proceeded immediately to Falaise, passing again through an open and
monotonous country, which, thoughtfully cultivated, has a most dreary
aspect from the scantiness of its population. We saw, indeed, as we went
along, distant villages, thinly scattered, in the landscape, but no
other traces of habitations; and we proceeded upwards of five leagues on
our way, before we arrived at a single house by the road-side.

[Illustration: Castle of Falaise]

Falaise appeared but the more beautiful, from the impression which the
desolate scenery of the previous country had left upon our minds. The
contrast was almost equally pleasing and equally striking, as when, in
travelling through Derbyshire, after having passed a tract of dreary
moors, that seems to lengthen as you go, you suddenly descend into the
lovely vallies of Matlock or of Dovedale. Not that the vale of Falaise
may compete with those of Derbyshire, for picturesque beauty or bold
romantic character; but it has features exclusively its own; and its
deficiency in natural advantages is in some measure compensated, by the
accessories bestowed by art. The valley is fertile and well wooded: the
town itself, embosomed within rows of lofty elms, stretches along the
top of a steep rocky ridge, which rises abrupt from the vale below,
presenting an extensive line of buildings, mixed with trees, flanked
towards the east by the venerable remains of the castle of the Norman
Dukes, and at the opposite extremity, by the church of the suburb of
Guibray, planted upon an eminence. Near the centre stands the principal
church of Falaise, that of St. Gervais; and in front of the whole
extends the long line of the town walls, varied with towers, and
approached by a mound across the valley, which, as at Edinburgh, holds
the place of a bridge.

The name _Falaise_, denotes the position of the town: it is said to be a
word of Celtic origin; but I should rather suppose it to be derived from
the Saxon, and to be a modification of the German word, _fels_, a rock,
in which conjecture I find I am borne out by Adelung: _falesia_, in
modern Latinity, and _falaise_, in French, signify a rocky shore. Hence,
Brito, at the commencement of his relation of the siege by Philip
Augustus, says,


   "Vicus erat scabrâ circumdatus undique rupe,
    Ipsius asperitate loci Falæsa vocatus,
    Normannæ in medio regionis, cujus in altâ
    Turres rupe sedent et mœnia; sic ut ad illam
    Jactus nemo putet aliquos contingere posse."--


The dungeon of Falaise, one of the proudest relics of Norman antiquity,
is situated on a very bold and lofty rock, broken into fantastic and
singular masses, and covered with luxuriant vegetation. The keep which
towers above it is of excellent masonry: the stones are accurately
squared, and put together with great neatness, and the joints are small;
and the arches are turned clearly and distinctly, with the key-stone or
wedge accurately placed in all of them. Some parts of the wall, towards
the interior ballium, are not built of squared free-stone; but of the
dark stone of the country, disposed in a zigzag, or as it is more
commonly called, in a herring-bone direction, with a great deal of
mortar in the interstices: the buttresses, or rather piers, are of small
projection, but great width. The upper story, destroyed about forty
years since, was of a different style of architecture. According to an
old print, it terminated with a large battlement, and bartizan towers at
the angles. This dungeon was formerly divided into several apartments;
in one of the lower of which was found, about half a century ago, a very
ancient tomb, of good workmanship, ornamented with a sphynx at each end,
but bearing no inscription whatever. Common report ascribed the coffin
to Talbot, who was for many years governor of the castle; and at length
an individual engraved upon it an epitaph to his honor; but the fraud
was discovered, and the sarcophagus put aside, as of no account. The
second, or principal, story of the keep, now forms a single square room,
about fifty feet wide, lighted by circular-headed windows, each divided
into two by a short and massy central pillar, whose capital is
altogether Norman. On one of the capitals is sculptured a child leading
a lamb, a representation, as it is foolishly said, of the Conqueror,
whom tradition alleges to have been born in the apartment to which this
window belonged: another pillar has an elegant capital, composed of
interlaced bands.

Connected with the dungeon by a stone staircase is a small apartment,
very much dilapidated, but still retaining a portion of its original
facing of Caen stone. It was from the window of this apartment, as the
story commonly goes, that Duke Robert first saw the beautiful Arlette,
drawing water from the streamlet below, and was enamoured of her charms,
and took her to his bed.--According to another version of the tale, the
earliest interview between the prince and his fair mistress, took place
as Robert was returning from the chace, with his mind full of anger
against the inhabitants of Falaise, for having presumed to kill the deer
which he had commanded should be preserved for his royal pastime. In
this offence the curriers of the town had borne the principal share, and
they were therefore principally marked out for punishment. But,
fortunately for them, Arlette, the daughter of one Verpray, the most
culpable of the number, met the offended Duke while riding through the
street, and with her beauty so fascinated him, that she not only
obtained the pardon of her father and his associates, but became his
mistress, and continued so as long as he lived. From her, if we may give
credence to the old chroniclers, is derived our English word, _harlot_.
The fruit of their union was William the Conqueror, whose illegitimate
birth, and the low extraction of his mother, served on more than one
occasion as a pretext for conspiracies against his throne, and were
frequently the subject of personal mortification to himself.--The walls
in this part of the castle are from eight to nine feet thick. A portion
of them has been hollowed out, so as to form a couple of small rooms.
The old door-way of the keep is at the angle; the returns are reeded,
ending in a square impost; the arch above is destroyed.

Talbot's tower, thus called for having been built by that general, in
1430 and the two subsequent years, is connected with the keep by means,
of a long passage with lancet windows, that widen greatly inwards. It is
more than one hundred feet high, and is a beautiful piece of masonry,
as perfect, apparently, as on the day when it was erected, and as firm
as the rock on which it stands. This tower is ascended by a staircase
concealed within the substance of the walls, whose thickness is full
fifteen feet towards the base, and does not decrease more than three
feet near the summit. Another aperture in them serves for a well, which
thus communicates with every apartment in the tower. Most of the arches
in this tower have circular heads: the windows are square.--The walls
and towers which encircle the keep are of much later date; the principal
gate-way is pointed. Immediately on entering, is seen the very ancient
chapel, dedicated to St. Priscus or, as he is called in French, St.
Prix. The east end with three circular-headed windows retains its
original lines: the masonry is firm and good. Fantastic corbels surround
the summit of the lateral walls. Within, a semi-circular arch resting
upon short pillars with sculptured capitals, divides the choir from the
nave. In other respects the building has been much altered.--Henry Vth
repaired it in 1418, and it has been since dilapidated and restored.--A
pile of buildings beyond, wholly modern in the exterior, is now
inhabited as a seminary or college. There are some circular arches
within, which shew that these buildings belonged to the original
structure.

Altogether the castle is a noble ruin. Though the keep is destitute of
the enrichments of Norwich or Castle Rising, it possesses an impressive
character of strength, which is much increased by the extraordinary
freshness of the masonry. The fosses of the castle; are planted with
lofty trees, which shade and intermingle with the towers and ramparts,
and on every side they groupe themselves with picturesque beauty. It is
said that the municipality intend to _restore_ Talbot's tower and the
keep, by replacing the demolished battlements; but I should hope that no
other repairs may take place, except such as may be necessary for the
preservation of the edifice; and I do not think it needs any, except the
insertion of clamps in the central columns of two of the windows which
are much shattered[94].

From the summit we enjoyed a delightful prospect: at our feet lay the
town of Falaise, so full of trees, that it seemed almost to deserve the
character, given by old Fuller to Norwich, of _rus in urbe_: the distant
country presented an undulating outline, agreeably diversified with
woods and corn-fields, and spotted with gentlemen's seats; while within
a very short distance to the west, rose another ridgy mass of bare brown
rock, known by the name of Mont Mirat, and still retaining a portion of
the intrenchments, raised by our countrymen when they besieged Falaise,
in 1417.--By this eminence the castle is completely commanded, and it is
not easy to understand how the fortress could be a tenable position; as
the garrison who manned the battlements of the dungeon and Talbot's
tower, must have been exposed to the missiles discharged from the
catapults and balistas planted on Mont Mirat.

The history of the castle is inseparably connected with that of the
town: its origin may safely be referred to remote antiquity, the time,
most probably, of the earliest Norman Dukes. If, however, we could agree
with the fanciful author just quoted, it would claim a much earlier
date. The very fact of its having a dungeon-tower, he maintains to be a
proof of its having been erected by Julius Cæsar inasmuch as the word,
_dungeon_, or, as it is written in French, _donjon_, is nothing but a
corruption of _Domus Julii_! More than once in the course of this
correspondence, I have called your attention to the fancies, or, to
speak in plain terms, the absurdities, of theoretical antiquaries. The
worthy priest, to whom we are indebted for the _Recherches Historiques
sur Falaise_, "out-herods Herod." Writers of this description are
curious and amusing, let their theories but rest upon the basis of fair
probability. Even when we reject their reasonings, we are pleased with
their ingenuity; and they serve, to borrow an expression from Horace,
"the purpose of a whetstone." But M. Langevin has nothing farther to
offer, than gratuitous assertion or vague conjecture; and yet, upon the
faith of these, he insists upon our believing, that the foundation of
Falaise took place very shortly after the deluge; that its name is
derived from _Felé_, the cat of Diana, or from the less pure source of
_Phaloi-Isis_; that the present site of the castle was that of a temple,
dedicated to Belenus and Abraxas; and that every stone of remarkable
form in the neighborhood, was either so shapened by the Druids,
(notwithstanding it is the character of rocks, like those at Falaise, to
assume fantastic figures,) or was at least appropriated by the Celtic
priesthood to typify the sun, or moon, or stars.

Various tombs, stone-hatchets, &c., have been dug up at Tassilly, a
village within six miles of Falaise, and fragments of mosaic pavements
have been discovered in the immediate vicinity of the castle[95]; but
history and tradition are alike silent as to the origin of these
remains.--The first historical mention of Falaise is in the year 1027;
during the reign of the fifth Norman Duke, Richard IIIrd, at which
period this town was one of the strong holds of the duchy, and afforded
shelter to Robert, the father of the Conqueror, when he rebelled against
his elder brother. Falaise on that occasion sustained the first of the
nine sieges, by which it has procured celebrity in history.--Fourteen
years only elapsed before it was exposed to a second, through the
perfidy of Toustain de Goz, Count of Hiesmes, who had been intrusted
with the charge of the castle, and who, upon finding that his own
district was ravaged by the forces of the King of France, voluntarily
offered to surrender to that monarch the fortress under his command, on
condition that his territory, the Hiesmois, should be spared. But Duke
William succeeded in retaking the place of his birth before the traitor
had an opportunity of introducing the troops of his new ally.--In the
years 1106 and 1139, Falaise opposed a successful resistance to the
armies of Henry Ist, and of Geoffrey Plantagenet. Upon the first of
these occasions, the Count of Maine, the general of the English forces,
retired with shame from before the walls; and Henry was foiled in all his
attempts to gain possession of the castle, till the battle of Tinchbray
had invested him with the ducal mantle, and had induced Robert himself
to deliver up the fortress in person to his more fortunate brother. On
the second occasion, Robert Marmion, lord of the neighboring barony of
Marmion le Fontenay, a name equally illustrious in Norman and in English
story, held Falaise for Eustace of Boulogne, son to Stephen, and twice
repelled the attacks of the husband of the Empress Maud.--The fourth
siege was conducted with different success, by Philip Augustus: for
seven days the citizens quietly witnessed the preparations of the French
monarch; and then, either alarmed by the impending conflict, or
disgusted by the conduct of their own sovereign, who had utterly
deserted them, they opened their gates to the enemy.--In 1417 the case
was far otherwise, though the result was the same. Henry Vth attacked
Falaise upon the fourth of November, and continued to cannonade it till
the middle of the following February; and, even then, the surrender was
attributed principally to famine. Great injuries were sustained by the
town in the course of this long siege; but, to the credit of our
countrymen, the efforts made towards the reparation of them were at
least proportionate. The fortifications were carefully restored; the
chapel was rebuilt and endowed afresh; Talbot's tower was added to the
keep; and a suite of apartments, also named after that great captain,
was erected in the castle.--The resistance made by the English garrison
of Falaise in 1450, at the time when we were finally expelled from the
duchy, was far from equal to that which the French, had previously
shewn. Vigour was indeed displayed in repeated sallies, but six days
sufficed to put the French general in possession of the place.
Disheartened troops, cooped up in a fortress without hope of succour,
offer but faint opposition; and Falaise was then the last place which
held out in Normandy, excepting, only Domfront and Cherbourg, both which
were taken almost immediately afterwards.--Falaise, from this time
forwards, suffered no more from foreign enemies: the future miseries of
the town were inflicted by the hands of its own countrymen. In common
with many other places in France, it was doomed to learn from hard
experience, that "alta sedent civilis vulnera dextræ."--Instigated by
the Count de Brissac, governor of the town, and one of the most able
generals of the league, the inhabitants were immoveable in their
determination to resist the introduction of tenets which they regarded
as a fatal variance from the Catholic faith. The troops of Henry IIIrd,
in alliance with those of his more illustrious successor, were vainly
brought against Falaise in 1589, by the Duc de Montpensier; a party of
enthusiastic peasants, called _Gautiers_, from the name of a neighboring
village, where their association originated, harassed the assailants
unremittingly, and rendered such effectual assistance to the garrison,
that the siege was obliged to be raised.--But it was only raised to be
renewed at the conclusion of the same year, by Henry of Bourbon, in
person, whom the tragical end of his late ally had placed upon the
throne of France. Brissac had now a different enemy to deal with: he
answered the king's summons to surrender, by pleading his oath taken
upon the holy sacrament to the contrary; and he added that, if it should
ultimately prove necessary for him to enter into any negotiation, he
would at least delay it for six months to come. "Then, by heavens!"
replied Henry, "I will change his months into days, and grant him
absolution;" and; so saying, he commenced a furious cannonade, which
soon caused a breach, and, in seven days, he carried the town by
assault. Brissac, who, on the capture of the fortress, had retired into
the keep, found himself shortly afterwards obliged to capitulate; and I
am sorry to add, that the terms which he proposed and obtained, were not
of a nature to be honorable to his character. The security of his own
life and of that of seven of his party, was the principal stipulation in
the articles. The rest of the garrison were abandoned to the mercy of
the conqueror, who contented himself with hanging seven of them in
memorial of the seven days of the siege; but, if we may believe the
French historians, always zealous for the honor of their monarchs, and
especially of this monarch, Henry selected the sufferers from among
those, who, for their crimes, had, subjected themselves to the pain of
death.

From these various attacks, but principally from those of 1417 and 1589,
the fortifications of Falaise have suffered materially; and since the
last no care has been taken to repair them. The injuries sustained at
that period, and the more fatal, though less obvious ones, wrought by
the silent operation of two centuries of neglect, have brought the walls
and towers to their present state of dilapidation.

The people of Falaise are commonly supposed to be Normans κατ εξοχην
[English. Not in Original: pre-eminently, especially, above all]; and
when a Norman is introduced upon the French stage, he calls himself a
Falesian, just as any Irishman, in an English farce, is presumed to come
from Tipperary. The town in the French royal calendar is stated to
contain about fourteen thousand inhabitants; but we are assured that the
real number does not exceed nine thousand. Its staple trade is the
manufacture of stockings, coarse caps, and lace. The streets are wide;
and the public fountains, which are continually playing, impart a
freshness, which, at the present burning season, is particularly
agreeable.--The town now retains only four churches, two within its
precincts, and two in the suburbs. The revolution has deprived it of
eight others. Of those which are now standing, the most ancient is that
situated near the castle, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Langevin
assures us that it was built upon the ruins of the temple of Felé, Isis,
Belenus, and the heavenly host of constellations, and that in the fifth
century it changed its heathen for its Christian patrons. The oldest
part (a very small one it is) of the present structure, appertains to a
building which was consecrated in 1126, by the Archbishop of Rouen, in
the presence of Henry Ist, but which was almost entirely destroyed by
the cannonade in the fifteenth century. An inscription in gothic
letters, near the entrance, relates, that after this desolation, a
beginning was made towards the re-building of the church, "in 1438, a
year of war, and death, and plague, and famine;" but it is certain that
not much of the part now standing can be referred even to that period.
The choir was not completed till the middle of the sixteenth century,
nor the Lady-Chapel till the beginning of the following one.
Architecturally considered, therefore, the church is a medley of various
styles and ages.

The larger church, that of St. Gervais and St. Protais, is said to have
been originally the ducal chapel, and to stand in the immediate vicinity
of the site of the Conqueror's palace, now utterly destroyed. According
to an ancient manuscript, this church was consecrated at the same time
as that of the Trinity. The intersecting circular-headed arches of its
tower are curious. The Norman corbel-table and clerestory windows still
remain; and the exterior of the whole edifice promises a gratification
to a lover of architectural antiquity, which the inside is little
calculated to realize.--An invading army ruined the church of the
Trinity; civil discord did the same for that of St. Gervais. The
Huguenots, not content with plundering the treasure, actually set fire
to the building, and well nigh consumed it: hence, the choir is the work
of the year 1580, and the southern wall of the nave is a more recent
construction.

We see Falaise to a great advantage: every inn is crowded; every shop is
decked out; and the streets are full of life and activity; all in
preparation for the fair, which commences in three days, on the
fifteenth of this month, the anniversary of the Assumption of the Holy
Virgin. This fair, which is considered second to no other in France,
excepting that of Beaucaire, is held in the suburbs of Guibray, and
takes its name from the place where it is held. For the institution,
Falaise is indebted to William the Conqueror; and from it the place
derives the greatest share of its prosperity and importance. During the
fourteen days that the fair continues, the town is filled with the
neighboring gentry, as well as with merchants and tradesmen of every
description, not only from the cities of Normandy, but from Paris and
the distant provinces, and even from foreign countries. The revolution
itself respected the immunities granted to the fair of Guibray, without,
at the same time, having the slightest regard, either to its royal
founder, or its religious origin.--An image of the Virgin, discovered
under-ground by the scratching and bleating of a lamb, first gave the
stamp of sanctity to Guibray. Miraculous means had been employed for the
discovery of this statue; miraculous powers were sure to be seated in
the image. Pilgrims crowded from all places to witness and to adore; and
hawkers, and pedlars, and, as I have seen inscribed upon a hand-bill at
Paris, "the makers of he-saints and of she-saints," found Guibray a
place of lucrative resort. Their numbers annually increased, and thus
the fair originated.--We are compelled to hasten, or we would have
stopped to have witnessed the ceremonies, and joined the festivities on
the occasion. Already more than one field is covered with temporary
buildings, each distinguished by a flag, bearing the name and trade of
the occupant; already, too, the mountebanks and showmen have taken their
stand for the amusement of the company, and the relaxation of the
traders; and, what is a necessary consequence of such assemblages, you
cannot stir without being pestered with crowds of boys, proffering their
services to transport your wares.

The church of Guibray, like the others of Falaise, offers specimens of
Norman architecture, strangely altered and half concealed by modern
innovations. In the first syllable of the name of the place, you will
observe the French word for misletoe, and may thence infer, and probably
not without reason, the antiquity of the station; the latter syllable,
albeit in England sheep are not wont to _bray_, is supposed by the pious
to have reference to the bleating of the lamb, which led to the
discovery of the miraculous image.--Etymology is a wide district in a
pleasant country, strangely intersected by many and deceitful paths. He
that ventures upon the exploring of it, requires the utmost caution, and
the constant control of sober reason: woe will be sure to betide the
unfortunate wight, who, in such a situation, gives the reins to fancy,
and suffers imagination to usurp the place of judgment, without
reflecting, as has been observed by the poet on a somewhat similar
occasion, that


   "Tis more to curb than urge the generous steed,
    Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed."


       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 94: The outline of the castle is egg-shaped; and the following
are its dimensions, in French measure, according to M.
Langevin.--Length, 720 feet; mean width, 420; quantity of ground
contained within the walls, two acres and a perch.]

[Footnote 95: _Recherches Historiques sur Falaise_, p. XIX. and XXIX.]



LETTER XXX.  ROCK AND CHAPEL OF ST. ADRIEN--PONT-DE-L'ARCHE--PRIORY OF
THE TWO LOVERS--ABBEY OF BONPORT--LOUVIERS--GAILLON--VERNON.


(_Mantes, August_, 1818)

The last letter which I wrote to you, was dated from Falaise. Look in
the map and you will see that you now receive one from a point
completely opposite. In four days we have passed from one of the most
western towns of the province, to a place situated beyond its eastern
frontier; and in four more, we may almost hope to be with you again. In
this hasty journey we travelled through a district which has not yet
become the subject of description to you; and though we travelled with
less comfort of mind, than in the early part of our tour, I am yet
enabled to send you a few details respecting it.

From Falaise we went in a direct line to Croissanville: the road, which
we intended to take by St. Pierre sur Dive to Lisieux, was utterly
impracticable for carriages. From Croissanville to Rouen we almost
retraced our former steps: we did not indeed again make a _détour_ by
Bernay; but the straight road from Lisieux to Brionne is altogether
without interest.

There are two ways from Rouen to Paris: the upper, through Ecouis,
Magny, and Pontoise; the lower, by the banks of the Seine. Having
travelled by both of them before, we could appreciate their respective
advantages; and we knew that the only recommendation of the former was,
that it saved some few miles in distance; while the latter is one of
the most beautiful rides in France, and the towns, through which it
passes, are far from being among the least interesting in Normandy. In
such an alternative, there was no difficulty in fixing our choice, and
we proceeded straight for Pont-de-l'Arche. The chalk cliffs, which
bounded the road on our left, for some distance from Rouen, break near
the small village of Port St. Ouen, into wild forms, and in one spot
project boldly, assuming the shape of distinct towers. These projections
are known by the name of the rock of St. Adrien; thus called from the
patron saint of a romantic chapel, a place of great sanctity, and of
frequent resort with pilgrims, situated nearly mid-way up the
cliff.--The chapel is indeed little more than an excavation, and is
altogether so rude, that its workmanship affords no clue to discover the
date of the building. Its south side and roof are merely formed of the
bare rock. To the north it is screened by an erection, which, were it
not for the windows and short square steeple, might easily be mistaken
for a pent-house. The western end appears to display some traces of
Norman architecture. The hill, which leads to this chapel, commands a
view of Rouen, the most picturesque, I think, of all that we have seen
of this city, so picturesque from various points. You can scarcely
conceive the eagerness with which we endeavored to catch the last
glimpse, as the prospect gradually vanished from our sight, or the
pleasure with which we still dwell, and shall long continue so to do,
upon the recollection. All round the chapel, the bare chalk is at this
time tinged with a beautiful glow, from the blue flowers of the _Viola
Rothomagensis_: the _Isatis Tinctoria_, the _true Woad_, is also common
on the steep sides of the cliff. This plant, which is here indigenous,
became, during the reign of Napoléon, an object of attention with the
government, as a succedaneum for indigo, at the same time that beet-root
was destined to supply the continent with sugar, and salsafy, or parched
wheat, to hold the place of coffee. The restoration of peace has caused
the Isatis to be again neglected; but the _Reseda luteola_, or, _Dyer's
woad_, is much cultivated in the neighborhood, as is the _Teasel_ for
the use of the cloth manufactory.

Pont-de-l'Arche, though now a small mean town, may boast of high
antiquity, if it be rightly believed to be the ancient _Pistae_, the
seat of the palace erected by Charles the Bald, in which that sovereign
convened councils in the years 861 and 869, and held assemblies of his
nobles in 862 and 864; and from which, his edicts promulgated in those
years, are dated. The same monarch also built here a magnificent bridge,
defended at one extremity by a citadel upon a small island.--From this
there seems every reason to believe that the town has derived its name;
for, in a diploma issued by our Henry IInd, he calls the place _Pontem
Arcis_; and its present appellation is nothing but its Latin name
translated into French. The fortress at the head of the bridge was
demolished about thirty years ago, at the time when Millin published
his[96] account of the town. The plate attached to that account,
represents one of the towers as still standing.--Though deprived of its
citadel, Pont-de-l'Arche retains to the present day its walls, flanked
by circular towers; and its bridge, which is the lowest stone bridge
down the Seine, is a noble one of twenty-two arches, through which the
river at a considerable depth below, rolls with extraordinary rapidity.
In the length of this bridge are some mills, which are turned by the
stream; and the current is moderated under one of the arches, by a lock
placed on the down-stream side, into which barges pass, and so proceed
with security; The bridge, with its mills, forms a very picturesque
object.

At a short distance from the bridge, to the left, looking towards Paris,
is the _Colline des deux amans_, formerly surmounted by the priory of
the same name. Of the history of the monastery nothing is known with
certainty, nor is even the date of its foundation ascertained, though it
is stated by Millin to be one of the most ancient in Normandy[97]. But
the traditionary tale connected with this convent, forms the subject of
one of the lays of _Mary of France_; and it has been elegantly
translated by the late Mr. Ellis, in the introduction to his _History of
our Ancient Metrical Romances_;--Du Plessis[98] is, however, of opinion,
that the name of the priory is nothing more than a corruption from the
words, _deux monts_, in allusion to the twin hills, on one of which it
stands; or, if _lovers_ must have any thing to do with the appellation,
he piously suggests that divine love may have been intended, and that
the parties were no other than our Savior and the Virgin, whose images
were placed over the door of the conventual church.

On the opposite side of the bridge of Pont-de-l'Arche, stand the
remains of a far richer abbey, that of Bonport, of the Cistertian order,
founded by Richard Coeur-de-Lion, in 1190, as an _ex voto_. The monarch,
then just in possession of his crown, was indulging with his courtiers
in the pleasures of the chace, and, carried away by the natural
impetuosity of his temper, had plunged in pursuit of the deer into the
Seine, whose rapid current brought his life into imminent danger; and he
accordingly vowed, if he escaped with safety, to erect a monastery upon
the spot where he should reach the shore. Hence, according to Le
Brasseur[99], the foundation, and hence the name. I ought, however, to
add, that no record of the kind is preserved in the _Neustrta Pia_, nor
even by Millin, who has described and figured such of the monastic
buildings and monuments as had been spared at the early part of the
revolution[100]. Another view of the ruins has since been published by
Langlois, in the first number of a work which was intended to have
comprised a long series of Norman antiquities, but was discontinued for
want of encouragement. The author, whose portrait I have sent you in the
course of this correspondence, is himself a native of Pont-de-l'Arche,
and has subjoined to his fas-ciculus a couple of plates, illustrative of
the costume and customs of the neighborhood.--In one of these plates, an
itinerant male fortune-teller is satisfying a young peasant as to the
probability of her speedy marriage, by means of a pack of cards, from
which he has turned up the king and queen and ace of hearts. In the
other, _a cunning woman_ is solving a question by a book and key. The
poor girl's sweetheart is an absent soldier, and fears and doubts are
naturally entertained for his safety. To unlock the mysteries of fate,
the key is attached to the mass-book, and suspended from the tip of the
finger of the sybil, who reads the first chapter of the gospel of St.
John; and the invocation is answered by the key turning of _its own
accord_, when she arrives at the verse beginning, "and the word was made
flesh[101]."--A fine rose-window in the church of the abbey of Bonport,
and two specimens of painted glass from its windows, the one
representing angels holding musical instruments, supposed to be of the
thirteenth century, the other containing a set of male and female heads
of extraordinarily rich color, probably executed about a century later,
are given by _Willemin_ in his very beautiful _Monumens Français
inédits_. In the same work, you will likewise find two still more
interesting painted windows from Pont-de-l'Arche; some boatmen and their
wives in the Norman costume of the end of the sixteenth century, and a
citizen of the town with his lady, praying before a fald-stool, bearing
the date, 1621.

The church of Pont-de-l'Arche, though greatly dilapidated, is a building
worth notice, in a fine style of the decorated gothic. The nave is very
lofty; the high altar richly carved and gilt; the oak pulpit embossed
with saints; and the font covered with curious, though not ancient,
sculpture. Rich tracery abounds in the windows, which are also filled
with painted glass, some of it of very good quality. Scripture history
and personages occupy, as usual, the principal part; but in one of the
windows we noticed a representation of the Seine full of islands, and
the town of Pont-de-l'Arche, with a number of persons quitting it with
their horses, baggage, &c. in apparent confusion. So shattered, however,
is the window, that the story is no longer intelligible in its details;
and fragments, quite illegible, are all that remain of the inscriptions
formerly beneath it. It is probable, that the intention of the artist
was to give a picture of the miseries experienced by the inhabitants at
the burning of the town by our troops under Edward IIIrd.--On the south
side of the church the buttresses are enriched with canopies and other
sculpture; and there was originally a highly-wrought balustrade,
ornamented with figures of children, a part of which
remains.--Pont-de-l'Arche claims the merit of having been the first town
in France, which acknowledged Henry IVth as its lawful sovereign, after
the assassination of his predecessor, in 1589.

On leaving this place, we passed through the forest of the same name, an
extensive tract covered with young trees, principally beech, oak, and
birch. The soil, a mixture of chalk and gravel, is poor, and offers but
little encouragement to the labors of the plough. All around us, the
distant prospect was pleasantly varied with gentle hills, upon one of
which, nearly in front, we soon saw Louviers, a busy manufacturing town,
of about seven thousand inhabitants, who are chiefly employed in making
the fine cloth of the district, which is considered superior in quality
to any other in France. Spanish wool is almost exclusively used for
the purpose.

Throughout the vicinity of Louviers, are the most undoubted symptoms of
commercial prosperity; new houses every where erecting, and old ones
undergoing improvement. But the streets of the town itself are, as
usual, dirty and narrow, and the people of the lower orders more than
commonly ragged and beggarly. It was impossible to mistake the nature of
their occupations; so many of them had their faces and hands, and every
part of their limbs and bodies that was visible, died of a bright
blue.--The church at Louviers is very much injured, but very handsome;
and though reduced to a nave with its four aisles it is still a spacious
edifice. The south porch, which projects boldly in the form of a
galilee, is scarcely to be excelled as a specimen of pointed
architecture at its highest pitch of luxuriant beauty. Yet, even in
this, the saints have been torn from their pedestals by the wanton
violence of the Calvinists or democrats. The central tower is square and
short: it is, however, handsome. Two windows, very similar to those of
the tower of St. Romain, in Rouen cathedral, light it on either side;
and saints, placed under canopies, ornament the angles behind the
buttresses.--The great western door is closed, and the front defaced:
the eastern end, likewise, is altogether modern.--Within, the same kind
of architecture prevails as in the exterior, but the whole is so
concealed, and degraded by ornaments in the worst of taste, and by
painted saints in the most tawdry dresses, that the effect is
disgusting. I never saw so great an array of wretched representations of
the heavenly host: the stone images collected round the holy sepulchre,
are even worse than those at Dieppe. Near the chapel of the sepulchre,
however, are four bas-reliefs, attached to the wall, exhibiting
different events in our Savior's life of good execution, and not in had
taste: an open gallery of fillagree stone-work, under the central tower
on the south side, is an object really deserving of admiration.

M. Langlois has engraved the gable end of an old house at Louviers, said
to have belonged to the Knights Templars. We found it used as an
engine-maker's shop; and neither within nor without, could we discover
any thing to justify his opinion, that it is a building of the twelfth
or thirteenth century. On the contrary, the windows, which are double,
under a flatly-pointed arch, and are all of them trefoil-headed, would
rather cause it to be considered as erected two centuries later.

The town of Louviers, though never fortified, is noticed on several
occasions in history. It was the seat of the conferences between Richard
Coeur-de-Lion and Philip Augustus, which ended in the treaty of 1195,
defining new limits to Normandy.--It was, as I have already mentioned,
one of the items of the compensation made by the same Duke to the
Archbishop of Rouen, for the injury done to the church, by the erection
of Château Gaillard.--During the wars of Edward IIIrd, "Louviers," to
use the language of old Froissart, "after the battle of Caen, was soon
entered by the Englishmen, as it was not closed; and they over-ran, and
spoiled, and robbed it without mercy, and won great riches; for it was
the chief place in all Normandy for drapery, and was full of
merchandize."--And, in the subsequent warfare of the fifteenth century,
this town, like the others in the duchy, was taken by our countrymen,
under Henry Vth, and lost by them under his successor.--Hither the
Norman parliament retired when the Huguenots were in possession of
Rouen; and here they remained till the recapture of the capital.--It was
probably owing in a great measure to this circumstance, that Louviers
was induced to distinguish itself by a devoted attachment to the party
of the league, for which it suffered severely in 1591, when it was
captured and pillaged by the royalists shortly after their victory at
Ivry. The town was then taken through the treachery of a priest of the
name of Jean de la Tour, who received, as a recompence, a stall in the
cathedral at Evreux, but was so much an object of abhorrence with his
brethren, that he scarcely ever ventured to appear in his place. During
the holy week, however, he attended; and it once happened, that while he
was so officiating, all the canons contrived to leave the church towards
the close of the psalm, which immediately precedes the _Benedictus_ at
_Laudes_, so that the anthem, _Traditor autem_, which is sung with that
hymn, necessarily fell to the part of de la Tour, who found himself
compelled to chaunt it, to his own extreme confusion, and the infinite
amusement of the congregation. Irritated and mortified, the poor priest
preferred his complaints to the king; but it was one thing to love the
treason, and another to love the traitor; and his appeal obtained no
redress.

From Louviers our next stage was Gaillon, on our road to which we passed
some vineyards, the most northern, I believe, in Normandy. The vines
cultivated in them are all of the small black cluster grape; and the
wine they produce, I am told, is of very inferior quality,--No place
can appear at present more poverty-stricken than Gaillon; but the case
was far otherwise before the glories of royal and ecclesiastical France
were shorn by the revolution. Ducarel, who visited this town about the
year 1760, dwells with great pleasure upon the magnificence of its
palace and its Carthusian convent and church. Of the palace the remains
are still considerable; and, after having been suffered to lie in a
state of ruin and neglect from an early period in the revolution, they
are now fitting up as a prison. The long inscription formerly over the
gate might with great propriety be replaced by the hacknied phrase, "Sic
transit gloria mundi;" for the vicissitudes of the fortune of noble
buildings are strikingly illustrated by the changes experienced by this
sumptuous edifice, long proverbial throughput France for its splendor.

Philip Augustus conferred the lordship of Gaillon upon one of his
captains of the name of Cadoc, as a reward for his activity in the
conquest of Normandy. Louis IXth afterwards, early in the thirteenth
century, ceded the town in perpetuity to the Archbishop of Rouen. St.
Louis here received by way of exchange the Château of Pinterville, which
he bestowed upon William d'Aubergenville, whose uncle, the Bishop of
Evreux, had, while chancellor of France, done much service to him and to
Queen Blanche, his mother. From that time to the revolution the
archbishops had their country seat at Gaillon, and enjoyed the sole
right of trying civil and criminal causes within the town and its
liberties. Their palace, which was destroyed during the wars of Henry
Vth, in 1423, was rebuilt about a century afterwards by the munificence
of the first cardinal Georges d'Amboise, one of whose successors in the
prelacy, Colbert, expended, as it is said, more than one hundred
thousand livres towards the embellishment of it.--Another archbishop,
the Cardinal of Bourbon, founded the neighboring monastery, in the year
1571. The conventual church was destroyed by fire, through the
carelessness of some plumbers, shortly after Ducarel visited it; and
with it perished the celebrated monument of one of the counts of Bourbon
Soissons, said to have been a master-piece of sculpture.

The limits assigned to Normandy by the treaty of Louviers, made Gaillon
a frontier town of the duchy; and here therefore I should take my leave
of you, but that, in the prouder days of its history, Vernon was
likewise swayed by the ducal sceptre. Vernon also seems peculiarly
connected with England, from the noble family of the same name still
flourishing, agreeably to their well-known punning motto, on your side
of the water. This motto is in the highest degree inapplicable to the
present state of the town, whose old and ruinous appearance looks as if
it had known neither improvement nor repair for centuries. Better things
might have been expected from the situation of Vernon, on the banks of
the Seine, in a singularly beautiful valley, and from its climate, which
is reported to be so extraordinarily healthy, that instances of
individuals attaining in it the age of one hundred are not unfrequent.

The royal palace, formerly here, is now wholly swept away; and of the
ancient fortifications there remains little more than a tower,
remarkable for the height and thickness of its walls, a part of the
castle, which, in the reign of Henry IInd, was held by the service of
sixteen knights for its defence[102].--Prior to the revolution, Vernon
contained five religious houses, three of them founded by St. Louis, who
is said to have regarded this town with peculiar favor, and probably on
that account assigned it as a jointure to his queen, an honor which it
has received upon more than one other occasion.

The present parish church of Vernon was collegiate. It was founded about
the year 1052, by William of Vernon, and was endowed by him, at the time
of its dedication, with the property called, _La Couture du Pré de
Giverny_, and with a fourth part of the forest of Vernon, all which the
dean and canons continued to enjoy till the revolution. This William
appears to have been the first of the family who adopted the surname of
Vernon. His son, Richard, by whom the foundation was formally confirmed,
attended the Conqueror to England, and obtained there considerable
grants. One of their descendants ceded the town in 1190 to the King of
France, accepting in return other lands, according to a treaty still
preserved in the royal library at Paris. The tombs of the founder, and
of his namesake, Sir William de Vernon, constable of England, who died
in 1467, and of many others of the family, among the rest the stately
mausoleum of the Maréchal de Belle Isle, were destroyed during the reign
of jacobinism and terror. The portraits, however, of the Marshal and of
the Duc de Penthièvre, both of them very indifferent performances, were
saved, and are now kept in the sacristy. The only monument left to the
church is that of Marie Maignard, whose husband, Charles Maignard, was
Lord of Bernières and president of the parliament of Normandy. She died
in 1610. Her effigy in white marble, praying before a fald-stool, has
also been spared.

[Illustration: Elevation of the West Front of _La Délivrande_]

The church itself is a spacious building, consisting of a nave and two
aisles, with chapels beyond, separated by lofty pointed arches,
supported on clustered pillars, to each of which is still attached a
tabernacle; but the statues have been destroyed. The choir is altogether
in a different style of architecture: that portion of it which
immediately surrounds the altar, is early Norman, and most probably
belonged to the original structure. Its arches vary remarkably in width.
The most narrow among them are more decidedly horseshoe-shaped, than any
others which I recollect to have seen.--The west front, though much
mutilated, is still handsome. It is flanked by two small, very short
turrets, richly ornamented.--The square central tower, capped by a
conical roof, does not even equal the height of the nave, which is
greatly superior to that of the choir.--Upon an eminence in the
immediate vicinity of Vernon, are the remains of a Roman encampment.

With Vernon we quitted ancient Normandy: our ride thence to Mantes has
been delightful; and this town, for the excellence of its buildings, for
neatness, and for a general air of comfort, far excels any other which
we have seen in the north of France. The name of Mantes also recals the
memory of the Duc de Sully, and recals that of the Conqueror, whose
life fell a sacrifice to the barbarous outrage of which he was here
guilty.--But, I now lay down my pen, and take my leave of Normandy,
happy, if by my correspondence during this short tour, I have been able
to impart to you a portion of the gratification which I have myself
experienced, while tracing the ancient history, and surveying the
monuments of that wonderful nation, who, issuing from the frozen regions
of the north, here fixed the seat of their permanent government, became
powerful rivals of the sovereigns of France, saw Sicily and the fairest
portion of Italy subject to their sway, and, at the same time that they
possessed themselves of our own island, by right of conquest, imported
amongst us their customs, their arts, and their institutions, and laid
the basis of that happy constitution, under which, by the blessing of
God, Britain is at this moment the pride and envy of the world!

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 96: _Antiquités Nationales_, IV. No. 48.]

[Footnote 97: _Antiquités Nationales_, II. No. 17.]

[Footnote 98: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II. p. 332.]

[Footnote 99: _Histoire d'Evreux_, p. 161.]

[Footnote 100: _Antiquités Nationales_, IV. No. 40.]

[Footnote 101: This mode of divination by the Bible and key, is also to
be found among the superstitions of our own country.--See _Ellis'
edition of Brand's Popular Antiquities_, II. p. 641.]

[Footnote 102: _Ducarel's Anglo-Norman Antiquities_, p. 93.--Respecting
Vernon, see also _Millin, Antiquités Nationales_, III. No. 26, in which
four plates, and near fifty pages of letter-press, are devoted to this
town.]



APPENDIX I.

       *       *       *       *       *

   The printing of this work was just concluded, when the author was
   favored with drawings, accompanied with short descriptions, of the
   chapel of our _Lady of the Délivrande_, near Caen, and of an ancient
   font at Magneville, near Valognes. For the former he is indebted to
   Mr. Cohen, to whom he has so often in the course of the work, had
   occasion to express his obligations; for the latter, to M. de
   Gerville, an able antiquary at Valognes. Both these subjects are of
   such a nature, that he is peculiarly happy to be able to add them to
   his imperfect account of the Antiquities of Normandy: the whole duchy
   does not contain a religious building more celebrated for its
   sanctity than the chapel; and while ancient fonts of any description
   are rare in the province, he doubts if another is to be found like
   that of Magneville, ornamented with sculpture and an inscription.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some historians suppose, that the country situated between Caen and the
sea, formed at least, a part of the Saxon shore of Neustria. Amongst the
other ancient buildings which are found in this district, the chapel of
Notre Dame de la Délivrande, to which the Normans have resorted in
pilgrimage during the last eight hundred years, is, perhaps, the most
remarkable.

When the philosophers of the revolution envied the religious enjoyments
of the common man, all pilgrimages were forbidden, and the road leading
to our Lady's Chapel, and which, indeed, is the only high road in this
part of the country, became almost impassable. Under the Emperor it was
thoroughly repaired, and, as they say, by his especial order; and since
the accession of the present French king, the fathers of the mission,
who lose no favorable opportunity of fostering the spirit of devotion,
have erected roods and tabernacles, at due distances, all along the way
side.

After leaving Caen, the traveller will not fail to linger on the little
hill which he ascends just after passing by the first crucifix. Hence he
enjoys a lovely prospect, such as delighted the old masters. In the
foreground is the lofty cross, standing on a quadrangular pyramid of
steps. The broken hollow path bending upwards round the base, is always
occupied by a grotesque group of cripples and beldames, in rags and
tatters, laughing and whining and praying. The horizon is bounded by
long lines of grey and purple hills, nearer are fields and pastures,
whilst the river glitters and winds amidst their vivid tints. Nearer
still, the city of Caen extends itself from side to side, terminated at
each extremity by the venerable abbeys of William and Matilda. There are
no traces of work-shops and manufactories, or of their pollution; but
the churches with their towers and spires rise above the houses in bold
architectural masses, and the city assumes a character of quiet monastic
opulence, comforting the eye and the mind.

About four miles farther on from Caen, we reached Cambre, one of the
many seignories which belonged to the very noble family of Mathan. There
was a Serlo de Mathan, who appears as a witness to one of the
Conqueror's charters, and the family is now represented by the present
Marquis, who has recovered his château, and a fragment of his domain.
Cambre is also the residence of the Abbé de la Rue, by whom the Marquis
was educated. When they both took refuge in England, the Abbé was the
only protector of his pupil, who now returns the honorable obligation.
It is well known that the Abbé has devoted his life to the investigation
of the antiquities both of Normandy and of the Anglo-Normans. Possessing
in a high degree the acute and critical spirit of research which
distinguished the French archaiologists of the Benedictine school, we
have only to regret, that the greater part of his works yet remain in
manuscript. His _History of Anglo-Norman Poetry_, which is quite ready
for the press, would be an invaluable accession to our literature; but
books of this nature are so little suited to the taste of the French
public, that, as yet, he has not ventured upon its publication. The
collections of the Abbé, as may be anticipated, are of great value; they
relate almost wholly to the history of the duchy. The château escaped
spoliation. The portraits of the whole line of the Mathans, from the
first founder of the race, in his hauberk, down to the last Marquis, in
his _frisure_, are in good preservation; and they are ancient specimens
of the sign-post painting usually found in old galleries. The Marquis
has also a finely-illuminated missal, which belonged to a Dame de
Mathan, in the fourteenth century, and which has been carefully handed
down in the family, from generation to generation.

The church of Douvre, the next village, is rather a picturesque
building. The upper story of the tower has two pointed windows of the
earliest date. A pediment between them rests on the archivolt on either
side. This is frequently seen in buildings in the circular style. The
other stories of the tower, and the west front of the church are Norman;
the east end is in ruins. The British name of the village may afford
ground for much ethnigraphical and etymological speculation.

Saint Exuperius is said to have founded the Chapel of La Délivrande,
some time in the first century. The tradition adds, that the chapel was
ruined by the Northmen,--and the statue of the Virgin, which now
commands the veneration of the faithful, remained buried until the
appointed time of resuscitation, in the reign of Henry Ist, when it was
discovered, in conformity to established usage and precedent in most
cases of miraculous images, by a lamb. Baldwin, Count of the Bessin and
Baron of Douvre, was owner of the flock to which the lamb belonged. The
Virgin would not remain in the parish church of Douvre, in which she was
lodged by the Baron, but she returned every night to the spot where she
was disinterred. Baldwin therefore understood that it was his duty to
erect a chapel for her reception, and he accordingly built that which is
now standing, and made a donation of the edifice to the Bishop of
Bayeux, whose successor receives the mass-pennies and oblations at this
very day. Some idea of the architecture of the building may be formed
from the inclosed sketch of the western front. During the morning mass,
the chapel was crowded with women, young and old, who were singing the
litany of the Virgin in a low and plantive tone. A hymn of praise was
also chaunted. It was composed by the learned Bishop Huet, and it is
inscribed upon a black marble tablet, which was placed in the chapel by
his direction. The country women of the Saxon shore possess a very
peculiar physiognomy, denoting that the race is unmixed. The
Norman-Saxon damsel is full and well made, her complexion is very fair,
she has light hair, long eyelashes, and tranquil placid features; her
countenance has an air of sullen pouting tenderness, such as we often
find in the women represented in the sculptures and paintings of the
middle ages. And all the girls are so much alike, that it might have
been supposed that they all were sisters. As to our Lady, she is gaily
attired in a Cashemire shawl, and completely covered with glaring amber
necklaces and beads, and ribband knots, and artificial flowers. Many
votive offerings are affixed round her shrine. The pilgrim is
particularly desired to notice a pair of crutches, which testify the
cure of their former owner, who lately hobbled to the Virgin from
Falaise, as a helpless cripple, and who quitted her in perfect health.
Of course the Virgin has operated all the usual standard miracles,
including one which may be suspected to be rather a work of
supererogation, that of restoring speech to a matron who had lost her
tongue, which had been cut out by her jealous husband. Miracles of every
kind are very frequently performed, yet, if the truth must be told, they
are worked, as it were, by deputy, for the real original Virgin suffered
so much during the revolution, that it has been thought advisable to
keep her in the sacristy, and the statue now seen is a restoration of
recent workmanship. In order to conciliate the sailors and fishermen of
the coast, the Virgin has entered into partnership with St. Nicholas,
whose image is impressed on the reverse of the medal representing her,
and which is sold to the pilgrims.

The country about La Délivrande is flat, but industriously cultivated
and thickly peopled. The villages are numerous and substantial. From a
point at the extremity of the green lane which leads onward from La
Délivrande, six or eight church spires may be counted, all within a
league's distance. By the advice of the Abbé de la Rue, we proceeded to
Bernieres, which is close to the sea. The mayor of the commune offered
his services with great civility, and accompanied us to the church,
which, as he told us, was built by Duke William. We easily gave credit
to the mayor's assertion, as the interior of the nave is good Norman.
The pillars which support the groining of the roof are square; this
feature is rather singular. The tower and spire are copied from Saint
Peter, at Caen. Those of Luc, Courseilles, Langrune, and the other
neighboring villages, are upon the same model. Many instances of the
same kind of affiliation occur at home, which shew how easily a fashion
was set in ecclesiastical architecture.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Font at Magneville]



APPENDIX II.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most remarkable among the ancient inscriptions found in that part of
Normandy, which is now comprised in the Department of La Manche, are
upon an ancient altar, at Ham, on a medallion attached to the outside of
the church of Ste. Croix, at St. Lô, and upon the font at Magneville,
near Valognes. The first of these has generally been referred to the
seventh century; the second seems to be of the ninth; and the last may
with safety be considered as of the latter part of the tenth, or
beginning of the eleventh, at which period, the choir of the church of
Magneville appears also to have been erected. Of the sculpture upon the
font, as well as of the inscription, an accurate idea may be formed,
from the annexed drawing: the most remarkable character of the
inscription seems to be in its punctuation. The letters upon the altar,
at Ham, touch one another, and there is no separation of any kind
between the words: here, on the contrary, almost all the words are
divided by three or four points placed in a perpendicular direction,
except at the end of the phrases, where stops are wholly wanting. At
Ham, also, the letters are cut into the stone, while at Magneville they
are drawn with a brush, with a kind of black pigment.

G.



INDEX.


A.

_Abbey_, of Ardennes,
  Bec,
  Bernay,
  Bonport,
  Cormeilles,
  Ducler,
  Jumieges,
  Preaux,
  St. Evroul,
  St. Georges de Bocherville,
  St. Stephen, at Caen,
  St. Taurinus,
  Trinity at Caen.
_Academy of Druids_, at Bayeux.
_Academy of Sciences_, at Caen.
_Agnes Sorel_, buried at Jumieges,
  her statue destroyed by the Huguenots,
  her tomb destroyed at the revolution,
  inscription upon.
_Amphitheatre, Roman_, found near Lisieux.
_Amyot, Mr_. his paper on the Bayeux tapestry.
_Andelys_, origin of the name,
  history of,
  seat of an early monastery,
  great house at,
  birth-place of Poussin.
_Andromeda polifolia_, found near Jumieges.
_Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury_, a monk at Bec.
_Aqueduct, Roman_, remains of, at Vieux.
_Archbishops of Rouen_, their palace at Gaillon.
_Arches, trefoil-headed_, early specimen of, at Jumieges.
_Ardennes_, abbey of, near Caen.
_Arlette, mother of the Conqueror_, native of Falaise.
_Arnulf_, bishop of Lisieux.
_Arthur, Prince_, knighted at Gournay.
_Asselin_, forbids the interment of the Conqueror.
_Audinus, bishop of Evreux_, authorizes Henry Ist to burn the city.
_Augustodurum_, probably the site of, at Vieux.


B.

_Bailiffs_, first established in Normandy under Philip Augustus,
_Baiocco of Naples_, named after Bayeux,
_Bas-relief_, in the church of St. Georges de Bocherville,
_Baudius_, professor of law for a short time at Caen,
_Bayeux_, seat of an academy of Druids,
  Roman relics found near, but no Druidic,
  a Roman station,
  probably the Næomagus Viducassium,
  its ancient name,
  its importance under the early French kings,
  its history,
  the place where the Norman princes were educated,
  castle,
  situation, population, and trade,
  tapestry,
  cathedral,
_Bayeux, Roman_, probably destroyed by the Saxons,
_Bec, abbey of_, its present state,
  former income and patronage,
  church described by Du Plessis,
  founded by Hellouin,
  history,
  seminary for eminent men,
_Belenus_, worshipped near Bayeux,
_Berengarius_, his tenets impugned by Lanfranc,
  condemned by the council of Brionne,
_Bernay_, abbey of,
  church,
  burial-ground,
  population and trade,
  costume of the females,
_Bernieres_, church of,
_Blanche, wife of Charles the Bel_, confined in Château Gaillard,
_Bochart_, one of the founders of the academy at Caen,
_Boileau_, his eulogium on Malherbe,
_Bonport_, abbey of,
_Borghese, Princess of_, original letter by,
_Bouillon, Duke of_, Lord of Evreux, at the revolution,
_Bourg-Achard_, seat of an abbey, dedicated to St. Eustatius,
  leaden font,
_Bourg-Theroude_,
_Bourgueville_, his antiquities of Caen,
  present at the exhumation of the Conqueror's remains,
_Boy, bishop_, annually elected at Caen,
_Bretteville l'Orgueilleuse_, church of,
_Brionne_, situation of,
  seat of the council which condemned the tenets of Berengarius,
  castle,
_Brito_, his account
  of the siege of Gournay,
  of Château Gaillard,
  of the murder of the French garrison of Evreux,
  of Caen.
_Broglie_, church of.
_Bruce, David_, a resident in Château Gaillard.
_Buck-wheat_,
  much cultivated in Lower Normandy,
  etymology of its French name.


C.

_Caen_,
  arrival at,
  distant view of,
  trade and population,
  situation,
  grand cours,
  costume of females,
  house-rent,
  foundation,
  described by Brito,
  etymology of the name,
  fortifications,
  Château de Calix,
  castle,
  chapel in the castle,
  hospital,
  royal abbeys,
  college,
  palace,
  museum,
  library,
  universities,
  men of eminence,
  academy,
  Malherbe,
  history,
  neighborhood abundant in fossil remains,
  seen from the road leading to La Délivrande.
_Caen-stone_,
  large quarries of,
  formerly much used in England.
_Cambre_.
_Cambremer, Canon of_, tale respecting, at Bayeux.
_Cannon_, first used in France, at the siege of Pont Audemer.
_Canons_, four statues of, at Evreux.
_Castle_, of Bayeux,
  Brionne,
  Caen,
  Creully,
  Falaise,
  Gisors,
  Montfort,
  Neufmarché.
_Cathedral of Bayeux_, founded by St. Exuperius,
  history,
  described,
  crypt,
  stripped of its relics,
  revenue,
  right of mintage.
_Cathedral of Evreux_, often destroyed,
  its present state,
  little injured by the Huguenots,
  founded by St. Taurinus.
_Cathedral of Lisieux_, now the parish church of St. Peter,
  described,
  remarkable tomb in.
_Cauchon, Peter_, bishop of Lisieux, president at the trial of Joan of Arc.
_Cecily_, daughter of the Conqueror, abbess at Caen.
_Chapel_, subterranean, in Bayeux cathedral,
  in the castle at Caen,
  in the castle at Falaise,
  of St. Adrian,
  of La Délivrande.
_Chapel in the castle at Caen_, built fronting the east
_Chapels_, stone-roofed, in Ireland, of Norman origin
_Charles the Bad_, born in the Château de Navarre
_Charters_, of the abbey of St. Georges de Bocherville
_Château de Navarre_
_Château Gaillard_, its situation
  described
  account of, by Brito
  history
_Château de Calix_, at Caen
_Chesnut-timber_, formerly much used in Normandy
_Church_, of the abbey of Bec
  Bernieres
  Bernay
  Bretteville l'Orgueilleuse
  Broglie
  Creully
  Ducler
  Ecouis
  Falaise
  Gisors
  Gournay
  Jumieges
  St. Peter's at ditto
  Louviers
  Moulineaux
  Pont Audemer
  Pont-de-l'Arche
  St. Germain de Blancherbe
  St. Gervais, at Falaise
  St. Georges de Bocherville
  St. Giles, at Evreux
  St. James, at Lisieux
  St. John, at Caen
  St. Michael, at ditto
  St. Nicholas, at ditto
  St. Peter, at ditto
  St. Stephen's abbey, at ditto
  St. Stephen, at ditto
  Trinity, at ditto
  Trinity at Falaise
  Vernon
_Cider_, the common beverage, in Normandy
  first introduced by the Normans
_Cocherel_
_Coins, golden_, struck at Bayeux, under the first French kings
_Colline des deux amans_, priory of
_Cormeilles_, abbey of
_Corneille_, buried at Andelys
_Costume_, at Bernay
  at Caen
_Coupe gorge_, colony established at, by Napoléon
_Creully_, castle
  church
_Crocodile fossil_, found near Caen
_Croissanville_


D.

_Dalechamps_, native of Caen
_D'Amboise, Cardinal_, built the palace at Gaillon
_Darnétal_
_De Boissy_, bishop of Bayeux, his epitaph.
_De la Rue, Abbé_,
  professor of history at Caen,
  is preparing an account of Caen,
  his paper on the Bayeux tapestry.
_Douce, Mr._, his illustration of the sculpture at
  St. Georges de Bocherville.
_Douvre_.
_Druids_, academy of, at Bayeux.
_Dubois Louis_,
  his discoveries among the ruins of Old Lisieux,
  preserved the original M.S. of Ordericus Vitalis,
  is preparing the history of Lisieux.
_Ducarel_, his description of a pavement in the palace at Caen.
_Ducler_,
  convent,
  parish church.
_Du Perron_, cardinal, bishop of Evreux.
_Du Plessis_,
  his opinion as to Turold on the Bayeux tapestry,
  description of the abbey church of Bec.


E.

_Ecouis, church of_,
  burial-place of John and Enguerrand de Marigny,
  singular epitaph.
_Epitaph_,
  enigmatical at Ecouis,
  of John de Boissy,
  on the exterior of Bayeux cathedral.
_Evreux_,
  destroyed by Henry Ist,
  cathedral,
  abbey of St. Taurinus,
  history,
  present appearance.
_Evreux, Old_, a Roman station.


F.

_Falaise_,
  situation of,
  etymology of the name,
  castle,
  Talbot's tower,
  chapel in castle,
  history,
  firmly attached to the League,
  fortifications,
  inhabitants _true Normans_,
  population and trade,
  churches.
_Fastolf, Sir John_, governor of Caen.
_Flambart, Ralph_, bishop of Durham, seizes Lisieux.
_Fleury, Cardinal_, abbot at Caen.
_Fonts_, seldom seen in French churches.
_Font_, curiously sculptured, at Magneville.
_Font, leaden_, at Bourg-Achard.



G.

_Gaillon_, vineyards near,
  present state of,
  ceded to the archbishop of Rouen,
  made by the treaty of Louviers the frontier town of the Duchy,
_Gisors_, castle, appearance of,
  history,
  place of interview between Henry IInd, and Philip Augustus,
  arms of the town,
  castle, described,
  church of,
  banded column in the church,
_Glass painted_, at the abbey of Bonport,
  in the church of Pont de l'Arche,
_Gournay_, origin of,
  present appearance,
  history,
  siege described by Brito,
  arms of,
  place where Prince Arthur was knighted,
  church,
  remarkable sculpture on the capitals,
_Gournay, Hugo de_,
_Guibray_, fair of,
_Gurney, Hudson_, his paper on the Bayeux tapestry,


H.

_Harcourt_, castle of,
_Hellouin_, founder of the abbey of Bec,
  his epitaph,
_Hennuyer, John_, bishop of Lisieux, said to have saved the Huguenots,
_Henry Ist_, kept prisoner by Robert at Bayeux,
  destroyed the city,
_History, ecclesiastical, of Ordericus Vitalis_,
  materials for a new edition of,
  original manuscript,
  manuscript copies,
_Holy Trinity_, church of, at Falaise,
_Honfleur_, situation of,
  described,
_Horses, Norman_, present price of,
_Hospital at Caen_, founded in the thirteenth century,
_Hoveden_, his account of the interview between Henry IInd,
  and Philip Augustus, near Gisors,
_Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury_, a monk of Bec,
_Hubert, M._, discovered the site of the Neomagus Lexoviorum,
_Huet_, his _Origines de Caen_,
  one of the founders of the academy at Caen,
_Huguenots_, destroy the tomb and violate the remains of the Conqueror,
_Hume, David_, his opinion on the Bayeux tapestry,
_Hypocaust, Roman_, found at Vieux,


I.

_Inscription_, on the font at Magneville,
_John, King_, murders the French garrison of Evreux,
_Isatis tinctoria_, cultivated in France under Napoléon,
_Jumieges, abbey of_, its foundation,
  original building,
  history,
  church,
  Salle des Chevaliers,
  church of St. Peter,
  monuments,
_Ivory chest_, in Bayeux cathedral,


K.

_Knights, Templars_, house of, at Louviers,


L.

_Lamouroux, M_. professor of natural history at Caen,
  his publications,
_Lanfranc_, settled at Bec,
  first schoolmaster in Normandy,
  first abbot of St. Stephen's,
_Langevin, M_., author of the history of Falaise,
_Langlois, M_., his portrait,
  his work on Norman Antiquities,
_Le Beuf, Abbé_, his opinion of Vieux,
_Le Brasseur_, his account of the statues of four canons at Evreux,
_Léproserie de Beauîleu_,
_Letter, original_, from Princess Borghese,
_Library, public_, at Caen,
_Lisieux_, situation and trade of,
  its see suppressed in 1801,
  cathedral,
  tomb in cathedral,
  town probably founded in the sixth century,
  ancient names of,
  history of,
  church of St. Jacques,
_Littleton, Lord_, his opinion of the Bayeux tapestry,
_Louviers_, treaty of,
  population,
  church,
  house of knights templars,
  history,



M.

_Magneville_, font at,
_Malherbe_, native of Caen,
_Mallet, Anthony_, his statement of Hennuyer's saving the Calvinists,
_Maréchal de Belle Isle_, his monument,
_Margaret of Burgundy_, immured in Château Gaillard,
_Marigny, Enguerrand de_, buried at Ecouis,
  his mausoleum destroyed at the revolution,
_Marriage ceremony_, in France,
_Matilda, wife of the Conqueror_, supposed portrait of,
  her seal
  buried in the church of the Trinity,
  her tomb destroyed by the Huguenots,
  her remains lately found and new tomb raised,
_Maud, Empress_, her expostulations with her father as to the place
of her burial,
_Mazarine, Cardinal_, abbot of St. Stephen's,
_Melons_, cultivated on a large scale, near Lisieux,
_Misereres_, sculptured, in Bayeux cathedral,
_Misletoe_, commonly hung over inn-doors, near Caen,
_Money_, struck by the chapter of Bayeux, how marked,
_Montfaucon_, his engravings of the portraits of the Conqueror
and his family,
_Montfort_, castle of,
_Moulineaux_, church of,
_Mount Phaunus_, temple of, near Bayeux,
_Museum_, at Caen,
_Musicians_, sculptured at St. Georges de Bocherville,


N.

_Napoléon_, establishment formed by him at the pass of _Coupe Gorge_,
  his attempt to make a naval station at Caen,
_Navarre, kings of_, lords of Evreux,
_Navarre, Château de_,
_Næomagus Viducassium_, probably the modern Bayeux,
_Neomagus Lexoviorum_, site of, lately discovered,
_Neufmarché_, castle of,
_Normandy_, divided anew, under Philip Augustus,
_Notre Dame de la Délivrande_, chapel of,



O.

_Odo, bishop of Bayeux_, rebuilds the cathedral,
  his life and character.
_Ordericus Vitalis_, his account of the destruction of Evreux,
  his account of St. Taurinus,
  sketch of his life,
  his ecclesiastical history,
  his reflections on the death of the Conqueror
_Ornaments_ on the spandrils of the arches in Bayeux cathedral.
_Oxen_, breed of, near Caen.


P.

_Paintings, fresco_, in Bayeux cathedral.
_Passports_, regulations respecting, in France.
_Patye, John, Canon of Cambremer_, legend concerning, at Bayeux.
_Pays de Bray_.
_Pistae_, the site of, occupied by Pont de l'Arche.
_Pont Audemer_, its situation,
  history,
  churches.
_Pont de l'Arche_, seat of a palace under Charles the Bald,
  origin of the name,
  church.
_Portraits_, of the Conqueror and family.
_Poussin_, born at Andelys,
  if his example has been favorable to French art.
_Preaux_, abbey of.
_Priory, des deux Amans_.


R.

_Rabelais_, his autograph.
_Reseda luteola_, cultivated near Rouen.
_Richelieu, Cardinal_, abbot of St. Stephen's at Caen.
_Roads in France_, compared with those in England.
_Robert the Devil_, his castle near Moulineaux.
_Romance_, subjects borrowed from, sculptured on a capital in St. Peter's,
at Caen.
_Rupierre, William of, Bishop of Lisieux_, resists the power of King
John.


S.

_St. Adrian_, Chapel of, near Rouen.
_St. Clotilda_, her fountain, at Andelys
  still worshipped there.
_St. Evroul_, abbey of, founded by William de Gerouis,
  residence of Ordericus Vitalis.
_St. Georges de Bocherville_, abbey of, founded by Ralph de Tancarville,
  its history,
  abbey church described
  sculpture in ditto
  chapter-house.
_St. Germain_, church of, at Pont Audemer.
_St. Germain de Blancherbe_, church of.
_St. Gervais_, church of, at Falaise.
_St. Giles_, church of, at Evreux.
_St. Jacques_, church of at Lisieux.
_St. John_, church of, at Caen.
_St. Lascivus_, bishop of Bayeux.
_St. Lupus_, bishop of Bayeux, so called from destroying the wolves.
_St. Maimertus_, subterranean chapel dedicated to, in Bayeux cathedal.
_St. Michael_, church of, in the suburb of Vaucelles, at Caen.
_St. Nicholas_, church of at Caen
  its roof like those of the Irish stone-roofed chapels.
_St. Peter_, church of at Caen
  sculpture upon the capital of one of the columns.
_St. Philibert_, founder of Jumieges.
_St. Regnobert_, bishop of Bayeux, his chasuble kept in the cathedral,
  domestic animals blessed on his feast-day.
_St. Stephen_, church of, at Caen.
_St. Stephen_, abbey of, at Caen, its privileges
  now used as the college.
_St. Stephen, abbey church of_, at Caen, described
  formed on the the Roman model
  burial-place of the Conqueror.
_St. Taurinus_, founder of Evreux cathedral
  his fight with the devil,
  his shrine
  crypt, in which he was buried.
_St. Taurinus, abbey of_ at Evreux
  its privileges
  ancient architecture in the church
  crypt.
_St. Vitalis_, his feast celebrated annually at Evreux.
_St. Ursinus_, privileges enjoyed by the Canons, at Lisieux, on his vigil
and feast-day.
_Saxons_, established about Bayeux, where many words from their language
still exist.
_Screens_, of rare occurrence in French churches.
_Sculpture_, in the abbey church of St. Georges de Bocherville,
  in the chapter-house of the same abbey,
  in the abbey church of Jumieges,
  on the capitals in the church at Gournay,
  on a capital in the abbey church at Bernay,
  over the high altar at Bernay,
  on a tomb in Lisieux cathedral,
  on a capital in St. Peter's at Caen,
  on the capitals of the pillars in the crypt at Bayeux cathedral,
_Seal_, supposed to belong to Matilda, wife of the Conqueror,
_Sheep_, Norman breed of,
_Siege_, of Château Gaillard,
_Statues_, in the chapter-house of the abbey of St. Georges de Bocherville,
  of William the Conqueror, at Caen,
_Stothard, C.A._, his drawings of the Bayeux tapestry,
  his opinion on its antiquity,
_String-course_, remarkable, in the church of _Notre Dame des Prés_, at
Pont Audemer,
_Superstitions_, still remaining in Normandy,


T.

_Tancarville, Ralph_, chamberlain to the Conqueror, and founder of the
abbey of St. Georges de Bocherville,
_Tapestry, Bayeux_, accounts of, published by Montfaucon and Lancelot,
  referred by them to Matilda, Queen of the Conqueror,
  figure from,
  its antiquity denied by Lord Littleton, Hume, and the Abbé de la Rue,
  when first described,
  reasons for believing in its antiquity,
  formerly kept at the cathedral,
  exhibited during the revolution at Paris,
  described,
_Tassillon_, confined at Jumieges,
_Tassilly_, ancient tombs found at,
_Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury_ a monk of Bec,
_Thomas à Becket_, retired during his disgrace to Lisieux,
_Tiles, painted_, in the palace at Caen,
  supposed to prove the antiquity of heraldic bearings,
_Tombeau des énervez_, at Jumieges,
_Tombs, ancient_, at Cocherel,
  in Lisieux cathedral,
  at Tassilly,
_Torigny marble_,
_Trinity Holy, abbey of the_, at Caen, when built,
  used as a fortress as well as a nunnery
  its income
  privileges.
_Trinity Holy, church of the abbey of the_, at Caen, now a work-house,
  described,
  its spires destroyed by Charles, King of Navarre.
_Turnebus_, Adrian, native of Andelys.
_Turold_, founder of Bourg-Theroude, represented on the Bayeux tapestry.


U.

_University of Caen_, founded by Henry VIth,
  abolished and restored by Charles VIIth,
  esteemed the third in France.


V.

_Vernon_, its situation,
  formerly the seat of a royal palace,
  church.
_Vieux_, a Roman station,
  etymology of the name.
_Vines_, formerly cultivated at Jumieges,
  also at Caen and Lisieux.


W.

_Wace_, a resident at Caen.
_Whales_, formerly caught near Jumieges.
_William the Conqueror_, his statue at Caen,
  supposed figure of him on a capital in the church of the abbey
  of the Trinity,
  buried in the abbey-church of St. Stephen,
  his epitaph,
  his death and burial, and the disturbance of his remains,
  his palace at Caen,
  fresco-paintings of him and his family,
  born at Falaise,
  receives the homage of the English, as successor to Edward, at Bayeux.
_William of Jumieges_, his account of the attachment of the Empress
  Maud to Bec.





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